Saturday, March 5, 2011

Women's Unpaid Work Remains Unrecognized

A recent study has shed more light on a long suspected truth---that women are not being recognized for unpaid work. 
   Monica Boyd, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto says "It's fundamentally built into the existing structure of gender relations in which there still is a valuation of the jobs that men do of being better, of being more worthy of higher pay, being more skilled."
   The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development has produced a paper contending that between 1/3 and 1/2 of the "valuable economic activity" in some of the world's richest countries goes unrecognized.
   The work referred to is unpaid work, including such household tasks as cleaning, cooking and caring for children or the elderly.  It also includes volunteer work.  Household production constitutes an important aspect of economic activity.  26 OECD-member countries including Canada, USA, China much of Europe, India, South Africa and all non-OECD countries were also included.
   The average time spent doing unpaid work is 3.4 hours a day for people in all countries, which amounts to about 14 per cent of a person's day.  Canada was in line with the average on this measure.
   Women spent an average of 4.7 hours a day doing unpaid work, compared to about 2.2 hours for men.  The gap was less in Canada with women doing about 4.2 hours of unpaid labor a day compared to around 2.5 hours for men.
   The organization found some notable differences in the amount of time men and women put into unpaid child care.  Mothers who were not working outside the home were found to care for their children an average of 2.4 hours a day in all countries assessed, or 1.2 hours if they did have outside jobs.
   For fathers, even those not working spent less than an hour a day--51 minutes--on caring for their children on average, and it was 40 minutes for those who were working.
   Women in Canada found stay-at-home-moms spent an average of 3.1 hours a day caring for children, while working moms spent a little more than 1.6 hours. Fathers put in slightly less than 1.6 hours a day of child care if they were not working and just less than one hour daily if they were employed.
   There was almost no difference between men and women in the amount of time spent volunteering.
   The study was released just ahead of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day on Tuesday March 8, 2011.

Friday, March 4, 2011


High School Biology Teachers Reluctant To Endorse Evolution In Class

After reading the following article I ask the question:  Is it REALLY free speech if only one side is presented and the other is suppressed?  I also put forward that those who are reluctant to defend Darwin are not blind to the fact the the evolutionary theory is just that, a theory.  When you look under the microscope at anything that man has made it becomes more imperfect and full of flaws and yet when you view a feather for instance or a leaf, the closer you look at it the more perfect it is.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Design is evidence of a designer.

The majority of public high school biology teachers are not strong classroom advocates of evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court cases that have ruled teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists. A mandatory undergraduate course in evolutionary biology for prospective teachers, and frequent refresher courses for current teachers, may be part of the solution, they say.

"Considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in America's classrooms," write Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, professors of political science at Penn State, in today's (Jan. 28) issue of Science.

The researchers examined data from the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, a representative sample of 926 public high school biology instructors. They found only about 28 percent of those teachers consistently implement National Research Council recommendations calling for introduction of evidence that evolution occurred, and craft lesson plans with evolution as a unifying theme linking disparate topics in biology.

In contrast, Berkman and Plutzer found that about 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Many of these teachers typically rejected the possibility that scientific methods can shed light on the origin of the species, and considered both evolution and creationism as belief systems that cannot be fully proven or discredited.

Berkman and Plutzer dubbed the remaining teachers the "cautious 60 percent," who are neither strong advocates for evolutionary biology nor explicit endorsers of nonscientific alternatives. "Our data show that these teachers understandably want to avoid controversy," they said.

The researchers found these teachers commonly use one or more of three strategies to avoid controversy. Some teach evolutionary biology as if it applies only to molecular biology, ignoring an opportunity to impart a rich understanding of the diversity of species and evidence that one species gives rise to others.

Using a second strategy, some teachers rationalize the teaching of evolution by referring to high-stakes examinations.

These teachers "tell students it does not matter if they really 'believe' in evolution, so long as they know it for the test," Berkman and Plutzer said.

Finally, many teachers expose their students to all positions, scientific and otherwise, and let them make up their own minds.

This is unfortunate, the researchers said, because "this approach tells students that well established concepts can be debated in the same way we debate personal opinions."

Berkman and Plutzer conclude that "the cautious 60 percent fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments." As a result, "they may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists."

The researchers note that more high school students take biology than any other science course, and for as many as 25 percent of high school students it is the only science course they will ever take, even though a sound science education is important in a democracy that depends on citizen input on highly technical, consequential, public policies.

Berkman and Plutzer say the nation must have better-trained biology teachers who can confidently advocate for high standards of science education in their local communities. Colleges and universities should mandate a dedicated undergraduate course in evolution for all prospective biology teachers, for example, and follow up with outreach refresher courses, so that more biology teachers embrace evolutionary biology.

"Combined with continued successes in courtrooms and the halls of state government, this approach offers our best chance of increasing the scientific literacy of future generations," they conclude.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This structure is 12th century, no longer used for regular services but a definite must-see on the tourist's list in this area.  Sage ancestors are buried here as well.

The altar beautifully preserved and looked after even the windows are lovely. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Litton is a small village and civil parish between Chewton Mendip and West Harptree in the Mendip Hills, Somerset, England.  The parish includes the hamlet of Sherborne. Very close to the village are the Litton Reservoirs.
The churches of this time period were Church of England (Anglican) and this one is a good example of 13th century architecture with the font being 14th century.
My 3rd great grandparents Jesse and Anna's headstone is in the middle of the picture under the triple panes of glass and nearest the path.  The church is still used for regular worship services to this day.

I think the level of preservation is pretty remarkable.  As I look down the aisle I am seeing what my ancestors saw in the very early 1800's.

Monday, February 28, 2011


The Vatican has withstood a very long run of scandals involving the alleged sexual abuse of boys by Catholic clergy.  The latest church outpost to get caught up in an explosive sexual abuse scandal---the archdiocese of Philadelphia--is trying to ensure that parishioners see that it's taking an active hand in investigating the charges.
As you may have heard, three Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher were charged last Thursday with raping and sexually assaulting young boys in their care.
In response to the charges, the Catholic Church in Philadelphia is opening its own investigation into the possibility that 37 additional priests who remain in active ministry committed similar crimes.
As more recent scandals have emerged, senior Vatican officials have questioned the motivation of their critics. Indeed, last year, one senior Vatican official suggested that media outlets reporting on the scandals were targeting the Church because they’d been possessed by Satan.

In addition to charging the three priests with rape and sexual assault, Philadelphia prosecutors also charged Monsignor William Lynn, the Philadelphia Diocese's secretary for clergy under former Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child for his alleged role in covering up the crimes. From 1992-2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating such allegations. A grand jury found that he knowingly allowed pedophile priests to continue serving in roles in which they had regular access to children. John Allen, CNN's senior Vatican analyst, characterized the charges against Lynn as a potential bombshell for the Church hierarchy.

This is apparently the first time that a Catholic leader has been charged criminally for the cover-up as opposed to the abuse itself," Allen said on the news outlet’s religion blog.   "It sends a shot across the bow for bishops and other diocesan officials in other parts of the country, who have to wonder now if they've got criminal exposure, too."

I think tolerance for this type of crime is beginning to wear thin with everyone.  One has to ask “Why are religious institutions not being held responsible for the most reprehensible form of pedophilia not only in our society but the world over?  These are so-called lovers of God and the keepers of the morality. They also blasphemously claim to be God’s spokesman.  I think the ‘Holier than Thou’, self-adopted cloak of superiority has become sheer fabric before the entire world.  They have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do not have the Spirit of God nor is He directing these people as they claim.  Jesus said that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit nor can a bad tree produce good fruit and went on to state in the Sermon on the Mount  “Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.” Matthew 7: 20.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

JESSE SAGE 1764-1840

My most recently acquired cousin Rob Sage from England lives near Hinton Blewitt, Somerset, England and has kindly sent many photos of our ancestors burial place. 
Jesse Sage and Anna are my 3rd great grandparents and the inscription is as follows:


To the memory of JESSE SAGE
who died Sepr 11th 1840
Aged 76 Years
Also of ANNA his Wife who died
Octr 12th 1838 Aged 65 Years

The sweet remembrance of the just
Shall flourish when they sleep in dust

The burial register at Hinton Blewett gives Anna's age as 64.  Her burial was on October 14th 1838, her abode was given as Litton and she was described as the "wife of farmer Jesse Sage".