Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good microbes

Bacteria, viruses and fungi are actually natural and healthful parts of the human microbiome. This article's about the unintended consequences of all-out assaults – which go beyond antibiotic resistance and hygiene hypotheses to destroying your body's ecological balance. Read the Scientific American Dec. article here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Knoxville: Culture by the mountains

Opera, theater, culture minutes from the mountains. Robin's latest in the Examiner here.

Food waste: what can be done

Around 40 percent of all food manufactured and put on sale in the United States is wasted, and studies show this trend is increasing. Food waste - including waste from farms, manufacturers, retailers and consumers - has risen 50 percent since 1974, reaching about 150 trillion calories per year in 2003. Current trends and what can be done – read this DW-World article.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Travel gift: BUILT's handy travel organizer

For under $25 at retailers such as, you can get BUILT's ( new Cargo Travel Organizer. Cool colors and most important, soft, easy-packing protection in neoprene (the material used for surfer wetsuits) for small gadgets and accessories such as power cords, thumb drives, digital camera stuff.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Artists transform mining town

Robin's Dec. 13 Sunday Travel feature about Argenta, Arkansas in the Examiner newspapers here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Plastics: toss those marked 3, 6 and 7

Plastics: toss out containers/plastics marked 3, 6 and 7. Their endocrine-disrupting chems are linked with cancer. I wrote about this about a year ago; article didn't get published (gee, wonder why?). Supposedly “safer plastics” are marked 1, 2, 4, 5...or any marked “BPA-free. NY Times has details here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can a Plant-Based Diet Cure Cancer?

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of Cornell University and author of the groundbreaking The China Study, explains how nutrition influences cancer.... He says that at various times throughout our lives, we all have cancer cells that will pop up in our bodies, but what “feeds” the cancer and fortifies it is, among other things, animal protein. Why is that? Read on.

Monday, November 30, 2009

For conscious and discriminating diners

Veg dishes for Oprah, Ellen, veg eaters and true foodies: Chef Tal Ronnen's recipes and new book here. Learn to cook like the pros - watch the vids. Chef Ronnen created Oprah's 21-Day Cleanse menu shares recipes for meatless cuisine from his book The Conscious Cook. By applying traditional French culinary techniques to his dishes, he creates rich, full flavor that satisfies even carnivorous cravings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eating Animals - read esp if you do

Also read Eating Animals, excellent new book by Jonathan Saffran Foer. Especially if you eat animal-derived foods. LATimes review here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dog songs CD benefits prison program

Holiday gift idea for folks with dogs – benefits a good program that positively engages people serving jail time. Check out Paws in Prison.

Flu food-flighters

Yep, fruit, veggies...plant-based, not animal-derived...right here in the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Richard Pryor's widow rocks!

From the Animal Issues Bulletin during an appearance on the Leno show Chris Rock shocked everyone with insensitive slurs on pit bulls specifically and dog generally: “What the hell did Michael Vick do? Pit Bulls ain’t even real dogs! Dogs have never been good to black people!”

Unfortunately for Chris, he was hoping to get cast as Richard Pryor in an upcoming film on Pryor’s life. Pryor’s widow Jennifer shares her late husband’s love for animals, and she did not take Chris’ off-hand comment lightly. In an open letter to Rock, she said:

“For your information, Chris, what Michael Vick did was to torture, drown, electrocute and murder dogs all for fun and for profit! He went to prison for felony animal cruelty! That’s what he did! These types of comments only encourage abuse and misunderstanding of this breed, as well as actual dogfighting. Clearly this part of your latest stand-up routine would not make Richard laugh!”

So, Marlon Wayans is reported to be the one who will portray Richard Pryor in “Is It Something I Said?” which will be in theaters in 2011.

Recovering with Four-Legged Friends Requires Less Pain Medication

Recovering with Four-Legged Friends Requires Less Pain Medication

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thanksgiving with strangers - volunteering during beach vaca

Robin's new Ocean Beach, Cal. travel piece in the Examiner newspapers...Volunteering during Thanksgiving vacation. Here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Good housekeeping beats insecticides...and rids allergens

Research shows good housekeeping is more effective than insecticides. When a building supervisor notified tenants in Brooklyn that one of the apartments had a bedbug infestation, Eddie Rosenthal feared that it was only a matter of time until they spread to his home. But it wasn't just the bugs that gave Rosenthal the creeps. So did the prospect of using pesticides. So Rosenthal decided to try a few tricks that might keep his home bug-free without spraying chemicals. He raised his bed off the ground, filled some cracks and applied some nontoxic powder to spaces between walls.

Now new research shows that such good housekeeping techniques not only minimize chemical use, but they are even more effective at controlling pests than hiring an exterminator to spray powerful, toxic pesticides. A single use of such techniques in 13 New York City apartment buildings eliminated substantially more cockroaches and mice than repeated professional applications of pesticides. Another plus: asthma-triggering allergens related to bugs were up to 70 percent lower in residences using preventive techniques than those using insecticides. Details here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Animal cams: Inside the nest...out in wild

Views from animal-cams...laughing Kookaburra, hummingbird, owl, armadillo. Check out Sam Eaterson's Museum of Animal Perspectives here. Bear back-scratching against a tree here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Environmental impact photography

Artful photographers documenting mankind's impact on the Earth and nature - Robin's article here.

Nashville rocks

Robin's latest travel piece in various editions of the Examiner.

Nature's good for kids...Pictured Rocks park

Robin's piece in the San Fran and DC Examiner newspapers. One edition here.

Bicycle thieving in Paris

80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles of the Paris bicycle rental system have been stolen or damaged...And along with the dent in the city-subsidized budget has been a blow to the Parisian psyche. “The symbol of a fixed-up, eco-friendly city has become a new source for criminality,” Le Monde mourned in an editorial over the summer. “The Vélib’ was aimed at civilizing city travel. It has increased incivilities.” Read on...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today's reason for why we don't eat animals

Treatment of downed cows. Yeah, it matters. Article at

Video accessible here.

And: why many humans are absolutely the most inhumane, stupid and perverse creatures created by God. Enough to make me support the death penalty except for the commandment against killing. You want these people walking your streets or near your kids?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chimp funeral

The November National Geographic Magazine features a moving photograph of chimpanzees watching the burial of one of their own. ... A maternal and beloved figure, Dorothy spent eight years at Cameroon's Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, which houses and rehabilitates chimps victimized by habitat loss and the illegal African bushmeat trade.... After a hunter killed her mother, Dorothy was sold as a "mascot" to an amusement park in Cameroon. For the next 25 years, she was tethered to the ground by a chain around her neck, taunted, teased, and taught to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for sport. In May 2000,
Read the story at: the story here. Worth the time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bacon, cheese, junk snacks create addictions

Mammalian brain chemistry altered by junk foods... Bacon, cheesecake and Ho Hos alter pleasure centers in rats' brain. Story here.

Santa Fe: Animals in Modern Art, and Food Spotting

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eco-ethical shopping centers - beyond granola

Eco shopping centers? Cool places found in time for the holidays. Online and emerging in places from Santa Fe to San Francisco. Read Robin's Oct. 18 Eco Simple column in the Examiner newspapers. Here's the San Francisco edition.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Everyone has a signature body odor – the chemical counterpart to fingerprints – and scientists are tracking down those odiferous arches, loops, and whorls in the “human odorprint” for purposes ranging from disease diagnosis to crime prevention. The current edition of Chemical & Engineering News notes that police long have used trained dogs to track criminals using scent prints (and dogs have successfully detected medical conditions and seizure pre-onset). Scientists now are developing technology to detect and classify smells. Each odorprint is influenced by such environmental factors as diet and cosmetics. Scientists have identified odors in human breath and skin associated with diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. Coming soon: tech that detects the “smell of deception” – chemical changes that occur with stress that could identify terrorists planning to detonate explosives.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One reason to not travel to Spain

The Toro Jubilo festival in Medinaceli "entertains" by tying balls of burning tar on bulls who then try to kill themselves due to the horrendous pain. Care? See the facts and speak out here. Or here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How soybeans fight disease

Soybeans contain high levels of health-beneficial compounds like tocopherols, which contain antioxidants. Thesy can be used in the development of functional foods for treating and preventing diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular. A type called α-tocopherol has the greatest antioxidant activity, and is the form converted to vitamin E in the human body, reports the American Society of Agronomy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Flu hysteria: waste in every way

The consequences of Egypt's knee-jerk and all-around wrong reaction to swine flu fears include garbage-flooded streets and schooll problems. Covered in the NY Times here.

Super chefs' garden secrets

Robin's piece featuring tips from great restaurant chefs who have organic gardens. Here in the Examiner.

Woofstock? Go Mobile for fun and food

A couple of Robin's recent Mobile travel pieces in print and online. Examiner article here. Prime article here.

Canine mind-reading & mind-readers

TIME article about a new Canine Cognition Center. Visits the old debate: does cowering mean a dog feels “guilty” or is this, as we believe, a learned ability to act submissive when an owner gets angry?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Say No to Antibacterial Burgers

Writes Wash Post's Ezra Klein: "There's also the argument that the pennies we're saving on each burger are being spent in our hospitals. A 2005 study out of Tufts University estimated that antibiotic-resistant infections add $50 billion to the annual cost of American health care. On the other side of the coin, a National Academy of Sciences study found that eliminating non-therapeutic antibiotics from animals would cost only about $5 to $10 per person per year. I'd pay that for a lower risk of super-staphylococcus." See the story here.

Like canaries in the coal mine....

Body malformations found among wildlife add to evidence against EDCs - endocrine disrupting compounds - found in things from bisphenol-A/BPA plastics to pesticides. Miller-McCune's excellent news team has the story here. Today's Washington Post has another piece about surveys showing widespread mutations in fish and other aquatic life (males with egg cells, etc.) here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Star view from Hubble

NASA - Hubble view into Omega Centauri's cluster of nearly 10 million stars.

Counterpunch/solutions to egg hatchery chick grinding

Interesting solution posed here and another thoughtful insight here Hatchery Horrors The video from the Iowa chick hatchery appears in KNOW early September...wire report here.

Natural flea control - excellent free guides!

I've switched to a non-toxic anti-flea product called Only Natural Pet All in One Flea Remedy for dogs and cats. Basically, it's diatomaceous earth, or DE, a mineral from prehistoric algae fossils. Has apparently been used for pest control in agriculture and gardening for centuries. It seems to work, though haven't tested it in the coastal south where beach fleas swarm. Some articles about natural flea control appear here and here and here. PLUS here are links to NRDC's very good Simple Steps backgrounder and excellent Green Paws Pocket Guide about commercial flea and tick products - what to avoid, what to look for.

Fatty foods trick your brain

Your brain may sabotage your efforts to recover from that ice cream or burger splurge. UT Southwestern Medical Center research suggests that fat molecules from certain foods makes their way to the brain and cause the brain to send messages to the body’s cells, warning them to ignore the appetite-suppressing signals from leptin and insulin, the hormones involved in weight regulation.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Better body and health with animal-free eating

Met Olympic and world bodybuilding champ Kenneth Williams at VegFest at GWU in D.C. yesterday. This longtime vegan proves animal-derived food is not needed for athletic performance. There are plenty of super-athletes who are vegetarian/near-vegetarian, and some who are vegan, but they don't share their performance diet secrets as generous Kenneth does. BTW, wish folks who think vegans have few food choices would've been there - mouthwatering main dishes and desserts (and you thought we just ate salads...though the salads we make are generally great). Kenneth made many intelligent points yesterday during his talk at the festival, including the sad fact that animals are being used in scientific research in pursuit of treatments for human diseases caused by eating animal-derived foods. Check out Vegan Muscle Power here.

Floating over and around Albuquerque

Robin's Albuquerque travel piece in the Examiner newspapers here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lida Moser: photography vérité

Lenny Campello's excellent post about amazing photographer Lida Moser, whose name should be better-known. Street scenes and portraits that burrow into the mind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Food and health care

My sky-high health insurance premiums are an incentive for others to make unhealthy choices. Michael Pollan makes some good points here about Big Food and health care costs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hubble Kaleidoscope scoop

"Despite excitement over the discovery that space is all crazy-looking, a number of legislators have threatened to cut funding for NASA's kaleidoscopic program. An outspoken critic of the agency, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she hopes NASA scientists don't just use the kaleidoscope a few times and then lose interest and never touch it again, like they did with the Brookhaven Neutrino Spirograph, Fermilab's Particle Slingshot, and the Very Large Slip 'n Slide Array in New Mexico." Onion scoop here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pet Tabs alert

Click title above.

Ben’s Cruise for Compassion

4th Annual Ben’s Cruise for Compassion takes place Friday, September 18, from 7 – 10 p.m. Location: Watermarks’ Harbor Queen at the Annapolis City Dock. The cruise is after Ben, a dog rescued as a result of the 2007 Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) v. Woodley trial. The cruise - just $55 per ticket - includes an evening of food and entertainment...and well-behaved dogs are welcome aboard. Tickets via credit card at 410-263-8683. There will also be a raffle for VIP tickets to see Dancing With The Stars in LA, including airfare and hotel. Details at under “News & Events.” All proceeds from the raffle and cruise donated to ALDF.

Flea control - legit vs. counterfeit

Many scientiests and animal health care professionals such as Dr. Michael Fox advise not to use chemical and pharmaceutical anti-flea and tick products except as a last resort. Though these products offer a convenient quick fix, due to a growing number of consumer complaints, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting reviews.

Many anti-flea product ingredients are excreted from people's companion animals, thus posing an environmental health hazard. Already we know this is the case with chemicals applied to animals used in agriculture - livestock - that people eat. Also, some reports suggest that the target bugs build tolerance, making the products less effective.

Visit the insightful Flea Control Secrets blog maintained by the author of a new book, “Flea Control Secrets,” which is available on the web as an e-book. I’ll be reviewing the book and posting a Dog Tips review in the coming weeks. The blog features visual comparisons of legitimate vs. counterfeit packaging for Frontline. Fake versions of Frontline and other popular products is yet another problem, and some legitimate mail order companies have stocked and shipped the fakes.

Two articles worth reading...but note that there are many others equally worth reading. My personal tip: add organic apple cider vinegar to water bowls and wipe your animals down with apple cider vinegar. My Dog Tips contain some other tips as well.