Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Poetry on My Mind

Some of you may know that I am an avid poetry reader. It is a passion my mother instilled in me at an early age by reading me her favorites, like Blake and Shakespeare and Keats, when I was a kid. But the poetry collections to be found in my childhood home were not nearly extensive enough, and much of my library time as a kid was spent digging through old poetry volumes looking for new and interesting things. Beyond the esteemed Langston Hughes, African American poets were not very well showcased in the sricki household when I was younger. My mom was a British literature addict, so you were much more likely to find D. H. Lawrence on our shelves than Maya Angelou. While it was unfortunate in many ways that there was a general paucity of poetry authored by African Americans in my home growing up… at the same time it enabled me to make many an exciting discovery as I sought out new poetic frontiers.

I could ramble about poets all week, but for now I thought I’d just showcase three of my favorite African American poets. The three you’ll find below are certainly very widely known, but I steered clear of Angelou and Hughes specifically because they are so well known by evvvvvverybody. Maybe not everyone is as intimately familiar with Paul Laurence Dunbar, Phillis Wheatley, and Countee Cullen. All three are of tremendous historical importance, authors of stirring poetry, and were taken from this world far too soon (all before the age of 45).

Record Ozone Thinning in Arctic

Polar stratospheric clouds (shown) have formed over large areas of the Arctic, which could signal coming losses of protective ozone, new research suggests.

Credit: Ross J. Salawitch/University of Maryland

Science News

Trioxygen, more commonly known as Ozone (O3), is a polar molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is a pale blue gas found throughout the atmosphere, and depending on its location, it can be noxious or beneficial.

In the troposphere (the lowest portion of the Earth’s atmosphere) it is considered a pollutant, and is formed by the reactions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxide gases (NOx) in the presence of sunlight. These compounds and gases are produced by numerous sources, from human-made causes such as industrial emissions and gasoline fumes, to natural phenomenon such as the emission of compounds like isoprene or pinene by different types of trees. Ground-level ozone is harmful to breathe, damaging to crops, and is a primary ingredient of what we call smog.

Beneficial ozone is produced naturally in the stratosphere, particularly the “bottom” portion, commonly called the ozone layer. It serves as a sort of “barrier,” absorbing over 97% of the ultraviolet light emanating from the sun which can be damaging to life on Earth. Ozone depletion (resulting in the formation of ozone “holes”) has a plethora of negative effects on humans, other animals, and vegetation.

Ozone hole around South Pole in 2003. View of the South Pole from NASA’s TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) satellite. Blue and green indicate relatively large amounts of ozone. Red and yellow mark the “ozone hole”, an area of decreased ozone. (Credit: NASA)

Science Daily

Hunting Galileo: The Right's War on Science (Part I)

While Waxman may have accused Republicans of presiding over the “most anti-science” Congress in history, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tells Mother Jones that his colleague’s characterization doesn’t even go far enough: “This is the most anti-science body since the Catholic Church ostracized Galileo for determining that the earth revolves around the sun.”

Mother Jones, emphasis added

I wish it were possible to collect information about all the wrongdoing of the GOP into one diary, but even a series of books would probably find such an endeavor impossible. Even fully covering a specific topic is, realistically, far beyond the scope of any single diary. In trying to provide an aggregate summary of any currently relevant topic, the best I can give is a brief overview of the most recent and egregious Republican transgressions.

Today we address in brief (kind of) the GOP’s war on science.

Spotlight Mental Health: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

We have all heard poignant stories about the many people across the country and around the world suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. It can be a crippling condition, which can lead to a plethora of other problems, from generalized anxiety to depression to suicide. PTSD is a disorder affecting many Americans, and rates of PTSD have increased over the past several years due to US involvement in wars overseas. Many of our soldiers return home presenting with symptoms of this extraordinarily complicated and frequently debilitating disorder.

PTSD diary

Meis and associates found a correlation between relationship adjustment and the chances of an individual manifesting PTSD symptoms seeking treatment.

Massive Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan

From Time

Japan was struck by a 8.9 earthquake off the northeastern coast of the island on Friday afternoon at 2:46 P.M. local time. Initially reported as a weaker earthquake, buildings in Tokyo shook for several minutes.

The quake struck right off of Honshu, Japan’s most populous island, approximately 230 miles away from Tokyo.


Turning Anxiety Off?

We all experience anxiety from time to time. In “normal” amounts, it is a healthy feeling which warns us of potential dangers or motivates us to get things done. A moderate level of anxiety may in fact improve performance in many areas. In the average individual, occasional anxiety is simply part of the human condition. For many people around the world, however, anxiety is a plague. Excessive anxiety can be debilitating in the workplace, school environment, social network, and home. It can affect job and academic performance, and negatively impact our interpersonal relationships. In extreme cases, it can even make leaving the home a terrifying experience. We probably all know someone who lives and suffers with clinically significant levels of anxiety every day.

The Oppression of Women as a Party Platform (Updates)

To start with, let me be clear: The oppression and general subjugation of women is not an exclusively Republican issue. Measures proposed, adopted, or supported by some Democrats, such as the Stupak-Pitts amendment and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, make that clear. Nor is the oppression and subjugation of women even an exclusively male issue. The fact is, a lot of conservative women adhere and/or contribute to the doctrine of male domination, perhaps because it is politically useful (see Palin, who is no feminist), or perhaps because they have simply been indoctrinated to do so. Despite all the calls for equality and the efforts of feminists throughout the country and around the world, everyone who has grown up in the United States has been influenced, in one way or another, by the pervasive and prevailing mindset of masculine domination. Some of us are more resistant to indoctrination than others, but few are entirely immune. We are all subject to the influences of gender stereotyping, no matter how careful our parents may have been to prevent it. Every day, we are inundated with indoctrinating images and ideas, through television, literature, music, and innumerable other mediums.

What is most important isn’t that we are completely free of assumptions about the opposite sex, or even our own, but that we strive to understand the causes and effects of sexism and rail against it when we perceive it.

Note: This is an update to a diary I did a loooooooong time ago. It’s got plenty of new articles, new stats, new pics, etc, so hopefully the updates will be of interest to some. Cross-posted at GOS.

Kids Care About Health… Until We Dupe Them

Kids care more about being healthy than some might give them credit for. A lot of kids might beg mom for sugary cereals, but it turns out that they aren’t necessarily after the sugar itself. According to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, given a choice between cereals in plain boxes labeled “healthy” and “sugary,” most kids will pick the healthy cereal. This indicates that some of the messages kids are being sent about the importance of a balanced diet and leading a healthy life are making an impact. Unfortunately, when a colorful cartoon character is placed on a cereal box, kids tend to choose it no matter what it tastes like.