Saturday, December 14, 2013

China Processing Our Chickens? The Fun Theory. Drug Ads Aimed At Children. George Washington. Quantum Theory.


For "Summary Saturday", or News, Some New, Some Old:

Chicken Processed in China Triggers U.S. Food Safety Protests

A woman picks out chicken wings and legs at a market in Shanghai.

"Food-safety advocates are raising alarms over a decision by the Obama administration to permit chicken processed in China to be sold in the U.S. even after several high-profile incidents of food contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addressing a decade-long trade dispute over farm imports, said it will allow poultry slaughtered in the U.S. and Canada to be processed in China and returned to the U.S. for consumption. Critics are vowing to fight the decision, which they say puts consumers at risk due to lax Chinese factory oversight.

“The Chinese food-safety system has had significant failures in the enforcement of its food-safety laws and regulations,” Senator Charles Schumer wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The issue is the latest flashpoint for U.S. concerns over the safety of goods from China, which since 2007 have included tainted baby formula and evidence of the chemical melamine in pet food and eggs. China in recent months has had an outbreak of avian influenza in its chicken flocks and in March, Shanghai authorities retrieved more than 11,000 dead pigs floating in a river."  More at:


Dr. Oz sounds alarm on dangers of processed chicken from China

Dr. Oz says processed chicken from China can make you sick.

"Dr. Oz said there are serious public-health risks associated with processed chicken from China and said we need to act now to stop these products from coming to the United States.

"This has me outraged," Dr. Oz said on the Dec. 10 episode of his show. "I'm calling on the USDA to shut down this proposal. You have America's health in your hands."

As early as next summer, chicken nuggets and other chicken products (such as canned soup, frozen chicken wings and breaded chicken patties) made from chicken processed in China could be sold in grocery stores around the country."  More at:


The Fun Theory.

"We believe that the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory.

”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here: 


Pharmaceutical Drug Marketing to Our Children:  Bordering on Criminal

image "I can't be the only one noticing. In fact I'm pretty sure I'm not. Drugs are being marketed directly to our children. If you don't believe me, just take a closer look at the commercials plastered about our TV shows at an estimated and alarming 80 an hour (1), many targeting our little ones with images of animals and cartoons. Everywhere in the world, except the United States and New Zealand, direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical drug advertising is prohibited (2). Perhaps it's time to think about why it should be banned here, too.

TV ads are designed to make an impact. They are meant to foster brand familiarity and loyalty. They appeal to our emotions. They often emphasize our shortcomings as fathers, mothers, friends, and spouses. Commercials influence us into thinking that using a particular product is a normal, ordinary, good idea: an everyday thing to do that everybody is doing.

I remember being shocked the first time I saw a pharmaceutical drug ad on TV. I couldn't believe that anyone would take a medication with a list of side effects that seemed so much worse than the disease it supposedly helped treat. Now, it is easy to become numb to them. The sheer volume of drug advertisements we are inundated with on a regular basis practically ensures we accept them as a natural part of life. Now that their presence isn't as shocking, it is easy to pay more attention to the beautiful imagery on the screen rather than the described dangers of the drug. I can rattle off brand name after brand name, and I'm not even paying attention, nor do I have any interest in them.

Until recently. When my baby girl starting pointing at cartoons and animals in pharmaceutical ads, I had had enough.

Profits and Preschoolers

There is no money in selling something nobody believes in. Drug companies want their commercials to be appealing. When I was little, I once asked my dad why they called a certain candy a "Thin Mint." He said because no one would buy them if they called them "Fat Mints."

Drug ads are alluring, especially to young eyes. The commercial for the drug Abilify, a buddy for your antidepressant, has a friendly little cartoon "A" coming to the rescue of a happy little Rx pill and a lovely cartoon woman. Variants of their commercial showcase a imagechildish depression cloud and a rainy cartoon umbrella. A quick glance would have you believing you are watching children's programming meant to teach about the alphabet or the weather.

image The antidepressant Zoloft bouncing cartoon ball can't be described as anything but cute (who doesn't love  a cowlick?) and imageeven more "adult" commercials like those for the inhaler Spiriva have real live elephants capturing the attention of my toddler.

imageHow about those positively mesmerizing Lunesta commercials with the peaceful glowing butterflies? (She loves those.) An entire nation appears to be on drugs as the butterflies, indicated with thousands of illuminated specks, glow across a map of the United States. They capture your attention as a voice softly coos, "Join us." This particular ad doesn't even tell you the name of the drug, and therefore doesn't have to tell you what is wrong with the drug, either. The commercial advises you to seek out their website,, which dons a name rather similar to their "unnamed" product. Of course, they've already made you familiar with their drug in numerous other broadcasts, so they don't even need to tell you what it's for. It's kind of like the Nike Swoosh. We all know what it means.

Do adults really need cartoons to understand what a drug can do? Or is there a more sinister plot afoot?"  More at:


On This Day:

George Washington dies, Dec 14, 1799:

"George Washington, the American revolutionary leader and first president of the United States, dies of acute laryngitis at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old.

The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and in February 1789 Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.

As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent." He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term.

In 1797, he finally began a long-awaited retirement at his estate in Virginia. He died two years later. His friend Henry Lee provided a famous eulogy for the father of the United States: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.""


The birth of quantum theory, Dec 14, 1900:

"German physicist Max Planck publishes his groundbreaking study of the effect of radiation on a "blackbody" substance, and the quantum theory of modern physics is born.

Through physical experiments, Planck demonstrated that energy, in certain situations, can exhibit characteristics of physical matter. According to theories of classical physics, energy is solely a continuous wave-like phenomenon, independent of the characteristics of physical matter. Planck's theory held that radiant energy is made up of particle-like components, known as "quantum." The theory helped to resolve previously unexplained natural phenomena such as the behavior of heat in solids and the nature of light absorption on an atomic level. In 1918, Planck was rewarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on blackbody radiation.

Other scientists, such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie, Erwin Schrodinger, and Paul M. Dirac, advanced Planck's theory and made possible the development of quantum mechanics--a mathematical application of the quantum theory that maintains that energy is both matter and a wave, depending on certain variables. Quantum mechanics thus takes a probabilistic view of nature, sharply contrasting with classical mechanics, in which all precise properties of objects are, in principle, calculable. Today, the combination of quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of relativity is the basis of modern physics."



Ray came over and told me about the truck wreck the night before.  He hadn't been out of the hospital long and still had blood plastered in his hair, had 27 stitches in his scalp, and a big headache.  The driver of the truck had some broken ribs and shoulder.  It could have been a lot worse.

Misty just wanted to go back to sleep, so I didn't take her when I went to pick up Jay.  She had already spent some time wandering around my back yard. The weather has been so cold, that I have to put a coat on her every time she goes out.

After a big struggle, Jay and I took the heavy Heat/Air conditioner out of my window, and packed it back in it's box which I had kept in case of warranty issues.  Then we loaded it in my van.

First, we went to Lowe's so that Jay could have some pigment put in some paint.  One of his neighbors had bought the paint, and thought it was going to be like the picture on the can, but he didn't realize that you have to have pigment added for the desired color.   Then we went to Home Depot and returned the Heat/Air that is absolutely no use to me as it blows cold air in the Heat mode.  They would only give me store credit, which I will use on another type of Heat and Air.

We stopped at the big thrift shop, Angelic, so that Jay could buy his mother one of those shower chairs.  The one that he bought, will have to be adapted in some way, as it was too wide to fit in her tub.

It was 3.00pm when it started to get overcast and rainy, so we got back just in time yesterday.

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