Diapers and poverty

I was annoyed to read an article concerning the inability of poor mothers to pay for diapers. According to a report published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, diaper need — the inability to afford to keep a child in clean diapers — affects a “substantial” number of low-income Americans, with nearly 30% of mothers questioned in New Haven, Conn., reporting that they did not have enough for their children. It’s a problem that often goes unnoticed. “I call it the silent epidemic,” said Caroline Kunitz, who runs Pacific Palisades-based L.A. Diaper Drive, which will distribute 1.5 million diapers to nonprofit

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Food for thought indeed!

Through an e-mailed link, I came across a very interesting and thought-provoking article titled ‘The Blip‘.  The author asks simply, “What if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course?” I don’t agree with all of his points, but he provides enough evidence to back up his arguments that I find myself thinking long and hard about them.  I haven’t come to a final conclusion yet, but I’m intrigued enough that I’d be grateful for your feedback. Here’s an extract to whet

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Why do Nigerian scammers say they’re from Nigeria?

Courtesy of a link provided by commenter William Ockham at The Passive Voice, I found a scholarly, rather technical and mathematical, but very interesting article titled ‘Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?‘ (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).  It’s from Microsoft Research, and analyzes how scammers operate and how they try to pick only the most gullible respondents. The Abstract sums it up as follows: Far-fetched tales of West African riches strike most as comical. Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a

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Top ten dog names – NOT!

Courtesy of Kent’s “Hooligan Libertarian” Blog, we have Kent’s Top Ten List of Dog Names.  They’re a hoot!  He had me at Number 10 – “Rabies O’Piddler”. Go read the rest for yourself.  Great for dog lovers with a sense of humor! Peter

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The economy – “The Candy Man Can!”

It’s seldom that I read a newsletter where every page, almost every paragraph, is so important that I find it impossible to select a meaningful excerpt to share with you here.  However, one such newsletter arrived in my inbox today.  It’s the latest “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…” newsletter from Grant Williams, brought to you by Mauldin Economics.  This one’s titled ‘The Candyman‘. You really, really need to make the time to click over there and read the entire newsletter.  It’s quite long (39 pages in the .PDF version), but it’s crammed full of useful information, including one of

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A real treat for Jethro Tull fans

I’m delighted to have come across the ‘Cup Of Wonder‘ Web site, built by a Dutch fan of the group Jethro Tull.  He’s put together a superb collection of information, including background information on Ian Anderson‘s lyrics that I’ve never seen elsewhere.  (For example, if you’ve ever wondered what the song ‘Roll Yer Own‘ on the album ‘Catfish Rising‘ was all about, here it is.  Warning – it’s X-rated!) I found the Site Map the easiest way to navigate through everything that’s available.  For lyrics and details of what they mean, select the appropriate period, click on an album title,

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World’s longest demolition?

I missed this when it happened in May, but came across the video report on YouTube while looking for something else.  A two-mile-long explosive demolition?  That must have been quite a series of bangs! I’d love to know whether all those gas pipes and electrical cables survived . . . Peter

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Desperation indeed!

The recent floods in North India led to several bridges being damaged or destroyed as rivers came down in spate.  About 100,000 Hindu pilgrims were left stranded at or near several shrines, and were desperate to get back to their homes;  but the downed bridges made this difficult or impossible. This led to desperate measures, such as these pilgrims trying to cross the severely damaged bridge at Govindghat. The Indian Army managed to rig up a temporary bridge to replace the damaged structure a few days later.  It still looks pretty flimsy, but it at least let people get home.

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History remade

I was very pleased to read about the win (on handicap or corrected time) of the yawl Dorade in this year’s Transpacific Yacht Race from San Pedro, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.  The amazing thing about this victory is that Dorade first won the race in 1930! Dorade in 1931 (image courtesy of Wikipedia) She was raced throughout the 1930’s, competing very successfully against major racing yachts of that era, and continued her success in more limited competitions during the post-war years.  She was completely restored in Italy in 1997. Interior of Dorade‘s bow during restoration (image courtesy of the shipyard)

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