Saturday, October 31, 2009

How to Improve the Thyroid Function

In recent times, there has been so much focus on the effect of alternative remedies in treating ailments generally. Some even make claims that orthodox medicine cannot make. This has of course led to most people looking for alternative medicines and solutions to their ailments. Fortunately, some who have used these alternative remedies and have had good success with it. 

Hypothyroidism which is an illness stemming from the malfunction of the thyroid gland leading to the inadequate production of the thyroid gland’s hormone called thyroxine. The thyroid gland is found at the lower end of the neck just below the “Adam’s apple”. The thyroid gland like any well functioning organ does not just suddenly cease to function. Its malfunction is a product of certain unfavorable conditions. So, if certain steps are taken earlier, there won’t be any need in the first place to start treating hypothyroidism. There are some ways to effectively keep the thyroid gland in normal healthy condition.

The very first move an individual can make is to be mindful of his diet.  Watching what you eat is not only important in keeping away hypothyroidism, it is an effective way of keeping most diseases away. What you throw inside your belly is partially responsible for your general well being. So if you consume all that comes in your way without any regards for your health and the preexisting conditions or genetic dispositions, then you might as well realize that your internal organs will be adversely affected rendering them ineffective. 

There are certain foods that will inhibit the production of thyroxine. Some of them are the mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflowers, cabbage, soy beans and non-fermented soy products. Foods like sugar, refined foods, dairy products should not be consumed in excess. If you discover that you’ve got hypothyroidism, avoid caffeine, wheat and alcohol. Start including essential fatty acids in your diet. Taking about 1000-15000mg of these essential fatty acids thrice a day helps the thyroid gland in its production of thyroxine. 

Research has also shows that vitamins A, B complex, D, C and E are important in thyroxine production and in generally improving the thyroid’s health. Before, however, taking them in very high doses, you should consult with your health practitioner as he would know in what quantities you should take them and for how long. Supplements like calcium, iodine,  L-tyrosine, and selenium are also recommended by nutritionists. Iodine, however, is controversial. Try to obtain your daily dose from nutritional sources such as salt water fish and organic sea vegetables and sea salt. 

For more information visit the Thyromine website

Image credit here

Quote of the Day


Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -  which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Spooky cookies

On October 31 once again we are celebrating Halloween. This holiday has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain that marked the end of Summer and the beginning of the dark season. Halloween also coincides with the Christian holiday of All Saints and is very popular with children in the Anglo-Saxon world, especially in the USA.

"The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.

Another common practice was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink." 

(Source: Wikipedia)
What would Halloween be without a good scary story? here is a link to a website that offers some thrill Halloween Ghost Stories

Wishing you  sweet and spooky Halloween - Dominique

Image source here


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New York, I Love You

 In 2006 we had the marvelous petite affaire Paris, je t'aime directed by 22 movie directors. In short episodes a story of Paris and its people was told. This very original idea came from the writer Tristan Carné who collaborated with others on this project.

This fall 7 directors came up with stories of love and life in New York. Stories of New Yorkers are told by the inventive Jiang Wen, Mira Nair, Shunji Iwai, Yvan Attal, Brett Ratner, Allen Hughes, Shekhar Kapur.

"In the city that never sleeps, love is always on the mind. Those passions come to life in New York, I Love You – a collaboration of storytelling from some of today’s most imaginative filmmakers and featuring an all-star cast. Together they create a kaleidoscope of the spontaneous, surprising, electrifying human connections that pump the city’s heartbeat. Sexy, funny, haunting and revealing encounters unfold beneath the Manhattan skyline. From Tribeca to Central Park to Brooklyn the story weaves a tale of love as diverse as the very fabric of New York itself."

To watch the trailer click here
Image credit here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Dollar Dilemma.

The World's Top Currency Faces Competition

"The economic crisis is hurting the world's top currency. But the pound, the yen, the euro, the renminbi, and the IMF's accounting currency are no match for the dollar. At least for now." Click the link below to read the article published in Foreign Affairs Magazine.

"Legions of pundits have argued that the dollar's status as an international currency has been damaged by the great credit crisis of 2007-9 -- and not a few have argued that the injury may prove fatal. The crisis certainly has not made the United States more attractive as a supplier of high-quality financial assets. It would be no surprise if the dysfunctionality of U.S. financial markets diminished the appetite of central banks for U.S. debt securities. A process of financial de-globalization has already begun, and it will mean less foreign financing for the United States' budget and balance-of-payments deficits. Meanwhile, the U.S. government will emit vast quantities of public debt for the foreseeable future. Together, these trends in supply and demand are a recipe for a significantly weaker dollar. And as central banks suffer capital losses on their outstanding dollar reserves, they will start considering alternatives."

The Dollar Dilemma - Foreign Affairs
Image credit here

Picasso and the Allure of Language

Dog and cock, Pablo Picasso 1921
oil on canvass

Today is the anniversary of Pablo Picasso's birthday. He was born on 25 October 1881 in Málaga, Spain. The Nasher Museum of Art at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina presents a very interesting exhibition exploring Pablo Picasso's lifelong relationship with writers and the influence of language and the written word on his work.  

Click the link below to read more.

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Image credit here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carrot Coconut Soup


The days are getting shorter and colder. The Summer is over and we begin to crave warming and comforting foods. What could be better than a bowl of tasty soup on a foggy afternoon?

My favorite food store in the US, the Whole Foods Market, has a list of interesting recipes. You can substitute pumpkins or butternut for carrots and add parsnips to this recipe. There is no limit to your creativity. Enjoy!

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 TBS + 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 TBS fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups sliced carrots, about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cut into about 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 oz canned coconut milk
  • salt and white pepper to taste

  • Chop onion and let it sit for at least five minutes to bring out its hidden health benefits.
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium soup pot. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another minute.
  • Add curry powder and mix well with onions.
  • Add broth, carrots, and sweet potato and simmer on medium high heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Blend in batches making sure blender is not more than half full. When it's hot, and the blender is too full, it can erupt and burn you. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Return to soup pot and reheat.

Enjoy in good company. Serves 4

Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidants and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A. Carrots' antioxidant compound, the beta-carotene, helps protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promotes good vision, especially at night. Carrots are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. 

Purchase organic vegetable whenever you can.

Recipe source here

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Green Tea Time!

Tea - the leaves of Camelia sinensis,  is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. The Chinese have known about the medicinal properties of green tea since ancient times and used it to treat everything from headache to indigestion and fatigue.  Green tea leaves seem to be more beneficial to health than the fermented black tea. The list of conditions and diseases that are believed to be improved or prevented by the consumption of green tea include cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Drinking green tea is said to lower blood cholesterol levels and fight infections of the gastrointestinal tract.

An ongoing scientific research in both Asia and the West, is providing evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. 

A Chinese study of more than 18,000 men, published in 2002, found that green tea drinkers were about half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or the esophagus than men who drank little or no green tea at all.

University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols - epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in particular. EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells and kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. This is of great importance when you consider that thrombosis or the formation of abnormal blood clots,  is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay. Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, cosmetic industry is exploring the antioxidative and antibacterial properties of green tea. Anti-aging skin preparations containing green tea extract are starting to appear on the market.

Green tea contains amino acid L-theanine which produces calming effects in the brain by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and blocking the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors. 

The calming, anxiety reducing and mood-enhancing effects are achieved by helping to increase alpha-brain waves, electrical brain activity commonly present when a person is very relaxed, literally putting one in a better mood.

Green tea also contains the stimulating caffeine, but in much smaller quantities than coffee, something that has to be considered if one is taking green tea in the late afternoon or evening. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and may interfere with the sleep pattern. 

While brewing green tea it is vital to remember that boiling water should be avoided.  Green teas taste best when brewed at temperatures between 140°F - 185°F. The best results are achieved with pure spring or filtered water. 

For best results, purchase pesticide-free organic green tea whenever you can.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Man Ray - African Art and the Modernist Lens

Noire et Blanche, Man Ray 1926

Man Ray at the Phillips Collection Washington, DC
October 10, 2009-January 10, 2010

Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitsky, 1890–1976) was an artist in many mediums, but he is probably best known as an avant-garde photographer. His Noire et Blanche (1926), showing a white model with a black mask, is an icon of modern photography. Born in Philadelphia, Man Ray lived in ultramodern circles in Paris, from 1921 until the German occupation of the city in 1939. There he produced experimental photographs, fashion photographs, and celebrity portraits. He also produced a large body of photographs featuring African artifacts. In the wake of French colonial exploits, objects of a kind that he had previously encountered in museum or gallery settings in New York were widely accessible to him in Paris, appearing in flea markets, curio shops, as well as in private collections.

The photographs in Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens include well-known photographs by Man Ray, as well as recently discovered documentary images by him, and the work of other photographers. Over 100 photographs, more than half of them by Man Ray, the rest by his contemporaries, including James L. Allen, Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, and Alfred Stieglitz, are presented alongside many of the objects they depict. Among these are over 20 masks, carved figures, and utilitarian objects, the majority from diverse West African cultures. The photographs themselves give no indication of the purposes the objects served in their original contexts, and by presenting images and objects together Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens offers a rare opportunity to understand exactly how lighting, camera angle, and cropping manipulated the objects to serve Western ideas of beauty and art. The exhibition also documents the histories of the objects and explains their uses. 

Text source here
Image source here

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Robot in Every Home

Band of Brothers by Chris Wren
oil on canvas

Although the article below appeared in Scientific American January 2007 issue, it did not lose its actuality. 

By Bill Gates

Imagine being present at the birth of a new industry. It is an industry based on groundbreaking new technologies, wherein a handful of well-established corporations sell highly specialized devices for business use and a fast-growing number of start-up companies produce innovative toys, gadgets for hobbyists and other interesting niche products. But it is also a highly fragmented industry with few common standards or platforms. Projects are complex, progress is slow, and practical applications are relatively rare. In fact, for all the excitement and promise, no one can say with any certainty when - or even if - this industry will achieve critical mass. If it does, though, it may well change the world. 

Of course, the paragraph above could be a description of the computer industry during the mid-1970s, around the time that Paul Allen and I launched Microsoft. Back then, big, expensive mainframe computers ran the back-office operations for major companies, governmental departments and other institutions. Researchers at leading universities and industrial laboratories were creating the basic building blocks that would make the information age possible. Intel had just introduced the 8080 microprocessor, and Atari was selling the popular electronic game Pong. At homegrown computer clubs, enthusiasts struggled to figure out exactly what this new technology was good for. 

But what I really have in mind is something much more contemporary: the emergence of the robotics industry, which is developing in much the same way that the computer business did 30 years ago. Think of the manufacturing robots currently used on automobile assembly lines as the equivalent of yesterday’s mainframes. The industry’s niche products include robotic arms that perform surgery, surveillance robots deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan that dispose of roadside bombs, and domestic robots that vacuum the floor. Electronics companies have made robotic toys that can imitate people or dogs or dinosaurs, and hobbyists are anxious to get their hands on the latest version of the Lego robotics system.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are one of the earliest examples of proposed safety measures for Artificial Intelligence. The laws are intended to prevent artificially intelligent robots from harming humans.
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Later, Asimov added the Zeroth Law: "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm".  The remaining laws were modified sequentially to acknowledge this addition.

Image credit here

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bryce Widom - The 1000 Views of God

 Return To Zero by Bryce Widom
mixed media

Bryce Widom was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in both Colorado and Alaska. His parents were professional artists who always returned from work with armfuls of recycled paper and he had no lack of inspiration or material to draw on. He won awards and recognition for his artwork throughout his childhood, but when planning his collegiate future, he focused on architecture and then physics before majoring in both psychology and creative writing. Years later while cooking and waiting tables in a brewpub, Bryce stepped into the role of chalk artist for the pub's chalkboard menus. Soon local bands were commissioning Bryce to create illustrated posters, shirt designs, and album covers and he was able to devote his full attention to illustration, design, and fine art. Bryce's current project 1000 Views of God spans one thousand paintings, with a projected completion date of 2013.

" I’ve long admired such collections as “Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fuji” (by both Hiroshige and Hokusai, in the 1800’s), and the more extensive “One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji” (Hokusai). In the past, when I’ve committed myself to an art project defined by similarly strict parameters, I’ve always been floored by the swell of creativity that rushes forth to fill the container.

By painting 1000 Views of God, I’m consciously marrying my work as an artist with my spiritual path. Each painting becomes a meditation, a prayer, a moment of turning all my attention toward the divine with an open body, mind, and heart.

In this exploration, no subject is off-limits, for there is no limit to the domain of the divine. This includes both the “shadow” terrain of my inner landscape, as well as the brightest aspects of Spirit." - Bryce Widom

Click here to visit artist's website

The Autumn

The Autumn by Elisabeth Barrett Browning

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them
The summer flowers depart
Sit still - as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands,
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come - as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind - view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill
In spring, the sky encircled them
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe - come winter's cold
Come change - and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What is Happiness?

Happiness can mean many different things to different people. Generally, happiness is understood as a state of mind that is associated with feelings ranging from satisfaction and comfort to bliss and intense joy.

People often believe that they will become happy when a particular event occurs in their lives: when they make enough money, meet the right partner, or get the right job...

It cannot be denied that things can make our lives more pleasant and less stressful. They can give us some degree of satisfaction and we may derive pleasure from things that we wanted very much and finally received, but such pleasure is momentary and never really lasts long enough to keep us perpetually happy. As the joy and excitement wear out, we experience the need for something that would give us at least as much satisfaction. We are in a hurry to replace the old things with new. We search for a new gratifying experience. This process repeats itself over and over and we end up in a vicious cycle always wanting more, but never receiving enough.

Unless we realize that things do not really make us happy, we may never be able to achieve genuine happiness. It is a predicament to expect happiness "out there" or to bind it to conditions. Things come and go and with them, more often than not, our "constructed" happiness.

Genuine happiness depends on our attitude. It is the way we think about life, the way we interpret our world and what is happening to us. It is the way we value more profound aspects of our existence that sets us apart from those looking for happiness outside of their own being.

Genuine happiness can be realized when we commit ourselves to making it our priority. We can learn to change our patterns of thought and the behavior that prevents us from being genuinely happy. It takes courage to look inside one's heart and to define ourselves anew. But without a thorough introspection we will never know who we really are and what things really mean to us.

It is up to us to learn "control" our attitude to life, the way we see ourselves or interpret what is happening in our lives. And unless we understand that we are responsible for our own happiness, we may never experience the bliss and joy that come with it.

By Dominique Allmon

Creative Commons License
what is happiness by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Click here to find out how to be happy now.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irving Penn Dies at the Age of 92

Irving Penn, New York 1951

Irving Penn died on the 8th of October. He was one of the most prolific and influential photographers of the last century. He was famous for his fashion photographs, studies of everyday objects, depictions of other cultures as well as the elegant celebrity portraits. 

Irving Penn left behind a brilliant body of work that can be admired in his book Passage: A Work Record. The book is forwarded by an essay from Penn's early years' mentor Alexander Liberman.

To read more click here

Woman with Roses, Paris 1950
Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn
Irving Penn's wife of 42 years

Image credits here and here

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. - Robert F. Kennedy, US Democratic Politician in 1966 Speech

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Something Hot? Herbs, Spices and Health

The benefits of garlic, hot chili peppers, and turmeric are well researched. New studies are being published in medical journals and alternative health publications on regular basis. Many conditions can be improved by simply adding these natural ingredients to your meals. Add some spice to your life. Boost your health. You are what you eat!

The article you find below was published by the Healthy New Age website.

"Garlic, cayenne, and turmeric each have long histories of use for medicinal purposes and, used regularly as part of an overall health-promoting dietary regimen, can very likely make a difference to your health and well-being." - Reuben Chow

Continue reading here: Herbal Trio: Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric

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