February 27th, 2009 cate
“1. If you hate crowds and lines, shop at dinnertime (5 to 9 p.m.) or even later. Only 4 percent of shoppers hit the aisles between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Least-crowded day of the week? Wednesday.
2. Go ahead and reach way back for the fresh milk. Everybody does.
3. Coupons with a bar code are easy to scan. The other ones take an eternity. But if you’re willing to wait …
4. That star fruit has been here a lot longer than the broccoli. Familiar produce turns over more quickly than exotic things.
5. “The more products you see, the more you are likely to buy,” says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat. “That’s why the aisles are so long and the milk is usually in the far corner.”
6. Like employees with a good attitude? Shop at chains that are employee-owned, suggest customer-satisfaction surveys. When employees have a stake in the profits, it shows in their attitude.
7. The “grazers” order food at the deli, eat it as they’re shopping, and get rid of the wrappers before they check out. We also call that stealing.
8. I’m not just selling groceries, I’m selling real estate. Look high and low-literally-for good values from smaller manufacturers who can’t afford to stock their products in the eye-level sweet spot.
9. We’re marketing to your kids too. That’s why we put the rainbow-colored cereals and other kiddie catnip at their eye level.
10. Be wary of “specials.” When people see signs with numbers-”8 for $10!” “Limit: 5 per customer”—they buy 30 to 100 percent more than they otherwise might have.
11. The baby formula is locked up because thieves resell it on the black market. Ditto for the cough and cold medications, smoking-cessation products, razor blades, and batteries.
12. Driving your Ferrari to the Piggly Wiggly and want to avoid shopping-cart dents? Park far, far away.
13. You’ll end up tossing 12 percent of what you buy.”
Read 16 more things your grocer hides from you
January 24th, 2009 cate
“So you lost your job. Now what? As an employee, you had a daily routine, health insurance coverage, and a regular paycheck. You liked the security—while it lasted. And if you sometimes daydreamed about the freedom of working for yourself, leaving a full-time job never seemed worth the risk.
But now, laid off into a recession and the worst job market in decades—2.6 million Americans lost jobs in 2008, with 524,000 eliminated in December alone—you may be thinking self-employment sounds like the best path out of unemployment. Rather than try to land one of the few open jobs out there, maybe you could work as a freelancer or consultant, at least until the job market recovers. You’re in good company: There were nearly 9 million self-employed workers in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if you’re among the thousands of unemployed now trying to go it alone, where do you start?
First, step back. Decide what your goals are and how freelancing will help you achieve them, says Pamela Slim, author of the Escape From Cubicle Nation blog and a forthcoming book of the same name. “It’s obviously very easy at the point of being laid off to really come from a position of fear and desperation,” she says. Thinking about long-term goals from the start will keep you grounded and help you determine how to proceed. Once you’re clear on your goals, Slim says, you should ask: “What are the specific skills, knowledge, money, resources, information, and contacts [you] need to bring that picture to life?”
There are plenty of nuts-and-bolts concerns that can overwhelm first-time freelancers, especially those who suddenly lost steady jobs. Chief among them is health care. The health insurance system does not accommodate… “ continue reading
October 28th, 2008 cate
PVC is bad in so many ways and I wish everyone would come to the same conclusion, then get rid of it.
“Phthalates, the plasticizer used to make vinyl soft, have been known to be a gender-bender that has been shown to affect the masculinity of rats. Even the Bush Administration, not renowned for its defence of the public against the chemical companies, has banned it from childrens’ toys.
Now new research has found new evidence of “phthalate syndrome”- smaller penises, and undescended or incompletely descended testicles- in humans. Shanna Swan, director of the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester’s school of medicine, who led the research, says phthalates are “”probably reproductive toxins and should be eliminated from products gradually because we don’t need them.”
Chemical Industry dismisses threat
Of course the American Chemistry Council, representing the companies that make the chemical (Exxon Mobil, BASF, Ferro Corp., and Eastman Chemical) warns us to be “cautioned against over-interpreting any individual study.”
Screw that; among guys, penis size is serious stuff. Martin Mittelstaedt of the Globe and Mail writes:
“Scientists have been investigating the possible effects on boys of phthalates because rodent studies have shown the chemical has the peculiar ability to shorten the space between the anus and the genitalia in male mice exposed during fetal development. This space, known as anogenital distance or AGD, is normally about twice as long in young male mice than in females. For mice, AGD is considered a measure of masculinity and a way to determine the sex of the pups. Scientists are so confident of the effect that they’ve given the impact of the chemical on male rodents a name – phthalate syndrome.
Surveys of children have also found that …..”
October 27th, 2008 cate
“…Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They’ll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots…”
Read the full article at alternet
September 7th, 2008 cate
“… bees are still dying from symptoms that have been identified as Colony Collapse Disorder. Not many, yet. But this is when it starts. So let’s look at what’s going on.
Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus was implicated early on, but so far it hasn’t moved past the ‘found in some samples’ role. Continuing greenhouse research, where individual honey bees are infected with the virus definitely shows that the pathogen kills bees. But so do a host of other viruses that were found in the initial samples. The jury is still out on IAPV, at least until newer studies are published.
Other researchers are studying viruses, some known, some not, but so far nothing concrete has turned up … or at least nothing that anybody is talking about. That’s the trouble with science … too often the information gets sat on until the results are published … not reviewed and given the green light but actually put on paper (or turned into electrons to grace your computer screen) and released. Some publishing outlets are quicker, some slower but all have the same criteria. So if there’s something out there we’ll just have to wait.
Some of the early work — simply collecting samples of bees, wax, larvae, and pollen — are finally coming to the top of the pile and the results, some of which have been explored here, have been eye-opening, and mostly downright scary. Beekeeper-applied chemicals to control varroa certainly are hugely evident in the samples collected … not unlike the termite chemicals, lawn chemicals, garden chemicals, pet chemicals, and all the rest that we walk in, swim in, eat, touch and absorb everyday in our homes, work and play. Pesticides, to no one’s surprise, are abundant in our lives and equally abundant in the lives of our honey bees.
One of the unknowns, or maybe-unknowns, are the effects that those well-publicized new pesticides are having. They have made international headlines and definitely can’t be overlooked. And advocacy group, Beyond Pesticides, commented recently on these, and said that two of the primary active ingredients of concern are clothianidin and imidacloprid, both in the neonicotinoid family of chemicals. They are systemic pesticides, meaning the chemical is incorporated into plant tissue and can therefore be present in pollen and nectar, which is of particular importance to bees. They also have long persistence in the soil and can be absorbed by multiple generations of crops, increasing the likelihood of exposure for bees. Meanwhile, the manufacturers claim the chemicals safe and have data to prove it. But others in France and Germany claim just the opposite and are doing everything in their power to rid the world of these new poisons, and in the U.S. the EPA stands in the middle … and may soon be standing in court defending their role in approving these chemicals for use.
But there’s more going on than just pesticides, though those are definitely destructive. Other discoveries came from those samples taken earlier. One surprise was the nutrition deficiencies that were discovered … some of the bees that were sampled definitely were not in the best health because they had not had enough good food to eat. That, too, is a management concept that beekeepers are already turning around. This summer smart beekeepers are making protein supplements available … some of the new diets are being explored, new diets have been concocted, and more diets are on the drawing board, so to speak, and for the most part all seem to have given our bees a boost. Almost anything is better than nothing, and good food can solve a lot of problems, whether it’s your diet, your child’s daily bread, or a honey bee’s ration. That there were so many bees in diet-deficiency seems at first odd, perhaps, but bees have slowly declined for several years, and monoculture agriculture has continued to increase during the same time.
But not only protein-deficiencies were evident … carbohydrates, too were found wanting. Not so much volume, but quality. Is high fructose corn syrup as bad, or good, for bees as it is, or isn’t for us? Some seem to think HFCS is evil incarnate, no matter who or what eats it. Others have shown that if the HFCS is made well, and then that quality preserved and protected it’s just fine. Meanwhile, some beekeepers are switching to plain old sugar … sucrose solution … and seem to see better results. But sugar costs more.
The new disease … that Nosema cerane thing … isn’t anywhere near being solved either. What is it, how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, when do you treat for it … all questions needing answers and nobody is looking it seems. Well, not quite. Researchers in Europe are studying this I understand … but again, nothing has been published … so bees die of a disease that we can’t treat. Is this CCD? Hmmmmm. Don’t know.
Which brings up the tired old song of research funding. I talked about the $4.1 million grant delivered recently, and I looked at the scientists receiving the money. One industry spokesperson (me) recently said, mostly in jest, that once that money was spread out over all the scientists, over all the years, each would receive about a buck and a half … That’s not quite true, but the concept shouldn’t be ignored. So far, USDA has been monumentally slow in getting things moving. They have a couple of large scale, actually profoundly practical studies going … funded by existing money, not the new money that was supposed to come down from the farm bill … at least so far. But this begs the question … if the money is being used for these studies, what isn’t getting done? Well, we don’t know, do we?
Colony Collapse Disorder hasn’t gone away. Beekeepers are harvesting honey, if they have some to harvest. They are beginning plans for moving south or west for wintering or pollination, and wondering if they again will have to scratch to get bees to meet pollination contract promises. Or is this the year it would be better to stay home? Honey prices are strong, moving is even more expensive this year, and all that stress … maybe home is where the honey bee is should get more attention.
But one more thing has come to light. Organization.
With all the noise made about lack of funding, one question keeps coming up … why aren’t beekeepers doing some of this funding? Why is it only the government that should do this? Good question.
And here’s the answer. There are four major funding sources within the beekeeping industry that have already made significant contributions to finding the answers to Colony Collapse Disorder. More — way more, actually — than government sources, and more is on the way. And if you are looking to help solve this critical problem and want to know how … stay tuned. We’ll open a whole set of doors and introduce you to the best of the beekeeping world.”