Category Archives: Cookies

Soluble Fiber

I was just stuffing my face with a crunchy granola bar for a mid-morning blood sugar bump. I noticed that the Nutrition Facts label has an entry for Soluble Fiber. It’s half the total for the Fiber category. That got me thinking. What difference does that make? Are the soluble fibers going to be digested and absorbed as carbs while the others will pass undigested as roughage?

Next I wondered whether chewing had any effect on solubility. I don’t guess so. Chewing won’t cause many changes at the molecular level. Compared to what goes on in the gut, that is.

Finally I wondered at the crunchiness of the granola bar. They also make a chewy variety. It’s amazing to me that these textures can be so important to the experience of eating. I could have pulverized the granola bar and then combined it with my drink to make a paste before eating it. Digestion would have proceeded regardless.

Or would it? Doesn’t the appetizing crunch assist digestion more than merely slurping down a less palatable paste?

Eating is wonderful when you take the time to experience it. Here’s to more of that.

Islamophobia is bad but it is a good step

A national ban on an architectural element seems silly but the vote to stop the construction of minarets in Switzerland is a real accomplishment. The people of a mature country have peacefully expressed a strong collective feeling against what they perceive as a grave threat. The tragedy is that they identified the threat as the Islamic religion.

The real threat is more general, more widespread, and more dangerous than Islam. It took something as extreme as Islamic extremism to trigger a cultural awareness of it. Unfortunately, like the ringing of an alarm clock, the first thing to awaken consciousness is for a time the only piece of reality about which we are aware. Islamic extremism is the alarm clock.

The supporters of the minaret ban see the growth of the Muslim population as an aggressive cultural invasion. They don’t see an immigrant minority that deserves state protection. They see settlers from a destructive culture claiming their country. They feel vilified within their homeland by outsiders and they are afraid that their politicians will continue to insist on irrational “religious tolerance” despite the intolerant attitudes spread through Islam.

National Islamophobia is a phase whose time has come. It is extreme, prejudiced, and wrong, but it is the natural reaction against the wrong actions of extremists trying to universalize Islam. Two wrongs do make a right when everyone learns a lesson. The lesson here is that no protection for status, be it religion, race, sex, or what have you, is deserved when it is used for harm.

Religions have been invoked to excuse atrocious behavior since ages before the life of Muhammad. So have other statuses such as race, color, nationality, and sex. The world tends to absolve these harmful trends after a reform and some generations. And the human race eventually learns a lesson.

I see the minaret ban as a sign that the world is just beginning to reject religion as an excuse for bad behavior. Peaceful Muslims will work with non-Muslims to prevail over the radical perversion of Islam. This time will pass into history and be replaced by a time of rational discrimination and careful tolerance. I hope I’m right, the sooner the better.

Watch our dogs

Olive and Jeffrey, live on vacation

I set up my netbook as a webcam to watch the dogs during the holidays. It uploads fresh pictures every few seconds. It’s not making me feel any better about leaving them at home with three daily visits from a pet sitter.

Maybe you can help. Bookmark this photo and refresh it frequently for the next week. Thanks for watching our dogs!

Do you live where the stars at night are big and bright? Do you want to pet Olive and throw the ball for Jeffrey? Ask me how!

Big Lebowski Easter Egg

Character wardrobes are either memorable or forgettable. I can’t catch a glimpse of a red-haired woman in a green robe without being reminded of Maude, yet a man wearing a white suit over a red shirt probably wouldn’t make me think of Jackie Treehorn. What was the Dude wearing when he crashed into the dumpster? Probably he had on a grungy V-neck and a sweater, but that’s because the Dude abides. Maybe my noticing the robe is a personal fixation. I’m okay with that. This isn’t my thesis, it’s just conversation.

Most of the wardrobe design in The Big Lebowski is subtle, though I believe it was nearly all intentional. During a recent viewing, I noticed that two characters had swapped shirts. Have you noticed? If so, did you find it significant?

If you intend to look for it, don’t decode this rot13-encoded clue: “fvp frzcre”.

Terminal Longevity

When we learn to avoid death by age, we will be able to live as long as we can avoid death by illness or violence. That’s a different game.

What would life be like if a 300-year-old had as much to look forward to as a 30-year-old? I love science fiction about this, especially Heinlein’s.

The hardest time would be when the technology was only available to a few. The worst thing would be the news that you only missed it by an inch.