Stef at Famous for 15 Megapixels rails against wannabe polymath and Renaissance man, environmental guru and The Guradian readers substitute for Chomsky and original thought Georgy Monbiot...."The Thoughts of Charmin' George"
For a recent birthday I was kindly given, by someone I love, a copy of his portentously entitled "Heat" - How to stop the Planet Burning" - which should really initiate a new fashion for book burning. The word portentously is used with purpose. GM is a portent, and he also reflects the shifting logic, the impenetrable statistical manipulations (quite how do you accurately calculate the Mean UK temperature in the UK / World in 1900 / 1950 / 2007 ? and make valid comparisons ?) and shock / horror claptrap of the pseudo academic mind , who seeing a badwagon cannot resist the temptation to jump aboard - if only for the ride.
Leibniz (amongst others) gave us Calculus which those who got into the Science Sixth grappled with , it is as nothing compared with Monbiot's Calculus - the mathematics of the indefinite - whose operations have eluded many but ...well ...
It works like this.
Take a number. Any number. Make it bigger. Here are some examples from his ...there are many more.
"The IPCC ...estimated in 2001 that global temperatures will rise between 1.4 and 5.8 this century (Centigrade)....
...one study published in 2005 suggests that the maximum possible temperature rise .. caused by a doubling of carbon dioxide ....is 11.5 (Centigrade) .. an increase as big as this ...is very unlikely .." ( but read on ...)
Pages 12 /13
"I have concentrated on the effects of the...IPCC range of 1.4 -5.8 (Centigrade) ....some climate scientists maintain ... this could rise much further."
Paul Crutzen (Nobel Laureate) ... falling levels of particles ....temperature could rise by between 7 and 10 (Centigrade).
In 2005 British scientists ... computer simulation large and more detailed ....ranging anywhere between 1.9 and 11.5 (Centigrade)
" ... UK consumes 37.8 Mn tonnes of petroleum products a year. The most productive oil crop in UK is rape ......yoeld is 3 - 3.5 tonnes per hectare ....One tonne = 415 kilos biodiesel so 1 hecatre produces 1.45 tonnes of road fuel and so.... we need 25.9 Mn Hectares ...but the UK has only 5.7 Mn hectares of cropland ! WOW!
"The global sea level has been rising by 2mm a year"
" ..and sea levels increase by 40 centimetres (roughly in the middle of expected range)... the number of people in danger from storm surges grows from 75 Mn to 200 Mn..."
" researchers (on 5 continents) .. found that if temperatures rise to about the middle of the expected range (would that be by IPCC, Paul Criu zen or British Statisticians?) 15-37 % of the world's species will cease to exist by 2050 ... 1.5 degrees and Indian Ocean corals become extinct .... 2.0 degrees and 97% are likely to die"
Page 159 (if you can get this far)
"In Sumatra and Borneo...4 Mn hectares of forest ...converted to palm farms...6 Mn is scheduled for clearance in Malaysia ...16.5 Mn in Indonesia .... orang - utan extinct etc., etc.,"
There is a sneaking suspicion that Georgie Porgie has been involved in calculating the cost of the London Olympics.
I leave Georgy's penetrating apercus on 9/11 conspiracies, evidence of state terrism, to Stef to deal with ..."Democracy is sustained not by public trust but by public scepticism." .. which must explain the worthy objectives of all those sceptical Democrats, anxious to install a truly Jeffersonian participatory Democracy in Iraq, shooting, bombing, torturing, raping, murdering, kidnapping their fellow citizens.
Monbiot's Calculus - the mathematics of the indefinite - one of the more arcane branches of Indecision Theory.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Stef at Famous for 15 Megapixels rails against wannabe polymath and Renaissance man, environmental guru and The Guradian readers substitute for Chomsky and original thought Georgy Monbiot...."The Thoughts of Charmin' George"
"Do you know about Tom and Jerry's part in the international Jewish conspiracy?" asks Danny Finkelstein in Rupe's Rag of Record, the Times - there's better news than that bombshell however...
Hugo Rifkind (30) son of Jewish ex Conservative MP and Minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and hob-knobber of the stars, author of a novel, Overexposure .."Self-loathing Jewish newspaper gossip-columnist incompetently investigates ..." No. 38 in the Independent 50 hot books for summer last year.
... Writes in his coruscatingly witty, well informed, sparkling diary about hob-knobbing in the Times 16th February
" ...Gila Sacks, the daughter of Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi since 1991, has landed a job with Gordon Brown, The Jewish Chronicle reports. Apparently, he and Sir Jonathan are close friends. Doesn’t Gordon have the most surprising friends? Shakira, Angelina Jolie and Nelson Mandela — imagine the dinner parties."
The stunningly beautiful, raven haired, doe eyed, slim, academically gifted, Jewish princess (born 1983) married Elliott Goldstein in October 2004 and now joins Gordon Brown's 10 other advisers @ No. 11("spads" = special advisors paid for by the tax payer) after having been a Director of Strategy and development for the UJIA , a Jewish charity in Finchley, with strong links to Israel and an excellent dating agency. Gila's talented, sports loving, hunky husband is an investment manager in the hotel, cosmeceutical (sic) and insurance industries.
A Treasury spokesman is quoted in the Daily Mail : "She will provide advice to the Chancellor on policy priorities. She will also contribute to the policy debate and work with others across Whitehall on developing policy for government, specifically in the Chancellor's areas."
Gordon Brown, said of her father in May 2003: “The Chief Rabbi is not just a distinguished scholar but a distinguished spiritual leader and a globally respected ambassador for the Jewish community here in Britain. He is respected in every continent because he has done more than anyone in Britain today to focus our attention on the needs and challenges of community in the global world.”
Gila has with Paul Turner published Avodah (2003) for Limmud ( a Jewish charity for the study of the Torah of which her husband is the Chairman). A study guide for Chavruta learning on the theme of Avodah, meaning service, slavery, worship and work.
The four sections are: (1) Slavery - In which we remember our slavery in Egypt, and consider what it means to serve man and to serve God. (2) Serving God (Avodat Hashem) - In which we ask how and why we serve God, and how this has changed. (3) Work Ethic - In which we discover a Jewish work ethic - the attitudes and values with which we approach our work. (4) Business Ethics - In which we consider how to act ethically in work, and in doing so, transform our work into service of God. (That will go down really well with the Son of the Manse)
If you wish to know more about the annual Limmudfest , "the jewel in our community's crown" says the Jewish Chronicle , contact for more details for this year is email@example.com
There will be few of us who will forget the words of Tony Blair the tennis partner of Middle East Envoy and Fixer, the Karaoke King , pint sized Lord Levy, (currently out on bail) when he spoke of Gila's father : “ Jonathan Sacks is truly a towering figure in the intellectual life of Britain today. He ranges with extraordinary ease across different fields, making a contribution that is uniquely and distinctively his own. In particular, as few other people can, he relates the insights of religion to the modern world and retells the story of faith in a compelling way, and that is a rare and remarkable achievement.”
Jewish Conspiracy Danny ? Give it a break ...
The Scots Nats will be happy to sweep all before them in the May elections and take responsibility for the cold northern refuge of obese, alcoholics, and third rate rugby players . Their distant cousins who quaintly call themselves Plaid Cymru have decided to resort to the courts to secure their victory.
Plaid Cymru Director of Elections, Adam Price accused the Labour party of basing their Assembly campaign on lies, smear and innuendo following repeated comments by the Prime Minister that Plaid would prop up a Tory led coalition during his speech to the Labour Conference in Llandudno.
Legislation recently passed, he claims , makes it clear that "a person who, or any body which ... makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate shall be guilty of an illegal practice." (Believed to refer to THE IRISH PREVENTION OF ELECTORAL ABUSES ACT, 1923 SECTION 11)
Plaid Chief Executive, Dafydd Trystan, AKA Daft Dafydd has taken legal advice from a crafty, sly Welsh lawyer and has written to the Labour Party warning them that further action will be taken against them unless they stop deliberately misleading the ignorant drunken public, illiterate, uneducated Welsh voters and their pathetic pansy rugby players.
Tony Blair has consulted his legal advisor - see picture.
Meanwhile, back in the real world Michael Meacher on his blog under the heading, "Why I want to be Prime Minister" he says..."The office has been inundated with messages of support and requests to speak at meetings since announcing that I was standing."
Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ (CERA) recently held their annual Executive Conference in Houston last week - it is the Energy Industries annual shindig where the big beasts meet 'n' greet and make pompous speeches . This year's beanfest (the 25th since founding by Daniel Yergin) was entitled “The New Prize: Energy’s Next Era.” . CERA are owned by IHS Energy and wired into the Rockefeller inspired and funded Council on Foreign Relations.
Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell spoke on February 8th, and amidst the self congratulation a few remarks stood out.
He outlined the back of the envelope figures that should make anyone pause for a while before deciding what to do about global warming / climate change / emissions trading .
The Department of Energy estimates that the global demand for energy may increase by as much as 50 % by 2025, with more than half of that growth coming from the world’s emerging economies.Sell returned, as ever, to the fundamental belief of the American nation in the superiority of their technology and the great enabling power of US led technology and innovation.
Specifically regarding electricity, the growth is projected to be particularly steep; increasing nearly 75 % over the next two decades.
To compete in the increasingly global economy, we know what we must do – and that begins, first and foremost, with the building blocks of technical innovation: math and science.He went on to describe the American Competitiveness Initiative, a program that the President seeks to reinvigorate our math and science base to lead "the discoveries of tomorrow."
Craig Barrett, the Chairman of Intel, has said, “U.S. technological leadership, innovation, and the jobs of tomorrow require a commitment to basic research funding today.”
Over the next ten years, the combined budgets of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology will exceed $50 billion in new research funding, a doubling of those budgets over the next ten years.
...and you can be sure there will be a long queue of people knocking on their doors for research dollars. Lord Patel listened this summer as Purdue scientists argued for a further genetic research into the genome of Populus species (Cottonwood trees) to grow bigger, faster and better.... with a payoff maybe in 50 years.
Yet the President last week called by the Danish company Novozyme's offices in Franklinton North Carolina (Pop.2,500) who have the only workable process enzymes for biomass breakdown.Now in use in Spain and China - (for details search this site for Novozyme.)
The improbably named Garrett Screws of Novozyme says after Bush's State of the Union promise to help wean America from oil it made perfect sense for him to visit them ..... and pretty remarkable.
The Department of Energy estimates that the global demand for energy may increase by as much as 50 % by 2025, with more than half of that growth coming from the world’s emerging economies.There's a lot of catching up to do after
Specifically regarding electricity, the growth is projected to be particularly steep; increasing nearly 75 % over the next two decades.
Patrick Thibodeau in Computerworld on February 12th reported on plans being made for the flu pandemic. the latest exercise from the Fear Circus, under the headline ,Flu pandemic could choke Internet, requiring usage restrictions - Expected surge in online traffic puts telework plans at risk.
He quotes a "John Thomas" vice president of enterprise systems at a large, New York-based financial institution (that he asked not be identified).
"Is there a need for a YouTube during a national emergency?"Massed ranks of teleworkers keeping their operations running in the event of an influenza pandemic could make the networks fall apart as millions of people turn to the Internet for news, entertainment, communications , with the potential to produce a crippling bandwidth-choking surge in online traffic.
Such a surge would almost certainly prompt calls to restrict or prioritize traffic, such as blocking video transmissions wherever possible, according to business continuity planners who gathered on Friday at a SunGard Availability Systems hot-site facility in northern New Jersey to consider the impact of a pandemic on the Internet.
On February 19, 2007 Patrick Thibodeau is at it again in Computerworld as a new breed of pandemic planners is upping the ante ..
" .... if the World Health Organization raises its pandemic threat alert from the current level of Stage 3 on its six-stage scale, demand for backup communications services could outstrip vendors’ ability to provide them, said forum participants."
Corporate America is already planning ...
"nothing can be taken for granted. Elizabeth Byrnes, a continuity planner at AT&T Inc., was asked how the telecom company would handle a hurricane or another secondary problem if one were to occur during a pandemic. Byrnes said the issue has received consideration within AT&T." (The folks who organise the warrantless surveiilance which has never skipped a beat)
Security risks loom large and for the Gubment are you "complying with COOP/COG and Homeland Security policies"..SunGard’s Government Impact Analysis (GIA) delivers actionable data and recommendations about the functions and processes that are critical....
"George Johnson,( Ex Security and Intelligence Office at DARPA) founder and chief technology officer at The ESP Group LLC, ***an application service provider in Arlington, Va., said that increased numbers of teleworkers may expose networks to security risks. “If you’re going to ask people to work from their home computer,” Johnson said, “how reliable is that?”All this spells regulation - that means Gubment regulation (which will require International Co-ordination) and you ca be sure that someone has decided "
"Is there a need for a YouTube during a national emergency?"After all Gubments don't want people to see things like the torture of their citizens which these mobile videos showing the Egyptian security services at work do they ? Like this ? (WARNING very nasty) - The first blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman has been locked up for 5 years in Egypt for being disrespectful to President Sadat the democratically elected leader who has ruled Egypt (with a little helpfrom his US allies) for 28 years whom he called a dictator. He also called the country's top Islamic institution, al-Azhar university the University of Terror.
" .... a false flag takedown of the Internet , by the " terrorists” for threatening economic collapse, and a neat way to wipe away evidence of past crimes ... and ooops the destruction of / consfiscation of servers (this has already happened in the UK)"
Bird killing - continuing the flu meme - with the fewest stones
1) Silence the critics.
2) Cut off people sources of "real" information.
3) Cut off people like blogistes from communicating.
4) People, rendered helpless, jobless, Tescoless, Walmartless, etc, would beg for the government to save them.
5) Speaking out against Gubment control would be seen as renegade / insurgency / terist and result in mob attacks.
6) Corporate crime, military misdemeanour, stolen pensions, evaporating cash ? Of what do you speak ? Oh yeah, the theft of trillions of dollars? What are these trillions of dollars you speak of, Senator? Who? Where?
7) Meanwhile we can communicate over our handy Extranet which we prepared earlier.
***The ESP Group, LLC, a privately held company, was formed in 2000 to provide a secure solution to various governmental and private organizations for collaboration based on the ESP technology. On June 27, 2006 – NC4, the National centre for Crisis and C-ordination , a Laguna Niguel, CA based leader in situational awareness, incident monitoring and crisis management took them over. See General Alexander Haig (83) in a 6 minute video explain NC4.(pic) Haig is so old he was on McArthur's staff.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department's R&D organization that originally created the Internet (ARPANet) and other projects, such as the stealth bomber, from its earliest days, recognized an internal need to communicate and collaborate securely over the web.
Security Policy Board launched the Extranet for Security Professionals (The ESP – www.xsp.org ). The ESP is a highly secure collaboration system equipped to handle Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information over the Internet. This private external network (Extranet) portal, accessed over the web, is used by security-cleared national and cyber-security professionals to share and collaborate on sensitive information.
CEO William Potvin ex Deloitte and Touche, and company founder. Matt Donlon his co-founder, was the Director of the Security and Intelligence Office at DARPA. He has also served as the Security Official in charge for the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology at NASA HQ; the Program Security Officer, where he supported DARPA’s highly classified R&D programs for the Department of Navy; the Security Specialist for TRW, Inc.; and a member of the CIA.
Friday, February 23, 2007
A correspondent unconcerned for their health (or their family's) has sent me details of the first packs of Frito-Lay's Flat Earth baked Veggie crisps. They lie uneaten because of a rather unpleasant sharp burnt oily smell.
Retailing at US$2.99 these were being heavily promoted on the shelves of Wal-Mart at US$ 2.60 for 6 ounces and selling licketty split . (That's nearly 7 Bucks a pound !)
They exemplify the slick and very clever marketing effort of a major corporation that accompanies modern products.
Noticeable but barely noted on the pack detail is the rice content, readily available, not subject to use as a base for producing bio-fuel and consequently low cost.
The pot of herbs on the pack looks refrshingly realistic.
Lord Patel is lost in admiration for the Directors of Innovation and Marketing, Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle at Pepsi-co that produce this shit... and get people to lay down their hard earned and stuff it down their obese ADD kids.
On closer examination the pig has only one wing... evidently they have not considered the teratology.
Toni Fabuloso suggests Lord Patel adopt the Flat Earth one winged pig as an icon - The necessary wheels have been set in motion... Impossibly good ...
Andrew Cunnigham in his daily episode of the excellent joint Open University / Radio 4 "The Making of Modern Medicine" today, provided a brief history of the nurse and the role of Florence Nightingale in developing the beginnings of professional educated nursing service. Lord Patel has currently taken on the role of nurse and amanuensis, as Lady Patel is discommoded having twice broken , first the 5th meta-tarsal and secondly the 1st meta-tarsal in her right foot.
He reminds us of Sairey Gamp the private nurse recommended by the undertaker Mould on the death of Sir Anthony Chuzzlewhit, to the sanctimonious Mr Seth Pecksniff, who is conducting her to the house of mourning.
'And so the gentleman's dead, sir! Ah! The more's the pity.' She didn't even know his name. 'But it's what we must all come to. It's as certain as being born, except that we can't make our calculations as exact. Ah! Poor dear!' She was a fat old woman, this Mrs Gamp, with a husky voice and a moist eye, which she had a remarkable power of turning up, and only showing the white of it. Having very little neck, it cost her some trouble to look over herself, if one may say so, at those to whom she talked. She wore a very rusty black gown, rather the worse for snuff, and a shawl and bonnet to correspond. In these dilapidated articles of dress she had, on principle, arrayed herself, time out of mind, on such occasions as the present; for this at once expressed a decent amount of veneration for the deceased, and invited the next of kin to present her with a fresher suit of weeds; an appeal so frequently successful, that the very fetch and ghost of Mrs Gamp, bonnet and all, might be seen hanging up, any hour in the day, in at least a dozen of the second-hand clothes shops about Holborn. The face of Mrs Gamp--the nose in particular--was somewhat red and swollen, and it was difficult to enjoy her society without becoming conscious of a smell of spirits. Like most persons who have attained to great eminence in their profession, she took to hers very kindly; insomuch that, setting aside her natural predilections as a woman, she went to a lying-in or a laying-out with equal zest and relish. 'Ah!' repeated Mrs Gamp; for it was always a safe sentiment in cases of mourning. 'Ah dear! When Gamp was summoned to his long home, and I see him a-lying in Guy's Hospital with a penny-piece on each eye, and his wooden leg under his left arm, I thought I should have fainted away. But I bore up.'
...and the memorable ...
'WHO deniges of it, Betsey?' Mrs Gamp inquired again. Then Mrs Gamp, by reversing the question, imparted a deeper and more awful character of solemnity to the same. 'Betsey, who deniges of it?'It was the nearest possible approach to a very decided difference of opinion between these ladies; but Mrs Prig's impatience for the meal being greater at the moment than her impatience of contradiction, she replied, for the present, 'Nobody, if you don't, Sairah,' and prepared herself for tea. For a quarrel can be taken up at any time, but a limited quantity of salmon cannot.
Acquaintances of Lord Patel will also have good reason to understand his fondnes for the Mrs G and also Con man and swindler Montigue Tigg who first appears fronting for Chevy Slyme ( A London policeman) and trying to squeeze the assembled Chuzzlewit family for money. He later re-appears as head of the fraudulent and splendidly named Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company and has changed his name to Tigg Montigue. He dupes Jonas Chuzzlewit into joining the company, uses Jonas to fleece Pecksniff, and is murdered by Jonas and finally commits suicide.
A Memorial to Florence Nightingale OM was unveiled by the Duke of Devonshire in the grounds of Derby Infirmary on June 18th 1914. A statue in marble by Countess Feodora Gleichen ** 1861-1922 ( a relative of Queen Victoria with studios in St.James', he father Admiral Viktor Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1833-91),was the son of Queen Victoria's half sister , he was as sculptor of a statue Queen Victoria at Holloway College London) )with a surround of local Darley Dale Stone . The cost of £1,700 was raised by public subscription but the raising of a staue was considered inappropriate by many and the money better spent on education of more nurses..
A contingent of the Derbyshire Imperial Veterans` Association, including half-a-dozen Crimean veterans was present.
" ...she applied the lessons she had learned in the war against arms, to the war against disease" said the Mayor Coun. S. Johnson " ...that statue would be an incitement to duty, a sermon in stone an imperishable reminder and stimulus to all those who had eyes to see and consciences to be stirred to good deeds, an influence ever pointing to the great example which they might follow in their humble spheres. He had both pride and pleasure on behalf of Derby and Derbyshire in accepting the guardianship of that memorial to one of the world's greatest women (Applause)"
The effects of a recent cleaning of the stature and memorial by Derby Council can be seen in the more recent picture above and the details of how the Council care for their works of public art ( a model for any council) can be consulted here.
** Also the sculptor of the Artemis statue in Hyde Park, London
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Derek Bentley (aged 19 , illiterate and mentally subnormal with a mental age of 11 see pic) and Christopher Craig (aged 16) armed with a revolver (Colt .45) broke into a London warehouse (Barlow & Parker's Warehouse, Tanworth Road, Croydon)on 2nd November 1952. They were seen and police were called.
DS Frederick Fairfax climbed on to the roof, and managed to grab Bentley. Craig shouted defiantly at the detective and Bentley managed to break Fairfax's grip. At this point, Bentley is supposed to have shouted "Let him have it Chris".(Bentley himself denied having used the words and a police witness later denied it was ever said.) Craig then fired the gun grazing Firfax's shoulder despite this Fairfax continued after Bentley and managed to finally arrest him.
Bentley told Fairfax that Craig had a Colt .45 and plenty of ammunition.
More police arrived including PC Miles (42) He was immediately shot in the head by Craig and fell dead. Craig wildly used up the magazine, jumped from the roof, badly injured himself and was arrested.
Even if guilty Craig was too young to hang but Bentley wasn't.
At the trial before the hanging Judge Goddard (in whose house Ziz lived as a student when it became a Hall of Residence in the 60's) the police seemed unsure how many shots were fired and by whom. A ballistics expert failed to positively identify Craig's gun as the weapon that fired the bullet that killed PC Miles. What was meant by Bentley's phrase "Let him have it Chris"? Did he mean that Craig was to give the gun to the officer and surrender? Did he mean that Craig was indeed to shot the officer?
Lord Goddard told the jury that, in law, Bentley was equally guilty of firing the shot.
The jury took just 75 minutes to find both Craig and Bentley guilty of PC Miles' murder. Due to his being below 18 at the time of the offence, Craig was sentenced to being detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure. Bentley was sentenced to death and hung at Wandsworth on 28th January 1953. Exceptionally in such a case, the jury added a plea for mercy along with the guilty verdict.
Christopher Craig served 10 years in prison before being released.
Fairfax was awarded the George Cross . In addition Police Constables Norman Harrison (London Gazette 6 January 1953 Page 167) and James McDonald (London Gazette 6 January 1953 Page 167) were awarded the George Medal, Police Constable Robert Jaggs the British Empire Medal and Police Constable Miles was posthumously awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry.
On 30th July 1998, the Court of Appeal overturned the controversial conviction of Derek Bentley . In an unprecedented and damning attack, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, ruled that his predecessor and Bentley's trial judge, Lord Chief Justice Goddard, had denied Bentley "that fair trial that is the birthright of every British citizen." In a 52-page judgment, Lord Bingham placed the blame for the miscarriage of justice with Lord Goddard. Describing Lord Goddard as "blatantly prejudiced", Lord Bingham concluded that he had misdirected the jury and that in his summing-up had put unfair pressure on the jury to convict. The court also granted a full posthumous pardon to Bentley.
His sister Iris who had relentellsly campaigned on behalf of her brother died in 1997 and was never to learn of his pardon - although hinted at by Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary, who said Bently should never have been hanged.
Benedict Birnberg, a long-time lawyer for the Bentleys said the judgment was also a condemnation of the Home Office which repeatedly refused to re-open the case.
He told the BBC: "None of the fresh evidence which was put to them had any bearing on the matter.
"This was consistent with their attitude all the way through."
Anthony Samuelson a young QC at the trial said after the apeal : "It is not a question of whether he was the most frightening judge in this century. You have got to go back to Bloody Judge Jeffreys to find his like."
Craig and Bentley ... by the way .. were not black.
Under a banner bright ..."Peace, Social justice and ..er .. climate survival".
Michael Meacher (92) unveiled a policy platform ;
1 Complete withdrawal from Iraq
2 No involvement in any military action against Iran
3 No Trident
4 No nuclear power
5 £7-an-hour minimum wage
6 Remove difference in pay between the richest (people with MP's salaries / pensions, 9 houses) and poorest.
Should be a shoo in.
Betfair offer 120/1 which is 100 times the odds on the Kirkcaldy Kid. Kirsty Wart the
raven haired flaxen haired, flame haired temptress on Newsnight reports that Jack Straw in a rare (and possibly uniqye) humorous aside said of Mr meacher's bid for 15 minutes of fame, "If you want a wager, find anorse"
Rupert Crawshay-Williams 1908 -1977 was one of the clever people at Bletchley who helped solve the German Enigma code, a friend of Bertrand Russell, and Turing, and a founding member of the Classification Society (Now the British CS) . He wrote a fascinating and little read book, "The Methods and Criteria of Reasoning" in which he attempted to understand why people argue. Which briefly, he concluded was a lack of congruence on basic assumptions by the participants, which whilst it might fall into that calss entitled "Statements of the Bleedin' Obvious" is rarely obvious to the
argueifiers arguists people involved in the argument. The book also includes the first discussion of Turings so called "dilemma", whereby he set the task of a von Neumann machine to be interrogated and for the operator to decide if they were interacting with machine or a man or a woman.
He would therefore have enjoyed the following which has been sent to Lord Patel as an example (perhaps apocryphall) of the more inventive approach to the solution of algebraic problems that examiners have tasked their (in this case), evidently reluctant audience.
There is a simplicity and brevity which has to be admired, tempered with a deep foreboding that the sender's female offspring is destined to the the author of similiar assaults on the intellect of examiners - redeemed to some extent by her skill at understanding non-Euclidian problems associated with dribbling a football (soccer ball. -US.var.) and bending it like Beckham, combined with an unerring and deadly accuracy with an imperfectly shaped snowball.
Key Note, market analysts for the confectionary trades reports that in the UK between September 2004 and May 2005 salty snack sales fell 3.3 % and sweet snacks fell 2 % in the year ending May 2006. Around 40 % of those questioned said they were buying less potato crisps and other savoury snacks than 12 months ago and 83 % agreed that manufacturers needed to do more to reduce fat, salt and sugar levels in snack foods.
The report says: "The Government and others campaigns to reduce levels of fat, salt and sugar in consumer's diets – in response to the substantial and growing numbers of overweight and obese persons in the population – have had an adverse effect on sales of sweet and salty snacks."
In order to combat dropping sales, large manufacturers such as Walkers and United Biscuits have led the way by reducing the fat and salt content of major brands or targeting a new audience.
New Walkers Baked
All the great baked taste from Walkers with 70% less fat*. Just better for being baked!
All Walkers Baked contain:
- 70% less fat*
- 99 calories per pack**
* than ordinary Walkers crisps on average in 2006
** on average per 25g bag. Salt and Vinegar flavour and Ready Salted contain 98 Calories
United Biscuits claim," In 2006 Mini Cheddars and Crinklys relaunched as "healthier. Using a blend of sunflower and vegetable oil, saturated fat has been reduced 30% on Mini Cheddars and 40% on Crinklys.
Original Mini Cheddars is now 10% lower in sodium and free from artifical colours, flavours and MSG."
Which tells you how fucking unhealthy they were to start with - UB make the disgusting Hula Hoops. (UB profits up £544.9 million (2005: £511.6 million) 6.5%)
In the US Frito-Lay (Pepsi-co snacks division with US$10BN sales) launched on february 16th 2007 "healthier" snacks that are (allegedly) fruit and vegetable-based crisps under the Flat Earth brand name ("making the impossible, possible" ) ... evidently aimed at those who have not rational sense of judgement.Each one ounce serving of the new contains half a serving of fruits or vegetables (?) and the range comes in six flavours: retail for $2.99 (6 oz.), Farmland Cheddar, Garlic & Herb Field, Tangy Tomato Ranch, Wild Berry Patch, Apple Cinnamon Grove and Peach Mango Paradise - the brand has a " whimsical icon "– the Flying Pig
“Flat Earth is a breakthrough snack that tastes great and has positive nutritional benefits.” Tess Zbuchalski, vice president, Health & Wellness Innovation Marketing, Frito-Lay North America
“Flat Earth is an innovative snack product that builds on and expands Frito-Lay’s health and wellness portfolio,” said Joe Ennen, vice president of Innovation, Frito-Lay North America.
Frito-Lay also invites US consumers to "Turn up the volume of your snacking with the amped-up spices, high-decibel cheese, and the awesome crunch of Doritos brand tortilla chips with the NEW Doritos Mini Bites 100 calorie snack pack (60 of those from FAT) ...just look at all those really healthy ingrdients - how the hell do they get all that in and it's only 100 calories ?
In 1995, the Department of Health issued guidance that gave NHS Trust chief executives overall responsibility for ensuring the provision of effective infection control arrangements.
The Hospital Infection Working Group believed in 1995 that it might have been possible to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in hospital acquired infection.
Nothing very much happened until the National Audt Office reported in February 2000 , (when they were searching to control costs and not disease) - The Management and Control of Hospital Acquired Infection in NHS Acute Trusts in England (HC 230 Session 1999-00). Under the eagle eye and discerning analysis of Sir John Bourn it was noted that at any one time, 9 per cent of patients had an infection that had been acquired during their hospital stay. (Note these were called Hospital Acquired Infections HAI's)
The effects varied from extended length of stay and discomfort to prolonged or permanent disability and death. Based on American experience they calculated that in the England at least 5,000 patients a year, death. These infections were costing the NHS as much as £1 billion a year and around 15 per cent could be prevented by better application of good practice, releasing resources of £150 million for alternative NHS use.
In a a comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Health and undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Central Public Health Laboratory January 2000 and referred to by the NAO it was concluded (see Page 24 of the report) ;
Over the course of a 13 month period, 7.8% of patients acquired an infection during their stay in the study hospital which presented during the in-patient period.
A further 19.1% of patients who did not present with an infection during the in-patient phase, reported symptoms of, and in some cases received treatment for, an infection manifesting post discharge which may be associated with their hospital admission.
Patients with one or more infections incurred costs that were on average 2.8 times greater than uninfected patients, an average additional cost of £2,917 per case (ranging from £1,122 for urinary tract infections to £6,209 for bloodstream infections).
Patients who acquired an infection remained in hospital on average 2.5 times longer than uninfected patients, an average equivalent to 11 extra days.
Patients with a hospital acquired infection were 7.1 times more likely to die in the hospital than uninfected patients (after controlling for patient characteristics such as age, sex, diagnosis, admission speciality and type and pre-exiting illness). The death rate also varied with patient characteristics (for example 38% of elderly care patients who acquired a hospital infection died compared with 8% of elderly patients without a hospital acquired infection who died).
Extrapolating the results of this study to NHS Trusts throughout England, the overall cost to the NHS of hospital acquired infection was £986.36 million comprising £930.62 million hospital costs plus a further £55.74 million costs due to infections which occurred post discharge.
It is therefore both insteresting and instructive that The Health Protection Agency FAQ's on MRSA has this helpful advice ..
Where does the figure of 5000 deaths due to MRSA each year come from?
This figure is incorrect. It comes from a very rough estimate of the number of deaths which may be attributed to all hospital acquired infections (HAI), not just MRSA. The estimate was made in 1995 by a working group of the Public Health Laboratory Health Service. It used an estimate of the percentage of deaths associated with all HAIs made in the USA in the 1980s (1% of all deaths in the USA). This percentage was applied to the total number of deaths occurring in the UK, yielding a crude estimate of 5,000 deaths from HAI.
Fast Forward to today
The National Statistical Office has today published figures for England and Wales for mention of MRSA and Clostridium difficile on death certificates. (See graph at top of post from ONS website)
The 3rd report into the number of death certificates in England and Wales that mentioned
Staphylococcus aureus infection increased each year from 2001 to 2005, from 1,211 to 2,083. The percentage of these deaths where Staphylococcus aureus was specified as meticillin resistant (MRSA) rose from 61 % in 2001 to 78 % in 2005.
The age standardised rates for deaths involving MRSA doubled for both males and females between 2001 and 2005. For men the rate increased from 12.5 to 25.0 per million population, while for women it rose from 6.7 to 14.5 per million population.
The 2nd annual report into the number of death certificates in England and Wales that mentioned Clostridium difficile increased from 1,214 in 2001 to 3,807 in 2005. Between 2004 and 2005 the number of deaths involving C. difficile increased by 69 %.
Age-standardised rates for deaths involving C. difficile among males in England and Wales almost tripled between 2001 and 2005, from 13.1 to 37.6 per million population. Among females, rates more than tripled, from 12.8 per million to 38.9 per million.
The complete statistics can be found in in Health Statistics Quarterly 33 (Spring
2007), published today.
They also point out that "Most of the deaths involving S. aureus or MRSA were in the older age groups. Mortality rates in 2005 for deaths involving MRSA in the 85 and over age group were 702 and 387 deaths per million population for males and females respectively. In the under 45 age group there were 1.1 and 0.8 deaths per million population for males and females respectively."
However the Health Protection Agency's MRSA surveillance units figures for England (Note NOT the UK) , up to November 27th 2006 show
1. There were 51,690 reports of Clostridium difficile disease in people aged 65 years and over in 2005, a 17.2% increase on 2004.
2. A total of 3,517 MRSA bacteraemia episodes was reported during the period October 2005 to March 2006. This marks a small decrease in the number of reports compared to the
beginning of the mandatory surveillance scheme and a 1.5% decrease on the previous six
Pert, pretty , glamorous and gorgeous Dr Georgia Duckworth, of the Health Protection Agency, says "We're on a plateau (?)but there is some evidence that individual hospitals and departments – principally those with the worst rates – are getting better." One might reasonably ask Dr Georgina quite what a plateu is and how it applies to the graph at the head of this article. Perhaps she could be familiarised with the expression "Straws, grasping at?"
So since 1995, when the Department of Health issued guidance that gave NHS Trust chief executives overall responsibility for ensuring the provision of effective infection control arrangements.
Hospital Acquired Infections have increased
Deaths from Hospital Acquired Infections MRSA / CD have increased over all hospital admissions and especially in the elderly - plus 65 age group. (Note no-one has mentioned Multiple Drug Resitant TB (MDRTB) .... Yet)
Commenting on the figures Health Minister Lord Hunt said "... we are now starting to see significant reductions in rates of MRSA infections." ! and ..."We have also provided £50 million funding which will give a cash injection to trusts to boost infection control measures."
One might reasonably ask My Lord Hunt what he means by "significant reductions in rates of MRSA infections" Perhaps he could be familiarised with the expression "Straws, grasping at?" It should be pointed out that My Lord Hunt's NHS career began in 1972 when he joined Oxford Regional Hospital Board as a works study officer. See pic below.
A Useful history of MRSA / HAI and the threat of Multiple Drug resistant TB can be found here
Also a Daily Torygraph article 21st Jan 2007 How have we fallen so far behind in battle to beat MRSA? makes comparisons with other European countries experience and the failure to use a 2 phase policy of testing people admitted to hospital (preventing so called Community Acquired Infections) and isolation until cured used in successfully for many years in Holland.
Perhaps these two routes mught produce faster solution at lower costs than an obession with hand
wringing washing and blaming the cleaners .. Lord Patel has for long and often said that of there was a Royal College of Hospital Cleaners you would never have heard of HAI's, MRSA, Clostridium.
Nose swabs and rapid MRSA testing - see New Scientist 6th February 2007 won't solve the problem but they (with 100% isolation facilities) will help.
.....these factors were expected to prove largely transitory ..... price inflation in December ..... labour market exhibited continued strength Output of manufacturing industries rose noticeably in December ... sizeable gains in the production ....Real consumer spending rose briskly in November and December .....sizeable increases in outlays for non-auto consumer goods ....Real disposable income posted solid gains in October and November and likely rose further in December.
...... further declines in energy prices .... consumer sentiment moved up at the end of last year and held steady in early 2007.
.... Construction in the multifamily sector, ...... rose sharply in December to the upper end of the range that has prevailed over the past decade. Sales inched up in both months. Inventories ..... ticked down in December for the second straight month. ......real investment in equipment and software fell in the fourth quarter.
....Economic activity in the advanced foreign economies appeared to have accelerated .....consumption spending in Japan apparently rebounded last quarter ...... expansion in the United Kingdom\''s economy strengthened ..... In China, the most recent evidence suggested that growth had remained strong..... can growth be sustained .... capitalism hits the buffers.... real lending starts
Year-over-year increases in average hourly earnings ..... rose at a moderate rate in the three months ending in December..... inflation pressures seemed likely to moderate over time......both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.
...yields over those of comparable-maturity Treasury securities moved down .... equity indexes edged higher. ..... dollar against other major currencies rose, on balance, particularly versus the yen.... market ready to dive .... dive , dive , dive
......contraction in housing activity expected to abate this year .....some upward revision to its estimate of output growth in the fourth quarter and perhaps a slight downward revision to its forecast for the current quarter....The BOJ voted 8 to 1 to raise the overnight call money rate to 0.5 % from 0.25 % .... Asia shakes as real money required real rates ... China to follow ....
..anecdotal reports presented a mixed picture...significant wage pressures being reported ...concern about the outlook for inflation......did not yet see a downtrend in core inflation as definitively established ... pressures in labor and product markets and the behavior of inflation expectations ..... some inflation risks remained and note that additional policy firming was possible....
....sub-prime lending business in meltdown .... credit crunch is coming ....nail bangers out of work ...... empty properties.... sellers pulling out of the market as equity goes negative ... mortgage quality gets highlighted .... sub - prime guys hit hard ....
... and Mr King and his courtiers to beat Mr Bernanke and his banking barons to it ?
UPDATE 22/3/07 11.00 EST
Sorry folks, got the wrong call there or maybe the OMC did... just diggin' a deeper hole for us all. The longer the boom ( well ..let) the bigger the BANG.
the NYT says " Fed Weighs Words About Its Next Move" The text of the fed's statement is here. The IHT is similiarly gnomic - "Fed leaves rate unchanged but weighs its words"
Seeking alpha makes a very jumbled fence sitting analysis "Inflation or Recession? Parsing the Fed Statement" ... watch out fed rates are going UP ... or maybe well, they are going down.
Meanwhile just watch those bottom feeding Private Equity jocks crusing around the desperate sub-prime lenders.
Citadel LP, which runs one of the world's largest hedge funds (founded Nov. 1, 1990 with $4.2 Mn.)has taken a 4.5 % stake in Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. (LEND.O - what a ticker !), San Diego-based subprime lender.
Citadel now holds 1,132,738 shares in Accredited. Forbes says they manage at least $12 billion, and 30 odd something founder , Harvard educated Kenneth Griffin, is worth about $1.7 billion- Forbes says 204th richest American (paid himself US$240 Mn last year) . His 36 yr old wife of 2 years Anne (Dias)-Griffin is a managing partner of Chicago based Aragon Global Management which she founded (She cut her teeth on Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and Soros Funds)
In October 2006 they both gave US$19 Mn to the Chicago Art Institute to celebrate a date. They are both active in Chicago based philanthropy and work with Bill Gates on educational projects.
Almost simultaneously Accredited got a five-year, $200 million loan from a San Francisco hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management LLC. Farallon has a 6.9 % stake in Accredited.Mkaes you wonder where those stakes HSBC and Barclays have in the sub prime mortgage market are going to end up. Maybe Kenny and his computers know a better way to run loans on double wides and run down city blocks than they do.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Nur al Cubicle has generously awarded me a "Thinking Blogger Award," something that was started by DKatASilentCacaphony This is an attempt to construct a pyramid, essentially, of thoughtful blogs. Here are the rules:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.
Stef at Famous for 15 Megapixels Wry, informed, often wicked social comment. Oblique ripostes, combined with searing insights, that hit you right out of the sun, unsettling, often belly achingly funny but bitingly perceptive comment from the London street. Plus some damn fine photography.
Canadian Spectator is a portal that links to and provides concise, witty, elegant comment ranging from the future of solar power to the probity and integrity of the Bush Administration - plus a damning indictment on the arcane world of Canadian (for want of a better word) politics. Great admirer of Lord Black and his charming and talented journalist partner in crime. A daily must.
Donald Hunt at Signs of the Economic Apocalypse - a weekly, rich brew of excerpts, quotes, comments, musing and some inconveniently tough economic facts that act as the straws in the wind, presaging an economic meltdown that .." will probably happen soon triggered by some “unforeseen” event that many people will actually have foreseen." or musing on the consequences of the Bird Flu paradigm and Internet Overload ..."they’re going to have to try to fit ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag, ...and soon."
Kate at Kate a Blog ex military lady, mother and grandmother, writes incisively about US and world politics. Entertains, educates and leaves you feeling better informed and warm all over ..."Yep, ol' Ziggy, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Rockefeller cohort, long-time player and prevaricator for American political parties, warns us. Although generally associated with Democrats / progressives Brzezinski seems to enjoy the company of both sides of the aisle; sometimes referred to as the Democrats Henry Kissinger (meaning you get a kiss before bending over)." Shortage of culinary hints however.
From Nazareth, The Jonathan Cook Website British independent journalist who deals magnificently with Israeli state censorshit ... and gets the stories out. One of the few authentic voices from the Middle East. Recent book 'Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State'.
"Health is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights. very human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity". World Health Organisation
Hospitals in Kandahar and Helmand are dilapidated, barren and filthy.
In Kandahar and Lashkar Gah, the hospitals are in a state complete decay. Around Kandahar and Helmand province there are at least ten makeshift refugee camps, each providing shelter for as many as 75,000 people. A public and glaring symbol of the international community’s evident lack of concern for the Afghan people. (Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) 2006 : Canada 5 Afghanistan 165 )
The absence of basic war zone trauma treatment, medical diagnostic and treatment equipment, medicines, oxygen, and trained staff, contrasts dramatically with the sophisticated medical services that the international military and NATO have installed on their bases.
5 years of military operations involving air strikes, bombing, ground assaults, have taken their toll on the people, houses, public buildingsand services as well as transport infrastructure, safe drinking water, and sewage management. Famine and drought complete the miserable picture.(Life expectancy at birth (years) 2006 : Canada 80 Afghanistan 43).
The result of this disregard for the welfare of Afghan people results in anger and frustration. Support is lost and is transferred to other well funded, armed groups supporting a variety of causes but all united in the desire to rid their country of the Americans and their European allies.
Kandahar Hospital has been the recipient of trumpeted interventions by the United States-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), who "refurbished the women’s wing and rebuilt the infectious disease ward in early 2005." However, there are no signs of such interventions. The wing remains untouched by renovation or equipment. During on-site visits, nothing was witnessed other than women labouring in pain.
The British government, charged by NATO with military operations in Helmand, has provided a
generator for the Bost Hospital at Lashkar Gah and paid for steel containers to replace the morgue – each at the cost of £600,000. The UK Gubment and its Department for
International Development (Prop. The Viscount Stansgate's son, Hilary Benn) direct their health sector development funding through the European Commission (Britain provides 19% of the €1 billion pledged to Afghanistan by the EC).
Further reconstruction aid is sent through the British-led PRT in Helmand, who have a £6.5 million budget for quick-impact projects, (Ho.Ho.Ho.) but the budget for healthcare in comparison with other projects is limited. In terms of healthcare, the region surrounding Lashkar Gah is devoid of any visible sign of PRT projects, as of 31 January 2007.
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) donations were being assigned to multilateral projects rather than to specifically Kandahar-based ones: according
to the committee, “CIDA activity in the Kandahar area has been sparse.” In February
2007, the only sign of CIDA’s presence in Kandahar are bright yellow garbage cans
sporting the Canadian flag distributed along the main roads of the city. Since the report,(Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Defence) Canada has refocused aid towards Kandahar, with the announcement of CAD$11.5 million earmarked for reconstruction in the province, including CAD$350,000 for UNICEF to establish a maternal “waiting” ward near Mirwais Hospital. As far as could be seen from site visits to the hospital at the end of January 2007, construction has not yet started. (Health expediture per capita per annum : Canada (US$ 2989 Aghanistan US$26)
In 2001, Non-Governmental Organisations were providing and managing 80% of
healthcare services in the country. The highly regarded Médécins sans Frontières was obliged to leave the country after attacks on its staff in 2004 - they have not returned.
The fiction persist that Afghan is not "occupied" , but the Afghan civilians have become the unwilling victims of a war that is not their own." Minimis(ing) civilian suffering in a time of war," required by the Geneva Conventions is seen as an irrelevance - professional soldiers are engaged in combat not comforting the wounded.
Not enough has been done - Senlis make 5 recommendations -
1. Introduce emergency field treatment of civilians injured in fighting and
2. Immediately Provide Mobile Field Hospitals
3. Rebuild existing hospitals to help Afghans and provide jobs
4. Implement outreach and training programmes to foster sustainable
improvements in health
5. Build new hospitals to international standards to meet Afghans’ expectations
Codifying the Right to Health in AfghanistanCountering the Insurgency in Afghanistan: Losing Friends and Making Enemies - Report by the Senlis Council Published today Senlis Council
“The state shall provide free preventative healthcare and treatment of diseases as well as
medical facilities to all citizens in accordance with the provisions the law. Establishment and
expansion of private medical services as well as health centers shall be encouraged and
protected by the state in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
Article 52, 2004 Afghan Constitution
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Wireless startup Waleli will sell you a kit consisting an electronic lock, a GSM-enabled doorbell, and a SIM (subscriber identification module) for the GSM phone / palm pilot device.
Wherever you are when someone presses your doorbell, it rings you and you can deal with them - enter a pincode, it will open the door and let them in.
Locked out ? simply press yor doorbell and enter your pin number - Open sesame!
More at http://www.gsmdoorbell.com/
Waleli started up in 2002 in Amsterdam and Shell is a shareholder along with with venture capital groups.
It is available now in Holland where one of the regional health authorities in the Netherlands is trialling the Waleli GSM Doorbell as a way of allowing nurses to respond more quickly to calls from home patients without first having to drive to a central key-holding depot to collect a front door key.
In this trial, when the nurse arrives at the patient’s front door and presses the GSM doorbell, the call is taken by the regional call centre, and the operator will be able to open the door. This approach saves important time in responding to emergency calls from house-bound patients. (Watch video (wmv)of this project) - prevents loss, theft of keys etc.,
Sounds a bit like a solution looking for a problem, couriering documents, money...drugs ?
Know someone with a medical condition, anorexia, lost their job, marriage broken up ?
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No one said it would be easy to lose your hair. But knowing you, you'll find a way to turn this situation around and use it as a badge of honor, a sign to the world that your treatments are working.
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One year free of the Big Bad C
The colour of food is critical to it's enjoyment. There are few processed foods available that do not have some colourant added.
Color additives are probably the most highly regulated food ingredient, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists only seven approved colors for general food use.
They fall into 2 categories ; 1. Certifiable 2 . Exempt from certification
Certifiable or FD&C colors can be dyes or lakes, depending on their solubility. To work, dyes have to dissolve but lakes are a form of insoluble dye made usually by adsorption on an alum
or aluminium hydrate base where the product isn't moist enough to to absorb the dye , oil-based products such as cake frosting, or dry direct compression items such as chewable
vitamins, and coated sweets such as M&Ms or Smarties. tamins, and coated sweets such as M&Ms or Smarties. (See M&M's - Masterfoods / Mars website section on Allergens)
Colours exempt from certification are invariably derived from or based on natural sources and
don't require FDA batch testing - they may be sourced from living matter or industrially
produced versions , such as carotene one of the commonest yellow food dyes.
Carminic acid , that gives Campari it's distinctive colour and taste is produced from the dried,
crushed bodies of pregnant female scale insects called cochineal (Coccus cacti L.) which is abeetle that feeds on the prickly pear (Opuntia species) and was used by the Incas and Mayas as a dye source, and introduced to Europe by stout Cortez.Today, most cochineal is harvested from managed cactus plantations in Peru and the Canary Islands and is processed in food-grade facilities.
Carminic acid, is an anthraquinone that is unpalatable to the beetles natural predators and is readily extracted using an aqueous or alcoholic extract also adds to the mildly biiter and astringent taste of Campari.
The FDA has not approved a natural source of blue food dye. Anthocyanins, the compounds
that give blueberries their namesake shade, are not really blue. The chemical exists in
pigmented bodies called chromphores and is red and combines with other compounds such as
flavonoids (yellow pigments) , proteins, tannins, and other polyphenols to produce the distinctive blue. The most commonly known green pigment, chlorophyll, is allowed only in drugs or cosmetics--and then only at levels below 0.1% - it is commonly known that potatoes left in the light which have turned green can be mildly poisonous if eaten.
In the US any food with a blue or green colouring component uses the certifiable colors FD&C
Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue), Blue No. 2 (Indigotine), or Green No. 3 (Fast Green). Blue No. 1 and
Green No. 3 are both petroleum-derived triphenylmethanes--that is, they have three aromatic
rings attached to a central carbon atom. Blue No. 2 is a disodium sulfonate of a naturally
occurring compound indigo. However, the indigo used to create Blue No. 2 is synthesized by
fusing N-phenylglycine in a molten mix of sodamide and sodium and potassium hydroxides...
and is also used for dying jeans.
In the European Union there are 41 permitted food colourings each provided with an E number
(details here) although their acceptance varies enormoulsy. Warning ! Just because they have an E number does not mean that they are permitted in use in every country. For example E 160d Lycopene is a natural product found in tomatoes, but is not currently used and is only banned for use in Australia.
In Norway because of associated behavioural problems all food dyes from coal tars and
associated products are banned - Tartrazine -E 102 Patent Blue V - E 131 some colours Brown K - E 154 which is used for colouring kippers (see "Vac Pac Kipper from Grimsby) is banned throughout the EU (except in the UK where its use is still permitted!) it is also prohibited in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States.
Brilliant Blue FCF, FD&C Blue 1 - E 133 is another coal tar based dye used in tinned peas and is banned Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Sunset yellow (E110) is a dye which in combination with other common additives was linked to behavioural problems in a landmark 2004 Isle of Wight study. see FSA According to Lizzie Vann, author of Carrots or Chemistry?, an investigation into snacking and child health, ponceau 4R (E124 or cochineal Red A), also implicated in the Isle of Wight study, and indigo carmine (E132) appear to cause allergic reactions in vulnerable people, such as asthmatics. Green S (E142), has been linked with similar health problems and is banned in Canada, the US, Finland, Norway, Japan and Sweden. In 2004 research for the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics found that eliminating artificial colourings such as these from hyperactive children's diets results in a third of the benefit than you would expect to see from ADHD medications like Ritalin.
20 August 2006 - The Observer - The additive-packed children's tea
However it is an observable fact that many food colourings do affect childen's behaviour and
results in hyperactivity, although this is a highly contentious subject. See Food and bahaviour Research website for information on this subject
Help may be at hand because Chinese scientists have isolated a blue pigment ( 3 gms per litre) from cultured and much studied soil bacteria Streptomyces coelicolor that could offer a natural colouring with an excellent stability and toxicology profile for food.
Hechun Zhang and his colleagues have published (Food Chemistry Volume 95, Pages 186-192)how they isolated a natural blue pigment extract which they discover which is a mixture of at least ten distinct compounds. which are collectively named actinorhodin.
The solubility of the pigment was tested under acidic and alkaline conditions, and its stability was assessed on exposure to light and heat, and in the presence of oxidants and reducers at
low pH (acidic) and to reducers at higher pH (alkaline).
The pigment was stable to light and heat, and resistant to oxidants and reducers under acidic conditions and to reducers under alkaline conditions and also did not react with comon food additives such as as vitamin C and sodium benzoate.
An acute toxicity trial, carried out according to Evaluation Regulation of Food Safety in China
(GB15193), confirmed that the pigment was non-toxic (LD > 15,000 mg/kg) . The scientists evaluated the half-life lethal dose (LD50) using mice models and, during a 14-day trial with 70 mice receiving dose from zero to 15,000 mg/kg, no mice died.
This means that the pigment could be classified as a non-toxic substance according to the general toxicological tets.
The Chinese are of course not inventive, produce few patents and do nothing orginal.