Observation

"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

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Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Methanol Talking Points

It's curious how several pro-aspartame websites use very similiar explanations when justifying the human consumption of methanol (wood alcohol). It's as if someone spoonfed (not to be confused with the aspartame-containing Spoonful) them what to splat on their website. NutraSweet marketing people perhaps?

As a review, the sweetner aspartame is broken down into phenylalanine, aspartate and methanol post-consumption. Those opposed to aspartame being an FDA-approved sweetner include in their arguments that methanol is a neurotoxin, when consumed without ethanol. This website provides plenty of insight into the interplay between methanol, ethanol and formaldehyde. From it, we learn foods that contain methanol (e.g. tomatoes, strawberries) naturally contain ethanol too. Meaning, no toxicity when consuming these methanol-containing foods. Because of the ethanol. Aspartame does not provide ethanol.

Moreover, methanol is a cumulative poison. Once in the body it's eventually converted to formaldehyde (i.e. embalming fluid). Now let's review a few "pro-consumer" web sites that use conspicuously similiar, red-flag-sending-up language.

At aspartate.org it reads, "Methanol is a natural and harmless breakdown product of many commonly consumed foods. The methanol produced during the digestion of aspartame is identical to that which is provided in much larger amounts from many fruits, vegetables and their juices and is part of the normal diet. In fact, a glass of tomato juice provides about 6 times as much methanol as an equivalent amount of diet beverage sweetened with aspartame. Regardless of the source, after methanol is formed it is further broken down through normal body processes. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the amount of methanol one could consume from aspartame-containing foods and beverages could not reach harmful levels."

At aspartametruth.net it reads (in response to the question "Can aspartame affect vision?") "No. Although scientists know that huge amounts of methanol can affect vision, only small amounts of methanol are formed when aspartame and many fruits, vegetables and juices are digested. In fact, a glass of tomato juice provides about six times as much methanol as an equal amount of a beverage sweetened with aspartame. During the digestion of aspartame in the gastrointestinal tract, the released methanol is then easily further metabolized by normal body processes in the same way as when methanol is derived from other dietary sources. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the methanol from aspartame does not accumulate in the body and thus cannot reach harmful levels."

At Parkinson.org it reads, "The phenylalanine is linked to a methyl compound. When aspartame is digested, approximately ten percent is converted to methanol, which is then converted to formaldehyde, which is converted to formate, which is then converted to carbon dioxide and water. All of these conversions occur by normal processes. These same processes are used in converting the methanol found in many fruits, fruit juices, vegetables and wine to carbon dioxide and water. Thus, methanol is a natural by-product of the metabolism of many common foods. In fact, a glass of tomato juice yields about 5 times as much methanol as a similar amount of diet soft drink containing aspartame. These amounts of methanol are rapidly metabolized, do not accumulate in the body and do not reach harmful amounts."

At aspartame.net, in response to the question, "What is methanol and is it a problem in consuming aspartame?, it reads, "Methanol is a natural and harmless by-product of many foods we eat every day. The methanol produced by aspartame is identical to the methanol produced in much larger amounts from fruits, vegetables and their juices. In fact, a cup of tomato juice provides about six times more methanol than a cup of an aspartame-sweetened soft drink. The amount of methanol in the human diet is nowhere near the levels that cause toxicity. You would have to drink about 675 to 1,690 cans of diet soft drink at one sitting to reach the toxic level."

Clearly these websites are parroting information they've been fed and don't think for themselves. Some business entity with a vested interest in aspartame sales has scarfed up common website names which consumers would search for when seeking information about aspartame. Note that none of them mention the ethanol connection. That’s critical and the failure to mention it is nothing short of fraudulent.

Rest Your Mail

Mail generally provokesus --the bills, junk, and... bills and the junk. Occasionally there's a $2.57 rebate from some mega corporation, and a greeting card from a friend or family member. Those are what we refer to as "good mail days." With the advent of e-mail though personal letters come along as often as human bird flu deaths.

Because of the high probability your mail is a source of irritation to you, here's a suggestion for tweaking and upgrading your daily grind. I'm doing it and reaping the mental benefits. Twice a week don't get the mail. Let it rot in the mailbox overnight. Five retrieval days per week is enough. Enjoy your two days off.

Commissioner Jeb

Florida Governor Jeb Bush is now said to be in the running for the National Football League's commissioner's job. Smells like "revenue stream" to me. Having a seasoned political insider as the head cheese for the NFL would be fiscally beneficial to both the NFL and the government. When temptation exists to curry favors, favors are often curried.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Testosterbond?




1998 v. 2006. Most Americans beef up as did Barry Bonds from age 34 (left) to 41 (right). Or maybe not.

To be safe, my advice is for Barry to start the "Americans to Prevent Steroid Use Society" (APSUS). That will fool everybody and then his reputation will remain untarnished for years to come.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SoDarkTheConOfGumpAndOpie.com

There's two Da Vinci Codes. There's the movie and its soon-to-be-had noteriety as an entertaining major motion picture. Then there's the issue of its truth claims. Opie and Forrest have both clammored in the media recently that it's a good "story." (I suspect they'll make a drachma or two off the film). The author of the book claims it's all true. I'd link you to a good, expansive debunking site but everyone wants a denarius or two in exchange. You're on your own with that, with the exception of my brief code cracking explanation below.


Dumb
Asinine

Villainy
Inaccurate
Non compos mentis
Cuckoo
Incorrect

Counterfactual
Odious
Darwinian
Erroneous

Bird Flu strikes!

After months of clamoring that the Bird Flu scares are unwarranted I stand corrected. Here is clear evidence we all need to move to Micronesia to stay alive. 100% of these flamingos are dead and their handlers certainly will follow in their talonsteps.

Track Rage

The recent world record in the 100-meter dash, set by Justin Gatlin at 9.76 seconds, has been revoked. Why? The time was rounded wrong. It was FCAT-unfriendly. Officially he clocked in at 9.766 seconds. With rounding it's adjusted to 9.77 seconds. This puts Justin in a tie with another guy--Asafa Powell of Jamaica. Said Gatlin when informed of the IAAF's (International Association of Athletics Federation) rug yanking, "It is very disappointing to me that it has taken five days to determine the official time of a race with this significance."

Let's say the race was originally timed at 9.77 then upgraded to 9.76, moving Gatlin out of a tie position and into sole ownership of the record. Would he still have said, "It is very disappointing to me that it has taken five days to determine the official time of a race with this significance?"

Gatlin wasn't bummed with the five day wait. He was bummed with the status change. A mild yet significant case of Track Rage.

Wyeth Aggravating Women

Makers of the seldom-ingested female hormones Premarin (conjugated estrogen) and Prempro (Premarin + Provera) are irked that consumers are having better results using compounded hormones made by "compounding pharmacies." Wyeth (Big Druga) is whining to the FDA about the lack of regulation and the "health concerns" with compounding pharmacies dispensing their "homemade" prescriptions. One can't imagine why a woman would want to take a bioidentical hormone with a better safety profile than a synthetic derivative. But, they do. There's a world of difference between taking estriol, estrone, estradiol and progesterone, in comparison to Premarin and medroxyprogesterone (Provera). The free market figured that out and Wyeth is financially flabbergasted.

With regards to the petitions and e-mails to the FDA--might I suggest that the focus include contracts by Wyeth and its vendors/accountants/law firms, etc. not to hire former FDA employess for a period of five years. Just in case collusion is brewing behind the scenes.

To read a fuller yet politically correct account of this story click here.

Bettany's Dilemma

Avowed atheist and British actor Paul Bettany plays a self-flagellating and strange Opus Dei member in Opie's Da Vinci Code. His role is self-described as part monk, part assassin. In an interview with David Germain, Bettany is quoted, with respect to the nature of the movie, "And if we have offended anybody, if I have offended anybody, they're Christians, so I'd ask them to forgive me."

This is a tongue-in-cheek remark made in attempt to fend off criticism, and to "teach" the Christians a little un-Christianity. Non-Christians have this natural compulsion to teach Christians their faith. This is akin to a popcorn salesman teaching a course on brain surgery.

Bettany is fortunate Christians generally don't respond in a spirit of vindictiveness and hold him accountable to his statement. For example, if Bettany's life savings were embezzled, leaving him broke, would he forgive the person if he appealed to Bettany's definition of forgiveness? Not hardly. He'd remind/instruct the thief that extending forgiveness is their obligation, not his, and demand his money back. But what if the thief countered with, "I respect your opinion, but you have to forgive me" then go out and spend Bettany's money. Bettany could walk away frustrated, take the matter to court, or execute vigilante justice. However the matter played out, if the thief retains both the money and his orthopraxic proclivities, only coercive and manipulative tactics could spare Bettany from engaging the fabulously expensive justice system.
The world can only make sense when interpreted and lived through the lens of Biblical revelation. All other -ocracies (choose your governance system de jour) lead to wealth-draining and relationship-straining methods that devalue our personhood.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dust and the Democracy

Depleted uranium (DU) is a cheap, radioactive by-product of the nuclear energy manufacturing process. It's 1.7X denser than lead and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. In the U.S. it's used to encase artillery shells, missiles and bombs. "Depleted uranium dust" is the phrase assigned to depleted uranium once it's exploded and subsequently burned up. It leaves dust in fine enough particles to penetrate a gas mask. The U.S. has 10 million tons of depleted uranium.

The U.S. Navy developed depleted uranium weapons in 1968. The stuff meets the U.S. definition of "weapon of mass destruction" yet we've used them in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and of course Iraq. Arun Shrivastava writes in her article that coalition countries have used the equivalent of 440,000 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs in war since 1991. There's really no way to clean it up. According to Dr. Jim Howenstine, we've sold depleted uranium weaponry to 29 other countries.

The official position of the U.S. government is that radioactive dust from depleted uranium is not harmful. It has no long-lasting effects. They're so confident they've blocked research into its effects. I guess to save us Americans from further tax collections.

Kim Hawkins and Robert Shetterly wrote that in 1997 Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University, was asked by the Veteran's Administration to lie about the effects of depleted uranium on the human body. His research was blocked.

In an article by Douglas Westerman he writes that Doug Rokke was a U.S. Army contractor in charge of salvaging depleted uranium-contaminated tanks after the first Gulf War. His crew of a hundred employees left for the job healthy and 30 of them have since died. Rokke himself now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems. He lost his job.

The known illnesses inflicted by depleted uranium is extensive as catalogued in this article by independent scientist and radiation specialist Leuren Moret. Nearly 365,000 American and British troops--more than half of the number that had been deployed in Gulf War I (when Saddam threatened Kuwait)-- have experienced symptoms and illnesses similiar to that produced by exposure to depleted uranium. The birth defect rate of children of military people returning home from the battle region is a whopping 67% (DU passes into sperm). In Basra, Iraq birth defects are up 2000%. Cancer overall is up 1000%. Childhood lekemia is up 700%.

Of no particular comfort is the fact that President George Herbert Walker Bush relied on scientists from the WHO (not the band), the U.N. and the European Union for his assurances depleted uranium could be safely incorporated into the production of warheads. I guess independent scientists without conflict of interests were unavailable.

The health of the locals in the Middle East bears watching in the coming years. One can't rule out Anthrax vaccines and aspartame toxicity from causing many cases of Gulf War Syndrome but the fallout from radiation poisoning looms large. As things get sorted out it's likely government-friendly physicians will rule out the likely causes and chase after wind instead. The the independent scientists and physicians will blame environmental causes and lose out on invitations to meetings in plush hotels.

President Bush first told "the American People" after 9-11 that we're going to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Then attention was turned towards Saddam because of his ties to Al-Qaeda. Then the threat of Saddam and his supposed WMDs was the focus. Now it's a need to install American-style democracy in a country with little interest in practicing the governance ideas of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, et.al. In actuality, Bush II, Bush I and the man who fled Lewinsky have been sending American troops out with munitions that threaten their health and the health of their offspring. They've overseen the contamination of a good chuck of the globe for billions of years and we wait to see the impact of this dust once transported by wind to who knows where.

The Bushes and Bill should be remembered for overseeing the most hideous and destructive physical assault on mankind in the history of the world. Whether it happened in ignornance or not, it still happened on their watch. In Bush II's defense he is building a massive embassy in Baghdad so maybe they really do believe the DU is harmless. Or maybe they plan to install expendable military "volunteers" there. Who knows.

There are other good theories about why so many service people are dying, and contracting malignancies or a number of other ailments, once having served in the Middle East. Between the depleted uranium, aspartame toxicity and vaccines it's likely a lot can be explained. (For more on the vaccine angle read this article by Dr. H. Hugh Fudenberg.)

To read a politically correct study about Gulf War Syndrome click here.