2015 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.”

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

I’ve heard that the recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That liberates them to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEAH!

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2015 cohort!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

2015_McArthur F fellows_feature-alt

2015 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the Foundation today named the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.”


#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease poster
image from http://nugonutrition.com

According to many researchers and recent research in both the UK and the USA, fewer than 6%, and many say closer to 1% of the general population actually suffer from #Celiac disease, which does make humans unable to digest gluten. In fact: “Ninety-nine percent of individuals [this doctor sees] who report gluten sensitivity, however, do not have celiac disease….”

Research like this utilizes a method called “double-blind,” which means not only do the test subjects not know, but the researchers do not know, either, whom is receiving the “treatment” or substance being tested and whom is receiving the fake, or placebo substance, until after the research period has ended.

What did they discover about self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity?

“The placebo effect is much greater for subjective symptoms (such as those of patients with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity) than is appreciated. It is seen in 20% to 40% [of] individuals. That is, of patients who report an improvement in symptoms by eliminating gluten, 20% to 40% are NOT improved. They THINK they are improved….[A]lmost all have had their symptoms return or continue with reduced severity despite continuing the [gluten-free] diet.”

image from http://allergiesandyourgut.com

Back and forth we go, with individuals making great claims at parties, schools, family dinners and restaurants about their inability to digest gluten despite not having been diagnosed formally with Celiac disease. People around them are getting frustrated, with good reason.

“[A]fter years of debating the existence of nonceliac gluten sensitivity, a scientifically rigorous study has been done that sheds light on the issue. In this study, 37 patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity, well-controlled on a gluten-free diet, were studied….[T]he group of patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity were not gluten-sensitive when tested.”
[all above quotes from link, below]

What are we to do, then, we who want to support our loved ones and help them be healthy, feel good, not feel negatively judged by us?

This is a dilemma, because it is difficult to determine what is causing these people’s symptoms when they do not have actual Celiac disease or wheat allergies. A number of causes could be in effect, in varying combinations, some of which cannot actually be proven to exist in each person other than through dietary trial-and-error, which, as we have seen, often fails to provide factual data due to psychological interference.

“Unlike wheat allergy and coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity does not have a known set of biomarkers — doctors can’t tell if a patient is suffering from [gluten sensitivity] by examination (although there is a blood test, it doesn’t give accurate results for many patients). So [gluten sensitivity] can only be diagnosed by first ruling out other diseases and then trying out a gluten-free diet.”

Okay. So, we tolerate our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors as they attempt to figure out what is causing their discomfort, bloating, gas, pain, etc., but our patience is wearing thin, isn’t it? We may think that their self-diagnosed gluten problems are just the latest in a string of dietary and health fads that cause attention-seekers to become obsessed and challenging to be around, for the rest of us, don’t we?

Maybe these people mostly want to lose weight? Wrong method, though.

foods with no gluten
image from http://www.livestrong.com

Similar to the “fat-free” trend, which caused many to over-eat the so-called “fat-free” foods while clearly gaining weight due to ingesting extra calories, not in the form of fats and oils, but still getting a lot of carbs and sugars, gluten-free is no solution to weight problems, either.

“‘If you go on a gluten-free diet, taking substitutes like gluten-free beer, pasta, cookies and so on, if anything, you gain weight. If you take a regular cookie, it’s 70 calories. The same cookie, gluten-free, can go as high as 210 calories. You have to substitute gluten with something that makes that cookie palatable, so you have to load it with fat and sugars. Just consider that. A gram of protein is four calories, a gram of fat is nine.’

“But, [Fasano] adds, it may be possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet by choosing natural products like fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.”

To add insult to injury, gluten-free products are pricier than ordinary versions of the same foods.

Maybe the answer, for weight loss, is to eat foods that are both fat-free and gluten-free. Of course, those are also likely to be taste- and flavor-free. Take away the MSG, too, and you may as well drink water or eat cardboard.

[above quotes from link, below]

Should we or shouldn’t we eat gluten-free, then?

First, how difficult is it to eat gluten-free? VERY, but getting easier.

“To avoid gluten, you have to stay away from all wheat-based foods and ingredients, from white and whole-wheat flours to kamut, spelt, semolina, and wheat bran and germ.

“That means no bread, pasta, couscous, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, cereals, crackers, gravies, or beer. Less obviously, it also means no soy sauce, bouillon cubes, candies, food starch, fried foods, or even oats if they’re processed in the same facility as wheat.”

Second, who benefits from a gluten-free diet, besides those with verified Celiac disease and/or wheat allergies?

image from http://www.theguardian.com

“[T]here is some evidence to suggest gluten-free eating patterns can also improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.”

However, they may be getting relief from their symptoms not because of avoiding gluten, but because of avoiding FODMAPs.

“[P]eople who say their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet may actually be reacting to another set of carbohydrates in wheat called called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). In other words, it’s not the gluten that’s bothering people, but other sugars found in wheat.”

Third, be cautious. There is evidence that people who follow this diet who do not need to be on it and who do not track the supplements they’re missing out on and replace them could be doing themselves more harm than good.

“‘People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets.’ These include iron, calcium, fiber, and folate. ‘Along with fruits and vegetables, the most common sources of dietary fiber are whole-grain breads and cereals, which contain gluten,’ the University of Washington’s gluten-free primer states. ‘Many people on gluten-free diets tend to eat inadequate amounts of fiber, which may lead to constipation.'”

Also, we now know that we need certain types of bacteria to flourish in our guts/intestines, and when they do not, we can suffer greatly everything from indigestion to depression, many worse problems than bloating. “Going gluten-free may also reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has implications for immune system function.”

[above quotes from link, below]

grain facts
image from http://lifeonmanitoulin.com

The Invisible Late-Night Knapsack.

Excellent, thoughtful article referencing one of the most intelligent pieces ever written (by Peggy McIntosh, which I read when it came out in 1988) about #racism, #privilege, and, by extension, #sexism and other oppressions, leading us all into more awareness of #intersectionality, which is long over due.

Late-night USA TV is horribly un-diverse and getting WORSE, not better, Trevor Noah’s hiring aside.

Thanks for writing and sharing.

Source: The Invisible Late-Night Knapsack.

Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship – Book Review by Sally Ember, Ed.D., featured on The Buddhist Door website

Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship – Book Review by Sally Ember, Ed.D., featured on The Buddhist Door website

Thanks to Frances McDonald and others at The Buddhist Door for this opportunity to be a reviewer for your site! As a long-time student of #meditation (since 1972) and a #Buddhism student since 1996 in the #Tibetan #Vajrayana tradition, I was pleased to review this book.

Anyone interested in knowing more about how to choose a spiritual teacher or mentor and all the varying types of these there can be, how to be in a better relationship with one or more than one teacher, how and why to end that relationship, and what its pitfalls might be, and so much more, would benefit greatly from reading this book and keeping it around to refer to frequently.

Please read this review and support The Buddhist Door!

Berzin book cover


USA National Punctuation Day® is TODAY! 9/24/15

One of my all-time favorite non-holidays!

USA National Punctuation Day® is TODAY! September 24, 2015
Jeff Rubin, Founder

national punctuation day 2015

Also, every year there is a CONTEST! YES! Sharpen your red pencils!

National Punctuation Day® 2015 contest will be announced on September 24

National Punctuation Day® will celebrate its 11th anniversary on September 24 with an homage to one of America’s greatest comedians and talk-show hosts.

As always, essays of no more than 250 words will be accepted through October 31 at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com

Please check back on National Punctuation Day (NPD) — September 24 — for contest details.

I’m guessing Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, but you’ll have to visit today to find out!

PLEASE visit Jeff’s website, where he has explanations of EVERY type of punctuation WITH PHOTOS of those used in English, AND pages of info and resources, like “Punctuation Products” and “Punctuation Playtime Program”!

He also has great posters/signage of excellent punctuation mistakes, videos, radio spots, schools’ participation pix, newspaper coverage of NPD (even right here in St. Louis, MO! http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_1f62ba8c-ca53-5080-8fdd-db4fd0b8513f.html from 2011, but you can no longer read the article), and much more!

Most unusual tribute? Video of a Punctuation Rap Song by Dots N Dashes: https://youtu.be/4vYrws3766Q The participants make punctuation marks on the football field, as if they were a marching band. Hilarious.


Got a photo of an incorrectly punctuated sign?
E-mail it to Jeff Rubin and it will be posted on the
National Punctuation Day® web site–—with a photo credit!

Here are the most recent bad punctuation photo gallery submissions:

Jeff also does presentations and answers your punctuation questions: (510) 724-9507

10 Days. 10 Questions: #10Q

10 Days. 10 Questions.
10 Q logo

If you are Jewish or celebrate Jewish holidays, sunset on 9/13/15 began Rosh Hashonah, the #Jewish New Year: L’Shana Tovah (May you have a sweet and healthy New Year)!

Whether you observe Jewish holidays as a #Jew or Jewish ally or are interested in Jewish customs and new traditions, you may be interested in this new tradition, #10Q, for personal growth and reflection. The “10” refers to the 10 days that include the first day of the two-day Rosh Hashonah celebration and the Day of AtonementYom Kippur—September 22-23, on the other end.

There are many traditions associated with each of these holidays and the days between, but I do not practice them because I am not an observant Jew; I am a practicing #Buddhist. However, last year I found out about 10Q and really appreciated it. So, I did it in 2014 and I am doing it again this year.

Just a reminder: the 10Q site goes into lockdown at the end of Sunday, September 27th. You have till then to fill in your answers and send them to the Vault for safe-keeping. After that, you won’t be able to see the answers until next year–and if you don’t send them into the Vault, you won’t ever see them again. Once you submit, you can relax and look forward to the eve of Rosh Hashanah 2016, when your 2015 answers will be coming back to you.

I recently received my responses to last year’s questions, received earlier this week, as promised (see below for explanation of 10Q). It was fascinating to me to read what I had written because, as many of you know, I suffered a severe brain injury in April of 2014; last fall, I was still in very bad shape, mentally. I don’t even remember much about writing these responses much less what I wrote, so it was with great curiosity that I opened the reporting email with my responses inside.

These 10Q‘s 10 questions (one for each of the 10 days) are very personal; I do not choose to share my responses. But, I will say this: the exercise of responding is a great one, regardless of your religious affiliation.

Summary: I achieved many of the goals and aspirations I put out in my responses!

I heartily encourage each of you to visit this site and respond to the questions, starting on Rosh Hashonah, 2015, which is tomorrow, Sunday, 9/13/15. Read more about 10Q and then click on a link or two, below.

There are/were also live 10Q events happening in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco (see below) and perhaps elsewhere, or you could have one. Check these out!

May all beings benefit.

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q.

When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping.

One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection.

Want to keep them secret? Perfect. Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that too.

Next year, the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that.

Do you 10Q? You should.

Click here to get your 10Q on.

10Q began September 13th, 2015

10Q: Reflect. React. Renew.
Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.


10Q 2015 QUESTIONS (I plan to add one each of the 10 days):
“1. Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?”

“2. Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?”

“3. Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?”\

“4. Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?”

“5. Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? ‘Spiritual’ can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.”

“6. Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?”

“7. How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?”

“8. Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2016?”

“9. What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?”

“10. When September 2016 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?”

“BONUS Q: What are your predictions for 2016?”

10Q 2015 EVENTS:
San Francisco:
Ctrl + Alt + Del: Tashlique at Ocean Beach
Sept. 14, 2015, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Ocean Beach near Fulton (across from Beach Chalet)

Reset your system with our modern spin on a 600-year-old Rosh Hashanah ritual called tashlique. This custom of ridding ourselves of all our bad vuggum (karma) from the previous year and getting a fresh start for the new one is traditionally enacted by tossing bread into the ocean. Join us by the shore at Ocean Beach (near Fulton) for a brief, engaging ritual and joyful noise accompaniment from shofar* blowers, bag pipers, members of Jazz Mafia and the Ministers of Sound of the Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church. Bring stale bread to share and a shofar, if you have one, to blow along with some of San Francisco’s finest players. Enjoy our twist on the traditional sweet with s’mores and Rocky’s Fry Bread.

New York City

NYC 10 Q event Blank-Slate-Full-Plate-Final-9-2-15
September 23, 2015, 6 – 9 PM

Los Angeles
One Day Retreat in Topanga, CA: Reflect & Renew

10 Q Topanga Taste-of-the-East-Revised-2015
September 19, 2015, all day
Facilitated by Michael Kass & Zoe Gillis

“Fall into #Reading” #Sale at Clean Indie Reads: 9/23 – 9/27/15!

CIR Fall into reading 2015
the “Fall into #Reading” #Sale at Clean Indie Reads: 9/23 – 9/27/15!

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., usually $3.99, is now $1.99
if you use this coupon code MT97Q on Smashwords only: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969

final cover print
This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, #scifi, #romance, #utopian, #multiverse #psi
for Adults, YA/NA
Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Intrigued by multiple timelines, #aliens, psi skills, #romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume I, This Changes Everything, is permaFree everywhere ebooks are sold!


Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, goes into pre-orders 11/1/15 – 12/7/15 @$1.99 and releases 12/8/15 @$3.99 on Amazon, Smashwords and its affiliates, including Kobo, iBooks/iTunes and nook. Check http://www.sallyember.com for links after 10/31/15.

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Cover reveal for Volume III happens on 10/26/15: http://www.aleshaescobar.com

Check out all the other ebooks and print books for the “Fall into Reading” Sale at Clean Indie Reads.

Sale runs from noon, 9/23/15 – midnight, 9/27/15, Eastern USA time!


Clean Indie Reads is a great group of independently or self-published fiction and children’s book authors who write in a variety of genres and styles, always keeping it PG- or G-rated. Promising “flinch-free” fiction, we who belong to CIR provide stories without graphic violence, blatant traumas, detailed sex scenes, or gratuitous swearing.

Visit us any time! http://cleanindiereads.com/