tylik: (Default)
testing cross posting.
tylik: (Default)
This evening's Chen class was interrupted by mushroom hunting:

And also getting to visit with one of my favorite families, and exploring a neighbor's garden which is pretty magical even when it isn't full of chanterelles.
tylik: (derby)
So, something that I've mulling over for a bit -

Despite the general freaking out about violence, it appears that developed societies are overall getting less violent and have been for some time. There also has been an increase in the expectation that children will be protected, both generically from harm and from many of the rigors of adult life.

On the flip side, we know (and I'm thinking about much of the work that has been done with child soldiers) that people who have been raised in very violent and chaotic circumstances are greatly affected by these experiences, even if what they went through was shared by many others and to some degree normalized at the time.

I'm not certain that everyone isn't traumatized now, depending on how fine you slice it. But I notice that a lot of pseudo-historical fiction (I include pseudo historical speculative fiction) seems to project modern ideas of family structure, childhood and trauma... and yet, really, as far as I can tell an awful lot of violence and trauma was pretty much common and shared experiences in those societies.

So... what does a society where trauma of some degree is an expected part of the experience look like?

And maybe more to the point, what does a society where this is not the case look like?

(And how does this reflect on our culture obsession with violence, for that matter. As an aside, I'm looking at this from the perspective that non-violence isn't about ignorance of avoidance of violence* but the process of seeking better solutions, a process in which understanding violence can be pretty helpful.)

* "Oh, let's be ignorant and helpless, that will fix everything!" Bah. The Morlock / Eloi dichotomy can go die in a fire. Or perhaps perish after a very long time out. Y'know. Something.
tylik: (eggplant)
So, the last couple of years I keep asking anyone who sell herbs at the market if they carry rau ram, aka vietnamese corriander, vietnamese cilatro, aka pretty much my favorite herb. Well, at least, my favorite one that I have to work to get.Read more... )
tylik: (derby)
Free library update.

Between a friend who nabbed leftover shingles from a neighbor's roofing project and realizing that we had a bunch of leftover wood shingles for the siding, it occurred to me that I should really go through all the scrap we have around the place before I work out what I need to buy. So today I did a tour of the garage.

There's usable stuff in there, though not the 2x12" I was thinking of using for the body of the box. However, back behind some plywood I found two 2'x2.5' (very roughly) windows, of six panes each. So! that's actually pretty in line with the size I was thinking of, but now I have specific dimensions to work with, and a front door. A much spiffier front door than I was thinking of making. I am thrilled.

Then I talked to one of my Taiji students, who's a retired carpenter, to see if he had some scrap 2x12 board, and he does, so I gave him rough dimensions. I'm going to have to decide just how elaborate will be my framing for the door, but I might be able to start assembling it by next week.
tylik: (derby)
Weather at 9am:Read more... )
Weather at 3:30pm:
Read more... )
tylik: (derby)
I'm happy I pushed my students to learn more detail about spinal anatomy. I like making them draw a spinal section and nerves and show understanding of the circuitry, and I'm really happy with how they're doing.

...but it is not fast to grade.
tylik: (derby)
I have been fantasizing for some time about teaching an undergrad anatomy class where the textbooks are Netter's and UK Gray's (because if I'm asking you to buy a book, I want it to stand you in good stead.) But now I'm wondering if I should extend the theme of my neuroanatomy section to the whole course -

Terrible Things that can Happen to Every Part of Your Body. Which is to say, with a clinical and conceptual focus. Possible a year long integrated systems oriented Anatomy and Physiology. Hm...
tylik: (oven)
I'm not even sure what to call this one. I mean, it's lineage is from one of my favorite biryanis, which involved meat and dairy but which has spawned a lot of things I can eat. (And I make a bazillion variants.) But... it has gone a little adrift. Peanuts? Cumin? Suggestions?
(all measurements approximate)
Read more... )
tylik: (Slug'n'Snail)
It's not an impressive picture, but here's my volunteer anemone:
Read more... )
tylik: (derby)
With all the serious winter weather, I need new biking gloves. My beloved Zone2s are kind of battered, and just not cutting it for biking in this kind of cold and wind. And I didn't get serious REI time in Seattle.

What I want is heavy on the warm and windproof - I'm thinking shell and liner. Semi lobster claw would be fine, but I think I'd prefer the first and second finger separate (and the recumbent being what it is, the thumb side of the first finger gets a lot of wind.) And since I'm probably going to be spending silly amounts of money on glovse, I'd like them to work with capacitative touch screens, because connectivity. (Yes, I can and have modded gloves, I just figure I might as well go for ones that come that way.)

tylik: (DarkBarge)
So, I started writing this yesterday, in response to a discussion on @miniver's FB about retreat from the world in search of enlightenment vs. being active in the world as a spiritual path. But I decided it wasn't worth it. But now it is this morning, and I'm sad. So this is me being all emo and ranty (and really not directly responding to specific events because seriously, most of what I say lacks relevancy, it just reminded me why I dislike the general in or out of the world argument so much.)Read more... )
tylik: (kitchen)
While I'm waiting to see if I'm teaching tonight (on the one hand, I have a cold, and I could do with a hot bath and more rest, since I'd like not to be sick when I'm flying out, on the other, I suspect if people don't come it will be because they think we don't have class because the taiji open house is tomorrow, and really, I was totally prepared to have class and it's not that bad of a cold) I figured I'd jot down the current fruit and spice bread that's in the oven, because it smells amazing. It's so nice to get an idea of how you want something to taste, and then just make it.

But, um, it's jotting, because I don't actually measure unless I'm intending to write up a recipe, and I was just cooking.

Place 8" deep ceramic baking dish in oven. (Or whatever you have on hand. Honestly, these make great muffins or drop biscuits, but you have to adjust the baking time.) Heat oven to 350.

1 apple, grated*
1 orange (zest and juice)
generous glugs of maple syrup and cream sherry (don't skimp!)
1/2 t+ cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
1/4 allspice
1/4 ginger ...yeah, or something like that, seriously, spice to taste
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 T olive oil (or other oil - I used to prefer nut oils, but, well)

(stop and taste, and keep in mind that you haven't added any grain yet, so it should be intensely sweet and strongly flavored, and bitter from the orange zest**. If in doubt, add more of something.)

2/3 c pumpkin seeds (or some kind of nut - filberts would be especially nice)
2 c oat bran
2 c whole wheat flour (but buckwheat would also work well - slightly different texture, but not gluten, hey)
1 t baking soda

Resultant dough should be getting stiff, but not dry. Pull out the by now thoroughly heated pan, drizzle in a little more oil and swish it around, mash the dough into it, and return it to the oven.

Bake for an hour, or until a clean knife inserted into the center has a few moist crumbs but isn't doughy.

Now the worst bit is that I didn't make enough to bake a little ramekin full, and I shouldn't cut into it until tomorrow.

* Yeah, micro plane grated apple is probably my favorite base for this sort of thing. Gives vegan baked goods amazing body and texture. The orange dominates.
** I mean, as it should be, and I am kind of sensitive to bitters.
tylik: (triose phosphate isomerase)
I've posted a lot of versions of this. This is one of the more exhaustive, so I'm posting it here.


I feel like a broken record, but when it comes to getting quality information - pubmed. Your friend and mine, and US tax dollars at work. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ And seriously, yes, a lot of this stuff is tougher reading that "What you don't know about vaccines can hurt you!" at naturalorganicsoitsgottobegood.com, but anyone with a decent education can at least get the general idea from the abstracts.

Other things to keep in mind: One study is pretty much never the last word on anything. If you don't want to be an idiot (or a popular science reporter*) keep in mind that science is a conversation, and you need more than a single sound bit. I recommend adding "review" to your search terms to see if you can pull up a few overviews of what's been done - unless you've specifically being following the area in the primary literature, that's going to be far more helpful than looking at individual studies at first. Once you've read a couple of reviews (or maybe hit google books to get reference book background) then the individual studies will make more sense.

Google and Google Scholar are also useful, though in my experience more so for tracking down copies of articles if you don't have institutional access. (More and more is available, much of it through pubmed because anyone getting NIH funding is legally obligated to make their findings publically available within a year of publication. Also, people are noticing that publically available articles get cited more, which makes it an easier sell.)

Keep in mind who paid for the research. Also look at where it was published and get an idea of the journal's impact factor. There are insta-journals out there. People actually in the field know to avoid them, mostly, but they can be confusing if you aren't. Some of these are sock puppets of big pharma. Some of them merely exist to get dubious research published - but it's not that hard to sort this stuff out, really. Put the name of the journal into wikipedia FFS.

In terms of non-academic sources... Look. It's becoming more and more obvious that peer review, while really important, isn't enough. It's possible to get a lot of crap published. The coralary is that if someone can't get their crap published it is probably really, serious crap. (The whole narrative of the maverick scientist who has their finger on The Truth but the rest of the community wants to keep them down is... well, better movie fodder than reality. Yeah, there is the usual backbiting and personality conflicts, but for the most part there are always scientists who really want to help overturn the established order, because it's just so much more fun. At worst, you submit to a different journal and ask that so and so not be one of your reviewers.)

When you see claims made in random non-peer reviewed sources (say naturalorganicsoitsgottobegood.com, but also your local newpaper, or whatever) even if they say they are citing scientific studies, look up the actual studies before you make any health decisions based on them. Because there's really an embarrassing amount of crap out there in the popular press. Sometimes there are studies, and that's not what they said. Sometimes there aren't studies. Sometimes someone put up a web page claiming that they did a study, but it couldn't get through peer review and if it annoyed enough people was broadly panned but not before it got loose on the internets. Most often, there's one study, that reporting one tiny thing that was maybe surprising or maybe not, and it was reported in the popular press as if it overturned everything else in the field... because that sells papers, and gets eyeballs, even if that's really, obviously not what's going on.

* Yes there are some good ones - I follow some great ones, even - but OMFG. If I hear one more person saying "the chemical imbalance model of mental illness isn't correct therefore there's no evidence that antidepressants work" I will... well, probably right another long post about the neurobiological literature. I really need to just put together a few blog posts on the most common ones.
tylik: (derby)
Just a note, concerning my last post.

I'm pretty happy with the conversation that's going on there. (For a bunch of folks, I wish I had the internet doohicky that would allow me to send you chocolate in near real-time. Thank you.)

But it's hard not to notice that it almost entirely has gone over to talking about how to handle harassment in the current context.* Rather than my actual focus, which was what do you do, if anything, about people in the community, people in your social circles, who you know to have histories of sexual assault.**

It's a much harder question. I'm not pretending that I have an answer. A lot of folks, well, my life is arranged in such ways that I don't have to deal with them. (And, of course, I've been careful to arrange my reputation to be known as someone who is likely to hurt you if you try it.) And there are people where really, they seem do have learned something, and I haven't seen anything like that out of them in the last ten years, so maybe it's not a problem any more? I... don't really know if that's adequate.

I fear my own doublethink on this.

* And yeah, when the first response is, essentially "You were assaulted when you were a teenager? Well, what did *you* do?" well, yeah, apparently we're going to have to treat some ground that I'd kind of hoped was already covered.
** BTW, yes, I am using sexual assault for things like grabbing someone's boob or groin at social events without permission. Because that's what it is. I wonder how things would change if the standard to response was not to slap their hand away, and tell them off, and then studiously avoid them (perhaps with a word to the host) but to call the police. One suspects there would be a lot of grousing... but an awful lot less groping, real quickly. But this illustrates the difference between a social context that says this isn't okay, but implicitly accepts that this is going to happen, and one that really enforces this kind of stuff not being okay. I like to think this isn't the only way of going about it, but I think it's worth asking "Why wouldn't I do this?"
tylik: (derby)
(Public. On purpose.)

So, as part of a conversation regarding a link I posted to Facebook, I was thinking about how much sexual assault was an accepted part of the social circles I spent time in during my teens. (I don't think mine were worse than most. Actually, I think they were often better than most, if only because there wasn't a whole lot of drinking.) And I was telling a few stories. Not terrible ones - ones that I for years considered funny, and now look at rather more askance.

Anyhow as part of this, it occurred to me that one of the guys who repeatedly sexually assaulted me when I was fifteen, at Orycon (as in, he kept finding me, coming up behind me and grabbing me and trying to feel me up - he was twenty five at the time, I'm pretty sure) is someone I've seen around Facebook. So I looked up his profile, and sure thing, we have a few friends in common. I'm not surprised.

This isn't really about him. (And no, I'm not naming him.) Because if I think about it, I can easily think of a handful of other people who are still parts of social circles I sometimes spend time in (I'm kind of far away these days) who have done similar things.Read more... )
tylik: (Bread)
1 t ground flax seed
1/4 c boiling water
3/4 c coconut flour
1/2 c cocoa (grenada, better and richer than most)
2 T olive oil (or other oil - I'd use a nut oil if not suddenly impractical)
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1 c soy milk
1/4 coconut milk yogurt (as an acid source for the baking soda, mostly)
Stevia to taste (I used Truvia - maybe a teaspoon? And I don't like it that sweet.)

Preheat over to 350.
Mix boiling water into flax seeds, until viscous.
Mix in dry ingredients and oil.
And then mix in wet ingredient.
Put into a 5" round baking dish.

It's currently in the oven, baking at 350. I'm suspecting that I might want to use melted chocolate in the next rev, but this will help create a baseline. Obviously, I'm posting this before it's even done (a weird habit of mine) so it might be terrible, though I'm guessing at least edible.

Hm. I could totally make crepes with coconut flour and flax seed...
tylik: (KeLin)
Sometimes I almost wish I were actually more tempermental, so that when people declare that Buddhism teaches that suffering is optional, and thus that people can just choose not to suffer, I can bitch slap them and then ask how they're doing on choosing not to suffer. There are a lot of reasons this irritates me. The biggest is that it's just so mean. Look, if someone is hurting, telling them that the only reasons they're hurting is that they're doing it wrong is really judgemental and annoying.

Stepping back... It's hard for me to not see it as pretty naive, particularly in that comfortable middle class life sort of way. I might be missing a few points, here, though. I've noticed recently that my assumption tends to be that people are compassionate, unless there's something getting in the way of that compassion... and I gather from a few conversations that this is probably a gloss at best. I tend to expect that if people have the time and energy, they'll care what's going on with other people. I tend to expect that the more experience you have with pain, the more sympathy you will have for others in pain. And that if you have a clue, you'll try to meet people, especially people who are in pain, where they are.*

And perhaps it especially pisses me off because there are so many readings of buddhism (I mostly hear them from western non-buddhists, but suspect the capacity to be assholes is pretty universal) that are victim blaming and awful. Hm. I guess I'll cut over to a conversation via twitter, eliding the name of the guy who set me off. (It's entirely possible he was trying to be helpful... though ugh, it's hard for me to see how thinking this could help would be other than seriously clueless. Also, it's all on twitter.) So this is just all me ranting.

> I am a Buddhist, and, like woah, this has to be one of the most corrosive misreadings of Buddhism ever.

> Being a Buddhist isn't about turning yourself into an invincible superman who judges others for feeling pain.
Read more... )
tylik: (kitchen)
A long time favorite book is being re-released through Book View Cafe. http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/night-calls/

Let me step back for you. Book View Cafe all by itself is one of my favorite things. It's an author's collective that sells DRM free fiction. I mean, really, what more do you want? Quite a few authors are selling their older books, shorter works or things otherwise likely to be unavailable... and increasingly many are using it for new releases as well. I love it.

Going back to Night Calls, though... It's just a ton of fun. A girl growing up in the Michigan territories discovers she has the Gift - which runs in her family, but which her mother has turned away from - and eventually gets trained as a magical practitioner. With lots of random notes about cooking and hunting and tracking and collecting herbs and making beer. And various ghosts and shapeshifters and other random hazards of frontier life. Whee!

It will be on my phone and my phone can read it to me. What else could I ask for?
tylik: (derby)
Another community park work day. More great awesomeness.

(This is only part of the site, and doesn't show either how many people were there or how much work got done. But, it's the picture I have.)one more image... )
Next up... well, okay, after at least one more work party, planning a Halloween party.
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