Monday, January 15, 2007

Animal Tags For People

Human-Chip Company Plans IPO

"While the NAIS remains voluntary on a federal level, and there is no formal people identification system as yet, both executives are moving aggressively to position their companies for the day when chips in animals and people are the norm rather than the exception. Mary Zanoni, a lawyer and critic of NAIS who has written extensively about the system, says that "the microchipping of livestock and pet animals is intended to make tagging more acceptable in helping these companies market their devices for people."

I've mentioned that animal ID plan here before. How it's planned that all farm animals will soon require an implanted microchip that will allow the government to track each animal whenever it leaves your property. This is under the guise of preventing bird flu and/or other possible pandemics. Now, Business Week magazine comes out and tells us that this is really simply a prelude to using the same technology on people.

The plan is that these will help people with health problems, dementia patients, etc. so that in an emergency they can wear an implanted chip that matches a number in a database and provides the hospital with vital health records. That sounds reasonable, but there is always a next step.

Business May Compel Chip Wearing
"Of course, no discussion of these cousin companies would be complete without addressing the privacy concerns many people have about being tagged. Both McGrath and Silverman say their companies protect privacy by limiting data stored on the chips for both farm animals and people to identification numbers only, which are extracted via special scanners and then matched to records in databases.

McGrath also says he appreciates the concerns many small farmers have about the potential infringement on their privacy that NAIS represents. "You're dealing with people who are intensely independent," he says. "They don't like people looking over their shoulders."

Silverman says: "We are leaders in the RFID industry in facing privacy issues head on." The chip for people "should always be a voluntary product, with opt-in and opt-out capability."

As comforting as such statements appear, it's important to remember that adoption of the RFID chips doesn't necessarily need to be legislated to become nearly universal. If enough hospitals and insurance companies begin requiring them, or treating patients wearing them more expeditiously than nonusers, or providing discounts for usage of the chips, they well could become the norm. Then, not wearing a chip might be akin to not having a bank ATM card or, increasingly in Eastern states with toll roads and turnpikes, not having a transponder to pay tolls in your car (see, 10/9/06"
I don't know about you, but I'd rather wear a medic alert bracelet than have an ID chip surgically implanted in my right forearm! Read the article here

Friday, January 12, 2007

This Isn't Satire Folks--It's Real.

Copywrite All

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."
- Edward R. Murrow

This morning, another blog that I follow posted on this topic. I promised to share the information, so here it is.

I am disgusted and pained whenever I hear of a child dying by violence or neglect. I'm the first one to call for heads to roll when our local Child Welfare office botches a case AGAIN (as so often seems to happen). I want children removed from horrible homes and given a chance at a happy, wholesome life.

However, we all know that government zeal can go too far. This is going on in Great Britain as we speak. They are creating a database of each and every child that can be used by ANY professional to decide if a child is being cared for properly. Two strikes and you can loose custody while your children are sent to foster care. Here's a sample of what this means.

"The 'children's index', which will cost the taxpayer £224 million, will even monitor whether youngsters are eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether they go to church or are struggling to get good marks at school.

One assessment records whether a pre-school child is in day care - suggesting that those who are looked after by their mothers at home are not conforming to the state ideal."
This database, which was put into place quickly and with almost no oversight or input from the British people, is an example of where we could be headed. Protection of children is essential and something that we should all care about and promote. However, we cannot allow our freedom--that most important freedom of raising our children as we think best--to be absorbed by the government and the "professional class". Please discuss this with your family, friends, and neighbors. This is just too important to sweep under the rug!

Big Brother database to record the lives of all children
By JANE MERRICK, Daily Mail -

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surprised by Snow!

We were supposed to have had a bit of snow yesterday when we woke up, but it never materialized. Then, lo and behold, around evening the snow started drifing down. It was lovely to watch and this morning, the sky was clear and bright. Maggie and I went for two walks--the first one in the early morning so that we could enjoy the freshly fallen snow and the special quiet that only exists when there is snow on the ground. The second walk was a bonus when Maggie's buddy, Spam, came around and wanted an afternoon walk. Most all of our neighbors were home from work, as schools were closed due to cold and icy conditions (it was 22 degrees F). So there was a lot of sledding going on before the children became too cold and had to go back inside.

Dogs seem to love the snow very much. I think that it must distill all the many smells wafting through the air and make them keen and sharp and wonderful to inhale. We went out into the back garden and played "catch the snowball". A great time was had by all.

I've spend some time this week reading from Gene Logsdon's book, The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening. This quote struck me as something so true, and yet I never really stopped to analyze it before.

"One more reason drew me to mulch-bed gardening. I had been reading statistics (probably a dangerous thing to do, since all manipulations of numbers beyond pure mathematics turn out to be half-truths at best), and it seems that per square foot, homeowners use more herbicides and motor fuel on lawns and gardens than farmers do on grain crops and pastures. Even if this analysis is not completely true (depends on which group of homeowners you survey), what an indictment. Farmers at least can say that they have to use chemicals and petroleum products because they must compete in an industrial economy. Home residents can only justify such extravagance as pandering to their sense of neatness. In their minds, nature must not escape the Prussian dictum of order and duty. Nature must be manhandled by chemicals and machines and, heaven help us, kept arrow-straight with yardstick and row strings, until the gardener has a heart attack or quits gardening because "it's too strenuous", as I often hear. It would not surprise me if the famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant, with his stern philosophy of hewing to duty above all, invented double-digging."

Now double-digging is something that I will not do! To finish on a gardening note, St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners, sits quietly watching over our vegetable garden. Let's hope that he's turning a blind eye to all the hungry birds searching for a winter meal!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Solitude and Time to Think

One of the books I received for Christmas is "You Can Go Home Again" by Gene Logsdon (one of my heros). It's a great read and I highly recommend it if you are interested in homesteading, self-sufficiency, or just common sense. Reading this excerpt, got me to thinking and agreeing with what he had to say here. Of course, I'm a bit of an introvert and MUST have time alone or else I tend to melt down. But I do feel that even those more extroverted types would do well to have some time alone. How else can you think about things?

"If people are no longer polite to each other, no longer tolerant, as socialologists say, could that be because of a lack of home life, a lack of suitable periods of privacy and solitude? Where people live more "lonely" lives, at some distance from each other, as in pioneer days, they tend to be more friendly to each other when they do meet. As a traveler I noticed that civility in public places increased as I went from more populated to less populated regions. Even between Minneapolis and Watertown, South Dakota, where I used to go with a cattle buyer when I lived in Minnesota, there was a marked difference in people's attitudes toward strangers. People "far from the madding crowd" appreciated company more, logically enough. But a bunch of humans jammed together would kill each other as rats did in similar situations. Road rage was a desperate cry for solitude.

There is so much to be gained from regular hours alone. Only alone do humans bring to fruition paintings, poems, music, books, scuplture, artistic design of all kinds. How many more good works of art in all fields would be created if people provided for more solitde in their lives?"

Yet Another Storm...

What is with this weather? We had yet another big storm blow in last night. I haven't heard what the wind gusts were yet, but they must have been strong, because when I took the dog for a walk this morning this is what we saw.
Lots of big trees down all over the neighborhood. In addition, many people's fences had blown over. Of course it was garbage pick up day, so everyone's garbage cans were out and there is a lot of trash blown about. We picked up as much as we could, but there is more work to do.
This is the scene behind my friend and neighbor's house. Some nice person with a backhoe managed to drag the trees off the sidewalk and into the grass so that people could walk past. My husband called to tell me that these trees were actually blocking the roadway when he left for work this morning. The ironic thing is that they had just had a tree service out two days earlier to remove another huge hemlock tree that was dangling over their back fence from the last windstorm.

We'd like a little sunshine now please!

Snippets of Life

Our strange "El Nino" weather pattern has lent a sense of confusion to the plants. Eli is exploring the spring bulbs which are already coming up. Of course, they can fend for themselves--and they'll need to--since we are expecting a blast of arctic air this coming week. Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms in Washington DC (the "other" Washington...) are in bloom. What a world we live in!

Since Halloween and Thanksgiving are long gone but our pumpkins and squash remained looking pretty, we put them out under the bird feeders to enjoy. They lasted a long time and are only now starting to decay. The really fun thing is to see the Stellar Jays enjoying the pumpkin seeds. I wish I could have gotten a photo of one of those beautiful blue birds sitting in the middle of the pumkin, but my camera wasn't fast emough.

With all our cold and windy weather, I felt sorry for the little birds that spend time in our garden, so we bought a few of these little roosting shelters. I don't know if any of the birds actually use them, but they look charming and I like to think that on cold days the little birds can snuggle down inside and keep out of the weather.

Speaking of snuggling, I couldn't resist this shot of Maggie and Eli snoozing on the couch in front of the fire. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together..." Well, maybe the dog and the cat!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Going to the Gym Anyone?


Whew! After cancelling our membership to a local gym that was costing us a lot of money each month, and was too far away to fit reasonably into our lifestyle; we were looking for a way to keep moving without it impacting our lives too much.

Now I'm pleased to learn that a new study has been done showing that doing simple housework each day adds up enough to prevent breast cancer!

"Women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer, a study suggests. The research on more than 200,000 women from nine European countries found doing household chores was far more cancer protective than playing sport."
Since I'm famous for disliking most athletic things, this cheers me. I'd rather get in shape (or at least prevent further disintegration) by doing works that needs to be done anyway, than by spending money to sweat on an elipical trainer!

(Read the article from BBC news: )