Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You're No One 'Til Someone Notarizes You

The plan this afternoon is to take my Chilean driver's license test - in Spanish. But before I can do that I had to prove that I've been a resident here in Las Condes. That was tricky, since the rental agreement does NOT have MY name on it and all our utility bills have the landlord's name on them.  So I needed to first prove that I was married to Jorge (whose name IS on the rental agreement). Then the both of us went to the police station with our marriage certificate, rental agreement, his documentation of identification and my documentation of identification. Once everything was photocopied I was told to return the next day to pick up my Certificado de Residencia with it's stamped seal and signature of Jose Mauel Mauricio James, Mayor of the the Carbineros. The only wrinkle in that my certificate is good for only 30 days. After that I an expat without a home-- that's been notarized.


Next I needed to prove -read have notarized- that I have at least an 8th grade education. which meant I had to bring my diploma to the notary's office. The problem with that was the only diploma I have available is my Doctorate in Education hanging on my office wall. So off the wall it came, fancy embossed frame and all, and off to the notary's office I went. But that meant I needed to quickly walk across Apoquindo with frame in hand to catch the cab as the office would close in less than a half hour.

Once there it was a matter of placing the framed document on the copier machine, print out a copy and pay 500pesos cl. for the privilege of sharing with all in Las Condes I've a little bit of education.

With paper in hand I walked home assured that now I finally had proof I was well educated.


Now I wait for Jorge to bring the car home and take me to the testing office. In the meantime I'm cramming for the written test in Spanish (cuestionario), hoping my sore muscles from this morning's time at the gym won't interfere in the sensometric test (think sobriety test for thumbs), medical/vision test, and psychological test (have no clue what that one entails!). And then show I can actually drive our car.

Here's also hoping the rain and promised electrical storm holds off for a little longer.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Human Rights Watch Statement to Commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International: Promote Disability Rights
States Should Renew Commitment to People With Disabilities on International Day

Human Rights Watch issued the following statement on December 3, 2010, to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

(New York, December 3, 2010) – Today, December 3, 2010, is the 30th International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day to celebrate the world’s diversity and promote the rights and participation of people with disabilities. Looking back from 2010 to the inaugural of this celebration in 1981, there is much to celebrate, as countries across the world can boast significant progress in acknowledging and addressing the discrimination faced by people with disabilities in enjoying their basic rights. But there is still much to do before people with disabilities are treated equally and with dignity.

One of the most notable accomplishments over the past 30 years is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This treaty, now ratified by 96 countries and signed by 50 more, represents a shift in recognizing the interests of people with disabilities as the holders of rights, just like anyone else. The CRPD also gives advocates a concrete way to hold countries accountable for their actions toward people with disabilities, ensuring that states abide by the principles of equality, participation, non-discrimination, and independence.

But government commitments have not always turned into concrete actions that improve the daily lives of people with disabilities, as Human Rights Watch documented across three continents this year. For instance, in Northern Uganda, many women and girls with disabilities are not able to get health services and do not go to school. Many are subject to sexual violence that threatens their lives and makes them more vulnerable to HIV infection.

In Croatia, more than 9,000 people with intellectual or mental disabilities live in institutions that deprive them of their autonomy, privacy, and their right to live in the community. The number of institutionalized individuals is growing rather than shrinking, and there has been very little investment in housing programs and community-based support. In November, Croatia renewed its commitments to deinstitutionalization and community living for people with disabilities at the UN Human Rights Council – a promise it now needs to keep.

In the United States, people with mental disabilities, including US citizens, face a greater risk of erroneous deportation by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because courts do not ensure fair hearings for those not able to represent themselves in one of the most complicated areas of US law. Many are also subject to lengthy detention, some as long as ten years, while immigration courts figure out what do with individuals with whom they cannot effectively communicate.

While celebrating the progress of 30 years and the promise the CRPD brings, there is still much for advocates, self-advocates, and governments to do. Human Rights Watch urges countries across the world to take the opportunity of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to renew their commitments and take concrete steps to improve the lives of people with disabilities across the world.

Secty. State Clinton Comments on International Day of Persons With Disabilities


Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 2, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join with friends and colleagues around the world to recognize December 3 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Advancing opportunities and promoting the rights of disabled people has been a lifelong commitment, and I am honored to continue advocating on behalf of people with disabilities on the international stage.

The United States is proud to be a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to support its full and effective implementation. We are also invested in including disability rights as a core focus of our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. This global undertaking to eradicate extreme poverty and inequality offers hope to millions of people across the developing world, but much remains to be done for people with disabilities, particularly disabled women and girls. We cannot hope to achieve the Millennium Development Goals when those with disabilities are denied the opportunity to lead empowered and autonomous lives by violence or the fear of violence. Disabled people deserve equal access and opportunity within society.

In honor of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the State Department is hosting events focused on the issues of HIV/AIDS and disability, and violence against women and girls with disabilities. These events will bring together experts with experience in disability rights, civil society, and government to help raise awareness and understanding of how to tackle these challenging issues. Our Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann is leading efforts at the United States Department of State to ensure disability inclusion and non-discrimination are central to all of our policies and practices, in Washington and around the globe. Together, we can help 650 million people living with disabilities today enjoy their full human rights, and achieve the vision of equality and inclusion set forth in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Follow Judy Heumann on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SAHeumann

International Day of Persons with Disabilities- and Start of Chile's Telethon

Today marks the beginning of Chile's telethon. But MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY  today marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities established in 1981:

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2010

"Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond"
View the comments made by my good friend, Director of Sevicio Nacional de la Discapacidad, M. Ximena Rivas Asenjo's on CNN today on the issue of needing to expand our awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities in Chile beyond people with physical disabilities and just on two days out of the year. (Be prepared Ximena speaks faster than a NY minute traveling on the Bullet Train).


La Teletón 2010 comienza este 3 de diciembre precisamente cuando se celebra el Día Nacional e Internacional de la discapacidad. En Chile dos millones de personas viven una discapacidad transitoria o permanente, y sólo un 29% de ellos logra insertarse en el mercado laboral.

Es por ello que el Servicio Nacional de la Discapacidad aprovecha estas fechas para recordarle a los chilenos lo importante que es poner fin a la discriminación en todas sus formas.

UHT Does a Box of Milk Good- All About Shelf Stable Milk

Buying milk here in Chile is just a little odd for those of us from the USA. Unlike our suburban grocery markets in the USA, Chile and in Spain (and I presume much of Europe and the rest of the world) sell milk in "shelf stable" packaging. In fact bit by bit, even the USA markets are moving towards shelf stable milk cartons.  That is, rather than going to the grocer's refrigerator aisle to pick up your quart of milk, in Chile you will find milk in the center, UNrefrigerated aisle sitting cozily among all the other unspoiled dry goods items. In 1994 the Italian company, Parmalat, introduced shelf stable milk packaging to Pennsylvania noted the challenge of changing the American consumer's shopping habits:
"America is the last market in the world to embrace shelf-stable milk," says D'Urso. "It's a tremendous challenge, especially in retail, where we have to fight to be near the refrigerated section but not in the dairy case. But we're having good success, and we know how to educate retailers and consumers.
[See alsoCNN's 1995 report: Companies try to market no-spoil milk in the U.S.]

How do they do that- keep the milk fresh while sitting on a dry-goods shelf for months on end? And does it really taste good?

How they do it:

I did a little investigating and discovered that the answer lies in processing and packaging. There is no irradiation or chemicals in shelf-stable milk. Ordinary milk processed in the USA is typically heated to 161° F (76.7° C) during pasteurization and packaged in a carton or plastic container. Once the milk is cooled bacteria begins to take a toll on the milk requiring immediate refrigeration to slow spoilage. Ultra High Temperature (UHT) pasteurization is the key along with sterile, aseptic packaging.

What is UHT?

UHT is a unique thermo process uses a much higher than normal pasteurization temperature, modifies the length of time the milk is held at that temperature, and then cools the milk (all in a continuously pressurized environment) before it is stored in an aseptic package. The elevated temperature destroys all pathogenic and spoilage bacteria and the packaging hermetically seals the milk to retain freshness. This results in a shelf stable, extended life, no refrigeration needed milk that does not contain (or require) any preservatives.

What is Aseptic packaging?

Aseptic packaging the milk assures it is free of bacteria and hermetically seals it (air tight) thus eliminating the bacteria, air and light the elements that cause milk to sour.  Aseptic containers may be  cartons or bags each containing foil lined aseptic packaging to assure your milk is free of contaminates that rob shelf life.

How long will it last?

Shelf stable, aseptic packaged UHT Milk usable shelf life is generally several months long and can be stored at room temperatures. One company boasts of a two year shelf life. A 'best if used by' date is included on every package as with other shelf stable products. However, once the package is opened UHT Milk reacts like regular milk and must be refrigerated.

Does it really taste the same?

UHT Shelf Stable Milk is real milk, provides the same basic nutritional values of regular milk and may be used exactly the same as you would any other milk in your recipes. As for taste....Milk company marketing states their UHT milk products taste great and that there is no perceptible taste differences. Some note that the UHT process alters that "fresh dairy" taste giving the milk a "cooked" taste.
 "There is no taste difference in our process because we use a piece of equipment that minimizes any cook off or burn off," said James Stellmach of Amstell Beverages.
Oregon State University food scientists note that while ultra-pasteurized milk cooked at 280 degrees Fahrenheit kills bacteria, it also breaks down the proteins that make milk taste good.

I have noticed a difference between the refrigerated, low pasteurized milk I've purchased in the USA and shelf stable packages of milk.  However, I've not done a direct inter-brand comparison of low and UHT pasteurized products to see if I can notice the difference between the refrigerated product and the shelf stable product.  But if I ever did want to do my on research here's a handy site that gives directions on how to Conduct a Milk Sample Test: http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/worksite/milk_taste_test.htm

I have also noticed a difference in the taste of milk products in Spain and Chile making me wonder if it's a matter of what the cows are feed-- are they "Happy Cows" as in California ?


Wonder if they'd be happier here in Chile and our earthquakes?

What does new research say?

Researchers in Oregon State University’s Department of Food Science and Technology have found a way to kill the microorganisms while keeping milk from tasting cooked. Researchers are using an emerging high-pressure technology to process milk at lower temperatures while still maintaining the safety of heat-pasteurized milk. The result is safe milk that tastes fresher and has a longer shelf life than conventionally processed milk. Researchers, Michale Quinn and  Pedro Vazquez-Landaverde, are some of the first scientists to study the technology of high pressure effect on flavor (2006). This newer processing technique for dairy milk results in a “fresher” taste and a shelf life that outlasts conventional processing by more than 30 days. If commercialized, the technique could help local dairies find larger markets for their product while maintaining their high quality standards.

Click here to read more and view news video on the process:

Got milk? Now Keep It Fresher Longer!

Milk processed under pressure could be available to consumers in three to five years if it becomes cost-effective. The technique is already being used in other industries as a method of microbial control.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Dr. Michael Qian
Food Science, Oregon State University
Corvalis, OR
(541) 737-9114