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Grab Bag Celling the Public:

The debate on the safety of cell phones has been both hot and cold over time. My take has been to exercise caution, limiting direct exposure when possible (see Grab Bag Speaker of the House in this post from April). 

The voices urging caution are beginning to grow, and coming from more reputable corners.

“Are you being told everything you need to know about cell phone radiation? Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates….”

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Thanks to Roxie S. for sending this in.

Grab Bag Exploding Fruit Syndrome:

Need some more motivation to spend the extra bucks on organic produce? MSNBC reports that melon farmers in China have been playing with growth hormones, with recent disastrous results.

Forchlorfenuron is chemical growth stimulator that is approved in the US for kiwis, raisins and grapes. Spray it on and the flowers (and then their fruit) get bigger, faster!!

Seems farmers in China used a little too much, and under very wet conditions… and their melons exploded. Hmmmmm. 

Then there’s the hormone oxytocin. It makes fruit grow larger and ripen faster. In India it has been used on eggplant, watermelons, pumpkins and cucumbers. It’s not legal to buy it in India, but can be found at most fertilizer and pesticide vendors. They are using it freely. 

That’s just two small examples of what is being used on produce to increase production and profitabilityRead more of the story, and what it may mean to us here.

So check the origin of your produce before you buy. And please, buy organic whenever you can. 

From Dr. Mercola on the subject:

If you eat conventionally grown produce, not only are you exposing yourself and your family to a variety of pesticides; you may also get hormones and chemical growth promoters—all of which have the potential to devastate your health, especially that of young children. Remember, conventional produce sold in your local supermarket comes from all over the world! So you cannot brush off this information as being a potential threat affecting just the region in which the produce was grown.

Grab Bag Lunch Pot:

 The Japanese found a great solution to the brown bag concept for lunch on the go: the Bento box. 

Great for Japanese cuisine…. not so great for American fare like soups, salads, yogurts, etc.

Enter Black+Blum, a design firm who sold 100,000 of their Bento Box-inspired containers in nine months. Looking to do the same for a more Western approach to food-from-home, Black+Blum released the $22.00 Lunch Pot, a stackable, two-piece affair that can well accommodate a vast array of mobile munchables.

… and while we’re on the go... I’ve been asked a few times if I know of a good way to “take and shake” a protein shake.

FYI… I am in preference of whey protein shake mixes (4PM magic… have one then and you’ll feel like eating a small and very reasonable dinner). Spiruteen makes a good one, and there are others.

But back to shakin’ them up on the road…. most shake powders clump if you just add fluid and shake them in a sealed cup. This one I have heard some good things about….. it looks pretty decent and affordable (~$9).

BLENDERBOTTLE

Grab Bag “The Future is Here”:

Rodent Riches: The Story of the $95,000 Lab Rat

You: a smart, creative (and wildly good-looking while we’re at it) bio-scientist

Your job: Finding new ways to research new treatments for old diseases, cheaper, quicker and more efficiently. 

Old Game: Wait for lab rats or mice to offer up naturally occurring mutations that help to isolate the specific treatment you have in mind.

New Game: Check the catalog of SAGE labs in St. Louis for a strain of lab rats that have been bred with any one of several different genetic changes, right off the shelf.

Newer Game: Order a custom breeding pair of rats to your specifications…. for about $95,000. 

Wow. That’s not a sci-fi pitch for a TV episode. That’s real. 

Here’s how it works:

SAGE (Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering) has discovered how to inject synthetic enzymes called “zinc fingers” into the embryos of rats, precisely at the point in a DNA strand where they want to eliminate a gene. For example, gene p53 inhibits tumor growth – if you eliminate that gene, the resulting rats will more heavily rely on the pharmaceutical treatments it is given to slow tumor growth.  

SAGE snips the DNA chain, in this case, at p53 in a bunch of embryos. 3 weeks after birth, 90% of the babies have repaired their DNA back to normal (nature is wise like that!). But the remaining 10%…. ahhh….those are the celebrities…. and when bred together, they produce a lineage of rats ready to test new treatments for human maladies. 

Big Pharma is stepping up to till to buy these designer rodents, looking for answers to autism, cancer, Parkinson’s and more.  

While this holds a lot of hope for future discovery, complex issues are rarely solved in a linear fashion. Thomas Hartung from Johns Hopkins explains it best, “Very few diseases are explained by one gene only. An animal, or a human, is a damn complicated thing“. From my personal perspective, after twice sounding the depths of the dissection lab, and feeling I have barely seen the tip of light there, I so agree. 

Take Away: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound (and $95,000+++) of cure. Let’s take care of ourselves, as best as we know how

Story read in Fast Company (FastCompany.com), a great magazine 🙂 

Grab Bag CO₁ Burger:

In the old days, when hamburger or steak in your fridge was starting to go, the first sign might be the waning of pink to brown color. Not so now. Many beef producers want their beef to stay pink and appetizing as long as possible. So they gas it with small amounts of carbon monoxide. 

 Yummy 😦 

What to Do: 

1. Ask your grocer if they carry CO processed beef (I can’t swear you’ll get the straight answer, but ??). Some chains (A&P, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Publix, Whole Foods, Wegmans) say they refuse to carry it. 

2. Buy from known local sources, offering certified grass-fed and organic beef. 

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Silly and addicting… slingshot the smiley face around to munch all the berries. 

JUMPING SMILE

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Comedian Kyle Ray profiles the gullible… wondering why he wasn’t taken …. the day after the “Rapture That Didn’t Happen

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