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robertogreco : misconceptions   9

Africa tops the best food in the world league – By Richard Dowden | African Arguments
"If you said the words “Africa” and “food” and asked most people in the western world what the connection was, I would bet my Sunday lunch that many people would say: “None. They don’t have any. They’re all starving.”

So the news in The Lancet this week that Africans have the best diets in the world is wonderful and spectacularly ironic. According to the researchers, out of the top ten best national diets in the world only one is not African, Israel. And not a single African country is in the bottom ten. However, there are four European countries at the bottom of the table. Is there any other development in the world where Africans sweep the board? A few years ago Africans were reported to be the most contented and optimistic people in the world. I hope that is still true.

Top of the healthy eating league table was Chad, a country often associated with drought, followed by Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Somalia. I can remember seeing starving people, children with Kwashiokor and distended bellies in four of them but in each case the cause was war. Drought can impoverish and force people to move but very rarely does it directly kill.

The research has been carried out for The Lancet Global Health journal by researchers using national data from almost 90 per cent of the world’s population. They analysed people’s diets between 1990 and 2010 by taking 17 food groups, including healthy ones: fruit and veg and fish as well as junk food (saturated fats and processed meat). Then they questioned people about which of these they ate and how much.

Chad, a country often associated with drought, comes top, followed by Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Somalia. They are a mix of countries with large dryland areas and others with heavy rainfall and fruit-rich rainforests.

In arid Somalia for example the people traditionally drink lots of camel’s milk which is very low in fat and good for you. But they also breakfast on flash-fried, almost-raw liver. Yes I’ve tried it. Yuk!

I once watched a camel being slaughtered for lunch. A man simply lopped its head off with an axe and then chopped it up with a machete. It was then cooked and we sat around the carcass eating lumps of meat with our fingers although it was so tough as to be almost inedible. Strangely the staple diet of many Somalis these days is spaghetti. And they eat it in the way I always wanted to but was never allowed to as a child – with fingers from a communal bowl, head back, open mouth and sucking and slurping the tails.

The cuisine I know best is Ugandan where, in the south, the word Matooke – banana – means food. They say if a Muganda has not eaten Matooke, he or she has not eaten. Twice a day they tuck into mashed banana steamed in banana leaves. It is usually eaten with groundnut sauce. Delicious.

There is also an array of Ugandan green vegetables and fruits that just fall out of uncultivated trees. No wonder some inhabitants have a reputation for being laid back, even lazy?

But Ugandans too have peculiar dietary habits. I was teaching a class in school one hot, sleepy afternoon when one of the pupils suddenly shouted and pointed out of the window. Millions of flying grasshoppers, Ensennene, had arrived and swarmed around the school. The class emptied despite my shouts of “Sit down! Stay here!” But I noticed that most of the students were carrying plastic bags. They knew this was the time of year when grasshoppers would hatch and swarm. They were on their hands and knees in no time chasing the clumsy hoppers and flyers and, tearing off their legs and wings to pop them into the plastic bags to be deep fried for dinner.

The Baganda also eat flying ants and some of the students persuaded me that these were best eaten live straight from the anthill. They took me to a nearby termite mound and hacked into it, picking out the grubs and carefully proffering them to me. I had seen deep fried ant grubs in the market but to this day I am not sure whether the raw ones really are a delicacy or just another opportunity to make a fool of a gullible white man. Once you got over the wriggling sensation on your tongue they didn’t taste too bad.

I noticed that Nigeria is not there in the top ten. No surprise there! Anyone who can drink Nigerian Egusi pepper soup must have a mouth made of cast iron. Ben Okri once took me to dinner at his favourite restaurant and insisted that I drink the soup – “the best Egusi in London,” he said. I agreed but a minute after I took the first sip I was in the toilet mopping the tears streaming from my eyes. My mouth took days to recover. Did you bribe the cook to leave the top off the pepper pot Ben?

Let’s look forward to hearing someone say not that they have dined like a king but they have dined like an African. I look forward to seeing the courses in African cuisine and more African cookbooks lining the bookshop shelves.

Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society."
richarddowden  food  africa  nutrition  uganda  somalia  chad  ivorycoast  senegal  gambia  mali  sierraleone  diet  misconceptions  health  lifestyle  well-being  drought  war 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (9780520207431): Martin W. Lewis, Kären Wigen: Books
"In this thoughtful and engaging critique, geographer Martin W. Lewis and historian Kären Wigen reexamine the basic geographical divisions we take for granted, and challenge the unconscious spatial frameworks that govern the way we perceive the world. Arguing that notions of East vs. West, First World vs. Third World, and even the sevenfold continental system are simplistic and misconceived, the authors trace the history of such misconceptions. Their up-to-the-minute study reflects both on the global scale and its relation to the specific continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa—actually part of one contiguous landmass.

The Myth of Continents sheds new light on how our metageographical assumptions grew out of cultural concepts: how the first continental divisions developed from classical times; how the Urals became the division between the so-called continents of Europe and Asia; how countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan recently shifted macroregions in the general consciousness.

This extremely readable and thought-provoking analysis also explores the ways that new economic regions, the end of the cold war, and the proliferation of communication technologies change our understanding of the world. It stimulates thinking about the role of large-scale spatial constructs as driving forces behind particular worldviews and encourages everyone to take a more thoughtful, geographically informed approach to the task of describing and interpreting the human diversity of the planet."

[via: https://twitter.com/publichistorian/status/516316481605218304 ]
books  toread  via:publichistorian  continents  geography  martinlewis  kärenwigen  misconceptions  myths  landmasses 
september 2014 by robertogreco
russell davies: on tackling misconceptions
"This is a great 8 minute film about science education on video. And about the value of tackling misconceptions. And about the idea that people learn less from things they think are clear and concise than from things they find complex or challenging.

Is this applicable in other circumstances? I bet it is."

[See also: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/khan-academy-and-the-effectiveness-of-science-videos/ ]

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVtCO84MDj8 ]
via:russelldavies  video  science  learning  education  misconceptions  challenge  complexity  khanacademy  salmankhan  teaching  reinforcement  salkhan  derekmuller 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Objectivity and Art.
"This process is progressive: science gets better and better, even though it is purely the creation of “subjective” human conjecture —imagination— tested against reality for utility…

All of which is to say: artists are natural technologists. Historically, they’ve pursued the newest and best techniques, materials, and forms. When the methodology for achieving perspective became clear, few resisted it on the basis of a calcified iconographic style considered to be “high art,” or if some did they’ve been suitably forgotten. And had new inks, better canvases, or some unimaginable invention given superior means to the impressionists to capture washes of light and mood —like, say, film— they’d have used whatever was available. The purpose of painting isn’t paint, after all; nor is the purpose of writing a book…

Perhaps we are transitioning from artists-as-depictors and artists-as-catalyzers to artists-as-world-makers…"
théodoregéricault  alberteinstein  daviddeutsch  isaacnewton  designasart  meaningmaking  meaning  universality  hildegardofbingen  michelangelo  abbotsuger  erwinschrödinger  qualia  cilewis  temporality  virtualization  control  reality  chauvetcave  epistemology  knowledge  misconceptions  objectivity  karlpopper  philosophy  experience  huamns  human  humanexperience  progress  catalysis  making  writing  2012  worldcreating  worldbuilding  worldmaking  highart  technology  design  humans  subjectivity  glvo  perception  color  science  millsbaker 
may 2012 by robertogreco
You can call yourself an Entrepreneur when… Altucher Confidential
"Its not really such a great thing to be an entrepreneur. There’s no real “freedom” in it. People think that starting your own business gives you freedom. It doesn’t. When you work a corporate job where you only, realistically, work for 1-2 hours a day and you can leave your work at the office, then you have freedom.<br />
<br />
Entrepreneurship == slavery. You are a slave to employees, partners, investors, a board, clients, potential buyers, reporters, landlords, random people off the street who try to come into your office and rob you, etc<br />
<br />
On quora recently someone asked “When can I call myself an entrepreneur”. I’m happy to share some general guidelines:"
entrepreneurship  startups  cv  freedom  autonomy  misconceptions  jamesalthucher  happiness  stress 
march 2011 by robertogreco
conscious star stuff: Left Brain vs Right Brain and Other Myths About the Brain
"Last night I ran across Mercedes-Benz’s newest cool-yet-so-cringe-worthy ad campaign.  While the artwork itself is pretty damn awesome, the idea that our personalities and skills are a product of the prevalence of one hemisphere of our brain over another is rubbish. Another popular claim is the one that we only use 10% of our brains, while geniuses like Newton, Einstein, Michaelangelo and Da Vinci used much more.  Yes, this one is rubbish too."
mythbusting  neuroscience  brain  rightbrain  leftbrain  misconceptions  myths  imtiredofthistoo  learning  education  tcsnmy  classideas  advertising 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Thanksgiving for Bankers and “Bad” Teachers « Fremont Watch
"Wow. Mission Accomplished by the neo-liberal privatizers and David Guggenheim. I am now sucking at the tit of government, as my brother put it. He’s not, I am. Because I am going to get a pension when I retire. He said we should all have 401 K’s. What happens to teachers who have been teaching for 30 years when the market goes bad? Nebraska found out and put all of their workers back into pensions. At least they are intellectually honest. My brother was lucky to be a winner in the economic collapse that decimated Main Street. I wonder if he was a loser in the scenario, like the poor Lehman brother workers that everyone gawked at as the walked out their workplace with cardboard boxes for the last time- if his point of view would be different, but somehow I doubt it."
banking  publiceducation  neoliberalism  waitingforsuperman  unions  pensions  government  misconceptions  education  policy  2010  us  publicschools  teaching  wealth 
november 2010 by robertogreco
List of common misconceptions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"This list of common or popular misconceptions corrects various fallacious, misleading, or otherwise flawed ideas that are described by multiple reliable sources as widely held. The statements below are not the misconceptions, but are the actual facts regarding those misconceptions."
misconceptions  astronomy  cooking  history  literature  music  politics  law  religion  science  health  sport  technology  chemistry  physics  biology  evolution  myths  misconception  culture 
march 2010 by robertogreco

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