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Entries from blogs tagged with “Social Responsibility”

Space Station and Shuttle Visible Tonight

The Space Station, with the Space Shuttle still be docked, will pass overhead this evening. Look to the northwest about 6:48 PM (the article says 6:28, but that is incorrect). Although it should be even brighter than usual, it will be visible for only 3-4 minutes as it passes over and goes below the eastern horizon. Even if there are a few clouds, it should not be hard to locate.

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Google Street View: Cool? Scary? Both?

Yesterday I noticed that Google Maps, a tool I use frequently, had a new button at the top of the map. The button "Street View" was something I'd heard about a few months ago.Clicking the button, I saw most of the roads in Lawrence become highlighted in blue. As I zoomed in closer, a little virtual man appeared on the map. Clicking on him caused a picture to appear above his head. The picture was a view of the city street where he was "standing". With my mouse, I was able to pan the picture around and get a 360 degree view from that location.Then I used my mouse to drag him to near where I live. From within the picture, you can not only pan, but, by clicking on the arrows superimposed on the picture, move up and down the street.Soon I had navigated to my street and then to where my house is. I panned around to the right and there was my car sitting in the driveway!Before I go farther I should say that these picture were clearly taken in summer, probably last summer. THEY ARE NOT REAL TIME IMAGES. Google has sent a vehicle around to take these pictures. It has a camera with a 360 degree view on top. Some of you have seen it, as I'll describe later. It may have been a van, or a car with a spherical camera mounted above the roof.Speaking of people who have seen it, I noticed that the blue lines (which shows those streets which have been mapped with images) extended up north of Lawrence in to Jefferson county, where my Aunt lives.I found their road and as I "approached" (virtually that is) their house I first saw my one of my cousins driving his ATV down the road, past the camera vehicle. As I approached the house, my other cousin was clearly visible on a riding lawnmower, mowing his mother's grass.Cool? Absolutely. A little scary? Maybe. One thing I'm sure of, this is only the beginning. It will only get better... or maybe worse, depending upon your perspective.The Journal World's Christine Metz also had an article on Street View" which has more information.For those of you who follow my So Much to See blog postings, here is another hint for the lastest image. It uses Google Street View to let you search the area where this week's landmark is located. Navigate around a bit and you will see the subject of this weeks picture.BTW. I've been working with the LHS Robotics Club and hope to soon have some pictures and information as they prepare for this year's US First robot competition.

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Science Debate 2008: Now will they come…

It is official! Science Debate 2008 has just invited the presidential candidates to a debate on science policy. The debate is scheduled for April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Of course just because the candidates are invited to the debate doesn't mean they are going to show up. See the Science Debate 2008 website for more updates.From the Science Debate Press Release:"Most of the major policy challenges the next president will face, from climate chance to jobs and economic competitiveness to healthcare to the health of the oceans, center on science and technology. Where is the next transistor economy going to come from? Is there going to be action to address climate change? Do we need a Marshall plan for science in America? What about peak oil? Why are our school children falling behind other countries in math and science, and what should be done about it?"Stay tuned...

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So Much to See #7 (2/10/2008)

Previous:SMTS #6
Next:SMTS #8

Where is it? What is it?Here is this week's image, and I'm even including a hint. The small patches of white? That is snow.Does that help? <grin>

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/10/DSC_0786a.JPG

2nd image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/11/DSC_0786b.JPG

Image #3:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/12/DSC_0786c.JPG

Image #4:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/13/DSC_0786d.JPG

The final image of the gazebo at Centennial Park:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/14/DSC_0786.JPG

Here is a map, the Centennial gazebo is marked by the blue baloon:

View Larger Map

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Pulitzer Prize winner speaks at KU.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, Seymour M. Hersh received the William Allen White Foundation 2008 National Citation at Woodruff Auditorium (in the Kansas Union Building) at Kansas University yesterday. A photograph and report appears in the Journal World this morning.In an introduction, Ted Frederickson, Budig Professor of Writing, at KU, said that Hersh was "the most effective watchdog of our time...." and referred to his expostion of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, and the more recent Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq."Great," I thought, "I'm going to hear a great journalist, with proven investigative skills and courage, who is going to teach me something about persistence, courage, and some things that might help me become a better citizen journalist."I took my notebook along to gather gems of wisdom. I was excited when I heard his first sentences which included the phrase "there's nothing like journalism ... we have the ability to change the world." He added, referring to America, "this is a special country.""He's so right," I thought. "I'm privileged to be sitting here in the middle of America listening to this."Then Hersh proceeded to disparage the President of "this special country" with a "Bush bash" which drew laughs and clapping from some sections of the audience. Before I go any further, let me make it plain that I am not yet a voter (my American citizenship is in process) - and I am trying to listen to ALL the debates with an open mind. As Hersh continued talking, I became increasingly uncomfortable with his obvious negativity toward President Bush. The "greatest watchdog of our time" directed his bark and bites at the President. Yes, I know the watchdog journalist needs to tell the truth and Hersh has done a great job in relating the truths he has unconvered in Vietnam and in Iraq, but I expected him to be more objective - not engage in what appeared to be a personal attack on the person more than half of America elected to be the leader of this country.I am amazed that people on both sides - Republican and Democrat - seem to conclude that thinking or voting for one particular party shows some kind of stupidity or imbecility on the part of the other. Is over half of America really stupid because they voted for Republican George Bush? Does one half of America have the monopoly on intelligence - or stupidity?Surely part of any intelligent debate - and investigative journalism - is to look at both sides of issues in an objective way, before rendering a reasoned opinion? Near the end of his talk, Hersh said:"As journalists, we can hold up a light to show the truth."He generally does this in his writing, and does it well, but, yesterday, perhaps because he was suffering from a head cold, his objectivity went walkabout. The watchdog seemed to bark a little too much in only one direction, and, in my eyes, his light dimmed a little.

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Building International Understanding

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/08/IMG_0627.jpgThat is noted sculptor Elden Tefft on the left. Eldon is retired from teaching sculpture at the University of Kansas and maybe best known locally as the creator of the statue of Moses in front of Smith Hall. His representation of former KU Chancellor Franklin Murphy is in a sculpture garden at UCLA along with works of such notables as Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Henri Matisse.That is internationally known sculptor Gustavo Beckelmann on the right. Gustavo is from Paraguay and is in Kansas this month as part of the "Visual Encounters with Paraguay" exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka. Elden Tefft taught sculpture in Paraguay in 1989. His trip was part of a cultural exchange through Kansas Paraguay Partners and supported, in part, by Partners of the Americas.Gustavo says that in 1989 he was a struggling artist who was trying to create bronze sculptures. His methods were primitive and results were disappointing. He attended Professor Tefft's class in Asuncion Paraguay and his artistic life was transformed. Elden taught the "lost wax" method of working with bronze which is an ancient technique still used today.Following these classes Jerry Miller, one of Elden's collaborators, helped Gustavo build the type of kiln needed to work successfully with bronze. Gustavo has gone on to create sculptures that have won international prizes. He has also passed on what he has learned by helping sculptors in other countries build kilns like the one that Jerry helped him construct. This is one of hundreds of stories of international collaborations in diverse fields including agriculture, health and education that build understanding across cultures. In this case a young struggling artist in a developing country learned the skills needed to build a successful career. For his part Elden made lifelong friends in a little known South American country.I heard yesterday that the US now spends more on defense than all of the other countries in the world combined. Perhaps if we spent more on building relationships like that of Elden and Gustavo we would need to spend less on defense.

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Griff’s, the Drive-In and Much, Much More

Griff's Burger Bar was at 1618 W.23rd Street. Currently, Dunn Brothers Coffee shop sits on the site. In a recent LJWorld and Readers Blog quiz, the location of Griff's, along with the name of the drive-in theater on 23rd Street, was asked. It was the "Lawrence Drive-In" and its mailing address was 625 W.23rd Street, right between W.B. Auto Sales and the residence of Gene Hubbard. I can also tell you that near the Drive-In was the Malls Shopping Center with the Safeway Grocery Store, Acme Laundry & Dry Cleaners, Key Rexall Drug Store, Kief's Records and Hi-Fi, Maupintour Travel and several other businesses. How can I be so specific? Though I do admit to vaguely recalling some of these, this information can be found in the city directories in the Osma Room at the Lawrence Public Library.City directories list names and addresses of residents, businesses and organizations as well as official city offices, schools and churches. The earliest directory in the Library's collection is for the year 1866. In addition to listing the general information, an account of Quantrill's Raid of 1863 written by Rev.Richard Cordley is in this edition. If you wish to see how the city grew, reading the directories will give you a tour of the stores on Massachusetts Street, where the city limits ended, what industries came and went, how residential areas grew and who were the city officials. These little books are time machines that can take you back to a Lawrence that had streets named "Winthrop" and "Quincy". It will send you to a town with only 2 department stores but 20 dressmakers, including the Misses Dixon and the Helmendach Sisters. There were 36 grocers but not all were downtown. Small neighborhood grocers were selling their wares at 900 Mississippi Street and 1200 New York Street. There was a time that Lawrence had 30 physicians and 1 phrenologist.The changing needs of a community are reflected by the listings, too. In 1907, Lawrence had 4 carriage & wagonmakers but only 1 auto repair shop. By 1911, it was reversed. That year also showed Obers selling "automobile clothing". Society changes can be seen as well. The resident listings show occupations as well as names and addresses. It is easy to distinguish the working class neighborhoods from the residential area of business professionals. The books can take the reader back to an unfamiliar time but it can also shake the cobwebs from your own memory. Directories of the 1960s, '70's and '80s can conjure up cherry cokes at Raney's Drug Store, magazines at the Town Crier and Friday night tacos at the Stables. These memories are strong but the directories can also destroy them. Vividly recalling that something was definitely at a particular place only to read that it was elsewhere can be embarrassing. Lots of arguments can be settled by these little books. The city directories are a source of valuable information about a town. Merely by listing the basic facts, a picture appears of who lived there, what they did for work and leisure and where they did it. The Library has most city directories from 1866 through 1930, 1961 to the current edition. They are shelved in the Osma Room on the lower level of the Library. The Osma Room is the local history collection. It contains many other books and materials you might find interesting, including hard-to-find books on regional and local history, telephone directories plus high school & KU yearbooks. Genealogy materials are also available there. It is a treasure chest for anyone interested in the history of Douglas County. For more information on the Osma Room or material in the room, contact the Library Reference Desk, 843-1178 .1963 R.L.Polk & Co. Lawrence City Directory*1907 R.L.Polk & Co. Lawrence City Directory

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Shuttle Launch Today

Launch today is scheduled for 1:45PM CST today. You can watch it in HD on channel 220, or on NASA TV.Launches now are just a small note in the news now, but if you've had a chance to see a shuttle launch, it is not something you will forget. NASA has not done a good job relating how amazing a task it is. Unfortunately, few will get to stand outside Launch Control, hear the final count over the loudspeaker, hear the loud whir of the main engines when they start and watch it rise from the billowing clouds of smoke.I can tell you for a fact that it is cool. Even these days few things can match it. From 3 1/2 miles away (as close as anyone is allowed) it is loud. Sometimes you'll hear car alarms go off from the low frequency vibrations. 10 miles is as close as most of the public can get, but even at that distance it is impressive.So if you have a few minutes today around 1:45, you might take the time to watch. Seven people are going to do something pretty amazing.And here is one more NASA site of interest, it is a real-time 3-D display of the satellites orbiting the earth. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the Shuttle and Space station, but it does show a new, fascinating perspective of our planet.

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Is prevention worth it?

A study in PLOS Medicine challenges the notion that preventing obesity and smoking reduces over all health costs. The authors modeled life time health care costs under a number of scenarios and their results suggest that preventing obesity and smoking actually increases life time health care costs. The two factors contributing to this counter intuitive result are increased life span resulting from prevention and the shift from acute diseases associated with smoking and obesity to chronic diseases that are more expensive over the person's life time.Don't reach for that cigarette or stop that exercising though. The authors note that their study does not address other sorts of economic and social costs. For instance the indirect costs associated with smoking and obesity could easily exceed the direct medical costs.Also they assume that treatment costs are constant for medical problems regardless of whether or not a person is obese or smokes. For example, the authors observe that treating back problems might be more expensive if a person is obese. You can read the study for yourself athttp://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029

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On The Fence

It is Monday before Super Tuesday and I'm waffling. Me an admitted feminist! It's not that I don't think that Hillary is right for the job. In spite of the rhetoric from those who oppose her; she is qualified and ready to lead. And I believe that we desperately need a woman president. Not just to break the glass ceiling. I believe we need more women in power to balance out the confrontational nature of our current male leaders.So why am I waffling? I am inspired by Obama's ability to engage young voters. The enthusiasm of these young people gives me hope that America can be great again. For the first time in awhile I feel good about handing over the reigns to the younger generation.Lately it seemed that people had forgotten that our government is of the people, for the people, by the people. Obama seems to embrace this. Perhaps that is why so many youth and others are becoming engaged in the political process this election.What do you think?

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Paraguayan Art?

Paraguay is a little known (in the USA) South American country snuggled between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia with a rich artistic tradition that is celebrated in an exhibition of over 150 works currently at the Mulvane Art Museum of Washburn University in Topeka. The exhibit is open through April 13, 2008.This exhibit includes cultural artifacts of several indigenous peoples. Tools, water pots, sandals and spears are just a few examples. But Paraguay is not just a romantic tropical or sub-tropical country. A 2007 human rights calendar published by Museo de las Memorias is a graphic reminder of abuses of past dictators. This museum is part of an old police station that was used to torture political dissentients and is dedicated to keeping the memory of these events alive.There are several works by artists who struggled for artistic and political freedom during the repressive dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). Carlos Colombino is one of these artists whose work of that era is highly symbolic. His El Supremo not only refers to Paraguay's first dictator but to a long line of repressive governments. This work shows a head emerging from or submerged in a landscape form constricted with rope.Other, less troubling aspects of Paraguayan culture are represented. Nanduti is delicate lace work that seeks to emulate and go beyond the intricate spider webs that inspired this craft. Nanduti is the word for spider web in Guarani which is the other official language of Paraguay with Spanish. Nanduti is represented in the exhibit with several handmade examples and by other works that pay homage to this tradition such as the contemporary works of Alfredo Miltos. In this exhibit, as in the artistic expression of most cultures, the traditional and modern are intertwined. A very interesting modern artist is Maria Gloria Echauri who takes pictures of peoples lower legs and feet and superimposes them on maps representing the movement of people to find work.The exhibit is titled, "Visual Encounters with Paraguay: Forty Years of Kansas Paraguay Partnership." Kansas and Paraguay have been partners since the 1960s as part of the Partners of the Americas program. Through the years there have been and continue to be a variety of exchanges including education, agriculture, medical, and arts. Much of the work in the exhibit is from the private collection of Kansans who have traveled to Paraguay as well as from the Spencer and Mulvane Museums of Art.Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Interim Director of the Mulvane Art Museum is the curator of this show has done a masterful job of presenting the breadth and depth of Paraguayan art. She states, in the exhibition catalog: "Visual arts, like music, are powerful communicators of a people's history, cultural identity and values across boundaries of language and political borders." Her presentation of the works is a testament to her ability to enable the art to communicate. The catalog is trilingual, English, Spanish and Guarani. That may be a first for Kansas and Paraguay.

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So Much to See #6 (2/3/2008)

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January 31st

January 31st Our dam speaks with a mighty roar,Day by day-hour by hour;Our dam speaks for a mile most days,A sound ignored all the more,For its constancy perpetual,Holding forth his mighty power;Dog and I walked the levee one day, usual;Suddenly the dam's voice was not there in my mind's haze,Unheard where normally his voice is good, The dam was not speaking? The voice still, no voice vestigial, My ears heard not his roar;Dog looked me in the face, as still I stood,An answer to this puzzle seeking;Then, A snowflake gently rested on my nose, As if in reply: 'sound is lost in snows;'a slow and easy snowfall, Weathermen called it a dusting,And no wind gusting, A so Gentle snow, muffling the dam's mighty growl;I imagined mashed potato clouds filled the sky ;After walking much more,his familiar drone-my ears modulated,This fine snow made the levee More than usual cozy;I returned to my neighborhood,With echoing train whistles,And icy beard bristles;Snow and dam penetrated.

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Fossils and Faith

"Resurrected Life" is a quite interesting article but there are just some things about it that really bother me as a scientist and as a religious person. For instance, Mr. Detrich thinks that non believers have nothing to live for. Personally I don't believe it is in my ken to say whether or not someone else has anything to live for based on their beliefs. Granted I don't know what is going on in the depths of atheist Richard Dawkins' psyche, but he certainly seems to think his life has a point.Second of all I am bothered by this statement about nonbelievers:"They might just accidentally come to the conclusion that life would be better if they believed in a super being, in a creator, rather than life would be better if your actions didn't matter."This is a kinder gentler version of Pascal's wager which basically says you should believe because the reward is eternal bliss and the penalty eternal damnation. I have never been impressed by this wager in it's original form and I am even less impressed with Mr. Detrich's kinder gentler version. Also, does Mr. Detrich's kinder gentler version extend to devotees of, say, Krishna or for that matter any sort of belief in a supreme being?Next, I wonder why is the notion of God "creating" incompatible with scientific explanations of how life came to be and evolved? Mr. Detrich seems to at least accept the geological time scale. Well, if that scale is valid then why could not God's actions to bring change be seen from our end as being-well - evolution? Finally what am I to make of the concluding statement in the article where he says it is "better to be on the side of good than on the side of bad." Well what about that? Is some one automatically good because they believe in a higher power and some one automatically bad because they don't? Or is some one automatically bad because they believe that evolution happens? Does Mr. Detrich still think we are "evilutionists" as he writes in his "musings"?http://www.spearofjesus.com/musings.html

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Evolution Weekend!

Tonight I was doing some searching about transitional fossils and got side tracked by an interesting site called the Clergy Letter Project founded by Michael Zimmerman from Butler University. This project's purpose, according to its web site , is " to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible and to elevate the quality of the debate of this issue."The Clergy Letter Project has organized a nationwide effort related to this called "Evolution Weekend" which is next weekend February 8-10, Charles Darwin's birthday of course being February 12th. The project's site has a list of participating congregations, and resources including scientists and resources including sermon pod casts related to religion and science. One Lawrence Congregation, Plymouth Congregational is listed as participating, but I hope that other congregations are having discussions about science and religion. What about yours? If yes, what are the discussions about? Can such discussion really be fruitful or are science and religion contradictory?

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I made a fool of myself for international understanding.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/01/RPCV.jpgThat is me in the homemade sandwich board. On Wednesday I walked Jayhawk Boulevard for 1.5 hours between the Kansas Union and Hock Auditoria trying to catch the noon hour rush from class to lunch. I was looking for a few good volunteers. Being many years older than most people on the street I got lots of strange looks.That RPCV on the button stands for Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I was one and like so many others it was a fantastic and life changing experience. I served in Paraguay which is also part of another U.S foreign policy program called Partners of the Americas. Like Peace Corps, Partners was another President Kennedy initiative. Paraguay is partnered with Kansas and that partnership is still going strong after 40 years but more on that at another time.The event I was trying to get students interested in was Thursday evening and included recruiting for Americorps and Teach for America as well as the Peace Corps. There may have been as many RPCVs there as recruits. That is because it is such a powerful experience that most RPCVs want to share their experiences and encourage others to do the same. One recently returned volunteer served in Turkmenistan and as a result came back to seek an advanced degree related to Central Asia. One volunteer in my group is now working in a not for profit housing organization on the south side of Chicago using his Spanish learned during his service in Paraguay. These are just two of thousands of stories.I talked with several young people who were interested and showed with their questions that they were apprehensive. Twenty seven months away from friends and family in some country with another language is quite a commitment. Yet every RCPV related wonderful stories of learning a language, adapting to another culture and making friends that became family away from home. One person who served in the 1970s told of continuing to visit 'family' in Central America more than 30 years later.Programs like the Peace Corps and Partners of the Americas may be the most effective United States foreign policy programs. Not that volunteers have a large impact on another country but because people in one country come to understand those in another. I was once told that Senator Fulbright said that he favored any foreign policy program that reduced nations to people. I agree.

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Spreading Junk Science

Based on the comments, the article "Soaring to new heights" in today's Journal World has provided yet another opportunity for some people to peddle misinformation about DDT. Perhaps rather than cite Fox News or the "Junk Science Web Site", these people ought to look more closely at the scientific literature on DDT and its effect on bird populations. Here for instance, is a review that classes DDE, a metabolite of DDT, as an endocrine disruptor. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1874172Meanwhile, a major 1995 study concluded that environmental pollutants appear to be the most important factor relating to productivity of eagle populations:http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1519271.For birds of prey the connection between DDT/DDE and reproductive failure seems pretty strong to me.Of course biology is rarely neat, and there are certainly studies that do not show a link between DDT and it's metabolites and changes in bird populations. For instance, a very recent filed study that shows that a population of herons is thriving in spite of exposure to PCB's and DDE's.http://www.news.uiuc.edu/NEWS/08/0116herons.htmlAnd consider this study which concluded that DDT, more precisely DDE, probably was not involved in the decline of California condors.http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1474-919X.2003.00132.xIndeed this study concludes that lead shot was probably the main factor in the decline of condors. The fact of the matter is, that bird species seem to vary widely in their response to DDT and its metabolites and other factors are important in the fate of many bird populations.So what are we to do in terms of policy about DDT? Perhaps the best answer we have on this issue, is this 1989 conclusion from the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc83.htm#SectionNumber:6.2"One of the most widely studied effects of DDT is eggshell thinningin birds, particularly in predatory species. The metabolite DDE, notDDT, has been shown to be responsible for this effect. Other effectson reproduction and survival of birds have been demonstrated. Largepopulation declines in birds of prey can be, at least partially,attributed to DDT. ...""Because of their lack of degradation, their resulting widespreadpersistence in the environment, their high acute toxicity to organismsat the base of food chains, and their high potential forbioaccumulation, DDT and its metabolites should be regarded as a majorhazard to the environment. DDT should not be used when an alternativeinsecticide is available."There may be some reason to consider DDT's limited use in malaria control as discussed here:http://pubs.acs.org/cen/government/84/8430gov1.html. However, the IPCS conclusions about DDT are still sound sound today. Indeed those interested in the controversy about the role of DDT in controlling Malaria should also see this article from the Washington Post.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060400130.htmlIn this article, entomologist May Berenbaum argues that DDT may have a limited role in managing malaria if mosquito populations can be monitored to assess the evolution of resistant strains but that we need to cut out the "overblown hype" about DDT. Perhaps this also applies to other aspects of the complex effects of man made chemicals on our environment.

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So Much to See #5

Previous: So Much to See #4
Next: So Much to See #6

Where is it? What is it?This is visible from one of the main streets of town (as defined by me). Each day or so I'll add a larger image or hint. Some complained last week that the image was to small and blurry. I confess, I'm trying to make them hard enough so that it will take at least a day or two to identify them. The previous 4 pictures were guessed quickly. FYI, here's a recap:

  1. 5th comment
  2. 3rd comment
  3. 3rd comment
  4. 3rd comment

However, I am amazed that subjects of the pictures were identified so quickly. Nonetheless, I'm trying to make them harder.Here is this week's image first image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/27/DSC_0726a.JPG

2nd image
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/28/DSC_0726b.JPG

3rd image
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/29/DSC_0726c.JPG

4th image
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/30/DSC_0726d.JPG

The final image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/31/DSC_0726t.JPG
This house is just north of East Heights Early Childhood Family Center.Cody has done it again.

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Show Me the Money

On Friday, Nov. 9th, Drake University played a basketball game at 4:30 P.M. (ET) against California-San Diego. The game was played at California-San Diego. Drake won, 81-63. One of the Drake players, Bill Eaddy, played for one minute. He had no free throw or field goal attempts. You can find all the box scores for that game online.Sometime ago, I don't know exactly when, the city of Lawrence built a roundabout at the intersection of 19th St. and Barker Avenue. I strongly suspect the construction involved a number of workers and took several weeks,, maybe more. I would also guess that it cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With some effort, I'm sure I could find out more about this project.I can find minutes from a city commission meeting in 2000 where the the roundabout was mentioned. I can also find information about the city budget process. The city budget for 2007 is available online. I don't see the 19th & Barker roundabout mentioned so it must have been built before then.To be honest, I don't really care that much about when the roundabout was built. I would be interested to see how much it cost.Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that detailed information about a basketball game is so readily available, yet informtaion about our local government and the millions ($67 million if I read the budget correctly) it spends is so much more difficult to obtain?I do commend the city commission in making the budget available online. The school board should follow suit.Show me the money, where it goes, and that it is used effectively, or don't ask me for more. We are each responsible for overseeing the actions and decisions of those we elect. Those elected officials should make it as easy as possible for us to do that.Even if the city and school district each needed to add a person who's only responsibility is to make the budget and financial information available to us, I think it would be money well spent.

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Taking the Credit

I was recently sent an email that consisted of quotes from famous persons. It was a pretty slide show of profound sayings by historical people, some I actually recognized before their names were shown. The quotes were thoughtful and I know that I've seen several on the "Inspirational" plaques but one jumped out to me. "It is remarkable what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.--Harry Truman." My mind immediately went to the current political campaigns. It has been a source of warped comedy to me how people complain so about the Christmas season lasting too long because items are in stores in October but don't seem to be fazed at how long the candidates have been running for the Presidency. I understand how the election process works. I know how states choose their delegates. I understand about the conventions. By the time of the conventions, let alone the election itself, candidates will have been electioneering in some form for two years. Doesn't that strike anyone beside me to be slightly excessive? No candidate can fully say what he or she will do once in office because there is no one person that can make the changes by themselves, not even the President. The strength of our governmental checks and balances determine that one person cannot make all of the decisions. A candidate can say what he or she feels is needed to be done and how it could be implemented but they never do that. The campaigns talk in generalities but some are better at that than others so it does seem that solutions are being given but if we listen closely, they aren't. Call me cynical but why can't the candidates take a much shorter time to not tell me exactly what they want to do? If a candidate can't convince me that he or she is the best person for the job in six months, why do they think that two years will do it? Oh, wait a minute. I think I used to use this tactic with my Mother. If I keep talking about what I want for long enough, maybe she will tune me out just enough to finally say yes to make me stop? Especially if I look nice doing it and say just enough of the right things that I know she likes to hear occasionally. Yes, now I think I get it. Only thing is, I remember this didn't work very well with my Mother. She told me that she was getting tired of hearing about it and so the answer was no. But my Daddy, he was another matter. He would say yes. Guess it depends on the audience. As I listen to the candidates, more and more I am wanting to hear a candidate that appears to have the bigger picture for the country instead of what one party has or hasn't done or will or won't do. As I first mentioned, when credit for accomplishing what is needed is not the first priority, many things can be done. Politics has never been a group hug but it has shown times when the greater good was the priority. I don't think that I would be the only voter that would recognize that candidate and feel that , finally, I have a real choice.

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