How to print these articles

There are several methods to print these articles.

Using notepad or text editor:

Select text you want to print, copy it to the clipboard using CTL-C. Paste into notepad or your favorite text editor using CTL-V. Use your text editor to print.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Raw data, History of inflammatory diseases

I've been collecting data on inflammatory diseases going back to the 1980s. The rise in many inflammatory disease is highly correlated with the usage of glyphosate. If you want the raw numbers here is a Google spreadsheet you can view.

If you want to copy it you have my permission. If you have any problems getting access or copying it to your Google Drive, leave a comment here. You should not have to have, or log in to, a Google account to view this.

Different measures cover different years but here is what I have historical rates for.

Tab "Master Percent": asthma, allergies,  ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, autism, serious psych difficulties, depression, any mental illness. The sources for this tab are on the "Sources" tab.

Tab "Chronic Conditions": percent with high blood pressure, depression, percent with 2 or 3 chronic conditions, pct with 4-5 chronic conditions.

NOTES:

  1. In the case a single number spans multiple years, the beginning year and each succeeding years in that group will have the same value. Ex: Years 1988-1990 have a value of 1%. Years 1991-1993 have a value of 2%. Year 1988-1990 will each contain 1%, years 1991-1993 will have a value of 2%.

Link to spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DmZD-QyQrOclQ0W4KOCua-GT_hjq-XQy6cm_lgPYaTA/edit?usp=sharing

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Print free ledger accounting paper

This blog isn't just about being healthy it's also a bit about being frugal, budgeting, and sustainability.

Along that line here are some sites where you can print your own accounting paper for keeping track of your income, expenses, and budget. For example we have a food budget and add $100 per week (as income assigned to food). Then as we spend money on food we enter the amount of what we spent on food in the "expense" column, and calculate the balance to put in the "balance" column. So if we start out with $100 we have an entry for adding $100 and the balance is $100. If we spend $25 on food, we have an entry for $25 in the expense column the balance would be $75 in the balance column. And it looks like this.

Income Expense Balance
Weekly add $100100100
Groceries 5/25/16 2575

  1. Printable Paper Ledger paper. Many types of ledger and graph paper. Available as PDFs. Graph paper here.  Many categories of paper like penmanship (for grade school), hex paper, log paper, for quilting, calligraphy, cross stitch, etc.
  2. **Incompetech. Lots of ledger paper in many sizes and many columns from 2 to 6 columns. These are provided as PDFs which you can save to your C: drive. 
  3. Printfree. Some of these printable grids are in html.
  4. Print-Graph-Paper. Several types of graph paper including isometric, squares, log. 
  5. Print Free Graph Paper. Choose several basic types of graph paper and customize it from there. Uses dropdown boxes to be very flexible. This creates a custom PDF but I wasn't able to download it. 
  6. Google image search for graph paper. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

FBI hacked into Mozilla browser

The FBI hacked the Mozilla browser, and the Mozilla Foundation entered a brief in court (PDF here) asking them to disclose how they did it so the vulnerability could be plugged.

The FBI had taken over a child porn website on the dark web/deep web which could then track visitors. The FBI actually found the backdoor in Tor, an anonymous browsing service, which shares code with Mozilla. (I'm assuming the FBI could then get the user's real IP address, which TOR obfuscates.)

Source
Cyberwar News. May 17, 2016.
Archive.is backup of Mozilla PDF brief.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Make your own yarrow mosquito repellent

A US Army study found a yarrow tincture repelled mosquitoes better than DEET. There is some question about how toxic DEET is as the skin absorbs it.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, grows in sunny areas and it likes sandy soil. I have lots in my backyard and it spreads somewhat fast and is very hardy. I get flowers around the end of June with more consistent hot weather. It seems to survive drought quite well as we get almost no rain for 8 weeks in July and August. It also has very wispy, ferny leaves and even the leaves look nice.

Another commenter mentions:
I drop a few drops of eucalyptus oil in coconut oil and rub it on exposed skin. It works really well.

Sources
Natural News.
The study about how DEET is toxic.
Making the tincture.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Toxins in cosmetics

The 12 most common toxins in cosmetics, soaps, creams, shampoos, etc.

EDC = endocrine disrupting chemical
MSDS = a sheet summarizing any hazards with a specific chemical, which also includes problems associated with long-term or repeated exposure. May include cancinogenicity info, synonyms. 

  1. BHA and BHT are suspected endocrine disruptors. Harmful to fish and wildlife. MSDS for BHA as PDF.
  2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number. Colors listed in the 75000 and 77000 series, and "FD&C Blue 1" or "Blue No 1" also. MSDS from Proctor and Gamble as PDF.
  3. DEA, TEA and MEA ingredients. Can form nitrosamines which cause cancer. 
  4. Dibutyl phthalate, or any phthalate. 
  5. Parabens. Suspected EDCs.
  6. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. May cause cancer. 
  7. "Parfum" aka "fragrance". Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
  8. PEG compounds. 
  9. Petrolatum, petroleum compounds. A product made from oil that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which could cause cancer.
  10. Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). 
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate. Used as foaming agent in shampoos, detergents, soaps, etc. Can cause cancer. MSDS sheet as PDF.
  12. Triclosan contributes to making antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA. See article "50% of antibiotics ineffective on children."

Sources
  1. "Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals." David Suzuki. Last accessed May 6, 2016. Link here
  2. EWG cosmetics database. 97,000 products here listing which toxic chemicals they have, if any. Link here

Monday, May 23, 2016

More streams contaminated with lead and poisons


Summary
  1. North Dakota: fracking spills poison local streams with heavy metals, radioactive materials and toxic, corrosive salts.
  2. There are thousands of fracking spills per year. 
  3. 21,000 spills took place between 2009 and 2014.
  4. ND state law requires special permits to transport or dump radioactive waste of 185bq/kg. Radium was found at levels as high as 4,600 Bequerels per kilogram (bq/kg). 
  5. The fracking chemical cocktail is resistant to breaking down in the wild.
  6. Radium can last for thousands of years at a site.
  7. Find where the fracking is: Fractracker.org. World Fracking Map from Harvard.
  8. Find fracking accidents all over the US: Earthjustice.
SourceNatural News. May 17, 2016.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Supplements at Walgreen's, Walmart do not contain what they say they do

And they may contain fatal allergens. Some pills, capsules might not contain the dose they claim, or any of the active ingredient, and they often contain cheap fillers. Read more below.

A store brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens, said to enhance “physical endurance and vitality” was only found to contain powdered garlic and rice. On the other hand, Walmart’s ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant that enhances memory, contained just radish, houseplants and wheat, even though the product was marketed as wheat and gluten-free.

Source
Newstarget. May 11, 2016.
Talknetwork. May 12, 2016.

Friday, May 20, 2016

FDA poisoning women with Essure

Quote:

Women across America are furious with the FDA [and Bayer], and nowhere is this sentiment louder than on Twitter, where patients are posting daily about the devastating effects on their lives of a permanent, non-hormonal contraceptive called Essure.

Approved by the FDA in 2002, Essure is a non-hormonal birth control device consisting of two metal coils that are implanted in the fallopian tubes to prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. It’s supposed to be a less invasive alternative to tubal ligation (“getting your tubes tied”). The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office and, assuming everything goes as planned, does not require any recovery time.

Despite being advertised as relatively painless, for thousands of women Essure has been anything but. Over the last decade and change, the FDA has received nearly 10,000 reports of adverse events related to Essure. According to the FDA’s website, the most commonly reported side effects are pain (mostly abdominal), heavy and/or irregular periods, headaches, and fatigue. There have also been more than 600 reports of pregnancies. Of these pregnancies, nearly half resulted in miscarriages.

Read more here at Treato

Sources
Scoop It article.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tyson employees prevented from using bathrooms.


Employees at Tyson plants have unpleasant working conditions to begin with, now add abuse to the list of problems, abuse which violates workplace safety laws.

Bullet points:
  1. Supervisors tell workers they can get a bathroom break: "Go to the bathroom then go to Human Resources". Implying the employee will be fired. 
  2. Some employees wear diapers to work to minimize the mess, but that can lead to more urinary track infections, especially for women. 
  3. Some people just don't eat or drink before work to avoid having to use the restroom. Not drinking when a person is sweating in a hot environment can lead to heat stroke or fainting.

Source
Natural News.

Research on Parabens



  1. A survey of 215 cosmetic products in 1995 found parabens in 99% of the leave-on cosmetic products and 77% of the rinse-off products (Rastogi et al., 1995). 
  2. Parabens are absorbed into the human body (Darbre et al., 2004; Ye et al., 2006). 
  3. Intact parabens that escaped from metabolism by esterases from the intestine and skin were detected in human urine samples, with methylparaben and propylparaben being the most abundant followed by butylparaben.
  4. Parabens do show some estrogenic/antiandrogenic activity. They are likely Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
  5. Medications that contain parabens resulted in higher paraben concentrations in urine. 
  6. Parabens rapidly get into the bloodstream once they are applied to skin.  (Wang, 2015)
  7. If you have parabens in your urine, you've been exposed to the toxic chemials. (Braun, 2013) 
  8. Some parabens are linked to reproductive toxicity. (Meeker, 2011)

If you want to reduce your exposure to toxins, don't use products with parabens. This includes cosmetics, shampoo, lotion, and anything you might put on or in your body.

Sources
Hu, 2012.
Dodge, 2015.
Wang, 2015
Braun, 2013.
Meeker, 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Anonymous declares war against FDA, CDC and Monsanto

These are all organizations which claim people eating glyphosphate is safe. Safe just like thalidomide for pregnant moms, cigarettes, Vioxx, lead paint, asbestos, second hand smoke, DDT, PCBs, 2,4-D, BPA, and other pesticides.

Anonymous is also behind the latest Panama papers, showing how the US rich avoid taxes by hiding their money offshore.

Sources
  1. Article
  2. Panama Papers from Sueddeutsche
  3. Panama Papers from ICIJ
  4. Panama Papers torrents: PP Movie by Democracy Now, mp4. List of 151 companies that provide money hiding services; PDF is here. 37,000 names as a list

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Solar power costs even lower today


NV Energy, has agreed to purchase electricity from the 100 MW Playa Solar 2 power plant at a low price of $0.0387/kWh! My rate in Michigan is $.09 per kWh.

According to this graphic, wind energy is cheaper. This shows price per MW hour. But prices for grid electricity is per KW hour. KWh = 1000 * MWh.


Source
Clean Technica. July 10, 2015.

Monday, May 16, 2016

DIY batteries for fun

Some people have made their own batteries as kids, but now that we have had LED lights for years, these low-voltage batteries can be fun to make and be useful once again. DIY batteries can be made from a variety of items. The basic parts of a battery are: cathode, anode, and electrolyte. Batteries are actually made of multiple cells. The instructions down below are actually for one cell. Use different materials to find how many volts and amps it produces. You will need a multimeter, about $12usd online or at the store.

Some people have powered an electric clock with a lemon, or potato. Some have used electrolytes like lemon juice, vinegar, or even salt water. But the secret is in the cathode and anode materials. Usually use a glass or plastic jar to hold the electrolyte.

Here is a selection of DIY batteries you can make from household items. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Battery from carbon rod and zinc strip
  • Copper and aluminum in coke. This has a better description of using different materials and electrolytes, and the voltage output from each trial. 
  • Try magnesium strips (from Ebay) with one other metal, in salt water. Which metal gives the most volts?
  • Stacked cell battery made from copper pennies, silver strips, and paper or cardboard soaked in salt water. This will work well until the paper/cardboard dries out. This says to use nickels, but only US nickels before 1964 contain silver. A medicine bottle might make a good container for these. 
  • Ye olde lemon battery.  
  • Grant Thompson builds a penny battery to power an LED for 2+ weeks.
Sources of materials:
  1. Aluminum: soda cans, aluminum foil, some old house wiring is aluminum. 
  2. Carbon: pencil leads are carbon. Carbon rods are also found in old batteries.  
  3. Copper: use old copper pipes. Sand off any oxidation with fine sandpaper. Use old copper wire. Older US pennies are mostly copper, but newer ones only have a thin coating of copper.
  4. Zinc: galvanized nails are coated in zinc. Zinc strips can be found online. The newer US pennies have a zinc core; sand off the thin copper coating.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Victorian toxins

Toxins and coverups by business: it's happened before.

If you think business covering for poisonous substances is something new, think again. This has been going on since the 1800s and even earlier. However, the 1800s is when science begins to actually prove how harmful the Victorian "patent medicines", makeup, and other substances are.

  1. Lead compounds were used in white face cream. Lead compounds were favored because they made very white tints. But lead was absorbed into the skin and poisoned people. 
  2. In Roman times, Romans used white lead to whiten their faces, and red lead for a bit of red. 
  3. Radium was used to make glowing watch faces until it was discovered the workers, mostly women, who painted the watch faces, came down with serious cancers in the jaw area. 
  4. "Other popular blooms, balms, powders and potions of the 19th and early 20th century such as Berry’s Freckle Ointment, Milk of Roses, Snow White Enamel and Flake White contained mercury, lead, carbolic acid, mercuric chloride and a handful of other “delightful” corrosives."
  5. In the US there were radium baths, arsenic complexion wafers, cigarettes for asthma. 
  6. In the US there were also water holders with radium to "infuse" the water with energy. Alas, the wrong kind of energy. 
  7. Mascara and other eye products contained mercury. 
  8. Even now we find phthalates in shampoos, face creams, fragrances, aftershaves, deodorants. 
  9. One article advised women to coat their faces with opium at night, with a brisk wash of ammonia in the morning. 
  10. The look of near-death was popular. Women would sometimes put belladonna drops in their eyes, and some went blind from it. 
  11. "Sears & Roebuck sold a popular product called Dr. Rose’s Arsenic Complexion Wafers, which were just that–little white chalk wafers filled with arsenic for delicate nibbling. They were specifically advertised as “perfectly harmless."
  12. Vermillion, a red mercury compound, was a known poison but also used for lip tint. 
  13. It wasn't until 1977 that a new US law required makeup manufacturers to print all ingredients on the item.

Products in the US were unregulated until the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act which passed in 1906. But it was 25 years in the making as business, like now, lobbied against the law which could cut into profits, and prevent people from dying a horrible death.



For more reading: 
  1. "100,000,000 Guinea Pigs." Arthur Kallet and Frederick Schlink.  1933.
  2. "American Chamber of Horrors." Ruth DeForest Lamb, chief education officer of FDA. 1936. 
  3. "Banned: A history of pesticides and the Science of Toxicology." Frederick Rowe Davis. 2014. From Google Books
  4. "The Great American Fraud." Samuel Hopkins Adams. A book about the evils of patent medicine. Various formats here.

Sources
  1. "Suffering for Beauty has Ancient Roots." NBC, Jan 11, 2008. 
  2. "Hidden Killers" TV series on Youtube. 
  3. "The Poisonous Beauty Advice Columns of Victorian England." Link here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Amazon tribe creates big book of home remedies

500 pages even! Of course it might be hard to get many of these plants in the US. This is a good way to preserve oral traditions which are quickly dying.

Only available in the Matses language though.

News article here.

An example of bad headlines

From Skeptical Raptor we have this headline:
"Séralini’s controversial GMOs cause cancer article retracted"

Yes, his first study ("Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize") was retracted. But he wasn't studying all GMOs. He was studying Roundup Ready corn fed to rats, which contains glyphosate. This headline is deceptive and borderlines on being plain inaccurate. There is plenty of proof Roundup Ready crops contain glyphosate, and are dangerous to animals and humans. I have yet to see evidence that drought-resistant eggplant is a problem. If you have such evidence please put your link to the study in the comment, and a description of what the study says.

All this over-generalization and hysteria makes the non-GMO movement look really bad. I take offense because I'm part of the non-Roundup Ready movement. I want the right to choose which poisons I put in my body, and usually that's a glass of wine at dinner. I didn't pay for wine with glyphosate, nor do I want it. Even some organic wines had glyphosate.


The Skeptical Raptor article continues:
But here’s the simplest of simple math–glyphosate is not sprayed directly on the ears of corn. Glyphosate suppresses weeds, and would kill corn if sprayed directly. So the amount on that ear of corn is basically undetectable.
Wrong. Roundup Ready crops are sprayed directly with Roundup, and the crops don't die. That's the GMO part. Other non-RR crops are regularly sprayed with Roundup 2 days before harvest so the whole crop dies at the same time. All parts of a crop dying at the same time doesn't normally happen on a farm. Different areas of the field ripen at different rates. Thus when they are harvested, they are full of Roundup.

There are plenty of studies that show glyphosate is dangerous to cells, animals, and humans even at low doses. To accept some studies and not others for the convenience of profit is not science. To assume a substance is safe when it has not been proven to be safe in peer-reviewed studies is also not science, nor is it wise.


Americans more exposed to glyphosate then Europeans

Milligrams per kg of bodyweight of glyphosate exposure:
Europeans: 0.3mg/kg.
Americans: 1.75mg/kg.

Americans exposed to glyphosate 5.8x more than Europeans. Studies show glyphosate is toxic at very low doses. In 2014 90% of US crops had glyphosate sprayed on them.

Sources
  1. The Study. "Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally". Feb 2016. Includes historical graphs about GMO use and herbicide use. Also has data tables on glyphosate use and percent of glyphosate use on crops.
  2. News from EWG

Friday, May 13, 2016

New batteries could charge in 30 seconds

A new type of battery, called nanoball battery, could charge in just 30 seconds, and have other improved performance attributes.

Nanoball batteries have the anode and cathode made of many nano-sized balls, thus greatly increasing the surface area of each.

But this news is from 2009 so it looks like they didn't improve it enough to market it. 

Source
Wikipedia Nanoballs.

5g grow bucket, and other gardening tips.

I just thought some of these were neat.

5 gallon grow bucket with light.

Self-composting indoor garden in 5g bucket. Now if we only had self-waxing cars.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Glyphosate found in 51 streams

From 2002. Just because it's older, does not mean it loses importance. It shows a long period of concern by many, but not all, US gov't agencies.

The 2002 study is the first to look for the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate, its primary degradation product aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), as well as antibiotics during runoff events in Midwestern streams.

154 water samples were taken from 9 midwestern US states.


Source
USGS Toxics program. 2002.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More lawsuits mount against Roundup


  1. Man without cancer in his family dies from non-Hodkin's lymphoma, which is linked to pesticide exposure. 
  2. The lawsuits in California, Florida, Missouri, Delaware, Hawaii, and elsewhere over the last several months, claim Monsanto has hidden evidence, and manipulated regulators and the public into believing in the safety of glyphosate. While 70+ studies show how harmful glyphosate is and IARC, part of WHO, agrees.
  3. Glyphosate is sprayed on the most common crops in the US including corn, soybeans, wheat, and more. Most packaged foods in the US have either corn syrup or corn starch in them, with huge openings for glyphosate to get into the food system. Multiple studies already show most people have glyphosate and its metabolites in their urine.
  4. Many other businesses claimed their products were safe:  2,4-d (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, a herbicide), DDT, PCBs, thalidomide, Agent Orange, mercury fillings, Vioxx, flame retardant in the US, malathion, diazinon, tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, Glyphosate, isoproturon, fluroxypyr, pirimicarb, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole, and prochloraz. And this is just in the past 50 years. There were many more problems with commercial products in the late 1800s with the patent medicine fiasco, the food adulteration, which sparked the creation of the FDA. 
  5. 53 organizations say glyphosate is unsafe, 3 say it's safe. 
  6. The consensus of scientists says glyphosate is bad.

Source
Huff Post. May 6, 2016.

Human DNA found in veggie burger, rat DNA in others

Quote:
Food analytics platform Clear Labs identified problems with ingredient substitutions, hygiene, and contamination in 13.6% of the 258 burger products the company analyzed on a molecular level, in a report released on Tuesday. The company analyzed ground meat, frozen patties, fast-food burger products, and veggie burger products.

Some of the most jarring numbers: 4.3% of samples contained traces of pathogenic DNA, rat DNA was found in three products, and human DNA was discovered in one frozen vegetarian burger. 



Source
Business Insider. May 10, 2016.

FDA hides CVs of panel members

Showing the Curriculum Vitae of panel members helps to find out who has conflicts of interest and may be making decisions based on corporate or personal profit instead of public safety.
Advisory committees furnish expert advice to federal government agencies. The FDA has approximately 50 advisory committees and panels that the agency advice on issues related to FDA-regulated products, such as whether the FDA should approve new medical products, request additional studies, or change a product’s labeling. The FDA posts on its website a roster of the members serving on each advisory committee, frequently accompanied by members’ curricula vitae (CV). The FDA frequently redacts the CVs, however, by blacking out information about the dates of degrees conferred, the names of professional colleagues and mentors, the amounts of grants received from private companies, and the names of unpublished articles. Many of the redactions were unaccompanied by any indication of why, but many were marked to indicate that the FDA believed that the redacted information fell under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions for confidential commercial information and for material the disclosure of which would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

How can the public trust a group which has such suspicious behavior? Why can police arrest someone or search their car only for suspicious behavior and no solid evidence, but the same rules do not apply to US gov't departments?

Read the rest.
Source
Public Citizen Litigation Group. Apr 27, 2016.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

USDA "organic" vs Non-GMO Project verified

Loopholes and notes about the USDA NOP and Non-GMO-Project. The USDA organic label does not mean all products in the item, or all products used to produce the item have an organic origin.

USDA "organic"

USDA organic notes
  1. USDA National Organic Program site. 
  2. Only farmers that sell more than $5000 in organic products need an Organic System Plan. Sect 205.101.a.1. But they must still follow USDA organic procedures.
  3. 3 years must have passed since the land had non-organic crops on it, in order for the land to be used for organic crops.  
  4. Items using the organic label must contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients.

USDA Allowable items

  1. If one step in a company process has been certified as "organic", the certification remains even if they change their process to a non-organic process. And the company could get fined. Section 2015.100b.
  2. Only allows natural flavors. Sect. 205.605a.
  3. Allowed when commercial organic products are not available: non-organic casings, like for sausage; celery powder; chia; konjac (which I see more and more in sausage); corn start and sweet potato starch; and many other vegetable colors and products. Sect 205.606.
  4. Synthetic products allowed when producing crops: copper sulfate can be used in rice fields once per 24 month period; soap-based herbicides; plastic mulch and covers (which could contain BPA and other phthalates); sucrose octanoate esters; ethylene gas to affect pineapple flowering;  Sect 205.601
  5. Synthetic items allowed when producing organic livestock: atropine; vaccines; butorphanal;  flunixin; furosemide; fenbendazole; ivermectin; moxidectin; poloxalene; tolazoline; xylazine; lidocaine; Sect 205.603.
  6. Non-organic seeds may be used if organic seeds are not available. 
USDA Not Allowed
  1. Non-organic yeast, when the end product is for human consumption, can be used if organic yeast is not available. Sect. 205.605a.
  2. Ethylene can be used to ripen tomatoes or other items. Synthetic vitamins are allowed as are tocopherols. Sect. 205.605b.
  3. Ionizing radiation and sewage sludge not allowed. Sect 205.105 f and g
  4. Strychnine. Sect 205.604.
  5. Synthetic fertilizers.  
  6. Growth hormones. 
  7. GMOs not allowed. GMO seed cannot be used and cows cannot eat GMO feed. Source.

Sources
USDA NOP organic and production standards. Link to PDF.



Non-GMO Project Verified (NGPV)

Non-GMO Verified is not the same as USDA Organic. Taken from version 13 (Feb 2016) of the Non-GMO Project standars. PDF here, 37 pages.

NGPV = Non-GMO Project Verified

Definitions:
  1. Major ingredient: Any ingredient that composes 5% or more of a product, or which defines the product. Ex: a "quinoa chip" that contains 55% quinoa and 20% corn, both quinoa and corn are "major ingredients". 

What must be tested and comply with their standards:
  1. All animal feed. 
  2. All microbials including those for fermentation (like yeast for wine) and for silage. 
  3. Both processed and unprocessed (raw) plant products. 
  4. All animal products including meat, eggs, dairy, etc. 
  5. Dietary supplements, vitamins, etc. 
  6. Personal care products like lotions, makeup, etc. 
  7. Packaging that is immersed or combined with liquids for human consumption. Like tea bags and coffee filters. 
  8. Activities: farm production, harvest, post-harvest, handling, storage, distribution, processing, packaging.  
  9. Baccillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is used must not be genetically engineered.(Bt is a known poison to many insects and mammals, including humans.)
Notes:
  1. NGPV products must be genetically tested before the producer gets to claim NGPV. 
  2. Each farm must be inspected annually as much each restaurant claiming NGPV. 
  3. Honey: The bee forage area must be "sufficiently free" or GMOs within 4 miles of the hives. (Wow, that's a tough one!)
  4. Third-party processors do not have to be NGPV but do have to have a system in place which avoids GMO contamination.  
  5. Absence of all GMO items in a product is the final goal. Less than 0.25% of seed used must be non-GMO. But if the seed is listed in Appendix B, 0% of the seed can be GMO. App B are very high risk crops like soy and corn. Less than 0.9% of items in food, makeup, supplements, or anything used on the human skin must be non-GMO. See table in section V.A.1.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Brain Scan finds "fuzzy thinking" in bipolar and depressed people

The big deal here is not that scientists find physical evidence of depression or being bipolar, but that they are just now starting to think of bipolar and depression as a spectrum, instead of neat little boxes.

From MedicalNewsToday:
Ryan notes that as scientists are increasingly moving away from this perception of psychiatric disorders as discrete conditions, the National Institute of Mental Health has now given this area of research added focus under the name Research Domain Criteria (RDoC).

Source
Shared dimensions of performance and activation dysfunction in cognitive control in females with mood disorders, Kelly A. Ryan, et al., Brain, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv070, published online 28 March 2015, abstract.
Article on MedicalNewsToday.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Daiya pizza sorta, kinda, not really organic

We're made a Daiya Fire Roasted Vegetable Gluten Free vegetarian pizza, remembering how so many vegans say how good it is. This product is not USDA Organic certified, it is not Non-GMO Project Certified. The box does say "Committed to Non-GMO Ingredients". Changing to all non-GMO ingredients can take years. But I did notice only 2 out of 41 ingredients are non-GMO; that's 4.8% are non-GMO.

Just beware and check the package for Non-GMO Project certified. The USDA Organic program has huge loopholes large enough to drive a truck through. The biggest problem with these loopholes: "Any non-GMO product can be used if a GMO product is not available." All the producer has to do is say "We couldn't find any non-GMO xxx" and they're still certified USDA Organic.

Source
My pizza.
Non-GMO certified project is much more strict than the USDA organic program.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Blackstrap molasses treatment

Molasses in general is supposed to help people feel better because it has small amounts of some minerals. The land crops are grown on have been depleted of many trace minerals, so someone going from having almost none of these minerals, to having trace amounts in their body, COULD make a difference. You know, when someone stops hitting your finger with a hammer, it feels pretty good!

Contents of one brand showing the percent of RDA of the mineral.

Brand Name: Wholesome Sweeteners
Serving Size: 1 TBS
Potassium: 730mg (20%)
Calcium: 115mg (10%)
Total Carbohydrates: 14g (4%)
Sugars: 10g
Total Fat: 0g
Iron: 15%
Magnesium: 8%
Vitamin B6: 10%

Anything which has less than 15% of the RDA is generally considered useless to me because the lack of minerals in vegetables is so extreme. But you can try this out, a recipe is on the link in the sources below.


Source
EarthClinic. Apr 18, 2016.

Who is fighting GMO labeling laws?

This is a list of companies fighting Measure 92 and Prop 105 in Oregon and Colorado. From this graphic.

Abbot Nutrition
Alexia
Annie's
Aurora Organic Dairy
Bear Naked
Betaseed
Bimbo Bakeries
Bumble Bee FOods
Cargill
Cascadian Farm Organic
Coca Cola
Dagoba
Dean Foods
Dow Agrosciences
DuPont
General Mills
Green & Black's
Grocery Manufacturer's Association
Hershey
Honest Tea
Hormel
Izze drinks
Kashi
Kellog
Kraft
Land O'Lakes
Larabar
McCormick (spices)
Mead Johnson Nutrition
Michael Foods
Mondelez Global
Monsanto
Morning Star Farms
Muir Glen
Musselman's
Naked Juice
Niagara Bottling
Ocean Spray
Odwalla
Rich's
RW Knudsen
Santa Cruz Organic
Shearer's
Similac
Simply Orange
Smithfield
Snyder's-Lance
Sunny Delight
Welch's
White Wave Foods

Show your support of GMO labeling by avoiding these products. If companies don't want to label GMOs, then they must be hiding something. Suspicious behavior doesn't happen for no reason.








Friday, May 6, 2016

Summary of Pharma industry

This is a good summary with historical and other graphs.

Link here.

Corporate welfare and profits

I'm more of a moderate when it comes to welfare. I've been on welfare myself, I've been homeless as a kid. It's not fun. But I'm not for giving away free money, we've already seen that doesn't significantly reduce the welfare rolls since 1980. I'm for working for welfare, as in a jobs program. I used to take advantage of a state jobs program, and I was very grateful for it. I was able to sacrifice and save for college to get myself out of poverty.

There are different ways to count personal welfare usage.

  1. Some say that if one person in a household gets any welfare at all, all people in the household are counted, adults and children. That's where the 35% on welfare number comes from. 
  2. Some only count the percent of the US population that are on only a few programs. 
  3. Some count unemployment as welfare, some don't. 

Percent of families on Temporary  Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and General  Assistance (GA). From Census.gov. PDF page 5.
  • Year 2000: 2.6%
  • Year 2012: 2.9%


Above, poverty since 1947. Look at supposed "welfare reforms" since 1980.

Above, the poverty rate and spending per person. From Federal Safety Net. As spending per person has gone up, the poverty rate has remained much the same.

Above: US Participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing assistance, SSI, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and General Assistance, 2009-2012.

Some of the corporate welfare programs I've found, from most amount to least.
  1. Writing off CEO bonuses. $70 billion a year. 
  2. Tax cuts for luxury corporate jets. $300 million a year. 
  3. Big oil subsidies. $37.5 billion a year. 
  4. Big pharma subsidies for mega profit corporations. $270 billion a year. 
  5. Capital gains tax breaks. $51 billion a year. Cap gains are taxed a a lower rate, if you sell a stock or mutual fund, and have a capital gain. Every day Joe cannot afford to pay more on these as he buys and sells stocks in his retirement account. But millionaires can certainly pay more. They already have plenty of money to buy the basic necessities of life. 
  6. Tax subsidies from local and state governments. $80.4 billion a year. 
  7. Big agriculture subsidies. $18 billion a year. 
  8. Wall Street Welfare. $83 billion a year. 
  9. Export/Import subsidies. $112 billion. 
  10. Federal contracts to top 200 biggest companies. $880 billion a year. 

What's the total of only these biggest subsidies? $1,602.2 billion dollars a year. 3 welfare programs only cost $158.5 billion a year. Corporate welfare gets 10x that amount. What if we gave every man, woman and child a piece of corporate welfare (population 319 million)? They would get $5203 per year every year. That's not enough to survive on but it's enough to give you an idea of the amounts of your tax dollars not going to most of the citizens.

Who are the biggest corporate welfare queens?

Corporate welfare can take the form of special tax breaks, or subsidies.


Company (symbol) Welfare Recent Net Profits (millions $)
Boeing (BA). Makes airplanes, contractor for Defense Dept. $13.18 billion. $5176 million, 12 months ending 12-31-2015
Alcoa (AA). Largest producer of aluminum. $5.64 billion.  $-322, 12 months ending 12-31-2015.
Intel (INTC). Makes computer chips. $3.87 billion.  $11,420, 12 months ending 12-26-2015
General Motors (GM). Makes automobiles. $3.58 billion.  $9687, 12 months ending 12-31-2015
Ford (F). Makes automobiles. $2.52 billion.  $7373, 12 months ending 12-31-2015
Fiat Chrysler (FCAU). Makes automobiles. The Fiat Chrysler financials site only goes up to 2013. $2.06 billion.  $344, 2015 from Marketwatch,
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A). Oil company. $2.04 billion.  $1939, 12 months ending 12-31-2015
Nike. Makes shoes. Shoes? Really? Is that really a matter of national security?$2.03 billion. $3273, 12 months ending 5-31-2015
NOTE: Preferred stock symbols used are from US NYSE or OTC.

What's the biggest corporate welfare by US gov't department?
  1. Dept of Agriculture: $25.165 billion
  2. Energy: $17.330 billion. 
  3. Other agencies, applied R&D: $17.094 billion. 
  4. Housing: $16.041 billion
  5. State: $5.201 billion
  6. Defense: $4.737 billion.
  7. Commerce: $4.095 billion
  8. Other agencies combined: $3.347 billion.
  9. Interior: $2.608 billion. 
  10. Transportation: $2.024 billion. 

Total: $97.642 billion

Do all these companies with mega profits really need all this welfare? Would the welfare office give an individual making $100,000 a year food stamps? I think not.

Sources
  1. Becker, Sam. The 8 Biggest Corporate Welfare Recipients in America. Cheatsheet. May 07, 2015.
  2. Cahill, Tom. 10 Taxpayer Handouts to the Super Rich That Will Make Your Blood Boil. October 28, 2015. Link here.
  3. Corporate welfare by US gov't department. 2012. Link here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Monsanto might cause 50% of children to be autistic in the future.

(NOTE: This is speculation and a bit hysterical, but it's an important thing to consider anyway.)

A senior scientist at MIT, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, MA last week, specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup was originally introduced in the 1970s and could only be used as a weed killer, but is not regularly used on crops such as corn, soy and wheat to kill them right before harvest. Farmers have a problem where all the crop does not ripen at once, so Roundup is used to kill it all at once and then harvested 2 days later. (See the actual Roundup label.)

According to Dr. Seneff, glyphosphate interferes with gut bacteria via the Shikimate pathway. Gut bacteria are a critical part of our lives and we are just learning how important they really are. With the gut bacteria depleted, humans are now missing several key amino acids. According to various studies, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Monsanto, the seller of glyphosphate products, naturally disagrees.


Some critics of Dr. Seneff argue she is confusing correlation with causation, which could very well be true. However, causation is nearly impossible to prove given the human body's complexity, and correlation has often been used in the past to determine the toxicity of a substance. Except when it comes to Monsanto products. And congresscritters that accept "donations" from Monsanto and biotech companies.

There are dozens of studies showing glyphosphate danger has correlation with disease and conditions. Yet there are almost no studies saying the same thing about THC, cannabidiol, and pot. Since Congress, the DEA, and the FDA are inconsistent, their judgment cannot be trusted, nor can their decisions be assumed to be for the better of all people. The FDA, especially since they are being sued for covering up facts about glyphosphate, appears to make decisions based on hysteria, and donations, rather than actual facts.


Source
Journal Neo.

Glyphosate in your pills

Almost every pill that is made in the US, pharmaceuticals and supplements alike, use corn starch as a filler ingredient. That means people who are allergic to corn cannot take any pills at all. 90% of corn grown in the US is GMO corn, and likely has glyphosate. That means most pills likely contain glyphosate. This includes gelcaps which are just a coated pill.

This does not include gel-type items like fish oil or vitamin D supplements.

Are you on an organic diet but still feeling sick? Think about it. How many pill supplements are you taking?


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

European vs US organic food laws

A comparison of US GMO and organic food standards and laws. Note: Standards are usually voluntary in the US, like the USDA National Organic Program of the Non-GMO Project Verified program.

This information is from publicly available sources on the WWW. The name of EU directives are taken from the format of the web page on which they are displayed, thus they might appear to have inconsistent formatting. I don't claim to understand the reason behind the inconsistent formatting. Directives appear to take the format YYYY/nnnn and regulations the format nnn/YYYY where YYYY is the year.


European Union
Quote: "The European Union (EU) has in place a comprehensive and strict legal regime on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food and feed made from GMOs, and food/feed consisting or containing GMOs.  The EU’s legislation and policy on GMOs, based on the precautionary principle enshrined in EU and international legislation, is designed to prevent any adverse effects on the environment and the health and safety of humans and animals, and it reflects concerns expressed by skeptical consumers, farmers, and environmentalists."
  1. The European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) conducts testing. EFSA Home page. EFSA page on GMO Science. (The EFSA sometimes things GMOs are safe despite the independent studies.)
  2. Marketing and importing GMO foods is regulated by the EU, but growing GMO is regulated at the EU country level. 
  3. "Regulation No. 1829/2003 prohibits placing on the EU market a GMO for food use, or a food containing or consisting of GMOs or food products produced “from” GMOs, unless an authorization is granted.  Food and feed produced “with” a GMO are excluded from the scope of this Regulation."
  4. GMO labeling required except where an ingredient is less than 0.9% of the total (VI.b): "Labeling requirements apply to foods delivered to the final consumers or mass caterers in the EU that either contain or consist of GMOs, or are produced from or contain ingredients produced from GMOs.  Regulation No. 1829/2003 requires that the phrase “genetically modified” or “produced from genetically modified [name of the organism]” must appear clearly next to the ingredient list." 
  5. The EU requires traceability for GMO substances. 
  6. Directive 2001/18/EC addresses GMO releases into the environment.
  7. 1830/2003 addresses more GMO labeling. Labeling of all GMO ingredients is required, even for ornamental things like cut flowers.

Sources
Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: European Union. loc.gov. Last accessed Apr 17, 2016.


US

  1. Roundup can be sprayed onto Roundup Ready crops to kill them, and harvested in 2 days thus leading to Roundup in the food chair.
  2. Plants that product Bt CRY toxin are allowed in the food system. 
  3. Labeling products that contain GMOs are not required except in Vermont, which recently passed a law requiring products containing GMOs to be labeled. Several manufacturers have already indicated they will use the same GMO label for Vermont as for the rest of the country.
  4. "Free range" chickens does not mean sunlight ever touched their back. It means chickens are packed into a large, crowded barn together.  
    "Free range" chickens collapsing under their own weight.
  5. The US uses the "it's safe until proven otherwise" philosophy regarding GMOs. 
  6. Non-Organic seeds and other items can be used if  organic seeds are not available, and the "organic" label can still be used. 
  7. US companies, like Monsanto, are well-known for lobbying for GMOs, and lobbying against third-party studies.Monsanto job titles even included "influencing the EPA".


Sources

USDA National Organic Program. Link to website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Now, how do we organize all these studies and information?

I started wondering how to allow people to search all the studies I'm collecting online. I'd like to organize studies with tags for substances tested (BPA, glyphosate/Roundup, etc), body systems affected (brain, lungs, liver, reproductive), diseases caused (neurological, cancer, developmental, fertility, etc) and animals tested (lacewing, tadpole, human, etc).

Use XML with XSLT.

Another product I'm trying is Zotero.org.
  1. It's free. No ads. These are all the free features.
  2. It has plugins for Firefox and Chrome and a standalone app. It allows you to go to an NIH/PMC study, click the plugin icon, and save the reference to that study. Zotero breaks up the info into many different fields like authors (more than 1 possible), title, journal, date of publication. And it has tags, where you can make your own custom tags, and search on tags. For example if I search on '#lead' Zotero will pull up all studies that cover lead. Some if I search for '#anxiety' Zotero will pull up all studies that found anxiety as a result of exposure. 
  3. I also make tags for the animal studied like: #fish, #frog, #human, #mouse, #rat, #plant, etc.
  4. Make subfolders for grouping your bibliographies by topic. I have some for lead, BPA, and glyphosate.
  5. Export a folder to various biblio formats. 
  6. Make notes on every study. 
  7. Sync your biblio between different PCs and browsers. 
  8. As of yet, there are no user-defined fields where I can study the number of subjects that were tested. If only 4 humans were studied, that's not a great study. 

Firefox Plugins

Sticky Notes. Allows you to put sticky notes on webpages. Why? To take notes or summarize each study you find.



Substandard software in medical devices?

(As a computer programmer I'm going to comment on this. I've been programming for 35+ years and I've worked in a variety of companies from Fortune 500s to small 1 man operations. My comments are based on my experience and illustrate how things could possibly go wrong.)

Background of the development process

Medical device and other companies sometimes try to develop software overseas. There are a few good software developers in say, India, I've used their software. But many of them lack attention to detail and polish, and this could actually kill someone, say, if they are using a computer to deliver morphine via IV. The problem here is not necessarily the developers, but the US management teams. Managers are often clueless about how development works and the development cycle. They are given a fixed budget and must release the software as soon as the date arrives or the budget is used up. This is one of the best ways to develop poor software.


The development cycle for a piece of software is roughly like this:
  1. Work with the customer to determine what the software needs to do. 
  2. Design the software, and go over details with the customer once again. Keep in mind the customer contact the programmer deals with is usually NOT a computer person nor a programmer!. They might be an executive who doesn't even know how to use computers, or, as in my case, a marketing person who doesn't understand the importance of data consistency. 
  3. Develop a test plan. 
  4. Write the software.
  5. Begin testing, looking for bugs and generally trying to break the software.
  6. If a bug is found during testing add more code and go back to step 5.
The testing phase, which includes finding bugs and removing them, typically takes up 40% of the whole development process. Because computers are so complex, and there are so many unknown and unexpected variables, it is not humanly possible to write a flawless test plan from the beginning. So as new test ideas emerge during the testing phase, more code is added, the test plan is changed to reflect the new test case, and costs increase. Software development managers who are familiar with the dev process often have another 30-50% additional secret budget in reserve for cases like this. A software dev manager without access to an additional budget will slow the company down and possibly close it due to financial difficulties. Programmers are wise to avoid a  manager like this and programmer applicants should ask the manager open-ended questions to ferret out their experience with software development.


Software development often goes over budget and past the original deadline because of finding and fixing previously unknown bugs.

On to the article
The kind of software developers that device manufactures hire also leaves a lot to be desired. They tend to rely on externals, mostly unvetted, who are hired on short-term contracts and have no stake in the future of the product. They are typically hired not for their software development experience, but for how they seem on paper. 

This is just more evidence of either an inexperienced software development manager or clueless executives who are hiring contract programmers. To get good at programming, the programmer needs years of programming experience not just with the languages in question (and they could be using 4+ languages for a single project!) but with the system in question too.


Using a programmer experienced in the needed languages, and retaining programmers who know the specific software, will cost the company less in the long run, because it means the software is done well up front, leading to fewer lawsuits and recalls for the company that issued the software-driven device. Common mistakes for executives inexperienced with software development leads to short-term profits, but long term problems. Rewriting code is VERY expensive because it takes time for a new developer who has never seen the code before to just figure out what it's doing in the first place. Then they have to figure out what it's supposed to do, and then make the code do what it was supposed to in the first place.

The article is a good read and what it describes does happen. But when a person's life is at stake, if it happens once that's one too many times. 


Sources
Skankworks. April 22, 2016.

Monday, May 2, 2016

FDA fast tracks risky flu vaccine

(Take this article with a grain of salt. The tone is laced with zombie-apocalypse and bible-thumping hysteria. Ignore the overly fantastic end-of-the-world tone and focus on the facts they are trying to deliver.)

The Novartis oil in water vaccine was banned in Italy due to 19 deaths but the FDA approves it in the US.

...the Food and Drug Administration just fast-tracked Novartis’ oil-in water, squalene adjuvant flu shot for approval in individuals 65 and older… Adjuvants are added to vaccines to hyper-stimulate the immune system. They are designed to remain in the body for a prolonged reaction... It’s a game of ‘Russian Roulette’ resulting in unpredictable adverse side effects ranging from heart attacks, stroke, myelitis and blindness to cognitive disfunction, skin disorders, miscarriages and fetal death.
Isn't an overreaction of the immune system part of asthma, some arthritis, and allergies and some other immunological conditions?

In 1991, the squalene adjuvanted anthrax vaccine was first experimentally given to tens of thousands of Gulf War soldiers which resulted in severe, permanent injuries. Squalene antibodies caused a cascade of autoimmune reactions known as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). Symptoms included severe headaches, nausea, muscular pain, joint swelling, short term memory loss, night sweats, depression. Autoimmune conditions ranged from fibromyalgia, lymphadenopathy, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, chronic fatigue syndrome to malar rashes, chronic headaches, non-healing skin lesions, musculoskeletal disorders (ALS), among others. More than twenty years later thousands of veterans are still ill. (And they are largely being ignored by the budget-strained Veterans Administration.)
I haven't found a direct connection between the series of shots given to Gulf War participants but the correlation is high. If you have studies about this please put links in the comments.

Source
News Target. Apr 28, 2016.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to test your food and water for pesticides

Go to this site: http://www.abraxiskits.com/products/pesticides/

They have a kit for many different pesticides. You can test for the CRY proteins (the BT protein that is produced by the plant to kill insects), 2,4-D, DDT, glyphosate, and more. Some kits have test strips.

Links to how to test for pesticides.
http://www.abraxiskits.com/publications/#pesticides