Random (but not really)

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Feline Dilemma

So we took the cats to the vet today. Yes, that’s right, three cats in the car, and we made it there and back again in one piece. Does that qualify us for some kind of medal or something?

Anyway, apparently Slate has hypothyroidism, and the doctor gave us three treatment otions: medication, surgery, or radiation.

But Slate is 18. Although the doctor seems to think that surgery is the best option, I am not sure that I want to put Slate through all that. Radiation, at $1400, is right out, but he said there may be side effects from the medication, and the medication would need to be given every day.

He seemed to be saying that she’ll decline, perhaps rapidly, if the condition goes untreated, but again, she’s 18. How much longer does she have?

I don’t know. We’ll talk to my parents, since she still is nominally their cat, and see what they have to say, but in the end I figure it will be up to us.

Written by Michelle at 11:12 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Friday, January 30, 2004

Environmentally Beware

Why I don’t like Bush, Part IV, Environmental Policy (Part I, Part II, Part III)

As I mentioned before, being an “environmentalist” is how I was raised. It’s part of the respect that I was raised to have for others. But as I don’t see how someone can live on this planet and not be an environmentalist, I also don’t see how it is possible to be an environmentalist and support Bush.

Mountiantop Removal

This one is personal.

For several decades now, there has been in West Virginia a shift towards tourism, with West Virginia Tourism becoming a major source of income for the state. Which is a good thing, because it’s beautiful here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely to remain beautiful here as the Bush administration is pushing to reduce restrictions on Mountaintop mining and watershed pollution. For an idea of what I mean, check out this site full of aerial photographs of mountaintop removal and coal slurry impoundment sites. We (as a state) are trying to bring people into the state, so I can not comprehend why knocking mountains tops off of into valleys should be considered a good idea.

It’s possible that the horrors of strip mining and clear cut logging and mountaintop removal are only clear when you actually see the sites for themselves. If you’ve seen a wooded mountain for years, only one day to come upon the entire area, completely devastated. You can trust me that it brings a sick feeling to the pit of your stomach.

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act was created in the 1970 to combat the health dangers of air pollution. The Bush administration has attempted to weaken the Clean Air act with its changes to the “routine maintenance” clause for older, higher polluting power plants that would allow such high pollution plants to avoid adding making costly upgrades to reduce pollution.

Why is this important? Air pollution isn’t just a matter of depleting the ozone and increased levels of greenhouse gasses (although these things are bad.) Because air pollutants have health effects and can cause problems such as: asthma, reduced lung function, chronic respiratory diseases, and they can exacerbate heart disease.

Appeals court blocks Bush clean air changes

Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act was created in 1972 in response to public concerns over water pollution. Unlike the clean air act which focuses upon health problems caused by air pollution, the Clean Water Act deals with water quality that affects recreation and fishing. The Bush administration wants to stop applying Clean Water Act protections to most intrastate, nonnavigable wetlands and headwater streams despite an EPA report stating that doing so would have “profound and far reaching impacts”

Why is clean water important? Besides the pleasure of clean streams and rivers, dirty water can spread a variety of diseases, including cholera, giardiasis, amebic dysentery, hepatitis A, and cryptosporidium. Other problems stemming from polluted water are pfiesteria and dead zones.

Mercury

The Bush administration also wanted to relax regulations on mercury pollution, to roll back the deadlines for emissions reductions for industry, despite the dangers that mercury poses.

“(I)ndividuals whose diet included large amounts of fish had dangerously high levels of mercury in their blood. Fish accumulate methylmercury in their blood, and it cannot be cooked out. Even modestly excessive exposure to mercury has been shown to impair human immune, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems.”

CAFE Standards

The Bush administration, instead of increasing CAFE standards for SUVs, which would increase fuel efficency, and decrease gasoline consumption, proposes to make it easier for SUVs and other light trucks (which are used not as trucks but as passenger vehicles). Combined with the fact that contrary to common opinion, SUVs are not safer than cars, and in fact are no safer than compact and sub-compact cars. Combine that with the SUV tax credit that allows small businesses to take a tax write-off of up to $25,000 for a vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds, and you arrive where we are today, a country where light trucks outsell cars. Needless to say, legislation to improve the situation has gone nowhere.

The difference between the fuel efficiency of new vehicles and that of the nation’s existing vehicle fleet continues to shrink and may even have disappeared.”
In the United States, the transportation sector accounts for one-third of our total energy consumption and produces one-third of our CO2, the principal global warming gas. The US transportation sector is 97 percent dependent on petroleum. About half of the oil used by the U.S. is imported. In a “business-as-usual” scenario, the Energy Information Administration predicts transportation fuel use to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2020.”
Jeffrey Runge … the US government’s road safety chief, and a former ER doctor, (is) calling on the automobile industry to make these beefed-up hybrids of cars and vans much safer. In testimony to Congress last week, he said that some types of SUV are so dangerous that he will not let members of his own family drive them.”
(T)he U.S. government grants massive tax breaks to purchasers of SUVs. The original intent of the provision was to increase capital investments by farmers and other small business owners who rely on light-trucks or vans (ie. construction companies).”

Written by Michelle at 4:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics  

Bad Things

Erin has an interesting and thoughtful post on violence, specifically rape, in fiction and comics.

It’s an interesting, although disturbing, concept to consider. I know that Marion Zimmer Bradley typically would not accept rape and revenge stories for Sword & Sorcoress (among other story types she avoided) which is something for which I was grateful. But it does beg the question, why is the subject so much more discomforting.

Go read.

Written by Michelle at 12:11 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Danger! Danger!

I’ve been mucking about with Movable Type. It’s possible I broke something, in which case, please let me know.

Written by Michelle at 10:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Sheep, Not Cows

From a response I made to Erin:

Bovine is Cow. Ovine is Sheep. Caprine is Goat.

ADDENDUM the First:
Gina doesn’t think the sheep I found are cute.

Humph.

Written by Michelle at 3:39 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Bogdans in Baltimore

Just got an e-mail from my dad’s cousin, Anthony Bogdan, that his geneaology pages are back up and have been updated.

He has a very nice file with the history written out, not just names and dates, but a little something about that part of the family if he knows it. The bits on my great-grandparents are around page 39 (Adobe numbering, 31 document numbering)

Here is a bit that Anthony had sent us a couple of years ago on The Lithuanians in Baltimore, written by one of my grandmother’s brothers.

Anthony mentions the 50th wedding anniversary of my great-grandparents that was written up in the Baltimore Sun. I have a copy of the actual article, as well as pictures that I’ve scanned by never taken the time to add to my site. (Which reminds me, my dad gave me a picture of my grandfather and his siblings, taken during WWII, that I am supposed to scan and give back, but have not yet done so. Slacker.)

Written by Michelle at 12:26 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Faculty Recommendations

Received this today via my work e-mail:

2) Bookstore manager seeks faculty recommendations for book titles
The WVU Bookstore is working to improve the title selection in the general book department, and seeks faculty input for a new section called “WVU Faculty Recommendations.” Send recommendations of titles that should be part of an academic college bookstore by Jan. 31 to General Book Buyer, Sandy Weston, at xxxxxx@mail.wvu.edu . The books will be displayed in their own section through the next 10 months as the sales performance of the new titles are evaluated. Successful sales will build sales records that will generate re-orders for these titles and new orders for similar titles, according to David Lang, general manager. “The goal is to create a more academic environment in our general book environment,” Lang added.

Because, of course, faculty are the only ones qualified to make book recommendations for books that should be a part of an “academic college bookstore”.

The rest of us are, of course, unqualified to recommend with authority any books that might be educational. After all, faculty members are so successful at choosing required books for classes that are engaging, interesting, and inexpensive, that we should look to them for the rest of our reading materials.

Written by Michelle at 12:08 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

What I’ve Read…

Ran across this as I was wandering around. This is the BBC ‘Top 200’ Books from their Big Read (books nominated as people’s favorites.)

The books I have read are in bold.

1. Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
(more…)

Written by Michelle at 8:23 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Monday, January 26, 2004

Blimps

You must read this. Really, you must.

http://www.teemings.com/extras/truelife/scylla6.html

I’d quote some to draw you over to read it, but I can’t, really. You’ll just have to trust me.

Go there now.

(found because it was nominated for a Most Humorous Post award. The other posts nominated are nowhere near as funny as that one is, unfortunately.)

Written by Michelle at 3:16 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

What Snowday?

Must. Keep. Eyes. Open.

It’s painfully boring here. An entire day of sitting in the hall, except for the brief period of opening the lab up during lunch.

Mostly it’s because we got all excited about the weather, hoping that buckets of snow would fall and everything would close down and we’d get to stay home and sleep in.

No such luck. Instead, here I am at work, and then class this evening.

Not that I mean to complain, I do like my class, it’s just one of those days where, if you were a kid, you’d wander around going, “I’m BORED!” until your mom threw you out of the house.

I’m pretty sure that if I try that here, Gina will pummel me into insensibility.

Starting to sound tempting.

Written by Michelle at 12:20 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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