The Curious Autodidact

June 30, 2009

Pick of the Podcasts

Oversharing The editors of Webster’s New World Dictionary chose the verb ‘overshare’ as their word of the year in 2008. Why are we increasingly compelled to share mundane details of our lives online? We talk with Hal Niedzviecki, author of “The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors.

Atul Gawande on Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas. This town on the Mexican border, has the lowest household income in the United States and health care costs in McAllen are nearly the nation’s highest — almost double the national average. Surgeon-journalist Atul Gawande went to McAllen to figure out why. What he found was doctors systematically milking the system — running up fees with a philosophy that put wealth before health.

Matt Flannery of talking on the Seattle Channel about his micro-lending work.

Annie’s Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg and associate editor at The Washington Post talks on the Diane Rehm show June 9th’s eleven o’clock hour about his book “Annie’s Ghosts” (Hyperion). This journalist’s memoir tries to understand why his mother never revealed she had a sister. It’s a story of family secrets, deception and how the mentally ill were once treated in America.


June 16, 2009

Wicked Great Ways to Quickly Cruise the News On-line

Filed under: cool internet stuff,media related — Honilima @ 4:45 am
Eleanor Roosevelt and Human Rights Declaration

Eleanor Roosevelt and Human Rights Declaration

Not only colorful but very fun to browse, this is a neat way to keep up the news stories you’d like to see Newsmap

Another great site that reader’s rate the stories is NewsTrust

June 13, 2009

Bing: As in Crosby?

Filed under: cool internet stuff,media related,money saving ideas — Honilima @ 10:07 pm

At the risk of seeming like a total Microsoft Fan GRRRL I urge you to think about the power share of the search market Google has and to give BING the new Microsoft search tool a try. It’s simple to take a moment and replace the little Google search window in your current browser.

We need to have competition among search tools and I committed to a friend to try BING for a week by changing my search window and hey folks I am not going back. Hooray for the underdog I say. Microsoft has integrated several things close at hand with Bing, Hotmail and my favorite Farecast that allows you to enter a travel destination and be notified when cheap fares are available. Are you lost? Give the map feature a go.

Google is gathering a tad too much information about each of us and has too much of the market share. Data mining is big big business and you should give your profile a breather.

Give Bing a try — you’ll enjoy the change of scene.

June 12, 2009

How can you not smile at this gleeful photo of two voters in Iran?

Filed under: cool internet stuff,social justice — Honilima @ 8:00 pm

Globe Post article about the election in Iran.

June 10, 2009

Just what is “Green Burial”

Filed under: environmental ideas,helpful hints,nonprofit — Honilima @ 7:26 am

What is Green Burial?

Green burial – caring for the dead without the use of toxins and materials that are not biodegradable – has been receiving much attention lately, though it’s hardly a new phenomenon. Returning to the earth in little more than a shroud is what most of humanity has done for thousands of years until the advent of the modern “deathcare” industry. In a typical green cemetery, burial density is normally one-tenth of that of conventional cemetery. And because embalming, metal caskets, vaults and conventional markers are prohibited, green burial can also offer cost savings. Unfortunately, it also has much potential as a marketing ploy.

Do I Need a “Green Cemetery” to Have a Green Burial?

Not necessarily. There are several steps you can take to be “greener,” even in a conventional cemetery:

  • If you have your own rural land, check your local zoning laws for any rules on home burial. It’s allowed in most states
  • Forego embalming. It’s never routinely required by law for funerals, and we’ve never heard of any cemetery requiring it for burial
  • Select a wood casket or a cardboard box or a shroud for burial. There are no laws requiring particular types of caskets. You might encounter resistance from the funeral director or cemetery, but stand your ground.
  • If you can’t find a cemetery that will let you skip the vault, pick a concrete grave box that has an open bottom to let the body come in contact with the earth. Or, invert a concrete grave liner and use the lid for something else. Folks in Vermont and New York may refuse to use a vault on religious grounds, though there may be an additional charge for special maintenance of the grave.

The Green Burial Council (GBC) is a new nonprofit organization founded to encourage sustainable end-of-life rituals, and in some instances, to use the burial process to accomplish land conservation. The Center has developed the first certifiable standards for greener good-byes. One set is for Natural Burial Grounds, which are cemeteries required to follow ethical and ecologically sound practices. And another is for Conservation Burial Grounds, which adhere to these same practices, but in addition, involve an established conservation partner and further a legitimate conservation purpose. The Council will also be listing on its site conventional cemeteries and funeral service providers around the country willing to accommodate green burial.

June 7, 2009

Another Green Home Tip

Filed under: book related,environmental ideas,helpful hints,kitchen tips — Honilima @ 10:05 pm

Big trees provide stunning background for Capilano Bridge in British Columbia

Big trees provide stunning background for Capilano Bridge in British Columbia

Trying hard to be more gentle to Mother Nature is a worthy goal and this run down from the Natural Resources Defense Council of paper products used in the home is a great resource.

If you are looking for additional inspiration you might listen to Daniel Goleman’s speaking about his book Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What we Buy Can Change Everything.

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