Lots of people have been gleefully reposting links to a PR Newswire press release from a group who are suing the makers of Soylent for failing to comply with California’s Proposition 65. Test results commissioned by As You Sow, conducted by an independent laboratory, show that one serving of Soylent 1.5 can expose a consumer to a concentration of lead that is 12 to 25 times above California’s Safe Harbor level for reproductive health, and a concentration of cadmium that is at least 4 times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium.
The “cell phone electromagnetic fields are giving you cancer” people have a new target: now it’s hybrid cars that are going to kill you. The NYT gasps: While Americans live with E.M.F.’s all around — produced by everything from cellphones to electric blankets — there is no broad agreement over what level of exposure constitutes a health hazard, and there is no federal standard that sets allowable exposure levels. Yeah, that may be because nobody’s ever managed to reliably, scientifically demonstrate a negative health effect from everyday electromagnetic fields applied to human beings.
From the Wall St Journal: Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.
In Chicago, the police are asking loyal citizens to report anyone seen using a map or binoculars, or taking photographs. Meanwhile in California, police are stopping drivers who have done nothing wrong in order to compliment their driving and give them $5 gift vouchers. Both of these seem to me to be misguided. The former is obviously nutty; do they really want the 911 dispatchers bothered by some paranoid who just saw someone take a picture of Chicago’s art deco architecture?
The Guardian: In recent years networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have seen remarkable growth and become some of the most heavily trafficked destinations on the internet. But Danah Boyd, a researcher at the University of California and internet sociologist, says populations of different networks are now divided on a rough class basis. Her evidence, collected through a series of interviews with US teenagers using MySpace and Facebook over the past nine months, shows there is a clear gap between the populations of each site.
InfoUSA is a list broker, a company that aggregates personal data and sells it to telemarketers and catalog sales companies. The New York Times reports: InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible.
Microwave popcorn uses an artificial butter flavoring called diacetyl. Numerous studies have now linked diacetyl fume inhalation to a rare condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, in which the bronchioles of the lungs get blocked by masses of fibrous tissue. The problem has been known about since 1999, but so far federal agencies haven’t done anything. There’s now a bill in California proposing to ban diacetyl by 2010. The Delve Special episode “Food for Thought” just seems more and more relevant as the years go by.
Thank you, Bush administration. I’ve just been required to spend the most mind-numbing couple of hours carefully reading page after page of ethical guidelines. Rules that should be blatantly obvious to anyone with any ethical sense whatsoever. It’s all about ensuring that I don’t do things like take Dick Cheney out to the Country Club in order to get juicy government contracts on a no-bid basis, or organize a price-fixing system to defraud California.
I’ve beem thinking about how one can actually spot shady businesses. It’s not as easy as it initially seems—there are plenty of dodgy retailers that manage to look totally legitimate, and there are plenty of good companies that you might assume to be crooks because (for instance) they don’t list any kind of address online. For example, if you’ve ever shopped online for camera equipment, or browsed the ads in magazines, you’ve probably seen lots of stores in New York selling photo equipment at way below MSRP.
During the Great Prius Hunt, I joined several web forums to try and pick up leads and get advice. I noticed that a lot of the discussions ended up resembling the Monty Python “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch… SFGuy14: Lovely car, the Prius. Of course, it wasn’t easy to buy one. carguy30: No, and a lovely car because it’s hard to buy one. mpg55plus: I remember waiting 8 months for my dealer to get my Prius.