Saturday, June 26


OK, so there's a preliminary test that says there could be another BSE case somewhere in the USA. I'm not going to go crazy about this or anything, because it's certainly very possible it'll wind up being a false positive. What is beyond dispute, however. is that this came out, once again, on a Friday, giving the USDA the maximum lead time to spin this before anyone really gets wind of it. How many Friday afternoon/evening announcements will there be before someone other than me publicly calls the USDA on it?

Friday, June 25


Ayinde Howell and family run the Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop, and got a nod in the Seattle Times for all the A-list celebs that stop by for vegan victuals. The story name-checks Erykah Badu, but goes on to show how the lifestyle may be gaining ground among African-Americans as more hip-hop giants like Russell Simmons, Common, and Outkast's Andre 3000 make their preferences clear to the youth of America. Also, I didn't even know there was a web site called Black Vegetarians - did you?

Thursday, June 24


I could've added this to the last post, but it needs its own banner headline. The indefatiguable Dr. Michael Greger has a new site up that demolishes the supposed "science" of gorging yourself on fat and protein as a "healthy" and/or "long-term" weight-loss strategy, and I gotta say, I think the name of it is a real winner: ATKINS FACTS. Unlike this site, though, everything he says is footnoted for super-duper factuality.

Wednesday, June 23


A new coalition of health experts - the Partnership for Essential Nutrition - comprising the Alliance for Aging Research, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Obesity Association among others, has released a broadside slam against the trend of high-protein, low-carb diets. The group says these diets "are leading Americans to poor health and spawning a rip-off industry of 'carb-friendly' products."
The group asserts that credulous dieters are missing out on "healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains," and Jeffrey Prince of the AICR says "low-carb diets that advocate piling on the animal protein and fat are increasing the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases." Dr. Atkins would be spinning in his grave if he weren't so bloated, so instead his representatives at Atkins Nutritionals are here, a few paragraphs in, spinning on his behalf.

Tuesday, June 22


A new study (from last week, actually, but I was busy, remember?) in the journal Science has found that dogs understand human language better than expected, knocking out another brick in the wall between us and "dumb animals." A German border collie named Rico has learned at least 200 words. In a surprising test, Rico, 9 years old, was given the names of 40 toys - once - and correctly retrieved 37 out of 40 toys by name. That's probably as well as, if not better than, most of us could do hearing German words for the first time.

Monday, June 21


This Slate article isn't very remarkable in and of itself, but it's remarkable that they had it on the Slate front page all day today. While it glosses over a lot of important stuff (and seems somewhat reminiscent of a more hard-hitting op-ed in another paper a couple weeks back), it does have some good, fresh stuff. I was unaware that in the 1920s the National Dairy Council flatly stated that, "The people who have achieved, who have become large, strong, vigorous people, who have reduced their infant mortality, who have the best trades in the world, who have an appreciation for art, literature and music, who are progressive in science and every activity of the human intellect are the people who have used liberal amounts of milk and its products." Or that a 1933 (ominous year) history of New York agriculture asserted, "A casual look at the races of people seems to show that those using much milk are the strongest physically and mentally, and the most enduring peoples of the world. Of all races, the Aryans seem have been the heaviest drinkers of milk and the greatest users of butter and cheese, a fact that may in part account for the quick and high development of this division of human beings." The white stuff, indeed.

UPDATE 6/23: As if milk's sordid history isn't bad enough, it now comes packed with toxic rocket fuel, at least in California. The Environmental Working Group's tests, conducted by researchers at Texas Tech University, found perchlorate in 31 of 32 samples from milk purchased at grocery stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The EWG had to do a FOIA request to get the state Department of Agriculture to release data showing even more of the chemical in milk than they had already discovered.