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March 18, 2008

Memo to Nick Negroponte: Why not enclose a 2-week supply of Plumpy'Nut with every $100 laptop?


Because what's the point of giving Internet access to people who can't think straight because they're starving to death?

Susan Shepherd, a pediatrician and medical adviser for Doctors Without Borders, wrote an Op-Ed essay which appeared in the January 30, 2008 New York Times about how using Plumpy'Nut (above) — featured here on April 16, 2005 and again on September 30, 2005 — helped, in 2006, over 150,000 malnourished children worldwide recover, with over 90% of those in Niger responding to the nutrient-dense, ready-to-use foil-packaged paste.

The problem?

"... Only 3% of the world's 20 million malnourished children... have access to ready-to-use food."

Here's the Times piece.

    Instant Nutrition

    We have all seen the pictures on television and in magazines of emaciated children looking at us with gaunt faces and empty eyes. The images are moving and disturbing, but if they do not lead to an effective response, they are used in vain.

    Malnutrition can be fatal. Every year, it contributes to the death of five million children under the age of 5. But more of the same kind of food aid impoverished countries now receive will do nothing to reduce these deaths. We need to focus on the food quality, not just the quantity.

    I recently spent a year running a nutritional program in Niger, where, along with other parts of Africa and South Asia, the most cases of childhood malnutrition are found. While there, I became convinced that large numbers of deaths among acutely malnourished children can be prevented by using an innovative nutrient-dense ready-to-use food that is revolutionizing the treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition. If we are to combat malnutrition, we must increase the use of this food and expand the range of products.

    As any parent knows, children grow and develop at breakneck speed until age 3, and sound nutrition is vital to a healthy life. We nurture growth in our own children by providing a varied diet that contains milk (either through breast-feeding or formula), other dairy products and nutritious supplements — just think of the baby food choices available to families in any American supermarket.

    For years, it has been difficult to deliver the nutrient value of milk in communities in Africa and Asia that do not produce or have the resources to buy milk. Without refrigeration and clean water, powdered milk and baby formula are prone to bacterial contamination and cause more harm than good.

    Ten years ago, André Briend, a French scientist, devised a paste of powdered milk, ground peanuts, oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals that solves the problems of preparation, storage and contamination because it is prepared without water. The paste, known as ready-to-use food, can be made locally; children can eat it directly from individual foil packets. More important, most children can be treated at home, rather than being hospitalized. This vastly increases the number of children who can be reached. In Niger, I saw how ready-to-use food enabled thousands to recover from malnutrition.

    In 2006, my colleagues at Doctors Without Borders and I treated more than 150,000 malnourished children worldwide — in Niger, more than 9 out of 10 recovered. But these numbers are a small fraction of those in need. Under United Nations and United States guidelines, only 3 percent of the world’s 20 million malnourished children — those with the severest forms of malnutrition and the highest risk of death — have access to ready-to-use food.

    These conditions are too limiting. Children shouldn’t have to deteriorate to the point of severe malnutrition to “qualify” for ready-to-use food, which is far more nutritious than the fortified blended flours prescribed and supplied by the United States and other international donors for moderately malnourished children. Yes, ready-to-use food may cost more, but it provides the milk that fortified flours do not.

    The United States is the largest single donor of food aid in the world, but it doesn’t provide enough of what young children really need. As the farm bill progresses through Congress, there has been much debate on improving the delivery of food aid. But Congress must also address the quality of this aid.

    If ready-to-use food is distributed more widely and replaces blended flours, fewer children will die of malnutrition. It’s what the children staring at us in those harrowing images need and deserve.

March 18, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Romper With a Twist


Makes me want to be 1 again.

From the website:

    Intake/Exhaust Romper

    Official logos decorate the front of these soft one-piece outfits; ribbed collar and three-snap bottom make dressing and changing simple.

    Sizes 6 mo., 12 mo., 18mo., 24 mo.

    Machine wash.

    100% cotton.


March 18, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Abba drummer Ola Brunkert dies in freak accident


For those who want the details, Fiona Govan's story in today's Telegraph.co.uk has them, and follows.

    Abba drummer Ola Brunkert dies in Spain

    The drummer for the Swedish pop group Abba was found dead on Sunday with his throat cut after he accidentally walked through a glass door.

    Ola Brunkert, 61, crashed head first through the door in his kitchen at his home on Majorca, wounding his neck on a shard of glass.

    He managed to wrap a towel around his neck and left the house to seek help, but collapsed in the garden and bled to death.

    His body was discovered in the garden of his villa in Arta on the island's northeastern coast by a neighbour on Sunday evening.

    Police said an autopsy confirmed that Mr Brunkert's death had been an accident. Mr Brunkert lived alone and there was no sign of a break in, police said.

    Members of the band yesterday paid tribute to their onetime drummer.

    Bjorn Ulvaeus, one of the four lead singers who leapt to fame after performing their song Waterloo in the 1974 Eurovision song contest, said that Mr Brunkert had been "one of the best".

    "I remember him as a good friend when we worked together in the mid-1970s. He was a very creative musician who contributed a lot when we toured together and worked in the studio," he said.

    Benny Andersson spoke of his sadness at the drummer's death, describing it as "tragic".

    Mr Brunkert, who was originally from Stockholm, was a session musician who was in Abba's original line-up in the 1970s, continuing to work with the band into the 1980s.

    He worked on all the group's albums and performed on tour with them. He moved to Majorca about 20 years ago and was a member of a local jazz band.

    Mr Brunkert, who was a widower, is survived by a son, who also lives on the island.

March 18, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Emergency Lights-Out Kit


No, clifyt, it's not of those.

From the website:

    Emergency Glow-in-the-Dark Light Kit

    In a power outage, this glow-in-the-dark kit provides emergency illumination without the danger of open flame.

    Easy-to-locate box contains 4 reusable glow sticks, mini-flashlight (battery included), a flameless votive candle (uses 2 AAA batteries, not included), and a card for emergency numbers.


March 18, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Into the Wild


I watched this film on HD-DVD last night and found myself quietly drawn into a world I'll probably never know (at least in this life), a world apart from men and their things and all they subsume.

There's no disputing Sean Penn's gifts as director, writer (he wrote the screenplay) and actor, say what you will about his off-camera life, words and deeds.

Funny, the only dissonant notes were the characters played by William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden, ostensibly the two best actors in the movie, who as the oh-so-proper parents of their errant son became caricatures of the people they meant to portray.

The film's music is superb: Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder sings solo, his first such recordings ever released.

They're perfectly fitted to the great lonely spaces they accompany.

March 18, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mono Zeug Parmesan Knife


Designed by Michael Schneider.

8" long.


March 18, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Donuts Are A Girl's Best Friend


Crocheted in 2007 by Colorado artist Joy Kampia O'Shell.

[via Kill City]

March 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

AquaCiser — 'World's deepest hot tub'


Pictured above, it's 53 inches deep.

But wait, there's more!

Options include a rowing machine attachment and treadmill.

You get 57 jets, five pumps, and throttle control valves to adjust massage intensity.

From $17,000.

March 18, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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