Category: Family


Summer 2011 = Racism and Sexism in the American Classroom at New Paltz.

This is the first book on the list: Still Failing at Fairness, by David Sadker and Karen Zittleman. The follow up to their 1995 edition Failing at Fairness , offers a look at gender in the American education system. Sadker and Zittleman have done quite a bit of research on their own, mostly field observation, but they’re also well versed in the science, writing, and history of the subject. I left feeling like an expert!

The key points?
* Contrary to popular belief, women are still overshadowed in classrooms.
*Minority boys fall even further behind women. Minority women do better than minority boys, but not as well as white women.
*Boys feel they’re targeted for behavior in school.
*Both boys and girls feel pressure to be perfect but in different ways: boys want to be white, rich, smart, athletic. Women want to be white, pretty, dateable, smart (but not too smart) and rich.
*Minority women fare better in self-confidence and self-respect than white women.
*Women trail men in SAT/ACT/GRE testing despite higher grades in school. This points to inequities in the test itself.
*Women are lagging in enrollment in Math and Science despite efforts to recruit.
*Women make about 75 cents on the dollar even with higher education.
*Single-sex classrooms have proved inconclusive in helping bridge the gap.

You can get a new copy on amazon for around $6. Happy reading!

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Just in case you weren’t convinced that our synthetic surroundings were causing you cancer and countless other illnesses, here’s an article from treehugger stating the following disturbing findings:

TreeHugger has been reporting for years about the dangers of phthalates, the endocrine disruptor that is used to make vinyl flexible. We have noted previously that it might cause “phthalate syndrome”- smaller penises, and undescended or incompletely descended testicles- in humans…

But NOW:

Now a new study links it to autism. Scientific American says that the Swedish study was looking for something else, a relationship between phthalates and allergies, but found that “Infants or toddlers who lived in bedrooms with vinyl, or PVC, floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later, in 2005, than those with wood or linoleum flooring.”

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Obama Picks Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture CNN reports Obama’s choice for Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack, the former Governor of Iowa.
The Organic Consumers Association argues that he “originated the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, effectively blocking local communities from regulating where genetically engineered crops would be grown,” (Wikipedia) making him a dangerous choice for head of agriculture for the whole nation.
The issue of Genetically Modified Food is a hot one. For a president in precarious circumstances, like President Obama, it must be particularly difficult to pick sides on the topic. On one side is the argument that food prices are skyrocketing and people are in difficult times, so any technology that increases crop yield will be a positive component to solving the economic crisis. On the other had, it is arguable that GMO’s are completely dismantling any remaining “clean” food, by inseminating non-GMO crops. If this is the case, in the long run, this choice would have the opposite effect, causing billions of dollars in health care costs after years of VIRTUALLY EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN being exposed to high levels of genetically altered food, which has been linked to cancer.

An open letter from the New York Times to President Obama.

Link to actual article, reproduced in full:

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Published on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by The Daily Mail/UK
Why Eating GM Food Could Lower Your Fertility
by Sean Poulter
Genetically modified corn has been linked to a threat to fertility in an official study that could deliver a hammer blow to controversial ‘Frankenstein Food’.

Most of the research on GM crop safety has been conducted by biotech companies, such as Monsanto, rather than outside independent laboratories. A long-term feeding trial commissioned by the Austrian government found mice fed on GM corn or maize had fewer offspring and lower birth rates.

The trial has triggered a call from Greenpeace for a recall of all GM food crops currently on the market worldwide on the grounds of the threat to human health.

Most of the research on GM crop safety has been conducted by biotech companies, such as Monsanto, rather than outside independent laboratories.

GM advocates have argued that the fact the US population has been eaten some types of GM food for more than a decade is proof of its safety.

However, these reassurances have been turned on their head by the study commissioned by the Austrian Ministries for Agriculture and Health, which was presented yesterday at a scientific seminar in Vienna.

Professor Dr Jurgen Zentek, Professor for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna and lead author of the study, said a GM diet effected the fertility of mice.

GM expert at Greenpeace International, Dr Jan van Aken, said: ‘Genetically Engineered food appears to be acting as a birth control agent, potentially leading to infertility.

‘If this is not reason enough to close down the whole biotech industry once and for all, I am not sure what kind of disaster we are waiting for.

‘Playing genetic roulette with our food crops is like playing Russian roulette with consumers and public health.’

The Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials with laboratory mice over a course of 20 weeks.

One of the studies was a so-called reproductive assessment by continuous breeding (RACB) trial, in which the same parent generation gave birth to several litters of baby mice.

The parents were fed either with a diet containing 33per cent of GM maize, a hybrid of Monsanto’s MON 810 and another variety, and a normal feed mix..

The team found changes that were ‘statistically significant’ in the third and fourth litters produced by the mice given a GM diet. There were fewer offspring, while the young mice were smaller.

Prof Zentek said there was a direct link between the changes seen and the GM diet.

A press release from the Austrian Agency for Health and Nutrition, said the group of mice given a diet of genetically engineered corn saw a significant change in fertility.

It said: ‘The number of litters and offspring decreased in the GE-fed group faster than in the control. In the GE-fed group more females remained without litters than in the control group.’

Monsanto press offices in the UK and USA were unable to provide a comment on the findings.

CropGen, which speaks for the biotech industry, claims GM crops have been accepted as safe by Government authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

British scientists recently unveiled a GM purple tomato they claimed could help people avoid developing cancer. The tomato is high in antioxidants – naturally found in other fresh produce such as blueberrys, cranberries and carrots – which are seen as a protection against ill health.

Excellent youtube video on recycling your own paper! I was thinking of doing this as a program for my girls 🙂


The BBC reports today that Brazil will start production of condoms, with the rubber coming from rainforest trees. What is important about this news is that the process for extraction is much more efficient and requires less rainforsest space than rubber trees. It also will reduce Brazil’s reliance on foreign imports, lowering the cost of the product and it’s carbon footprint.

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A new study published by Tel Aviv University suggests that prolonged cellphone use, especially while next to the users head, has been linked with salivary gland and brain tumors. There have been reports of this nature before, but because of the dormant tendancy of brain cancers, the results of studies were often hard to track.
The researchers suggest always using your hands-free device or at least limiting the number and length of calls. It also suggests that people in rural areas, where reception is low are particularly at risk due to the amount of radiation emitted by the phone to maintain reception.

Here’s another site with the top ten emitters of radiation in the US phone market.

I’ve found some truly startling articles about aspartame. Now, I eat my fruits and veggies, I excersize four times a week, and I drink a LOT of water, but sometimes I just really feel like a soda. Since I have always been somewhat conscious of my weight, I chose Diet Soda. Of course I had heard of some reports that the artificial sweeteners in them had carcinogens and free-radical destoying agents, but I convinced myself it was no worse than the flouride in tap water. Well after this report, I can’t imagine touching the stuff again.
Here is one study done independently by a mother who worried about her kids drinking soda. Here is another Doctor’s account of her own battle with health complications directly resulting from aspartame intake. Here’s an article in the NYTimes linking diet soda to metabolic disorders.

A few weeks ago, when Hillary Clinton was campaigning, she said something that I hadn’t heard from a candidate in all my years participating and watching politics. She said, “I believe not only do we need to reform health care, but we need to divert some of that money to stopping the causes of the illnesses in the first place. We have toxins in our water, in our food and our money could be better spent on ceasing illness before it starts.”

Well shit, Hillary. I think you are on to something there. (This does not mean she necessarily gets my vote, only that I was listening and agreeing.) It is time that we stop letting big business poison us to better line thier pockets. This is exactly the reason that we need to start shifting into controlling our own food sources and water sources. Even one meal a week that didn’t come from the store is a meal that will benefit your family.

Turns out soda is only good for one thing:

Not that this is new or anything, but yet again government has largely acknowledged the growing threat of Global Warming and climate change. It still blows my mind how far off people still believe these issues are. While we have bountiful (or what look to be) resources in America now, the days of vast water and food shortage is not far off. I am no conspiracy theorist, but I do say that the proof is in the pudding. We are poisoning our water(see this and this) and we are compomising more and more land to grow corn, which is being used not for food, but for biofuel.
The EU report calls climate change, “not only a threat, but a threat multiplier,” causing draught, famine, and war over scarce resources.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. We must act before it is too late. Sustainable living is vital at this stage. Tomorrow isn’t soon enough to start.