Monthly Archives: February 2010

My New Favorite Food


(Geo)graphic of the Incan Empire stolen straight off the WWW.

Quinoa(keen-wah) comes to us from the Andes,where it has long been cultivated by the Inca. Botanically a relative of swiss chard and beets rather than a “true” grain, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids that the human body cannot make on its own.

Not only is it my new favorite ingredient, but Wikipedia gives it pretty cool coverage which I plagiarize beginning now:

The Incas,who held the crop to be sacred,[3] referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or mother of all grains, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements’.[3]. During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as food for Indians, and even actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous non-Christian ceremonies.In fact, the conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time and the Incas were forced to grow corn instead.[citation needed]

Not to mention that it is good for lowering my epically bad cholesterol.  In searching out the health benefits of quinoa, I found this great article entitled How to lower your cholesterol absolutely free (no prescription required).  The scariest segment of this article, which had nothing to do with quinoa per se, is this –

“It is the hydrogenation of these oils that makes them toxic to the human body. They belong to a class of ingredients known as metabolic disruptors. This is a class of ingredients that interferes with normal human metabolism and includes ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG,aspartame, and white flour.”

Could you imagine the difference it would make if the FDA changed the food labeling rules to require that hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrite, MSG, aspartame and white flour were all called metabolic disruptors!  Hard to sell that as healthy.

Quinoa baby!

Dymaxion – Say it Five Times Fast


(Geo)graphic brought to you by a French Marxist, Francois Chesnais via a great, off-beat, and very strange article by Brian Holmes.

I was fishing around for the name of the map projection used in one of my new favorite books – “Strategic Atlas: A Comparative Geopolitics of the World’s Powers” by Gerard Chaliand and Jean-Pierre Rageau – and came up with this Wikipedia page.  Unsatisfied by the explanation provided by wikipedia (though their graphics rock), I continued with the GoogleMachine on the InterWeb (which is a series of tubes…) and found Holmes’ treatment, which I quote below.

“Published in France in 1994, this book was among the early attempts by the Marxist Left to grasp the industrial and financial transformations unfolding on a global scale. And it opens with a map, showing the hierarchy of inclusion and exclusion at work in an integrating world.

The projection we see here is, ironically, a variation on the Dymaxion map created in the 1950s by the radical utopian designer Buckminster Fuller. In his eyes, ordinary maps caused humanity to “appear inherently disassociated, remote, self-interestedly preoccupied with the political concept of it’s got to be you or me; there is not enough for both.” (8) The Dymaxion map was conceived to eliminate the north-south distortion of the common Mercator projection, as well as artificial divides between the continents. Conflating the ideas of “dynamic + maximum + tension,” the word “dymaxion” was understood as equivalent to Fuller’s ecological motto, “doing more with less.” In the 1960s he would develop the idea of a “World Peace Game” to be played by teams of citizens or diplomats shifting global resources across an immense version of this map, with the aim of developing humanity’s cooperative capacities through simulations on a world scale. (9) But in the map that Chesnais presents, the Fuller projection is used to show how the major nodes of the Triad – or the “world oligopoly” – are integrated into a single, densely connected space of competition and cooperation, where major industrial and financial groups of each region constantly seek to “do more with more,” that is, to infinitely accumulate more capital. At the same time, the earth appears divided into three regional systems, each differentiated hierarchically according to degrees of access to the major flows of money, trade and information that constitute the world oligopoly.”