Monday, April 14, 2014

pumkin mezze lune

mmm. like ravioli. filled with creamy pumpkin. boiled, then briefly fried in a little olive oil and sprinkled with allspice and nutmeg.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

baked banana

One of the treats I allowed myself on the $3 Diet was baked bananas. Today I made myself a baked banana with mini-marshmallows.

baked banana with minimarshmallows

A fun little snack. Banana - 90 cal, Marshmallows - 30 cal.

Slice banana, measure out 30g of mashmallows, bake 10 minutes at 350.

more on parasites - Today's Dietician

I posted a link to the EconTalk about the health benefits of parasites earlier in the week, and today found an article in  this month's "Today's Dietician"  about parasitic infection and over active immune responses that lead to conditions like Crohn's and ulcerative collitis.

According to the study, “Inflammatory bowel disease ... probably results from an inappropriately vigorous immune response to contents of the intestinal lumen. Environmental factors strongly affect the risk for IBD. People living in less developed countries are protected from IBD. The ‘IBD hygiene hypothesis’ states that raising children in extremely hygienic environments negatively affects immune development, which predisposes them to immunological diseases like IBD later in life. Modern day absence of exposure to intestinal helminths appears to be an important environmental factor contributing to development of these illnesses. … Controlled reintroduction of such exposures [ex. helminths] during childhood and perhaps beyond may help reestablish immune balance and lower the risk for immunological diseases.”


So it's not just some crazy nut-job concept. There seems to be some legitimacy here.

Still hard to stomach the idea of fecal transplant, let alone willingly being infected by worms. But I suppose if I was suffering the effects of one of the IBDs, I'd be willing to try just about anything.

libertarian philosophy note

Out walking the dog and decided to make this note to self:

Any libertarian philosophy must have at it's core the understanding that

"Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

pay to quit

Union organizers have been demonizing Amazon as a terrible, blood sucking place to work. If it's that bad, Jeff Bezos isn't getting taken up by many of his employees on his offer to pay them to quit:

Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.
This is an excellent HR practice. We offer it occasionally in the government, and it is often used by managers to get rid of dead wood. We should do it more often.

More here:

HT to TB

we were designed to have parasites?

This was an absolutely fascinating (and not just a little revolting) discussion:

Moises Velasquez-Manoff, author of An Epidemic of Absence, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--a discussion of why allergies and autoimmune diseases have been on the rise in the developed world for the last half-century. Velasquez-Manoff explores a recent hypothesis in the epidemiological literature theorizing the increase is a response to the overly hygienic environment in rich countries and the absence of various microbes and parasites. Velasquez-Manoff also considers whether reintroducing parasites into our bodies can have therapeutic effects, a possibility currently under examination through FDA trials. The conversation continues a theme of EconTalk--the challenge of understanding causation in a complex world.
definitely worth a listen:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

going home

I'm a New Englander. It's nothing special - being a New Englander is no better than being a Texan or being a Mid-Westerner. It's just who I am. And I felt it so powerfully this weekend when I brought my daughter to visit the two schools she is going to choose between for college this fall. I've been away for 20 of the last 22 years, living in various other parts of the country. When I go back, there is something that feels right for me. Even this past weekend, in the early spring when New England is truly at its bleakest - everything is grey and dead - and there is no snow to cover it - it felt right. Going to Dunkin' Donuts and hearing all the misplaced "r"s just makes me feel like the universe is in proper working condition. I'm sure each of us feels this thing when we return back to where we are from. Home is an elusive thing for me.

I have been back many times, but this time I felt a particular draw to stay. Perhaps it's because I know my daughter will be there. Perhaps it's because my father has finally retired (something I didn't think was physically possible). Perhaps it's because I see the end of my military career coming quickly.

Whatever it was, something grabbed hold of my heart this weekend and said, "It's time to come home."

What I will do with that, I do not know yet.