Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eva Cassidy, “Over The Rainbow” and “Kathy’s Song”

I cry every time I hear her sing this:

I love her version. I love her singing. I love her playing.

Cassidy performed this in January 1996. She died several months later from melanoma.

Here she is singing Kathy’s Song. This was written by a very young Paul Simon in the early 1960s about his then girlfriend, Kathy Chitty. I like both versions.

I think people who make music have a special link to the Eternal.

Why I Go On About PFAS “Forever Chemicals”

The body breaks down and eliminates lots of environmental pollutants in just hours or days. Roundup’s glyphosate stays in the body for several days (assuming there is no additional exposure). Glyphosate is considered non-persistent. But PFAS chemicals are considered persistent:

PFAS tend to remain unchanged in the body for long periods of time. It takes nearly four years for the level in the body to go down by half, assuming there is no additional exposure. This is known as a half life.
PA Health Department

Four years! And that assumes we’re not adding to our stores every day. Which we are. Bioaccumulation. Imagine livestock exposure. Pet exposure. PFAS are persistent. We need to stop producing them.

This map documents PFAS pollution in public and private water systems. Click the link for the interactive map:
PFAS Contamination in the U.S. (June 8, 2022)

The number of U.S. communities confirmed to be contaminated with the highly toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of June 2022, 2,858 locations in 50 states and two territories are known to be contaminated.

Plastic Bottles Leach PFAS. Study Found “Levels Millions Of Times Above The EPA Advisory Limits For Drinking Water”

New study finds extremely high levels of toxic PFAS in plastic containers used to store ketchup, mayonnaise, cleaning supplies, and more.

New US Lawsuit Targets ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Plastic Food Containers, Tom Perkins, The Guardian, 27 December 2022

Heather Whitehead, a researcher on a forthcoming University of Notre Dame study that found PFAS in plastic consumer products, said testing found two PFAS compounds leached at levels millions of times above the EPA advisory limits for drinking water.

The FDA is not testing plastic food packaging for PFAS.

“We don’t think the EPA or FDA has any idea how widespread this is, or how much contamination this is resulting in, and that’s a problem,” [Kyla Bennett, former EPA scientist] said. “Why is it being left to NGO’s to do this?”

What are PFAS?

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 chemicals used across dozens of industries to make products resistant to water, stains and heat. Though the compounds are highly effective, they are also linked to cancer, kidney disease, birth defects, decreased immunity, liver problems and a range of other serious diseases.
At Least 12 Military Bases Contaminating Water Supply With Toxic PFAS, The Guardian, 6 June 2022

Buy foods in glass jars.

Lykov Family Survives Siberian Wilderness For Over 40 Years.

The Lykov family (Karp, his wife Akulina, and their two children, nine-year-old son Savin, and two-year-old daughter Natalia) fled their Russian home in 1936 when they experienced religious persecution and settled in the Siberian wilderness.  The couple had two more children, Agafia born 1944 (center in the photo below) and Dmitry born 1940. All have passed except for Agafia who continues to live in the family’s camp.

The Lykov family, Karp the father and his two daughters, Natalia on the right and Agafia. Photo was taken in 1978 when a team of geologists discovered them. Agafia was 34 years old here. She is the last surviving member.

Some articles:
For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 January 2013
Lost in Time: The Incredible Story of the Lykov Family of the Siberian Wilderness, History Defined

In 2013, a crew from Vice visited Agafia in the wilderness. She was 69 years old at the time. They created this short documentary:

Meet The Last Lykov, Vice 2013
Wikipedia: Lykov Family
Wikipedia: Agafia Lykov

Agafia, as far as I can tell, is still alive and living alone in the Siberian wilderness. She’s 78.

Agafia Lykov. Photo: Bored Panda

Charles Darwin. The Dichotomy of Man.

But I am very poorly today & very stupid & hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders. — I am going to write a little Book for Murray on orchids & today I hate them worse than everything so farewell & in a sweet frame of mind, I am | Ever yours | C. Darwin
Darwin Correspondence Project
To Charles Lyell, 1 October 1861

” … love for all living creatures [is] the most noble attribute of man …”
The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin, 1874

Charles Darwin photographed in 1878. Photograph: Print Collector/Getty Images. Source: The Guardian

Isn’t it great being human?

We Should Not Promote Insect-Eating Until We Understand Its Adverse Effects

It’s weird. Information about the possible harmful effects of eating insects is not easily had. Google, it seems, has scrubbed its top search results of anything negative about their consumption. The mainstream media is also pro-insects. Where is the science? Why not apply the precautionary principle? (“the principle that the introduction of a new product or process whose ultimate effects are disputed or unknown should be resisted”)

“Human immune system recognizes chitin [in insect exoskeletons] as a virulence factor, just like that of lethal bacteria. So, caution should be exercised while using it for food and therapeutic purposes.”
Chitin And Chitinase: Role In Pathogenicity, Allergenicity And Health, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, April 2017

It’s about money, isn’t it.

Insect Powder Contains Chitin, Known To Participate In “A Growing Number Of Human Diseases”

We probably shouldn’t be eating insects until we better understand the effect of chitin (insect exoskeletons) on neurons and its role in the development of dementia …

Chitin levels are elevated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, not only in the central nervous system but also in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma.

Chitin can be toxic for neurons, and its accumulation may lead to the development of AD.
Possible Role of Chitin-Like Proteins In The Etiology Of Alzheimer’s Disease, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2018

… or its role in any number of diseases:

Chitin, chitinases, and related compounds chitinase-like proteins, the chitinase lectins, participate in the pathophysiology of a growing number of human diseases. There are immune disorders such as asthma, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, genetic problems such as Gaucher’s disease, and several disorders of unknown origin that include sarcoidosis [4–7].

Unfortunately, we may not know if we are eating insects because they are being ground up and added to packaged foods such as energy bars, pasta, breads, and chips.

Farming and transforming insects into a food ingredient for packaged products is a new development. Particularly in North America and Europe, some new, small companies are transforming cricket (and mealworm) powder into packaged food (energy bars, pasta, and chips among the examples).

Since insect powders (flour) in packaged foods represent a new category of food product, little market data and/or surveys are available.
Edible Insects: Cricket Farming And Processing As An Emerging Market, Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 7 April 2020

It’s even being marketed as the new protein powder:

We really need to slow this down.

Elephants Respond To Music

Music for Elephants

Music for Elephants is a unique and moving documentary about a British concert-pianist playing music to blind, injured and orphaned elephants with extraordinary results.

At a sanctuary on the shores of the iconic River Kwai in Thailand, Paul Barton from Yorkshire plays the works of the world’s great composers to endangered Asian elephants and reveals their secret love of music.

This is the trailer:

Pianist Plays Classical Music to Comfort Rescued Blind Elephants