The Economist just published a list of the cities with the dirtiest air in the world’s largest economies. But that’s nothing, until you look at the source database from the World Health Organization, which I managed to find for download here. Find your city and compare it to others. I was staggered to find Montreal as Canada’s most polluted city, despite being global leaders in hydro power. The USA has pretty good air quality in just about every city including the giants of NY, and LA.
Also known as Lake Trout, Salvelinus namaycush, is a freshwater char native to many lakes in northern North America. It is characterized by a notched tail and its white spots on a darker skin.
My son is an avid fisherman and came back last week with a number of these, each weighing a little over 2 lbs, excellent eating for two people. He also landed a 5lb. landlocked salmon which is sitting in my large freezer for the mandatory week, prior to being filleted and turned into Gravlax. Freezing is essential if one is going to eat the fish raw or cured, to kill off any parasites that may inhabit the flesh, a common occurrence with all fish these days. It is the same reason sushi bars must freeze all their fish prior to use.
I stuffed the cavity with thick lemon slices, much fresh basil, and a good dollop of Irish butter inside and out, then wrapped the fish in parchment and baked it for 30 minutes at 350. Absolutely delicious, served with my home-made French fries and a Greek green bean stew topped with feta cheese.
David L. Katz has a sterling pedigree in the world of medicine: He is Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. Dr. Katz writes extensively and often controversially about topics in health, especially around diet and nutrition. His articles are almost always “different” in their take and equally entertaining and engaging. His latest piece, Fed Up, Confused, and Still Eating is really worth a read. He makes the analogy between sex and eating as powerful biological drives, the former under strict social control and the latter, run amuck:
So there you have it: being hungry is like being horny, but with no rules.
Katz goes on to deal with and put to rest the bogus issue of willpower:
Clearly, lack of will power does not explain epidemic obesity. There is no basis in either science or sense to infer that the current crop of 7-year-olds lacks will power that every prior cohort had – yet they are much more subject to obesity and diabetes. Kids are much the same as they ever were; their environment has changed. So, no, will power is not the cause.
As a public health expert, Katz’s view is necessarily 30,000 ft. He looks at obesity as an interplay between personal choices and environmental context, i.e., what’s available to eat. The two are an inseparable gestalt of foreground and background. His ongoing attack on those who rehash old theories while dismissing recent evidence is also significant. Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, have all been around in various incarnations for 100 years or more. Katz points out that singling out individual foods as culprits, even sugar, is a distraction from the real challenge.
But we are NOT clueless about the basic care and feeding of Homo sapiens, and much of the apparent debate is all heat and no light. Of course calories and energy balance matter, but just as obviously- so do the sources of that energy.
An important read. have a look.
…For nothing left to lose. Remember the song? Written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, first performed by Roger Miller in 1969, and later made famous by Janis Joplin.
For the last year, we have been in an intensive process of dejunking our home and lives in preparation for the big move from a large house to a condo or apartment. It is nothing short of amazing to see the accumulated “stuff” of 38 years of adulthood, family, and various homes (including the household remnants of parents passed away).
The folks at Renaissance (an outlet where no longer needed items are redirected to new immigrants or low income families) have become used to our cars making thrice weekly appearances bearing everything from clothing and dish sets to sports equipment and art. Any day now, I am expecting the trash collectors to leave a menacing note on my back door, asking us to cut back on the contractor bags full of junk from the garage and basement. And the more we get rid of….the more there appears to still be there; a perverse cornucopia of crap!
We recently hired a “stager”, Lisa, to help us design the house for maximum appeal to potential buyers. She is terrific, by the way. She produced an eight page report with 120 recommendations! Most involved even further dejunking….of stuff we didn’t even think of as junk! Curtains….gone. Furniture pieces…gone (to the cellar). Anything you don’t foresee using in 6 months….gone. The goal is to restore the house to a blank canvas on which potential buyers can let their imaginations paint their own future.
But here’s the rub: It feels great! As if with every piece leaving, the load on our shoulders gets lighter. Less stuff to worry about, maintain, find a place for, repair, etc. And a new challenge: Find creative ways to accomplish things using less stuff. Instead of a panini maker…make them the old fashioned way…the way my mother used to make them….in a frying pan with a heavy pot on top of the sandwich.
We crave a new Zen-like existence of simplicity free of clutter and responsibility, liberating as much time as possible for being with the people we care about and our personal interests in travel, photography, cooking, etc. Ownership is overrated!
I was in hog country in Ontario again this week. A snow squall came up, adding to the misery of the -23C temperature. Good thing I rented a small AWD SUV (Hyundai Sante Fe) because it was essential. Driving on the highway I saw a dark form looming in the distance and off on the shoulder. As I got closer, I saw it was a Mennonite horse-drawn carriage. I love the reflective red safety sign on the back, don’t you? It was one of several I encountered that day. Very cool in contrast to my GPS unit on the dash (not a luxury when driving in that part of the country). Of course, if you have a horse, you don’t need one as it knows the way back to the barn :-)
As we plan for our transition to a condo in the next 5 years, the challenge of moving from a 5 room, 2500 sq. ft. (plus 1600 sq. ft. of basement storage space) home to a 1200 sq. ft. condo forces us to think about space-saving design. This furniture is very exciting as it makes the transition a potentially fun and creative challenge. I, for one, am looking forward to a more minimalist lifestyle.
I won’t wax sentimental about the end of Summer; it was actually an amazing season filled with record-setting warm sunny days. And I like the Fall; a time for jackets, soups and stews, as well as the great light coming from closer to the horizon and creating wonderful shadows.
A couple of early morning shots from our yard. The wasp catcher and fly-swatter no longer needed, the bird-feeder nearly toppled from the weight of the squirrels jumping onto it to steal the seeds, and the yard furniture now neatly lined up against the backyard hedge we share with our terrific neighbours. She is the great grand-daughter of the original architect (a woman, BTW), who built both our homes around 1912. Still in the family home, passed down from one generation to the next. They have kept the original cedar shingles, while ours was “modernized” with stucco sometime in the ’60s.
Taken with the iPhone 5. Very impressive, fast handling, light-years ahead of the previous camera in the iPhone 4.
When man and bicycle become one. Courtesy of Mr. Dario.
Great story on the development of a cardboard bike for the developing world. Thanks to Mr. Italo for the find.
We tend to gawk at our new technologies in self-admiration, yet it is often obvious that much of what we have created was imagined and executed far earlier with available technologies of the times. And sometimes, the earlier invention is actually even better than the most modern one.
Take parking assist for example. The newest iterations have a computer plus some form of radar guiding the car into a parking space, but still using the conventional method of turn-and-steer. What the new technology does is basically assume that the driver is an incompetent idiot and that the computer can do it better.
But take a look at this 1950’s version of parking assist. I wonder why it was never implemented. Thanks to my MIL for the find.