Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Weird" science #2: Louis Pasteur

This is one of those posts I have been tied up in knots over because I have simply not had enough time to study it out to the final degree I want to. But I think I have gone far enough to share it with you so, if you are intrigued, you can study it far enough to feel comfortable yourself either to affirm or deny its veracity.

If you think I may be following a primrose path to error, please feel free to correct me!


I had always been led to believe that Louis Pasteur was a great person, worthy of great honors. After all, it is he who developed the germ theory that led to most of the tremendous advances in late 19th and early 20th century medicine and, of course, to the process that bears his name: pasteurization, "a process of gently heating foodstuffs like milks to kill these organisms without changing the flavor or nutritional value." I have even found him held out by many conservative Christians as a model of religious rectitude.

This is what I have been taught.

Except now I am finding that nearly everything I was taught about Pasteur's science and discoveries, not to mention the value of pasteurization, may be wrong.

More specifically, I'm learning, there is quite a number of historians who claim,
  • Pasteur didn't "discover" what is credited to his name. All of those "discoveries" were known before he came along. --It appears the case for this is quite strong. (See Chapter 1 of The Dream and Lie of Louis Pasteur for one source.)
    • Question, however: Could it be said that Pasteur "discovered" the germ theory in the same way that it can be said legitimately that Columbus "discovered" America (even though we have definitive evidence Columbus was not the first European to make it to the Americas and back)? No, Columbus was not first in the sense of absolutely no one having done it before. But, yes, he was first in the sense that it was only after Columbus went and returned that "America" came to be generally recognized for what it was. I.e., he was first in somewhat the same sense that George Washington was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." . . .

      My point: Is it possible that, while, as R. B. Pearson notes, it was proposed by many people even centuries before Pasteur that diseases are transferred by microscopic "seminaria contagionum" (Geronimo Fracastorio (1483-1553)) or "animalcula" (described in 1683 by Antonius van Leeuwenhoek) or "germs" (proposed in 1762 by M. A. Plenciz), the world really needed a Pasteur to popularize the concept and make it stick?
  • I lack the capacity to judge one way or another on this matter, but several credible sources suggest that bacteria are not so much the causes of disease as they are the consequences. Microorganisms are, as it were, the "cleanup crew." When a macroorganism is weak, the microorganisms will come in to put it out of its misery and/or digest (and, thus, remove) the diseased parts. They say that the germ theory of disease--the theory that germs cause disease--is ill-conceived.
It was/is this latter point, really, that has put much of my blog writing on hold over the last few weeks. I have had this post semi-written (up to the words "ill-conceived") for the last month. But/and I have not been able to get far enough into the underlying literature to feel satisfied about the truth or error of the claim.

So let me share some of the sources I have perused:

The Dream and Lie of Louis Pasteur. --That, actually, was my first introduction to this set of weird ideas. It focuses primarily upon Bechamp and Pasteur. I received the link from a friend who has bought into the theory that "the [physical] terrain [of the host body] is everything; the germ is nothing."

The Lost History of Medicine. A development of the terrain/germ dichotomy with lots of links.

. . . I would like to develop this more, but I think the development will come in subsequent posts. (Be glad! 1--I'm getting this stuff published. And, 2--maybe my posts will be shorter than they used to be when I would get into this kind of stuff!)

For those who think I have jumped off the deep end, that I would even "listen" to this kind of stuff, let me acknowledge that I am finding myself extremely skeptical about the claims. But I am intrigued that, even if (as I expect), the authors of these articles--and the books and articles that they reference--are mistaken in some fundamental ways, they are probably more right than conventional medical advocates are willing to acknowledge. Put another way: Conventional medicine has some insights (but claims far more knowledge and competency than it has a right to claim), and these possible "quacks" are onto some keen insights that most of us ought to know about and utilize to our benefit. At the same time, I expect, they also claim far too much for their theories than they have a right to claim. --Just for example, "The terrain is everything," I imagine, is way overblown. So, too, I'm sure, is "the germ is nothing." But it would be extremely valuable to notice the terrain, and pay attention to the terrain, and to work on the terrain--something that conventional medicine, by and large, refuses to do; and something that the U.S. government, through its subsidies, actively undermines (a subject we will return to in subsequent posts).

So. Onward!

I hope you'll join me as we see where this leads. . . .

The Curse of Untrained Employees . . .

Or maybe not. Check out Denny Hatch's article titled The Curse of Untrained Employees.

My opinion: the Apple example is, most definitely, an illustration of lack of training and, in general, atypical of Apple stores. I can imagine the illustration from Simon & Schuster may be an example of lack of training--or of a really stupid policy. But I don't know about the BA (British Airways) illustration, nor the Sanofi Aventis and Amazon illustrations. I imagine the BA situation must arise from some strange government regulation, and the latter two merely identify mistakes and incompetencies that even well-trained people--and business owners!--will engage in from time to time.

And the royal palace? I am quite sure that has nothing to do with lack of training. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me to find that the Queen herself initiated the attempt to acquire public assistance.



And any math heads who can figure this out, I'd be much obliged: How do you think BA came up with a 46% APR . . . even if and as they roll their membership fee into a percentage rate? I mean, to hit 46%, even including the £150 fee, the "typical" Premium customer would have to charge, say, an average of only about £600 per year on their card, wouldn't they? £150 on £600 is 25%. Add the 19.9% "real" interest, and you're getting into the 45% range. I would imagine.

But that hardly seems "typical" of a Premium class BA customer! Does it?

(By the way, you can still find this offer today on the BA website.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Object v. domain of study . . .

I just started reading Science Held Hostage: What's Wrong with Creation Science AND Evolutionism by Howard J Van Till, Davis A Young, and Clarence Menninga.

In the first few pages they make an interesting observation. Actually, they make the observation in their very first sentence, but it took a couple of pages before I understood its significance:
Although the entire physical universe may be the object of investigation by the natural sciences, not all of its attributes fall within the domain of scientific inquiry.

What does this mean?

The authors attempt to illustrate the distinction by suggesting how we might study a page in a book.

Suppose we were able to describe every aspect of the page from the perspective of a natural scientist. Suppose we analyzed its chemical and physical characteristics, the distribution of atoms, the specific locations of different compounds, the proportions and dimensions and spatial relations of all the physical components. . . .

At the end of such an analysis, would we have missed anything of significance?


No amount of scientific investigation--at least no amount of scientific inquiry of the type described here--could possibly reveal, 1) that the object of our study [what we--as observers--know is a page of the book] actually is intended to convey meaning, or 2) what that meaning really is.

And, thus, "to say that this page is nothing but a particular assembly of atoms and molecules, or to assert that the physical universe is 'all that is or ever was or ever will be' (as Carl Sagan does in Cosmos, p. 1) is to speak nonsense."

Frustrated! Need to change my methodology . . .

I keep reading books and articles and tell myself I need to blog what I'm reading and studying and thinking. I feel the need partially because I find I really "master" something when I am able adequately to explain it. But I rarely get around to blogging . . . perhaps because I keep wanting to ensure I've done a thorough job of hitting every fine point.

So I've decided I need to change my mentality. "Just get the basic points out on the blog. Let your readers get a glimpse of what you're thinking about and, if they are interested, let them do their own research. Give a few clues, maybe a few links, but don't worry about being completely thorough."

So that's what I hope to do . . . and hope, thereby, to break up the ice and the backlog of posts I've been wanting to write but have never gotten around to.


And thanks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Self-healing DNA . . .

My friend Perry Marshall just sent me a link to his latest article titled The Mathematics of DNA.

I have to confess, I can't follow all the math. (Or, perhaps more accurately: I have been unwilling to invest the time to figure out exactly what he is saying when he speaks about the implications of certain ratios.)

But ignore the more technical aspects and--as long as he isn't blowing smoke--the article is filled with some very intriguing ideas, indeed!

I'll quote the introduction just to whet your appetite:
Imagine that someone gives you a mystery novel with an entire page ripped out.

And let’s suppose someone else comes up with a computer program that reconstructs the missing page, by assembling sentences and paragraphs lifted from other places in the book.

Imagine that this computer program does such a beautiful job that most people can’t tell the page was ever missing.

DNA does that.

In the 1940’s, the eminent scientist Barbara McClintock damaged parts of the DNA in corn maize. To her amazement, the plants could reconstruct the damaged section. They did so by copying other parts of the DNA strand, then pasting them into the damaged area. . . .

How does a tiny cell possibly know how to do that???

A French HIV researcher and computer scientist has now found part of the answer.
Check out The Mathematics of DNA.

And if you can find anything wrong with what Perry has written, you may be sure he (and I!) would appreciate hearing about it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beware unfermented soy foods

I've been sitting on this story for too long. I keep wanting to write long, but don't have the time. So I figure I will settle simply for providing links with brief commentary that, I hope, will pique your interest.
I saw this article by Dr. Joseph Mercola about the dangers of unfermented soy. It has been linked to brain damage, breast cancer, and more.
And what are unfermented soy products? How about . . . soy milk, soybean oil, soy protein (an additive in many foods; look also [primarily?] for "textured vegetable protein" or TVP), soy "cheese," soy "ice cream" and soy "yogurt," tofu, edamame . . . --You know, all those supposedly "healthful" foods.
All those "healthful" foods that aren't--for various reasons, including these . . . that Mercola lists and documents in his article:
  • 91 percent of soy grown in the US is genetically modified (GM). For many of us, that poses no worries. After all, the U.S. government wouldn't permit the widespread introduction of harmful GM organisms into our food supply would it? (More on that in future posts.) More important: The primary reason for the GM is to make the soy resistant to the herbicide Roundup--which we will get to in the next point.
  • You may be sure that all the GM soy is "loaded with the toxic pesticide" Roundup.
  • Soy contains natural toxins known as "anti-nutrients" which "interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein."
  • Soy contains hemagglutinin, "a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together."
  • Soy contains goitrogens, substances that "block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function."
  • Soy contains phytates which "bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc -- all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body."
  • Soy is loaded with the isoflavones genistein and daidzein which "mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen, and have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are known to disrupt endocrine function, may cause infertility, and may promote breast cancer in women."
  • Soy has toxic levels of aluminum and manganese. --For example, "[s]oy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk."
  • Soy infant formula puts your baby’s health at risk. --Among the startling and disturbing statistics Mercola references:
    • "[E]strogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day."
    • Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed other formulas!
Mercola provides links for all of these claims. You'll have to read the original article for details.

One key item. Please pay attention to the point about unfermented soy products. Fermented products (which, Mercola notes, are healthy--for reasons he explains) include . . .
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Natto

  • Soy sauce. ("Be wary," however, Mercola notes, "because many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.")

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Land of the free? Not when it comes to food!

I touched on this about a year ago. Hate to keep beating the drum. But as I keep discovering how my own health depends on bucking the "Fast Food Nation" approach to eating, I keep bumping into the obstacles--some major, some minor--that our federal government and, now, more and more, our state and local governments, are putting in our way to basic rights--like the right to buy an egg that has not been irradiated, or milk that has not been pasteurized (i.e., heated to a point where its enzymes and helpful bacteria have been destroyed).

Want to buy fresh (raw) milk? Illegal! --Doesn't matter what kind of agreement you are willing to sign: "I take full responsibility for my own health. If I become sick from this milk, I will pay all of my own medical costs. . . ." Doesn't matter. The government is going to "save" you by ensuring that, if you have any milk at all, it has been properly denatured through pasteurization, at least.

Good luck finding un-homogenized milk (suspected of contributing to some of the blood fat issues many of us suffer). That's difficult. But buying raw milk: Wholly illegal.

And now the U.S. federal government is becoming ever more tyrannical. Check out this story about how the feds, state, local and even Canadian "law enforcement" officers are engaging in illegal intimidation tactics against private citizens seeking only to eat foods that they believe are healthy for them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Weird" Science #1 - Properly mineralized agriculture better than modern medicine?

One of my new favorite magazines, Acres USA, included a striking opinion piece this month.
"Newspapers, magazines and electronic media outlets all over the world recently announced a breakthrough vaccine that will hopefully protect women against breast cancer," the author began.

He then referenced a report from CBS News (5/31/2010):
In the current study, genetically cancer-prone mice were vaccinated -- half with a vaccine containing the antigen and half with a vaccine that did not contain the antigen. None of the mice vaccinated with the antigen developed breast cancer, while all the other mice did.
Dr. Vincent Tuohy, Ph.D., the principal investigator on the project, said, "We believe this vaccine will someday be used to prevent breast cancer in adult women in the same way that vaccines prevent polio and measles in children. If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental."

All well and good. Indeed, exciting.

But, asked the author of the Acres USA article, if this research is worthy of excitement, why have so few people heard of research conducted close to 60 years ago that produced similar results based solely on diet changes?

Specifically, why have so few of us ever heard of the pioneering work of Dr. Maynard Murray, M.D., who conducted multiple experiments from 1938 through the 1950s that showed that animals fed vegetables, fruits and grains that had been fertilized with sea minerals were able to overcome cancers that the same animals fed the very same foods grown in more conventional ways were not?

Murray first became interested in sea minerals when he realized that he had never found a sea creature suffering from cancer, even though cancers are very common in similar species that live in freshwater. "For example, fresh-water trout all develop terminal cancer of the liver at the average age of five and one-half years; cancer has never been found in sea trout. It is also known that all land animals develop arteriosclerosis, yet sea animals have never been diagnosed as arteriosclerotic." (Sea Energy Agriculture, p. 30)

So what kind of experiments did Murray do?

In 1954 he had Ray Heine and Sons Farms of Rutland Township, Illinois, grow oats, corn and soybeans--approximately half of each of these crops the normal way, and the other half exactly the same except for one difference. The experimental crops were grown in soil that received an application of 2,200 pounds of sea solids (sea salts--including whatever trace elements were present in the sea water before evaporation) per acre.

Murray was interested in how the crops grew. (The crops grown with the sea solids did better.) But then, after the crops were harvested, Murray wanted to see if these crops, now used as feed, would offer any differential benefits to the animals that ate them.

Researchers from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University conducted the experiments.

They mixed up similar blends of the control grains and experimental grains--one part soybeans, two parts oats, and four parts corn--and fed them to different kinds of animals.

For example,
C3H mice were obtained. . . . This strain of mice has been bred so all females develop breast cancer which causes their demise. The mice were two months of age when received and started on the feeding experiments. The life expectancy of this strain for females is no more than nine months which includes the production of two or three litters. The experimental and control groups both consisted of 200 C3H mice and those fed on control food were all dead within eight months, seven days. The experimental mice that were fed food grown on the sea-solids-fertilized soil lived until they were sacrificed at 16 months; definitive examination revealed no cancerous tissue. The experimental group produced ten litters compared to the usual two to three litters and none developed breast cancer.

--Ibid., pp. 50-51

Then there were the Sprague Dawley rats: 25 controls and 25 experimentals were all injected with Jensen Carcino-Sarcoma (cancer).
All of the rats fed on the control diet died within 21 days of cancer. Nine of the rats that were fed the experimental diet died of cancer within 40 days; 16 lived five months until they were sacrificed; there were no cancer "takes" in the 16 . . . survivors that were fed experimental food.

--Ibid., p. 51

And the 24 rabbits, 12 experimentals and 12 controls. This time, both groups were fed a high cholesterol diet for six months and then fed their respective soybeans, oats and corn diets.
The control group did develop hardening of the arteries and all had died within ten months. The experimental group did not exhibit hardening of the arteries.

--Ibid., p. 52

Murray was very careful in the way he reported these results:
I want to emphasize that these feeding experiments and the results are only preliminary and it must be kept in mind that the mice, rabbits and rats used in these feeding experiments have a different physiology than human beings. The results are not definite but merely indicate an interesting trend and further research should be done to further document the findings. . . . In no way . . . do I suggest that the same results would occur in a human being due to the preliminary stage of research.

--Ibid., p. 50

Sounds like good science to me! So why don't we hear about it? Has it been disproven? Not that I've seen!

So what has become of Murray's work? What has the medical establishment done with it?

As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.


Maybe it has to do with money . . . and the cozy relationship between the major pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. After all, the FDA can't permit people to think of foods as possessing healing qualities!

As reported by Mike Adams in Natural News back in May of this year:
[The FDA] has structured the rules to categorize anything that treats or prevents disease as a drug. So if you eat walnuts, and those walnuts lower high cholesterol (which they do), the FDA declares your walnuts to be "drugs."

Existing law dictates that if anything is advertised as providing health benefits without the FDA's approval, it's automatically considered to be an "unapproved drug", even if it's a common, everyday food like walnuts, cherries, grapes or oranges.

Amazingly, references to peer-reviewed scientific studies are not allowed to be made by companies without permission from the FDA because the agency considers this to be an illegal health claim. So if you sell walnuts, and your website merely links to published scientific studies that describe the cholesterol-lowering benefits of walnuts, then you can be threatened, arrested, imprisoned and fined millions of dollars by the FDA for selling "unapproved drugs."

If you flee the country, you can be then be listed on INTERPOL as an international fugitive wanted for "drug offenses." This is exactly what happened to Greg Caton, who was recently kidnapped from Ecuador by U.S. agents working on behalf of the FDA, brought back to the USA against his will, and sentenced to federal prison where he remains to this day. . . .

If you're skeptical that what I'm saying here is true, take a look at the warning letter the FDA sent to Diamond Food, Inc. back in February concerning the health claims the company had been making about its walnuts.
There's plenty more where that came from!

And it's enough to make me angry.

How is our federal government serving us, helping us, by engaging in this kind of behavior?

And then there was this gem from Dr. Jonathan Wright's Nutrition and Healing newsletter (received 5/8/2009):
For decades, the FDA has been a danger to you and your family's health. Nearly 20 years ago, the government's own General Accounting Office (GAO) wrote: "GAO found that of the 198 drugs approved by FDA between 1976 and 1985...102 (or 51.5%) had serious post-approval risks...the serious postapproval risks...[included] heart failure, myocardial infarction, anaphylaxis, respiratory depression and arrest, seizures, kidney and liver failure, severe blood disorders, birth defects and fetal toxicity, and blindness."

That terrible record continues into the 21st century (Vioxx is just one example that springs immediately to mind).

And to add insult to injury, while it has been busy approving all those potentially lethal patent medicines, the FDA has also been actively fighting against your right to keep yourself healthy with foods and food supplements! Picking on cherries is just one recent example. All the way back in 1949, former FDA commissioner Dr. George Larrick said: "The activities health food lecturers have increasingly engaged our attention....[we are fighting] the good fight against dried vegetables, vitamins, and similar products."
Sure is comforting, isn't it?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Passport to India getting better and better!

If you haven't checked it out, I would like to encourage you to go to and at least watch the Day 4 video and check out the corollary materials.

I'm very impressed with what Mission India is doing with this series.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A little stay-at-home-mom one-upsmanship: "Why I can't make friends"

Someone on the Sonlight forums posted a link to Why I can't make friends (3:15). The deadpan computer-generated voices and unexpressive faces of the two mothers in this video make the interaction all the more hilarious.

If you have ever felt yourself being put down by someone else as a result of their casual comments about how superior their children are, I think you may enjoy it!

Of course, you won't want to miss PT ST OT OMG (Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, OMG; 1:55) as well.

If you've interacted with anyone really into natural childbirth, you'll probably get a kick out of the over-the-top The pool had baby bunnies on it (1:36).

Children's nutrition, cleanliness, and health: The average human swallows 40 spiders in their sleep (1:39).

Toy dangers: It could happen (1:13). Absolutely hilarious.

Helicopter parents? There's an app for that! (1:06).

I wasn't as taken with the other videos. I'm sorry to think the creator may be running out of steam.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Income inequality, taxes, and tax breaks

I keep hearing about how the gap between rich and poor keeps growing in the United States . . . and how the size of so many top executives' salaries in the United States have ballooned in recent years . . . even while average workers' wages have failed to keep up with inflation.

Typical information along these lines includes statements like these:

  • From the New York Times, March 2007:
    The [latest] data . . . shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.
  • Or this, from an excellent article by Professor G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz:
    The ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay rose from 42:1 in 1960 to as high as 531:1 in 2000, at the height of the stock market bubble, when CEOs were cashing in big stock options. It was at 411:1 in 2005 and 344:1 in 2007, according to research by United for a Fair Economy. By way of comparison, the same ratio is about 25:1 in Europe.
    The rising concentration of income can be seen in a special New York Times analysis of an Internal Revenue Service report on income in 2004. Although overall income had grown by 27% since 1979, 33% of the gains went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 60% were making less: about 95 cents for each dollar they made in 1979. The next 20% - those between the 60th and 80th rungs of the income ladder -- made $1.02 for each dollar they earned in 1979. Furthermore, the Times author concludes that only the top 5% made significant gains ($1.53 for each 1979 dollar). Most amazing of all, the top 0.1% -- that's one-tenth of one percent -- had more combined pre-tax income than the poorest 120 million people.
Clearly, we are looking at some rather astonishing inequality, here! And it would be wonderful if the people receiving the highest incomes would be willing to share some of their wealth with--i.e., give . . . or, shall we say, be charitable toward--those less fortunate than they.

Of course, our government is not particularly inclined to think in terms of charity. It prefers to speak in terms of rights and fairness and equality. And so we hear talk of the need to raise taxes on the wealthy. And we hear discussions about what to do with the Bush-era tax cuts.

What we don't hear is any kind of acknowledgment like this (from an editorial by Joel Belz in the latest World magazine):
In all the discussion about tax breaks for the rich, two fairly simple facts are really all you need to know.

Fact No. 1 is that only 3 percent of all the taxpayers in the United States pay more in income taxes than the other 97 percent combined. [That shouldn't be so surprising, when one considers the income disparities. --JAH] Fact No. 2 is that even if you taxed that 3 percent of our population at a rate of 100 percent of their income [not quite three times the current top rate--JAH], you wouldn't produce enough additional revenue to cover the deficits our federal government is now incurring each year.
Notice: We're talking about current deficits, here! We're not talking the federal budget. We're talking solely about the federal budget deficit. The federal government can't squeeze a whole lot more out of American citizens. And even if it could, it couldn't pay its debts.

Let's see. What is that called?

Oh, yes!


And when national governments go bankrupt, what usually occurs?

Oh, yes!

Social upheaval . . . on a grand scale.

And what are our politicians talking about? Means for restructuring our nation's financial circumstances along the lines of Chapter 11 bankruptcies?


Apparently, they would rather dig us further into a hole, so we can enjoy the kind of social upheaval Europe is enduring right now as people protest austerity measures . . . or, possibly, worse (all-out warfare with those to whom we owe money and are unable to pay)?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Reading what shouldn't be there . . . but is

I have three or four web pages set up as my standard home pages on my web browser. But I so rarely start a new session that I almost never visit my home pages!

Today, however, I wanted to have two browser sessions going at the same time--so I could copy material more readily from one screen to another. (Just a little easier than using multiple tabs in one browser session.)

Anyway. That meant I saw my home pages--which include iGoogle--for the first time in weeks. My eye was attracted--as it usually is--to one of the widgets I have running on iGoogle: Mighty Optical Illusions.

And today's optical puzzle was a doozy:

What do all those strange shapes stand for?

I know--or at least I assume--the artist has to be playing with negative space. Normally I can "see" whatever-it-is they have hidden in the negative space. But this one just seems really difficult!

Eventually, with the help of some commenters, I was able to make it out. But unlike the editor of the blog, who says, "once you see it, there’s no going back," I will confess that I "go back" regularly. I have to almost trick myself into seeing what the artist has hidden.

See how you do.

If you can't make it out, let me suggest that you pretend you are looking at a flat piece of bright metal. Someone has cut holes in it with an acetylene torch. The metal is brightly lit from the front (behind you, over your right shoulder), and the background is dark.

Yes, it does say something.

If you don't get it, "check this revealing article," writes the blogger. And there you will find an easier puzzle of a similar variety -- although I believe we should say it uses positive rather than negative space:


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Some land, a new job . . . and a whole new (weird (??)) science . . .

Let me begin with the land, the property.

I don't know when this first came up. Quite a number of months ago.

Sarita said she was disgruntled with how we are invested for retirement. "You have money in conventional investments," she said. "That's okay. But I want some money invested in land."

More particularly, she wanted some land for some kind of end-of-the-world scenario family retreat. Kind of.

To be honest, even today, months later, I'm not really sure what her real goal was or is other than to "own some property." And she wanted me to make it happen.

I tried to write up her goals as best I could. (After all, how can one choose property if one doesn't know what the property is going to be used for?)

I don't know that my document was really all that helpful. But next thing I knew, Sarita was talking about the (empty, undeveloped) property next door to Amy and Phil over in Virginia.

"But we don't want to live in Virginia!" I protested. "We love Colorado!" (If you're a Virginian, please forgive my personal predilection for Colorado.) "We have no intention of moving to Virginia! We don't want to own a home there. . . ."

"But I want some property. And I would rather it were somewhere close to Amy and Phil than anywhere else. . . ." (Notice for anyone who may feel we are slighting our other kids: Justin hasn't really decided where he might settle. And our other two married children live right close by where we are. So, I imagine, if Sarita feels the need to "retreat" somewhere in an apocalypse, that would mean she would feel the need to move away from where we are--which means it would be away from where our kids other than Phil and Amy are. . . . So the property next door to Amy and Phil is attractive.)

"I want us to purchase that property," said Sarita.

"And then what? Just let it sit there?"

No answer.

"If we are going to own land, I don't want it simply to sit there, doing nothing. It has to be productive."

More silence.

I really wasn't interested in the property. It was Sarita's idea. . . . But guess who was sent to Virginia to check out the property and to negotiate a purchase?

Yep! Me.

As of sometime late in August, Sarita and I were able to come to an agreement with the (now, previous) owner, and as of early last month, we became the new owners of 57 acres of relatively undeveloped timber and farmland in Esmont, VA.

. . . And at the same moment, I think I got a new job as, more or less, manager of this new property.

And you know what? I'm pretty excited. I've got a whole new world to explore and study.



So on to the "whole new (weird(??)--certainly unexpected/out-of-the-ordinary!) science."

I think I've been moving in this direction slowly for quite some time. Maybe I began, ever so slightly, back several years ago when we discovered that Amy and Luke had some kind of strong reactions to wheat. Not allergic reactions in the anaphylactic sense of the term. But sensitivities nonetheless. Debilitating reactions that were not immediately nor obviously related to the ingestion of wheat until we (or, I should say, really, they--both Amy and Luke) took deliberate and careful steps wholly to eliminate wheat from their diets and then gently test to see whether reintroducing wheat caused certain symptoms.

It took several months, but eventually we--Sarita and I, our family--could not deny what we (or, rather, they) were experiencing.

And then there were the issues I've been dealing with. What I discovered about all the things conventional doctors don't talk about: my interactions with my rheumatologist (see this series of posts); discoveries about the interaction of wheat with my body that seems to exacerbate my rheumatoid symptoms; and so on and so forth.

But it's gone beyond that. The alternative medicine discoveries I've been making--about cholesterol (just for a minor example: average size and number of particles per volume of blood matters more than total volume of cholesterol; see also Marc's comment at the bottom of this post) . . . or about the interplay of autoimmune disorders and Grave's Disease and rheumatoid arthritis . . . or the things I mentioned a few days ago about thyroxine. --All this stuff, and my traditional/regular doctors seem totally oblivious.

But the drumbeat continues. There were discoveries not just about organic milk, but about (what aficionados want to call real milk, but what we will agree to call) raw milk from cattle fed solely on organic grasses and other forage rather than on grain.

And then, semi-finally, Amy and Phil took off for Virginia to start homesteading. And they have gotten deeper and deeper into some--what appears . . . or, rather, appeared--to be very "weird" views about food and food-growing.

"You don't want to eat non-organic foods."

"Stay away from GMO."

And my longevity and vitality doctor kept talking about the importance of eating organic. ("But it's so expensive!" I replied.)

And then, suddenly, maybe four months ago, Sarita, trained (though no longer licensed) dietitian that she is, and über skeptic, when it comes to foods, of everything that hasn't been thoroughly proven through double-blind scientific tests . . . --Sarita suddenly came out and said, "We are going to eat organic."

So we are eating organic.

(I ought to comment, here: We are eating organic, but--from my perspective--without as much pleasure as I would hope, especially considering the expense. So much of the fruits and vegetables we buy are so lacking in flavor! --But that is a subject I intend to return to in days to come. I am learning about these things and will be glad to share. . . .)

Meanwhile, now, I have begun to study how to turn our new farmland into something productive. . . . And I have been introduced to enough "weird" things that I have begun to follow the lead of Amy and Phil at least to check out what they are doing and advocating.

And so I am studying what practitioners call "biological farming" or, as one speaker I've listened to described it, organic farming "beyond zero-input"--what we might call stimulated or positive organic farming.


Sadly, so much organic agriculture seems to be defined by what farmers avoid or don't do. They don't add certain chemicals or 'cides (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) that aren't naturally present in the soil. But biological farmers--among whom I hope to take a place--seek to use scientific understanding wisely to manage the natural resources that are normally present in healthy soil--the natural elements (yes: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium--the stuff on which modern commercial agriculture is founded, but calcium, sulfur, boron, sodium, manganese, and all the other elements, too) and, almost more importantly, the microbes, the fungi, the protozoa, the worms, and so forth that are also present when soil is healthy.

Biological farmers avoid all the bad stuff, but they seek to add resources that may be missing. They don't sterilize the soil--as so many of the modern chemical agricultural products do. Rather, they bring the missing ingredients into the mix to encourage healthy growth and, thereby, push out the unhealthy.


I intend to say much more on this topic in the future, but I would like to pass on just this one story at least to whet your appetite.

It's from a lecture in which the speaker, Bruce Tainio, described some of the work he has done.

Early in his career, he said, he was a plant breeder. One of his jobs was to produce a mildew-resistant spinach. He did that and was successful. "But then, about a year and a half or two years later, I found that my mildew-resistant spinach had a new variety of mildew growing on it!" So he developed a new variety that was resistant to two types of mildew.

"After going through 13 varieties of mildew, I decided I was helping Mother Nature produce these strains of mildew . . . and I became frustrated as a plant breeder."

He said he began looking at the reasons plants get diseases and to see if he could develop some kind of testing mechanisms by which farmers could predict whether their crops were going to be attacked by pests or diseases.

Eventually, he came to the conclusion that he could do that by testing the pH in the petioles of plants.

After years of study, he said, he came to the conclusion that there is an optimal pH level for all living plants. The sap in the petiole should measure 6.4 on the pH scale. If they measure 6.4, you can sleep well because they will not suffer disease or attack from insects. If they are at 5, you have an 80% probability that the plants will suffer damage from disease or insect attack. If they are at 4, they are, without doubt, diseased.

That is what he said.
I had a group of grape growers from California who had studied my work on pH. They wanted to call me and tell me that I was incorrect. Maybe my theory applied to every other crop, but it didn't apply to grapes.

I said, "Why do you say that?"

"Well we are good grape growers. We have been grape growers for 40 years. There are five of us in our group. We have taken the pH of our plants, and the highest pH we could find in the tissue is 3.1. The average is 3."

I asked [my caller], "How many acres of grape plants have you replaced in the last five years because of phylloxera?"

The phone went silent for a minute. Then he said, "Well, yeah. We have replaced about 50% of our grapes right now and we are scheduled to replace them all eventually because the phylloxera really takes its toll on our grapes."

I said, "Well, that could be an indicator that you are wrong on your pH."

"Well, we have grown grapes for 40 years, and we know how to grow grapes."
End of story.

Grape growers right, or Tainio right?

Beyond that, why would pH have anything to do with disease or pest resistance?

Tainio noted that low calcium in a plant cell means there will be high hydrogen, hence low pH, and hence, susceptibility to disease and insect attack.
Low cell pH yields a high resonance frequency. . . . Hydrogen has a higher resonance frequency than does calcium, potassium, or sodium. . . . Diseases and/or insects come from low calcium in the plant cell, simply because it is helping to modify the frequency, the infrared frequencies, for insects to see. . . .

Calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and hydrogen: the balance in these five nutrients yields a pH of 6.4. Healthy, disease- and insect-free crops are the result of balancing these five and getting 6.4. I have never seen a disease or insect attack a 6.4 pH crop, period. If you have insects on a crop and bring it up to 6.4 through foliar nutrition, the insects will walk away. They won't even recognize that it's a crop. If you have diseases, the diseases will stop, period, if you bring it up to 6.4.

Why will the insects walk away? . . . One of the ways insects recognize crops . . . is through infrared. Infrared in the 720 nm range, we can't see. In the 660 nm range, we can see. . . .

[Similarly with insects.] When we balance the nutrition, we are holding the signature of that crop to a realm that the insects don't even know that it's there. They will fly right by. They won't even recognize it.

(There are other ways that they recognize crops, but this is one of the easiest to explain.)
Okay. More than enough for one post . . . and you get to know a little bit about some of the things I'm working on!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Heavy metal contamination . . .

While talking with my naturopath on Tuesday, as I already mentioned, we got onto the subject of heavy metals.

I told him that, considering how much heavy metal Jonelle has in her body, I figured I was probably loaded with the stuff, too. I don't know where or how I would have been contaminated, but I can't ignore the possibility.

He replied, "It's highly unlikely you would've gotten heavy metals from the same place Jonelle did. Most people who are loaded with heavy metals got them from their mothers."

"Their mothers!?!"


"And where would the mothers have gotten their heavy metals?"

"The most common source: tooth fillings. The mercury in tooth fillings."

He suggested I look up a video on YouTube: Smoking Teeth.

I've done that. And I looked up a bunch more. Pretty enlightening . . . and scary at the same time!

Here's Smoking Teeth:

Don't believe the graphical presentation? Check out Visualization of Mercury vapors in UV light:

. . . and It Really Is MERCURY!:

And then--for a really eye-opening perspective on how amalgam fillings ought to be removed, check out Safer Amalgam Removal:

How does your dentist remove fillings?

Finally, in case you wonder: How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Damage from the University of Calgary:

. . . And after all that, perhaps you noticed--as I did--the warning that appears to be from an authoritative source . . . that one should never have amalgam fillings placed in the middle of gold crowns.

So what did the endodontist do the week after I had a gold crown put in this summer, and my tooth was killing me with pain? . . . Yep! Amalgam filling.

I think I have some more research to do.

--International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology --