cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Something here has changed

This morning, as I was walking around in a city I’m not from, I spotted a natural health foods store, and I didn’t walk in. For most of my life, health foods stores, especially granola ones like this one, were my sanctuary anywhere I was. Ten years ago, I would have walked in just to be in there, to feel refuge from the unknown city in a space that would feel familiar despite never having known it existed. Today, the place struck me as elitist and self-righteous and, for lack of a better term, very white. I still love kombucha and sprouts and fair trade chocolate, and would go buy at any health food store that has something I can’t find elsewhere, but I no longer identify with it like I used to.

Part of it is simply that the 90s are over and nowadays shopping in immigrant stores is more exciting and edgy and generally the current marker of a socially conscious, forward-thinking individual. Tie-dye shirts out; hipsters buying local homemade kimchi is in.

But a big part of what that bothers me is the concept of “health foods”, as if you have to go to a special place to buy food that is good for you. As if bananas and kale from the supermarket aren’t truly healthy foods — for that you have to go to this place to buy spirulina and goji berries and whatever other crap is not marketed as being *especially* good for you. That the nutrition from regular fruits and veggies are inferior to the nutrition you obtain from a different kind of store. With the massive problem that we’re having in North America in getting people to eat right, I find it pernicious to insinuate that nutrition is any more outside the reach of regular people that it already is.

So while I’m sort of tempted to open an immigrant-run Marxist food co-op, I think I’ll keep doing my groceries in the cheapest place I can find.

First sighting of WinBUGS in the wild

Bayesian analysis in the NYTimes

The Odds, Continually Updated

I had read the story of the fisherman who was found, but had no idea Bayesian statistics was the hero.

Multiple imputation

Multiple imputation is my new favourite thing. I still need to figure out how Stata manages (pretends?) to do it, or if it’s just executing an approximation of the Bayesian process of iteratively drawing samples from distributions of alpha and the beta(s) in the model. To be continued.

Huir y enfrentar

Cuando sentís algo de lo cual querés huir, respirá. Y aceptalo. Sumergíte en la sensación, que te lo alivia. No te escondas, porque te termina trastornando.

Garlic, butter, mussels

I used this recipe (with different quantities) to put on linguine. My grandmother would hit me if she heard me, but I think it’s necessary to overcook linguine in order to properly roll them on your fork, as al dente they’re too stiff.

3 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Place mussels in heavy large Dutch oven, cover and cook over high heat until mussels open, shaking pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain mussels, reserving liquid. Transfer mussels to bowl; discard any that do not open. Tent bowl with foil.

Melt butter in same Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, lemon peel and reserved liquid from mussels and bring to boil. Season to taste with pepper. Drizzle garlic butter over mussels. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Ultimate procrastination tip

In order to stop procrastinating, do nothing. If you’re putting off something, stop everything and sit in your miserable unease. I think this works because doing nothing at all is close to some strange form of torture that few can tolerate (see: meditation), and actually sitting down to work on what you’re supposed to be working on becomes preferable.

I want a god

I want a god
as my accomplice
a god
who hurts
to the last
bone and
bites the air
in pain
a jobless god
a striking god
a hungry god
a fugitive god
an exiled god
an enraged god
a god
who longs
from jail
for a change
in the order
of things
I want a
more godlike

Francisco X. Alarcón

Compassion hurts

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.

Andrew Boyd

Null hypothesis testing: methodus non grato

The journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology just announced that it will no longer publish p-values, test statistics, confidence intervals, or any other null hypothesis testing procedures. This is pretty extreme, and equally exciting. From the little that I understand, Bayesian analysis is slowly but surely gaining ground against frequentist analysis, and this is one more (rather large) step in that direction.

Read the article here.


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