Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
The Penguin Foundation has a global callout for knitters to make pullovers for penguins in rehab.
Penguins caught in oil spills need the little jumpers to keep warm and to stop them from trying to clean the toxic oil off with their beaks…
“They’re very quick,” says Lyn.
The Penguin Foundation also distributes the jumpers to other wildlife rescue centres where needed.
While the Penguin Foundation’s website says it currently has a ‘good supply’ of the little jumpers, the organisation also uses them in educational programs as well as selling them as a fundraising measure.
In 2011 the foundation raised money for a new Phillip Island Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which can house up to 1500 penguins in the event of a major oil spill.
A great reason to resume knitting as a hobby. Ain’t just for kitting out your own kin, y’know.
–because our fracking washing machine died big time, this afternoon. No need for details; but, for several reasons including size constraints, no one in town is in stock in what we wanted for a replacement.
Got one ordered. 2nd half of this coming week.
But, even though Everton won today [Go Blues!] I’m brain dead and in a foul mood. It will take at least one Jamieson’s and finding something worth watching stored on the DVR to settle my brain. Blogging will not do that.
I’ll be back in the morning for a post at 8AM.
p.s. Found the latest Inspector Gently on the DVR from public TV, last night. Martin Shaw rules. That’ll settle me down.
Decision made after long, difficult debate – no matter what anti-choice moralists say
Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.
When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.
It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and who have no treatment available.
Opponents argue children cannot make such a difficult decision. Which presumes opponents have the right to make the decision today – for the children.
In the Netherlands, Belgium’s northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.
Under the Dutch conditions, a patient’s request for euthanasia can be fulfilled by a doctor if the request is “voluntary and well-considered” and the patient is suffering unbearably, with no prospect of improvement…
Supporters of the legislation argue that in practice the law will affect an extremely small number of children, who would probably be in their teens…
The law states a child will have to be terminally ill, face “unbearable physical suffering” and make repeated requests to die – before euthanasia is considered.
Church leaders argued the law is immoral…
Some paediatricians have warned vulnerable children could be put at risk and have questioned whether a child can really be expected to make such a difficult choice.
But opinion polls have suggested broad support in Belgium for the changes.
Not an easy debate. No more or less than the discussion between doctors, psychiatrists, parents and children facing the question. In a very small number of cases where even the possibility for such a decision is lawfully allowed.
None of which seems to matter to the Christian moralists who have no inhibition about lying about the debate which took place. No matter to the moralists of any philosophic conviction who depict the debate as a conspiracy to murder hundreds and thousands of inconvenient children. They deserve to be shamed for the liars they are.
Once again the leadership of movements against choice care no more for truth than they do for individual liberty.
The car was one of the icons of post-World War II Americana. Soldiers came home from the war, bought an American car with as much chrome as they could afford and moved to the suburbs to raise a family. A new study from University of Michigan’s Transportation Research institute indicates, however, that American car consumption may have reached its peak and is now falling.
The study looked at the rate of households that do not own a car from 2005 to 2012, and then examined this rate in America’s 30 largest cities between 2007 and 2012. In 2007, 8.7% of US households did not own a car, and that figure grew to 9.2% in 2012. However, in the largest cities, the rate of families without cars is much higher. From 2007 to 2012, families in 21 of the 30 largest cities decreased their car ownership. The six largest cities all had car-less rates above 30%. New York topped the list at 56.5% of families without cars.
For commuters, this should be greeted as great news. It means fewer cars on the road, which can contribute to lighter traffic. Auto enthusiasts also get more open roads to enjoy. However, for automakers it means that competition will get even tighter, and they will have to fight that much harder for every sale to appeal to a smaller pool of buyers. Nobody is saying that the American love affair with the car is dead, but maybe we have just entered into the comfortable period of the marriage.
Subjectively, all that’s diminished my family’s car involvement is my retirement. If I was still working, I’d be driving about as much as previously. But, I’d be driving one of the new Ram 1500′s with the small V6 diesel – and probably averaging about 26mpg. My wife’s new Ford averages 40mpg on her daily commute. Fossil fuel consumption in our family has diminished about 35% per mile traveled.
When I first retired, I often hopped in my old pickup and went to town for a single item. Now, those trips are collated into an addition coming and going from our weekly grocery shopping. Miles traveled in total are down 30-40%.
Thorough, inclusive public transit only works with reasonable urban density – requiring sensible politicians and/or a thoughtful electorate willing to invest in infrastructure. Apparently, that’s actually happening in a number of cities. Automobile transport is maturing in use, leveling off; but, then, that’s beginning to happen with family size, too.
All in all, we’re getting smarter. That’s in the existential sense, folks. Nothing to do with brain cells.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden helped The New York Times “keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters,” says Jill Abramson, the woman who has the final say on what constitutes “all the news that’s fit to print.”
As executive editor of the Times — the first woman to hold what has been one of the most influential positions in American journalism — Abramson sets the agenda. We talk to her about what she calls the “most secretive White House” she has covered as well as the newspaper’s “seriously flawed” coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War, which happened during her watch as Washington bureau chief. John Seigenthaler also asks Abramson about the future of print newspapers and about accusations that the Times is too far left.
John Seigenthaler: Let me dive right into the news and a little bit about the NSA and Edward Snowden. Daniel Ellsberg was quoted recently as saying that Edward Snowden was his hero. Do you see Snowden as a hero or a traitor?
Jill Abramson: I see him as a very good source. We have published many of the NSA and GCHQ (British intelligence) documents that came from Snowden. And so I view him, as I did Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as a very good source of extremely newsworthy information.
Edward Snowden did help The New York Times keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters…
John Seigenthaler: Let me move on to another topic in the Obama administration. How would you grade this administration, compared to others, when it comes to its relationship with the media?
Jill Abramson: Well, I would slightly like to interpret the question as “How secretive is this White House?” which I think is the most important question. I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush’s first term.
I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.
And do you think this comes directly from the president?
I would think that it would have to…
John Seigenthaler: Everybody has an opinion of The New York Times, so let’s talk about some opinions of the Times. And in particular, The New York Times is often labeled as left-wing, liberal. How do you respond to that?
Jill Abramson: I respond to it by saying I think The New York Times represents a kind of cosmopolitan outlook towards the world and to this country and this city that may strike, you know, some readers as liberal because we have, you know, paid a lot of attention to stories like gay marriage, but these are newsworthy currents in our society.
But it’s not liberal in the sense of being doctrinaire or tied to the Democratic Party in any way. You know, I’ve run many investigative stories and political stories that have made liberal political figures furious.
Folks confuse editorial policy with journalism and reporting. A mistake falling in the category of ignorance – and not limited to the United States.
This is just a portion of the interview appearing at america.aljazeera.com…The full interview will be on AlJazeera America TV, Sunday evening at 7pm ET/4pm PT.
Academics across the world are up in arms at a proposal to bar the senior members of the International Studies Association (ISA) from blogging. The proposal says:
“No editor of any ISA journal or member of any editorial team of an ISA journal can create or actively manage a blog unless it is an official blog of the editor’s journal or the editorial team’s journal.
This policy requires that all editors and members of editorial teams to apply this aspect of the code of conduct to their ISA journal commitments. All editorial members, both the editor in chief(s) and the board of editors/editorial teams, should maintain a complete separation of their journal responsibilities and their blog associations.”
Many members of the ISA, a professional association for scholars, practitioners and students in the field of international studies with more than 6,000 members from 80 countries, have erupted in protest at the proposal…
Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts university in Boston, said: “I cannot see how this can be a viable long-term policy… At best, it’s draconian, and at worst, an infringement of academic freedom…”
But Harvey Starr, the the South Carolina university professor who serves as the ISA president, said the ban would strengthen the organisation’s code of conduct.
He is quoted by Insider High Ed as saying: “The proposed policy is one response, not to blogs per se, but to issues that can arise with people confusing the personal blogs of the editors of ISA journals with the editorial policies for their journals. This proposal is trying to address that possible confusion.”
Baloney! Any reader who can’t differentiate between a blog produced for a specific journal and a personal blog should have their reading skills checked to see if they passed the 6th grade.
Regardless of the trimming and template for some personal blogs, those productions which represent a profession or sub-group, an organization, ISA journals in particular are clearly identified as such. Mr. Starr’s sophistry is sophomoronic.
Nobody really knows exactly how many Americans are walking around with pacemakers and defibrillators. But with surgeons implanting at least 225,000 pacemakers and 133,000 defibrillators each year, “there probably are a couple of million” out there now, said Dr. Paul S. Mueller…
The devices prolong lives, but “all those people will face decisions down the road,” Dr. Mueller said. “’Do I keep it going? Do I turn it off?’” Physicians have similar questions, including what kinds of patients confront these choices and who usually winds up making these decisions.
We know a bit more now that Dr. Mueller and his colleagues have reviewed the medical records of 150 Mayo Clinic patients who, over four years, requested that their devices be deactivated — the largest group of such patients examined to date. What the data show is that these patients are mostly male, quite old, very sick — and unprepared to deal with this issue.
“These patients typically are very ill. They’re approaching death,” said Dr. Mueller. Two-thirds were men; their median age was 79. In the years since they received their devices, many had developed other problems in addition to heart disease, including cancer and respiratory and neurological diseases.
Yet the majority hadn’t recorded their desire to deactivate their cardiac devices. More than half — a comparatively high proportion — had done what health care providers perennially urge and had prepared advance directives, but only one of those documents made any mention of cardiac technology…
“The consequence is, a huge number of surrogates had to make these decisions,” Dr. Daniel Matlock said in an interview, pointing out that about half of the requests for deactivation in the study came from surrogates. “Nobody wants that. People’s big concern at the end of life is not to burden their families…”
I’ve spent most of my life living multiple directions at the same time.
I went from being a kid performing artist as a classical musician to teen jazz musician – while studying photography and literature.
I went from industrial engineering to a major in English literature – after switching to a 12-string guitar. And stopped racing cars, legally or otherwise, which included a very short stint driving for a bootlegger.
There’s more – especially political struggles over the last half-century or so. But, if you’re a regular visitor to this blog you’ll bump into those tales, the pleasure I experience from materialist philosophy and dialectics, science and society.
But, the arts in one form or another should be part of everyone’s life. Today’s technology brings ease and experiment into everyone’s life. Music, photography, writing, reading, experiencing all the wonder of human creativity and nature’s reach can be in the palm of your hand.
The shared experience of seeing a scientist in Alabama – or a technology and business journalist in San Francisco – become really skilled with the digital tools they have chosen to describe the beauty of existence makes me one of the happiest critters on Earth.
When a company chooses to sell their wares on the basis of this capability adds to that enjoyment.