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Blogging blogs and the bloggers who blog them
This is the group blog of the Bryn Mawr College CSEM course "Web of Influence" taught by Doug Blank and Laura Blankenship. We invite everyone to participate! Just one rule: play nice.

Missouri Elects First Lesbian Senator

Yes, the state that just banned gay marriage last August elected a lesbian senator yesterday.

Jolie Justus, now a senator in KC, MO is the first elected (out) lesbian in the Missouri State Senate.

And thanks to the hard work of PROMO Missouri, 11 out of 14 LGBT-endorsed senators also succeeded in their primaries.

I'm proud to say my state is back on the ballpark in terms of Gender equality - even if the Cardinals' standings don't match LGBT successes.

Missouri to Require Promotion of Opposite Sex "Monogamy" in School and Social Curricula


MO House Act 1075 would require schools to promote monogamous, heterosexual relationships as part of the general sexual education curriculum.

This act will censor Missouri youth against contraceptives and sexual eccentricities and may lead to increased bigotry against same-sex couples.

We will see how the MO congress votes.

Missouri to Pass Law Declaring US "Christian Nation"?

Yes, that's right, HCR13, a bill currently being considered for passage in the Missouri House and Senate, would declare the United States a "Christian Nation." The enormous public outrcry to the legislature after its release will probably prohibit the bill from passing in the MO congress, but another bill, HJR39, is currently working its way through the system, and would "place on the ballot a Constitutional amendment which allows voluntary [and government-condoned] prayer in a public place" (Margaret Donelly, MO Rep).

Kanzi vs. Lilly the Cat: A Knock 'Em Down Blog about Language


I'm reading an encyclopedia entry about apes Koko, Panzee, Panbanisha, Kanzi, Washoe, and Nim Chimpsky.

All of these apes have learned approximately 150-300 words/lexigrams/signs. Several hundred non-human primates have been taught or attempted to teach basic signs, but could only learn 10-20, rendering the above-mentioned outliers.

Animal Language Acquisition (ALA) is criticized by cognitive linguists. They hold that language is an evolved trait, and that animals capable of language would have already evolved it as a means of communication. Most animals are not vocal, and therefore would use signing (or some form of gestulation) instead of oral speech; this is why Washoe was more prolific than most apes before her - she was taught ASL for communication as opposed to verbal speech.

News on the Clayton/Hillcrest/Aberdeen/MISSOURI Front

current events

A smaller house on the far East side of Aberdeen Place (my home street), recently sold for about $850,000.

This is surprising because A) houses on Aberdeen two years ago were selling for $300-$400k (Saint Louis has a much lower cost of living) and those prices were considered HIGH at the time. Run-down fixer uppers on and around South Grand Blvd. (where I live now) could sell for as low as $3k a couple years ago; now they are selling for $300-$400k. and B) the house that sold for approximately $850k was not located IN THE GOOD SCHOOL DISTRIC OF CLAYTON, but the city of Saint Louis, a "bad" school distric (Roosevelt High School is the public high school allotted to this house, THE WORST SCHOOL IN METRO SAINT LOUIS).

Boys Only


I recently saw a news broadcast about a all boys elementary school. Going to an all womens college, I understand many of the reasons that girls like a single sex education, but I was really surprised at the evidence in this broadcast.

They brought up the fact that girls are much more ready to learn in first grade than boys are. Since the girls are ready, the teaching goes much more quickly since, to the teacher, it seems as if at least half of the class is understanding-the female half at least. These boys only schools slow down and make sure that their young men understand the material. Since boys are also much more active than girls, much if the teaching is hands on and interactive, so as to keep the boys' attention. More recess breaks are allowed also in order to allow the youngsters to run off all that male energy they have.

Koufax Awards


So there's been a little blogging here and I continue to blog in other places, but I just wanted to alert everyone to the Koufax Awards. These are blog awards in various categories and one of our highlighted blogs, Barely Legal is up for an award in the category "Most Deserving of Wider Recognition." And, um, yours truly, is nominated in that same category.

Chapters 1, 2 and 3

education | family | gender | identity | reading | writing

The first few of chapters of Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever talk about how women consistently defer to men. I agree with everything Judge Judy has to say on this topic. Women do allow men to step up and take credit for many of their ideas. The stereotype that girls should be shy and demure around men definitely has an impact on them. I often see some of my best friends who are absolute geniuses turn into dingbats the moment they are around boys. Who says that girls can't be strong minded and assertive?

Judge Hatchet's Book Club


Well, it has been a while everyone. I think that after leaving Bryn Mawr to go home for the holidays, everyone has felt a little over worked. I know I did, hence the reason there has been no blogging activity since before finals week. Now that everything has settled down, I have begun to get back into the routine of things.

I was going through some of my books the other day in search of something to read at the gym and ran across Judge Judy's Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever: The making of a happy Woman. I read this book when I was about 13 years old. At the time, I was convinced that Judge Judy was God herself. Who says God can't be a woman? This book truly confirms that belief. Every young woman should read this book. At the beginning of high school, and then maybe again in college, and probably after college before marriage, and then maybe again after marriage. I just started rereading it, and am finding it just as good a read as the first time.

Just Give Up: There’s No Point in Resisting Popular Culture Any More


Cultural resistance is a broad term describing specifically how individuals or groups attempt to change society. The reason it is a broad term is because cultural resistance could come in almost any form. As long as the possible process in which the action could change the current norm in society is clear, it can be considered to be cultural resistance.

This can include the way a person dresses, the way he or she talks, the music he or she makes, and it can even scale up to riotous behaviors like the questionable actions of Project Mayhem in “Fight Club.” Project Mayhem burned apartments and exploded buildings in the name of cultural resistance.

Political Correctness- Out of Control

I was just watching a bit of television, when an ad played, wishing me a "Merry Happy Chrismahannakwanzaakah." I found an article stating that in Britain, displays in three districts would now be called "winter lights" while in a fourth area, locals would be invited to enjoy the "celebrity lights." I do believe the world has gone quite mad with political correctness. What's next, renaming Charles Dickens's classic "A Holiday Carol"? "Frosty the Snowman" being renamed as "Frosty the Snowperson of An Indistinguishable Gender"? (The blog site A Small Victory carries a full list of renamed songs for your personal amusement.)

Abusing our bodies to feed our minds

academics | community | current events | education | Health

It is the end of the semester and the work is piling up. The workload for most college students is unbearable. Three fifteen-page papers, three finals and two in-class presentations are on the agenda for this week alone. Not to mention finishing up that other essay due from two weeks ago that you needed an extension on. You are scheduled for twelve hours to work in the dining hall this week. The holiday season is upon us and you haven't finished your Christmas cards. Not to mention gathering all the presents you are expected to give. There is a month-long break coming up and your room needs to be ready for it. There are dust bunnies the size of Godzilla that are about to eat your month's worth of dirty laundry that still need to be done. You haven't packed a single sock and your mother is calling about trip arrangements. If it hasn't happened already, the dreaded all-nighter is coming for you!

Indian Stereotypes

blog against racism

I have grown up knowing that non-Indians have certain stereotypes for Indians. As a first generation child in the US, I’ve gotten the best of both worlds. I was thinking about some of the most common stereotypes and how some of them are actually true. However, it bothers me to know that some people think these stereotypes hold true for all Indians.

Many are taking stereotypes to their advantage in media. A few years ago, a low budget movie came out called American Desi. Desi is a slang word for being Indian. It is about American born Indian college students who have a rough time in college when they meet students actually from India. These American raised kids feel embarrassed to be Indian because of the stereotypes they have to face. They are cultured enough to know that they are Indian but don’t have any respect for their heritage. Some of these include Indian people majoring in engineering, science, or math because these three fields of study are the most common. Another time of feeling humiliated when seeing an Indian professor eat typical Indian food in the dining hall. This article summarizes the situation these students were in. After this movie, several others came out that similarly made the same point of how difficult it is to be cultured as an Indian and an American.

Bad Karma?


Most of us are not thinking about marriage until we graduate from school. Actually most college students across the U.S and western cultures do not expect people to get married till they are in their 20s. What if fate from our family was decided for us before reaching an appropriate age to marry? In Pakistan, three sisters named Abda, Amna and Sajda Khan, all around 18 years old are being forced to marry into their family’s enemy. “Vani is a tribal custom in which blood feuds are settled with forced marriages.” These girls are going to be mistreated and basically treated as slaves. Read this article.

Speaking Native Language - Grounds for Suspension?

blog against racism | education | free speech

When were you first exposed to a foreign language? Was it at home, or school? Does it offend you when people speak a language you don't understand in your presence? Today, Hispanics are the fastest growing (and largest) minority group in America. Given places like my neighborhood, The South Bronx, this is clearly a fact. I remember feeling like the odd girl out whenever my Spanish speaking classmates would utter their native language, leaving me without any clue of as to what they were talking about. My teachers always appreciated their presence in class, as they offered a lot more to our Spanish classes. They'd never consider suspending them for doing what we have the privelge of doing every time we open our mouths - speaking in our native language.

My First Snow

I experienced a first quite recently- snow. Beautiful, powdery, pristine snow (at least when it's freshly fallen). I did something with my Californian hallmate that may seem silly, but was definitely an amazing experience. We played in the snow.

We threw snowballs, and we made snow angels. We tried to make a snow man, but the snow wouldn't hold together. It was such a great experience. Others have described their first snow in blogs.

Bloggers Who Kill

blogging | current events | family | free speech | relationships

Kara Borden and David Ludwig were just two typical teenagers who had blogging accounts. What led them to kill? No one may ever know, but the blogging community immediately got involved when the murder of Kara's parents occurred.

When Kara and her boyfriend David went missing immediately after the murder of her parents, bloggers took action. They left hundreds of messages on the two teenagers' blogs and even looked up the kids' friends' blogs to leave messages there. All in hope of finding out where Kara and David were hiding and what, if anything, they had to do with the murders. Police soon shut down the blogs, but are using their content to learn more about these two teenagers and what may have made them kill.

What a Mess


Massive finger pointing and tragic consequences are the results of the massive oil spill off Harbin, China. This situation can’t be amended, the 80 kilometer slick of toxic benzene is heading down the Songhua Rivver that supplies a city of over four million people with running water. While the government shut down the water system, residents hurriedly scrambled to obtain and stock bottled drinking water as schools and businesses and markets closed down. The government has already made a formal pre apology to Russia since the chemical is heading towards Khabarovsk. Being labeled as one of China’s worst environmental disasters, a formal criminal investigation is being held to take responsibility.

Corn plastic vs. Petroleum Based Plastic

new research

Prices for plastic for the last 6 month have gone up from 40 to 50% due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, higher gas prices and insufficient amounts of raw materials. Resin, made out of natural gas, is a major raw material in plastic industry. Plastic is used as a packaging material in almost every industry.

However, consumers do not see the increase in prices for products in plastic packaging because it is the middle of the season and producers do not want to disturb the market price. That is why it is more costly now for producers to use plastic as a packaging material. Higher prices for plastic prices are decreasing producers’ income. The increase in price for plastic made out of natural gas gave a push to alternative methods of producing plastic.

When White Is Too White


When beauty becomes an addiction it can be both unhealthy and expensive. One of the newest addictive products on the market today are tooth whitening kits. While most people are able to just go down to their local grocery or drug store and purchase whitening kits, dentists are now controlling these substances by requiring their patients to purchase the kits directly from them.

Just like some people get addicted to cosmetic surgery, others are getting addicted to that white smile. Some so much that their teeth are unnaturally white, almost translucent. Dentists say that the over the counter products are not quite strong enough to do real damage to your teeth, but some people can go overboard, especially those persons who are trying to whiten teeth that will never get any whiter. If you have a lot of dental work like caps and filling, those will stay the same color even if you used good ol' Clorox on them. Person's less than 18 years of age are being discouraged from using whitening agents since they can damage the pulp in the middle of their teeth.

The Best Way to Drive Away Those Pesty Teenagers

current events

The dog whistle is a common item used by pet owners to draw their dogs to them. It is silent to the human ear but attract the attention of canines. Insect repellent candles and spray are unharmful to human beings but drive mosquitos and other annoying pests away from the area. Now, there’s the child whistle, combining both the genius powers of the dog whistle with the same intention as the insect repellent. Invented by Howard Stapleton, he puts to use the fact that children are capable of hearing a higher frequency than adults. Quite simply, that means there are noises that a child can hear that adults can’t. And that, would come in mighty handy.

What does Christmas mean to you?

culture | current events | family

Christmas means many different things to many different people.

To many people, Christmas is a time to be with family, and celebrate, have fun, eat a lot, and have the joy of getting and giving presents.

For other people, the holiday is more related to religion.

So it's not odd that many, many people don't go to any service on Christmas, because for them it is not really a religious holiday. What strikes me as interesting is that people who normally go to Church, would not go on Christmas, which to Christians represents the birth of Christ. There is a whole season of the church calendar devoted to it!

Chocolate: Healthy or not

healthy food

Switzerland consumes on average 22 pounds of chocolate per person a year; Norway-17 pounds per peerson, America-10 pounds per person a year.
According to statistics, people usually eat chocolate between 8 p.m. and midnight. And it does seem to be logical: chocolate is usually eaten for desert.

Have you ever heard people say that they were craving for some chocolate or that they can’t imagine their lives without chocolate, or that they are very upset and need some chocolate? I’ve always wanted to know why chocolate make people happy. Why do adults love chocolate as much as children? What kind of power does chocolate have?

Are You Over-Medicated?

Probably. Has the US become a pill-poppers paradise? Yes.


I recently watched the movie "Rent." It was spectacular. The movie had me at its opening chords of “Seasons of Love”. I have never seen the stage performance, and was familiar with only that song, but every song was amazing. The music is in a style that definitely appeals to me. With catchy tunes and good lyrics, I am unsurprised that it was such a hit on Broadway. One of my favorites was Angel's song "Today for You, Tomorrow for Me," with Wilson Jermaine Heredia's amazing drum solo.

Weblog Awards

blogging | community

The annual Weblog Awards are now open. Maybe you would like to vote for the Best Parenting Blog?

Celebrities and Paparazzi

current events

this article

This article is about how Jennifer Aniston is sueing a paparazzo for using a super lenz and taking naked pictures of her while she was changing.
It seems that stories of celebrities sueing are becoming more abundant. Is this an invation of privacy or the price to be paid for being a celebrity? In past months Linsay Lohan got into a car accident due to paparazzi and chasing her for a picture..

Great News for the Caffeine Addicts

education | Health | healthy food | medical treatment | new research

It now appears that coffee and tea reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink to much (not that anyone at Bryn Mawr would ever do that), are overweight, or have too much iron in their blood.

Brand Loyalty: Who Wins and Who Loses

According to the new survey done by Grocery Manufactures of America 49% of respondents indicated that a familiar brand name was the first or the second most important element when making a purchase in the supermarket. And 67% of respondents said that they would “chase the brand” to a different store if it was not available.


medical treatment

In the popular science fiction movie thriller, John Travolta and Nicholas Cage underwent an operation that allowed them to swap faces and therefore, become each other. In the twenty first century, a face transplant has become a reality for a certain woman and it is far less than thrilling or entertaining. After a savage dog attack, a French woman lost her nose, chin, and lips. Marking the first time in world history, this anonymous 38 year old will receive tissues, muscles, arteries, veins, and skin from a brain dead patient to be transplanted onto her own.