Some interesting stuff I came across:
- Cranberries are good against infections. That effect seems to only take place with women, though.
- We laugh 3-4 times less than people did 40 years ago. Today, an adult laughs about 15 times a day. Seems like much?
- Potatoes have their origin in the Andes (where they were grown by the Inkas) and only came to us about 500 years ago. Considering that they are pretty essential to Austrian food now, that makes me wonder which food will be "domestic" here in 500 years' time (with the climate change and all). Ginger? Mangoes? Bananas?
Also, looking at where potatoes have been produced in the last years, you notice the typical trend: Production in the Western world has remained constant or been reduced, while it has almost doubled in today's "production countries" China and India.
- New Scientist writes that Probiotic bacteria could keep us slim. My first thought was "Great, more food additives", then "Right, give the population a reason to think even less about what they eat". Then I went and read parts of the original research paper, understood about 17% of it, but at least it explains stuff a bit more thoroughly than the article. And you get some insight into what is necessary to come to such findings, animal testing and all.
I watched some of the DVD features of Children of Men. One of the extras, "The Possibility of Hope" really caught me. It shows statements of activists, ecologists, scientists, etc. about the current state of the world and outlooks on the future, reality and utopias and social economy. Naomi Klein is one of them, and so is James Lovelock, who says:
"I look on the earth as an elderly patient. She is a someone, who would be - if she were human - in her 80s. In other words, strong, vigorous full of her 80s, but not as young as she once was. [...] Because she is quite old, any stress she receives, like it's the same with one of us -- I'm at about her age in my 80s, and if I get influenza it will be a lot more serious than if you get it. Well, our patient Earth has the problem of humans. There are, I'm afraid, too many of them and they are doing too much damage to her capacity to regulate her temperature and composition."
Which is an analogy that I really, really like.
And Fabrizio Eva talks about globalisation, culture and identity, reminding me strongly of John Storey's work and what I learned in that context.
"This globalisation process does not extinguish other cultures, because it takes a long time for other cultures to disappear. Yet, it has repercussions between young and old people. Young people are willing to move, so they already have a preexisting conviction that they don't have to accept their culture the way it is. When they realize that life somewhere else might be better, they move to find their own, new identities."
Identity creation is a fascinating topic. We redefine ourselves continually through the different surroundings we put ourselves in - put on different masks, or show different aspects of our personality when we're online, among friends, among strangers, in our jobs, etc. Theoretically, this gives us so many opportunities for different identities that there's no need to move far away. You'd probably only move (based on the reason of identity) if you can't get to grips with any aspect of your living environment at all.
But, what this actually reminded me of: We used to be part of a single living environment decades or centuries ago (one village). Now that it is far easier to travel greater distances, we are part of multiple living environments, multiple cultures.
I wish more DVDs had great extras like that.
Continueing on the WIP. Not much progress - still trying to incorporate more brands, which proves a bit tricky.