Jesse WhiteCrow passing through Floyd, VA

David St Lawrence at the Ripples blog describes Jesse WhiteCrow, a 42-year-old who is walking solo across America on a journey to discover himself. 

Source: Ripples: post-corporate adventures: Jesse WhiteCrow – Just passing through.

Jesse is a well-organized traveler with top-of-the-line hiking gear and a base camp back in Sheffield, Mass.  He even has a gear list on his website. Every detail of his equipment was unique. I was fascinated by his hand-inscribed titanium drinking cup.

He is an artist and a blogger and writes a compelling story of his trek. According to his business card (I said he was well-equipped) he has a book in progress.

Bloated Microsoft Outlook file

I’m responsible for backups on our home network. I noticed that my wife’s Outlook.pst file was over 1 Gb in size. I recommended that she buy Sperry Software’s Strip Attachments (I use it and like it). She bought it and I installed and ran it.

It created 4,585 files from the attachments and images in her Inbox and Sent Items. It reduced the size of her Outlook.pst file to 590 Mb.

Good stuff.

Keeping Cats Healthy (and some implications)

Back when medical research on animals was not questioned, Dr. Pottenger removed the adrenal glands of cats in his labs to test the effectiveness of his adrenal extracts. In an unintended consequence of having too many cats to feed, he made an amazing discovery about cat food.

Source: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation

Between the years of 1932 and 1942, Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, Jr. conducted a feeding experiment to determine the effects of heat-processed food on cats. His ten-year cat study was prompted by the high rate of mortality he was experiencing among his laboratory cats undergoing adrenalectomies for use in standardizing the hormone content of the adrenal extract he was making. Because there were no existent chemical procedures for standardizing biological extracts, manufacturers of such extracts necessarily had to use animals to determine their potency. As cats die without their adrenal glands, the dose of extract required to support their lives calibrated the level of the extract’s potency.

In his effort to maximize the preoperative health of his laboratory animals, Francis fed them a diet of market grade raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scraps from the sanitarium. These scraps included the liver, tripe, sweetbreads, brains, heart and muscle. This diet was considered to be rich in all the important nutritive substances by the experts of the day, and the surgical technique used for the adrenalectomies was the most exacting known. Therefore, Francis was perplexed as to why his cats were poor operative risks. In seeking an explanation, he began noticing that the cats showed signs of deficiency. All showed a decrease in their reproductive capacity and many of the kittens born in the laboratory had skeletal deformities and organ malfunctions.

As his neighbors in Monrovia kept donating an increasing number of cats to his laboratory, the demand for cooked meat scraps exceeded supply and he placed an order at the local meat packing plant for raw meat scraps, again including the viscera, muscle and bone. These raw meat scraps were fed to a segregated group of cats each day and within a few months this group appeared in better health than the animals being fed cooked meat scraps. Their kittens appeared more vigorous, and most interestingly, their operative mortality decreased markedly.

The contrast in the apparent health of the cats fed raw meat and those fed cooked meat was so startling, it prompted Francis to undertake a controlled experiment. What he had observed by chance, he wanted to repeat by design. He wanted to find answers to such questions as: Why did the cats eating raw meat survive their operations more readily than those eating cooked meat? Why did the kittens of the raw meat fed cats appear more vigorous? Why did a diet based on cooked meat scraps apparently fail to provide the necessary nutritional elements for good health? He felt the findings of a controlled feeding experiment might illumine new facts about optimal human nutrition.

Here’s some more info on Dr. Pottenger from the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price, from a review by Steve Solomon.

Dr. Pottenger also noticed that cats on raw food lived very long, often 20 years. They also had good temperments and bred very successfully. When a cat that had been on raw food was placed on cooked food, its life was greatly shortened. The progeny of these cats began to change their appearance. Their overall size lessened, their teeth got poor, their reproductive organs did not develop well, they had smaller litters, and within three generations on all cooked food, they would barely reproduce, the females often refused to nurse or mother their young if they did get pregnant, and cooked-food cats developed nasty temperments.

The one study Pottenger reported that had the most profound effect on my awareness was when he took some cats that he had intentionally degenerated by feeding all cooked food for three generations. This group worsened to the point that they would barely reproduce. Pottender then took some of their young and began to feed them the ideal all-raw diet. After four generations of perfect feeding, only some of them began to look like fully-healthy cats. Degeneration is much easier to create than it is to recreate perfect health from degenerated stock. If these phenomena are expanded to include humans, then we could guess that after creating mass degeneration from mass mal-nutrition since the turn of the twentieth century, it will take humans several generations of near-perfect feeding to begin to virtually overcome the effects.This also suggests to me the reason why someone who has already developed a degenerative condition often can’t cure it simply by adopting dietary reforms.

via John Langlois

Here’s a review of the book Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition from Amazon:

Pottenger’s Cats is a classic in the science of nutrition. Dr. Pottenger discovered quite by accident that cats degenerated unless they were fed raw food. In his 10-year study of 900 cats, he found the optimal diet for his cats was 2/3 raw meat and 1/3 raw milk plus a little cod liver oil. If either the meat or the milk was cooked, the cats degenerated. And if both were cooked, the degeneration was much worse, and the cats could no longer reproduce by the third generation.

Some of the problems Pottenger found in the cats fed cooked food were: heart problems; nearsightedness and farsightedness; underactivity and inflammation of the thyroid; infections of the kidney, liver, testes, ovaries and bladder; arthritis and inflammation of the joints; inflammation of the nervous system with paralysis and meningitis. And in the third generation, some of the cats’ bones became as soft as rubber. Lung problems, and bronchitis and pneumonia were also frequent. Moreover, the females became irritable and even dangerous, and the males became passive and lacked sex interest.

Do many of these conditions sound familiar? Pottenger, of course, realized that his cat studies didn’t apply entirely to humans. He believed nonetheless that his findings for cats did have relevance for humans, and in his sanitarium he fed his patients much raw food, with considerable success. Weston A. Price reported in his book, "Nourishing Traditions" that all of the people’s he studied worldwide included much raw food in their traditional diets and were almost entirely free of the degenerative diseases that are rampant in our junk food society, such as tooth decay, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, digestive disturbances,etc.


Do children need to experience every aspect of their parent’s culture, no matter how outdated?

Link: Science News Article |

TOKYO (Reuters) – Whale meat is back on the menu in a growing number of Japanese elementary and junior high schools, Kyodo news service reported on Tuesday.

The board of education in Wakayama prefecture in western Japan, an area known as the birthplace of organized whaling in the country, is promoting the drive to put whale on school menus.

The board provided some 1,657 kilograms of whale meat for more than 100 elementary and junior high schools in Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures and Tokyo in January of this year alone, Kyodo said, citing local officials.

The amount for January was about double the amount for all of 2005.

"We want (schoolchildren) to know Japan’s traditional dietary culture through whale meat which was popular in the past," it quoted a board of education official as saying.

Japan abandoned commercial whaling in 1986, in line with an international moratorium, but began catching whales again the following year for what it calls scientific research.

The meat of minke whale from Japan’s research whaling is used to make dishes such as deep-fried whale seasoned with soy sauce, Kyodo said.

The British-based charity the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said last week that Japan’s stockpile of whale meat stood at 4,800 tonnes last year compared with 673 tonnes in March 1998, and that this year it had doubled its hunt of minke whales as well as adding humpback and fin whales to the tally.

It estimated that this could add a further 1,700 tonnes of whale meat to already bursting warehouses.

Addicted to Oil: The Challenge

Fortune magazine describes the challenges of overcoming our oil addiction. Conservation is essential. Excerpts below.

Link: Fortune – Plugged in: The hard truth about oil – Feb. 9, 2006

Presidents going back to Richard Nixon have been talking about energy independence. It’s one of those vote-getting platforms that no one could possibly be against — like world peace, mom and apple pie. It gives us the illusion of control over our energy destiny, which we don’t have, at least in a fossil-fuel based economy.

The only way we’re ever going to be able to boost oil supplies here at home is through conservation, and that’s something the government is going to have push aggressively, at least until technological advances like cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen and other alternative energy forms become available.

… an Exxon Mobil (Research) exec had the courage to say aloud what every oil insider in the world knows — America isn’t going to be ‘energy independent’ anytime soon, if ever.

"Realistically, it is simply not feasible in any period relevant to our discussion today," Exxon Senior V.P. Stuart McGill told the crowd at a Houston energy conference, according to Reuters.

Referring to the gap between imports and domestic production — which is about 10 million barrels, or half our daily consumption, McGill said, "Americans depend upon imports to fill the gap. No combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace those imports in the short or medium term."

To be fair, President Bush did take some very valuable-and significant steps forward in his State of the Union address. Like noting the high cost of depending on the Middle East and other volatile regions for our crude, and being bold enough to actually use the word addiction, which many politicians have studiously avoided. And talking up the potential of cellulosic ethanol, which FORTUNE recently wrote about (click here to read that story), but needs much greater investment and support.

…while conservation won’t end the need for imports, it could ultimately get us a lot closer to energy independence than any of the President’s other suggestions.

President Says We Are Addicted to Oil: The Aftermath

How much influence do the Saudis have in Washington?

Link: San Diego CityBEAT

According to President Bush, Americans may be oil addicts. During his State of the Union address, we heard the Grand Oil President actually suggest for the first time that America is addicted to foreign oil—without mentioning drilling in Alaska in the same breath. His solution: rely upon alternate energy technologies as well as ethanol (a grain-based fuel).

The morning after the speech, The New York Times reported that the Energy Department would begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget. The cuts were reported to be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass technologies, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies Bush cited as holding the promise to replace part of the nation’s oil imports. Moreover, the budget for the laboratory was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930. The president’s office issued those cuts.

The next day, Reuters reported that the Saudis were disturbed by the president’s language and asked for a clarification. The Saudis got that clarification within hours. Bush’s energy secretary, Samuel Bodman, explained that the president didn’t mean what he said literally. In a conference call with reporters, he explained that what the president meant was that alternative fuels could displace the increased demand for oil from the Middle East over the next 20 years. He wasn’t actually talking about reducing our consumption so much as replacing the sources that feed our increasing appetite for oil with alternative fuels.

The Silver Lining… to high energy prices

dark cloud

Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

The Silver Lining… to high energy prices

We must face our addiction to cheap oil.

We can invest in alternative sources of energy.

We can reduce the funding of terrorists.

We can justify more fuel-efficient transportation.

We can invest in sustainable energy.

We can invest in clean energy.

We can become less dependent on unstable governments.

Please put any suggestions for additions to this list in the comments below. Thanks!

Wal-Mart Sets 100% Sustainable Fish Target for North America

GreenBiz News says Wal-Mart will be sourcing from sustainable fisheries in North America. Is Wal-Mart really changing or is this green-wash publicity? Time will tell. (I’m still pissed about the small farms that became a Super Wal-Mart about less than a mile from our home.)

Link: GreenBiz News | Wal-Mart Sets 100% Sustainable Fish Target for North America.

LONDON, Feb. 1, 2006 – Wal-Mart has pledged to source all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the North American market from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Council’s independent environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The decision will lead to dozens of fish products bearing the MSC’s distinctive blue eco-label becoming available to Wal-Mart’s North American customers in coming years.

"This is a big and exciting development, demonstrating a leadership position," said Rupert Howes, chief executive of the MSC. "As part of a wider company commitment to sustainable seafood procurement, Wal-Mart has committed to source, over a number of years, all of their fresh and frozen wild capture supplies for the North American market from fisheries certified against the MSC’s standard. An immediate target is to ensure all seafood that already comes from certified fisheries will carry the MSC eco-label in Wal-Mart stores later this year. It is hoped that this commitment to the MSC program will encourage other fisheries into the assessment process and provide a powerful new route to raise awareness of sustainable seafood choices with the North American public."

Conservation International and WWF will be working with Wal-Mart and their suppliers to make improvements in less well managed fisheries, including strengthening management practices, rebuilding stocks, reducing environmental impacts, and encouraging support for broader marine ecosystem management and protection efforts. As fisheries improve, Wal-Mart and suppliers will encourage them to participate in the MSC certification program.