Weekend Thoughts - 11.7.15

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. The United States Presidential Election season is upon us, and I have been inundating myself with political coverage to remain somewhat-aware of what is going on. I've always taken issue with the way most of the people I know view the political system—as a choice between two opposing parties. In reality, the "differences" that the Democrats and Republicans try to present are clearly designed to distract us from the truth that they are essentially two similar-yet-different flavors of the same giant turd. I have often chosen to vote third-party, to the chagrin of my friends and family who insist that voting for a third-party candidate is a "waste of a vote". I definitely don't agree with this sentiment, and was encouraged to see an article this week describing how the Internet has made it possible for third-party candidates (and political "outsiders" in general) to get noticed and gain traction in a political race. More so than ever before, it is possible for third-party candidates to have a real chance of entering the political scene and make an actual difference, and I applaud that wholeheartedly. Perhaps the Internet will even bring an end to the (vastly) two-party system that we currently live under.

2. This company started its reign in the publishing industry by putting mom and pop shops out of business via its massively successful online store, and now Amazon has opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle, Washington. The thing that is really intriguing to me (in addition to the fact that Kindles and Amazon tablets will be featured alongside the books and there will be a level of curation that traditional bookstores can't match because of Amazon's enormous ratings database) is that the books on the main shelves will be front-facing. Only the "overstock" books in the highest level of the shelves will have books featured spine-out. It strikes me as reminiscent of the user interface of an app store. We'll have to see how the stores fare, but I'd definitely be interested in checking one out if I ever get the chance.

3. I am by no means a philosophy buff, but I did enjoy this collection of 18 rare Friedrich Nietzsche quotes to make you question everything on High Existence.

4. One of my favorite beers from before my days as a vegetarian, the Irish beer Guinness is going to stop using a fish organ byproduct in the brewing process. For decades, the company has been using isinglass, a collagen harvested from fish swim bladders to filter impurities out of the brew. Apparently there was enough pressure from vegetarians and vegans that the company has decided to introduce a new filtering process sometime in 2016. This change shouldn't affect the flavor whatsoever, as isinglass is only used to filter the beer rather than flavor it. Personally, I can't wait to have another Guinness next year!

5. This article on the dark side of clean eating explores the concept of taking "healthy eating" too far. Excessive healthy eating and a strong desire to maintain a low body weight is classified as orthorexia nervosa and is considered by many to be an eating disorder. This can be a serious disorder and some victims have died from malnutrition. The article also discusses the Blonde Vegan, who turned her back on veganism after experiencing malnutrition and obtaining an worrisomely-low body weight. Sadly, she received a lot of criticism from the vegan community, including death threats from former fans who believed that she was betraying the lifestyle. The article goes on to discuss the effect that social media (where many people attempt to portray themselves in a positive-yet-distorted light) has on eating disorders. My two cents: I believe that it is possible for someone to become unhealthily obsessive/compulsive about eating habits, but that shouldn't stop someone who wants to become healthy from implementing positive changes in their diet, even if they contradict mainstream dietary opinions. I am saddened—but not surprised—to hear that the Blonde Vegan experienced a violent and negative reaction from her former vegan fans. Vegans have a tendency to come across as holier-than-thou and are not easy to let someone leave the community, but I believe that people should do what they feel is best for them with regard to their diet. And I also agree that social media presents a difficult (and sometimes unrealistic or even unhealthy) body frame for people (especially young girls) to try to imitate.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.