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The Green Revolution

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Rural Cuquio, Mexico is increasingly receiving attention from major agribusinesses: Monsanto, DuPont, etc.  What benefits could be motivating these corporations from setting up shop in a place where incomes range from $0 – $1.05 an hour?  Cuquio is a region of campesinos, poor subsistence farmers.  Allegedly the presence of these businesses would be mutually beneficial but according to this article that doesn’t seem to be the case. While Monsanto et. al promise higher yields, start up costs are higher, not to mention health risks.   Farmers untrained in the use of toxic pesticides  are poisoning frogs, the soil, and themselves.

“The local doctor in Cuquio says that two of every 10 patients who visit him during the rainy season months of June through October each year are poisoned by agrochemicals. Three or four die each year.”

Though tragic in itself, these three or four annual deaths may become overshadowed as farmers already struggling for survival are being diverted by the loud voices of large corporations that offer quick chemical-induced fixes, from sustainable solutions that would secure more fruitful harvests over time (such as those proposed by Mexican agronomist Juan Alba Quezedo).

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Written by amynee

August 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Obama’s “New Normal” and Mid-East Media

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I was in the kitchen getting Isaac’s lunch ready and turned on the radio expecting to jump into the middle of “The Story” with Dick Gordan.  Instead the voice of the host was female (I didn’t catch her name) and the program was “On the Media” a show that addresses various media outlets around the world.  I initially planned on moving on to the more familiar, “Democracy Now!” but became fascinated as the host moved from an interview in which she discussed the “New Normal” of international relations and militarism being established under Obama to Iraqi independent programming (apparently the typical Iraqi is much more savvy at discerning b.s. from their news providers)  to “Tash Ma Tash,” a Saudi Arabian sitcom that challenges cultural norms.  I also managed to get a little crush on an Arabic television host, Ahmad Al-Shugairi, who airs a special program during Ramadan, challenging Muslims to be attentive to the teachings of the Prophet that effect everyday life (this episode is on waste management – if only I knew what he was saying!).  I definitely plan on tuning into this program and highly recommend it!

Written by amynee

August 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

St Augustine, Harry Potter and the definition of evil

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I found this amazing lecture while researching the issue of the church and pop culture for my college small group.

Written by neehi

July 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I’m not a jerk, I just have a mild case of face blindness

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Can I wear a button that says that?

strangers-in-the-mirror

Does anyone else feel like they have this?  I know Aimee does.

In most cases, I’ve got to see a person about 8 times before I can conjure a visual of their face in my mind.  And while I am USED to seeing my own reflection in the mirror at this point in my life, for many years I was always surprised by it…the person looking at me never looked like who I expected to see.  My audio memory for people is uncanny though….but only for people’s voices, not for music or other noises.

So, your brain learns and memorizes visual and auditory information differently…..and it also processes HUMAN (vs objects, places, etc) information differently also.  So bizarre.

Does anyone have any favorite links to other interesting info on memory or brain processing?

Written by alisap

July 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

continuing the trend

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The following is a commentary inspired by this New York Times article that I received on the Catholic Worker listserv:

    “It all happened so long ago, it is, in many respects, America’s
    forgotten war, the terrible war in Korea. It ran from June of 1950
    until July of 1953. I do not, here, make any defense of the North
    Korean regime (nor, for that matter, of the authoritarian South Korean
    regime in 1950).  But simply note that one reason for the ability of
    the North Korean leaders to maintain control over an economy which
    long ago collapsed, is that the cost of the war was so terrible that
    it instilled a profound fear (and hatred) of the United States.

    Two million North Koreans were killed – half of them civilians.
    900,000 Chinese troops were killed. South Korea lost well over a
    million lives – many of them civilians.

    The American bombing of the North reduced the country to rubble. When
    the war ended, the Americans made substantial economic investments in
    South Korea, as did Japan, making possible a remarkable economic
    recovery and rise in living standards. But China in 1953 was far too
    poor to make huge investments. North Korea was on its own.

    The New York Times story is part of an ongoing report of US murder of
    civilians – some of them political prisoners, most of them simply
    civilians, which occurred during the war.

    1953 is so distant now that the records are open. The dead have turned
    to dust. But one legacy is the strange regime of North Korea, which
    cannot feed its own people, but found money to build nuclear weapons.”

      This put me in mind of another article I’d read recently on CommonDreams about civilian deaths and drone bombings.

    Written by amynee

    July 14, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Scientists please

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    I just saw this guy on the Colbert Report and he was so fascinating.

    Can everyone in the family promise to at least attempt to guide our kids towards science?  Theoretical Physicists are the coolest people at ANY gathering!!!

    “We are so arrogant.  We are so conceited……we think they (aliens) are going to visit us.  I don’t think so.”
    We are ants next to a super highway wishing the people building it would come and share their technology with us.  ha!!

    Written by alisap

    July 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Is Peace Possible?

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    “…we need not except that view [that peace is impossible, that mankind is doomed], our problems are man made, therefore they can be solved by man…no problem of human destiny, is beyond human beings…”

    It occurred to me while listening to this that I have never heard a full speech by JFK.  Kennedy’s American University Commencement Address  was recommended to me by a friend and though I didn’t fully agree with everything, I found it powerful, moving, and as relevant as ever.

    The following are some of the lines that jumped out at me:

    “There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process — a way of solving problems.”

    “Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it.”

    it is also a warning, a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats…No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue.”

    “we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combat ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle, with suspicion on one side breeding suspicion on the other, and new weapons begetting counter-weapons.”

    “So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”

    (This one I wish was true) “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression.”

    Written by amynee

    May 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Posted in Uncategorized