Saturday, February 25, 2017

I know how to have fun.

It feels like April vacation. Spring Cleaning! This would mean Passover is right around the corner. But it is not. I love matzoh balls and I have never made them.

Tuesday is Mardi Gras and Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.

I am in transmit-mode so I am cleaning and baking and feeding and running too fast. I am impatient happy and short tempered all at once. Don't cross me! I spent part of my week at the doctors office and in the dentists chair. But I am still alive and cheerful.

I have waffles in my freezer and my dog is awaiting a run.

I am enthusiastic about baking lemon biscotti and do more vacuuming under the couch. Vacuuming is a delicious pleasure when the MOOD strikes. I washed my dog and swept the front porch. It needs another coat of gray paint but it looks happy cleared of sand.

Today I will resume washing the chairs and bench with Murphy's Oil Soap. I rescued them from the trash on Champlain Ave. They still smell like cigarettes and stale air. I have a dog nose. The WPD should hire me to be their sniffer dog. My payment would be a day-glow zipper sweatshirt, sneakers, and smoked-turkey sandwiches. Such a deal!

I am dancing around in my tights to the bubble gum radio.
I know how to have fun.

Gail Caldwell Books

I am so in love with this book The Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. I want to write her a fan letter. I am thrilled that she has another memoir. These are must own books, which means I will reread them a gain and again. Good writing is good music. LOVE IT!

Fog and Running

I love fog! We slept with windows open and fan blowing in the fresh air. What a luxury. I wore out my sneakers again. I put 500 miles on them. Lily is a trooper. She is going to be ten and she is always up for a run walk 4-5 miles a day is her fitness requirement. Me too!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Facts Don't Change Minds

Article

Walking to the Pond

We walked to the pond and pushed ice away so Lily could get a drink. It was 75 degrees hot and sunny.

When Children Raise Children

When children raise children the cycle of emotional bankruptcy continues.

Asthma


There's Fun and Fitness in the Pool for Asthmatic Kids

MONDAY, Feb. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Safe, healthy fun for kids with asthma may be as near as the neighborhood pool, one respiratory specialist says.

Staying active can be a challenge for the more than 6 million children with asthma in the United States, noted Dr. Tod Olin. He's a pediatric pulmonary specialist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

"It can be a dilemma for many families. All it takes is one asthma attack, and suddenly patients can become very tentative about overdoing it," he said in a hospital news release.

"When it comes to cardio activities that are well-tolerated, swimming, specifically, is highly recommended, particularly in indoor swimming pools," Olin said.

The high humidity in indoor swimming pools protects against asthma attacks by keeping airways open, he said.

"We think that the way asthma attacks happen is that the airways dry out, and that sets off a cascade of reactions that ultimately squeezes down the airway," Olin explained. "If we can prevent that initial airway-drying step by staying in a humid environment, we prevent the asthma attack all together."

Children with asthma have often been told to limit exercise, he noted. "More recently, we've changed our approach," he said. "We now encourage kids to exercise, especially as the obesity epidemic has become more and more problematic."

Starting with swimming and letting kids with asthma choose the sports they enjoy make it more likely they will stay active, he said.

"I generally recommend that they use their albuterol inhaler about 15 minutes before exercise, but if their asthma is well-controlled, there is no reason to limit any activity," Olin said. "If their heart is taking them toward a certain sport, they should be encouraged to pursue that."

More information

The American Lung Association has more on asthma in children.

SOURCE: National Jewish Health, news release, Feb. 8, 2017

Swimming in the Pond in February

Edgewater drive Blackstone MA.75 degrees. Feels like 77 due to the snow.

8 Days: DANGEROUS

Article
Placing U.S. national security in the hands of people who think America’s diversity is a “weakness” is dangerous.

Caitlyn Jenner

I have a message for the trans kids of America. You are winning. I know it doesn’t feel that way today or every day, but you _ are _ winning. You are going to keep on winning so much you’re going to get sick of winning. Very soon, we'll win full freedom nationwide, and it’s going to happen with bipartisan support. For all our friends out there, If you want to be part of this winning side, you can help by checking out the National Center for Trans Equality and letting Washington hear how you feel loud and clear. (Link in bio!) Now…I also have a message for the bullies. You suck. You’re losers and you’re going to keep on losing. Because you’re weak, you pick on kids or you pick on women or anyone you think is vulnerable. Apparently even becoming the Attorney General isn’t enough to cure some of you of your insecurity. As proof that you can’t stop our progress, the Supreme Court will soon hear an important Title Nine case thanks to the courage of a brave young man named Gavin Grimm. See you in court!

Artist Gives Lumberjack a Nose Job

Beauchemin Lumber Company has repainted their lumberjack, the wooden larger than life-sized man holding an axe while protruding from the building. "Nice job, on the lumberjack I said to the guy driving a forklift of lumber.
We had him repainted.
Looks good. The funny thing is his nostrils are huge!
Yeah I know.
He looks like a pig, I said. If you set up the lift I'd be happy to bring my paints up there and fix his nose.

When Hate Haunts a Graveyard by Ariana Tobin

Article

Krugman!

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist
Death and Tax Cuts

Paul Krugman FEB. 24, 2017

Constituents listening to Senator Bill Cassidy on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Denham Springs, La. Credit Emily Kask for The New York Times

Across the country, Republicans have been facing crowds demanding to know how they will protect the 20 million Americans who gained health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and will lose it if the act is repealed. And after all that inveighing against the evils of Obamacare, it turns out that they’ve got nothing.

Instead, they’re talking about freedom — which these days is the real refuge of scoundrels.

Actually, many prominent Republicans haven’t even gotten to the point of trying to respond to criticism; they’re just whining about how mean their constituents are being, and invoking conspiracy theories. Talk about snowflakes who can dish it out but can’t take it!

Thus, Representative Jason Chaffetz insisted that the public outcry is just “a paid attempt to bully and intimidate”; Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, calls all anti-Trump demonstrations a “very paid, AstroTurf-type movement.” And the tweeter in chief angrily declared that protests have been “planned out by liberal activists” — because what could be worse than political action by the politically active?

SPICER: Protesting has become a profession now. This has become a very paid AstroTurf-type movement pic.twitter.com/Spa2qh3FFe
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) Feb. 6, 2017

The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Feb. 21, 2017

But perhaps the saddest spectacle is that of Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, whom the media have for years portrayed as a serious, honest conservative, a deep thinker about how to reform America’s safety net. That reputation was never justified; still, even those of us who long ago recognized him as a flimflammer have been struck by his utter failure to rise to this occasion.

After years to prepare, Mr. Ryan finally unveiled what was supposedly the outline of a health care plan. It was basically a sick joke: flat tax credits, unrelated to income, that could be applied to the purchase of insurance.

These credits would be obviously inadequate for the lower- and even middle-income families that gained coverage under Obamacare, so it would cause a huge surge in the number of uninsured. Meanwhile, the affluent would receive a nice windfall. Funny how that seems to happen in every plan Mr. Ryan proposes.
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That was last week. This week, perhaps realizing how flat his effort fell, he began tweeting about freedom, which he defined as “the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need.” Give me consumer sovereignty or give me death! And Obamacare, he declared, is bad because it deprives Americans of that freedom by doing things like establishing minimum standards for insurance policies.

Freedom is the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need. Obamacare is Washington telling you what to buy regardless of your needs.
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) Feb. 21, 2017

I very much doubt that this is going to fly, now that ordinary Americans are starting to realize just how devastating loss of coverage would be. But for the record, let me remind everyone what we’ve been saying for years: Any plan that makes essential care available to everyone has to involve some restriction of choice.

Suppose you want to make insurance available to people with pre-existing conditions. You can’t just forbid insurance companies to discriminate based on medical history; if you do that, healthy people won’t sign up until they get sick. So you have to mandate the purchase of insurance; and you have to provide subsidies to lower-income families so that they can afford the policies. The end result of this logic is … Obamacare.

And one more thing: Insurance policies must meet a minimum standard. Otherwise, healthy people will buy cheap policies with paper-thin coverage and huge deductibles, which is basically the same as not buying insurance at all.

So yes, Obamacare somewhat restricts choice — not because meddling bureaucrats want to run your life, but because some restrictions are necessary as part of a package that in many ways sets Americans free.

For health reform has been a hugely liberating experience for millions. It means that workers don’t have to fear that quitting a job with a large company will mean loss of health coverage, and that entrepreneurs don’t have to fear striking out on their own. It means that those 20 million people who gained coverage don’t have to fear financial ruin if they get sick — or unnecessary death if they can’t afford treatment. For there is no real question that Obamacare is saving tens of thousands of lives every year.

So why do Republicans hate Obamacare so much? It’s not because they have better ideas; as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, they’re coming up empty-handed on the “replace” part of “repeal and replace.” It’s not, I’m sorry to say, because they are deeply committed to Americans’ right to buy the insurance policy of their choice.

No, mainly they hate Obamacare for two reasons: It demonstrates that the government can make people’s lives better, and it’s paid for in large part with taxes on the wealthy. Their overriding goal is to make those taxes go away. And if getting those taxes cut means that quite a few people end up dying, remember: freedom!

Self Competition

Fostering self-competition is not the only way to make women as competitive as men.
Article

I Can't Believe He's Still President!

Breaking Promises: Narcissism 101

Article

Billionaires often feel isolated, Mr. Klontz said, and find it difficult to trust people or have authentic relationships that are not about money.

Article
“Although they know money is not the key to happiness, they can’t stop counting it,” Mr. Klontz said. It’s especially challenging for those who are self-made, as opposed to those who inherit a fortune. For self-made billionaires, he said, “Their entire self-image and all their self-esteem is wrapped up in the pursuit of money.”

Billionaires often feel isolated, Mr. Klontz said, and find it difficult to trust people or have authentic relationships that are not about money. On top of that, they have a hard time finding a sympathetic ear. “There is a sense they can’t really tell anyone what they are dealing with, because no one wants to hear about their struggles,” he said. “As a society, we don’t have the head space to entertain the notion of a billionaire having a bad day.”
[...]


Becoming a counselor for the ultrarich was a long journey for Mr. Klontz, who grew up outside Detroit. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his mother, a part-time kindergarten teacher pregnant with his sister at the time, was granted full custody. Although she remarried a few years later to a high school teacher, their economic situation barely improved. Mr. Klontz said they went from being under “tremendous financial strain” to straddling the lower- to middle-class line during the rest of his childhood.

Despite earning a doctorate in psychology, he remained financially strapped, graduating with $100,000 in accumulated student loan debt and a lot of anxiety about it.

But it was 1999, and many of his friends were making lots of money trading stocks. “I thought: This is what rich people do, so I’ll do this, too,” he said. Mr. Klontz sold his truck for about $7,000, bought a $450 car and threw everything that was left into tech stocks. “In three months the bubble burst and I lost everything I invested.”

Rather than blame the market, Mr. Klontz decided to figure out what had caused his behavior. “I went home and interviewed several of my family members about their relationship with money,” he said. “I found stories that blew my mind. But the one that is most salient, is that my grandfather lost all the family’s money in the Great Depression and after that, never put a dollar in a bank again, not for the rest of his life. He died in his 90s, living in a trailer park.”

Mr. Klontz became interested in learning more about his family’s enormous anxiety around money. His mother, for example, had so much anxiety around it that she put every cent she saved into low-interest-bearing certificates of deposit, rather than the stock market. “I saw these patterns around money in families that I call dysfunctional pendulum swing: You either do exactly what your parents did or the exact opposite,” he said. “And that’s what I did: I did the riskiest thing you could do.”

After his stock market gamble, it took him three years of living extremely close to the bone to pull himself out of debt. The desire to understand the financial beliefs and behaviors of his own, lower-income family led him to dissect the behaviors and beliefs of high-net-worth individuals. And now he works with some of the wealthiest people in the world, many of whom came to him after reading his books or being referred by other clients.

[..]
“They [Billionaire's] often have a distorted feedback loop. People are drawn to them for their status and perceived power, so they tend to be surrounded by people who endorse their worldview and don’t challenge their way of thinking. Very few people are honest with them.”

Gavin Grimm: On the National Stage

“No one was in a rush to bring this case to the Supreme Court,” said Joshua Block, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Mr. Grimm. “Gavin didn’t choose this fight; this fight happened to Gavin. But now that we are here, lives are at stake, and they are at stake in a way that is even more acute because you don’t have a federal government anymore to protect us.”
[...]

But asking him about his career plans brings a Gavin-like answer — wry and pointed.

“I want to be,” he said, “someone who doesn’t have to talk about where he is going to use the bathroom.”

Article

Orange Devil Inciting Violence

Article

57 North Main Street

A vintage collection of buildings historically significant. I walked by there today. They are being sold as residential and commercial properties.

Knowing How to Live

That's what it comes down to. Knowing how to live. It's not about money or any of the baubles it's about appreciation and laughter, good books, canine friends and being an authentic human being. Life is short, be kind.

Baking Brown Rice

My favorite way to make brown rice when I am using the dining room table as my office, is to bake brown rice using a heavy iron pot with a tight fitting lid. I add salt and olive oil to the rice-water and Adobo. It bakes for an hour.

Prevention Pays Off!

State awards $1.4 million to new groups dealing with substance abuse prevention needs
Wednesday
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at 6:56 PM Updated Feb 22, 2017 at 6:56 PM

By Lynn Arditi
Journal staff writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The state has awarded $1.4 million in federal block grant funding to five new regional task forces to assess substance abuse prevention needs and promote behavioral health.

The five-year block grant awards from the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH) will help the task forces develop plans to address gaps in resources and community needs, as well as develop a local strategic plan, BHDDH said in a statement. The work will be based on evidence-based and "best practice" interventions, the statement said, and the task forces will continually evaluate the impact of their efforts.

The funds were awarded to the following groups:

• Woonsocket Prevention Coalition Corporation – serving Burrillville, Woonsocket, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket, North Smithfield and Central Falls;

• Providence Healthy Communities Office – serving the City of Providence;

• BAY Team, Town of Barrington -- serving East Providence, Barrington, Warren and Bristol;

• Newport County Prevention Coalition, Town of Tiverton – serving Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton, Jamestown, Middletown and Newport;

How to be a Human

If there was a rule book on how to be a human there are a few things I would want to include. First off I'd say when a parent dies, make sure to let the children know.
Don't lie about your ethnic background to your children or spouse.
Tell the truth to your children about their biological parents, marriages adoptions and divorces.

Baked Almonds

Bake raw almonds for 25 minutes at 250 degrees f.

Internal Society

Article

What is genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)?

When a woman goes through menopause, her estrogen levels decrease along with the levels of other steroid hormones. These decreases can lead to changes in certain areas of her body, like the vagina, vulva, and bladder.

For example, estrogen helps keep the vagina moist and flexible. But when estrogen levels decline, the vagina can become dry and tight.

These hormonal drops can lead to a group of genital and urinary symptoms that are called genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).

GSM is thought to affect about half of postmenopausal women. Symptoms include:

• Dryness, burning sensations, and irritation in the genital area

• Poor vaginal lubrication during sex, discomfort or pain with intercourse, and impaired sexual function

• An urgent need to urinate, painful urination, or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Women do not need to have all of the symptoms to be diagnosed with GSM.
But the symptoms are bothersome and are not caused by another medical condition, such as an infection or allergy.

GSM is chronic and progressive. It does not get better over time. However, symptoms can be managed with treatment.

Genitourinary syndrome of menopause is a fairly new term. It was developed in 2014 by experts from the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). They felt that the term encompassed the genital, sexual, and urinary symptoms related to estrogen decline in ways that previous terms did not.
- See more at: http://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/what-is-genitourinary-syndrome-of-menopause-sgm/#sthash.1igAg0Vv.dpuf

Just Say NO to Plastic Speculums!

Most women don't like plastic speculums because they are larger than necessary and open wider than metal ones. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For women who are not sexually active or who have genitourinary syndrome of menopause, a vaginal exam can be particularly uncomfortable. There are speculums designed for just this purpose - smaller than the ones typically used. For a few of my patients, I use a smaller pediatric speculum. The shape of the speculum matters too. Graves speculums are wider and Pederson speculums are narrower and more comfortable, even for women who don't have genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Warming the speculums ahead of time also adds to their comfort. Your health-care provider can run warm (not hot) water over the speculum before an exam if he or she doesn't have a warmer for them. The water can often serve as the lubricant to avoid the messiness of a gel. Most women don't like plastic speculums because they are larger than necessary and open wider than metal ones. If you have any choice in the matter, say no to plastic speculums.

from The Estrogen Window by Mache Seibel

(p. 191, published by Rodale 2016)

Poppys!

No poppy seed cakes for the post office

The Claim: Eating Poppy Seeds Can Make You Fail a Drug Test

By ANAHAD O'CONNORJAN. 11, 2005
Continue reading the main story
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THE CLAIM -- Eating poppy seeds can make you fail a drug test.

THE FACTS -- Heroin, a highly addictive drug, and poppy seeds, a pleasant and widely used cooking ingredient, derive from the same source, the opium poppy. This has led to a widespread belief that eating poppy seeds before a drug test is not a great idea.

But do poppy seeds really register in urine tests as opiates?

Absolutely, experts say.

Eating a couple of bagels heavily coated with poppy seeds can result in morphine in a person's system for hours, leading a routine drug test to come back positive. A subsequent test can rule out heroin, though not other opiates, by looking for a specific metabolite, 6-acetylmorphine.

But someone who has a poppy-seed bagel for breakfast and is tested later that day would still have far lower levels of morphine than a person who, for example, abuses painkillers. For that reason, the federal government recently raised the threshold for opiates in workplace testing, to 2,000 nanograms a milliliter from 300. Dr. Timothy P. Rohrig of the Regional Forensic Science Center in Kansas said eating three large bagels covered in poppy seeds could push a person over the old opiate threshold, though probably not the new one.

If someone tests well above the 2,000 limit and "tries to explain it by saying she ate 15 bagels for lunch, it would sound absurd," Dr. Rohrig said. But a person with a cold who claimed to use cough syrup with an opiate like codeine might be more believable, he said.

THE BOTTOM LINE -- Poppy seeds can affect the outcome of a drug test. ANAHAD O'CONNOR

Henry Greg and Dave

On my walk this morning I ran into my pals walking downtown. Greg Marcoux told me that his 4 aunts as young girls used to row across Spring Lake as kids to get ice for the ice box. Their father died when they were 12 and this was how they helped their mother.
"That's a story for the museum," I said.

Henry walks for miles I see him each morning. He loves Lily. He told me Donat is not doing well. "He's limping and taking small steps. He's my age, he turned 89 in December and I turned 89 in February 1st," said Henry.
"Really, I thought you were in your 60's. Do you ever see Eugene and Rita? They 're brother and sister in their upper 80's 8 years ago. They used to walk from Manville to Woonsocket each day. I haven't seen them in a few years," I said.
"There's a guy who works at Chelos for 35 years who carries weights, he walks from Manville each day," said Henry.
"Yes, I know him! The city is full of great people. If people got out of their cars and walked they would see how great most people are," I said
"I agree," said Henry
I saw Dave picking up garbage on Clinton Street in his Highway Dept lime glow green zipper sweatshirt.
"I'll volunteer, I have a bucket and a grabber, I want the zipper sweatshirt!"
"Ask the Mayor," Dave said. "She'll give you one."
"I'll work for it!" I said smiling.

Mystery of Weldon Keyes

It is the birthday of Weldon Kees (books by this author), born in Beatrice, Nebraska, in 1914. Kees first poetry collection was published in 1943, the first of three collections to be released in his lifetime. He wrote a handful of poems about a character named Robinson. Robinson, “in a Glen plaid jacket, Scotch-grain shoes … his sad and usual heart, dry as a winter leaf.” He moved to New York City and began attending parties with literary critics like Edmund Wilson and Lionel Trilling. But he never felt comfortable in that society.

To supplement his poetry income he became a film critic. At some point Kees took up painting and did well. His name was listed beside the greats of his time, his work hanging beside that of Picasso, Mondrian, and de Kooning. He also collaborated with musicians on the San Francisco jazz scene for a number of years.

In 1955, Kees made a phone call to a friend. At the end of their conversation he asked her, “What keeps you going?” Later that day, Kees packed a sleeping bag and his savings account book and disappeared. His car was discovered abandoned on the Golden Gate Bridge, and to this day no one knows for certain whether he killed himself or went to Mexico.
New Yorker Article about Weldon Kees Mystery

Wideman

“Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.”
—John Edgar Wideman

Wilhelm Karl Grimm

It’s the birthday of Wilhelm Karl Grimm, (books by this author), born in Hanau, Germany (1786). He and Jacob, his older brother, published Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812), the first collection of folklore in modern publishing history. Wilhelm was more romantic and literary, and Jacob was more intellectual. For the most part, Wilhelm found the stories, and Jacob theorized about them.

Spiral-bound mornings:Jane Hirschfield

Today is the birthday of Jane Hirshfield (books by this author), born in New York City (1953). She started writing poems as soon as she could write, and she bought her first book of poetry — a one-dollar book of Japanese haiku — when she was eight. “I don’t know what drew me so strongly to those poems,” she said, “or what I could have seen in them at that age, but I recognized something that I absolutely knew I had to have in my life.” At Princeton, where she was a member of the first graduating class to include women, she began studying classical-era Japanese and Chinese literature. She published her first poem in 1973, and her first book of poems, Alaya, in 1982. Her other poetry collections include The Beauty (2015); After (2006); and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001).

She was born to Jewish parents who weren’t particularly observant; she received no religious education, but they did hold a Passover Seder each year. She enjoyed customs like the bitter herbs and the salted hard-boiled egg, but never really felt that the Jewish tradition belonged to her and vice versa. At one point, when she was very small, she wished her family were Catholic so that she could be a nun when she grew up. Now she is an ordained lay practitioner of Zen Buddhism. “I came to California in 1974,” she said, “in a red Dodge van with yellow tied-dyed curtains, looking for a place to live and for what I thought might be a waitressing job that could support me while I wrote. But on the way, I took a detour. I was curious about Zen and knew there was a monastery, Tassajara, in the Ventana Wilderness inland from Big Sur. Because it was the summer guest season rather than the stricter winter practice period time, I was able to drive in over the rather perilous 14-mile dirt road and stay for a week as a ‘guest student.’ […] I decided to stay a few months, until I understood what Buddhism was all about. After a few months, what you understand is that you know nothing about what Buddhism is all about. […] I think of this time as the diamond at the center of my life. Whoever I now am came out of that experience.” She practiced Zen Buddhism full time for eight years, and wrote only one haiku during that period. When she left the monastery, she returned to poetry. “The ability to stay in the moment, to investigate it through my own body and mind, was what I most needed to learn at that point in my life,” she says. “To stay within my own experience more fearlessly. I think that’s why I needed to practice Zen, rather than go to graduate school. You cannot write until you know how to inhabit your own experience.”

In addition to her eight books of poetry, Hirshfield has also published two collections of essays. Her first was Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997). She wrote the essays over a span of 10 years. Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World came out in 2015. She’s translated a volume of Japanese poetry (The Ink Dark Moon, 1990), and has assembled an anthology of women’s spiritual writing (Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, 1994).

Mary Ellen Chase

She said: “Most readers think that a novel is, first of all, a story. Well, it really isn’t … A novel is an evolution of life. Its story is merely a means to an end.”

George Agustus Moore

He wrote, “A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Losing and Reinventing

Today, Ms. Stroh is a successful businesswoman. Now 50, she lives in San Francisco, and took a relatively modest inheritance of about $200,000 in stocks from her mother and made savvy investments in tech companies and real estate. As a small-time developer and landlord, she is able to live independently in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

She is doing well enough that she is investing back in Detroit, but in a way that will pay a different type of dividend. She donated half of the advance and 10 percent of the book sale proceeds from “Beer Money” to 826michigan, a nonprofit organization that tutors school-age children in writing.

“One of my goals with the book was to use it as a way to re-engage with Detroit in a meaningful way,” Ms. Stroh said.
Article

Smoked Turkey

Who needs a komado when it's 65 degrees out in February, you can smoke a turkey on the weber grill or make pizza over hardwood charcoal.

Maybe this year I can plant an herb garden and tomatoes, and make sun dried tomatoes.

Urban homesteading rocks!

A Pony for Woony

Worcester is getting a team of mounted police this summer and I am jealous. I want a pony for Woony. Maybe someday if we are really good we can do it. My friend Bart Massucco is opening a vet clinic on Social Street CTYSIDE VET CLINIC He also trains and breeds horses. Maybe this is closer than we think.

65 Degrees and Snow

It's February vacation week. I'm sitting at my picnic table wearing a summer dress and flip-flops. The neighborhood kids are playing basketball. There is snow on the ground from the last storm. Dogs are out barking and the sun is burning my neck. I have friends vacationing in Florida for vacation. But Florida weather came here.

Grilled Pumpkin

Recipe

Shampoo Bar Recipe

Shampoo bar recipe
I have to tell you guys something. I've been keeping it a secret, more or less, for about six weeks now. Okay, admittedly, it's not very exciting, but I wanted to let you know that I stopped using shampoo and switched over to using shampoo bars instead.

I switched out my shampoo mostly in an effort to reduce my plastic consumption, but also to avoid some of the toxic chemicals in the salon shampoos I've been using. Even the Aveda stuff I have has a few nasty things in them and want to avoid.

I ran across a new shampoo bar in my local grocery store, sold by Camamu out of Portland. I later saw that it was sold at my local co-op in a number of different kinds. I've tried both the Rosemary and Laranja bars and liked them a lot. The Laranja works better for my hair since it's blondish. My husband has been using the Rosemary (he has black hair) and has been totally loving it as well.

It took about a week after using it for my hair to feel decent, mostly because I think it was adjusting to not being stripped and having all those silicones getting deposited as with the standard shampoo. My hair looked fine, not greasy or anything, it just kind of felt a little weird. But, I was also trying to switch out a few things at once so I'm sure that had something to do with it as well.

Anyway, now I just use a shampoo bar, a little Aveda conditioner (without any creepy parabens and whatnot) and that's it. One thing I've noticed is that my hair is super shiny. Like fake, hair commercial shiny. My hair has never been shiny, probably because of the shampoo film that's been coating it all these years.

About two weeks into my shampoo bar adventure I was in love and decided that I wanted to try to make my own. So, after extensive research and going through my soap making stock, I settled on my own recipe. Below is the basic recipe, I'll tell you how to customize it for your hair color at the end.

Oh, and one more thing, this is a cold process soap. Please follow all the basics for making this type of soap. In other words, be careful with the lye - I'm not responsible for soap making calamities by posting this recipe online. If you don't have the right fats, feel free to switch them out (use an online lye calculator to adjust the lye!), just make sure to leave in the castor and jojoba oils. That's what makes this a shampoo bar and not a body soap.

Basic Shampoo Bar Recipe
4 ounces castor oil
2 ounces jojoba oil
4 ounces sunflower oil

3 ounces palm oil
1 ounce cocoa butter
8 ounces coconut oil

8 ounces distilled water
3 ounces lye

1/2 to 1 ounce essential oils at trace

Cut into bars when solid. When I made it, this took about 4 days, but check frequently.

Let the bars cure, covered by a towel, for 4 weeks.

Lemon Chamomile Shampoo Bar
(for blonde hair)

I like to call this one, California Sunshine Shampoo Bar. Follow the above recipe except, instead of the distilled water, steep a half cup or so of chamomile tea herbs in 12 ounces of boiling distilled water and strain well. Measure out 8 ounces and use this for your water.

At trace, add in 1 ounce of lemon essential oil or use a mix of citrus essential oils. I used a combination of lemon, orange, lemongrass and bergamot.

Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar
(for dark hair)

Follow the above recipe except, instead of the distilled water, steep a half cup or so of chopped rosemary in 12 ounces of boiling distilled water and strain well. Measure out 8 ounces and use this for your water.

At trace, add in rosemary and mint essential oils.

Ditch the Dryer

Tips for air drying clothes indoors
When I started this challenge, a number of people asked me why I was doing it in October when the weather is crappy, rather than during the summer when the weather is perfect for air drying clothes. Well, I did that on purpose. You guys want a challenge, don't you? Where's the challenge in perfect weather? I'm just kidding, of course.

For many Americans, learning a new way of drying clothes that doesn't involve the minute it takes to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer is a challenge. Sure, we look pathetic to the rest of the world where line drying is de rigueur, but we all have it in our heads that we can't live without a dryer and that just isn't true. Clothes dryers have only been around for the masses for the last 50 years and I would argue that Americans at the turn of the 20th century, working in factories, were a heck of a lot busier than we are today.

There are two issues at play: one is the expectation that you can wear an article of clothing for 10 minutes and it's destined for the laundry bin. Even one day is sufficient. Two days it's starting to get scary and don't even think about wearing something for more than that. Convenience has taught us that clothes are dirty after one wearing. When, for most of us (unless you are a farmer or work in a mine), you could easily get away with another wearing.

The second is that there is no work involved in washing and drying clothes. And that's the expectation we've come to have. Line drying seems insurmountable and the idea that it takes a ton more time to line dry clothes really isn't all that accurate. It takes maybe 5 minutes? Tops. Are you that strapped for time that you can't spend 5 minutes?

Anyway, I'd thought I'd share a few tips for drying clothes inside since people are asking for help. I'll follow-up with a post for how to keep clothes from feeling "crunchy".

First off, if you live in an area where it is rainy and moist most of the year (like we do in Seattle), you're going to have to adapt a few things. The primary complaint is that clothes take too long to dry and they start smelling moldy.

Some of the techniques you can do to prevent this is to:

1. Use a movable rack so that you can move your clothes into the sun/daylight near a window if it does decide to rear its head.

2. Use a movable rack or position your line near a heating source. If you have a wood burning stove, you're in luck. If you have central heating, place it near a heating vent. If you use electrical heat, put it near the baseboard or fan. You get my drift. If it's too cold out to dry your clothes, most likely you are using some heat at least part of the day inside. Or the oven, or some room is going to be warmer than others. Use it.

3. If you don't turn the heat on (stay tuned for this year's Freeze Yer Buns!) then make sure you rotate your clothes on the rack or line. So, if there are any spots that get less airflow, alternate positions. If you use a rack, flip the clothes over so the damp parts are exposed.

4. When in doubt, or desperation, use a space heater or a fan to help with airflow. The electricity used will be far less than using the dryer.

5. If you must use the dryer, dry your clothes for about 5 minutes before "finishing" them on the line. They'll dry faster and have less opportunity for smelling mildewy.

6. If moisture is your problem, try a dehumidifier. It will not only help your clothes, but probably the rest of the house as well. It costs pennies a day to run smaller dehumidifiers. If you really have a humidity problem, look into a hybrid water heater that pulls moisture out of the air to help heat the water.

7. If certain items start smelling funky, try a chlorine free bleach, vinegar rinse or something else to kill the stink next time you wash it. This shouldn't be necessary, but if you feel you need it, give it a try.

Those are my hints and tips for successful indoor drying. When in doubt, don't freak out, just finish drying for 5 minutes in the dryer.

Any other suggestions out there?

a giant waste of plastic and PAINFUL!!!

Greening your pelvic exam
I ran across this post the other day and was surprised to learn that there was such a thing as a disposable plastic speculum. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about and the image to the left doesn't ring a bell, a speculum is the thing a doctor inserts in a woman during a pelvic exam, during a pap smear and for generally taking a peek around the ol' puddietat. My experience has always only been with a metal speculum, the kind that gets autoclaved and reused countless times on other unsuspecting victims, er, patients.

A plastic speculum seems to be a giant waste of plastic and a wholly unnecessary one at that. If you think about it, the minimum recommended number of pap smears over a woman's lifetime is something like 23. Add in other pelvic exams and the number is much higher.

As a snapshot, there are currently 150 million females living in the US. If all our doctors used a disposable plastic speculum, that would be 3.5 billion speculums going into the landfill by the end of all our lives. Wow, what a legacy to leave behind, huh? If this sounds like a weird thing to focus on, it's really not, because it's something that has a relatively easy to acquire alternative - the stainless steel speculum. The one that was routinely in use before cheap plastics came along.

So, what to do about this? Well, the next time you get a pap smear, talk to your doctor about your preference for a metal speculum. If you are concerned about it being cold, they can place it in warm water beforehand (that's what my doctor does). Discuss your concern for medical waste. There are some things we can't reuse (IV tubing for example), but this one seems like a no brainer. Plus, there's less risk of it cracking or breaking. The last thing I want are shards of plastic lacerating my lady bits. Finally, the plastic speculums tend to not slide as easily as the stainless steel variety, thereby necessitating more lubrication or resulting in a more painful pelvic exam.

If you are a guy reading this, you aren't off the hook either. I'm sure you have a mother, sister, wife, daughter or female friend in your life that could use some educatin'. And, nothing really brings family and folks together better than getting some helpful tips about pelvic exams from a dude.

What kind of speculum does your doctor use?

Woonsocket Waffle Party

I would love to make waffles for our Woonsocket Police Department because they are the most amazing police department in the USA and they have transformed our neighborhood from bad to desirable.

Waffle Bender Continues

I dug out my "heirloom" Tupperware box to fill with multi-grain sourdough buttermilk buckwheat wholewheat, corn, sesame, sunflower, sliced almond, dried cranberry, poppy seed waffles this morning. I filled three plastic boxes. I used 4 eggs and lots of sourdough starter and worked backwards from there. I added kosher/and sea salt baking soda and a dash or two of sugar.

Coffee Naps Explained

video

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Legacy of Lunacy in Four Weeks

Suicide is a great option but not the approach that is worthy.
Article

The American Federation of Teachers sent out a statement condemning the plans


“LGBTQ kids face a disproportionate amount of bullying and violence at school, leading to increased levels of fear, anxiety or worse," it said. "Transgender students, like their peers, want to live and learn, laugh and love. They deserve the opportunity to do that without worrying whether the attorney general, secretary of education or president of the United States will protect them."

It continued: "Reversing this guidance tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans. We want to be clear to those kids: It is not OK with your teachers or with us at the AFT, and we will continue fighting to protect you."

Interesting Savory Waffles

Here

Dolphins: To prevent drowning while sleeping only half of the dolphin’s brain goes to sleep while the other half remains awake so they can continue to breathe!

Defenders of Wildlife

Basic Facts About Dolphins
Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals and are part of the family of toothed whales that includes orcas and pilot whales. They are found worldwide, mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid. Dolphin coloration varies, but they are generally gray in color with darker backs than the rest of their bodies.


Diet

Dolphins consume a variety of prey including fish, squid and crustaceans.
Population

It is difficult to estimate population numbers since there are many different species spanning a large geographic area.
Range

Did You Know?

Like bats, dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt, bouncing high-pitched sounds off of objects, and listening for the echoes.

Most species live in shallow areas of tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world. Five species live in the world's rivers.
Behavior

Dolphins are well known for their agility and playful behavior, making them a favorite of wildlife watchers. Many species will leap out of the water, spy-hop (rise vertically out of the water to view their surroundings) and follow ships, often synchronizing their movements with one another. Scientists believe that dolphins conserve energy by swimming alongside ships, a practice known as bow-riding.

Dolphins live in social groups of five to several hundred. They use echolocation to find prey and often hunt together by surrounding a school of fish, trapping them and taking turns swimming through the school and catching fish. Dolphins will also follow seabirds, other whales and fishing boats to feed opportunistically on the fish they scare up or discard.


Did You Know?

To prevent drowning while sleeping only half of the dolphin’s brain goes to sleep while the other half remains awake so they can continue to breathe!
Reproduction

Mating Season: Throughout the year, though in some areas there is a peak in spring and fall.
Gestation: 9-17 months depending on the species. When it is time to give birth, the female will distance herself from the pod, often going near the surface of the water.
Number of offspring: Usually one calf; twins are rare.
As soon as the calf is born, the mother must quickly take it to the surface so it can take its first breath. The calf will nurse from 11 months to 2 years, and after it is done nursing it will still stay with its mother until it is between 3 and 8 years old.
More on Dolphin: Threats to Dolphins »

Juniperus: Juniper

Juniper

( lat. Juniperus )
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Allergenicity

Severe
Pollen Season

Spring
Type

Tree
Sub-Type

Evergreen
Allergy Information

The mountain cedar (Juniperus asheii) species has been found to have significant allergenic properties. Research has named this to be of similar allergenicity to ragweed, one of the most allergenic pollen types.

The Education of an Unlikely Activist

Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth, Deep Economy, The End of Nature, Enough and founder of 350.org

Oil and Honey book
The Education of an Unlikely Activist

Praise for Oil and Honey
Read an Excerpt from Oil and Honey
Interviews

Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet

Bill McKibben is not a person you'd expect to find handcuffed and behind bars, but that's where he found himself in the summer of 2011 after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House.

With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Irene scouring the Atlantic, McKibben recognized that action was needed if solutions were to be found. Some of those would come at the local level, where McKibben joins forces with a Vermont beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.

Oil and Honey is McKibben’s account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight—from the center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers. With empathy and passion he makes the case for a renewed commitment on both levels, telling the story of raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement that’s still cresting.

Rescue Climate Data

Article

The man who studies the spread of ignorance

BBC Future?

The man who studies the spread of ignorance

How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge? Georgina Kenyon finds there is a term which defines this phenomenon.

By Georgina Kenyon

6 January 2016

This story is featured in BBC Future’s “Best of 2016” collection. Discover more of our picks.

In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco industry was revealed to the public. Called the Smoking and Health Proposal, and written a decade earlier by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, it revealed many of the tactics employed by big tobacco to counter “anti-cigarette forces”.

In one of the paper’s most revealing sections, it looks at how to market cigarettes to the mass public: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

This revelation piqued the interest of Robert Proctor, a science historian from Stanford University, who started delving into the practices of tobacco firms and how they had spread confusion about whether smoking caused cancer.

The tactics of big tobacco to obscure the facts of smoking’s harmful effects led Robert Proctor to create a new word

Proctor had found that the cigarette industry did not want consumers to know the harms of its product, and it spent billions obscuring the facts of the health effects of smoking. This search led him to create a word for the study of deliberate propagation of ignorance: agnotology.

Agnotology is the study of wilful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favour

It comes from agnosis, the neoclassical Greek word for ignorance or ‘not knowing’, and ontology, the branch of metaphysics which deals with the nature of being. Agnotology is the study of wilful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favour.

“I was exploring how powerful industries could promote ignorance to sell their wares. Ignorance is power… and agnotology is about the deliberate creation of ignorance.

“In looking into agnotology, I discovered the secret world of classified science, and thought historians should be giving this more attention.”

The 1969 memo and the tactics used by the tobacco industry became the perfect example of agnotology, Proctor says. “Ignorance is not just the not-yet-known, it’s also a political ploy, a deliberate creation by powerful agents who want you ‘not to know’.”

To help him in his search, Proctor enlisted the help of UC Berkeley linguist Iain Boal, and together they came up with the term – the neologism was coined in 1995, although much of Proctor’s analysis of the phenomenon had occurred in the previous decades.

Balancing act

Agnotology is as important today as it was back when Proctor studied the tobacco industry’s obfuscation of facts about cancer and smoking. For example, politically motivated doubt was sown over US President Barack Obama’s nationality for many months by opponents until he revealed his birth certificate in 2011. In another case, some political commentators in Australia attempted to stoke panic by likening the country’s credit rating to that of Greece, despite readily available public information from ratings agencies showing the two economies are very different.

The spread of ignorance is as relevant today as it was when Proctor coined his term

Proctor explains that ignorance can often be propagated under the guise of balanced debate. For example, the common idea that there will always be two opposing views does not always result in a rational conclusion. This was behind how tobacco firms used science to make their products look harmless, and is used today by climate change deniers to argue against the scientific evidence.

“This ‘balance routine’ has allowed the cigarette men, or climate deniers today, to claim that there are two sides to every story, that ‘experts disagree’ – creating a false picture of the truth, hence ignorance.”

We live in a world of radical ignorance – Robert Proctor

For example, says Proctor, many of the studies linking carcinogens in tobacco were conducted in mice initially, and the tobacco industry responded by saying that studies into mice did not mean that people were at risk, despite adverse health outcomes in many smokers.

A new era of ignorance

“We live in a world of radical ignorance, and the marvel is that any kind of truth cuts through the noise,” says Proctor. Even though knowledge is ‘accessible’, it does not mean it is accessed, he warns.

“Although for most things this is trivial – like, for example, the boiling point of mercury – but for bigger questions of political and philosophical import, the knowledge people have often comes from faith or tradition, or propaganda, more than anywhere else.”

When people do not understand a concept or fact, they are prey for special interest groups who work hard to create confusion (Credit: Thinkstock)

Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.

Consider climate change as an example. “The fight is not just over the existence of climate change, it’s over whether God has created the Earth for us to exploit, whether government has the right to regulate industry, whether environmentalists should be empowered, and so on. It’s not just about the facts, it’s about what is imagined to flow from and into such facts,” says Proctor.

Making up our own minds

Another academic studying ignorance is David Dunning, from Cornell University. Dunning warns that the internet is helping propagate ignorance – it is a place where everyone has a chance to be their own expert, he says, which makes them prey for powerful interests wishing to deliberately spread ignorance.

My worry is not that we are losing the ability to make up our own minds, but that it’s becoming too easy to do so – David Dunning

"While some smart people will profit from all the information now just a click away, many will be misled into a false sense of expertise. My worry is not that we are losing the ability to make up our own minds, but that it’s becoming too easy to do so. We should consult with others much more than we imagine. Other people may be imperfect as well, but often their opinions go a long way toward correcting our own imperfections, as our own imperfect expertise helps to correct their errors,” warns Dunning.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump's solutions that are either unworkable or unconstitutional are an example of agnotology, says Dunning

Dunning and Proctor also warn that the wilful spread of ignorance is rampant throughout the US presidential primaries on both sides of the political spectrum.

“Donald Trump is the obvious current example in the US, suggesting easy solutions to followers that are either unworkable or unconstitutional,” says Dunning.

So while agnotology may have had its origins in the heyday of the tobacco industry, today the need for both a word and the study of human ignorance is as strong as ever.

Egypt's Beloved Koshary Is A Modern Mystery In An Ancient Cuisine

NPR logo
The Salt
Egypt's Beloved Koshary Is A Modern Mystery In An Ancient Cuisine
February 22, 20177:00 AM ET

The assembly line set-up at Koshary Abou Tarek helps staff to keep up with the flood of orders at lunchtime.
Amy E. Robertson for NPR

Koshary is to Egyptian cuisine as the pyramids are to its culture. Emblematic. Iconic. Beloved.

Also spelled koshari or kushari (those pesky transliterations from Arabic script!), it is widely considered Egypt's national dish. Rice, lentils (black or brown), chickpeas and pasta are cooked individually, then tossed together and topped with cumin-scented tomato sauce and crunchy fried onions. Things get kicked up a notch with condiments of garlicky vinegar and a peppery hot sauce called shatta. Heavily laden with carbs and calories, a plate of koshary fills up even the hungriest of stomachs for just a few Egyptian pounds.

Notwithstanding its enormous popularity, koshary is a relatively recent invention of this ancient civilization.

"I had never eaten or known of koshary in Egypt before 1952, when I went to school in Paris," says Claudia Roden, an award-winning cookbook author and food historian who was born and raised in Cairo. "No one ever mentioned the recipe when I was researching my first book almost sixty years ago. Other people, who like me left Egypt in the fifties, have also told me that they did not remember it. Of course, it might have been sold in some quarter of Cairo that that I never went to."
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Its cousin, mujaddara, made of rice, lentils and fried onions, has long roots in Arab culture, and Roden guesses that koshary evolved from that culinary classic. She adds, "It's possible that the addition of short macaroni is an Italian influence."

Cheap and filling, hearty plates of rice with lentils and pasta are topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce and fried onions.
Amy E. Robertson for NPR

Pasta is called maacarona in Egyptian Arabic, which at first glance lends credence to the theory that the Italians brought their macaroni to the dish. "On the other hand," Roden points out, "pasta is an Arab thing mentioned in medieval culinary manuscripts."

It may be a question of the chicken and the egg.

While no one can say for sure where koshary came from, everyone has an opinion on where to eat it. For Ahmed Hameed, it's at his mom's. But as a private tour guide in Cairo, he has found that the famed Koshary Abou Tarek restaurant makes a fine substitute.

"Koshary is a hard meal to cook as it consists of several elements, each of which should prepared separately," says Hameed. "It's one of the most traditional meals in Egypt, and food in general is an experience that you shouldn't miss while traveling. The recipe is a secret formula that can be different from one restaurant to another. Abou Tarek has his own recipe."

From the locals thronging the restaurant for both sit-down and take-away, it's clear that Hameed is not the only one who favors Abou Tarek's. Cook staff are lined up behind a long counter, dishing up plates and take-away packages at a breakneck pace. What started as a food cart in 1950 is now a bustling, four-story restaurant. Foreigners are led to the top floor, where English-speaking waiters are on staff and an oversized portrait of Abou Tarek smiles down on customers. Portions are generous, and prices range from about 50 cents for a small bowl to a dollar and change for a large. Tucked away on a narrow side street just a couple of blocks from the Egyptian Museum, Koshary Abou Tarek is a convenient pit stop during a day of sight-seeing.

Koshary Abou Tarek, on Maarouf Street in downtown Cairo, is beloved by locals and foreigners alike.
Amy E. Robertson for NPR

Ali Zayed, an Egyptian living and working in Lebanon since 2003, makes sure to tell his Lebanese friends to try koshary when they travel to Egypt. "I miss koshary when I am in Lebanon," he says. "I eat it two or three times a month when I visit Egypt." But while "mama" makes a tasty koshary, Zayed confesses that he prefers to eat it out. "I like to eat it outside the home and when I'm alone, because I put too much hot sauce and...." Zayed puffs out his cheeks and fans his face to demonstrate the perils of adding a lot of spice. He adds, "If I am going to be out all day, koshary is the No. 1 food I want to eat."

Not every koshary joint is as elaborate as Abou Tarek's. Many are hole-in-the-wall eateries and others are simple food carts. Guys on bicycles deliver individual portions of it around town, even famously pulling up in Tahrir Square in 2012 to feed hungry protesters.

"I was surprised to find it everywhere when I went back after 32 years," Roden says. "I love it and make it myself. When I visit now I always eat it."

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

NPR
Zika Virus
Florida Keys Approves Trial Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika

Heard on Weekend Edition Sunday
Greg Allen

Protest signs at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board's meeting Saturday in Marathon, Fla.

In the Florida Keys on Election Day, along with the presidential race, one of the most controversial items on the ballot dealt with Zika. In a nonbinding vote countywide, residents in the Florida Keys approved a measure allowing a British company to begin a trial release of genetically modified mosquitoes. Armed with that approval, local officials voted Saturday to try out what they hope will be a new tool in the fight against Zika.

For months now, state and local authorities in Florida have struggled to control the spread of Zika. But although there have been more than 200 cases of locally transmitted Zika statewide, none have been reported in the Keys. And that's one reason why residents like Megan Hall oppose the new technology. At a meeting of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board in Marathon on Saturday, Hall made a personal appeal to the board. "I am going to ask you, beg you, plead with you," she said, "not to go forward with this."

For five years now, the district has been working with the British company Oxitec to get federal approval for a trial release of the mosquitoes in the Keys. The company releases genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes into the wild. When they mate with female Aedes aegypti, their offspring die.

In trials in Brazil, the Cayman Islands and other countries, Oxitec has shown its GM mosquitoes can reduce the population of Aedes Aegypti by 90 percent or more. But after five years, a small but vocal group of residents is not convinced the mosquitoes are safe. Opponent Dina Schoneck told the board, there are still too many unanswered questions about the new technology. She said, "I believe there are a lot of risks that are not being considered."

Although it doesn't have any cases of local Zika transmission yet, Monroe County, which includes the Keys, has had big problems in the past with dengue, another disease carried by the same mosquito. The head of the county's health department, Bob Eadie, supports the trials. Just because the county hasn't had any local Zika cases yet doesn't mean the disease isn't a threat, he said. Eadie went on, "There is a tool available for the people of Monroe County that can help control mosquitoes that carry a very, very, very serious disease."

In August, the Food and Drug Administration gave its approval for the trial, saying it found no potential adverse impact on human health or the environment. Because of the vocal opposition, the Mosquito Control District's Board of Commissioners decided to submit the trial to the voters in the form of two nonbinding resolutions. One was for the residents of Key Haven, the community where the trials were proposed. The other referendum went before voters in the rest of the county.

Because Key Haven voters rejected it, commissioners say trials won't be conducted there. But in Saturday's meeting, the board approved trials elsewhere in the Keys at a location still to be determined. Jill Cranney-Gage is a commissioner who represents Key West. "This is a tool mosquito control needs. When you're sworn into office," Cranney-Gage said,"your main goal is to kill mosquitoes and to protect the residents and the county."

Officials in the Keys say the announcement by the World Health Organization that Zika is no longer a "public health emergency" is in no way an indication the threat is lessening but that instead, it's a disease that's here to stay

Florida Keys Mosquito Control District staff and Oxitec are now working now to identify a new neighborhood to conduct trials. Derric Nimmo with Oxitec is hopeful that identifying a new location and receiving federal approval will be a matter of a few months, and releases could start next year. Nimmo says he's encouraged that the GM mosquito technology gained the approval of a large majority — 58 percent of county residents. "So there is very strong support for use of this technology in Monroe County," he says. "And hopefully, they'll move forward with this trial."

After months of struggling with Zika, health officials and mosquito control authorities elsewhere in Florida are eager to begin their own trials of the GM mosquitoes. Oxitec says if things go well in the Keys, it could begin trials next year in Miami.

Just like Lily

Meet Bruno, the dog who walks four miles to town every day to visit
This is Bruno, the town mascot of Longville, Minn., who walks four miles into town nearly every day to visit his friends there. Lori Kalunki Bruno of Longville, Minnesota Facebook page

By Lisa Gutierrez

lgutierrez@kcstar.com

Every now and then Larry and Debbie LaVallee will get the phone call. They’re always the same.

We found your dog.

The call is usually from a new person in town who has found their dog, Bruno, walking around by himself.

The LaVallees have stunned concerned callers by telling them to just let him go. He’ll find his way home, they say.

He always has, nearly every day for the last 12 years when Bruno ambles down busy paved highways and dusty backroads to visit the residents of Longville, Minn. — the “Turtle Racing Capitol of the World.”

He walks four miles there, and four miles back, sometimes along the side of the road, sometimes right down the center line.

Bruno has gained legendary status. The Chesapeake-Lab mix — who some suspect could be part wolf, too — is known as “Bruno the Town Dog.”

He even has a statue in town, a life-sized likeness carved from a black walnut log in a little garden between the pharmacy and post office on main street. People around town donated money for it.

A family Facebook page has turned into his official fan club page.

“On a beauty scale of one to ten, Bruno hits all ten … take your pick. If it’s the first time you’ve met him, he’ll rank pretty low, somewhere between scary and ugly. A few minutes later, Bruno becomes beautiful, friendly, loving and a string of adjectives too long to list,” the town’s Pine Cone Press-Citizen wrote of Bruno in 2014.

“In the Longville community, Bruno is an Ambassador, Wonder Dog, Town Mascot, etc., etc., and, above all, a living creature enjoyed by all.”

Over the last few days the town’s canine goodwill ambassador has become a worldwide star because of a story by KARE in Minneapolis.

“He’s our buddy, we kind of watch out for him the best way we can,” Patrick Moran, who owns a local real estate office, told KARE. “Last week he came in stayed about an hour and a half or two hours.

“He’s not just a dog. He’s a spirit.”

Bruno has been walking these roads since he was a young pup, following the trash truck Larry LaVallee drove into town, according to The Pilot-Independent in Walker, Minn., which profiled Bruno last year.

Someone dumped Bruno inside a box in the family’s driveway when he was a puppy, the newspaper reported. The LaVallees had just lost a dog, so they kept him.

Bruno’s near daily stops in town have become a well-known routine — the library, city hall and visits to several businesses including the grocery store where deli workers always have meat scraps ready for him. In the summer he hangs out at the ice cream parlor where customers give him more treats.

Visitors and new people to town often think he’s a stray. The Pilot-Independent told the story of how one woman found Bruno lying in the snow outside the library one day, picked him up and drove him to her friend’s house, announcing, “I’ve saved this dog from the cold.”

“That’s Bruno!” her friend said “Take him back into town — this is what he does!”

In his senior years, Bruno’s rambunctious trotting has slowed to a shamble. He’s been known to plop right down in a road when he gets tired; cars just drive around him.

People in town think it’s somewhat miraculous that he doesn’t get hit. Some believe divine intervention has kept him safe all these many years.

“Every year when people return to Longville, one of the first things they ask is, ‘Did Bruno make it through the winter?’ ” said one resident.
National

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article99508492.html#storylink=cpy

Cracked Fingers Bleed and Hurt

Wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes or using cleaning agents. Prevent cracked skin by applying lotion or cream on a regular basis. If your fingers are severely cracked, do NOT put lotion on it, it'll just cause pain. Put ointments or petroleum jelly on the cracks and put on a bandage.
How to Heal Cracked Skin on Fingers: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
www.wikihow.com/Heal-Cracked-Skin-on-Fingers

Run for your LIFE

Why Exercise Is Good for the Heart

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS FEB. 15, 2017

Even a single workout could be good for the heart. That’s the conclusion of a fascinating new study in mice that found that 30 minutes on a treadmill affects gene activity within cardiac cells in ways that, over the long haul, could slow the aging of the animals’ hearts.

Although the study involved mice, the results may help to explain just how, at a cellular level, exercise improves heart health in people as well.

There’s no question that, in general, physical activity is good for hearts. Many studies have found that people who regularly exercise are much less likely to develop or die from cardiac disease than people who are sedentary.

Still, researchers have remained puzzled about just how exercise alters hearts for the better. Exercise is known to improve our blood pressure, pulse rate and cholesterol profiles, all of which are associated with better cardiac health.

But many scientists who study the links between exercise and heart health have pointed out that these changes, considered together, explain only about half of the reported statistical reductions in cardiac disease and death.

Other, more complex physiological modifications must simultaneously be taking place within the heart itself during and after exercise, these researchers have speculated.

And recently, researchers at the University of Maryland in College Park and other institutions have begun to wonder whether some of these changes might involve telomeres.

Telomeres are tiny caps on the ends of chromosomes, often compared to the tips of shoelaces, which help to prevent fraying and damage to our DNA. Young cells have relatively long telomeres. As a cell ages or undergoes significant stress, its telomeres shorten. If they become too abbreviated, the cell stops working well or dies.

But while shorter telomeres indicate biologically older cells, the process is not strictly chronological, scientists have found. Cells can age at different rates, depending on the lifestyle of the body that contains them.

Aerobic exercise, in particular, affects telomeres. In past studies, masters athletes have been shown to have longer telomeres in their white blood cells than sedentary people of the same chronological years, suggesting that at a cellular level, the athletes are more youthful.

But while it is easy to obtain and look inside white blood cells, far less has been known about telomeres within cardiac cells.

So for the new study, which was published this month in Experimental Physiology, the Maryland researchers and their colleagues turned to young, healthy female mice. (They chose females because they tend to run more readily than males.)

The researchers wished to see what happens inside heart muscle cells after a single workout. So they taught some of the animals how to run comfortably on small treadmills and then returned them to their cages for several days so that their bodies would lose any aerobic conditioning. Other mice remained sedentary as a control group.

Then the runners were placed back on the treadmills, where they ran at a tolerable intensity (in mouse terms) for 30 minutes, a workout designed to simulate moderate exercise in people.

Researchers took tissue samples of the animals’ hearts either immediately after they had finished running or an hour later, and also gathered samples from sedentary mice.

The scientists looked for changes within the animals’ cardiac cells in the levels of certain proteins that are known to directly prevent telomeres from shortening. They also looked at the activity of other genes that help to keep DNA in good repair. These genes release proteins that are thought to help cells adapt to the physiological stress of exercise and, in the process, also indirectly maintain telomere health.

It turned out that immediately after a single, 30-minute jog, the runners’ heart cells were noticeably different than those of the animals that had not moved. In particular, they showed higher levels of the proteins directly related to telomere length. These increases were slight but consistent. The runners’ cells also had markers of greater activity in the genes that respond to DNA stress than the nonrunners’ cells.

These findings indicate that a single, moderate workout beneficially alters telomere biology in the heart, says Andrew Ludlow, who was a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland and lead author of the study. He currently is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Presumably, such changes would accumulate with repeated training, he says, and over time help to keep cardiac telomeres longer than without the exercise.

That process could be slow, though. In this study, many of the effects seen in the animals’ hearts immediately after the run were beginning to dissipate an hour later, with protein levels dropping back almost to those seen in the sedentary mice.

So it may be necessary, Dr. Ludlow says, to stick with an exercise routine for some time in order to realize the cellular benefits for the heart.

It is also worth repeating that this study involved mice, not people.

But the implications are encouraging. It looks like getting up and moving may start to immediately change how the heart’s cells work, Dr. Ludlow says, in ways that “seem to make gene expression more youthful and keep the heart young.”

Unreliables

The unreliables are at it again. I refuse to chase.

Introverts Love Hermits

Good 'n' Chewy Hermits

We're always on the lookout for favorite old New England recipes, ones that have stood the test of time. Because of their high sugar and fat content, these bars have great keeping qualities; back in the days of the clipper ship, tins of hermits accompanied many a sailor as he set out for the Orient, or far-flung ports in other parts of the world.
Let's stay in touch

Nutrition information
Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, or 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, or a combination
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup raisins, either dark or golden

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. See "tips," below for alternate pan choices.
In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, shortening and butter until smooth. Beat in the spices, salt, and baking soda.
Slowly stir in the flour, then add the molasses and beat to combine. Stir in the raisins last.
Pat hermits into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan; the mixture will be quite dry.
Bake the hermits for 25 to 30 minutes in a light-colored aluminum pan; 20 to 25 minutes in a darker pan. In either case, don't over-bake; they should barely be pulling away from the edge of the pan.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting. Store, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Bake your best: Shop specialty ingredients, tools, pans, and more
Tips from our bakers

This particular hermit recipe makes flat, chewy hermits, rather than the cakey ones preferred by some. We found this recipe is a very good one for use with our white whole wheat flour; after all, if you're going to eat a high-fat, high-sugar cookie, why not at least add some fiber? Baked in a half-sheet (13" x 18") pan, these hermits make rather thin (1/4") bars; baked in a jelly-roll pan (approx. 10" x 15"), they're somewhat fatter; and baked in a 9" x 13" pan, they're like molasses brownies.

we still both bleed red

Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Clean Up As Deadline Looms

February 22, 20174:39 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition

Amy Sisk

FromPrairie Public Broadcasting

Piles of debris remain at camp. Some of these items were donated by people who support the movement. Others were abandoned by protesters who left camp.
Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

In North Dakota, authorities have set Wednesday as the deadline for the dwindling number of protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline to clean up and go home.

At the main protest camp, a massive cleanup effort has been underway. Semi trucks have been hauling debris out of camp and people here are piling garbage into bags.
Dakota Pipeline Protesters, Nearby Residents Brace For 2017
Around the Nation
Dakota Pipeline Protesters, Nearby Residents Brace For 2017

"It looks like a trash pile. But it's getting picked up and every spot is starting to look better and better as we work together," says Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as she sorts through abandoned goods.

The Army Corps wants protesters out so it can clean up its land before the river thaws and floods the camp. Some protesters are moving to higher ground nearby on the Standing Rock reservation. But there is concern that after months of violent protests, it may take law enforcement to remove those who won't budge.

Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sorts through abandoned goods at camp. Tribal members and several hundred protesters are assisting with the cleanup effort.
Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz is concerned about how protesters will respond to decisions made in Washington. At the urging of President Trump, the Army Corps this month granted a final permit to build the last stretch of the pipeline. Standing Rock is fighting that in court.

"They had some hope and a cause," Schulz says. "There's the fear I think from law enforcement that maybe some of that hope may be diminishing and desperation sometimes can set in."
In Their Own Words: The 'Water Protectors' Of Standing Rock

Dana Yellow Fat is helping clean up. He says there's a lot of anger toward Indians right now. He describes hateful Facebook comments and says tribal members are afraid to leave the reservation.

"I might have a different skin color than you, but we still both bleed red," he says. "My culture and my ways might differ from yours, but we can still be friends."

Once this pipeline saga eventually ends, the Standing Rock tribe and North Dakota will have to figure out how to live side by side all over again.

Amy Sisk reports for Prairie Public Broadcasting and for Inside Energy, a public media collaboration focused on America's energy issues.

Deportation Suicide

Article

Adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful

Mental Health
Teens with PTSD and conduct disorder have difficulty recognizing facial expressions
New York University February 21, 2017

Adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful, while teens with symptoms of conduct disorder tend to interpret sad faces as angry, finds a study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

“Our findings suggest that exposure to stress and trauma can have acute emotional impacts that simply translate to misidentification of important affective cues,” said Shabnam Javdani, assistant professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt, who led the study with Naomi Sadeh of the University of Delaware. The study was published in the February issue of the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Research suggests that trauma increases the risk for the development of both PTSD and conduct disorder – a group of behavioral and emotional problems characterized by callousness or aggression towards others – in teens. These disorders, which often co-occur, have an immense impact on the well being and healthy development of adolescents; if left untreated, they increase the risk of hurting others or oneself, substance use, and mental health problems in adulthood.

Trauma has also been associated with an impaired ability to recognize facial expressions. Understanding facial expressions is critical for social functioning and communicating emotions. Earlier studies have found that youth with PTSD and conduct disorder symptoms have deficits in emotional processing that are associated with aggressive behavior and impaired social functioning. These interpersonal problems may be connected to youth misinterpreting social cues conveyed through facial expressions.

The researchers examined the effects of PTSD and conduct disorder symptoms on how youth with emotional and behavior problems process facial expressions. The study included 371 teens, ages 13-19, who were enrolled in therapeutic day schools in Chicago or Providence, R.I.

The teens completed a structured diagnostic assessment and a facial affect recognition task.

Seventeen percent of participants had at least one PTSD symptom, and 12.4 percent met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. Eighty-five percent of the teens studied had at least one conduct disorder symptom, and approximately 30 percent met the criteria for a diagnosis of conduct disorder. In addition, 17 percent of those studied had symptoms of both PTSD and conduct disorder.

The researchers found that youth with emotional and behavior problems generally had more difficulty accurately identifying angry faces than fearful or sad faces. However, when they looked at participants with PTSD or conduct disorder symptoms, their findings varied.

Higher levels of PTSD symptoms were associated with less accurate identification of angry faces compared with fearful and sad faces; specifically, youth with greater PTSD symptoms were more likely to mistake sad and angry emotions for fear.

“Fear is particularly relevant for understanding PTSD, as the disorder has been associated with a ‘survival mode’ of functioning characterized by an overactive fight-or-flight response and increased threat perception,” Javdani said.

In contrast, teens with conduct disorder were more likely to misidentify sad faces, but did not have trouble recognizing angry or fearful faces. Conduct disorder symptoms were associated with mistaking sadness for anger, suggesting that youth with higher levels of conduct disorder interpret sad faces as angry and may be less effective at recognizing others’ sadness, pain, and suffering.

“Difficulty interpreting displays of sadness and misidentifying sadness as anger may contribute to the impaired affective bonding, low empathy, and callous behavior observed in teens with conduct disorder,” Javdani said.

The researchers point to potential treatment implications of their findings: enhancing the accuracy of recognizing facial expressions may be an important treatment goal for youth with symptoms of PTSD and conduct disorder.

hardwired to appreciate poetry

Is the human brain hardwired to appreciate poetry?
Frontiers February 20, 2017

In 1932 T.S. Eliot famously argued, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

In a recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, Professor Guillaume Thierry and colleagues at Bangor University have demonstrated that we do indeed appear to have an unconscious appreciation of poetic construction.

“Poetry”, explains Professor Thierry “is a particular type of literary expression that conveys feelings, thoughts and ideas by accentuating metric constraints, rhyme and alliteration.”

However, can we appreciate the musical sound of poetry independent of its literary meaning?

To address this question the authors created sentence sample sets that either conformed or violated poetic construction rules of Cynghanedd – a traditional form of Welsh poetry. These sentences were randomly presented to study participants; all of whom were native welsh speakers but had no prior knowledge of Cynghanedd poetic form.

Initially participants were asked to rate sentences as either “good” or “not good” depending on whether or not they found them aesthetically pleasing to the ear. The study revealed that the participants’ brains implicitly categorized Cyngahanedd-orthodox sentences as sounding “good” compared to sentences violating its construction rules.

The authors also mapped Event-Related Brain Potential (ERP) in participants a fraction of a second after they heard the final word in a poetic construction. These elegant results reveal an electrophysiological response in the brain when participants were exposed to consonantal repetition and stress patterns that are characteristic of Cynghanedd, but not when such patterns were violated.

Interestingly the positive responses from the brain to Cynghanedd were present even though participants could not explicitly tell which of the sentences were correct and which featured errors of rhythm or sound repetitions.

Professor Thierry concludes, “It is the first time that we show unconscious processing of poetic constructs by the brain, and of course, it is extremely exciting to think that one can inspire the human mind without being noticed!”

So when you read a poem, if you feel something special but you cannot really pinpoint what it is, make no mistake, your brain loves it even if you don’t really know why.

Anne Lamott

Love is sovereign here, all evidence to the contrary, I promise you. The current fever dream has no chance against the forces of love. Love is a spotlight on the dark stage that you can go stand in, right this minute, or later today, maybe after lunch, as soon as you remember and decide to.

Love is the truth. The truth is Love. Love is supernatural, oceanic; love is a shared tangerine. Divine love looks most flagrantly like the way you and your dogs and cats feel about each other. (Well...dogs.)

Forgiveness is ultimate love but Grad school, so let's stay in kindergarten. It will be enough to save us:

Love is gentle if amused warmth for annoying and deeply disappointing people, espcially ourselves.

Love is affectionate awareness, and compassion stirring in our hearts and hands and eyes. Love is tenderness in your soul. Love is someone to cry with. Love is little kids giving away a Twinkie.

Love is service and charity to strangers, giving away freely what you have been so freely given, no matter if you have tiny opinions on their pit bull or personal hygiene. This will heal you and fill the well.

Love is beauty and light, beauty and light are love. Gardens are love school, where we learn that love includes mess and microbes and hard pebbly soil and rot and (gack!) spiders, that turn It All into beauty and food and carpets of grass, or lily-of-the-valley (This is a sneaky subversive Jesusy reference to the greatest anti-anxiety prescription, in Matthew, "Consider the lilies-of-the valley. They don't toil or spin, yet are beyond beautiful and tended so, so lighten TF up, dude--you'll will be fine, or at least semi-fine"--oops. I may be paraphrasing now. Sorry--back to groundcover.) With water, light and love, rocky pebbly soil grows lacey white alyssum. Also, metaphorically, literacy projects, food pantries, and ever-so-slightly tense family reunions. It's David Blaine on steroids.

How to have have loving feelings? Do loving things. The quickest ways are to flirt with old people, and to rub lotion on your cellulitely and deeply discouraging thighs and tummy. You can put feet to love by walking with hideously slow people, who need walkers or your arm to hang on to, while you could be burning off lots of calories or arriving somewhere important. You can put feet to your love at rallies for truth and justice and equality. You can put feet to your love by stepping outside without your phone, and looking up. Love is looking up, although gazing at your huge homely achey feet with gratitude is also love: the places they have taken and steadied you!

(Gratitude is love, a rich magnetized energy that changes the world)

Love is what you are made of and what you were made for, even though some days are just too long. Your love, and our love for you, cannot help but heal you, the poor, and America. You cannot help but be love, and be loved. You might as well give up on shutting down, staying armored or buttressed, refusing to be a part of this love thing, because it is going to win. Trust me on this. You are doomed. Yikes, and Hallelujah.

- Anne Lamott, Facebook post

Sunlight and the Brain

Sunlight: Good For the Eyes as well as the Brain
By Dr. Phil MaffetoneApril 29, 2015

Seeing the natural light of the sun helps the brain work better. No, not staring into the sun, but allowing the eyes to be exposed to natural outdoor light—contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and windows block the helpful sun rays.

Of course, the sun is important because it offers us vitamin D for free, and is the major source of this important nutrient that has powerful effects throughout the body. Vitamin D allows one to more effectively use calcium, improves the immune system, helps prevents cancer, and is important for brain function. Yet, millions of people have insufficient levels of vitamin D, and rickets—a once common condition of brittle bones in children caused by vitamin D deficiency that was very rare—has made a big comeback. Much of the information about vitamin D can be found in my books and articles.

In addition to the healthy affect on your skin, sunlight also provides another positive benefit. The human eye contains photosensitive cells in its retina, with connections directly to the pituitary gland in the brain. Stimulation of these important cells comes from sunlight, in particular, the blue unseen spectrum. A study by Dr.’s Turner and Mainster of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, published in the British Journal of Opthamology in 2008 states that, “these photoreceptors play a vital role in human physiology and health.” The effects are not only in the brain, but the whole body.

Photosensitive cells in the eye also directly affect the brain’s hypothalamus region, which controls our biological clock. This influences our circadian rhythm, not just important for jet lag but for normal sleep patterns, hormone regulation, increased reaction time, and behavior. Most cells in the body have an important cyclic pattern when working optimally, so potentially, just about any area of the body can falter without adequate sun stimulation. Turner and Mainster state that, “ensuing circadian disturbances can have significant physiological and psychological consequences.” This also includes “increasing risk of disease” as the authors state, and as numerous other studies show, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The hypothalamus also regulates the combined actions of the nervous and hormonal systems.

The brain’s pineal gland benefits directly from the sun stimulation. The pineal produces melatonin, an important hormone made during dark hours that protects our skin. In addition, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant for body-wide use, is important for proper sleep and intestinal function, and can help prevent depression. (Aspirin, however, reduces melatonin production.)

Among the specific affects of the eye’s photosensitive cells are helping you get out of bed each morning. The transition from sleep to waking up requires the effects of the body’s adrenal glands, influenced by the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary. Exposure to morning sunlight also helps raise body temperature to normal (after a slight reduction during sleep), and numerous brain activities including increased alertness and better cognition—helping mood and vitality. These changes are often not experienced in many people until their morning coffee kicks in. Taking a peek outside at the dawn’s first sunlight is a habit worth implementing.

Aging reduces the ability to benefit from sun stimulation through the eyes, mostly due to eye-related disease development, especially problems such as glaucoma, and cataracts. Chronic inflammation and carbohydrate intolerance are two common problems associated with these and other eye illnesses.

Up to 70 percent of those 65 years and older have chronic sleep disturbances, with potentially any of the other health problems mentioned above. Turner and Mainster conclude that, “Light deficiency, whether due to improper timing, suboptimal spectrum or insufficient intensity, may contribute to medical conditions commonly assumed to be age-related inevitabilities.”

Inside lighting may provide some eye stimulation if your light bulbs are the full spectrum type. But it won’t take the place of a regular habit of getting morning sun into unshielded eyes. This routine is even more important with age.

The bottom line: The sun can help brain function, which can improve the nervous system, hormonal regulation, muscle function, immune health, and carries many other benefits.