Archive for October 20th, 2008
Here’s a useful list (with links) of some important OpenOffice extensions. I wonder whether my OpenOffice readers have these.
In my view, prisons should function as rehabilitation to the extent possible, trying many things that might turn people from crime. Some criminals are incorrigible, I know, but I suspect that number is lower than the current recidivism rate would lead one to believe. The fact is that prisons by and large do not seriously attempt rehabilitation. Here’s a good story:
Nalini Nadkarni of Evergreen State College currently advises a team of researchers who sport shaved heads, tattooed biceps and prison-issued garb rather than the lab coats and khakis typically worn by researchers. Why is Nadkarni’s team composed of such apparently iconoclastic researchers? Because all of her researchers are inmates at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, a medium security prison in Littlerock, Washington. With partial funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Nadkarni has guided her unlikely but productive team of researchers since 2004, as they conduct experiments to identify the best ways to cultivate slow-growing mosses. Nadkarni’s so-called Moss-in-Prisons project is designed to help ecologists replace large quantities of ecologically important mosses that are regularly illegally stripped from Pacific Northwest forests by horticulturalists.
Why did Nadkarni recruit inmates into her research team? “Because,” she explains, “I need help from people who have long periods of time available to observe and measure the growing mosses; access to extensive space to lay out flats of plants; and fresh minds to put forward innovative solutions.”
In addition to managing the Moss-in-Prisons research at Cedar Creek, Nadkarni helps the facility’s inmates run various projects that promote sustainable living–including an organic garden that produces 15,000 pounds of fresh vegetables every summer, a bee-keeping operation and a composting operation that processes one ton of food per month.
One member of Nadkarni’s research team, who was released from Cedar Creek, enrolled in a Ph.D. program in microbiology at the University of Nevada and presented his Cedar Creek research at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in August 2008.
Nadkarni started the Moss-in-Prisons project with a type of NSF award that is specially designed to help scientists reach out to public audiences. More recently, she has received additional funding from the Washington State Department of Corrections.
In addition, Nadkarni has creatively stretched project resources by recruiting other NSF-funded researchers to contribute to a popular lecture series that she started at Cedar Creek. By giving such lectures, these scientists fulfill requirements for conducting public outreach that accompany NSF awards.
Source: National Science Foundation
The federal government has decided to add bisphenol A to the country’s list of toxic substances, a move that is likely to renew attention on the widespread use of the controversial chemical in almost all food cans sold in Canada.
The toxic determination, issued in today’s Canada Gazette, makes Canada the first country to classify as risky bisphenol A, the chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.
The government took the action based on worries that infants up to the age of 18 months might be inadvertently getting too much of the chemical, which mimics the hormone estrogen, from baby formula cans and plastic baby bottles, as well concerns that fish and other wildlife could be harmed from environmental exposure. …
Read this post on the Watchdog Blog. It begins:
Yesterday, the Washington Post noticed a disturbing trend that we have been following for a long time – the corporatization of scientific research ostensibly conducted by unbiased and trustworthy sources like, in this case, the Food and Drug Administration. Science has been twisted to serve corporate ends for decades – see the tobacco industry’s “studies” showing that smoking is not dangerous. Most of the time, these justifications for unhealthy or dangerous products are given precisely the credibility they deserve – none. Perhaps realizing this, the new trend is to funnel money behind the scenes to get disreputable science published by reputable sources.
The FDA’s tarnished report on bisphenol A (BPA) is only the most recent incident of corporatized science. In this case, the FDA subcommittee reporting that an “adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses” was chaired by Martin Philbert, acting director of the University of Michigan’s Risk Science Center. The problem is, the Risk Science Center recently received a $5 million grant from Charles Gelman, founder of Gelman Instrument Company (now Pall Life Sciences) and firm believer that BPA is “risk free.”
Gelman, whose company was once labeled the second worst polluter in Michigan by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, may not have bad intentions. And indeed, the Risk Science Center expects a permanent director to replace Philbert by the time Gelman’s grant kicks in next year. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Gelman and Philbert “talk often,” and the Washington Post reports that Philbert failed to put Gelman’s donation on his financial disclosure form. It all adds up to a relationship that’s too close for comfort. As the New York Times says, “Consumers need to know that any decision on BPA is completely unbiased – and that the FDA is, too.”
Despite the dangers of a potential toxin being present in hundreds of thousands of containers (including countless baby bottles), the past few months have brought far worse consequences because of the corporatization of science. Three other recent examples of the manipulation of clinical studies by pharmaceutical companies have made press.
A swill bucket of racism, mainly. But read this entire post and watch the video.
Go read the background and see the photos at The Wednesday Chef. Here’s the recipe from that post:
Peppers for Cold Meats (Piments pour viandes froides)
Makes 4 cups
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 pound red sweet peppers, washed, cored, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spices (allspice, nutmeg)
1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I drained a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes and used 3/4 of them)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1. Put the oil in a saucepan. Chop the onion very fine, add to the pan and fry over low heat until softened. Add the peppers, salt, ginger and mixed spices, and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, raisins and sugar. Add the vinegar; cook over very lot heat, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pot and cook with the lid off for 5 to 10 more minutes.