Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Summary #17

Camels were introduced into Australia in the 1840s to carry goods in the desert. Then railroads were built and many camels were let loose in the wild. They thrived and multiplied. 80% of the indigenous plants tasted good to them, they destroied water holes and fences. Now the Government wants to cull half of the wild camels; an entrepreneur or two wants to turn them into steaks. The most likely market would be in Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern countries that already have a taste for camel. We American have been introduced to emu burgers, maybe we're next -- the meat is low in cholesterol.

Plumpy'nut is a nutritious paste that comes in foil packets, its base is peanuts to which basic nutrients are added. It was invented by a French doctor named Briend as a way to provide nutrition to malnourished children and is distributed by UNICEF and other food aid NGOs. It is literally a life saver. Dr. Briend has the patent but takes no income from the product which is manufactured largely in Africa. A packet a day has been something of a miracle for many children. It tastes good too.

More about food: The largest percent of the food eaten by American is produced by four giant companies, JBS, Tyson, Cargill and Nat'l Beef Packaging. 89% of the smaller hog farms have disappeared in the last 30 years, 40% of the cattle ranches are gone. One result of factory animal farming is nitrate filled run-off into water ways all over the central part of the country. And considerable stink in some regions as well.

In fact, "dead zones" exist in US coastal and Great Lakes waters -- these are areas with so little oxygen fish and plants cannot live there. The largest is in the Gulf of Mexico. In the '80s it was 2500 sq. miles. in '09 [before BP oil spill] it had grown to 12,719 sq. miles. Large dead zones are developing off Oregon and Washington as well. These are largely due to the waste and fertilizer run off.

On a lighter note, it's about time for the world's largest annual fair: Octoberfest in Munich, Germany. 5 to 6 million people attend the 16 day blow out. I think the amount of beer consumed is so staggering figures weren't published, likewise for wursts eaten.

Women in the Army [approx. 15.5% of soldiers] are going to look spiffier. Until now they have had to make do with uniforms designed for men; finally the Army plans to have woman sized and shaped uniforms designed and made -- they will recognize that women have breasts not just chests, and usually hips broader than their waists.

Apparently the media mongering madman who wanted to burn Korans today has been muzzled -- after doing all the damage he could to America's shaky credibility as a tolerant country. However, the US Dept. of Defense is going to do it's own book burning -- well quieter destruction, having bought all 10,000 copies of the first edition of "Operation Dark Heart", a memoir by a former intelligence officer who spills some dark bits the Defense people think the American people in general don't need to know about. What we don't know is the scary part.

On the subject of unknown facts: Japan, known for reverence toward ancestors, seems to have lost 234,000 of their over-100s, many of whom are receiving pensions. Careful scrutiny of records shows that at least 77,000 of the missing people are over 120, and 888 over 150. Someone decided that couldn't be right and started looking carefully. Among the things they found was a mummified man thought to be 111, the oldest person in the prefecture of Saga. According to his daughter and granddaughter he went to bed after a family fight in the late 1970s and never came out of his room. Nobody seems to have checked on him but the did cash the pension checks. Such stories are multiplying, No one over 120 has spoke up and made his presence known.


Marie aka Grams said...

Oh, June, You've done it again, educating us to the wonders (and follies) of the world. Thanks, as usual.


Great updates. I thought making books unavailable to its citizens was the role of dictator governments --????.

Thought that was a hoot that Japan was paying pensions to dead people.

Good post -- barbara