June 2024

Closing the Stanford Internet Observatory will edge the US towards the end of democracy

The organisation responsible for monitoring digital falsehoods is reportedly being wound down after pressure from Republicans and conspiracy theorists

Interesting opinion in the Guardian covering how the “medium” of media’s are shaping society. The first four paragraphs are mine from the The Political Gut

Manipulation Through Media And Conspiracy

Not just through politics and food, but also social media, TV, podcasts, and society as a whole. Would you believe that fake news and negative news stories are six times more likely to be shared on social media (and believed ) than true or positive ones? It’s unbelievable but true.

The crazier, the more sensational, the more people want to believe it’s it. People are losing their minds and the energetic consequences are all too real. The ones pushing these narratives are manifesting their preferred reality. One that is ruled by fear and chaos. Where those in power have lots of control. The strategy of divide and conquer is as old as the famous military tactician, Sun Tzu.

How many times have you or someone you know just repeated some talking points seen on TV verbatim? Yet, can’t actually back up these positions with facts or evidence? Because chances are high that none exists. We have to come back to reality. Use our objective brain.

Fear sells. Fear makes a lot of money! Media as powered by one person or a limited few people could mean the end of a civilized, truly democratic society. Precisely because people are not even bothering to check for facts before sharing, and are 6x more likely to believe the fantastical instead. If the fantastical makes 6x more money than the truth and profits are the only motivation. Do I need to explain further?

From the Guardian, John Naughton

If you were a malign superpower that wanted to screw up the democratic world, you’d be hard put to do better than this

For most of us, the word “medium” means “a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment”. For a biologist, though, the term means something rather different: “the nutrient solution in which cells or organs are grown”. But there are times when the two conceptions fuse, and we’re living in one such time now.

How come? All developed societies have a media ecosystem, the information environment in which they exist. Until comparatively recently that ecosystem was dominated by print technology. Then, in the mid-20th century, broadcast (few-to-many) technology arrived, first as radio and later as television, which, from the 1950s to the 1990s, was the dominant communication medium of the age. And then came the internet and the technologies it has spawned, of which the dominant one is the world wide web.

Each of these pre-eminent technologies shaped the societies that they enveloped. Print shaped the world for four and a half centuries, followed by broadcast, which ruled for 50 years or so. None of this would have surprised a biologist, who would see human culture as something that grows in an enveloping nutrient. Change the nutrient and you change the culture that grows in it.

We’re now early into the period of internet dominance of our media ecosystem and have no real idea of how that will play out in the long term. But some clues are beginning to emerge. One relates to the idea of public opinion. Until Gallup invented the opinion poll in 1935, there was in effect no way of measuring what the public as a whole thought about anything. For the next 70 years, improved polling methods and the rise of broadcast television meant that it was possible to get a general idea of what public opinion might be on political or social issues.

The arrival of the internet, and particularly the web in the 1990s, started the process of radical fragmentation that has brought us to where we are now: instead of public opinion in the Gallup sense, we have innumerable publics, each with different opinions and incompatible ideas of what’s true, false and undecidable.

To make things worse, we also invented a technology that enables every Tom, Dick and mad Harry to publish whatever they like on opaque global platforms, which are incentivised to propagate the wildest nonsense. And to this we have now added powerful tools (called AI) that automate the manufacture of misinformation on an epic scale. If you were a malign superpower that wanted to screw up the democratic world, you’d be hard put to do better than this.

Fortunately, scattered through the world (and mostly in academia) there have been organisations whose mission is to conduct informed analyses of the nature and implications of the misinformation that pollutes the online world. Until recently, the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) in California was one such outfit. Among other things (it was the first to out Russian support for Donald Trump online in 2016), it raised China spying concerns around the Clubhouse app in 2021, partnered with the Wall Street Journal in a 2023 report on Instagram and online child sexual abuse materials, and developed a curriculum for teaching college students how to handle trust and safety problems on social media platforms.

But guess what? After five years of pioneering research, it has been reported that the SIO is being wound down. Its founder and director, Alex Stamos, has departed and Renée DiResta, its research director, has not had her contract renewed, while other staff members have been told to look for jobs elsewhere. Stanford, the SIO’s institutional home, denies that it is dismantling the unit and loudly proclaims its commitment to independent research. On the other hand, according to DiResta, the university has run up “huge legal bills” defending SIO researchers from harassment by Republican politicians and conservative conspiracy theorists, and may have decided that enough is enough.

At the root of all this are two neuroses. One is the Republicans’ obsessive conviction that academic studies, like those of DiResta and her colleagues, of how “bad actors – spammers, scammers, hostile foreign governments, networks of terrible people targeting children, and, yes hyper-partisans actively seeking to manipulate the public” use digital platforms to achieve their aims is, somehow, anti-conservative.

The other neurosis is, if anything, more worrying: it’s a crazily expansive idea of “censorship” that includes labelling social media posts as potentially misleading, factchecking, down-ranking false theories by reducing their distribution in people’s social media feeds while allowing them to remain on a site and even flagging content for platforms’ review.

If you think such a list is nuts, then join the queue. As I read it, what came to mind was Kenneth Tynan’s memorable definition of a neurosis as “a secret you don’t know you’re keeping”. The secret in this case is simple: the great American experiment with democracy is ending.

Gut Inflammation Linked to Alzheimer’s disease, once again

Unlocking the Secrets of Your Gut: How a Healthy Microbiome Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Have you ever thought of your gut as the secret gatekeeper to your brain’s longevity? It turns out, your gut microbiome—the bustling community of trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract—may hold the keys to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. This isn’t just gut feeling; emerging research highlights a fascinating connection between maintaining a healthy microbiome and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Imagine sipping on your favorite kombucha or enjoying a probiotic-rich meal and simultaneously fortifying your brain against Alzheimer’s. In this piece, we’ll dive into how nurturing your gut can be a game-changer for your brain health, offering practical tips and delicious ways to boost your microbiome.

The Gut-Alzheimer’s Connection

Microbiome’s Role in Brain Health

The gut-brain axis is a communication network linking your gut and brain. Your microbiome plays a crucial role in this dialogue. Studies suggest that a healthy gut microbiome produces beneficial metabolites that can cross the blood-brain barrier, influencing brain function. For instance, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), produced by gut bacteria, have anti-inflammatory properties that may protect brain cells from damage.

Conversely, an imbalanced microbiome can lead to increased gut permeability, allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream and potentially trigger inflammation in the brain. This inflammation is a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, maintaining a balanced microbiome through diet and lifestyle can be a strategic move in preserving brain health and staving off cognitive decline.

“Increased gut permeability could result in higher blood levels of inflammatory molecules and toxins derived from gut lumen, leading to systemic inflammation, which in turn may impair the blood-brain barrier and may promote neuroinflammation, and potentially neural injury and neurodegeneration,” said University of Wisconsin bacteriologist Federico Rey.

A 2023 study adds further support to the theory that inflammation could be the mechanism through which this occurs.

“We showed people with Alzheimer’s disease have more gut inflammation,” University of Wisconsin psychologist Barbara Bendlin said, “and among people with Alzheimer’s, when we looked at brain imaging, those with higher gut inflammation had higher levels of amyloid plaque accumulation in their brains.”

Key Studies and Findings

Research into the gut-brain connection has yielded some compelling results. A study published in the journal “Nature” found that mice with altered gut bacteria showed significant cognitive decline compared to those with a healthy microbiome. Another pivotal study in “Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience” revealed that Alzheimer’s patients often have a different bacterial composition in their guts compared to healthy individuals.

These studies suggest that an imbalanced microbiome might exacerbate or even contribute to Alzheimer’s pathology. Additionally, clinical trials are exploring the impact of probiotics on cognitive function, with early results indicating that certain probiotic strains may improve memory and reduce brain inflammation. These findings underscore the potential of gut health interventions as a preventive measure against Alzheimer’s, encouraging further investigation into how dietary and lifestyle changes can fortify both gut and brain health.

Practical Steps for a Healthy Gut

Taking care of your gut microbiome can be simple and enjoyable. Start by incorporating more fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. These foods act as prebiotics, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are excellent sources of probiotics that introduce healthy bacteria into your digestive system.

Limiting processed foods, sugars, and artificial sweeteners can also help maintain a balanced microbiome. Staying hydrated and reducing stress through activities like yoga or meditation can further support gut health. By integrating these practical steps into your routine, you can nurture a healthy gut environment that supports overall health and potentially reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Gut Feeling: How Your Stomach and Brain Are Best Buds!

Have you ever had a “gut feeling” about something? Well, it turns out your gut and brain are more connected than you might think! The gut-brain connection is a fascinating and complex relationship that plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. In this friendly and funny exploration, we’ll dive into the world of gut health, uncovering how the food systems in the United States, pesticides, and even social media can affect this vital link.

Along the way, we’ll dish out some tasty tips on gut health foods, how to improve gut health naturally. So, buckle up and get ready to laugh and learn about how your stomach and brain are best buds!

The Gut-Brain Connection

Understanding Gut Health

Gut health is all about the balance of microorganisms living in your digestive tract. These tiny critters, known as the gut microbiome, play a big role in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and even regulating mood. When your gut is happy, it’s easier to maintain overall well-being.

However, when things go awry, it can lead to issues like bloating, constipation, poor decision making and even anxiety. Keeping your gut in check involves a mix of eating gut health foods and maintaining a balanced diet with lots of greens and diversity of foods. By understanding how to improve gut health naturally, you can help your gut microbiome flourish, leading to better digestion and a happier you.

Impact of Food Systems

The food systems in the United States have a significant impact on gut health. Industrial farming practices often prioritize quantity over quality, leading to a food supply that is high in processed foods and low in essential nutrients. These processed foods can disrupt the gut microbiome, making it harder for your digestive system to function properly.

Furthermore, the widespread use of pesticides and chemicals in farming can introduce harmful substances into our diets. These chemicals can negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive issues and even long-term health problems. By becoming more aware of how food systems affect our gut health, we can make better choices about what we eat. Opting for local, organic produce, whole foods, and gut health supplements can help mitigate the negative impacts and support a healthier gut-brain connection.

Social Media and Your Gut

Believe it or not, social media can also impact your gut health. Constant exposure to curated images and unrealistic lifestyle standards can lead to stress and anxiety, which directly affect the gut-brain connection.

When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that can disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to digestive problems like bloating and indigestion. Moreover, the endless flow of diet trends and conflicting nutrition advice (which is often the result of paid advertising) can leave you confused about what truly constitutes gut health foods. Learn how to improve gut health naturally by following expert advice and avoiding fad diets.

The Political Gut – Book Launch

Living Naturally: How Simplifying Your Life Can Lead to Greater Health and Happiness

Living naturally and simplifying your life can lead to greater health and happiness, a concept explored in “The Political Gut” written by Brett Casper. With insights on how our food and political systems impact our well-being, Brett Casper delves into the idea of regaining control over our choices and silencing the toxic voices inside our heads.

By understanding how what we consume affects our decision-making, this book aims to empower readers to make informed decisions towards a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Dive into this transformative journey and embrace the power of living in harmony with the natural world.

Embrace a Natural State of Being

Discovering Your True Potential

When you begin living in harmony with nature, you open the door to discovering your true potential. The hustle and bustle of modern life often clouds our minds, making it hard to see our capabilities clearly. By simplifying your lifestyle—eating clean foods, reducing stress, and eliminating toxic influences—you allow your mind and body to function at their best.

This clarity helps you recognize your strengths and passions, which might have been buried under layers of societal expectations and unhealthy habits. Imagine waking up each day with a clear mind and focused energy, ready to tackle your goals.

This transformation not only improves your health but also enhances your overall happiness. By aligning your habits with natural principles, you unlock a version of yourself that is more authentic, powerful, and at peace.

Recognizing and Avoiding Modern Traps

Modern life is filled with traps that keep us from living naturally and reaching our full potential. From highly processed foods to the constant barrage of advertising, these pitfalls are designed to capture our attention and dictate our choices. Recognizing these traps is the first step towards avoiding them.

Start by becoming aware of the marketing tactics that push unhealthy products and behaviors. Question the necessity of the latest gadgets, fashion trends, and convenience foods. Instead, prioritize whole, organic foods and experiences that bring genuine joy and fulfillment.

Social media can be another significant negative, consuming time and fostering unhealthy comparisons. Limit your screen time and engage more in face-to-face interactions and outdoor activities. Embrace simplicity and let go of what doesn’t serve your best interests.

Simplify for Health and Happiness

The Impact of Diet on Decision-Making

Your diet has a profound impact on your decision-making abilities. The foods you consume directly influence your brain chemistry and gut health, which in turn affect how you think and feel. Processed foods laden with sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives can lead to brain fog, mood swings, and poor cognitive function.

These dietary choices make it harder to think clearly and make sound decisions. On the other hand, a diet rich in whole, organic foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins can enhance mental clarity and emotional stability. Such foods support a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that regulate mood and cognition. By simplifying your diet and focusing on nutrient-dense options, you create a stable foundation for better decision-making. This not only improves your health but also enhances your ability to navigate life’s challenges with a clear and focused mind.

Detoxifying Your Life for Clarity and Quality

Detoxifying your life is essential for achieving clarity and improving your overall quality of life. Our modern environment exposes us to numerous toxins, from the chemicals in processed foods to pollutants in the air and water. These toxins accumulate in our bodies, leading to fatigue, brain fog, and disease.

By actively detoxifying your life, you can reduce this toxic burden and enhance your well-being. Start by eliminating processed foods and choosing organic, local, whole foods that nourish your body. Drink plenty of clean, purified water to help flush out toxins. Also, consider reducing your exposure to household chemicals by using natural cleaning products and personal care items.

Regular exercise and practices like yoga or meditation can also aid in detoxification by promoting circulation and reducing stress. As you detoxify your life, you’ll find that your mind becomes clearer, your energy levels rise, and your overall quality of life significantly improves.

Wisconsin Republicans Block PFAS Cleanup Until Polluters are Granted Immunity

In a controversial move that has sparked significant public outcry, Wisconsin Republicans have decided to block the cleanup of PFAS contamination until polluters are granted immunity from legal repercussions.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals linked to serious health risks and environmental damage. This decision has drawn widespread criticism from environmental advocates and concerned citizens alike, who argue that prioritizing corporate protection over public health is a dangerous precedent. Although, this is really just keeping in line with the status quo.

Wisconsin’s PFAS Crisis

Understanding PFAS Pollution

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are synthetic chemicals widely used in industrial and consumer products due to their resistance to water, grease, and heat. These chemicals can be found in items such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and firefighting foams.

However, the same properties that make PFAS useful also make them persist in the environment and accumulate in the human body over time. As a result, PFAS contamination has been linked to serious health issues, including cancer, liver damage, and immune system dysfunction. The pollution of water sources with PFAS is a growing concern in Wisconsin, affecting both urban and rural communities. Addressing this pollution is critical for safeguarding public health and ensuring a clean environment for future generations.

Health Risks of PFAS Exposure

PFAS exposure poses significant health risks, making their cleanup crucial. These chemicals have been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes. For instance, long-term exposure can lead to various types of cancer, including kidney and testicular cancer.

Additionally, PFAS exposure has been associated with liver damage, which can result in elevated cholesterol levels and potentially lead to more severe liver diseases. The immune system is also vulnerable, with studies indicating that PFAS can reduce vaccine effectiveness and increase susceptibility to infections.

Pregnant women and children are particularly at risk, as exposure can lead to developmental issues, low birth weight, and hormonal imbalances. Given these serious health risks, the need for effective PFAS cleanup in Wisconsin is not just an environmental issue but a vital public health concern.

Environmental Impact in Wisconsin

The environmental impact of PFAS pollution in Wisconsin is profound and far-reaching. These chemicals contaminate water sources, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater, affecting both wildlife and human populations. Aquatic life is particularly vulnerable, as PFAS can accumulate in fish and other organisms, disrupting ecosystems and food chains.

This contamination can also extend to agricultural areas, where PFAS-tainted water is used for irrigation, leading to soil degradation and crop contamination. Consequently, the food supply can become compromised, posing additional risks to public health.

About 90,000 Different Chemical Are Dumped Into Sewers Each Year

I would need to write a twenty volume encyclopedia in order to detail all of the chemicals and the effects of these chemicals on human health and psychology. According to the Sierra Club, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90,000 different man-made chemicals are discharged into our sewers each year. In order to see why we need to completely eliminate chemicals from the loop, we have to understand how they keep harming us residually.

One of the largest sources of residual chemical pollution comes in the form of biosolids, which is just a fancy way of saying sewage sludge. In the United States, sewage sludge is not only composed of human waste but also waste from factories, slaughterhouses, industrial facilities, and other businesses that legally discharge waste directly into the sewage system.

Taxpayers subsidize this because tax dollars pay for the treatment of sewage. In the European Union there is legislation that places the onus on industry to deal with and manage their chemical waste. It is time for America to enact similar legislation. Since politics and money control everything in America. We The People will have to seriously pressure the politicians to hold industry accountable.

Contaminated Beef

In February, 2022, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued an advisory. Beef from a local farm had high levels of PFOS, which is part of the group of chemicals referred to as PFAS.

The farm had been growing crops to feed their cattle, using biosolids as fertilizer for these crops. This is only one small, yet very clear example where biosolid waste has contaminated crops. Imagine, there are six million tons of biosolid waste being used each year to fertilize crops.

Crops that not only humans eat, but also birds, bugs, ducks, deer, pigs, turkeys, pheasants, quail, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, gophers. Every animal that lives within that ecosystem. Additionally, the wastewater from these farms runs off into groundwater, streams and rivers. So even if you think you are catching a wild “clean” duck, deer, turkey or fish, chances are you are not.

Republican Stance on Cleanup

Immunity for Polluters

The decision by Wisconsin Republicans to block PFAS cleanup until polluters are granted immunity has sparked considerable controversy. This stance effectively prioritizes the protection of corporate interests over public and environmental health. By granting immunity, companies responsible for PFAS contamination would be shielded from legal consequences, undermining accountability.

Critics argue that this approach sets a dangerous precedent, allowing polluters to evade their responsibility for environmental damage. Furthermore, it significantly delays necessary cleanup efforts, prolonging the exposure of communities to harmful chemicals.

Environmental advocates stress that holding polluters accountable is essential for ensuring that they contribute to remediation costs and take preventive measures to avoid future contamination. Granting immunity could discourage companies from adopting safer practices, exacerbating the pollution problem in Wisconsin. This policy decision raises fundamental questions about justice and the role of government in protecting its citizens and natural resources.

Legislative Roadblocks

Wisconsin Republicans have introduced several legislative roadblocks that hinder effective PFAS cleanup efforts. These roadblocks include proposing bills that limit regulatory agencies’ powers and reduce financial penalties for polluters.

By curtailing the authority of environmental agencies, these measures make it difficult to enforce existing laws and implement new regulations aimed at reducing PFAS pollution. Additionally, the legislative push for immunity clauses further complicates the legal landscape, making it harder for affected communities to seek justice and compensation.

This obstructionist approach not only delays cleanup initiatives but also undermines public trust in the government’s ability to protect health and the environment. Critics argue that these legislative roadblocks reflect a broader agenda to prioritize economic interests over ecological and public well-being, leaving Wisconsin residents to bear the brunt of ongoing pollution and its associated risks.

Public Response and Outcry

The public response to the Wisconsin Republicans’ stance on PFAS cleanup has been overwhelmingly negative. Environmental advocacy groups, public health organizations, and concerned citizens have voiced strong opposition, arguing that prioritizing immunity for polluters undermines both justice and environmental stewardship.

Protests and public demonstrations have taken place across the state, with residents demanding immediate action to address the contamination. Social media campaigns and petitions have also gained traction, reflecting widespread frustration and concern. Many people feel that the government is failing in its duty to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.

This public outcry underscores the urgency of the situation and the need for transparent, accountable decision-making. The sustained pressure from the community highlights the growing awareness and demand for effective PFAS regulation and cleanup efforts in Wisconsin.

The Path Forward

Democratic Solutions

Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin have proposed several solutions aimed at addressing the PFAS crisis effectively and fairly. These solutions prioritize holding polluters accountable and ensuring comprehensive cleanup efforts.

Key proposals include increasing funding for environmental agencies to enhance their capacity for monitoring and regulating PFAS contamination. Democrats also advocate for stricter enforcement of existing environmental laws and the introduction of new regulations to limit PFAS use and discharge. Additionally, they support initiatives to research and develop safer alternatives to PFAS, reducing future pollution risks.

Community involvement is another crucial aspect of their approach, with plans to increase transparency and public participation in decision-making processes. By focusing on accountability, prevention, and community engagement, Democratic solutions aim to protect both public health and the environment, setting a sustainable path forward for Wisconsin.

How to Take Action

Taking action against PFAS pollution in Wisconsin starts with making your voice heard. First, stay informed about local and state legislation concerning PFAS and environmental protection. Attend town hall meetings, participate in public forums, and engage in discussions to express your concerns. Support organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to environmental justice by volunteering or donating. Contact your local representatives to demand stronger regulations and accountability measures for polluters.

Voting is a powerful tool—support candidates who prioritize environmental issues and public health. Additionally, spread awareness through social media and community networks to educate others about the dangers of PFAS contamination. Collective action can drive significant change, ensuring that future policies protect both people and the environment from harmful pollutants. Your involvement can help shape a healthier, safer Wisconsin.

Importance of Your Vote

Your vote plays a crucial role in shaping policies that impact public health and the environment. In the face of the PFAS crisis, electing representatives who prioritize environmental protection and accountability is more important than ever. By voting for candidates who support stringent regulations on pollutants and advocate for comprehensive cleanup efforts, you help ensure that legislative actions align with public interest rather than corporate protection.

Voting is not just a civic duty; it’s a powerful tool for change. It enables you to influence decisions that affect your community’s well-being and the sustainability of natural resources. As elections approach, educate yourself on candidates’ positions regarding PFAS and broader environmental issues. Your informed vote can drive policy shifts that safeguard Wisconsin’s environment and public health, making a tangible difference in the fight against pollution.

From Farm to Table: The Journey of Gut Health Probiotics and How They Can Improve Your Life Naturally

Ever wondered what goes on in that mysterious, rumbling world inside your belly? The answer might surprise you—it’s a bustling metropolis of microbes working tirelessly to keep you happy and healthy.

Gut health is more than just a trendy topic; it’s a vital aspect of our overall well-being. But in a world where food systems are riddled with pesticides and chemicals finding the best gut health foods can feel like navigating a maze. Buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey from farm to table, uncovering how to improve gut health naturally with the magic of probiotics.

The Gut-Brain Connection

Why Your Stomach is Smarter Than You Think

Your stomach isn’t just a bag of acids and enzymes; it’s more like a second brain. Known as the enteric nervous system, this “gut brain” communicates with your actual brain via the vagus nerve. This connection influences mood, stress levels, and overall mental health.

When your gut isn’t happy, you’re likely not feeling your best either. Probiotics play a critical role in this dialogue, helping to balance your intestinal flora, which can lead to improved mood and cognitive function. In essence, a well-nourished gut means a happier you. So, the next time you’re feeling off, consider whether your gut might be the one trying to send you a message. Like eat more veggies and take a break from drinking alcohol.

Mood Swings? Blame Your Gut!

Ever wonder why you feel irritable or down for seemingly no reason? Your gut health could be the culprit. The other reason could be all the added sugar and artificial sweeteners in every packaged product in the US.

The gut microbiome produces neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are key players in regulating mood. When your gut flora is out of balance, it disrupts the production of these crucial chemicals. Gut health foods particularly those rich in probiotics, can help restore this balance. By improving your gut health naturally, you may find that your mood stabilizes, making those unpredictable swings a thing of the past. So, next time you’re feeling off-kilter, consider feeding your gut some good bacteria—it might just be the mood booster you need.

Gut Health Foods for a Happy Brain

Feeding your gut the right foods can have a profound impact on your mental well-being. Gut health foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir are rich in probiotics that nourish your gut microbiome. Just check the sugar content on the labels because a lot of these foods have added sugars that are not necessary. These fermented foods help populate your digestive system with beneficial bacteria, which in turn produce neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Other foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, act as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria already in your gut. Incorporating these types of foods into your diet will help create more diversity of bacteria in your gut health naturalleading to better decisions and more balance in your mood. Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider adding some of these healthy options to your cart for an overall well-being boost!

The Farm-to-Table Journey

How Food Systems in the U.S. Work

In the United States, the journey from farm to table is complex and often involves multiple steps. Farmers grow crops or raise animals, which are then harvested or slaughtered and sent to processing facilities. These facilities prepare the food for distribution, often adding preservatives, pesticides, and other chemicals to extend shelf life.

The processed food is then packaged and sent to retailers, where it finally reaches consumers. Unfortunately, this system prioritizes efficiency, profits and cost-effectiveness over nutritional value. Many foods lose their probiotic benefits during processing, making it harder to improve gut health naturally. Understanding this journey highlights the importance of choosing local, fresh, minimally processed foods to support your gut health.

Pesticides and Chemicals: The Hidden Villains

While the journey from farm to table provides us with a steady food supply, it also exposes us to harmful pesticides and chemicals. These substances are used to kill pests and extend the shelf life of produce, but they can wreak havoc on your gut health. Residues from pesticides can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome, reducing the effectiveness of probiotics and making it harder to maintain a healthy digestive system. Additionally, chemicals used in food processing can decrease the nutritional value of these foods, further impacting your overall well-being.

To improve gut health naturally, consider opting for local, organic produce and minimally processed foods. These choices help minimize your exposure to harmful substances, allowing your gut to thrive.

Gut Health Probiotics: The Unsung Heroes

Amidst the challenges posed by modern food systems, probiotics emerge as the unsung heroes. These beneficial bacteria help restore balance to your gut microbiome, counteracting the negative effects of pesticides and chemicals. By consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables, you provide your gut with the good bacteria it needs to function optimally.

Incorporating probiotics into your diet is a key strategy to improve gut health naturally, supporting digestion, enhancing nutrient absorption, and boosting your immune system. By prioritizing gut health, you can mitigate some of the adverse effects of our modern food system, helping your gut—and you—stay healthy.

How to Improve Gut Health Naturally

Social Media vs. Real Life: Who Wins?

Scrolling through social media can often make being healthly seem more confusing than it needs to be. Influencers tout various diets, supplements, and miracle cures, each claiming to be the ultimate solution. In reality, gut health is highly individual and what works for one person might not work for another.

Instead of relying solely on social media for advice, it’s crucial to base your gut health decisions on credible sources and personal experimentation. Take note of how different foods affect your body. By tuning out the noise and focusing on your unique needs, you can improve gut health naturally and more effectively. Remember, real-life results always trump online hype when it comes to your well-being.

From Farm to Table: The Truth About Food Systems in the U.S.

Most people are probably not thinking about how that crisp apple or luscious lettuce leaf makes its way to your kitchen table. From the sun-drenched industrial corporate farms where your produce starts its journey to the labyrinth of logistics that ensure it lands in your grocery cart fresh and ready, the process is both fascinating and a bit eyebrow-raising.

This is a system ripe with pesticides and chemicals. All meant to further the corporate profits. At the expense of your well-being. It’s also a system ripe with misinformation and straight up gaslighting.

How U.S. Food Systems Work

The Chemical Lobby

The chemical lobby is so nefarious that it started its own children’s book publisher. Starting in 2019 the American Farm Bureau has been publishing children’s books under a publishing company called Feeding Minds Press. The American Farm Bureau is an arm of the agrochemical industrial farming lobby group called the American Farm Bureau Federation. More examples of a good sounding name with nefarious purposes.

According to an article in Vice, Big Agriculture Is Printing Children’s Books That Say Pesticides Are Great. “The sprawling industrial farming operations represented by the Farm Bureau are one of the biggest polluters of freshwater in the U.S., and a major source of methane and nitrous oxide, two highly potent greenhouse gases. As recently as three years ago, the Farm Bureau was officially questioning if humans are causing the climate to warm (it’s now partnering with corporate-friendly environmental groups and calling for “voluntary” industry-led climate solutions). The Farm Bureau is currently fighting with “energy and passion” an attempt by the Biden administration to bring in tougher regulations keeping pollution out of streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.”

“It’s obviously nefarious,” Jennifer Jacquet, an associate professor of environmental studies at New York University, told VICE News. “If you want to spread propaganda, starting with what we tell our children is a very good place to begin.”

Do you think you can trust big business to do the right thing? This is the truest behavior of corporations and their lobbyists. Manipulation at its most precise. Convincing children, the very people who will suffer the most from the climate destruction. To keep on killing the environment.

Farm to Table Journey

From the moment a seed is planted, the journey of your food begins. Corporate agriculture, sprawling and mechanized, is where it all starts. Farmers tend crops using a combination of chemicals and modern technology to maximize yield. Once harvested, produce is transported to processing facilities. Here, it’s sorted, cleaned, and packaged.

Next, the logistics network kicks in. Trucks, trains, and sometimes planes, move food across the country. Since, everything is traveling such great distances. The majority of produce is harvested early. Which leads to a loss in nutritional content and flavor.

Pesticides and Chemicals

Pesticides and chemicals are part of modern corporate agriculture. They help in controlling pests and increasing crop yields, ensuring that food supply meets demand. However, their use is not without controversy. While they protect crops from insects and diseases, they also leave residues on the food we consume. As well as polluting the soil and watersheds. This has serious consequences health risks.

Chemical fertilizers enhance fertility but actually don’t feed the soil or improve the quality of the soil. Which leads to nutrient imbalances, erosion, less microbial diversity in the soil and lower nutritional contents in produce. Not to mention contamination of lakes, streams and rivers. These chemicals accumulate in the food chain, impacting not just human health but also wildlife and ecosystems.

Organic and Local

The reality of the matter is that if you want to be healthy you have to make healthy choices when eating. Taking the time to read the ingredients and seeking out produce that is in season and grown locally. The importance of organic farming cannot be understated here.

Organic farming is the key to good health, more nutrients and a more sustainable future for our children.

This word was rejected by geologists. But it’s already taken over the world.

From The Washington Post

What do you call the current time period — when we humans are warming the atmosphere, acidifying the oceans, altering the land and leaving a literal mark on the planet? Not the Anthropocene, according to geologists who rejected the idea of adding a new epoch to Earth’s official geological timeline.

Yet for many activists, artists and academics outside of geology, the Anthropocene, or “Age of Humans,” is here to stay, regardless of what rock specialists have to say.

Earlier this year, a panel of geologists rejected a proposal to officially designate the past seven decades, during which humans profoundly impacted the environment, as the new chapter in the planet’s history.

But as these scientists spent years debating, the term became widely adopted outside geology to encapsulate the angst around environmental degradation — popping up in book titles, music albums and art exhibitions.

For the term’s proponents, the idea that humanity has pushed the Earth into a new geological epoch should serve as a wake-up call. “It’s only been 70 years,” said Francine McCarthy, a professor of earth science at Brock University in Ontario, referring to the start of the new proposed epoch. “We don’t have another 70 years to wait.”

The name’s persistence speaks to a need for a cultural shorthand for referring to the big, complex ecological changes that are defining the present era, advocates say — something akin to terms like the Cold War or the Internet Age that came before it. Even if geologists say they cannot pinpoint its exact start, it is obvious to many who continue to use the term that the Anthropocene has begun.

“I always thought that this geological discussion was perhaps too soon,” said ecologist Inês Martins, whose employer — the Leverhulme Center for Anthropocene Biodiversity at the University of York — has embraced the term. “But the reality is it is a very useful concept to use to identify an era where humans have increased their impacts.”

Enter the Anthropocene

The term burst into public consciousness in 2000, when the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen suggested the global effect of human activities was so profound that Earth was no longer in the Holocene, the current geological epoch.

“I was at a conference where someone said something about the Holocene, the long period of relatively stable climate since the end of the last ice age,” Crutzen recalled years later to the author Fred Pearce. “I suddenly thought that this was wrong. The world has changed too much. So I said: ‘No, we are in the Anthropocene.’ I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked.”

The coinage is a combination of the prefix “anthropo-,” which comes from the Greek word for human, and suffix “-cene,” derived from the Greek for “new” or “recent.”

The five most recent epochs all deploy “-cene” but lack the specificity of Crutzen’s new name, according to Merriam-Webster, with names simply referring to how far in the past each is.

Crutzen, who died in 2021, knew a thing or two about humans degrading the atmosphere, having won his Nobel for his work explaining how pollution was stripping Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Earthbound geologists took his idea seriously. In 2009, a scientific body called the International Commission on Stratigraphy appointed a working group to search for a so-called “golden spike” for the new epoch — a literal place on Earth where the rock record shows a clear transition from one ancient time to the next. For example, the Jurassic period, famous for its dinosaurs, is named after the Jura Mountains in Europe.

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Supreme Court’s Strains Intensify as Term’s End Approaches

More about the upside-down world directly from the mouth of Supreme Court justices. It appears even the justices have contracted upside-down syndrome.

From the WSJ

“High court tensions already are evident in some cases that the justices have decided. In a 6-3 opinion in May involving a South Carolina congressional seat, Alito scaled back minority voters’ ability to challenge political districts racial gerrymanders, laying out a doctrine requiring federal courts to presume the good faith of state legislatures that draw the maps.

In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan accused Alito of turning a 2017 precedent she wrote “upside-down”—by treating the dissent he wrote to her opinion seven years ago on the standard fro assessing racial gerrymandering appeals as the biding rule today. “The majority ignores it—no, worse, does the opposite of what the standard commands,” Kagan wrote.

Perhaps is was a coincidence, but Kagan’s phrasing follows a New York Times report on the upside-down flag flown at Alito’s Alexandria, Va home in January 2021, like some flags carried by the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol days earlier.”

Twitter founder warns social media algorithms are draining people of their free will—and Elon Musk agrees with him

Speaking at the 16th annual Oslo Freedom Forum on Wednesday, the remorseful Twitter cofounder expressed how conflicted he felt at his own creation born out of the noble ideals of open-source protocols before becoming corrupted by the realities of needing to survive in a competitive marketplace.

AI tools will know us better than we know ourselves and, either through design or default, influence our thinking at a subconscious level, even if their algorithms are made transparent. 

“This is going to sound a little bit crazy, but I think the free speech debate is a complete distraction right now. I think the real debate should be about free will,” he said in Norway’s capital of Oslo, home of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are being programmed. We are being programmed based on what we say we’re interested in, and we’re told through these discovery mechanisms what is interesting—and as we engage and interact with this content, the algorithm continues to build more and more of this bias.” 

Dorsey, who left the board of microblogging platform BlueSky to endorse Elon Musk’s rival X last month, received moral support from the serial entrepreneur who purchased his creation for $44 billion in November 2022, only to refashion it in his own image, complete with mass firings and a total strategic rebranding. 

“Yeah, Jack is right,” the Tesla CEO posted on Wednesday.

According to Dorsey, revealing the underlying code, as Musk has done with X, to create transparency and build trust won’t help either.

Even if an algorithm is open-source, it remains effectively a black box in his view.

Not only is it impossible to model and predict how it works and what it’s going to show you in any given instance, but it can be changed at any time, the Twitter cofounder argued.

“Because people have become so dependent on it, it’s actually changing and impacting the agency we have,” Dorsey warned.

“We can resist it all we want, but it knows us better than we know us, because we tell it our preferences implicitly and explicitly all the time, and it just feels super dangerous to continue to rely on that.” 

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