Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

Sybil Vane at Bitch, Ph.D. reviews Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma:

...But I am persuaded of several things by this book. "Organic" means very little anymore. Organic via Whole Foods and the like certainly means nothing in terms of sustainability or treatment of creatures. Federal agriculture policy isn't helping anything; rather it provides subsidies that encourage farmers to produce more of over-produced crops (e.g. corn), thus dropping the price more and more. Meat should be eaten infrequently. One really must get past the notion that she can eat whatever food she wants whatever time of year. Food choices are undeniably political *if* one has the fortune to be aware of those politics.

(Read the rest here.)

This has been sort of a big subject for me recently. With a great majority of my friends being vegetarian (and eating mostly vegetarian myself since Kyle does most of the cooking), I've had many a discussion about the social implications of being ABLE to be a vegetarian, or of being able to be that choosy about one's diet in general. The fact that government subsidies for meat production are vastly higher than those for most vegetable production (sweet corn obviously notwithstanding) alone means that what is more readily affordable in terms of foods for people with lower income is very different from what is readily affordable to those with higher incomes. This ties in with the supposed "obesity epidemic" and the not-new correlation between poverty and obesity [PDF].

From UNDP.org:
Current research on obesity now seems to focus on socioeconomic factors as a primary cause of this dangerous disease and empirical evidence suggests that poor people are the highest risk of becoming obese. This is largely because those living below or close to the poverty line usually have poor standards of living. Arguably their state of poverty deprives them from having a stable diet. The growing numbers of working mothers find it increasingly difficult to allocate time for preparing family meals, leading to increasing dependence on fattening fast foods.

I think I might pick up this book sometime. Kyle recently read The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, but I guess I didn't want to read it because he gave it to Tiffany. Oh well.

And because I can't remain serious for more than, like, ten minutes, here is a hilarious video of dogs and lasers that Tim sent me:

No, really. Watch it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Earth to John McCain: Please, Stop.

EARTH, July 25, 2008 -- The entire world drafted an open letter to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) today, asking him to drop out of the U.S. presidential race and concede the presidency to Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois).


Pointing to polls that show Obama leading McCain 94 percent to 6 percent everywhere on the inhabited globe except the United States, where most polls give Obama a narrow one- to three-point lead, the entire world suggested that Americans might not be sufficiently informed about the U.S. election.


On a related note, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked the entire world why the U.S. media have failed to acknowledge his government's endorsement of Obama's plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. "I do not understand what is wrong with their Washington Post," Maliki said in a prepared statement. "I recall that it used to be a pretty good newspaper. But now I fear that its editorial pages have been taken over by what the Qu'ran calls 'a bunch of wankers.'"

Read the whole thing here.

(Via Feministe)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Unplanned Hiatus

Hi! I know, it's been over a month since I last updated but there's been a lot going on and I just haven't gotten around to it. School ended on the 26th of June. I got an A in algebra. I got A's in my other classes too, but algebra was the one I was worried about and I'm really proud of myself for doing so well. I got a little over-confident at one point and thought about taking whatever comes next, trig or pre-calc or whatever, but then I decided that I probably shouldn't put myself in that position. I worked hard and did well in algebra but I sort of hated it, so why would I take even harder math classes voluntarily? Who knows!

After school ended, we came back home and spent the 8th through the 14th in Costa Rica with my family. It was awesome! Dad was saying today that he and Mom tallied it up and we saw something like 47 different kinds of birds, like Scarlet Macaws, Keel-billed Toucans although they were pretty elusive and we heard them a lot more than we saw them, all sorts of Tanagers, Pearl Kites, which the book says have not been recorded in Costa Rica, and, one of my personal favorites for just the name alone, the Violaceous Trogon.

We saw tons of Central American Spider Monkeys, Coatis, some Squirrel Monkeys, a few Capuchins, and we heard every day but never saw Howler Monkeys. Plus myriad other insects and arachnids and some really incredible plants and fungi. It was pretty amazing. We did a horseback tour through the jungle and out onto the beach. We were on the Pacific side and I'd never seen the Pacific Ocean before. I wish I knew how to surf, there were great waves.

I'll post my own photos...some day. Between the five of us, there are several hundred pictures and they have to be sorted through and organized and edited, which will take a while. But one day, I promise...maybe.

The 17th was my 23rd birthday. It was a good one. I got my hair done in a fancy salon and went to dinner with my family. Kyle made a Tres Leches cake for me and homemade whipped cream and it was really delicious. He also made Orange Peel Jello Shots. They're so cool! I think we're going to make some more for tonight, Tiffany and I are have a joint belated birthday party.

So, that's what's been going on. Hopefully, since things are quieting down now, I will get back into a more regular posting habit but who's to say.