Blogs

I'm Not Crazy, Sexism Is

| Fri Apr. 11, 2008 12:59 PM EDT

More, as if we were running low, on sexism, its pervasiveness, and its actual effect on its victims.

From mindhacks.com:

Female anger at work seen as worse, a character flaw:

Psychological Science has just published an eye-opening study that found that women who express anger at work were thought of more negatively than men and were assumed to be 'angry people' or 'out of control'. Male colleagues who did the same were typically viewed in a more positive light and were assumed to be upset by circumstances.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.)

So who's crazier: a woman who expresses basic human emotions appropriately based on relevant stimuli? Or the man who 'sees' anger differently based on the presence, or lack, of a penis on said angry person. But wait, female evaluators also came to the same conclusions when observing angry people in the workplace. Men get angry. Women go insane. And are professionally punished for it.


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Medical Nonprofit Designed for 3rd World Helps Here at Home

| Fri Apr. 11, 2008 12:24 PM EDT

This is a heartbreaking look at the uninsured and underinsured in America, and one nonprofit that is doing what it can to help them. If you've got 13 minutes, watch it through the end — the last two minutes are excellent.

If you were looking for a place to make a charitable donation...

Petraeus for Prez? Not Likely

| Fri Apr. 11, 2008 11:40 AM EDT

The four-star tries to put this rumor to rest.

Exclusive: Read the Internal Documents Exposing the Former Secret Service Agents Who Went Through Greenpeace's Trash

| Fri Apr. 11, 2008 5:10 AM EDT

A Mother Jones exclusive investigation has revealed that a security firm run by cops and former Secret Service agents spied on Greenpeace, Fenton Communications, the Center for Food Safety, and other progressive groups. The most interesting company communiques you weren't supposed to see? Check out the glow-in-the-dark Taco Bell emails and the handwritten notes about which green groups to dumpster-dive in D.C. We've made them public for the first time; they're available on the site here. You'll have to read James Ridgeway's story itself to find out about the Mary Kay cosmetics, Obama, and Scientology angles, though.

Yes, it's weird. Wait'll you get to the Greenpeace undercover operatives part.

Watch Bitter Enemies Make Nice on Bloggingheads.tv

| Fri Apr. 11, 2008 12:20 AM EDT

Not really, but it's a great example of how we reach across the color divide to figure out how to learn to live in peace with each other. It's a video of me and Ross Douthat of The Atlantic. It was fun and I actually learned useful things about the quote-unquote white POV.

Lock Up CO2 In DVDs

| Thu Apr. 10, 2008 10:26 PM EDT

71519130_a643617ede_m.jpg Here's an idea. Carbon dioxide removed from smokestack emissions could become a valuable raw material for the production of polycarbonate plastics in eyeglass lenses, car headlamps, DVDs, CDs, and drink bottles. The processes involved would offer less expensive, safer and greener products, researchers suggested in two separate reports presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

"Carbon dioxide is readily available, especially from the smokestack of industries that burn coal and other fossil fuels," says chemist Thomas Müller. "And it's a very cheap starting material. If we can replace more expensive starting materials with CO2, then you'll have an economic driving force." There's already a huge market, and millions of tons of polycarbonates are sold each year. But what hasn't been factored in is that these hard, tough materials represent what Müller calls "intriguing sinks" for exhaust carbon dioxide. In fact, there's no other consumer product with such potential for removing CO2 from the environment.

So, we may be drinking from a CO2 plastic bottle (well, hopefully not) and watching movies on waste-CO2 DVDs (well, preferably streaming) soon. "I would say it's a matter of a few years before CO2-derived polymers are available to the public," says Müller.

Good idea: make polycarbonates from waste CO2. Better idea: make less pollution and less polycarbonate plastics.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

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Flower Scent Destroyed by Air Pollution

| Thu Apr. 10, 2008 9:16 PM EDT

86496697_f9d2addeda_m.jpg Air pollution is destroying the fragrance of flowers and preventing pollinating insects from following scent trails to their source. The research from the University of Virginia indicates that power plants and automobiles are behind at least some of the decline of wild pollinators, like bees.

According to Jose Fuentes, co-author of the study, the scent molecules produced by flowers in the less polluted environment of the 1800s could travel up to 4,000 feet. Today, downwind of major cites, they may travel only 700 feet. This makes it increasingly difficult for pollinators to find flowers. The result, potentially, is a vicious cycle where pollinators struggle to find enough food to sustain their populations, and populations of flowering plants don't get pollinated sufficiently to proliferate and diversify. [Sound familiar?]

The scent molecules produced by flowers are highly volatile and quickly bond with pollutants such as ozone, hydroxyl and nitrate radicals, which destroy their aromas. So the flowers no longer smell like flowers. This forces pollinators to search farther and longer and possibly to rely more on sight and less on smell. Using a mathematical model of how scents travel with the wind, the team found it apparent that air pollution destroys the aroma of flowers by as much as 90 percent from periods before automobiles and heavy industry. The more air pollution in a region, the greater the destruction of the flower scents.

Just in case we don't already have enough reasons to tackle emissions.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

Iran: Sabers and Sobriety

| Thu Apr. 10, 2008 5:18 PM EDT

Much has been written already about General David Petraeus' and Ambassador Ryan Crocker's two days of marathon testimony on Capitol Hill this week, including plenty about the degree to which they also testified about Iran's influence both in Iraq and in the greater Middle East. Petraeus was quick to call Iran's influence in Iraq "malevolent", but less quick to reconcile that influence with the fact that Iran is on friendly terms with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. Just hours after the two men wrapped up their show, President Bush kicked up the rhetoric. According to the Times> of London, "President Bush warned Iran [] that if it did not stop arming and training Shia militia in Iraq then 'America will act to protect our interests and our troops.'"

Interestingly, while Petraeus and Crocker sat before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, the National Iranian American Council hosted a conference, drawing on the expertise of journalists, scholars, former chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), to examine America's best options if it seeks to keep Iran's nuclear weapons program dormant. Iran, which recently claimed to be installing 6,000 new centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, could restart its weapons program, and preventing that, the guests noted, will likely require direct U.S. diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic.

That process would no doubt have an impact on Iran's influence in Iraq, and it might well prove to be a positive one. "Iran recently proved helpful in brokering a ceasefire between Prime Minister al-Maliki and Moqtada al-Sadr's JAM militias in Basra, Feinstein noted. "Clearly, a more positive relationship with Iran might be helpful in stabilizing Iraq." That ceasefire is by no means destined to hold, and will by no means solve the fundamental political rifts that keep Iraq ablaze. But it has knocked violence down noticeably, which is something all sides no doubt welcome.

Music: Prince Added to Coachella Lineup

| Thu Apr. 10, 2008 4:35 PM EDT

mojo-photo-princecoach.jpgI was just telling people that I bet Goldenvoice would add another high-profile artist, and look at me, I'm so smart! All those commenters are so wrong! Although I had no idea the new addition would be Prince, the Great Horny Devil of the Super Bowl himself. Apparently the randy Minnesotan will be the headliner on Saturday, the second of the festival's three nights; this puts the kibosh on my whole "leave early before Jack Johnson and hang around in the hot tub" plans, since if Prince's performance is anything like that blazing Super Bowl appearance, I don't want to miss it.

Now if they could just sneak Radiohead in on Friday night…

What Does Mike Huckabee Have Up His Sleeve?

| Thu Apr. 10, 2008 3:07 PM EDT

I suspect that good dude and total crazy person Mike Huckabee is going to be in our lives for a while. Why? Because this development has to be connected to this little mystery.

Update: Let me add that I have high expectations for Mr. Huckabee. I think he could be the king of all (Christian) media if he doesn't get sidetracked by some quixotic FairTax crusade.