One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959. This was to be the men’s home for five days as they participated in a radical experiment, cooked up by a young psychologist named Ellen Langer.
"Trust Women" is a popular motto in the pro-choice movement. It sounds a little sentimental, doesn't it? Part of that old sisterhood-is-powerful feminism it is fashionable to mock today. But "Trust Women" doesn't mean that every woman is wise or good or has magical intuitive powers. It means that no one else can make a better decision, because no one else is living her life, and since she will have to live with that decision—not you, and not the state legislature or the Supreme Court—chances are she is doing her best in a tight spot.How Pro-Choicers Can Take Back the Moral High Ground: an excerpt from essayist and poet Katha Pollitt's latest book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. [more inside]
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
It is a striking idea that one of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. Having recently learned to manage several external fermentations — of bread and kimchi and beer — I know a little about the vagaries of that process. You depend on the microbes, and you do your best to align their interests with yours, mainly by feeding them the kinds of things they like to eat — good “substrate.” But absolute control of the process is too much to hope for. It’s a lot more like gardening than governing. The successful gardener has always known you don’t need to master the science of the soil, which is yet another hotbed of microbial fermentation, in order to nourish and nurture it. You just need to know what it likes to eat — basically, organic matter — and how, in a general way, to align your interests with the interests of the microbes and the plants. The gardener also discovers that, when pathogens or pests appear, chemical interventions “work,” that is, solve the immediate problem, but at a cost to the long-term health of the soil and the whole garden. The drive for absolute control leads to unanticipated forms of disorder.[more inside]
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
Does american football unavoidably lead to brain damage over time? Does a culture favoring perseverance at the expense of well being begin in high school?
About three months after her son's birth, Ms. Roscoe asked to see a psychiatrist. She was given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, or P.T.S.D. — a mental illness more often associated with surviving war, car accidents and assaults, but now being recognized in parents of premature infants in prolonged intensive care. (nyt)
Inside the JFK medical files. Very interesting article from Sunday's NY Times (reg. req'd) about the long-term health of John F. Kennedy, from World War II to his death. Corresponding Yahoo News item here also. [more inside...]
Fat versus Carbs NYT Magazine takes an deep look at the issues of the low fat diet and the modern obesity epidemic.
New York's hidden world of ethnic pharmacopoeia [nyt reg req] Always cherished Witch Hazel, but these are true eye openers: " Dr. Chase Nerve and Blood Tonic, with liver concentrate: for simple anemia and associated symptoms such as that tired feeling-nervousness-lack of appetite ; S.S.S. Tonic, iron and 12 percent alcohol, and Canadian Healing Oil, turpentine, oil of tar and creosote: universal liniment for strains and sprains; Safi the Blood Purifier : for skin diseases such as acne vulgaris, boils, skin rashes, blemishes, urticaria, checks nose bleeding, cures constipation, corrects indigestion, improves complexion , and helps you stay slim and smart... [btw] This isn't the 19th century, this is New York, 2002. " One years supply of Safi now on its way.