Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Cinnamon Challenge?

Just to give away the ending, i didn't do the cinnamon challenge, partly because i'm not a teenage boy any more, partly because it's no longer as popular and i'd look really out of date, and partly because, as i explain in the video, it's a fourfold overdose of cinnamon.  Anyway, here's today's video (whose framing is better than the thumbnail suggests!):



The point of this is basically that the cinnamon challenge acknowledges that herbs can have a profound effect on the body.  There's also a bit of a panic associated with it.  It is true that it's a risky thing to do, but that's because of the physical effect of any powder - it will irritate the throat, it can be harmful if inhaled and so forth, but the same is true of flour.  In larger doses, cinnamon may have direct adverse toxicological actions and the cinnamon challenge is something like a fourfold overdose compared to the maximum recommended dose of 1.2 grammes of the powder.  From this very fact though, it can be seen how safe herbalism often is:  you wouldn't want to take four times the maximum recommended dose of quite a few over-the-counter drugs for a start.

Cinnamon is also relevant to 'Here Be Dragons'.  In ancient and mediaeval Europe, there was an idea that spices, including cinnamon, came from a vaguely defined area called Arabia Felix, which in contradiction to current climatological beliefs was thought to be a warm, humid place with tropical rainforests.  In this environment lived, among many other species, the cinnamon tree with its cinnamon fruits and in its branches nested the Cinnamologus:

This was a bird whose nest was made from cinnamon and therefore could be fetched by throwing stuff at it.  The cinnamon tree itself was too difficult to climb due to fragile branches.

Clearly i need to insert the Cinnamologus into 'Here Be Dragons'.  As it happens, there's a happy coincidence (Coincidencia Felix?) in 'Here Be Dragons' regarding Arabia Felix.  Here's a map of Eurasia in the 'Here Be Dragons' "Ancient World":


In order to accommodate the legend of Hyperborea as a warm continent in the Arctic regions, i decided to flip the planet round so that the land concerned was still "north" but largely tropical, while mainly preserving the climate of western Europe.  It so happened that doing this makes Arabia a tropical rainforest.  Therefore, a serendipitous coincidence enables Arabia Felix to exist as well as Hyperborea in Ancient World.

A few technical comments on the video.  The framing is somewhat off because i needed to include the plate of cinnamon in the picture.  I am still umming too much but am working on this.  Finally, although i am now using a tripod, i have yet to take the plunge and do much proper video editing.  I now have a version of Linux called AVLinux, which is specialised for multimedia applications, and am trying to pluck up the courage to use it properly.  This will somewhat improve the quality of my videos but i don't want to do the excessive thing which i know i'd be tempted to do and add loads of flashy effects which do too much.  Sadly, AVLinux seems to have been discontinued and this version, which was released last month, will probably be the last.