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csziggy's Journal
csziggy's Journal
March 25, 2013

E-mails link Bush foundation, corporations and education officials

This may have been posted already, but it's worth re-posting.

E-mails link Bush foundation, corporations and education officials

Posted by Valerie Strauss on January 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

A nonprofit group released thousands of e-mails today and said they show how a foundation begun by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and national education reform leader, is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders.

A call to the foundation has not been returned.

The e-mails are between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and a group Bush set up called Chiefs for Change, whose members are current and former state education commissioners who support Bush’s agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can’t read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests. That includes evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A-F based on test scores. John White of Louisiana is a current member, as is Tony Bennett, the new commissioner of Florida who got the job after Indiana voters rejected his Bush-style reforms last November and tossed him out of office.

Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be in our interests but are in theirs.”

More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/30/e-mails-link-bush-foundation-corporations-and-education-officials/

Link to emails: http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/node/2747
March 25, 2013

Disease threatens garden impatiens

I'm glad I picked another plant for my flower beds!

Disease threatens garden impatiens
Surprising scientists and horticulturalists, once-mild downy mildew disease has struck the popular blooms in 33 states

By Susan Milius

A puzzling plant disease may dethrone one of the most popular and reliable flowerbed plants in North America, the garden impatiens.

A relatively benign condition known as impatiens downy mildew has recently turned ugly, for reasons under debate. For decades, U.S. gardeners rarely noticed downy mildew on their impatiens. But in the last two years, the disease has ravaged flower beds in some of the more humid parts of the country. After rain or fog followed by balmy nights, the disease can turn a lush flower border into a straggle of bare stalks that eventually collapse and die.

In recent years, aggressive impatiens downy mildew has flared up during disease-friendly weather in parts of Europe, South Africa and Australia. But the United States hadn’t seen more than a few scattered reports until widespread outbreaks began in 2011. By the end of 2012, pathologists had confirmed the disease in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

The disease is unlikely to eradicate the plants, but in some areas of the country, the risk can change a gardener’s mind about what to plant. Impatiens downy mildew “thrives in our coastal climate,” says plant pathologist Nancy Gregory of the University of Delaware cooperative extension program in Newark. In advice that would have been shocking a decade ago, she suggests gardeners skip impatiens unless willing to cope with the risk of an unsightly die-off.

More: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/349064/description/Disease_threatens_garden_impatiens
March 25, 2013

Early malnutrition bodes ill for adult personality

Here is the best argument (if innate generosity and ethics don't convince you to make sure your fellow humans are fed) for making sure infants and children have good nutrition throughout their growing years - they will be better balanced, more rational adults.

Early malnutrition bodes ill for adult personality
Food deprivation in infancy may promote negative traits at age 40

By Bruce Bower

Web edition: March 21, 2013

Malnutrition in the first year life, even when followed by a good diet and restored physical health, predisposes people to a troubled personality at age 40, new research suggests.

Compared with peers who were well-fed throughout their lives, formerly malnourished men and women reported markedly more anxiety, vulnerability to stress, hostility, mistrust of others, anger and depression, Galler’s team reports March 12 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Survivors of early malnutrition also cited relatively little intellectual curiosity, social warmth, cooperativeness and willingness to try new experiences and to work hard at achieving goals.

Previous studies of people exposed prenatally to famine have reported increased rates of certain personality disorders and schizophrenia. Another investigation found that malnutrition at age 3 predisposed youngsters on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to delinquent and aggressive behavior at ages 8, 11 and 17.

As is true in the new study, distrust of others, anxiety and depression often accompany high levels of anger, says psychologist Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who directed the Mauritius research. “Poor nutrition early in life seems to predispose individuals to a suspicious personality, which may then fuel a hostile attitude toward others,” Raine proposes.
More: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/349102/description/Early_malnutrition_bodes_ill_for_adult_personality
March 19, 2013

What's a good company to order flowers or other things from?

I just got word that my Dad's 90th birthday celebration will be held at the rehab hospital. It's also my Mom's 92nd birthday.

Usually they don't like any fuss being made over their special events but Dad had a stent put in the other day and I think he is feeling very good to make it to 90. I just got the email that my sisters and some of the nieces and nephews will be there Thursday to celebrate. It's too late for me to even send a card. I'm three hundred miles away and I can't make the trip down to be there.

So I want to send something - flowers, one of those fruit arrangements or something. At this point, I am just upset that the email - which was sent last night - didn't get to me sooner even though I checked my email last night and this morning. I can't even think of what to send!

Is there anyplace people here can recommend? Any suggestions?

March 15, 2013

My sister just had a new Smilodon species named after her!

UF researcher describes new 5-million-year-old saber-toothed cat from Florida
March 14th, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida researcher has described a new genus and species of extinct saber-toothed cat from Polk County, Fla., based on additional fossil acquisitions of the animal over the last 25 years.

The 5-million-year-old fossils belong to the same lineage as the famous Smilodon fatalis from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, a large, carnivorous apex predator with elongated upper canine teeth. Previous research suggested the group of saber-toothed cats known as Smilodontini originated in the Old World and then migrated to North America, but the age of the new species indicates the group likely originated in North America. The study appeared online in the journal PLOS One Wednesday.

“Smilodon first shows up on the fossil record around 2.5 million years ago, but there haven’t been a lot of good intermediate forms for understanding where it came from,” said study co-author Richard Hulbert Jr., vertebrate paleontology collections manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “The new species shows that the most famous saber-toothed cat, Smilodon, had a New World origin and it and its ancestors lived in the southeastern U.S. for at least 5 million years before their extinction about 11,000 years ago. Compared to what we knew about these earlier saber-toothed cats 20 or 30 years ago, we now have a much better understanding of this group.”

Hulbert helped uncover fossils of the new genus and species, Rhizosmilodon fiteae, from a phosphate mine during excavations in 1990. The species was named after Barbara Fite of Lutz, Fla., who in 2011 donated one of the critical specimens used for the new description and allowed UF scientists to make casts of two other partial jaws in her collection.


Saber-toothed cat species, holotype specimen, is pictured in the foreground and the paratype specimen is pictured in the background.
Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

She found the paratype specimen jaw in the photo.
March 9, 2013

Need advice on stamping impermeable items

I haven't done stamping since we cut shapes with potatoes and stamped craft paper with water colors at camp, so I am not at all familiar with the current stamp technology.

A group I am with needs to make favors for goody bags for a once a year gathering. A thought for future favors is to paint magnets with cute designs. I can buy ceramic disc magnets for cheap, spray paint them with an acrylic paint. Some people have hand painted little flowers on their magnets but the group I am with does not have that kind artistic talents.

I'm thinking of stamping designs on the magnets. My husband found some cute stamps, one set with flowers and leaves, the other with animal paw prints. Will these work to stamp acrylic paint on the painted surface of the magnets? Any tips as to techniques for applying paint to the very small stamps to get clean stamps on the magnets?

If this won't work, any suggestions?

March 8, 2013

Just watched "Saving Rhino Phila" and now "Rhino Wars"

"Saving Rhino Phila" was heartbreaking - the story of a rhino who survived two poacher attempts to kill her. It is a miracle she lived and she is now living in a zoo since that is the only place she can be kept safe.

"Rhino Wars" seems to be a land version of "Whale Wars" with combat veterans and high powered weapons to match the firepower of the poachers. After watching Phila's story, anything it takes to save the rhinos, including killing the poachers is fair game.

The opening of Rhino Wars shows a baby rhino whose mother has been killed squeaking for her. The poor baby.

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