Big, bad corporations are in business only to make money, right? A new breed of corporations is being proposed, the purposes of which are defined with people in mind. Rather than defining people as the means to an endthe end being higher profit margins for shareholdersthese corporations have other purposes written specifically into their charters, literally built right into their DNA.
Working Assets, for example, started out as a progressive-minded credit card company in the 80s, adding phone service, and ultimately creating the subsidiary CREDO Mobile. The company operates as a for-profit business, with most of the employees owning the stock, so it doesn't have to bow to Wall Street pressures. They use their profits to help support causes they believe in so far the amount of money donated is $70 million and counting.
If "corporations are people," as Mitt Romney famously intoned, we better help them become nice ones.
SOURCE: Alternet, May 21, 2012
Apple is cleaning up its energy act, reports Robert McMillan for Wired. The computer company says that by early next year, the energy used to power its worldwide data centers will all come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind power, or hydroelectric dams. That's a victory for the environmental activists at Greenpeace, who have been pressuring Apple for more than a year to clean up its act and commit to renewable energy.
A major sticking point has been Apple's Maiden, N.C., facility, which is on the inexpensive but partially coal-powered Duke Energy grid. Going forward, the company plans to use local power providers who generate renewable energy: "By the end of 2012, we'll meet the energy needs of our Maiden, North Carolina, data center using entirely renewable sources."
Now, if Apple would only start building products stateside....
Most Americans want a walkable neighborhood, not a big house. According to a new survey, more than three quarters of us consider having sidewalks and places to take a walk top priorities when deciding where to live. Six in 10 people also said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy stroll. No wonder San Franciscans are in love with their walk-friendly city!
Wind energy is being targeted for attack by ultraconservative fossil fuel industry propagandists and Tea Party ideologues.
American Tradition Institute, whose core mission is to discredit climate science and dismantle environmental regulations, has turned its focus to windpower. Allied "think tanks" include Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council, both funded by the Kansas-based Koch brothers, as well as Americans for Prosperity, the organizing arm of the Tea Party movement.
The Guardian in Great Britain has obtained a memo outlining a confidential strategy of "subversion" ranging from "counter intelligence," setting up a "dummy business," and steering kids away from science projects on wind. Their strategy is to coordinate national messaging but make sure the same message "appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources."
Renewable energy actually reduces electricity prices for businesses and consumers. A new analysis conducted by Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid found that adding more wind power to the electric grid could reduce wholesale market prices by more than 25 percent in the Midwest region by 2020. Those savings would be passed along to consumers through lowering retail electricity prices by $65$200 each year.
Is it really more expensive to eat healthy? A recent Agriculture Department study found that most fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods cost less than foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
That counters a common perception among some consumers that it's cheaper to eat junk food than a nutritionally balanced meal.
The government says it all depends on how you measure the price. If you compare the price per calorie as some previous researchers have done then higher-calorie pastries and processed snacks might seem like a bargain compared with fruits and vegetables.
But comparing the cost of foods by weight or portion size shows that grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods are less expensive than most meats or foods high in saturated fat, added sugars or salt.
That means bananas, carrots, lettuce and pinto beans are all less expensive per portion than French fries, soft drinks, ice cream or ground beef.
"Using price per calorie doesn't tell you how much food you're going to get or how full you are going to feel," said Andrea Carlson, scientist at the USDA's Economic Research Service and an author of the study.
Educating people to make better food choices is still a challenge. In many urban communities it is far easier to find a burger and fries than a fresh apple.
"My butt is big." "I'm so fat." "No you're not fat, I'm fat."
Sound familiar? If so, you're indulging in "fat talk," and it's doing nothing to help you reach a healthy weight. Those who regularly trash talk their body weight are more likely to have a poor body image, higher levels of depression, and feel more pressure to be thin, according to a new study from the University of Arizona.
Engaging in fat talk about your own body and weight tends to reinforce broader negative feelings about yourself and adds to feelings of helplessness.
How to break the cycle? Camilla Mager, a clinical psychologist in New York City who specializes in the psychology of women and eating disorders, offers the following tips for improving poor body image:
What it comes down to, Dr. Mager says, is self-esteem. "Tap into another voice in your head that isn't so critical and begin to use it," she says. Changing the subject may not solve the problem, but it's a first step toward seeing yourself in a more positive light and as more than a number on the scale.
"Our food choices can either defile the Earth and the life it holds, or they can help to protect and preserve the viability of the biosphere and the wellbeing of the whole earth community." John Robbins
"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives." Dean Ornish, MD
"Food scientists study the precise proportions of sugar, fat and salt that are biologically the most appealing to the human animal, and use this knowledge to manufacture food products such as candy and potato chips that are especially hard to resist. Recall that food manufacturers spend billions of dollars to advertise processed food and more dollars to hobble government regulators. You are the target of these efforts. If you overeat their products, it's not entirely your fault." Linda Riebel
"Suddenly everywhere I look, I see people eagerly reclaiming control of their food systems." Barbara Kingsolver
SOURCE: The Green Foodprint: Food Choices for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet, Linda Riebel, 2011.
When nail care products claim to be free of unsafe chemicals, despite how the label reads, just the opposite is often true. In May of 2011, staff from the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) conducted a limited-scale sampling of nail products offered for sale in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nail products are known to contain toxic chemicals, such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde, that are health and safety concerns for about 121,000 nail salon workers in California. DBP and toluene are known to the State of California as developmental toxins. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
These three chemicals are commonly called the "toxic-trio." They have been at the center of ongoing public attention over nail product safety, and potential health risks for nail salon workers.
A small number of nail product manufacturers claim to have removed some or all toxic-trio chemicals from their goods.
For a detailed list of products tested, follow the link below.
Odds Of Dying
What are the odds of being crushed by an asteroid? Probably somewhat greater than being swept away by a tsunami.
At the risk of being morbid, here are some stats on morbidity:
The lifetime odds clearly indicate that heart disease, cancer and stroke are the three biggest killers. Amazingly, you're more likely to die by legal execution than being struck by lightning!
Cancer risks have many subcategories. One in 14 men die of lung cancer; one in 5000 testicular cancer. One in 20 women die of lung cancer; one in 35 breast cancer. (Lung cancer stamps ought to outsell breast cancer stamps by this measure.)
The good news is that lifestyle changes can minimize all sorts of risk, improving your odds for enjoying a long and healthy life.
Calcium supplements, long recommended for stronger bones, may actually raise the risk of a heart attack. While higher levels of calcium from food intake may yet prove to be good for the heart, new research suggests that calcium purchased over the counter may not be advisable.
The latest study, published online in the journal Heart, was the largest and most detailed to date on calcium intake and disease, involving more than 24,000 people over 11 years. Researchers found that people who had what they called a "moderate" intake of calcium 820 milligrams a day of calcium from all sources, both dietary and supplements had a roughly 30 percent lower risk of a heart attack than those with the lowest calcium intake. People who had had a greater intake, above 1,100 milligrams daily, did not see their risk lowered any further.
But looking specifically at supplements presented a more alarming picture. People who got their calcium almost exclusively from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who took no supplements. The researchers speculated that taking calcium in supplement form causes blood levels of the mineral to quickly spike to harmful levels, whereas getting it from food may be less dangerous because the calcium is absorbed in smaller amounts.
Health authorities recommend that most adults get about 1,100 milligrams a day. The authors of the study said to use calcium supplements "with caution." Milk and cheese are often touted as good sources of calcium, although vegans point out that kale, spinach, and beans supply ample calcium without the extra fat. Regular weight bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, and weight lifting, also aid the body in metabolizing calcium, improving bone density and lowering the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis.
One year ago, advisors to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) pronounced radiation from cell phones a "possible human carcinogen"a category that includes diesel exhaust, chloroform, jet fuel, lead and DDT.
So what has happened since then? Many tech-savvy nations have stepped up efforts to issue warnings. Health Canada posted a notice about the value of using headsets and speakerphone, protecting children and the pregnant abdomen, keeping phones off the body and calls short, and avoiding use when signals are weak. France and Turkey have banned advertising with and for young children. The Israeli health, environment and labor ministries created a new national institute to study the issue, required that all phones be sold with headsets and are pondering warning labels on all phones and advertising. At the federal level in the U.S., the General Accountability Office is expected to release what will be its fourth declaration (since 1993) on the need for more research on the health impacts of these microwave radiating devicessidestepping the appalling lack of allocation of funds for major research, training and monitoring.
At the local level, draft advisories are giving people the right to know that cell phones are basically two-way microwave radiating radios that should not be held next to the brain and body.
SOURCE: http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/davis-oped/ Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, is the author of DisconnectThe Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, Dutton, 2010.
Pot smokers can breathe a little easier. According to a 20 year study, the longest ever conducted on the subject, light users of marijuana suffered no loss of lung function.
As reported in the January 11 Journal of the American Medical Association, the data suggests that pot is not a significant risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema. COPD is typically caused by tobacco smoking, but not by marijuana.
If you smoke pot less than 20 times a month, lung damage shouldn't be an issue. Just don't let pot become the gateway drug to a truly dangerous addictiontobacco.
SOURCE: Science News, 2/11/12
A study from UCLA has revealed that bingeing on suggary soft drinks for as little as six weeks could make you stupid. Consuming a diet high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning.
However, the good news is that eating nuts and fish such as salmon can counteract this disruption. "Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage."
Exercise may be bad for you! High fructose corn syrup is part of a healthy diet! You can eat hamburgers and live to 107! These stories crossed our health beat desk late May, and at first we thought that April Fools Day had arrived late.
Alas, mass media bombards us with clever headlines to get our attention, but some of the stories are downright misleading, if not outright propaganda.
So how does one know what to believe? First, look past the headlines. Gather facts from multiple sources. Suspend judgment. Finally, try to draw your own conclusions.
Indeed, strenuous exercise may be unwise for individuals with compromised health, which is why doctors recommend getting an exam before embarking on any new fitness regimen. People with heart conditions probably shouldn't run marathons, but that's pretty obvious, right?
Regarding the alleged goodness of sugar, argibusiness must think you're not too bright. They want you to ignore the fact that obesity and diabetes have reached epidemic proportions since adding high fructose corn syrup to sodas and snacks. Have they seen the headline, "Sugar Makes You Stupid"?
The consumption of red meatprocessed meats in particularis generally associated with a shortened a lifespan, except for those rare individuals whose parents gifted them with longevity genes. But would they live even longer without Big Macs? And what about organic, grass fed beef? Vegans and "cavemen" are still squabbling over the data. What's generally underreported, however, is that vegans and paleos agree on this vital point: The "Standard American Diet" is indeed "SAD." Minimally processed foods maximize health benefits!
Our personal take: Eat fresh fruits or veggies with every meal, avoid most prepackaged treats, develop an exercise routine that's a joy (not a burden), and look past health headlines to get the true story!
FEEDBACK: CLICK HERE to email comments and feedback. Please note the title of the article or the author's name. Include your own name or type "name withheld" by request. Thoughtful responses will be published in our next edition.