Archive for May, 2008

Diane MacEachern’s BIG GREEN PURSE

May 30, 2008 8:51 pm

Diane MacEachern is someone who really “puts her money where her mouth is.”

Her new book Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World is a clarion call to consumers to exert the “power of the purse” and send the only message the marketplace appears to understand: consumers are getting smarter and better informed, and want to spend their money on products that can help sustain, rather than destroy, the planet.

So what if corporate mentality can’t conceive of “green” being anything other than the color of money? If enough consumers – most of whom, let’s face it, are women – send the marketplace the message that we will no longer purchase unsafe and polluting products in wasteful packaging, the marketplace will respond.

Diane’s book offers a wealth of information on products we all use every day, and lots of that information is quite alarming. Did you know, for example, that the Federal Drug Administration has evaluated the safety of only 11% of the 10,500 chemical ingredients used in lipstick, nail polish, hair coloring, soap, and other personal-care products? That means that 89% of those chemicals we bathe with, slather on our bodies, and make-up our faces with every day have not been evaluated for safety. Nor, as Diane points out, is it known what the cumulative exposure to chemicals linked to specific health concerns can be. According to the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, which “oversees” the industry, “a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from the FDA.” Who exactly does the FDA exist to protect anyway: people or industries?

The beauty of the book is that is not just a litany of frightening statistics – far from it. It is also brimming with advice and resources on where to purchase greener and safer cosmetics, cars, food, household cleansers, clothing, garden products, electronics, furniture, kids’ stuff, and more. Enough information, in short, to empower us to change the way we live.

The marketplace will always sell what brings it the most “green,” but if we demand less polluting and safer products, well, we the people will have taken responsibility for doing something ourselves to create a “cleaner, greener world.” Hey, it’s not like we can wait for Congress to take action ..


Oldest Known Bust of Caesar Found in Provence

May 16, 2008 4:10 pm

Oldest Caesar Bust FoundBritish daily The Guardian reported 15 May: “He was a military leader turned dictator who had such a complex about his receding hairline that he perfected the Roman comb-over and liked laurel crowns that disguised his bald patch.

In flattering posthumous portraits Julius Caesar was often portrayed as a dashing, healthy-haired, divine being. But now a realistic marble bust believed to be the oldest representation taken during his lifetime has been discovered at the bottom of the river Rhone in France.

The life-sized bust, which has thrilled French archaeologists, shows a man in his fifties with the receding hair said to have given him a complex after taunts from his battlefield enemies.

He also has wrinkles and lines that reflect the war-hardened life of the man who conquered Gaul and whose quest for power was largely responsible for turning the Roman republic into a dictatorship that would later become an empire.

The bust was discovered by French archaeologist divers scouring the bottom of the Rhone in the southern town of Arles, which Caesar founded in 46 BC, distributing land among his veteran legionnaires. It is believed the bust was sculpted between 49 and 46 BC, when Caesar was in his 50s, a few years before he was assassinated by nobles in the senate house.

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Podcast – One Among the Sleepless

May 10, 2008 4:59 pm

One Among the SleeplessI have been listening to various podcasts over the past year or so, particularly when I travel and I though I’d like to share those that I have enjoyed listening to. I’m going to do several posts, one per podcast, to spread them out a little and to keep a nice format whereby I can add new podcast posts as I listen to them

So, let’s kick off with a relatively gentle, non-Science Fiction story which I loved and found to be very funny: One Among the Sleepless by Mike Bennett. It’s a story of some pretty weird people living in Brighton, England. We follow their lives and interactions as they try to sort out noisy neighbours, get on with each other, get off with each other and generally try to make sense of things. Normal stuff really but things do get a little out of hand at times. These people are embarrassingly British with strange habits brought excellently to life by Mike Bennett who reads this story perfectly. He has a great, laconic delivery that entirely suits his writing; I love his voice.

You can pick up the podcast from the One Among the Sleepless web site. If you check out the rave reviews you will find that I am not the only person to love this story. To get a quick taste of his style you can listen to the promo using the player below (if that fails you can try this link).