I wish that crap that's bad for you didn't taste so good.

Like, for instance, Reese's Nutrageous bars:

Peanuts; Milk Chocolate (contains Sugar; Cocoa Butter; Milk; Chocolate; and Soya Lecithin, an emulsifier); Sugar; High Fructose Corn Syrup; Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (contains Cottonseed; Soybean; Palm Kernel; and Palm Oils); Sorbitol; Dextrose; Chocolate; Nonfat Milk; High Maltose Corn Syrup; Refined Palm Kernel Oil; Salt; Corn Syrup; Whey; Whey Protein Concentrate; Caseinate; Soya Lecinthin; Artificial Flavoring; Glycerine; Lactose; Mono- and Diglycerides; and TBHQ and Citric Acid

I mean, come on, I highlighted everything that's anywhere close to a food in its natural state. Ugh. This is not "food," this is chemically engineered crap that I'm sure is *not* good for my body.

Brown rice and tofu and veggies for dinner tomorrow, for sure. (Anja gets to pick tonight, since it's her birthday!)


MIT sees acceleration in US greenhouse emissions

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions could grow more quickly in the next 50 years than in the previous half-century, and technological change may cause increased emissions rather than control them, according to a new study by an MIT economist and his colleague. ...
Eckaus acknowledged it has become counter-intuitive to question technology's potential to solve the energy problem. But U.S. steelmaking illustrates how fossil fuel consumption can increase along with technological change: Steelmakers' furnaces are now electrical, reducing coal use at the plant. But coal generates some of the electricity that powers the factory furnace, resulting in more CO2 emissions.

"The net savings in this case comes from the use of scrap steel instead of iron ore, not from new furnace technology," Eckaus said.

"There is no 'a priori' reason to think technology has the potential for reducing energy use while meeting the tests of economics. It's politically unappetizing in the U.S., but in Europe, gas costs six dollars a gallon. Make energy more expensive: People will use less of it," Eckaus said.

Yep. There's a *reason* Europeans are generally more conservative with energy, prioritize using it efficiently in public systems, and recycle more. It costs them if they don't. Or at least, it costs the businesses, which means it costs the people.

Random Thoughts.

For the evening:

1.) I love that kitteh speak has become a language that you can speak. U cn send yr kitteh pics plz? :)

2.) I wonder how the movies you watch most while growing up shape your view on the world. Mine were Princess Bride and T2. Therefore, I need a funny, romantic pirate to rescue me in preparation for the computer takeover of the world and nuclear holocaust. Mmm, check. :D

3.) Bought Anja new boots today. Cross your fingers for all of us that these boots help with the sock/shoe sensory stuff that's going on right now. It's very frustrating for her, and for us. Next on the purchasing list, if this doesn't do it, is seamless socks...


Today's required reading list:

The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf. A great book about the American shift to fascism. Wolf points out the ways in which our current society parallels the move to fascism in numerous previous times this has happened across the world. Scary, and important.

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn. This is a book with the potential to really make you re-think the way you interact with your kids (and other people's kids), in terms of moving away from control and toward cooperation. There is a lot of information in it, backed up by many studies across multiple socioeconomic backgrounds, countries, etc., to show that children do better the further away you get from any carrot-and/or-stick methods, and the more you allow them choice and autonomy, and the more you work *with* them instead of controlling them. While I already do a lot of the things he talks about, it helped to point out to me just how much *more* I could be doing these things, and how I can change my point of view. It also makes me much more motivated to keep Anja in Montessori schooling in the future.


Christmas Wish List!

Thorlo Hiking Socks, size 7-9, color unimportant.

Gift cards to Foodworks II in Old Saybrook, or Yankee Candle

Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate Hot Chocolate or Starbucks’ Hot Chocolate or Mocha mix

New sneakers, since my current pair is about 7 years old

Anything from my Amazon wishlist (link added!)

Cash is gladly accepted in light of our upcoming move, and the fact that it is both useful and portable :)

The Big Thirst: The American Water Crisis

Boy, am I glad right now that I don't live in Atlanta... it's going to get awfully ugly down there, awfully soon. The Big Thirst: The American Water Crisis

Part of me feels like certain people there are getting what's coming to them, those who have recklessly and selfishly pushed for more pollution, more industry, less planning, less care about the environment. But a whole lot of more-or-less innocent people (or guilty only via their ignorance and inaction) are going to get caught up in this, too.


Great SFGate article

Outrage fatigue? Get over it

This is the part that I can really identify with, the frustration over the "har-har, thinking, har" mentality:

"Maybe, in other words, you can enjoy, as one blogger put it, a big dose of 'fatigue outrage,' the feeling of disgust you get when faced with all those people who think mental lethargy and laziness is, like, way funny, dude.

In other words, enough with the childish, frat-boy-grade complaints about media overload and too many rants and outrage fatigue. You have to earn that sort of thing. If you never give a crap about engaging the world, if you never want to think deeply about complex issues and care about ramifications and see what truly resonates with your own informed spirit and then stand up for what you believe, this pretty much eliminates your right to sneer at others who do."

This is the feeling I get sometimes when I try to talk to people about issues and the response I get is all "lighten up already." No, I will NOT lighten up, dammit!


Addicting AND good for the world

Play the Free Rice vocab game... every word you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated to feed hungry people. From the FAQ:

Who pays for the donated rice?
The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen. This is regular advertising for these companies, but it is also something more. Through their advertising at FreeRice, these companies support both learning (free vocabulary for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). We commend these companies for their participation at FreeRice.

If FreeRice has the rice to give, why not give it all away right now?
FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

Who distributes the donated rice?
The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.


Wanna know why more high school and college kids aren't politically active?

Because they get expelled for singing and protesting peacefully.

How's that for ridiculous? And the level of their punishment is dependent on their GPA. Score one for punitive fascist behaviour. Teachable civic moments, well, who'd want those....


Nicolaus is a damn smart kid.

As usual, Nicolaus of Electric Boogaloo fame has some damn brilliant insights to share, regardless of his age. Enjoy. :)


The Peak Oil crisis

I'm starting to see more "mainstream" news about the global oil supply and demand issues, for example, this article that just came out. With oil over $97/barrel at the beginning of winter, when prices are traditionally starting to come down, that doesn't bode well, nor does the dropping value of the dollar.

A very interesting and scary graph of world oil production:

It's a recent graph from the Energy Watch Group's Peak Oil report - it's the very best report on Peak Oil I've seen - thorough, intensely analytical and very, very honest. You can get the Executive Summary here and the full report here. Both are PDFs.

With so much of this stuff, it's hard to know how much is hype and fear-mongering stuff, but I think at this point it's not debatable that things are going to have to change in the next 20 years or so, and that conservation and reusable energy sources are going to have to come into play, and soon. Aside from that, oil runs not just our vehicles, but petroleum is the basis for so much of what we do - plastics.

Additionally, with the Euro now buying $1.47, it's going to be debatable about whether we can even save enough money to make this move happen. Pay for the move in $$ on credit cards and then pay it off once we're earning Euros? Is that cheating? Is it even realistic to think that could work? Oy.


Keith Olberman kicks fucking ass.

Damn. Watch the video. We need way more people like this in the media.

I think I found our funiture store...

All used furniture, all the time :) Wa-hoo, yay for spending less money and buying less newly-made stuff! Sah-weet! Bookmarked for next year...

Edited to add: bookmarking this page as well, because I want the big barrel chair in aubergine colored fake suede, if we have a suitable reading corner in our apartment. If I'm buying one piece of new furniture, I want it to be something I love. :)


Live like a cat day... and other random thoughts.

Man, I totally want a day like this..., hehe.

Today's thoughts on the move? I'm really looking forward to having less stuff, to finding and using pre-owned things that I really enjoy (furniture, mostly, I'm hoping, and decorations). I've seen some neat stuff on etsy made from recycled parts, and I'm loving that. Baked my first batch of chocolate chip cookies sold via etsy tonight, which is cool.

Oh, and definitely looking forward to good potato-leek soup :D

Some really beautiful images of this planet

StumbledUpon this page with some really amazing and beautiful images. Totally worth looking at the high-res on the Fjords and the Volcano :)

Edited to add more beautiful travel and architecture images... man, I can't wait to live in Europe again!

Neat geek travel toys

Lots of stuff here you don't need, until you read about it... Vagabondish post

Yeah, this is me, contributing to the blogosphere... /sigh


Cool inspiring story...

Here's an interesting story that exemplifies something I love about traveling - the people you meet, the stories you hear and the ways in which your own perspective is changed...


You big, fat pile of bacteria

Go ahead, roll in it. Revel in it. You're made of it. What, you prefer a meek, sterile world?

Maybe the fact that I'm not a great housekeeper is part of why Anja's so healthy, LOL.

No, but seriously. Interesting stuff, and I totally agree that so much of the western world is so much more comfortable in a super-sanitary, predictable environment. The MRSA thing is one example - MRSA is *everywhere*. Literally, it's on you right this very moment. And your immune system keeps you from getting sick. Sanitizing schools is silly, as soon as you let the kids back in, MRSA'll be all over the place again. Lots of people get MRSA and don't die from it. But OMGZ SOUND THE ALARMS because we live in such a culture of must-fear-everything, it's absurd. The night I saw the ad for the nighttime news about why we should fear escalators, I think that was the last and final straw for news-watching in our house.