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The Denunciation  

February 3, 2015:  With great fanfare, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed the results of his testing of six of the most popular supplements. Only 21% actually had DNA from the plant species listed on the labels, and he alleged many were contaminated. He demanded their removal from the marketplace, and issued cease and desist orders to that effect. Media kits with photos of the offending products were distributed throughout the state. He told us:  

Mislabeled Consumer Products Pose Unacceptable Health Hazards ... investigation is focused on what appears to be the practice of substituting contaminants and fillers in the place of authentic product.
This appeared to be quite damning. How could he possibly have been wrong?

The supplements tested were ginkgo, St. John's wort, echinacea, valerian root, garlic and ginseng.  Samples were purchased from each of four major retailers: GNC, Target, Walgreen's and Walmart, for 24 distinct products in all.  In 19 of the 24 cases. the testing did not find the DNA of the herb listed on the label. Numerous independent third parties have tested such supplements.  As we shall see, in the vast majority of cases, supplements have been found to contain the listed active ingredient.  How can this be?  It turns out that 17 of the 19 failed supplements were either extracts or deodorized garlic. Detailed documentation of this is set forth in footnote[1]. Can an extract, or deodorized garlic, contain the active ingredient but not the DNA?  Let's find out...

a block of nine abstract depictions of disabilities
KosAbility is a Sunday 4pm leftkost/7 pm east volunteer diarist community of, by & for people living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues. Our use of disability includes temporary as well as permanent health/medical conditions - from small, gnawing problems to major, life- threatening ones. Our use of "love someone" extends to cherished members of other species.

Our discussions are open threads in the context of this community. Feel free to comment on the diary topic, ask questions of the diarist or generally to everyone, share something you've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about your situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered. If you are interested in contributing a diary, contact series coordinator postmodernista.

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There is no such thing as alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't.  - Richard Dawkins.  
   There is no such thing as alternative medicine, just alternatives to medicine. If a treatment works, it becomes part of mainstream medicine.
   There is only "medicine that works" and "useless or dangerous stuff". Any "alternative" practice that actually works is rapidly absorbed into the standard medical canon.
What does it mean to be "part of mainstream medicine" or "absorbed into the standard medical canon"?  It means if you go to a doctor, s/he will recommend it as a treatment. Especially if you go to a specialist in the field.
    It turns out that relying upon this is every bit as dangerous to your health as uncritically accepting unsubstantiated nostrums. As we shall see, there is no substitute for doing the research. It is your body and your health and you cannot depend on a doctor or anyone else to do it for you.

When I say this people always ask, "How can I know what to trust?"  The answer: studies published in medical journals.  They are easily found using Google Scholar. For those of us who are not medical doctors, myself included, there will be terms we do not understand. Google them. After a while everything else will pale by comparison.  
    What not to trust? Unsubstantiated claims, whether by people that stand to benefit from your business or people who are simply believers.  

a block of nine abstract depictions of disabilities
KosAbility is a Sunday 4pm leftkost/7 pm east volunteer diarist community of, by & for people living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues. Our use of disability includes temporary as well as permanent health/medical conditions - from small, gnawing problems to major, life- threatening ones. Our use of love someone extends to cherished members of other species.

Our discussions are open threads in the context of this community. Feel free to comment on the diary topic, ask questions of the diarist or generally to everyone, share something you've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about your situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered. If you are interested in contributing a diary, contact series coordinator postmodernista.

Poll

Alternative medicine?

7%3 votes
71%28 votes
7%3 votes
7%3 votes
0%0 votes
5%2 votes

| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Prop 46 is opposed by both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Full text of this prop can be found here. Cal. Prop 46 has several moving parts - it would raise the liability cap for pain and suffering due to medical malpractice from $250k to $1.1 million. It would require doctors to access a statewide database when prescribing painkillers to prevent doctor shopping.  These pieces, alone, would be worth consideration.  The deal breaker: turning the war on drugs into a drug war on doctors. Ongoing random and non-random drug testing for doctors is one, but only one piece of this.  Follow me below the orange Kos-caduceus for details...

Poll

Prop 46:

28%11 votes
69%27 votes
2%1 votes

| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Sep 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM PDT

Ebola Breakthrough?

by wilderness voice

Dr. Gobee Logan, a doctor in rural Liberia, has given an HIV drug, lamivudine, to 15 Ebola patients. 13 survived.  Continue past the mating paramecium for more:

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Windows XP has been built into a lot of dedicated applications such as ATMs and point-of-sale terminals.  These will never be upgraded to newer Microsoft operating systems.  Yet they still need to get security upgrades - leaving this sort of equipment vulnerable to new exploits is unacceptable.  It turns out one can get these upgrades on any XP system with a simple modification.  I have been getting these upgrades on an XP machine since Microsoft quit their normal support and so far so good.  Here's how...

Poll

I use

30%35 votes
38%44 votes
5%6 votes
2%3 votes
14%16 votes
7%8 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes

| 114 votes | Vote | Results

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Is in the very first sentence of the constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The bolded portion well covers that, I believe.

As well as another founding document, the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Discuss

Major Internet security bug found:
http://arstechnica.com/...
http://arstechnica.com/...

I have been following this website for some time and these folks have not been given to exaggeration.  They say:  

Lest readers think "catastrophic" is too exaggerated a description for the critical defect affecting an estimated two-thirds of the Internet's Web servers, consider this: at the moment this article was being prepared, the so-called Heartbleed bug was exposing end-user passwords, the contents of confidential e-mails, and other sensitive data belonging to Yahoo Mail and almost certainly countless other services. The two-year-old bug is the result of a mundane coding error in OpenSSL
The publicity insures that the world's internet criminals are now all duly notified and busy taking advantage:
In the hours immediately following the public disclosure of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, several readers reported their Ars accounts were hijacked by people who exploited the bug and obtained other readers' account passwords.

This problem affects any unpatched (i.e. most) websites using the https security protocol. After you log in your login credentials are subject to theft if they happen to end up in an unlucky part of the web server's memory. Not clear if this affects secured non-browser specialty interfaces.  What to do about it?  For now, avoid logging in to any website that could cause you financial harm were your credentials to fall into the wrong hands. If you use the same login credentials elsewhere avoid those logins too.   Be aware that your browser may log you in automatically when you visit a site.  When will it be safe?  I expect this matter will hit the front pages soon enough and the pressure will be on to get this fixed.  Until then, wait.

For the long term, one easy measure everyone should take is to use a password manager.  What the password manager does is to generate a unique, random, long password for each internet site you use. So if any one password is compromised the rest are safe. The passwords are stored in encrypted form on your computer.  All you have to remember is your one password to log in to the password manager, then you copy and paste from there to internet logins.  I use KeePass which is free:
http://keepass.info/
More information:
http://arstechnica.com/...

Discuss

Weak and easily broken fingernails. Calculus on the back of your lower front teeth. Osteoporosis. Atherosclerosis. What do these all have in common? Calcium. Either a lack of calcium where you do want it or calcium where you don’t want it. What does vitamin K2 have to do with all this?  K2 is an essential cog in the body’s machinery to transport calcium to where it is needed.  Without enough of it, the calcium ball gets dropped in undesirable places and never gets to where it belongs.

K2 is found in microscopic quantities in beef and dairy from cattle fed on fresh grass,  eggs, and the fermented soybean product known as natto.  It is lacking in the modern diet, and you won’t find it in most multivitamins either.  However, it is available cheaply as a separate supplement.  Join me over the fold for more detail.
 

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This catchy little phrase has no place in rational discourse and I will prove it.

Poll

Is it appropriate to reject the "extraordinary proof" standard?

50%29 votes
12%7 votes
3%2 votes
17%10 votes
17%10 votes

| 58 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:35 AM PST

Trump Smackdown

by wilderness voice

The clown prince of fail strikes again... Trump has been trying to put a stop to a wind energy project in Scotland in view of an oh-so-precious golf course.  He wrote a letter to the Scottish First Minister claiming it would "destroy the country".  The Scots were not impressed:

Despite claiming to be a world expert in tourism, Mr Trump's opinion was dismissed as "anecdotal" in the conclusions of an inquiry into the Scottish Government's renewable energy targets.
...
 In a high profile hearing at the Scottish Parliament in April, Mr Trump told MSPs he is "the evidence" that the development of onshore and offshore wind power will drive tourists away. He said: "I am an expert on tourism. If you dot your landscape with these horrible, horrible structures, you will do tremendous damage."  Asked for facts, he continued: "I am the evidence. I am an expert in tourism, I am considered a world-class expert in tourism, so when you say 'where is the evidence?', I am the evidence."
Poll

Trump should:

19%56 votes
3%11 votes
5%17 votes
1%3 votes
69%199 votes

| 286 votes | Vote | Results

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Pro-choice vs. pro-life. Does this language serve us?  What do these words evoke?

Let's consider "pro-choice". This comes across as neutral terminology, wishy-washy, even. At best these words convey a sentiment of "you go your way and I'll go mine".  At worst, "everyone gets to choose what they want, and don't bother me with your moral considerations".  We need to do better.

Now let's take a look at "pro-life".  These words have juice.  Who could be against life?  To be against life would be to be pro-murder or even pro-genocide.  Never mind what we are actually referring to is setting the rights of a fertilized ovum above the rights of a conscious human being, and forcing her to bear an unwanted child.  An unwanted child that she may not have the resources to care for, with all the attendant misery and burden upon society.  In other words, forced-birth.

What shall we use in place of pro-choice?  I suggest women's rights.  It's got plenty of juice. Nothing wishy-washy about it.  It meets the moral issues head-on.  True, it's more general and covers more ground than just abortion, but what could be a more basic right than to have final say over what goes on with your body?

So now try this on for size:  Women's rights vs. forced birth.

Poll

Which do you choose?

52%11 votes
28%6 votes
19%4 votes

| 21 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:57 AM PDT

An Antidote to Hatred (Ours)

by wilderness voice

As a regular reader of this site I have all too often fallen prey to hating the other side:
I have wished them ill.  
I have fantasized about them getting their comeuppance.
I have told myself I should be better than that.  
This has worked as well for me as trying to use willpower to diet.  Is there a better way?  Yes.

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