drug monitoring

A post on Mind Hacks was discussing a new controversial issue- drug monitoring by microchip. A small microchip is swallowed, and internally measures drug levels in the body, and physical issues such as respiratory rates, and heart rate.

The microchip can be used to ensure compliance to prescribed meds (like anti-psychotic drugs), or to monitor illegal drug/alcohol use. So potentially, it could ensure compliance for people on probation/parole, or patients needing medication for some condition.

The post discusses how this could be helpful, but also an invasion of privacy by making your personal ingestion choices public to your doctor.

Great for patients who volunteer for this, it would be medically beneficial to make sure medication is working properly, and to avoid any harmful reactions. But what if it is involuntarily forced on an individual. Is this a great idea? Or violation of personal privacy?

Whether good or bad, I am constantly amazed at modern technological advances.


fashion focus

I read this article on Everyday Sociology today about Michelle Obama. It discussed how much focus is placed on her fashion choices, as opposed to relevant issues. She was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress to her husband’s inauguration, that it wasn’t designed by an African American, or manufactured by an African American. Really? Who cares?

The attention isn’t all bad though. She wore a dress from White House/Black Market on the View, and it sold out by the next day. Trainers are getting requests to achieve “Michelle’s arms” after her incredibly toned arms were shown off in the previously mentioned sleeveless gown.

Aren’t there more important issues though? For example:

This is a woman who graduated cum laude from Princeton with a degree is in Sociology! Michelle Obama is also a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Law School. She served as adviser to her husband, our new President, when he joined her at the law firm of Sidley & Austin. She gave up corporate law for public service, working for Chicago Mayor Daley and then in the city office of planning and development. She was founding Executive Director for an AmeriCorps national service program. Later, Mrs. Obama served as Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago. In 2005 she became Vice President for Community and External Affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals.

With such impressive accomplishments, you would think that people wouldn’t just be focused on her outfits, hairstyle, or muscle tone.

Weapons of Mass Restoration

In an article available on NPR’s (National Public Radio) website, they discuss a pretty ingenious sort of home-grown environmentalism going on in New York. Small groups of people are getting together and making seed balls, which are comprised of seeds native to an area, mulch, and red terracotta clay all mixed together and formed into a small ball shape. Participants then distribute the seed balls around town in areas that have been “developed” (or were going to be, before the economic crisis slowed or strangled projects) or abandoned and left to deteriorate. With both public and private projects either on hold or down the tubes, landscape that was in beginning to mid-development stages (which tend to be an eyesore at best) is now left in a stagnant shambles. In an effort to make a cheap, easy, and proactive difference, these groups make these seed balls and distribute them across a wide area, usually where soil is turned and where there is little actual construction activity is taking place.

I really think that an idea like this is pretty fantastic, so long as you’re using a seed that is native to the area and isn’t a particularly aggressive sort of plant that would take over the habitat. As several people point out near the end of the article, it’s a way for people to make a difference in their community and do something to make it a more beautiful and pleasant place to live, without a large expenditure of money or effort. Not that such expenditures aren’t a worthwhile investment, because they certainly are, but even in the best of economic times it can be hard to garner funding for public works projects, especially those specifically meant to make a community “prettier” so that citizens feel more at home and take more pride in the area they live in. But an idea such as this, with it’s great simplicity, is really wonderful.