Category Archives: Links

Net Neutrality or Just Slow. What are the Solutions?

We’ve had major internet problems for months. We’re in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Area, suburban, but surrounded on all sides by around 500,000 people. We’ve been Comcast customers for years.

Nearly everyday, we either lose internet completely – several times a day – or it’s so slow, our routine is to click on a web page and go do something else. Often, the page never comes up all the way. Or we get messages saying the website is unsafe, or doesn’t appear to be working, or nonsense like that. You’d think it was still 1998 or something.

Comcast helpfully sends out technicians who look at wires outside and pass the problem up the chain to different technicians. We are constantly assured that the problem will be fixed soon. We’ll have a few days of good connection, then ho-hum, back to slowville.

What to do? I’m not sure AT&T would be any better, and I don’t know of any other options around here. So this article got my eye.

At the moment, we supposedly have net neutrality, but you’d never know it if you lived in our house. We have few options and no voice in the service we get. And if net neutrality does go away, we lose big time. So a local co-op sounds like an interesting idea. But I don’t know how it would work, especially around here. Wouldn’t the co-op have to use Comcast’s or AT&T’s infrastructure? How independent would it really be?

Does anyone know about this? What other options are there for us?

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Where Comes the National Anthem?

Brent Staples writes a perspective in the New York Times that offers information the average American probably doesn’t know about our national anthem. Maybe you knew already about “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and its history and reason for existence. I’ve never heard of it.

Most of us know at least a little about “The Star-Spangled Banner,” how Francis Scott Key wrote it after seeing the flag still waving over the fort after a bitter battle. Stirs the soul, yes.

Most of us know Key was a slave-owner. In general, I’m willing to allow historical figures their triumphs even if they held views we now consider vile. “Men of their time” and that kind of thing, but I add the caveat that there were a LOT of other men (and women) of “that time” who understood those views were wrong. So no one gets a complete pass in my book. But I only recently found out about the despicable third verse of Key’s song:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave…

This is probably a reference to the slaves who fought with the British in return for the promise of freedom, assuming the British won the war. I can practically see Key’s as an incarnation of Emperor Palpatine, licking his lips and rubbing his hands in gleeful disdain as he cackles over the cowering humans he owns. “You lost and you are doomed forever! Ha!”

So maybe we should not have used that song as a national anthem. Can’t we be better than that?

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is better – you can read the lyrics here – although it’s still  not perfect IMO. Personally, I don’t think we can have an anthem that does not acknowledge and honor the native people we slaughtered as we stole their land from them. But the history of this song is a clear tribute to real freedom because that freedom applies to all Americans.

Which is the whole darn point.

Matter, Mass, Reality. Hope You Like Onions

Here’s a link for you: http://nautil.us/issue/54/the-unspoken/physics-has-demoted-mass.

I can’t say that I actually understood it all, but it was fun to read. Matter matters, of course, but energy is the heart of the matter.

So to speak.

Read the comments, too. There are some good observations by people smarter than me.

 

American Women Die in Childbirth

As a natural childbirth teacher and doula, I know all this already. But this article in Quartz is a credible and accurate summation of the seriousness of America’s problem.

This post is not intended as a scare tactic for women. I simply want to point out that it’s a serious issue that has not been exposed enough.

I’m going give you one quote from the article, that says all the important points beautifully:

Jennie Joseph, a British-trained nurse midwife who has been practicing in the US for the past 26 years and runs Commonsense Childbirth, a birth center which offers midwifery prenatal care in Orlando, Florida, sums it all up effectively: “It’s racism, it’s classism, it’s sexism: All of these things are at play and […] the intersection with capitalism and power,” she told Quartz. “[Women] are dying of a system that’s broken.”  (I added the bold).

Americans – especially American politicians, along with the religious right – want a country where women have no access to birth control, no access to abortion, no access to adequate pre-natal care and even less access to post-partum care, no societal support in the form of visiting nurses, doulas, lactation consultants, no help in raising the children they give birth to, and NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ANY OF IT.

Women are not heard in American medicine. This is a real and known problem. Reproduction is just one part of it, but it’s a huge part. Please read the article.

 

 

From Marion Nestle: What Fruits and Vegetables do Americans Eat?

I almost linked this post straight to Facebook. I’ve been doing that too much lately, bypassing my own blog.

It’s either lack of sleep or plain laziness.

So here’s the link to Dr. Nestle’s post: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2017/05/what-fruits-and-vegetables-do-americans-eat-more-charts-from-usda/.

It’s an eye-opener. People, there are far more vegetables than tomatoes, corn, and potatoes. Oranges, apples, and bananas are NOT the only fruit in the world. For your own health… please branch out!

Pet peeve: potatoes should not even be listed as a vegetable, and juice is not fruit. Use potatoes as a healthy starch (they ARE good for you as long as you don’t fry them), and juice is just candy. EAT the fruit!

What do you eat most weeks?
What are your reasons?
Have you ever tried to branch out into the huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available?
What is NOT available where you live?

 

 

 

Charles M. Blow: War as Political Weapon

From the NY Times: https://nyti.ms/2oQuaL8

Like everyone else, I reacted with rage and horror at another chemical attack in Syria. I felt desperate for action – this has got to stop. We need to do something.

I still feel that way. Part of me cheers the American attack. The rest of me is deeply suspicious of DT’s motives. He doesn’t give a damn about those “beautiful babies,” but this was great for distraction from serious investigations and for propping up ratings. And an even better excuse to increase the war budget.

What I really wish the world would do, is put an end to idea of “sovereign nation.” It is always used as an excuse to let violent men destroy innocent people. “Oh my, no… we CAN’T interfere. It’s THEIR country!”

Bull-shit.

We need hard-and-fast rules that all countries and all monarchs and all politicians must adhere to, and that are enforceable by a strong central body made up with representatives from all countries.

Sort of like the U.N.

For most purposes, there’s no reason for interference in any country’s operations. But when violence is happening, when people are fleeing their homes to escape imprisonment, torture, death…, that is the time for interference. No regime, in any country anywhere, has the right to create such a situation within its borders. If they do, the world steps in, with unity and force. Such a ruler must be deposed immediately. We can’t leave a vacuum – new leaders must be established with constant supervision. A clear method must be in place for the people of that country to replace the temporary government with one they establish. And it has to be the government the PEOPLE choose, which may not be the one we would prefer. It just cannot be another government that will incite new violence.

I know this is vague and idealistic. If humans ever decide they want real peace and prosperity, I’ll be happy to help work out the details.

Baby Food Facts

Here’s a summary of a report from The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. The report’s title is Baby Food FACTS: Nutrition and marketing of baby and toddler foods and drinks.

It’s interesting reading. The takeaway: Babies don’t need baby food (especially “toddler drinks”), but most companies are providing nutritious food in their products. EXCEPT for snacks and those toddler drink products.

Don’t waste your money on something that will hurt your baby’s health.

Trump, the GOP, and the Fall — Whatever

Original photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. Click on photo to see original.At this point there is no doubt that Donald Trump is the single worst major party presidential candidate in living memory, almost certainly the worst since the Civil War, and arguably the worst in the history of this nation. He is…

via Trump, the GOP, and the Fall — Whatever

A Very Cool BBC Story about Thomas Andrews

This is so cool: The woman Who Won the Heart of Titanic’s Thomas Andrews.
(Source – BBC News)

It’s an interview with Helen Barbour’s youngest daughter (from her second marriage after Thomas A. died). I hope I can watch the interview on Thursday. I love the letter she mentions written by Thomas after he proposed to Helen. She didn’t say ‘yes’ right away!

When I was writing Shipbuilder, I really enjoyed researching his relationship with Helen. They were both such characters!

2012 TMC 4 005
Thomas Andrews, Managing Director, Harland & Wolff Shipyards