Monday, May 17, 2010

More Ads Like This Please

Yes, it's ridiculous, but it's also hilarious. More please.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Louisiana Oil Spill

Global warming, air pollution, extraction damage, funding extremist groups... and now this. As if there were not enough reasons to stop using oil, here is yet another example of the devastation wrought by our addiction to liquid gold. In some ways, accidents like this are no worse than the day to day damage caused by humanity's massive use of oil, only this garners media attention and the effects are obvious to the lay person. In the long term, our continued use of fossil fuels will lead to just as devastating--if not more so--results.

For your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dennis Dimick Part Deux

Another interesting perspective Mr. Dimmick highlighted was the United State's unfair insistence that China reduce its CO2 emissions. He showed a fantastic map demonstrating how China's emissions are merely outsourced from America in order to meet our rabidly consumptive habits. In other words, much China's emissions are our emissions. The map does not have a key, but the message is clear.

Dennis Dimick

Last Thursday, Dennis Dimick, National Geographic's Executive Editor for the environment, delievered a lecture at Oregon State University about the intersection of human energy needs and global climate change. It was the usual, powerful story, but coupled with drawdropping photos from National Geographic it was awesome. That story aside--we're scrwed if we don't stop the growth in CO2 emissions=-it reminded me of a conversation with my brother a couple weeks ago.

It started on the topic of tipping--why we tip, if we are obligated, how much, etc--and morphed into how people take actions all the time without owning up to the consequences. Do you blog or aimlessly surf the internet? Okay, but that means using electricty made from coal, thus contributing to further mountaintop removal, water and soil contamination, and CO2 emissions. Do you drive to work/the store/friend's house? Okay, I suppose that's fine, but you should at least own up to the fact that that choice is sending oil dollars to extremists in the Middle East and contributing to global warming. Instead, people refuse to own up to the fact that their day-to-day actions have cummulative and dramatic effects.

You can lessen your impact by riding a bike, turning down the heat, using electronics less, etc. We do not have to return to the Dark Ages in order to reduce CO2 levels to around 300ppm, but as we alter our lifestyles, we should at least own up to the fact that so many of our everyday actions have terrible consequences.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iceland Volcano Goes Boom

I heard an interesting report today on NPR about some of the effects of the volcano that is spewing ash in Iceland. A highly publicized byproduct is that air traffic has dramatically been slowed due to safety concerns. As a result, fresh food isn't making it to Britain and they don't have enough local production to keep up with demand. Add this to the list of "Reasons Why Local Food Production Is Good."

Interestingly this reminded me of a conversation I had few years ago about how our food supply chain relies heavily on an uninterrupted transportation network. If things go belly up--ie earthquake, major storm, etc--all of the fresh food in a typical supermarket will be gone in a few days. No more broccoli and asparagus from Chile. The whole conversation came up not in terms of missing out on delicious culinary delights, rather on how dangerous and unstable that can be for a society. How courteous and community-minded would you be if there wasn't food to put on the table?

Monday, April 12, 2010


One of my favorite 30 second clips that I remember my elementary librarian showing us. It's still stuck in my head 15 years later!

Here's another great oldie.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Coming Shortage?

This kind of thing is fascinating to me: An impending shortage of a material largely-unknown to the general population used for making magnets is causing a stir of research to find a replacement. Magnets, which play an important role in the operation of electronics, are made up a various metal combinations, neodymium being the most efficient known. Currently the United States relies on China for their supply, a precarious position to be in if the spigot is closed off.

This is interesting because in our current political environment we drone on endlessly about silly things: death panels, haggling over tiny pockets of oil drilling rights, accusations of socialism/fascism, etc. All the while, smaller, much less flashy but no less important problems, go unnoticed. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Can't Get Enough

Hat tip to Geezy over at Rock and Bacon. I can't get enough of this rad piece, Excuses, by The Morning Benders. Enjoy:

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weight Gain (and loss)

This probably doesn't come as a surprise, but reading this post was fascinating nonetheless and goes contrary to a common held belief that adding the 25 calorie Hershey Kiss will ultimately lead to tens of extra pounds added to your frame. Well, turns out that's not true. Instead, increasing your caloric intake simply bumps up the weight you stay at fairly naturally. So, instead of adding a Hershey's Kiss every day and ballooning to 500+ pounds, you'll instead go up a few pounds and stay there. Interesting.

No Post on HCR

That's right Keough, not even one... but I'm excited about it nonetheless!!!! :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Choose Your Bedfellows Wisely

It's certainly not the case that everyone who advocates for one political position or another therefore, by default, share views across the social and political spectrum. That said, when your allies are doing this, it's hard not to question your friends.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) claimed Saturday that healthcare protesters at the Capitol directed racial epithets at him and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as they walked outside.

Carson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus along with Lewis, told The Hill that protesters called the lawmakers the N-word. [...]

Lewis was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement alongside Martin Luther King. Jr. Asked if racial epithets were yelled at him, Lewis responded, "Yes, but it's OK. I've heard this before in the '60s. A lot of this is just downright hate."

And this.

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock. [...]

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-M.D.) had been spit on by a protestor.

And this.

...Rep. Barney Frank got an uglier version of the treatment. Just after Frank rounded a corner to leave the building, an older protestor yelled "Barney, you faggot." The surrounding crowd of protestors then erupted in laughter.

And this.

ThinkProgress attended today's rally and spotted a sign threatening violence if health care passes. The sign reads: "Warning: If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can," referring to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and a Browning firearm.

Sickening stuff.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Media

Long have I been an opponent of the way Big Media reports the news. This brilliant two minute clip is a wonderful parody of the inane way in which the media reports.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What We Teach Too Often

My parents visited this last weekend and I heard my mom say "shit" more times in one minute than in my entire life. She was reading an excerpt from the book Muchacho by Louanne Johnson about one kid's experience with school. He points out something that too often is true: We teach crap to tests rather than real things that actually matter. I liked the excerpt so much and it aligned with my view of some of the major problems with our education system, that I'm sharing the passage with you all. Enjoy.
That’s the kind of stuff they should be teaching us in school. It’s okay to learn algebra and biology and grammar and all that stuff, but you could always learn that stuff from a book all by yourself. They should teach us the stuff we really need to learn--like how to make somebody really love you and how to turn of that little voice in your head that tells you what a loser you are and how to teacher your dog to pee where it’s supposed to, and how to get over being sad when your little cousin dies, and how to talk to your father without both of you getting so mad. But they probably couldn’t each us stuff like that in school even if they wanted to, because if they teach something in school they have to give you a test to make sure how much you learned.

They need to stop giving so many tests in school because they’re making everybody hate school, even the kids who used to like it. If they have to give so many tests, at least the could give the kind where you have to make up your own answer and not just guess which one is right. Primo says a monkey could pass a multiple choice test fifty percent of the time and he’s probably right because one time T. J. Ritchie got everybody in our math class to put down all C’s or else all B’s for the test and then take a little nap for the rest of the test period. T. J. got busted for being the mastermind of the whole thing but they didn’t expel him because the kids who put all C’s passed the test, including me. In fact, that was one of the best math grades ever which was probably pretty embarrassing for the math teacher who made up that test.

“They got the whole thing backasswards,” T. J. said when we were sitting outside the principal’s office waiting for his mother. “They keep giving all these test because half the kids in New Mexico flunk out of school because they can’t read or do fractions,” T. J. said. “But they keep teaching the same stupid shit. That’s why they keep getting the same stupid test scores.” He grabbed my notebook and drew a picture of a dog. He drew a giant pile of steamy crap behind the dog’s tail and a big bowl in front its head that was filled with schoolbooks. T. J. draws real good, almost as good as Primo who could probably have been a professional artist but he flunked out of art class because the teacher said he had to draw pictures of a chair and a vase and a bowl of oranges instead of lowriders and couples dancing the tango and sexy girls with tattoos on their nalgas.

“You keep feeding the dog the same crap,” T. J. said, “you get the same shit. You can test that shit and test that shit and test that shit and it’s still going to stink because mierda is mierda.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Olympics

I love me some winter Olympics. Unfortunately, my televisionless lifestyle is leaving me out in the cold and I can't find a good spot online to watch videos. Any ideas?!?!?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Niki!!!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back! Blogging will return to my regular schedule which means reading (yes, I'm talking to you Niki) will (can?) return to your regular schedule. Hooray! So, what has happened since I last wrote that Republicans were being demographically relegated to the second tier? In descending order of importance...
1. Michael Jackson died
2. Torby died
3. Teddy Kennedy died
4. *Rough year*
5. Walter Cronkite died
6. Frank McCourt died
7. Enough with the death...
8. Zachary visited Swaziland and got a real job teaching social studies in Corvallis, Oregon
9. Joshua got married
10. Democrats couldn't pass any of their big agenda pieces through congress...
11. ... because Republicans are ridiculous obstructionists...
12. ... and because Democrats aren't willing to play hardball. Yet.

Hmmm, sadly, it looks like all that happened was people and pets died, I started something new, and the political system fell apart. So, as my first post back, I'm implementing something I've learned from teaching: soliciting interaction!

In comments, let's hear from you: What happened since May, 2009?