Author: winter b

Morning Feature: Digging Deeper into the Green Revolution

The Green Revolution has been heralded for a century, and with some cause. Adding nitrous fertilizer to the soil increased yields and reduced starvation. It’s also poisoning our air and water. (More) The Tuesday Digging Deeper Morning Feature surveys an ongoing news topic through multiple sources to invite in-depth conversation. Please check back over the coming days for additional comments. This week’s Digging Deeper topic is about the pros and cons of fertilizer-based farming. As a progressive, this is an issue that causes me qualms of conscience. I don’t want to see people starve. At the same time I don’t want us to dig ourselves farther into climate change than we’ve already come. From Scientific American: One hundred years ago […], a laboratory experiment at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany set the stage for the Green Revolution. Chemist Fritz Haber placed a sheet of osmium in a steel chamber, pumped in a mix of nitrogen and hydrogen gases, and cranked up the heat and pressure. Then, out flowed ammonia, the elusive raw material for producing synthetic fertilizer. It was the eureka moment scientists had been pursuing for a decade: Haber managed to create the necessary conditions to transform nitrogen gas, abundant in the atmosphere but useless for life, into a digestible form. At long last, poor soil could yield crops. At long last it was no longer necessary...

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Furthermore! – Who is worthless?

My daughter has been seriously ill this past year, has suffered through a lot of bad things, but even as the saga continues, she looks like a winner to me. So why does she feel worthless? (More) When I was a young mother, I didn’t work for seven years. I stayed home to give my children the kind of upbringing I wanted them to have. I didn’t want to leave their moral development in the hands of other people, I didn’t want them to slip through the cracks in the caring of someone who cared less than I about their health and well-being. I wanted to be there to guide them at least until they were in school full-time. I was lucky to be able to make that decision. A lot of moms can’t. But the whole time, I felt worthless because I wasn’t “contributing” to the family. And by contributing, I mean making money. I didn’t help the budget. I didn’t add to the coffers. With time the sense of worthlessness began to eat away at me until I developed agoraphobia. When out with other people, I shrank because I was just a stay-at-home mom, while they had careers and did important things. I’m long since past that, but my memory of those days has been jogged by my daughter’s recent illness. She was always a go-getter, one...

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Midday Matinee – I want to rent some kids

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Next year, I want to rent some kids. Little ones. My own are all grown up, and I can’t tell you how anticlimactic Christmas seems with adult children, some of whom don’t even pull themselves out of bed until 3 in the afternoon. There’s none of the building excitement for weeks, none of the impulse to go all out with decorating. In fact, there’s little impulse at all except to buy gift cards because you don’t know what they want anymore. So I made the announcement yesterday afternoon, cracking everyone up: I want to rent some little kids for next Christmas. They knew instantly what I meant. Forty years of making Christmas for little ones has spoiled me I guess. And it’s silly. I can look back to the days when I was emerging into adulthood myself and realize that I was losing that sense of magic even then, but that it was transferred to me again by my children, when I had them. Those of us raised in the Christian tradition know the story from Luke’s Gospel, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men. There was a time when I felt that magic of “Peace on Earth, Good will toward men.” It seemed almost as if the entire planet began to...

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Midday Matinee – Tracking Santa :)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Just a quick look at NORAD’s tracking of Santa’s flight.  An old tradition now, it’s still a heartwarming, huge enterprise fully manned by volunteers. I won’t go on about it… I’ll just give you the link that made me smile: NORAD’s Santa Operation. Enjoy! Reader Comments...

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Midday Matinee – People watching people

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Okay, I was the one doing the watching. 🙂 That’s the thing about being in a foreign country: you can’t help watching because while people are people everywhere, in some ways they’re different. Those differences are part of what make the experience so enjoyable. Germans, for example, generally have little patience for the handicapped. Which is not to say that none of them do, but I saw enough not to be surprised when a German friend said, “You aren’t considered handicapped unless you’re missing a leg.” I’ve seen that here, too, in the U.S. although it has improved somewhat. When my daughter was on crutches a decade ago, I actually watched people kick them as they passed, and shove her out of the way. In Paris, in stark contrast, if an elderly person boarded the bus, or someone with young children, seats were immediately vacated for them. People were quick to help my handicapped friend on and off the bus. I take back every damning word I ever spoke about Paris, all of which were based on what I was told by friends and family members who visited the cities decades ago. Today in Paris you find a lot of courtesy and kindness and patience, even for fractured attempts to speak...

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