March 26th, 2011

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Steps toward a better world

Declaring that health care is a right, not a privilege, Vermont embarks on single-payer care. And when the sudden but inevitable namecalling started? Gov. Peter Shumlin told people to respect each other's views. I would totally vote for this dude. I would dearly love the chance to do so.

Some activists have decided that mothers deserve a voice in manifesting change.  So, they are providing radical childcare.  This gives mothers and children more opportunity to participate in activism and to form community ties.  Nobody should have to do the world's hardest job alone.  Childcare options are absolutely essential for parents to function as citizens and healthy human beings.  It may come from family, friends, nonprofits, churches, communities, businesses, and/or governments but by gods it had better come from somewhere.  Huzzah for activists putting their hours where their mouths are.


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Artificial Colors in Foods

... can make people hyperactive or cause other problems.  This is not actually new information; studies on the topic date back several decades.  I am, however, happy to see a move away from artificial colors and toward natural ones.

But I wonder what the merry heck those manufacturers did to tomato juice to make it turn brown.  We used to can walls of the stuff when I was little.  It was, well, tomato-colored, a bright red-orange color.  Our grape juice was as purple as a crayon.  Our apricot halves were a bold yellow-orange.  Grandma's crabapple jelly was sort of a loud pinkish-peach.  I don't recall ever seeing anything we canned turn an unappetizing dull color.  The closest would be the applesauce with a kind of sandy tone.

I find obvious food colors to be off-putting.  I like being able to shop for foods that are naturally colorful instead.  You'd be amazed some of the colors food actually comes in ... apples that are red all through, purple potatoes and carrots, etc.  I discovered a new fruit snack that is made mostly from fruit purees and tapioca starch, fruit-colored with things like carrot juice and beet juice.  *chuckle*  And I still remember reading a historic description of dying milk by pouring it through shredded carrots to tint the butter yellow; I think it was in one of the Laurel Ingalls Wilder books.
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The Honeybee Problem: Human Stupidity

Oh for the love of little blue fishies ... this article discusses the role of inbreeding behind honeybee dieoffs.  Inbreeding, of all fool things!  We know  not to do that.  We have known for hundreds if not a few thousand years, from breeding dogs and horses and such.  We know it's bad; we know why it's bad.  And yet, commercial beekeepers seem to have done it anyway.  Epic, epic facepalm. 

I am all the more glad for my tree full of wild girls.  They probably appreciate the selection of mixed fruit trees, dandelions, berry canes, and assorted decorative flowers here.  The only thing they've shorted is the blackberry patch, which to be fair is at the wayfar corner of the yard from where they live.  I've tried to advertise its location to pollinators by adding colorful flowers in pots, but what I really need to do is plant a bee patch down there somewhere.

If you don't think this is "your problem" ...?  Honeybees pollinate dozens of prime food crops: most of the fruits, many vegetables, and some nuts and other things.  So if you eat, you should seriously care what happens to honeybees and other pollinators.