Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conclusion to "Climategate"

CNN has posted a story on the conclusion of "Climategate", the assertion that climatologists in 1999 manipulated their findings.  The assertion came just before world leaders met to discuss climate change at the United Nations meeting in Coppenhagen this past December.  Read more of the story at CNN.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Much of our daily lives involves the use of plastics.  We use it, dispose of it, and never think of it again.  If it escapes the landfill or never makes it there, where does it go?  One of the lessons I truly want to get across to my students is that of connectedness.  We are not seperate from the world around us.  We have a place and an impact.

In the Pacific Ocean there is a floating pile of trash, approximately twice the size of Texas.  If you'd like to know more watch this video by Chris Jordan.

Here is a wonderful video made by Ramin Bahrani called Plastic Bag.  The video anthropomorphizes a plastic bag and takes us on a trip with the bag en route to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

It is quite easy to buy and use reusable cotton bags for your groceries.   They are being sold more and more.  A product that is a little harder to find is the reusable bag for produce (by  Here is the kind my partner and  I found and use.  We prefer the see through ones.  It helps the cashier see what's in them. Enjoy.

Roger Ebert's Journal

      I just found Roger Ebert's Journal online and have been reading and reading for hours. It is wonderfully written and covers topics ranging from movies to politics. I must admit I found it because of the most recent hype over Ebert's statement that video games were not art.
     One of Ebert's best posts was on the textbook revisions in Texas. The comments only make his blog better!  What truly makes me keep reading Roger Ebert's Journal are the viewpoints of his many educated followers.  They defend and support their opinions and Ebert is not shy or lax in responding back.
     Heartfelt responses are also par for the course.  Read the following comment by  Van Badman in response to "How do they get to be that way"

"Oh, Roger,
It's so easy to read the articles about the hatemongers and despair.
When I read your writing, though, I'm reminded that the world I live in is one of hope, and goodness, and responsibility and conscience.
So I don't give in to despair. I read your pieces and I gain some more strength, like all your readers do, to fight the hate, word by word, and step a little further forward.
xx Van"

Thank you Roger Ebert for such a wonderful blog.  You've got a follower!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mary Juana

I generally teach the "At-Risk" students and have for my long and lusterous 3 years in public education.  Many of my students at both the inner-city school and my new rich kid school get into trouble by bringing marijuana to school.  Many inevitably get kicked out of school or put into an alternative school for months on end and are absent from the learning environment.  When did kids get so stupid?  Why bring it to school?  I guess they are selling it or smoking it in bathrooms.  Of course who could blame them when they are asked to fill out worksheet after worksheet by some of their more brain dead teachers.  We'll avoid the discussion about legalizing marijuana or whether or not it is a gateway drug and just look at some funny videos instead.

How do you know if your kid is a shaman?

Do Glass Pipes, Incense Prove Teens Are Practicing Shamanism?

A newbie pot smoker.. just watch it.

Masturbation Blindness

An article posted on the Scientific American website (Bering in Mind:Jesse Bering) explains why we masturbate and how that makes us different from other primates.  While I recall learning in my ecology courses that other mammals masturbate, Bering does a good job of explaining that we are different because of how often we masturbate. Evolutionarily it makes sense,


" The advantage to the male could be that the younger sperm are more acceptable to the female and/or are better able to reach a secure position in the female tract. "

I think the important message from the article is that you will not go blind from masturbation and that it is completely natural.  The article goes more in depth, if you are interested in reading it, on the differences between humans and other primates, the psychology behind masturbation, and historical views on masturbation. - bonobo photo from

Oil Eating Bacteria

Oil eating microbes are getting a lot of attention in the news. They are being toted as the eco-friendly and easy way to clean up residue in the gulf. They would need some help though, in the way of phosphorus and nitrogen, to get them to flourish. Would these microbes not then deplete the oxygen levels in the gulf where the water is being fertilized? We already have a dead zone due to agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River. Would this exacerbate the problem?

We are already seeing wildlife flee the oil laden areas.

Are the naturally occuring bacteria already at work? Is this (see below) because of fertilizer run-off? What would happen if we fertilized the area more... less oxygen? If the fish are already leaving, should we just clean it up with microbes anyway?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hypnotoad says "Watch Futurama!"

What can I say, I love Futurama!  My students knew I loved it so much they started a count down for me.  They're second installment of the new season is tonight.  Here is the hypnotoad with a special broadcast announcement.