1 March 2012

Be just a little bit less racist

Racism is hardest to combat when it's difficult to detect. You can say or think slightly racist things sometime without being an out-and-out bigot. We all do.

Just think a little next time before saying something like "Well, some black women are hot" and then giving as examples women who are all light-skinned because they're half-white, or making a self-aggrandizing cliched comment about an Asian man's penis. The world will move a fraction of an inch toward becoming a more magical place.

Effort involved: physical- none. Mental- some. But not like doing math.

26 February 2012

Participate in a Global Compact campaign

The Global Compact is a UN initiative that promotes corporate responsibility in terms of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. Its engagement opportunities page lists several ways you can take part, mainly involving encouraging your company to partner in a campaign. It's also possible to contribute to research, award nominations and more. So this should be of interest if you're interested in sustainable business practices and are in a position to get involved in the Global Compact's work.

Effort involved: having a conversation, at a minimum. But it's a small sacrifice in this case!

google turns evil

Image from: http://www.whosjack.org/googles-being-evil/

25 February 2012

Sponsor a female survivor of war

Women for Women International lends support to women who have experienced armed conflict, whether that support takes the form of financial assistance, job training or something else. You can sponsor one of the organization's beneficiaries, even choosing the country if you like, at https://give.womenforwomen.org/sponsorship/index.htm?wfw=getinvolved. This involves USD 30 a month plus a one-time administrative fee. This is a worthwhile cause to support because...er...war generally isn't a singin', dancin' and laughin' matter.

Effort involved: your bank account is doing all the work on this one.

Image from: http://www.citylife.co.uk/news_and_reviews/news/11764_m_e_n__theatre_awards__the_judges__verdict

24 February 2012

Mail cookies

Homemade cookies are almost always the tastiest. And people love receiving packages. Combine these two immutable truisms, and what do you get? Why, a hankering to bake the next time you've got 30 minutes and a few hundred calories going spare. It's generally better to ship hard (e.g. biscotti) or chewy (e.g. oatmeal cookies) cookies rather than creamy (e.g. cheesecake bars) or delicate (e.g. madeleines) ones. Packaged in an air-tight bag or container and wrapped in popped popcorn or bubble wrap, the cookies should be good for up to a week in transit. Here's one recipe (adapted from theppk.com) to get your cookie-baking juices and/or salivary glands going.

Chocolate Earl Grey Snickerdoodles

1) Preheat oven to F350/C175. Grease or line 2 baking sheets.
2) Mix 1/6 cup coarse sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and set aside.
3) Mix 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 3 tbsp milk well. Stir in 2 tsp vanilla extract.
4) Combine 1 2/3 cups flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp coarse salt and tea from 3 Earl Grey bags. Stir into wet mixture.
5) Roll dough into about 24 balls. Flatten slightly into sugar-cinnamon topping. Place on baking sheet sugar side up.
6) Bake for at least 10 minutes, until a bit spread and crackly on top.

Effort involved: if you use the (admittedly as yet untested) recipe above, you don't even have to dig out a cookbook.

Fortune Cookie Writer

Image from: http://www.thefinestwriter.com/blog/tag/odd-job/

23 February 2012

Get off junk mail lists

http://reduce.org/ isn't a weight-loss site, but a website devoted to practical waste-reduction tips. The "Junk Mail" tab, for instance, offers a host of ways to lessen the flood of mail you'll never read. If you want to use the junk mail to make portraits, however (see below), that's a whole other story. If this site isn't enough for you, go wild at http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/blogs/catalog-choices-free-mailstop-mobile-app and

Effort involved: well worth it considering the reduction of aggravation due to excess mail.

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