Sunday, February 18, 2007

[more homework assignments]

I haven't spent enough time yet reading through the Environmental Working Group main website or the related Mulch blog [commentary on ag policy] to decide how much I agree with them [or not], but their farm subsidy database is excellent.

Farm Bill 2007 from the USDA

Some data sets from the USDA Economic Research Service

Apologies for the homework assignments, you don't have to read them, they're here more for my convenience than for any other reason. That and I didn't feel like tackling universal health care this week after all, since I don't have any of my own.


Anonymous said...

I can see why you bounced back. That's a lot of info. I like that the stats they present are well-organized and (apparently) comprehensive.

On the other hand the front page of the EWG site has a big article on the dangers of fluoridation. I am open-minded about potential dangers, but there's some horrible guilt by association there. Anti-fluoridation types, when I've encountered them anyway (like, say, in my town) tend to be luddites of ferocious idiocy. (The mulch blog seemed more accessible, and I will probably go back to it.)

[crap, I've been sighted...more later!]

hipparchia said...

"luddites of ferocious idiocy"

dude, i am so stealing that line from you someday. you're right though, most of the anti-fluoridationists i've known would fall neatly into that category too.

on the other hand, i have zero faith in large corporations that are making billions of dollars from manufacturing chemicals. i'm pretty sure they don't care about my health.

the articles on the ewg site have a slightly hysterical tone to them, but they've apparently been using the foia to good effect, and they do refer to articles published in peer-reviewed journals. the evidence against fluoridation that they've dregded up so far looks scanty, but then they also seem to be limiting their warnings to infants [and children? i didn't read carefully].

that farm subsidy database is pretty good, but i'd like to see data going back over more decades, ideally for as long as we've had farm subsidues. 10 or 12 years isn't really long enough to account for changes in weather patterns, so i'm a bit skeptical of their deciding which farms are habitual welfare recipients.

the database illustrates very nicely my main objection to farm subsidies as they stand now: they're mostly corporate welfare.

Keifus said...

...where I was going to go on:

But at least EWG (it's a think-tank I guess?) is better than the treehugger site that Slate featured a little while back. Stereotyping unfarily here, the problem with environmentalism movements (actually any movements) is that they seem attract non-thinkers. On the other hand, you can imagine how much earth-friendly education I got as a chemical engineer (my impression is that this is changing a little, cuz regs are expensive to meet), and you'll probably agree that the chemists, though they don't operate at the same scale, are particularly nutty in that regard.

Science got us into this mess (see "green revolution"), but I haven't lost hope that science can get us out. I'm optimistic about genetic engineering for drought resistance, etc (even if the engineering is so low-tech they still call it breeding), but unfortunately I don't trust the companies nor the government much as guardians of the process.

Anyway, you may have sparked yet another post from me. Will try and do some research next week (particularly about green engineering & education) and see if I can't make it gel into something coherent.

K (steal away)

abzbnxnc: Azerbaijanis crossed North Carolina
uqrkrju: Urquhart's juice

hipparchia said...

green engineering and education would be really cool. i'll look forward to it.

the government has for many years been hand-in-hand with corporations, but there was a time when we treehuggers actually had the upper hand in government, government was actually functioning as a bit of a watchdog. i know, sounds like a fairy tale, long ago and far way....

Keifus said...

working, working...

Meanwhile, randomly: Have problems with videos on the new computer, so I didn't follow your latest post (and I wanted to know more about baby back ribs and pie, so color me disappointed). May boter to fix it, but not today.

I like the new link list. Was thinking about making such a suggestion to you, and I'm glad you thought of it too. (But I'm going to dig out the tinfoil just in case.)


nedjj: this neddie jingo guy f'rinstance.

hipparchia said...

hehe. you and ioz had neddie listed, so that's your fault [or credit].

yep, you'll need the tinfoil for a coupla the sites.

i can't get the videos to work either, but i thought it was because i have dialup [yep, arch2 may be a transitional fossil, but i'm a dinosaur].

uwqcerhh: you wanted quality control re the horse heads?

jsrmz: jazz rooms