egwenna: (wtf)
Freedom of speech seems beleaguered at the moment. 

Some members of congress might already be backpeddling, seeking distance from SOPA and PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act) but it's still an issue that needs a lot of shouting to kill.  Flickr is one of the sites that would most certainly be affect, as well as a host of others. Whatever the ills they say they are targeting, this isn't the way to go about it.

You can find stuff just about anywhere, and searching wiki for anything will pop you to a page where you can enter your zip code and they'll tell you who your rep is.

Other good links I saved:

Not sure how legit everything he says is... but he's interesting...

egwenna: (Default)
I will confess that I have little appreciation for twitter. It could be that I'm simply at my max for computer interaction. Online gaming has eaten my life and there is a whole constellation of people, barely known but many of them wanting to be known who have more of my time and attention than they should. It could be that they always seem so disjointed, a fragment of conversation overheard that you aren't sure you're meant to jump in on. It could be that, since I see no use for it for myself, I see little use in it at all. Rather ego-centric but we humans are guilty of worse sins.

Science and horticulture have, however, collided to create a use for it that I can appreciate to the point where I have said, "I want!"

That's not going to happen any time soon, but Brian was right when he sent me this email:

Here's a tweet you might see a use for )Here's a tweet you might see a use for )

In the interest of networking, Brian has joined the twittering crowd. Curiosity motivated me enough to go to the site, but not enough for me to sign up so I could find him. Maybe one day.
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Was poking at headlines and came across this. More than just food for thought, it's stuff I should do, stuff I've thought about doing, and only one is done.

If you get hit by a bus tomorrow
By Elizabeth Cohen

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Mark Balduzzi isn't old. He isn't sick. He isn't paranoid, either. But he's seen enough shootings, car accidents, and 52-car pile ups to know his life could end at any moment.

"Even though I think I have another 30 good years left, I know tomorrow I could get hit on the road by some nitwit," says Balduzzi, 50, who was a police officer for 15 years and a paramedic for eight in New York and is now a health and safety consultant for the insurance industry.

That's why he has all his ducks in a row: He's filled out all the right forms so his wife can make medical and financial decisions for him in case he can't make them himself.

We don't like to think about it, but any of us could get hit tomorrow by a nitwit. So here, step by step, is what to do now to prepare.

Step 1: Put crucial medical information in wallet and glove box

Step 2: Put your "in case of emergency" numbers in wallet, glove box
This one is sorta done - they're all in my cellphone, both for me and the kids. Home is listed, Dr's are labeled by who they're for.

Step 3: Appoint someone to make decisions for you

Step 4: Don't forget the HIPAA release form

Step 5: Give these forms to several people, and tell your family whom you've appointed to make decisions for you

(full article here:
egwenna: (Default)
Gotta love a woman with the guts to post a rule and enforce it to the fullest!

'Meanest mom on planet' sells son's car

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet."

After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone -- by placing an ad in the local newspaper.

The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

Hambleton has heard from people besides interested buyers since recently placing the ad in The Des Moines Register.

The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her.

"The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I'm telling people what happened here," Hambleton says. "I'm not just gonna put the car for resale when there's nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision.

"It's overwhelming the number of calls I've gotten from people saying 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady."'

The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is "very, very unhappy" with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger.

Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn't the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked.

The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week -- just for the feedback. 

(found on another blog/site:
egwenna: (Default)
Gave me chills. Half the time we can't live with each other, can't live with the animals, either.

Related articles:
Ban sought on wolf-hunting from aircraft

NRDC: Bush Administration Takes Aim at Wolves

and I found a place I'd like to go to in the very near future:
It's only about an hour away.
egwenna: (Default)

Luciano Pavarotti
Oct. 12, 1935 - Aug. 6, 2007

I have this hysterical heavy metal 'duet' with him and Sepultura... just one more time he blurred the lines between music genres. Wonderful man, a shame he's gone.

(Sepultura And Pavarotti: Roots Bloody Roots)
egwenna: (Default)
or, Too much confidence, Too little caution?

This is all over the news I'm seeing today....

New Jersey Men Die in Dive to Explore Ship Off Keys

Three New Jersey men died Friday while exploring a sunken Navy ship off the Florida Keys. A fourth man, who did not enter the ship, survived.

And it's making me think lots of jumbled thoughts.

My favorite sites are all "wall dives", meaning there is a mountain with its head above water providing lovely views and occasionally a great climb, and its toes way down in the bowels of the sea. In between there are reefs rooted in boulder fields teeming with life.

My favorite sites are also all in nice clear warm water. This allows for lots of light. It also makes it very easy to go very deep. I hit 100' and was still going down in the company of a turtle who didn't seem to mind too much that I was there. The divemaster summoned me back, banging the hell out of his tank until it dawned on me that the noise meant me and I looked up.

Max depth for me (my style of diving) is 120'. After that I'm really risking nitrogen narcosis and the bends.

Since then I have been a lot more careful.

Wreck dives are a whole separate ballgame. I'm not certified for them, but I did do a shallow wreck where the floor was about 60' down. Navigating the narrow confines of a boat while diving is extremely different than when you're walking. The tank bangs into walls or hooks onto entry ways. Even for a person as small as I am, it can get tight. And even that shallow, in lovely Caribbean waters, it's dark.

As cool as they are, for all the things you can see... 130' in the cold, dark Atlantic just doesn't appeal to me. And then to crawl into what can easily amount to a coffin? ::shudders::

It's like the lava tubes in the Galapagos. They've lost divers there, too, and again, I don't see the appeal. I'm not a scaredy-cat sort of person. I'm not afraid of the dark or closed spaces. I've gone spelunking. I like my thrills. I like a challenge. But some things cross the line.

Like Everest. I want to see it. I'd like to climb to the first base camp. After that, I'll stare longingly at the peak, imagine how triumphant it must feel to reach the summit, and I'll turn around and climb down.

Maybe I don't have anything I feel that passionate about. Maybe I don't have the level of skill and experience that makes these things seem safer or levels out the bang for the buck vs risk. I dunno. But I see stories like this and wonder why they had to go. What made it worth the risk. Maybe if I were there, staring into the opening, maybe temptation would strike. ... I dunno... I can almost picture it. Turning around and torn. Hopefully I'll always have enough sense to be the one that says no, even if it means making a long lonely trip back to try and get help.
egwenna: (me me me)
I'm glad McDonald's is making changes. Granted, I've only eaten there once or twice in the past several years and I always get the salads, but they are a big factor in how lots of people eat. Plus, research and education are very necessary things. If people knew more, hopefully they'd make better choices.

Still, this quote gave me pause:
"It's good that they are funding useful medical research, but that doesn't absolve them of their responsibility to serve nutritious food to children," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy,
As the parent, it's my job to make certain my kid eats well. Maybe it's just because parental involvement wasn't the point of the article, they were focused on McDonald's, but I find it disturbing when people say things that absolve the parents of responsibility. Hopefully the whole better education thing will enable more parents to make better choices.

McDonald's throws weight behind obesity research )

Full article here:
egwenna: (Default)
And now we know who they were/are. Still no answers, nor suspects. The article mentions it, but Brian pays attention to real estate still and knew the house has been on the market for a while (I think we're in a cooling off area). Bet it sells cheap now. Nice as the house and area is, someone being shot and killed has to hurt its prospects.

New relationship held hope after bitter divorce, property loss
Paul Duncsak expected to be relaxing with his fiancee and two young children in Virginia Beach today, far from the strife and worry that engulfed his life the past few years.

Early Wednesday evening, the doting Ramsey dad telephoned the woman he planned to marry.

It's not clear what they talked about, but something was obviously wrong. In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.

The fiancee frantically phoned police, who rushed to Duncsak's West Crescent Avenue home and forced in the door. In the expanded Cape Cod's center hallway, they found the 40-year-old pharmaceutical expert's body. He'd been shot twice, including once in the head.

Nothing was missing and there were no signs that someone forced entry, authorities said. A large plasma television hung within feet of the victim's body, undisturbed.

I feel very sorry for the fiance... having the line go dead and finding out he was shot and whatever words you spoke, were the last. And those poor kids. :-(
egwenna: (Default)
Within walking distance.

Father of 2 found shot to death in Ramsey

Another case of things recurring since a similiar storyline just played out on my flist.

Supposedly there were just a string of robberies up on the other side of town as well - people were talking about it all when I went to pick Isaac up from daycare. But I can't find anything in the papers/online about that and a bunch of gossiping women is just not my favorite news source. ;-)
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“Many people just sit down and accept the inevitable, and if you accept the inevitable you will get it,” he says.
I've always believed that a great deal of aging is in our heads. I've watched the differences between my various grandparents, other people's grandparents, and even people my own age. So much is what we expect. I decided to go the Oil of Olay route a long time ago and fight it every step of the way.

1st Signs of Dementia May Be Physical
Mental Declines Come Later, Study Suggests
Older people in the earlier study who reported exercising three times a week or more developed Alzheimer's a third less often during the six-year-old study than people who exercised less.
Granted, it's not going to be that simple.
He also points out that older people who exercise regularly may have other habits that could help reduce their Alzheimer's risk.

“They are probably more disciplined,” he says. “They may eat a better diet or be more socially engaged. They may be doing any number of things that seem to be positive.”
They've found hormones that are linked to Alzheimer's (and have theories as to why women suffer less often than men), and I think (hope, pray) that one day we'll have a way to fight this. In the meantime, all we can do is the best we can do.

Me, I'll be at the gym.
egwenna: (Default)
This makes sense to me:

Fear of Snakes Drove Primate Evolution, Scientist Says

An evolutionary arms race between early snakes and mammals triggered the development of improved vision and large brains in primates, a radical new theory suggests.

The idea, proposed by Lynne Isbell, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, suggests that snakes and primates share a long and intimate history, one that forced both groups to evolve new strategies as each attempted to gain the upper hand.

To avoid becoming snake food, early mammals had to develop ways to detect and avoid the reptiles before they could strike. Some animals evolved better snake sniffers, while others developed immunities to serpent venom when it evolved. Early primates developed a better eye for color, detail and movement and the ability to see in three dimensions-traits that are important for detecting threats at close range.

Humans are descended from those same primates.

(the article continues:

Pronghorn antelope, the fastest thing on our continent, evolved to out run early cheetas. Makes sense that not becoming dinner also drove some of our early evolution. After all, something pushed us hard enough that we are radically different from other animals. The quest for food isn't enough.

Plus, the conflict between mammals and snakes continues. An article in Natural History magazine detailed how rattlesnakes were becoming increasingly toxic. People bitten need far more antidote then they used to. Apparently the squirrels are developing an immunity, so the vipers are getting heavier cannon-fire and the venom contains a higher concentration of neurotoxin than it used to, causing much woe for the unwary humans who tangle with them.

Of course, the article also had something funny to say about victims of rattlesnake bites:
The doctors’ conclusion was that the typical snakebite victim is male and under thirty, with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.1 percent at the time he is bitten.

Unless I get careless while hiking, I think I'm safe.
egwenna: (Default)
I think this is cool.

Ancestor of modern birds believed found
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - The first detailed look at the ancestor of modern birds — a grebe-like waterbird that would look normal even today — was shown off Thursday by scientists who discovered fossil remains in a remote lake bed in China.

"A world lost for more than 100 million years was being revealed to us," as layers of mud were peeled back like the pages of a book, said Hai-lu You of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.

What they found is being called the missing link on the evolution of birds, a creature that lived in northwest China and is the earliest example of modern birds that populate the planet today.

The remains were dated to about 110 million years ago, making them the oldest for the group Ornithurae, which includes all modern birds and their closest extinct relatives. Previously, the oldest known fossils from this group were from about 99 million years ago.

The fact that Gansus was aquatic indicates that modern birds may have evolved from animals that originated in aquatic environments, the researchers said.
And here I was hoping they were all little velociraptors.

(fulll article: )

And, speaking of dinosaurs, I had a bit of this experience with Isaac not very long ago. I used to have a little dinosaur book that I loved, but when I went to get Isaac one... I didn't recognize anyone and Lord knows those names are just about beyond me:

When is a brontosaurus not a brontosaurus?
(If you don't know the answer, consider yourself a dinosaur)
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By Carrie Stetler
Newhouse News Service

Five years ago, Michelle McCourt was reading her son's favorite bedtime story, "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?," when she noticed something strange. The dinosaurs she remembered from her childhood in the 1970s were gone. In their place were unfamiliar creatures such as the "apatosaurus" and the "pteranodon."

"The brontosaurus didn't exist anymore. A pteradactyl wasn't a pteradactyl," said the 41-year-old from Sparta, N.J.

"The thing I hear most is parents talking about the explosion of range and variety of dinosaurs. It's not just the stegosaurus and triceratops anymore," said Myles Gordon, vice president of education at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "Dinosaurs are really a part of popular culture, so people become aware of the changes."

New dinosaur fossils are discovered at the rate of about two a month, experts say. But unless they're paleontologists, most adults won't recognize the "beipiaosaurus" or the "caudipteryx," two freakish, feathered dinosaurs from China, unearthed in the late 1990s.

Both, however, are brisk sellers for Safari LTD, which manufactures several lines of dino toys, including the Carnegie Dinosaur Collection, scale replicas of real dinosaurs authenticated by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

When Safari introduced four feathered dinosaurs this year, they were a hit.

"There is such a high demand, we cannot keep them in stock," said Alexandre Pariente, a spokesman for the company.

Though kids can accept the fluffy predators, for grown-ups, they take getting used to, according to Thomas Holtz, a paleontologist at the University of Maryland.

"Some older folks can't get over the fact that a lot of the advanced meat-eating dinosaurs were feathered," he said.

The same is true of velociraptors, discovered in the 1920s but virtually unheard of until the 1993 film "Jurassic Park," in which they were erroneously depicted with reptilian skin, said Holtz, author of an upcoming Random House dinosaur encyclopedia for kids.
(full article: )

Personally, I think 'raptors with feathers and other bright markings, is neat and makes more sense than the mud colored and olive green creatures in my old book. I can't wait to see what else turns up in rocks.
egwenna: (Default)

I was talking to [profile] krf13this morning and remembered that I'd read this story too. It doesn't surprise me that so many people want this information suppressed or discredited. In many sectors we are still resource dependent and the people profiting from it don't necessarily want to be responsible or conservative in their tactics - they want the quick, profitable plan.

A Student's Forest Paper Sparks One Hot Debate
By Bettina Boxall and Janet Wilson, Times Staff Writers
June 11, 2006

SELMA, Ore. — During tedious days of counting tiny Douglas fir seedlings on blackened slopes west of here, Daniel Donato never imagined his work would put him in the crosshairs of Congress. He was just studying how forests grow back after a fire.

His principal finding — that post-fire logging hindered forest regrowth — was hardly revolutionary. But the study, with Donato as lead author, was published just as Congress was considering legislation to make it easier for timber companies to undertake salvage logging of dead trees after fires on federal land. That bill, backed by the Bush administration and recently passed by the House, is based on an underlying assumption that burned forests recover more quickly if they are logged and then replanted.

(Full arcticle here:

I'm certainly not in a position to judge the scientific quality of the paper, but after a few years of gardening and yard work and watching how seeds/seedlings react to activity around them, the finds make a whole lot of sense to me.
egwenna: (Default)
Normally I don't spend so much time perusing the news... but today there's all sorts of stuff out there, and unlike the happy-to-be-thinking science article, this ticks me off:
Breast-Feed or Else
Published: June 13, 2006

Warning: Public health officials have determined that not breast-feeding may be hazardous to your baby's health.

There is no black-box label like that affixed to cans of infant formula or tucked into the corner of magazine advertisements, at least not yet. But that is the unambiguous message of a controversial government public health campaign encouraging new mothers to breast-feed for six months to protect their babies from colds, flu, ear infections, diarrhea and even obesity. In April, the World Health Organization, setting new international bench marks for children's growth, for the first time referred to breast-feeding as the biological norm.

"Just like it's risky to smoke during pregnancy, it's risky not to breast-feed after," said Suzanne Haynes, senior scientific adviser to the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. "The whole notion of talking about risk is new in this field, but it's the only field of public health, except perhaps physical activity, where there is never talk about the risk."

A two-year national breast-feeding awareness campaign that culminated this spring ran television announcements showing a pregnant woman clutching her belly as she was thrown off a mechanical bull during ladies' night at a bar — and compared the behavior to failing to breast-feed.

"You wouldn't take risks before your baby's born," the advertisement says. "Why start after?"

(continues: NY Times - Health - Breast Feed or Else)

Along the same topic, but something positive, and unlike the terror/guilt campaign, this is actually useful.

Kansas gives out breastfeeding cards
WICHITA, Kan. - Don't mess with breast-feeding moms in Kansas.

That is the message of a new state law that protects a woman's right to breast-feed her baby in public. Now state health officials and breast-feeding advocates are distributing 40,000 laminated cards saying that for breast-feeding mothers to carry with them.

It is all part of a public education campaign by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and La Leche League.

"The law is really no good unless moms know about it," said Brenda Bandy, professional liaison for La Leche League of Kansas. "These cards are handy, they're durable, and they might just be the little bit of added confidence some moms need."

Modeled after other states with similar laws, the cards have printed in large letters on the front the essence of the law passed by the Legislature this year: "A mother may breast-feed in any place she has a right to be."

Support without belittling anyone. Now, to go see if Jersey has a similar law and why they don't give out helpful little cards as well....
egwenna: (Default)
U.S. Newborn Survival Rate Ranks Low
By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

"Our health care system focuses on providing high-tech services for complicated cases. We do this very well," Thorpe said. "What we do not do is provide basic primary and preventive health care services. We do not pay for these services, and do not have a delivery system that is designed to provide either primary prevention, or adequately treat patients with chronic diseases."

And are our leaders doing anything about this?


egwenna: (Default)
Not really in the news, but an on-going battle.

the pledge )

Probably be more/as effective to write to individual representatives, but this is easier.
egwenna: (Default)
My feelings on abortion are complicated, but I do not argue with the right to choose. We need to work on the reasons for unwanted pregnancies, revamp adoption in this country, expand sex education and a whole host of other things. Aiming to overturn Roe v Wade is wrong. Lordy do I hate conservative, intrusive government.

CNN article: South Dakota bans most abortions

Action site for writing to governor:
egwenna: (Default)
Very hard to believe this was 20 years ago... I was in high school, sitting in the cafeteria having lunch and I heard the news flash over the radio, but the room was so noisy I thought I had to have heard it wrong. But enough of us caught it the first time that when the news came on again, the room fell absolutely silent. There was that suspended moment when disbelief outweighed reality as I tried to process what I was hearing. There was the girl in the bathroom later, bawling because they'd never had a chance. Walking to my economics class was surreal, how could we go to class and pretend things were normal? But Mr. Darlington tossed the lesson plan so we could talk about how we felt and what we thought.

I do not have a clear memory for Columbia, and I'm not sure why one would hit me so deeply and the other one not. But for Challenger, the twin plumes spinning off and the 73 seconds after blast off, those are etched in.


Oct. 28th, 2005 08:13 pm
egwenna: (Default)
Another of those places I've always wanted to visit but just haven't been able to yet. And I want to go here badly enough to agree to camp. At least now I know some of it will still be around when I get there:

Unique deal will save 120,000 acres in Baja

By Sandra Dibble

October 26, 2005

TIJUANA – A warm-water lagoon along the Baja California peninsula known as a refuge for migratory gray whales yesterday became the site of a precedent-setting private conservation measure hailed by environmentalists from both sides of the border.

The agreement, signed in Tijuana, protects 120,000 acres along the shores of Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California Sur. Members of the Ejido Luis Echeverría, a land collective, have unanimously agreed to limit development on their property in exchange for a $25,000 annual payment to be used as seed money for low-impact development projects.

(same issue, one article is longer)


egwenna: (Default)

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