Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wonkblog's graphs of the year

For some reason I've really been letting this blog languish. I suspect that it's because in the age of Twitter, it is largely redundant. But I still find many interesting things out there on the web, and I guess I will continue to link to them. In any case, I've been finding the Washington Post's Wonkblog's "Graphs of the Yea.r" accessible and sometimes eye-opening. Believe me when I tell you that I am no expert when it comes to graph reading, but these are interesting even to me. The first one that caught my eye was Jonathan Franzen's graph of Causes of Annual Bird Mortality, but there are many by other famous people in all fields. The latest update as of this writing is from Vaclav Smil, graphing the prices of oil vs. natural gas. It has links to some of the others at the end, and you can find it HERE

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tiny home--on wheels

Not keeping up very well with this blog lately for some reason, but it's not because there's lack of amazing stuff out there. This photo-story of the ultimate small home really caught my fancy. I found it through the website TakePart. Have a look.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vladamir Putin's Regime--a Timeline of Repression

Vladimir Putin was nominated for Prime Minister in 1999. Amnesty International has a timeline up about just how bad that's been for Russian civil liberties ever since. Although we tend to get caught up in the latest infringement-- the imprisonment of the members of Pussy Riot or  the erosion of LGBT rights as highlighted by the upcoming Olympics, sometimes its instructive to see the broader context. Check it out HERE

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Doctors Without Borders: The Fight for Affordable Treatment

Doctors Without Borders just made this video available of a live webcast they did last week and which I watched at the time. It's a panel discussion  centering around a documentary that's coming out now called Fire in the Blood, which is about how many millions of people died in Africa of HIV/AIDS when a treatment regimen was available. I really got a lot out of listening to this cosmopolitan, congenial, and dedicated group and I think you will too.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"The bravery and foolishness of the youth is not something to be toyed with.”

"The bravery and foolishness of the youth is not something to be toyed with.”
~ Leslie Norman, ECSU student on the Rachel Maddow show 8/22/13

I was walking out of the room as I heard this said on the Rachel Maddow show. It was a bit of a sound bite and I never actually saw the speaker. This was in the context of a section of the show about the voter's rights battle in North Carolina. Nevertheless, I was struck by the precision and eloquence of the statement.

I'm not so  na├»ve as to think that voting is always a fair fight, but I thought that at least people would pretend to play on a level playing field.

Youth, I guess it's up to you to change that.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Case of the Vanishing Netflix queue

Netflix decided that you would rather have their ideas of what you'd like to see than your own accumulated list. And maybe that's true, but maybe it isn't. In case it isn't, Slate has very kindly posted the simple instructions for getting your instant queue back.

This was one of those rare cases where someone gave me an easy solution before I even knew there was a problem.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jane Goodall Institute's Tchimpounga Sanctuary

Just got an email from the Jane Goodall Institute about one of their newest arrivals, a one armed orphan named Anpac. This led me to take a look over at their website, as well as to some of their videos.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

John Nelson's GIF of breathing earth

Check out the background for and other examples of his project HERE

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Save the Pink Dolphin

Geez--I didn't even know pink dolphins existed and now they're bordering on extinction.


You can find more info and a link to the petition HERE.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blogust '13

No, that's not my pun. I'm passing along this title from a venture by the United Nations Foundation. Every day of August, you can check out a blog that is participating in this effort and if you make a comment, Walgreens will donate a vaccination for a child--up to 50,000 of them. In the words of the campaign:

"Funds will go directly to support measles and polio vaccination efforts, by UNICEF and WHO, in the countries where they are needed the most."

Not a bad deal, right? You'll get to read thirty-one blogs you probably don't know about, and maybe even find a couple that you stick with. Then you get to shoot your mouth off, and bingo! A child gets a vaccine that may save it's life.

Blogust '12 garnered 11,000 comments. Let's not let any of these 50,000 chances go to waste. 

Here's the link to the website.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Somehow my grocery shopping never goes like this.

Thanks to my friend Gene for sending this on to me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'll take fries with that.

I just thought I'd take a moment to repost McDonald's helpful budget tips. This comes from Think Progress by way of Wonkblog. You just know in an article that starts with "McDonalds has partnered with Visa" that things aren't going to go so well for the little guy... Oh yeah, and I'll have catsup with that second job you mention.

Oh, and here's the link to the actual budget journal.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another stellar day in the Texas legislature

Just keep on denying people freedom of speech, Senators. That'll work.

Here is the interview done with the speaker afterward.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Duck Duck Go

Now that we all know we're living within a web of massive intelligence gathering, I thought it might be useful to post this article from Slate about Duck Duck Go, a search engine that doesn't track your data. Frankly, I don't know how much difference it makes at this point, since so much data has been swept up already. And what do we really know about Duck Duck Go's claims anyway? But for what it's worth, and just to mix things up a little, here is the Slate article.


Saturday, June 8, 2013


Came across this great video through


Thursday, June 6, 2013

On Drowning

By way of a public service announcement, I thought I would link to this commendable piece on Slate, Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning by Mario Vittone, because it tells us that our ideas of what drowning looks like are largely wrong, and more importantly, might keep us from noticing when drowning is actually happening.

If even one person gets saved because of the mass dissemination of this information, that will be incalculably wonderful.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guantanamo--one concrete step

I don't do a lot of politicking on this blog, but Guantanamo is one thing I make an exception for. Amnesty International is asking that in light of President Obama's speech yesterday, he take one step today and release Shaker Aamer today. Britain has asked for his release and he has been cleared for release twice. It would be a good faith gesture to get him off that island.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thinking of you folks in Moore

I know this one will go viral with no help from me, but just in case you haven't seen it, here's a little good news coming out of Moore, Oklahoma despite the devastation. 

Having been through an earthquake that destroyed our downtown, I know a little about what these people are going through, and I am also willing to bet on them rebuilding and coming back.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half

I don't know when it was exactly that someone made me aware of Hyperbole and a Half. I had only read a few posts of this terrific blog when the author announced a book deal for her work. But it was only a couple of entries later that the blogger mentioned going down into depression and then stopped posting.

I have often wondered what happened to this writer, but as with so many things in the blog world, I figured I was destined never to know. However, tonight I happened to notice that there was a new post.

It is about depression, and it is really good. I think what is slightly ironic is that this blog has more comments than any I have ever seen. As an example, this post has had 5000 comments since 8 AM this morning. The ironic part, at least for me, is that all the well wishing and fulsome praise obviously didn't make the slightest bit of difference in the author's righting herself. Apparently, it was actually corn.

Anyway, there seems little point in adding to the comment stream, but I am glad that the deepest depression has lifted. And also that she managed to write about the state so lucidly. And I'm also glad that I rarely delete any blog from my blog roll--just in case... 

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Drone Hearings--Farea Al-Muslimi

Last week, I learned about a Senate hearing on drone warfare that I could watch live on my computer, and as it was my day off, and since I really have no sympathy for this whole program and even have a blog where I post news I glean from a few places, I thought I should walk my talk and watch it. I liked the tenor of the conversation as a whole, and found it quite different from the often fractious proceedings on the Senate or House floor. But I think many people would agree with me in saying that the most moving and compelling testimony came from a Yemeni citizen named Farea Al-Muslimi, who had come to school in the U.S., and loved this country, but had returned to find his own country to be a sanctioned drone target area. I think in that moment, he was the voice of his people, and I am so happy that Just Foreign Policy gave us a link to his part of the hearing.


If you would like to watch the hearings in their entirety, you can find them HERE.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run For Boston

I'm not a runner, but I heard about this on Chris Hayes' show, All In, and thought my running friends might like this way of showing solidarity with the Boston Marathon runners. It's not a fundraiser per se. But as a poem by Rumi called "Things Are Such" that I picked up at our store today goes:

"Things are such, that someone lifting a cup,
or watching the rain, petting a dog,
or singing, just singing -- could be doing as
much for this universe as anyone."

Or running. Just running.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ezra Klein on the Boston Marathon

I love the wonky Ezra Klein with his buoyant way of teaching us all about statistics and data. Still I don't normally think of him as the first person I'd turn to for moral uplift in a time of crisis. But I found his piece on today's Boston Marathon tragedy moving but also hopeful. Thus, I share it with you

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mantis shrimp

You may not have missed this, but I certainly did. If it wasn't for a friend at work, I never would have known about this shrimpy dynamo.

First, the cartoon.

Now, a short film:


This all came up because a couple of mantis shrimps seem to have found their way into the Monterey Bay Aquarium, just on the other side of the bay on which I live. My friend was highly amused that the best plan for catching this creature, which can punch through aquarium glass and devastate a fish tank, not to mention see a specturum of colors that is about five times what we humans can see, apparently involves using a set of tongs...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Treasure trove

Everybody and their brother will have heard of this by the time I post it, but just in case you haven't, there is a real life treasure hunt commencing NOW.

I'm hearing shades of Treasure of the Sierra Madre in all this, but you go right on ahead...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bunny Awareness

Spring has sprung, Easter is just around the corner, and apparently it's the time of year when people find the idea of buying a cute little bunny irresistable. My friend Brittany, a self-described Crazy Bunny Lady,  has put up an excellent post about resisting that particular temptation unless you are fully prepared for what that commitment entails. A lot of these creatures end up at the SPCA--or worse. I know one other Crazy Bunny Lady and will attest from that example that yes, they really do chew on EVERYTHING.

I feel confident in thinking that Brittany won't mind me stealing a picture of her beloved Emily to induce you to read on...


Friday, March 22, 2013

Here Comes the Sun---again

Not embedded by request.

Not the Suburu commercial, either...

Thanks. M. Ward. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day Miracle

This just in--the health benefits of beer!

Totally eradicated by drinking and driving, though, so don't.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Whenever I decry the high cost of living in Santa Cruz...

...let me remember this.

(Thanks to for cluing me into the images, and The Society for Community Organization for releasing them.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Evgenia Arbugauva

Poet and fellow blogger Kathleen Kirk often credits an online magazine she is associated with called Escape into Life. Besides poetry, one of the cool things they do there is put up very interesting photography.  Today, she used a photograph of Evgenia Arbugauva in her own blog, Wait! I Have a Blog?,which promptly led me to EIL to learn more. Arbugauva was born in a small town in Siberia called Tiksi. The photos you will find at EIL chronicle her return to Tiksi after many years. You can find them HERE.   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolutions, anyone?

Yeah, yeah, yeah--it's all a bit belated. So sue me. Anyway, I wanted to post a link to a Slate article about vowing to do less as a resolution. And without even knowing about this idea, this is precisely what I've done. With the new year, I dropped from five days to four at work, and rather to my surprise, it went into effect immediately. I used to work four days, but a sequence of events led me to go to five for the past five or six years. Dropping back would not seem to be any big deal, then, but in fact, it has been a little disconcerting. For one thing, I haven't had a regular weekend as America has come to think of it--Saturday and Sunday--in literally a couple of decades. I could have taken a couple of weekdays as I used to do, but there was a part of me that wanted to change it up a bit.

My first Saturday has been a little anticlimatic, I suppose. It's been wet and gray, and I have a cold, and if I hadn't had a cold, I would probably have been helping a friend move. But the idea that we can be time starved as well as starved in other ways, which the article mentions, rings true. I have been operating at a deficit for some while now, and it may take me some time to adjust to real weekends.

Read the article and see if you too might find a way to vow to do less. It may prove an interesting experiment...