Miscellany25: Natural Yogurt in Australia; Australian Wine: No Added Sulfites, No Headaches; PPA; Russia’s Declining Population; the Cassiopaea Transcripts; Private Data Theft; Aircraft Pollution of the Atmosphere; Bill Gates’ Philanthropy; Why Reward Illegal Aliens with US Citizenship?; Terminal Development in Bali; Nuclear Fusion; The Economic Development Lie; Intellectual Property Laws; US/Mexico Border Wall; Democracy in East Timor
© 2006 Joseph George Caldwell. All
rights reserved. Posted at Internet web
sites http://www.foundation.bw and http://www.foundationwebsite.org
. May be copied or reposted for
non-commercial use, with attribution. (
Commentary on recent news, reading and events of personal interest.
Serious civil disturbances began in
One thing that strikes me as quite different from Dili, and
When I arrived, the newspaper headlines announced that a
movie was to be made about
I don’t find the food very interesting in
Prices in the supermarkets and drugstores are high. A 325-ml bottle of isopropyl alcohol costs
about USD8.00 in Australia, compared to USD0.87 for a pint (16-ounce, 473 mL)
bottle of 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and USD1.24 for a pint bottle of 91%
first aid antiseptic isopropyl alcohol (prices at Target stores). A medium-sized jar of Vaseline Petroleum
Jelly costs about USD3.60, compared to USD2.59 in the
About the only reasonably priced item I came across was golf. You can play the nine-hole Gardens Park Golf Links course for just AUD12.10 weekdays or AUD13.20 weekends and holidays (about USD10). It is a beautiful, heavily wooded course. If you stay at the Golf Links Hotel, as I did when I first arrived, you can play free (if you did not bring your clubs, rental clubs are available for AUD8.80 (about USD5) any day).
Across the street from the golf course is the George Brown
Darwin Botanic Gardens, which is free.
It is somewhat different from other botanic gardens I have visited
(e.g., Stellenbosch in
Most Australians are Caucasian, but the country is in the
process of admitting massive numbers of Asians, and the color of the service
workers is quickly changing from white to brown. In the first hotel at which I stayed, all of
the maids were white girls. At the
second hotel they were all Asian, as were the desk staff. The night clerks at the supermarket I used
the other night were all Asian. Most
waiters in the restaurants in which I have eaten are white Australians (I am so
accustomed to Hispanics and Asians as waiters in the
As in the
Like other former British colonies (e.g., US and
The situation here reminds me of
From what I see in
I was told that Aborigines are given about AUD3,000 per family per month “welfare” payments. I was also told that Australia wants to increase its population so much that it pays AUD3,000 – AUD4,000 to Australian girls (white, Aboriginal, married, unmarried) while they are pregnant. I find this very difficult to believe, and will seek to verify it.
Whenever I am overseas in “developing” countries, I eat a
lot of yogurt, if it is available.
Yogurt in the
To my delight, “natural” yogurt is available in supermarkets
“Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner introduced the principles of biodynamic agriculture in 1924. This method of organic agriculture avoids the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Soil, plants and animals are seen in a “larger” context, not simply as tools of agribusiness. The ideal biodynamic farm is a self-sufficient system that builds and maintains soil fertility through farm-produced composts.
“B-d Farm Paris Creek is situated in the Adelaide Hills in
“We include their beautiful non-homogenised milk to produce this yogurt [low-fat yogurt, on the low-fat version]. No preservatives, no milk powder, no thickener and nothing artificial are used, nor is the whey, which is rich in minerals, drained off. A delicate blend of probiotic cultures, including acidophilus, bifidum bacterium and casei are essential for a health conscious diet. The freshness and quality of our milk can not be matched by commercial yogurt factories. We hope you enjoy our unique products and look forward to receiving your comments.”
“[B-d Farm Paris Creek,]
In reading the label on the B-d Farm Paris Creek Natural Yogurt label, I noticed immediately the reference to Rudolf Steiner, whom it credits as the founder of biodynamic agriculture. Dr. Rudolf Steiner was, in addition, the founder of Anthroposophy, the Waldorf system of education, anthroposophic medicine, and eurhythmy. His was the author of many books on metaphysics, which may be downloaded from The Rudolf Steiner Archive Internet website, http://www.rsarchive.org/Books . I was impressed with his writings on prehistoric Earth, and I once wrote an article relating my life experiences to his philosophy (posted at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/HowICameToKnowRudolfSteiner.htm ).
I have tried many so-called “organic” fruits and vegetables
The whole-milk version of the B-d yogurt tasted a little better than the low-fat (skimmed-milk) version. One day, when the supermarket was sold out of the BD Farm yogurt (both whole-milk an skimmed-milk), I purchased another brand, Jalna BioDynamic Yoghourt (Jalna Dairy Foods Pty Ltd, 31 Commercial Drive, Thomastown, VIC, 3074; PO Box 169, Bundoora, VIC, 3083; http://www.jalna.com.au ). The label states, “Produced from pastures free of chemicals & artificial fertilizers.” “Gluten free, Low G.I., All Natural Ingredients, No Added Sugar or Artificial Sweetener, No Added Chemical or Preservatives, ‘A’ Grade Demeter Certified Milk.” “ABC Friendly Bacteria, A=Acidophilus, B=Bifidus, C=Casei.” The ingredient list is: “Biodynamic ingredients: homogenized biodynamic whole milk; non-biodynamic ingredients: not more than 5% milk solids, live cultures lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium & lactobacillus casei > 200 million per serve.” Despite its biodynamic credentials, this yogurt appears much like US yogurt – it is very thick (not creamy or jelled, just thick, like thick mud or cement). I suppose that the added “milk solids” changed the taste. Maybe the whey was drained off before it was added to the container (the top of the jar reads, “Real Yoghourt; Created and set in this tub).”
I looked for buttermilk and sweet acidophilus milk in
several supermarkets in
(A couple of comments on “organic” agriculture: When I was a boy, insecticide use was much
lower than today. As a child in
(Following the Second World War, most people in
(I have often
wondered what sort of butterfly or moth apple worms and tomato worms
metamorphize into. I imagine that the
apple worm becomes a very small butterfly, but that the tomato worm must become
a very large one. As a child, there were
always lots of small white “cabbage” butterflies on our cabbages (along with a
small amount of leaf damage), but I never recall seeing a worm on a cabbage
plant. It is rather amazing that, under
natural conditions, plants exist quite harmoniously along with a few insects –
even in small polyculture gardens there is little damage. It seems that only when mankind goes to
agriculture on a massive “factory” scale – large monoculture farms or
plantations – that we have epidemics of insect damage. It is only when mankind moves to cruel
“battery” production of chickens and eggs that we have poultry epidemics and
salmonella on our eggs. The relatives of
my youth, who owned small family farms in
(I read once where certain wasps lay their eggs on caterpillars, and the wasp larva eats the caterpillar alive from the inside. It seems that in the natural world, everything is food for something else. That is, in fact, the way it has to be, for the “web of life” to work. I was somewhat amused by Laura Knight-Jadczyk’s comment that “human beings are not the top of the food chain” – that we are consumed regularly by visitors from “fourth density.” An incredible speculation, but quite consistent with “the way things are” for all other species on the planet.)
The Lifeway story began with a real belief in “the American Dream.” In 1986, our family made the first batches of
Lifeway Kefir at our home in
As you’ll soon see, it’s as delicious as it is healthful. So from our family to yours, drink up and enjoy!
Sincerely, The Smolyansky Family. Traded on NASDAQ: LWAY
Kefir History: Kefir is the cousin of yogurt and its roots can be traced back more than 2,000 years. Originating in the Caucasus Mountains of Europe where people live well over 100 years, the word kefir is thought to have been derived from the Turkish word “keif” for “good feeling,” probably due to the sense of well-being experienced after drinking it.
Sulfite Preservatives in Wine Cause Headaches
I have always enjoyed a glass of wine with meals, but a few years ago I became allergic to the sulfite preservative that is added to almost all wines for sale in American stores – not only the American brands, but also those imported from other countries. The headache usually results from just a single glass of wine taken at dinner. The two-day headache begins mid-morning of the following day and lasts through most of the next day. It is always the same – a dull ache behind my right eye.
It did not take me a long time to determine that it was the
sulfites in wine that were giving me the headache. Since I am allergic to another food additive
– potassium sorbate – I reasoned that perhaps I was not allergic to the wine,
but to the sulfite preservative that is added to it. I looked for wines that did not have sulfites
added, and found that so-called “organic” wines usually do not add sulfites (in
Switching to organic wines is not a very satisfactory solution to the sulfite-headache problem. The main problem with organic wines is that they are expensive – about $15.00 a bottle. There is no reason why a good bottle of wine should cost more than about $5.00 (a colleague of mine in East Timor who is from Germany tells me that good bottle of Italian wine can be purchased for about USD2.00 in Germany – why is good wine so expensive in the US?). Another disadvantage of organic wines is that most grocery stores do not stock them, and the few specialty wine stores that do stock them carry a very limited selection (a few varieties of one or two brands). One of the delights of wine is that every bottle is different. I was dismayed at the prospect of being limited to a single brand or just a few varieties for the rest of my life. If I had to switch to the same variety of organic wine for the rest of my life, I would just switch to drinking vodka. (All vodkas are virtually identical – there is no more reason for paying a high price for vodka than for paying a high price for a shirt or pair of pants with a fancy label. So, you can spend just a few dollars for a quart of “no-name” generic vodka, and have about the same product as if you had spent 20-40 dollars for a fancy brand, such as Absolut, Stolichnaya or Tanqueray Sterling. For vodka, it is what you add it to that introduces variety.)
As a result of the very limited availability of
no-sulfite-added wines, my consumption of wine (at home in the
Australian Wines Generally Use Sulfur Dioxide, not Sulfites, as an Added Preservative
When I first arrived in
I decided to determine exactly what “Preservative 220” was. I specified this term to an Internet search engine, and quickly retrieved a selection of web pages on it. It is not a sulfite at all, but sulfur dioxide (a gas). Here follow a few of the articles I found on Preservative 220.
From the Australian Wine Institute website, the following information
Q. Why is it necessary to produce wine with additives? Why isn't wine 'additive free'
Additives are generally added during winemaking to modify or negate the
influence of environmental and harvesting factors, which can adversely affect
the quality of the grapes and the resultant wine, and to negate any adverse
winemaking factors. For example, additives are used to:
· facilitate the fermentation of the grape juice into wine;
· prevent the growth of micro-organisms in the juice and/or wine;
· acidify or deacidify the wine; and
· prevent or remove off-colours, off-flavours and off-odours.
Winemakers, however, can only use a limited set of specific additives that have been approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (formerly the Australia New Zealand Food Authority) and by committees of the United Nation's joint World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Codex Alimentarius Commission. The amount and quality of the additive that can be used may also be specified.
Certain wines are certified and classified as 'organic'. This means that an even more limited set of specific additives has been used during winemaking and the amount used is also limited. For example, the amount of sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial and an antioxidant agent, which can be added to 'organic' wines is approximately 50% less than that which can be added to 'non-organic' wines. Organic wines, however, should be consumed sooner than traditionally produced wine (for example, within 12 months of bottling and purchase), because the quality of the wine will diminish with age as these wines are more likely to become oxidised and consequently have a less desirable aroma and flavour.
Q. Why is it necessary to add 'preservatives' to wine?
A. The word
'preservative' refers to protecting the wine from microbial contamination or
spoilage by unwanted bacteria, moulds and yeast. These unwanted bacteria, moulds
and yeast either naturally occur on the grapes and hence are also present in
the juice, or enter the juice from harvesting or winemaking equipment that has
not been adequately cleaned or sanitised. Microbial spoilage will make the wine
smell and taste unpleasant. Another word for preservative is, therefore,
antimicrobial agent. Two antimicrobial agents are currently permitted to be
added during winemaking in
· 'preservative [sulfur dioxide (220/224) or sorbic acid (200/202)] added', or
· 'contains preservative [sulfur dioxide (220/224) or sorbic acid (200/202)]',
if antimicrobial agents have been added during winemaking. [JGC note: Below, the Online Organic Wine Store
For additional information on the labelling of additives and preservatives, please refer to the [Australian] Food Standards Code and the Food Standards Code of Australia and
Q. Can you buy 'preservative-free' wine?
no wines on the market labelled 'preservative free'. This is because all wines
contain naturally a small amount (10–50 mg/L) of the antimicrobial agent,
sulfur dioxide, as it is produced by yeast during the fermentation stage of
There are, however, wines on the market labelled 'organically grown', which contain a reduced amount of antimicrobial agents. For example, organic winemakers add approximately 50% less sulfur dioxide during winemaking. There are also wines on the market labelled 'no preservatives added'. This means that no antimicrobial agents have been added during winemaking. Your local bottle or liquor shop should stock a selection of these wines. You can also contact the Biological Farmers of Australia [formerly Organic Vignerons Association of Australia] on ph: (08) 8562 2122 or fax: (08) 8562 3034 or Email: BOSS@internode.on.net or postal address:
The Australian Wine Research Institute advocates the moderate consumption of wine, but does not recommend that abstaining individuals should commence consuming wine to benefit their health. Consuming wine more than moderately increases the risk of both short- and long-term harm to health.
[End of Australian Wine Research Institute article.]
Online Organic Wine Store
Wine and Preservatives
The role of preservatives in wine
Despite alcohol being a natural preservative, most wine has had preservative added as a protection against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. The preservative used is one of a number of forms of sulphur: sulphur salts or sulphur dioxide.
What preservatives can be used in wine?
Potassium metabisulphite (preservative 224)
In white wine, Ascorbic Acid (300) can also be added, but it is technically an anti-oxidant rather than a preservative
How are preservative levels measured?
The level of sulphur is measured as parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg): very small quantities. Australian Food standards allow for a maximum of 250ppm in dry wine, and up to 300ppm for sweet wines (35g/L+). For the purpose of comparison, dried apricots are usually contain more than 2,000ppm and are allowed up to 3,000ppm. Under organic & biodynamic certification the total sulphur level is usually below 120ppm and may differ for red & white wine (these figures vary slightly between the different certification bodies).
For health and allergy considerations it is the free sulphur level that is the main concern. The figure usually quoted is made up of both the bound sulphur and the free sulphur, which added together give the total sulphur level.
Is No Added Preservative (NAP) wine the same as Preservative Free?
This is not as straight forward as it may seem. Even wines
that have had no sulphur dioxide added in the winemaking process can still
contain minute quantities.
Doesn't Certified Organic Wine mean no preservative has been added?
This is one of the largest misconceptions about organic wine
Can I cellar no added preservative wines?
Some people say that you can't cellar a wine that has no preservative added. I disagree with this: I have had many older NAP wines including a 17 year old red which was in perfect drinking condition. It really depends on the quality & concentration of the fruit and the handling of the wine during the winemaking.
Just like conventional wines, look for a wine that has been made to last the distance for long-term cellaring: The winemaker is usually the best person to ask about this. White wine would be much harder to cellar long term (7+ years) because it doesn't have the tannins that red wine has and is usually lower in alcohol than red wine.
Why does the level of preservative vary so much from one bottle to another?
There are many factors influencing the amount of preservative needed or added. Some of these are outlined here:
Alcohol -The higher the alcohol, the less preservative needed because alcohol is a natural preservative.
White or Red wine (Tannin) - Red wines have higher levels of tannins which are also a natural preservative (extracted from the red grape skins during fermentation). Oak tannins can also be found in wine that spends time in oak barrels.
Quality, Care & Handling – Fruit and wine that is handled carefully in the vineyard and winery has less exposure to elements that cause spoilage and needless preservative. Meticulously clean winemaking equipment and premises also make sulphur less necessary. Healthy grapes of high quality with concentrated flavours and good acid should need less preservative. A winemaker aiming for a premium quality wine (i.e. $17 and above as a rough guide) will carefully handle this wine, as they do not want to add high amounts of sulphur. The presence of sulphur at higher levels starts to affect the aroma of the wine and may be detected by an experienced wine drinker. In fact French wines are known for high sulphur levels, although it’s not necessarily perceived as a bad thing as locals are accustomed to it and have developed a taste for it.
Packaging/Closure - wine destined for a cask will usually have high sulphur levels as this package is slightly permeable. On the other hand, the Stelvin or screw cap closure is a more perfect seal than the cork or cask, and hence less sulphur should be needed.
Labelling Laws in
If the detectable amount of preservative is less than 10
ppm, labelling laws in
Other Articles to have a look at:
Does wine need 'preservatives'? - from Erl Happ of Happs Winery WA Full Article: http://www.happs.com.au/pages/pf.html
Wine & Health FAQ's - from Australian Wine Research Institute: http://www.awri.com.au/infoservice/wine_and_health/faqs/
Preservative defined - Wikipedia free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preservative
Sulfites in Wine Article (American) – Extract from Wine Spectator, Feb. 2003 http://www.tonysmarket.com/pdf/Sulfite_in_wine.pdf
From the Happs & Three Hills Wine Company (
Does wine need 'preservatives'?
The chief preservatives in wine are alcohol and tannin. Both are entirely natural. There are very few organisms which will survive immersion in alcohol. It has therefore long been used as a sterilent in medicine. Alcohol is much more stable in wine than sulphur dioxide. Alcohol can be attacked by vinegar producing bacteria but these organisms need air.
Other factors will assist to conserve wine rendering the use of additional preservatives unnecessary. These factors include:
Careful harvesting by hand to avoid damage to the grapes.
Speed of movement between vineyard and winery.
Clean conditions in the winery.
Cool grapes at the crusher, chilled where necessary.
A healthy fermentation.
Regular topping of barrels to exclude air and maintenance of full tanks with a gas cover.
The use of filtration to screen out organisms which could harm the wine, especially prior to bottling.
The presence of tannin, as in red wine, and to a much lesser extent in white.
The use of refrigeration to prevent microbial growth in bulk wine storage.
In the malolactic fermentation bacteria convert malic to lactic acid and eliminate sulphur dioxide binding compounds like acetaldehyde and Pyruvic acid. This then removes one of the main reasons for the use of SO2, i.e. the chemical binding of these somewhat stale smelling compounds. A good clean ferment of clean grapes in clean containers and its removal from the influence of oxygen at the end of fermentation produces a very stable product. The problems begin with poor containers and oxidation after that point. Wooden barrels in warm conditions are the chief risk.
Happs PF Red is the product of years of experience in red wine making. We do not use chemical preservative in it because of the strength of other natural preservatives already present and the fact that it meets all the conditions listed above. We have been told that it does not produce headaches in those susceptible, diminishes flatulence and even reflux. No kidding.
Happs other reds, the Merlot, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz and the Fortis, all of which are given wood maturation for a year or more, have very low levels of preservative and easily meet the requirement set for European Organic wines (i.e. below 20 parts per million).
Happs Fuchsia and the white wines are commonly released with preservative levels between 50 and 90 parts per million and these levels naturally decline with time. Corks can have an oxidative effect and these wines do not possess the tannins which protect dry red wines.
Pale Gold commonly needs about 100 parts per million SO2 to bind up some compounds which come in fortifying spirit.
The legal maximum level of sulphur dioxide is 350 parts per million, a level approached in some chateau cardboard wines. The containers used are permeable to oxygen and the SO2 is there to extend the shelf life. Many other foods less inherently stable than wine depend upon sulphur dioxide as a preservative of colour and condition. Dried Fruits and some cold stored fresh fruits are examples. Asthmatics may be sensitive to the presence of SO2.
No other chemical preservative is used in Happ's wines other than sulphur dioxide.
Points to ponder:
The grape sets the upper limits on what can be achieved in the winery. The character of the grape is mainly determined by where it is grown and when it is picked.
The wine maker's understanding of what he does will determine his processing choices.
How long will the PF Red last? Five years minimum. Our experience suggests that it will last as long as any wine containing preservatives. After five years there should be little difference in preservative levels, between wines that initially had, and those which never had, preservatives, particularly with reds. Its a level playing field from that time on and I expect that preservative free wines will last beyond five years as well as any wine that had it added in the beginning.
[End of Happ article.]
The following article by Andrew L. Waterhouse is posted at http://waterhouse.ucdavis.edu/winecomp/so2.htm . Dr. Waterhouse asserts unequivocally that sulfites in wine do not cause headaches. He suggests eating a lot of dried apricots as a means of testing this. But I am puzzled by his assertion. It appears to me that I am allergic to potassium metabisulfite, not to sulfur dioxide. I am not certain of this, of course, since no formal testing has been done, and it appears that labeling and website articles on wine preservatives can be rather ambiguous (e.g., it seems that not all additives must be identified on a wine bottle label; that some labels or articles may not distinguish between sulfur dioxide and potassium metabisulfite , so that the term “sulfites added” could imply the use of either SO2 or potassium metabisulfite (or maybe even some other sulfite)). It is my recollection that it is always sulfur dioxide, SO2, that is the preservative added to dried fruit, not potassium metabisulfite. From my experience, I agree that SO2 does not cause a headache at all – it is evidently the potassium metabisulfite that is the problem, not sulfur dioxide. (I enjoy dried fruit, and have consumed as much as an entire package of dried apricots at a single setting, and have never gotten a headache from it.)
Sulfites or sulfur dioxide is a fruit preservative widely
used in dried fruits as well as wine. It is also produced by the human
body at the level of about 1000 mg (milligrams) per day.
Consumption of food preserved with sulfites is generally not a problem except
for a few people who are deficient in the natural enzyme to break it
down. For these people, the additional sulfites from food can be a
problem. There are reports of severe and life threatening reactions when
sulfites were added at erroneously and enormously high levels (100 times what
was supposed to be used!) on salad bar vegetables. I have found two
reviews of the medical effects of sulfites-unfortunately I could find neither
on-line as they appear to be too old. They should be available at medical
AF Gunnison and DW Jacobsen, Sulfite hypersensitivity. A critical review. CRC Critical Review in Toxicology, 17: 185-214 (1987). CRC Journals
R.K. Bush, S.L.
The levels in wine average 80 mg/liter, or about 10 mg in a typical glass of wine A number of studies show reactions by sensitive patients to drinking wine with sulfites, but it appears that their reactions are also caused by other components. For details on this issue see this review: A.T. Bakalinsky, Sulfites, Wine and Health, in Wine in Context: Nutrition, Physiology, Policy, A.L. Waterhouse and R.M. Rantz, Eds. American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Davis, 1996. (Publication List)
The medical literature has virtually no reports on sulfites inducing headache. There are many studies of sulfites and asthmatic responses, and a few of these address sulfites in wine. A few studies from Australia shows that even with extremely sensitive people, there is only an asthmatic response in a small number of sensitive subjects (4 out of 24) for a single drink (150 ml) at extremely high sulfite levels-300 mg/liter or 45 mg. No effects were seen at lower levels, such as 150 mg/liter, or with several increasing doses up to 750 mg/liter! See H Valley and PJ Thompson, Role of sulfite additives in wine induced asthma: single dose and cumulative dose studies, Thorax 56:763-769 (2001). Link
There are many erroneous ideas about sulfites, so to put the record straight:
I get about one note
every two months protesting this assertion from individuals who say they get
terrible headaches from sulfites. Their experiences may well be true, but
anonymous emails cannot be verified and tested, rendering them useless in
advancing a valid understanding. I have offered to post their stories if they
are willing to verify their identities (to me) and let me compile them in a
list for a future research investigation. Unless the sufferers are
willing to undergo some actual verification of their affliction by an
independent observer, their stories remain hearsay. Neither science nor the
law is willing to take a stand on such grounds.
So, if you feel that you are so afflicted and you are willing to go on a verified list of potential subjects of a scientific study, please send me a note that includes your postal address, and daytime phone, and a statement of your willingness to be a participant in a future study. This personal information will NOT be posted in the internet. I will keep this in a list for medical researchers interested in such a study. Just so you know, your note will NOT be a legal document and any future study on human subjects will include many more documents explaining the nature of any study in which you may participate as well as the risks, etc., and you will have ample opportunity to back out if you have concerns about the study.
Updated May 2006
Andrew L. Waterhouse, Copyright 2002, 2005, 2006
Minor Wine Components
[End of Waterhouse article.]
On my recent return from
When I finally reached my home in the
I have written previously about harmful food additives. The following is an extract from the section “Where Has All the Flavor Gone” of my article Miscellany 18, posted at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/Miscellany18.htm .
There are plenty of other additives that are harmful to human beings. I am allergic to potassium sorbate, which is a preservative often used in citrus drinks, such as apple juice, wine coolers, or cocktail mixes, such as piña colada or daiquiri mix. This chemical causes me to have severe chest pain, and difficulty breathing. This reaction is not all that uncommon, and can be fatal.
If you check the World Wide Web on the Internet (search phrase “potassium sorbate”), you will find that some people claim that potassium sorbate has been given a bum rap – that it is not at all dangerous. For example, the Lumen Foods website states, “It is hard to imagine a naturally-occurring nutrient that has been more maligned or more mischaracterized than potassium sorbate – the potassium salt of sorbic acid.” (http://www.soybean.com/ps.htm ). Whatever bad press potassium sorbate has been given is richly deserved. This preservative is very dangerous, and can be fatal.
(It took me quite a while to find out that I was allergic to potassium sorbate. Every once in a while I would have a terrible reaction to a soft drink or mix. I would read the labels of what I had drunk, but there were always so many added chemicals that I could not determine which one was causing my problem. Then, one day, in the early 1980s, a friend offered me a “wine cooler,” which triggered the allergic reaction. To my good fortune, the wine cooler had but a single added ingredient – potassium sorbate. My problem was solved. As chance would have it, my children heard a television report a couple of weeks later, discussing the fact that potassium sorbate preservatives could cause fatal reactions.)
Unfortunately for me, I am allergic to the sulfites that
occur, either added or naturally, in wine.
If I take a large glass of red wine, I almost always get a headache that
starts the next morning and lasts for the rest of the day, the night, and the
next day. Fortunately, I can purchase,
in some stores, “organic” wines, to which no sulfites have been added. Wines from
It is a shame that so many poisons are added to our food. No wonder today’s food tastes so bad. No wonder there has been such an increase in colon cancer. We are simply pickling our guts. [End of update.]
See also the article “Harmful Food Additives” at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/Miscellany35.htm .
A few weeks ago, my friend Ed forwarded me the following e-mail.
Below is a copy of a letter I received from my classmates at
" I would like to thank those of you who expressed condolences on the recent passing of my mother. She suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while she was driving home from my house on 9/30 and passed away on 10/3.
My mother's stroke and passing was an enormous shock to my family because she did not have any symptoms or risk factors for a stroke. Just the week before she had gone to her doctor for a check up and received a clean bill of health. She did, however, develop a cold while she was visiting me and had taken Alka Seltzer Cold Plus for 3 days.
Since her passing, we have learned that Alka Seltzer is one of the many cold medicines that contains Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) which can cause hemorrhagic stokes or cerebral bleeding even with the first use.
I am forwarding a list of other medications that currently use PPA. These medicines are supossedly being recalled but my mother just purchased this medication less than two weeks ago. Pharmaceutical companies have known about this danger for years, we unfortunately, did not.
I urge you to review the list of medicines with PPA and avoid these medications.
Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.
DRUG RECALL INFORMATION
All drugs containing PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE are being recalled.
You may want to try calling the 800 number listed on most drug boxes and inquire about a REFUND. Please read this CAREFULLY. Also, please pass this on to everyone you know.
STOP TAKING anything containing this ingredient. It has been linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain) among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of medication. Problems were not found in men! , but the FDA recommended that everyone (even children) seek alternative medicine.
The following medications contain Phenylpropanolamine:
Acutrim Diet Gum Appetite Suppressant
Acutrim Plus Dietary Supplements
Acutrim Maximum Strength Appetite Control
Alka-Seltzer Plus Children's Cold Medicine Effervescent
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine (cherry or or ange)
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine Original
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine Effervescent
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu Medicine
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Effervescent
Alka Seltzer Plus Night-Time Cold Medicine
BC Allergy Sinus Cold Powder
BC Sinus Cold Powder
Comtrex Flu Therapy & Fever Relief
Day & Night Contac 12-Hour Cold Capsules
Contac 12 Hour Caplets
Coricidin D Cold, Flu & Sinus
Dexatrim Caffeine Free
Dexatrim Extended Duration
Dexatrim Vitamin C/Caffeine Free
Dimetapp Cold & Allergy Chewable Tablets
Dimetapp Cold & Cough Liqui-Gels
Dimetapp DM Cold & Cough Elixir
Dimetapp 4 Hour Liquid Gels
Dimetapp 4 Hour Tablets
Dimetapp 12 Hour Extentabs Tablets
Naldecon DX Pediatric Drops
Tavist-D 12 Hour Relief of Sinus & Nasal
Triaminic DM Cough Rel! ief
Triaminic Expectorant Chest & Head
Triaminic Syrup ! ! Cold & amp;am p; Allergy
Triaminic Triaminicol Cold & Cough .....
I just found out and called the 800# on the container for Triaminic and they informed me that they are voluntarily recalling the following medicines because of a certain ingredient that is causing strokes and seizures in children:
Orange 3D Cold & Allergy Cherry (Pink)
3D Cough Relief Yellow 3D Expectorant
They are asking you to call them at 800-548-3708 with the lot number on the box so they can send you postage for you to send it back to them, and they will also! issue you a refund. If you know of anyone else with small children, PLEASE PASS THIS ON. THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF!
DO PASS ALONG TO ALL ON YOUR MAILING LIST so people are informed. They can then pass it along to their families.
To confirm these findings please take time to check the following:
[End of Ed’s e-mail.]
I found this e-mail rather incredible, and so I decided to do a little checking. I entered the term “phenylpropanolamine (PPA)” in a search engine, and obtained the following information from http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blppa.htm :
Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Recall
Netlore Archive: Forwarded emails warning that non-prescription medicines containing phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride may have adverse health effects were accurate at the time they were issued but are now outdated
You may have heard this, or noticed that these products have been removed from the shelves.
Discard these Medications
Stop taking anything containing this ingredient. It has been linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain) among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of medication. Problems were not found in men, but the FDA recommended that everyone (even children) seek alternative medicine. The following medications contain Phenylpropanolamine:
Children's Cold Medicine Effervescent
Please discard any of these medications as soon as possible
2005 Update: Most if not all of the products listed above which formerly contained phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride have been reformulated to eliminate the ingredient. Consumer questions about phenylpropanolamine and its potential health hazards may be directed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at 1-888-INFO-FDA.
Some manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines containing phenylpropanolamine have offered refunds to consumers who purchased the products before they were voluntarily recalled in late 2000. To inquire about the availability of such refunds, dial the 800-number for consumer questions listed on the product packaging.
Comments by Carla Homan: This email has it mostly right. In November 2000, the FDA issued a public health advisory about phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (PPA), the drug mentioned in the email. This drug is found in many over the counter (OTC) medicines, specifically in cold and flu remedies, as well as appetite suppressants. The drug will likely be banned, but because this process takes time, the FDA issued the health advisory in the meantime and manufacturers are voluntarily recalling and/or reformulating medicines containing PPA.
The main problem with this drug is that it elevates your risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke, especially with (but not limited to) first time use among women. Because the uses of PPA are not serious enough to warrant taking even that small chance, the FDA recommends that you stop taking any medications containing the drug.
Rather than looking at a limited list such as the one contained in the above email, you'd be better off checking the package of any cold, flu or appetite suppressant medication for the drug, which will appear in the list of active ingredients and may be listed as phenylpropanolamine, phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride, or phenylpropanolamine bitartrate. Many manufacturers offer several formulations of their cold and flu remedies, some of which do not contain PPA. Pseudoephedrine is an effective alternative to PPA for use in cold and flue preparations, but unfortunately, there is no approved alternative OTC drug for use in appetite suppressants. Therefore, if you are using any OTC medications to suppress your appetite for weight loss or other reasons, you should stop using the medicine and talk to your doctor about getting a prescription drug instead. Additionally, some prescription decongestants and cold and flu preparations contain PPA, so if you are using any prescription medicines for these purposes, talk to the prescribing doctor to see if you should continue using the medicine.
One word of caution: Though the email states your risk is for "increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain) among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of medication," don't think you are safe if you've used the drug for longer than three days. The three-day window was merely one of the guidelines used in the study that prompted the health advisory; for the study, they defined PPA exposure as having used PPA within three days prior to the stroke. Risk of stroke may be present after three days of use. For detailed information, see the final report of the Hemorrhagic Stroke Project, Web-published by the FDA.
As always, your best resources for reliable information on medicines and medical conditions are your own physician and pharmacist.
Sources and further reading:
Health Advisory: PPA
(PPA) Information Page
Carla Homan is a writer and researcher based in Washington, D.C.
[End of Homan article.]
As incredible as the PPA incident may seem, it appears to be true. There are far too many chemical additives in our medicines and foods. As I have written before, I am highly allergic to the food preservative potassium sorbate, used in many soft drinks or “mixers,” particularly those containing coconut juice or the juice of citric-acid fruits. A single soft drink containing potassium sorbate has killed people in the past, and will kill more in the future. In addition to sulfites and PPA in this article, I have previously written about the dangers of carrageenan. Natural oils in foods such as peanut butter have been replaced by artery-clogging hydrogenated solid fats. Much of the industrial world is poisoning its population with fluoride additive to drinking water. It is no wonder that cancer rates and heart disease rates are high in all industrial societies, that diseases such as autism and attention-deficit disorder are soaring, and that the rates of allergies such as asthma are at record levels. We are poisoning ourselves, with our industrial agriculture and factory farms. Of course, this fits nicely into the plans of the economic forces that control modern industrial society – cause diseases by contaminating the food and water, and then offer to treat the economy-stimulating diseases using high-cost medical care.
A few weeks ago,
Putin talks babies, avoids tangle with US in speech
By Richard Balmforth
President Vladimir Putin offered couples cash to have more
children to halt a dramatic decline in population and called for a stronger
army in a key speech on Wednesday in which he shrugged off sharp attacks by
Putin, defying predictions he would focus on foreign policy,
zeroed in on
In his annual speech to the nation, the president, who in July hosts leaders of the G8 group of rich democracies, responded only obliquely to stinging criticism from the White House of his democracy record.
"Not everyone in the world has been able to move on from the stereotypes of bloc thinking and prejudices which are a carry-over from the epoch of global confrontation, though there have been fundamental changes in the world," he said.
U.S.-Russian relations, which have been unusually warm under Putin, hit their coldest moment last week when Vice President Dick Cheney accused Moscow of backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy resources as a tool for "intimidation and blackmail" against its neighbors.
President George W. Bush, who will next meet Putin in
MORE BABIES PLEASE
His proposal to boost the birthrate is Putin's first real attempt to tackle a catastrophic demographic decline in the world's biggest country.
Describing the issue as contemporary Russia's most acute problem, he told Russian couples he would more than double to 1,500 roubles ($55.39) monthly payouts to families for the first baby and then double that to 3,000 roubles for a second child.
Average wages are below $100 a week.
The trend is driven by low life expectancy, particularly among men, due to poor diet, heavy drinking and smoking.
If it continues, officials say today's population of around 143 million will be down to 100 million by the middle of the century, translating into a weaker workforce and smaller army.
"We are talking about love, about women, about children, about the family," Putin said.
"The problem of low birth rates cannot be resolved without a change in the attitude of our society toward the issue of family and family values," he said.
Deferring to another powerful pillar of the Russian
establishment, just a day after the 61st anniversary of the defeat of Nazi
Germany by Soviet forces, Putin said
"We ... must build our own house, strong and reliable, according to what we see is going on in the world," he said.
(Additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, Christian Lowe and Guy Faulconbridge)
Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.
[End of Reuters article.]
Mr. Putin’s concerns about
The world’s current high human population levels have been
enabled solely because of the use of massive amounts of fossil fuels, in
particular oil. Global oil reserves are
about half exhausted, and global oil production is peaking. At current rates of consumption, all oil
reserves will be exhausted by 2050. As
global oil production starts its inevitable decline, the world human population
will follow. Before long, the planet
will return to a human population level that can be sustained by the planet’s
current solar energy flux (not just because oil will soon be gone, but because
the mass species extinction that is caused by large human numbers and
industrial activity (i.e., by high total energy consumption) cannot continue
without destroying mankind as well).
That population level is at most a few hundred million people existing
at a low level of living (low energy consumption level), or a few tens of
millions of people living at a high standard of living (or some combination of
both). In the case of
A. Maximum high-agricultural-productivity population (10 persons/hectare of arable land, corresponding to global population of 14.0 billion): 1,238,600,000.
B. Maximum low-agricultural-productivity population (1 person/hectare of arable land, corresponding to global population of 1.40 billion): 123,860,000.
C. Maximum solar-energy population, low level of living (.35674585 persons/hectare of arable land, corresponding to global population of 500 million): 44,186,541.
D. Maximum solar-energy population, high level of living (.0035674585 persons/hectare of arable land, corresponding to global population of 5 million): 441,865.
E. Sustainable primitive-agricultural population (.21404751 persons/hectare of arable land, corresponding to global population of 300 million): 26,511,925.
F: Sustainable hunter-gatherer population (.0035674585 persons/hectare of land, corresponding to global population of 5 million): 441,865.
G. Minimal-regret population: 441,865.
From these figures, we see that
But, unlike most other countries,
President Putin, your country is on the right track. That
In the long run,
Several years ago, my website (http://www.foundationwebsite.org )
received a “hit” from a hyperlink on a website called “Cassiopaea” (http://www.cassiopaea.com ). That website is owned and operated by Mrs.
Laura Knight-Jadczyk (“Laura”) and her husband, Dr. Arakadiusz Jadczyk (“
Laura channels from a source called Cassiopaea, and, since
1994, she has recorded transcripts of her channel sessions (mostly done using a
talking board, a few via trance of her erstwhile associate, Fred). She has published excerpts of the transcripts
in some soft-cover publications, and previously published most of them (through
August, 2001), in their entirety, on a CD.
More of them (through September, 2002) are now available (free of
charge) from the Cassiopaea website. I
had copied them from the CD to my computer quite some time ago, but, because of
their length and my preoccupation with other things, I never got around to
reading more than just a few selections from them. Since my evacuation from
If you wish to have a very interesting description of ancient history and the current metaphysical state of the world, I recommend highly that you read Laura’s transcripts from Cassiopaea. One of the things that interested me about her channelings was the similarity of some of the material to that of Rudolf Steiner (who declined to identify the source of his information). To access them from the Internet, proceed as follows: Navigate to site http://groups.yahoo.com/group/casschat . Click on “files” and download the file sessions.zip (or click on sessions.exe if you don’t have a copy of the WinZip file compression program on your computer.
It seems that every few days now you read in the news of the
theft of another large data file containing the private data of thousands or
millions of US citizens. I have had a
long-standing interest in privacy and data theft. When, in 1986, I started to write my book on
For several decades, I have refused to provide my SSN to organizations that requested it “for identification,” unless the law specifically required me to do so (e.g., to my employer for tax withholding and to my bank). Naturally, this position has caused me a lot of trouble, and, in recent years, I have been “worn down” to the point where I have in fact released it to a few organizations (such as the Academy for Educational Development’s health insurance plan).
This past year has seen a significant rise in the number of
instances in which computer data bases containing personal data have been
stolen. Just before I came to
I did not investigate, but I imagine that the physician’s office does not file any claims directly to insurance companies, but instead turns them over (by direct computer transfer) to an intermediary “claims broker” who then files with the insurance companies. In this day and age where almost everyone allows use of his SSN by health-care providers, such a broker almost surely has set up a data base using the SSN as a unique personal identifier, and simply refuses to process any claims without an SSN.
During my “exchange” with the doctor’s billing staff member, she assured me that none of the doctor’s office personnel would misuse my data, and that there were policies and safeguards in place to ensure the privacy and security of my data. I explained to her that I had little worry that the doctor’s office staff would misuse my data, but that my concern was that the data would at some point be stolen. I pointed out to her the frequent reports of database theft, and that American Express Ameriprise had just informed me that my personal data had been stolen from them. She had no response to that comment.
The really striking feature of the recent thefts of personal
data from government databases is the attitude and response of the government,
In the Privacy Act of 1974, the
The response of the
In closing, here is a sample news article on recent theft of
personal data. It exemplifies the “shoot
the messenger” attitude of the
Thieves Steal Personal Data of 26.5M Vets
By Hope Yen, Associated Press Writer,
Thieves took sensitive personal information on 26.5 million
The information involved mainly those veterans who served and have been discharged since 1975, said VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. Data of veterans discharged before 1975 who submitted claims to the agency may have been included.
Nicholson said there was no evidence the thieves had used the data for identity theft, and an investigation was continuing.
"It's highly probable that they do not know what they have," he said in a briefing with reporters. "We have decided that we must exercise an abundance of caution and make sure our veterans are aware of this incident."
Veterans advocates expressed alarm.
"This was a very serious breach of security for American veterans and their families," said Bob Wallace, executive director of Veterans of Foreign Wars. "We want the VA to show leadership, management and accountability for this breach."
Ramona Joyce, spokeswoman for the American Legion, agreed that the theft was a concern. "In the information age, we're constantly told to protect our information. We would ask no less of the VA," she said.
Nicholson declined to comment on the specifics of the
incident, which involved a midlevel data analyst who had taken the information
home to suburban
The residential community had been a target of a series of
burglaries when the employee was victimized earlier this month, according to
the FBI in
"I want to emphasize there was no medical records of any veteran and no financial information of any veteran that's been compromised," Nicholson said, although he added later that some information on the veterans' disabilities may have been taken.
Nicholson said he does not know how many of the department's 235,000 employees go thorough background investigations. He said employees who have access to large volumes of personal data should be required to undergo such checks, but he does not believe the VA employee was involved in the theft.
"We do not suspect at all any ulterior motive," he said.
The department has come under criticism for shoddy accounting practices and for falling short on the needs of veterans.
Last year, more than 260,000 veterans could not sign up for services because of cost-cutting. Audits also have shown the agency used misleading accounting methods and lacked documentation to prove its claimed savings.
"It is a mystifying and gravely serious concern that a VA data analyst would be permitted to just walk out the VA door with such information," Illinois Rep. Lane Evans (news, bio, voting record), the top Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement signed by other Democrats on the panel.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is a
"This is no way to treat those who have worn the uniform of our country," Kerry said. "Someone needs to be fired."
The VA said it was notifying members of Congress and the individual veterans about the burglary. It has set up a call center at 1-800-FED-INFO and Web site, http://www.firstgov.gov, for veterans who believe their information has been misused.
It also is stepping up its review of procedures on the use of personal data for many of its employees who telecommute as well as others who must sign disclosure forms showing they are aware of federal privacy laws and the consequences if they're violated.
Deborah Platt Majoras, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, said her task force has reached out to the three major credit bureaus to be alert to possible misuse.
On the Net:
Information for veterans suspecting identity theft:
http://www.firstgov.gov or 1-800-FED-INFO
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.
[End of AP article.]
The situation is what Garrett Hardin discussed in his book, Living within Limits, a couple of
decades ago. Resources that are held in
common, such as the atmosphere, are particularly vulnerable to destruction from
users. Hardin coined the phrase,
“tragedy of the commons” to refer to the phenomenon. (The
The feature article of the current issue of The Economist (“The dirty sky: Why air
travel will be the next green battleground,”
These approaches are unlikely to make much difference. The heart of the problem is that the world is
under the control of leaders who wish to maximize economic activity, and they
will do so no matter what the cost to the planet’s biosphere. They are similar to proposing conservation as
a means of “solving” a resource-scarcity problem – e.g., a ten percent
reduction in fuel consumption is a total waste of time, if the population or
the economy is then allowed to grow by ten percent. All that any of these
measures may accomplish is a temporary reduction in pollution levels (e.g., by
the introduction of new technology) or the distribution of the benefits and costs
As a system of planetary management, economics is “the great destroyer.” The terrible problems that we are experiencing today – mass species extinction, global warming, massive increases in human misery – are all a direct result of economic development and economic activity on a massive scale. Large human numbers and global industrialization are destroying the biosphere, and society’s addiction to “growth-based economics” ensures that this destruction will continue. The false promise of a high standard of living for billions of people is an irresistible enticement to the deceived masses, who are following their venal leaders to their complete destruction. These problems will not abate until this pernicious system is gone.
Bill Gates is an admirable man. Having earned a massive fortune through his Microsoft Company, he set himself some time ago to addressing the issue of how to spend his massive wealth for good. A couple of days ago, I read a news report that he planned to step away from the job of active management of Microsoft within two years, to devote his time to management of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The article that I read mentioned that he was now worth an estimated 67 billion dollars, and that he had already given away 12 billion dollars.
I have been the recipient of philanthropic beneficence in my
life, and I appreciate first-hand the tremendous difference that good works can
achieve in human lives. When I was very
young, I can still recall my great surprise at having free access to the wading
pool and swings in
While a teenager, I recall taking advantage of the Carnegie
I received a full scholarship to
I have been able to realize my full intellectual potential directly because of the substantial gifts of others. Philanthropy can make a tremendous difference in the lives of many.
Andrew Carnegie contributed much of his fortune to educational and cultural institutions, such as the Carnegie libraries, Carnegie Tech and the Carnegie Endowment for the Arts. His philanthropic efforts have created a lasting legacy that lives on through the people whose lives he has enriched.
But this article is about Bill Gates. My hat is off to Mr. Gates. He has a good heart.
I cannot help but wonder, however, if his charity will have the lasting impact that Carnegie’s did. Carnegie emphasized education. His endowments made a significant difference in the intellectual and knowledge capacities of many people, and the effect of his efforts has been amplified through time. I have not heard much about how Mr. Gates is investing his fortune, but it appears that his point of view is very different from Mr. Carnegie’s. All I have heard of Gate’s efforts is in fighting HIV/AIDS or other diseases. If this is so, it seems to me that his efforts will have little long-term effect. His philanthropy seems oriented toward lost causes, and memory of it will disappear as soon as the people he has helped pass away.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is simply one manifestation of the
result of mass human overpopulation of the planet and mass intermingling of
species. It is the population explosion
of human beings that has caused the current planetary crisis, and treating the
symptoms, such as treating or curing HIV/AIDS, is of no help in solving the
problem that produced these symptoms. If
a species overpopulates – such as rabbits, lemmings, reindeer on
While trying to find a cure for this disease or caring for those afflicted with it is intellectually challenging and a respected humanitarian gesture, it is of no significant long-term benefit to mankind or the other species that inhabit the planet. Finding a cure for smallpox, polio, malaria, tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS or any other disease is of little use, if the planet “dies” anyway. Saving the lives of millions, or providing palliative care to hundreds of millions, is of no long-term value, if the biosphere is destroyed. In fact, these actions may actually increase the level of human misery (in numbers and severity) and contribute to the demise of the biosphere, if they simply result in a higher level of human overpopulation and greater destruction of the biosphere. The focus of Mr. Gates’ philanthropy, if it succeeds in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS or any other major disease, will simply help increase the planet’s human population and make the planet’s environmental problem worse. Rather than reduce human suffering, such actions will simply increase it.
The HIV/AIDS problem, and all of the other serious problems currently facing the denizens of the Earth’s biosphere, are the direct result of bad planetary management. These problems will not go away until the current system of planetary management, based on economic growth, industrialization and “globalization” (large human numbers and industrial activity) is replaced by a rational system of planetary management that promotes the long-term sustainability of the human and other species of the planet. From what I know of Mr. Gates’ program to date, his efforts are not directed to these concerns.
As Fife Symington, a former governor of
As Laura Knight-Jadczyk’s sources have so often observed, “Knowledge protects, ignorance endangers”; and “All there is, is lessons.” The planet is undergoing a massive change, and few people understand why, or what, if anything, should be done about it. Investing a fortune in holding the hand of a dying patient, or in treating symptoms instead of addressing the cause of a disease, seems rather unfulfilling. What is the point to eliminating HIV/AIDS, for example, if the planet dies anyway? Or if a new pandemic just takes its place? (HIV/AIDS is not just a “one-time “fluke” – the root cause of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the gross intermingling of species that is accompanying globalization.) I suppose that finding a cure for AIDS is still a self-gratifying intellectual accomplishment, but it falls very short of the vastly more challenging adventure of addressing the root cause of the disease and saving a planet from destruction at the hands of an intelligent, rapacious species. As the world’s richest man, Bill Gates is in a position to decide what game he plays, and how he plays it, and he is in a position to make a real difference. As an exceptional capitalist, he played his first choice of game exceedingly well. He is now in the process of moving on to his second game – that of philanthropist. At the present time, it seems that he has little interest in saving the planet, and would rather invest his efforts in providing palliative care to many people, or in the intellectually challenging problem of finding a cure for a sophisticated disease. If, after considering all of the alternatives, that is what he wants to do, that is fine. But I wonder if it has occurred to him whether “saving the planet” would not be a much more interesting game to play than simply holding the hand of, and comforting, a dying planet.
A few weeks ago, the US Senate passed a bill granting
illegal aliens in the
For some years, the
In its last days, the
Recently, before passage of the “citizenship reward” bill, illegal aliens were so bold as to stage massive demonstrations demanding legal status and citizenship. Some of them displayed placards declaring, “Immigrants today, voters tomorrow.” How right they were. The US Congress has just made their dream of conquest come true.
On average, every immigrant to this country, legal or otherwise, causes the destruction of about an acre of natural land. By allowing 12 million illegal aliens to stay in our country, rather than deporting them, our leaders have made a commitment to the destruction of another 12 million acres of natural land.
In 1950, the population of the
In 1950, it was possible to visit a
When I was a boy, a man on an average salary could afford to
support a family of four, with his wife at home, and buy a home and a car. Now, because of globalization (massive
international free trade), US middle-class workers must compete with foreign
workers earning a dollar a day. The
The recent turn of events – of converting illegal aliens to
US citizens – is not unexpected. I wrote
some time ago that the
The debate over illegal immigration has focused on economic
considerations, since that is all that matters to our leaders. In the debate over the Senate’s immigration
bill in May, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham had the following
comments: "The economy is as good as it's ever going to
get in your lifetime. The estimated 12
million immigrants in the country have assimilated into the economy and it's
humming." (Quote from Yahoo news,
What is happening in the
While I was consulting to Canada Trust Bank in 1997-98, an
employee of the Bank – a Canadian – asked me how to become an American
citizen. He had a master’s degree in
finance and a successful career, but he had been repeatedly told by US
immigration officials that his skills were not needed, and he would not be
allowed to immigrate. He asked me how
this could be, when the
Under its policy of mass immigration from alien cultures,
The terrorist bombings in
The US, Canada, Australia, and Britain have all invited
massive numbers of people from alien cultures into their midst, and those
cultures, like a pernicious disease, are now in the process of destroying the
I have worked in several Moslem countries. Overall, Moslems are loving, wonderful people, just like people everywhere, and Islam is as loving a religion as Christianity and Judaism. I love Moslems just as much as I love Christians and Jews (or members of any other major religion). I love all decent people, and enjoy aspects of all cultures. But loving individual people of other cultures, including even aliens living in your own country, is one thing, and loving mass immigration, which destroys countries and cultures, is quite another. What is the point to inviting millions of people from alien cultures to our European-based culture, Christian countries for them to overcrowd our country, destroy our environment and culture, and assassinate us? We do not have to make Moslems (or Mexicans or Indians or Chinese or any other group) citizens to enjoy the pleasure of their company and their culture. We can visit them in their own countries, and they can visit us in ours, and we can both preserve and protect our own cultures and countries. There is no need for us to invite them to reside in our country in massive numbers to destroy our environment, culture, and middle class. Few other countries except the former British colonies have set up programs of mass immigration from foreign cultures. Call the embassies of other countries – Japan, India, China, Zambia, Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel (if you are not a Jew) – and ask them about emigrating to their countries. They will laugh in your face (unless, of course, you promise to bring large amounts of money, such as Malta, Zambia, Costa Rica, and many other “will-trade-citizenship-for-cash” countries).
I recently spent a long weekend in
On May 25, I saw a segment on BBC World television that discussed the future of nuclear fusion as a source of energy. One of the people interviewed on the program estimated that nuclear fusion might become a commercial source of energy within 50 years. Like nuclear fission, nuclear fusion is a very impractical method of generating energy. If the total costs are examined, it is a very expensive source of energy (the fusion process makes the containment facility radioactive, resulting in long-term costs that, like the waste from nuclear fission, are passed to future generations).
Apart from its high expense and environmental drawbacks, fusion energy shares the same major drawback of all mass-energy sources: the planet’s biosphere cannot tolerate the industrial use of energy on a large scale. Mankind’s large numbers and industrial activity are causing the extinction of an estimated 30,000 species per year. The habitat destruction and pollution caused by industrial globalization is destroying the biosphere at a very rapid rate. The only way that this mass species extinction will be halted is for human numbers and industrial activity to be reduced quickly to a small fraction of their current levels. The development of nuclear fusion will not help to bring this about. The continued use of any energy source on a scale exceeding the solar energy flux, to which the planet’s biosphere is adapted, will continue to destroy it.
International development agencies really know how to “lie with statistics.” Because of economic development, the number of desperately poor people on the planet has increased by several billion in just a few decades, and the planet’s biosphere is being quickly destroyed. But, rather than admit that their policies of economic development are increasing the number of people living in abject misery and are destroying the planet’s environment, the economic development agencies point to various ratio indicators as evidence that their programs are in fact improving the situation.
The most egregious example of this is per capita income. Almost everywhere on the planet, environmental destruction is increasing and the number of miserably poor people is increasing, yet the development agencies stress that per capita income is increasing, so things are actually getting better. What a lie. This sort of deception is repeated over and over with indicators such as the percentage of people having ready access to clean water or sanitation facilities. The fact is that, although these indicators may be increasing, the destruction of the environment continues and the number of people living in hellish conditions is increasing rapidly.
For a number of years, there has been much discussion of “intellectual property.” US copyright and patent laws extend for many years, offering entrepreneurs material rewards for their inventions for very long times.
I have often speculated about the seemingly inconsistent
application of these laws. Currently,
for example, the
In some cases, the reason is well known. For example, IBM simply allowed the name
“FORTRAN” to enter the public domain out of generosity. But it is my understanding that the
Since I have been in
I have commented a number of times about the fact that the US government ceaselessly promotes democracy for others, when our own Founding Fathers would have nothing to do with it (although George Bush and many other Americans seem ignorant of the fact, the Founding Fathers set the US up as a republic, not a democracy). They agreed with Plato (author of The Republic) that democracy is an extremely poor form of government, in which the elected leaders will pander to the desires of the masses. The word “democracy” does not even appear in either of the country’s two founding documents, the US Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution. Whenever democracy fails to produce the “desired” result, such as the takeover of Algeria or Palestine by radical Islamists, or the loss of power of indigenous peoples to migrants, such as in the case of Fiji or the Solomon Islands, the US government is quick to assert that the problem is not with democracy but with some other factor.
The most recent example of democracy producing unintended
results may be
The people who promote democracy are generally the same ones
who espouse tolerance, inclusiveness, egalitarianism, and
multiculturalism. In the case of
The strangeness of this situation is now being reflected in the continuing occurrence of public demonstrations demanding the resignation of Mr. Alkatiri. But Mr. Alkatiri refuses to resign. Why should he? He was chosen by democratic elections in full compliance with the East Timor Constitution. The “powers that be” are now scrambling around, trying to figure out how to suspend the Constitution, or parts of it, to allow a new election in which Alkatiri will be removed.
As I have observed on several occasions, democracy is a system that is useful only for governing bodies that don’t really matter, such as social clubs. It works well only with an electorate that is relatively well-educated and homogeneous, so that most of the electorate have about the same values and points of view on the issues to be resolved. It is not a good system for managing anything that really matters, such as operating a ship, an aircraft, a business, or a planet.
In addition to the problem of democracy,
The current government of Timor-Leste is very intent on
preserving and maintaining its Portuguese heritage, at least with respect to
language. Under Indonesian rule, Bahasa
Indonesia was taught in all schools.
Today, Timor-Leste has two official languages – Portuguese and Tetum –
and two working languages – English and Bahasa Indonesia. It is interesting to note that the Portuguese
ruled Timor-Leste for 450 years as a stable colony. It did this by keeping the indigenous people
uneducated and occupied essentially as slaves in subsistence agriculture. When
For the past six years, the United Nations and other development agencies have been promoting democracy in Timor-Leste. Over the past two months, civil law and order have collapsed, along with the country’s government’s authority. People are now desperately hoping for a return to stability and law and order. It is interesting to observe that under 450 years of Portuguese rule, stability and law and order were relatively strong, and that since Timor-Leste was abandoned by the Portuguese, it has seen nothing but civil strife and now, a near-total collapse of social structure and government. Evidently “freedom” and “democracy” come with a price – anarchy. Or perhaps democracy is not the right “country model” for Timor-Leste.
It is interesting to draw a parallel of the Timor-Leste
experience to that of
As I have commented before (in “A Country Model for East
Timor,” in Miscellany24), Timor-Leste
is so small, its terrain so mountainous, and its people so ethnically diverse
and uneducated (and likely to remain so, if they have to master four
languages!), that it does not seem rational to attempt to impose a modern
democratic system of government on it, as the UN and other development agencies
have been attempting to do for the past six years. That six-year effort has resulted in a total
collapse. In fact, the country is far
worse off now than it was six years ago, following its independence from
After the spectacular failure of a concerted six-year effort
to impose a modern market-oriented democracy on Timor-Leste, it is time to
reconsider whether that type of society and government is right for this
country. The fact that