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April 28, 2009

People with higher measures of cognitive ability are more likely to make good choices in several different types of economic decisions,

via People With Higher IQs Make Wiser Economic Choices, Study Finds.


pandemic flu?!

April 24, 2009

A novel flu virus has struck hundreds of people in Mexico, and at least 18 have died. It has also infected eight people in the US, and appears able to spread readily from human to human. The World Health Organization is calling an emergency meeting to decide whether to declare the possible onset of a flu pandemic.

Ironically, after years of concern about H5N1 bird flu, the new flu causing concern is a pig virus, of a family known as H1N1.

Flu viruses are named after the two main proteins on their surfaces, abbreviated H and N. They are also differentiated by what animal they usually infect. The H in the new virus comes from pigs, but some of its other genes come from bird and human flu viruses, a mixture that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “very unusual”.

On Wednesday, the CDC announced that routine surveillance had uncovered mild flu cases during late March and April, caused by a novel swine flu virus. Those affected, aged 9 to 54, live in and around San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas, near the Mexican border. None was severe. Symptoms were normal for flu, with more nausea and diarrhoea than usual.

via Deadly new flu virus in US and Mexico may go pandemic – health – 24 April 2009 – New Scientist.

how to spot poison

April 24, 2009

Top 20 Produce Exporters to United States

Exporter 2007 Imports

1. Mexico: Tomatoes, watermelons, limes, orange juice, squash
2. Canada: Frozen potatoes, fresh potatoes,
processed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, carrots
3. China: Apple juice, garlic, processed
mushrooms, canned peaches, processed tomatoes.
4. Brazil: Orange juice, apple juice, grapes, onions, watermelon
5. Chile: Grapes, apples, avocados, apple juice, peaches/nectarines
6. Argentina: Apple juice, pears, raisins, garlic, blueberries
7. Guatemala: Cantaloupe, processed mushrooms, frozen broccoli, watermelon, fresh snap beans
8. Costa Rica: Orange juice, cantaloupe, squash, carrot, watermelon
9. Peru: Asparagus, onion, artichokes, tangerines/tangelos, grapes
10. Honduras: Cantaloupes, watermelon, eggplant, orange juice, squash
11. Spain: Tangerines/tangelos, oranges, canned olives, lemons, artichokes
12. Italy: Processed tomatoes, kiwifruit,
oranges, apples, artichokes
13. New Zealand: Apples, kiwifruits, onions, apple juice, pears
14. Ecuador: Processed mushrooms, frozen
broccoli, processed peas, onions, artichokes
15. Turkey: Apple juice, processed tomatoes, processed mushrooms, lemons, canned olives
16. Thailand: Processed tomatoes, canned peaches, canned pears, processed peas, processed mushrooms
17. South Africa: Oranges, raisins, tangerines/tangelos, orange juice, apple juice
18. Belize: Orange juice, processed tomatoes
19. Dominican Republic: Avocados, processed tomatoes, orange juice, bell peppers, tomatoes
20. India: Pickles, processed mushrooms,
processed tomatoes, processed peas, apple juice

What are the Odds It is Imported?
100%: Limes
80%: Frozen Broccoli
75%: Apple juice, asparagus, frozen cauliflower, processed mushrooms, kiwifruit
60%: Artichoke, canned olives, avocado
50%: Grapes, garlic, cucumbers, grape juice
40%: Blueberry, eggplant, squash
33%: Tomato, bell pepper, cantaloupe
25%: Tangerine, honeydew melon, orange juice
20%: Frozen spinach, pear, frozen potato, frozen snap (string) beans
17%: Watermelon, apricot
14: Raspberry
13%: Onion
11%: Raisin, canned peach, lemon
10%: Snap (string) bean, processed pea, peach or nectarine, broccoli
9%: Mushroom
8%: Pickle, canned pear, carrot, cherry, strawberry, processed tomato, potato
6%: Apple, orange
5%: Grapefruit, frozen sweet corn

via La Vida Locavore:: Looking for Food From China? Here’s How to Find It.

words of wisdom

April 24, 2009

any time you have banks that are too big to fail, you are going to have oligarchs

via Simon Johnson says: “Break up the banks” – How the World Works –

Privilege Meme

April 23, 2009

The items that apply to me are BOLD

1. Father went to college

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (I take this to mean socio-economic)

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

9. Were read children’s books by a parent

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 see above

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively ….mostly

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (mostly)

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child

23. You and your family lived in a single family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in a college entrance exam (eg. SAT/ACT) prep course

28. Had your own TV in your room

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

31. Went on a cruise with your family

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (we didn’t have heating bills)

From “What Privileges Do You Have?”, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you please acknowledge their copyright.

via Pieces of Me: Privilege Meme.

another reason why public swimming pools are BAD

April 23, 2009

Although perhaps the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century was the disinfection of water, a recent study now shows that the chemicals used to purify the water we drink and use in swimming pools react with organic material in the water yielding toxic consequences.

University of Illinois geneticist Michael Plewa said that disinfection by-products (DBPs) in water are the unintended consequence of water purification

In addition to drinking water DBPs, Plewa said that swimming pools and hot tubs are DBP reactors.

“The big concern that we have is babies in public pools because young children and especially babies are much more susceptible to DNA damage in agents because their bodies are growing and they’re replicating DNA like crazy,” he said.

Ironically, the DBPs that are regulated by the EPA tend to be some of the least toxic DBPs in Plewa’s study.

via What’s in your Water?: Disinfectants Create Toxic By-products.

10 Air Purifying Plants For Homes & Offices | WebEcoist

April 23, 2009

Even in huge, busy cities, outdoor air is cleaner and preferable to indoor air. Why is that? One reason is that trees and plants are constantly cleaning the air outside. This suggests that the eco-minded homeowner or office dweller should go out and buy some plants – but which ones? With all the hype of “going green”, every plant on the market is being promoted as an air purifier! But not to worry – NASA has conducted an official study on the top 10 air purifying plants, assigning each one a score based on how well they remove chemical vapors, resist insects, and how easy they are to maintain.

via 10 Air Purifying Plants For Homes & Offices | WebEcoist.