Sunday, May 12, 2013

Idea for Revitalizing The Harbor

I was talking with my mother in law today about an idea I had for fixing up my hometown area.  For those of you who don't know, the place I'm from suffers from extreme economic depression.  It used to be a logging community, and when the logging industry was drastically diminished due to environmental concerns, huge numbers of people lost their jobs.  Instead of solving the problem by developing new industries, people just decided to do meth and feel sorry for themselves.  Every so often someone decides to start a business - like a theater or a coffee shop or something - but not much sticks.  

I'm no economist, but I do know that it's going to take more than a couple of small businesses to get the place back on track.  

Here is my idea.  Please steal it.  

Grays Harbor needs an industry that plays to its strengths.  What are its strengths? An abundance of unspoiled natural beauty, and a human population who has excellent wilderness survival skills.  You see, everyone in Grays Harbor knows how to fish, hunt, find wild berries, build things, fix things and dig clams.  They know how to cook with local food.  All of them.  And because there are very few people who actually live there, and there is no industry to speak of, the air is clean, and there are trees and rivers everywhere, and you won't get hepatitis from the ocean, like in certain other places I could mention.

So.  My idea is - build a giant eco resort.  

The eco resort would offer three types of accommodations - 
1) Luxury log cabins, made from locally sourced wood, powered with hydroelectric power or wind power.  These would come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  All would have high ceilings, large windows, soft space rugs, organic cotton linens, etc.  Cabins would come stocked with fresh, healthful, locally made snacks, teas, etc.
 2) Luxury tree houses, some with electricity and some without.  The electricity, would of course, be sustainable, - wind or water.  These would be for the more adventurous traveler, and would have a fun "Swiss Family Robinson" vibe.  There would be rope swings, rope bridges, and spiral staircases. Some treehouses would be  connected for families who vacation together.  Some would be private for couples.
 3) Camping grounds.  For odd people who get off on pretending to be homeless.

There would be an onsite restaurant which serves gourmet cuisine made from local food - salmon, huckleberries, blackberries, clams, deer (venison), elk, etc.   Because this is an all inclusive resort, meals will be included in the price of the stay.   

* Fishing (with local guides)
* clam digging (local guides can give lessons)
* river rafting (local guide can do pick up and drop off)
* PNW cooking classes
* yoga
* pools and hot tubs (powered by wind or water)
* birding
* wildlife survival courses
* foraging classes (local guide can show guests which plants can be eaten, etc. - then they can make a salad or something with the stuff they find)
* ropes courses/zip line through the trees
* hiking (guided)
* movies
* board games
* "kids club" where adults can drop off their children for fun outdoor activities - mudpuddle stomping, etc.
* shooting/target practice
* archery

Winter/Bad Weather Activities
Of course - most of the year the weather is awful, so many of the activities won't be popular all year round.  But that's ok!  During the awful weather, the focus will be on a "retreat" atmosphere, where guests can turn off their phones, and reconnect with themselves.  
* yoga - there would be a spacious yoga studio, composed mostly of windows, to enjoy the nature without having to be outside in it.  Meditation classes also available.  Other fitness classes, if people have interest.
* movies - there would be an indoor movie theater with large, fluffy chairs.  Popcorn and other snacks would be served, of course.
* board games
* indoor saltwater pool and hot tubs. (Perhaps instead of hot tubs, they could use natural hot springs?)
* cooking classes
* arts and crafts (Native American beading and weaving?)
* hiking (hikers tend to be ok with bad weather)
* reading - there would be a large library with a fireplace and cushy chairs.  Tea, coffee and scones available.
* spa - a variety of massages and beauty treatments available - using "locally produced, organic" beauty products, of course.
* I don't freaking know.  You come up with some ideas.

I think people would actually come to a resort like this.  People have a strong desire to be in unspoiled nature, and the Olympic Peninsula could provide that.  And this would provide jobs for a lot of people - guides, teachers, servers, cooks, maids, construction crew, repair people, etc.  This would play to the best qualities in Harborites, and make use of their resources.  In order to appeal to educated, financially "comfortable" people, it would have to be  very ecologically friendly, and the words "sustainable" "organic" and "local" would have to be plastered all over everything.  It may strike Harborities as obnoxious, but it will get the job done and make people come.  Trust me on this.  Build for rich bohemians who want to get away from the city and their stressful jobs,  and they will come.  


Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Highly Scientific Lupus Theory

For obvious reasons, I follow lupus research very closely. I recently read an article (I don't remember which journal it was in, so there will be no citations) showing that instances of lupus increase with growing urbanization. This means that as more and more people move to cities, more and more cases of lupus are diagnosed. He specifically discussed an area in Africa where there was almost no lupus until villagers began to move to large cities in search of better work, at which point, lupus diagnoses grew exponentially.

When I read that, I felt so happy, because it (sort of/kind of) confirms a theory I have held for a while now. I'm aware that the explanation for this could be that when people move to cities they have access to better medical care and are more likely to be diagnosed. I am ignoring that for two reasons. 1) It seems wrong to assume that rural doctors don't know what they're doing, just because they made the bad decision to live in a rural area. 2) It doesn't fit with my hypothesis.

Here is my theory, based on my highly scientific observations.

The human immune system evolves based on where you and your ancestors originated. You develop antibodies and resistances to the diseases which you are most likely to encounter in your part of the world. This is evolutionarily prudent, and makes total sense. So my immune system is probably much different from someone who's ancestry hails from sub-Saharan Africa, and and sub-Saharan African's immune system is probably different from someone from China. These immune system differences play a large part in physical attraction between humans. You are more likely to be attracted to someone who has different immunities than you do, because if you breed, you will make babies with super-immunity. You can actually detect these immune system differences by sense of smell. This isn't my own observation - it's actual science. Look it up.

Anyway, my point is we have different immune systems which develop based largely upon ancestral location.

Now here comes the part where I make scientific observations.

Everyone I know who has lupus has undergone a "big move" at some point before experiencing lupus symptoms. By "big move" I don't mean across town. I mean, to a different state or country. For instance, I moved from Washington to California. In addition, many of us have recent ancestors (parents, grandparents or great-grandparents) who underwent a "big move" as well - typically from a different country.

So maybe the factor isn't urbanization - moving to the city - maybe it's just moving in general.

Perhaps there are certain people - maybe people with a genetic predisposition - who's immune systems just can't handle the moving. Our immune systems are wired to deal with specific pathogens, and moving to a new location with its many new and exotic pathogens causes our immune systems to go haywire. It's like the kid who's psycho sports parent shouts too many instructions at him as he's preparing to hit the baseball, and then the coach is shouting at him too, and then his teammates join in, and the kid can't take it anymore and just throws the bat at the umpire, who is the only person who wasn't yelling at him, but he happened to be close by, so...yeah. He just can't handle all this shit anymore, dammit! And he attacks that which he should not attack.

You're welcome, scientific community.