Posts Below
7/16/2018 - Link: "There Is No Right Decision" (Self-Help)
7/4/2018 - "Failure to Launch" is actually Failure to Lem (Freedom)
6/12/2018 - Link: "Heard that GitHub will be acquired by Microsoft, so I deleted all my GitHub repos" (Making a Living)
4/22/2018 - April 22nd is Earth Day (Environment)
4/9/2018 - Link: "SLIGHTLY AGGRESSIVE AFFIRMATIONS" (Self-Help)
3/27/2018 - Spider silk: the ultimate material for an air mattress? (Beds - Ideas)
3/25/2018 - Do cows have better airbeds than humans? (Beds)
3/18/2018 - My imperfect modified version of a blackstrap molasses gingerbread cake seems to need a lot more spices (Recipe)
3/17/2018 - My slightly modified version of River Cottage soda bread is good even with blackstrap molasses (Recipes)
3/16/2018 - Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe (Nutrition)

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Link: "There Is No Right Decision"
Monday, July 16th, 2018
07:30:14 GMT

Self-Help

A very comforting, philosophical self-help article:

There Is No Right Decision
July 2018 from Raptitude.com


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"Failure to Launch" is actually Failure to Lem
Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
13:52:38 GMT

Freedom

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Many millenials (and others) these days are criticized for not moving out and becoming debt slaves and wage slaves to (barely) support themselves, and are picked on for "failing to launch" and become "independent".


"Independence" is such a frequently misused word nowadays. Similar to how "royalties" are probably usually just pittances - what is commonly called "independence" is usually not even close to real independence.

In my opinion, real independence is being at least a millionaire (or maybe even just a several-hundred-thousandaire) - and/or being able to survive in the wilderness like Survivorman.

Certainly not becoming a debt slave and wage slave, and being desperately dependent on having to make money, because of having too high expenses, too little income, and almost no savings, forcing you to live from paycheck to paycheck, and/or to live on debt if your paychecks are too small or scarce.


I think as a society, we should be far kinder to and more respectful of our young people, and simply give them all the resources they need or want, debt-free, to thrive and to build a better future for everyone.

And the same for our older people!

(But I think this should all be accomplished through voluntary charity and voluntary fundraising - not taxation, nor any other ways of stealing people's money.)


Quite often, picking on someone for "failure to launch" amounts to picking on someone for being too rational to jump off a cliff just to follow a lot of conformist lemmings who succumbed to peer pressure or societal pressure, and were all too willing to take the plunge into probably lifelong debt slavery and wage slavery.

(Or who were forced to be a lemming by their parents and society, which both failed to provide an adequate launchpad.)

So, instead of "failure to launch", I think it's more like, "failure to be a lemming", or "failure to launch yourself off a financial cliff only to fall to your doom".


If your parents (or other relatives or patrons) give you the gift of being able to avoid joining the rat race or lemming race which most people lack the freedom to (comfortably) refuse to participate in - I think probably the most rational course of action is to accept it.

(Unless the "gift" comes with intolerable strings attached - in which case it's more of an attempt at manipulation than a gift.)

Without as many bills to pay as someone "independent" (but actually probably extremely dependent on having income) - you have a chance to build up a large nest egg much sooner than someone who has to spend probably most of their income just to keep a roof over their head, and pay for transportation, food, and other basics.

It's not "failure to launch", it's "failure to lem" - and it's a good thing. :-)


Similarly, I think anyone who has rich parents ought to just guiltlessly accept the many advantages their parents made/make available to them, and not feel bad about themselves when jealous people pick on them for supposedly being "spoiled" or "privileged".

Poverty spoils a lot more children than wealth ever did.

Also, I think "privilege" is quite the wrong word for wealth, because I consider wealth something that everyone is entitled to - a human right.


However, I don't think that right entitles anyone to steal others' property. So, no, I'm not advocating communism or socialism - I'm 100% against all taxation, and I think when people have their property extorted from them by things like taxation, their human rights are being violated.

Here's an excellent essay (or small book) on the evils of income taxation. I don't totally agree with absolutely everything in it, but I think it makes a lot of good points:

Income Tax: The Root of All Evil by Frank Chodorov, all in one page

You can also get it on this page in the annoying PDF format, or the slightly less annoying EPUB format.


I'm sure my family would have had a much easier time surviving and thriving if we had been permitted to keep all our earnings, instead of being deprived of so much of our hard-earned money by taxes and other forms of oppression, such as the evil, corrupt so-called "child support" system.

Which is often more like bureaucrat support, or ex-wife support, rather than child support, and which harms and traumatizes children and their families in numerous ways, which you can read about here:

National Family Justice Association (NFJA) Position Statement on Proposed Budget Cuts in Child Support Enforcement Program Funding (Nov. 17, 2005)


Rather than coercive communism or socialism - I am in favor of people earning their own money, and also all voluntary charity. I am totally against plundering or extorting anyone's honestly-earned wealth through taxation or any other form of coercion, even if it's done supposedly in the name of helping the poor. Usually, it's really to help bureaucrats rather than the poor.

But even if it's done with the genuine intention of helping the poor, stealing is still wrong.


However, one reason I don't consider the legendary Robin Hood a villain is because he meant well, and possibly none of his "stealing" was truly stealing.

I actually don't know if Robin Hood is said to have refrained from stealing from any innocent rich people who earned their money honestly and legitimately.

But, I think Robin Hood is best known for taking back what had been stolen from the poor by rich criminals. (Not innocent rich people who stole nothing from the poor and did the poor no harm.)

And it doesn't seem accurate to call the recovery of stolen property, and returning it to its rightful owners, "stealing".


Some people seem to think taxes are like Robin Hood because taxes steal from the rich and supposedly give back to and help the poor - but, I definitely don't see taxes that way, because unlike Robin Hood, taxation punishes everyone without distinguishing between the guilty and the innocent.

In fact, taxation mostly punishes people too honest and law-abiding to engage in tax evasion - so taxation actually punishes virtue. (However, having the spine to resist complying with evil laws is also virtuous, so I don't regard tax evaders as automatically bad people.)

And taxation is also harder on the poor than the rich, because being deprived of any amount of money (even the seemingly "small" percentages confiscated by sales taxes) can easily reduce poor people's ability to buy groceries and other basics for themselves, their children, their elderly relatives, their pets, and any of their struggling other relatives or friends.

(Many poor people are very kind and generous, and do a lot to help each other out. And sometimes poor people who almost start to rise out of poverty get dragged back into poverty because of helping the people around them.)


And much of the plunder extracted from so many honest hard-working people of every class (whether rich, poor, or middle class) gets wasted by bureaucrats, often on horrible things such as war.

And the government programs for poor people probably usually fail to enable most of the poor to escape continued poverty and dependence.

And those programs often involve policies that actually harm poor people, such as the horrendous, evil "individual mandate" that was a part of the misnamed "Affordable Care Act", which fined people a massive $695 a year per adult (and $347.50 per child) for the disservice of NOT having any health insurance at all!


And for a few years, I was afraid that if I earned too much money, it might harm my family by possibly getting us kicked off of Medicaid, since I definitely didn't think I was capable of making enough money to pay for insurance for us all, nor the $695 penalty fee per person if we went without insurance.

So, because I thought it might do my family more harm than good if I somehow managed to make too much money for us to stay on Medicaid, but quite possibly not enough money to compensate for the possible loss of Medicaid - I felt like I had little choice but to (again) postpone seriously trying to figure out how to make a living.

It wasn't all bad - at least it was nice finally not having live in fear of not being able to afford to see the doctor or dentist if a health crisis happened.

But what would have been even nicer would have been being able to make a significant effort to earn my own living without having to worry that doing so would seriously harm us all by possibly getting us kicked off of Medicaid and costing us thousands that I couldn't imagine that I (or any of us) would ever be able to afford.


So, I definitely don't believe that taxes play a heroic Robin Hood-like role of recovering the poor's stolen property and giving it back to them.

In my experience, taxes are yet another thing that kick poor people when we're already down. I still remember how robbed and violated I felt when I saw all the deductions from my first paychecks way back in 2002 - particularly because at the time, I DESPERATELY NEEDED EVERY LAST CENT I HAD EARNED.

And every year, my family and I have to waste a lot of time doing our taxes. And since a lot of our income has been from self-employment rather than conventional jobs, and we often have had to live on all our income and couldn't afford to set aside any for taxes, we've often had to worry that in April we might get financially kicked when we're already down (yet again) by suddenly "owing" a lot of money.

Or, if we were lucky enough to get a refund of our own hard-earned money that we never should have been deprived of in the first place - we had to wonder when or if we will ever receive it, and at least once, it got delayed.


So, I think taxes are much more like the Sheriff of Nottingham than like Robin Hood. (And actually, that Wikipedia article says: "He is generally depicted as an unjust tyrant, who mistreats the local people of Nottinghamshire, subjecting them to unaffordable taxes.")

In my opinion, taxation needs to be 100% abolished for all - poor, rich, and middle class alike, because stealing and extortion are wrong no matter how rich the victim is.


Admittedly, taxes do pay not only for many bad things, but also for many good things. (But I wonder if they pay for more bad things than good things?)

But I think more ethical, non-coercive ways to raise funds for the good things could and should be used instead.

Perhaps lotteries? Or even something like Kickstarter?


It's completely heartless to say it's acceptable, or in any way good, for poor people and their children to either suffer and die, or else become wage slaves and debt slaves with hardly any realistic chance of ever escaping poverty no matter how hard they work.

Also, the stereotype that poor people are lazy is usually false. Some people talk like they think laziness is so evil that it ought to be punishable by poverty. But that's a monstrously cruel punishment, since poverty can be torturous and like a death sentence.

(Such as if you get seriously ill in a society where health care costs a huge fortune, and where insurance is still unaffordable despite a misnamed law to supposedly make it affordable.)


Also, what seems to be "laziness" can actually be a medical problem (rather than just a psychological issue or moral failing), resulting from things like sleep issues, such as circadian disorders, or fatigue from something like low iron, which is one of the world's most common nutritional deficiencies - especially amongst the poor.

Or other nutritional deficiencies - which poor people tend to be extra prone to, because many of us (including me and my family at times) can't always comfortably afford enough good, healthy food and vitamins.


However, even if someone's "laziness" is not excused by medical issues, I believe that freedom actually includes the freedom to be lazy, since being coerced to be unlazy - being coerced to work - is the very definition of slavery, and slavery is an opposite of freedom.

So, if you think about it, being against laziness and in favor of people being coerced to work, actually equates to being against freedom, and in favor of slavery!


Certainly, it can be very noble to choose to work rather than do nothing to help others.

But there is nothing at all noble about making people into slaves, such as by coercing "lazy", or even truly lazy, people to work.

And people are not bad, or "lazy", or lazy, or suffering from "drapetomania", just because they aren't eager to be a slave.


Also, not every form of work significantly helps anyone. For example, I don't think teenagers (or anyone else) should be encouraged to waste their time on jobs like flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant instead of studying, and learning more valuable skills.

Living with your parents and learning how to do something difficult but valuable like computer programming is probably a much better option in the long run than "launching" (or being launched/evicted) too early, then ending up endlessly struggling to survive with possibly only a minimum wage job, and having much less time and energy to study anything.


So, if anyone ever picks on you (or someone similar to you) for being an "entitled", "spoiled", "lazy", "irresponsible" millenial (or older or younger person), I hope it won't make you feel bad about yourself.

If the person saying such things is sincere, and not just trolling you to try to deliberately hurt your feelings, then they're probably a lot more enslaved by conformism and internalized oppression than you are - and that at least partly explains why they say such illogical but hurtful things.

You might not have as much outer freedom as many of our critics, many of whom grew up in more financially fortunate eras and don't understand how different things are now. But, you probably have more inner freedom than they do.

And, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said,

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."


I feel more sorry for such people than offended by them. It's truly sad that some people seem to think insisting on freedom and human rights is just being "entitled" and "spoiled" and demanding "privileges".

But freedom and human rights are not mere privileges - they're rights, and everyone truly is entitled to them.

And if we all don't have enough "entitlement" and self-respect to insist on freedom and human rights, we all might eventually end up with our freedom and human rights being trampled upon by tyrants.


Frederick Douglass said:

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

So, I think having low tolerance for oppression (including internalized oppression), and feeling strongly entitled to freedom and human rights, is actually a good thing.

And I think we'd all be better off taking the words of great heroes such as Frederick Douglass to heart, rather than the misguided, self-destructive notions of anyone who argues that demanding human rights and freedom is just being "spoiled", "privileged", or "entitled" - as if all feelings of entitlement are illegitimate and bad, and as if freedom and human rights are nothing but revocable privileges.


If any struggling millenials (and older and younger people) who the media and others like to kick when we're already down are reading this, I hope this blog post makes you feel better.

Another comforting thing to read might be the Slightly Aggressive Affirmations blog.

And even I should read more about history and other cultures to broaden my perspective even more, and make it even more comfortingly obvious how narrow-minded, provincial, and ignorant it is to mindlessly believe that current conformist mainstream opinions on how people should live are "normal" and "universal", rather than irrational, twisted and warped in contrast to wiser cultures, both past and present.


Here's a blog post I wrote about 10 years ago:

Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty


Another thing that comes to mind is the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The hare who "launched" quickly had a superficially more impressive start, but the slow and steady tortoise won the race in the end.

Being a careful tortoise is a much more mature, responsible approach to life than being a reckless, delusionally optimistic hare, or a willingly-following-the-crowd-over-a-cliff lemming.


I think caution, learning valuable skills, avoiding debt, and building up a nest egg are usually a much wiser, more mature approach to independence than launching yourself (or being forced) into the world poorly prepared and too soon, with debt being the closest thing you have to a safety net.

(However, in some circumstances, leaving as quickly as possible might actually be the more appropriate course of action, such as if you're living with someone who is dangerously abusive.)


People picking on fortunate people such as rich kids, rich people in general, and people whose parents don't kick them out or treat them like slaves, make about as little sense to me as a slave arguing in favor of making non-slaves into slaves, instead of arguing to end slavery for all.

I also think it's wrong to automatically and indiscriminately be against all rich people, since it is quite possible to become wealthy in honest, legitimate, perfectly moral and honorable ways.

And I think the more wealthy and prosperous everyone becomes, the freer we'll all be.


And I hope that well-meaning rich people DON'T feel guilty and DON'T believe that to be good people, they must make themselves poor (and relatively powerless) by giving away most of their wealth.

I think what would be more virtuous than disempowering oneself would be to remain wealthy, and keep generating more and more money (and other valuable resources) to give away to worthy causes and individuals.

So, if any well-meaning rich people who unfairly torment themselves with guilt are reading this, I hope that makes you feel better.

And I welcome donations and microdonations. :-)


Nowadays, women are definitely under some pressure to "launch", but still probably not as much pressure as men.

So, as a woman, I would like to point out that despite all the despicable propaganda there is out there which bashes men who live with their parents - not all women are so conformist, short-sighted, and/or gold-digger-like as to scornfully look down on all men who live with their parents.

I actually consider living with one's parents as probably indicative of a man who is unusually strong, rational, sensible, and wisely resistant to conforming to illogical and harmful societal standards that simply don't make sense, especially in a society as financially oppressed as ours. A man who is not a sheep or a lemming - a man to admire!

A man with the strength and confidence to stand his ground and stay his course, despite the media and the flocks of conformist sheep, lemmings, and trolls who viciously bash men like him.

I feel sorry for the sheep, lemmings, and trolls who attack such men, since those sheep, lemmings, and trolls seem so misguided, so full of internalized oppression, and so unaware that in cultures other than the USA, it's actually considered normal and wise to fail to launch yourself off a financial cliff like a lemming. Some examples:

Immigrants Baffled by US Debt Culture
Oct. 24, 2012 from VoicesOfNY.org

Brother, Can You Spare One-Point-Seven Million, at 6.25%?
Feb. 13, 2008 from HuffingtonPost.com


So, if you have failed to lem, I applaud you. :-)

And if you have already lemmed, I hope that you will be (or already were) lucky enough to sprout wings and learn to fly. :-)

And I hope those who somehow still think being a lemming is a good idea will wake up from their folly in time to make better life decisions, and free themselves from believing that debt slavery, wage slavery, and going along with the crowd all somehow equal independence and freedom.


Also, Happy Independence Day (July 4th) to all!

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Link: "Heard that GitHub will be acquired by Microsoft, so I deleted all my GitHub repos"
Tuesday, June 12th, 2018
19:51:05 GMT

Making a Living

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org

Last modified June 12, 2018 at 8:54 PM EDT.


One of Non24.Com's main topics (besides sleep issues) is freedom, so this link to my personal blog is on topic:

Heard that GitHub will be acquired by Microsoft, so I deleted all my GitHub repos
June 4, 2018 (plus later additions), from Astroblahhh.Com


Also, I still think one of the best possible careers for someone with sleep issues might be programming.

I am not yet an example of someone who has a thriving programming career despite severe sleep issues - but I have no doubt such people exist.

Programmers getting a lot done at bizarre hours is a well-known (and often true) stereotype.

So, I'm guessing many employers of programmers might be more accommodating of unconventional schedules than the average employer.


However, I can't speak from personal experience with that, because I never seriously tried to get a "normal" job with a typical software company, since I exclusively write free (as in freedom), libre, open source software.

From Sept. 2007 to April 2008, I tried selling closed source software in the virtual world game Second Life, which has a virtual currency which can be converted to real money.

But, after reading this great essay by Richard Stallman, I decided to release my product - the MagnaMural - into the public domain.

And at times from 2012 onward, I was tempted to write iPhone apps after a friend I briefly dated gave me an iPhone and MacBook after we parted. And I was tempted to write Roku apps at times ever since I got a Roku in maybe 2012, and tempted to write Android phone apps ever since a relative gave me a couple Android phones.

But, so far, I've resisted those temptations, with the result that I don't have any experience at all with those methods of earning a living via software. Just Second Life.


In all these years, due to fatigue, and procrastination, and focusing so much on my hobby projects (with the vague but not totally unfounded hope that maybe someday they'll help me earn enough money somehow) - I still haven't figured out what the best way to support myself might be.

Sometimes I think maybe I should try selling physical products produced via a site like Lulu or Zazzle, but I haven't done that yet either.


What I'd most like to do is just finish the renovated version of APSK (Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit). I made huge progress with that in April and May, especially.

(See my blog post for links to the zip files containing my former GitHub repos.)

And I'd probably still be working on it now if Microsoft hadn't acquired GitHub. Once I found out about that, I couldn't bear to keep my code on GitHub anymore, and have been trying (with some success) to figure out how to set up a GitHub alternative on my own websites so I can continue easily publishing my own code.


I'm definitely not eager to lose even more of my programming momentum by letting my financial worries push me into looking for freelance jobs on a site like Upwork or something.

Or suddenly dropping everything just to create relatively frivolous knick-knacks on Zazzle or Lulu for people to buy.


On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I'm a structured procrastinator, a concept described in the wonderful self-help book The Art of Procrastination.

So, perhaps some random whims will strike me, and I'll suddenly feel actually inspired to create some relatively frivolous but sellable knick-knacks, or look for freelance jobs on Upwork, or get Second Life working on my computer, or check my email and see if anyone who wants to hire me might have contacted me in the past several years that I've been mostly putting off reading most of my email.

(Sorry for being so unreachable! But I'm actually probably going to continue to be mostly unreachable, since too often, dealing with email just seems like too much stress and/or distraction, for too little reward.)

In any case, I should probably not firmly declare any project to be my top priority, because doing that tends to make me start wanting to work on something else instead.


It seems like in general, non-coercive self-motivation works much better for me than trying to force myself to work on anything in particular.

You can read about non-coercive self-motivation in these great blog posts from SophiaGubb.com:

Unjobbing and Dejobbing

How To (Give Yourself Permission To) Rest

How Non Coercive And Coercive Self Motivation Feel Different


Anyway, I guess that's mostly all I feel inspired to say here for now. I hope it's helpful, provides some ideas for how people with severe sleep issues might be able to make a living, and also explains why I'm usually so quiet.

I welcome donations and microdonations, and maybe someday I'll really feel inspired to offer services, or to create and sell some sort of physical products.

I definitely don't want to sell exclusively digital products, because I'd prefer for my digital creations to reach and help as many people as possible, and any price at all above zero would stand in the way of that.

Digital creations such as software, blog posts, and large pages of free (as in freedom and as in price) technical documentation like this: Some Puppy Linux Basics. (Which needs updating because I've learned a lot since 2013.)

And maybe music if I get inspired and figure out the technicalities of creating music with GNU/Linux software. Or perhaps even art if I ever manage to make some good enough art. And maybe someday I'll get more interested than I currently am in photography.


I wish I knew what else to do with Non24.com and Non24.org.

I'm reluctant to reopen the spam-ridden forums because it can take a lot of work to maintain a good forum that isn't just a wrecknological waste of time and energy.


If you're trying to find an excellent sleep issue-related forum, try the Niteowl mailing list.

It's run by the wonderful Circadian Sleep Disorders Network, which I am not a paying member of, but would like to be someday when I can comfortably afford it. (I'm so worried about money that even $5 a year doesn't feel comfortable for me yet.)

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April 22nd is Earth Day
Sunday, April 22nd, 2018
09:36:50 GMT

Environment

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Though Non24.Com's main topic is sleep issues, another one of its major topics is freedom, because lack of sufficient freedom is one of the top reasons people can't sleep anytime they want or need to.

And one major prerequisite of freedom is, a planet in good enough condition that we can all continue to live healthily and comfortably on it.


So, to celebrate Earth Day, here's a clip from one of my favorite TV shows:

The Office - Shareholder Meeting (Episode Highlight)


Currently, the entire TV series The Office is available to watch on Netflix.


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Link: "SLIGHTLY AGGRESSIVE AFFIRMATIONS"
Monday, April 9th, 2018
08:49:58 GMT

Self-Help

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Here's one of my favorite web pages of affirmations I ever found so far:

SLIGHTLY AGGRESSIVE AFFIRMATIONS


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Spider silk: the ultimate material for an air mattress?
Tuesday, March 27th, 2018
20:30:59 GMT

Beds
Ideas

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


I'm still missing my now-useless way too fragile airbeds, which I already wrote about in this previous blog post.

I miss them so much that if I were rich, I might actually seriously pursue the whim of getting into the air bed business to try to figure out how to make the best, most truly durable air beds humankind has ever known.

TRULY durable - not "durable" in marketer language, which probably too often translates to "pathetically fragile" in good, honest English.


But, since I'm not rich, I'm probably just going to publicly daydream about my ideal air bed, and share this possibly good idea I thought of today.

Totally ignoring the issues of cost and profitability, I tried to brainstorm whatever I, as a layperson (with sometimes a lot of interest in scientific topics) could think of that might possibly work.

Other than rubber (an idea I'm not sure I like, since rubber has a smell, and rubber tires wear out eventually), spider silk was one of the first specific ideas to pop into my mind.


I think I heard or read in the news many years ago that spider silk is reputed to somehow be as strong as steel.

So, might it work for an air bed?


This article makes me think the answer might be yes:

Could parachutes soon be made out of spider webs? Arachnids fed graphene spin webs 5X stronger that can carry a human and are as durable as bulletproof Kevlar
Sept. 3, 2017 from DailyMail.co.uk

If specially-prepared spider silk is good enough for parachutes, maybe it would be good enough to prevent an airbed from so easily acquiring holes, tears, or a distorted stretched shape?


Here's another interesting page:

Spider Silk | Kraig Biocraft Laboratories


I really wish I were rich, because if I were, nothing would be stopping me from dropping everything and trying to figure out if a spider silk air bed (or any other probably untried possibly plausible material for an air bed) is a truly feasible, good idea or not.

But, since I'm not rich, and there are many other things besides air bed creation that I need to get done, I'm just writing this blog post.

And hoping someone rich (or exceptionally motivated) will create such an air bed, and maybe send me a free one, or better yet, a reward of lots of money for giving them such a (hopefully) wonderful idea that might make them rich(er).

A gal can dream...

...and keep pointing out her donations and microdonations page. :-)

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Do cows have better airbeds than humans?
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
02:39:06 GMT

Beds

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Back in January, I tried this $25 air mattress.

Unfortunately, that first one was accidentally punctured by me lying on top of some hard granola bar crumbs.

I recently got a second one, and this time, I took the precaution of covering it with a sheet. But, I think I may have accidentally overinflated it, so that one's useless now too.

And I found out too late that I probably should have tried to sandpaper away the fuzzy material on the top side of the mattress where the holes appeared, before trying to apply the single patch each airbed came with. Oh, well.


I miss my airbeds, since I think they were the most comfortable mattresses I ever used - even better than a friend's waterbed.

But, after reading this scary article, I'm sort of glad to be rid of them, even though I'm not sure whether my airbeds were actually made of bad materials or not. They definitely had a strong smell when I first got them, though that mostly went away in maybe a few days:

Are You Sleeping on a Toxic Air Mattress?
June 2013 - LivingNaturalToday.com

I'm even more skittish about the possible toxins in the kinds of glue often used to fix air mattresses, so, repairing them with superglue or something is unfortunately not an option for me. And duct tape didn't work.


I guess my ideal airbed would be made of definitely safe, non-toxic, unsmelly materials, and would be practically indestructible, and even impervious to cat claws.

I have an office chair which is amazingly resistant to cat claws - even tremendously more resistant than my cat's mostly shredded scratching post which was specifically made for cats.

My cat loves that office chair, and I'm sure a huge king-size airbed covered in the same material would probably delight him.


I wonder if perhaps these cow airbeds are more durable than most or all available human airbeds? They must be extremely durable if they can survive a cow laying on them.

I wish someone would make human airbeds which are that durable, and yet as comfortable as my former airbeds. And which my cat can enjoy too without destroying it. I definitely can't keep buying $25 airbeds that lasted maybe a month (1st one) or perhaps a couple of weeks (2nd one).


I think it's really sweet that some people care so much about cows as to create, sell, or buy cow airbeds.

Heartfelt applause to all the makers, sellers, and buyers of cow airbeds!

And I believe if they ever start selling an incredibly durable yet comfortable human airbed made of good, safe, healthy materials, that might have an extremely good chance of becoming the most popular product in the human airbed market.

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My imperfect modified version of a blackstrap molasses gingerbread cake seems to need a lot more spices
Sunday, March 18th, 2018
15:49:11 GMT

Recipe

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Here's my blog post on why I've been trying to consume more blackstrap molasses:

Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe


Today I made a cake, and I modified this recipe in a few ways, to make about half as much cake, increase the amount of spices, and remove some ingredients I didn't want:

Dark Molasses Gingerbread Cake
From SplendidTable.org


And also this icing recipe:

Extra-Creamy Cooked Cream Cheese Icing
From SplendidTable.org

Thanks to the creator of those recipes!


For my modified version of that cake, I put in half the amount of most ingredients, except:

I was actually quite tempted to put even more ginger and cinnamon in. But, I was expecting this cake to already have quite a rich, intense, deep, dark flavor just from all the blackstrap molasses I put in. (3/4ths of a cup - equivalent to 12 tablespoons - and it sure was as slow as molasses to pour!)

So, I thought I probably ought to be cautious with the spices, to avoid possibly making this cake any more extreme. I definitely don't like to overdo ginger, especially, since too much of it can be quite spicy hot.


But, when I tasted it, I wished I had put in a lot more spices, because the gingerbread taste was so tantalizingly faint. Also, the cake looked so much like chocolate, it was also a little disappointing that it didn't taste like chocolate.

My version definitely didn't turn out fudgey, nor particularly intense in any way. Its texture is just like an ordinary cake. I wonder if the extra egg made that happen? Or did I get some of my math wrong when I tried to halve most of the ingredients?


Anyway, it was still pretty good, and will definitely be an enjoyable way to increase my consumption of blackstrap molasses over the next several days.

Whenever I make anything with blackstrap molasses that I haven't ever made before, I'm always half-expecting a quite noxious result, because raw blackstrap molasses is one of the most foul-seeming yet edible substances I know of. (Though I recently discovered that uncooked buttermilk is pretty disagreeable too.)

But this cake wasn't bad at all. I wouldn't describe it as bitter, and in a blind taste test, I probably never would have guessed it even had so much (or maybe any) blackstrap molasses in it. Astonishingly, this actually just seems like a normal cake, with a nice, moist, normal cake texture, and a far more mild flavor than I was expecting.


I'm having a hard time deciding if it needs more sugar or not - I'd almost describe it as semi-sweet, but I think actually it's closer to being almost, but maybe just short of, sweet enough. Or maybe quite sweet enough, depending on my mood. I often actually like not being overwhelmed by excessive sweetness.

I wonder if the non-overwhelming level of sweetness is another result of the extra egg, or maybe I lost too much blackstrap molasses when I didn't try a bit harder to scrape more of it out of my mixing bowl.


If I ever make this cake again, I will definitely use a lot more spices, and maybe I will try using just one egg next time. And maybe a little bit more brown sugar. Also, I think I'd rather make an even smaller quantity of cake, because I think I prefer eating such things fresh-baked.

I guess what would make this cake more convenient to make would be, mixing all the dry ingredients together in advance and storing that mix, so whenever I want to make some cake, I won't have to measure and mix as many different ingredients, since part of the work will already have been done.

Having two ceramic pasta bowls to mix stuff in was convenient, and fortunately, all the mixed together ingredients ended up fitting perfectly in my ceramic casserole dish. As usual, I greased the casserole dish with organic raw coconut oil, which successfully prevented the cake from sticking to the dish at all.


For the icing, I used only 1 bar of cream cheese, but I didn't halve the other ingredients, and I used powdered sugar instead of ordinary white sugar, and no vanilla.

I'm definitely not usually a fan of mixing cheeses and cakes, so, predictably, I wasn't super-thrilled by it. But it was good enough, and definitely better than having no icing at all. It tasted pretty much how I'd expect cream cheese mixed with boiled milk, sugar, and flour to taste.

Another topping I liked for this cake was some of this organic maple syrup. (Though I think I'd prefer one of the stronger-flavored later-harvested syrups like this one, or maybe this one which I haven't yet tried.) And some extra ginger and cinnamon.


I might make this again someday, but I will definitely be adding a lot more ginger and cinnamon next time, and I should probably use a cheeseless icing.

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My slightly modified version of River Cottage soda bread is good even with blackstrap molasses
Saturday, March 17th, 2018
16:01:53 GMT

Recipes

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Today I made soda bread using a slightly modified version of a recipe from The River Cottage Bread Handbook.

There's a similar but different recipe, which takes longer to cook, on their website:

Soda bread
From RiverCottage.net

Thanks to the authors!


I never made soda bread before, and I wasn't sure I was going to like it, so I reduced the amount of the ingredients to roughly 1/4th of the original amounts.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, then I mixed together all the dry ingredients first, in my big ceramic pasta bowl.

1 cup of flour (I used whole wheat graham flour instead of white flour), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder (which I wasn't sure was going to work because it had an expiration date in Feb. 2014! But, it seems like it worked fine).


Then I added an item that wasn't in the recipe. (Except I notice now that the recipe's variation section suggested a tablespoonful of "dark molasses", but I don't think that means blackstrap, judging by this page.) I put in just 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses, because I didn't want to risk ruining the bread with too much of that foul stuff.

However, I found out recently that blackstrap molasses is actually an ingredient in some pumpernickel bread recipes, so, maybe the worst thing that would have happened would have been, my bread would've turned out a bit more like pumpernickel?

Here's my blog post on why I've been trying to consume more blackstrap molasses:

Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe


Finally, I put in some buttermilk - at first just 1/3rd of a cup, but I soon found that wasn't enough to make all the dry ingredients moist enough to knead into dough, so I added some unmeasured but small amounts more, alternating between trying to knead it, and adding small amounts of buttermilk, until it seemed probably moist enough.

I mixed the ingredients together a bit with a spoon, but mostly kneaded the dough with my hands, which didn't take long at all. I shaped it into a somewhat oval shape about 2 inches high or maybe a bit less. I skipped dusting rye flour (or any other flour) all over it.

I didn't have a baking sheet, so I used my ceramic casserole dish, which I greased up with organic raw coconut oil, which prevented sticking pretty well - only a couple small parts of the bread got a bit attached to the dish, and detaching them wasn't hard at all. I used so much coconut oil that the bottom of the bread tasted a little coconutty, but I liked it.

With a spoon's handle, I drew some intersecting lines in the top of the dough and poked it in random spots. Then I let it cook for 25 minutes.


The result was definitely bread! Being so inexperienced with making bread, I had been afraid my modifications might somehow result in a dry brick, especially since I let it cook for a full 25 minutes (though the book had said 20 to 25 minutes) - but, it was quite fine.

Somewhat dense, and chewy on the inside, with a crunchier exterior. Bland in a good, traditionally bread-like way. And, probably fortunately, I couldn't detect the taste or smell of blackstrap molasses at all - neither its foulness nor its sweetness. It also didn't remind me of graham crackers, despite the fact that it was made with whole wheat graham flour.

At first, I was tempted to put extra salt on it, but, just putting a lot of butter on it made it quite good. It is still pretty chewy on the inside after cooling down, and the crunchier exterior is still good too.


It was pretty quick and easy to make, so I probably will make this again, though I'll probably make a larger quantity if my relatives also like it.

Or maybe a slightly smaller quantity if I'm making it for just myself, so I can eat it all at once with no leftovers.

Definitely a good, tasty way for me to increase my consumption of blackstrap molasses! Very easy, too. That was the first time I ever tried to make soda bread, and it turned out quite well, I think.

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Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe
Friday, March 16th, 2018
16:53:10 GMT

Nutrition

Last modified July 4, 2018 at 12:18 PM EDT. (Fixed typo and replaced a broken link with an Archive.org link.)

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Disclaimer: I'm not a health care professional or nutritionist, just a layperson with some interest in health issues, and none of this blog post is intended as health advice. I'm just sharing some of my personal thoughts and experiences with things which I believe helped me, and some links to (and quotes of) informative articles, etc. I found, in case anyone might find this stuff helpful and/or interesting.

Here's this website's disclaimer page.




Here's a quote from an article titled 9 Signs Of An Iron Deficiency Doctors Say You Should Never Ignore:

"In fact, iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, according to the WHO, which estimates that some 2 billion people - or 30% of the world's entire population - have anemia, which is caused by lack of iron."

End of quote.


As a 36-year-old woman with a perhaps above average amount of menstrual flow, I believe I lose a significant amount of iron every month. And since I have often had the terrible habit of neglecting to eat, or of not eating well, I suspect I often haven't sufficiently replenished my lost iron.

And I suspect iron deficiency might actually be the top reason why I've struggled so much with fatigue these past several years, until recently. (A lot more details are in my health diary blog posts part 1 and part 2 on my personal website.)

So, I believe blackstrap molasses might possibly be one of the best things I ever found for my health, since it contains a lot of iron, which I suspect I need.


My energy seemed to improve a lot after I started trying to consume about a spoonful of blackstrap molasses at least every few days. (At first, for a while, I tried to have it daily, but I guess I'm just not that fond of vegetable juice and soup. Also, I don't want to possibly get too much iron, since too much iron is quite dangerous.)

And, recently, after a while of mostly neglecting to consume blackstrap molasses because I felt so fine, energetic, and well-rested, and following my most recent time of the month - I relapsed a bit into often feeling fatigued and strangely not very refreshed by sleep.


Here's the article where I first learned about how important proper levels of iron and ferritin are for refreshing sleep. It's sad at first, but it has a mostly happy ending:

The Iron-Sleep Connection
From AdoptionNutrition.org


I haven't asked a doctor about my iron or ferritin levels (or anything else, maybe since 2005!), so I'm not 100% certain my problem is low iron or low ferritin, but, given how my fatigue seems to correlate a lot with my time of the month, and given how much better I felt back when I was making more of an effort to consume blackstrap molasses and other sources of iron, such as beans - I strongly suspect my fatigue is quite possibly primarily from low iron or low ferritin.

Though, among other things, I also think Vitamin D and magnesium help me quite a lot. (Though I now try to avoid overdoing Vitamin D, and haven't taken Vitamin D in supplement form since sometime last year, since I suspect I might have taken too much for a while.) Also, this page says:

"When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another."

Plenty more details about what I think helps me are in my health diary blog posts part 1 and part 2 on my personal website.


Here's a great video I found about blackstrap molasses and how it might help with menstrual issues:

How I ended my terrible period (menstruation): My Secret


And here's a great article I found about iron deficiency in women:

Iron Loss Explains Why You're Tired All the Time
July 10, 2012 from TheAtlantic.com


And here's an important quote from that, warning about the dangers of excess iron:

"A person who feels fatigued should not self-diagnose and take an iron supplement. A supplement could obscure a serious medical condition such as a bleeding ulcer. Taking too much iron can also be problematic and dangerous as iron levels may build up in the body and cause major organ failure.

Chronic fatigue should be evaluated by a physician and iron supplements taken only after laboratory tests confirm the need for one."

End of quote.

Iron pills scare me, so I much prefer to get iron exclusively from food. This other page says:

"Most people don't need to worry about getting too much iron from food alone. Even the best food sources contain only about 5 milligrams per serving, and most foods contain less than 3 milligrams per serving. Iron deficiency is much more likely than iron toxicity from foods."

End of quote.

Still, I'm guessing it's quite possible to get too much iron even via diet, such as if you eat a ridiculous amount of blackstrap molasses and/or liver and/or beans.

So, I hope everyone will please be careful.


The brand of blackstrap molasses I use is the Plantation brand, since it has 20% of the "Daily Value" of iron per tablespoon. Also, it's organic, and made in the USA.

Surprisingly (to me), there can be quite large differences between brands. A while back, I tried the Brer Rabbit brand, and that was actually more palatable to me, but it only had 4% of the "Daily Value" of iron per tablespoon.


One major problem with blackstrap molasses is, if it's not mixed with the right other ingredients, it tastes quite vile - at least to me, and plenty of other people.

Until today, I only had basically two acceptable ways to consume blackstrap molasses:

  1. 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses stirred into about half a glass of vegetable juice.

  2. Making that vegetable juice + blackstrap molasses into a soup by adding other ingredients like usually black beans or sometimes other beans (which have plenty of iron), butter, garlic, chicken, spices, etc., and microwaving it.

Both of those are quite surprisingly good, especially the soup (which I sometimes vary with slightly different ingredients and spices). Not just tolerable, but actually good!

But, due to having them so often, I've been getting a bit tired of them, even despite my slight variations of the recipes. So, it has been getting more difficult for me to consume blackstrap molasses as frequently as I'd like, to help ward off the debilitating fatigue I had been dealing with most of the time for the past several years until recently.


So, today, I tried out a slightly modified version of this surprisingly good recipe:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Blackstrap Molasses Breakfast Cookies
From ConnoisseurusVeg.com

Thanks and much praise to its creator!


I was quite skeptical that I was going to like that recipe, since for me, blackstrap molasses (eaten by itself, or mixed with the wrong things) is horrendously bad. And instead of typical sugar, that recipe has only a banana for additional sweetness, beyond the significant amount of sweetness blackstrap molasses surprisingly provides despite its vileness. And bananas are usually just something I tolerate rather than something I particularly enjoy.

But, I definitely like peanuts and peanut butter. (And, happily, they seem to help my energy levels.) And this recipe sounded so overall healthy, easy, fairly quick, and possibly good despite my doubts, that I decided to try it.

And I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it actually is quite good. Even the uncooked mix was a lot better than I expected, though I definitely prefer the cooked version.


However, I did modify the recipe a bit. I didn't use vanilla extract because vanilla extract often has alcohol in it, and cooking might not remove all alcohol.

Also, I was a bit dismayed at how much dry oatmeal there was even after I tried to thoroughly mix the ingredients together (but maybe that's because I used a spoon, not an electric mixer). Anyway, to moisten it and make it blend together better, and also since I guessed it would probably help the taste, I added almost an entire stick of butter (partway melted in the microwave), and even an unmeasured but small amount of whole milk.

I didn't have chopped roasted peanuts, so, I just threw in some Great Value roasted peanuts, a brand available at Walmart.


I didn't have a baking sheet, so, I used this ceramic casserole dish, which I greased up with organic raw coconut oil to hopefully keep the cookies from getting stuck to the dish. It (and/or the butter) seemed to work! (It also was probably subtly good for the flavor, without making it taste obviously coconutty to me.)

My ceramic casserole dish wasn't big enough to hold all of the mix (which fit quite well in this nice big ceramic pasta bowl). So, since I only had one ceramic casserole dish, I cooked two consecutive batches using about half of the mix each time. And I globbed most everything together without trying hard at all to make separate cookies.

I also decided to cook it longer, since after 8 minutes, my version was still so moist and soft that I wanted to see if I could make it harder and more cookie-like. But, I didn't keep careful track of how long I was cooking it (and sometimes I forgot to turn the oven back on after checking on it), so I'm not sure how long I cooked my version. Maybe 20 minutes? I was tempted to cook it even longer to try to make it crispy instead of so soft, but I ran out of patience.


In any case, the result was astonishingly pleasing - a rich, but not overwhelmingly sweet flavor, good both with or without a little additional sweetening in the form of a little organic maple syrup, which only subtly changed the flavor. (Perhaps because I was using the mild-flavored Extra Rare early-harvested syrup, and only a quite small amount of it.)

My version of this recipe never did end up being cookie-like - it's more like pie filling. Next time I make it, I might cook it in some pie crusts instead of my ceramic casserole dish.

It also reminded me a little of baklava filling, but less gooey and less sweet - which I think is a good thing, even though I do like baklava in small amounts.

I'm guessing spices like cinnamon or ginger might go well with it, and/or probably other spices too.

I had to save most of it for later, since it was so rich I felt satisfied with just a small amount of it. I stored the leftovers in two of these great smoothie glasses with lids.


Since this is the kind of thing I only really enjoy in rather small amounts (like baklava, fudge, certain pies, and walnuts), I'm going to keep trying to find (or maybe create, or remix) some blackstrap molasses-containing recipes which I'll be more likely to want to eat frequently and in larger amounts.

Blackstrap molasses is far from the only way to get more iron in my diet, but, I feel like it somehow works better for me than other things I eat more often, like breakfast cereal with lots of iron. (I've read that milk might interfere with iron absorption, though I've also read that it doesn't particularly interfere, so, I don't know who's right about this.)

And I have misgivings about eating a lot of meat, both for moral reasons, and because I suspect meat from mistreated animals raised in horrific and unhealthy conditions might also be bad for human health in various ways.


Another thing I like about blackstrap molasses is its other nutrients besides iron, like magnesium and some of the B vitamins, among various other things.

After consuming even just 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses (usually in vegetable juice or sometimes in soup), I tend to feel better and more relaxed, similar to how I feel after taking a magnesium supplement, and I feel like it somehow helps me sleep better.


My current top priority (other than overcoming my fatigue, again) is various computer programming projects.

And fortunately, the more my fatigue recedes, the easier it gets for me to make significant progress.

So, hopefully at some point I'll eventually get around to doing more with Non24.com.

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