Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brainstorming Final Project

For my final project I am teaming up with Greg and Anita to make items based on the children's drawings from Greg's school to be sold at the school store. We are making a calendar, and ceramic tiles using the 12 best drawings. We are taking the calendar to kinkos to be printed on recycled paper and it will be available in the school store for the children to buy using their beaver bucks. For the calendar I thought it would be nice to include quotes about children and environmental choices as well as eco ideas for elementary aged children. Their drawings show that they are already thinking about the world around them and I felt that giving them things that they are able to do to make a difference in the world might interest them. I didn't really have to brainstorm much for the basis of the project because Greg and and Anita already had been doig that all semester. I just had to conceptualize the best way to present the children's pictures and the text to accompany them. I searched a lot of different websites to find the information I wanted but I wrote them down in my sketchbook. I'm looking forward to seeing the calendar when it gets printed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NYT 11/19/09 Oceans' Absorption of Fuel Emissions Is Slowing, Study Suggests

The Earth's oceans have been absorbing carbon dioxide from fuel emissions but recent studies have found that they are less efficient now. It started slowing in the 1980s but has become increasingly slower since 2000. The slowdown is due in part from absorbing the carbon dioxide which changes the chemistry and makes it more acidic and less able to absorb. There was some really scientific process on how they determined the absorbtion rate and Dr. Khatiwala's approach provides estimates on the ocean carbon storage from 1765 to 2008. Kinda sucks that the natural cleaners are becoming less useful at a time when we are increasingly contributing to the release of carbon emissions. Hopefully the chemical change can be reversed or improve if we are able to cut down on our carbon emissions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NYT 11/17/09 A Racial Divide Is Bridged by Hard Times

In the past it has been more typical for black families to have economic/financial problems and to need government assistance such as welfare programs. However, with the recession an increasing number of white families have been fallen on hard times and have also needed financial assistance. In McDonough, Ga. the racial barriers have been breached by the coming together of black and white families that are sharing the same struggles during these hard financial times. Families that have been through the process of recieving help before are now offering advice to both black and white families that have never had to be in the situation before. The racial barriers are not as strong as races bond and sympathize with each other over the hard times. I'm glad that some racial barriers are being broken but it sucks that there are so many racial barriers still in existance and that people can't overcome their differences. But anything that brings people together and creates less of a racial divide is positive in my mind even if it hard to be such devestating times to do it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NYT 11/12/09 U.S. Plans Raw Warm-Water Oyster Ban

There is a federal effort to ban the sale of raw oysters harvested during the warm months along the Gulf Coast unless they are processed by freezing and pasteurization. The raw oysters harbor a deadly bacteria that kill 15 people each year. There is a debate over the decline of the oyster industry if the ban is passed and the F.D.A to protect public health. There are arguments over the taste of treated oysters and how people will stop buying them if the taste is not the same and not as good. It is hard to interfere with the livelihood of a number of people but it is also hard to know that without regulation that 15 people are pretty much guaranteed to die a year from eating raw oysters infected with this deadly bacteria. It is a choice people make to decide to risk getting the oysters with the bacteria but they don't always consider the risk or that they might be susceptible. I do think that the F.D.A regulates to protect the health of humans and I do think they have the right to at least enforce warnings on the packaging or menus so people are fully aware of the potential danger of their food if not enforce an entire ban on oysters that were not processed to kill the bacter.

NYT 11/11/09 As Blackouts Hit Energy-Rich Venezuela, the President Tells People to Cut Back

Venezuela has the largest conventional oil reserves outside the Middle East and one of the world's best hydroelectric systems but it is suffering from electricity and water shortages. Venezuela has experienced six nationwide blackouts in the last two years and numerous poweroutages each day in some areas. Water rationing is being implimented in the capital as well as limits on imports of air-conditioning systems, the building of new gas-fired power plants and rate increases for consumers with high energy bills. With oil revenues declining and the economy slowing the problems will appear to prevail for a while. The other plan is to develop a nuclear energy program but there seem to be flaws with the benefits of it. The President is mocking consumption in an effort to reduce use of water and energy. It is hard to imagine a world without consistent electricity but it is soon to be the reality unless consumers reduce usage and different sources are found.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11/5/09 Gay Rights Rebuke May Bring Change in Tactics

New England has been more accepting of same-sex marriage however, Maine became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a public referendum. Gay rights activists have become emboldened to take a stronger stand for what they believe in and are disappointed by Obama's restrained remarks on the issue. Activists are looking for more aggressive tactics like speeding up a ballot measure to reverse California's ban on same-sex marriage instead of gathering support or trying to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. It's hard to see our society being so closed minded when we are so advanced in many other ways.

NYT 11/2/09 When Texting Kills, Britain Offers Path to Prison

Phillipa Curtis, 22, is going to prision for 21 months for a rear end car accident that killed the other young driver. The reason is that there is evidence on Ms. Curtis's cell phone that she was texting while driving. Britain is one of the more aggressive countries with laws against cell phone use. Ms. Curtis was not texting at the time of the accident but new guidelines reading or composing messages over a period of time is a distraction. Ms. Curtis would consider herself a safe cell phone user as would many people that text and drive yet it only takes a second to look down and read a message and miss seeing what is happening on the road.

NYT 10/27/09 Barred From Field, Christian Banners Find Home in Stands

Cheerleaders in a Ga. school made religious signs in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and it became a tradition for eight years. A parent expressed concern that it could cause a First Amendment lawsuit because church and state were not separate. The town and school have a majority of religious people that have rallied to bring messages about God into the football games in a legal way. The school couldn't allow the cheerleaders to keep holding religious banners because of the law but the response to the decision caused a greater number of religious fans and parents to hold signs in the stands. It was interesting to see how people stand up for their rights and were able to ultimately get what they wanted but in a legal way.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYT 10/29/09 Trial Opens for Nazi Death Squad Member

A former Nazi hitman went on trial for the killing of three Dutch citizens in 1944. Heinich Boere evaded prosectution by fleeing and by the German courts ruling that he could not be extradited. He faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. This is a case of ethics and how the passing of time doesn't excuse the crimes committed so he should be prosecuted. It is amazing that someone could escape prosectution for that long but he is still guilty for the actions he made.

NYT 10/26/09 Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways

Times are stressful and low income families are feeling it hardest. With so much financial stress parents may be short tempered, angry and violent. There has been an increase in youth runaways during this recession many of which are younger than 13. It is estimated that 1.6 million juveniles run away or are thrown out of their homes annually. Runaways that are too young to rent hotel rooms or hold a job are surviving by selling drugs, panhandling or engaging in prostitution. Runaways tend to avoid authority figures for fear of being sent home. They form little families amongst themselves and attempt to protect each other. Older children try to shelter younger children from being taken advantage of and show them how to survive on the streets. Authorities try to find runaways and send them home whenever possible but if their names are not listed in the National Crime Information Center or N.C.I.C they become invisible. In 16% of cases local police failed to enter the information into the federal database. Many of the runaways don't want to be found but these children may never have the opportunity to be productive members of society because of the difficulties of being a young, homeless runaway. There are nearly enough shelters or reform programs to help these children out.