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21st February 2012

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In Memphis Classrooms, the Ghost of Segregation Lingers On →

The racial and economic problems that plague Memphis are really quite sad. It is hard to explain all the issues to people who have not lived there, but this article does a good job of explaining some of the problems. The story of the Manassas High School is really quite inspiring though, and I hope that the changes to the school board do not upset the progress they have made. When I was in high school, I did some volunteering for a summer program for kids from that neighborhood and many of their stories were heartbreaking. To hear of kids from that area doing well in school is really impressive and gives one hope for the most impoverished parts of America.

Tagged: memphisatlanticeducationracism

11th February 2012

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The Negative Mammogram Myth →

I think this is critical information that all women should know. Mammograms are very good at detecting cancer in some breasts, but not that good in breasts with high density. Ask your doctor about your breast density to see if other testing may be required. Early detection of breast cancer is so key to a successful recover.

Tagged: healthfeminine healthbreast canceratlantic

5th February 2012

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The Political Consequences of a Drones-First Policy →

While I think there are definitely some benefits and good uses for drones- particularly in an active war zone, I am worried about how much the US is using them and coming to depend on them. I know I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of drones flying over my property in peace time so I can completely understand why other nations are also objecting. I think the US needs to be careful not to burn goodwill of other nations by being too intrusive.

Tagged: US dissentdronesatlantic

31st October 2011

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50% of All Workers Made Less than $26,000 in 2010 →

The title kind of sums up the depressing US economy reality. This has more charts and info on the US Pay data report as a follow up to this post. The charts of each industry compared to the average are interesting. The US needs about 10 million jobs to be back on track with low unemployment and a happy workforce. So how do you go about creating 10 million jobs?

Tagged: US dissentUS Economyatlanticoccupy wallstreetincome inequalityUS payfinancial crisis

25th October 2011

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Will Wright's Awesome Business Cards: Just His Information Stamped on Old Currency →

The title pretty much says it all. The inventor of the Sims just uses non circulating currency as business cards. How completely geek cool is that! I do have to wonder where one gets Yugoslavian currency today.

Tagged: geekbusiness cardsWill WrightThe SIMSEntertainmentatlantic

20th October 2011

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A Pair of Articles on the Modern Woman, Marriage, and Children

So these two articles also complement my recent post on the problems with modern men.

The first is a relatively brief Washington Post article on the fact that many gen X women are not having children partially because they are overworked and in debt. This also gives some interesting facts about how we, gen Xers are the screwed generation which I have mentioned a few times.

The second article is a ridiculously long rambling piece from the Atlantic about single women that gives more insight into the author’s personal insecurities than I think she intended. It too has a lot of good information though it is a bit wandering off topic and at times I could not identify with her points. I could probably write an equally long analysis of the Atlantic article, but I think I will spare you. Anyway, I am glad I slogged through it, but I took it in many small pieces.

Both articles as well as the previous post on men bring up valid problems with current American social structure which puts a high value on marriage, but also has expectations that a woman will marry up or at least equally which is challenging in times when women have increased their income significantly and men have not. Additionally, American culture encourages you to seek financial independence (which is a good thing) and the ever elusive happiness and fulfillment (which is probably unrealistic) so that when a good match is made, people often leave it thinking that there must be something better.

The no kids thing is a bit sad, but I can’t say much as I am one of those gen Xers rapidly approaching the end of my fertility with no ankle biters in sight. People often say that financial situations don’t influence bearing of children, but the first article definitely shows it has some influence. Though with my new insight into population growth from Albert Bartlett’s video, I am feeling people should be having fewer kids because the planet can not sustain the current growth rates for much past our theoretical children’s lifetimes. Or at least not with any quality of life that I would want my grandchildren to lead.

Many Gen X women, overworked and in debt, take a pass on parenthood

All the Single Ladies

Tagged: womenmarriageparentingpsychologywashington postatlantic

15th October 2011

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The 99% →

This is a good, short article to remind people that although the 99% movement represents a lot of people that have made some bad choices by taking on too much debt or getting not very useful degrees, at the same time the 99% also represents a lot of upset and very scared people. You can criticize each individual case for the poor decisions involved, but the reality is there are not enough jobs currently in the US compared to the number of workers so better decisions could have lead to that person having a job, it would mean someone else would be out of work.

As one of the people who has read some of the 99% signs and thought not very nice things about someone who would make those decisions this article was a good reminder that while bad decisions have been made, there are also structural problems with the American economic and job situation that means a huge number of people would be screwed no matter how good their decision had been.

Tagged: Occupy Wall StreetThe 99%US EconomyUS protestsUS dissentfinancial crisisatlantic

1st October 2011

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How Lobbyists Are Spinning Weak Science to Defend BPA →

Lobbyists for plastics an BPA are really starting to bother me. The EPA’s study sounds like a complete farce if they did not look at BPA levels in the foods the subjects were eating. Plus this who BPA in cans bothers me anyway. Canned food should be safe. It is metal, but obviously it is not. So what can we store our food in these days? Glass, I suppose.

I also think this line is interesting: “Japan took BPA out of can linings and receipt papers in the 1990s” and I wonder what they use instead. And I have to wonder if THAT is safe since it seems that most of the BPA-free replacement chemicals may have similar problems, but aren’t nearly as well studied.

One good thing is the BPA issue seems to be getting more traction in serious publications like the Atlantic which I think is a good sign.

Tagged: BPAplasticcanned goodshealth hazardatlantic

29th September 2011

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'In the Throes of Creation': Color Photos of New York from the 1940s →

I am not a huge New York fan, but it is incredibly influential on American culture and history and has been for a long time. Old photos are cool, and it is interesting to see how things have changed in the Big Apple. It is also interesting some of the beautiful old buildings that were torn down in the name of progress.

Tagged: new yorkhistoryphotographyart1940satlantic

29th July 2011

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Famine in East Africa →

Heart wrenching photos from the famine in Africa. The first photo is the most graphic so sensitive people be warned. “Mihag Gedi Farah, a malnourished seven-month-old child weighing only 7.5 pound…” These pictures are painful to see but convey the suffering going on in the region better than the two articles I have already posted: here and here.

Tagged: africaDroughtfood aidatlantic

28th July 2011

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The Case for Making Wages Public: Better Pay, Better Workers →

I have always thought that salary secrecy is not really a good thing, but when I worked a regular job I towed the line and didn’t tell people what I made either. I think that this would be a good habit to break with American workers, and it may be one of the pluses of the Faacebook generation.

Tagged: employmentsalaryeconomicsatlanticUS dissent

28th July 2011

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Books, Borders and Beyond: How Digital Tech Is Changing Retail →

I don’t think the digital age was fully responsible for killing Borders as I do think there is a place for bookstores in the digital age, but I think their inability to change their business model with the changing times as other bookstores have done created their downfall. The world changes and whether you are a person or a business you must learn to adapt or die. It is still sad though.

I found some of the rest of the article discussing stores as more showrooms to be interesting because I do think many people are treating stores as showrooms, particularly with the growing popularity of internet browsing phones. It will be interesting to see how other companies have to change their business models to compete in this environment.

Tagged: book storebookstore deathborders bookstoredigital ageatlantic

27th July 2011

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Paint Your Roofs White →

I have actually wondered for a very long time why, outside of cold, northern climates, roofs tend to be dark colors. It has never made sense to me because dark colors absorb so much heat which is definitely not something you want in Memphis or Los Angeles. At least in Brisbane some roofs are reflective metal which makes more sense. Anyway, whenever I have asked this question, people always give me funny looks (which is a fairly common occurrence anyway) so I was surprised to see it mentioned in a well respected journal like the Atlantic.

Tagged: energy efficiencyroofgreenatlantic

22nd July 2011

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What to Do When a Great White Shark Jumps in Your Boat →

I am not sure how I missed this exciting bit of news all week. Facts that are stranger than fiction are so cool. Plus I really admire this team of shark researchers for having the presence of mind to do what was necessary to keep the shark alive and get him rescued not once, but twice. I am afraid if I had a shark in my boat, the sharks well being may not be my primary concern, but I don’t have a lot of experience with sharks.

and the Guardian’s article for more shark-y goodness:

Great white shark jumps from sea into research boat

Tagged: conservationresearchsharkssea lifebizarreatlanticuk guardian

20th July 2011

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CIA organised fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden's family DNA →

I don’t really have any commentary on this other than I thought it was interesting. You don’t normally get any information about CIA operations until they are ancient history. I hope that they finished the vaccines to the poor kids once they started them, but somehow I doubt it.

The Atlantic has some pretty opinionated things to say. I am not sure that I object to the vaccine program, but I do think it would have been better if no one had found out about it.

This Is Really Lame (CIA Fake Vaccination Dept)

Tagged: CIAOsama bin Ladenpakistanterrorismuk guardianatlantic