February 25th, 2020

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Diet Features

 ... determine whether it is easy or hard to follow.  People may have different preferences, but on the whole, this analysis does a good job of ranking diets by feasibility.  It also breaks down the features so you can do your own scoring.  Just feeling hungry too often is a main reason why diets fail.   

Think of food as a lifestyle choice rather than something to fiddle with for a few weeks, and you're more likely to make sustainable improvements, regardless of what your goal is -- healthy weight, fewer headaches, better digestion, more energy, etc.  Sometimes you can find a standard diet that fits your needs well, and use that, but often you'll have to develop your own by learning which foods do what you want.  Don't sabotage yourself by trying to jump into a really stringent diet all at once.  Small changes are more likely to stick -- say, switching from white to brown rice (more fiber) or choosing vegetable side dishes over processed carbs (more nutrients, fewer calories). 

Too much hype attracts people to fad diets.  Look where those are on the list: mostly at the bottom.  0_o  There are better options.  The healthiest option is also among the easiest: the Mediterranean diet. 

The red-yellow-green system just gives you general lists of things that are good to eat, okay, or indulgent.  It's generally rigged for calories but you can make your own just by creating lists.  Maybe you care more about how processed a food is than how rich it is.  Green: unprocessed or home processed.  Yellow: lightly processed.  Red: ultra-processed.   If you're a locavore you could make those distances instead.  In any case, the more you can eat out of the green category, the better you meet your goals. 

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Dairy Bankruptcies

 ... have hit the biggest milk companies.

Commercial milk just isn't that good a product.  It's cooked at high temperatures.  Things are taken out of it and other things put into it.  The result is an ultra-processed product, and those are bad for you.  Despite decades of recommending skim milk over whole milk, it turns out that whole milk is probably better.

Also people trust the foodstream less now because of some problems it has had.  If people don't think the product is safe/healthy, they avoid it or at least buy less of it.  Plant milks have an advantage because they haven't been around long enough to hit that many scandals.

That's one driver toward the rise of demand for raw milk.  However, raw milk has one big disadvantage: you can't ship or store it.  Do not even try.  Almost all the problems with it are caused by people doing things they shouldn't.  Keep the animals and the dairy spotless.  Squeeze milk out of the udder and use it within a few hours.  You're supposed to milk twice a day.  One reason is the udder refills that fast.  The other is raw milk won't keep.  That's why we have things like yogurt, cheese, and soap to use up large quantities of milk.  Pasteurized milk became popular because you can do filthy things with the cows and leave the milk in a carton for days or weeks.  None of those are good ideas either, but people want very much to do them because it turns a profit and is more convenient than keeping a cow or buying/delivering milk every day.  I wouldn't want to keep a cow, that's a fuckton of work.  But I will happily buy minimally heated, unhomogenized milk when I can get it because it sooo much better.  Seriously, the milk from local farmers is bright sunshine yellow in summer and pale creamy yellow in winter and tastes faintly of meadow.
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Afternoon Tea Recipes

Light nibblements in savory and sweet.  :D

A big advantage of tea treats is that they're small.  You can eat one, or several, without feeling overstuffed.  You can eat a wider variety of things too.  This is a refreshing change from supersized everything.  Most restaurant desserts are more than I could eat if that was all  I ate.  :/  But give me a buffet and I'll take little nibbles of many different things.  A good tea party is like a buffet in miniature.
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Afraid to Have Babies

This article connects many problems in America with the falling birthrate -- a sign that young people despair of the future and are afraid to have babies. Or simply can't afford them. It also included this gem:

Capitalism is in crisis. It is manifested in the deterioration in local conditions, a decline in the birthrate as well as in entrepreneurship.

The blooming orange despot is merely the flower on top of the cactus
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Now, fewer humans is great for the planet.  It's just a bad sign for the cultures it's happening to.  America is just one of many.
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Half of Americans Are Poor

This article says that 49% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and 53% do not have savings to cover emergencies.  That is POOR, regardless of dollar values involved.  Poor means you constantly worry about survival and making ends meet and what on Earth you will do when something else goes wrong.  That is the norm today.  Only a small fraction of Americans are actually living well -- and even they are aware that if anything knocks them down, there's no safety net to help them back up.  This is not a healthy situation for anyone.  >_< 
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Strikes

The economy is roaring. So why are more workers striking?

Because they are treated abominably.  They aren't paid a living wage.  They have shitty benefits if any, little hope for a decent retirement, and can't even get reliable hours in which to have a life.  Most have no job security.  This is ruinous to human health and happiness, and to the stability of society at large.

Unions improve all this and more.  They don't just help union members, but everyone.  Remember:

8 hours for work
8 hours for rest
8 hours for what we will

The people who brought you the weekend!  \o/

There is another option, though: cooperatives.  In this model, unions are unneeded because the workers and owners are the same people.  The "nonprofit" descriptor is sometimes true, other times misleading -- if a coop does particularly well, it winds up with extra money that can either be invested in capital improvements or paid out to members, depending on structural details.
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Helping Wildlife After Fires

This article focuses on Australian cities, but includes advice that generalizes elsewhere: plant native species especially fire-suppressing ones, provide a water source, and leave some ground litter for cover.  You can minimize fire risks by keeping ground litter or brushy cover in patches rather than large areas, and locating them away from buildings.

Also, do everything you can to protect territory for wildlife. The more space they have, the less devastating it is when some of that burns.  This is one case when bigger is always better.
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Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, March 3

This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "Broken Angels."  I'll be soliciting ideas for gang members, police, supervillains, superheroes, blue-plate specials, gray capes, ordinary citizens, angels, churchgoers, clergy, theologians, deities, children, fish out of water, activists, other people in T-Lincoln Nebraska, leading, following, settling in, fighting, discovering yourself, testing boundaries, creating connections, coming of age, learning what you can (and can't) do, shocking people, recovering from setbacks, returning home, neighborhoods, lairs, streets, parks, public housing, local businesses, landmarks, churches, church clubs, spiritual study groups, charities, other places in Lincoln gang life, crime, prostitution, gangs, gang politics, street fights, weapons, superpowers, etiquette, bigotry, religious abuse, clergy sexual abuse, Religious Trauma Syndrome, angel-human relationships, hypocrisy, virtues, values conflict, moral injury, betrayal, alienation, crisis of faith, rebellion, the heroic journey, personal growth, imprint vulnerability, rites of passage, and poetic forms in particular.

This session focuses on the Broken Angels thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  Some of the earlier entries include:
"Dissolving the Barrier"
"Broken Angels"
"By Our Every Action"
"Visiting Angels"
"Breakfast Buffet"
"One of the Necessities of Life"

Poems planned for writing appear here. You can request any of these if you don't have other ideas. If you have a particular plotline that interests you, check the list to see if its development is outlined so you can ask for what you want to see.

I have a linkback poem "Petrichor" (5 verses, standalone).

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

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Groundwater Changes

... will have devastating impact on eastern United States

Ways to reduce this problem include:

* Start conserving water now.

* Use water-catching techniques everywhere.  Catch it in rainbarrels.  Dig swales.  Bury logs.  Route runoff through rain gardens or marshes into ponds.

* Plant more trees.  Large forests make their own rainstorms.

* Also stop cutting down the trees we already have.

* Check the local water budget to avoid taking out more water than flows into rivers, groundwater, etc.

* Encourage people to move from areas that are or will be short on water to areas with plenty.
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Dryland Shifts

Small decreases in moisture can trigger large, sudden shifts in habitat.  This article details several thresholds where drylands progress toward deserts.  Once crossed, they are difficult or impossible to reverse. 

Barely mentioned is the earliest transition from moderate to dry, where trees cannot survive and are replaced by bushes.  That's the one we really need to watch, because it's the most active right now.  The thing about trees is that an established forest can keep going in territory that is now too dry to establish a new forest.  That makes it critical to protect standing trees.  Wildfires are a huge threat not just because they burn trees, but because in a drying climate, those trees can't be replaced there.
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Moss-growing Concrete

A new type of concrete supports mosses, lichens, and other clinging plants.  :D 

In addition to the cited climate benefits, this should also be a huge boost to mental health.  Many people find the barren landscape of cities depressing, and nature deficit disorder causes many problems.  Adding green space improves mental health, and that includes green walls.
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Climate and Security

A few people have figured out that climate change poses global security threats.

Let me expand on this a little.  Areas that are currently hot will become uninhabitable imminently.  That includes large swaths of Africa and India in particular, where some of the worst heatwaves have already hit, but everywhere in the tropical zone should be considered high-risk for environmental foreclosure.  That is a LOT of countries.  The subtropical ones will go next.  

As people flee toward the poles, the temperate and subpolar countries will face mounting pressure.  We probably could cram everyone into safe places if we worked together, but people are already resisting the northward flow.  It's not going to be much longer before they simply start shooting everything that moves near their borders.  Ironically, places like Greece that are currently fending off African and Middle Eastern refugees will find themselves trying to crawl into their northern neighbors, probably with the same aggressive results.

Climate change is the worst security threat the world has faced since the atomic bomb, and it's more dangerous because we can't disarm it.
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Poems to Write: Broken Angels

I have a list of poems that I want to write in this thread. If you don't have ideas for Broken Angels prompts on Tuesday, you can pick any of the planned poems that you would like to see written out. These notes will contain many spoilers, and possibly triggers, so consider whether that's likely to bother you.

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