Local food and teaching the environment

1 Jul

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/30/418835394/communities-get-a-lift-as-local-food-sales-surge-to-11-billion-a-year

There’s a renaissance in local and regional food, and it’s not just farmers markets in urban areas that are driving it.

On this map, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pinpoints more than 4,000 local and regional food businesses and projects — from food hubs to farm-to-school programs to initiatives to expand healthy food access to low-income communities — in every state around the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/business/energy-environment/tackling-climate-change-one-class-at-a-time.html?_r=1

BAR HARBOR, Me. — Like many residents of this picturesque island town on the edge of Acadia National Park, Zach Soares had trouble keeping his house warm, going through five cords of wood in the winter. So he jumped at an offer last year for free energy improvements through a class project at the College of the Atlantic, where he works.

kids explain gay marriage

1 Jul

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/30/kids-gay-marriage-jimmy-kimmel-live_n_7696384.html

3 minute video, very cute, and points to the larger issues in life and marriage

Transgender swimmer choice of men’s or women’s team

1 Jul

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/30/418964333/transgender-swimmer-given-choice-of-harvards-mens-womens-teams

factory farm drones

1 Jul

http://factoryfarmdrones.com/

Video clip gives a glimpse into the movie Speciesism that discusses issues with factory farms.

John Doerr on climate change, greentech

30 Jun

“I don’t think we’re going to make it,” John Doerr says in an emotional talk about climate change and investment. To create a world fit for his daughter to live in, he says, we need to invest now in clean, green energy.

John Doerr, Silicon Valley’s legendary moneyman, is afraid of eco-apocalypse. After building his reputation (and a considerable fortune) investing in high-tech successes, he’s turning his focus toward green technologies, and hoping it isn’t too late.

Why you should listen

John Doerr, a partner in famed VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, made upwards of $1 billion picking dot-com stars like Amazon, Google, Compaq and Netscape. (He also picked some flops, like Go Corporation and the scandal-ridden MyCFO.com.) He was famously quoted saying, “The Internet is the greatest legal creation of wealth in history,” right before the dot-com crash. However, his business prowess earned him an appointment on President Obama’s Economic Advisory Board in 2009 following the economic downturn.

But now he’s back, warning that carbon-dioxide-sputtering, gas-powered capitalism will destroy us all, and that going green may be the “biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” So Kleiner Perkins has invested $200 million in so-called greentech, a combination of startups that are pioneering alternative energy, waste remediation and other schemes to prevent the coming environmental calamity. But Doerr is afraid that it might be too little, too late.

What others say

“[John Doerr] is, by all accounts, the most influential venture capitalist of his generation.” — Fast Company

Mustard Gas Study WWII

22 Jun

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/22/415194765/u-s-troops-tested-by-race-in-secret-world-war-ii-chemical-experiments

As a young U.S. Army soldier during World War II, Rollins Edwards knew better than to refuse an assignment.

When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn’t complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside.

“It felt like you were on fire,” recalls Edwards, now 93 years old. “Guys started screaming and hollering and trying to break out. And then some of the guys fainted. And finally they opened the door and let us out, and the guys were just, they were in bad shape.”

About This Investigation

This is Part 1 of a two-part investigation on mustard gas testing conducted by the U.S. military during World War II. The second story in this report will examine the failures by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide benefits to those injured by military mustard gas experiments.

Edwards was one of 60,000 enlisted men enrolled in a once-secret government program — formally declassified in 1993 — to test mustard gas and other chemical agents on American troops. But there was a specific reason he was chosen: Edwards is African-American.

“They said we were being tested to see what effect these gases would have on black skins,” Edwards says.

An NPR investigation has found evidence that Edwards’ experience was not unique. While the Pentagon admitted decades ago that it used American troops as test subjects in experiments with mustard gas, until now, officials have never spoken about the tests that grouped subjects by race.

For the first time, NPR tracked down some of the men used in the race-based experiments. And it wasn’t just African-Americans. Japanese-Americans were used as test subjects, serving as proxies for the enemy so scientists could explore how mustard gas and other chemicals might affect Japanese troops. Puerto Rican soldiers were also singled out…

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/23/416408655/the-vas-broken-promise-to-thousands-of-vets-exposed-to-mustard-gas

The VA’s broken promise to those exposed to Mustard Gas

In secret chemical weapons experiments conducted during World War II, the U.S. military exposed thousands of American troops to mustard gas.

When those experiments were formally declassified in the 1990s, the Department of Veterans Affairs made two promises: to locate about 4,000 men who were used in the most extreme tests, and to compensate those who had permanent injuries.

Charlie Cavell at his home in Virginia. He is one of 60,000 World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas as part of secret experiments by the U.S. military.
Ariel Zambelich/NPR

But the VA didn’t uphold those promises, an NPR investigation has found.

NPR interviewed more than 40 living test subjects and family members, and they describe an unending cycle of appeals and denials as they struggled to get government benefits for mustard gas exposure. Some gave up out of frustration.

When Serena Williams wins, the racist and sexist comments follow

8 Jun

This article does a great job breaking down the racism and sexism in people’s reactions to Williams’ performance. It has a very good, succinct video to explain the social construction of race.

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