Sugar, threat or menace?

So, the New York Times had an article about sugar.

Much of it wasn’t news to me–I knew about the interactions of fructose and the liver, for instance–while some of it was embarrassing for me not to have realized, like the fact that refined sugar is, effectively, 50% fructose (so, in that sense, those commercials the pushers of HFCS have been putting out lately are are right–there’s very little practical difference between cane sugar and corn sugar, though the fact that the fructose in HFCS isn’t bound up with anything else may mean it puts more stress on your liver).

The reason that I found this article much more compelling than the materials I’ve seen before from, say, the Weston A. Price Foundation is two-fold.

First, the article does not purport to be certain. I have an innate distrust of the sort of iron-clad certainty that the Weston A. Price Foundation presents when dealing with something as complex as the human body. Or most other things, for that matter–show me someone who is certain about something, and I will wonder just who they’re trying to convince, because I don’t usually feel like it’s me. For that matter, half the article makes the point that people’s certainty in the past is a large part of what got us into this mess.

Instead, the article talks about the reasons that one view is more likely, and explains why their may have been confusion–basically, it attempts to make me understand, rather than just accept.

Second, the article does not purport to impugn motives to people, and it does not take any sort of stance on their morality. The moment I read someone attributing motives to a corporation, especially “evil” motives, again, I am immediately distrustful.

Mind you, I have no love of large organizations of any kind–I think that they are inherently amoral, since morality is a necessarily individual thing, and as a consequence they will behave without consideration–but if your premise is that a corporation is setting out to consciously poison or kill its customers, you better be able to produce the memo to that effect. Otherwise, all you do by purporting to know a corporations heart is convince me that you are out of touch with your own.

So, all that out of they way, where do I stand?

Well, I don’t think sugar is inherently bad–that is, taken in small quantities, I think our bodies are resilient enough to deal with it, and I don’t give a shit about living forever–but I will be cutting down my outright intake even more than I have and taking the time to consider subtler alternatives that might allow me to reduce it still further. Perhaps one day I will remove it from my diet entirely, but I don’t see that happening soon.

Don’t install new blog software in the evening

If you’re inclined to love the software, you’re going to want to take the time to dump a bunch of content in it to see how wonderfully it performs, and end up staying up late.

If you’re inclined to hate the software, you’re going to want to take the time to dump a bunch of content in it to find that one thing that it does so horribly wrong you will have to remove it, and end up staying up late.

Or at least, I am. Oy, this hurts.

WordPress? Perhaps.

There isn’t a lot of love lost between me and WordPress.  There are things that it sometimes seems to do specifically with the intention of driving me out of my mind.

But I am quickly getting to the point where the only other option I might consider is writing my own blogging software, again (that would be round 3, I believe), and I’m not quite prepared to fall off that particular wagon.

One quick geek note: I have, I believe, arranged my installation to support multiple discrete blogs–I hate, hate, hate WordPress’ pathetic attempts at multi-blog support–with one set of files.

First, I placed a copy of WordPress 3.1.2 in /var/www/wordpress (I’m running on a Debian box with nginx and php-fpm).

Then, to create this site, I first created a MySQL database. Then I created a directory, /var/www/tendentious.org, into which I put the wp-config.php for this site.  I then created a second directory, /var/www/tendentious.org/wordpress, and bind-mounted /var/www/wordpress there.

To add a second blog, I would repeat the steps with a different directory.

This takes advantage of a feature I found in a comment when I was spelunking around the wordpress code, that suggests that the wordpress files will check the directory above them for a wp-config.php.  The bind mounts make it impossible for the code to tell that it’s not got its own copy to work with.

The one wrinkle I don’t know about is what will happen when static files are uploaded.  Right now, when you install plugins from within the browser interface, they get installed into the common directory.  That, obviously, wouldn’t work for, say, images.

Here’s to keeping my fingers crossed.