Mathematical Proof

by wil — Dec 8, 2011

Everything exists simultaneously

by wil — Dec 6, 2011

Everything exists simultaneously. Communism isn’t some imaginary society…communism is just one way of people interacting in all societies. The same can be said of exchange, the same can be said of patronage. All these different ways of giving gifts or making exchanges always exist. The question is how they come together, which are favored, and most of all, which we fix on when we try to imagine what people are really like.Anthropologist David Graeber via Giving It Away (TTBOOK)

Making Supper Safe

by wil — Dec 5, 2011

I recently finished Making Supper Safe, Ben Hewitt’s critique of food safety/regulation/politics. I enjoyed it — it’s a topic I’m interested in and he’s got a casual, engaging style (no angry screeds).

Basically it’s a critique of the industrial food system and the largely-pro-industrial policies of the USDA/FDA. And then a look at smaller-scale, regional alternatives.

I’ve cobbled together this Hewitt food-safety summary/manifesto (which I agree with wholeheartedly):

  • As long as we choose to eat, we choose to accept a certain degree of risk.
  • I know that the risk of contracting pathogenic bacteria from my food is small but real.
  • My food is teeming with bacteria because the world is teeming with bacteria.

What I have chosen, therefore, is a style of eating that affords me as much transparency as possible. To the extent that I am able, I purchase my family’s nourishment from producers operating on a scale or with an ethos that provides a clear view of the where, how, and why of production and processing methods.

I also believe that the widespread antibacterial/antimicrobial movement is good-intentioned, but wrong-minded. I’m not talking about life-saving antibiotics, but general antibiotic overuse*, antibacterial soap/wipes, food irradiation, etc. — and the notion that you can, or would want to, get rid of all bacteria/microbes.

It’s commonly estimated that the number of bacteria in and on our bodies outnumber the number of human cells by 10 to 1. We are bacterial hosts/symbionts. We need bacteria for vitamin synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, fat metabolism, etc. And we regularly harbor pathogenic and/or potentially-pathogenic bacteria while maintaining overall good health.

There is a lot of evidence to support the idea that we are a victim of hyperhygenitization. The evidence is increasingly strong that when our intestinal microbiota is in a normal, healthy state, we’re more resistant to disease. In fact, one of the top predictors for salmonella poisoning is antibiotic use within the past 30 days.Justin Sonnenburg
Asst. Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford

The way I see it, you can maintain a strong and healthy gut and immune system or you can get by with a weakened gut and immune system and try to kill off the “bad” microbes (a losing battle). I’ll grant you, it’s not a scientific study, but my wife and I hardly ever get sick. As kids and into our twenties, we got sick a few times a year, we got colds, the flu, etc. and we just accepted it as normal. But nowadays we very rarely get sick, and for what it’s worth, we attribute the change to our change in diet (from a pretty conventional, standard American diet to one heavy in home-prepared, minimally-processed, organic, farm-to-market foods).

* Why we feed antibiotics to healthy animals to hasten weight-gain — thereby promoting antibiotic-resistant microbia — is beyond me. Incredibly shortsighted.

The Return

by wil — Dec 3, 2011

I’ve taken some time off from this blog and experimented with another (with more of a web-design focus), but I think what I want to do is import some of the relevant posts from my other blog, consolidate, and return to writing here.

So…yeah…if/when a bunch of new posts show up out of the blue, that’s what’s going on.


by wil — Nov 10, 2011

Hmm…do you think it might be time to empty the paper recycling bin?

Seasonal Affective Disorder

by wil — Nov 9, 2011

I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I think my backyard does. It doesn’t seem to know whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter — it’s putting forth an affect of each:

Spring, a blossoming honeysuckle

Summer, a green cottonwood

Autumn, a colorful cotoneaster

Winter, snow on the ground

To be precise, I took all of these photos yesterday.

Let Us Be Men

by wil — Oct 31, 2011

For God’s sake, let us be men
not monkeys minding machines
or sitting with our tails curled
while the machine amuses us, the radio or film or gramophone.

Monkeys with a bland grin on our faces.D.H. Lawrence
Pansies, 1929

Ojito Wilderness

by wil — Oct 24, 2011


The Lipid Hypothesis Has Officially Failed

by wil — Oct 19, 2011


New TV, Old TV Cabinet

by wil — Oct 12, 2011

We’d been thinking about replacing our 15-year-old 27″ TV with a new one for about a year. But we wanted to keep our TV cabinet, so we carefully measured the cabinet space — and built a couple of scale models — and determined we could fit a 32″ HDTV into the space if we angled it just so…

The old TV

The empty TV cabinet + curious cat

The cabinet with new support column, shored up with about a thousand L-braces and twelve million screws

Support column with attached articulating-arm TV wall mount + large L-brace securing the cabinet to the wall for extra-super-duper stability + a temporarily-askew wall/cabinet baseboard

The new TV in its retracted state

Side view of the extended TV

Front view of the extended TV (with plenty of room underneath for AV components)

Whew. Now we’re set till ~2025, when we will attempt to install a dark-energy-powered Holo-Mind-Meld system into our old TV cabinet.