November 21, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that American kids are going through puberty earlier today than in previous generations, and are there any environmental causes for this?
-- Paul Chase, Troy, NY
Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why our bodies react in certain ways to various environmental stimuli.
November 18, 2013 (San Diego) – The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) is pleased to present an exhibition featuring three award winning photographers: Debbie Beals, Darci Hook, and Janice Roudebush.
This photography exhibit, "Elements: Three Perspectives on Nature," will be on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Art Gallery November 16 through December 13, 2013. The public is cordially invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, November 24, 2013 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
“Your source for Trusts, Wills, Probate, Family Law & more”
By Stephen C. Ross, Esq.
November 17, 2013 (San Diego County) – The California Probate Code provides three summary procedures that may be used to avoid formal probate when transferring property in small estates. Summary procedures are most beneficial when the estate value is small, the number of successors to decedent’s assets is minimal, there will not be any adverse tax consequences, the decedent had few or no debts or liabilities and entitlement to the property is not disputed. Compared to formal probate administration, summary administration usually reduces the time and expense required to transfer property to the persons entitled to it. However, certain requirements must be met in order to use the summary procedures.
By Brian Lafferty
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Every time a stream of adjectives flows into my mind when describing Blue Is the Warmest Color, “unique” invariably pops up. That assessment, however, is wrong. It’s unique only in the sense that the lovers are of the same sex. Nobody would say so if the characters were a boy and a girl. Adèle and Emma love each other, make love to each other, live with each other, and eventually break up with each other. Just as a normal heterosexual couple would. In that sense, and as a result of over a century of movie conditioning, it would be viewed as a “normal” relationship.
By Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh
November 13, 2013 (San Diego) – SDW/EG members Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh are the proud co-authors of American Trivia: What We All Should Know About U.S. History, Culture & Geography (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2012). Over a span of three years, Rich and Caroline will share with you their journey through American history.
November 14, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Electrical failures cause thousands of home fires every year, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Those fires cause death and injuries and close to $1.5 billion dollars in property damage. One simple way homeowners can prevent costly electrical fires is with a home fire inspection. Many fire departments offer this service—often free of charge.
Ask your local department about having an inspection for potential electrical issues and recommend steps for improving fire safety. An inspection should review all fire hazards in your home, from testing smoke detectors to making sure curtains and other flammables are a safe distance from heat sources.
By Brian Lafferty
November 8, 2013 (San Diego) – For all the gripes I hear about Hollywood’s glut of sequels – particularly about its apparent unwilling to try something new – there exists an upside that frequently gets lost in all the grousing: whereas the first film acts the set-up, the second can just get right down to business. Such is the case with Thor: The Dark World.
By Brian Lafferty
November 1, 2013 (San Diego) -- If there are any contemporary filmmakers more daring than Steve McQueen, I'm hard pressed to name one. His first film, Hunger (2008), starred Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands, the Irish Republican Army Volunteer who led a hunger strike in a British prison and died in 1981. He followed it up with Shame (2011), which also starred Fassbender, this time as a yuppie with a grossly unhealthy sex addiction. The MPAA gave it an NC-17 rating for its frank and explicit depiction of sexual acts, and rightfully so, but Fox Searchlight left it as is.
By Brian Lafferty
November 1, 2013 (San Diego) – Ender’s Game views warfare, military training, and combat from a unique perspective: a child’s. The air is filled with an aura of childhood innocence. The very real threat of humanity’s annihilation is hard for these young recruits to completely comprehend because they haven’t experienced life and the world as much as grown-ups have.
October 31, 2013 (San Diego) – Halloween is upon us and safety should be the number one priority for trick-or-treaters, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Here are some tips for choosing the right costumes:
Costumes purchased should be made of flame retardant material (check the label). Hemlines should be short enough to prevent tripping. Glow-in-the-dark reflective tape is great for night time costumes.
October 24, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: I understand that there are many internships available at environmental organizations, some involving working outdoors, some year-round with expenses paid. Where do I find these?
-- Jason Baar, Los Angeles, CA
Internships can provide professional experience and on-the-job training for individuals looking to enter the environmental field. There are numerous opportunities and the key is to know where to look. Many businesses, non-profits and governmental organizations offer internships that are environmentally focused and can range from office work in many different departments to working outdoors, some year-round and some short term. Compensation also varies significantly and can range from unpaid (but earning college credit) to salaried and/or all-expenses-paid.
By Marsha Kay Seff
October 24, 2013 (San Diego) – In your job as a caregiver, you probably won’t be able to avoid a crisis. But being prepared for one will help make things easier for you and your parents.
The biggest mistake you can make is being complacent until the inevitable happens. By then, you will have to move too quickly with limited options and a big chance of making mistakes.
Don’t waste time in denial. It’s a given that your parents will get older and frailer. By the time they fall, are hospitalized, or end up with full-blown dementia, it’s too late to set up a plan.
by Mark Gabrish Conlan for East County Magazine, www.eastcountymagazine.org
I will not live my life for any other man, nor ask any other man to live his life for mine. — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
October 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- As I’m writing this, it’s the eighth day of the shutdown of the federal government, and there’s no end in sight. What’s more, unless Congress acts to expand the so-called “debt ceiling” — the total amount of money the federal government can borrow to fund its current obligations — by October 17, the U.S. could default on its loans for the first time in its history.
Economists and businesspeople are warning that this could be catastrophic for the future not only of the U.S. but the entire world’s economy. As Douglas Cote, chief market strategist for IMG Investment Management U.S. in New York — not exactly your most flaming liberal or Leftist source — was quoted in the October 3 Los Angeles Times, the politicians who have brought about the government shutdown and are threatening to force the U.S.’s first-ever default are playing “a form of Russian roulette with a loaded gun.”
October 10, 2013 (Kensington) – The Ken Cinema in Kensington, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, is one of only two regularly operating single-screen theaters in San Diego (the other being the new Digital Gym Cinema in North Park, which opened up in April this year). The Ken is known for two things, the first being San Diego’s home to unique, niche films (as I’ve written about before).
October 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Homeowners in hillside communities, you can help your firefighters by creating defensible space around your home as we experience our first Santa Ana Wind event of the season. There are currently Red Flag Warnings in effect and more to come as we head into dry, warm and windy weather over the next few days.
Tips and tricks for business success and growth
By Rama Beerfas
October 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For many businesses outside the retail sector, the fourth quarter is the slowest one of the year. Budgets have been spent, people are on vacation or in a holiday frame of mind, and new projects are being put off until after the first of the year. It can seem like a great time to just kick back a bit, or a time to worry about how to make ends meet until things pick back up.
Ideally, though, the fourth quarter should be the time when you evaluate the past year and plan out your business and marketing plans for the coming year. Even if the fourth quarter is a busy time for you, it's important to do this now so that you can get a jumpstart on the new year.
By Jamie Reno
October 2, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Just hours before the likely shutdown of the government, legislation that many anxious American veterans have been hoping for has arrived - and Congress had better pass it. Tonight, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) introduced legislation to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to make disability compensation and pension payments to veterans in the event of an extended government shutdown.
“We must not let our veterans be counted among the House Republicans’ hostages,” Sanders said this evening.
September 30, 2013 (San Diego) – With the government on the brink of shutting down for who knows how long, America's veterans are trying to make sense of the conflicting and confusing information spewing from inside the Beltway. And the national media isn't helping much.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been sending out painfully mixed messages. Last week, the department announced that under its contingency plan, 95 percent of VA employees would be either fully funded or required to perform excepted functions during a government shutdown.
Some media figures applaud the criminalization of investigative reporting.
A media advisory from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
September 27, 2013 (San Diego) – U.S. soldier Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning's 35-year sentence represents the harshest punishment issued to date for providing media with evidence of government wrongdoing (Forbes, 8/21/13). She is the first whistleblower to be convicted under the Espionage Act, ratifying the new reality that those who give the press information that the government wants to keep secret will henceforth be treated as spies.
By David Ross
While being clueless isn’t a prerequisite for earning an MBA, it’s a good start.
I had my introduction to the global economy during the first week in December of 2012 when a new owner purchased The Roadrunner after it had been owned and operated by Dale & Shirley Good for nearly 20 years. Before that it had been owned by a consortium of five owners after being founded in 1974 by Van Quackenbush, who brought me on board in 1984. I edited the publication for about 27 years.
By Marsha Kay Seff
September 19, 2013 (San Diego) -- My mom used to complain how difficult it was to make friends at her retirement home. Then one day, she stepped into the elevator and said hello to someone she had unsuccessfully been trying to befriend.
“I haven’t seen you in a while,” Mom told her. “It looks like you’ve put on some weight.”
The woman glared at her and left the elevator without even saying good-bye.
“See what I mean?” Mom said to me.
I suggested, between giggles, that next time, she tell the woman how great she looked.
September 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What is the new documentary film A Fierce Green Fire about and what does the title refer to?
-- Gloria Howard, Washington, DC
A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be playing at select theaters across the country beginning in September 2013. Educators, environmental groups and grassroots activists also will be showing the film at small and large events from coast to coast over the course of the fall. Written and directed by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, A Fierce Green Fire (the film) is based on the 1993 book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff.
September 12, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: I’m planning a major home renovation and want to include as many green-friendly features as possible. Where do I begin to look?
-- Matthew Glaser, Queens, NY
There has never been a better time to renovate green, given the abundance of Earth-friendly building material choices as well as contractors well-versed in energy- and resource-efficiency. Many homeowners don’t realize that they can save money in the long run, despite the up front costs, by choosing materials and strategies that will lower utility bills and reduce maintenance and replacement costs moving forward.
By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
September 12, 2013 (San Diego) – School is now back in session and along with it comes sports! With over 30 million youths participating in sports, injuries are very likely to occur. Most sports related injuries can be prevented with some basic preventive measures says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.
Keeping in shape “prior” to the season is a good start. It’s still hot, so take it easy on hot or humid days and keep hydrated. Warm up prior to engaging is also important. Many schools require a physical exam before starting a school sport. Check with your child’s school. You may even want to have your child get a physical from your family physician.
September 5, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that human overpopulation isn’t such a big issue any more as numbers are expected to start declining in a few decades?
-- Melinda Mason, Boone, IA
Ever since Thomas Malthus published “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798, positing incorrectly that humans’ proclivity for procreation would exhaust the global food supply within a matter of decades, population growth has been a hot button issue among those contemplating humankind’s future. Indeed our very success going forth and multiplying, paired with our ability to extend our life expectancy, has meant that we are perpetually pushing the limits of the resource base that supports us.
By Sam DiGiovanna
September 5, 2013 (San Diego) – Are You Prepared? Jeeepers, What Next?
It seems there are so many things we need to be prepared for, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. How do you keep up and prepare with all these life and worldly events?
September is the 10th Annual National Preparedness Month, which means that public safety agencies are busy working on a number of events to ensure that their communities are educated, informed, and ready to face any type of crisis situation. “This year’s national theme is ‘Be Your Own Hero,’” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.
By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – Next weekend is the start of Labor Day Weekend. In order to ensure your Labor Day is a good one, there are some simple safety precautions to consider, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Anyone want to barbecue or picnic? Keep a close eye on the grill to ensure safety at all times. Keep children away. Keep the grill away from combustibles and vegetation.
August 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: Might another possible source for ethanol be discarded pastries from bakeries? For that matter, wouldn’t fermenting unsold bananas, oranges and apples from grocery store produce departments be able to provide an ample supply of fuel?
-- Curious in Warren, PA
Food waste is indeed an untapped resource with great potential for generating energy. Some one third of all food produced around the world gets discarded uneaten, and environmentalists, energy analysts and entrepreneurs are beginning to take notice. Diverting even just a portion of this waste to so-called waste-to-energy (WTE) systems could free up large amounts of landfill space while powering our vehicles and heating our homes, and thus putting a significant dent in our collective carbon footprint. Perhaps that’s why WTE is one of the fastest growing segments of the world’s quickly diversifying energy sector.
By Brian Lafferty
August 23, 2013 (San Diego) – Up until The World’s End, Edgar Wright had only three feature films to his directorial credit: Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). However small his output, those films – Shaun of the Dead in particular – have spawned a huge cult following like few I’ve encountered in recent years. To those outside this circle, he’s an acquired taste. Shaun of the Dead, for example, was a dry take on the zombie apocalypse in fine British fashion. It’s laugh out loud funny if you get the sophisticated humor.
By Jamie Reno
August 20, 2013 (San Diego) – I'm sure by now you've read the news that embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is probably resigning. Yes, the greasy pol is apparently out - though some of the details of his pending resignation "deal" are still uncertain. It had to happen. At least 18 very credible women have come forward with specific accounts of Filner's creepy behavior. That he is apparently leaving represents a potentially healing moment for this city, which has taken a major PR hit in recent weeks.