Stuck Reads: Love, coffee, and wild salmon wars

I’m a voracious reader of eclectic interests, glomming a wide variety of articles, stories, books, n’ such. May as well share what’s piqued my interest these days in the off chance you might find something interesting to read.

Reading is a good thing fer the ole noggin’ after all, yeh?

Here are the reads that stuck in my mind lately:

More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.

I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.

I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life.

Eyes are the gateway to the soul, right?

The study says if you stare in someone’s eyes for at least four minutes you may very well fall in love without knowing much about the other.

It’s akin to baring one’s soul and takes courage to do this with someone you don’t know.

She shares her journey through this and where she ends up. So very telling — is it possible to make love happen or is it a soul connection of a kind?

Maybe it’s both.

At each site, land had been exploited for years, either to grow coffee or raise cattle, and was eventually abandoned. It was dominated by invasive grasses, primarily an African species called palisade grass, used to feed grazing livestock. The grass can reach 16 feet tall when not trimmed by grazing animals, preventing native rainforests from easily regrowing.

After two years, the plot of land given a boost from coffee showed a dramatic improvement. Eighty percent of the plot was covered by young tree canopy, some trees already 15 feet—including tropical species that can grow as tall as 60 feet—versus just 20 percent in the untreated plot. In the coffee-fueled plot, trees were also four times taller on average, soil samples were more nutrient-rich, and invasive grasses had been eliminated.

Why am I not surprised that caffeinated forests grow quicker? ; )

It does my heart good to see sustainable ways of bringing back land that’s been cleared or over-farmed.

Each time I go back to Costa Rica, I see more and more destruction of their beautiful land so I am hopeful coffee will help bring it back, esp. since they grow so much of it!

(Now if they would do something to stem the rapidly growing tide of their palm oil farms.)

I had planned a quiet, obscure life studying orca. I got caught up in the bizarre intrigues of the wild salmon wars

My research made it painfully clear: wild salmon were simply not designed to survive the level of pathogens seeping out of the floating salmon farms.

While companies did not allow testing of the fish in their pens, they could not stop me from collecting the waste, scales and pieces of farm salmon drifting out of the pens into public waters. Although they tried.

I came across the MSNBC exposé on the company that had aired in May 2018. The victims of this company’s surveillance said Black Cube operatives aggressively tried to uncover details of their lives, looking for points of leverage for their client. I went back to the website, where the descriptive phrases sounded like something out of a thriller: A select group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units … tailored solutions … litigation challenges …

I learned that my password had been changed and that someone in Toronto had logged in to my account. Whoever hacked my account would have had the opportunity to download every email and attachment I’d sent and received for years.

I posted pictures of the people who were following us on Facebook. That created quite a stir. Boats with blacked-out windows are not common on this coast. The day after I posted, our tails were a little more shy; they still followed us but at a distance that stretched to just over 1.2 kilometres, according to the radar sweeps.

“Stop following me,” I called.

Riveting excerpt from the author’s book that’s out just now, called “Not on My Watch” by Alexandra Morton.

The story itself is frustratingly old — corrupt multinational corporations sucking the life out of other people’s land and intimidating those who question it. Will it ever end?

Netflix’s “Seaspiracy” will remind you of this.

This time it’s the salmon industry in Canada, focusing on Norwegians who have cornered the industry and set it on an unsustainable path while endangering the local environment.

The book sounds like a spy thriller, what with a foreign corporate giant sending spies and hackers after a lone scientist out to expose the truth to the world.

It’s on my absolute-must-read books list.

How about you? Have a stuck read to share? Pop it in the comments below!

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