Tags >> research
Mar 31
2010

Econmomics of Diversity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , research , poverty , policy , literacy , international , history , education , economy , current events , California , budget , author

Bruce Robinson

Promoting educational opportunity for all is good economic policy, says Stanford  Professor Martin Carnoy, while perpetuating inequality is bad for business.

From an economic perspective, there are clear benefits for greater educational attainment, but in California, Carnoy says, policies to encourage that are lagging,

 Learning to read is a critical first step on the educational ladder, so Carnoy suggests emphasizing that key skill is more important in the long term than promoting bi-lingualism.

Dr. Carnoy has written more than 30 books on economic issues, racial inequality and education policy. He will give a free public lecture on April 1 at 7 pm in the Person Theater  at Sonoma State on the topic, “Educational Equity and Social Justice as Smart Economic Policy. Dr. Carnoy also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post. Read his blog here.

 

 

 

Mar 22
2010

"Deadly Persuasion"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , women , teens , speaker , Science , research , public safety , protest , policy , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , families , events , education , corporate responsibiliyt , children , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Advertising isn’t just annoying, contends industry critic  Jean Kilbourne, it can be genuinely harmful, especially in promoting additions to alcohol, tobacco or even just shopping.

Kilbourne observe that many of the most prolific advertisers are trying to promote regular consumption of their products, which although legal, are nonetheless highly addictive. So they are, essentially, working to promulgate addictions.

 

Politics is another area in which Kilbourne worried that the growing reliance on campaign advertising is inflicting powerful and distorting influence, implicitly facilitating corruption of candidates while discouraging public participation in the electoral process.

 

Those concerns have been exacerbated by the recent Supreme Court decision affirming “corporate personhood,” and striking down any limits on campaign spending by corporations. Kilboure fears that decision will have far-reaching and terribly destructive consequences.

Jean Kilbourne will deliver her presentation, “Deadly Persuasion” about advertising and how it tries to manipulate us, in the Sonoma State University Cooperage, Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30 pm. Here's a summary/preview:

What are advertisers really selling us?

Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

In her slide presentations, Jean Kilbourne examines images in advertising with the incisive wit and irony that have delighted and enlightened her audiences for years. With expert knowledge, insight, humor and commitment, she brings her audiences to see that, although ads may seem harmless and silly, they add up to a powerful form of cultural conditioning. She is known for her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest.

She explores the relationship of media images to actual problems in the society, such as violence, the sexual abuse of children, rape and sexual harassment, pornography and censorship, teenage pregnancy, addiction, and eating disorders. She also educates her audiences about the primary purpose of the mass media, which is to deliver audiences to advertisers. The emphasis is on health and freedom — freedom from rigid sex roles, freedom from addiction, freedom from denial, and freedom from manipulation and censorship.

Mar 04
2010

PCBs in Fish Oil

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , toxic , Science , research , nonprofit orgs , medicine , Health , fish , environment , chemicals , animals

Bruce Robinson

Fish oil capsules have long been suspected of including small amounts of toxic PCBs, but a new lawsuit contends some manufacturers of the supplements contain far more of the banned chemicals than others.

 Oakland attorney David Roe, who filed the suit on behalf of the Eureka-based Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation (known for their actions seeking enforcement of California's Proposition 65) and two other plaintiffs, says it included actions against General Nutrition Center and CVS  Pharmacy stores because it is important that the consumer warnings also be prominently placed in locations where consumers purchase these products.

 Roe says the tests his clients have conducted, and the lawsuit those tests prompted, are also intended to encourage the industry that produces fish oil supplements to do more rigorous testing themselves.

 A new website set up to publicize the lawsuit has details on the  legal action as well as  an online petition calling for stronger labeling requirements. There is also a list of the products tested and  their  test results. A summary graph is shown below.

 

 

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Feb 26
2010

Apple Moths in New Zealand

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , trees , research , international , farms , environment , coast , chemicals , California , business , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

While California’s policy is to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth, a local researcher reports that New Zealand has adopted other tactics to control the bugs, which have been present in that country for more than a century.

One problem with California’s attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth is that the state got a late start in that effort. U.C. Cooperative Extension biologist Lucia Varela says the number and dispersal of the moths suggests they were here for some time before they were discovered.

Right now, California’s official policy toward the apple moths is “zero tolerance,” so that any areas where they are found are place under quarantine. But Varlea and many other experts doubt that the bugs can successfully be eradicated. Instead, she says, a more realistic policy would be to control the apple moth populations, so they cause minimal damage to apples and other crops.

Lucia Varela also reported recently  on the arrival of the European Grapevine Moth in the North Bay. You can hear the North Bay Report coverage of that development here.

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