Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Take Action Monday on Tuesday

Last Monday, I played New York City tour guide to a family from Arizona. All I have to say is, Bill Maher was right.

Support clean energy legislation.

Tell BP to provide respirators to clean-up workers.

Tell BP to stop burning endangered sea turtles alive.

Help to repeal the ban on privately-funded abortion in the military.

Tell Congress to make ending violence against women a priority.

Protect whales from hunting.

Support full funding for public media.

Keep important reproductive decisions between patients and doctors, not legislators.

Pledge to be an advocate for immigrants.

Support healthcare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Thought About Natural Gas Exploration

I haven't updated in a while, but I have been thinking. In light of the BP oil disaster, I've been thinking about natural gas. Even though most people still support off-shore drilling, I think President Obama and the United States Congress is going to be advocating for more natural gas exploration. One of the benefits of natural gas is that it is plentiful in North America, amounting to over a trillion cubic feet in the United States alone (I can't even wrap my head around that number). Natural gas is cleaner than coal and oil.

(The rest of the information from this post comes from an episode of Dan Rather Reports called Fracking Gas)

However, there are problems with natural gas. It's a non-renewable fossil fuel, like oil and coal. Americans still need to demand cutting our dependence on fossil fuels, in favor of clean and renewable energy sources, even if there are a thousand years of natural gas available for our consumption (although it's probably more like a hundred years).

Natural gas also requires mining, either onshore or offshore, which destroys habitats. The process of extracting natural gas from the earth, called fracking, requires drilling thousands of feet into the land. The technique also uses a slurry of chemicals to break free the natural gas from underground shale rock. Some people who live near these fracking sites believe that their well water became contaminated. Here is one woman's testimony from the episode of Dan Rather Reports:

When I became so ill, the bone pain was very extreme in my legs and-- and then, as-- in my tailbone. And as the weeks went by, it-- it started to-- like it was crawling up my-- my spine. And eventually, you know, it went throughout the whole body. And things have progressed from there of-- of becoming more ill. The s-- the seizures that have come on, the-- the-- the migraines, the continual feeling is as if you have the flu, and . . .

This was after the natural gas company paid thousands of dollars to install a water filtration system in the woman's home, because their tap water was black. Other families who live near fracking sites have had similar health problems and cannot consume local well water because of its odor and color. More research needs to be done to determine if these problems were caused by natural gas fracking or something else before the United States government decides to tap into more of the country's natural gas reserves.

My last problem with natural gas, while not an inherent problem, I think needs to be improved before the United States approves more natural gas exploration: Split-Estate Law. The best way I can explain Split-Estate is to think of it as a compromise between the Homestead Act and Eminent Domain. In 1916, the Homestead Act gave acres upon acres of farmland to regular people, but the federal government still owned the mineral rights below the land. Eminent Domain is the federal government's right and responsibility to relocate people for a fair price, if doing so benefits the general public (e.g., creating public transportation). Split-Estate allows for the energy company and the owner of the surface land to negotiate a fair price to drill for oil, coal, or natural gas. So I guess there's not going to be any Beverly Hillbillies situation happening if the United States expands natural gas drilling. I fear that Split-Estate laws continues near energy monopolies, instead of creating local, small, independently-owned natural gas companies. I think Split-Estate laws should either be eliminated, giving below-surface land ownership to the surface landowners, or they should be changed to ensure that surface landowners are paid a ton of money for the natural gas extracted from the land.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shorter Kevin Hogan: Every Woman is Secretly Telling You that They Want to Fuck You, Even if It's Just a Little

via Feministing

I don't really expect anything more from a blog post brought to you by an Axe body spray product, but come on. Some site called Asylum.com talked to a body language expert named Kevin Hogan to help really inept men figure out what women are telling them, without all the work and frustration that goes into listening to them talk. According to Hogan, a woman can't stand or sit without inviting sexual advances from strange men.

"She's non-consciously drawing attention to her neck, which is a bit of an invitation," says Hogan. "That, combined with her very off-balance posture, could be interpreted that she likes you and trusts you."

Or maybe she's checking her pulse as she's listening to you go on and on about the sophisticated system you created to rank the Kardashian sisters (Really? Tits to Ass Ratio? You don't say!). But let's not take her word for it. Nick Hogan is here to relieve you of the burden of wondering why you stand like that. Such thoughts used to consume me. Please, tell me more.

"She is prepared to be obedient," he says. "Her hands are keeping her posture straight and completely open and her neck is completely exposed. That's as open an invitation as she can give you."

You know, without her actually telling you with words. But if you thought she'd fuck you now, wait until you see her sit like this . . .

This laid-back stance signifies that this woman is "aggressively flirting with you," our expert tells us. "She shows you her body, but blocks it with her right arm offering you a small hurdle to get past to get the prize."

I was sitting very much like this on a rock ledge not long ago, eating a frozen yogurt parfait and watching a bluegrass band performing outside of the fair trade tea salon and market. That's why all those hippies followed me home! Oh, wait. That didn't happen.

But this is my favorite. Lest you think that all hope is lost when you make her recoil in horror, consider this.

Either you just said something offensive or your breath is bad. This is obvious because the woman has leaned away from you in addition to crossing her arms. Luckily, "Her feet are still pointed toward you, forgiving your boorish behavior," says Hogan.

Gee, what could he be saying here? "Do you like 3Oh!3? They're my favorite band!" "Yeah, I pretty much watch everything on G4, except Ninja Warrior. That show blows." "You like how I smell? It's Axe shower gel. I can write more poems like that if you want."

For all the confidence and advice that men's websites and blogs are supposed to give guys, they're really just making things more complicated (and making a lot of guys infinitely creepier and more likely to think nonconsensual sex is just fine). If you're looking for a friend or a girlfriend, just start talking to them. See where the conversation goes. It'll only take a few minutes of actual conversation for you to figure out if this person is someone you want to spend more than a few minutes with. Instead of looking at where her hand is or how much of her weight is distributed to her right side or in which direction her left big toe is pointing, LISTEN TO WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY.