February, 2011 Monthly archive

GoodGuide is a website dedicated to examining the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies. Their breakdowns are really impressive and thorough–for example, above, Apple scores poorly for, among other things, its involvement with countries that have oppressive regimes. They look at everything from a manufacturers’ environmental impact, to company worker treatment, to the health risks or benefits of using a certain product.

From their website:

GoodGuide was founded in 2007 by Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Dara is one of the world’s leading academic experts on global supply chains – tracking product life cycles from resource extraction into manufacturing, through consumer use to disposal. Products often have hidden and sometimes disturbing stories – stylish apparel made in Asian sweatshops, or baby care products containing cancer-causing chemicals. Dara realized how little we know about the products we bring into our homes every day.  Information was either unavailable, too complex to understand, or biased, as marketers make unsubstantiated claims that their products are natural or safe.

To address the consumer marketplace’s need for better information, GoodGuide has assembled a team of scientific and technology experts to take on the challenge of organizing the world’s product information.    Our Chief Scientist is Bill Pease, an expert in chemical risk assessment and creator of the web’s top pollution information resource, scorecard.org.  His science team includes specialists in life cycle assessment, environmental engineering, chemistry, nutrition and sociology.  Together we are working to acquire and compile high quality data, which we then organize and transform into actionable information for consumers.

There’s a lot of messed up stuff that goes on out there in the free market. Instead of relying on laws and regulations to keep things in line, one of the things that we can do as consumers is to wield our dollars. Every time you buy something, you send a message: “Hey, product manufacturer–this is a thing that people want. Keep doing what you’re doing.” If you can afford it, do some research and support brands that operate responsibly. Voting with your dollars is a really easy way do some good.


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Sullivan makes a more general point while discussing the DOJ’s decision to not defend a challenge on Section 3 of DOMA:

Which is not the first time one can say that on many issues, where Obama’s caution and incrementalism have begun to create a legacy that is deeply unsatisfying in the present but looks rather substantive from the rear-view mirror.

I think this is exactly what drives the reactionary left, particularly on the blogs, crazy. We live in a media environment today that encourages instant reactions, and puts a very strong disincentive on reflection. And when you look at the Obama Administration’s actions on a very small time scale, things don’t really look that great. It’s only when you take a step back and look at things in a broader way do you really see the real progress that has been made.

It’s like a wise woman once said, Obama’s like a full-on Monet. In a good way.

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One of the things that I took away from this speech is something that I usually just take for granted every day: Intel, by and large, manufactures in America. How many other high-tech firms can say the same thing?

This is one thing that I think a lot of people don’t really know. I’m sure that a lot of people think of Intel making high-tech products and automatically assume that it’s happening in China or Taiwan. But it’s not. That Core i5 you’re rocking was probably made in America. And if it wasn’t, then it was made in Israel or Ireland. Not China.

And in this day and age, I think that’s something to be proud of.

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Juice the Fog!

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Ever since I first heard “Half Light I” off of The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, I thought I had heard it before.  Then I became convinced that an advanced copy had made it into the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack.  Then, I was actually listening to the song one day (er…today) while sitting at a computer and decided to do some research.

Turns out that the song isn’t in Little Miss Sunshine but sounds very, very similar to this Devotchka song called “How It Ends,” which very much is in Little Miss Sunshine.

You be the judge.

Skip to 4:18

Skip to 2:08

I still love the song and the album, and I’m not trying to knock anybody because sometimes this kind of thing can happen unconsciously, but boy am I glad I solved the mystery in my head.


Ok. So I didn’t mention that the reason this came up is because I heard “Half Light I” on my Pandora Arcade Fire station. And now, not ten minutes later, Pandora decided to play “The Winner Is” which is probably the actual song from Little Miss Sunshine I was thinking of, not the one above.

So even Pandora agrees with me.

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Pronounced: gah·bage

Being of or pertaining to trash or garbage.

Examples of Use:

“You’re gahbage!

“You took my parking spot! You’re gahbage!

“God bless you, kind sir! Thanks to your support, my child is able to see again. But you are still gahbage!”

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Danny Boy by Celtic Women

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So I was chatting with a chick on Okcupid (leave it alone, I’m fragile…), and we got into our first argument about what the funniest Youtube video was. Usually at this point I just leave, but she was coming out with some primo vidz. Here’s one of my favorites.

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The External World from David OReilly on Vimeo.

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For those of you that still don’t know, I have been learning the Hammered Dulcimer these last few months. It’s a pretty awesome instrument.

I am taking classes at the Eastman School of Music, which, fortunately, offers a community course in the Hammered Dulcimer.

In the future, I will write more about the Hammered Dulcimer. For now, however, I will just leave you all with this video of a badss playing the hammered dulcimer.

GarrettViggers.com – Hammer Dulcimer Wedding Ceremony Music from Garrett Viggers on Vimeo.

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