Chimericals

17 June 2016

Awash in Carcinogens -now with fact

from the Pollution in People

INTRODUCTION

More than 1,400 chemicals and chemical groups are known or likely carcinogens. Through industrial applications, consumer products and food, water and air, Americans are exposed daily to these cancer-causing compounds, which invade the body and build up in blood and urine.

Federal health officials have measured many of these chemicals in our systems but the scope and range of carcinogenic pollution in people, known as body burden, has not been tallied – until now.

Through a review of the scientific literature and publicly available human biomarker datasets, EWG compiled the first comprehensive inventory of known or likely carcinogens that have been measured in people. We found that up to 420 known or likely carcinogens have been measured in a diverse array of populations.

Read the rest of this entry »


Human Sexual Identity

27 October 2012

More than whether you’re an innie or an outie.

I’ve come across two videos recently that help to define human sexuality in a way that’s all inclusive. they both go well beyond the predominant binary, and manage to present models that include any variation you care to think about. I believe this is a healthier way of seeing one another, as it doesn’t try to cram the huge variety into two limiting and inaccurate definitions.

re: the angy inch

Tommy Speck: “What’s that?”
Hedwig: “It’s what I’ve got to work with.”


All the Flavours of the Rainbow

12 June 2012

I love food, don’t you know.

192 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Agricultural Biotech is an unnecessary Evil

9 June 2012

And so say all of us.

I began my degree in biology the same year my university first offered a stream in biotechnology. I had never heard the word before, and from the descriptions, didn’t quite understand how it was different from biochemistry. A couple of decades later, and I know all too well what it has come to mean. I’m talking about agricultural biotechnology, not medical biotech, which is a gene of a different colour. Plus I know a lot less about it.

My stance is to ban it outright, remove all the biotech seeds and plants from our biosphere, and put the whole sordid experiment into our past as a bad idea gone bad. Several Countries have successfully banned GMOs, desite massive opposition. It is an issue that effects the very foundations of our food system, which in term is the foundation of our individual and public health.

Recenlty there have been articles about an engineered apple awaiting approval. The apple has been altered so that a gene has been turned off such that it doesn’t turn brown when cut. Which is completely ridiculous. Has this been such a soul-wrenching problem that we have been forced to go down to the molecular level to repair it? A very sharp knife will slice so few cells that the enzyme that causes the browning won’t be released in enough quantity to cause the “problem.” Also, acid (like lemon juice) neutralizes the enzyme. These have been solutions to the “problem” (I’ve eaten a number of apples gone brown without any adverse effects – don’t get me started on pesticide residue, however…).

Most likely, it is being developed for commercial/industrial scale use. so that a fast-“food”[tm] restaurant can include apple slices in their “salads”[tm] and not have to worry about unsightly browning.

The largest biotech companies were agri-chemical companies before. Any wonder their “plants”[tm] are being developed to tolerate company pesticides – which is where the real money is. There is a fierce protection of the patent on the seeds, so that farmers who sign on pay for the right to use the seeds, and then buy pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, etc…) out the wazoo.

A lot of false claims have gone along with selling us on biotech. And a lot of misinformation. Not to mention aggressive lobbying to prevent its labelling. Most processed foods contain some engineered ingredients, especially soy, corn, canola.

Here are some links – I can’t say how reliable the material is, as I haven’t combed through all of it – there are emotional, ill-informed articles against biotech that have their hearts in the right place, however, I prefer to seek out something with reputable, peer-reviewed sources. Biotech Companies have been known to publish their own research in their own journals made to appear peer-reviewed. If their product is so wonderful as to stand up on its own merits, why all the shenanigans?

Doctors of Chiropractic Outraged by Monsanto, GMO issue

At first glance, it seemed like an unusual topic for chiropractors to be discussing all over Facebook. No mention of subluxations, rehab, adjustments or even back pain. Yet, seldom has a subject galvanized DCs into such unity of opinion. The topic: Monsanto and its effect on the food, water, air and, ultimately, the health of every person on the planet.

Toxin from GM crops found in human blood

Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time.

Animals won’t Eat GMOs
Cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice all share the same aversion to GMO’s, says Smith.
Failure to Yield – evaulation the performance of Genetically Engineered crops
An Open Letter from an Alberta Grain Farmer

Because the CWB [Canadian Wheat Board, which the Canadian Government has done away with illegally]  is customer oriented it listened to farmers and other people and was instrumental in blocking the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified, Roundup Ready wheat.  Monsanto is now preparing another attempt at introduction of genetically modified glyphosate resistant wheat.

This will lead to the selection of super weeds that are also resistant of glyphosate and require even higher applications of more toxic chemicals and combinations of chemicals to control the super weeds.

Studies have been done in some U.S. states and every sample of water from every stream tested positive for traces of glyphosate.  Air samples also showed traces of glyphosate.

What is the long term effects on the environment and human health of this chemical?  Genetically modified wheat would also contaminate and destroy organic production of wheat just as has happened with canola.

How Corporations Like Monsanto have Hijacked Higher Education
Academic research is often dictated by corporations that endow professorships, give money to universities, and put their executives on education boards.
Lab and clinical research shows that toxins from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are absorbed by humans. Pregnant women and their fetuses had detectable levels of the toxins in their blood. Lab research shows toxic effects on human kidney cells.
Human Genes Engineered into Experimental GMO Rice being Grown in Kansas
Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology company Ventria Bioscienceis currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas — and possibly elsewhere — and most people have no idea about it.
Genetically Modified Crops’ Results Raise Concerns
Biotechnology’s promise to feed the world did not anticipate “Trojan corn,” “super weeds” and the disappearance of monarch butterflies.But in the Midwest and South – blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton – an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results.

Controversy Remains over Genetically Modified Food

“The United States Department of Agriculture reports 52 percent of all corn crops, 79 percent of all cotton crops, and 87 percent of all soybean crops grown in the U.S. are genetically modified,” says Ortega.

Harvard Scientist Proves Pesticide causes CCD [bee Colony Collapse]

 “Commonly used pesticides may be a primary driver of the collapsing bee populations, finds two new studies in Science. The studies, one focused on honeybees and the other on bumblebees, found that even small doses of these pesticides, which target insect’s central nervous system, impact bee behavior and, ultimately, their survival. The studies may have far-reaching repercussions for the regulation of agricultural chemicals, known as neonicotinoid insecticides, that have been in use since the 1990s.” — Jeremy Hance

A plant pathologist experienced in protecting against biological warfare recently warned the USDA of a new, self-replicating, micro-fungal virus-sized organism which may be causing spontaneous abortions in livestock, sudden death syndrome in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy, and wilt in Monsanto’s RR corn.

Booted Out of Germany – the Ignorance that Could Destroy Your Health

BASF withdrawing their biotech division from Germany is a perfect illustration of the power of public opinion, and why we must insist on labeling of genetically engineered foods in the US in order to regain control over our food supply. As long as millions of people are in the dark about what they’re eating, the biotech industry can continue to destroy the food supply of the US

GMO Corn Leading to Pesticide Resistant Bugs

Monsanto Co. corn that is genetically engineered to kill insects may be losing effectiveness against rootworms in four states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Rootworms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska are suspected of developing tolerance of the plants’ insecticide, based on documented cases of severe crop damage and reports from entomologists, the EPA said in a document dated Nov. 22 and posted yesterday on the government website. Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is “inadequate,” the EPA said.

Food Fraud – How your food has been hardwired for chemicals

 It is a brilliant use of technology by the chemical industry that has enabled them to sell more of their revenue-generating products, like weedkillers, but it appears to be coming at a cost to farmers, families and our future.

As crops are hardwired to withstand increasing doses of these chemicals and toxic weedkillers, it appears that the weeds have become resistant (not unlike a child might develop an antibiotic resistant should an overuse occur).  And with this weed-resistance, our farmers now confront new problems, never before seen on their farms, problems not encountered by their grandfathers or great grandfathers, called “superweeds”.

Roundup Diluted by 99.8% still destroys human DNA

Monsanto’s New Agent Orange – You are Eating, Breathing, Drinking it

Peru Passes Monumental 10-Year Ban on Genetically Engineered Foods

In a massive blow to multinational agribiz corporations such as  Monsanto, Bayer, and Dow, Peru has officially passed a law banning genetically modified ingredients anywhere within the country for a full decade before coming up for another review.  Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision 3 years after the decree was written despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization due largely to the pressure from farmers that together form the Parque de la Papa in Cusco, a farming community of 6,000 people that represent six communities. They worry the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will compromise the native species of Peru, such as the giant white corn, purple corn and, of course, the famous species of Peruvian potatoes. Anibal Huerta, President of Peru’s Agrarian Commission, said the ban was needed to prevent the ”danger that can arise from the use of biotechnology.”

195 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Decolonizing Canada – the birth of Canuckistan

10 May 2012

Native Canada and the call for a maple spring.

First, let me be clear about a couple of things – I love maple (I literally take shots of the stuff), but the term Maple Spring as is being used in “Occupy” circles in Canada (following the “Springs” in North Africa last year) isn’t quite right. We’re in a very different situation in Canada than our fellows in North Africa.

I prefer the term introduced by American Natives in response to “Occupy” – Decolonize. Much better.

Second, full disclosure here, my father traced our family tree back 400 years or so, and didn’t find any native branches to our family. I was surprised, considering one side of my family is French (or French-Canadian, or Quebecois), and there was a greater mix between French and Natives than English. Nevertheless, my family’s been here for 400 years, so my ties are to this place, not Europe. I don’t feel French, English, Scottish, Irish, German (althought that’s my ancestry). Neither do I feel Canadian. It’s a weird place to be.

As I’ve posted previously, I’m studying Inuktitut, as I think it’s important to learn a native language wherever you happen to live. Even the idea of native languages is a bit strange, as they evolve and displace others over time. However, Inuktitut was spoken here before the Europeans arrived, and it is still spoken, but few people have bothered to learn it. English holds dominance (a point the Francophones are vocal in pointing out, as their own imposed minority is constantly under threat of erosion).

I grew up in France (well 3 years there, but they were formative, important years), and was astounded at the amount of languages people spoke (to various degrees of fluency), and here we have a majority who stubbornly speak one. It’s coming to a head though, as more and more newcomers bring Mandarin and Arabic (and certainly other languages as well). Nevertheless, there  are already a number of languages here, that have dwindled through deliberate eradication and genocide.

Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibwe are the three languages that stand the best chance of surviving the continued tides of colonization.

Genocide in the 21st Century

One of my fellow Inuktitut students works with addictions and mental health recovery in Inuit communities, and he told me some statistics that I’d known, but hadn’t really digested. The suicide rate among Inuit is an order of magnitude above the national average. The rates of tuberculosis are the highest in the world (185 times the national average), as are incidents of other diseases. Because the Inuit live predominantly in the territories, it is the Federal Government that is supposed to be resonsible for them. The systematic neglect is appaling.

He reminded me of the policy of massacring sled dogs at trading posts, essentially stranding people and preventing them from living nomadically as they had (the Arctic is a big, treeless expanse, and impossible to navigate on foot).

The Inuit were exposed to the same cultural genocide as other communities subjected to the Residential School System. Separated from their families, children were sent far, far away from their communities, where they forgot their language, culture and family ties. Many were abused, thousands were murdered, all under the auspices of the church and Canadian Government (who have since issued a hollow apology).

When former Governor-General Michaelle Jean was in office, she had this to say in an address to the Calgary Teachers’ Convention:

Schools are the most wonderful spaces for nurturing universal values, all cultures, based on the wealth of the contributions of all citizens. Some of the darkest pages in our history show how we have failed in this regard.We are still living under the disastrous fallout stemming from the systemic dispossession of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in this country, who were robbed of their ancestral knowledge, their history, their words and their beliefs. As we think about education : we cannot dissociate ourselves from this reality whose deficit, social and human costs are measured each day and affect us all collectively. We need to stop identifying this as a native problem. That’s the reason why our curricula must include better education for Canadian youth on our ancestral cultures, on the realities that continue to afflict them, and on the gaps that remain to be filled in this country.

It’s no surprise that South Africa based its Apartheid system on the Canadian Reservation system. Although the Commonwealth never kicked Canada out.

Treaties Aren’t Worth the Pulp they were Spit Upon

The Federal Government continues its undermining of Native communities, in part by ignoring its responsibilities in treaties. More often than not this has to do with the exploitation of Natural Resources (mining, oil, wood, water, fish, and so on), ignoring agreements to which the First Nations (at least those with treaties) are held, while ignoring the government’s end of the bargain.

See Canadian Indian Act, called “An Act Respecting Indians” without the least bit of irony. No other ethnicity or culture has an act in its honour, no the Anglo- or Franco-Canadians, neither the Scandinavians, Italians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and countless other peoples who have come to live in this country. Why the exceptionalism?

Architect of Aparheid:

Canada’s support for Israel has taken many forms, but perhaps its greatest gift has been a real-life how-to guide for establishing and maintaining a settler society that includes an array of strategies, tactics, and programs for taking land, subjugating Indigenous populations, and weakening their resistance. It’s also worth noting that many of these tactics and strategies were used by the South African apartheid regime, including the Bantustan system and the use of the Dom Pass to restrict the movement of black South Africans.

The Indian Act of 1876 must be seen not only as the centrepiece of Canadian colonial policy towards Indigenous peoples, but also as a blueprint for apartheid. The Indian Act enshrined completely unequal rights, relations, and – over time – vastly disparate living conditions between Indigenous peoples and Canadian settlers. It also represented a policy of extermination as it facilitated the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples, and deprived Indigenous nations of their right to decide who was and was not “Indian.” This was a very gendered process as different standards for retaining “status” were applied to Indigenous women as compared to men, resulting in vast numbers of Indigenous women and their descendents losing not only their recognized status as Indigenous peoples, but also their ability to remain in their communities.

Taseko Mines has asked the Harper Government to limit First Nations input. This on the heels of the same government streamlining the project review process, which essentially paves over the possibility of community opposition and thorough environmental reviews. It may be news to some, but the Native people of Canada (and the world) have been dealing with this behaviour and its repurcussions for far, far too long.

And there’s enough of it in the news, if you look hard enough. It’s certainly not on the mainstream evening news unless someone wants the RCMP to get involved.

Plenty more if you want to sniff around and see what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Here the Harper government has gutted anything that might have been considered the last remnants of “good government” – and with a majority in Parliament, and a stranglehold on the Senate (not to mention the most secretive government Canada’s ever had), we’re royally screwed. If only they had souls, it might not be so bad.

the Lunatic end of Civilization

Welcome to the Asylum by Chris Hedges

When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.

The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands [were] owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism.

Vocal Resistance

Native communities have long been aware of the rapacious nature of business interests in Canada. It was the founding of the country. The beaver is the national emblem less for its industriousness as its economic value: the fur was made into felt for hats that were popular in Europe at the time, and the fur trade was essential to the founding of the European colonies.

Indigenous Resistance across Ontario (Apr 25th 2012)

I’ve been following the Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous People’s Issues, Mining Watch Canada, and a number of other such sites, and it’s hardly surprising how much they repeat the same stories around the world. People fighting for their land against devastation. Currently, the biggest fight in Canada is against the Enbridge pipeline. The Government vilifies anyone opposed to it as foreign-funded radicals, and the opposition has brought together a diverse swathe of people, lead by affected Native Communities.

Russell Means

of the American Indian Movement has been a critical voice in the fight for survival that yet continues. His website contains a wealth of his talks and issues. He gave a recent speech: Sovereignty benefits US.

“Continually allowing of your government to violate the Constitution of the United States of America on a daily basis with us has caught up with you, hasn’t it?” Means said of government failings in living up to tribal treaty obligations.“Your representatives don’t care. Your Supreme Court is political, not judicial. Your president is a quasi-king.

He has much to say (and I can’t say I agree with all of it, but I wouldn’t want it any other way). Here are his thoughts on the Inuit.

Swinging Back

Despite the overt racism expressed in the comments section of any CBC news post regarding Natives, there is a growing solidarity among resistance and protest groups. The national media are slow to take up the story (quel surprise) if at all, as they seem to be on an economic cheerleading squad, regardless of how short-sighted and destructive such economic “progress” is.

First Nations Child Advocate Wins First Battle With Ottawa over ServicesFirst Nations is a political designation, and excludes the Inuit and Metis.

Cindy Blackstock, a long-time advocate for aboriginal children in Canada, won a major victory on April 18 when the Federal Court ruled that further scrutiny is needed to determine whether Ottawa is discriminating against First Nations children on reserves by underfunding child welfare services.

The court ordered the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which dismissed the original discrimination complaint in 2011, to hold a new hearing on the case before a newly constituted panel of adjudicators.

Wonders Never Cease

Each culture has something to offer every other culture. If nothing else, a different way of thinking about and looking at the world. The greater variety of tools we have, the richer we are. Nothing breeds death like a monoculture. Aside from the horrific human toll, it is the true horror of genocide – the death of language, culture, ways of thinking, experiencing and being, lost to us.

Yet traditions are making a comeback, as people become more interested in recovering their traditions.

Ron Eglash is the kind of researcher I appreciate. He has traveled around the world, and found valuable insights into how cultures across the glove do things – basic things, like design their houses and towns, or think, or perceive the world. In so doing, he provides plenty of instances that undermine the common distorted vision of the Hollywood Indian.

In Arctic Dreams, I read that Inuktitut was a language better suited to the discussion of quantum physics than English or German. It was part of the reason I was curious to learn it. Then I came across this article by Ron Eglash, and the subsequent links to the inherent structure and mathematics in the artwork of various native cultures:

Native American Cybernetics: Indigenous Knowledge Resources in Information Technology

It’s Not for Me to Say

Really, I can’t speak for any Native group, culture or people. I’m trying to listen to their own words and stories, and put it into a context I can understand. That’s why I’ve often dismissed the well meaning but misguided talks patronizing Native communities. It’s not that they can’t speak for others, nor act as advocates, or supporters in solidarity, particularly those who have lived in the communities concerned. I’m thinking more about the outsider, political correct and misinformed, who are better off listening than speaking.

And as a fan of stories, I recommend the following Canadian Native writers:

There are many more Native voices, however, these are the ones with which I am more familiar, and I recommend.

Conclusion

It’s a complicated situation, and one that is polluted with much mis- and disinformation as well as assumption, misconception and so on. As for my role in this whole mess, it isn’t to speak on behalf of any cultural population (how could I when I don’t even really consider myself Canadian?), but to support those who fight to dismantle the mechanism of colonization on which this country is founded, and put my efforts into nurturing the mutlicultural nature of 21st Century Canuckistan.

So I’m learning Inutitut, and putting my energy into decolonizing Canadian thinking.

225 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Four Twenty – How Sweet It Is

20 April 2012

the gateway to the gateway drug.

4-20 (old calendar) is the date marijuana enthusiasts have taken in order to celebrate the plant they so love to chop up, burn and inhale. This seems a pretty short step from plant to usage (harvest, dry/cure, use) that the continued obstinate prohibition seems disproportionate, considering how many voices have called for decriminilization. Even from people who don’t smoke it.

We already have a national booze day (Canada Day, oh wait, St Patrick’s Day, or was it New Year’s?). But booze is legal, so it deserves to have its own day or three.

And besides, Marijuana is a gateway drug, right? Although we may think of it as relatively harmless, it leads down that road to heroine, crack, and crystal meth, then on to biker wars and cartel assassinations. Why would anyone smoke this stuff when horrifying death is the ultimate consequence?

Prohibited

from cannibis culture.com

Conservative Bill S-10 (and before that, Bill C-26 and Bill C-15) threatened to imprison non-violent Canadians for small amounts of marijuana with mandatory minimum prison sentences, including 6 months to 2 years in jail for growing 6 plants, and 18 months in jail for making and sharing cannabis edibles or extracting hash. The bills even included life sentences for non-violent marijuana offences.

The Conservatives have also tried several back-door methods in targeting pot users, including changing what constitutes a Serious Offence in regulations relating to marijuana and organized crime – so if three or more people trade a few grams of pot amongst each other, this could be a ‘serious offence’, and these people would face 5 years in prison. This was a process Harper’s cabinet manipulated without the need for Parliamentary approval.

As well, on the Harper government’s watch, Health Canada’s medical marijuana access program has deteriorated into a confused mess. Long delays in processing applications and renewals are turning patients into criminals overnight, leading to unfair police raids and harassment of sick Canadians.

Say what?

There’s a number of issues with the official party lines regarding this plant, and the one that really gets under my skin is the label “gateway drug.” This tends to ignore the use of alcohol and tobacco before the use of marijuana. So are they latchkey drugs?

Setting aside that addictive behaviour doesn’t necessarily mean drugs. It can mean television, video games, reading blogs (thank you!), masturbating, or eating in any obsessive enough manner that one’s healthy and well being are affected.

What I think is the key to sussing out the tangled web we’ve woven, by lying to ourselves, to one another, about what is healthy, what we should be consuming, what is healthy to avoid (like fluorine, chloride, pink slime, aspartame, GMOs…), I’d like to introduce yout to the gateway drug we all know and love.

Sugary Sugar

Refined sugar. It’s crystalline just like crack, crystal meth, and refined like petroleum. How can we think of this as anything but a nasty habit? (full disclosure: I never met a french pastry I didn’t like). Quite simply put: it’s poison.

Shipwrecked sailors who ate and drank nothing but sugar and rum for nine days surely went through some of this trauma; the tales they had to tell created a big public relations problem for the sugar pushers. This incident occurred when a vessel carrying a cargo of sugar was shipwrecked in 1793. The five surviving sailors were finally rescued after being marooned for nine days. They were in a wasted condition due to starvation, having consumed nothing but sugar and rum. The eminent French physiologist F. Magendie was inspired by that incident to conduct a series of experiments with animals, the results of which he published in 1816. In the experiments, he fed dogs a diet of sugar or olive oil and water. All the dogs wasted and died.

Sugar is worse than nothing. You’ll live on water alone for longer than water and sugar (the linked article goes into much more depth).

But it’s not like excessive sugar can kill you, right?

I am currently working at a hospital (not in health care, by the way), and am astounded that the “food” available is a doughnut franchise and vending machines (not all sugar, they have a respectable amount of deep-fried fat on offer as well). I’ve seen the same at the college where I also work (although there is an overpriced cafeteria that sells apples, oranges, and bananas. I found them off to the side next to the pizza-flavoured root beer floats or whatever the hell they were selling).

crystal – it’s not just for breakfast anymore

Lately the shift has been from refined table sugar (in North America it’s typically cane sugar) to high fructose corn syrup (which has gone through several name changes in a game of ingredient label hide and seek). HFSC is made from corn, which is one of the most genetically modified plants in the americas. So on top of concentrations of fructose, you’re getting it from a genetically altered plant. who knows what other possible health effects are lurking in every additive. I mean, it can’t lead to autism, can it?

It’s not like marketers target sugar advertising to children or anything. Unless it is.

Gateway In, Gateway Out

Look, I don’t want to tell you what to eat or not eat. Frankly, that’s between you and your pancreas. Likewise, why would we legislate what someone can smoke or not smoke? Tobacco is legal. You can smoke sage, lavender, kinnickinnick, mullein without risking being thrown in jail.

You can get a prescription for Marinol (dronabinol), which of course is THC (the active ingredient in Marijuana), but processed into convenient pill form. So by processing the plant even further, it is rendered safe (really?) by a pharmaceutical interest. If you just pick the plant and smoke it, you are a criminal.

It’s all about the money.


The Time Paradox

2 March 2012

Book Notes – Psychological strategies to improve your perception of time.

The Time Paradox – the New Psychology of Time that Will Change your Life (2008) by Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd

Can’t say why, but I checked out the large-print edition, so if you haven’t, the page numbers will differ.

Part One: the New Science of Time: How Time Works

One: Why Time Matters

p 15 “This is the first paradox of time: Your attitudes towards time have a profound impact on your life and your world, yet you seldom recognize it.”

p16 “…a second key paradox of time: Moderate attitudes toward the past, the present, and the future are indicative of health, while extreme attitudes are indicative of biases that lead predictably to unhealthy patterns of living.”

No Man ever steps into the same river twice,
for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. –Heraclitus

p20 “…although Ben Franklin was right about many things, he was wrong when he said that time is money. Our scarcest resource, time, is actually much more valuable than money.”

p27-8 “‘Construal,’ … refers to the way that each of us understands and explains the world.”

p29 “As the psychologist Robert Ornstein pointed out in his classic book On the Experience of Time, the perception of time is a cognitive process and is therefore subject to cognitive illusions… In general, the more cognitive processing you do within a given period, the more time you judge to have passed.”

Who controls the pst controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past. –George Orwell 1984

p41 “Death is the end of a lifetime. Denial of death is a denial that time will end. If you deny that time ends, you are likely to treat time much differently than you would if you felt time to be scarce and of limited duration.”

Dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. –Benjamin Franklin

All my possessions for a moment of time. –Elizabeth I

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. –Theophrastus

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life Everything else is secondary. –Steve Jobs

Time is the coin of your life. t is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. –Carl Sandburg

Nothing is so dear and precious as time. –Francois Rabelais

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. –Charles Darwin

Time is the measuring by the soul of its expectation, its attention and its memory. –Saint Augustine

Pythagoras, when he was asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world. –Plutarch

All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that. –Baltasar Gracian

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all possessions. –John Randolph

You can ask me for anything you like, except time. –Napoleon

Two: Time – a retrospective on time perspectives

p70 “The transition from event time to clock time profoundly changed society, especially economic relations For example, when Abdul [c. 5oo BC] needed more money for his daughter’s dowry, he simply made and sold more shoes. ..To make more money, Edward [c. 1850 CE] had to devote more time to making shoes, which meant that he had to work overtime. Abdul sold his shoes, but Edward…sold his time.”

[see Frederick Winslow Tayler, father of scientific management]

p78 “The most common English nouns:

  1. time
  2. person
  3. year
  4. way
  5. day

p85 “[Alvin Toffler] felt that pace of life was accelerating and that packing too much change into too little time could actually make us sick.”

p95 “…for the Western World, we have identified six time perspectives:

  • past-negative
  • past-positive
  • present-fatalistic
  • present-hedonistic
  • future
  • transcendental future”

[http://www.thetimeparadox.com/surveys/ for survey on what your predominant time perspectives are]

p96 “Another present-oriented time zone can be called Holistic Present. It involves training to live one’s life in the present moment and to include past and future in an expanded state of focus on the present. Such a time sense is central to Zen Buddhism.”

image credit: Mike Savad

Three: The Past – how you see yesterday through the lens of today

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. –George Santayana

Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. –William Ralph Inge

p138-9 “In Freud’s original German, the Id is actually the Es, which is the German pronoun for ‘It.’ … For Freud, however, the It described the deep, dark, ancestral, immature, and instinctual part of each of it. The It is timeless.”

p154 “Your attitudes towards events in the past matter more than the events themselves. . You cannot change what happened in the past, but you can change your attitudes toward what happened.”

p158 “Psychologists Bob Emmons and Mike McCullough discovered that attitudes toward the past are key to the development of gratitude, which allows you to appreciate your life in the present.”

p179 “the less people can rely on the promises of government, institutions, and families, the more they eschew the future and focus on the present, creating a world of yes and no, black and white, is and is not, rather than one filled with maybes, contingencies and probabilities.”

Yesterday is already a dream
And tomorrow but a vision
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope. –unattributed (from Sanskrit)

Time is the most indefinable yet paradoxical of things: the past is gone; the future has not yet come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and like a flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. — Kugelmass

p216-7 “Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies flow as a special state of mind in which there is total absorption for a period of time in a given activity. The main characteristics of flow are:

  • clear goals
  • concentrating and focusing
  • a loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action & awareness
  • distorted sense of time
  • balance between ability level and challenge
  • a sense of personal control over the situation or activity
  • the activity is intrinsically rewarding”

p217 “Flow is involvement in the process of whatever you are doing. when in flow, you are not focused on the product of the process in which you are engaged.”

Five: The Future – tomorrow through the lens of today

Never think of the future. It comes soon enough. –Albert Einstein

The future ain’t what it used to be. –Yogi Berra

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. –Leo Tolstoy

Six: the Transcendental Future – new time after death

p308 “…the future is our primary motivational space. … The transcendental-future time perspective therefore allows theories of motivation to be extended past the point of imagined death and can be used to explain what is often thought to be incomprehensible behaviour.”

p313 “The Great Law of the Iroquois…reads:

In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.

“According to this law, we must think seven generations into the future not because our souls depend on it but because our progeny do.”

p314 “This perspective creates a vicarious representative democracy comprised of those living today and all of those who will live in the next seven generations. People living today cast votes for those who will live in the future, benefitting those who will live in the seven generations to come, as well as those who are living now. So expansive a distribution of power leaves little room for self interest.”

[see the Long Now Foundation]

Part II – Making Time Work For You

Seven: Time, your Body, and your Health – more than your biological clock is ticking

[see previous posts on Chronobiology and Health:

A disorder of time consciousness is a primary alteration of consciousness and may be found as often as it is looked for in mental illness. –Aubrey Lewis

p343 “A host of psychological an physicological problems can ensue when you are not living in harmony with time.”

p345 “[Frederick] Melges believed that people with mental disorders have consistent misconceptions about time.

“One consistent misconception relates to the speed with which time passes.”

p350 “Some people have difficulty distinguishing among the past, the present, and the future. They confuse memories with future events and mistake future events with past ones. Such confusion is closely associated with schizophrenia…”

For us convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is an illusion, although a persistent one. –Albert Einstein

p364 “…zebras have an acute stress response every now and then. We, in contrast, have a chronic stress response that is seldom  as extreme as a zebra’s but never goes away. [Robert] Sapolsky has shown that persistent stress of this present kind can actually shrink areas of the brain involved in past memory.”

Eight: The Course of Time – life choices and money in balancing the present and future

As we mature and retire, Time ripens all things. No man is born wise. –Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

p385 “[Robert] Zajonc‘s work shows that we do not always consciously make our choices. Sometimes we are merely making automatic responses to the world around us.”

An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth. –Bonnie Friedman

p432-3 “According to…Sonja Lyubomirsky, those among us who are ‘happy people’ tend to do the following things more than less happy people do.

  • help coworkers and passersby
  • express gratitude for what they have
  • devote time to family, friends, and other social relationships
  • savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present
  • exercise habitually
  • express optimism about their future
  • set and pursue life goals
  • cope well with life’s headaches”

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. –Bertrand Russell

p441 Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky identified twelve strategies through which people can increase their levels of happiness. Each strategy is explicitly or implicitly associated with a general time perspective.”

PAST

PRESENT

Express gratitudeAvoid overthinking & ruminationLearn to forgive Practice acts of kindnessNurture relationshipsIncrease flow experiences

Savor life’s joys

Take care of your body (meditation)

FUTURE

TRANSCENDENTAL FUTURE

Cultivate optimismDevelop coping strategiesSet and pursue life goals

Take care of your body (exercise)

Practice religion orCultivate spirituality

Ten: Business, Politics, and your Time

p485 “Conflicting time perspectives lie at the heart of the political process.”

Eleven: Resetting your Psychological Clock – developing your ideal time perspective

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time. –Leonard Bernstein

p509 “…acknowledging our inherent bias as residents in the western world – we believe that the optimal time perspective profile is:

  • high in past-positive
  • moderately high in future
  • moderately high in present-hedonistic
  • low in past-negative
  • low in present-fatalistic”

294 Days to Dec 21st 2012