Saturday, June 25, 2005

As Serious as a Heart Attack

The most surprising point from this news below is that partially hydroenated oil is already known for its harmful effects on health, and still the government agencies overseeing public health are giving corporations with big bucks till next year for listing their oil contents so that public knows the truth, albeit too late for many.

Regards,

Sohel

Most people who pay attention to their diets know that partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat that clogs the arteries and reduces the "good" cholesterol that helps unclog them. Beginning next year, companies must disclose trans-fat amounts on food labels. But it is already clear that the Food and Drug Administration is going to have to do more to protect the public from heart-threatening fats.

One problem, detailed in a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is that some companies that don't use trans fat nevertheless use other dangerous oils. Other companies, searching for trans-fat alternatives, are turning to unhealthy fats. The most popular is palm oil, a saturated fat that is widely believed to promote heart disease and whose main distinction is that it is less harmful than trans fat.

Some companies that make products with palm oil, including Newman's Own Organics popcorn and cookies, emphasize on their packages that their products are trans-fat free and note the relative advantage of palm oil over trans fat. But all this does is create the false impression that palm oil is good for you. The F.D.A. should act quickly to stop labels that could mislead consumers. The agency should also encourage the use of healthier alternatives like certain safflower and sunflower oils and promising new blends.

The ultimate aim, however, should be to end the widespread use of partially hydrogenated oils. As things now stand, the F.D.A. acknowledges that trans fats are unhealthy at any level, and yet maintains that the partially hydrogenated oils that contain them are basically safe. The agency can't have it both ways. Public health would be greatly improved if the F.D.A. prohibited their use.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Fearing Splashing Urine, Flushing Toilet

Fearing Splashing Urine, Flushing Toilet

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

June 4, 2005

Blame urine. Blame that flushing toilet.

No doubt that we stand here at this turbulent moment of our contemporary time and observe with dismay the spiraling incidents, one after another, going out of control, day by day. A thoughtful observer may also take it to heart that what would have been utterly unthinkable in only a recent past before the world gone crazy, has slowly but unmistakably taken the shape of humdrum world event, as if desecrating one fifth of humanity’s precious scripture can be considered a not so unique event.

In a world where our senses and overall consciousness are constantly getting tinkered with the newly innovative information outlets, where bombs, guns and endless violence beginning to rule our perceptions of existence, splashing urine on or flushing down thousands of years old holy book for the Muslims, devoted or casual, may still raise alarm for a more virulent and dynamic shape of this outright nauseating conflict, perhaps craftily manufactured, that may take a more frightening shape in the coming days.

Desecration of Holy Scriptures or constructed deities is not a new phenomenon. Easter Islanders did it hundreds of years ago, as did many other civilizations that archeologists can decipher. With so much synergy and devotion they built their Moai and Ahus, competing with the neighboring chiefs, outdoing each other by raising larger and larger statues of predecessors, but in the end, at the verge of their collapsing society, Easter Islanders began to destroy their sacred statues of ancestors.

History is littered with examples where civilization after civilization collapsed, once flourished and thriving, but in the end, the so-called “progress” itself turned its head upside down, where warfare broke out for the dwindling resources, and the conquering kings made example out of the defeated kings and queens by employing horrific tortures.

In the times of Maya, the kings fought with each other, trying to take each other captive, and the defeated king and his supporters were the subject of “yanking fingers out of sockets, pulling out teeth, cutting off the lower jaw, trimming off the lips and fingertips, pulling out the fingernails, and driving a pin through the lips, culminating in the sacrifice of the captive in other equally unpleasant ways such as tying the captive up into a ball by binding the arms and legs together, then rolling the balled-up captive down the steep stone staircase of a temple.” (Collapse, by Jared Diamond, Page 172)

Just before the Maya civilization collapsed, “the response of the rulers was not to seek a new course, to cut back on royal and military expenditures, to put effort into land reclamation through terracing, or to encourage birth control (means of which the Maya may have known). No, they dug in their heels and carried on doing what they had always done, only more so. Their solution was higher pyramids, more power to the kings, harder work for the masses, more foreign wars. In modern terms, the Maya elite became extremists, or ultra-conservatives, squeezing the last drops of profit from nature and humanity.” (A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, Page 102).

One does not need to adhere to the religion of Islam or any religions as the matter of fact to be saddened and distressed, the emblematic stigmas from these desecration events are too powerful to ignore. The rising anger among the Muslims and the apparent show of arrogance among the American warriors and the ultra-conservative politicians may stretch this underhanded hostility to a new territory where “no modern man has gone before”. The glimpse of exploitation of this event is already in the horizon. Hundreds of veiled women are on the march in Bangladesh, and the extremist groups are invoking the name of Islam to perpetuate more hatred and anger against the West.

Jihad and Crusade seem on the march. Blowing up of suicide bombers in the battle ravaged Iraq, where deceits and lies led an unscrupulous invasion and brutal occupation that has cost so much precious lives, hundreds of thousands, perhaps, ruining and devastating an entire nation and also rousing incalculable fury toward America and the West, providing curious credence to the extremists under the veil of Islam, who, like the extremist evangelists want to engage in their dear final Armageddon.

Desecration reflects absolute disrespect for a large segment of world populace. And the insufferable pain from the disrespected must be respected and feared. Fear from more potential violence, from superpower’s supersonic bombers and powerful cluster bombs, and from asymmetric warfare’s unbounded dangers.

It is fear that is controlling the lives of many. It is fear that the American and other elected and dictated governments are utilizing in furthering their various shrouded agendas, and it is fear that extremists want to instill in people’s consciousness for possible celebration of joyous extremism through playful Jihad and Crusade.

Blame urine. Blame that flushing toilet.