I compiled this video from the weeklies posted to the Drought Monitor site, USDA. This is serious stuff if you like to eat; pretty serious for anything that likes to eat, plants wanting to grow…
Also see it at YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In7x4bjq6-0
Consumer Health Digest #12-46
December 27, 2012
Current # of subscribers: 10,994
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
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Herbalife attacked as “pyramid scheme”
Billionaire hedge fund investor Bill Ackman has mounted an attack on Herbalife that he apparently hopes will drive it out of business. The attack was launched with a 3-1/2 hour presentation at the Sohn Conference Special Event on December 20th. During his presentation, Ackman noted:
**Herbalife recruits unwitting “distributors” with the promise they can achieve lofty incomes. However, fewer than 1 in 1,000 do so.
**Herbalife’s products are overpriced but sell because they are bundled with a perceived business opportunity. However, the vast majority of new distributors make nothing.
**Herbalife is a pyramid scheme because its participants obtain their monetary benefits primarily from recruitment rather than the sale of goods to consumers. Continue reading
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Monologue: Professor Richard Dawkins Speaks at Fair Hills Kindergarten Regarding Santa Claus, December 2, 2006.
Short Imagined Monologues
Professor Richard Dawkins Speaks at Fair Hills Kindergarten Regarding Santa Claus, December 2, 2006.
BY Mike Jones
From an early point in your infancy, you people have been done a great injustice. Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas—the names may differ from country to country, but the idea always remains a constant. No doubt you’ve drawn pictures of him, watched films depicting him, sung songs about him. A benevolent jolly fellow whose sole purpose is to monitor your behavior year-round by inexplicable means only to separate children into two drastically oversimplified groups: naughty or nice. With the aid of elfin employees and flying reindeer, this Good Samaritan delivers gifts to all the nice children of the world in a single evening. You’ll know him by his long white beard and belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly, they say. On the contrary, you’ll know him as nonsense, because that’s precisely what he is.
As a scientist, I seek the truth. Do you understand? The universe is a highly complex place, ever evolving and changing, billions of years in the making. Darwinian evolution enables us to comprehend who we are and where we’ve come from. It is only science that can provide us with these answers. Blind faith, grand design, the belief that things “just happen” without any rational explanation or evidence are all part of an alternative nonscience. Santa Claus, with his long white beard and sack full of goodies, is a rather precise example of this. Continue reading
Someday I will come up with a good reason why I am friends with the neighborhood crows. For now, I can say that it started when I looked up from my office window to see this big flock of crows hanging out on the roof of an apartment building nearby. I had heard that these creatures, part of a larger family of birds called corvids, were among the smartest animals in the world. If they were that intelligent, I wanted to meet them. How could I get those awesome animals to come visit me? I decided to find out.
Six months later, I have made friends with about seven crows and two small, brightly-colored corvids called scrub jays — one of whom eats out of my hand. Like many scientists who study these animals, I’ve become convinced that these creatures are not only smart, but also have a theory of mind.
When I started trying to make friends with the crows, I didn’t know much about these birds other than what I’d read in popular accounts. I thought they liked shiny things (which turns out not to be true), and I’d heard Cornell ornithologist Kevin McGowan say on NPR that they liked peanuts. So I took a big piece of shiny tin foil and wrapped it around the wooden railings on my balcony, stashing some peanuts underneath it. Whenever I saw the crows, I would whistle and wave and stand next to the foil. Yes, I’m sure I looked like an idiot, but apparently they noticed.
One morning while I was in bed, I heard a bunch of thunks and the sound of ruffling feathers. When I came out to the balcony, I could see that the crows had ripped open the foil and taken the peanuts. I continued with this routine for a while, and eventually they would come to get their peanuts when I was working. I’d watch them advance slowly down the railing, one eye on me, then snatch the peanut. Every day, a group of three would come to eat — two seemed to be a mated pair, and the third I nicknamed Whitey because he had a big white patch on one wing. He seemed to be quite old and feeble, and had a hard time landing and taking off. I left a lot of peanuts out for Whitey on a lower railing where it was easier for him to land. He and his two flock friends would pick up the peanuts in their beaks, then fly into the tree where they would hold the peanut against a branch with one claw and peck it open for the nuts inside.
Climb Aboard Little Wog, Sail Away With Me | TBogg.
By: TBogg Wednesday December 26, 2012 9:18 am
During the holiday break (at least it was my holiday break, maybe not yours) snooty elitist New York magazine published an article by Joe Hagan about his adventures aboard the post-election National Review cruise on the S.S. Brutally Disappointed where he documented passengers – who ranged in color from alabaster to eggshell white as long as they stayed out of the noonday sun – commiserating with each other over
the failure of the Republican party to woo enough of the dusky horde over to their side of the aisle in the previous weeks election.
Some key scenes:
Then, at 3 p.m., the group gathered into the Showroom at Sea, a three-tiered amphitheater decorated in a bright-red Art Deco style, for the first of several sessions deconstructing the loss. Onstage were Reed, now in lime-green pants embroidered with pink swordfish and navy polo shirt with white piping on the collar; and Scott Rasmussen, the pollster who consistently overrated Romney’s chances of winning the election. Rasmussen blasted the assembled Republicans with one crushing statistic after another. The exit poll data, he said, “create a negative brand image of the Republican Party as a party that only cares about white people.”
The audience murmured unhappily.
“And that image is hurting among the youth,” he continued. “It is hurting across the culture. It is something that has to be addressed across the party. It has to be addressed. You can’t just wish it away.”
Reed expanded on the theme. “You can’t run and win a national election in an electorate that is becoming decreasingly white and increasingly minority and lose 80 percent of the minority vote,” he said. “That math just doesn’t add up.”
Rasmussen offered some friendly advice about approaching minorities. “You show them that you really care, you talk to them as grown-ups on a range of issues, you get them involved,” he suggested, “and you accept the fact that it’s a long-term investment. And you accept that you can learn as much from them as you can teach them.”
This was harsh medicine to reluctant patients, and afterward some of them made their discomfort known. “That depressed me!” one woman said. To my right, a man snapped, “That’s bullshit!”
The man was Bing West, former assistant secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, a former Marine and a National Review contributor.
West, mocking Rasmussen, said: “If you stupid Republicans weren’t so goddamn bigoted you would have won the election!”
His wife, Betsy, who bears a resemblance to Nancy Reagan, patted him on the back and apologized on his behalf, saying, “I don’t know why he said that. He’s usually not like that.”
I met a man near the railing who was there as a caregiver for a 70-year-old National Review cruiser from Palm Desert, California. He was gay and seemingly liberal and had come on the cruise only to push his boss around in a wheelchair. As he smoked a cigarette, he recounted a conversation the two had about the ship’s largely Indonesian and Filipino staff.
BOSS: You notice none of the workers are white.
CAREGIVER: Except the managers upstairs.
BOSS: Well, that’s the way it should be. [[More at Link]] Continue reading