Monday, September 28, 2009

Check it oooooout

ONE of my favorite ledes in Discovery Times:

After September 11, 2001, David Heydon was a dreamer in need of a dream, an entrepreneur in search of an enterprise. A native of Brisbane, Australia, he had transplanted himself to New York during the dot-com boom and had tried to flog a new kind of customer-relations software to airlines—an idea that did not survive the post-9/11 travel slump. Heydon slunk back to Brisbane. There he reconnected with Julian Malnic, an old friend from his student days at the University of New South Wales, and unexpectedly found himself on a whole new path.

This comes from a story titled: Can Giant Robots Successfully Mine the Mile-Deep Seafloor?

I like this lede because, it is at the same time informative and really quite separate from what the story is actually about. So in a sense, it really does "lead" up to a story about a man who really is just looking for an opportunity. And it is interesting that the lede switches off, just like the mans life does; it takes a whole new spin. At one moment he's pursuing dot-comes the next he's got $266 million dollars in a mining company, building a boat to tap mineral resources a mile into the deep blue.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Here he here he! There is a wild all year!

Cattail Casserole

To Prepare:
Scrape the bud material from the core of two large cattail, mix with a few other ingredients and bake for 25 minutes. A guaranteed hit for nature lovers, just be sure to brush off the bugs before hand. The truth is our tastes tend to be a little eccentric. In Morocco they eat camel and herbs from the desert, in Japan they hunt whale and the Chinese like dog. Eyeballs and brain are a delicacy all across the world and people have conventions where nothing but bugs are spiced and sampled!! For cryin out loud don't tell me a little cattail casserole has your panties in a bunch. But, Ill be shocked if grandma ever made ya that recipe!

Well, the truth about nature is a that there are so many great secrets to be discovered. The thing is, none of it is really a secret; we just don't tend to know about the great possibilities nature offers in the field of sustenance! Instead, we only have time for grocery store runs that offer long-lines, Doritos and a bad headache. Maybe just once trying some teas made from Mullein or pine needles could show you the benefits of free and wild food products.

So those large cigar looking plants actually have many uses. Considering that it is a distant relative of corn could explain its The US has two types, the thick cattail, called Typha latifolia and the thinner species Typha augustifolia. It was a staple for the Native Americans for its high nutritiousness and ease to harvest. The heart of the cattail can be used by peeling the shoot. It can be added to salads, soups or stirfrys adding a surprisingly fresh crunch.
The flowery head of the male is a hearty and filling green that can be sauteed or steamed in any way that pleases you. It is one of the greatest sources of protein and calories for vegetarians.
When the flowers ripen they produce a pollen that is a great energy, protein, enzyme and mineral source. People pay top-price for small bottles of the stuff from health food stores, when really you can take a Sunday drive in the right season and harvest some of your own.
The fur has been used to line clothing materials and pillows, like down. The Native Americans used it to start fires, make diapers and provide bedding. Today we have used it to fill life vests.
The rootstock can be used to increase urination, and turned into a jelly that is good for surface inflammations, sores, wounds and burns.
This is one plant that leaves much to the curious researcher. It's definitely worth dippin your nose into the nature shop every once in a while. She stores everything from hallucinogens to spices. And its a great place for windowless shopping and browsing. It'll only cost you time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

noura's favoritest favorite lede...ever!

Most are easily seduced by the mysterious. Pair this with a lede about a 100-yr old book bound in faded leather with golden scripted letters that glaze at the gripping spine; I am destitutely enslaved to the words that follow. These bookish images smear in scarlet images across my mind as I yearn to hold the dusty object against my chest. I would run into a secret forest where I could open the hard cover and observe the text endlessly, recycling the words over and over again.
Ehem, pardon the fantasy but I am an English major with a passion for anything old and filled with well-thought ideas. This is my way of conversating with some of the greatest minds in history. The story is the NY Times is called The Holy Grail of the Unconscious and it deals with Carl Jung who was not only influential in the field of spiritual psychology but is also studied by literary critics across the map.
The lede is not bland and filled with scientific weight, it holds anecdotal information and foreshadows the rest of the story just enough to get a person formulating ideas and speculating on what is to come. I like how it doesn't beat around the bush. The first line states, "This is a story..." and it is; it goes on for 10 pages. I highly recommend it.

Nature Blog!

On a walk through the blue trails I stumbled past the usual Queen Anne, the roving fern and even some lambs ear that retreated from swallowing the brown dirt path that dipped and dwindled far off into the thick. After following for about 10 minutes there appeared a bog of sorts on my right...around the bog were a variety of grasses and other furry weeds. The lack of wild animals created a quietness amongst the bright light that trickled between the tree trunks falling upon the low brush to be divided and scattered once again.
There, at my foot was an interesting, almost insect looking patch of erect stems. It looked like a gathering of if you could just drink up the swampy water that had devoured the tree trunks and decapitating brush that were decomposing into the watery abyss...bogtail anyone? It looked like reed and i picked one and tore it open on the hypothesis that it was hollow inside. It was. The faded green outer skin peeled off to reveal a fibrous and wet middle layer, streaked with white veins. The outer skin is noticeably cut into sections, divided by contrasting rounded grooves .
Horsetail- otherwise commonly known as scouring rush is classified as Equisetum arvense / EQUISETACEAE; Horsetail family. I have heard of horsetail and was aware that it was used for many herbal remedies but never had taken the time to view it in person or even in a photograph. This perennial grows in moist or sandy soils of the North American continent as well as in similar climates in Europe and Asia. I tugged another piece from the ground, this time being sure to uproot it and not just tear it from its lifeline. The roots hung in long scraggly sack-like strings. It takes its name from this creeping rootstock.
There is no other plant that contains the silica content that horsetail holds. Silica is also an important element for the body that helps connective tissues form. by aiding in the process of protein binding, horestail can help form strong hair, nails, our skin as well as bones and teeth. It has proven to be a great aid in a wholesome and youthful appearance. Collagin which acts as body glue is made from silicon. This plant is widely used as a dietary supplement and is prescribed for athletes with sprains or dislocated joints as well as people with osteoporosis. It is used topically, on wounds as well as a diuretic to treat bladder and urinary conditions. The herb has poisoned livestock and must be taken in the correct dosage by humans as a tea or in powder form...a safer alternative is to use it in the kitchen. Traditionally, scouring rush was used to scrub pots and pans! The abrasive silicates on the stems are great for "rushing" metal. In Japan rough horsetail is boiled and dried as a finish for woodcraft, giving it a smoother look than any sandpaper. Otherwise, the leaves are used as a dye.
In terms of evolution, equisetum came from the Paleozoic era and could be found as large trees reaching 30 meters. Because of this it is known as a living fossil. Today they are more modest in size, reaching up to 1.5 meters in length. This plant reproduces by spore rather than seed. It is a relative to ferns and club mosses.
The horsetail asthetically adds to any natural environment. The way it gathers in groups makes it jump out against even the most camaflouged of backgrounds.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Deeper into Aster

Aster comes from the family Asteraceae (Daisies), there are about 180 species within. Certain types, like the New York Aster and the New England Aster look quite similar and hard to determine the differences. One interesting thing about the plant is that it is able to grow in all hardiness zones. The lowest zone, 1, on the Hardiness Scale able to withstand temperatures of -51 degrees celcius. This area typically sees a hardiness zone around 4, which goes to -35 celcius.
The New England Aster is an herbaceous perennial which basically means the plant will die into the ground, but the roots remain plentiful bringing new growth in the spring.
Some folk names for the plant are China Aster, Michaelmas Daisy and Starwort.
I found a website that shows much interesting background information in terms of ancient uses and such.
This is a quote from the website on New England Aster
"Aster was employed in decoction internally and a strong decoction was used externally for eruptive skin diseases and also for poison ivy.The Chippewa smoked the root in a pipe to attract game.The Mohawk used an infusion of the entire plant combined with root of Lady Fern for mothers who had a fever in their intestines.New England aster, along with blur and panicled asters, were used in infusion for treatment of fever.New England aster was used as a fumigating agent by Native Americans and possibly early settlers.The root tea was used by Native Americans for fevers and diarrhea."
Because of its attractive properties, such as color and light grace that it brings to a greenscape, the flower has been introduced to many gardens. Used as a flattering compliment to a homeowner or gardener's land. As are most wildflowers, its ease of maintenance also makes it attractive. Keep it in the sun, because it does not tolerate strong shade!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nature blog

This weekend, I camped at Marcy Dam...without a tent, without a lean-to. Heart lake offered comfort enough; providing me with a scenic rest. Nestled amongst the foothills of Mt. Colden I found a grassy plateau to sleep upon. The area was about the size of a small room, completely grassy and without much root. Trees encircled the patch of flat land, leaving an opening in the middle, to the sky. The fresh cold air was kept at bay by the small fire I built upon the lakeside. Before trekking 3 miles on bike to take my nights rest, I was sure to snap some shots of the outdoors. On my drive down, I took note of some different wild flowers including queen Anne, green fern, cattails(bulrush), as well as those large cob-web hanging moth nests that make you itch on sight (picture on bottom). Then I found and photographed what I believed at first to be fleabane but have changed my mind, and settled on Aster. The lavender and feathered flower pictured on the top is a native wildflower common in late summer and fall. They attract bees and are a nectar source for Monarch butterflies. And, the name comes from an ancient Greek word meaning star!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Taming Dogs, Humans May Have Sought a Meal

"There is a long tradition of eating dogs in southern China, where dog bones with cut marks on them have been found at archaeological sites." This is a direct quote from a Times article by Nicholas Wade. Because this point was made, in an article that actually deals with the way wolves became domesticated, i would like to expound on an animal rights issue that this brings out. Fur Farms in China, and perhaps other countries that I am currently unaware of, are responsible for making products from the hair of cats and dogs. They are starved, trucked to market, disemboweled, bashed/beaten, then hung on a wire and skinned ALIVE. Around 9 years ago the US stopped importing products made from cats and dogs, unfortunately we still import many products because of mislabeling which is done intentionally. Here is a link to a video that shows what I am talking about.
“Domestication was really the lever by which civilization was able to organize into communities larger than those of foraging families,” Dr. O’Brien said. This quote really describes what the article is trying to get at. It is interesting to think that the companions we know and love today came from wolves. The article states that the reason these animals were originally domesticated was for the purpose of eating their meat! Around the time of hunter-gatherers when human settlements aroused things such as garbage dumps. After spending enough time around these areas the wolves would become easier to handle and capture, eventually leading to their domestication.
The wolf became so useful and is thought to have been bred for the table. As their domesticity and evolution set them into what the article calls "less demeaning roles," dogs were spread around Eurasia for other reasons, such as guards or for their ability to pull sleds...eventually leading to their modern yet humble role as pet, carpet-friendly and collar-included. You can even take your dog for an MRI these days.
Lets look at something most people don't know. Chickens of all things used to be wild. It seems that most people would assume that Noah, by order of God, let the golden egg off the ark so that we could all have scrambled eggs every Saturday. Well lets try and imagine a more rustic scene. One where chickens run wild, maybe in Eastern Asia where they were originally domesticated in sometime B.C.; they would fly and be much more colorful.
So, similar to dogs, chickens were domesticated for their meat and eggs. I believe that because there are many more wild dogs, than there are wild chickens this has led to their mistreatment by large. In the time of cave men, it was a question of survival today its a question of how much money a country can make producing plastic toys with hair labeled synthetic when really its stained with the criminal act of torture and animal abuse.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Tuesday 2

REALLY? - The Claim - Chamomile Can Soothe a Colicky Baby

Nature can create diseases but she can also soothe and heal our bodies. While you may be allergic to dairy I may use the products as part of a healthy diet, and while you enjoy the perks of sweet sugars another could suffer from diabetes. When things were simpler and the range of resources we had as humans was based on our intuitive skills for survival, individuals used herbs and related remedies. The best thing to note, is the fact that not much research has gone into certain areas of herbal remedy. Are you the type who would choose prescription chemical drugs over herbal myth?
In an article published last week in Science News- The New York Times the discussion is based around the benefits chamomile holds on the choleric child. Babies are known for their strenuous and relentless crying. Home remedies a plenty have been passed since the times of Old Mother Hubbard; from the old-fashioned housewife to the modern day miss independent. But, it sure is funny how the old lessons are learned the best.
The article explains that this choleric behavior is caused by gastrointestinal discomfort. According to the the statistical research within the paper, 57% of the babies who were given chamomile were relieved while the another 26% was relieved from a placebo tea, without chamomile.
Believe it or not the word is that chamomile works. Try some research at home and, as the article states chamomile allergies can be tested by rubbing the skin with the herb. If redness occurs, its a bad sign. And no, it doesn't mean your terribly unnatural or may be a mutant. Even more interesting is how some people seem invincible to such things as allergies while others cant even go outside without taking preliminary precaution!