Sunday, July 31, 2005

Atkins craze is crazed-out

Still in Alberta, but this is interesting....

Atkins Nutritionals, the company founded by Dr. Robert Atkins (of low-carb fame), has filed for bankruptcy. It seems the low-carb craze is fading, and this is just another nail in the coffin.

Rampant speculation about the cause of Atkins' death did little to improve the image of his diet. It is a documented fact that he weighed 258 lbs (at 6' tall) at the time of his death - obese by most standards. A leaked coroner's report suggested that his fall on ice was a result of heart disease. Of course, his wife claims that he somehow - while in a coma - gained 63 lbs during his final, vegetative week spent in a hospital bed.

I don't know how Atkins died, but I doubt he could miraculously gain 60 lbs while comatose. If he didn't, then he was a fatty - and fat was just what his diet was supposed to eliminate.

Lots of complex carbohydrates and little (no) animal fat is the diet for which we were designed. This doctor is one who lives by the diet he preaches, and is thin and in good health as a result.

Keep an eye out here for more fun updates.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

keeping tabs

I'm still in Alberta, but I have been keeping tabs on the news. The execution of the innocent dude in London has me a little freaked-out. Although I'm a hippie tree-hugger, I'm still (for the most part) a civil libertarian, and policing the folks in this manner has me scared.

Also, updated my other blog: http://halifaxantigua.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 18, 2005

CAFTA

I somehow stumbled across a site in opposition to a proposed bill in the US to create a Caribbean-American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

(This is the site: http://www.americansforfairtrade.com/)

I perused it a bit, and only found information pertaining to CAFTA. I think their URL listing is somewhat misleading, so I wrote them:


Folks,

your URL is americansforfairtrade.com, but the only issue I see you taking on stand on here is the proposed CAFTA bill.

It seems to me that Americans have benefitted from a significant amount of unfair trade between your country and countries in South America, Central America, and Africa.

Are you going to take a stand on, for example, the low costs of coffee, bananas, or chocolate? Will you take issue with the subsidies given to your farmers, which those in other nations don't get?

Those are fair trade issues.

Just wondering where you stand on this stuff.

Andrew


As always, we'll await a response.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gone for a while

If reading my blog has become a semi-daily routine, then

1) I'm flattered
2) I apologize, for I will be gone for the next 3.5 weeks. I'll be in what must be heaven on earth - Jasper, Alberta.
















During this time, posting will be sporadic at best. I leave you with the words of Walt Whitman:

"This is what you shall do:

Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown . . . reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tom Cruise is in my head

Try as I might, I can't escape knowing what Hollywood suck-bags are doing with their spare time. Through osmosis or proximity or whatever, I am aware that Tom Cruise took issue with psychiatry on a talk show.

So with this brou-haha surrounding Tom Cruise's attack on psychiatry and his trumpeting of scientology, I did want to learn a little about his faith.

And the Chronicle Herald delivered for me. Today, it's got a very readable article on the basics of scientology, and (while I appreciate it's a biased source) the religion sounds just as whacky as any other religion.... maybe even more so.

The part I do like though, is this:

"...how is (the creation story that has alien souls placed on earth 75 million years ago) any less believable than a creation story involving a man, woman, a cosmic garden and a talking snake? "

True, true.

And I did see War of the Worlds recently, too. I like Spielberg (I know, I know - what about Jurassic Park? For every Jurassic Park there's a Schindler's List or a Back to the Future), so I figured we'd give it a shot.

I liked it. It didn't move me (to a bigger house), but I liked it. And judging by the way my wife was squirming around, it was pretty scary, too.

But it seemed obvious to me that HG Wells could have easily intended his novel to be an allegory for today's human treatment of our planet - we enslave other species and use them for food; we leave a lot of destruction in our wake; there is seeminly no sense or compassion to it all; and in the end.... well, I'll leave the end for those who haven't seen or read it.

From the novel:

"And before we judge of (the aliens) too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals... but upon its inferior races. "

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A thorn in the foot

Radicalism is a thorn in the foot of conventional economic and social structure. 20 years ago, France bombed a Greenpeace ship that was bound to sea to protest nuclear testing. It turns out that France's president authorized the bombing.

It's important to note that people who work for organizations such as Greenpeace don't consider themselves radicals - they just think they are doing what is right. The term "Radical" gets applied when the moderate and mainstream masses grow uncomfortable with said conventional societal structure.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Deep Ecology

I am currently reading this book by Patrick Beach. The novel chronicles a young man's short life as an anti-forestry activist, and how the fight for the Redwoods ended his life. It explores the history of environmental activism versus the interests of business, and I am enjoying it. (Interesting to note that the only comment on the book is from the young man's mother)

In the same vein, a BC court ruled that an alleged arsonist and environmental activist (or terrorist?) should be deported back to the US to face charges of setting fire to forestry equipment. Among other things the activist has done are dressing up like a bunny, living on a building ledge for 10 days, and arguing against tree ownership.

Most people think activists like this are crazy: who would drill a spike into a tree so that the tree, when run through lumber machinery, will destroy the milling tools? Who would eat only raw fruits and vegetables to save on energy resources? Who would climb up a 300 foot tall smoke stack just to hang a "stop pollution" sign?

The essence of most "extreme" environmental activism today is rooted in a philosophy of Deep Ecology, as described below:

Deep ecology is founded on two basic principles: one is a scientific insight into the interrelatedness of all systems of life on Earth, together with the idea that anthropocentrism - human-centeredness - is a misguided way of seeing things. Deep ecologists say that an ecocentric attitude is more consistent with the truth about the nature of life on Earth. Instead of regarding humans as something completely unique or chosen by God, they see us as integral threads in the fabric of life. They believe we need to develop a less dominating and aggressive posture towards the Earth if we and the planet are to survive.

The second component of deep ecology is what Arnie Naess calls the need for human self-realization. Instead of identifying with our egos or our immediate families, we would learn to identify with trees and animals and plants, indeed the whole ecosphere. This would involve a pretty radical change of consciousness, but it would make our behavior more consistent with what science tells us is necessary for the well-being of life on Earth. We just wouldn't do certain things that damage the planet, just as you wouldn't cut off your own finger.

Do you find Naess' philosophy radical or ridiculous? Or does it, in some way, make sense? Given that you've read at least two paragraphs about Deep Ecology, do you have a slightly better understanding of why these activists do what they do?

Are these people still crazy? Or does the world need people like the arson-activist who eats only fruit and vegetables - does the world needs him to make its citizens think about a new perspective?

That's a lot of questions to ask. Perhaps the most pressing question is - if, even to a small degree, Deep Ecology makes sense, what are you doing to live by its tenets? How do each and all of us do our part?

For more on Deep Ecology:

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC22/Zimmrman.htm (the source of the above quote)

http://www.resurgence.org/satish/kumar-nature.htm

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush is hardcore

He and I have at least one thing in common...

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/07/06/bush.bike/


The melting pot

OK, let's see where we're at today:

PM Paul Martin says he's going to get tough and use forceful language with GW Bush on climate change. Junior Bush doesn't believe (or does but doesn't find it convenient) that man-induced climate change is an issue, so Martin is going to tough-talk him. When I read the article, I found this passage amusing, funny, laugh-out-loud hilarious, actually...

"No one expects Bush to sign on to Kyoto, but they are hoping he will at least agree that climate change is a real problem."

It conjures to my mind a parent or teacher speaking to a 7 year old kid in denial:

-Now, now, Johnny, we saw you throw that rock.
-No I didn't.
-But we saw you.
-No I didn't.

How can you argue - or compete - with such child-like tendencies?

And another thing

Umberto Eco, one of the smartest men alive, has a new book coming out. No, it's not book 6 of the Harry Potter series. I've read a few by Eco; his essays are brilliant and funny, and this novel is one of my all-time favourites. Still, he's not for everyone. What with the way I read today, it would take my 6 or 8 months to finish one of his novels.

But his new book explores an interesting concept, as evidenced from this quote:

"Take the case of a person who's totally illiterate. When he or she dies, his or her life has spanned 60 or 70 years, let's say. But you or me, when we die we've had a life 2,000 years long. Our life contains — I don't know, the assassination of Caesar and the discovery of America. People who have had cultural training have a longer life than the person who has only personal biography."

His book explores the meaning of identity. Neat to consider.

In summary

If you like running - and I do, when my surgically repaired left knee cooperates - then you'll dig this article about getting back to the basics of running.

Apparently (as with everything else), we've engineered our lives to be so easy that we're now becoming frail and weakly. Modern running shoes are so good at stabilizing and shock absorbing that our feet have become weak, and as a result we suffer more injuries due to weak muscles.

Listen, running is a tough sport. When you run, you put a wear and tear on your body, and so you're bound to suffer some injuries. Even if it's only tendonitis or sore muscles.

I don't think I'd want to run barefoot. But then, I have "gringo" feet.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A trip and a new blog

Just returned from a mini-vacation (my whole life is a vacation) and decided, in the interest of separating pictures from text, to create a new blog.

The blog will contain mostly pictures, mostly of our adventures over the next two years, and will mostly be good times. Mostly.

You can find the blog at:

http://halifaxantigua.blogspot.com/