Sunday, September 28, 2008

mommy, mommy. where does pork come from?

not pretty.

PETA's video on the fashion industry

eek.

largest known prime number found

243,112,609-1.

Nuts. Read all about it.

iTunes becomes accessible to the blind

The Massachusetts attorney general's office and the National Federation of the Blind reached an agreement with Apple Inc. under which the consumer-electronics icon will make its iTunes service accessible to the blind. full article

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the debate must go on

MoveOn is circulating an emergency petition demanding that the debate must go on. Sign it here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

world guide to vegan/vegetarian restaurants

Happy Cow!

Travel will never be the same.

jury finds that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

Many thanks to Heart of Green for linking this great article:

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action. Read the full article

Saturday, September 20, 2008

accent discrimination

A linguistic professor once told me that accent discrimination is the only socially acceptable form of discrimination left--well, minus sexism, racism, classism, ageism, heterosexism, etc...but there is still something to be said about the tendency for people to judge others based on dialect, and for this to be acceptable.

Even aware of this tendency, I still slip up. A teacher's assistant for a political science class is from England, and just because he has that wonderful British intonation, I register him as more intelligent. Well, I don't always pay attention when people speak, and finally I decided to follow along--needless to say, the bloke is not quite my idea of intellect of the year. But I let the sound of his voice guide my perception.

Aside from being the perpetrator, I also can also fall victim to this tendency. You see, I am from the valley--as in valley girl--and while my "likes" are not abused, when I get very excited or am with good friends, that pitch infamous valley girl pitch kicks in. And let me tell you, I have been assumed to be stupid, ditsy and the like because of it.

So just a gentle reminder, it's not how people say it, but what they are saying. And, as always, a person is more than appearance and sounds.

Monday, September 15, 2008

winter boy/girlfriend

Thought this was funny.

Ate dinner with a friend who lives in New York. We were doing the dating-life update. He said, "I need to find a winter girlfriend."

"Huh?" I ask.

I then learned that in extremely cold climates, people do not go out very much in the winter. Hence the need for a winter boy/girlfriend. Funny.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the best 12 bucks you could spend right now


Donate to MoveOn.org's drive to register 500k new voters in swing states, and get this sweet Obama shirt!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

FOX News says eat less meat

I guess one can only deny science for so long.

Check out FOX explaining why cutting down on your meat consumption is the way to in preserving our planet. You don't have to become a vegan (although that would nice)--just be mindful of the extent to which you consume animals. I always like to say only have animal in one meal a day.

Here are some goodies from the article:

"Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there," Dr. Rajendra Pachauri [the head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] told Britain's Observer newspaper in comments published Sunday.

Pachauri reasons that because raising, feeding, slaughtering and shipping livestock produces much more greenhouse gas than does growing plants, a decrease in the number of livestock worldwide would do a lot to offset the threat of global warming.

"In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity," he told the Observer.

A U.N. study in 2006 found that 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions came from the livestock industry, chiefly in the form of methane burped up and otherwise emitted by cattle, sheep and pigs.

Additionally, as meat consumption grows as developing countries get richer, more and more forests are cut down for pasture, resulting in fewer trees to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen.

Monday, September 8, 2008

oh, the "fitness" industry

As I focus on framing food in terms of health, calorie-counting, carb-phobia and the like have no place in my life. I know what my body needs to be full, I know what my body needs to be strong, and I know what I enjoy eating. It truly makes me happy to eat things that grow from the earth in their natural and unprocessed forms.

Along those lines, I also like to push my body to its physical limits because a) it feels good, b) it maintains my cardiovascular system and rejuvenates my body and mind, c) it's the only way to alleviate my anxiety.

Recently at the gym, I was offered a free personal training session in an effort to get me purchasing packages again. I gladly accepted, having fond memories of my old trainer.

Then I met "Mr. T"--who has to walk with his legs unnaturally spread apart because his behemoth leg muscles are in the way of an ordinary gait. He might as well have had "steroid junkie" tattooed on his ass.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciated Mr. T's friendly personality and challenging weight-lifting regimens. But then it crept up--the ubiquitous and dangerously self-deprecating attitude toward "health" and "sex-appeal."

My favorite quote was "You could stand to tone your outer thighs."

What is more intriguing to me is that he views this "honesty" as being a good trainer--as if through policing the contours of my body and pinpointing my perceived weaknesses, he could offer me the golden keys to perfection, improve my life, and boost his commission.

Bitch please. I am so sad for that drug-popping, bench-pressing addict who likely spends hours every day pumping iron to make sure every single muscle in his body is grossly over-developed--not to mention he likely suffers from male body dysmorphic disorder. The sad and petty misfortune of obsessing over the exterior only indicates internal unfulfillment with life and self.

More to point--I am as healthy as they come. I live a life of of fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and nuts, with some fucking fabulous vegan cupcakes to get my goat when I so desire. I am very fit, and you know what? I'm incredibly intelligent, ambitious, and extremely sexy. In fact, my thighs have their own natural, healthy and strong shape, which if they were to change significantly (smaller and toner, as Mr. T would like), that would only be an indication of unhealthiness.

Newsflash: all bodies are different. Real health looks different on everyone. I have a fabulously round ass--I will never wear an itsy bitsy pair of jeans.

This warped idea of "health"--the hard and ripped size 0-2 that all women "should" have who work out and eat well--is statistically false and realistically ignorant. It's so sad to watch people chase around bull shit instead of enjoying their bodies and their lives.

Not to mention, if a person is unhappy with my outer thigh (how lame does that sound? I laugh even writing it), that person has no place in my life--and especially in my bed.

There was a time in my life when Mr. T's comments could have devastated me--but now, I feel proud of myself, proud of my body, and sad for the people who suffer the way Mr. T (and our culture at large) surely does.

Needless to say, he is not my new trainer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palin hates polar bears--and loves her oil cronies

Palin said that Alaska would sue to challenge the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species. Why? She worried that her oil buddies might have to care that they are degrading an entire ecosystem.

Oh, there's more. Out of either complete stupidity or complete deceit (likely a combination), she claimed that polar bears are increasing in numbers, and that continued warming and loss of ice mass is not certain.

Then again, she has already demonstrated that science and common sense mean nothing to her. That actually horrifies me.

Read full article

Thursday, September 4, 2008

deeply offended

I am deeply offended by Sarah Palin's mockery of grassroots organizing. She snidely stated:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.
What makes this country great is our Constitution--and our protected rights to freedom of speech and assembly which allow for political empowerment and governmental accountability. Those are the underpinnings of democracy. This is why, despite much-needed progress, I love my country.

Without organizing, politically marginalized and under-represented communities would continue to fall under the radar and face gross socio-economic injustice. Without organizing, our elected officials could not represent their constituents. Without organizing, political speech would be a fart in the wind.

And let me tell you, I have been an organizer--and those experiences were among the most challenging and draining in my life. Nothing but deep concern for social justice and political participation could ever compel any one to take on such a tremendous burden (and a great joy).

As David Plouffe so keenly commented:
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
In my view, Palin just took a shit on democracy--and she'll have a whole lot more time to pray and shoot animals when this campaign is over, because Obama/Biden is the winning ticket.

I am a Constitution Voter

Love this from the ACLU. Sign the petition and get an "I am a Constitution Voter" bumper sticker.

I Am a Constitution Voter

  • I believe that no one -- including the President -- is above the law.
  • I oppose all forms of torture, and I support both closing the Guantánamo Bay prison and ending indefinite detention.
  • I oppose warrantless spying.
  • I believe that government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
  • I believe that the Constitution protects every person's rights equally -- no matter what they believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
  • I reject the notion that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
  • I am deeply committed to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to share and act on that commitment -- every day, without fail.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

hahahah

"sex" and "gender" are not the same thing

I hear this virtually everyday: "sex" and "gender" used as synonyms. This is not correct.

I took a gander at dictionary.com, which frightened me with the following definition of gender:
The condition of being female or male; sex.
Is it my academic elitism that is bothered by such abuse of terminology, or is it my love for language and precision that is offended by the tear in verbal/conceptual efficiency? Either way, confusion between the terms impedes actual understandings of gender theory to begin with. So allow me to set the record straight.

Sex--Determined by genitals/chromosomes as either "male" or "female." In other words, what is in between one's legs (with exception of intersexed individuals, whose sex is decided not necessarily by chromosomes or genitals, but rather surgical and perceived social convenience...but that's another blog).

Gender--the enactment of "maleness" or "femaleness." That is to say, a biological female upholds a culturally sanctioned female gender through application of make up and traditional "female" garb, such as dresses, skirts, yada yada. Consequently, a biological male can enact a female gender performance, and likewise a biological female can enact a male gender performance. Clearly, there is no intrinsic connection between sex and gender; it is culturally determined and regulated.

Commentary regarding "gender discrimination" often misses the bigger issue. In an attempt to seem politically correct, the term "sex" is replaced by "gender," when in fact the speaker likely means to include the combination of both.

In other words, women are not discriminated against based on gender alone. Women face discrimination for being biologically female with a female gender performance, or for being biologically female with a male gender performance. The former may be stigmatized as giddy, less sexual, froo froo, necessarily a future mommy, whatever...and the latter is socially punished for being "butch."

If the issue was gender alone, then transgender people would not be subject to discrimination and violence. The fact of the matter is, unless a transperson can successfully pass, mainstream society does not tolerate mismatches between sex and the respective gender assigned by society.

"Equality" would exist if individuals were not discriminated against of the basis of their sex, their gender, or any combination thereof.

Note: gender identity can be fluid, and also non-determined/non-conformist (androgyny/gender queer).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin kills animals for fun

I completely support the right to bear arms--but I don't understand how a person can kill animals for fun.

An anti-choice, abstinence-only creationist who gets a kick from killing things--not my pick for vp.

Monday, September 1, 2008

but I thought you don't believe women have the right to choose?

Feministing made an interesting point in reponse to McCain aides who stated:
Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, the aides said.
It's really irritating when anti-choicers go around talking about choice--you don't believe in it, fucktard.