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The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

Michael Moss pulls back just a fraction of the curtain on how giant food corporations collude to control your diet in a lengthy piece for the New York Times Magazine:

On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies. Nestlé was in attendance, as were Kraft and Nabisco, General Mills and Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Mars. Rivals any other day, the C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it. While the atmosphere was cordial, the men assembled were hardly friends. Their stature was defined by their skill in fighting one another for what they called “stomach share” — the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.

James Behnke, a 55-year-old executive at Pillsbury, greeted the men as they arrived. He was anxious but also hopeful about the plan that he and a few other food-company executives had devised to engage the C.E.O.’s on America’s growing weight problem. “We were very concerned, and rightfully so, that obesity was becoming a major issue,” Behnke recalled. “People were starting to talk about sugar taxes, and there was a lot of pressure on food companies.” Getting the company chiefs in the same room to talk about anything, much less a sensitive issue like this, was a tricky business, so Behnke and his fellow organizers had scripted the meeting carefully, honing the message to its barest essentials. “C.E.O.’s in the food industry are typically not technical guys, and they’re uncomfortable going to meetings where technical people talk in technical terms about technical things,” Behnke said. “They don’t want to be embarrassed. They don’t want to make commitments. They want to maintain their aloofness and autonomy.”

A chemist by training with a doctoral degree in food science, Behnke became Pillsbury’s chief technical officer in 1979 and was instrumental in creating a long line of hit products, including microwaveable popcorn. He deeply admired Pillsbury but in recent years had grown troubled by pictures of obese children suffering from diabetes and the earliest signs of hypertension and heart disease. In the months leading up to the C.E.O. meeting, he was engaged in conversation with a group of food-science experts who were painting an increasingly grim picture of the public’s ability to cope with the industry’s formulations — from the body’s fragile controls on overeating to the hidden power of some processed foods to make people feel hungrier still. It was time, he and a handful of others felt, to warn the C.E.O.’s that their companies may have gone too far in creating and marketing products that posed the greatest health concerns…

[continues in the New York Times Magazine]

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Planet Earth

In a Historic Move, Vote to Federally Legalize Marijuana to Take Place in Congress—This Week

Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project
Waking Times

Washington, D.C. — As countless individuals across the land of the free are rotting in cages for possessing a plant deemed illegal by the government, a historical bill is making its way through Congress that could change everything. A congressional committee reportedly plans to vote on a bill this week that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). But that is not all. It would go one step further and seek to undo the horrific damage caused by the state’s war on this plant.

According to the legislation, the act would:

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More than 5,000 birds die suddenly from a mysterious death

Wildlife experts are trying to understand the cause of the massive deaths of birds on the shores of Sambar Lake – India’s largest salt lake. 

Sambar Lake is located 80 km southwest of Jaipur (Jaipur). It covers an area of ​​190 to 230 square kilometers, depending on the season.Many migratory birds, marsh birds, gather at the lake shores at certain times of the year (Wader), flamingos, storks, ducks and dozens of different species. But, about two weeks ago, locals often began to see carcasses of birds.

To date, more than 2,000 dead birds have been found on the coastal stretch, about 12 km wide, and more than 5,000 on unofficial ones. According to locals, the former lively shores of the lake have now become a bird cemetery, among which there are rare species.

According to one resident, there are so many bird carcasses in some places that they look like a large pile of manure from afar!

The cause of the death of the birds has not yet been clarified. They were not killed with a firearm or other weapon. No wounds or signs of disease were found on their bodies. Large piles of dead birds in one place indicate that they died suddenly, exactly at the same place they were in groups overnight.

Local ornithologist Abhinav Vaishnav tells reporters:

“We have never seen anything like this here. About 5,000 birds have died here from a mysterious death …! “

Environmentalists and animal rights activists have voiced several versions of the mass deaths of birds – from a severe hailstorm to pesticides used in nearby agricultural fields. There is also a version for mass infection.

But for the locals, all of these versions seem like a pitiful attempt to put what’s going wrong. For them, such bird death is a mysterious and abnormal phenomenon.

Ramesh Chandra Road says:

“I have not seen anything like this in my 40 years of service in the forestry department. At first, I also thought it might be due to hail, but here every year there are strong hail storms. I also don’t believe in the pesticide version. No trace of them was found in the water samples. “

Some of the dead bird carcasses were sent for analysis to a laboratory in Bopal.

The locals gather the rest of the carcasses in piles, then bury them in deep holes near the beach.

Expect to be informed if further information is available on what is happening.

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Former Apollo Astronaut Pushes for International Commitment to Protect Earth from Killer Asteroids

There are few astronauts more respected and remembered than those who served on the Apollo missions – thirty-two military jet and test pilots who made or died training for the three-man Apollo missions that eventually sent humans to the Moon and back. When they have spoken – about space travel, the Moon, future missions, UFOs and other subjects – the world has listened. Rusty Schweickart, the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 9, spoke recently about the need for an international commitment to protect Earth from killer asteroids. As usual, his comments are worth listening to.

“During the Apollo 9 mission we were dark-adapted for an experiment, looking at the spectacular night-time Earth, watching weather fronts, thunder storms and lightning, a really great sight out of the window. Then, who knows who said it first, but one of us said they saw a little flash down there and someone else says ‘yeah, I saw it too,’ but you wouldn’t have mentioned it if the first person hadn’t said it. And then we realized: that was a meteor, burning up below us. Wow, below us – which meant it came down through our altitude!”

A close encounter of the worst kind – an asteroid impact in space – instead became an experience that forever influenced Russell “Rusty” Schweickart. When he was selected in 1963, Rusty Schweickart was a unique member of NASA Astronaut Group 3 – the fourteen astronauts selected by NASA to succeed the two-man Gemini missions in the three-man Apollo flights that would eventually lead to a walk on the Moon. Those names are well-known to the public today — Collins, Cunningham, Gordon, Aldrin, Cernan, Chaffee to list a few – but back then they were better known in the military as fighter pilots and test pilots. Schweickart was an experienced Air Force pilot, but he was also a research scientist at the Experimental Astronomy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fields of upper atmospheric physics, star tracking and stabilization of stellar images.

Astronaut Group Three announced on October 18, 1963. They are (seated, left to right) Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., William A. Anders, Charles A. Bassett II, Alan L. Bean, Eugene A. Cernan, and Roger B. Chaffee. Standing (left to right) are Michael Collins, R. Walter Cunningham, Donn F. Eisele, Theodore C. Freeman, Richard F. Gordon Jr., Russell L. Schweickart, David R. Scott and Clifton C. Williams Jr. (Credit: NASA)

The 1969 flight of Apollo 9 was the first flight of the lunar module, piloted by Schweickart, and the first spacewalk of the Apollo missions, also by Schweickart. During a recent ESA Open Day at the European Space Agency’s ESTEC technical center in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, the former astronaut heard about the latest plans to stop asteroids like the one the Apollo 9 crew encountered before they destructively impact Earth. In 2022, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test will hit the smaller member of the Didymos binary asteroids. Then, if approved this month by Europe’s space ministers, the ESA’s Hera mission will perform a close-up survey of the asteroid and crater after impact. Schweickart says he likes the idea of a multi-spacecraft mission rather than a single asteroid-seeking rocket.

“And one of the key unknowns of the kinetic impactor technique is a term we call ‘beta’ – when we hit the asteroid, how much stuff is going to come flying off? If it’s moving at greater than escape velocity, then that adds to the momentum shifting the orbit, boosting the technique’s effectiveness. That factor depends on the asteroid’s composition and structure, and we need a close-up look to find out what that is.”

In 2002, Schweickart helped found the B612 Foundation (named for the planetoid in The Little Prince), whose primary mission is “protecting the Earth from asteroid impacts and informing and forwarding world-wide decision-making on planetary defense issues.” Since asteroids can hit anywhere on Earth, Schweickart has long advocated international cooperation in both deflecting space rocks and in determining which ones to hit. He sees the NASA/ESA tandem as the first example of this cooperation. Unfortunately, we’re barely into asteroid defection business and have no idea what an impact will do – it could actually push the space rock into a higher likelihood of impact.

“In that case the observer spacecraft would have another job to do – to switch to gravity tractor mode, using altimeters and ion engines to stay just away from the asteroid, and nudge its orbit enough to miss the keyhole as well as the planet.”

Astronaut Rusty Schweickart (Credit: NASA)

Rusty Schweickart makes it sound so easy and doable, but the former Apollo and Skylab astronaut knows the dangers of space. He was the backup pilot for Roger B. Chaffee on Apollo 1, which ended in the tragic deaths of the crew members in a ground test accident. He also knows how expensive a worldwide asteroid deflection system would be and how difficult it is to get nations to agree on anything, let alone unseen dangers from outer space. That’s why he stays involved in both the technology and the politics of space.

At 84, Rusty Schweickart is still influenced by that near-impact experience on Apollo 9. For that, we should all be grateful.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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