indigestible sugars and flatulence, jean rivets, age of paranoia

With only a week to go until election day its about time an important issue facing the world is addressed and the American Chemical Society is here to help. This is their title for the press release, not mine; who says chemists don’t have a sense of humor, Soybeans no longer a musical fruit?

Soybeans may drop off the list of musical fruit. Scientists in Singapore are reporting victory over some consumers’ No. 1 complaint about soy products — the “flatulence factor” caused by indigestible sugars found in soy. In a study scheduled for the November 12 issue of ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they describe a method for significantly reducing the amount of flatulence-causing carbohydrates in soy yogurt while raising the levels of healthy antioxidants known as isoflavones.

I have some thought about the “flatulence factor”, but in my head at least, it sounds like a bad lounge act from Vegas in the 60’s. In “real” America we get our flatulence from eating greasy sausage biscuits with mustard washed down with a cherry Coke. At your own risk get in an elevator with someone that has eaten pickled pigs knuckles and a bowel of pinto beans.

jean rivets

The 21st century is the “age of paranoia” according to British scientists

The psychologist has been researching paranoia for over a decade at the college’s Institute of Psychiatry and found that one in four people have paranoid thoughts regularly.

He said a combination of factors was fuelling a new era of suspiciousness, including the increasing number of people living in cities, the physical environment in which we live, growing wealth inequalities and the reporting of crime and terrorism.

Paranoia levels are twice as high in cities as they are in rural areas and for the first time the world’s urban population outnumbers the rural.

I’ll bow to the good doctor’s expertise on the way he sees the trend toward rampent paranoia in the U.K. Just my based on my anecdotal experience I think its the reverse in the U.S. In rural arears people are a little more paranoid – still quite a bit of that big gov’mint talk. While in the cities I visit, mostly in the south people seem relatively calm. Dr Daniel Freeman touches on one of my pet peeves. Television reporting, especially local stations tend to focus on street crime as the most important news of the day. Older couples and lone shut-ins thus tend to see crime and to some degree terrorism as the biggest threat to them and society. The fact is that heart disease and cancer are more likely to do the killing. Its a deep rooted problem of journalism everywhere. On a night that one person in a city of a million people gets murdered, ten may die of heart disease. Arterial plack just doesn’t make for a good breaking news story. It also doesn’t help that we have a legion of pundits who think that hyperbole is one of the major food groups and sprinkled with lies makes it even tastier, Conservatives Go Rabid, Sowell compared Obama to Hitler, Mao, other dictators, and Jim Jones

train workers circa 1940s by jack delano

train wash circa 1940s by jack delano

Jack Delano (August 1, 1914 – August 12, 1997) worked for the Farm Security Administration during the FDR administration. In order to get the $2,300/year job they required that he get a driver’s license and provide his own car.

Remediating and Reducing Poverty, by Mayor Manny Diaz, Mayor of Miami and President of the United States Conference of Mayors

Statistics show that 1 in every 6 children in this country lives in poverty, with nearly half living in extreme poverty. In addition, of the more than 140 million Americans employed in 2006, 8.7 million were living in poverty – evidence that even full-time work is failing to lift workers out of poverty. Long-term poverty remediation is required.