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july 2000
Some radical reading in honor of Independence Day: The Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Happy Independence Day! Wherever your place of origin, how do you declare your independence? What would you like to be independent from? Something within yourself? Something in your environment? You can do it. Revolution reflects sudden change in thinking, but lasting change revolves around little continuous changes in action. Change an idea about yourself. Write it down. In the same place, write down three things you can do to manifest your new reality. Keep it before you every day. And watch your life change. 07/04/00

What do you love about your country and culture? Wherever and however you live, take a moment to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your culture and your life within it. We are all so lucky to be alive and to be living where we are...well, most of us. This is a good time to remember those who, through no fault of their own, are denied the most fundamental needs of everyday life. You are sitting at a computer: you can make a difference. Go to the Hunger Site and help to feed a hungry person. 07/04/00

The series is the New York Times' "How Race is Lived in America" and the article, Reaping What Was Sown On the Old Plantation, is one of the best-written pieces I've ever read. The article takes its time as it describes the varying points of view of individuals considering how best to portray slavery in a National Park at an old Louisiana plantation, and in the process subtly and brilliantly portrays the difficulties of Blacks and Whites speaking to one another about our past here together. 07/05/00

'A 100-pound Japanese mattress salesman known as The Rabbit set a new world record today by eating more than 25 hot dogs in 12 minutes at Nathan’s annual Independence Day hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island.' 07/05/00

If only I knew what it is that makes a gherkin erotic. (picture here) 07/05/00

This would be exactly like a Greek tragedy if it weren't so dumb. 07/06/00

Canadian scientists have found that gay people are more often left-handed. Blah blah blah left-handers are more creative blah blah right-brained blah blah. So my gay friends really do have a more fabulous color sense than I do.... 07/06/00

They've burned down the Double-R! 07/06/00

Locals watched Nazis dump crates into remote Lake Toplitz just before the fall of the Third Reich. Rumour has always held that they were crates of gold, but there's much more romance than that to the latest expedition to try and retrieve whatever is there.... 07/06/00

Remember the German Baby-bank? They got their first deposit. 07/06/00

The Washington state GOP has had a brilliant idea: abolish those 'unconstitutional' tribal governments. (Thanks, Lizard!) 07/06/00

Seven-league boots/ seven-league bike. 07/06/00

Favored Nation Status? feh. (Thanks, Ken!) 07/07/00

European agencies smash Mafia butter fraud 07/07/00

Sports News: Freshman Katie Hnida is a reserve placekicker at the University of Colorado. She's good; the only question is whether she'll be allowed to stay. (thanks, Jeff!) 07/07/00

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is making inspiringly beautiful homes, furniture and sculptures from fireproofed, waterproofed, inexpensive, recyclable paper tubes. 07/10/00

Green chemistry 07/10/00

When interior designer Elizabeth Brawley's mother contracted Alheimer's disease Ms Brawley got her first look at a nursing home and then devoted her professional life to 'designing for Alzheimer's.' Her latest project is the Alzheimer's garden project. Meanwhile, doctors search for the earliest signs of the disease in an effort to stave the epidemic they fear will be upon us in the near future. 07/10/00

More Signs of the Apocalypse News: Heinz introduces green ketchup. 07/10/00

'Don Gean, Democratic candidate for the Maine State Senate, is taking advantage of the first law in the nation that allows candidates for state office in Maine to campaign using taxpayer money.' 07/10/00

Goth News: New Orleans has a long and distinguished history of its 'cities of the dead'...and the tradition of mausoleum burials is being adopted by the next generation of New Orleans deceased. 07/10/00

Sorry--updates may be short or sporadic this week. I'm having extreme connectivity issues.... 07/11/00

Last week I pointed you to the story of Lake Toplitz, where Nazi gold is rumored to be hidden, and where a high tech team has been trying to scavenge any documents from Holocaust victims. They have left, one week before their permit was up. It seems they've found everything there is to find.... 07/11/00

That's it. I'm going back to being a nanny. 07/11/00

Royal News: Traditionally, royals receive their own coat of arms when they come of age. Prince William just did, and, in a 'welcome innovation' has included a symbol from his mother's line in his. 07/11/00

The World's Richest Women

...the first ever listing of the world's richest women offers a glimpse of how wealth is distributed within families across the globe.

You haven't heard much about them lately, but the news isn't good: the spotted owl population is declining more rapidly than predicted. 07/11/00

I should be back to normal tomorrow. Meanwhile, read the following webpage carefully and then uninstall Smart Download immediately.

The Anatomy of File Download Spyware

...if you use the RealNetworks RealDownload, Netscape/AOL Smart Download, or NetZip Download Demon utilities . . .

EVERY TIME you use one of these utilities to download ANY FILE from ANYWHERE on the Internet, the complete 'URL address' of the file, along with YOUR computer's individual Internet IP address, and a UNIQUE ID TAG that has been assigned to YOUR machine, is immediately (and secretly) transmitted to the program's publisher.

This allows a database of your entire, personal, file download history to be assembled and uniquely associated with your individual computer . . . for whatever purpose the program's publishers may have today, or tomorrow.
(thanks, Jim!) 07/17/00

I'm still poking along at mere bytes a second, but Rebeccalab technicians are working day and night to get my connection working again. No ETA on when man can finally dominate this machine, though.

Oh, it's hideous. There's a lot of good stuff out there, I just can't get to it. Soon I'll be reduced to relating little incidents from my life, unrelieved by links anywhere. No one wants that.... 07/18/00

Auto makers have revealed the difference between those who buy SUVs and those who buy minivans: SUV-owners have committment issues. (NY Times, free registration required)

Sport utility people say, 'I already have two kids, I don't need 20' ...Then we talk to the people who have minivans and they say, 'I don't have two kids, I have 20 -- all the kids in the neighborhood.'
(Thanks, Lizard!) 07/18/00

I'm not back. Well, I might be, but I'm making no promises.... 07/19/00

Nature or Nurture News: Is music an evolutionary adaptation designed to attract a mate, soothe babies, or strengthen social ties? Or is it, as many believe, merely pleasurable? 07/19/00

While Iran and Pakistan loosen their dress codes, Swaziland is imposing a new one.

Swaziland will ban mini-skirts in schools to try to halt the spread of AIDS, a government official said today. ...Schoolgirls are widely blamed for enticing teachers with their short skirts.

I looked out the window today to see a couple passionately kissing. It took me a moment to realize that they were both women. I love living in a place where people can express their love for each other freely, but it made me wonder: if girl-on-girl action happens in the Castro, is it still hot? 07/19/00

Researchers have found that the same brain centers used in learning a new task are activated during sleep afterwards. Ah! To sleep, perhaps to learn! 07/19/00

Thanks to Jim and Lizard for generously sharing all of these links in these trying times. 07/21/00

Parents and educators are increasingly worried about the effects of media violence on their children, but writer Gerard Jones argues that media violence can be good for our children.

Even in the most self-esteem-building household, childhood is inevitably about being small and dependent in a complex world you don't understand. Tasks that adults do without thinking turn into disasters when you try them yourself. And the feelings of anger, fear and frustration that suddenly well up from within you can be almost as scary as the external forces that trigger them.

That's why kids want to be heroes and monsters-why they want to vanquish fears with an imaginary bullet, blow up their limitations in a fiery blast and expel their frustrations in an all- destroying punch.

In fantasy, they get to feel the omnipotence, invulnerability, aggression and self-direction that real life makes so difficult. When they step back into real life, they bring a little of that power and self-esteem back with them.

God's hit list 07/21/00

What can rural people use to get broadband? DSLAM. 07/21/00

I guess you could call this direct action by labor. I call it selfish and stupid. 07/21/00

The Smithsonian Museum now houses a century's worth of mattresses. 07/24/00

After a disasterous air-drop damaged their structure, Mars Society colonists have had to scale down their mission to spend the summer simulating life on Mars in the Arctic. 07/24/00

Should health insurance companies cover the cost of female contraceptives? In a blow for women throughout the US, one pharmacist has filed a class-action suit to try to make them do just that.

Erickson said she became frustrated when she had to constantly tell customers that they would have to pay for their birth control pills — because many other health plans, like her company’s, don’t cover contraceptives — though many do cover abortions and vasectomies.

Something Nasty Behind the Woodshed News: In Little River County, Arkansas something is eating small animals, has bitten a goose, and convinced the herons to move elsewhere. What is it? Well, locals say it's a 30-foot-long boa constrictor that was reportedly set free, and the Arkansas Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Association going to try and capture it. 07/21/00

Counterculture icon Ken Kesey made his name travelling across the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, experimenting with drugs and documenting many of his hijinks on film. These days he's using the internet to edit the film and sell it directly to his fans via his website.

Kesey signs each box personally. As one might expect, it's not an amazon.com kind of operation. They get orders by e-mail, mail out the tapes, and only then do they ask customers to send a check for $29.95.

'It's been totally successful. Of course, we don't keep any records, so how do we know?'

This week from ABC.com's Working Wounded column comes this profound little ditty on 'getting the most from the Net':

We discovered our customers are often the first ‘eyes’ to notice if something should break on one of our more than 225,000 Web pages. Customers use the special ‘Feedback’ links to let us know something is not right where, typically, we will receive a substantial number of similar reports in short order. Our system captures and trends this feedback early enough for us to take appropriate action to resolve issues quickly before they can compromise credibility. Experience, then, has taught weather.com that we can effectively incorporate this ‘Feedback’ as part of our QC monitoring process and leverage the benefit of customer interactivity to a significant technical as well as marketing advantage.
Is this really something people need to be told? I would think this was just plain stupid if it weren't for the number of notes I've written to websites alerting them to just such problems, and never received a reply. 07/24/00

They can put a man on the moon, why can't they keep their server secure? <sigh> (Thanks, Jim!)) 07/25/00

Sick and wrong (Thanks, Lizard!) 07/25/00

Cracks found in every concorde: one grounded The part that scares me about this: one grounded. 07/25/00

Want to avoid Alzheimers? Keep moving, keep learning, stop eating that fast food, cut down on your TV, and do it all now. 07/26/00

An enlightened group of Italian designers have produced a line of clothing designed for disabled women. 07/26/00

Good News/Bad News: The wildfire in Colorado is threatening Mesa Verde, one of the nation's largest ancient Indian archeological preserves; interestingly, it has also uncovered some previously unknown ruins.... 07/26/00

From the Hunger site newsletter:

The Hunger Site achieved a new milestone in the month of July - more than 80 million donations have now been made through the site. These 80 million donations translate into more than 21 million pounds of food being donated to the world's hungry. It is amazing how much difference a simple click can make! Thank you for your continued support of The Hunger Site.
You know what to do.... 07/26/00

In an attempt to intelligently move into the future, adopting those things that enhance human experience and rejecting those that diminish it, some Italians towns are designating themselves as slow cities. 07/26/00

Professor Ingo Potrykus worked seven years to develop golden rice, a genetically engineered crop that contains Vitamin A. He wants to give the technology away, to make a real difference in the quality of life for poor people around the world. But with more and more industrialized nations opposing any GM food, the tangle of patents that surround his achievement, and growing cynicism on the part of the (wealthy) public, it's not that easy.

...it is...the first compelling example of a genetically engineered crop that may benefit not just the farmers who grow it but also the consumers who eat it. In this case, the consumers include at least a million children who die every year because they are weakened by vitamin-A deficiency and an additional 350,000 who go blind.
As an addendun to this article, can someone please explain to me how anyone can hold a patent on a gene? Wouldn't that patent belong to God? I'm thinking seriously about patenting a little technique I've developed for inhaling air, extracting the oxygen for use in my body, and then exhaling the depleted gas that results. (Thanks, J!) 07/26/00

Fidgeting is NEAT 07/27/00

Grrrl News: Proctor and Gamble has launched a website aimed at young women. It discusses puberty, health, relationships, and features a dancing tampon. 07/27/00

Does your health supplement contain bovine brains from a mad cow? 07/27/00

Traveling at an average speed of about 50 mph, a solar-powered car has travelled from Halifax to Toronto using only $2 worth of electricity. 07/31/00

'Cobalt Networks Inc., manufacturer of the Qube server appliance, alleged on Friday that Apple had infringed its trademarks. Cobalt’s Qube, which was launched in May 1998, is a deep blue, 7-inch-square server for hosting Web applications.' 07/31/00

Prophetic politics 07/31/00

'Police used a water-cannon robot to subdue a shotgun-wielding 91-year-old early Sunday and end a 31-hour standoff that began with a shooting death at the man's home.' 07/31/00

Take Back Vermont Just do it. 07/31/00

5000 years of drinking. 07/31/00

Stop! Just STOP! Is there any way we can make this stop? 07/31/00

Pain endured by premature infants during medical procedures may wire the brain for increased pain over their entire lifetimes. 07/31/00

comments? questions? rebecca blood

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