Saturday, November 20, 2004

Paper Towels, Napkins, Toilet Paper Destroying North America's Forests
"...clearcut logging claims half a million acres of Ontario and Alberta's boreal forest...which stretches across the country's entire northern range, to form one of the world's largest terrestrial storehouses of carbon dioxide and plays a critical role in preventing global warming."

So...think twice before blowing your nose? Pressure these major corporations to use more post-consumer waste over virgin forest? I don't really know. But in any case, it seems like the most pathetic way possible for vast stands of ancient forest to be decimated (and/or life as we know it, if you factor in radical climate change).


The French Paradox

Let Them Eat Cake
While we Americans are driving ourselves (or being driven) batty with low-carb mania, trimspa, fatphobia, et. al., the French are stuffing themselves with bread, butter, cheese, and pastries and remaining thin. In fact, US obesity rates are over three times that of France.

So what's causing this paradox? It seems obvious to me (and the article). Americans in general are accustomed to eating cheap, adulterated, food as quickly as possible;The French eat real food, prepare their own meals, and actually savor dinner and lunch amongst friends and family rather than view it as some guilt-ridden vice.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I like browsing through Wikipedia and contributing periodically. Today, I found this random entry: How to tell the origin of an accent in English. It's shockingly thorough, and kind of fun to go through if you're a lover of language, a perfectionist actor, or enjoy acquiring mostly useless knowledge. Plus, it contained this link, The Speech Accent Archive, which has an audio sample of 385 different speakers.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Who Killed Margaret Hassan?

The question to ask is, who benefits from this gruesome crime? Certainly not the insurgents; Even their own people are disgusted by Hassan's execution. Perhaps that's why Iraqi resistors demanded the unconditional release of Hassan by the abductors earlier. Apparently, even Zarqawi requested Hassan be released. And of course, Mujihadeen are actually required to protect women as a religious law of Islam; all women kidnapped so far have been released unharmed.

It seems likely then that this may be a covert psy-op for the purpose of: a) undermining Iraqi support and b) strengthening American support, especially in the face of the Fallujah invasion in which civilian casualties are occurring more publicly than usual. I don't have definitive proof of course, but it's very much like documented tactics we employed in Nicaragua to bring down the Sandanistas.

I want to make it clear in posting this that I'm not some sort of insurgent sympathizer; I want things to go as smooth and quick and as well as possible in Iraq, with the end product being an Iraqi nation free of the sort of suffering it's contemporary history has entailed. But if in indeed these sorts of tactics are at play, they are inexcusable and should be exposed and punished.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Aquatic Farming...of Death!

Ok, I'll be upfront with you: I've never had a predisposition to aquaculture. And yet somehow, this is my second post in a month on the farming of aquatic creatures for fun and profit. In this newest case, it's cone snails.

If you're not familiar with these lovely molluscs, here's a quick rundown...

1. They have pretty shells.
2. They will kill you.

While the venom in a cone snail sting is potent enough to kill you within an hour, it also promises to be beneficial for the pharmaceutical industry in the hopes that some of the compounds can be used to fight chronic pain, alzheimers, and other neurological disorders. As you can imagine, there could be a small profit in this. The article detailing this practice of raising the snails and milking their venom is located here.

As a side note, for some strange reason, I can only locate this article in Google's cache. Everywhere else, it's been deleted. Is there some sort of cone snail farming conspiracy afoot?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Juan Cole has a great post here about Colin Powell's behind the scenes work that averted us from several potential neo-con disasters. Good to read if you want to get depressed about the next few years...
This is a fantastic website about a couple who backpacked around the world for three years and wrote daily, photo-filled entries about each place they visited. A really engrossing and entertaining site, even if I'm more than a bit envious. ;)

Powell praised as "voice of moderation"
...and now that voice is gone.

Condoleeza Rice, Bush's closest confidante (and more?) will be the new Secretary of State.

{2nd link via}

Monday, November 15, 2004

This should help you sleep at night....

Via A Tiny Revolution, Bush is having the CIA purged of those he views as disloyal. Apparently, the CIA, as viewed by the White House, is actually a "hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda", according to a senior CIA official. Fantastic.

A Tiny Revolution's post about it is here, and covers everything I wanted to say perfectly.

This administration never fails to surprise me...has Laura been reading the President bedtime stories about good old Uncle Joe or something?

UPDATE: Brian has a different take on this news that I like considerably better...

Did you ever make paper snowflakes when you were a kid? Or how about when you were working on that "important project" at work? This site's flash recreation is a worthy replacement, and saves paper, tiny cut-out bits on your floor, and um...any effort at all. Plus, you can do some really complicated cuts you would never be able to do in real life.

I'm really bored.

But it's cool!

Paris Review--Interviews
The Paris Review is in the process of putting each of their archived reviews online. Right now, the 1950s section is complete, and includes interviews with Hemingway, Graham Greene, and TS Eliot.

Beavers Weave Stolen Cash Into Dam

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Masters of Photography--Helen Levitt
These are some great, gritty photos circa the early 40's from New York City. A few have a Diane Arbus quality to them, and each one makes me feel as if the past is thin, as if I could almost step through the photo and into that period of time. {Link via}

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