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october 1999
Vivian Gussey Paley, distressed by the exclusionary play she saw even among her kindergarteners, instituted the "you can't say you can't play" rule in her classroom--and it worked. (via indirection) 10/01/99

Donald Turcotte, studying the application of chaos theory to natural disasters, believes that rare events--like the so-called 500-year-flood-- happen more frequently than their labels indicate. "We are seeing 100-year floods much too often, so either the statistical theory is wrong, or global warming has created a lot more floods. The insurance companies in some ways prefer global warming, because it doesnít mean theyíre doing their statistics wrong. We think the latter." 10/01/99

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill archeologists have returned the remains of 58 ancient people to the Eastern Band of Cherokees to be reburied. 10/01/99

Happy October! In honor of the season, I bring you Wallace Stevens:

Autumn Refrain
The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of the sun, too, gone...the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never--shall never hear. And yet beneath
The stillness of everything gone, and being still,
Being and not sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never--shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it it,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound. 10/01/99

Mapping Cyberspace (via tomalak) 10/02/99

Weird Penis News: "A man who cut off his penis in an apparent suicide attempt was ordered by a judge to have it reattached." I can't really add anything to that. 10/02/99

Don't touch that dog-chew! 10/02/99

Liddy just lost my vote. 10/05/99

Media Malfeasance: ABCnews.com reports on a study that shows a correlation between children who want to lose weight and smoking. The study found that children who were concerned about their weight were more likely to think about smoking, and those who were doing something to lose weight were more likely to be smokers. Investigators state explicitly that they did not ask the children whether they considered smoking to be an aid to weight loss, but ABC headlines the article: "Kids May Light Up to Lose; Study Says Some Youngsters Use Smoking to Lose Weight." The study as reported here doesn't say that at all. Correlation is not cause. It seems to me that children who are concerned about their weight may suffer from poor self image; smoking may be an attempt to bolster their cachet among their peers. 10/05/99

Meanwhile, CNN links to the Supreme Court decision to let stand the conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal (who claims he was framed) with the words Convicted cop killer denied new trial. I thought that kind of inflammatory language was reserved for those who have admitted to committing a crime. I like to believe that utter thoughtlessness is responsible for headlines like these, and not bias.... 10/05/99

Need to Know: The 1998 Federal Breast Reconstruction Law, signed into law a little over a year ago, requires insurance plans to cover reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. 10/05/99

Kansas Creationists are not who you thought they were; while in Utah, evolution is framed in faith. 10/05/99

My phone was out last night. No windstorm or anything, just a broken wire up the street.... 10/07/99

In Other Pocket News: This "perky pickpocket" distracted elderly men by squeezing their testicles. 10/07/99

Three environmental groups have decided to mount a massive public relations campaign to alarm US citizens about global warming. 10/07/99

Wonder how those web anonymizing services work? Check here to see if yours really does. 10/07/99

The Sierra Club has a plan to slow urban sprawl. 10/07/99

A new study measuring the effects of media violence, parental supervision, and exposure to real-life violence on children found that "There is a small link between children's getting a heavy dose of violent programs and their attacking others...But TV's influence is far outweighed by the extent of parental supervision and a child's own experiences of violence." 10/12/99

Seeing the world through cat's eyes. 10/12/99

The Scottish Catholic Church's Pro-Life Initiative has offered a 12-year-old girl a layette and money in an attempt to encourage her to have her baby. "We have to give help where itís needed and where itís asked for, remember." Obviously I have concerns about this child's age, but the principle behind this approach strikes me as sound. Surely a serious effort to reduce abortions would include post-natal support for those who choose to give birth, so that there is a genuine alternative. 10/12/99

Game News: Etymologic describes itself as the brain-twisting etymology game. I scored six out of ten in my first three games. 10/12/99

The Women's Chronology
1200--Eleanor of Aquitaine, now 78, leads an army that crushes a rebellion in Anjou against her second son, England's King John. 10/12/99

France has legalized "civil solidarity pacts", enabling unmarried couples--gay or straight--to formalize their union and entitling them to rights similar to those of married couples. Two notes: the author of this piece is named Charles Trueheart; check out the right's proposed strategy for appealing this ruling. 10/14/99

Rip-off News: Did you know that many long distance carriers--AT&T and GTE are two--now add a "minimum use fee" on those months that you don't make any calls? Fight back. 10/14/99

Fellow Seattle-ite Anita pointed me to a URL I had saved and then lost in the great computer migration: Alexlit, a book recommender. You tell it what books you like, then it tells you what books you'll like. I have to say it's recommendations look spot on. I've added it to books.10/14/99

Japan Gals: "It might look cheap, but boys like it." And there's really just no arguing with that, is there? 10/13/99

The Women's Chronology
1847--Massachusetts librarian and amateur astronomer Maria Mitchell, 29, discovers a new comet with her two-inch rooftop telescope October 1, thereby winning a gold medal offered by the king of Denmark and infuriating university astronomers with costly observatories. Other women rally to Mitchell's support, buying her a larger telescope and obtaining press coverage of her achievement.
10/13/99

France has legalized "civil solidarity pacts", enabling unmarried couples--gay or straight--to formalize their union and entitling them to rights similar to those of married couples. Two notes: the author of this piece is named Charles Trueheart; check out the right's proposed strategy for appealing this ruling. 10/14/99

Rip-off News: Did you know that many long distance carriers--AT&T and GTE are two--now add a "minimum use fee" on those months that you don't make any calls? Fight back. 10/14/99

Fellow Seattle-ite Anita pointed me to a URL I had saved and then lost in the great computer migration: Alexlit, a book recommender. You tell it what books you like, then it tells you what books you'll like. I have to say it's recommendations look spot on. I've added it to books.10/14/99

Japan Gals: "It might look cheap, but boys like it." And there's really just no arguing with that, is there? 10/14/99

The Women's Chronology
1842--His wife's illness inspires Florida physician John Gorrie, 39, to pioneer air-conditioning (and mechanical refrigeration) with a method for lowering the temperture in her sick room...Having to wait in vain for ice from Maine that has been lost in the wreck of a schooner that was carrying it, Dr Gorrie takes measures to alleviate the unbearable heat. He sets a vessel of ammonia atop a stepladder, lets it drip, and thus invents an artificial ice-making machine whose basic principle will be employed in air-conditioning (and in refrigeration). 10/14/99

Julian Barbour imagines a new model of time: welcome to the timeless universe. 10/15/99

His grandfather was given Geronimo's eagle-feather-studded headdress in 1907; in 1999, after allegedly trying to sell the family heirloom for $1.2 million, Leighton Deming is being charged with attempting to sell eagle feathers over the internet. 10/15/99

35 million Americans go hungry every day; 91 billion pounds of food are wasted every year. Now, Hewlett-Packard has teamed with Second Harvest to create ResourceLink, which aims at bringing all that wasted food to food banks across the country. Think scale. 10/15/99

Hope for the over-forty set. 10/15/99

The Women's Chronology
1842--His wife's illness inspires Florida physician John Gorrie, 39, to pioneer air-conditioning (and mechanical refrigeration) with a method for lowering the temperature in her sick room...Having to wait in vain for ice from Maine that has been lost in the wreck of a schooner that was carrying it, Dr Gorrie takes measures to alleviate the unbearable heat. He sets a vessel of ammonia atop a stepladder, lets it drip, and thus unvents an artificial ice-making machine whose basic principle will be employed in air-conditioning (and in refrigeration).

I didn't know that Jason Kottke had been featured in Cool Home Pages under personal. 10/15/99






Henge News I: Stonehenge is looking at you. 10/16/99

Henge News II: Discovery of Woodhenge indicates that this type of structure, far from being an anomaly, might have been part of the religious landscape of the time. 10/16/99

The Women's Chronology
350--The Chinese "Mother of Calligraphy," Wei Furen, dies after a career in which she has been honored in the Book of One Hundred Beauties, established the art of beautiful writing, and inspired the country's most prominent calligraphers. 10/16/99

Babies born with out an immune system and implanted with thin slices of thymus gland create an immune system that works. 10/18/99

"Overshadowed by war, poverty and disease, the biggest threat to Africa's future lies in the land itself, U.N. experts and scientists warned Saturday. Deforestation, overgrazing and harmful irrigation practices are transforming vast areas of the world's poorest continent into a virtual wasteland." 10/18/99

Ancient Irish Farms 10/18/99

Watson is a personal information management system that reads the paper that you're writing, and searches for pertinent information while you write. 10/19/99

Population POV: World population grows, but too many babies still die. This op-ed piece pulls together many of the points of view about population increase that I've been pointing to in recent weeks. 10/19/99

Hunger News: Overall, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger has fallen by 40 million people since the early 1990s. This number reflects significant improvement in 37 countries; unfortunately, across most of the world the number of hungry people has increased, according to the UN. 10/19/99

Eating for 80: Nutritional anthropologist Babette S. Zemel, PhD, aims to develop techniques to increase children's calcium intake, and to test whether calcium supplements are as effective as natural sources. "Before puberty is the important time to get calcium, before the body begins growing rapidly in adolescence," says Dr. Zemel. "A small shift in a population's dietary habits can drastically reduce the number of 80-year-olds with fractures." 10/19/99

Bygone Era News: Historic Chasen's, the famed Hollywood diner, has been auctioned off piece by piece. Elizabeth Taylor need not fear, though: she can buy the Chasen's Cookbook or just go to the Chasen's Chili Official Website and order online. 10/19/99

Need some legal advice? Here are some tips and some sites to get you started. 10/19/99

The Women's Chronology
1613--Pocahontas is taken hostage and brought to Jamestown, where the Virginia colonists hold her for ransom (which is not forthcoming). She is instructed in the Christian religion, baptized, and christened Rebecca.

Today my cohorts are editing my blog:

Outlanders STAY Out! Lizard 10/20/99

A mime is an excellent thing to waste. The picture on this page just makes me want to beat up mimes. Lizard 10/20/99

Mariners: They just suck. "The Seattle Mariners have refused to authorize the final payment on construction of Safeco Field, a surprise move that leaves dozens of subcontractors in the lurch and begins a new round of negotiations between the team and the public agency in charge of building the stadium." Lizard 10/20/99

This explains a lot. "If your marriage is in trouble, the position of your toilet may be the culprit. If you can't get rid of the bad toilet, you should stop using it all together, according to Too." Lizard 10/20/99

Kasparov vs. the World Jim 10/20/99

Microsoft should schedule projects like this. Jim 10/20/99

Classic Star Trek News: The Doomsday Machine Loren 10/20/99

The Migraine Gene: We've all known the condition was inherited; now someone may have found the gene, although under dubious circumstances. (Glaxo-Wellcome produces Immitrix, the first 'triptan based vasoconstrictor, the single most effective drug on the planet.) Loren 10/20/99

The Women's Chronology
1611--India's Mughal emperor Jahangir marries Nur Jahan ("Light of the World") who will control the realm of her drunken husband.

The official number of deaths in the October 5 Paddington train accident has been set at 30, half of the original estimate. It seems that a number of the survivors took the opportunity to slip away from the accident and travel to foreign destinations...without telling anyone. 10/21/99

David Hockney presents his fascinating theory of the great masters' use of lenses as a painting tool. 10/21/99

Julia's back! It's goofy, I know, for someone who hasn't cooked in probably five years, but Julia has been one of my heroes for a long, long time. 10/21/99

Real Life Adventure: Last July, Alaskan Robert Bogucki walked deep into the Australian outback with some food, some water, a Bible, and little else. Weeks later, a US search crew including veteran tracker Joel Hardin began their search. 10/21/99

WTO News: WTO policies are 'agreements,' not 'treaties,' to US 10/21/99

The Women's Chronology
1710--A British copyright law established by Queen Anne will be the basis of all future copyright laws.
10/21/99

I'll be out of town for a few days, so look for an update on Wednesday. Meanwhile, scoot on over and say hi to Metascene and Andrew and MrPants and Gilbert. 10/22/99

I've posted my first epinion: Breastfeeding in a Capitalist Society. For those who wonder, no, I don't have any children. But since epinions currently supports only limited categories, my thoughts on American culture had to be framed appropriately.... 10/22/99

Big Business News: Five years ago, the Health Insurance Association of America sponsored a series of ads featuring Harry and Louise--and very effectively killed the Clintons' plan for health reform. Now a new series of ads aimed at nipping in the bud a new Universal Health Care Campaign features a character named Flo declaring "I don't want big government in my medicine cabinet".

"'In order to get across a political agenda, ad agencies now create characters and stories, not to sell us on the idea but on the emotional impact of the idea on our lives,' says Sister Elizabeth Thoman, President and Founder of the Center for Media Literacy in Los Angeles. 'We need to try to unpack this.'

She suggests that viewers talk about these ads with friends, and ask:

Who's paying all these millions for this ad? Why do they want me to watch it? Why show it with this particular program?

How does this ad hook me? What makes it believable? The clothes? Setting? Language?

Who is Flo? Does she represent me or someone I know? Whom doesn't she represent?

What's left out ? What else do I need to know? Where would I go to get this information?" 10/22/99

Charity News: In the new millenium, charity begins online. Enter AOL's one-stop helping.org, guidestar.org, where you can look up non-profits' tax returns, charitableway.com which will match you up with a charity who needs you.... 10/22/99

The official number of deaths in the October 5 Paddington train accident has been set at 30, half of the original estimate. It seems that a number of the survivors took the opportunity to slip away from the accident and travel to foreign destinations...without telling anyone. 10/22/99

Be a GeniusLady. Thanks, Lizard! 10/27/99

I'm white, I'm proud, I'm part Neanderthal, and doggone it. 10/27/99

Microsoft has been caught keeping secret files about its temps: "....one record details how a manager may have terminated a contractor due to a disability. To preserve anonymity, we have not used the contractor's real name. 'Bob was terminated today. I have provided a synopsis of the performance issues below. Bob had a disability (deafness and dyslexia). The perspective on the feedback shared is that he feels that the performance concerns are mostly related to the lack of communication. He said that he relied heavily on his officemate.' Later in the e-mail string, an agency representative discusses with a Microsoft manager a grammar software program that might help, but neither the agency nor Microsoft seemed willing to buy it outright for Bob so that he could better do his job."

Then read how Microsoft is leading the push for corporations to hire more disabled workers. Thanks, Lizard! 10/28/99

It's a little puzzling to me: I worked as a temp for William Gates Sr's law firm, and was impressed by their policy of hiring and fully supporting disabled workers. When someone new was to come on board all staff would be invited to a meeting to learn about the worker and their particular challenges, and then every accommodation was made to enable them to do their particular job. Maybe Jr isn't fully aware of what goes on at his company. I guess if he was, he could improve things before he read about them in the newspapers. 10/28/99

What a bunch of clowns. 10/28/99

"Britain has produced a range of remarkably gifted multidisciplinary scientists and scholars who are sometimes described as polymaths. The group included, in recent times, Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead, J. B. S. Haldane, J. D. Bernal, and Jacob Bronowski. Russell commented that the development of such gifted individuals required a childhood period in which there was little or no pressure for conformity, a time in which the child could develop and pursue his or her own interests no matter how unusual or bizzare. Because of the strong pressures for social conformity both by the government and by peer groups in the United States -- and even more so in the Soviet Union, Japan, and the People's Republic of China -- I think that such countries are producing proportionately fewer polymaths .... Particularly today, when so many difficult and complex problems face the human species, the development of broad and powerful thinking is desperately needed. There should be a way...to encourage, in a humane and caring context, the intellectual development of especially promising youngsters. Instead we find, in the instructional and examination systems of most of these countries, an almost reptilian ritualization of the educational process ...."
- Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden (Ballantine, 1977) (found on Jon's Homeschool Resource Page by Lizard) 10/28/99

The triple-junction gallium-indium-phosphide on gallium arsenide on germanium concentrator solar cell has an efficiency more than double current solar cells, and may be able to do even better. 10/28/99

Did you read Metascene's response to the Matthew McConaughey arrest? "If dancing around naked and playing the bongo drums is wrong, I don't wanna be right." Amen, Brother. 10/28/99

ABCNews comes down against ecotage. 10/29/99

Today is the 70th anniversary of Black Tuesday. Despite the similarities, analysts insist that it will never happen that way again.... (thanks, Lizard!) 10/29/99

Here's a big surprise: 20% of uninsured Americans are eligible for health insurance through their companies but can't afford it. Is there some way I can get people to just come and ask me about things? And then pay me half of what the study would have cost them? (when is Lizard going to start her own blog?) 10/29/99

Locker Room Talk: my referrers bring me How to get rid of you penis. (In Rebecca's Pocket????) and squeezing of the testicles. Why didn't I believe my father when he told me that boys will exaggerate anything? 10/30/99






comments? questions? rebecca blood