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Archives for December, 2009

Rawness versus Pasteurization

Although it is illegal to sell in most states, raw milk is gaining popularity as claims about its healthfulness multiply. Proponents of raw say the heat of pasteurization destroys beneficial enzymes and probiotic bacteria, while homogenization damages the natural structure of milk. Sharon Astyk drinks raw milk on Casaubon’s Book, but only from animals she…

Racists often cite IQ as a genetically determined trait, attempting to justify and promote their supremacist attitudes. Even if IQ tests do not favor specific cultural or educational standards, is intelligence coded in our genes, or related to the color of our skin? Greg Laden answers an emphatic “no,” explaining that although intelligence may be…

Dawn of The Systems Age [Updated]

On Collective Imagination, Joe Salvo declares the Information Age is done for, writing: “a period of history can be characterized by the dominant technology that separates the leaders from the followers.” He believes humanity has approached a tipping point where the separation between leaders and followers will cease to exist, as the internet democratizes the planet…

Your chance to win $50k from Carbon14

If you’ve got a great idea, and you like money, here’s your chance to win: Carbon14, (www.c14time.com), a new outdoor and active lifestyle brand, is celebrating the launch of its three new lines of watches–AIR, WATER, and EARTH–by hosting a competition that will award $50,000 to one deserving contestant selected by the public! Whether you’re…

Round and Round

Yesterday was the winter solstice, meaning the sun concluded its six-month southward course and seemed to “stand still” before beginning its journey north. Of course, this being a heliocentric neighborhood, the tilt, orbit, and rotation of Earth are what really move the sun through the sky. But don’t let that stop you from appreciating colorful…

Volcanic Event of the Year

Erik Klemetti on Eruptions solicits your suggestions for the titular honor: 2009 is almost over and it has been quite a busy year, volcanically speaking. This is not to say that is was anomalously volcanic – more that many of the volcanic events captured the media’s attention. I’ll be putting together a “Volcanic Year in…

Copenhagen, Claus & Christ

The climate summit in Copenhagen came to a tenuous conclusion on Friday, as five nations pulled a non-binding “agreement” from thin air. This agreement recognizes the threat of rising temperatures and pledges financial aid for developing countries, but sets no emission guidelines and is not legally enforcible anyway. On Casaubon’s Book, Sharon Astyk fears what…

Under Seas New and Old

Darren Naish inspects “trace fossils” on Tetrapod Zoology, geologic records of footprints and other indentations left behind by animals. Although these telltale signs can “provide excellent information on behaviour and lifestyle,” it can sometimes be hard to tell what kind of creature made them in the first place. Such is the case with a set…

A Fistful of Seeds

On Casaubon’s Book, Sharon Astyk raises her hackles at the sight of Monsanto, a company which over the last century has churned out artificial sweeteners, sulfuric acid, myriad plastics, herbicides such as DDT, the pernicious defoliant Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, PCBs, and other chemical wonders. Since their first genetic modification of a plant cell…

Virus Season

As we shiver in the northern hemisphere, holiday cheer isn’t the only thing in the air—there are also flu, cold, and other contenders just waiting to hit a mucous membrane. Revere questions H1N1 terminology on Effect Measure, citing “10,000 deaths, 47 million infections and over 200,000 hospitalizations” caused by the virus, with the “heart of…