Monday, November 8, 2010

Plutocracy or 2010 Midterm Election Results

I guess that title is a bit misleading.  We've been seriously heading for a Plutocracy ever since Reagan deregulated everything in the 80s.  It's not just caused by this election cycle.

However, it's at a quicker pace now that people are voting for it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Go Vote!!


Well, except my conservative friends--you know who you are--you can stay home if you want...  No!!  No, I say!  You should go vote too!  Yes, even you and even though our votes will cancel each other out.

But, if you do go vote, please try to be informed.  For example, do you know who to retain for judge here in Illinois?  It's not on the tip of your tongue?  It's not right there, catalogued in your frontal lobe?  Yeah, it wasn't for me either.

That's why I went to the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening to give me some idea as to who to keep and who to throw out--the Bastids!!

Go to:[1].pdf

and it will show you who the various bar associations thought were reasonable judges and who we need to get rid of.  Er, those of whom we should get rid.


Go vote!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breastfeeding Vs. Breast Cancer

In a cage match between breastfeeding and breast cancer, you know who wins?  I bet you've never been told.  I bet you've never read it any where.  In this month of breast cancer awareness where even KFC gets in on it, despite the questionable healthfulness of their double down chicken sandwich, and plasters pink ribbons everywhere, I bet you've not been told about this life saving information.

I won't put a pink ribbon on my site here, but I will tell you this:  Breastfeeding Significantly Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer for Both the Nursing Mom and the Female Baby Later in Life.

Yeah, that's right.  You heard me.  Breastfeed, and your chance of getting breast cancer (and a few other cancers) goes way down.  Do it for a longer period of time and the protective effect is even greater.  Your female infant will have a reduced risk of breast cancer when she is older.


Please try to breastfeed your children for their health and your own.  If you have any kind of difficulties (and you might--we don't grow up seeing a lot of breastfeeding, so you may not know how to do it properly) go get help that is readily available.  La Leche League International has been helping women breastfeed comfortably for decades.  Or:  For decades, La Leche League International has been helping women breastfeed comfortably.  I'm a big proponent for extended breastfeeding, but I would even draw the line at decades...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Solid Gold Dancers with Adam Ant!!

Oh my God, this is classic!  Why did I not see the wit of this when I was an angsty  teenager?  Why did I not see the fun of the kitsch?  It is only now that I can appreciate stuff like this.  I couldn't back then when I was lamenting the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest and all of my peers (most of my peers) were gung ho about Reagan and his policies.

Look at what I missed!!

Enjoy you Goody Two Shoes you.  Have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"...that's in the first amendment?"

Christine O'Donnell asked her Democratic opponent where in the Constitution the separation of church and state is outlined.

He answered that the 1st amendment guarantees it.

She said, "The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

Uh.  Yeah.  It's always been there and is one of the defining elements of our freedoms here in the United States.  We get to believe what and how we want without any kind of government interference.  Just a reminder:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Monday, October 18, 2010

But, What if I WANT to Buy it?!

We sometimes get things new, like swimsuits from Target online for my daughter, because hers from the summer wore out and she'll need it if we go out of town to a motel with a pool. It happens. And, the underwear and socks that I recently bought my kids. We are far from perfect around here, but that's OK (right, Stuart?). In any case, we mostly don't buy it.

What if we want to buy it? What if YOU want to buy it? What if it speaks to you--that perfect shirt or piece of jewelry or book or i-pod/phone/pad thingy? What if you feel you can not live without it? Could you pause and review it? Maybe ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do I have to have this thing, if I already have a similar version of it, or one that's still good, or it's just too expensive, or I know I'll use it a couple of times, and then NOT need it? Do I really NEED it?

My kids NEED underwear and socks. I think it's OK to get those new, so I passed the Yes-I-Really-Do-Need-It-Quit-Badgering-Me! test when I asked myself these questions. If you need it, you need it. Really.

But, what if it's not need but want. You know you don't need it, you just want it. Yes, you already have several pairs like it, but this pair of black shoes has a buckle on the side of it, rather than the front. See? So, it's different. And, it is that very slight difference that is making you want it, not need it. What then?

I would still counsel you to think it through and wait it out and pause and breathe. What will you get if you purchase those kicky new shoes? Will it feed a deep need inside your hole-filled soul? Will it make you feel pretty ala Maria in West Side Story (although, it wasn't shoes that was doing that for her. It was her being lovestruck with Tony...) Besides which, do you think Tony even noticed Maria's shoes? Come on.

But you WANT them, still!!

Fine. Get them. Or, get it. Go ahead. DO IT!

But, next time, you could try to muster some will and resist the urge and forgo your very temporal, frivolous, hedonistic, self-indulgent whim and NOT get it/them. Maybe you would feel empowered by that. Maybe you would feel strong and in charge of yourself and more centered. Maybe it would be worth it to say no to yourself once and see how that feels and know that you can survive it and that you don't feel deprived. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN THE URGE TO GET A NEW PAIR OF SHOES THAT YOU DON'T NEED!!


Yes, but they're cute/most recent technology/an upgrade, you counter.

Yeah. I know. Hence the dilemma.

Beautiful hand forged gold earrings from Sundance catalog that I don't NEED, but WANT, but haven't gotten yet...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sky

My husband had a wonderful class in college called The Sky which explored naked eye observations of the sky and its machinations. Guess who now knows what a waxing gibbous moon is--yes, that's right, my kids! My husband has been relaying all sorts of sky information to the kids with very clear explanations and drawings on our fabulous giant dry erase board that my husband snagged from work when they were throwing it out.

Actually, we've both been showing the kids all sorts of things now that the board is hanging on the kitchen wall. The kids are also drawing various things up there and it has dramatically changed how we homeschool around here. Who knew such a simple thing could have such a huge effect? And yet, sometimes the right tools make a difference in whatever you're doing. It's there and everyone in this house is now drawn to it.

Last night, my son was looking at the sky with my husband through binoculars and they both saw all sorts of features on the moon. To the east was Jupiter, and then east of that was Uranus. My son is 12... Yes, there are certain jokes that seem to always come up with regard to that particular planet, but we didn't care. He was seeing our universe and understanding it a little bit more.

Today, I saw a story on Huffington Post about a dad and his son who sent a weather balloon into space with an insulated, protective foam wrap around a video recorder and made a film of the balloon ascending 20 miles up into the sky. Inside the foam was an i-phone which acted as a GPS so that they could then retrieve it once the balloon popped and the parachute allowed it to come safely back to earth.

Amazing and fun!

When's the last time you looked up at the sky with wonder and curiosity and interest? You should look up. It's awesome up there! And, if you're 12, it can inspire some hilarity. If you know what I mean...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life out of Balance

Here is a video that converges two things I like: The Strokes and images from Koyaanisqatsi, which was just the coolest movie when it came out in the early 80's. It is fascinating to see now. Have you seen it? Koyaanisqatsi means Life out of Balance in the Hopi language.

In the movie you see through speeded up images of the beauty of nature: clouds, shadows etc. and the scurrying around of busy people, driving cars, walking down the street, entering and exiting trains. It is humbling to see how much we resemble ants.

The original music was composed by Philip Glass. Here's some of his work.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Enfeebling the Brain?

A child who has been boxed up six hours in school might spend the next four hours in study, but it is impossible to develop the child’s intellect in this way. The laws of nature are inexorable. By dint of great and painful labor, the child may succeed in repeating a lot of words, like a parrot, but, with the power of its brain all exhausted, it is out of the question for it to really master and comprehend its lessons. The effect of the system is to enfeeble the intellect even more than the body. We never see a little girl staggering home under a load of books, or knitting her brow over them at eight o’clock in the evening, without wondering that our citizens do not arm themselves at once with carving knives, pokers, clubs, paving stones or any weapons at hand, and chase out the managers of our common schools, as they would wild beasts that were devouring their children.

Scientific American magazine, October 1860

Kefir Dreamsicle!

You know what is the best, most delicious kefir drink? I do! I like you guys, so I will share it with you now.

Pour a half glass of plain kefir (use a 12 oz. glass or larger), add a half glass of orange juice, a half teaspoon of vanilla, a tablespoon of raw honey and stir it all up right in the drinking glass. It will take a little longer to stir than you think it should because of the stickiness of the honey, but keep at it until it's thoroughly mixed.

Then. Well, then you're about to have what amounts to a liquid dreamsicle--it is amazingly good. And, you're going to be getting those good probiotics into you.

You don't have to have junk to feel like you're having a treat. Junk has it's place--we eat junk occasionally--but, it's so much better when we can have treats that are both delicious and good for us.

Try it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gone Daddy Gone

You know what is severely underutilized in the whole rock/pop/ska world? Yes, that's right--xylophone.

So, here's some for you from The Violent Femmes--Gone Daddy Gone.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bad to the Bone or Another Day of Running Errands

We had to go get the car's emissions tested yesterday. Illinois law mandates it every so often for all cars, although it would probably be more efficient and effective if the testing was saved for older cars alone. But, we went.

My daughter assured me that she was fine dressed in her 1880s prairie dress which she uses to pretend she is Mary or Laura or an unknown pioneer girl out on the prairie trying to make her way breaking up sod and battling grasshoppers. She was going to be fine in her red calico with white overdress and didn't need to change before hand. Besides, we could all stay in the car so it wouldn't matter any way!

Yeah, except when we got there we saw that everyone had to get out of their cars and go to a little room while the car was tested. Uh oh... I reassured my daughter that she could still get away with going around town in dress up clothes, depending on the clothes, and it would be OK.
My son meanwhile was cracking up and thought the imminent embarrassment of his sister was hilarious. My daughter actually laughed too and took it in stride.

Turns out we didn't have to get out of the car. Instead, the creepy worker guy let me get out and sit in back while he sat in the driver's seat and conducted the test. He went on to insult the quality of our car and then said weird rambling things that we all couldn't quite make out.

I asked the kids what they thought of him as we left and they told me he was creepy. My daughter described him as having milky blue eyes (descriptive!). My son asked what was wrong with him which led to a lengthy discussion about creepiness, instincts and feelings about people, social awkwardness vs. malicious intent, not being afraid to hurt feelings or offend anyone to keep yourself safe, having the right to not get in an elevator or cross the street or stay with a crowd of people if someone makes you feel creeped out. I told my kids to trust their feelings and instincts.

We talked about why someone might be socially awkward. Why someone might not like people. And then my son fished out my husband's aviator sunglasses from the compartment in the dashboard and put them on.

My son as he looked in the mirror in the sun visor said, "Hey! I look really cool in these! I look like a BUG!! These are so cool."

Some time later after more self-admiring and tilting his head this way and that, he said, "I look like a bug--AND THAT'S AWESOME!!"

A teen sitting in the passenger seat of an oncoming car caught sight of my son and dropped his mouth open and stared as his head pivoted to get more of a view. My son thought this was hilarious and so did my daughter and I and we all laughed and laughed.

Who says running errands can't be fun?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Huckleberry Finn

I am reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the kids. I just started it last night, complete with dead-on accents and full emoting. The kids thought the whole Tom Sawyer gang requirements were hysterical: no telling the secrets of the club upon the penalty of family being killed. If no family, as is the case with Huck, a proxy will do, namely Miss Watson. Also, they will hold captives and ransom them, which to their confused minds means clubbing them to death. The women captives they figure will all fall in love with them. The gang admits that the cave will become mighty crowded what with men waiting to die by ransom, and women swooning in love with them.

It all takes place in the early 1800's and Huck refers to the slaves as n******. It was difficult to even say the word, and Huck says it repeatedly. My kids had never heard the n word (they haven't heard a whole lot of words). I explained that it was a word to dehumanize and vilify the slaves (and people of color since then) and my daughter said, "Oh, like 'mudblood'." Yes, exactly--like mudblood.

I realize that there are critical views of Twain and the language he used. I know that this is a banned book in many places, because of it. But, I feel that Twain pointed out the extreme hypocrisy of the lifestyle of that time. I want my kids to learn about that. I want them to recognize it now, when they see it. I think it's important to learn. I also think Twain is a wonderful writer and I love his wit and sensitivity. I love how he understands kids and their imaginations and how their thinking is generalized and absolute. He has sympathy for them. I like my kids to know that too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I have a friend in our homeschooling group who has counted up all of her kids' outside commitments for the week and it totalled 19! That's classes and swim practice etc. for three kids. Some of the kids are in the same classes or have lessons at the same time, but it still means making sure they have all of their stuff and organizing the household around a crazy schedule.

My kids are taking a variety of classes and lessons: flamenco, castanets, tap, jazz/hip hop, modern dance classes and drumming, horseback and gymnastics. They each have 5 outside commitments, and this time they're skipping the community theater play after being in three productions basically back-to-back.

Add to all of this, playdates, group park day, and doing things around the house and we're fairly busy.

So, are you busy too? What do you have going on, and are you ready to pull your hair out yet??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where can I Find out About Climate Change?

*PLEASE NOTE* This post looks like absolute crap because I linked from several places with different fonts and point size and now it is crazy. Please ask for clarification if you need it. I did not intend for some lines to be HUGE and others tiny... I can't fix it--I've tried. Enough time has been spent on this. Enjoy, however you can. Just try to follow along and go read everything, as I link it. Thanks!

In my last post, I wrote about all of the awful, extreme weather the world has experienced this summer and some of the consequences of that: drownings in China and Pakistan (Pakistan has been so inundated with rains this summer that a fifth of it is under water and there will soon be food shortages--normally there would be planting of various crops in a few weeks, but they can't plant anything as the mud sits in the flooded fields), a chunk of glacier broke off of a flow in Greenland and is bobbing merrily in the Atlantic (a chunk of ice the size of 4 Manhattans), the Urals became a tinder box and went up in flame causing severe pollution in Moscow, etc. etc. etc.

It's bad. It's bad and seems aberrant. This is not the typical cyclic flooding and droughts that the earth experiences as the seasons change. This is much more than that.

Ames, Iowa flooded out with another "10,000 year flood". There was concern about there being enough drinking water. That's happening more and more frequently.

A new reader, Marcie, wrote this in response to my post:

Hi! I just found your blog and hope to follow along. But I wanted to ask you where you are getting your overall information regarding climate change. I have read a few sources of primary information on climate change and found information which is contrary to the message that you seem to have embraced. I'm curious to know more about how you didn't buy much in 2008 and what that included . . . I'll poke around here a bit more . . .

Thanks for asking Marcie. I mostly get my information from links found at Daily Kos, or at a few blogs I regularly visit. The links then send me to university studies or newspaper articles, where their sources are climate scientists or ecologists.

As an example, let's dissect an article from the Daily Kos and we can all see together what the original sources are for the information presented.

Another recent post had me posing the question, Is Global Warming Real? I answered simply that Yes, it is, and then linked to an article at Daily Kos titled, "Global Warming: Are you f***ing scared yet?".

*NOTE* This blog that I'm writing here isn't really for children. I'm speaking to all of you adults out there about the things that I think are important, and silly things too. As we are all adults here, there may be time and cause for some well placed expletives. I think that sometimes that's the appropriate response.

It's like in The Onion when they did their mock up of man landing on the moon:


"Holy living fuck.... Are you fucking believing this? Over," Armstrong radioed back to NASA headquarters nearly 250,000 miles away. "I abso-fucking-lutely am standing on the surface of the fucking moon. I am talking to you from the goddamned fucking moon. Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket."

"Holy mother of fuck," the first man on the moon added.

I would have found that article written that way to have accurate reportage. Holy shit! is right.

My point being here that I think the Daily Kos title, "Global Warming: Are you f***ing scared yet?" is an apt choice of words.

OK. Let's get to dissecting.

The article has five links. Let's take them one at a time. The Daily Kos links will be written in blue.

The first comes in this paragraph,

Scientists have discovered that the phytoplankton of the oceans has declined by about 40 per cent over the past century, with much of the loss occurring since the 1950s. They believe the change is linked with rising sea temperatures and global warming

That's an alarming charge: 40 %, almost half, of the phytoplankton of the oceans is gone?!

Any way, let's follow the link. Click on "Scientists have discovered" and you will see that you end up at an article in the British newspaper The Independent. If you read the article, you find that the sources of the information it contains are marine biologists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia who are citing their three year study. Let's look. I'll quote a bunch of stuff and you can see for yourself.

"If this holds up, something really serious is underway and has been underway for decades. I've been trying to think of a biological change that's bigger than this and I can't think of one," said marine biologist Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He said: "If real, it means that the marine ecosystem today looks very different to what it was a few decades ago and a lot of this change is happening way out in the open, blue ocean where we cannot see it. I'm concerned about this finding."


The researchers studied phytoplankton records going back to 1899 when the measure of how much of the green chlorophyll pigment of phytoplankton was present in the upper ocean was monitored regularly. The scientists analysed about half a million measurements taken over the past century in 10 ocean regions, as well as measurements recorded by satellite.

They found that phytoplankton had declined significantly in all but two of the ocean regions at an average global rate of about 1 per cent per year, most of which since the mid 20th Century. They found that this decline correlated with a corresponding rise in sea-surface temperatures – although they cannot prove that warmer oceans caused the decline.

So, they've found that the loss of phytoplankton correlates with rising sea temperatures. They haven't proven cause, but have found an alarming, startling correlation.

Maybe there are natural fluctuations in phytoplankton die off that account for this incredible loss? Yeah, they looked at that.

However, the Dalhousie scientists behind the three-year study said they have taken the natural oscillations of ocean temperatures into account and the overall conclusion of a 40 per cent decline in phytoplankton over the past century still holds true.

"Phytoplankton are the basis of life in the oceans and are essential in maintaining the health of the oceans so we should be concerned about its decline.

"It's a very robust finding and we're very confident of it," said Daniel Boyce, the lead author of the study.

"Phytoplankton is the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. A decline of phytoplankton affects everything up the food chain, including humans," Dr Boyce said.

Phytoplankton is affected by the amount of nutrients the well up from the bottom of the oceans. In the North Atlantic phytoplankton "blooms" naturally in spring and autumn when ocean storms bring nutrients to the surface.

One effect of rising sea temperatures has been to make the water column of some regions nearer the equator more stratified, with warmer water sitting on colder layers of water, making it more difficult for nutrients to reach the phytoplankton at the sea surface.

Warmer seas in tropical regions are also known to have a direct effect on limiting the growth of phytoplankton.

We learn that all of this is significant because:

The study, published in the journal Nature, is the first analysis of its kind and deliberately used data gathered over such a long period of time to eliminate the sort of natural fluctuations in phytoplankton that are known to occur from one decade to the next due to normal oscillations in ocean temperatures, Dr Worm said. "Phytoplankton are a critical part of our planetary life support system. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2 and ultimately support all of our fishes." he said.

So, to summarize the first link in the Daily Kos article: The Independent reports about findings from marine biologists of a Canadian university study that 40% of the phytoplankton that contributes to oxygen production and acts as the start of the food chain in the oceans is gone. All gone. *pfht*

Carrying on.

The second link is here:

Scientists have also released what they described as the "best evidence yet" of rising long-term temperatures. The report is the first to collate 11 different indicators – from air and sea temperatures to melting ice – each one based on between three and seven data sets, dating back to between 1850 and the 1970s.

This link takes you to an article in the British paper The Guardian. Click on "Scientist have also released" and you will see the article. Again, multiple quotes:

Global temperatures in the first half of the year were the hottest since records began more than a century ago, according to two of the world's leading climate research centres.

Records show it is hotter.

Scientists have also released what they described as the "best evidence yet" of rising long-term temperatures. The report is the first to collate 11 different indicators – from air and sea temperatures to melting ice – each one based on between three and seven data sets, dating back to between 1850 and the 1970s.

Indications are from 11 different areas some from as long ago as 1850.

Publishing the newly collated data in London, Peter Stott, the head of climate modelling at the UK Met Office, said despite variations between individual years, the evidence was unequivocal: "When you follow those decade-to-decade trends then you see clearly and unmistakably signs of a warming world".

"That's a very remarkable result, that all those data sets agree," he added. "It's the clearest evidence in one place from a range of different indices."

A scientist acknowledges variations from year to year but shows a clear warming trend over decades.

Despite annual fluctuations, the figures also highlight the clear trend for the 2000s to be hotter than the 1990s, which in turn were clearly warmer than the previous decade, said Stott.

"These numbers are not theory, but fact, indicating that the Earth's climate is moving into uncharted territory," said Rafe Pomerance, a senior fellow at Clean Air Cool Planet, a US group dedicated to helping find solutions to global warming.

There's a clear trend of each decade being hotter than the previous one.

The article then outlines what was looked at:

Seven of the indicators rose over the last few decades, indicating "clear warming trends", although these all included annual fluctuations up and down. One of these was air temperature over land – including data from the Climatic Research Unit at the UEA, whose figures were under scrutiny after hacked emails were posted online in November 2009, but the graphic also included figures from six other research groups all showing the same overall trends despite annual differences.

The other six rising indicators were sea surface temperatures, collected by six groups; ocean heat to 700m depth from seven groups; air temperatures over oceans (five data sets); the tropospheric temperature in the atmosphere up to 1km up (seven); humidity caused by warmer air absorbing more moisture (three); and sea level rise as hotter oceans expand and ice melts (six).

Another four indicators showed declining figures over time, again consistent with global warming: northern hemisphere snow cover (two data sets), Arctic sea ice extent (three); glacier mass loss (four); and the temperature of the stratosphere. This last cooling effect is caused by a decline in ozone in the stratosphere which prevents it absorbing as much ultraviolet radiation from the sun above.

To summarize this point: It's hotter overall around the world, and the trend is that it will continue to be hotter than it was before.

The third link is here:

The hard scientific evidence builds up day after day yet still we do almost nothing. Its nothing less than suicidal, and no matter how deeply you jam your head in the sand the facts will not go away.

If you click on "evidence builds up day after day" it takes you to an article at Ecoworld which is an online news and opinion source that started in 1995. I gotta say, I don't like this source. But then again, here I am just a mom blogger and I think I'm an excellent source--but that's because my links are great.

This article basically cites tables compiled by an MIT atmospheric scientist. They show an obvious warming trend with a flattening out of temperatures for the last ten years. However, this was written in 2008, before recent discoveries.

Here are quotes:

Editor’s Note: Viewing the global temperature records shown on the tables and analysis to follow, one might immediately ask: Even if recent warming may be leveling off since temperature records are arguably flat for the last ten years – what if they aren’t? That is the classic, and not cavalierly dismissed, question from the global warming alarmists. Then again, what if we successfully cool the planet, avoiding climate catastrophe by banning spurious combustion, only to regret that in the process we never developed a fleet of passenger and cargo transport aerospaceplanes, and as a result were unable to spacelift the throw-weight necessary to stop an asteroid from hitting our planet and wiping us out?

Beware of how often you play the “we-do-this-or-we-all-perish” card while relying on the precautionary principle. How often must we transform and reorganize our entire industrial base, just to avoid a plausible, but somewhat (if not extremely) low probability of leaving ourselves vulnerable to certain slaughter? And should we shift our focus away from ridding the air of really noxious pollutants; micro-particulates, sulpher dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, just to reduce C02 emissions?

They feel that we may be allowing some harmful pollution at the expense of concentrating solely on CO2 levels. They think this is misguided.

Then they ask what if:

The data in the following set of tables, compiled by Dr. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric scientist from MIT, only goes back to the mid 19th century; there are only about 150 years of data. Per-WWI data could be skewed. Depending on whether or not that is true, or even so, there is only about a 0.5 (one-half degree) centigrade change in global temperature that is clearly indicated. But what if the recent 25 year rising trend doesn’t fall? What are the 500 year trends, year by year? Do we know? What are the 10,000 year trends?

What if the earth really is warming – what if the data takes another leap, then another, instead of settling back to the 150 year mean? Do we combat this by curtailing and controlling all burning?

Why instead don’t we simply replace more of the 40% of forests that have been lost in the last 150 years, and restore to life 30% of the deserts that have marched forward over the last 150 years? We can plant trees in the cities while we’re at it, to ameliorate the hugely significant additional effect of the urban heat islands of our world’s new mega-cities. Do we strip the last forests to grow biofuel, instead of simply constructing (usually on rooftops) photovoltaic and solar-thermal arrays that consume – by well over two orders of magnitude – far less space? Wouldn’t we rather replace desert with rangeland and farms, and rangeland and farms with forest, and put canopies of green across our cities, rather than regulate all burning?

So, their emphasis is on overall deforestation, pollution etc. They see it as bad.

The next link is here:

In the geological history of the Earth, there have been five periods of great natural extinction that have happened because of geological changes and huge disasters. But now, thanks to humanity's influences, the rate of species' extinction has increased to 1,000 times that of ancient period, and Earth is coming into the sixth extinction period, according to Beijing Daily's report.

One species would disappear per hour on average

According "Nature," more than 1 million species will disappear from this planet 50 years from now, and one species will be extinct per hour on average because of human activities, which is 1000 times faster than ever.

Startling, right? Well, if you follow that link, "In the geological history of the earth", it takes you to an article in The People's Daily which is the online version of the official communist newspaper of China.

That's a crap link! There won't be any critical, open reporting here.

Is it a crap link though? Wouldn't China have a a lot to lose if they acknowledge man made climate change? Wouldn't they have to cut down on the prodigious amount of pollution they're pumping out every day?

Here are quotes:

15,600 species are threatened by extinction How many species there are on our planet anyway? No one could really figure it out. All the estimates of about 1.5 million, 1.7 million and 2 million only include species we have found. Since there are still lots of creatures we have not discovered, the actual number should be much higher. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources usually publishes Red Papers on situations of global species. According to the latest paper, 15,600 species are threatened by extinction on the Earth, including 12 percent of birds, 23 percent of animals, 32 percent of amphibians, 25 percent of gymnosperms, 52 percent of cycadopsida, 42 percent of terrapins, 18 percent of sharks and rays and 27 pct of East African fresh water fishes.

If that's accurate, that's a lot.

Five major threats challenge species diversity Experts have summed up five major reasons causing the terrible state of the environment. 1. Loss and destruction of living environment 2. Invasion from exotic creatures 3. Environmental pollution 4. Explosive human population 5. Overuse
Wow, China! That's quite the assessment, seeing as how you contribute to a great deal of these problems. But, wait--aren't American corporations set up in China for the cheap labor and cheap production costs--no pollution controls, etc.? Aren't there economic pressures that contribute to China's pollution?

Any way, I'm thinking of throwing out this whole link. It's too wonky. That's how I read it any way. Which is a shame, because what it says might be perfectly true. But, I don't like this source.

Here's a list of recent headlines at The People's Daily:

Interesting, isn't it? The headlines seem to report bad things--it's not sugar coated, although who knows what the articles say.

Carrying on.

The final link is a positive one:

When you hear the words "mini cows" they sound as if they are the result of someone's daft hobby. But miniature cattle could be the future of environmentally-friendly beef.

Click on "When you hear the words 'mini cows' ". This takes you back to The Guardian for an article about the environmental viability of farming with smaller breeds of cattle. They eat less, produce less methane and can easily be grass fed.

Quotes from the article:

"When I started frittering around with miniature cattle, everyone thought I was nuts," he says. Since the 1940s, US farmers have been breeding cows for size, making them much larger than their British cousins. But with Gradwohl's farm being swallowed up by rising taxes, he had to give up 60 acres of land. He discovered that it is possible to raise 10 miniature cows on five acres, rather than just two full-sized cows, meaning that land could yield up to three times as much beef – but the cows only need one third of the feed.

"These little cows were just right for me," he says. And, given worries about cows' contribution to greenhouse gases, it takes 10 mini cows to produce the amount of methane of one full-sized cow.


Although they sound innovative, mini cows date back to the 1600s, says Gradwohl, when "British farmers developed small breeds because they only had five-acre farms". Now, with a bit of luck, more farmers of the 1.3 billion-strong cattle worldwide might also try them out for size.

Innovation and creativity in many areas can make a difference in pollution levels, nutrition, poverty levels, etc. worldwide.

So, Marcie, that sums up just one article at Daily Kos. That is one source of my reading material. I read all sorts of things from all sorts of places. I also regularly listen to NPR. I can't do it much, but more than I used to, because my kids would hear a story and ask me with their innocent countenances, "What does assassinate mean?" or, "What is genocide?" And although we get into serious, real discussions around here, I want my kids to be happy and not worry about the state of the world. I, as the woman I am, do plenty of that on their behalf.

We are having more and more involved discussions about these matters as they get older and can understand and have more of a context to file the information away.

But, kids get to be kids as far as I'm concerned.

We adults, however, should put away childish things and pay attention. We should try to understand what's going on and seek out information and learn. We should be critical of the voices which are bombarding us daily with competing messages and look at sources directly.

Which brings me to you, Marcie. You said,

"I have read a few sources of primary information on climate change and found information which is contrary to the message that you seem to have embraced."

I think you mean that you have read a few primary sources of information.

What have you read? What is the source? What is it filtered through--Fox News, discredited climate change denialist scientists?

What university studies have you read? What scientific journals?

I think a lot is riding on the human collective paying attention and making some fairly large, all encompassing changes in the very near future. I was feeling sad because I thought we'd already reached a tipping point. But, for the sake of my kids, and their kids, and their kids' kids, we can all act as if we haven't and get some things to change.

If you don't believe that global warming is a real man made phenomenon, would you still acknowledge that less pollution worldwide would be beneficial to all? Would a decrease in oil dependence be good, regardless of carbon output and whether that's bad or not? Would less plastic crap, with or without heavy metals, shipped over here from China be good for our kids' well being--spiritually, intellectually and physically, regardless of the pollution it causes in production in China and in landfills after 6 months or so of ownership here in the states?

Wouldn't some of the results of policies that are based on a global warming model ultimately have a positive effect regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not?

Wouldn't us not crapping up the earth be good?

Tag, you're it, Marcie.

Tell us where you get your information and how.

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