Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"get ready for more than 200 words" on the big topics

Hello all,

I hope this post finds you well.

I was speaking recently with someone on the topic of neonicotinoid pesticides, bees, critters being harmed ... and that led to the idea of "having everyone at the table" in order to solve problems. 
My philosophical self says, yes, I suppose you have to have the manufacturers of the poisons at the discussion tables, symposiums, study groups. My cynic self remembers the wise joke "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" while wishing "the other side" didn't take up so much time on the part of the people trying to save the world.  Really, there is a limit to our spare time.
For example, sorting out just one interview or article by a spokesperson for a major corporate lobby group takes up a lot of time:
- tracking down a statement in a report that s/he has taken out of context, and understanding the context
- figuring out how not-associated numbers have been associated ... then refiguring what the important numbers are and what they mean
- recognizing a detail that has been a focal point, to the exclusion of 10 other related things

And then, how to convey to the audience already spoken to that there are the10 plus 1 things that need to be looked at, and the numbers they heard were (at best) misleading, and the study quoted actually was about the opposite of what was said.
And, so often, response time is missed in the time taken to get the correct information. The phrase "yesterday's news" does refer to both something out of date and that no one wants to hear about.
What are the attributes of effective activist for social justice and change groups?  Whew!  There's a topic!

Have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver's book of essays, Small Wonder?  It came out in 2002.  In an essay,  A Fist in the Eye of God, she recalls a friend asked, "can you tell me about GMOs in 200 words or less?" and she replied - because the topic is not a sound byte topic:

"Sit down, I'll make you a cup of tea, and then get ready for more than two hundred words."

Many topics are like this: neonicotinoids and pesticides in general, genetic modification of plants, organic agriculture (to name just some in my area of interest).

The Fist in the Eye of God essay is a wonderful explanation of and commentary on genetic modification of seeds.  The entire Small Wonder book is filled with great ideas and images. It touches on food security, war, chickens, and family. 
I leave you with the suggestion to run down to your nearest library and take out a copy, or buy it, or borrow it.
All for now.
Best regards, as always,
Why's Woman

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Canada has more libraries than there are McDonalds

Hi everyone,

I hope you've had a pleasant weekend ... maybe enjoyed sunshine ... which I sure did today.  There's still a lot of ice on the sidewalks, but the sky was blue the whole time I walked downtown.

Just a bit of trivia ... from the Yes! magazine site, where I flipped to because I really wanted a bit of positive news and that journal always has some.

There are more library branches in Canada than there are McDonalds.

2996 public library branches in 595 library boards and only 1400 McDonalds.

Admittedly, there are 3000 Tim Hortons locations, but I won't get grumpy about that because I depend on Tim for coffee and writing space when I'm out.  And, that's really close.  I mean, a few Tims could close at a franchise's notice.  Libraries last.

Thanks to Yes!Magazine's latest issue for the idea to look up the number of libraries in Canada. It's article about 24 things we should know tells us that there are more libraries than McDonald's outlets in the United States. (17,000:14,000).  Hurray for that too!

Best regards,

Why's Woman

The "natural" way to increase your advertising revenue

Hello everyone,
A friend who knows my weird sense of humour sent me a wonderful satire on advertising ... or, perhaps, it's not satire.  It's how advertising really works?
You'll have to click twice ... the first takes you to the fellow who sent it to my friend, then click from his site.
There's a lot to learn here.  I hope you enjoy this!
Best regards,
Why's Woman

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bees: natures's little wonders


I hope you are well, and finding something interesting about the day - other than shovelling snow!

I've just finished Candace Savage's book Bees: nature's little wonders.  The book has some wonderful illustrations, poetry, great bee quotations, and a narrative that blends information about bees - their lives, work, and communication - with the observations of two early bee researchers, Karl von Frisch and Martin Lindauer.  Von Frisch and Lindauer discovered such things as bees' ability to see colours, and how they dance and waggle and communicate with each other with a sophistication based in interpreting the position of the sun.  And that's just the start of their collective, co-operative intelligence. 

Bees is a "dip into it" sort of book ... to savour just one poem or examine in detail one close-up photo of a bee with full pollen sac, a botanical drawing of a bee pollinating a flower, an etching of bee keeping equipment, or illustration from 150 year old children's books.  No two pages go by without an illustration. And the information about bees is interesting, factual, and easy to recall because it is given in narrative.

It's a joy, and I'll be watching for a copy at every rummage sale and second hand store.

Here's a fable (from M. Winter's 1919 edition of The Aesop for Children) reprinted in Bees:

A store of honey was found in a hollow tree, and both the Bees and Wasps declared that it was theirs.  The argument grew so heated that the parties decided to put the case before Judge Hornet, the presiding authority in that part of the woods.
    Witnesses told the court that they had seen striped, winged creatures near the hollow tree, humming loudly like Bees.  Counsel for the Wasps insisted that his description fit his clients exactly.
    Such evidence did not help.  Finally, a wise old Bee made a suggestion.  "I move," he said, "that the Bees and the Wasps be both instructed to build a honey comb.  Then we shall soon see to whom the honey really belongs."
    The Wasps protested loudly.  Wise Judge Hornet quickly understood why they did so: They knew they were not up to the challenge.
    "It is clear who made the comb," the Judge said.  "The honey belongs to the Bees."
                                                                                               Moral: Ability proves itself by deeds

Best regards,

Why's Woman

Bees: nature's little wonders. Candace Savage. In our London, Ontario Public Library catalogue it's call number is 595.799 Sav.  It's published by Greystone Books, with assistance from the David Suzuki Foundation.