Thursday, May 21, 2009

Child Abuse

I try not to syndicate on this blog, so perhaps I should come up with something original to say on the topic of child abuse, but what I really want to do is share this:

The 10 Common Signs of Child Abuse
  • Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises.
  • Changes in behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
  • Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers.
  • Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
  • Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child's eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
  • Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
  • Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children's injuries from authorities.
  • Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for.
  • Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
Some signs that a child is experiencing violence or abuse are more obvious than others. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities. You do not need proof.

This is taken from the Help End Child Abuse pledge at, which I signed. Part of the pledge was to share the signs, so here they are on this blog.

I challenge anybody and everybody reading this to sign and uphold this pledge.
(but don't worry - nothing bad will happen to you (dying, having the worst day of your life, your crush hating you) if you don't)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sticky a-Tac

A stop-motion animation for you. Enjoy!
(This is the first I've ever done. It's actually really easy and this took only like 20 minutes.)

Sticky A-Tac

(If you can't see the animation either click on it or go to the title page then wait for it to load. It's about 1MB)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Worth It.

I sign a lot of online petitions – at least one per week, on average – but most I never really think about again. Today I received an email message from Care2, one of the organizations (the other main one being Avaaz) that I sign petitions through. It said

"I'm writing with joy and relief to let you know that your signature made a difference: American journalist Roxana Saberi is free!

Ms. Saberi appealed her conviction on charges of espionage, and thanks to international pressure on the Iranian government including the almost 28,000 activists who signed our petition, she appeared in court to have her appeal heard yesterday and her charges were reduced. She walked out of prison in Iran today and was reunited with her parents.


Thank you so much for signing the Free Roxana Saberi petition - you truly made a difference."

This really brightened my day. I tend to sign those, thinking "It can't hurt, right?" but it was really inspiring to me and empowering to feel that just by the simple action of going to a site, logging in, and clicking "sign" I could free somebody.

This really shows the magnitude, and how such a tiny action on our part can correspond to such a monumental change for Ms. Saberi's life. This is the power of unity: one person alone could never make such a difference with even a large action on the internet, but when people come together, change happens. With such an easy way to make a difference, it's a wonder so many people choose not to.

Here's another easy and concrete way to make a difference from the comfort of your wheely-chair: go on Care2's Click 2 Donate page, where just by clicking a button you can donate money daily to saving the rainforest (7 square feet per day) or reducing your carbon footprint (1 pound per day) or women's rights, breast cancer, animal cruelty and more. Check it all out at In just the couple of months I've been doing this, I've already saved over 200 square feet of endangered habitat (rainforest, marine wetlands, etc). That's alot.

The daily click, if nothing else, allows you to do something selfless every day, even if it's not much.

Below are a few still-standing petitions, if you're interested:
...and now I'm going to reply to the Care2 folks and tell them how grateful I am for the followup message.