BREAKING: Judge rules entire health care reform law is unconstitutional

For a really good description of what’s legally going on here, read this New Republic piece. It’s long, but you’ll at least be educated on the legal implications and historical precendent of the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

The key issue here is the meaning of a single word: “activity.” In this reading, all of the past rulings on the Commerce Clause, even those acknowledging its broad reach, refer to the government’s authority to regulate activity. But neither the Constitution nor the judges who have interpreted it ever suggested the government had the right to regulate non-activity—which is a fair description, according to these lawsuits, of a decision not to obtain health insurance. Like many good constitutional arguments, the argument can be put a lot more simply: If the government can penalize you for not buying insurance, can it also penalize you for not buying a television or a GM car? John Yoo, the conservative Berkeley law professor who served in the administration of George W. Bush, makes the argument this way: “The court has never upheld a federal law that punishes Americans for exercising their God-given right to do absolutely nothing. Even the furthest reaches of the Commerce Clause have extended only to affirmative actions, such as growing wheat or possessing illegal drugs. The only counterexamples that come to mind are the draft and jury duty, and those arise from other constitutional duties than Congress’ power over interstate commerce.”

BREAKING: Judge rules entire health care reform law is unconstitutional

One third of all vegetables consumed in the United States come from just three sources: french fries, potato chips, and iceberg lettuce…

People think that cost is a barrier to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. However, from a study done in 1999 by the USDA:

“They recorded the cost of more than fifty commonly consumed fruits and vegetables, accounted for waste, and figured out the actual cost per serving. Their stunning conclusion: you can eat the full daily complement of servings recommended at that time– three fruits and four vegetables– for just 64 cents (in 1999 dollars). 

How you ask could this be remotely possible? The answer: portion size. They counted servings by USDA standards, and you can get a lot of half-cup servings out of a pound of fruits or vegetables.

from Marion Nestle’s book, What to Eat. I highly recommend it.

And the photo is from my new tumblr, Wild Food!, photos of growing food since most people have no idea what their food looks like prior to the supermarket.


1940: Children gathering potatoes on a large farm (by The Library of Congress)


What’s the ISO of an eye? It ranges between 25 and 60,000.

The Difference Between Your Eyes and a Camera

 Absolute versus subjective measuring of light: Simply speaking, the human eye is asubjective device. This means that your eyes work in harmony with your brain to create the images you perceive: Your eyes are adjusting the focus (by bending the light through the lens in your eyeballs) and translating photons (light) into an electrical impulse your brain can process. From there onwards, it’s all about your brain: It is continuously readjusting its colour balance according to the lighting context. In other words, our eyes know what must be seen as red or white or black etc.

A camera, on the other hand, is an absolute measurement device – It is measuring the light that hits a series of sensor, but the sensor is ‘dumb’, and the signals recorded need to be adjusted to suit the color temperature of the light illuminating the scene, for example

“The milk supply had been falling for the past eight months, in part because the number of dairy cows had dropped by more than 100,000, just within the past year. This sharp acceleration in the long-term trend, it seemed, was a result of the war in Iraq. Higher fuel costs meant higher feed costs, and that was just enough to put even more dairy farms out of business. And the Austrian maker of genetically modified cow growth hormone was indeed having production problems, but supply and demand for that hormone were soon expected to return to balance.”

– Marion Nestle, in her book, What to Eat, discussing why the cost of milk doubled in 2004.

photo via Swissmilk

The Female Student Psych Crisis


The latest Daily Beast dispatch, from my lovely&talented wife

This reminds me of the studies looking at happiness prior to women entering the corporate workforce in the 70’s and now. They suggest women were happier prior. They make the argument that with more responsibility, comes more stress. Unfortunately, on the whole, men haven’t really picked up the slack when it comes to child rearing and cleaning. So now women are stuck with two major jobs– their jobs and their homes. 

The Female Student Psych Crisis