Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 913068 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2520 on: September 27, 2020, 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:



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2521 on: September 28, 2020, 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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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2522 on: September 28, 2020, 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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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2523 on: September 28, 2020, 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





Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2524 on: September 28, 2020, 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).
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2525 on: September 28, 2020, 06:49:23 pm »
The emerald ash borer is so common here that they've cut almost all of the city-owned ones down, either because they already have it, or prophylactically. I used to be able to walk three blocks to my house in a medium rain without getting wet. Now all the trees on the boulevard have been placed by little babies.

The branches of the ash tree in my yard covers the whole yard, so it's pretty shady. If I ever have to cut it down, I'll have all the wrong perennials (luckily, a lot of them are hostas, which I think can go either way). The roots also spread through the yard, which is kind of a pain if you're trying to dig or mow. But if the tree comes out, I suppose the roots would have to, too, so another huge mess.


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2526 on: October 01, 2020, 11:39:14 am »
I have a huge ash tree as well, and the emerald ash borer is on the way to Denver. It has been spotted just 10 or so miles away, so it is a very big threat.

Before my trip, we visited a friend in NE Pennsylvania. Last year when we were there, there were huge clouds of spotted lantern flies. They're really very pretty but a huge problem. So, this year, he said they were more under control. We had dinner in the tree house, which is a structure in a large tree but none of it actually touches the tree. It was a wonderful dinner and a great way to prepare for the trip.

Here's a link to that Rebecca Mead article in case any non-subscribers want to read it:
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-therapeutic-power-of-gardening

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2527 on: October 01, 2020, 01:38:54 pm »
I have a huge ash tree as well, and the emerald ash borer is on the way to Denver. It has been spotted just 10 or so miles away, so it is a very big threat.

Before my trip, we visited a friend in NE Pennsylvania. Last year when we were there, there were huge clouds of spotted lantern flies. They're really very pretty but a huge problem. So, this year, he said they were more under control.

They've moved south. My father sees them at his place, and complains about them, and I've even see one on my condo balcony.


Quote
Here's a link to that Rebecca Mead article in case any non-subscribers want to read it:
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-therapeutic-power-of-gardening

I guess I should make time to read it. I just realized over lunch that it was in the August 24 issue, which I never got. A little late to contact Customer Service now, I guess. I like Rebecca Mead.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2528 on: October 01, 2020, 02:32:00 pm »
Can you guess who said this?

"The act of cooking is an escape from consciousness--the nearest thing that the nonspiritual man and woman have to Zen meditation; its effect is to reduce us to a state of absolute awareness, where we are here now of necessity. What you can't do is think and cook, because cooking takes the place of thought."

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2529 on: October 01, 2020, 10:51:02 pm »
Can you guess who said this?

"The act of cooking is an escape from consciousness--the nearest thing that the nonspiritual man and woman have to Zen meditation; its effect is to reduce us to a state of absolute awareness, where we are here now of necessity. What you can't do is think and cook, because cooking takes the place of thought."

This could almost go on the GtPPoT thread. Is it Alice Waters? Michael Pollan?

Re emerald ash borers: I hope Minneapolis has realized the folly of planting long rows with the same kind of tree. There may be some reason they did that at the time (they were cheap?) but city leaders should have learned a lesson from Dutch elm disease in the '70s or whenever it was. I hate to sound morbid, but the skinny thing in front of my house might grow up to be very nice, but it won't match the big one it replaced in my lifetime.