8th May 2012
I have been thinking of getting a pair of Guinea Fowl when I return from my next trip and will be on the property for the foreseeable future. There is a pair out at Bowra Sanctuary that are really quite cute and they tend to let us know when predators are around which would be good to protect my other birds. This is an older article, but I think tick eating is another excellent reason to consider them along with more standard poultry.
22nd April 2012
Part of me wants to say kudos to the small publisher that is standing up to Big Bad Amazon, but part of me also wonders if they are cutting their nose off to spite their face? I don’t agree with some of Amazon’s pricing practices and bullying, but in the digital age, I am a serious Amazon consumer. If a book is not available on Amazon and increasingly on Kindle, I probably won’t be aware of it. I like to frequent independent bookstores and buy from them when I can, but the reality is that there are fewer and fewer independent bookstores for me to visit. Plus they have to at least be somewhat price competitive. I don’t mind paying a few extra dollars for convenience and not having to wait for the mail, but I am not going to pay $10. I don’t know how to fight the big bully stores because at the end of the day I often use their services. I am glad that it is at least being discussed though.
29th February 2012
I had no idea that seeds could remain viable after being frozen for so long. It seems like that could be used to generate some now extinct arctic plants though from the article it seems like not all seeds would still be viable and they need to have been frozen in some fairly narrow circumstances.
I first read the article in The (UK) Register here:
12th February 2012
An article on the class polarization in the US. Some interesting statistics and some opinions. I didn’t agree with everything, but it gave me some things to think about. It is based on a book that I have not read:
Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
4th February 2012
I found some of the information in this article interesting, particularly about the upcoming technologies to replace waitresses, but I disagree with the final opinion that everyone in America should go to college. I think increasing post high school education is a good thing in general, but I also think that there are a lot of young people who are not interested in spending 16 years being educated and there should be a place for those people in the modern world as well. I also think there are students graduating today with a college degree that are not prepared for any 21st century jobs.
Thus I think it would be wiser to overhaul our current education system from primary through high school to prepare young people for today’s types of jobs and life skills. I had a classical education filled with Latin, Shakespeare, and Beowulf, and it was great because I was an interested student eager to learn. However, it was not all useful in today’s world and it was not nearly all that I had to learn. Kids today need excellent technology skills and those are easy to teach to the them. Technology skills are required in our personal lives and in our professional lives so they are no longer an optional educational requirement or rather, should not be. Much of our primary school system is based on the cutting edge of educational methods of the 1800’s and it is time for that to change. I think with an overhaul of the education system and bringing back job apprenticeships at the high school level, people could be ready for necessary technical jobs by the time they are 18. No, they would not be R&D engineers, but there are a lot of technicians required behind every engineer to make a company successful. Technician pay isn’t engineering pay, but it should pay better than being a waitress.
27th January 2012
Link with 1 note
Although I saw a lot of amazing new birds on my US trip, I never went far enough north to catch this beauty. Apparently there are an above average number of snowy owls in the US this winter so if you are at all interested in nature or birds, I recommend you contact your local bird club to see if they know where you can spot one before they head back to the arctic in the spring!
6th December 2011
Link with 13 notes
Balancing conservation and progress is challenging at the best of times, but particularly so when a city is expanding to meet and expanding military base which includes habitat for endangered species. It seem the US military is doing its best to create compromises that are best for itself, the neighbors and the golden cheeked warbler. Kudos to the military for trying to find solutions that work for everyone.
5th December 2011
This does not surprise me, but I do think it is sad that police officers can not enjoy the freedom of speech that most Americans enjoy without risking their jobs. I guess if I was to be completely honest, many Americans would be risking their jobs to speak publicly questioning policies by their upper management, but it seems a bit more problematic not to be able to speak up against government policies. I also think that it is very interesting that the number of former law enforcement officers who will now openly state that they thing the War of Drugs has been a failure has risen so much. I wonder how many American people including these officers that have been on the front line of the Drug War it will take before the government also admits the current system is not working and is willing to consider more reasonable and effective alternatives?
5th December 2011
Link with 7 notes
Both my mother and a good friend over here are currently dealing with the problems of aging parents with failing health that still want to maintain their independence. There are no easy answers though from what I have seen Australia offers some better support in the form of home health aids than is available to most Americans. This article expresses the feelings of both the parent and child quite well and at least lets people know that they are not alone in their difficult experiences.
I do think in the future parents are going to have to be brought into their children’s homes at the end of their life as there just aren’t the resources to give good end of life care in nursing homes. I am not sure why society moved away from this system that has worked well throughout most of history. I think it is healthier for grandkids to have their grandparents around. America has taken to hiding their elderly which is a waste of a lifetime of wisdom that should be shared. Even when we do not share much in common with the elderly, you can learn from them.
The article references this good New York Times article that discussed the large problems with Medicare covering expensive procedures that may not extend life, but not covering the much more helpful home health aids and end of life care that almost everyone will need during their last years.
5th December 2011
Link with 3 notes
New York just got a bunch of haiku warning signs. I think this is kind of cool and really bizarre particularly in such harsh economic times.
27th November 2011
Link with 31 notes
Another disturbing article about BPA. This time it looks like eating canned soup causes a dramatic spike in BPA in people. I wish I knew a good way to get away from BPA, but in many cases there are not alternatives if you can’t eat from plastic or canned containers because cans have BPA in their linings. We buy glass jars when available, but for many things they aren’t available. I really wish they would at least get the BPA out of cans.
Here is an article on the same study by NPR:
14th November 2011
Link with 2 notes
This seems seriously bizarre to me, but also kind of makes me want to watch an episode to see if it is girl-y sappy or actually any good. I played with My Little Ponies the first time around, but I don’t think I watched the original TV show. I certainly haven’t run into the remake or any cartoons lately, but I have seen several references similar to this article roaming the net.
6th November 2011
Link with 3 notes
Okay, reading to a goat for therapy seems a little weird even for me, and I strongly believe that animals can help heal emotional and physical wounds. However, while I think the opener is a bit out there, I think the article is solid and the program is a very worthwhile one. I think getting people to interact with nature and animals is helpful on a number of levels whether they have been abused or just generally stressed by modern society.
6th November 2011
Link with 3 notes
It is good when you read about brands you like and trust doing things that are good for the environment. I have always liked Levi’s jeans and I think it is great that they are getting involved with cotton production and reducing water consumption. However, I think their advice that you should freeze your jeans instead of washing them is a bit off the farm. I completely agree that jeans do not need to be washed after every wearing or even every other wearing, but when your jeans are standing on their own and inching their way to the washer of their own volition, please, please wash them in water with soap. Cold water is fine, but water and soap are essential.
I would actually like to see an energy analysis of the energy required to freeze jeans in a non winter climate vs washing them in cold water.
2nd November 2011
Link with 11 notes
Okay, I think calling the GOP the Party of Pollution is a bit overly dramatic, but I do agree that lessening environmental standards is not going to create a significant number of new jobs and is going to make us and the environment more unhealthy. Companies do not regulate themselves at all well when it comes to pollution so I think having strong environmental regulations is very important. If anything those regulations should be tightened, not relaxed.