Fungus Transforms North American Red Turpentine Beetle into Tree Killer in Asia


Microbial evolution has turned a mild-mannered North American beetle into a tree killer in Asia. The red turpentine beetle, Dendroctonus valens, is a wood-boring species native to North America. D. valens is unremarkable and harmless in its native region. However once it migrated to China, it wiped out more than seven million pines in the past 12 years, and it’s poised to spread throughout much of Asia and Europe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Boxwood Fungus Blight Invades North America After Taking Europe and New Zealand by Storm


A boxwood blight, caused by an aggressive fungus disease, has started to invade the North American continent, after it had spread throughout Europe and New Zealand. Last October, US authorities confirmed that the blight had jumped continents, and started infections in North Carolina and Connecticut.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

37 Pounds

37 pounds.


That’s the amount of weight that I lost since January 2008. Before I left, I weighed myself. I was about 96kg, 211lbs.

I’ve been telling people that I lost 15lbs. Boy, I was in for a surprise when I weighed myself today during break time in my morning classes. 79kg. 174lbs. That’s my current weight. I knew that I had lost quite a few pounds, I didn’t image that it was close to 40lbs.

I’m pretty amazed at this. Last year, I indulged in too many 7-11 foods, too many comfort foods and just plain unhealthy eating. I detoxed during the last four months, going back to my very low carb diet.

No bread, no pasta, no rice. Only meat, fish, fruits, veggies. No chips, chocolate, juices. When I craved something sweet, I usually ate an orange. Sometimes I would eat 5 or 6 oranges a day, on top of my veggie ration for the day.

In four months, I ate out only 2 times. All my other meals, including lunches, were home cooked meals.

I experimented with a lot of different dishes, from meals cooked in a slow cooker, to red tuna sashimi, which has always been a favorite of mine.

I switched over to eating a lot of pork. No more chicken. I made soups, I ate sausages. I tried eating multigrain bread, only to realize that I was eating too much of it. I stopped eating any type of bread in the first few weeks in Quebec. That made me stop eating cheese.

Actually, this is how I used to eat before I left for Taiwan in 2006. It felt good to be back with this diet. It’s more than a diet, it’s just the way that I eat.

Eating this way in Taiwan isn’t hard, it’s just that you have to make the effort in the busy teaching life. I found being a student and living on little money very humbling. Yes I went grocery shopping in the bus every week. I filled up my pack with 50lbs worth of groceries and brought them home. I often had to walk 1km from the bus stop to my apartment. I wasn’t crazy about doing it, but I preferred the IGA grocery store to the Intermarché that was within walking distant of my apartment.

I ate oranges. Lots and lots of oranges in Canada. They don’t know how to do oranges in Asia. Americans know how to grow them. They are giant, juicy and delicious. One of the things that struck me when I arrived in Taiwan was how juicy and succulent all of the fruits tasted. It was incredible. They were fresh. Most of the fruits in Canada aren’t as fresh.

Ok, so now what’s the plan?

Well, I’ve decided to start running again. With my wife or dog in tow, I plan on running almost every day a few kilometers. Back in 2006, I used to run 4.5 km every day. I took Sundays off. I want to get back to that.

My schedule as a substitute teacher in Taiwan has rapidly filled up. I’m pretty much working all through the summer. I started teaching this week.

Justice Is Blind

As much as everyone in North America would like to believe that justice is blind, I think that justice is only for the rich. The rich who can afford the best lawyers pervert the cause of justice.

Others do what they can do. What can you do when you can’t afford 120$ an hour? You get justice but justice that has been sold off to you.

I find it unconscionable that people who don’t have the means to get the “best” lawyer end up with no justice at all. Something must be done to change this.

Do normal everyday people actually care that much about this?

No, because usually, everyday people rarely get involved with justice or courts. In my life, it’s happened to me only once. It wasn’t anything big, but it opened my eyes to how perverted it seemed in my eyes.

This allows the rich and corporations to dictate new laws and their own interest above the cause of justice. They can do what they want, sue whomever they want. With the law in their hands, the system will slowly break down. Of course, it’s impartial. At least that’s what you hope when you enter the courts of the judicial apparatus. Judges and juries can be rigged, but at least they aren’t perverted.

However, who has the advantage? The client with the lawyer with a six figure retainer or the public defender?

East And West Cultural Differences

Some more differences between Easterners and Westerners.