Beer as Medicine

Beer is delicious and it can be healthy to drink on its own. Apparently, back in the day, beer was used to deliver medicine. It turns out that this isn’t a crazy idea and can be a good way to deliver need medicinal ingredients to patients.

Another option was to add the herbs during the brewing process, either when boiling the malt, or just slightly heating them in the beer after the boiling has taken place. Van Lis mentioned over fifty kinds of herbs to prepare medicinal beer, ranging from ginger, lavender, cardamom, hyssop, cinnamon, aniseed, rosemary, nutmeg, gentian, juniper and lemon grass to plants such as absinth leaves, sweet flag, germander sage, and eye worth. He does not advise which kind of herb-infused beer should be used for particular ailments; this was after all supposed to be at the discretion of physicians. However, Van Lis does advice that ‘Joopen beer’ (which he says literally means ‘juicy beer’ in old Dutch) heats, moistens, and nourishes the body, but causes infected blood, bad digestion, sore eyes, fevers, and gout when drunken in excess.[1]

Read more.

Read More

Curiosity (and art) is Addictive

A new theory based on some old research is that our drive to figure things out can be as addictive as doing drugs. If you’ve ever had to deal with a complex problem and found the solution you know that particular feeling of success.

it turns out that our brains react to learning new things (which solve a problem we have) in a similar way we react to opiates.

Biederman hypothesized that knowledge addiction has strong evolutionary value because mate selection correlates closely with perceived intelligence. In other words, addictions and cravings might stem from this need for knowledge. Even more interesting is the relationship Biederman believes exists between this same mechanism and art.

Biederman’s theory was inspired by a widely ignored 25-year-old finding that mu-opioid receptors – binding sites for natural opiates – increase in density along the ventral visual pathway, a part of the brain involved in image recognition and processing. Viewing art and understanding the beauty behind actually activates the same areas in the brain as a drug-induced high.

Read more.

Read More

Cuba Creates Great Doctors

Cuba is a beautiful country filled with nice people. Many of those people are educated doctors who go around the world saving lives for free, and they do the same at home. Al Jazeera has a nice long piece looking into the quality and motivations behind these great Cuban doctors. Spoiler: it’s not about money, it’s about helping people.

Cuba has sent about 185,000 health workers to more than 100 countries since the 1960s. Medical staff have been deployed to some of the world’s worst natural disasters, such as the catastrophic 2004 tsunami in Asia and the deadly earthquake in Pakistan in 2005.

Last year as Ebola ravaged West Africa, Cuba sent hundreds of doctors and nursesto hot zones in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea – more than any other country.

“They are always the first to arrive and the last to leave,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said of Cuban medical deployments. “They remain in place after the crises. Cuba can be proud of its healthcare system, a model for many countries.”

Read more.

Read More

Rethinking Environmental Education Under Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the current way of thinking about the economic state of the world. It’s the thinking that has led to the financialization of nearly everything in the world – think about how we justify our thinking in economic terms and not other terms.

The critiques of the mind-numbing neoliberal approach to thinking are growing and the most recent issue Environmental Education Research examines how neoliberalism is changing how we teach. This is good because we need to move our way of thinking beyond an economics-only framework, the more we critique neoliberalism the better the world we can create.

“Environmental education is political,” said Hursh. “People do not fully comprehend the meaning of neoliberalism, but often overuse it to blame or explain current environmental conditions and issues. We need to talk about the nature of environmental education within the context of the dominant economic and political system of neoliberalism.”

The 13 articles in the new special issue of Environmental Education Research challenge readers to consider the many ways that environmental education has been shaped by and interacts with the logic of neoliberalism.

Hursh focuses his research and writing on educational policy, neoliberalism, and teaching environmental sustainability and social studies, as well as public dimensions of environmental education, with a particular emphasis on how it applies to the energy system and climate change dynamics. In his most recent writing, Hursh describes how neoliberalism undermines education and democracy. His next book, The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education, is scheduled to release summer 2015 by Routledge

Read Environmental Education Research.

Read the press release.

Read More

Happily Find Where You’re Going

This TED talk is all about modifying maps so that you can find the most joyous route to your destination!

Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way.

Read More