Coral is now an endangered species

Some types of coral are now considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  From the New York Times, Coral is Dying, Can it Be Reborn?

“We have lost 25 percent of the world’s corals in the last 25 years,”
David E. Vaughan, director of the Center for Coral Reef Research at
Mote, said in an interview, adding that 25 percent more are expected to
die in the next decade or two.

In addition to polluted waters, disease, and environmental factors (like fishing and tourists), global warming is also killing coral:

And then there is global warming.
So far, scientists say, it has had two main effects on coral, both
potentially lethal. First, as oceans absorb more carbon dioxide, the
chief greenhouse gas, they become more acidic. The acidity makes it
more difficult for corals to grow and may even cause them to start to
dissolve. And as oceans warm, algae that live in corals, and on which
they depend, may be killed.

The change is so drastic that I’ve been able to notice the difference over the past ten years.  And it was already happening when I first started diving and snorkeling – we’d see huge expanses of dead coral and at the time I was told it was because the water was too warm for them.  (When you can dive without a wet suit at 100 feet, you know the water is warm!)  It’s very sad that our children won’t get to see what we’ve had the priviledge of seeing.

Do astronauts wear diapers?

When the news came out about the astronaut who wore diapers so she wouldn't have to stop driving my first question was, "yet she took the time to go buy diapers?"  After thinking about it, I decided that astronauts must wear diapers, so she was familiar with the idea and maybe even owned some.  Turns out that astronauts do wear diapers.

Because astronauts sit on the launch pad, strapped into their seats for
over three hours, they all have to wear diapers. Astronauts also wear
diapers when they are working in space during spacewalks which normally
last 5-8 hours.

Our ATV was stolen!

We just had an ATV stolen out of our truck sitting in front of our house.  Frank is smoking a turkey so he happened to be going outside a lot so we know it was stolen between midnight and 1am.  When we called the police the police officer remembered it going north out of town on a Chevy truck.  He put out a wire to the the county sheriff and the police departments of the two towns north of us.  But all the guy(s) that stole it need to do is pull into a garage and wait a few days until the police forget and move on to bigger things.

I googled "stolen ATV" and found three sites for reporting stolen ATVs – so it must be a common and very frustrating problem.  As far as I can tell the sites don’t do anything.  You just get to register that your ATV was stolen.


Sterotypes and prejudices: you’ve got ’em!

Harvard has some Implicit Association Test.  You can test how much you associate career with men or science with men or take a test that checks what associations you might have with muslims or arabs or blacks or whites.

It’s very interesting and highly recommend everyone go take one.  Inspite of being a women in computer science, I showed a slight association between men and career.  So did 76% of people that took the test!  And then we worry about a glass ceiling … for good reason it looks like …

Interestingly enough I show a "slight automatic preference" for gay people over straight people.  I think it was because I didn’t like putting all the negative words with gay people.  I’m used to defending them.  Obviously I must not be so used to defending women in career … I think it’s because the people I hang out with (including those I work with) would never dream of putting down women in careers but gay jokes are still ok.  So I’m used to defending gays but not women.

As for defending minorities, I once found myself telling a group of drunk guys to quit putting down hispanics.  (I debated the wisdom of that afterwards.)  I was quite pleasantly surprised when one of them said, "Good for you, Stormy."


Good, Bad and Right

In this post Gretchen talks really good or bad versus feeling right.  You can feel good about things you do (like giving someone a present or exercising) or you can feel right (like when you’ve made a tough decision like putting a parent or grandparent in assisted living when it was appropriate.)  I think most of us focus on feeling good versus feeling right.  Feeling good has more immediate positive feedback whereas feeling right gives us satisfaction in life.

Eunuchs still exist

Today I saw a news article, Indian eunuchs help collect taxes.  Confused, I googled "eunuchs india."  Did eunuchs still exist?  And if so why are there a million of them?  This article was interesting and disturbing, Eunuchs — India’s Third Gender — ThingsAsian Article.  Eunuchs are alive and well with new ones being created regularly.  In India they live in communities and work as dancers, baby blessers and prostitutes.  (The baby blessers part sounded more like a threat – pay me or I’ll curse your baby.)  The article made it sound as if joining the eunuch community and getting an operation to become a eunuch was a personal choice and that most eunuchs were homosexual.  I can’t believe that a million people would choose that ostarized life style, but I’ll reserve judgement until I have more data or get a chance to meet them.

Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds – New York Times

Having just returned to work after maternity leave, I found this article interesting.  It’s the first study I’ve seen that added the time spent at work and the time spent working at home for both fathers and mothers and compared the total.  Turns out that they are spending relatively equal amounts of time "working."  Married and Single Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds – New York Times:

The researchers found that “women still do twice as much housework and child care as men” in two-parent families. But they said that total hours of work by mothers and fathers were roughly equal, when they counted paid and unpaid work.

Using this measure, the researchers found “remarkable gender equality in total workloads,” averaging nearly 65 hours a week.

However, according to the study, working moms have much less free time than stay at home moms and one of the things they cut back on is time with their husbands!

It also said that all parents, single and married, male and female, are spending more time with their kids than parents did 40 years ago. 

Gas Prices around the Country

Check out gas prices around the country broken down by state and county. USA National Gas Temperature Map.  Stay away from red areas (California of course.)  Those in green areas like Montana and Wyoming have it good. 

I was suprised at how state dependent gas pries are.  All of Wyoming is green while half of its neighbors are yellow.

Racism against Atheists

It looks like Americans would rather you believe in a god or gods they don’t believe in than have you believe in no god at all.  Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study : News Releases: UMNnews: U of M..

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Since we don’t do such a good job with religious and racial diversity now, I can’t imagine what would happen if the 3% of America that is atheist grows or becomes more publicly visible. 

This also seems strange to me since so many Americans do not go to church or actively participate in a religion.  I can’t imagine that an athesist lives a life that’s very different than a non practicing Christian.  I doubt they even that they have widely different values.


Find out what your home is worth

This post on the FREAKONOMICS BLOG, pointed me to a really cool site, Zillow.com.  Type in any address or zip code and it will show you the house on a satellite picture along with the house’s estimated value.  In addition you can search for recent comparable sales – sales of recent houses with similar specifications in the same neighborhood along with their sale price!   

You have got to try this website out – find out your home’s value.  Realtors are going to have to work hard to show their value!

Two notes:

  • Not all areas are covered yet.  I found my home in Colorado but I couldn’t find any data for home values  in South Dakota.
  • It actually showed our home in the right spot.  Google and Yahoo maps usually think our house is half way down the block from where it really is.