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november 1999
Scientists have discovered that wolves' predatory behavior is affected by the weather, and that simple factor has immediate and wide-ranging effects on their entire ecosystem. 11/01/99

Oh, Dear Lord News: "KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will never again ship rodents, reptiles and endangered animals following an outcry over its destruction of hundreds of squirrels in a shredding machine, the company said today." 11/01/99

The Netherlands loves the weblog! Check it out: Escape, alt0169, aanvang, jog log, More Where That, linked, Tonie's, MrEdBlog, and sikkema. This is giving me a reason to learn Dutch. 11/02/99

Let the children come to me...but bring them not with bottles or diaper bags. 11/02/99

But see, the thing is, we can't have police officers who see themselves as victims and respond to the stressors of their job with "animal rage". 11/02/99

Albert Alain Chalem and Maier Lehmann, promotors of penny stocks over an Internet site called www.stockinvestor.com, were found dead last week...and investors are on the case. 11/02/99

Studies of the ocean's temperature variations indicate that Earth may be in for some abrupt climate changes. 11/02/99

Breast News: The Ohio State University Women's Rugby team has upset nearly everyone by posing topless in front of the Lincoln Memorial. To quote the great Aretha: "Freedom!" You go, grrrls! 11/03/99

Early riser? Walking stress machine. 11/03/99

Hair News: What you've got, baby I want it, what you need, baby I got it, all I'm asking for is a little respect. 11/03/99

A mysterious stone circle at the mouth of the Miami River has been estimated to be nearly 2000 years old. 11/03/99

Help is needed all around the world: the cyclone in India, unsheltered people facing winter in Kosovo, Turkish earthquake victims, Chechnya.... If you want details, go to disasterrelief.org. If you just wish you could do something to help, you can: go to the Red Cross and donate some money. Even $10 will help. 11/03/99

Do you read Slate's Today's Papers? Always fascinating, it's a rundown of how the news has been reported each day. I link to it on my portal. 11/03/99

Kuwaiti women may be allowed full political rights in four years. (Thanks, Jim!) 11/03/99

It's the special doom-and-gloom edition today. Fasten your seatbelts. 11/04/99

Workplace Violence Becoming Epidemic "An individual's identity and sense of self-worth is increasingly tied to what happens at work, says Dr. Roland Maiuro, which makes the workplace a target when rage and despair get out of control." 11/04/99

Doesn't this explanation of workplace violence sound similar to the things that have been said about school shootings? It seems to me that there's one encompassing issue at work here, infiltrating our schools and our workplaces. Are we being poisoned by pervasive media images of violence? Is this business of business--work that has no real value to the world, jobs that exist for companies whose purpose is strictly to make money--finally creating such purposeless existences that people simply can't cope anymore? Lack of community? Lack of shared values? Lack of any values?

And I have another question: have workers' identities become more tied to their jobs? cf. the Death of a Salesman, written in 1949. Willy Loman doesn't go into a homicidal rage, but this feeling of despair has been with us for generations now. Why is it now turning outward with increasing frequency? Has this despair intensified or become more common? Have acceptable means of expressing despair suddenly expanded to include murder?

Taxi! Additional police and military reserves were brought to ensure order in Empangeni, South Africa Thursday after rival minivan taxi operators waged a gun battle that left at least 10 dead and 24 wounded. 11/04/99

Hard Mercy: The Shepard's agreed to forgo the death penalty for their son's murder in a deal that bars any appeal of his sentence. "Mr. McKinney, I'm going to grant you life, as hard as it is for me to do so, because of Matthew. Every time you celebrate Christmas, a birthday or the Fourth of July, remember that Matthew isn't. Every time that you wake up in that prison cell, remember that you had the opportunity and the ability to stop your actions that night. You robbed me of something very precious, and I will never forgive you for that." 11/04/99

If you were unsure that GW Bush is an idiot who will say anything at all to get a vote, he has now come out with support for creationism being taught alongside evolution in public schools. 11/04/99

Salon article about the Hunger Site. (Be sure to click today!) 11/04/99

Do frogs have free will? 11/08/99

Breast News: the Millenium Bra. (No size here--how are we supposed to know if it would even fit?) 11/08/99

Hewlett-Packard's energy saving office redesign has had an unexpected side effect: a 5 percent increase in employee productivity, and a 40 percent drop in absenteeism. "Workers in the new building no longer complain of end-of-day headaches or end-of-week sluggishness. They loved the extensive use of day-lighting and say the air was so fresh they felt as if they were working in a forest — no mean feat considering the building sits in the lap of the busy 405 freeway and John Wayne Airport." 11/09/99

Waste vital minutes with Perpetual Bubble Wrap (Thanks, Jim!) 11/09/99

Global warming may create more plague, famine and pestilence...and throw Europe into an ice age. 11/09/99

I kiss him! Check him out now.(Thanks, J!) 11/09/99

Idiot Voter Aftermath News: Washington reels from I-695. (where "idiot" is defined as anyone who voted differently from me :) (Thanks, Lizard!) 11/09/99

From 2600.com come these hacked sites of the future: Amazon and Microsoft. Where did you want to go again? (Thanks, Lizard!) 11/10/99

Breast News: Hope! 11/10/99

Penis News: Ladies--the news is unexpected, the code has been broken, and now our course is clear. Time to snatch up the gay-seeming straight men while they're still available.... 11/10/99

A new study shows that pharmaceutical companies sell the same drugs more cheaply when they are to be prescribed for pets instead of humans. "The study found, for instance, that a month's supply of SmithKline Beecham's widely used Augmentin, whose active ingredients are amoxicillin and clavulinic acid, costs 163 percent more at drugstores for people than at a veterinary pharmacy." 11/10/99

Every US war occurring in my lifetime has seemed to me avoidable and/or unnecessary. Settling things by having a war is Stupid. Wasting life in such a thoughtless way is Immoral.

I know it's just as easy as that. What I don't know is what you do in a situation where the other side sees war as a viable alternative.

World War II seems different from the others. Maybe I just don't know enough about any of it.

No one should be subjected to the horror of being in or fighting in a war.

I am truly sorry that any man or woman has been asked to kill and be killed on behalf of any country. I do feel gratitude and respect for those who have done so because they felt it to be the right thing. Thank you. I honor you for your devotion to something beyond yourself.

We need to find another way. We need to stop asking our young people to sacrifice themselves for ego and nationalism and economic interests and prejudice. We need to stop asking anyone to kill on our behalf. Let us pray together for all the wars to end. Then let us work together to make it so. 11/11/99

Robert Falcon Scott and his team died on their failed expedition to be first at the South Pole. For years, their demise has been attributed to Scott's lack of planning. But NOAA's Susan Solomon questioned that theory. "'His legend has changed over the years, from being a hero to a kind of bumbler,' Solomon says. 'I began to question whether he was being criticized too harshly. He said the main problem they had was the severe weather. People didn't really believe him. I decided someone ought to take a look at the modern data and see if he was right.'" 11/11/99

Michael Mayer, Broadway's current It director comes to his calling honestly: via Judy Garland. "If there is such a thing as having a life-altering experience at the age of 3, watching Judy Garland warble 'Over the Rainbow' in 'The Wizard of Oz' was a happening that shook Michael Mayer to his preschool core. And before he even knew what Broadway was, he knew that he wanted to be a Broadway star." 11/11/99

When you were growing up did you always have the persistent feeling that your mother was smarter than you? Science has figured it out. "When a female mammal makes the transition from virginity to motherhood, she is forced to refocus her activities dramatically. She must adapt to a multitude of new demands by her offspring... she needs to find and remember the location of food stores, water sources and nest sites, and be able to exploit them to her offspring's advantage,' the investigators write." 11/11/99

Scientists are excited and scared to discover that they can make genetic changes to rats that are passed down even unto the third generation. 11/12/99

And of course you've seen the international symbol for job distress? (If you have any idea who created this image, please let me know.)
international symbol for job stress
(Thanks, Loren!) 11/12/99

Interestingly, epinions has moved me again. I created a category breastfeeding when I wrote it; they moved it to breast pumps (and really, this epinion is worthless in that category); and now they've created a category called the breastfeeding debate and linked it there. Much better, although when they create a category for wild pinko ravings that's probably where I'll end up.... 11/12/99

Media Images may affect teenage girls' self image. The entire article is a big-duh, except for the following factoid: "The average American model is 5 foot ten, and 107 pounds." Buh? 11/15/99

Penis and Vagina News: Within 25 years, doctors may be able to replace your old, dysfunctional genitalia with a brand-new, functioning, erogenous sexual organ. 11/15/99

Power to the People! News: These Seattle public housing residents have formed a coalition that is transforming their lives, providing training and opportunities for growth, and creating a truly multi-ethnic democratic community. 11/16/99

The Plasmatron is the latest hope for energy efficient transportation--and who doesn't want to drive a car powered by something with such a cool name? 11/16/99

Have a problem with the political opposition? Easy! Sic the IRS on them. 11/17/99

Suburban mother shoots suburban mother in an apparent fit of road rage. 11/17/99

Southern Baptists "believe the greatest act of love is to tell the truth about sin"; and so, they're reaching out to gays by expelling churches that minister to them. 11/17/99

I'm headed out of town to celebrate my birthday. I'll update Tuesday. Go to my portal until then and have a blast. 11/18/99

Companies holding patents on genetically modified corn may be destroying indigenous peoples' way of life by preventing them from planting the crop that their ancestors developed and gave to the world. 11/18/99

Scientists have located strains of the deadly Spanish flu in the bodies of frozen coal miners. 11/18/99

Egyptologists have discovered the earliest known examples of alphabetic writing, dating from 1900-2000 BC. (New York Times, free registration required) 11/18/99

Is your jet-liner Y2K compliant? 11/18/99

Okay: You're a German manufacturer of space heaters. Imagine your dismay when you discover on Friday that a seller in Taiwan is advertising your space heaters with the slogan "Declare war on the cold front" and a caricature of Hitler. 11/23/99

I won't be linking to Alibris anymore: the online bookseller has admitted to intercepting emails between its customers and Amazon. They claim they didn't gain a commercial advantage from doing so, which of course misses the point entirely. (Thanks, Jim!) 11/23/99

Signage that requires any local knowledge to follow is not good signage. 11/23/99

Presbyterian News: Presbyterians Uphold Same-Sex Unions Go! 11/24/99

Wherever you are, Happy Thanksgiving! There is real benefit, I think, in giving thanks for your circumstances, whatever they are. I'm terrible at that when things aren't going the way I please, but looking at each situation as an opportunity and acknowledging those things that are good is a powerful way to approach your life. If you asked me what lesson all the hard times have tried to teach me, I'd say that it was to open myself to the possibilities as they are, and to let go of the circumstances that I can't control. I'm not very good at it. I hope to get better.

I have so much to be thankful for this year: my family, which has always loved and supported me, wishing above all for my happiness; my devoted friends, some of them new this year; my wonderful boyfriend; sudden new opportunities.

Finally, thanks to all of you who read Rebecca's Pocket. Your notes and your attention have made keeping this weblog a real joy. Wherever you are, I hope you have as much to be thankful for as I do today. 11/25/99

Happy Birthday, Andy. 11/25/99

A department store checker, a palm pilot, and a little bit of fraud. 11/25/99

Adbusters wants you to protest the rampant consumerism devouring our culture by not shopping November 26. CNN will air their ad Thursday night. You know I agree with their message.... 11/25/99

Pope News: The Pontiff is coming out for equality between the sexes. "Just because woman is presented as 'a help similar to him' does not mean that woman is a servant of man. The expression means that woman is able to collaborate with man because she is his perfect counterpart...in perfect equality." 11/25/99

WTO News: Well, the party has begun, and my, what fun people are having. Police and highway patrol cars beside every interstate exit, helicopters fluttering overhead at all hours. Activists have taken over an abandoned building. Castro is a no-show, unfortunately, but other than that, things are interesting in downtown Seattle.

Clark Humphrey pretty much sums up my take on the WTO in his column yesterday. "What the protesters don't say as loudly is that the governments within the WTO's member nations (some more democratic, some less) have voluntarily agreed to listen to and, in most cases, abide by the WTO bureaucracy's rulings; all in the name of Almighty Commerce. Any country that wanted to could just say no to WTO, resign from the group, and go back to negotiating individual commercial pacts on its own with every other nation."

(And his description of "lifestyle liberals" is a more succinct description than I've ever been able to come up with of the main thing I don't like about Seattle.)

I guess I wonder if protesting the WTO is the right approach: certainly, it has publicized undeniable problems with the organization. But I have to wonder if it might not be more to the point for citizens worldwide to lobby their governments (who have, after all, voluntarily opted in) for the kinds of protections that seem so ripe for abuse under the present system. 11/30/99

While I'm extolling the virtues of MiscMedia, let me point you to Clark's intelligent prescription for a true Net newspaper. You do read MiscMedia every day, don't you? It's linked right on my portal page. 11/30/99

Edna Adan, former wife of Somalia's Prime Minister is a remarkable woman doing a remarkable thing: building a maternity hospital for poor women with her own money. "The hospital is going up in a place most people in the world would avoid: in the poorest part of Hargeisa, a big city in what some people see as the former Somalia, a place with no central government and one of the highest rates of infant mortality. The hospital site itself was once a military training ground under the sometimes-socialist rule of Mohammed Siad Barre. 'If someone had a very strong urge to quote Marx, Lenin or Engels, this is where you did it,' she said. 'And if, after you were done saluting, you had an urge to kill someone, this is where you did it." (New York Times: free registration required) 11/30/99

Military mothers don't become Generals. "'It's the unnoticed secret of the military,' said Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. 'Senior women officers who are mothers are strained beyond the limits. Whether it is genetic or cultural, women are more bonded to their children than men. They are caught in a double bind that men in the military don't recognize, much less understand.'

'For some reason marriage is almost seen as a liability for a woman because she will have to spend time with her family,' said Lt. Col. Margaret Flott, an Army spokeswoman. 'But I do not think that is unique to the Army.'" (New York Times: free registration required) 11/30/99