Add another one to the list of unintended consequences. As we try to button up our workplaces and homes for better energy efficiency, we may be creating or exacerbating other problems.
If there's a damp and moldy basement, or radon seepage, those problems could worsen. Indeed, officials in this region, where radon is a problem, recommend retesting for radon if a home's air leaks are better sealed.
A report by the Institute of Medicine and sponsored by the federal Environmental Protection Agency said people may face unexpected health problems from all this. . . .
"America is in the midst of a large experiment in which weatherization efforts, retrofits, and other initiatives that affect air exchange between the indoor and outdoor environments are taking place and new building materials and consumer products are being introduced indoors with relatively little consideration as to how they might affect the health of occupants," said committee chair John D. Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health. . . .
I wonder if we won't all be spending more time indoors in decades to come, making this issue even more crucial.
Recently, I described a surprisingly mean-spirited, racist blog post by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa. . . . If I'd had more space, I would also have discussed the sexism and general shallowness that's inherent in the question he set out to answer: Which race has the most attractive women?
Since then, 68 academics have publicly ganged up on Kanazawa. I also got this response from a creationist:
"Faye: You left out of your racism contaminating science article one of the main instigators of racism, Charles Darwin. The full title of Darwin's seminal work is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Darwin believed that the Negro races were inferior to European races and some of his followers promoted the eugenics movement in England and the United States. Dr. Jerry Berman has a book, The Dark Side of Darwin, which details much of this. . . . Since evolution attempts to explain everything in existence, it can be wielded to promote for all manner of prejudice and evil."
I plan to seek help from historians on this, though I know from my own copy of On the Origin of Species that Darwin referred to races the way we'd discuss varieties of plants or animals. He even refers to races of cabbages.
The other point to note is that whatever the color of your skin, the fact that you're here makes you part of a favored "race" in Darwinian terms.