Legendary ballet dancer
Guest host Sarah Jessica Parker talked to journalist
For this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America,
The term “food insecurity,” Joel Berg said, “is the best description of hunger in American context. People rationing food, choosing between food and rent, choosing between food and health care, parents going without meals to feed their children, children sometimes having to go through the dumpsters in back of their school to get a meal.”
If people can’t afford enough food, they often end up buying cheap food. “There’s no question that hunger and obesity are flip sides of the same malnutrition coin. If you can’t afford healthier food which of often more expensive, if you live in a low-income neighborhood where you can’t even find healthier food, there’s no question that one of the top coping strategies is to buy less healthy, less expensive food that you can just fill your bellies, fill your kids’ bellies, more calories but its less healthy. That’s why we have this amazing irony in America: you can be food insecure, you can be hungry, you can be low-income, and you can still be overweight.”
Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States has the highest rate of food insecurity—49 million people, including 16 million children, live in food insecure households in this country. SNAP benefits (food stamps), WIC benefits, and free and reduced school lunch and breakfast are some of the federal programs that many food insecure families depend on. Berg said the recent cuts to SNAP benefits are having an impact, making it harder for food stamp recipients to buy enough food for the month.
Berg sees hunger as a political issue, and that reducing hunger requires advocacy and action. “If you really want to end hunger in America, you need to join with groups like New York City Coalition Against Hunger to fight for living wage jobs, to fight for an adequate safety net, to ensure that eligible families get the nutrition assistance they deserve,” Berg said. “And that’s what’s going to end this problem in America.”
The human genome is far more fluid and fascinating than your ninth grade biology text book revealed. Dr.
John Updike is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature.
When we fall asleep, our brains invent incredibly realistic and memorable dreams. Sometimes those dreams are dark and terrifying, making falling asleep something to fear. On this week's Please Explain, we'll find out what goes on inside our brains as we sleep.
Why do we dream? Do dreams have a purpose? When the brain is asleep it's inundated by impulses and senses and experiences, and the brain puts them together. A necessary function of sleep, especially of REM sleep, is to consolidate the information that was gathered in the previous day and even in the more distant past, into coherent, long-term memories that get stored for later use. That's what dreams are. Dr. Gerber explained that the general scientific theory is that “Every night when we sleep our brains are consolidating what we should remember and letting go what we don’t.”
According to Dr. William Domhoff, a professor at UC Santa Cruz who collected 50,000 dream logs, most dreams are by and large negative. “People are attacked, people don’t like you, it’s kind of like the worst days of middle school,” said David Randall.
Are dreams and nightmares different? Dreams that have the same basic structure—a narrative, imagery, a plot—have the same kind of neural substrate to them, whether they be positive or negative. When you wake up with a generally bad feeling but not with any recollection of a bad dream, it might mean that you had a dream with a different kind of structure that involved different parts of the brain.
Find consumer guides about pesticides and produce and more at the Environmental Working Group's web site: ewg.org.