Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A shorter post today, to be followed by a blogging hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday...

Canada loves asbestos. Not for its own citizens, of course, but so long as Canadian corporations make make a killing (literally) selling asbestos to India:
No surprise, then, that the stuff is effectively banned in Canada. And a surprise, to observers, that Canada exports it to other countries, most notoriously India, where public-health regimes are less vigorous than in Canada.

But that fact is no more mysterious than two forces that are as well known in India as they are in Canada. One is the power of supply and demand. The other is the vacuum of political indifference.

This would be why Canada lobbied hard to keep asbestos from being listed as a hazardous substance this past summer.

What happens to New Delhi's waste-workers when incinerators replace their jobs? If you think that they'll get job-training from the government and find alternate employment, you're probably wrong.

The trade-offs between conservation and hunger when it comes to bushmeat.

Solutions journal has a special issue on ecosystem services.

More on tuition costs and faculty salaries.

Foreign aid should be directed towards poverty alleviation, not driven by the Pentagon's interests.

The Pentagon is spending tens of millions on propaganda directed towards whitewashing human rights abuses:
Over the past three years, a subdivision of Virginia-based General Dynamics has set up and run a network of eight "influence websites" funded by the Defense Department with more than $120 million in taxpayer money. The sites, collectively known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) and operated by General Dynamics Information Technology, focus on geographic areas under the purview of various U.S. combatant commands, including U.S. Central Command. In its coverage of Uzbekistan, a repressive dictatorship increasingly important to U.S. military goals in Afghanistan, a TRWI website called Central Asia Online has shown a disturbing tendency to downplay the autocracy's rights abuses and uncritically promote its claims of terrorist threats.

The War on Thanksgiving? Adam Serwer takes the only reasonable approach to discussing the Muslim-hating bigots — snark:
[Y]ou might think that in a capitalist economy, halal turkeys are a sign of meat sellers responding to market demand for food prepared a certain way. You might even be tempted to observe that Muslim Americans marking a secular, American holiday celebrating pluralism and freedom from religious persecution might be a sign of the extent to which American Muslims have assimilated into American culture. What you didn't know was that when markets respond to the demands of Muslim consumers, freedom dies.

Newt Gingrich's “Dickensian work-study orphanage modelcould be even better, with a few small changes:
Mr. Gingrich’s plan, although morally and economically sound, unfortunately doesn’t go far enough. To instill a true work ethic in poor students, they need to double up on cleaning schools. I propose that after cleaning their own schools, squads of them be sent out to clean rich kids’ schools—especially prep schools. Not only would they earn even more money, they’d be inspired by having to mop the bathrooms where rich kids relieve themselves after studying non-stop in their school libraries in preparation for eventually going to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

Alaska Rep. Don Young is batshit crazy.

Carl Zimmer on the greatest zombie parasite ever, Toxoplasma gondii.

And finally, something totally awesome, courtesy of The Wifey: catchphrases and assorted exclamations from your favorite rappers. THIS IS THE GREATEST THING ON THE INTERTUBES.

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