FDA bans chemicals in antibacterial soap

When I saw the news report yesterday that the FDA has banned the use of some chemicals commonly found in antibacterial soaps, I wanted to cheer. For some time now, I've been an avid label reader, and have avoided  - as much as humanly possible - chemicals that are suspected of disrupting hormones or are just plain toxic, both in my food and in my household products.The FDA report echoed some of what I learned about in "Slow Death By Rubber Duck," a great and accessible book by Canadians Rick … [Read more...]

Banners, business, and God Bless America

I was a little surprised yesterday when I noticed that a story about a local cafe owner and her kerfuffle over a banner that reads "God Bless America" was trending on Facebook.Jennifer Aquino is at odds with the Town of Penfield over a banner she hung on her Five Mile Cafe back in June. And if you believe everything you read on social media, the town was unpatriotic in its insistence that she remove the banner just as we readied to celebrate Independence Day. In fact, a Fox News story … [Read more...]

Musing on pregnancy, abortion, and becoming a human

I was listening to the radio yesterday, something I don't usually do, addicted as I am to podcasts like "RadioLab" and "Welcome to Nightvale." But a local talk show was on, and I left it on, because when I do listen to talk radio I make sure to listen to both conservative and liberal perspectives. I like to hear many sides of an issue as I ponder where I stand on it and how my decisions affect other people.Anyway, this local host was talking to her guest about abortion and she made a comment … [Read more...]

Susie the pit bull mix named “American Hero Dog” of 2014

A pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina, has been named this year's "American Hero Dog" at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, and then adopted by a woman named Donna Lawrence.Donna herself had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that n … [Read more...]

Researchers develop cloaking device – for real!

Whenever I'm asked what super power I wish I had, flying and invisibility are usually at the top of the list. The ability to just leap into the air and soar like a bird satisfies a deep desire for total freedom.But invisibility? Now that's real freedom.  To be in a room and be able enjoy what's going on without having to actually participate - or feel like I'm the obvious wallflower - would certainly appeal to introverts like me.Turns out that might not be such a crazy thought. Right he … [Read more...]

Automated Thanking Machine surprises bank customers with gifts (video)

I'd like to say that this video of customers using an ATM and receiving gifts instead made me a little teary. But it didn't. Nope, no misty eyed response for me. I cried. I'm talking giant tears rolling down my face.The video is from TD Canada Trust, a Toronto-based bank offering a full range of financial services. In short, it's a regular old bank. But after watching the video, in which they say thank you to some of their regular customers with gifts that show the employees truly know them … [Read more...]

Supercell forms in Wyoming – video

I generally stay out of the global warming debate. I'm not a scientist and I wouldn't try to argue science or research with people smarter than I am.But when I saw this video today I had to share a thought:I get that the temperature of the earth is changing. I get that climates shift geographically. I get that weather patterns go wonky every few or hundred or thousand years. What I don't get? The notion that man is so powerful that he can cause it to happen.Check out this video of a s … [Read more...]

Does self-driving car take away opportunities to be nice?

Technology will make a giant leap from fiction to reality if self-driving cars hit the road within a few years, as predicted in this story in the Los Angeles Times.As expected, the big concern about the vehicle is safety ... I feel like I should add a "duh" here. If there's no one behind the wheel, the big question is obviously, "How does the car know where to go?"But there's one aspect of this science fiction achievement that no one has brought up: the self-driving car further isolates … [Read more...]

Chocolate, Easter bunnies and child slavery

I went to lunch with a friend last week and we stopped in at a local gourmet chocolate shop. The place was mobbed with people stocking up on the upcoming Easter holiday but all I wanted to do was ask the owners if they knew where their cocoa came from.Chances were quite good that the cocoa they used to make their sweet goodies was harvested by child slaves.I wondered if the people filling their shopping baskets knew that 42% of the world's cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, where children … [Read more...]

Tragedy visited Webster, NY but we move on – together

Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, tragedy visited the small town of Webster, NY, when a madman set fire to a house and a car, luring first responders to the scene and then gunning them down in cold blood. What ensued were hours of confusion and chaos as SWAT teams descended on the small spit of land, a two lane road bordered on one side by Irondequoit Bay and the other by Lake Ontario, chasing the gunman, evacuating neighbors, and retrieving the bodies of shooting victims. Firefighters, una … [Read more...]