February 28, 2007

I just realized I haven’t commented on Red….and my reason for not having done so yet is that the book did not really do much for me.  It was one of those books that I wanted to get through as fast as I could so that I could be done with it.  It was more poetic and wishy-washy (that word might only make sense in my head) then Desert Solitaire and The Meadowlands.  I didn’t like that style as much as the story-telling, more straight-forward, to the point styles of the other two . 

The book wasn’t a total failure, because variety is key in a class where we read a book a week….but it is my least favorite thus far.  On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 4.


Bee struggle continues…

February 27, 2007

A new article has been released with some new insight as to bee declines. Researchers and beekeepers hypothesize that the problem of declining bee populations in agricultural colonies is due to either stress or pesticides. Constant ‘nomadic’ shuffles by beekeepers back and forth across the nation pose a potential threat to bees’ stress level. Also, the movement toward bees as primarily a pollen spreading technique instead of honey gathering could also be the cause of an alteration in stress levels. -Andy

Relying on Bees

New South African Hunting Laws

February 27, 2007

This is an intriguing article about the new hunting laws in South Africa.  I won’t say too much because I believe this short article is worth a read.  It is good to see that this country has finally changed it laws governing hunting (or what I believe is poaching) of the ‘big 5.’  (And I am not entirely sure if this law governs only these animals or all animals in the country).  This article talks mainly about the African Lion and rhinos, which I looked-up and the lion has a ‘vulnerable’ status and the White Rhino an ‘endangered’ status and the Black Rhino a ‘critically endangered’ status, so I truly do not understand how these animals are allowed to be hunted in the first place.   There are some discussions of economy in the article; I love how the economy is an excuse to do anything and everything to help a country survive.  South Africa is doing pretty good for itself compared to its neighbors, perhaps they are just afraid of loosing this status.  I have a friend that lives in Preoria, S.A. so I plan to pose some of these questions to her and I will post her answers as a comment to this post.



February 27, 2007

I don’t really know what to say about this book.  It touched on most of the same issues that Desert Solitaire delved into, but with a very feminine approach.  Williams is definately a strange character, but in a much different manner than Abbey was.  Abbey was raw and in your face about his passions and beliefs, but Williams tries to be more polite at times and tells wierd stories to make her point.  I definately did not like this book as well as I liked Abbey’s telling of the wilderness in the Southwest.  Perhaps it would have been nice to read this book before Desert Solitaire because, in my opinion, the books have the same issues, but Abbey tells a much more interesting story.

The feminine undertones in Red are very obvious, and maybe I am just being difficult, but I didn’t really appreciate the femininism.  One chapter (Water or something like that) was devoted to Williams love-making experience with nature and, to me, it was just unusual.  Everyone has their “thing” and everyone has a different type of storytelling that they appreciate, but this chapter especially was just odd and I could never imagine myself doing the things that Williams did.

And that brings me to one more issue.  I am not fully convinced that Williams did all the things that she wrote about.  Maybe she did, but I continually found myself asking, “No!  She didn’t really do that, did she?”  For some reason I am just very skeptical of this book.  Every person has a different type of reading they enjoy and perhaps I have not given Red enough credit, but it was really just not my cup of tea.


Man vs. Mud Volcano

February 27, 2007

This was the actual title of this news story, so I thought it really fit-in with our class discussions.  This article is no less than hilarious.  A drilling company pierces the Earth’s crust causing hot mud to start spilling-out, but now it is the Earth’s fault that people have been displaced by this “disaster.”  So engineers are going to try to reduce the mud flow with concrete balls chain-linked together!  I have never heard of such a thing, but I am curious to see if it will work.



collapsed ice shelf reveals possible new species

February 26, 2007

Scientists exploring a region of ocean around Antarctica formerly covered by ice shelves found a lot of cool organisms, including some that might be entirely new species.  These ice shelves collapsed over the last dozen years, presumably (at least in part) because of global warming.  Now that we’ve found these animals, who knows how long they’ll last with their habitats warming up fast.

In related news, go Inconvenient Truth for winning two Oscars (best documentary feature and best original song)!  That was fun.


Corporatized educators…. awesome

February 25, 2007

This link is actually to an editorial piece on, but it links back to other articles and a piece from the Washington Post. It pertains to recent blogs on global climate change, denial, and something that has been concerning me lately– scientific and educational integrity.  The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the world’s largest organization of science educators, and has repeatedly bent to the pressures and moneys from big corporations.  The information being presented to our kids is at times a direct reflection of what brainwashing Big Money wants them hearing.  It’s a messy issue, as many schools rely on corporate funding just to run, but is it worth it if we’re indoctrinating kids in favor of coal, against global warming, etc.? The direct impetus for this piece is the NSTA refusal of free copies of An Inconvenient Truth for showing at schools.  They do, however, accept other literature and media… Writes the author:

I am an environmental science teacher of 26 years and I have a steamer trunk of materials from NSTA’s past conferences:

Project Learning Tree’s Energy module, supported by API’s Red Cavaney who wants ANWR opened, opposes the Kyoto Treaty, and wants more public land opened to energy exploration. Lesson plans, coloring books, free coal samples from the American Coal Foundation – minus any substantive discussion, let alone mention of climate change.

Lessons and videos from a group that was called the “Greening Earth Society,” funded by the Western Fuels Association. The message of the film was firm and academically clear: There is no human-induced climate change.

    Our youngest teachers need help to plan and write lesson plans, to engage students in critical, scientific scenarios like climate change and to help those students face those challenges with facts in hand. The NSTA is the logical leader on this front with its prestige and deep pockets. Will the NSTA tacitly sit back and even conspire with the likes of ExxonMobil to fill this void? ExxonMobil and Monsanto and the American Petroleum Institute have little interest in providing science data: instead, they see flooding our schools with their “dubious science” as the last component of a major PR effort to continue profits and damn the consequences.”

Among other things, here is an opportunity that we might take, as students of science and concerned world citizens–write to the association to tell them what our values and priorities are!  Shame them and inspire them to provide accurate, fair, and essential information to kids… They ought to listen if enough attention is given, since we are the people most affected.  Read the articles.  Infuriating and arousing.