Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Disease is Good?

I always wake up late in the morning to the Diane Rehm show. Fascinating discussion always, but especially today. In the second hour of the show, Dr. Moalem speaks about how many diseases may actually be protecting us from worse ailments. Apparently there are some instances in which diabetes is good for us. Could bloodletting delay the onset of alzheimer's? Also, It was just the other day that I was wondering how we end up getting vitamin D from sunlight. Coincidentally, the answer came to me in this show today. Sunlight converts cholesterol into it. So people in climates with less sun require higher amounts of cholesterol.

When I was a kid my family moved from Illinois to Louisiana. My brothers and I all developed asthma with varying degrees of severity, and within three years my family had moved back up north as a result. Today I'm reminded of this, and I'm thinking that there is so much more we have to learn about how we adapt to our environment, and what happens when we remove ourselves from one set of conditions for another.

(Link to Diane Rehm)
(Link to Dr. Moalem's book, "Survival of the Sickest")

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Wal-Mart Effect

Nearly wrapped up with Charles Fishman's enlightening The Wal-Mart Effect. I've begun transcribing the bits I have underlined in Things I've Underlined. I recommend the book. We all need to be thinking more about how we shop.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Heart of Darkness

This book has been coming up a lot lately, which is either coincidence (is there such a thing?) or a sign of a collective consciousness that I am tapped into. Take your pick. The first time was on a podcast which has mysteriously disappeared from iTunes. It is (was) a BBC-produced program called "In Our Time," and featured a panel discussion among experts on a particular topic every week. Recently it's been the Jesuits, Karl Popper, Archimedes, and most recently, Joseph Conrad's book Heart of Darkness. I have never read it, but it is apparently on the required reading lists of high school and college classes everywhere. Even my roommate, who is a self-confessed non reader, has read it. It's best known for being the seed of the plot to Coppola's epic Apocalypse Now.

So I resolved to read it after listening to a fascinating discussion on the BBC podcast (where'd it go?). Then it came up with my roommate Chris at the bar talking about movies. Now, on this week's "On The Media," (another podcast from the NPR program) it comes up again. Apparently G.W. says he's recently been reading about King Leopold of Belgium. This is relevant because it was Leopold that was in power Belgium's colonialization of the Congo. Joseph Conrad's book is thought of (although he denies it) to be to some degree based on a trip he took on a boat into the Congolese interior, which at the time was a land of mystery to Europe. Leopold's colonialization involved slavery and genocide, and he waged a sly but ultimately unsuccessful PR campaign to cover up the ugliness of the situation. Seems relevant to G.W.'s situation to me.

Link to On The Media
Link to In Our Time

P.S. In Our Time's podcast is unavailable due to "rights issues" according to the website.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Re:G.W. Bush

It hurts, it really does, but the guy has got to go. The time remaining in his term is like time spent watching your house burn down. LET'S PUT OUT THE FIRE! We should get with it before somebody gets burned (read: nuked).

What would the Founding Fathers say, I wonder. Signing statements? American citizens held indefinitely without trial and without even being charged? Our country stuck in an unjust war sold to us under false pretenses? These were surely not part of their brilliant vision. Impeachment was, and it was intended for times such as these.

Our Constitution is threatened.

We can't wait any longer.

Be a true patriot, Do the American thing.


Green Renting

Attention rental property owners: I want to find a green building to live in. I'm not alone. It's a marketing point. Since I don't own, it's hard to change some things about the way I'm living, like the water heater, the windows, the insulation, the electric bill/green power, etc. I'm limited to singing the praises of compact fluorescents roommate/landlord and feeling otherwise powerless. Be the first on your block to market green rentals, and watch the applications roll in. I will not reject any royalty checks that you may feel compelled by your conscience to send to me when the idea begins to pay dividends.

TV On The Radio

I'm just starting to get fully into this fully awesome band. That is all.