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.: 2003 --> april


:: American media strives to be 'fair and accurate', but our reporters are given access only to allied troops, and American military standards and cultural mores limit what is included the stories they file. So who is offering the most complete coverage of the war? The spin is certainly different, but with regard to access, quite possibly the winner is Arab television.

Not only do Arab networks have correspondents 'embedded' with U.S. troops, they also have roaming correspondents on the ground in Baghdad and other key Iraqi cities. Six-year-old Al Jazeera, the oldest and most popular network, has five correspondents in Iraq and two embedded with U.S. troops. Newcomer Arabiya TV already has 25 correspondents in the region of conflict and two embedded with U.S. and British troops. [...]
Because they have reporters on the ground, they are in a position to investigate U.S. and British assertions about the war, or simply outpace information received by Washington. For example, when U.S. officials initially claimed to have gained control of Umm Qasr, an Al Jazeera reporter inside the city denied those reports. On Sunday, Al Jazeera showed a tank near a warehouse, where people were delivering food. Later they reported that a British tank fired on the warehouse and showed exclusive video of the burning building. Then a few hours later, they interviewed a British military spokesman who denied the incident occurred.

There's a related video clip embedded midway down the page in this story [update: not any more. use the following link instead.]. Scroll down until you see the clip labeled 'Among members of a TV crew, differing views of war' and watch the piece [requires Windows Media Player]. It's an outstanding look at the power of media to create and control public perceptions of events--I wish I could find a transcript. (thanks, jim!) [ 04/02/03 ]

:: In response to my earlier entry on conscientious objectors, several readers have sent me links to the news that one has stepped forward. According to the NY Times, Conscientious Objector Numbers Are Small but Growing. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

The law allows members of the military to obtain conscientious objector status if they can prove that during their training or service they developed a deeply held objection to all wars. If their objector application is accepted--a lengthy process that requires interviews, essays and letters from character witnesses--they can either be reassigned to noncombatant duties or discharged.
Although the military is now operating under wartime orders under which no discharges are permitted, it has been surprisingly willing to release those claiming conscientious objector status, according to the objectors and their lawyers.

I have to say: who thinks that the military will be 'like the boy scouts'? Sure, you might think the country wasn't going to go to war anytime soon, but that's not the same thing as being surprised to find out that if it does, part of your job requirement is killing as directed and/or being cannon fodder.

Interestingly, the Guardian article on the same subject includes many more quotes about Mr. Funk's religious beliefs and his beliefs about war in general, and omits the 'boy scout' quote entirely.

Also, now we have a section of the NY Times entitled 'Dissent'?
[ 04/02/03 ]

:: In honor of April Fool's Day yesterday, a list of the top 100 hoaxes.

#4: The Taco Liberty Bell
In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called up the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell is housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed that it was all a joke a few hours later. The best line inspired by the affair came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale, and he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold, though to a different corporation, and would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

They're all outstanding. (thanks, preston!)
[ 04/02/03 ]

:: Are you in the Washington DC area? I'll be doing a joint Meet the Authors/book signing event with Jesse James Garrett on Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 pm at the Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave, in Bethesda, MD. Please come say hi!

Because I can't be sure of my internet connection (or inclination to surf), updates next week may be spotty.
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: I'm adding two new links to the sidebar: Back to Iraq, who raised the money to go report on Iraq from his online audience, and Blogs Against War, another compliation site (but which seems to be down at the moment).
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: What does it take? Once again, we are distributing bright yellow food packets into areas where we are also dropping bright yellow cluster bomblets. We did the same thing in Afghanistan, and we've had a year and a half since then to remedy the situation.

One simple way to right this sitation is to wrap existing yellow rations in bright pink or orange baggies (or implement a policy of not using cluster bombs at all--a solution I would heartily endorse). Or, do what the military finally did in Afghanistan: change the color of the food packets to blue. When and why did it get changed back again?

There's no question that if another country were dropping identically-colored bomblets and food packets into the United States, the administration (and media) would quickly accuse that country of war crimes or terrorism or both. We can do better than this--and we need to start. Please take 5 minutes right now to let your senators and representative know this isn't acceptable--and then call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell the President to change the color of those food packets, now and for good. [Update: They are changing the color. Thanks for your efforts!] (thanks, lizard and sebastian!)
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: Have you looked at Yet Another Weblog lately? Vicki is one of the old-timers, and she still has one of the best filter-style weblogs around.
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: Weekend Reading: The CIA Global Trends 2015 is a long, but very interesting-looking report (I intend to read it on the plane). It examines conditions today, drivers and trends for the future, and then predicts four alternative global futures and ends with some generalizations:

The four scenarios can be grouped in two pairs: the first pair contrasting the 'positive' and 'negative' effects of globalization; the second pair contrasting intensely competitive but not conflictual regionalism and the descent into regional military conflict.

I believe there are inexorable trends in history that, barring cataclysmic events, sweep humans along. Agrarian culture moved inevitably into industrial culture, which is moving just as unavoidably into the information age. Just as strongly do I believe we have the ability to choose how those trends manifest. We may not have much control over the very large 'whats' in history, but we have a considerable influence over the 'how'. (thanks, matt!)
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: In the future, everyone will wear clothes with microdaggers. Changing your underwear will no longer be a hygenic necessity, merely an exercize in fashion. (via boing boing)
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: Of course, you've already read all about the business with the altered photograph of Iraqis on the front page of the LA Times. Still, a nice lesson in media literacy.
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: Friday Flash: chances, a haiku series by jeff winke.
[ 04/04/03 ]

:: Thanks to everyone who came out to see us in DC. It was great meeting all of you,.
[ 04/11/03 ]

:: We Love the Iraqi Information Minister. As do I, dear readers, as do I.

This site is a coalition effort of bloodthirsty hawks and ineffectual doves united in admiration for Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information (currently on administrative leave).
'In an age of spin, al-Sahaf offers feeling and authenticity. His message is consistent -- unshakeable, in fact, no matter the evidence -- but he commands daily attention by his on-the-spot, invective-rich variations on the theme. His lunatic counterfactual art is more appealing than the banal awfulness of the Reliable Sources. He is a Method actor in a production that will close in a couple of days. He stands superior to truth.' -- Jean-Pierre McGarrigle

(via command post) [ 04/11/03 ]

:: Pork-- in the war bill. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

Even more exercised was Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who berated his colleagues on the floor last week for approving dozens of nonwar projects, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, without even reading them.
'I was really appalled,' said Mr. McCain. 'Here, in the name of fighting the war in Iraq, they loaded up the bill with pork-barrel spending. I mean, I didn't realize that Al Qaeda had reached all the way to the South Pole, but it's an example of a process that's simply out of control.'

There's no excuse for this, especially with the deficits this country is facing for the foreseeable future. If you recall, it happened with the Kosovo War Bill, too. I wonder how much money a year we would save if we cut all the pork out of the federal budget? (via dangerousmeta)
[ 04/11/03 ]

:: Haute Green [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

Of course, high-end environmental correctness has a price. Mr. Hertz estimated that the renovation cost 10 to 15 percent more than it would have without any green features. The retractable roof cost $15,000. The mahogany from sustainable stands cost about 10 percent more than conventional mahogany, and the solar thermal and electric systems came to about $25,000.
With the rooftop thermal panels and a water-heating system that operates at 98 percent efficiency, the family rarely has to draw from its propane-powered backup. During the week, when the house is empty, the rooftop panels pump electricity back to the local utility company, creating a credit. Though the solar electric system is relatively small (it was installed in a day), it manages with its two-way grid connection to meet the electrical needs of the house.

[ 04/11/03 ]

:: The Nato Review looks at the Great Divide between the United States and Europe. Not so great on many points, as it turns out. The charts, all very interesting, are based on the reports compiled in 2002 by Key Findings on US atttitudes in 2002 and Key Findings on European Attitudes (thanks, matt!)
[ 04/11/03 ]

:: A new review of the Weblog Handbook!
[ 04/11/03 ]

:: There could hardly be better news than this: Sharon willing to make 'painful concessions'.

Israel must make 'painful concessions' to help achieve Mideast peace by giving up some Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in Sunday's editions of the newspaper Ha'aretz.

There will not be peace in Israel until the Palestinians feel their safety is assured. There will not be peace in the Occupied Territories until the Israelis feel their safety is assured. I don't know that Sharon can ever fully redeem himself for his part in the escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, but this is a very promising--and requisite--first step.
[ 04/14/03 ]

:: This just breaks my heart: Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

The National Museum of Iraq recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters. [...]
Officials with crumpled spirits fought back tears and anger at American troops, as they ran down an inventory of the most storied items that they said had been carried away by the thousands of looters who poured into the museum after daybreak on Thursday and remained until dusk on Friday, with only one intervention by American forces, lasting about half an hour, at lunchtime on Thursday.
Nothing remained, museum officials said, at least nothing of real value, from a museum that had been regarded by archaeologists and other specialists as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East.

So, what is the worth of a 5,000 year old artifact, anyway? The only value I can think of would come from selling it to a museum or a collector. Let's hope that after things settle down, people will come forward to return the items they looted.
[ 04/14/03 ]

:: Anil has a dream--and it's a doozy.

Someday all the former isolationists, these strident libertarians, who have suddenly seemed to have grown a global conscience these last few weeks and started to really, really care about the civil liberties of the Iraqi people are going to realize the position they've gotten themselves into. We progressive liberals have long said that the suffering of others around the world matters. And they've historically said, 'So what? I've got mine.'
But now their party line has changed, and they may to have to concede that, despite being the right thing to do, despite being a success, this war in Iraq was justified with disingenuity. Or else they can stick to their current story, that having the largest, most powerful army in the world raises certain obligations for our country. And I hope they do. I hope they keep saying that our continued safety in the future requires seeing to the freedoms of people around the world.
I hope that involvement becomes our policy.

[ 04/14/03 ]

:: From NPR, an Iraq reading list.
[ 04/14/03 ]

:: BookSense Reading Group Suggestions for 2003-2004.

I have to disagree with the inclusion of Angela's Ashes under the heading 'True Stories of Strong Women'; Angela, as portrayed by her son, suffered from debilitating chronic depression, and was unable to do anything to cope with or better her situation. (via Off the Shelves)

This month BookSense features an invitation to Rediscover Authors You've Never Heard Of including You Can't Win by Jack Black

First published in 1926, You Can't Win is the autobiography of a turn-of-the-century American outlaw, that in spite of, or because of, the author's social standing, presents an amazingly clear-eyed, generous, and eminently wise view of life. Best known as William Burroughs' favorite book, this long-time underground classic unveils a remarkable portrait of the waning days of the wild west, particularly San Francisco around the time of the 1906 earthquake; a fascinating view of a subculture entirely left out of the history books; and a remarkably progressive retort to the lock-em-up attitude toward criminals that so disastrously prevails these days. A new afterword summarizes the events of Black's life after the initial publication of You Can't Win.

[ 04/14/03 ]

:: A World Connected

[AWorldConnected looks] at the lives of real people who are being affected by the processes of globalization. We celebrate the successes, and we seek to understand the failures. We trace the connections between people with the goal of identifying actions - well-intentioned and otherwise - that have created obstacles and resulted in human suffering. We strive to identify recurring patterns and successful models that may be replicable elsewhere. Always, we emphasize empirical evidence, critical analysis, and intellectual honesty. [...]
Our perspective cuts across ideologies and the traditional left/right political divide. We have a deep and abiding respect for the basic human desire to rise out of want and bondage, to overcome restrictions in order to reach human potential. Our vision is inspired by the ideas of universal freedom and voluntary exchange, and our project is driven by the real-life stories of individuals struggling for self-determination and success, however they might define it.

Upcoming activities include Globalization & Poverty, a free summer workshop this June 28-July 4 at Georgetown University (deadline for registration is April 15) and an essay competition for $10,000 in prizes by answering the question 'Why are some countries rich while others remain poor? How does globalization contribute to the wealth or poverty of nations?' (deadline May 1).
[ 04/14/03 ]

:: When I compiled my ethical code for weblogs I guess it never occurred to me to include an injunction against plagiarizing material. It may be time to add a point to the list.
[ 04/14/03 ]

:: 'Two California poultry farmers who fed some 30,000 live chickens into wood chippers will not face criminal charges because they had permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prosecutors said on Friday.' Brooke says it best:

Tell Ann Veneman, the head of the Dept. of Agriculture, that you think that's deeply fucked up, won't you? Call her at (202) 720-2791 or email her at

I have no problem with raising and eating meat. I am bitterly opposed to unecessary cruelty.[ 04/16/03 ]

:: It's that time of year again, and that means it's time to plan A Seder for the Leather Community.[pdf file. html version]

We recommend taking this time to remove the final marks of that as well: the items that mark someone as a slave. As all other items that represent the use of chameitz are removed, so should those items that mark a slave be removed ritually. These are chameitz items, like non-kosher pots and pans, which could then be removed to a place where they are not accidentally seen (or used) during the 8-day festival.
This ritual act should be clearly understood by all parties, and offer an opportunity to consider one of the following activities:

Beautiful. (via boing boing)
[ 04/16/03 ]

:: The Psywar Society is devoted to the collection and documentation of aerial leaflet propaganda from the First World War through Kosovo and Serbia. I guess now it's time to start on Afghanistan and Gulf War II.

The Society's membership fluctuates between 150 and 200. Because we are thinly spread all over the world there are no formal meetings. You will find, however, that Society members are very friendly and are delighted to meet you when you pass their way. Much correspondence goes on between collectors with similar interests.
Since its inception in 1958 the Society has published a quarterly magazine, 'The Falling Leaf', which is an invaluable source of news, articles, and information about aerial leaflet propaganda. Recent back numbers are usually available at a bargain price to new members. In addition, there is a quarterly auction through which members can sell their duplicates to other members. This can be an inexpensive way of acquiring leaflets for your collection.

(via larkfarm)
[ 04/16/03 ]

:: Castle Cleaning Services Cleaning Tips
[ 04/16/03 ]

:: Good Friday. When I was little, my mother had to explain to me over and over again what about the crucifiction was good.
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Victory in the war is not victory in the argument about the war.

The serious case against this war was never that we might actually lose it militarily.... The serious case involved questions that are still unresolved. [...]
Political questions: Should we be doing this despite the opposition of most of our traditional allies? Without the approval of the United Nations? Moral questions: Is it justified to make 'pre-emptive' war on nations that may threaten us in the future? When do internal human rights, or the lack of them, justify a war? Is there a policy about pre-emption and human rights that we are prepared to apply consistently? Does consistency matter?

[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Tracking terrorists by analyzing your grocery bill. (thanks, lizard!)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: To follow up on my link to the Psywar Society, here's a terrific CBC feature about the psyops of the war in Iraq, including examples of the leaflets dropped by the US over that country. [requires flash, and will spawn a popup window in which to view the feature.] (thanks, erich!)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: How did Iraq fall so quickly? Poor leadership and an army that was outgunned at every turn.

Iraqi armed forces had also never recovered from being pulverized in the 1991 Gulf War. 'You can't fight with what was left ... and this war was not just about what you learn at the military academy - it is technological, and we recognized that,' says Asaad. 'The Army believed that from the first bullet fired by the British in the south, it would lose.'

While you're at the CSM, take a look at the Daily update entry for updated 7:40 p.m. ET/4:40 a.m. PT April 17, 2003. According to Iraqi doctors, they tried to take Jessica Lynch to a US checkpoint the day before she was rescued--but they were shot at by US forces. [ 04/18/03 ]

:: If the world is lousier than ever, why are so many things so much better?

In every age humanity is in its worst state ever, and ours is no exception.
Recent golden ages all look irrevocably past: literature, movies, TV, politics, unionism, whatever. They all were more interesting and more fruitful some other time. Now literacy is in the toilet. Every Bond film is not as good as Goldfinger. The Simpsons has gone downhill. Non-entities dominate in Washington. Everywhere my friend Mark goes people tell him it was better before he got there.

It's a great piece. His list of 'Cause to Celebrate' and 'Better Days? Haw Haw Haw' are terrific--go read it all. Author William Swislow is in good company:

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Now treat yourself to a copy of A Tale of Two Cities and spend some time savoring that. (via plep)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Loganberry Books Stump the Bookseller! Find a forgotten childhood favorite, even if you can hardly remember it.

This book basically follows a Chicken as he wanders through the farm. As he goes, a wolf is trying to catch him, to no avail. There was little text, but great pictures. For example at one point the wolf is about to pounce, but steps on a rake, which flies up to smack him in the face. I remember loving this book when I was very young (before 1979). Hope you can find it.

(via larkfarm)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Garcon! More wine! or: I'm still cross-eyed from this. (again, thanks to the Lizard)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Say! Workbench has a very nice new design. Go say hi and a belated happy birthday to Rogers. (And who knew the creator of was such a cheerful-looking guy?)
[ 04/18/03 ]

:: Poverty Research Toolbox. (via waterloo wide web)
[ 04/20/03 ]

:: The Eat What You Fancy Diet

The central plank of Sophie's thinking is that you can eat any damn thing you like, be it chocolate, crisps, chips or cheese – in fact, that it's good for you to eat what you want, because 'forbidden foods' develop a powerful allure. This disappears when food is freely available, reasons Sophie.... The trick, however, that lets you achieve your natural, correct body weight is to eat only because you are hungry, and stop when you are full. Harder than it sounds, of course, and this is where the Beyond Chocolate tactics come in. [...]
As well as eating too quickly, there are other barriers to eating just enough, no more, no less. We discovered that we all had a horror of wasting food, and would finish a dish rather than throw it in the bin. This wasn't confined to those among us who remembered post-war rationing; we had all been brought up to believe waste is wrong. Sophie is pragmatic about chucking away leftovers. 'If you eat food when you don't want it, it's just as much wasted as if you throw it in the bin,' she pointed out. 'Why treat your body like a dustbin?'

Your Money or Your Life mentions an identical approach to dieting as put forth in Diets Don't Work. As I say in my review, Your Money, though preachy, is filled with sound advice. I would go so far as to say that two of its core ideas--'enough' and 'impeccability'--have the potential to be life-changing. (via backup brain)
[ 04/20/03 ]

:: Leopold Brothers Sustainable Brewery

Two brothers, one a German-educated brewer and the other an environmental engineer, set out to create the world's first environmentally sustainable brewery. In so doing, they hoped to quench the thirsts of today's beer drinkers without limiting the ability of future generations to do the same.

(via plep)
[ 04/20/03 ]

:: Prayer Competitions

The couple told me they wished that I could provide them with 'some theological marriage counseling.' I had just finished giving a speech and they had approached the podium area for a brief chat.
'We’re only kidding,' she said. 'Well, half kidding,' he added, and they smiled at each other. She explained: 'He thinks we should go to war against Iraq, and that we should get on with it quickly and get it over with. But I don’t think we should fight at all. I favor diplomatic pressure, working through the U.N.' He elaborated: 'And the problem is that we both pray about this. I pray for war and she prays against it.'

[ 04/20/03 ]

:: In visiting Amazon the other day, I noticed the Google keyword ads for Book of Common Prayer (1979, Personal Size Economy, Black)

Google keywords ads:

[ 04/20/03 ]

:: Does anyone know of a site that has links to corporate Environmental 'Annual Reports' or environmental/sustainability statements? If so, I'd appreciate it if you would you drop me a line at rebecca at rebeccablood dot net. [Here's the answer.]
[ 04/22/03 ]

:: When Capitalists Go Bad: Fortune looks at CEO compensation in a post-scandal era.

Or take Disney's Michael Eisner. After he failed to clear his bonus hurdle two years running, his board lowered the performance bar, and then--hooray!--he finally cleared it. An Olympian effort worth $5 million. [...]
Even more troubling is stealth wealth. 'Deferred compensation' plans, for instance, let executives sock away up to 100% of their salary and bonus in a tax-advantaged account until retirement, often with the addition of a company match and above-market interest. Meanwhile, many pension plans credit executives with decades of unserved 'service,' even shielding them from creditors in the event of bankruptcy.

Bonus pullquote:

Again, Nardelli's contract comes to the rescue. Let's say he's fired for 'cause.' No, wait, that's almost impossible. Because these days 'cause' doesn't mean what you think it might. Let's leave Nardelli for a minute and look at 3M CEO James McNerney. In his contract
... cause shall not include any one or more of the following:
(i) bad judgment,
(ii) negligence.

You just have to read the whole thing. (thanks, kevin!)
[ 04/22/03 ]

:: 'Not only do Americans not save a significant portion of their income, they regularly spend more than they make.' As it turns out, the figures that spawned those stories were the result of an accounting error. But that doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet.
[ 04/22/03 ]

:: A moral suggestion.

Think morals come from The Ten Commandments? Human behavior may be complex, but it's been following the same set of hard-wired moral instincts since way before Moses came down from the mountain.

[ 04/22/03 ]

:: How to choose a search engine or directory is an outstanding compilation, arranged by what or how you want to search.
[ 04/22/03 ]

:: Tantek and Jeffrey on hand-coded weblogs and why anyone would retain such a luddite method.

For myself, in addition to the reasons named, I add two of mine: my writing process (read: rewriting/rearranging process) would be far more cumbersome if I used an automated system. That, and/or the writing on this site would significantly change to more spontaneous, less considered bursts. Second, cost. Currently, hosting Rebecca's Pocket costs $9.95/month; in order to use the more advanced features available (the only real reason to make the switch) I would have to upgrade to a more expensive account.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: On a related note: Many people seem to have expected the Weblog Handbook to contain notes on process--how to write a weblog the Rebecca Blood way. Of course, the book contains nothing of the kind. Why would anyone want to reproduce my process when they can use the wonderful tools available to start writing today? I wanted to introduce people to the concept of weblogs and then to give them a good grounding in the intangibles--the social and emergent aspects of writing in this particular community, if you will--so that they could quickly invent a style and individual process of their own.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: Erik Benson's reflections on the Emerging Technology Conference are the best I've seen. If all conference blogging was this smart and thoughtful, I'd be much more interested in reading it.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: As noted in the sidebar, I will be doing an online interview at the WELL from May 2 to 16; come contribute a question or just read. And I will be delivering a keynote speech at Blogtalk, which is from May 23-24 in Vienna, Austria. I'd love to see you there.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: In the genre of the 1900 House and Frontier House, National Geographic is producing a new show, Worlds Apart that places American families in an entirely different culture. What a great variation on a theme. I believe the first show, a family trying to survive in a tribal culture in Africa, is airing now, so check your local listings.

Incidentally, PBS is gearing up for Colonial House, the next in their time-travel reality TV.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: In nature, salmon eat shrimp and krill, ingesting chemicals that turn them pink. On farms, farmers add those same chemicals--canthaxanthin and astaxanthin--to fish feed to produce the same effect. Now, in an unprecedented suit, eight consumers have taken three supermarket chains to court for not telling them.

Here's an notable aside:

Bright says he suspects much of the anti-farmed salmon effort comes from the wild fish advocates, perhaps from the commercial fishing industry, though Lowney says none of those interests are involved in the lawsuit.

Now wouldn't that be interesting? Ah, the politics of the free market.

I wonder what these consumers hope to achieve with their suit? Labelling in the fish case? Government mandated limits on the amount of the chemicals that can be fed to the fish (not a bad idea). Or gray salmon in the cooler?

I do believe consumers have the right to know what is in the food we buy--without having to go to extraordinary lengths. After that, let the market decide. (thanks, jim!)

Update: Garrett sends an article about the possible effects of ingesting too much canthaxanthin:

It turns out that canthaxanthin is responsible for causing 'canthaxanthin retinopathy', or a multitude of retinal disorders affecting sight. Canthaxanthin and its metabolites can cause crystallisation around or on the retina, blocking nerve signals and causing 'white flashes' and other such problems.... Presently, the acceptable daily intake of canthaxanthin for a human is 0.03mg/kg of body weight, yet the average intake from just one serving of fish is over twice that amount.

More: European solutions and alternatives to the current pigmenting diet. [ 04/24/03 ]

[ 04/24/03 ]

:: USDA: 'Consumers' willingness to pay for food products decreases when the food label indicates that a food product is produced with the aid of modern biotechnology.' (via dangerousmeta)
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: 'An overwhelming majority of Canadians want so-called "frankenfoods" clearly labelled as genetically modified products, says a soon-to-be-released University of Alberta study.' (via waterloo wide web)
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: The Pocket Brain Trust comes through again! In response to Wednesday's query about Corporate environmental annual reports, I received the following:

Bill offered this listing from Sustainability Reports.

Pam sent links to:
- Case Studies from - BSD Global;
- the Ericsson Annual Report 2000;
- The Sustainability Institute's Annual Report;
- Sustainable Practices on the UNC-CH campus;
- and the The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World), a guide for people who seek to invest in companies that promote corporate sustainability

Todd turned up:
- Sustainability Reports again;
- The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a 'multi-stakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines';
- And Global Reporting's list of 'companies we are aware of that have released a report (current or previous) referencing the Guidelines are listed below, with links to their reports where these are known. By listing a company name GRI does not certify the report’s conformance to the Guidelines';
- KPMG International Survey of Corporate Sustainability Reporting [PDF file], which advises that 'You can now download one copy'. One copy? What?

And Matt has put together an amazing list of resources that includes a section on Business.

And here is the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire Service.

Whew! I mean it when I say I have the smartest readers on the Web. Thanks to everyone who sent in a link.
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: Tea Resources. Tea Ceremony, Kinds of Tea, History, Tea and Health (via bragadocchio)
[ 04/24/03 ]

:: Yesterday Rebecca's Pocket was 4 years old.
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised is a Lost Highways exhibit featuring the amazing futuristic vision of early 20th century artist Art Radebaugh. From a contemporary newspaper article:

He has his own solution to the housing shortage, too, whereby aluminum houses would be built on an aircraft assembly line, picked up by helicopter and delivered to the previously prepared foundation. It would be a four-room job with a total weight of less than 1,500 pounds. The cost would be less than half of the present-day average home. When the house is set on the foundation, a specially-devised plastic coating would be sprayed on the inside and outside to provide insulation.
Other futuristic items presently engaging his vagrant thoughts include helicopter buses; lighter-than-air craft using jet propulsion; large Diesel locomotives with a train pilot who acts in a similar capacity to an airplane pilot by using electronics and radio to keep in constant touch with centrally-located dispatching stations; seven-seater taxicabs that will turn on their own axis with a driver located in an aircraft type plastic bubble canopy behind and away from the riders; cities of the future, containing new type house that revolve with the sun...and such like.

(via plep)
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: Math on the Simpsons. (via allaboutgeorge)
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: Disenchanted on Critical Thinking.

Now there's another kind of behavior that some people have learned with difficulty and discipline, but that doesn't seem to be intuitive. The lack of it has been getting smart people into all kinds if stupid trouble. It's called critical thinking, or the act of criticizing your own thoughts. The book Critical Thinking by Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder describes at least eight questions that critical thinkers use to analyze their own thoughts constantly:

(via anil's daily links)
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: Body Sox; Sleepsack; Phantom. (thanks, lizard & sebastian!)
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: UberCon menu:
Black Bean Chili (page 109)
Cornbread (page 328)
Coleslaw (page 63, but use half the sugar, and use their salting technique)
Marinated Mushrooms
Sweet & Sour Carrots
Black-eyed Pea Pate (page 19, substitute tahini for the peanut butter, but it still needs something)
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing
[ 04/28/03 ]

:: U.S. Pulls Military from Saudi in Gulf Realignment

The United States said on Tuesday it was ending military operations in Saudi Arabia and removing virtually all of its forces from the kingdom by mutual agreement following the Iraq war.

As cynical as I am about our motives in this last Gulf War adventure, this is actually good. One of Osama's big things has been to get US miltary bases out of Saudi Arabia. Now we will see whether this was his real beef or just a convenient bit of rhetoric designed to inflame the masses.

And make note of this:

'But then it already has significant bases in Qatar and UAE so I actually don't think it will make any military difference, but the politics are huge. This actually throws open (the question of U.S.) support for Saudi Arabia and America's whole attitude to it. It's a very important event,' [defense analyst Paul Beaver] added.

We certainly don't need their oil anymore. Just something to remember, depending on how events unfold.
[ 04/30/03 ]

:: The More Things Change News: The Wolf and the Lamb, Aesop

Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside, when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. 'There's my supper,' thought he, 'if only I can find some excuse to seize it.' Then he called out to the Lamb, 'How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?'
'Nay, master, nay,' said Lambikin; 'if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me.'
'Well, then,' said the Wolf, 'why did you call me bad names this time last year?'
'That cannot be,' said the Lamb; 'I am only six months old.'
'I don't care,' snarled the Wolf; 'if it was not you it was your father;' and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and ate her all up. But before she died she gasped out

(thanks, preston!) [ 04/30/03 ]

:: Intelligence agencies accuse Bush and Blair of distorting and fabricating evidence in rush to war

Some American officials have all but conceded that the weapons of mass destruction campaign was simply a means to an end – a 'global show of American power and democracy', as ABC News in the US put it. 'We were not lying,' it was told by one official. 'But it was just a matter of emphasis.'

[ 04/30/03 ]

:: Comrade Kent. What if Superman had landed in the Soviet Union instead of Smallville, USA? What indeed? (thanks, neil!)
[ 04/30/03 ]

:: If you maintain a weblog, two professors from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale would like you to complete their survey. Professor Reynolds knows them and vouches for their promise that all information collected will be used strictly for research purposes.
[ 04/30/03 ]

:: Speaking of Glenn, his wife has made a documentary, Six, about a group of teenage killers who should never have gotten to that point. The tagline has to be Glenn's: 'The six teens are behind bars. But the system that bred them is still on the loose.'

And through a series of snafus (maybe just one snafu, I don't know the details) Glenn did the trailer! Go watch it, and then call your local repertory theatre and ask that they book it--or order a copy for yourself.
[ 04/30/03 ]

:: Professor emeritus John M. Gottman has devised a system for mathematically mapping marital conflicts which 'uses the tools of calculus to describe the interactions of couples.' Don't be scared by that description: this is an absolutely fascinating article.

So what's the cash value of all this mathematics? What insights has it offered Mr. Gottman that he couldn't have derived through ordinary intuition, or by analyzing his data with humdrum statistical techniques? 'I believe it was Lord Rutherford who said, If you need to use statistics, then you should design a better experiment,' says Mr. Murray. 'Statistics will just give you the bare facts. If you want to understand why a dynamic system behaves as it does, then you need to use nonlinear tools.'

(via leuschke)
[ 04/30/03 ]

:: The Dull Men's Club (via dangerousmeta)
[ 04/30/03 ]

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