Monday, May 29, 2017

Green Corn, take 3

It is year three in my odyssey to grow enough green corn for eating.

2015: Year one, I planted all the seeds from a single packet, but I planted too late, June or something, and so only a few ears developed

2016: Year two I planted late again, albeit with more seeds than were in the packet. Halfway through the season I learned that urea and water in a 1:4 mixture gives these guys a turbo-boost of growth and lends their leaves a healthy deep green hue. But we had an early and persistent fall, with rain unrelenting (28 days of rain in October!). I panicked and picked too quick, so that the early ears were but half done. Then again I picked some later ears that wheezed a few kernels past the finish line.

2017: Now year three. I planted right on time, mid-May, after soaking the seeds which my wife told me saves 3-5 days in germination. A cool week later there was no sign, but on the 8th day they poked through. This morning (day 15) I got this picture:
These two were accidentally planted too near each other, but that and the coincidence of their leaf arrangement made them appear to be twins.

I spent far too much time babying these guys, but I want this to be the year I get all the green corn I can use. This will be the year of never letting them dry out and never letting them go without nitrogen.
We'll see how it goes!

Waiting

Like a lollipop
On two sticks
The boy stood waiting,
Patient, by his mother,
While some electronic
Doohickey
Attached at the ear
And the back of the skull
Blinked green.

His parents betrayed
But little tension
As they waited.

Tiny daughter
A pearl, protected
Between them.

Bionic lollipop boy
Plays with trains
Until the nurse called

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New York Times

Our illustrious leader warned us that the New York Times is failing this morning. Fearing the worst I subscribed immediately.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Fight Diabetes - Part I


Recently I read that diabetes is now the costliest component of the US healthcare system.

At work, one of my functions is to identify queries that cost the most and find ways to reduce that cost. This is orders of magnitude more complex, but nevertheless, as a concerned citizen I thought I’d try to find some information on how to combat this epidemic. And, full disclosure, having seen Robert Lustig and Fed Up already, I was looking for evidence that sugar consumption is implicated. I wasn’t disappointed.

Considering that we as a nation struggle so mightily to solve the problem of health care costs, it seems the kind of topic that we all should take an interest in. Here are some things I found:

How costly is it in the US?
·         Diabetes and prediabetes cost America $322 billion per year
·         $1 in $3 Medicare dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes

What causes Type-2 diabetes?
·         weight loss was the main predictor of reduced risk for developing diabetes
·         diabetes risk reduction efforts should focus on weight loss

So, obesity is the most important factor for Type-2 diabetes. What then causes obesity?
I’m aware that sedentary lifestyle and low quality foods are risk factors, but I believe the big elephant in this room is sugar. Plenty of reputable sources highlight the correlation between sugary drinks and obesity. Here are a couple examples:
·         link between weight gain and drinking sweetened beverages.
The CDC draws attention to sugary drinks in particular:
Eat fewer foods that are high in sugar, such as: 
·         Fruit-flavored drinks.
·         Sodas.
·         Tea or coffee sweetened with sugar.

Progress is Underway
Having connected dots from problem to proximate cause, I wondered what can one do to help in the fight against diabetes/obesity.

As it happens, action has been taken. Many of the public are aware of the problem. In fact Soda consumption has dropped for more than a decade. Big soda has been losing 1 percent of its market share per year in that time and the gallons of soda consumed per capita has dropped by over 10 gallons per year in that time.

Nevertheless, I personally feel that for a problem so costly to our health and wealth, we should accelerate that trend if we are able. A little outrage is I think appropriate here. After all the as it is well stated in the blurb for the book Soda Politics by Dr. Marion Nestle:
how did products containing absurdly inexpensive ingredients become multibillion dollar industries and international brand icons, while also having a devastating impact on public health?

Thinking of it this way causes some anger and outrage to stir within my breast.

Those feelings, if I can articulate them well, will feature in a subsequent post.

In the meantime, if you want more information, or if you want to learn how to take some action to reduce the harm that sugary beverages are wreaking on our society, consider these links:
Documentaries:
·         Super Size Me

·         Fed Up

I may decide to buy and read Soda Politics.