Archive for the 'Media' Category

When the Internet Gives You Lemons…

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

This is not my only blog. I also write one about reducing plastic waste. That is why I made a query on Google News about plastic today. I found a story with the title Worlds Largest Bottle To Bottle Recycling Facilty To Open In Spartanburg.

I was amazed by the poor writing skills of this reporter. If it turns out that it was a rush transcript based on an audio report, I apologize for my harsh criticism. I would also suggest that rush transcripts be labeled as such (Fox does it).

Anyway, the atrocious writing sent me down a rabbit hole looking for commentary about the sad state of journalism. I found The Tyranny of Bad Journalism by G. K. Chesterton. This essay is very old and VERY British, but it still had a disturbing relevance when read in the here and now. I have to thank Carrie Davis of South Carolina for sending me to it.

Passivity Kills

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Sunshine Bob - Funny home videos are a click away

This disturbing short film seems to be about passivity.

The effect of this movie is very surreal. It’s main character is designed to not be an exact representation of a human being. I have seen an equally disturbing documentary in which a real human who fetishized passivity was seen to fall away from it during his last days. Passivity is a survival strategy. Aggression is a survival strategy, too. My observations lead me to believe that passivity is abandoned more readily than aggression. Thoughts?

The FDA Protects the Public (from itself)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

One of the many things that the FDA has to take into consideration is the possibility of causing panic. It took me several minutes to digest a recent story about melamine in American baby formula. The FDA diligently tested US supplies of baby formula in the wake of the scandal in China. They didn’t find any evidence of deliberate addition of the toxic substance but the tests were accurate enough to detect trace amounts. Melamine is a very common substance and it can potentially get rubbed off of equipment and packaging (my mother once found a large chunk of wood in a boxed chocolate).

Health experts do not consider these trace amounts to pose a health risk, but the FDA still had a problem. They did not have a maximum safe level on the books at the time. The trace amounts were not publicly announced. The associated press had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get access to the results. This makes the FDA look bad but the bottom line is that scaring people out of using baby formula would have caused greater harm to public health than the melamine.

This post is a bit unbalanced so far. For the ying to my yang, please read this slam of the FDA on It says almost the opposite of what I said and strangely enough I don’t entirely disagree with it. My commentary is the result of my imagining what would have happened if this particular incident played out with the FDA acting the way that people like Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, want it to act.

The WHO recommends two years of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Breast milk is not regulated by the FDA.