Posted by on 29 January 2009 at 3:07 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 292009
  • Jason Sheehan, the food critic of the Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly newspaper, savages PETA’s call to rename fish to prevent people from eating them. The title says it all: PETA in the news again: “Sea Kittens” campaign making me hungry. (Via Ari Armstrong.)
  • President Bush’s Cheese Wars: In retaliation for the EU banning the US’s hormone-treated beef, President Bush slapped a 100 percent tariff on a variety of EU goods — and a 300 percent tariff on roquefort cheese. What ever happened to global free trade? Yes, I know, it’s hiding in the basement with other supposedly outmoded concepts like “limited government” and “fiscal responsibility.” Thanks, George.

    For the record, although I prefer not to consume it, people should be able to buy and sell beef from cows treated with hormones freely. The law should only ban fraud, such as the labeling of hormone-treated beef as hormone-free. Unfortunately, that can be a genuine problem.

  • Your doctor’s fine-looking white coat and your nurse’s scrubs may be a serious health menace.
  • Too strange: Knitters Become Graffiti Artists. (Via Rory Hodgson.)


 Posted by on 21 January 2009 at 2:47 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 212009
  • Alex Epstein’s radio interview on Atlas Shrugged and the financial crisis.
  • StrategyPage on torture. Interesting.
  • Wow. Circuit City is going out of business.
  • Eric Daniels’ OCON 2008 course on Freedom of Speech in American History and Lin Zinser’s Intellectual Activism: A Case Study in Health-Care Activism are now available from the Ayn Rand Bookstore.
  • Heh: Flowchart of Heavy Metal Band Names.


 Posted by on 16 January 2009 at 10:10 am  Link-O-Rama
Jan 162009
  • Could you imagine spending 13 years in jail without any kind of trial or criminal charges because some judge thinks you have money hidden away somewhere in a divorce proceeding? Probably not — but that’s what has happened to H. Beatty Chadwick, a former Philadelphia-area lawyer, thanks to one judge’s application of the “murky legal concept” of civil contempt.
  • Kendall blogs about distortions due to subsidies and protectionism in domestic corn production. It begins:
    When discussing government intervention in the economy, many times we see industries where government’s role is primarily one of suppression of an industry. That is, regulation, taxation, and trade restrictions serve to depress an entire industry. This is true in my industry, the chemical industry. It is also true in the pharmaceutical industry. While there may be differences in impact from firm to firm, generally all firms suffer from government intervention, and generally all firms can be viewed in some ways as victims of government intervention.

    But what happens in an industry when government subsidizes a particular set of players at the expense of another? Are all firms victims? No, The picture it turns out is very different.

    Go read the whole thing!

  • The religious want America to be more like China. After all, at least China bans porn. (Oh, that pesky notion of freedom of speech!)
  • Twincredibles: A mixed-raced couple has two sets of mismatched twins. Cool! (Via John Enright)
  • Ayn Rand for Treasury Secretary on Yahoo Finance. Ayn Rand’s “fix” for today’s economic crisis would involve much more than abolishing the income tax. It would entail a full return to laissez-faire capitalism. (Via Adam Buker.)


 Posted by on 13 January 2009 at 12:43 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 132009
  • HAHAHA! This review of The Secret is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. [Update: Link updated because Amazon must have removed it.]
  • Keith Lockitch’s recent Washington Times op-ed Environmental Angst is really, really excellent. It’s one you might want to pass around to friends.
  • Richard Watts published a good letter to the editor in the Rocky Mountain News in defense of capitalism. Great job, Richard!
  • Rational Jenn has a fascinating (and long) post on the method of positive discipline she uses with her kids. I like it! [Update: She just posted on Positive Discipline And Rational Self-Interest. I'm still liking it!]

Food Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 10 January 2009 at 7:18 am  Food, Link-O-Rama
Jan 102009
  • Modern Forager’s Best Blogging from 2008: You might want to check out Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Weight Gain and What Sweetener Should You Choose? Sugar? Honey? Agave Nectar?.
  • Dr. Eades recently pointed someone interested in the health effects of salt to The (Political) Science of Salt, a lengthy 1998 article by Gary Taubes. It’s well worth reading — particularly if you think that healthy eating for a normal person requires any kind of salt deprivation.
  • Is Being Healthy A Vain Pursuit?: Scott Kustes of Modern Forager got a rash of comments on this post. I didn’t have time to add one, but I do think that the real question is moral, to wit: is it permissible to spend your own time, money, and energy pursuing the joys and pleasures your own life, rather than catering to others? Obviously, by any rational standard, the answer is YES.
  • Worried About Antibiotics In Your Beef? Vegetables May Be No Better: Scientific American reports that “new studies show vegetables like lettuce and potatoes–even organic ones–carry antibiotics.” Here’s the opening paragraphs of the article:
    For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places: Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota.

    Today, close to 70 percent of all antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are routinely fed to cattle, pigs and poultry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Although this practice sustains a growing demand for meat, it also generates public health fears associated with the expanding presence of antibiotics in the food chain.

    People have long been exposed to antibiotics in meat and milk. Now, the new research shows that they also may be ingesting them from vegetables, perhaps even ones grown on organic farms.

    The Minnesota researchers planted corn, green onion and cabbage in manure-treated soil in 2005 to evaluate the environmental impacts of feeding antibiotics to livestock. Six weeks later, the crops were analyzed and found to absorb chlortetracycline, a drug widely used to treat diseases in livestock. In another study two years later, corn, lettuce and potato were planted in soil treated with liquid hog manure. They, too, accumulated concentrations of an antibiotic, named Sulfamethazine, also commonly used in livestock. As the amount of antibiotics in the soil increased, so too did the levels taken up by the corn, potatoes and other plants.

    “Around 90 percent of these drugs that are administered to animals end up being excreted either as urine or manure,” said Holly Dolliver, a member of the Minnesota research team and now a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. “A vast majority of that manure is then used as an important input for 9.2 million hectares of (U.S.) agricultural land.” Manure, widely used as a substitute for chemical fertilizer, adds nutrients that help plants grow. It is often used in organic farming.

    The scientists found that although their crops were only propagated in greenhouses for six weeks–far less than a normal growing season–antibiotics were absorbed readily into their leaves. If grown for a full season, drugs most likely would find their way into parts of plants that humans eat, said Dolliver.

    Less than 0.1 percent of antibiotics applied to soil were absorbed into the corn, lettuce and other plants. Though a tiny amount, health implications for people consuming such small, cumulative doses are largely unknown.

    Read the rest here. At some point, I’ll blog about why I avoid meat from animals treated with hormones and antibiotics. Regarding this story, I’ll just say that I don’t want to be ingesting antibiotics without some specific medical reason for doing so — not even in small doses.


 Posted by on 8 January 2009 at 12:54 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 082009
  • Dog shoplifts a rawhide bone for himself. Animals just have no respect for the law today.
  • Baby elephant has too much fun in the snow. Beware: it’s unbearably cute!
  • McGuyver Multitool. I could have used one of these to get me out of a jam the other day.
  • Interesting changes afoot for the iTunes Store: DRM-free downloads, plus three price points of $.69, $.99, and $1.29 for songs.

Health Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 3 January 2009 at 11:13 am  Health, Link-O-Rama
Jan 032009
  • Butter, Margarine and Heart Disease: Stephan compares butter and margarine consumption with rates of heart disease mortality for the last 100 years.

    If I recall correctly, my family switched to margarine for a few years in the late 1980s, then we returned to butter after some news about problems with margarine. After that, I was skeptical that butter is terribly damaging, but I tried to use it in moderation. I certainly wasn’t willing to endure the nasty fake taste of any of the supposedly healthier alternatives! However, now I’m lavish with butter, particularly with my vitamin-rich homemade raw milk butter. Life is so much better with lots of butter!

  • Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D: Wow, could widespread Vitamin D deficiency cause our winter susceptibility to influenza? Free the Animal thinks so — and for good reason. He links to and quotes from this fascinating report from a physician; it’s the backstory of an academic paper. I very strongly recommend it. Also, FTA’s earlier post on Vitamin D and pregnancy is well worth reading.
  • Regarding Vitamin D, the ever-useful Heart Scan Doc alerts us to a new $65 Vitamin D home test available from ZRT Laboratory and the Vitamin D Council. He also has a great post on the required doses of Vitamin D. He writes:
    Though needs vary widely, the majority of men require 6000 units per day, women 5000 units per day. Only then do most men and women achieve what I’d define as desirable: 60-70 ng/ml 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood level.

    I base this target level by extrapolating from several simple observations:

    –In epidemiologic studies, a blood level of 52 ng/ml seems to be an eerily consistent value: >52 ng/ml and cancer of the colon, breast, and prostate become far less common; <52 ng/ml and cancers are far more likely. I don't know about you, but I'd like to have a little larger margin of safety than just achieving 52.1 ng/ml.

    –Young people (not older people >40 years old, who have lost most of the capacity to activate vitamin D in the skin) who obtain several days to weeks of tropical sun typically have 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood levels of 80-100 ng/ml without adverse effect.

    More recently, having achieved this target blood level in many people, I can tell you confidently that achieving this blood level of vitamin D achieves:

    –Virtual elimination of “winter blues” and seasonal affective disorder in the great majority
    –Dramatic increases in HDL cholesterol (though full effect can require a year to develop)
    –Reduction in triglycerides
    –Modest reduction in blood pressure
    –Dramatic reduction in c-reactive protein (far greater than achieved with Crestor, JUPITER trial or no)
    –Increased bone density (improved osteoporosis/osteopenia)
    –Halting or reversal of aortic valve disease

    Wow. As soon as I can reasonably manage, I’ll have Paul’s and my Vitamin D levels tested. I’ll report back the results, of course!


 Posted by on 29 December 2008 at 2:25 pm  Link-O-Rama
Dec 292008
  • Questions from 2008 Not Answered in Slate’s Explainer column. Here’s a good questions:
    I live in Washington, D.C., and we have very long escalators coming out of the Metro. If I grabbed the handrail when I first step onto the escalator and did not let go until I was at the top, my body would be almost prostrate across the steps. As I go higher on the escalator, I have to readjust the hand that is grabbing the rubber handrail. Why can’t the companies that make escalators sync the steps and the handrails so that they go the same speed?

    I suspect that the rail is traveling a longer distance than the steps yet moved with the same motor, so it must go faster. Here’s a funny one:

    Can men eat the Activia yogurt that is advertised exclusively to the modern woman in khakis? Will it have the same internal regulatory effects on the male system that are promised for the female bowels? If not, why not?

    In fact, the yogurt only works for women who wear khakis at least four days per week. (Actually, Activa is gross. They add cornstarch to it, presumably to make it less runny. Personally, I get all kinds of lovely natural bacterial cultures from my raw milk and raw milk yogurt.) And, I can’t resist this gem:

    How long can humans live when they are caught on fire? For example, when a car crashes and explodes turns into a gulf of flames, but humans are alive.

    Uh, dude, why do you need to know? Just FYI, it’s a bad idea to set yourself or your fellow fraternity brothers on fire. (Via The Agitator.)

  • TUAW reviewed a cute little Christmas shopping app from Target. (Too late for to be useful now, I know.) How was life possible before third party iPhone apps?!? And why won’t my tasks sync yet?!?
  • Does anyone else find it ironic that Britney Spears’ two new singles contain lyrics rather strange for a young woman in conservatorship under her father due to mental problems? Womanizer includes the lines, “You say I’m crazy / I got your crazy.” Uh, yeah. Circus has “I’m like the ringleader / I call the shots.” Uh, I don’t think so. Actually, I like both songs for the fluffy pop that they are, and I do hope to see more healthy, sane, and half-naked Britney shaking her rear for our enjoyment. Still, I’m amused.

Food Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 20 December 2008 at 7:29 am  Food, Health, Link-O-Rama
Dec 202008

Because I don’t have time to write up my planned post on barefoot running (!!), I’m going to dump some links on you from my overflowing “Blog Me – Food” bookmarks folder. It’s good stuff, so enjoy!

  • I recently discovered Lorette C. Luzajic, a food writer for Gremolata, via a two part interview on Modern Forager: Part I and Part 2. I very much liked the interview — and the two articles that I read:
    • Spilling The Beans: The Trouble with Soy. If you eat tofu — or processed foods of any kind, most of which contain soy — you might want to think twice about this supposed health food.

    • I’m A Natural Born Killer. Is vegetarianism the healthy lifestyle that most of us just don’t have the willpower to adopt? Or is it just modern asceticism slathered in propaganda?

    Also, her blog looks interesting, although not often updated.

  • Stephan has been kicking ass and taking names, yet again. Go check out his latest offerings. You’ll never look at your french fries the same again — and not because of the carb-heavy potatoes.
  • “Eat a Balanced Diet” and Other Useless Advice by Johnny Bowden. He nails the problem with advice like “eat a balanced diet,” “everything in moderation, “eat less junk food,” and even “eat more fruits and vegetables.” He writes:
    What is a balanced diet? What elements should be balanced? Everything in moderation? Does that include sugar for sugar addicts, or alcohol for alcoholics? What is junk food? Is it synonomous with fast food? All fast food, or just some of it? You mean “slow food” can’t be junk? And which fruits and vegetables should we eat “more of?” How much more? Are they all created equal? Are fruits and vegetables even equivalent on the nutritional pantheon?

    He then offers some basic (and good) answers to those questions.

  • Inside the Story: Gary Taubes: What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie? An interesting interview with Gary Taubes about his 2002 NY Times article, What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?. Here’s a tidbit:
    HENRY: Did the reaction to your NYT Magazine story surprise you?

    TAUBES: Yes. Even though I knew the article would be the most controversial article the Times Magazine ran all year, it still shocked me. More than anything, it was the viciousness of some of the responses. One of my good friends in the science journalism business–someone who had written a book on obesity and concluded, as the establishment insists, that the culprits are over-consumption of fatty diets and inactivity–went from considering me one of the four or five best science writers in the country to accusing me of having had a brain transplant and making up the story to get a big book deal.

    I’m not surprised.

  • The Great Divide. A surprisingly good Washington Post article on the Weston A. Price Foundation.


 Posted by on 19 December 2008 at 3:04 pm  Link-O-Rama
Dec 192008
  • Terrorism That’s Personal by Nicholas Kristof. An NY Times op-ed that you’ll likely never forget.
  • What They Hate About Mumbai by Suketu Mehta. Another beautiful and poignant piece from the NY Times.
  • Bad Sex in Fiction Prize Awarded for 2008: The winner includes this gem of a line:
    I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, Wagnerian crescendo overtakes me.

    Maybe it’s just me, but gripping someone’s ears during sex sounds like a prelude to a visit to the emergency room. (Via The Hoondat Report.)

  • Wonder Woman and the Phallic Menace. (What can I say?!?)
  • Ranking Countries by Promiscuity. The US isn’t very highly ranked, despite being The Great Satan.
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