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15 Feb 15:34

New York, California move to ban beauty products containing microbeads

by John Upton
personal care products

Scrubbing dead skin cells off your face and tartar off your teeth trashes the environment if it’s not done right. The right way to do it is with facial scrubs, shampoo, and toothpaste that do not contain microbeads. The microscopic balls of hard plastic flow down drains and pass through wastewater treatment plants, ending up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they enter the food chain.

Finding microbead-free products isn’t easy right now — you have to read ingredient lists and steer clear of products that contain “polyethylene” or “polypropylene.” Natural alternatives include ground almonds, oatmeal, and pumice.

But if lawmakers in California and New York get their ways, the microbead-loaded varieties will become nearly impossible to purchase in two of the most populous states in the country.

Microbeads on penny.
5 Gyres
A microbead ‘fro on Abe Lincoln.

Late last month, New York Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel (D) got the ball rolling when she introduced A.8652, which would ban the sale of personal care products and cosmetics containing microbeads. On Tuesday, Schimel was one-upped by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D), who, with the backing of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and the nonprofit 5 Gyres, introduced A.8744 — which would ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of such products.

New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn said Sweeney’s bill would not only help to protect the state’s lakes and waterways, but would also “set an example for other states around the country to address this emerging environmental threat.”

And that it did.

California Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D) introduced AB 1699 on Thursday. The bill would prohibit the sale of most products containing microplastic, though it would permit tiny amounts of the tiny plastics — less than one part per million.

Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, and Colgate-Palmolive have all made recent commitments to start phasing microbeads out of their products. “We are discontinuing our limited use of micro plastic beads as scrub materials in personal care products as soon as alternatives are qualified,” a Procter & Gamble spokeswoman told the L.A. Times.

The new legislative pressure should help ensure that these corporate giants make good on their pledges to scrub the microplastics out of their cleansing products.

Filed under: Living, Politics
07 Jan 18:55

A Softer World

01 Oct 16:36

Favorites List (8.27.13)

I'm just back from Mexico City, and thought I'd finally publish this favorites list while I unpack and regroup. There are some good A+ reads in this one. xo-h

- Tour de Turrell

- Reading this.

- O.K., Glass - Confessions of a Google Glass Explorer.

- Twelve Days in India with Martin Parr

- Rothko Toast

- What's in Prince's Fridge?

- From William Wegman's Tumblr

- Flavor Bomb Greens N' Noodles

- Excited for the launch of this.

- Zucchini Coconut Noodles

- To Visit

- To visit: Hesiodo by Hierve-Diseñería

- A vintage menu from Alcatraz, 1946

- Pan-charred Broccoli di Ciccio & Nectarines

- Awesome Tapes from Africa

- Playlist: The Shortest Roadtrip

- Summer's Garden

- Bears are funny, sometimes.

- Rough Cut: Nearly all the world's diamonds -- legal or not -- pass through this one Indian city. (great story, you can click to close giant subscription pop-up)

Lead photo: Love having this spot within walking distance, welcome 20th Century Cafe!

Continue reading Favorites List (8.27.13)...
06 Sep 19:23


Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy for one sort of unpleasantness or another. It is not intended to change anyone's beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.


Back in March I predicted a 20% correction in the stock market sometime in 2013. I based the prediction on my hypothesis that the financial markets are manipulated by a loose network of big players. I have no hard evidence for that hypothesis. All I know for sure are the following facts:

1.      Markets act in a way that is consistent with manipulation.

2.      The big players have the means and the motive to manipulate markets.

3.      Collusion is nearly impossible to detect if done right.

4.      Some of the most respected firms in the finance world have recently been caught doing unethical and illegal things.

That's the backdrop.

This week, our so-called government announced it has secret evidence that a dictator in the Middle East used chemical weapons on his own citizens.

Pattern Recognition: ON

Here's some more background to keep in mind: The President of the United States recently supported the closing of medical marijuana dispensaries in California and never offered a reason for his change of policy from hands-off to go-to-jail. The new policy wasn't even popular with voters. An observer has to assume money was behind the flip-flop. Maybe it was the private jail industry that wants to keep weed illegal. Maybe it was the booze lobbyists. All we know for sure is that President Obama changed his views on the topic and didn't offer a reason. So he has a credibility problem where money is involved.

Now we citizens of the United States are being told that we might need to lob some bombs at Syria because someone over there allegedly used chemical weapons. Everyone agrees that the limited military action being contemplated won't fix anything. But it certainly will drive down the financial markets.

One entirely plausible explanation for the administration's position on Syria is that it has information we citizens don't have, and shouldn't have, and the government is acting in our best interest. Or maybe they really want to send the world a message that chemical warfare is a red line that can't be crossed. Maybe the whole thing is an excuse to poke Putin in the eye and make his people scurry for cover because we're still tweaked about the Snowden thing.

Any of that is possible.

The problem with believing any of those scenarios is that an equally good explanation for what we observe is that the defense industry, the news industry, and the market manipulators are, once again, moving in lock-step to gin up a war, generate weapons sales, improve news industry profits, and create huge profits for market manipulators.

As a citizen, I am forced to form an opinion using nothing but the questionable "facts" emerging in the news, plus my own guesses and suspicions. How does one form an opinion in that environment?

In a situation with so much at stake and so little reliable information, I default to the following rule: If you don't know which choice is right, pick the one that costs the least to implement. So I don't support bombing Syria; it sounds expensive.

I want to be clear that I'm not recommending a course of action for the United States. I don't have access to the information that the decision-makers have. All I'm saying is that the government has a credibility problem where money is involved, and lots of money is riding on the Syria decision. The whole thing smells like bullshit to me.

06 Aug 21:55

A Bicycle Built in Detroit

by Promila Shastri

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 3.23.11 PM

Detroit may be bankrupt, but things are still being built there. Ask Shinola. The new Detroit-based brand is making a name for itself with a range of “built in Detroit” products, from watches to leather goods to bicycles—like the spectacular looking, and entirely hand-made Runwell. One of three current Shinola bike models, Runwell “…delivers a classic blend of urban style and practicality. Meticulously designed to yield the best characteristics of a lugged steel frame and fork, engineered to handle predictably and smoothly for city riding, commuting and errand running.” Such laudable features don’t come cheaply, of course, but then nothing made to last does.

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 3.23.20 PMScreen shot 2013-07-31 at 3.23.39 PMScreen shot 2013-07-31 at 3.22.59 PM

Images: Shinola

30 Apr 19:44

PHOTOS: Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates.

by Carol

Post image for PHOTOS: Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates.


A growing body of research shows that urban farms reduce violence.

—Photographs by Emily Schiffer; Text by Alex Kotlowitz | July/August 2012 Issue61

I suppose the easy thing to do would be to rail against food deserts, the dearth of fresh produce and other healthy foods for those living in impoverished neighborhoods. Or to enter the debate over whether there are, in fact, food deserts. (A couple of recent studies have suggested that proximity to decent grocery stores isn’t the key problem of inner-city nutrition.) But considering Emily Schiffer’s photos, I was reminded of Mother Teresa’s visit to a housing project on Chicago’s West Side in the mid-1980s. What rattled her was not the poverty of the pocketbook. She’d seen worse in India. Rather, it was what she called “the poverty of the spirit.”

Looking at Schiffer’s photos and talking with people involved in urban farming, I’ve come to realize that their efforts have less to do with providing healthy food than they do with a reclamation of sorts, taking ownership of their community and their daily lives. Growing Home is one of Chicago’s larger urban farming projects, much of it located in Englewood, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. While it harvests 13,000 pounds of vegetables a year on a half-acre site, nearly all are sold to restaurants and at a farmers market on the city’s more prosperous North Side. But Growing Home has altered the landscape of the neighborhood—and it employs local residents, many of whom because of past indiscretions have trouble finding work elsewhere.

On Chicago’s South Side, corner stores are filled with processed food, and vacant lots are filled with weeds. But thanks to dedicated volunteers, some are being turned into urban oases.

Fred Daniels, a handsome, soft-spoken 29-year-old, his hair tightly braided, drove me down the alley that cuts through his block in Englewood. “It’s embarrassing,” he muttered as we counted six abandoned homes and seven vacant lots, all overgrown with waist-high grass and dandelions, all marred by debris, mostly sofas and piles of wood siding. When Daniels was a teenager, he’d use this land for shortcuts or late afternoon parties. “If I could get it,” he said, “I’d just divide it with all the people on the block. And it don’t have to be organic farming. People would actually feel a part of something.” For Daniels, who spent eight years in prison—first for attempted murder, then for possession of cocaine—his life now revolves around food. In prison, he learned to cook, and when he was released he got a job at Growing Home. He tends the beds of Asian lettuce and Swiss chard (two foods he’s come to savor), the tomatoes and beets, the carrots and spinach. He covers the arugula to keep away the flea beetles. He’s learned about genetically modified food and chemical-free farming. He takes solace in prepping the beds, turning the compost, then adding and raking in alfalfa meal and potassium. He’s now learning how to keep bees.

Gregory Bratton (with chickens) has helped 50 community gardens come into being; in a YouTube video he jokes that he’s the South Side’s Johnny Appleseed, except he spreads tomato seeds. Growing up in a place like Englewood, events often feel out of your hands, and things happen without much logic. When Daniels’ grandmother tried to grow a garden on the lot adjacent to their home, she was told by the city she couldn’t; it planned to redevelop the lot. Twenty years later, the land’s still vacant. When I drove down the alley later by myself, a neighbor came out of his home to warn me. “Man, you can’t be riding through these alleys,” he said. “You’ll get shot up, for real.” In neighborhoods marked by years of neglect and atrophy, you celebrate those fleeting moments, those small instances where you call the shots, where you’re constructing order out of disorder. And you hope that in time those moments become more frequent—and durable.

There’s been a growing body of research that suggests that urban farming and greening not only strengthen community bonds but also reduce violence. In 2000, Philadelphia had 54,000 vacant lots, and so the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society reclaimed 4,400 of them, mowing lands, providing upkeep, planting trees and gardens, and erecting three-foot-high fences that served no purpose other than as a kind of statement that this land now belonged to someone. The greening of these parcels (just 8 percent of the vacant land in the city) had an unexpected effect: Over the course of 10 years, it reduced shootings in the areas surrounding these renewed lots. Part of it was practical: The vacant lots had previously been hiding places for guns. But as Charles Branas, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania who released a study on the project late last year, says, “People just became more in touch with their neighbors. People felt more connected to each other.” Calls from neighbors complaining of nuisance crimes—acts like loitering or public urination or excessive noise—went up significantly in the immediate vicinity of the newly greened land. At first, Branas worried the land had attracted ne’er-do-wells, but what he came to realize is that it had emboldened neighbors to call the police for minor disturbances, something they hadn’t done in the past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun to look at greening as a tool for violence prevention.

An intern washes greens from Growing Home’s Englewood farm.At the Community Christian Alternative Academy, a charter school on the city’s West Side, students have been gunned down in neighborhood incidents. Principal Myra Sampson says they’re in a constant state of agitation. “A bump in the hallway can lead to a major flare-up,” she told me. “It’s almost like, ‘The only thing I have is myself and my image.’” To help combat violence she built a garden just north of their building, a place that now draws people from throughout the community, young and old, a place to share lunch or just congregate. Neighbors feel such ownership over the garden that Sampson has never seen the need to erect a fence. The school’s also experimenting with aquaponics, and she says that the communal aspect of growing food and raising tilapia and perch has gotten students more invested in each other and in their neighborhood, so much so that she’s asked the city—which has embraced urban farming as a community development tool—to turn over 10 vacant lots to the school so that it might convert them into gardens and orchards.

Sweet Water Organics transformed an abandoned South Side building into an aquaponics center.”

Uncommon Ground keeps bees as well as vegetables on its rooftop garden.

When Growing Home began its first Englewood farm six years ago, it too had aspirations of transforming eating habits. But when it opened a farm stand, no one came. And soon Growing Home’s mission began to change. “We don’t delude ourselves that we’re solving the food desert problem,” Harry Rhodes, Growing Home’s executive director, told me. “It’s to use food as a tool to change individual lives and to change community.” Research has shown that if you diminish violence, people will be less stressed, and less-stressed people eat healthier.

When Daniels first took a job at Growing Home, his friends laughed at him. “I guess it was considered feminine,” he said, shrugging. He showed me the garden he’s created in the backyard of his grandmother’s home. Last fall, he planted garlic, and soon he’ll plant collard and mustard greens, okra, tomato, bell peppers, and cucumbers. (He’s now learning to can.) “It takes my mind away from everything else,” he told me. “It’s so crazy. When I was away [in prison], I was surrounded by fields of corn and soy. Who knew?” He laughed. He’s helping some of his neighbors build gardens in their backyards, though many don’t have the room. One of the vacant lots on his block is so large it used to accommodate four homes. One small corner of it, an area the size of a swimming pool, has been mowed by a neighbor, a seemingly futile effort in a field of weeds that have been left untended so long they’ve become small trees. “Sometimes people just give up,” Daniels said, “and they say, ‘I don’t want to be a part of nothing.’” He paused. “If we could get that land, it would give people some hope.”

The RTW Veterans Center on the South Side uses its produce to provide free organic meals to area residents.

Carmen Tolbert (sister of Mariyah, top photo) and a friend harvest mulberries.)


30 Apr 16:45

Michael Pollan: Genetically Modified Foods Offer Consumers “Nothing”

by Carol

Post image for Michael Pollan: Genetically Modified Foods Offer Consumers “Nothing”

Michael Pollan is an excellent author, responsible for creating a tremendous amount of awareness about our food system.  Here’s a great video with Mr. Pollan explaining why GMO’s really don’t serve the general population.   Thank you Mr. Pollan for being an amazing activist. Another reason to grow your own food and say NO to GMO!

By Morgan Korn | Daily Ticker – 2 hours 16 minutes ago

Imagen 7

Few Americans were aware of the dangers of industrial farming and processed food before Michael Pollan published his best-selling books “In Defense of Food” and the “Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

A hero to the locavore and organic movements, Pollan has never shied away from expressing his opinions on what to eat, where to eat and the proper way to raise and harvest what we eat.

In his new book “Cooked,” Pollan urges more Americans to home-cook their meals. Cooking, he says, will lower obesity rates and re-connect individuals with “the material world.”

Related: Michael Pollan: Home Cooking Will Solve America’s Obesity Epidemic

Eating the right foods are as important as eating foods that are not genetically modified, Pollan argues in the accompanying clip. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are “plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology, or genetic engineering,” according to The Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit organization that tests food products for GMOs.

“This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding,” it says.

Soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, zucchini, summer squash and sugar beets are high-risk of being GMO. Dairy and animal products also expose consumers to GMO crops because animals are fed a diet rich in corn and grains. About 70% to 80% of processed foods sold in the U.S. are made with genetically engineered ingredients.

Sixty-four countries around the world, including Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Russia and European Union member states, have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

Last November California voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have required all food to be labeled as GMO or non-GMO. Opponents of the measure, including Monsanto (MON), Dupont (DD), Dow Chemical (DOW) and PepsiCo (PEP), raised more than $45 million to defeat the proposed labeling law.

Supporters of labeling say that GMO foods damage the environment and present serious health risks like organ failure. Genetically modified seeds have also become resistant to pests and invasive weeds. Last week Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a bill that would require the labeling of GMO ingredients.

The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would force food manufacturers to label fruits, vegetables, processed foods and seafood as genetically altered. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed genetically altered foods to be sold without labeling since 1992 and does not require safety studies of such foods.

Washington state has introduced a ballot initiative titled I-522 that seeks labeling and transparency of these foods. Whole Foods (WFM) announced in April that it would label all products containing GMOs in its U.S. and Canadian stores by 2018.

Related: Organic Foods Are Worth the Cost: Whole Foods CEO

Pollan says there has been a lot of support in Washington by local farmers and residents to pass the state’s GMO bill. Telling people where their food comes from should be a “fundamental right,” he argues.

“Many people are absolutely fine with genetically modified food,” he says. “This is not an argument that it’s dangerous. But the way food is produced is relevant to the consumer. There are people who care. Personal responsibility should rule. But personal responsibility depends on information.”

Consumers across the country are becoming more aware of the GMO labeling issue. The fastest-growing category in the super market today is products labeled GMO-free, Pollan notes. The organic food industry grew at 7.7% in 2010 and the organic industry is creating jobs at four times the national rate, according to the I-522 Web site.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto has been one of the most vocal opponents of GMO labeling. The company generates revenue from seed sales and the licensing of its genetic seed technology to other corporations. Monsanto has been spending millions of dollars fighting these labeling proposals because they could dramatically impact the company’s earnings and stock price.

“So far genetically modified products offer consumers nothing,” Pollan says. “That’s why [Monsanto] has to be so quiet about it. They love to talk to farmers and they love to talk to Wall Street they don’t like to talk to consumers because they don’t have a story tell – yet. When they come up with products that are nutritionally enhanced, or save on calories, it’s another conversation.”

Pollan also discusses why he supports soda tax laws to curb obesity in the above video. (click here)

by Daily Ticker


Carol Carimi Acutt aims to inspire everyone to grow their own food with ease. Grow, cook and compost for better food and better living.

24 Apr 18:28

A Softer World

24 Apr 15:20

Taxidermied robot mouse

by Jenny the bloggess


me:  It’s weird how many of our conversations start like that.

Victor:  No.  It’s weird that I just looked at your account and saw a receipt for a taxidermied robot mouse.

me:  Have you met me?  Because – considering my history – that doesn’t really seem weird at all.


me:  What’s wrong is that you never told me that if I was buying taxidermy to write about on my blog I could use those receipts as tax deductions.  That robot mouse is practically paying for itself.

Victor:  So you’re going to give the IRS a receipt for a taxidermied robot mouse?

me:  Well, I bought it online so I don’t have a receipt.  I thought I’d just send them a letter with a screenshot of this post.  Think about what a pleasant change that will be for them compared to boring lists of server costs and standard occupational deductions.

Victor:  You’re going to get us audited.

me:  Only because they’ll want to come see the taxidermied mouse in person.  BECAUSE, WHO WOULDN’T?

Victor:  *sigh*

me:  Wait.  Take a look at it.

AND he's a former movie star. So there's that.

Victor:  Huh.

me:  Right?  How do you say no to an ethically taxidermied mouse whose eyes light up?

Victor:  It…it looks like a tiny Ghostbuster.

me:  EXACTLY.  And I’m going to make a tiny green suit for him and call him “Venkman” and pretend he’s been recently possessed by Zuul.

Victor:  Hmm.

me:  Oh my God, you’re trying not to smile.  I’m finally breaking you down with this one, aren’t I?

Victor:  We’ve been married 16 years.  It was bound to happen eventually.

24 Apr 15:10

“She had a brainy girl’s discomfort about her own beauty...

“She had a brainy girl’s discomfort about her own beauty and its effects on folks.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

16 Apr 18:27

Mont d’Or

by David
cheese fromage

“Goopy” isn’t a word used too often when writing about food. Am not sure why, but perhaps because there aren’t a lot of things that are goopy, that you actually want to eat. Mont d’Or has been called the holy grail of French raw milk cheeses. It’s goopy for sure, and if that bothers you, well, that’s something you’re going to have to work on for yourself. In the meanwhile, I’ve been lapping up this Mont d’Or I recently acquired, enjoying every single goopy mouthful.

Called “the holy grail of raw milk cheeses”, Mont d’Or (also called Vacherin Mont d’Or, and Vacherin Haut-Doubs) is truly a spectacular cheese. And even though they’re widely available in the winter in France, because of their richness, it’s something I reserve for special occasions. For me, that special occasion was lunch yesterday.

Gana bread

Continue Reading Mont d’Or...

16 Apr 16:10

Style Play Polish: Mondrian-Inspired Nail Art

by (CeCe)
We can all derive some pretty cool nail inspirations from all over, but what better inspiration than traditional art itself? Spring is already here and just as we switch up our wardrobe to coincide with the warmer seasons, our nails need the same love. With this Style Play Polish segment, we were inspired by Piet Mondrian's Composition pieces, with a LoveBrownSugar twist of course:

What you will need:

Step 1: Always apply a base coat first. Applying a base coat not only makes your polish last longer, but it also protects your nails from discoloration and keeps them healthy.
Step 2: You're going to start out by painting all your nails white. The white nail polish will help the colors stand out by revealing their true color.
We used Essie in Blanc ($8.00). It gives a great opaque finish.
Step 3: Using your selected colors, create box like designs of different sizes. We started with Pure Ice in Home Run ($1.99)
For the second box, we used Butter London Cheeky Chops. Don't worry about mistakes or overlapping, the black polish in the next step will cancel out any errors.
Here we are at 3 colors. We're adding one more in for good measure.
We finished up the look with Pure Ice in After Hours.
Step 4: After you have created your boxes, use the black detail polish brush to separate or "box out" the colors where they meet.
It should look something like this. The lines don't have to be perfect but they should line the outsides of each box completely.
Step 5: After you have done lining the boxes and the paint is slightly dried, apply a top coat to seal in your design.
These 5 simple steps literally take less than 15 minutes altogether.
Try this cute spring look and don't forget to share it with us @LoveBrownSugar on Instagram or on the LoveBrownSugar Facebook page.

- Gracie J
15 Apr 16:43

Adventures in Depression

by Allie
Some people have a legitimate reason to feel depressed, but not me. I just woke up one day feeling sad and helpless for absolutely no reason.

It's disappointing to feel sad for no reason. Sadness can be almost pleasantly indulgent when you have a way to justify it - you can listen to sad music and imagine yourself as the protagonist in a dramatic movie. You can gaze out the window while you're crying and think "This is so sad. I can't even believe how sad this whole situation is. I bet even a reenactment of my sadness could bring an entire theater audience to tears."

But my sadness didn't have a purpose.  Listening to sad music and imagining that my life was a movie just made me feel kind of weird because I couldn't really get behind the idea of a movie where the character is sad for no reason.

Essentially, I was being robbed of my right to feel self pity, which is the only redeeming part of sadness.

And for a little bit, that was a good enough reason to pity myself.

Standing around feeling sorry for myself was momentarily exhilarating, but I grew tired of it quickly. "That will do," I thought. "I've had my fun, let's move on to something else now." But the sadness didn't go away.

I tried to force myself to not be sad.

But trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back.  A fundamental component of the plan is missing and it isn't going to work. 

When I couldn't will myself to not be sad, I became frustrated and angry. In a final, desperate attempt to regain power over myself, I turned to shame as a sort of motivational tool.


But, since I was depressed, this tactic was less inspirational and more just a way to oppress myself with hatred.

Which made me more sad. 

Which then made me more frustrated and abusive.

And that made me even more sad, and so on and so forth until the only way to adequately express my sadness was to crawl very slowly across the floor.

The self-loathing and shame had ceased to be even slightly productive, but it was too late to go back at that point, so I just kept going. I followed myself around like a bully, narrating my thoughts and actions with a constant stream of abuse.

I spent months shut in my house, surfing the internet on top of a pile of my own dirty laundry which I set on the couch for "just a second" because I experienced a sudden moment of apathy on my way to the washer and couldn't continue. And then, two weeks later, I still hadn't completed that journey. But who cares - it wasn't like I had been showering regularly and sitting on a pile of clothes isn't necessarily uncomfortable. But even if it was, I couldn't feel anything through the self hatred anyway, so it didn't matter. JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.

Slowly, my feelings started to shrivel up. The few that managed to survive the constant beatings staggered around like wounded baby deer, just biding their time until they could die and join all the other carcasses strewn across the wasteland of my soul.

I couldn't even muster up the enthusiasm to hate myself anymore.

I just drifted around, completely unsure of what I was feeling or whether I could actually feel anything at all.

If my life was a movie, the turning point of my depression would have been inspirational and meaningful. It would have involved wisdom-filled epiphanies about discovering my true self and I would conquer my demons and go on to live out the rest of my life in happiness.

Instead, my turning point mostly hinged upon the fact that I had rented some movies and then I didn't return them for too long.

The late fees had reached the point where the injustice of paying any more than I already owed outweighed my apathy. I considered just keeping the movies and never going to the video store again, but then I remembered that I still wanted to re-watch Jumanji.

I put on some clothes, put the movies in my backpack and biked to the video store. It was the slowest, most resentful bike ride ever.

And when I arrived, I found out that they didn't even have Jumanji in.

Just as I was debating whether I should settle on a movie that wasn't Jumanji or go home and stare in abject silence, I noticed a woman looking at me weirdly from a couple rows over.

She was probably looking at me that way because I looked really, really depressed and I was dressed like an eskimo vagrant.

Normally, I would have felt an instant, crushing sense of self-consciousness, but instead, I felt nothing.

I've always wanted to not give a fuck. While crying helplessly into my pillow for no good reason, I would often fantasize that maybe someday I could be one of those stoic badasses whose emotions are mostly comprised of rock music and not being afraid of things. And finally - finally - after a lifetime of feelings and anxiety and more feelings, I didn't have any feelings left. I had spent my last feeling being disappointed that I couldn't rent Jumanji.

I felt invincible.

And thus began a tiny rebellion.

Then I swooped out of there like the Batman and biked home in a blaze of defiant glory.

And that's how my depression got so horrible that it actually broke through to the other side and became a sort of fear-proof exoskeleton.

12 Apr 20:32

Phlegm in Leeds

09 Apr 18:52

New Record Setting Wind Turbine

A new construction at a test center in Østerild, Denmark has become the largest wind turbine in the world.

Well, that title depends on which criteria determine "largest." If rotor diameter is your rule, Siemens's latest, the SWT-6.0-154, has surpassed the previous holder, the second-generation Enercon E126, by over two dozen feet. While the E126 has approximately a 127-meter rotor diameter, Siemens's new offshore wind turbine boasts a 154-meter rotor diameter--and its immense 75-meter long blades combined with its 4-meter wide hub means a massive swept area of 18,600 square meters.

With a 6MW turbine, under the most optimal conditions, the new model will produce around 65 percent more electricity than earlier models from the company. This SWT-6.0-154 won't be a lonely giant for long; according to Gizmodo, Siemens plans to construct 300 more of these massive machines.

The massive blades for this new turbine are built as a single piece, without heavy fittings and connections, allowing a weight savings of 20 percent.  This will likely be a greater benefit for offshore turbines like this, since enormously long single piece blades are hard to transport over land.

The size isn't simply for world-record showiness. The larger the wind turbine, the more energy produced, according to a study by Swiss and Dutch Scientists, accounting for both size and the improved technology over time. Constructing massive offshore wind farms makes scaling up easier and makes harnessing wind energy more cost effective. Since expensive underwater foundations are needed to support these turbines, having larger but fewer wind turbines will reduce production costs.

Image via Siemens


08 Apr 19:16

Sea Truffles: The Tastiest Scallops Ever

by Aki and Alex


These are what we call sea truffles. We learned the technique from Gerard Craft at Niche. We added the preliminary step of brining the scallop. We brine U-10 scallops for 10 minutes in a 5% salt water solution. We brine the muscles as well. We remove them from the brine and cold smoke them for at least an hour. Then we put them into our dehydrator and dry them for 36 hours. The concentrated scallop flavor blends with the smoke. The salt brine seasons the outside. The dried scallop muscle is great in sauces. The scallop itself has unlimited uses from seasoning vegetables to flavoring breads. We have found that using a microplane to grate the scallop works best. A bonito shaver may also be interesting. This preparation arrived to our panty late. Fortunately it is here to stay.



Years Past

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