When you read about the day’s events or tune into network news, do you feel peace is futile? Maybe the world seems overrun with terrorist attacks, mass shootings, suffering, and violence and you can’t fathom bringing a child into this world. If you’re hopeless about the state of humanity, you may find Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined reassuring, perhaps uplifting.
Better Angels is an ambitious undertaking. Pinker explores violence from prehistory to today with evidence and datasets from multiple fields of study to persuade us that violence has declined significantly and that we’re living in one of the most peaceful times in existence. Dozens of charts illustrating correlational evidence support his thesis that now is “a good time in history to be a potential victim.”
The casualties of recent wars and genocides by Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler, are horrific in their numbers, but the numbers are small compared to the masses who suffered cruel, torturous deaths during the religious wars of the 17th century. The convincing narrative argues the rise of the nation-state (Leviathan), literacy, numeracy, and commerce have paved the way for a rights revolution. Torture, once entertainment, is now taboo. The law of the land, once enforced with self-help justice, is now handled by government courts. Beating children is no longer advised. Ethnic minorities, women, and animals, once expendable property, now have more autonomy and respect than before.
I spent most of my life in Colorado where winters are long and growing seasons are short. Gardening and lawn care never rose high on my to-do list, but it didn’t matter because the window for doing so was short. Then I moved to Central Texas where cooler temps are a signal to replace the petunias with pansies and the tomatoes with snap peas. I finally put a little effort into lawncare and turned my thin, browning, weed-infested excuse for a lawn into something I enjoy looking at while sitting on the porch enjoying a cold beer on a warm Texas evening.
Many obsessive hours were spent scouring the Internet and lawn care books for information and I found an organic routine that has worked incredibly well. I’m pleased to report it doesn’t require too much time, effort or money to build a healthy turf.
>>> Download my free checklist for growing an awesome St. Augustine lawn <<<
…stop using petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides now. If you can’t commit to this, an organic lawn care routine probably won’t work well for you.
When I read about advances like this, I want to live to be 200 years old just to see all the new technology of the future. Science rules! Just when you thought storing petabytes of data was impressive, here comes the zettabyte option.
Dr Goldman’s new scheme is significant in several ways. He and his team have managed to set a record (739.3 kilobytes) for the amount of unique information encoded. But it has been designed to do far more than that. It should, think the researchers, be easily capable of swallowing the roughly 3 zettabytes (a zettabyte is one billion trillion or 10²¹ bytes) of digital data thought presently to exist in the world and still have room for plenty more. It would do so with a density of around 2.2 petabytes (10¹⁵) per gram; enough, in other words, to fit all the world’s digital information into the back of a lorry. Moreover, their method dramatically reduces the copying errors to which many previous DNA storage attempts have been prone.
Continue reading Test Tube Data at The Economist
Photo Credit: TechNewsDaily
Raw, vegan apple cereal recipe.
I’m not a foodie. This isn’t a food blog. But my regular breakfast cereal was just so nice to look at this morning I decided to take a picture and share the recipe. Originally based on Ani Phyo’s Good Morning Muesli from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, I’ve now tweaked it to my own taste over the years enough to call it my own.
I highly recommend Phyo’s book to anyone who wants to learn about the raw food lifestyle and try a few great recipes on the way. It’s essential reading material for all hippies-in-training.
Apple Cereal Recipe
Makes 1 serving.
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2-3 Tbs. raw, unhulled sesame seeds
2-3 Tbs. ground flax seeds
1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Your favorite homemade or store-bought “milk,” 1-2 cups
Combine all solid ingredients. Top with milk. If your apple is a little tart, you can sweeten with agave nectar.
UPDATE: Aaaahhhh!!!! I saw it again. This time the crime was committed by a SENIOR EDITOR at Forbes in the 04/18/2012 post “America’s Fastest Growing Cities.”
Misuse of “then.”
Original Post: Our nation has a problem that has reached critical mass. I think it started with a few bad spellers, then spread to become the written vernacular of kids born after 1990 who probably didn’t read much until MySpace became popular. As someone who embraces vox populi, vox dei, and accepts that language and the rules that govern it change over time, I don’t have the visceral reaction most grammarphobes experience when they encounter the common errors coloring the web. (My first drafts have their fair share of them!) But this error is now popping up in the published works of a group that should know better—writers and reporters. I’m talking about the dreaded “rather then” and “more then.” In this January 14, 2013 news report at KXAN.com, the AP award-winning reporter made the mistake twice in one sentence!
Incorrect usage of “then” in professional writing.
Reading that made me nauseous. This is only one example. I’ve run into this grammar-wrong in magazines and printed newsletters and I’m sure you have too. Go ahead and misspell angel as angle all you want (I can live with that), but for the love of mankind, please engrave this grammar rule in your brain and use it!
When to Use Then and Than
- Use the word then when you want to indicate time.
Examples: She drank the bottle of wine, then sang karaoke songs. I saw the foul ball coming my way, then the lights went out. He will run 5 miles, then reward himself with pizza.
- Use the word than to indicate a comparison.
Examples: Steve would rather listen to that kid whine than you discuss grammar. I hold my liquor better than you. You can’t dance better than that?
If you didn’t know, now you do. You can visit WikiHow for more information on the correct usage of then and than.
Is seeing “then” and “than” used incorrectly like nails on a chalkboard for you? Then join the grammar police and share this with chronic offenders!
Let’s start this blog off right! I have this self-concocted superfood smoothie a few mornings every week. You can’t be a hippie if you don’t have green drinks in your diet. It’s sweet and smooth, and thanks to the chia seeds, quite filling so I can usually make it to lunch on this drink alone.
Maca-Chia Spirulina Smoothie
Makes 1 serving; measurements are approximate; adjust to taste
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbs. chia seeds
1 Tbs. flax seeds
1 Tbs. maca powder
1 Tbs. spirulina powder
1/4 cup orange or grapefruit juice
Water to desired consistency; 1-2 cups
Combine all ingredients and blend for about 30 seconds in a Vitamix.