rePost :: :: Op-Ed Columnist – Winning the Worm War –

In recent decades, the world has learned that fighting poverty is harder than it looks. But the Guinea worm campaign underscores that a determined effort, with local people playing a central role, can overcome a scourge that has plagued humanity for thousands of years.

My favorite moment came when we were bouncing along with Anyak toward the Carter Center compound. I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, and he answered with the most prestigious and altruistic position he could imagine: “I’d like to be a Guinea worm volunteer.”

via Op-Ed Columnist – Winning the Worm War –

rePost :: Op-Ed Columnist – New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer –

I know only smart people read this blog but I think I have to give the context or subtext of this article. I am assuming that  Kristoff highlighted that the two doctors in the 3 doctor panels were both appointees of former president bush to inform the readers of how grave these results/reviews appear to be. The Bush appointees have had a long reputation proven time and time again of an ideological problem with regulation and in general government intervention of any kind. To declare make a report like this is akin to a climate change skeptic (the rational evidence based ones) warning against climate change. Now my problem with this is what the fuck do I drink when I travel?  damn.

Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic.

In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’ ”

It’s striking that this report emerges not from the fringe but from the mission control of mainstream scientific and medical thinking, the President’s Cancer Panel. Established in 1971, this is a group of three distinguished experts who review America’s cancer program and report directly to the president.

One of the seats is now vacant, but the panel members who joined in this report are Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr., an oncologist and professor of surgery at Howard University, and Dr. Margaret Kripke, an immunologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Both were originally appointed to the panel by former President George W. Bush.

“We wanted to let people know that we’re concerned, and that they should be concerned,” Professor Leffall told me.

The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary.

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”

via Op-Ed Columnist – New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer –

Book To Buy :: Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World (9781591843320): Mark Frauenfelder: Books

Hope Fully Booked has this on the shelves.

“The problem wasn’t how much money we were spending, it was how we were spending our time. Did we really want to raise our kids in an environment of prepackaged diversions, theme-park rides, trips to the mall, freeway traffic, and incessant e-mails?” -from Made by Hand

From his unique vantage point as editor-in-chief of Make magazine, the hub of the newly invigorated do-it-yourself movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes readers on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY. The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal- powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR.

DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.

Frauenfelder also reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating “alpha makers” leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights.

Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.

via Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World (9781591843320): Mark Frauenfelder: Books.

rePost :: Lightweight lifestyle

Like everyone else, hikers become attached to their possessions. But the successful hiker will quickly give up a cherished possession as soon as he learns of a better way. For example, before this hike Wolf taught us how to make a one-ounce stove from a pineapple can which burned alcohol or solid fuel tablets. This replaced our 15-ounce $59 MSR Whisperlight stove which had served us well for over 4,000 miles of hiking. The cooking times were slower with the new stove, but there was a big gain in simplicity.

This principle is not easy to see in our modern culture, where success is generally viewed as proportional to the value and quantity of one’s possessions. Society percieves the owner of a big house which can hold more possessions as more successful, when in fact he may be held in bondage by high house payments, taxes, utilities, repair costs, and a general lack of freedom. In an ever-increasing need for protection he acquires security lights, burglar alarms, double locks, fences, and moves into a subdivision with a locked gate. He pays large insurance premiums so he can afford to replace everything in case all his protection doesn’t work.

via Lightweight lifestyle.

Learned Today:: :: Money can buy happiness if you spent it right | Psychology Today

How did these purchases affect people’s overall sense of happiness? By looking at the data in more detail, the authors found that these purchases affected people’s satisfaction with the area of their lives that were affected by the purchase. People who spent money on experiences related to their social life saw an improvement in their satisfaction with their social life. People who spent money on experiences related to fitness saw an improvement in their satisfaction with their health. These increases in satisfaction with a particular area of their lives also affected people’s overall sense of well-being and happiness.

So if you spend your money on experiences, you can increase your happiness. There are a two key ground rules, though. First, stay within your budget. Spending more money than you have creates stress and lowers happiness. Second, don’t blow all of your money on one great event. You are better off sitting in the cheap seats for a number of sporting events than sitting courtside at one. Spread those good experiences out over time.

via Money can buy happiness if you spent it right | Psychology Today.

rePost :: :: Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Facebook’s identity lock-in

Nice question this post provokes. Should I delete my Facebook account?

Facebook’s identity lock-in

May 21, 2010

“You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal.” -Bob Dylan

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a knack for making statements that are at once sweeping and stupid, but he outdoes himself with this one:

You have one identity … Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.

via Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Facebook’s identity lock-in.

rePost :: The Future of Apple’s Curated Computing

Will most definitely be buying an android 2.2 phone.

I will still probably buy an iPhone some day because they are very cool. However, I will never develop for it, because I’m a crazy one. A misfit. And I’m not fond of rules.

Now where did I pick up that idea?

via The Future of Apple’s Curated Computing.