June 03, 2007
BehindTheMedspeak: The best way to prevent mad-cow disease is to not look for it
This rather strange approach to the epidemiology of this devastating infection is the one that's been adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Here's the latest on the subject, from the May 30, 2007 Wall Street Journal.
- Agriculture Department to Fight Ruling on Mad-Cow Testing
The Bush administration said it will fight a ruling allowing meatpackers to test their animals for mad-cow disease. The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1% of slaughtered cows for the disease. Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows. A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The Agriculture Department argues that widespread testing could lead to a false positive. Larger meat companies say if Creekstone tests its meat and advertises it as safe, they might be expected to perform the expensive test, too.
Wouldn't it be preferable — from a public health standpoint — to find false positives along with infected animals rather than let such diseased cows into the food chain, as is currently the practice in this country?
From the point of view of cattlemen and meat producers, of course, just the opposite is true.
And I guess for the time being they still command an awful lot of political juice in Washington, such that they've got the Agriculture Department continuing to sing from their hymnbook.
Though it seems to me the dissonance is growing.
Me, I'd be happy to pay a bit extra to cover the cost of universal testing of cattle, as is standard practice in Japan.
But then, I've seen someone dying from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human expression of mad-cow).
Trust me — you want every cow tested starting yesterday.
Cool Jewels Ice Cube Tray
From the website:
- Cool Jewels Ice Cube Tray
Add a splash of flash and sparkle to your drinks with some icy gems.
This flexible plastic ice tray makes six gemstone-shaped ice cubes.
Add some food coloring and you'll have some faux precious stones to keep your drinks nice and cold.
• Recyclable, flexible TPE plastic
• Gemstone shapes
Tray measures 4-1/4"L x 7-5/8"L x 1"H.
$5.95 (ice cubes not included).
Drain Pipe Hotel
It's located in a park next to the Danube River in Ottensheim, Austria.
Jennifer Conlin featured it in her "In Transit" column in today's New York Times Travel section; the piece follows.
Need a Room? Why Not Try the Drain Pipe?
Forget luxury tents and designer pods. The newest trend in alternative hotel accommodation is a combination of the two — a compact, minimally decorated space set in the great outdoors.
Take the “sleep pipe” [above and below]. In a park next to the Danube River in Ottensheim, Austria, an art school graduate named Andreas Strauss has created a cozy accommodation just large enough for a double bed, a storage shelf and a lamp.
Open from May through October, each of the three existing sleep pipes has a window, electricity and is near public toilets, showers and a cafe. Visitors book online at www.dasparkhotel.net and are given a code that opens the door. Guests are asked to pay what they can.
Already there are plans to create more sleep pipes elsewhere in Austria.
Toilet Tank Reading Rack
From the website:
- Over Tank Magazine Rack
Fits right over tank — no installation necessary.
Sleek design saves space and looks attractive.
Keeps magazines and books handy.
10.5" x 9" x 4.5"
$12.98 (reading material not included).
"OK, anyone who tracks their distance to four decimal places needs to chill out. But it's pretty cool to find out how much ground you cover in your daily run."
Closet Cedar Rings
Once you've got these in place you can stop humming "We Got Da Funk" every time you open your closet.
From the website:
- Closet Cedar Rings
Closet cedar rings slide on hangers, fit in shoes, line a chest or place in drawers to keep your wardrobe smelling fresh year round with the pure, natural scent of the outdoors.
Each ring measures 2" x 1/2".
Note: If you decide to employ them in the foot space, I recommend removing the rings before putting on your shoes.
24 for $6.98.
Garlik.com — 'Powerful stuff'
Q. What is Garlik?
A. Garlik lets you enjoy the world wide web by giving you the power to control your personal information in the digital world.
Nigel Shadbolt, president of the British Computer Society and a Garlik co-founder, told Joia Shillingford in the May 30, 2007 Financial Times, "Once you've registered, you can find out what data there is out there about you and how vulnerable you are to identity theft."
That sounded pretty interesting so I decided to pursue this until my TechnoDolt™ train inevitably ran off the rails — i.e., when it became apparent I couldn't use it.
It didn't take very long.
Q. Is DataPatrol Advanced available to consumers outside the UK?
A. We are currently launching DataPatrol Advanced to UK residents only. As such, we are unable to provide people in other countries with this service. However, our plans for world domination mean that we will be expanding the service to other countries in the future.
In the meantime an enterprising individual with an Asian perspective might consider taking Durian.com and running with it.
Remote Control Outlet
From the website:
- Remote Control Outlet
Remote control outlets operate any electrical device — just plug in, no wiring required.
Turn on lamps, radios, holiday lights and more from anywhere in the room.
Controls up to four outlets from a range of up to 100 ft.
Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).