Portland Coroner: “buycott” app user starved to death


The Portland, Oregon coroner’s office has determined that a 26- year old local Portland man starved to death after relying on his “‘buycott” app to only buy food that fit in with his political and moral worldview.

Friends of the deceased,  known as “Rainbow Bob,” said no matter what product he scanned on his iPhone app, there was something that offended his moral senses. Asked why Bob had an iPhone considering the controversy over Apple using slave labor to produce  iPhones, his friends stared blankly.

His family said the increasingly wasting away Bob became despondent at not being able to buy any food that fit in with his principles.  There was always something that some company did that offended him. In a last-ditch attempt to eat, he decided to go local. However, when he used his app he found out local farmers did things that offended him as well.

One farmer smoked cigarettes.  Another farmer, an organic one,  left the lights on when he wasn’t in the room

In lieu of flowers his, family asked that donations be made to the “Don’t Be a Dumbass Fund”

Is Himalayan “non-gmo” pink salt radioactive?


Now this is rich. If there was any doubt as to why we think the anti-gmo crowd is head shakingly stupid, here is a classic example. A company called Himalania is selling Himalayan Pink Salt as a non-gmo certified product. That’s right, non-gmo salt.  Kudos to Shea Gunther for his mnn.com column, Facepalm of the week: Non-GMO salt!?  for bringing it to our attention.

non-gmo-rock-salt_sm

The twittersphere was all giggly at this nonsense and mad scientist Kevin Folta weighed in on his Illumination blog,

Here’s how we know that science is dead in the anti-GMO movement.  The Non-GMO Project and their crack scientific team has verified, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that salt is not a transgenic plant.

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad and so true. On their website, Himalania touts the salt as being mineral rich, containing such helpful minerals as magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. They go on to say the salt is pure and hasn’t been “exposed to any modern chemicals, toxins or radiation sources.”

Sounds great? Well, what else does it contain? A visit to the site saltnews.com has a chemical breakdown of all  the natural elements in this purest of pure salts. Among those are fluoride, arsenic, lead, plutonium, uranium, and polonium.

Huh. Some of those things sound kind of radioactive, especially that polonium one. Wasn’t that what assassins used to kill this guy, Viktor Yushchenko?

uke

Or maybe he wasn’t assassinated but was eating Himalayan Pink Salt?

And it has fluoride? Isn’t there some hippie movement to tale fluoride out of our water supplies?

I noticed the list included lead, which has been shown to affect IQ. Maybe all these natural folks consuming pink salt may have had their IQ compromised by the lead in the salt?

No, of course not. These trace amounts aren’t harmful to humans. As they say, the dose makes the poison. Imagine if any of the elements were in gmo foods?  The frightened anti-gmo villagers would be jumping and hollering and pointing… “Look! Look! Poisons!”

Oh and this is choice. The company wrote in the comment section on Gunther’s piece,

… we are demonstrating our support for this meaningful cause, and advocating that we do care about our consumer’s health concerns. Not all consumers are as educated on this topic, and for some it is primordial and comforting to have the NON GMO Verified seal on the products they intend to purchase.

Allow me to translate. “Our customers are idiots.” How in God’s name is placing a non-gmo label on a product that can’t be gmo be educating people?

“…we do care about our consumer’s health concerns.”

Really? Then how about a label that warns people who are 51 years of age or older, are African American, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease to limit their salt intake? (source CDC.)

Ah, here it is, “We are committed to clean labeling and standing behind the Himalania brand, as being a part of the NON-GMO Verified eco-system is more than just adding a 1” x 1.5” logo on our products – It is a state of mind…”

A state of mind? There you have it. Their stance is not based on science, but a state of mind. 

But maybe we should err on the side of caution. After all, the FDA has been bought off by big business, so those safe levels may be all wrong and could very well be harmful. That’s why Himalayan Pink Salt should be not only labeled non-gmo, it should have another label, prominently displayed on the  front of the package saying. “This product may be radioactive.” 

After SCOTUS victory, Monsanto calls it quits


Hours after their victory in the Supreme Court, seed and chemical giant Monsanto filed for bankruptcy citing the enormous cost of “buying everybody off.”

At a hastily called press conference, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant told assembled reporters the company never really thought through their “buying everybody off, scheme .”

“I mean, do you know how many people are in the Nation Academy of Sciences? Something like 2,000. So, a few million to a scientific body here and a few million to every independent scientist in the world there, and it begins to add up.” That’s not even including  having to pay those thousands of keyboard jockeys who defend us on internet comment boards. 

The final straws were the members of the Supreme Court. “Those bastards didn’t come cheap,” Grant sighed.

Anti-gmo activists were left slack jawed. “We just lost our boogeyman,” one activist lamented. “It’s not fair.”

Asked what was next for the bankrupt Monsanto, Grant explained that it was too early to tell, but excitedly suggested they were thinking of getting into the organic farming business.  “Man, do you know what a cash cow that racket is? I was in Whole Foods the other day and they get like 4 bucks for a freakin’ tomato. Sweet. We’ve gotta get in on that action.”

Hours after the announcement, Organic Consumer’s Association honcho Ronnie Cummins and alt-health freak Mike Adams had to be talked down off a Maharishi University rooftop after Jeffrey Smith pleaded with them saying, “Cmon guys. We can still make stuff up about gmos.”

In a related story, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she planned to retire from the Court and buy the Bronx.

Got Typhoid? The raw milk debate.


In the early 1900’s, New York State  was ravaged by a typhoid epidemic.  One of the main culprits in spreading the disease was contaminated raw milk. (click on image to enlarge)

nytrawmilk

New York Times 12/08/07

A year earlier in NYC

milktyphoid

New York Times 02/11/06

That second article notes that  out the 1,322 cases in the City, 51% of all typhoid cases were traced to consumption of raw milk.  Due to the epidemic, New York State implemented mandatory pasteurization.

Fast forward to the present. Communities across the country have been enacting local laws under the name of food sovereignty. What’s food sovereignty, besides a hard word to spell?

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.  (The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty)

Apparently, in the United States this translates to mean freedom from state and federal food safety laws, particularly regarding milk and cheese.  There is a movement to exempt milk and cheeses from pasteurization laws, which apparently is an evil tool that only benefits corporations. Yes, these brainiacs want to eat food that is exempt from safety rules.

While these same advocates holler about the safety of gmos, from which not one  illness has ever been found, they champion foods that are known to cause illness and even death…. because they’re natural. These dumbasses truly believe there is no health danger. That is seriously dumbass.

Wait,  did I say dumbass? We’re starting to wade into imbecile territory now.  This is what the Campaign for Real Milk (CFRM) , Missouri has to say

Furthermore, in many children not fortunate enough to have started life on raw milk, raw milk given later in childhood has cured autism, behavior problems, frequent infections, deafness, asthma and allergies and other serious health conditions.

But wait, there’s more

 Raw milk is actually the safest food around (my emphasis) with so much consumer oversight and also with an extremely efficient built-in anti-pathogen mechanism!

In 2012, Missouri raw milk producer,  MooGrass Farms was cited as one of the sources of an  E. coli outbreak which sickened nine people in Missouri. They are listed as one of the raw milk purveyors on the CFRM website.

One raw milk fetishist, Kim Nash quoted in the above link said, “Basically any approach that’s not hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical and big medicine is being attacked.”

According the New York State Department of  Health, since 1993 “over  70 outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk have been reported nationwide, affecting over 1,500 people and causing 185 hospitalizations and 2 deaths.”  There is a proviso regarding those statistics. There is very strong evidence the New York State Department of Health is in the udders of Big Milk.

In 2012, a multi-state campylobacter outbreak was traced to a Pennsylvania farm that sold unpasteurized milk. The contamination resulted in 148 illnesses.

Elsewhere in 2012:

Listeria Found in Pennsylvania Stump Acres Farm Raw Milk

2013:

Salmonella Outbreak Launches Search For Rogue Cheesemaker

Raw Milk May Have Sickened Three in Wisconsin with E. coli

The above are just a few samples of food  illnesses linked to raw milk and cheese. In the last year, hundreds have been sickened.

Approximately 29 states have laws allowing the sales of raw milk or raw milk products.  But due to the amount of illnesses caused by these products, some states that don’t allow the sales seem to content to keep it that way.

Last month, Indiana legislators allowed two raw milk bills to die without a vote, citing  an Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) report  commissioned by the General Assembly. The report cited the dangers inherent in raw milk but ultimately wrote that it was more of a political decision. 

Even with the known risks associated with consuming unpasteurized milk, some consumers are demanding legal access to raw milk. BOAH cannot quantify this demand.

BOAH believes that pasteurization is a practice that is highly effective in reducing the risk of human illness from pathogens in raw milk. Distributing raw milk for human consumption will increase the risk that someone will become ill from consuming raw milk. But the decision to authorize or not the sale of unpasteurized milk to consumers is ultimately a political decision.

It was nice to see a legislature defer to the experts to decide an issue, unlike what’s been happening with the gmo issue. Although, the fact they let it die and didn’t have a vote speaks volumes. More than likely they didn’t want to have to deal with the shrill noise that would have emanated from the raw milk crowd.

So, while the chance of another typhoid epidemic is slim, the danger of illness due to raw milk still exists.

The Turtles: Can’t You Hear the Cows

Girl Scouts tell anti-gmo activists to buzz off


No comment. From the Girl Scout FAQ:

“Our bakers determine whether to use genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors. There are some conventional ingredients, such as sugar, which are most prominently available in the United States as GMO. Our bakers are industry experts and have brought their experience and knowledge to the forefront on this topic, and they actively follow the science. For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.

It’s important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.”

http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/faq.asp

Ancient Sumerians vs. Modern Greens


One of the mantras of Greens and the Organics is how we have to work in harmony with nature instead of against it.  They also decry the idea of food as a commodity and industrial agriculture.  They would have hated the ancient Sumerians.

The Sumerians invented agriculture around 4,000 B.C.  They mono-cropped. They diverted water needed for  irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by means of dams, dykes and canals.  They became, as we learned in school,  the Fertile Crescent.  They had a surplus of food.

The Sumerians practiced what modern day Greens despise,  industrial agriculture.  With this taming of nature, came an abundance of food which the Sumerians used in trade. Yes, they used food as a commodity.

Farmland was considered the private property of the farmer. If a farmer’s crop didn’t yield enough, he might borrow food and seed from a neighbor with the hope that the next year’s yield would be enough that he could pay his neighbor back. If that didn’t happen, the debtor farmer could lose his land to his lender or work for him as a sharecropper.

The large scale farming that led to the surplus of food meant that not everyone had to farm. This allowed time for people to develop new interests and invent new things, like the first written language and the  wheel.  

The modern day Organic/Green, (MGO) mindset is one that is at odds which the Sumerian culture. While the  Sumerians pursued modernization and progress, the MGOs want a return to some imaginary past, when nature was pristine. Nature hasn’t been pristine since humans first climbed from the slime.   They want everyone to farm. They want civilization to remain in a labor intensive pursuit.

With the advent of “modern” farming in the late 1800s to the present,  farmers have eagerly adopted new technology and methods to make their back breaking lives easier and enjoy more of the monetary fruits of their labor.  I’d be willing to bet dollars-to-doughnuts if you took a farmer from the late 1800s and brought him into the present, he would be aghast at the organic movement.  If he saw how organic farmers eschewed modern agricultural technology he couldn’t even have dreamed of in his day, he would think they were nuts.

Hell, even though they still farm by hand, the Amish use GMOs.

Ironically the loss of productivity they have due to farming entirely by hand is compensated for by the increased yield of the crop. The use of GM also allows them to not use pesticides, which they see advantageous. ”I myself like biotechnology,” said Amish farmer Daniel Dienner, “I feel it’s what the farmers will be using in the future.”

When you get “technolapped” by the Amish, as a friend on Twitter mused, it may be time to re-think your strategy.

Look at the history of farming. As modern farming started ramping up in the 1890s  it took 35-40 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn.   By the 1980s it took 2-3/4 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels.

I looked for the same statistics for organic, but they were hard to come by. I did come across this article Economics of Organic Production.  The article admits that labor costs are higher, and yields lower, but those things are offset by the price commanded by the crops.

The study was done by an organization called SARE, Sutainable Agriculture Research & Education. They make a claim, which I doubt, that claims organic farming’s yields can be 90-95% of conventional farming.  An analysis of  USDA statistics by plant pathologist Steve Savage belies this claim. Anyway, the article is interesting since it looks strictly at the economics of organic farming.  Their conclusion is that although organic farming crop yields are lower than conventional, that deficit is made up in the prices organic crops command.

Yup. There it is. Organic agriculture may produce less, but the profits make up for it. So much for feeding the world.

So, back to the Sumerians.  What happened?  Until recently, the common thought was that it was their industrial agriculture methods that sealed their doom; that it created all kinds of bad environmental problems. It wasn’t. It was a drought; a drought that lasted 200 years.

Several geological records point to a long period of drier weather in the Middle East around 4,200 years ago, Konfirst said. The Red Sea and the Dead Sea had increased evaporation; water levels dropped at Lake Van in Turkey, and cores from marine sediments around that period indicate increased dust in the environment.

http://www.livescience.com/25221-drought-killed-sumerian-language.html

If the green/organic crowd had been in charge back then, we’d still be drawing pictures instead of having a written language. Oh, and no cars or the favorite of the Greens, bicycles, because there wouldn’t have been enough free time to invent the wheel.