‘Thousands of people in the St. Louis area are talking about a strange message that popped up on their cell phone this weekend. It was about an AMBER Alert issued for a young girl missing from the Springfield, Missouri area.
It’s called the Wireless Emergency Alert system and people here are wondering why and how it showed up on their phones.
Cell phone user Megan Abbott saw the message Saturday afternoon and didn’t know what to think.
“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t spam or anything and make sure that it was actually happening because it didn’t have NewsChannel 5 or any other news source at the top,” said Abbott.
And these wireless emergency alerts never will. That’s because they’re generated by a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and a number of cell phone providers including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
The system rolled out nationwide last April and is designed to increase public safety.’
SEE ALSO: President Obama could send text-message warnings under new PLAN system (LA Times)
SEE ALSO: Smartphones now set up with automatic alert system for weather, national emergencies (Twin Cities)
SEE ALSO: Former DHS Head, Tom Ridge: I Was Pressured To Raise Terror Alert To Help Bush Win (Huffington Post)
SEE ALSO: Verizon says ‘civil emergency’ alert in N.J. was only a test; company apologizes for ‘inconvenience’ (NJ.com)
‘It’s not quite as bad as some have reported – cancer-causing artificial sweetening additives such as as aspartame likely would still need to be listed in tiny letters as ingredients. But the milk could otherwise be packaged, marketed, and sold as just “milk.” The stated goal is to reverse the trend of lagging dairy consumption by children, particularly in school.’
From the U.S. government’s Federal Register:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the Agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient.
IDFA and NMPF request their proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener—including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame. IDFA and NMPF state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.
by Declan McCullagh
‘Apple receives so many police demands to decrypt seized iPhones that it has created a “waiting list” to handle the deluge of requests, CNET has learned.
Court documents show that federal agents were so stymied by the encrypted iPhone 4S of a Kentucky man accused of distributing crack cocaine that they turned to Apple for decryption help last year.
An agent at the ATF, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “contacted Apple to obtain assistance in unlocking the device,” U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell wrote in a recent opinion. But, she wrote, the ATF was “placed on a waiting list by the company.”’
by Ben Child
‘Tommy Chong, the veteran star of the dope-fuelled Cheech and Chong films, says he has beaten prostate cancer with a combination of cannabis use and a special diet.
Chong, 74, was diagnosed with cancer in June last year following a three-year period in which he said he had been drug free. He now says he is 99% free of the disease after a Canadian doctor helped him change his diet to include a variety of special supplements, as well as hemp oil. He then sat for a number of sessions with a practitioner named Adam Dreamhealer, described as a “world-renowned healer”.
“That’s right, I kicked cancer’s ass!” Chong wrote on the website CelebStoner.com. “So the magic plant does cure cancer with the right diet and supplements. I’m due for another blood test, MRI, etc, but I feel the best I’ve felt in years. And now for a celebration joint of the finest Kush …”’
by JEREMY LAURANCE
‘Smoking cannabis may prevent the development of diabetes, one of the most rapidly rising chronic disorders in the world. If the link is proved, it could lead to the development of treatments based on the active ingredient of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), without its intoxicating effects. Researchers have found that regular users of the drug had lower levels of the hormone insulin after fasting – a signal that they are protected against diabetes. They also had reduced insulin resistance.
[...] The study involved almost 5,000 patients who answered a questionnaire about their drug use and were part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey between 2005 and 2010. The results showed almost 2,000 had used cannabis at some point in their lives and more than one in 10 (579) were current users. Only those who had used cannabis within the past month showed evidence of protection against diabetes, suggesting that the effects wear off in time. Current users of the drug had 16 per cent lower fasting insulin than those who had never used the drug.
[...] Almost one in 20 adults in the UK has diabetes, of which 2.6 million are diagnosed and 500,000 are undiagnosed. Rates are rising in this country and around the world, driven by Western lifestyles, and the number of cases is expected to exceed 4 million in the UK by 2025. The illness increases the risk of heart failure, kidney failure, and death – and is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK.’
‘After US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks showed that the State Department was lobbying worldwide for Monsanto and other similar corporations, a new report based on the cables shows Washington’s shilling for the biotech industry in distinct detail.
The August 2011 WikiLeaks revelations showed that American diplomats had requested funding to send lobbyists for the biotech industry to hold talks with politicians and agricultural officials in “target countries” in areas like Africa and Latin America, where genetically-modified crops were not yet a mainstay, as well as some European countries that have resisted the controversial agricultural practice.
After a concerted effort to “closely examine five years of State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the strategy, tactics and U.S. foreign policy objectives to foist pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide,” nonprofit consumer protection group Food & Water Watch published on Tuesday a report showing in plain detail the depth of the partnership between the federal government and a number of controversial biotech companies that have slowly but surely pushed their GMO products on a number of new countries in recent years.’
by Clare O’Connor
‘In her keynote speech at last year’s annual Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy Burner pitched a seemingly simple idea to the thousands of bloggers and web developers in the audience. The former Microsoft programmer and congressional candidate proposed a smartphone app allowing shoppers to swipe barcodes to check whether conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch were behind a product on the shelves.
Burner figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. Similarly, purchasing a pair of yoga pants containing Lycra or a Stainmaster carpet meant indirectly handing the Kochs your money (Koch Industries bought Invista, one of the world’s largest fiber and textiles companies, in 2004 from DuPont).
At the time, Burner created a mock interface for her app, but that’s as far as she got. She was waiting to find the right team to build out the back end, which could be complicated given often murky corporate ownership structures.
She wasn’t aware that as she delivered her Netroots speech, a group of developers was hard at work on Buycott, an even more sophisticated version of the app she proposed.’
‘Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) on Monday announced he would veto controversial legislation that would have made it harder to expose animal abuse.
[...] The so-called “ag gag” bill would have required that evidence of animal abuse be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours or face criminal charges. The bill’s sponsors said the proposal would ensure animal cruelty was quickly investigated.
But groups like the Humane Society of the United States said the true purpose of the bill was to prevent undercover activists from exposing cruelty on factory farms’
by Sandy Kleffman
‘No matter what else is happening in his life, David Anderson knows he cannot go far from the dialysis machine that sustains him. Jobs, vacations, get-togethers with friends — everything takes a back seat to his thrice-weekly treatments that do the work of his failing kidneys.
But across town, UC San Francisco researchers are using Silicon Valley technology to create a device they hope can untether the 63-year-old San Franciscan and 380,000 other Americans who rely on dialysis to cope with kidney disease.
They’re developing an implantable, artificial kidney that would shrink the refrigerator-size dialysis machine into a device the size of a coffee cup and perform functions a dialysis machine cannot do.’
by Bruce Levine, Ph.D.
Mad In America
‘In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.
Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.
Why Mental Health Professionals Diagnose Anti-Authoritarians with Mental Illness
Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance to authorities, even to those authorities that one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.
In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having “issues with authority” was to not kiss up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had “issues with authority,” I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it quite amusing, because among the working-class kids whom I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied, and received good grades. However, while my new “issues with authority” label made me grin because I was now being seen as a “bad boy,” it also very much concerned me about just what kind of a profession that I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was being labeled with “issues with authority,” what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear.’
by Ally Fogg
‘I’m not sure how old I was when I was first instructed that boys don’t cry – at a guess, maybe six or seven. Once it began, it came at me from all angles: family, teachers, friends, the myriad voices of media and culture. Like pretty much all boys, I learned that tears and sobs were markers of failure. Whether facing up to playground beatings, bullies or teachers, the rules of the game were simple: if you cry, you lose. As little boys begin to construct the identities of grown men, the toughest lesson to learn is toughness itself. Never show weakness, never show fragility and above all, never let them see your tears.
[...] One out of every 5,700 men will kill themselves in any given year. The rate is between three and four times higher for men than for women, and highest among men under 35. In recent years, suicide has become the single largest cause of death for young men, overtaking even road traffic accidents. In the UK, more people die from suicide every decade than have ever died from HIV/Aids.’
‘A wee reminder that your political class doesn’t give a shit about you’ ~ Frankie Boyle
‘The UN has been working on ways to end world hunger for decades, but their newest idea does not involve economics, politics, or even food: The organization is now advising people to eat more insects.
Insect farming is “one of the many ways to address food and feed security,” the agency said in a 200-page report released at a news conference at the UN’s Rome headquarters. The report said that insects are “extremely efficient” in converting feed into edible meat for humans. It added that insects are“particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children.”
University biologists agree, claiming that certain types of beetles, ants, crickets, and grasshoppers offer nearly as much protein per gram as lean red meat or broiled fish. Crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein. Insects can also be rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. They are also a source of fiber.’
‘More than 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches and now the Federal Drug Administration has approved a treatment that delivers migraine medication in a new way. It is a patch that migraine sufferers can wear on their upper arm or thigh. It is battery operated and uses an electrical current through the skin.
According to a study, there are a couple of down sides to the patch. About 25 percent of people who took part in the clinical study complained that the patch caused a painful sensation and caused the skin to turn red in the area where it was applied.’
‘Over the past two decades the anti-vaccination movement has gained a growing following in NSW, Australia’s most populous state. It may have met its match.
After fighting to retain its ability to raise funds and disseminate information about “vaccine choices” through a series of legal battles, the Australian Vaccination Network and the wider anti-vax movement has become a target for the country’s largest selling newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, and its sister-paper The Daily Telegraph.
The campaign has been prompted by falling vaccination coverage rates, including in some of the most affluent parts of Sydney.’
Web searches for symptoms of HIV, MRSA and flu strains will be monitored to spot outbreaks of infections ~ Independent
‘British scientists plan to harness the power of the internet to catch outbreaks of killer infections before they spread.
The researchers will use online surveillance to monitor millions of web searches where people have looked up symptoms related to conditions such as HIV, MRSA or dangerous strains of flu.
They say this will help them to locate in “real time” exactly where the next epidemic is emerging. It is hoped that this will “revolutionise” Britain’s ability to respond to deadly infections and prevent millions of deaths.
The £17million government-funded Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) centre, where the technologies will be advanced, is expected to be operational by October.’
by Stephen C. Webster
‘The Supreme Court unanimously sided with agribusiness giant Monsanto on Monday against a 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer for planting seeds without paying the company a “technology fee.”
In the case Bowman v. Monsanto (PDF), justices expressed little interest in addressing the broader problems posed by Monsanto’s technology, which self-replicates and can contaminate neighboring fields. Instead, they ruled that farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman had knowingly used Monsanto’s pesticide-resistant soybeans beyond his licensing period by purchasing soybeans from neighboring farmers once his Monsanto license expired.
Knowing these seeds would likely contain Monsanto’s patented genetics, the court noted that he planted them for eight straight growing seasons and repeatedly used Monsanto’s Roundup bug killer on them. Once Monsanto sued, Bowman argued that the company’s patent did not apply due to patent exhaustion, a legal provision that lets someone who purchased something resell it if they choose.’
Despite Touting ‘Healthier’ Products, Fast Food Chains Haven’t Improved Their Menus In Years ~ Think Progress
by Katie Valentine
‘The study, recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at the menus of eight fast food chains between 1997 and 2010. Researchers judged menus by using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Eating Index, a 100-point scale that determines the nutritional value of American diets based on the variety of foods eaten; the intake of each major food group; and the intake of fat, cholesterol and sodium. The study found fast food menus only increased their nutritional value by three points in the last 14 years — from 45 to 48 points. The score is lower than the general American food supply’s score of 60 points and far below the 80-plus points that the USDA recommends for a “good” diet.
And the scores of the menus from the eight restaurants studied — McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Arby’s, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen — actuallyworsened over time in the sodium category. That result is especially alarming, given that overuse of salt in the food and restaurant industry now contributes to an estimated 100,000 American deaths per year.
The study provides empirical evidence for a growing trend among fast food restaurants: marketing “healthy” options with little added nutrition in order to make the restaurants as a whole seem healthier.’
by Lucy Johnston
‘Unable to afford soaring charges, almost a fifth of people have all but given up going to their dentist, the Sunday Express has discovered.
There has been a surge in sales of dental kits at pharmacies including chemicals to whiten teeth.
Experts say that up to 200,000 DIY dentists risk injuring themselves and missing out on potentially life-saving check-ups.
Up to a third of adults no longer have an NHS dentist, according to the latest figures.’
by Sarah Boseley
‘The international charity Save the Children is embarking on a partnership with a multinational drug company in a controversial move which the two organisations say is designed to save a million children’s lives.
A decade ago, Save the Children was among the development organisations lambasting GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s biggest drug companies, for its high price tags on HIV drugs for the developing world. The initiative launched by the two organisations on Thursday in Kenya will see Save the Children with a seat on the R&D board, advising on new products for the poorest countries, while GSK also pays for the training of more healthcare workers who will dispense medicines and give vaccines.’
by Robin McKie
‘Several hundred thousand more people in Britain may be at risk of succumbing to dementia than previously thought. That is the stark conclusion of two health experts who will warn on Sunday that rising levels of obesity in middle age – a condition recently linked to increased risks of Alzheimer’s disease in later life – could produce a major jump in numbers of dementia sufferers by 2050.
“We know dementia levels are going to rise because our population is growing older and Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of old age,” said Tim Marsh, of UK Health Reform. “But it is clear that obesity is another factor that is putting more and more members of the population at risk. Recent research by several groups has indicated that individuals who are obese in their 40s and 50s have twice the average risk of getting dementia in their 70s.”‘
‘A group of senior nurses is warning that staffing levels on many hospital wards in England are unsafe.
The Safe Staffing Alliance (SSA) says wards often have just one registered nurse looking after eight patients.
According to the BBC, he alliance, which was formed last summer, says there is a worry that this ratio could be regarded as the minimum acceptable of staffing when it in fact puts patients at risk.
The SSA says research shows that when nurses are asked to look after more than eight patients there is an increased risk of harm or death.
The warning comes as a poll for the Sunday Mirror and the Nursing Standard journal found that more than three-quarters of nurses believe a scandal similar to that in Mid Staffordshire could happen again.’
by Charles Seife and Rob Garver
‘ProPublica [recently] reported that the Food and Drug Administration allowed dozens of medications to stay on the market, even though the research designed to prove their safety and effectiveness was undermined by “egregious” violations at a major pharmaceutical research laboratory in Houston. New information shows that even after the FDA had cited the lab for falsifying data and other misconduct, the agency issued a brand new approval to a drug tested there.
The FDA has refused to reveal the names of any of the approximately 100 drugs affected by the fraud at the Houston lab of the firm Cetero Research, saying that to do so would reveal confidential commercial information. ProPublica was able to identify five of those drugs, and now we’ve found a sixth. This one was approved after the agency had already cited the Houston lab for misconduct.’
by Rebecca Boyle
‘A newly invented “nanosponge,” sheathed in armor made of red blood cells, can safely remove a wide range of toxins from the bloodstream. Scientists at the University of California-San Diego inoculated some mice with their nanosponge, and then gave the animals otherwise lethal doses of a toxin–and the mice survived.
This is especially interesting because a nanosponge can work on entire classes of toxins. Most antidotes or treatments against venom, bioweapons or bacteria are targeted to counteract a specific molecular structure, so they can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution; this nanosponge can.’
by Anthony Gucciardi
‘In a legislative blow against GMO giant Monsanto and major food corporations who wish to keep you in the dark over what you’re eating on a daily basis, the Vermont House has passed a significant new GMO labeling bill known as H. 112 by a count of 99-42.
[...] despite the mass lobbying and mountains of cash that go into squashing labeling, around 90 plus percent (or more on average depending on the polling institute) of the public is in favor of GMO labeling — and an increasingly large number of this percentage are turning into hardcore activists who are sick of Monsanto’s food monopoly.’
‘An 83-year-old nun who broke into a Tennessee depleted uranium storage facility in 2012, exposing a massive security hole at the nation’s only facility used to store radioactive conventional munitions, was convicted Wednesday and sentenced to a term of up to 20 years in prison.
Sister Megan Rice and two other peace activists were convicted of “invasion of a nuclear facility” in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, even though investigators admitted they did not get close to any actual nuclear material. The three activists are part of a group called “Transform Now Plowshares,” a reference to the book of Isaiah, which says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.”
As they invaded the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a perimeter fence was cut, several surfaces were spray-painted, banners were hung and activists read from the Bible. They also spread human blood on several surfaces, saying its use was symbolic, meant to remind people “of the horrific spilling of blood by nuclear weapons.”
Depleted uranium munitions like the kind stored at the facility Sister Rice targeted are blamed for some of the worst birth defects and soaring cancer rates seen in post-war Iraq, particularly in the city of Fallujah following the siege of 2004, in which U.S. soldiers killed thousands of civilians.’
by Jamie Doward
‘Anti-smoking campaigners have accused the government of caving in to pressure from the tobacco lobby and running scared of Ukip after plans to enforce the sale of cigarettes in plain packs failed to make it into the Queen’s speech.
Minutes released by the Department of Health show that one of the industry’s leading players had told government officials that, if the move went through, it would source its packaging from abroad, resulting in “significant job losses.”
Cancer charities and health experts were expecting a bill to be introduced last week that would ban branded cigarette packaging, following a ban introduced in Australia last December. At least one health minister had been briefing that the bill would be in the Queen’s speech. But the bill was apparently put on hold at the last minute with the government saying it would be a distraction from its main legislative priorities.’