Tag Archives: health

Thursday, February 16

Sunny And Cold Morning Coffee Muses

Sunny And Cold Morning Coffee Muses.

The dew sits heavily on the grass, glistening in the morning sun.

My breath rises visible in the sun’s light… like a two decade old memory of another me.

Cardinals mark territories with songs of warning. A bluebird’s song is looking for a mate.

The male bluebird’s looking at houses, fluttering here, fluttering there peering into door holes before moving to another.

For a bird I didn’t grow up with, I notice each quiet call around the yard… even back when I didn’t know what I was hearing.

It doesn’t take long for the sun’s warmth to drive me out of my jacket as I watch tiny birds play king of the tree.

The ongoing warmth of this winter has destroyed the normal group dynamics and set up mating cycles too early.

Time to loose a jacket and pour another cup of muses…

Mark Bittman Points Out A Inconvenient Truth

Reading Mark Bittman’s blog this morning I saw this lead-in to a link I had to follow:

Here’s the thing. A lot of stuff isn’t directly about food, but TB – that’s tuberculosis – is becoming, has become, antibiotic-resistant. And a lot of antibiotic resistance may be because there are so many antibiotics around. And there are so many antibiotics around because most of them are given to animals as growth drugs, or at least prophylactically. So the biotics – germs – have a lot of practice becoming resistant. Therefore when you, that is, you or me personally, need an antibiotic, it may not work. Etc. Here’s a piece by Maryn McKenna (also worth looking at regularly) about how TB is forgotten but not gone.

The headline says it all: Why Cut Subsidies to Multinational Corporations When You Can Cut Food Stamps Instead? Thank you, Justin Rohrlich. More on this in my column next week.

So, of course I had to check it out…

This is the United States of America, yet 44.1 million people — 13.1% of the population — struggle to afford food.

Well, what better time to further entrench automatic subsidy payments to monolithic agribusiness multinationals and cut unnecessary expenditures like the SNAP program, otherwise known as “food stamps.”

Tim Fernholz at the National Journal writes:

The House Agriculture Committee endorsed a letter this week to Budget Chairman Paul Ryan arguing that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans purchase food, would make a better target for cuts than automatic subsidies to farms.

via Why Cut Subsidies To Multinational Corporations When You Can Cut Food Stamps Instead? | The Daily Feed | Minyanville.com.

I was just on the phone with my mother and we were asking each other what it is our Republican leaders think they are doing. It’s got to penetrate at some point that you can’t keep cutting taxes on the rich and cutting services to the rest forever…At some point “the rest” are not going to take it any more. And now that all over the country, law enforcement officers  are being laid off along with the teachers, the street repair workers, and the garbage collectors, who is going to come when you call?

Walk In Nature, It Restores The Mind

“Everybody,” Muir said, “needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

Turns out they were ahead of their time. “Attention Restoration Theory” or ART, which posits that a walk in the woods helps refocus the mind and revive the spirit, has been a growing field of research for the past 20 years. New studies are quantifying the restorative powers of nature and suggesting how the restorative process works. [1]

It’s a practice that has been used for as long as recorded history. Religious orders from all over the world have used the the meditative walk in nature to focus the mind.

This is a line of research is one I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future…It’ll keep me taking myself outside and walking more often. After studying the papers listed in article, I headed out on my walking trail out back for an hours health break.

[1] Attention Restoration Theory Taps Nature’s Medicine | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune..

What’s The World Like In The 21st Century?

I found this in my email reading today…It makes you wonder if the modern world is really all that modern after all. Apparently for about a third of the world’s population not a whole lot has changed in 21 centuries…

Cooking and Heating in the 21st Century.

Some two billion people around the world, (Lakshman) Guruswami notes, do most or all of their cooking and heating with fires from simple biomass — dried dung, wood, brush, or crop residues. In India alone, the ratio is much higher — about three-fourths.

“Think about that,” says Guruswami, who directs his university’s Center for Energy and Environmental Security. “Two billion people, one-third of the people on Earth, are caught in a time warp, with no access to modern energy. They got energy from Prometheus a long time ago, and that was it.” …via World’s Pall of Black Carbon Can Be Eased With New Stoves by Jon R. Luoma: Yale Environment 360.

One of the points of the article is that the cooking fires of the third world have a  greater impact on the worlds climate than we previously thought. The other main point was about the effects of sooty biomass cooking fires on the health of the women and children who spent most of their days close to them, and in most cultures, indoors.

Even if the health impacts were unknown, the climate data alone should be reason enough to do something about the situation…But, knowing the health impacts you would think we already would have fixed the situation. Why haven’t we?

The main thrust of the piece though was about the improvements already being made in the design and construction of biomass cooking stoves, the kind of stoves in uses daily to feed these two billion people. the main thing hindering adapting theses “improved” stoves appears to be traditions. Like people everywhere, these are reluctant to embrace change…even change that saves them money, saves the environment and improves their lives.

Two Billion People…

That number…Two billion people rang a bell. I thought about it a while and it finally hit me. Something I remembered from a while back. A quick run to Google and sure enough the numbers matched up…

The Importance of Light.

Why does light matter?

Two billion people living in the developing world rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. Not only are these options expensive, dangerous, and harmful to the environment, they also negatively impact health, education, and security. Literacy and Education Our lights provide an opportunity for children to read at night and to extend school hours. This is especially important in developing countries where most children spend all day tending crops, taking care of livestock, or working in cottage industries. Kerosene is increasingly expensive, especially given the recent rise in the price of petrochemicals, so many families cannot afford it. Flashlights are even more expensive, and candles do not provide adequate lighting to read. As a result, many children will never learn to read and will be trapped in a life of poverty. Our lights give them a chance at a better life, thus education is one of the strongest pillars in our vision to light the world.

The BoGo Light

The BoGo Light is a scientific, eco-friendly breakthrough that is making an impact worldwide. From Cairo to Cape Town, from the Caribbean to the Amazon, it is improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire villages by replacing costly kerosene, candles, and disposable battery flashlights with an affordable, long lasting, solar flashlight. BoGo means Buy one, Give one. We want our lights to benefit the less fortunate; therefore, with each light purchased in the developed world, a second identical light will be donated to an organization that will distribute it in the developing world with our direct financial support. Give the Gift of Light, and Help Us Change the World! …via The Importance of Light.

I sprung for three of the BoGo lights a few years back…They saved our bacon during the aftermath of Ike. They still sit on the windowsill in the kitchen staying charged for when we need them. And another three went to Africa to light the nights for some folks who don’t have our normal access to the power grid…

Two Billion People…

Where else does the phrase “two billion people” show up?

  • “More than two billion people…are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).” Telegraph.
  • Two Billion People Watched Olympic Opening Ceremonies ~ MediaBuyerPlanner.
  • More than two billion people lack adequate sanitation: UN ~ AFP
  • In multiple reports on the estimated Swine Flue infections…last year
  • Estimated number of people with internet access within the next year
  • Estimated number of cell phones worldwide

As you can see…It is an odd justification of facts with the same figures…Who knew…