Having Guts

Down the Chute, Where
the Slimming Bacteria Live

The mouth. While some may call it a temple for words and tastes, where great thought are expressed, and divine flavors often pay visits, it has also another, far more reductionist and not so noble, role: it’s only the first of two ends of a very long tube.
Albeit we won’t get it to that other side, not now anyway, our survival as humans still depends on what travels down into our fat lips, crosses the battleground of our guts, and gets out through a drain hole. Not all is turmoil in there, though. So come, let’s meet the locals.
For despite the many realms our thoughts have conquered, and the reasons why we orbit around the universe of the table, and always come back for more, we go out of our way to dissociate such fulfilling parts of life from what they ultimately imply, body-wise.
We made love and food with our months, and often recite with eloquence what they mean to us, and coyly, how we could never ever live without them. However, any mention to what goes on below the belt, and our appetite goes into a receding mode, embarrassed that we’d even thought about it.
And yet, deep down, you know you think about it, all the time. It’s just not something that, thankfully, most people would like to share on Twitter. But from a medical point of view, we really are what we eat, even though no parallel connection has been established yet between thought and personality.
That’s why Gulp, Mary Roach‘s book on the human digestive system in all its warts and, well, more warts, is so illuminating. And also, why there’s reason to some cautiously feel good about research that points to a bacteria that may have been making people fat all along.

FANTASTIC VOYAGES
In the 1966 movie, a loose adaptation of a series written in the 19th century by Jules Verne, former Bond girl Rachel Welch leads a team of miniaturized scientists who are injected into a man’s carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. Of course, if they’d fail, the entire world would end.
It was one of the first cinematic incursions into what was known then about the insides of the body, but mercifully, they stayed clear from digging too deep or going down under. Also, because Isaac Asimov wrote a novelization of the movie’s screenplay, published right (more)
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Read Also:
* We’re Not Alone
* Lies & Weight
* The Long Good Friday

 

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Shh… Hear That?

Gunshots? Feisty Couples? Nah.
A Hum Is Robbing Folks of Sleep

People who live in war zones and disaster areas have learned it long ago. And so have those of the fickle slumber kind. For the great majority of mankind, the quest for a silent night of sleep gets harder every day. And then there is that humming.
What used to be called the Bristol Hum has now been reported all over the world, and well-rested ears are finally tuning in. As thin walls or jumpy imagination are not longer blamed for it, a reasonably sound explanation may settle the mystery.
Conclusive research have proved how lousy sleepers we’ve all become, at least since the bulb came to light (sorry). As more is learned about the depths of our unconscious state, less is known about how much we’ve lost trying to be up and running at all hours.
People and animals show considerable loss of performance and overall quality of life, when sleep is restricted. There are many fascinating studies on the subject, but it’s better to put that to rest for now, so not lead everyone into a loud snore.
Is not that insomnia is more prevalent, even if it is, or that we’ve all been dreaming about a good night of sleep, or so we should. It’s our days, crammed with so many chores rammed up deep into penumbra territory. When we’re finally done, it’s already time to get up.
Some try Zen and the art of not giving a hoot about an ever ‘on’ world, full of lamps, neon, and TV sets. If not that, then the vain effort of carving extra hours from the canyons of the night, to jam them with big blobs of extra wakefulness.
The Worldwide Map of the Hum (Glen MacPherson)
THINGS THAT GO HUMING INTO THE NIGHT
No wonder. Not just external noise is increasing, hammering our heads with insane bangs and clangs, but also low noise, the almost imperceptible humming of billions of electronic appliances and, if one’s to believe some Internet sites, the aliens’ very own breath.
Research conducted by geoscientist David Deming since 2004 may have broken the puzzle, and to many, all the fun: surprising absolutely no one, but making a lot of sense, he concluded that Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio waves, between 3 and 30kHz, are the culprit for the hum.
It’s the frequency used by, you guessed, the world’s military to communicate with submerged submarines, via industrial-strength land-based and airborne transmitters. It’s powerful enough to penetrate a solid inch of aluminum. And drive light sleepers insane.

THE DEEP SEA WHISTLE HEARD FROM SPACE
Speaking of which, not all theories invoked to explain the phenomenon were by conspiracy-driven nutcakes. For the Earth does make sounds the human ear is not equipped to detect, and the wind, well, it blows and sings and haunts and everything else.
An intriguing study, by University of Liverpool Chris Hugues and his team, for instance, found that the Caribbean Sea (more)
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Read Also:
* Singing Suns

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Round Robin

The Heavy Toll of
Making Us Laugh

The suicide of Robin Williams provoked a global outpour of grief and sadness, as the beloved comedian chose to end it all in such a brutal manner. Equally intense has been the dutiful warnings about the nefarious impact of long-term depression on any individual, even one whose special talent was to make everyone else happy.
But despite all the proper sobriety and legitimate hurt feelings we all felt about Williams’s self-inflicted demise, almost immediately after the news broke and even before we could process such untimely loss, there was already an army of ‘feeling-goods’ trying to make us ‘move on’ and not to dwell ‘too much’ on his death, and focus instead on his life work.
In one side, it’s an admirable effort, that of focusing on the person’s legacy rather than the circumstances of his passing, or even death itself, lest not reduce a lifetime of extraordinary humanistic accomplishments, into the demeaning mechanics of a final act. But in all that, there’s something else less noble apace, too.
It’s Americans’ seemingly pathological fear of acknowledging death that is troubling. For we tend to trample nature and fail to give the grieving process its due, rushing to bottle up and put a lid on any semblance of loss, in exchange for a quick return to normality and the happy ever after.
Such fear of feeling bad or appear ‘weak’ for showing emotions is rooted deeply in the culture, and can be traced back to the stoicism of pioneers and pilgrims who braved the vast land and tamed its formidable elements, to carve a nation out of brute force. Displays of vulnerability were simply not an option, then.
It extends to our familial ties and how we value the sole heroic dare over the community drive, the individualistic gesture instead of the search for consensus. It’s at the foundations of women’s oppression, as they must not only have to appear sensual and attractive, but also be perfect mates, good sports, and ruthless professionals, all done with 70% of the earning power of their male counterparts.

THE DICTATORSHIP OF HAPPINESS
It’s infected our workplaces, with the emergence of the chief happiness officer, on duty 24/7, and a geek chorus of boss cheerleaders, always demanding a smile and an ‘upbeat’ attitude, whatever the hell that means on a Monday morning. We’d all better comply if we know what’s good for our paychecks; just look at that menacing pile of resumes, not yet tossed by HR.
And it gets under our skin every time we spot one more wedding notice on the Sunday paper, about the consorts’ rosy happenstance and expensive ceremony, sealing their next average 10 years together. Don’t mention stats on divorce, domestic violence, nickel and dime betrayals, or vicious brawls Continue reading

Having Guts

Down the Chute, Where
the Slimming Bacteria Live

The month. While some may call it a temple for words and tastes, where great feats of thought are expressed, and divine flavors often pay visits, it’s also another, far more reductionist and not so noble, role: it’s only the first of two ends of a very long tube.
Albeit we won’t get it to that other side, not now anyway, our survival as humans still depends on what travels down into our fat lips, crosses the battleground of our guts, and gets out through the drain hole. Not all is turmoil in there, though. So come, let’s meet the locals.
For despite the many realms our thoughts have conquered, and the reasons why we orbit around the universe of the table, and always come back for more, we go out of our way to dissociate such fulfilling parts of life from what they ultimately imply, body-wise.
We made love to people and food with our months, and often recite with eloquence what they mean to us, and coyly, how we could never ever live without them. However, any mention to what goes on below the belt, and after such carnal feasts, and our appetite goes into a receding mode, embarrassed that we’d even thought about it.
And yet, deep down, you know you think about it, all the time. It’s just not something that, thankfully, most people would like to share on Twitter. But from a medical point of view, we really are what we eat, even though no parallel connection has been established yet between thought and personality.
That’s why Gulp, Mary Roach‘s book on the human digestive system in all its warts and, well, more warts, is so illuminating. And also, why there’s reason to cautiously feel good about research that points to a bacteria that may have been making people fat all along, and we didn’t even know it.

FANTASTIC VOYAGES
In the 1966 movie, a loose adaptation of a series written in the 19th century by Jules Verne, former Bond girl Rachel Welch leads a team of miniaturized scientists who are injected into a man’s carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. Of course, if they’d fail, the entire world would end.
It was one of the first cinematic incursions into what was known then about the insides of the body, but mercifully, they stayed clear from digging too deep or going down under. Also, because Isaac Asimov wrote a novelization of the movie’s screenplay, published right before its release, many still think he’d also come up with the original concept.
Other variations of the same theme came up too, both as movies and Continue reading