Dispatches From the Edge: Oil and Blood: The Looming Battle for Energy

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:11:00 AM

In the past month, two seeming unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint between an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world’s energy resources. -more-

The Public Eye: Obama’s Defining Moment

By Bob Burnett
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:11:00 AM

After six months in office, the Obama administration has arrived at a defining moment: the battle over health care reform. The outcome will shape future White House initiatives, the 2010 mid-term elections, and the future of the Republican Party. -more-

Undercurrents: Pat Buchanan’s Unchecked Bigotry and Racism

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:12:00 AM

It used to be that a public figure could immediately lose his public standing by openly and avowedly making unmistakable white supremacist-racist remarks in the public domain. -more-

Crabs, Whelks, and Oysters: Life in Tomales Bay’s Food Chain

By Joe Eaton
Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:21:00 AM
The European green crab, a recent invader on the West Coast.

We’re surrounded by non-native plants and animals, most of which would qualify as what biologists and resource managers call invasive exotics. The thistles in your garden, the possum in your garage, the house sparrows nesting under your eaves, the Argentine ants in your kitchen, the blue gum eucalyptus up the hill—all are invasives. San Francisco Bay has been called the world’s most invaded estuary, the adopted home of aquatic creatures native to the East Coast, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. Many have displaced native species that filled a similar ecological niche. -more-

About the House: Curing the Devon Colic

Thursday July 30, 2009 - 11:20:00 AM
Though not used for drinking, this lead closet bend (the waste line below the toilet) shows us that lead is still part of many plumbing systems in our homes.

The people of 17th century Devon made and enjoyed a wonderful apple cyder, and being a modern people (aren’t we always modern people?) they used a new-fangled mechanical press to make their cyder. The press was cleaned using lead shot and, when combined with the acid of the apples, left a residue that made more than a few folks sick. The Devon Colic was identified and explained by one Dr. George Baker in the mid-18th century and by the early 19th century, folks finally accepted the science and got the lead out. -more-