Saturday, January 12, 2008

Connecting the Dots. . .

  • Blog 12-30-07

It would appear that more than BASF Chemical Company has an interest in plastic bags. According to the United Press International (January 9, 2008,) China will ban the use of plastic bags in stores effective June 1, 2008! Now this is eye-popping news coming from the world's most populated country:

"The State Council announced the ban on their Web site, citing the problem of litter and of the oil used to produce the bags. 'Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, a waste of energy and resources, because of the excess use and inadequate recycling.' "

Chinese shoppers will return to cloth bags, most likely similar to the ones being sold in US stores now.
It strikes me that it isn't like China to be the world leader on such a thorny issue,especially the year that they are hosting the Olympics. However, there are certain times when central communist rule has its advantages, and this may be one of them.
  • Blog 12-16-07
Yale was publicly influenced (also known as shamed) into increasing the output from its endowment fund by a whopping 37%. With that money, it intends to increase financial aid, scientific research and other educational initiatives as well as increase enrollment from 5,300 to 6,000. On 12-16-07 this blog reported that Harvard had bitten the bullet and decided to expand its endowment output by increasing aid to middle class families, an unprecedented move for that stalwart institution, and one we hoped was trend setting. Obviously it was. What's more, after Yale's announcement, Harvard, whose tuition now stands at $45,620, upped the ante even further by increasing its endowment spending to 5% from 4.3%. WSJ reports that:

"The moves will each add hundreds of millions of dollars to the Ivy League rivals' budgets. They come at a time of pressure from Congress and other quarters for wealthy schools to make tuition more affordable as they stockpile billions of donations and investment gains."

Other Ivy League universities are stepping up to the plate as well.
Princeton was the leader of the pack in 2001 when it dropped loans from financial aid packages and other higher educational institutions having been scurrying to catch up ever since. Some ask why Congress has an interest in these matters and may believe that the government should keep its nose out of the Ivy Leaguer's business. However, the Senate Finance Committee felt differently:

"[The Senate] has been pushing to require schools to spend a minimum amount of their endowment each year. Foundations are required to spend 5%, while many universities fall below that threshold. [Senator Charles] Grassley praised Yale's move, calling it 'a day for parents and students.' He noted that Yale's and Harvard's announcements came after a hearing in September that focused on the size of college endowments. It's a big deal that the two wealthiest colleges are making tuition affordable. They set an example for all other well-funded schools to do the same."

The WSJ noted that 62 colleges have endowments over $1 billion and most are opposed to Congress mandating a minimum payout (1-8-08, p. D3.) It is a crying shame that such wealth is held by non-profits unwilling to give back, and this is one time when our government in its oversight role has stepped up and said enough is enough.

  • Blog 12-25-07
Apparently, some scientists have come to agree with my view that what they are accomplishing is uncovery rather than discovery. In a recent article entitled "CFS Gene Study Targets Serotonin Function" at , it was reported that three markers were uncovered that appear to be associated with CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.] While the uncovery itself was interesting to someone with this devastating disease like myself, the word usage was even more impressive. We will watch to see if others pickup on this enlightened trend.
  • Blogs 12-29-07; 12-31-07; and 1-5-08
Remember my blog about climate change and earth's magnetic patterns? If you missed that one, you might want to read it and uncover a new thought as to how the climate as well as man are influenced by the earth's magnetic field. Well, it would appear that something else out of the ordinary line of thinking might be influenced in unusual ways. The WSJ recently reported what the New Scientist magazine revealed this month:

Epileptic fits exhibit some of the same patterns as seismic shocks, . . .raising doubts about the longstanding belief that seizures occur randomly. The research led by neurologist Ivan Osorio of the University of Kansas, found patterns of 'waiting times' between epileptic fits that are similar to earthquake occurrences. Also, just as earthquakes are preceded by tiny tremors imperceptible to humans, epileptic fits are preceded by neural spikes detected only on brain scans. The analysis. . .compared 16,000 epileptic seizures with seismological data from 300,000 earthquakes. The researchers say these and other patterns might hold the key to predicting and possibly preventing epileptic fits" (WSJ, 1-10-08, p. B6.)

These findings might not be surprising if one believed in the literal interconnectedness of all beings as well as resonance with earth's electro-magnetic field. Lynne McTaggart's book The Intention Experiment previously reviewed here goes into great detail about the phenomenon. I would predict that within 20 years her theories will be accepted as the norm. Until then, many uncoveries of the kind noted above will likely surface. As I see these revelations, I will bring them to your attention as a way to shed light on a new reality that may stun us in its simplicity.
  • Blog 12-27-07
Propaganda is a powerful force as we all know, particularly as it relates to negative matters. TIME magazine (January 14, 2008) showed how the view of the war in Iraq might have been influenced by its press coverage. It disclosed a Pew Research Center study that illustrated 46.9% of press coverage of Iraq dealt with acts of violence, whereas only 4.6% of coverage dealt with optimistic themes in 2007. Some might say that this is justified because it faithfully represents what is happening on the ground. However, we know from other sources that many "optimistic themes" occur daily in Iraq and are not covered or covered sporatically.

The journalistic axiom "If it bleeds, it leads" could not be more true than in the case of Iraqi war coverage. Thus, this negative trend in war coverage may have more to do with psychology than politics. In defense of the broadcasting and print news corporations, they give their readers/viewers what is demanded. If not, these companies would be out of business. So, although many fingers point to biased corporations for their negative reporting, the reader/viewer is equally responsible as the ultimate consumer of these products. If more light was desired, more light would be had. This unenlightened trend is due for a change, wouldn't you say?

NOTE: "Connecting the Dots. . ." is a new feature and will be brought to you from time to time as trends unfold on the pages of this watch for change blog.

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