December 2013 links

by Jackie Patti

Before we get to the links, I'd like to remind you that the following occurred in December 2013:

  • Nelson Mandela died on Dec 5th; the official state memorial service was held on Dec 10th and his funeral on Dec 15th.
  • Queen Elizabeth pardoned Alan Turing posthumously. Turing invented computer science before there were computers and his code-breaking was pivotal in the defeat of Hitler, saving thousands of Allied lives. In 1952, the British government prosecuted him for being gay, stripped him of his security clearance and chemically castrated him, leading to his suicide. He is forgiven 101 years later, but the other 50,000 men convicted under the same statute are not yet.
  • Bad month for trains: a train derailed in Bangladesh killing 3; a train in the Bronx derailed killing 4; a train in India caught fire, killing 23.
  • China landed a probe on the moon, becoming the third nation to do so. It's robotic rover is walking about and sending back pictures. Go China!
  • Weird weather: a severe cold wave occurred in North America breaking over 150 precipitation records and nearly 100 snowfall records in the US alone. 12 people died in ice storms and nearly a quarter of a million were without power for up to 2 weeks.
  • Wacky weather: Cyclone Xaver hit northern Europe, killing 15. Widespread flooding, electrical service disruptions and transportation outages occurred.
  • Weather wreck: the Philippines seems to be falling apart after Typhoon Haiyan last month; it was the largest typhoon to hit land in human history. Immediately, relief aid flown into local airports was unable to get to more than 20% of the people due damage to roads. Looting and violence became so widespread that relief agency and United Nations staff were evacuated. Areas that were being evacuated by plane saw riots. Nearly 2 million were homeless and 6 million displaced, many without food and water. Several journalists have been killed.
  • Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage on the 2nd, New Mexico on the 19th and Utah on the 20th, bringing the total to 18 states plus the District of Columbia.
  • Uruguay became the first country to legalize the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana. A United Nations official rebuked them, but they rolled their eyes and just turned up the volume on the Magical Mystery Tour album.
  • Family Guy resurrected Brian after killing him off last month; apparently neither jumping the shark nor unjumping it had much effect: no one was watching either time.
  • Target had a MAJOR holiday sale for hackers: steal 1 credit card, get 39,999,999 free!
  • A redneck reality TV personality gave a magazine interview in which he made explicitly offensive comments about women, gays and blacks. It turned out that TV shows make money by selling commercials to sponsors who want people, the majority of whom were offended, to see them. So he was fired by the network, leading to a fury of sexist, homophobic and racist comments all over social media by those defending his right to be an asshole, which is apparently in the first amendment.
  • Amazon announced the development of delivery drones to the delight of tech geeks and duck hunters everywhere.
  • The second Hobbit movie came out and we went to see it in 3-D. It was mediocre and way, way too long. Also, the seats were hard.
  • Jackie got a bit silly towards the end of this list, but technically, that occurred in January.

But WAIT, there's MORE! Not only do you get world news, train crashes, wild weather, social and techy news and other random stuff, but for the low, low price of... $0, you also get real food and health news!

my favorite posts
best stops on the information super highway in December
Arguing About Raw Milk
The BEST thing I read all month. Gene Logsdon (the Contrary Farmer) wrote a wonderful essay about raw milk. Gene is a farmer and author, not in the "real food" movement. Most amusing quote, "I never worried about the milk; it's the cow that can kill you."
Healing Hot Toddy Recipe (medicinal & recreational)
Rhode Island's own Oystergirl posted this recipe for homemade hot toddy. While hot toddy for colds is definitely a medicinal use, Oystergirl points out that whisky hot toddy can be recreational too. The official instructions include "You may need to drink several of these." It's unclear whether that refers to medicinal or recreational use!
Connecticut becomes the first state to require labeling of GMOs
A true David and Goliath story: tiny little state takes on corporation with bazillions of lawyers. You GO, Connecticut!
"Roasted Apricot Chicken with Herbs de Provence" ~ An Organic Kitchen Favorite
While I have several standby recipes for roasted chicken and vegetables, Linda's pictures made my mouth water and my tummy growl (this is what happens when you surf the web before breakfast). Her apricot chicken includes an intriguing combination of oranges, apricots and cranberries or cherries that just sounds delectable to me; I may just have to abandon Julia Child for my next roast chicken. If you've never roasted a chicken, The Organic Kitchen includes a video on how to roast and a second on how to carve a roasted chicken. I promise both are easy!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Prevention
I take elderberry syrup daily in my juice; it really works, I don't get sick. And anytime someone has the earliest symptoms of cold and flu, a couple doses knocks it right out. As an RN and self-proclaimed healthnut, Kelli provides knowledge, research and a recipe for making homemade elderberry syrup simply.

Note: if one of these is your site, you can grab an award here.

The most beautiful thing I heard this holiday season...

What's the best stuff you've read lately?