Nonsensical news from the mines

Canadian Lakes Set to Become Toxic Mining Dump Sites: I first read about how sixteen lakes throughout Canada are scheduled to be quietly reclassified as “tailings impoundment areas” so that mining companies can legally dump their waste into them, instead of having to build their own containment ponds, on Grist. Of course, why not use this convenient pristine wilderness fishing lake instead of bothering with the cost and trouble of building their own containment ponds? Makes perfect sense to Elizabeth Gardiner from the Mining Association of Canada, who gave us this gem of a quote, “In some cases, particularly in Canada, with this kind of topography and this number of natural lakes and depressions and ponds … in the end it’s really the safest option for human health and for the environment.”

Other Sources: The Globe and Mail, CBC News

GE Creates Mega Hybrid: The GE Hybrid Vehicle team together with the US Department of Energy developed a prototype of an off-highway hauling vehicle. So if you’re in need of a new mine haul truck like the one in the photo, go for the hybrid! While it is kind of cool that they are looking to reduce the amount of fuel used by these monsters, it is pretty funny to think that what they are being used for is to mine more coal. Hopefully the technology will be used for even bigger and better things in the future.

Source: inhabitat, GE Global Research Blog

Free cardboard furniture for kids

I was browsing around today and found this cool website that teaches you how to build cardboard furniture for kids. They have a stool, chair and a rocker. You just have to find the cardboard and have a few simple tools.

What a fun project this would be! Hunting for the right piece(s) of cardboard. Older kids might be able to help with creating the furniture. Younger kids could decorate it. Everybody could use it! Each piece is designed to easily withstand the weight of an adult. Then just recycle it when the kids have outgrown it.

Foldschool is a collection of free cardboard furniture for kids, handmade by you. Use the downloadable patterns, print them out, follow the instructions and assemble a fun piece of furniture. Each piece is designed by Swiss-based architect Nicola Enrico Staubli.

Foldschool’s philosophy is simple. Mass culture is run by superficiality and ecological absurdity. Foldschool supports craftsmanship as a face-to-face approach to design and brings together product and user the closest possible.

Father’s Day Fun!

To all the expecting dads, new dads, and veteran dads:

Happy Father’s Day!!

Some fun things to do around Portland:

  1. Father’s Day Bird Celebration: Explore the birds of Tryon Creek with a short indoor program, followed by a trail hike! Bring binoculars to check out our feathered friends. Free event for all ages. 2-3pm.
  2. Father’s Day Field Day: Dad’s get in free today at the Children’s Museum! Special activities all day! $7 ages 1 &up. 9am-5pm.
  3. Free Day For Fathers: Dads get in free with one paid admission at AC Gilbert’s Discovery Village. All ages. $5.50 ages 3 to 59. 12-5pm.
  4. Father’s Day at Oaks Park: Dad rides free with child’s paid admission. Free ride bracelet must be the same as child’s bracelet. All ages. 12-7pm.
  5. Summer Sensations: A celebration of summer and strawberries with live music, farm animals, strawberry shot put, and more! U-Pick and Ready Picked Strawberries at Rasmussen Farms. All ages. 9am-6pm.
  6. French Prairie Gardens Strawberry Festival: Hay rides, U-Pick strawberries, farm animals, food, and more! All ages. $3, plus the cost of fruit picked. $6 for a small picking bucket, or $12 for a large bucket. Pig train is $1. 10am-5pm.

What are your plans to celebrate Dad?

Insurance companies rejecting and raising premiums for women with history of cesarean

I had planned on writing about something else today, but this infuriates me so much I felt compelled to write about it. I have seen several other great blog entries in the last day or two, but the more we can put light on this issue the better!

There was a recent article in the NYT that discusses ICAN’s monitoring of a new trend with insurance companies: refusing to provide adequate health coverage to women who have had a cesarean. Insurance companies like Golden Rule and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida are either denying women individual health insurance or are raising their premiums 25% for five years! But the real shocker, to me at least, is that these women are being told that to gain eligibility for health coverage and keep their premiums lower is to be sterilized! How in the world is this being allowed to happen?

Most women do not want to have surgery. Most women do not want to have a cesarean, let alone multiple cesareans. But with the cesarean rate at 30.1% in 2007, this is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. Pam Udy, President of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) says, ” Most women are looking to avoid cesareans. But physicians often make surgery difficult to avoid by insisting on non-evidence based practices. These care practices serve the system well, but not mothers and babies.” These practices include inducing for going post-dates, inducing for suspected large baby, requiring fasting during labor, requiring women to be confined to bed for continuous fetal monitoring, and failing to offer continuous support to a mother in labor.

So about 30% of women giving birth in this country will have a c-section. The vast majority of these women will have a c-section that is deemed medically necessary, whether it becomes necessary through a real danger to mom or baby, or if it becomes necessary through medical intervention. Add to this the fact that so many physicians and hospitals won’t allow a VBAC and what choice do women have? Well apparently sterilization. When one woman, Peggy Robertson of Colorado, finally learned the reason she was denied health insurance was her previous cesarean, she was told that the only way to get coverage was surgical sterilization. Nice.

Whether or not you have had a cesarean, this really affects us all. If you want to do something contact your state and national representatives!

Contact Information for:

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

State Representatives (Box on left side, enter zip code)

State Insurance Commissioners

Also please visit for more information and letter templates for contacting your representatives.