Category: politics


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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You’ve probably heard of this guy already here or here, but if not, Daniel Suelo deserves a shout-out. He’s lived 9 years in a cave in Utah, surviving on dumpster diving, foraging and occasionally hunting, and he blogs about it here.

Great article in the NYT about how environmentally friendly straw houses are, but then the twist: they’re great in an earthquake!

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I have written before about straw building here, that time inspired by the New Orleans Common Ground Collective, who was using straw bale building as a cheap way to house returning Orleaneans.

Nothing inspires me more than this kind of thinking and utilization of resources!! 🙂

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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.

The BBC reports on the severe consequences that will come if we use the economic crisis as an excuse to ignore the need for sustainable agriculture and living, and the fight against Global Warming.

As the UN prepares to assess the Millennium Development Goals this week, will tension between the consumption of the North and the development of the South doom both to a future of crises and scarcity? Felix Dodds and Michael Strauss argue that allowing the Millennium Goals and their environmental aims to slide would be a false economy.

This week is the 8th anniversary of the first conference on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which focused on “nutrition, energy, water, education, healthcare and environmental protection for one half of the world’s one billion poorest citizens, by 2015.”

The article discusses how two converging crises have put increasing pressure on meeting these goals. The first being the food crisis, with the price of food almost doubling since 2007 and the second being the American financial crisis, which has sent ripple effects across the globe.

This article does a great job of offering an objective, omniscent view of the issues at hand. We cannot let our fears and immediate concerns interfere with trying to solve the issues that remain the basis for these crises.

The BBC reports today that downtown Detroit is taking new shape with a rash of urban gardens.
In a town which symbolizes the rust belt, left over from the car industry, a new group Urban Farming has taken it upon themselves to breath some life into the city.

Visiting one of the largest allotments, on a site that had been derelict since Detroit’s infamous 1967 riots, locals spoke about an astonishing transformation.

Derelict streets highlight Detroit’s tough past and present

“There is something that every hand in this area can do,” said Rose Stallard, who is keen to enlist as many volunteers as possible to help tend the garden and its precious crops.

Urban gardening has grown hugely since the onset of the concern over Global Warming, but what is remarkable is how versatile and mutlitalented it is. Community gardens have been reported to help nearby residents economically and socially as well as easing racial and gender divides and building community and lowering crime. Natural is the answer friends!

The Associated Press reports that the World Food Program forsees a food shortage like we haven’t seen since WWII. With the intense competition for food, the World Bank is looking at options like Genetically Modified foods, food rations, as well as asking for a general reduction of the amount of food consumed by the global community.

The skyrocketing cost of food staples, stoked by rising fuel prices, unpredictable weather and demand from India and China, has already sparked sometimes violent protests across the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

President Bush has released an urgent $100 Million and Britain promised another $59.6 Million in aid. Even so feeding programmes in Kenya and Cambodia have been scaled back.

And evolving diets among burgeoning middle classes in India and China will help double the demand for food- particularly grain intensive meat and dairy by 2030, the World Bank says.

According to the technology review, China plans to control the weather, lest any pesky Tibetans oops, I mean rain clouds try to fall on their Olympic parade.

Then, using their two aircraft and an array of twenty artillery and rocket-launch sites around Beijing, the city’s weather engineers will shoot and spray silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds that are still far enough away that their rain can be flushed out before they reach the stadium.

I don’t know about you, but this scares the crap out of me. Are there health affects that come along with these “chemical sprays”?

There are some great posts over at Green Energy News today, such as


Why and How to Spend Your Tax Rebate Wisely (on energy)


The Connection Between Chin’a Hold on Tibet and Lithium (which is used for cell phone and laptop batteries) and…


How the Bahrain World Trade Center has Adopted Wind Power.