Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Insulation Made from Mushrooms

Discovery Channel gives us a view into what could potential replace our current types of "pink" home insulation: mushrooms.

Mushroom spores, actually.

Although excellent insulators, traditional polystyrene and polyurethane foam blends are made from petroleum, are expensive to produce, and are not biodegradable.

The patented Greensulate formula is an organic, fire-retardant board made of water, flour, minerals and mushroom spores. It not only hinders heat flow but could also be modified to produce sustainable, "growable" homes.

It's been developed by a couple of kids from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. They claim that these spores grow very quickly, couple of weeks, and that the end product will be quite cheap to produce. They're creating the company to market this...as we speak.

Another article on the topic here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way - Ahh, We'll Follow, Thanks

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault automakers, has said that he wants to pursue a "wait and see" strategy on hybrid cars. He says that consumers are still deciding whether they want a hybrid gasoline-electric car, like the Lexus RX400h (which I personally love), or a "clean diesel" (assumably biodiesel) car. Ghosn says "When the market will shift, we will follow."

As the clever Dvorak Uncensored article put it, Nissan is hoping to "outperform GM at falling behind." This decision just might do that.

Toyota, meanwhile, has sold over one million hybrid cars now. And when Toyota looks in their rearview mirror, if they really look hard, they'll see Carlos Ghosn trying to decide whether to wear the red socks or the green socks today.

Help for an Embarrassing Problem

Hi. I'm Daryl. And I have an embarrassing problem known as Hemorrhoids. (It pisses me off that I've dealt with it long enough to even know how to spell it.)

I've had it for years, and tried various treatments, conventional and alternative, but everything seemed to make it worse. Each option was more painful, embarrassing and unproductive than the last. (Actually, it does help to use baby wipes instead of toilet paper, though. Just make sure to get the flushable kind.)

When I read the testimonials for Healing Natural Oils product "Heal Hemorrhoids," I sent in my order. Forget the fact that the damn tiny little bottle costs $70 (33ml). Forget the fact that nothing else had worked.

Well, I wish I could say that the oil totally eliminated the problem. It didn't. However, it did several very positive things. First, no more bleeding. That stopped almost immediately. And the pain also stopped very soon afterward. But the hemorrhoids themselves have not gotten smaller or disappeared, as discussed in the testimonials for the product.

That said, I wouldn't go without this oil. When I ran out of it recently, the bleeding and pain started up again quickly. For me, this is not a cure, but it is relief. The $70 bottle lasts about a year, so it isn't a huge price to pay for relief from pain and embarrassment.

My understanding is that the oils use aromatherapeutical and homeopathic principles to help heal the problems. With my excellent results from a homeopathic remedy for motion sickness, I'm happy to continue trying these various homeopathic products.

If it's so embarrassing, why the hell am I blogging about it??

NOTE: At this moment, Healing Natural Oils is offering 25% off their ridiculous prices, which makes the whole experience a big less ridiculous. Shop for your items, then enter "save25" as your customer code when you get to the order page.

I make no money from the links in this post. I am not an affiliate of Healing Natural Oils.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

1,637 Adverse Reactions to New "Miracle" HPV Vaccine

This was just a matter of time. Certain U.S. States and the country of Australia have instituted legislation forcing young girls to take a vaccine produced by Merck against the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The deaths and bad reactions are starting to roll in. Three girls died shortly after the vaccine was administered to them, and over a thousand have had "adverse reactions" according to the FDA.

These sad facts were reported in the British Medical Journal as well as on Dr. Joseph Mercola's blog.

For a detailed look at the problems with vaccines, check out Dr. Sherry Tenpenny's Website.

Curry vs. Cancer

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The ingredient in curry that gives it its bright yellow color is called curcumin. This ingredient has long been known in naturopathic medicine to offer help in avoiding or reversing cancer.

Now scientists have come up with a way to embed curcumin into nanospheres, ultra small particles, so they can be injected into the bloodstream, hoping to help cancer patients.

Or, umm, you could just eat curry. Or a quarter teaspoon of turmeric in a smoothie for breakfast, which is what I do. The studies quoted in the article vastly overstate the amount of curcumin needed for health, similarly to the way studies often state a much higher amount of green tea intake than necessary.

Turmeric, the plant that contains all the curcumin, can be a bit expensive to buy. However, my trick is to go into the imports aisle of your grocery store (Giant Eagle has it) and buy a huge bag of it for a few dollars. It is a lot cheaper than buying the little spice bottles.

Why I Had to Cut Down Four Trees So My Wife Could See the Sopranos Finale

Our neighbor has lots of mature trees. In fact, that was one of the reasons for us moving here. But once in a while, a tree (or four) has to be sacrificed for a higher purpose. In this case, my wife's Sopranos addiction.

Our satellite TV reception (through DirecTV) had been getting worse and worse for the past month or two. I knew what it was. I called the DirecTV support line just in case, but we both quickly came to the same conclusion - our trees were getting in the way of our satellite minidish's view of the southern sky.

It got worse and worse until our satellite system completely shut down. We were getting no programming whatsoever. In a way, it was nice not having a TV to turn to for entertainment. But I could not foresee an imminent disaster that was about to overtake our little household.

The Series Finale of the Sopranos was coming up on Sunday, and my wife dearly loved the series. I had watched some episodes of previous seasons, but had missed every episode of this current, and known to be final, season.

My wife missed the previous week, but when she found out that the Season Finale was coming up, she demanded that we get our satellite system fixed, come hell or high water.

I ditched whatever weekend plans I had had and set to work on figuring out what to do. We could call a tree service and probably get it all cleaned up, but that would probably cost a few hundred dollars. Besides, I had a handy electric chainsaw (that I enjoyed using), so why not try it myself?

The trees were no more than 6 inches wide at the base, so I cut each one down with the chainsaw. It worked pretty well. The trees were thin but pretty tall - 25-30 feet (which was the whole problem).

I didn't damage anything with trees falling all over the place, and then proceeded to cut them up into small pieces.

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I got the job done in about 4-5 hours, then went into the house and gingerly turned on the TV and satellite receiver. It worked! We had almost flawless reception.

I say "almost" because the Sopranos came in perfectly (imagine our panic when the screen blanked out in the diner as Meadow was walking in!!) but this past week we've had one or two digital "blips" that indicate there's more cuttin' to do.

It will be constant battle now. Hopefully we can just cut the tops off the trees as they get bigger. With the four trees I cut down, they were actually "volunteers" in our neighbor's yard that they wanted to get rid of anyway. But the next time, it might not be so simple.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Damning Studies on Splenda

A good friend recently asked me why I avoid Splenda. I've actually never tasted it! (I hear it tastes good.) The reason is that although there have been only a few studies done on this manmade chemical sweetener, the studies I've read have not been kind.

So, for my loyal blog readers, I'll give you the links that I shared with her. Splenda studies, with a nice little aspartame study thrown in for good measure!

Journal of Head and Face Pain (Sep 2006)
- This is just the abstract of an article done by Mercer University School of Medicine showing that sucralose (i.e. Splenda) triggers migraines.

Journal of Food Chemical Toxicology (Jun 1990)
Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (Oct 1994)
- This is a very comprehensive article, written by an MD, summarizing the research done before 2000. Look towards the bottom of the article for the journal references. There are also some interesting, but clinically inconclusive, personal stories listed at the end of the article.

Journal of Food Chemical Toxicology (2000)
- A detailed abstract of a study where sucralose was tested on pregnant rats and rabbits. Gastrointestinal damage caused two mothers and four fetuses to die. This study was actually paid for by McNeil Specialty Products, the makers of Splenda.

Journal of Mutation Research (Aug 2002)
- Concludes that sucralose caused DNA damage in mice.

International Journal of Obesity (Jun 2004)
- Interesting study that says that artificial sweeteners actually make us want more sweets

Environmental Health Perspectives (March 2006)
- Aspartame found to cause cancer in rats at very low levels of ingestion (PDF version)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Network of Holistic Moms

Here is a neat new organization that is a support group for parents who want to use holistic methods in their parenting.

It's called Holistic Moms. It was founded in 2002 and has 85 local membership chapters in the U.S. and Canada, including chapters right here in Ohio. They provide support and information on natural living, health and wellness, informed and mindful parenting, sustainable environment and balance in life.

Membership costs $35.00/year
, but you can't pay online, you have to download their form, print it out and mail in your membership check.