Links for the Week – October 28, 2006

Farland Mor Windows in Paris
‘More Windows in Paris’, A sample of the amazing photography of Zaadster ‘Farland’

Pimping for Failed Fat-Cat Executives: Money buys power, which gets you more money. If you’re rich but a total screw-up, the NYT tells us you can hire Frederick W. Cook & Company to get your employer to pay you for your failure, and pay you a lot more to leave, leaving you free to move to some other big dumb corporation who will pay to screw up even more.

Stuff You Can Do to Save the World: Canadian Guy Dauncey’s EarthFuture site is a goldmine of links to articles, including Guy’s own work, on community and environmental activism. And NRDC also has a ton of information about what we are doing to the environment, what that damage is doing to our health, and what we can do to fight back. Especially useful are their wallet cards, which provide guidance on what to buy and not buy to be a responsible consumer. Thanks to David Parkinson and Dale Asberry for the links.

A Search Engine That Talks Back: MsDewey is a search engine that features an animated ‘librarian’ that prompts you to enter your search terms and shows impatience if you’re slow. She’s not very helpful, but who cares? Thanks to Greg Turko for the link.

The Best Way Out of the Iraq Fiasco: The NYT has a brilliant prescription for exiting Iraq with minimal further damage. Key elements: Be honest with Americans, fire Rumsfeld, demand talks among Iraq’s factions, stabilize Baghdad (give up on the rest of Iraq — not enough troops to go around), convene neighbouring countries.

Fish Oil vs Flax Oil for Omega-3: World’s Healthiest Foods provides the case for flax oil and flax seeds as a good source of Omega-3, considered valuable in reducing the risk of heart attack and also reducing many inflammations associated with anti-immune diseases (like my colitis). But flax is controversial. Some sources argue that the seeds themselves pass through your system without imparting the oil’s benefits. Some say flax oil causes prostate cancer. Flax oil has a high calorie count. And there is doubt about how much of the AHA acid in flax actually gets converted to the essential EPA and DHA Omega-3 acids found naturally in some fish oil. Meanwhile, vegetarians, animal rights advocates and those worried about mercury poisoning would prefer not to consume fish oil. The debate continues. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

Homeland Security Chief Says the Web is Dangerous: According to Wired, Chertoff is telling the Bushies that the Web allows people to ‘learn’ to be dissatisfied with the American Way, and then learn how to be terrorists. A perfect example of the blinkered conservative worldview that it’s better to shelter people from truths that are not pleasant. And frightening in a guy who has as much power and influence as Chertoff. Thanks to fouroboros for the link.

Education Free for Everyone Online: The total flipside of the Chertoff worldview is exemplified by this short video on Open Education Resources (OER), a global movement to provide all the resources needed for self-education on the Web, free. Thanks to Rob Paterson for the link.

Just for Fun — Online Toys: Several neat toys from Jim Bumgardner include a colour picker that cruises flickr for photos that match any colour you select from the palette, and an awesome downloadable kaleidoscopic screensaver that mashes up images from the web, real-time, for any keywords you type in.

Why Web 2.0 Needs Principles: Umair Haque at bubblegeneration comments on how some web thought leaders are helping the CIA use the net, and wonders when principles for ethical, democratic use of the web will start to emerge so that the real promise of bottom-up application and power shift can be realized.Until then, he says, Web 2.0 continues to stand for exactly nothing.

Thought for the week: A poem by Wendell Berry:

A Timbered Choir
Even while I dreamed I prayed that what I saw was only fear and no foretelling,
for I saw the last known landscape destroyed for the sake
of the objective, the soil bludgeoned, the rock blasted.
Those who had wanted to go home would never get there now.

I visited the offices where for the sake of the objective the planners planned
at blank desks set in rows. I visited the loud factories
where the machines were made that would drive ever forward
toward the objective. I saw the forest reduced to stumps and gullies; I saw
the poisoned river, the mountain cast into the valley;
I came to the city that nobody recognized because it looked like every other city.
I saw the passages worn by the unnumbered
footfalls of those whose eyes were fixed upon the objective.

Their passing had obliterated the graves and the monuments
of those who had died in pursuit of the objective
and who had long ago forever been forgotten, according
to the inevitable rule that those who have forgotten forget
that they have forgotten. Men, women, and children now pursued the objective
as if nobody ever had pursued it before.

The races and the sexes now intermingled perfectly in pursuit of the objective.
the once-enslaved, the once-oppressed were now free
to sell themselves to the highest bidder
and to enter the best paying prisons
in pursuit of the objective, which was the destruction of all enemies,
which was the destruction of all obstacles, which was the destruction of all objects,
which was to clear the way to victory, which was to clear the way to promotion, to salvation, to progress,
to the completed sale, to the signature
on the contract, which was to clear the way
to self-realization, to self-creation, from which nobody who ever wanted to go home
would ever get there now, for every remembered place
had been displaced; the signposts had been bent to the ground and covered over.

Every place had been displaced, every love
unloved, every vow unsworn, every word unmeant
to make way for the passage of the crowd
of the individuated, the autonomous, the self-actuated, the homeless
with their many eyes opened toward the objective
which they did not yet perceive in the far distance,
having never known where they were going,
having never known where they came from.

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6 Responses to Links for the Week – October 28, 2006

  1. daniel says:

    There is also CHIA oil.Are ground flax seeds OK?

  2. daniel says:

    oh from the article: A study at Duke University clearly showed that men awaiting surgery for prostate cancer benefited from a daily consumption of three tablespoons of ground flax. Testosterone levels were lowered and there was a decrease in cancer cell proliferation.So we now have the following scenario: Eating flax seed is good. It protects against heart disease and cancer. Consuming flax oil is questionable because of the connection between ALA and prostate cancer. testosterone?..not nice.

  3. Karen M says:

    A good alternative (for non-vegetarians) to both flax seed oil and to the mercury-laden larger fish. I just add them to a bowl of hot vegetable soup.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks for the links, everyone. Looks like the jury is still out on flax and fish oils. Seaweed seems promising, since we seem destined to wipe out the fish that live on them anyway.

  5. I’ve been taking flax oil and/or flax meal for about two years, and I think it’s helped my overall health. I stopped taking fish oil because it gave me heartburn — which the flax oil doesn’t. It’s my understanding that the whole flax seeds just pass through your system, but when ground up they provide the Omega-3 benefit as well as fiber and so forth. I buy them already ground (and shelf-dated) from a 100% organic source. (Barlean’s my brand of choice.) I’ve read that one should consume no more than 3 to 4 tablespoons per day of the ground seeds raw (they’re okay if cooked for 12 to 15 minutes) because they contain cyanogen, which converts to thiocyanate in your body and can cause goiter. That’s not a concern with flax oil, which doesn’t contain cyanogen. This isn’t a problem, of course, if you use the ground seeds in baking — I like them in bran muffins — or I use them raw in other foods, but stay with no more than 2 tablespoons a day. It’s also important to use the oil within a certain timeframe because it goes rancid and loses its efficacy within weeks (can actually be harmful when rancid), and it must be refrigerated. (My information comes from a book titled, The Omega Diet, by Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D. and Jo Robinson.) Dr. Simopoulos also recommends watching one’s ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. Walnuts and walnut oil are also good sources of Omega-3, though not as rich a source as flax.

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