News Briefs 27-01-2006

Nice to know I’m fulfilling my purpose in life by just farting around.

  • More human than ape: DNA study supports call to reclassify chimpanzees.
  • Inside a mind well ahead of its time: A review of The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science. Amazon US (Apr. 18) & UK (Feb. 2). A must read!
  • The curse of Stonehenge will remain until it is handed back to the druids.
  • New discoveries in Jiroft may change history of civilization.
  • Peru’s Battle For Its History: Artifacts Removed From Machu Picchu By A Yale Professor In 1911 Are The Focus Of A Growing Furor.
  • Ruins of the Christian prayer hall, which was located inside a Roman villa, date back to the first half of the third century CE, making the chapel the earliest place of Christian worship ever unearthed in the Holy Land. More.
  • Anthropologist’s ‘sudden evolution’ theory gets boost from cell research.
  • Researchers say the shape of the human skull has changed significantly over the past 650 years.
  • Today, Sir Crispin Tickell, who convinced Maggie Thatcher that global warming was a real problem, will sound a doomsday warning to the world.
  • Oz researchers say sea level rise is accelerating.
  • Suntan oil linked to gender transformation.
  • Physicists Discover an Atomic Oddity.
  • Mountain ranges rise several times faster than geologists have always thought.
  • Genetic ‘master switch’ for chronic pain found.
  • The Primate Police: Monkey’s elect cops to keep the peace.
  • Humanity is programmed to explore, ex-astronaut says.
  • Fairies stop developers’ bulldozers in their tracks. How in the world did we miss this one back in Nov.?
  • Scorpion survives being sealed in a plaster mold for 15 months.
  • After decades of pressure, the EPA has finally asked chemical companies to voluntarily cut production of the ubiquitous non-stick chemical that’s been linked to birth defects and cancer in humans, and which is found in the blood of 95% of Americans.
  • Custodians of chaos, an excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country: A Memoir of Life in George W Bush’s America. Amazon US (now) & UK (Feb. 6th).

Quotes of the Day:

It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

Kurt Vonnegut, human

  1. PFOA in Teflon
    [quote]After decades of pressure, the EPA has finally asked chemical companies to voluntarily cut production of the ubiquitous non-stick chemical that’s been linked to birth defects and cancer in humans, and which is found in the blood of 95% of Americans.[/quote]

    Sorry to harp here, but I keep feeling the need to set the record straight when this Teflon/PFOA thing comes up. The article you have linked to is from a news station local to Columbus, Ohio, where I now live. In my opinion, the local news stations in Columbus, Ohio are inaccurate, reactionary and frequently participate in scaremongering and this article is no exception.

    Here’s what is actually going on here in Ohio. Firstly, this article is misleading on its face. “DuPont to Cut PFOA Production” – DuPont does not produce PFOA. PFOA is used during the manufacture of Teflon and is not present in the finished product. The EPA has not asked DuPont to stop making Teflon. They have asked them to try to stop using PFOA to make Teflon and to make sure that when they do use it that it is not released into the environment (specifically the environment surrounding its manufacturing plants like the one in Parkersburg, WV, pictured in this article.)

    The primary reason for this is because PFOA has recently been found in high levels in the drinking water in some towns along the Ohio River near this plant, namely Belpre, OH and Little Hocking, OH.

    Now, a little dose of reality here. I grew up in Little Hocking and I graduated from Belpre High School. My father has worked in the Teflon Monomer department manufacturing Teflon at the plant pictured in this article for 15 years. He is not sick. No one he has worked with in 15 years (including his brother) is sick or have children with birth defects. No one in our family is sick or have children with birth defects. None of my neighbors or friends are sick or have children with birth defects.

    To my current knowledge and in all the research I have been able to find so far, there is no higher occurrence of disease and birth defects in the population surrounding this factory than there is in the general population. However, because PFOA (also called C-8) has been found in the drinking water we drank our whole lives, DuPont is going to take a sample of our blood and test it for PFOA levels and other health markers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, etc, etc. More about this study can be found at:

    http://www.c8healthproject.org/

    Perhaps some better articles on PFOA to read would be:

    Health effects of PFOA:
    http://www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld/part4.php

    PFOA/Teflon Scaremongering:
    http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.671/news_detail.asp

    And I am very glad to hear that DuPont and others will be trying to reduce the use of PFOA. I don’t like the idea of consuming something that is as resistant to degradation as this chemical. And I highly doubt it’s a real great idea to be filling our environment with it. But on the scale of things that I’m worried might kill me, this one ranks somewhere below second-hand cigarette smoke, vehicle emissions and certain food additives.

    And, if we must have a frequently consumed substance against which to rail for its devastating health effects, might I suggest we start with HFCS:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8003-2003Mar10?language=printer

    1. That figures…
      Before deciding to post that article, I searched TDG for both fairies and bulldozers, but Rico’s news, which contains both queries, didn’t show up. Of course, the way my instant-backlash karma’s been running lately, if anyone else were to search either of those terms now, I’m sure their results would be different than mine.

      Why is it there’s never a hole to crawl into when you really need one?

      Kat

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