Category Archives: Social Change

A Useful Alternative to Getting the News

Read 530 Front Pages at Newseum.org
Read 530 Front Pages at Newseum.org
Happy New Year!

And Happy News Year?

I hardly watched the news yesterday and I noticed how much calmer I felt. Maybe I was also affected by my runny nose and the desire to relax because my body said so. I had a rather anti-social New Year’s Eve and I loved it.

News watching has been a habit from childhood. My father would watch the ten o’clock news every single night and then go to sleep. Like clockwork.
Every morning he would read the newspaper. Like clockwork.

Newsweek, Time and Life magazines plus the daily newspaper, and watching the news were my predominant news sources growing up. That’s before the days of cell phones and the Internet.

My current habit is to surf the web a few minutes in the morning and see what’s in the headlines.

I remember sitting in on a news reporting class in the journalism department of a local community college. The professor said what’s news is what’s reported. And think about it, think about what gets reported because reporters want to go there.

Maybe that’s why famines don’t get as much coverage as a story about a baby seal biting a swimmer in San Francisco.

This concept has stuck with me and has made me more interested in finding news through bloggers and resources other than mainstream reporting services.

However, I have a desire this new year to cut back on watching the news.

Instead of spending that half hour being teased to stay tuned to hear the latest devastation and “breaking” news, including the most dramatic videos that might tantalize my eyeballs for 9 to 900 nanoseconds, I’m ready to begin a new habit.

I’m willing to try any number of experiments. This new year I’ll start with going regularly to a website I heard about in journalism class with Jon Rochmis at City College of San Francisco.

On this site you can read the front pages of hundreds of different newspapers (779 today)!

This is like finding a fresh water lake in the desert!

I am fascinated by the differences in foci of the various publications and what they choose to report.

Within five minutes of reading I can be more informed than five minutes of news watching. Here you can see what’s making headlines from Austin, Texas to Montevideo, Uruguay to Khartoum, Sudan!

The list of papers available at Newseum.org is here: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/?tfp_display=list

To really bliss out on newspaper headlines go to Today’s Front Pages at Newseum.org at: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/

Today, I just glanced at the front page of the Modesto Bee, and a new law going into effect January 1 2018 in California that prohibits the legality of any potential employer requiring the disclosure of what their wages were at a previous job. An applicant can provide it voluntarily though. Once a job offer has been made, however, the prospective employer is allowed to do a background check. (Wow, in just half a minute’s glance at this front page I learned something helpful!)

I’m excited about this new year and the challenge to shift the use of this thirty minute slot.

I’m eager to transform an old habit.

And I’m open and receptive to having a miraculous year.

I wish that for you too and may you find news that fuels your needs!

P.S. When viewing one front page (at Newseum.org) you can scroll to the next one or go to the previous front page by using the prompts in the upper right corner.

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Sayonara Salmon?

"Save Salmon," digital drawing by Mary Gow
“Save Salmon,” digital drawing by Mary Gow

It first appeared in the news about a month ago. I forwarded the article in the New York Times to a friend because we share a love for the same kind of fish.

Within two weeks of the article’s appearance, I got a write-up about concern for the plight of salmon from the creator of my daily workout, Dr. Al Sears. His article was titled Invasion of the Frankenfish.

William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, captured my attention when he spoke about “Frankenwheat” on the Dr. Oz show. He said wheat of Biblical times is totally different from the wheat we find today. The plant has been hybridized to create a much faster growing plant minus the same nutrition the original wheat offered.

My intention isn’t to write about wheat but rather to use it as an example of how the hybridization of it has created a new type of food yet it’s still referred to as “wheat,” but it’s now what it used to be.

Sadly, the plight of my favorite fish came to my attention in an opinion piece in the New York Times on December 1, 2015:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/01/opinion/tell-consumers-what-they-are-eating.html?_r=0

The first two paragraphs really summarize my concern:

In approving genetically engineered salmon as safe to eat and safe for the environment, the Food and Drug Administration rejected petitions from environmental and food safety groups asking that companies selling this salmon be required to label it as genetically engineered. Congress should overturn that decision. Consumers deserve to know what they are eating.

The salmon, made by AquaBounty Technologies of Maynard, Mass., has genes inserted that allow it to grow to market size twice as fast as wild salmon. The F.D.A.’s approval permits the engineered salmon to be raised only in land-based hatchery tanks in two facilities — one in Canada, where genes are injected into the eggs of Atlantic salmon, and a facility in Panama, where the fish are grown to market size. Each site has physical barriers to prevent the escape of eggs and fish.

Some stores are refusing to carry the genetically modified fish. Other stores will carry these new fish and they won’t be labeled.

I haven’t tasted this new breed of fish but I reckon I accidentally might at some point.

Hopefully this isn’t the year we say sayonara to real salmon.

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One Billion Rising

Work in Progress - "Great Mother," acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow
Work in Progress – “Great Mother,” acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow
Tremendous Spirit is moving today!

Women and men rising and dancing in the streets.

You can see it on the Internet at onebillionrising.org.

What is it?

-A global strike
.

-An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
.

-An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers.


-A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given.


-A new time and a new way of being.

I like what Alice Waters has to say about what today is about.

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Day 29 – Where the Magic Is

Energy, by Mary Gow
“Energy,” Photo Illustration by Mary Gow
Watched a panel of social entrepreneurs speak tonight.

First, what is a “social entrepreneur”?

I’ll go with the definition from the Ashoka Innovators for the Public:

“Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.”

The panel narrator at this meeting of the Commonwealth Club was Dr. Ruth Shapiro, who edited the book, The Real Problem Solvers: Social Entrepreneurs in America.

In the book thirteen social entrepreneurs are featured and four of them were present this evening.

One of my favorite quotes of the evening was from Kriss Deiglmeier of the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University, “Execution trumps ideas.”

I left inspired to figure out something so brilliant as d.Light’s Solar Lantern that has empowered the lives of 10 million people!

My image for today is a sandwich of several images: a daisy, the palm of one of my friend’s hands, and the ceiling of the San Francisco Opera at the War Memorial Opera House.

The magic is in what you execute!

From the d.Light website here’s a very short video about their creation that has brought light to school kids so they can now study at night.

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