Surferbird News-Links, 8th Edition


Welcome to Surferbird News-Links. Join me on an exploration of health, food, science, and the environment. For more information on the name and origin of Surferbird News-Links, see here. Oh, I almost forgot; there's always an earworm at the end of every edition.What's an earworm? you ask. Well, scroll on down to discover!

Surferbird News-Links, a weekly summary from across the web


What if you had to come up with a business plan - but you couldn't read or write? Responding to this dilemma with both creativity and adaptability, Village Enterprise launched the Visual Business Plan, a set of drawings used as templates which describe all of the various activities in starting and maintaining a business. This sketch on their blog of a woman planting, by Mina Hoti, captures the spirit of meaningful work expressed through farming. I look forward to seeing more of these beautiful sketches. I wish I had one to hang on my wall!


The U.S. continues to lead the rest of the globe in both oil and gas production for the third year in a row.

But in contrast to the above - There are more jobs in renewable energy than in oil, gas, and coal combined. (Grist)

RecyclingHere's a great article from Sierra Magazine on what to do with the odds and ends that you can't recycle through curbside pickup. Some items that I thought were recyclable aren't and vice versa. Most receipts? - no. Sticky notes? - yes. Check it out.


Using ultrasound in crafting chocolate - I have to admit, being the chocolate lover that I am, this one caught my eye. Ultrasound can be used to monitor the crystallization of cocoa butter in chocolate manufacturing. Proper crystallization of cocoa butter is what defines an excellent bar of chocolate; and chocolate is what defines me.

A special grocery store bus - The story that unfolded in Flint, Michigan, remains a tragic one. Few realize, though, that before the water crisis occurred, another serious matter already existed there: many of Flint's residents didn't have access to healthy food because of grocery store closures and the high level of poverty making transportation impossible or too costly. Thankfully, Flint Mass Transportation Authority created a special bus line used exclusively to take passengers to the grocery store. You can read more about it in Civil Eats ; here's a project that restores one's faith in the potential for kindness and compassion.


Air pollution - There's a connection between air pollution and heart disease. This study sheds light on the mechanisms behind accelerated heart disease development in more polluted areas and the unfortunate fact that this occurs even when levels are below limits set by regulators.

Here's a fascinating interview with Dr. Thomas Cowan (on Chris Kresser's website) regarding vegetable powders. This is a new venture for Dr. Cowan that came as a result of growing varieties of fruits and vegetables that aren't common today. It seems we're missing out, nutritionally speaking, by limiting our consumption in the plant world to so few choices. Can you imagine eating up to 120 varieties of fruits and vegetables a year? This wasn't uncommon in earlier times, which provided a rich and varied source of phytonutrients. Take a look at Dr. Cowan's website, Dr. Cowan's Garden, for more information.


Handwriting and autism - That children on the autism spectrum have more difficulty with handwriting comes as no surprise to me. Here's an interesting article from Science Daily regarding handwriting patterns and the challenges many ASD children face when integrated into regular classrooms. I say - why not just let them use tablets and laptops?

Salicylic acid - Even though salicylic acid is an ancient anti-inflammatory drug and a key compound in aspirin, scientists continue to learn more about its potential use in new applications - the latest of which is cancer.


Alas, the time has come for this week's earworm. I had to choose between two songs - Sounds of  Silence (Simon and Garfunkel), and the America song Ventura Highway.  Does anyone have a coin? Both songs played wildly in my head. OK, Ventura Highway it is - maybe because of the special grocery store bus mentioned above? Do I have to have a reason? No, that's not always how earworms work. Enjoy your weekend,   Laura