margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


encouraging news from the Emerald Isle

Good news from Ireland! Let's hope the IRA keeps its word.

IRA says armed campaign is over
he IRA has formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and says it will pursue exclusively peaceful means.
In a long-awaited statement, the republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Filed under: politics 1 Comment

overeating is psychological

All drugs have side-effects, only time will tell what this one's are. Hopefully it won't turn out like Redux.

Even if drugs and hormones may work on some patients initially, they don't address the real root causes of overeating, which are different for everyone but usually stem from a combination of boredom, stress, and/or need for pleasure.

Remember, the diet industry wouldn't exist if diets worked!

Weight loss injection makes patients feel full
"It is just fooling the brain that you have already had lunch by releasing the appetite hormone before you have actually eaten," Bloom explained in an interview.

Filed under: diet & health No Comments

don’t drink where you…

The things we humans flush down the toilet (into our water supply!) would be better used to fertilize the soil (as is done traditionally in many cultures.) The plants would even thank us.

Composting Toilets
The most efficient toilets are composting toilets. They have less odor than conventional flush toilets, use no water, are simple to maintain, and produce nutrient-rich compost. In general, they require emptying only once every 6 months. The humus produced is odorless and can be applied directly to a garden like any other fertilizer.

Composting toilets have been widely used in Scandinavia for many years. They have been around since 1964, when the multrum toilet, invented by a Swedish engineer, was introduced.

Filed under: sustainability 2 Comments

sing along

Like singing along with music in the car? Keep it up!

Singing drivers may be safer, study says
People who sing along to music while driving tend to concentrate more and fall asleep at the wheel less often, suggests a British study.

Singing stimulates the mind and body, making you more alert, said Dr. Nicola Dibben, a music psychologist from the University of Sheffield.


assumptions & insight

Here's the first paragraph of Hermann Hesse's 1961 "author's note" to his magnificent novel, Steppenwolf.

Poetic writing can be understood and misunderstood in many ways. In most cases the author is not the right authority to decide on where the reader ceases to understand and the misunderstanding begins. Many an author has found readers to whom his work seemed more lucid than it was to himself. Moreover, misunderstandings may be fruitful under certain circumstances.

Filed under: books 3 Comments

why are so many kids allergic to peanuts now?

It's pretty obvious that peanut allergies have gone up in recent years. Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches were a staple of my childhood in the 70s and 80s but now enough kids have problems with them that many schools ban them completely because peanut allergies can be so severe.

I suspect it has to do with dubious ingredients that are put into vaccines, due to the fact this allergy is more common in "industrialized" nations than in "less developed" ones and the fact it came on so suddenly. I could be wrong though, and researchers are busy trying to develop a peanut allergy vaccine. Only time will tell what the side effects of that will be...

Going Nuts: Why Are So Many Kids Allergic?
More than one million Americans are severely allergic to nuts (that is, exposure will lead to anaphylaxis). The state of New Jersey is treating peanut allergies as a serious public health issue, spending $250,000 to educate restaurant workers about the dangers of nuts and how and why to take inquiries from patrons about the content of food seriously. But while the public is becoming more aware of food allergies in general, what is not clear is why nut allergies have become such a severe and prevalent problem, particularly among children.

Autism, Allergy, Asthma and Vaccine Induced Autoimmunity
Why the "surge" in anaphylactic children entering school a decade ago? These children were among the first to receive an additional vaccination, Hib meningitis. Is it possible that the Pertussis and Hib vaccine, both shown below to cause allergic responses, are creating a hypersensitive immune system in some children? Has any study looked into what happens to atopy incidence and IgE levels when 5 vaccines are given concurrently in infants?

Filed under: kids 2 Comments


I bought Rob Brezny's new book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings because I love his work so much.

I enjoyed this book but think it could seriously have benefited from another edit and some better graphic design (maybe he had tight publisher deadlines?) However, in terms of insightful information it's still pretty fabulous!

Here's a gem from page 44:

   How did it come to be that what we call the news is reported solely by journalists? There are so many other kinds of events besides the narrow band favored by that highly specialized brand of storytellers. Indeed, there are many phenomena that can literally not even be perceived by journalists. Their training, their temperament, and their ambitions make vast areas of human experience invisible to them.
   "Ninety-six percent of the cosmos puzzles astronomers." I loved reading that headline on the CNN website. It showed that at least some of our cultural equivalents of high priests, the scientists, are humble enough to acknowledge that the universe is made mostly of stuff they can't even detect, let alone study.
   If only the journalists were equally modest. Since they're not, we'll say it" The majority of everything that happens on this planet is invisible to them.


pioneer spirit?

The observation about Americans below is from a travel article on a Korean website about visiting a small town in Missouri.

Is the American ethos of "self-reliance" overemphasized at the expense of community building & collective benefit?

Moving Through a 'Gateway to the West'
The reason America was called a land of opportunity is that, if someone were to fail here, he or she could move out and make a new life at a new place, as the origin of the nation shows. They didn't need to fear failure, for they could sever their past relationships and renew life as independent individuals somewhere else, which is, I believe, the foundation of a frontier spirit. So far, so good. At some point in the course of American history, however, it helped produce an ideology that still governs the society individualism. This individualism ascribes causes of failure to individuals, not social structure, and teaches people to blame failure on nobody else but themselves and to move on. The ideology of "land of opportunity" has contributed to solidifying a belief that losers could always find a second chance somewhere else. Thus, solving problems and eliminating the societal causes of failure are often not an option. In other parts of the world, social tension is heightened by mass protest on the part of the underprivileged, reinforcing class struggle or being peacefully relieved by the more privileged agitating for the progressive social legislation. In my opinion one of the reasons this country does not have a meaningful progressive party is ironically related to the frontier spirit which sounds very progressive. The pressure coming up from the underprivileged disperses "Just go west."

Filed under: politics No Comments

break the fear and evolve

Fear isn't just about an emotional reaction during an immediately dangerous situation. Fear also includes worrying, anxiety, insecurity, and stress!

99% inspiration
Because fear is so widespread in modern society, it seems a central part of life. In every field fear is used as the motivating force: religion (join my religion or you’ll go to hell); education (learn what I tell you or I will flunk you); parenting (do what I say or I will withhold my love and approval); politics (vote for me or the terrorists will get you); business (do what I say or I’ll fire you); advertising and marketing (buy this product or you’ll be ugly).

Fear places a wedge in our relationships and distracts us from our daily tasks. It diminishes our effectiveness in the world and the contributions we make as humans. Our basic primal desire is to love and be loved; the second is to inspire and be inspired. But when fear rules our hearts, there is little room for love or inspiration to reside there. When we are frightened we cannot lift up anyone else, because frightened people are not inspiring people and when we are frightening, we are not inspiring.