Tag Archive: News

Apr 16

Light and Darkness and the Boston Marathon Explosions

I spent most of the day watching TED Talks with the tag “Inspiring.”  For those of you who don’t know, TED is a convention of some of the smartest people in the world from a variety of fields that get together to share ideas on how to change and better the world.  And I was listening to the talks that were voted to be the most inspiring things on the TED website.  These ideas, these speakers are revolutionizing the world on a daily basis, and one day I dream of being able to make that sort of impact with my life.

And then:

Photo credit: theblaze.com

 

I don’t know what it is about today…usually I’m just as unaffected as the next person by the tragedy of the moment.  Yes, these school shootings are sad but it wasn’t my brother or sister.  And yes the wars are awful but I have no family in the military and very few friends and most of them are stationed in the states anyways.  And yes it is mortifying that thousands of children die everyday from diarrhea, a problem we don’t even think about in the West.  But they don’t hit my heart.  These things are intellectually sad.

And that’s how I should feel about the Boston Marathon explosions.  I only have a few friends in Boston, and they’re all fine.  I’ve never been there, and it is over 1,000 miles away from where I’m sitting, typing up this blog post.  But something about this has hit me hard, and like a ghoul, I can’t stop looking at the photos or watching the cell phone videos.  I can’t stop reading the live updated news stories.  I can’t stop myself because I want this to make sense, and it doesn’t, and it’s never going to.

Terrorism (which is what this is, whether it proves to be domestic or international) is meant to be demoralizing.  It’s meant to scare and shock people into submission, but I know this won’t change me.  I know that we as a society will stand and be stronger because of this.  I know that we will create better futures in spite of this.  I know that there will be a Boston Marathon next year in spite of this.  I know that many of the injured will make full recoveries in spite of this.  I know that those who tragically died will be honored by their families and remembered by their communities.  I know that there will be more and more and more because there is nothing within people except the ability and the capacity and the overwhelming impetus to bring forth light.  And I know that we will not be cowed by this in any way.

I know this, but I am so sad.  I am writing this with tears in my eyes because while I know the light will always conquer the dark, it mystifies me that people succumb to these dark impulses.  It stuns me that someone would seek to put the dust of an explosion over such a bright day.  The dust is going to settle, and the sun will still shine, but what happened that made this happen at all?  Why are so many interested in tearing down, when building is so much better?

We all do it in our little ways.  We don’t say good morning to the person at the office we don’t care for, and we let our bad moods infect all of those around us.  We rejoice in the shortcomings of those we don’t like, and we are not charitable enough in spirit and word.  And while none of these things measure up to the tragedy of today, remember that we each get to decide whether to bring forth light or darkness everyday.

Yes, the light will always conquer the dark; I believe this will all my soul.  But we could all produce a little less darkness, and as a whole, inspire and lift up humanity.  We are a human team.  And I’m going to fight for us.

‘Til next time,

-JMF

Apr 12

Franken-Salmon

I really didn’t want to write today.  I know that I made my big shpiel about it yesterday, and the first day out of the gate, I had a terrible awful no good very bad day at work that came after weeks of stressful days.  And since I haven’t found my blackmailer yet, I was going to just throw in the towel for today and try again tomorrow, but Dale asked me if I had done my writing for today.  And I still have two hours, so I really should get it done.

Apparently, the public comment period for a genetically modified version of salmon has been extended by the FDA until the end of April. This salmon, as I have come to understand it, has the benefit of having its growth hormone system turned permanently on:  the fish is always growing, like the blob or that game where you roll around and pick up everything.  This company AquaBounty has been super patient, having first applied for approval in 1993.  That’s 20 years.  It’s almost as old as me, dear reader.  And a few years ago, I would have said full speed ahead.  Genetically modified crops allow us to feed more people on less seed while getting rid of pests and a variety of other factors that make agriculture harder than it has to be.

Copyright Wikimedia Commons

But these days, I’m becoming increasingly concerned with the fact that I don’t know what the things I eat do to my body.  I’ve become increasingly concerned about preservatives and overly-processed foods.  I’m trying to consume less salt.  I’m trying to consume less pre-prepared.  I cook more from scratch, I try to only buy local meat, and I’ve even planted a container garden so that I can start to learn the fundamentals about growing some of my own food.  I don’t understand agriculture, though.  Now that I realize how little I know about where my sustenance comes from, I worry that the food industry and mega-corps like Monsanto don’t have my best interests at heart when it gets in the way of shareholder dividends.

The fact is, I don’t even eat salmon.  And I think that both sides of this argument about genetically modified animals can be correct.  Yes, I think that the salmon is probably going to prove to be ultimately “safe.”  But, I think we are only going to mean safe in the way that it is not actively harmful.  I think that it will also prove to not be the best choice for people who are attempting to have salmon as part of their diets.  It’ll just be one more processed option that can feed the masses at the expense of optimal nutrition.  And if there’s a market for that sort of thing, then of course it will happen.  And it will make it that much harder for people who don’t want GM in their food to avoid it.

I don’t know where the middle road is.  The world is growing, it needs more food, and GM is how we know to do that.  But I think it’s worth a little worry that every time we make an advancement in “improving” food, we step away from food that we know and understand.  It’s a double-edged sword, and one we all should be more aware of.

Read more here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/dont-be-afraid-of-genetic-modification.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/business/grocery-chains-pledge-not-to-sell-modified-salmon.html
http://www.aquabounty.com/

What are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments.

‘Til next time,

-JMF