December 12th, 2019


Self-Awareness Question: Inspiration

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list on self-awareness.

8. Do you feel inspired by someone or something?

I feel inspired by everything.  Seriously.  I write about people, gardening, clouds, wildlife, space exploration, roots, war, peace, love, loss, rocks, cars, dragons, music, climate change, philosophy, quantum mechanics, shamanism, art, magic, spirituality, death, birth, colors ... just seeing something I haven't written about usually makes me want to write about it.  But you knew this.

I should also mention that I find people inspiring -- my family, my friends, and especially my fans who give me prompts.  You do lead me into poems I would probably never have found on my own.  That's awesome.  I love you all.

Bacteria Locating Land Mines

Well, that's a lot more efficient and human than using rats or dogs.

The problem is that there are millions of land mines scattered around.  Who's going to pay to clean up the mess when you scan a valley and find it completely freckled with the damn things?  Comparatively little money has gone into landmine removal, because few people with money are threatened by mines and few victims have money.  More likely they'll just block off densely mined areas.  >_< 

Bioprinting Skin

Human skin is likely to be the first artificially produced organ for transplant.  3D-printed skin has layers like natural skin, but is much simpler than intricate organs like a heart.  This would make it possible to patch burns and other major injuries without cannibalizing the patient's own body for spare parts or using risky foreign tissue.  And yes, it can still save lives, because the skin the biggest organ on the body and losing too much of it is fatal.

Mood-Boosting Yogurt

This study shows that live-culture yogurt can reduce anxiety and depression.*  This matches other studies indicating that various other live cultures promote digestive health and, through the gut-brain link, mental health.

* Anxiety and depression have many causes.  If poor diet or internal ecology are wrecking your mood, adding probiotics could make a big improvement.  But if you feel bad because people mistreat you, or the environment is cooking off, or other external causes then dietary changes are unlikely to help much.  All this stuff gets lumped under the same name, but it's not really the same thing.  It's like if they said all fevers were the same.  On the bright side, it supports the general sense that if you feel crappy, checking your diet is an excellent first step.

Conversely, antibiotics -- which kill good as well as bad bacteria -- raise the risk of anxiety and depression, especially with more courses.  This is a case where probiotics may help by replacing the lost microfauna.  Regrettably there's no other option than doing it yourself, as the medical industry has not gotten far enough at figuring out how to fix a microbiome they broke while trying to kill a disease.  But just consuming probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics can buffer some of the other fallout, like yeast infections.  When you see complimentary studies like this (killing bacteria increases anxiety and depression, adding good bacteria lowers them) then the probability of a causal relationship is higher.  It might not be the whole story, but it is very likely a valid piece of it.  So watch for reports that match up like that on any topic.

I am also starting to see a confluence of evidence that eating certain types of live things, or a much wider range of things that were very recently alive, is good for humans.  In some cases, the vital energy is stronger.  In others, as with probiotics, the food actually contains symbiotes that become part of us and make us healthier.  This may be part of why ultraprocessed foods are so bad: they're very very dead.

Hurricanes Getting Worse

Here's an analysis of how hurricanes are getting worse due to climate change.  Hurricanes are made by warm water.  So as climate change drives up the heat, storms can get bigger and stronger.  They are also appearing outside their former range and season.  The weather in general is getting more severe and less predictable.

If you live in hurricane territory, prepare as best you can.  Moving away is better, if feasible for you, but for many it is not.  Reach out to your friends in other areas.  Try to find people with a different disaster season so you can swap shelter with each other in an emergency.  Bear in mind that areas right on the coast now will likely become uninhabitable soon, and the beach will move inland.  If you're not close to it now, you might be a lot closer in 5 or 10 years.

Today's Adventures

We went out holiday shopping today.

First we stopped at the mall in Mattoon.  We had just gotten lunch from the fair food counter when a fellow wandered over to chat with the owner -- and he was one of the organizers for the new business incubator.  A little while ago I had stumbled across that while researching business incubators for a poem, and was surprised to find that we might get one locally.  It looks like it's coming together.  \o/  Elevate should be opening early next year, depending how fast the mall people can do their part of it.  The idea is to offer networking opportunities and work space.  I have all the space I need here, but I'd be interesting in connecting with other folks locally.  It was a lot of fun just brainstorming ideas.

Sometimes, when I've been reading all the articles about crappy things happening or getting stuck in desperately unsuitable social occasions, I wonder if I just don't like people.  But then I meet someone on my level and there's no hesitation, no boredom, no fucking smalltalk -- I hailed a total stranger because I'd read about his project online, and we just sat down and talked about how to fix the local economy and social problems like isolation and lack of facetime.  And it was awesome.  I had thought the moment I read about this group that they seemed like fun, and yeah, I was right.  :D  So much fun.  *chuckle*  I think Carlos was just as delighted to meet people who wanted to hear about his cool business project.

After that wrapped up, we actually got to the shopping part.  I had no luck in the first store, but enough near misses to try there again in spring or thereabouts.  Second store, I found a very nice pair of soft burgundy pants that'll match some sweaters and a turtleneck I already have, although ideally I'd like to find a top of the same material.  It's like that fuzzy gray sweatsuit I scored last year that I love so much, and I've been finding more of it this year, so there's hope.  The problem is that most of the tops I'm finding are either almost identical to the gray one I already have, or they're cut with fashion seams I can't stand.  >_<  But I will keep looking.  Third store, I found a top with 3/4 sleeves which is my preferred style for autumn and spring when short sleeves are too cool and long sleeves too warm.  I got three of those in different colors.  \o/  So after much hunting, I'm starting to restock some of my basics that had worn out.

Finally we swung by the grocery store to pick up some fresh ingredients for tomorrow's supper.  We have friends coming over then.

It's been a good day.