Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 8th, 2008

Tyson’s chickens

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Liars:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that Tyson Foods routinely gave antibiotics to chicken it raised to sell as meat, but labelled as antibiotic free. Tyson’s defense was that the antibiotics used were not a type used in humans so not liable to aid the growth of superbugs that become immune to frequently used drugs. But the USDA found that in addition to the non-human antibiotic, Tyson was also using a drug commonly given to people. The USDA told Tyson that it can no longer consider the company’s no-antibiotics label “truthful and accurate.” While voicing its disagreement, Tyson agreed remove the false labeling, but only after a federal court issued an injunction stopping them from making the claim.

Source: MSNBC.com, June 3, 2008

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 8:50 pm

Guantánamo interrogators told to destroy notes

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Obstruction of justice? Here’s the story:

US interrogators of “war on terror” detainees were instructed to destroy handwritten notes that might have exposed harsh or even illegal questioning methods at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a lawyer for one of the prisoners said Sunday.

Navy Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler said in a statement sent to reporters he considers the notes crucial to the defense of his client, Canadian Omar Khadr, during his upcoming murder trial by a special military tribunal at the US naval base.

Kuebler said the instructions were handed down to interrogators from the US Department of Defense as part of a standard operating procedure or “SOP” directive that he obtained from prosecutors last week.

If they were carried out, US interrogators may have “routinely destroyed evidence” that might have been used to defend the Khadr and other detainees, Kuebler charged.

“If handwritten notes were destroyed in accordance with the SOP, the government intentionally deprived Omar’s lawyers of key evidence with which to challenge the reliability” of alleged confessions made to military interrogators, Kuebler said.

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Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 8:35 pm

New FITALY version

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I greatly like the FITALY keyboard, which was designed (and works extremely well) for stylus or single-digit typing. I’ve blogged about it before, and now a version has been released:

Textware Solutions is very pleased to announce the final version of Fitaly 5 which you can download.

Fitaly 5 works with all Pocket PCs and Smartphones using Windows Mobile versions equal or higher than 4.20

The enhancements of this new version are described in detail here.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Dan Rather admits media failures

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Greg Mitchell has an excellent post at Huffington Post on a speech given by Dan Rather at the National Conference for Media Reform:

Scott McClellan’s claims in his new book — that the mainstream media were “complicit enablers” in the run-up to the Iraq war — have been met with denials from past and present TV news anchors such as Tom Brokaw, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams (with Katie Couric admitting some failures). But Dan Rather, who was CBS anchor in 2003, offered a strong critique of the journalists’ performance in his speech to the National Conference for Media Reform yesterday.

Rather opened by admitting that, referring to McClellan, ” Whatever his motives for saying these things, he’s right,” but he also recalled that some reporters did ask tough questions: “So how do we reconcile these competing reactions? Well, we need to pull back for what we in television call the wide shot.”

Rather then explored the big picture, starting with:

In the wake of 9/11 and in the run-up to Iraq, these news organizations made a decision — consciously or unconsciously, but unquestionably in a climate of fear — to accept the overall narrative frame given them by the White House, a narrative that went like this: Saddam Hussein, brutal dictator, harbored weapons of mass destruction and, because of his supposed links to al Qaeda, this could not be tolerated in a post-9/11 world….
Now, cut back to your evening news, or your daily newspaper… where that White House Correspondent dutifully repeats the question he asked of the president or his press secretary, and dutifully relates the answer he was given — the same non-answer we’ve already heard dozens of times, which amounts to a pitch for the administration’s point of view, whether or not the answer had anything to do with the actual question that was asked. And then: ‘Thank you Jack. In other news today… ‘

And we’re off on a whole new story.

Here’s how Rather explained further:

In our news media, in our press, those who wield power were, in the lead-up to Iraq, given the opportunity to present their views as a coherent whole, to connect the dots, as they saw the dots and the connections… no matter how much these views may have flown in the face of precedent, established practice — or, indeed, the facts (as we are reminded, yet again, by the just-released Senate report on the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence). The powerful are given this opportunity still, in ways big and small, despite what you may hear about the “post-Katrina” press.
But when a tough question is asked and not answered, when reputable people come before the public and say, “wait a minute, something’s not right here,” the press has treated them like voices crying in the wilderness. These views, though they might be given air time, become lone dots — dots that journalists don’t dare connect, even if the connections are obvious, even if people on the Internet and in the independent press are making these very same connections. The mainstream press doesn’t connect these dots because someone might then accuse them of editorializing, or of being the, quote, ‘liberal media.’

But connecting these dots — making disparate facts make sense — is a big part of the real work of journalism.

So how does this happen? Why does this happen?

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Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 4:24 pm

Gum care vital for type 2 diabetics

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And it’s a good idea for everyone. WebMD has this story by Salynn Boyles:

Taking care of your gums may be one of the best things you can do for your health if you have diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes has long been recognized as a major risk factor for gum disease, but there is a growing body of research suggesting that untreated gum disease, in turn, makes diabetes worse.

“It is definitely a two-way street,” says Stony Brook University professor of oral biology and pathology Maria E. Ryan, DDS, PhD. “If there is oral infection and inflammation, as with any infection, it is much more difficult to control blood glucose levels.”

Ryan summarized the research on gum disease and type 2 diabetes in a symposium at the 68th annual scientific session of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in San Francisco.

Ryan tells WebMD that health care providers who treat type 2 diabetes are only now beginning to recognize the importance of good oral hygiene for controlling the disease.

American Diabetes Association Vice President of Clinical Affairs Sue Kirkman, MD, agrees. “This is definitely something the diabetes community needs to know more about,” Kirkman tells WebMD. “It is now clear that periodontal disease can make diabetes control worse, and there is even some evidence that it increases the risk for diabetes complications.” Those complications include heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputation.

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Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Medical

How to pronounce the names of public figures

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The pronunciation add-on I blogged earlier doesn’t help with unusual proper names, but via The Happiness Project (thanks, Linda!), there’s this site that offers good guidance.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Daily life

The original white meat: insects

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Very interesting article by Janet Raloff in Science News on a relatively common food source for many people: bugs. From the article:

Diners who want to reduce the size of their environmental footprint might reassess their aversion to bugs, DeFoliart says. Insects typically eaten by people are vegans—at least for much of their life cycles, he says—and generally “clean-living in their choice of food and habitat.” Moreover, edible insects can forage on a far wider range of plants than do traditional meat animals. As such, he says, bugs can tap food sources normally worthless in conventional meat production, such as cacti, bamboo shoots, mesquite and woody scrub brush.

What’s more, insects turn more of what they eat into tissue that can be consumed by others. For crickets fed diets comparable in quality to the feed given to conventional Western livestock, diet conversion efficiency is about twice as high as for broiler chicks and pigs, four times higher than sheep and nearly six times higher than steers, DeFoliart reports. Insects’ quick reproduction and high fecundity makes them look even more environmentally attractive. For the crickets, DeFoliart has calculated, this translates into “a true food conversion efficiency close to 20 times better than that of beef.”

Gracer likens these differences to gas-guzzling versus gas-sipping vehicles: “Cows and pigs are the SUVs of the food world. And bugs—they’re the Priuses, maybe even bicycles.”

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Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 11:50 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Refreshing summertime drink

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Watermelon juice.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2008 at 11:43 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

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