What the Swiss Franc Means for the Iraqi Dinar (Spoiler Alert: Nothing)

On January 15, Switzerland shocked the financial world by removing its self-imposed cap on the value of its currency, the Swiss franc. The cap had been put in place in 2011 to prevent the overvaluing of the franc against the Euro, as many foreign investors had been parking their money in Switzerland to avoid getting entangled with Europe’s debt crisis.

The reasons why Switzerland capped the exchange rate of its currency, then removed the cap, are complicated, and good explanations can be found on a variety of financial websites, written by people who understand this stuff much more than I do. But it boils down to bringing the franc back in line with its natural value Continue reading

Elimination Communication: Your Baby is Speaking to You About Poop

As parenting fads go, elimination communication (also known as EC) might be one of the most controversial. It’s almost certainly the messiest. Based on the idea that indigenous cultures and non-nationalized nations rarely use diapers and potty train babies much earlier than Westernized nations, EC involves a parent or caregiver attempting to read a child’s cues that they’re about to go to the bathroom, then take them to the nearest toilet, rather than simply diapering them and changing diapers as needed.

Proponents of EC believe it to be a natural, more hygienic and less wasteful form of potty training that responds to a child’s needs in the moment. Skeptics of EC call it a form of baby housebreaking that actually ignores a child’s needs and requires constant attention from parents. Unsurprisingly, it’s a frequent topic of heated debate in the so-called “mommy wars” and generates hundreds of comments from those both for and against the practice.

So does EC actually work? Is this something parents should be flocking to or running away from? Continue reading

The Top Conspiracy Theories of 2014

PLEASE NOTE: This list is based on a forthcoming piece I’ve written for Ranker.com, where I’ve been developing content for the past several months. When it comes to conspiracies, there’s no limit to what can be written.

2014 brought conspiracies on top of plots on top of evil cabals tossing out false flag distractions. Whether it was plane crashes, murders, diseases or general nonsense, if you think someone somewhere was plotting to destroy you, you probably found a conspiracy theory to go along with your tinfoil ravings.

Here are ten of the best (but by no means ALL) conspiracy theories of 2014.

Read on… if “they” let you. Continue reading

Do You Need Organic Baby Formula?

When it comes to feeding our babies, it’s natural to only want the best. And while pediatric nutrition experts generally agree that “the best” for babies is breastfeeding, there are innumerable mothers who, for whatever reason, have to rely on other methods. This is where formula comes in. While breastfeeding has been making a major comeback in pediatrics and culture over the last few decades, formula continues to serve as either an alternative food source or a supplement.

baby-formula

Few issues have caused more pitched battles in the “mommy wars” than that of breastfeeding vs. formula. It’s a topic fraught with landmines and traps, as personal anecdotes butt heads with each other and everyone throws their two cents in about what worked for their baby, what they think you should do and what they’d never, ever do. Obviously, it’s an intensely personal and individualized thing to talk about. But within that war is a smaller skirmish, and one that’s primarily fought in the wealthy neighborhoods of big cities: organic formula vs. regular.

Does a baby who needs formula need organic formula? Is it better? Why is it better? And is there even a difference? Continue reading

The Ebola Outbreak Is Not That Bad

It’s hard to say anything new about the Ebola pandemic, for a few reasons. First, it’s still happening, so anything I write is liable to be out of date sooner rather than later. Another is that it’s hard to find a balance between “OMG we’re all gonna die!!!!” and “we’ve got nothing to worry about.” Neither of those happen to be true, but both are the narrative being pushed by various corners of the media.

A man protests in front of the White House (Reuters)

A man protests in front of the White House (Reuters)

However, there are some things that aren’t disputable about Ebola. Facts are facts, and despite everyone’s different flavor of panic, race-bating, quackery, conspiracy theory and nonsense, the facts don’t change.

The facts are that the Ebola pandemic isn’t really that bad.

Oh, it’s bad in West Africa. But is it worthy of the panic it’s causing in the US? Not a chance. Continue reading