Saturday, April 30, 2011

Disaster Prep and Free CPR iOS Apps now on the iTunes Store!

While working on my Master's of Public Health through Walden University, part of my practicum was with the Office of Emergency Preparedness in San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health (SLODPH). All Public Health Departments and FEMA recommend that families have a disaster kit prepared that will provide 72 hours worth of food and water along with basic supplies in the event of an evacuation, a local disaster, or the need to "shelter in place" if supply chains are cut off. While there is a great deal of information available on these recommendations, I could not find an iOS-based application that provided me with all of the resources that are necessary in an emergency situation. So, I utilized some of the SLODPH materials, FEMA resources, and other research to build the Disaster Prep App. 

Disasters can happen at any time, at any place and without warning. In a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or other major emergency, a network of local, regional, stateand federal systems will initiate pre-planned and practiced responses. Beyond the municipal and public health responses, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that you and your family prepare to take care of yourselves as much as possible in a disaster.

Downloading the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Checklist and Guide and filling in your local emergency information is an excellent start. Collecting some basic supplies (not much more than you’d put together for a camping trip) will also provide the basics for you and your family if and when a disaster occurs. Planning for medium and long-term supply chain disruptions that prohibit your ability to access foodand other necessities is also a good strategy in major disasters. Finally, it is important to be able to “shelter in place” – or stay at home or another protected area away from the impacts of the disaster until it is safe to leave.

The Emergency Preparedness Checklist and Guide provides you a means to collect necessary and information in the one piece of equipment you always have on you - your phone.

Disaster Prep Features:
Disaster Kit Checklists 
Personal Medical Record Database with export to email function.
Reminders every 6 months to check/rotate kit supplies
Family Emergency Plan
Insurance and vehicle information
General information on disaster basics
Basic CPR and First Aid information
U.S. Military Survival Manual included!
Ability to import photos and PDF files of EKGs, X-rays, lab results, discharge summaries, and other medical information, or other disaster-related diagrams and information.

Planned future updates:
Sync Medical Information with Google Health!
Export Medical Information to PDF
Regular additions of disaster preparedness information
Port to Android

Check out screenshots, more information, and the Free CPR app on!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Response to FWD: Pray

A copy of this FWD came to my wife's inbox today and, as I've been in a period of philosophical, religious, and non-theist study and reflection, I did a quick google search and decided to write a reply. Interestingly, this has been going around the interwebs since 1999 and although it has been attributed to Andy Rooney, was mostly the work of Nick Gholson, a sports writer from Wichita Falls, TX. Read the full forward on (here) or below first for full effect. While the s.e.e.p. has generally discussed environmental and some political issues, we will in the future also be discussing religion, it's place in regard to scientific pursuits, it's effect on our civilization, social justice and other aspects.

A message to Nick Gholson/Paul Harvey/Andy Rooney/The "Christian Nation":

You may not agree with Darwin, but you must accede that he is based on reason and solid scientific data. Which is, of course, what we teach in science class in public schools. If you hired a lawyer to prevent this, it would demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of what science is and why it has been so important to the development of our civilization and technology.

While religion also has been important to the development of our civilization, you are wrong when you assert that a 30-second prayer does not endager our liberty. While you say that the United States was founded on Christian principles, you are partially correct in that it was indeed Christians who came here, seeking freedom from religious persecution. But from whom? For the most part, other Christians. The nation was indeed started by Christians, but anyone who says that we are a "Christian Nation" does not truly understand freedom, nor do they understand the principles upon which it was founded. People of this mindset often misinterpret "freedom of religion" as "freedom to live in a Christian Nation", when what it really means, is that everyone has the right to practice their own religion, or lack thereof, without being harassed or their freedoms imposed upon by members of other religions. In order for us to achieve real freedom for all, this concept needs to apply to any government-related activity, in this case, public schools. Just as you have a right to say a PERSONAL prayer before a football game, I have the right to not have what I consider superstition and mythology preached at my child's publicly-sponsored activities. If you want to have a group prayer before a game, send your child to a Christian school, not a public school where everyone must be free of religious indoctrination or coercion. How does the son or daughter of Muslim, Jewish, or non-theist parents feel when many of their classmates are chanting a prayer from a different religion that they do not believe in? They feel at best segregated, and at worst demeaned or oppressed, and is not much better than good-old fashioned school bullying.

Using the argument of numbers, where Christian churches outnumber others 200-1 is a horrible logical fallacy. I hate to play the incessant Glen Beck Hitler card, but the although the numbers were to his advantage when he conquered Greece, Libya, and other countries during their advancement in WWII, this most certainly did not make it the right thing to do. This is clearly exaggeration of the issue at hand, but I'm sure you get my point. Our country was founded from a minority, feeling that the majority was wrong and oppressing their freedoms. By calling for a Christian ceremony to take precedence over the practices of non-theists and non-Christians, simply because they are a minority, you imply that they do not have the same rights as Christians, and in doing so you miss the entire point of what freedom really is, threatening to become the same type of despots that led to the founding of our great country.

Regarding prayers before sports in other countries, you are correct that you would hear Muslim prayers in Baghdad, mostly because if you said a different type of prayer you could be shot. China as well, has killed or incarcerated people for practicing their own religions.

I find your interpretation of an atheist's response amusing and hypocritical, as Christians have a longer and more violent history of the same, with many lawyers being called to take scientifically supported evolution out of science in exchange for non-scientific and religiously-based "intelligent design", as well as banning books, taking away people's rights by not allowing them to marry, and other impositions on our civil liberties. Contrary to your opinion, others have more of a right NOT to hear your prayers in public schools than you have to say them. And to clarify, this does not infringe on your liberties at all, as you are still welcome to practice your religion in whatever way you please in your home, your 200-1 churches, or other non-taxpayer supported venue.

And while a short prayer before a football game will most certainly not "shake the world's foundations," it is simply not the right thing to do at a public school function in our modern-day secular society. We've made incredible progress in social justice over the last century. It used to be that women would stand to the side while men voted. Blacks had separate schools, water fountains, and couldn't vote. Now all you're asking is for those who do not believe in the same religious text as you do to stand aside and wait, and be put in an inferior and less respected position, while you practice your ritual in front of them. This is, to those of no or different faiths, rude to say the least. And while we could just roll our eyes at the futile yet endearing chanting, waiting patiently for you to finish YOUR sacred rites but leaving no time or consideration for any of our traditions, we simply will not stand for it. We WILL call our lawyers. We WILL raise our voices. And we will continue to do this until you keep your religion out of our schools. While we appreciate your blessings, they are not necessary. Just like you, we also hope and work for an improved world for our children, our families, our citizens, and the global community. We also hope for the safe return of our troops and the spread of true freedom and prosperity. We just don't ask or rely on any supernatural deities to do it, we know that we need to do it ourselves. We recognize that your prayers, however earnest they may be, won't fix the problems of the world . . . we will.

Clint Slaughter, M.D.

Pray if you want to!

CBS and Katie Couric et al must be in a panic and rushing to reassure the White House that this is not network policy. (Andy Rooney's segment on 60 Minutes program on CBS Sundays is below.)

Folks, this is the year that we RE-TAKE AMERICA & CANADA
********* Get Ready *********

Keep this going around the globe. Read it and forward every time you receive it. We can't give up on this issue.

Andy Rooney and Prayer

Andy Rooney says:

I don't believe in Santa Claus but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwinbut I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

But it's a Christian prayersome will argue.

Yes, and this is the
United States of America and Canada , countries founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in JerusalemI would expect to hear a Jewish prayer.

If I went to a soccer game inBaghdad I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in
China I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended.It wouldn't bother me one bit.

When in
Rome .....

But what about the atheists? Is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humour us for 30 seconds.If that's asking too much bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep.Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority rules! It's time we tell them, "You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honour Him. That is your right and we will honour your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back and we WILL WIN!"

God bless us one and all...Especially those who denounce Him,God bless
America and Canada , despite all our faults we are still the greatest nations of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

Let's make 2010the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars.

Keep looking up.

If you agree with this please pass it on.=

------ End of Forwarded Message

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Electric Xtracycle: The S.E.E.P.'s Latest in Eco-Friendly Transportation!

I've had my xtracycle for a few years now and it's served me well commuting around town and to French Hospital for work. Now that we have Orion, we decided to go for xtracycle's PeaPod promotion and got Laura their Radish model with the PeaPod child seat attachment. Although the bike was quite a looker and very functional, the components left a little to be desired, so I upgraded the front crank from a single to triple chain ring, upgraded brakes levers and shifters, and rear derailleur to Shimano XT, swapped out a more practical handlebar, and put on the sweet seat from Laura's old commuter. While this worked well around town, the xtracycle setup and PeaPod made for a heavy bike and because of this, and time constraints, we weren't using it as much as we wanted. So, I overcame my biker's guilt and we decided to electrify it through Jake at San Luis Rides. We went with a high-end kit, including a 600W BMC V2 motor in the rear wheel, a 48V, a LiFePO4 48v 15AH Battery w/ charger, and the Cycle Analyst computer to monitor discharge status and mileage. Along with Jake's EV install, I also installed a 12V lighting system and some barrio fabuloso green ground effects, which required some research, making a bracket for the headlight and turn signals, and some wiring, then I wrapped all the wires up neatly with some spiral cable wrap and tucked the controller and 48v-12v inverter into a bag behind the seat. After all was said and done, we now have a beautiful and efficient assisted mode of transportation for one of us with Orion and he loves it! We get a top speed of around 27 mph (although we're legally topped out at 20mph) and a range of 15-20 miles depending on how fast we're cooking and how much we're pedaling. We're definitely using the bike more for our around town errands and shopping with the motor than before. Even though the xtracycle was great before, electrifying it has overcome the "energy of activation" that we needed to really ditch the car for most of our quick trips!

Here is the video we made for xtracycle as part of the "PeaPod Pilots" promotion they did:

Orion's New Xtracycle PeaPod LT from Clint Slaughter on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Brief Essay on The History and Dangers of Trans Fats.

Author: Clint Slaughter, M.D., March 19, 2009

Rather than an infectious or outright chemical additive to food, our industrial food process has developed many ways to modify what we eat into other forms with occasionally unanticipated and disastrous results. The introduction of chemically modified trans-fats, formerly known as "partially hydrogenated" fats, into our diets over the course of the 20th century is one example of industrial food manipulation gone wrong. Vegetable oil comes in many natural and unnatural forms, the four main types in our diet being saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and trans fats, all of which affect the body slightly differently (Fats 101, 2009). Saturated fats and trans fats are considered the "bad fats", which have been found to increase Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs), or "bad cholesterol", when consumed regularly (de Roos, Bots, Katan, 2001), saturated fats also being more calorically dense than unsaturated fats. Since 1990, however, many studies have shown that the artificially modified trans fats have many more deleterious health effects, significantly contributing to vascular and coronary artery disease in various ways (Mozaffarian, Katan, Ascherio, Stampfer, Willett, 2006).

Partially hydrogenated oils were first introduced to the American Public in the form of Crisco in 1911 (A History of Trans Fats, 2008). A chemical reaction causes the natural cis, or same-side bond in a fatty acid chain to be converted to a trans, or opposite side bond. This actually straightens the molecule so that it becomes a more solid substance which allows for longer shelf life, longer use in fryers, and forms solid shortenings and margerine from liquid oil. Since the 1990's, more and more studies have demonstrated that trans fats have many more health effects than natural fats, even the more caloric saturated fats. An excellent review of the current literature was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, discussed these many health issues, including elevated LDLs, and triglycerides, decreased
High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs), or "good cholesterol", increased systemic inflammation, and impaired endothelial cell dysfunction, all of which contribute to atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and coronary artery disease (Mozaffarian, et al, 2006). Another study looked at the effects of trans fats on flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), another risk marker for vascular disease, and found that in comparison with saturated fats, trans fats decreased normal FMD, presumably further increasing cardiac risk (de Roos, et al, 2001).

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, leading to nearly 8 million heart attacks a year and 6.5 million strokes (Cardiovascular Disease Statistics, 2009). The American Heart Association notes that in 2005, this translates to 864,480 deaths, or 35.3% of U.S. deaths, in comparison to 559,312 deaths from cancer, and 117,809 deaths from accidents. Unfortunately, trans fats have become a part of every American's diet through margarine, fried foods, trans fats added to foods, it is ubiquitous in our industrial food supply, effecting all of us. As cardiovascular disease has increased over the last century, the addition of trans fats into the American diet has undoubedtly been a factor in the rise of our number one killer. As a testament to the public health system, the healthcare system, and the scientific community, over the last few years, trans fats have become a source of national attention. Through grass-roots activism and public health efforts, trans fats are being discouraged and even outlawed in New York City in 2006 and in California in 2007. More education is needed for consumers to be able to distinguish between types of fats and look for trans fats in labels where they are still available.


American Heart Association (2008). A History of Trans Fats. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from:

American Heart Association (2009). Cardiovascular Disease Statistics. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from:

American Heart Association (2009). Fats 101. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from:

American Heart Association (2009). Trans Fats. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from:

de Roos, M., Bots, L., Katan, M. (2001). Replacement of Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids by Trans Fatty Acids Lowers Serum HDL Cholesterol and Impairs Endothelial Function in Healthy Men and Women
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 21: 1233 - 1237. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from:

Mozaffarian, D., Katan, M., Ascherio, A., Stampfer, M., Willett W. (2006).
Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 354:15. 1601-13. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The S.E.E.P. is Back in School - Master's of Public Health from Walden University

I apologize to any regular readers for the paucity of posts over the past year, I am now just over halfway through a Master's of Public Health Degree from Walden University online while continuing to work as an ER physician and helping with our now 8 month old son Orion. My wife Laura is back in school as well for a Master's of Nursing Education, so we've been very busy while enjoying our new family at home.

I'm concentrating on environmental health and will begin posting relevant essays from classes with citations, shifting some of the writing on from my generally well-informed, standard rants to articles with reliable sources and citations so that readers can look further into issues and see the basic research behind the rants.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Orion's Xtracycle and Peapod Commercial

I've thoroughly enjoyed my Xtracycle over the last 3 years and it was time to figure out a mode of eco-friendly transport for Orion, so we opted to upgrade Laura's commuter to an Xtracycle Radish model with the Peapod child carrier kit. They had a promotion that required us to make a video, submit a testimonial and some photos for almost $400 off the package!

At 7 months Orion is almost ready to take his first trip to Farmer's Market on his new bike limousine! Of course, we're still using biodiesel and vegetable oil for our vehicle transport, but cycling is still preferred when we can (you really pay attention to how much fuel you use when you make it yourself!).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Food Inc. - A Must Watch For Everyone That Eats!

If you've read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, you probably know many of the concepts presented in this riveting and eye-opening documentary. Seeing the images of the industrial food machine next to traditional farming practices is a stark contrast, and the many unintended consequences of how we grow and process the majority of our food are just plain frightening. From massively increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, to E. Coli contaminated spinach from C.A.F.O. feces runoff, to antibiotic resistant superbugs from the large doses of antibiotics given to livestock, to the contamination of fields with GMO crops, this film shows that we can no longer be oblivious to where our food comes from and how it gets to our tables.

This film will change the way you eat for a healthier you and a healthier planet.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Get Your Reusable Water Bottle and Utensils! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has Spoken!

Haven't heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch yet? Besides the chemicals that that likely affect human health, like phalates and bisphenol-A, and the use of finite and polluting fossil fuels, the plastics that are so important and ubiquitous in our society are toxic to our oceans as well. has a good article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a Good Morning America segment too.

Refuse to drink bottled water and don't use disposable utensils! Get a reusable bottle, we like Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles (for kids too!)and SIGG bottles, or some plastic bottles - 'if it is a #2 HDPE , or a #4 LDPE, or a #5 PP, your bottle is fine". (You can even make your own SIGG bottle at for cheap or grab The S.E.E.P.'s "Consume Like You Give a Damn" series bottle!

As for the sporks, grab a mismatched set of utensils, a camping mess kit, or there are some bamboo utensil travel kits at Throw them wrapped up in a cloth napkin in your backpack, purse, laptop bag, or man-purse and do your best to stop using disposables!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The S.E.E.P. Welcomes it's Newest Addition!

We've been chronicling some of our efforts toward an eco-friendly nursery over at and now we can switch to logging our efforts at raising a sustainable baby! Orion was born on 7/10/09 at 2:53pm, weighing 7 lbs, 11 oz, and 21 inches long. Laura and he are doing great and I'll be posting on our adventures with cloth diapers soon! Sorry for the lack of updates lately, we've been working hard preparing our home for Orion's arrival and now we're getting used to an entirely new life with our wonderful new family.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

An Excellent View on GM's Demise, by Michael Moore

Although Michael Moore makes excellent and valid points in his documentaries, you have to take them with a grain of salt as he's decidedly biased in his views. This forwarded letter, however, rang so true with many of my views on the environment and what we can do with this opportunity as we try to bail out GM. I don't necessarily agree with the bailout in the first place, but if that's what were doing, we might as well make it as productive as possible for the American workforce and the American people. Definitely worth a read, even for the anti-Moore crowd.

Goodbye, GM by Michael Moore

June 1, 2009

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.

As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?

It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars? History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.

So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with -- dare I say it -- joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.

But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?

Thus, as GM is "reorganized" by the federal government and the bankruptcy court, here is the plan I am asking President Obama to implement for the good of the workers, the GM communities, and the nation as a whole. Twenty years ago when I made "Roger & Me," I tried to warn people about what was ahead for General Motors. Had the power structure and the punditocracy listened, maybe much of this could have been avoided. Based on my track record, I request an honest and sincere consideration of the following suggestions:

1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated. We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet. The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline. President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.

2. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.

3. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.

4. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.

5. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.

6. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).

7. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.

8. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.

9. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.

Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.

100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car hops at the A&W. We made out in the front -- and the back -- seat. We watched movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down Hwy. 1. And now it's over. It's a new day and a new century. The President -- and the UAW -- must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from this very sour and sad lemon.

Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away. She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.

So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country. 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.


Michael Moore

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Autism is Not Caused by Vaccines: A Response to Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's Article.

Autism has become a major issue for modern parents, affecting 1 in 150 children, and can be linked to a number of exposures, including vaccines, according to a piece written last year by actress Jenny McCarthy and actor Jim Carrey and published in the New York Times (McCarthy, Carrey, 2008). Unfortunately, although some legitimate sources are cited, including statistics from the CDC, McCarthy's article uses mostly supposition and anecdotal evidence to support her arguments that vaccines "play a major role" in the development of autism. McCarthy and Carrey have apparrently had success in reversing many of their son's autism symptoms through "starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitmain supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines" (McCarthy, Carrey, 2008). While they do make an excellent point that physicians that they have seen after this improvement have not investigated the factors in his recovery, an action that could potentially lead to more understanding of the disease, the improvements could be due to any one of their interventions, behavioral or cognitive therapy, or a combination of factors.

Although it is true that Autism rates have risen in recent years and is a major health problem, it is imperative to use information derived from reliable sources before rushing to stop vaccinations, an intervention that saves countless lives. The Wakefield paper published in 1998 that began the popular notion that autism is caused by vaccines was only a case series, where 12 children who were observed to have developed intestinal problems within a month of the MMR vaccine, and 8 of whom were also diagnosed with autism at that time ("A Look at What Causes", 2008). While there may be a correlation, this does not denote causation, and along with the small sample size and type of study, this paper should not be used to base any conclusions on, only the possibilty of future research. Other studies are currently looking at biochemical contributors for autism that may lead back to an environmental cause (Deth, Muratore, Benzecry, Power-Charnitsky, & Waly, 2008; Van Den Hazel, Zuurbier, Babisch, Bartonova, Bistrup, Bolte, et al., 2006), and the CHARGE Study is an ongoing large-scale case-control study investigating a wide array of possible environmental and genetic factors into the development of autism and hopes to uncover some statistically significant causational factors (Hertz-Picciotto, I., Croen, L., Hansen, R., Jones, C., Van De Water, J., & Pessah, I., 2006).

There is much epidemiologic work to be done in the search for causes of the autism epidemic. Although it is good to have these types of issues brought to the attention of the public through media, much of the media information and hype is innaccurate. In this case, because of celebrity status and media attention, McCarthy and Carrey write a heartfelt and well-intentioned piece that is presented by lay-people without the epidemiologic background to properly interpret and synthesize the current data on autism and it's contributors. This lack of scientific rigor and support in many popular media outlets unfortunately is not uncommon and spreads innacurate and potentially harmful information.


Deth, R., Muratore, C., Benzecry, J., Power-Charnitsky, V., & Waly, M. (2008). How environmental and genetic factors combine to cause autism: A redox/methylation hypothesis [Abstract]. NeuroToxicology, 29(1), 190-201. Retrieved May 10, 2009 from the EBSCO Database.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center. (2008) A Look at What Causes, and What Doesn't Cause, Autism. Retrieved on May 9, 2009 from: .

Hertz-Picciotto, I., Croen, L., Hansen, R., Jones, C., Van De Water, J., & Pessah, I. (2006). The CHARGE Study: An Epidemiologic Investigation of Genetic and Environmental Factors Contributing to Autism. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(7), 1119-1125. Retrieved May 10, 2009

McCarthy, J., Carrey, J. (2008, April 4). Jenny McCarthy: My son's recovery from autism. Retrieved on May 8, 2009 from: .

Van Den Hazel, P., Zuurbier, M., Babisch, W., Bartonova, A., Bistrup, M., Bolte, G., et al. (2006). Today's epidemics in children: Possible relations to environmental pollution and suggested preventive measures. Acta Paediatrica, 95, 18-25. Retrieved May 10, 2009 from the EBSCO database.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cap and Trade: What is It?

Hank Green over at has posted a nearly auction-style, fast primer on the Cap and Trade system proposed by the Obama administration. This is a must see, as this legislation stands to be one of the most important pieces in starting our emissions decline. He does a good job flitting though the major point of contention - the assertion by many conservatives that it's just another tax. Although it can be construed as such, it's more of a pollution cap with monetary incentives for companies, a system that should be much more flexible, functional, and fair to both businesses and American citizens than a straight "carbon tax".

Friday, April 17, 2009

26 Week Ultrasound Art and’s Going Green Guide

For the latest installment of Orion’s ultrasound art, on Orion's sustainable baby blog, I chose to completely rip off Andy Warhol’s techniques, right down to the colors! This is a pretty good 2D close-up view of his face and everything is going well so far.

In our continuing quest to have a “green baby” and with Earth Day coming up and all, I figured we could check out one of my favorite green blogs,, and their “Going Green Guide”. Many people aren’t sure where to start once their eco-consciousness has been raised, and the guide is a great place to start without being too overwhelming. It’s divided into many categories, so whatever subject you want to start working on, from dinner parties, to home energy, gift guides, personal care products, and of course, having babies, there is an incredible amount of information there. Right now we’re researching reusable diaper options, so stay tuned and have a great Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

24 Week Ultrasound and Ecofriendly Baby Chair Review: Crate and Barrel’s Bayside Swivel Glider

I was happy to see Orion striking a “Thinker” pose when we were playing with the ultrasound last week. Laura is feeling well, still exercising with swimming, spin class, and hiking with Marley. We’re both busy with work and school, but the nursery is almost done, and we’re trying to figure out our “chair” situation. It seems that getting the proper rocker/glider/combo/baby calmer is a big deal and we’ve been trying to find the most comfortable-yet-eco-friendly option.

After much internet research, we found Crate and Barrel’s Bayside Swivel Glider, a slipcovered glider benchmade in the USA from “certified sustainable” hardwood with soy-based polyfoam seats and 100% recycled and post-consumer backing. We tested one out in the San Jose store, and I must say that it is a VERY comfortable chair with a soft feel, low armrests good for breastfeeding (and I’ll mention again the removable/replaceable slipcover - nice for baby messes). The only drawback was the lack of head support, which was easily fixed with a well-placed throw pillow. With quite a few attractive fabric options, this one would fit our needs well, along with the matching ottoman, and actually was both domestically produced and pretty ecofriendly! For this well-made furniture with these premium options, unfortunately you’ll pay a premium price, $1398 for chair and glider. This is in comparison to $649 for a wood glider made in Canada at our local baby store, Johnson’s or $209 or more for a BabiesRUs glider made who-knows-where of unknown materials. Interestingly, Laura’s Dad is bringing her Great-Grandfather’s 75 year old rocking chair, so we may not even need a glider, but it’s been fun doing the research! The best part about the hand-me-down rocker is that it’s a family heirloom and carries special memories, with now 4 generations of the family being rocked to sleep in it, not to mention that it’s the ultimate in recycling!

If we do end up needing one, I think we’ll end up going big and getting the Crate and Barrel chair - it’s by far the most comfortable, is well built, attractive, can end up being a regular piece of furniture instead of just a “baby chair”, is made in the U.S., and is pretty darn ecofriendly (I'd like some organic cotton or hemp slipcover options, though). Either that or get a used crapola one on craigslist for super cheap! I think what we’ve learned from this is to not get caught up in the “baby hype”, many things that people say you need you can find used, get through your family and friends, or you may not even need it at all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Volatile Organic Compounds, Why They're Bad, Why They're In Your House, and Why FEMA Wasn't Really at Fault for the Trailer Formaldehyde Debacle.

In the course of my classes for my Master's of Public Health, I've been doing quite a bit on environmental health. I'm sorry I've been a bit slack on the posts, but it's because of school so besides a baby blog, I'm going to start posting excerpts from some of my papers and discussions. The bonus is that I'll be adding citations for references and data support for the discussion. This is from a paper on environmental causes of health problems and exposure to chemicals, the section on volatile organic compounds, or VOCs:

"This problem effects us all in varying levels, but can disproportionally effect those living in areas with concentrated levels of certain chemicals, those that regularly utilize potentially hazardous products, and especially those in developing nations where many modern potentially hazardous substances and products are produced or disposed of. Children, pregnant women, and the elderly are also at greater risk for developing disease from lower levels of exposure (Freedman, et al, 2001). Shifts in exposure can occur quickly as well, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where thousands of people were displaced from their homes and many were provided trailers to live in by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It was found later that these trailers, made from standard off-the-shelf building materials, were off-gassing enough volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde to cause significant health problems in many of those living in them (Final Report on Formaldehyde, 2008). Although it was dismissed by some, offering that these types of trailers were not meant to live in for prolonged periods, these very same materials such as pressboard, melamine, paints and sealants, are used in regular home construction as well and can affect any homeowner given the proper concentrations and conditions." (Slaughter, Environmental, 2009)

Next is a brief definition of VOCs and some human health effects:

The selected toxicologic agent for discussion is Toluene, described on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website as "among the most abundantly produced chemicals in the United States." (Toluene: Medical Management, 2007). Toluene is an aromatic hydrocarbon molecule that is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC). It is found abundantly throughout our society, in gasoline, glues, inks, dyes, lacquers, paints, pesticides, cleaners, and other household and industrial products (Olson, 1999). Although exposures and overdoses are seen in industrial accidents, it is also commonly abused through "huffing" or "sniffing" the fumes to produce dizzyness and euphoria. It can produce human toxicity through inhalation, ingestion, skin or mucous membrane exposure, is passed through uterine circulation to a fetus, and is also passed in breast milk (Toluene: Medical Management, 2007). Toluene causes a significant amount of toxicity, often from acute exposures, although chronic exposures occur as well, with effects including skin irritation, corneal abrasions, tremors, ataxia (unsteady gait), nausea, headache, and even renal failure and death in high enough doses. Also, because of it's physical properties like other VOCs, toluene can cause asphyxiation from concentrated inhalation as well as chemical pneumonitis and respiratory failure from aspiration (Olson, 1999). " (Slaughter, Online discussion, 2009)

So really, even though FEMA made some mistakes, people getting sick from the formaldehyde levels in the trailers wasn't their fault. The trailers were actually the fault of the EPA and other regulatory bodies that should have been keeping VOCs out of our building materials in the first place, and a building materials industry that doesn't always take adequate precautions to protect their consumers. Bottom line - have an idea of what you're consuming and what's in it.

There are over 85,000 chemicals used in the U.S. in industry and consumer goods, of which we have full toxicologic data for about 7%. That's a lot we don't know. Even though we don't know all of the effects of many of the chemicals we are being exposed to, there is good scientific evidence that some of the more toxic ones and some of the commonly used chemicals cause significant human health problems, even cancer. Exposures are incredibly variable and many of the severe health effects are often accidental or one-time exposures, occupational, or from long-term, chronic exposures, so most people will probably be just fine. However, we'll see a few thousand people die or get ill from pesticide exposure here, a few hundred thousand cancers from smoking and other carcinogen exposures there, some kids losing 30 or 40 IQ points from lead exposure in homes and toys, male frogs turning into females or having extra legs, little stuff, not really a big deal, right? OR, we could change the way we regulate chemicals to use the precautionary principle and properly test chemicals for human health risks before allowing them to be sold to consumers. Pretty easy way to save lives and an incredible amount of healthcare spending, really.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2007). Toluene: Medical Management Guidelines. Retrieved on March 12, 2009 from:

Freedman, D., Stewart, P., Kleinerman, R., Wacholder, S., Hatch, E., Tarone, R., Robison, L., Linet, M. (2001). Household Solvent Exposures and Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. American Journal of Public Health. 91:4

Centers for Disease Control (2008). Final Report on Formaldehyde Levels in FEMA-Supplied Travel Trailers, Park Models, and Mobile Homes. Retrieved on December 28, 2008 from:

Olgar, S., Oktem, F., Dindar, A., Kilbas, A., Turkoglu, U., Cetin, H., et al. (2008). Volatile solvent abuse caused glomerulopathy and tubulopathy in street children. Human and Experimental Toxicology. 27:477-483. Retrieved on March 12, 2009 from: EBSCO Database, Walden Library.

Olson, K. (Ed.). (1999). Poisoning and Drug Overdose. Stamford: Appleton and Lange.

Slaughter, C. (2009). Online Discussion. PUBH 6105 Environmental Health Class. Walden University

Slaughter, C. (2009). Environmental Causes of Illness. Final Paper. Course 6115: Social, Behavioral and Cultural Factors in Public Health. Walden University

Sunday, February 08, 2009

If You're Not In The "If It's Yellow Let it Mellow" Crowd: $150 Toilet Retrofit Will Save You Thousands of Gallons of Water!

In the bathroom in our bedroom, Laura and I generally stick to the "If it's yellow let is mellow, if it's brown flush is down" mantra. Instead of flushing the toilet, say 12-15 times a day, we only flush 4 or 5. At 1.6 gallons per flush, just doing this on one toilet saves us over 5000 gallons per year of water. We tend to flush the downstairs toilet regularly, as we don't want to gross out our guests, plus for some reason that bathroom has an uncanny amplification of smells (tmi, I know). Many people are uncomfortable with not flushing every time, especially in more public restrooms, and we've started to see some businesses install dual-flush toilets such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now there is a solution for the home! Rather than replacing your entire toilet, Brondell is releasing the "Perfect Flush" retrofit that can be installed on nearly any standard home toilet and can save about 50% of the water you would normally use if you're an "everytime flusher." At $150, it's also affordable and looks to be fairly easy to install yourself. Although we should be seriously rethinking our water use in general, (ie: how much sense does it make to contaminate millions of gallons of water from showers, kitchens, washing machines, sinks, etc, with a few hundred gallons of blackwater?) this is an easy and affordable first step until you can get your composting toilets and greywater systems in place!

via Gizmodo.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Tables are Turned: Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are now "Un-American" and "Traitorous" for Not Supporting Our President!

Incredibly, but not so surprisingly, the right-winged pundits such O'Reilly and Limbaugh,and the rest of Fox News, have completely flipped their attitudes about supporting the American presidency. It was not so long ago that these very same people ranted and raved about how "Un-American" it was to criticize the war in Iraq or any of the other poorly informed/thought-out decisions of our last President. Now, when it's not "their boy" in the White House, they've opted to take the Un-American route of unabashedly fear-mongering, undermining, and other douchebaggery while covering President Obama's first few days in office, rather than being constructive and contributing reasonable and intelligent discourse to the sorely needed changes in our government.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This Friday, January 15, is national call-in day to promote a single-payer healthcare system. Here is the official page with information on HR676 and

This Friday, January 15, is national call-in day to promote a single-payer healthcare system. Here is the official page with information on HR676 and how to contact your congressperson. Also, you can call (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your Representative or your Senators (you can also look up their direct numbers using your zip code here)

Being in the healthcare community, I find it hard to believe that so many people don't support this concept. One of the big arguments is whether healthcare is a right or a privilege and when you work in the medical field, it is obvious that it should be a right, just like having a firefighter to put out your burning house, or a police officer to rescue you from an assailant, everyone should have basic medical care. We often hear the term "socialized" attached to single-payer healthcare as a fear tactic because of the negative stigma still associated with the term socialism. Single-payer, however, is not government run healthcare, it is private healthcare with government paying the bills instead of insurance companies. Essentially nothing will change with how you interact with your physician or clinic, but rather than insurance companies artificially driving up costs and making profits on people's health, denying legitimate claims, and costing an extra 15% or more in administrative costs, medicare and medicaid will cover everyone! Costs overall will decrease, and the out of pocket expense to the individual will be lower than the current system. If we can combine this with a massive expansion in public health education and services, along with major tort reform to revamp medical liability, we might just be able to improve our status from spending more money per capita than any other country, yet ranking number 37 in the world in quality of health care. Shameful.

Please call in on Friday and make your voice heard!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EcoGeek Compares CFL Incandescent and LED Lightbulbs

EcoGeek just posted this is a great and quick comparison of the light output and quality from incandescents vs. CFLs vs. LEDs, as well as discussion of efficiency.

Although we did the conversion to CFLs a few years ago, we're on the second phase and slowly coverting to LED bulbs as the CFLs burn out. The technology has already come a long way in the last 2 years and LED bulb prices are starting to come down. At this point, if you haven't changed out your incandescent bulbs, you might as well skip the CFLs and go straight to the LEDs! With 1/4-1/3 of the power use and 10,000-50,000 hour lifespans, LEDs are certainly the way to go.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

John Stewart and John Olliver Say What We All Are Thinking About Terrorists of Any Type.

This is a brilliant exchange between John Olliver and John Stewart on 12/1/09's The Daily Show. Simply brilliant - an incredibly accurate discussion of terrorists of any kind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vote: No Bailout For The Auto Industry. Unless. . .

Ok, so first we've thrown hundreds of billions of dollars haphazardly at banks, much of which they've already hoarded, squandered, and rearranged, rather than taking a few weeks for our government to carefully draft an educated and well-thought out plan to mediate the value to loan ratio problem, devalue existing loans to help foreclosing homeowners restructure debt, and tightly regulate the use of said taxpayer dollars to avoid the current system of lining the pockets of the greedy lenders and traders who were gambling away everyone's debt and 401k money.

Now we're talking about bailing out three companies, who no matter how "Downhome American" and "Heartlandy" they are, have spent the last half century manipulating the American public through engineered obsolescence and ruthless marketing campaigns to sell the biggest and least efficient vehicles, partnered with oil companies to actively fight emissions standards and efficiency requirements, have purposefully withheld technology that would improve mileage and save fuel, have killed California's zero-emission legislation through legal actions, failed to have any concern whatsoever for the growing climate change and peak oil crises, and have allowed their own greed and obliviousness, purposeful or not, to lead to their own downfall.

The ONLY way we should give any money to the U.S. Auto industry is if they are required to use these funds to completely revamp their lines to include only vehicles that are electric, are compatible with modern biofuels, or use some other type of renewable and low or no emissions fuel. They must also begin large initiatives to convert existing vehicles to run on one of these fuels. The beauty is, that this is in reality a fairly easy proposal: Most modern gasoline engines can be easily modified to run E85 or natural gas, every diesel can run on 100% biodiesel (it's just not covered by warranty) and can easily be modified to run on vegetable oil. Pretty much any vehicle chassis can be easily converted to run on electricity, using standard golf cart batteries to go more than 40 miles to a charge at highway speeds, more than enough for the vast majority of daily drivers. With minimal training and barely adequate electrical skills, I've even been thinking about building one in my garage. The "Big Three" have much smarter people than I with much more mechanical knowledge,and they have much, much. . . MUCH bigger garages.

For that matter, I can think of quite a few things we can do as well with that 813 billion (in tax breaks and funds) Congress has already authorized to bail out Wall Street. How about we pay our craftsmen and builders to learn about energy efficient and eco-friendly building techniques? Why don't we start a national solar loan program that gives anyone who wishes a low interest loan to get solar water heating and photovoltaic panels? Why don't we reteach and train those losing their jobs how to grow food, how to farm energy, how to retrofit homes for efficiency, and other skills? Why don't we help towns and cities rebuild their energy infrastructures to make clean power, ethanol, and biodiesel from waste streams and utilize resources efficiently?

We need to use this money wisely in a well-designed renewable energy "New Deal" for our country to build a sustainable infrastructure for a future of economic prosperity, food security, and clean energy.

reference: bbc news article

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Understands Our Environmental Problem: "We can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house."

Newsweek picked up this off-the-record comment by Senator Obama prior to the debates:

"I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

The beauty of this unscripted, honest response to climate change is that it demonstrates that Barack Obama isn't just about the superficial, pop-media responses to the crisis, he has a deeper understanding of the work we have in front of us. He realizes that this isn't something that a few token efforts will solve, it will require sweeping changes in how we live, how we utilize energy and our resources, and massive changes in our fuel and energy infrastructure. He knows that it's not about the effing light bulbs.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Finally, a Time for Change

We've done it! Elected a man whom we hope has the integrity, the intelligence, and the vision that he's shown us in this election race. If you haven't watched his acceptance speech yet, it is truly inspiring and makes me, for the first time in years, proud to be an American, with hope that we can once again live up to the ideals that we were founded upon - freedom and justice (and sustainability) for all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Californians Need To Vote No on Proposition 8 To Protect Civil Liberties and Freedom.

I had thought that we lived in a free society, where we are all entitled by the constitution to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in a country founded upon the separation of church and state and the promise of freedom of religion, or lack thereof. As I was making a trip to the hardware store 2 days ago, I saw two young men in front of the entrance to the strip mall with signs saying "Save Marriage : Vote Yes on Prop 8" (a proposition to outlaw same-sex marriages for you non-Californians out there). Well, in the usual S.E.E.P. fashion, I felt the need to have a discussion with one of them to try figure out why someone would want to stomp on someone else's civil liberties like that. I asked, "Why are you campaigning for the suppression of freedom? I don't understand why anyone would do such a thing."

In the 20 minute conversation that ensued, his main defense was that gay marraige undermines the institution of marraige and that "we believe" that it's not right. I said, "There you go - when you say, "we believe," you mean that it's your opinion and your personal and religious beliefs that you are trying to impose on other people." You are certainly entitled to your opinion, that's the wonderful thing about our country - for the most part you have freedom to do and say what you like as long as you're not hurting anyone else. But just because you don't personally approve of what someone else is doing, that does not give you the right to take away their rights. If you want to teach your children hate, intolerance, and bigotry within the confines of your own home, so be it. That's your right, but it's not a decision that should even be brought up for a vote! It doesn't matter that your bible says that being gay is a sin - you might need to remember that not everyone believes in the same religious text that you do. It doesn't matter that it makes you feel uncomfortable (possibly because of your latent homosexual urges?), people have the right to have relationships with whomever they please and they should have the rights that any other couple have.

On the ridiculous argument of "undermining the institution of marriage" - please people. If you really think that two homosexual people getting married takes away from the meaning of the concept, then you clearly have no idea what marriage is and what it means. It is a word. A word describing an incredible bond between two people that is impossible to put into words. A connection for which you would do anything for the other person, sacrifice everything for their happiness, and go to the ends of the earth to be with them. It's the bond that I proudly share with my heterosexual partner Laura, and it's a bond that homosexual partners share as well.

I find it incredulous that the same right-wing, bible-wielding Republicans that proudly fly the American flag and claim to value so highly the freedom that we share, feel such a need to take freedoms and liberties away from other people (I apologize to all of the bible-wielding Republicans who understand the place of government, value civil liberties, and will be voting against Prop 8). You can't pick and choose what freedoms you grant - you are either free or you are not. End of story. Stop mixing your personal hangups and religious "morality" (don't get me started on the hypocrisy of religion and morality throughout history) and come to terms with the fact that the United States of America is (was?) the greatest country in the world because it was founded on freedom and justice for all. And that true freedom is what we should all continue to fight for, regardless of our race, creed, religion, color, or sexual orientation.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Mini-E: Finally We're (Almost) Seeing A Consumer Electric Car!

The BMW group has announced that it will have 500 Mini E's ready to deploy in California by the end of 2008! This electric version of the cuddly yet sporty Mini will house a 150kw (204 hp) motor powered by Li-ion batteries that will go 0-62 in 8.5 seconds, rock an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph, go an estimated 150 miles to a charge, and will be repowered in 2.5 hours by a garage charger. These vehicles unfortunately will only "initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey", but it's a start and I'm optimistically hoping that they'll see great success and get to the consumer sometime in 2009-10.

We've known about climate change for decades, yet hardly any action has been taken until recently. We've seen fuel prices rise and the threat of peak oil has loomed closer and closer, threatening a global energy and economic meltdown at any time. Since the EV-1, subject of the film "Who Killed The Electric Car", we have yet to see a consumer-oriented, highway-capable electric vehicle come out of any of the major auto manufacturers. Sure, we've seen prototypes, concepts, and a flurry of promised vehicles from startups, and don't forget the DIY movement, where an enterprising wannabe engineer can spend a few hundred hours and $10K or more on an EV hobby kit, but where have the electric cars been for the rest of us? We want to go to the car lot, test drive a few, and slap down less than $25k for a nice, solid, reliable electric car with all of the bells and whistles. The technology is there - the only stumbling block has been battery technology, which is advancing at a blinding speed. Why hasn't the industry gotten together to make a standard interchangeable battery pack that can be swapped out with better technology in 5-10 years when it's ready? I'll take a car with a 100 mile range now with the prospect of a 300 mile range in a few years when batteries are better!

via Gas 2.0

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