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STAT OF THE DAY: 60,000. Or 180,000

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimated that there were 60,000 “mass incidents” that occurred in China between 1993 and 2003. Other sources suggest that there may be as many as 180,000 mass incidents in the past year alone.

Mass incidents are a”catch-all phrase that the government uses to describe riots, protests and strikes.”

Image above: the Wukan unrest over land rights

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: the Protester

"Massive and effective street protest" was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly — starting exactly a year ago, it became the defining trope of our times. And the protester once again became a maker of history.

The December 2011 U.S. Census report on areas of concentrated poverty reveal some very stark spatial trends:

Immediately apparent is a broad “Poverty Belt” - states where more than three in ten people live in high poverty areas - stretching from West Virginia through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. The states with the lowest concentrations of poverty, where less than 10 percent of the population live in high poverty areas, are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware and Maryland.

Just another WTF from a Republican presidential candidate

Rick Santorum:

I will freeze defense spending, but I will not cut defense spending, which is the highest and most important priority of the federal government.

But he WOULD cut the food stamp program.

If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?

Causes of obesity are complex and often interrelated. Obesity is related to genetics and the environment. Even things that SEEM like it’s within our power are not always, like what we eat or how often we exercise. For example, living in walkable communities promote exercise, as public health initiatives like Shape Up Somerville realize. Unfortunately, not every community has streets or infrastructure that are safe or conducive to working out. Having access to healthy foods (that is, being in close proximity to healthy foods and having money to afford them) and being in a culture that eats healthy foods are also important to health. The existence of food deserts and the high unemployment rate show that not everyone has either kind of access. 

EVERY STATE IN THE UNITED STATES has obesity rates of over 20%, so this is no small issue. This is a national public health issue, an epidemic, and we desperately need leaders who get just how serious and complicated this issue is. And it’s not Mister Santorum.


[Carbon] emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003. The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.

(Source: The New York Times)

The strength that it must have taken for your 11-year-old voice to speak out about such a horrible act is something that I didn’t have the strength or courage to do at that age.
Tyler Perry, the man who behind movies like Diary of a Mad Black Woman, writes a revealing, brave, encouraging, and honest letter to the young boy who came forth about sexual abuse at the hands of the Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

You Can Now Eat Horsemeat

Sneaky, sneaky, Congressmen…

In 2006, Congress banned horse meat inspections, effectively ending horse slaughter. Recession hits, and there is a spike in horse abandonment and neglect.

Cut to November 18, 2011, when Congress tucks into an emergency law that President Obama signed to keep the government afloat a measure that lifts the horse meat inspection ban.

"Sen. Max Baucus said the poor economy has resulted in ‘sad cases’ of horse abandonment and neglect and lifting the ban will give Americans a shot at regaining lost jobs and making sure sick horses aren’t abandoned or mistreated."

Because eating horses is the only way to save them.

I wouldn’t be so annoyed and disturbed by this if the pro-horse slaughter folks didn’t make it seem like they were doing the horses a favor, as if there really isn’t any other way to address animal abuse except through meat inspections. Come on.

Image source: animal zone


The Most Popular Google Searches of 2011: Facebook Facebook

LIFE just came out with the list of the most popular Google searches of 2011.

Some curious findings:

  • "Facebook" was No. 9 in Google news searches, but "Facebook Facebook" was No. 5. I have no idea what that means.
  • "Google" was the No. 2 most googled item for news (sidenote: I just saw a TV commercial for Google +. Kinda weird to be advertising the internet on TV)
  • Tweens are hardcore internet searchers. Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber all made the top 10 celebrity searches. And I’m only assuming it’s tweens doing the searching because the alternative scenario (people over 18 are behind these stats) is kinda creepy.


Japan’s science ministry says 8 percent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

It’s affected their food such as spinach and beef. Told to stay indoors because of the contamination, a study also found that Japanese children’s average growth rate has declined significantly from previous year’s.

They show there was an average weight gain of 0.8 of a kilogram over the past year.

The year before children in the same age group put on 3.1 kilograms, or nearly four times as much weight.

Image source:

The Nation’s Weight

The day before the annual gorgefest Thanksgiving, Gallup released some results from their annual Health and Healthcare survey. It shows that America’s average weight is increasing, and along with it, denial and delusion.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds obesity has increased significantly over the past 20 years. Gallup’s data reveal that Americans’ self-reports of their own weight have also increased over the same period. Americans’ average ideal weight has increased as well, showing men and women are adapting their ideal to their now higher actual weights. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as overweight has remained essentially unchanged over the past 20 years. While Americans are getting heavier, many may not recognize it or acknowledge it.



The amount cities have paid in overtime to cops and municipal workers with activities related to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Police and municipal workers are notoriously underpaid in some cities, and I’m okay with the fact that citizens get to practice their First Amendment rights while cops and service workers make a few extra dollars with the apex of consumerism Christmas just around the corner.

The pay rates below do make me wonder why the men and women in blue aren’t marching with the movement. Or at least, you know, not beating people up.

(Source: New York Magazine)

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