29 February 2008

Spring Break

Spring break is here...which means I won't be able to post until next week. So enjoy this Incubus video instead.

22 February 2008

21 February 2008

Mongolians facing the effects of global warming already

According to National Geographic, Mongolian herders are being forced to move due to the effects of global warming:

Over the past 60 years the average temperature in Mongolia has risen by 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.9 degrees Celsius). In contrast, the average temperature around the world has climbed only about 1 degree Fahrenheit (about 0.6 degree Celsius) in the past century.

The warmer temperatures are drying up Mongolia's grassland, which provide food for the country's livestock.

This is just the beginning of the effect on humans of climate change. Scientists are saying that there will be millions of refugees due to the change in weather patterns. And with the world (especially the United States government) not working hard enough to change anything, such as our dependence on dirty energy, it's going to get a lot worse.

How to help and more resources:
E, the Environmental Magazine
Environmental Defense
Freedom From Oil
Rainforest Action Network
Sierra Club
Stop Global Warming

The Tibetan Language

From Reuters:
The Chinese government is neglecting and actively undermining the Tibetan language as part of continuing efforts to dilute the region's unique culture, a human rights group said on Thursday.
The PRC invaded Tibet in 1949, and since then China has imposed a number of rules on Tibet in an effort to make Tibet more Chinese; in essence, to destroy Tibetan culture.

Forcing the use of Mandarin is only a small part of the total Chinese control. The number of Chinese citizens now living in Tibetan territory is astounding - one estimate puts the number at 7.5 million (Friends of Tibet). There have also been rumors of abortion being forced upon Tibetan women.

Although I feel that progression of societies are necessary and the loss of some aspects of a group's traditional culture may be lost, culture is precious because of this. And the Tibetan people are struggling to keep their cultural identity. In Dharamsala, where the Tibetan Government in Exile is based, the refugees hold festivals and try to save the culture that the Chinese are trying so hard to destroy.

More information and how you can help the Tibet situation:
Free Tibet Campaign
Race For Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet
The Gere Foundation

20 February 2008

The Spies Who Love You

Yang Chunlin

Yang Chunlin, a Chinese land-rights activist was arrested and his trail has begun. He's charged with "incitement to subvert state power" because he used the slogan, "Human Rights Over the Olympics."

From Radio Free Asia:

“My brother insisted that he was innocent and was just expressing his thoughts, arguing that thoughts could not constitute a crime,” Yang Chunping [Chunlin's sister] said. “His thoughts and deeds were for defending the rights of local farmers. He said again that ‘We do want human rights but not the Olympic Games.’”

Yang also told the court that in nearby Fujin city, where he had campaigned for farmers’ rights, farmers had lost their land, had nothing to eat, and couldn’t afford to send their children to school.

“Why should we spend billions of yuan on the Olympics?” Yang asked the court. “‘Human rights over the Olympics’ is indeed an expression of my thoughts. Why am I not allowed to say that?”

18 February 2008

Women: Meat on the Pole

I'm a little behind on writing about this. It's been sitting in my bookmark folder for a week, but it still makes me mad.

A new vegan strip club has opened up in Portland, OR. In a widely heard quote, owner Johnny Diablo's idea was to "put the meat on the pole, not on the plate."

He actually referred to women as meat.

I'm always happy when the world gets a little more vegan. But I'm not happy when women are treated as things. This isn't alone. We've all seen the PETA ads of half-naked women in lettuce bikinis. PETA thrives on using women in the same way.

What's wrong with promoting veganism through example and activism? There's no need to set back women with another strip club. Show people that being vegan is healthy by being healthy yourself; show people what veganism really is without resorting to something demeaning and offensive.

KPTV Portland

17 February 2008

Glenn Beck: Ugly Women

What a bastard.

Recalled Beef May Have Already Been Eaten

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday recalled 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse that is being investigated for mistreating cattle.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats.
The worst part about this recall is that Chino, the company whose product is being recalled, sells mainly to the school system and fast-food restaurants. Also, the beef has more than likely already been eaten.

This recall is a bit different from those in the past, mainly because the focus isn't on a specific illness, but on animal cruelty. The beef was recalled by the USDA because the company violated health regulations, a practice that isn't uncommon. Because of this, it was deemed unfit for human consumption.

After a video surfaced of employees moving sick/injured cows with a forklift, two employees were charged with animal cruelty. Although they should be charged, the company responsible should also be charged. They allowed this to happen. They are far more responsible than the employees.

USDA recalls 143 million pounds of beef

14 February 2008

War and Peace

I'm subscribed to over a hundred blogs, and most of the time I just sort of absentmindedly scroll through them. And then I find something amazing like this Adbusters article. Please take a look at this... it'll give you a lot to ponder.

We Will Abolish War

Help the troops!

VoteVets.org has created a petition to urge the government to find out how the company responsible for providing troops with substandard helmets has received a new contract to make even more helmets.

From the site: "Last week, the New York TImes reported that the Bush Pentagon had agreed to a contract for more Kevlar helmets for our troops from the very company that was being sued for cheating troops out of helmets that met military standards. Especially at a time when so many troops are in harm's way, no such company should ever receive a new contract. Demand that Congress investigate how this could have happened, by signing our petition below."

Sign the petition!

Horror (movies) in China

I sure hope horror movies aren't popular in China

China has made an announcment that horror movies will be removed from the selves of movie stores, and that no movie currently in production or planned for the future can contain references to the occult.
The horror, violence and cruelty portrayed are extremely harmful to the psychological development of children, it said in a statement posted late Wednesday.
From Yahoo! News

06 February 2008

Entering a new era... literally

From National Geographic News:
Earth's climate and biodiversity aren't the only things being dramatically affected by humans - the world's soils are also shifting beneath our feet, a new report says.

"Global soil change" due to human activities is a major component of what some experts say should be recognized as a new period of geologic time: the Anthropocene, or human-made, age.

This new era will be defined by the pervasiveness of human environmental impacts, including changes to Earth's soils and surface geology, proponents of the theory say.
It's says a lot about how deep our impact of the earth runs when we create a new geological era just by living.

04 February 2008

Why I'm a Pacifist

There is one main reason I am a pacifist: civilians should never be punished for a war perpetuated by their country's leaders.

From Al Jazeera: "A recent study carried out by a UK polling firm says that more than a million Iraqi civilians have been killed due to violence since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003." Although there's a lot of debate about the exact number (the Iraqi government and others have claimed that the number was much lower) people need to see through the story of numbers and realize that even one civilian death is far too many. This "war on terror" is producing terrifying lives for the non-militant people of Iraq. I for one cannot imagine what is would be like to live in fear that you might end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and be added to the striking number of other dead civilians.

Shorter hibernation is a result of global warming

According to a study done on marmot hibernation, animals are waking up early from hibernation due to the raising temperatures of global warming.
While animals are rousing themselves several weeks earlier, the plants that they normally eat are not, creating the real possibility of starvation for some of these animals...

One alarming fact... is how much animals have altered their behavior in response to a small change in temperature.
When people talk about global warming, much of the time we bring up images of stranded polar bears and extreme weather variation. Unfortunately, climate change is creating much more less-known problems, such as decreased length of hibernation. Even though scientists have some idea of just how serious the consequences of global warming will be, it's conceivable that we haven't yet realized the full extent of the problems we will be facing as a result of the world's inaction on the subject.

National Geographic News: Warming Creating Extinction Risks for Hibernators

01 February 2008

Making Sure It's Sunny

From the LA Times:
Determined not to let anything spoil their party, organizers of the 2008 Summer Olympics said Wednesday that they will take control over the most unpredictable element of all -- the weather.

While China's Olympic athletes are getting ready to compete on the fields, its meteorologists are working the skies, attempting the difficult feat of making sure it doesn't rain on the Aug. 8 opening ceremonies. ...

The Chinese are among the world's leaders in what is called "weather modification," but they have more experience creating rain than preventing it.
Having always been intrigued by meteorology, I admit that I find weather modification interesting. However, I'm also weary of changing nature too much. I'm not sure if this practice has any side-effects. There is the potential to use weather modification for very good reasons, such as bringing an area out of a serious drought.

What do you think? Is weather modulation good or bad? And if anyone has any links on the topic, feel free to post them in the comments.