“stLike the fact of tides, the democratization — the availability — of real food is not meant for debate: this is an ethical, moral issue, plain and simple, with roots as ancient as loaves and fishes. And we are never, ever going to move this conversation forward and find answers to this universal, politically blind problem unless we sit down together and stop throwing rocks. But if you do have to go down the political road, so be it: don’t be so concerned about who I marry, or whether or not I pray (or to whom), or my right to a safe abortion, and then blithely look the other way while the only food I have access to is going to kill me, my family, my children, and yours. You don’t get to have it both ways. Now tell me who’s the elitist.”—
Brilliance from Elissa Altman (Poor Man’s Feast), which starts with a rant on the dismal state of road food in this country and turns into a careful, moral elucidation of the politicization of food. Brava.
…Celebrity chef and TV personality Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: “It’s right to describe today’s commitment by EU ministers to a discards ban as a ‘massive breakthrough,’ and our Fish Fighters should be delighted that our message has been not only heard, but acted on. Well done Mr. [Richard] Benyon [the UK’s fisheries minister] and the other ministers who worked so hard through the night to push this through. We know that changing EU law will be a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s still much more to do in the coming months to make sure the ministers deliver on these promises. We need to change provisional dates into a completely committed timetable. We need to persuade MEPs to improve on, and then ratify the decisions taken by the ministers. Only then can we ensure that we will have sustainable fish stocks, a viable fishing industry and a healthy marine environment for generations to come. …”
Nowhere is the global push to restore degraded land likely to be more important, complex and expensive than in China, where vast swaths of the soil are contaminated by arsenic and heavy metals from mines and factories.
Scientists told the Guardian that this is likely to prove a bigger long-term problem than air and water pollution, with potentially dire consequences for food production and human health.
Zhou Jianmin, director of the China Soil Association, estimated that one-tenth of China’s farmland was affected. “The country, the government and the public should realise how serious the soil pollution is,” he said. “More areas are being affected, the degree of contamination is intensifying and the range of toxins is increasing.”
Other estimates of soil pollution range as high as 40%, but an official risk assessment is unlikely to be made public for several years.
The government has spent six years on a soil survey involving 30,000 people, but the academics leading the project said they have been forbidden from releasing preliminary findings…
A village cricket team, 12 horses, 10 chickens, 70 sheep, a model of Glastonbury Tor, two mosh pits, and the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world are among the sights that will greet the world when the curtain comes up on the London Olympics, it has been revealed. The surreal vista of a “green and pleasant land”, with giant maypoles representing the symbols of the four nations of the UK around which children will dance, is the scene for the opening sequence of Danny Boyle’s £27m opening ceremony extravaganza. The director has ignored the age-old maxim about never working with children or animals. The opening scene features real grass, real ploughs, real soil and – said Boyle – real clouds that would supply “rain” if there was none in order to ensure an authentically British atmosphere. With no Glastonbury festival this year, the event will be evoked with a replica of Glastonbury Tor and mosh pits at either end of the arena….
…food safety is part of a larger struggle in American politics. Across a range of issues, be it health care, retirement security, or consumer finance, individuals and their families are forced to bear a greater share of the risks associated with modern life. The battles over food safety reflect this broader trend: Both industry and government, perhaps for different reasons, have a joint interest in shifting the onus on to consumers…
SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011 AT 03:39PM
Pixar story artist Emma Coats has tweeted a series of “story basics” over the past month and a half — guidelines that she learned from her more senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories:
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
Britain’s tea addiction is sparking an ecological crisis. The country’s 62 million residents consume 165 million cups of the hot beverage every single day, and the soggy leftovers are piling up. Wrap, the U.K.’s national recycling and garbage reduction body, estimates that tea bags are now the single largest food waste contributor, adding 370,000 tonnes to landfills each year. So they’ve partnered on a new campaign with the nation’s largest tea maker to convince people to compost the sachets rather than toss them out with the trash…
Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Jewish Ritual Circumcisions that Included Direct Orogenital Suction — New York City, 2000–2011
Weekly June 8, 2012 / 61(22);405-409
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection commonly causes “cold sores” (HSV type 1 [HSV-1]) and genital herpes (HSV-1 or HSV type 2 [HSV-2]); HSV infection in newborns can result in death or permanent disability. During November 2000–December 2011, a total of 11 newborn males had laboratory-confirmed HSV infection in the weeks following out-of-hospital Jewish ritual circumcision, investigators from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) learned. Ten of the 11 newborns were hospitalized; two died. In six of the 11 cases, health-care providers confirmed parental reports that the ritual circumcision included an ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice known as metzitzah b’peh, in which the circumciser (mohel, plural: mohelim) places his mouth directly on the newly circumcised penis and sucks blood away from the circumcision wound (direct orogenital suction). In the remaining cases, other evidence suggested that genital infection was introduced by direct orogenital suction (probable direct orogenital suction). Based on cases reported to DOHMH during April 2006–December 2011, the risk for neonatal herpes caused by HSV-1 and untyped HSV following Jewish ritual circumcision with confirmed or probable direct orogenital suction in New York City was estimated at 1 in 4,098 or 3.4 times greater than the risk among male infants considered unlikely to have had direct orogenital suction. Oral contact with a newborn’s open wound risks transmission of HSV and other pathogens. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that should be performed under sterile conditions. Health-care professionals advising parents and parents choosing Jewish ritual circumcision should inquire in advance whether direct orogenital suction will be performed, and orogenital suction should be avoided…
(Another reason to check your shots before traveling. Related: People still get diphtheria?)
Eurosurveillance, Volume 17, Issue 23, 07 June 2012
IMPORTED LARYNGEAL AND CUTANEOUS DIPHTHERIA IN TOURISTS RETURNING FROM WESTERN AFRICA TO SWEDEN, MARCH 2012
E Lindhusen-Lindhé ()1, L Dotevall1, M Berglund2 Department for Communicable Disease and Control, Västra Götaland Region, Sweden Departement for ENT Diseases, Trollhättan, Västra Götaland Region, Sweden Citation style for this article: Lindhusen-Lindhé E, Dotevall L, Berglund M.
Date of submission: 25 May 2012
In March 2012 a 68-year-old woman was diagnosed with laryngeal diphtheria in a hospital in Västra Götaland Region, Sweden. Six days before symptom onset she had returned from a trip to western Africa where she had travelled accompanied by her husband. During the investigation, the 76-year-old husband was diagnosed with cutaneous diphtheria. Both patients were incompletely vaccinated against diphtheria…