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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Today at 03:37:28 pm »

Next up: fecal transplants. Jeff, you probably know about this.

Unfortunately, yes.  :P

To the best of my knowledge, we are not (yet) plagued with jumping worms (jumping worms?) or emerald ash borer, but the spotted lantern fly is a real problem (though not as deadly as that other import from China).
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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by serious crayons on Today at 01:17:12 pm »
Upon rereading the article, I see it makes no mention of eating or putting hands in soil. That was a phrase I made up, and I didn't expect it to turn into a research project!

No problem, it's an interesting subject. I mentioned it in a conversation with someone lately and they didn't believe it, so I'm glad I confirmed I wasn't imagining things.

I would go out right now and get a big bowl of soil myself, but unfortunately here there have been infestations of "jumping worms." I don't know that much about them except they're the latest invasive species. None in my yard that I know of, although I may lose my huge ash tree in the backyard to emerald ash borer.

It's kind of like the thing about how people used to get up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night and do stuff. When I mention it to people, they never believe that, either. It is even weirder in a way, because it would have been back in the days before electricity or maybe even gas lanterns. But it does help explain middle-of-the-night insomnia.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/24/sleep-twice-a-night-anxiety

Next up: fecal transplants. Jeff, you probably know about this.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325128

I wish the New Yorker would write about these things (if they haven't already). I was so glad when they ran a story about LSD therapy, because people never believe that either but if you can't believe the New Yorker (and Michael Pollan, who wrote the article and whose book I have on Kindle but haven't read), who can you believe?

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/trip-treatment




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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Front-Ranger on Today at 11:57:47 am »
The article is about therapy through gardening. When you get your hands into soil, you begin to heal. Your thoughts on this?

Upon rereading the article, I see it makes no mention of eating or putting hands in soil. That was a phrase I made up, and I didn't expect it to turn into a research project!
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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Today at 08:32:33 am »
Yes, chewing ice is another symptom of pica. I see this problem in my work, though not lately. The questions never go into the science behind it. It just gets treated as a pathology.
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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 05:36:21 pm »
Well, now you've got me curious enough to do some intensive research -- i.e., skim a Wikipedia entry. Here's an excerpt:

In more recent times, according to "Dixie's Forgotten People: the South's Poor Whites," geophagia [soil eating] was common among poor whites in the Southeastern United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and was often ridiculed in popular literature. The literature also states, "Many men believed that eating clay increased sexual prowess, and some females claimed that eating clay helped pregnant women to have an easy delivery."[9] Geophagia among Southerners may have been caused by the high prevalence of hookworm disease, of which the desire to consume soil is a symptom.[10] Geophagia has become less prevalent as rural Americans assimilate into urban culture.[8] However, cooked, baked, and processed dirt and clay are sold in health food stores and rural flea markets in the American South.[11]
...

Clay minerals have been reported to have beneficial microbiological effects, such as protecting the stomach against toxins, parasites, and pathogens.[32][33] Humans are not able to synthesize vitamin B12 (cobalamin), so geophagia may be a behavioral adaption to obtain it from bacteria in the soil.[34] Mineral content in soils may vary by region, but many contain high levels of calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc, minerals that are critical for developing fetuses which can cause metallic, soil, or chewing ice cravings in pregnant women. To the extent that these cravings, and subsequent mineral consumption (as well as in the case of cravings for ice, or other cold neck vasoconstricting food which aid in increasing brain oxygen levels by restricting neck veins) are therapeutically effective decreasing infant mortality, those genetic predispositions and the associated environmental triggers, are likely to be found in the infant as well. Likewise, multigenerationally impoverished villages or other homogenous socioeconomic closed genetic communities are more likely to have rewarded gene expression of soil or clay consumption cravings, by increasing the likelihood of survival through multiple pregnancies for both sexes.[33][35]

There are obvious health risks in the consumption of soil that is contaminated by animal or human feces; in particular, helminth eggs, such as Ascaris, which can stay viable in the soil for years, can lead to helminth infections.[36][37] Tetanus poses a further risk.[36] Lead poisoning is also associated with soil ingestion,[38] as well as health risks associated with zinc exposure can be problematic among people who eat soils on a regular basis.[17] Gestational geophagia has been associated with various homeostatic disruptions and oxidative damage.




I'm guessing that's not what Rebecca Mead was talking about, though.  :laugh:


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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Yesterday at 05:17:57 pm »
There are places in the South where people eat clay. Or they did -- I don't know if anybody still does. That seemed really bizarre until I read that clay contains a lot of nutrients. As I recall, anyway.

It is bizarre. Eating clay is a symptom of a medical condition called pica, which is caused by a vitamin deficiency.
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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 11:05:12 am »
My subscription is renewed automatically. Also, I had my mail held when I was on vacation. I have four issues to catch up on! But I had to read "Nature and Nurture" by Rebecca Mead in the August 24 issue. It seems like TNY has decided to run a nature related article in almost every issue. That's fine with me, but sometimes they are contrived.

This one is about gardening in England. It says that 8 out of 10 people in Britain have a private garden. Where I stayed in London there were no gardens or even a pot on a balcony. That statistic seems suspicious to me.

The article is about therapy through gardening. When you get your hands into soil, you begin to heal. Your thoughts on this?

As far as gardening goes, I think to each her own. It's not really my thing, but it is for a lot of people. I am really interested in nature/nurture, but it doesn't sound like Rebecca Mead wrote about the parts I find most interesting.

Rebecca Mead, who is from England, recently moved back to England. I think she said it's partly because of what's going on here.

Does she mean plunging your hands into soil, in and of itself, is literally healing? As I said, it's not my thing, but the idea isn't totally farfetched. We evolved from people who (long after the beginning of human history, of course, but still) tended gardens. I'd better read the Mead piece.

There are places in the South where people eat clay. Or they did -- I don't know if anybody still does. That seemed really bizarre until I read that clay contains a lot of nutrients. As I recall, anyway.





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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on September 26, 2020, 09:49:39 pm »
My subscription is renewed automatically.

I'm seriously confused. I don't remember renewing for more than a year, but yesterday I noticed there is a date 27JAN22 on the mailing label of my issue. That kind of looks like an expiration date.  ???
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The Culture Tent / Re: In the New Yorker...
« Last post by Front-Ranger on September 26, 2020, 05:48:55 pm »
My subscription is renewed automatically. Also, I had my mail held when I was on vacation. I have four issues to catch up on! But I had to read "Nature and Nurture" by Rebecca Mead in the August 24 issue. It seems like TNY has decided to run a nature related article in almost every issue. That's fine with me, but sometimes they are contrived.

This one is about gardening in England. It says that 8 out of 10 people in Britain have a private garden. Where I stayed in London there were no gardens or even a pot on a balcony. That statistic seems suspicious to me.

The article is about therapy through gardening. When you get your hands into soil, you begin to heal. Your thoughts on this?
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Cellar Scribblings / Re: Off The Cuff - Chuck's Poems
« Last post by CellarDweller on September 25, 2020, 09:34:13 pm »
2020

------------------------

Where are your gloves?
Where is your mask?
I can not believe
that you're making me ask

Did you get extra water
perhaps toilet paper
snuck yourself an extra bundle
like it's some criminal caper

stress levels are climbing
tension thick enough to see
and now we are mourning
the Notorious RBG

No sports to be seen
no punter or batter
taking part in the protests
set up by Black Lives Matter

refugees captured
hurricanes hit the coast
murder hornets invading
while politicians boast

everyone is watching
and everyone fails
while our leaders drive
our country off the rails

storm surges crashing
up under the docs
while racists come crawling
from under their rocks

times are feeling bleak
please don't give up hope
though it feels it, we're not
at the end of our rope

So go light some sage
or meditate or pray
soon we'll be sending
this awful year away

the darkness will fade
with the rising sun
hoping for a better
and brighter 2021
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