Friday, October 19, 2012

Batch of links

- I recently mentioned bokashi as a compost method, but I found something that looks even simpler and still requires mostly green matter, along with some sawdust pellets. It’s a composter by NatureMill. It’s compact and good-looking enough to be right in your kitchen, next to the trash bin, and it promises a fresh batch of compost every two weeks! Reviews on Amazon are mixed: some rave about it, but others cite a lack of quality control and non-existent customer service from the company. I still think it looks like a good option and I’m keeping it in mind, more so than bokashi.

- Here’s a really interesting article on food waste in supermarkets, discussing solutions like new business models, in-store sales, and consumer behavior.

- What kind of American English do you speak? According to this fun quiz, I speak general American English (50% general American English, 25% Yankee and 25% Dixie – guess that’s Texas rubbing off on me, y’all).

- A very interesting article about the fact that people’s morals and perceived disgust is related to their being liberal or conservative. It turns out that conservatives tend to think morality implies respecting authority and are more easily disgusted than liberals. This is also why some people interpret the same message differently, without even thinking about it, simply based on something for which they are prewired.

- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While I agree that it’s important to raise awareness of this disease as well as foster efforts to find a cure and help those affected, blow-drying my hair does not help cancer patients. And those little games on Facebook where you write some cryptic message in your status, like the color of your bra or whatnot, don’t raise awareness either. First, it has nothing to do with breast cancer and everything to do with a childish need to draw attention to oneself only. Second, it’s always women who do this and email their female acquaitances, making sure to tell them not to tell any men, so that they’ll be wondering what the cryptic status updates mean. So obviously, it’s not raising cancer awareness for them. Moreover, if those women were as aware as they claim to be, they would realize that men are affected by breast cancer, not only because their sisters, mothers, wives, daughters and friends can have the disease, but also – newsflash – because MEN CAN HAVE BREAST CANCER.

- MythBusters finally proved that both Jack and Rose could have survived the wreck of the Titanic by floating on that door. So there, it’s official.

- Super Wikipedia article on Quebec French profanity.

- The Kitchn wrote a post about prickly pears, which are basically cactus fruit. I’m wondering if one can eat the fruit of ANY cactus, because I do see some “in the wild”, so to speak, and I’m wondering if I can forage prickly pears. Anybody know?

- I talked about GMOs in the last batch of links. I’ve now heard that a case regarding a Monsanto seed patent infringement will reach the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming months. The federal court already found in favor of Monsanto, but personally, I hope the decision gets overturned. I am highly uncomfortable with a practice that prevents farmers from using part of their harvest for reseeding next year’s crop, not to mention the pressure that Monsanto puts on the farmers to buy their seeds and pesticides.

Speaking of which, on November 6th, California has to vote for (or against) Prop. 37, which would require labeling of GMOs as such. If it goes through, which I really hope it does, it will have a ripple effect on the entire country’s labeling, as most companies abide by the nation’s strictest regulations (and can then sell their product in any state). Today, 61 countries in the world have such laws already in place, so I think it’s time for the FDA to get with the program. I really like Mark Bittman’s ideal food label, which takes into consideration GMOs but also criteria like nutrition, “foodness” and welfare, giving the products a traffic-light score. An actualy example might look like this. It takes a lot of factors into consideration and is also very easy to understand.

Finally, here’s a video about Prop. 37. Enjoy!

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