Milestones

This past week I have added a few milestones to my life. The major milestone was the high school graduation of my daughter Alexis. I can still vividly  remember her first day of pre-school. Her tiny face anxious to leave me, but eager to join the other children in the brightly decorated classroom. Now in a couple of months she will be off to college. The anxious little face will be replaced by a beautiful excited smile.  Another milestone was being able to sit with my husband, best friend and most of all, my two sisters who each flew in to celebrate with us. It had been a number of years since we have all been together. The milestone was seeing our differences and also our similarities. It was a very busy week with sightseeing, dining out, a small unplanned wedding which was the best wedding my sister said she had ever attended, and talking about our past.  My daughter also went with her aunt to get tattoos. They are tasteful and a memory they will always share. It was a wonderful week, but now I feel a sence of sadness. Hopefully it will not be so many years until we see each other again. Family is too important to miss out on.

Common Pesticide Makes Honey Bees Picky Eaters

A new study offers further evidence about the dangerous effects of pesticides on honey bees. Biologists at the University of California at San Diego have found that a commonly used crop pesticide makes honey bees picky eaters and also makes them reduce the number of waggle dances they perform. Waggle dances are how the bees communicate the location of a food source; bees exposed to the pesticide performed four to ten times fewer dances.

Indeed, as Daren Eiri, a graduate student and the first author of the study in the Journal of Experimental Biology, says, some bees simply stopped performing waggle dances altogether after exposure to pesticides.

The chemical in question is imidacloprid, which is a type of neonicotinoid — which has been linked to bees’ deaths. Imidacloprid has come under increasing scrutiny in the US and is banned for use in some crops in some parts of Europe. James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who also authored the study, notes in Science Daily that, in 2006, imidacloprid was the sixth most commonly used pesticide in California. Besides being used in agriculture, it is also used in home gradens.

Read more…

Onion Rings

Prep Time: 15 Min                Cook Time: 3 Min                Ready In: 18 Min

Yield 3 serving

I think these are the best onion rings I’ve ever eaten. They are light and crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, Yum.

Ingredients

1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk, or as needed

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

seasoned salt to taste

1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

Directions

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).

Separate the onion slices into rings, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated; set aside. Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork. Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping. The wire rack may be placed over a sheet of aluminum foil for easier clean up. Spread the bread crumbs out on a plate or shallow dish. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs. The coating should cling very well. Repeat with remaining rings.

Deep fry the rings a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.

Messing With Our Minds: The Ever Finer Line Between News and Advertising

The manufacturing of consent is endemic within modern societies. Throughout history, the need to “persuade and influence” has always been manipulated by those people in power as a means to maintain authority and legitimacy. In more recent years, the overall manipulation of the mass public mind has become less about making speeches and more about becoming a pervasive presence within the lives of each of individual.

Edward Bernays has often been called “the father of public relations,” as it was his teachings and research that spurred the postwar years of propaganda. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, utilized psychological and psychoanalytical ideas to construct an informational system – propaganda – capable of manipulating public opinion. Bernays, apparently, considered that such a manipulative apparatus was necessary because society, in his regard, was composed of too many irrational elements – the people – which could be dangerous to the efficient mechanisms of power (or so-called “democracy”). Bernays wrote that, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”[1] Bearing in mind that Bernays was working in the early 1920s, we can expect the mechanisms of propaganda – mass manipulation – to have progressed to a very advanced degree since then. Within the context of our modern mass societies, propaganda has morphed into a mechanism for not only engineering public opinion, but also for consolidating social control. Read more…

The Environment Is Dead: Long Live Mother Nature

Environmentalism’s failure raises key questions in moving forward

“Environmentalism has failed” is a statement that deserves attention. It comes from famed environmentalist David Suzuki marking 50 years since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring,helped spark the modern environmental movement.Clouded Earth. (Wikimedia Commons / Stephen Slade Tien)

Suzuki’s recent essay,Environmentalism Has Failed: On Adopting a Biocentric Viewpoint, on the fundamental failure of environmentalism is ominous. The world faces not only environmental calamities such as deforestation, coral reef depletion, and freshwater shortages, it is also mired in economic crises and harsh political realities. Despite the promise of “Arab Springs” and the global Occupy movement, we are increasingly in planetary peril. Throughout his life, David Suzuki has been a leading educator on planetary health; his conclusion about the environmental movement’s failure must be agonizing. Perhaps that’s why his blog offered no new way forward.

What now?

Read More…

The Organic Watergate | Synthetics Found in Organic Foods

By Dr. Mercola

The video above features Mark Kastel, the co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute. The Cornucopia Institute, based in Wisconsin, acts as an organic industry watchdog. In his presentation, Mark raises serious issues currently facing the organic food industry, and how you can help.

Lawfully Tainted Organics—How Did that Happen?

You’ve probably heard the health conscious mantra popularized by Michael Pollan: “If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.”

The easiest way to side step synthetic food additives has been to simply eat certified organic foods. But we’ve seen an increasing number of questionable additives being approved for use in organics. There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic farming or food production. The video shows a long list of such ingredients—all of which are supposed to have been carefully reviewed for safety prior to approval.

But just how rigorous were those reviews, and are these additives really safe and appropriate for use in organics? Mark rightfully points out that fighting for the integrity of the organic label is well-worth it, considering the fact that conventional foods are allowed to use thousands of synthetic processing aids and additives, plus residues from a myriad of agricultural chemicals and genetically engineered ingredients.

Research by the Cornucopia Institute reveals disturbing evidence showing that large corporate interests have infiltrated the process, and that the rules put in place to maintain organic integrity are severely compromised.

“… It seems evident that the people doing the supposedly careful scientific reviews and approving these chemicals have mostly been affiliated with the same corporate agribusinesses and the same food producers that are lobbying for their use,” Mark says.

“We thought organics would be different from the rest of the money-dominated corruption in Washington… But the corporations that have gobbled up most of the pioneering organic businesses are relentless in their short-sighted pursuit of profit.” Read more…


World News – Study: Plastic in ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ increases 100-fold

Mario Aguilera / Scripps Institution of Oceanography

SEAPLEX researchers encounter a large ghost net with tangled rope, net, plastic, and various biological organisms during a 2009 expedition in the Pacific gyre. Matt Durham (seen wearing a blue shirt) is pictured with Miriam Goldstein.

By Ian Johnston, msnbc.com

The amount of plastic trash in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has increased 100-fold during the past 40 years, causing “profound” changes to the marine environment, according to a new study.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego found that insects called “sea skaters” or “water striders” were using the trash as a place to lay their eggs in greater numbers than before. Read more…