March 2011



Can too much social networking cause depression in teenagers?

A new report seems to think so

March 29, 2011, 4:50pm


It’s no question that adolescents and teenagers make up some of the biggest demographics in social networking sites. Experts agree that it actually does help them build stronger ties with their peers.

But a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown that there is also a downside to all this social networking.

They call it “Facebook depression,” and they mention adolescents and teenagers who spend excessive amounts of time on the internet as the most likely affected.

Facebook allows users to showcase their lives, from achievements to travel photos to parties. The depression creeps in, according to the report, when teenagers start comparing themselves to their friends.

Why does she have more friends than me? How come he was invited to that party and I wasn’t? How come she got a new car for her Sweet Sixteen? Why was he given that award when I worked harder for it?

These are questions teens already face in their daily lives, factor in the additional pressure of social networks with their “my-life-is-an-open-book” appeal and you’ve got yourself one troubled teen.

Experts attribute it to the fact that these sites “magnify the idea of envy and jealousy.”

One disclaimer, though. Those involved with the report still need to assess whether or not the depression is caused by too much use of Facebook or if the teens who are already depressed just tend to spend a lot more time on Facebook than their peers.

The parent’s role

With this in mind, Dr. Michael Brody, an adolescent psychiatrist, suggests that parents should be actively involved in their teen’s life, be it offline or online.

Encourage your teen to get off the internet once in awhile, he said.

It’s important that your teen understand that there should be a balance in his or her life.

Get them to actively participate in activities outside of school (and IN school as well), get them to join clubs or encourage them to get into a sport or learn to play a musical instrument.

As Brody said, he “would be worried as a parent if all my kid was doing was sitting in their room on the computer with Facebook.”

Brody goes on further by saying that it is important that parents keep an open line of communication with their teens, just as their teens enjoy a sense of openness with their friends.

Source: LiveScience

“Becoming detached from material things does not mean becoming inert altogether, as men with a poor fund of knowledge think. Naiskarma means not undertaking activities that will produce good or bad effects. Negation does not mean negation of the positive. Negation of the nonessentials does not mean negation of the essential.

“Similarly, detachment from material forms does not mean nullifying the positive form. The bhakti cult is meant for realization of the positive form. When the positive form is realized, the negative forms are automatically eliminated.”

Srimad Bhagvatam 1.2.7

“Detachment from things does not mean setting up a contradiction between “things”
and “God” as if God were another “thing” and as if His creatures were His rivals.
We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but
rather we become detached form ourselves in order to see and use all things in and
for God. This is an entirely new perspective which many sincerely moral and ascetic
minds fail utterly to see.”

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. (New York: New Directions Books), p 21

What can you say about Pennsylvania
in regard to New England except that
it is slightly less cold, and less rocky,
or rather that the rocks are different?
Redder, and gritty, and piled up here and there,
whether as glacial moraine or collapsed springhouse
is not easy to tell, so quickly
are human efforts bundled back into nature.

In fall, the trees turn yellower—
hard maple, hickory, and oak
give way to tulip poplar, black walnut,
and locust. The woods are overgrown
with wild-grape vines, and with greenbrier
spreading its low net of anxious small claws.
In warm November, the mulching forest floor
smells like a rotting animal.

A genial pulpiness, in short: the sky
is soft with haze and paper-gray
even as the sun shines, and the rain
falls soft on the shoulders of farmers
while the children keep on playing,
their heads of hair beaded like spider webs.
A deep-dyed blur softens the bleak cities
whose people palaver in prolonged vowels.

There is a secret here, some death-defying joke
the eyes, the knuckles, the bellies imply—
a suet of consolation fetched straight
from the slaughterhouse and hung out
for chickadees to peck in the lee of the spruce,
where the husks of sunflower seeds
and the peace-signs of bird feet crowd
the snow that barely masks the still-green grass.

I knew that secret once, and have forgotten.
The death-defying secret—it rises
toward me like a dog’s gaze, loving
but bewildered. When winter sits cold and black
on Boston’s granite hills, in Philly,
slumped between its two polluted rivers,
warmth’s shadow leans close to the wall
and gets the cement to deliver a kiss.

With good rains, the farmer’s business in agriculture flourishes. Agriculture is the noblest profession. It makes society happy, wealthy, healthy, honest, and spiritually advanced for a better life after death. The vaiśya community, or the mercantile class of men, take to this profession.”

Light of the Bhagvat verse 9

The snowdrops have been blooming along the road to cabins by the lake in New Vrindaban and the early daffodils are almost ready. We drive past them because we, my son Tulasi and myself, have been going up to the Garden of Seven Gates to clear some land for planting nut trees.

There is a strip of land between the road to Manasaganga’s and the fence of the garden that has been let go wild. It will be a great place for nut trees as the access will be easy and the ground is currently unproductive.

There are some weed trees that have grown in there that need to be cleared. It has been quite challenging to cut them as they are infested with fox grapes.  A useless weed grape that has no useful fruit but tries to make up for that lack by vigorous tree choking growth.

I had approached the temple’s wood cutter suggesting he cut them for wood for the temple, something he would be doing anyway, but he didn’t want to get involved with them.

I like to have all my wood for next winter up in the pile by the end of April as that gives it all summer long to cure out and cured wood is the most efficient to burn. I was going to have to cut some anyway so I decided I would go ahead and donate my time to the project and take the wood in exchange for using my equipment and gas.

I had plenty of wood to cut on my own property that would have been faster to cut but this needed to be done and rather than hire someone to do it, it was cheaper for me to take the wood as exchange. It is the labor that makes the value in firewood.

GEETA (the corporation that cares for the cows in NV), also soon to be known as Krishna’s  ECO Village, was using some of its gas money to fund tree planting in New Vrindaban. I got a budget to work with and this nut tree planting was one component of it. The goal is 1000 fruit and nut trees in ten years.  We did get 200 planted the first two years of the project and this spring it looks like we are going to get well over another 200 planted. That includes the temple plantings plus private plantings subsidized by ECO Village.

The trees were very challenging to cut because of the grapes.  In one place where there were 4 6″ diameter (.15 m) close together we cut three of them  and they remained standing, being all intertwined with grapes with the remaining tree.

Last fall I had bought  a power pole pruner and we had to use that to cut through all the grapes to get the trees to fall.  It is like a little chain saw on the end of a 6′ (1.8 m) pole that you can reach up and cut limbs or, in this case, grape vines with. Like a weed whacker with a chain saw on the end of it.

We couldn’t get all the vines because they grow 20 and 30′ (8 m) but enough so the weight of the trees can often pull then down, at least closer to the ground so we can cut through the vines some more.

Another problem with the vines is that when you cut a standing tree, it doesn’t always hinge at the point of the cut, but the butt can swing back towards you.  So it is dangerous and takes a lot of planning and care.

Tulasi is learning how to use the chain saw, and when cutting an aiming notch did it too deep and got the blade pinched. I chastised him mildly and pointed out his error.  Rookie mistake. They say repetition is the key to learning and he got that when later I was cutting an aiming notch and failed to account for the torque  the vines were exerting on the tree and also got the blade pinched.

Fortunately I have an extra blade and chain so we could disconnect the main part of the saw from the blade and put the extra on it in order to cut above the pinched blade to free it (them).

The whole endeavor was further complicated by there being an electric power line running parallel to the road we were working along (the pole in the picture is NOT the power line, just some leftover).  Several trees would have hit it if we had dropped them the way they leaned, so some ropes and aiming notches were required to avoid them.

The whole thing is like solving a puzzle, how to drop trees laced with vines and avoid power lines, but we are making a little progress each day.  I can only do it for a couple of hours before I get exhausted, but sure and steady wins the race.

by Tina Casey

1.4 megawatt solar system installed at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

The U.S. Marines recently made news for their innovative use of suitcase-sized portable solar energy systems, and now they’ve gone in the other direction, sizewise, with a new 1.4 megawatt solar array at Camp Pendleton. It’s the largest solar installation at a Marine Corps base, and one of the largest in San Diego County – and it also illustrates how the U.S. military is becoming a powerful green jobs generator.

Green Jobs and the U.S. Marines

The new installation features solar modules from industry leader Kyocera Solar, Inc., which is an offshoot of the Japan-based Kyocera Corporation.  Back-office operations are headquartered in Arizona and California, but the real green jobs story is the company’s new photovoltaic factory in San Diego. The plant opened last June and produced the 6,300 solar modules for the Camp Pendleton system. All together, the system will generate about 2,400 megawatt-hours per year and save the Marine Corps about $336,000 in annual electricity costs.

Camp Pendleton and Sustainability

As reported by Eric Woff of North County Times, Camp Pendleton has become the “epicenter of new green construction.“  One example is a barracks upgraded for efficiency last year, which included replacing an inappropriate lawn with a water-conserving rock/tree garden, dual-flush toilets, Energy Star appliances, extra insulation, and a 50-kW rooftop solar installation among other features. Wolff notes that the base is also constructing water reclamation facilities and installing 1,ooo smart meters.  Back in 2009, Camp Pendleton also made news for its recycling and alternative fuel vehicle programs.

The U.S. Military and Green Jobs

When you put together all that activity and multiply it by military facilities across the U.S., that adds up to a lot of employment for workers in green jobs fields, including geothermal and wind power. The U.S. taxpayer stands to benefit because, as illustrated by Camp Pendleton’s money-saving solar installation, the long term effect is to lower the military’s fuel costs. However, with Congress casting a stinkeye on the military budget, let’s hope those green jobs don’t wind up on the chopping block.

Pesticides tied to ADHD in children in U.S. study

(Reuters) – Children exposed to pesticides known as organophosphates could have a higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a U.S. study that urges parents to always wash produce thoroughly.


Researchers tracked the pesticides’ breakdown products in children’ urine and found those with high levels were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels.

The findings are based on data from the general U.S. population, meaning that exposure to the pesticides could be harmful even at levels commonly found in children’s environment.

“There is growing concern that these pesticides may be related to ADHD,” said researcher Marc Weisskopf of the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study.

“What this paper specifically highlights is that this may be true even at low concentrations.”

Organophosphates were originally developed for chemical warfare, and they are known to be toxic to the nervous system.

There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides such as malathion registered in the United States, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Weisskopf said the compounds have been linked to behavioral symptoms common to ADHD — for instance, impulsivity and attention problems — but exactly how is not fully understood.

Although the researchers had no way to determine the source of the breakdown products they found, Weisskopf said the most likely culprits were pesticides and insecticides used on produce and indoors.

Garry Hamlin of Dow AgroSciences, which manufactures an organophosphate known as chlorpyrifos, said he had not had time to read the report closely.

But, he added” “the results reported in the paper don’t establish any association specific to our product chlorpyrifos.”

Weisskopf and colleagues’ sample included 1,139 children between 8 and 15 years. They interviewed the children’s mothers, or another caretaker, and found that about one in 10 met the criteria for ADHD, which jibes with estimates for the general population.

After accounting for factors such as gender, age and race, they found the odds of having ADHD rose with the level of pesticide breakdown products.

For a 10-fold increase in one class of those compounds, the odds of ADHD increased by more than half. And for the most common breakdown product, called dimethyl triophosphate, the odds of ADHD almost doubled in kids with above-average levels compared to those without detectable levels.

“That’s a very strong association that, if true, is of very serious concern,” said Weisskopf. “These are widely used pesticides.”

He emphasized that more studies are needed, especially following exposure levels over time, before contemplating a ban on the pesticides. Still, he urged parents to be aware of what insecticides they were using around the house and to wash produce.

“A good washing of fruits and vegetables before one eats them would definitely help a lot,” he said.

(Reporting by Reuters Health, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)


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