Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Summary #12

I'm chuckling this morning over the big stir [pun intended] about how Thomas' English Muffins get all their "nooks and crannies". Not the how so much as the names involved. A couple of years ago the company was purchased by a Mexican company, Grupo Bimbo. So Bimbo USA is the owner of the muffin company and it's $500,000 a year product. One employee recently got fed up with company policies and decided to move on to the makers of Ho-hos and Twinkies [Hostess]. He was formerly one of only seven people with the secret of how the muffins get their butter and jam welcoming holes. He's accused of planning to break his confidentiality agreement to let the Hostess Company in on the secret. It's more complicated than that but he seems to have been dissatisfied with being a Bimbo baker. I can't say I take Ho-hos quite as seriously as I take English muffins.

Forgotten history item: The US-Dakota War in Minnesota [before statehood]lasted six weeks in 1862 and ended with the public hanging of 38 Sioux on December 26th. Eventually an obelisk weighing 8,500 pounds was erected to commemorate what the Dakota and Sioux considered a massacre. It stood for years in a parking lot but in 1971 was taken down and stored in a warehouse. It has not utterly disappeared, just as has our memory of this action and numerous others against the Native Americans.

A term I learned this week, "linear forests" is applied to the hedgerows that have been a part of English and French countryside for centuries. These are being torn down and disappearing to enable mechanical farming thus destroying a habitat for many small animals and insects like butterflies. In France, between 1960 and 1990, 217,350 miles of hedges were destroyed. The butterflies seem to be moving on to municipal parks. I don't know what happens to the hedgehogs.

Other terms I like: among serious scientists are the "skin out" and "skin in" researchers. Frances Crick [Nobelist for discovery of helical DNA structure] is a skin in scientist. He said of skin out-er, Stephen Jay Gould, "The trouble with you evolutionary biologists is that you are always asking 'why' before you understand 'how'." The world is fortunate to have heavy weights on both ends of the seesaw.

In terms of light weight: Bicycles are now being made of bamboo and are becoming popular with bike messengers and people in countries where many cannot afford autos. Bamboo is the world's fastest growing grass. -- Yes, it's a grass.-- It can grow as much as 3 feet a day. It is a very renewable resource. It's tensile strength per pound is equal to steel.

An ecological disaster, among several I've read this week, the heavier than usual monsoon season has sent so much water carrying the waste dumped up-river down the Yangtze that tons of waste are piling up behind the Three Gorges Dam. They have been carting away as much as 3,000 tons a day but can't keep up with the inflow which threatens to disable the dam's lock system.

Also in China, factories that have been dedicated to making faux designer handbags and other luxury items are changing their products due to decreasing purchases in the US and elsewhere; they have shifted to mid-level products like Kate Spade and Liz Claiborne bags. Of course handbags are far from the only counterfeited products being made, the actual list is pages and pages long. [But none of the products are English muffins.]

The Nepali embassy in Kuwait is filled with Nepali women wishing to return home because their jobs as domestic servants have been more like slave labor than they expected. Likewise, in the Philippine embassy women wanting to go home are sleeping on their suitcases in every available space -- all hoped to make decent money, all are disappointed.

Finally a product the Chinese are not yet producing for the world market: Vulva Original is not a perfume, it is a scent that sells for $31 a vial which has a roll on top [like some deodorants have] because it is meant to be used sparingly, rolled on the wrist or top of one's hand. It's meant to be sniffed in order enhance the pleasure of male self-stimulation. The makers emphasize that it is not to be applied to any mucus membranes. My reading did not list where to purchase the product, surely an internet search would reward the needy.


Jonas said...

Fascinating stuff. Nothin' like a "free-range" mind...


Kass said...

More interesting facts.

BTW, the music was so embedded in the Rolling Stone's article I clicked and dragged over to my site, I had a hard time finding it in HTML, but I managed and now feel so proud of myself for figuring out one more thing in HTML. I had a feeling it would play automatically even when I added another post on top of it. I've been on some sites that still play the music even after you've left if you haven't managed to find the stop button, but this player had no way of turning it off without going into the hypertext. Weird.

June Calender said...

Thanks, Kass. I've run into a few of the playing forever music things. You're much tech-ier than I am to have figured it out.

Thanks for the comment, Jonas.


June -- Interesting post as usual. You mentioned that some Euro countries were removing the trees along with its wild stuff that so often accompanies the trees in agricultural areas . This has been going on for decades in the U.S. contributing to our loss of habitat diversity -- barbara