Monday, October 12, 2009

Miley Cyrus quits Twitter, world ends

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Microwave Popcorn

September 5, 2007

Doctors Link Illness to a Microwave Popcorn Habit

By Gardiner Harris

A fondness for microwave buttered popcorn may have led a 53-year-old Colorado man to develop a serious lung condition that until now has been found only in people working in popcorn plants.

Lung specialists and even a top industry official say the case, the first of its kind, raises serious concerns about the safety of microwave butter-flavored popcorn.
“We’ve all been working on the workplace safety side of this, but the potential for consumer exposure is very concerning,” said John B. Hallagan, general counsel for the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States, a trade association of companies that make butter flavorings for popcorn producers. “Are there other cases out there? There could be.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food And Drug Administration said that the agency was considering the case as part of a review of the safety of diacetyl, which adds the buttery taste to many microwave popcorns, including Orville Redenbacher and Act II.
Producers of microwave popcorn said their products were safe.

“We’re incredibly interested in learning more about this case. However, we are confident that our product is safe for consumers’ normal everyday use in the home,” said Stephanie Childs, a spokeswoman for ConAgra Foods, the nation’s largest maker of microwave popcorn.

Ms. Childs said ConAgra planned to remove diacetyl from its microwave popcorn products “in the near future.”

Pop Weaver, another large microwave popcorn producer, has already taken diacetyl out of its popcorn bags “because of consumer concerns” but not because the company believes the chemical is unsafe for consumers, said Cathy Yingling, a company spokeswoman.
The case will most likely accelerate calls on Capitol Hill for the Bush administration to crack down on the use of diacetyl. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been criticized as doing little to protect workers in popcorn plants despite years of studying the issue.

“The government is not doing anything,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who leads a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the food and drug agency’s budget.

Exposure to synthetic butter in food production and flavoring plants has been linked to hundreds of cases of workers whose lungs have been damaged or destroyed. Diacetyl is found naturally in milk, cheese, butter and other products.

Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal.
Dr. Cecile Rose, director of the occupational disease clinical programs at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, said that she first saw the Colorado man in February after another doctor could not figure out what was causing his distress. Dr. Rose described the case in a recent letter to government agencies.
A furniture salesman, the man was becoming increasingly short of breath. He had never smoked and was overweight. His illness had been diagnosed as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs usually caused by chronic exposure to bacteria, mold or dust. Farmers and bird enthusiasts are frequent sufferers.
But nothing in the Colorado man’s history suggested that he was breathing in excessive amounts of mold or bird droppings, Dr. Rose said. She has consulted to flavorings manufacturers for years about “popcorn workers’ lung,” and said that something about the man’s tests appeared similar to those of the workers.

“I said to him, ‘This is a very weird question, but bear with me. But are you around a lot of popcorn?’ ” Dr. Rose asked. “His jaw dropped and he said, ‘How could you possibly know that about me? I am Mr. Popcorn. I love popcorn.’ ”

The man told Dr. Rose that he had eaten microwave popcorn at least twice a day for more than 10 years.

“When he broke open the bags, after the steam came out, he would often inhale the fragrance because he liked it so much,” Dr. Rose said. “That’s heated diacetyl, which we know from the workers’ studies is the highest risk.”

Dr. Rose measured levels of diacetyl in the man’s home after he made popcorn and found levels of the chemical were similar to those in microwave popcorn plants. She asked the man to stop eating microwave popcorn.

“He was really upset that he couldn’t have it anymore,” Dr. Rose said. “But he complied.”

Six months later, the man has lost 50 pounds and his lung function has not only stopped deteriorating but has actually improved slightly, Dr. Rose said.
“This is not a definitive causal link, but it raises a lot of questions and supports the recommendation that more work needs to be done,” Dr. Rose said.

Monday, March 19, 2007

are you kidding?

A passenger in first class woke up to a shock when he found himself sitting near a corpse on a British Airways flight, British newspapers reported on Monday.

Paul Trinder, 54, said cabin crew moved the body of the elderly woman from the economy section where she had died after take-off, the Mirror and Sun tabloids said.

"The corpse was strapped into the seat but because of turbulence it kept slipping down on to the floor," Trinder, a businessman, was quoted as saying. "It was horrific. The body had to be wedged in place with lots of pillows."

The woman's daughter was also upgraded and spent the rest of the nine-hour flight from Delhi to London grieving next to her dead mother, the Sun reported.

The Guardian newspaper said the incident happened last week.

British Airways has apologized for any distress suffered, according to the reports. The Mirror quoted BA as saying: "We apologize, but our crew were working in difficult circumstances and chose the option they thought would cause least disruption."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who is Dumb Little Man?

It is not often these days that I find a site that has extremely useful information for me. I have been reading this site for a couple months now and I am constantly amazed at all the useful tips.

Some of their recent topics:
  • 40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation
  • 20 tips that got me an IT promotion
  • 250 Free Microsoft Office Templates
  • 50 Tools that can Improve your Writing Skills
  • 50+ Ways a Manager can get Employees to Quit
  • A Lawyer's Advice: How to deal with Cops

I am here now to share this with the world. Below is a little bit about them, in their own words:

"Who is Dumb Little Man?
So what is Dumb Little Man, who is behind it and where the hell did that name come from?My name is Jay White and I own Dumb Little Man. Perhaps the better phrase is that I own the content because yes, this is a Blogger blog that has been very heavily tweaked. I have 2 co-anchors on my little site, Frank and Mark. We are all based in Chicago.I will be completely honest when I say that the name Dumb Little Man was picked for absolutely no reason. In fact, the site basically sat unused for 6 months after I first chose the name. Then in March of 2006 we began posting.......decided Dumb Little Man and it's content would focus on all of our skills; however, we don't get ridiculously deep on any single topic.

Think about it, how could I post about ways of depreciating assets and then 5 minutes later have Mark give a tutorial on php? It couldn't happen.So here we are with a lot of varying knowledge and a weird sounding name. ....To set your expectation, on average we post 10-20 items per week.All three of us hope you'll stick around, enjoy the content and learn something. If you think we are hitting a topic to hard, let's us know. If you want to see something else, recommend it. While we do enjoy Dumb Little Man, it makes our efforts worthwhile if you do too. Thanks.Jay, Frank, Mark"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Verizon Sells Out

Verizon to Allow Ads on Its Mobile Phones


VERIZON WIRELESS, among the nation’s most widely advertised brands, is poised to become the advertising medium itself.

Beginning early next year, Verizon Wireless will allow placement of banner advertisements on news, weather, sports and other Internet sites that users visit and display on their mobile phones, company executives said.

The development is a substantive and symbolic advance toward the widespread appearance of marketing messages on the smallest of screens. Advertisers have been increasing the amount they spent on mobile marketing, despite lingering questions about the effectiveness of ads on portable phones.

Verizon officials said their initial foray would be a cautious one — they will limit where ads can appear, and exclude certain kinds of video clips — and thus may invite greater demand to place ads then they can accommodate.

“We know we can make significant dollars in mobile Web advertising in 2007,” said John Harrobin, vice president of marketing and digital media for Verizon Wireless. “That said, we likely will not — we want to take it carefully and methodically, and enable the right experience.” More generally, he added, “Mobile advertising is going to take off in 2007.”

In absolute terms, the amount of money spent on advertising on mobile phones has been small but it has been growing rapidly. In 2005, advertisers spent $45 million on such messages, and should spend around $150 million this year, according to Ovum Research, which projects that such spending will reach $1.3 billion by 2010.

The interest of advertisers in the medium stems from a theory that ads placed on mobile phones could create a particularly intimate bond with consumers. The gadgets are ubiquitous, personal, and messages could theoretically be tailored to individuals based on demographics like age, gender and location.

Numerous factors have limited the growth of cellphone advertising. Chief among those factors has been the reticence of carriers to allow ads to appear alongside news, sports and other information that is provided by their official content partners. These partners, from ESPN to USA Today and dozens of others, appear on the content menus that subscribers see when they use their phones to search for information over the Internet.

Carriers have also been concerned about annoying cellphone users with obtrusive marketing messages.

In October, Sprint became the first major carrier to allow advertisements to appear with content that is listed on its menus, or as they are known in the industry, their official content “decks.” Cingular, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, declined to comment on whether it would allow advertising on its decks.

The participation of the carriers would greatly broaden the potential audience. Seventy to 80 percent of what people view on their cellphones derives from links on these decks. The rest of the content is viewed “off deck” — on innumerable content sites that wireless consumers are free to access over the Internet.

Lack of access to these cellphone screens “is one of the biggest considerations right now,” and has limited growth, said Angela Steele, a mobile marketing expert at Starcom USA, a media buying and planning firm whose clients include Kellogg, Nintendo, Oracle and Allstate.

Even without cooperation from carriers, advertisers have been able to reach consumers visiting off-deck sites, and such marketing has grown in size and in scope.

The first advertisers drawn to mobile phones tended to be quick-serve restaurants and hotels — businesses that people might want access to on the go. But increasingly, there is traditional brand marketing, said Jeff Janer, chief marketing officer for Third Screen Media, a mobile ad management company that pairs advertisers and agencies with providers of mobile content, like USA Today and the Weather Channel.

Mr. Janer said an example of the evolution took place over the last few months as Unilever ran an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter campaign on mobile phones. The campaign, which Mr. Janer said cost $75,000 to $100,000, placed small banner ads on sites like the Weather Channel that urged consumers to click on a link to visit the “Kitchen of Love.” The link took them to a site featuring Fabio, the romance heartthrob, who is spokesman for the ad campaign.

“It’s the first consumer products group we’ve run on mobile,” Mr. Janer said.

Mr. Janer, echoing the sentiment of executives from traditional ad agencies, said that mobile phone ad budgets were growing. He said that a year ago, advertisers typically committed $25,000 for a campaign of four to six weeks. That figure is now $150,000 to $200,000, he said.

The ads have tended to involve simple banners or text messages, like those connected to the “American Idol” show, in which consumers are urged to send in a vote. Or they have offered digital coupons, like those that allow Dunkin’ Donut customers to show a coupon on their phone at the counter to get a 99 cent latte. Or they have involved sweepstakes offers.

Increasingly, driven by the growing capability and speed of wireless networks, they involve more intensive graphics, and, to a much lesser degree, video clips.

Despite these developments, advertisers continue to have serious questions about the effectiveness of mobile ads. While acknowledging there is potential for a particularly intimate relationship with phone users, advertisers say there is a dearth of data about whether the ads are motivating consumer behavior.

“There’s still a question of cost and value,” said David Cohen, executive vice president and United States director of digital communications for Universal McCann, an ad agency, whose clients include Microsoft, Sony, Johnson & Johnson and Wendy’s. The agency last week said it had signed a deal to use ad management software provided by Third Screen Media to deliver mobile ads and try to track their effectiveness.

Mr. Cohen said mobile advertising still appeared to be costly and inefficient. Because of a constrained supply of quality ad space, he said, the cost per thousand impressions is around $40, compared to $10 to $15 on the Internet.

David Goodrich, director of digital for the West Coast region for OMD, an ad agency, said he did not believe mobile advertising could be particularly effective until marketers could regularly and easily buy space for video clips.

Advertisers “are crazed to get information” onto the phones, Mr. Goodrich said. But the effectiveness “will be really limited until you’ve enabled site, sound and motion.”

That will not be happening anytime soon on Verizon, according to Mr. Harrobin. He said that during extensive tests the company did in determining whether to run ads, and how to run them, it determined that consumers find short, stand-alone video advertisements to be intrusive.

But Mr. Harrobin said that in the tests, consumers did seem to accept a single banner at the top of a page.

“What we don’t want to do is repeat the mistakes of the Internet — spam, interstitials, pop-ups,” Mr. Harrobin said. Bored, offended or inconvenienced consumers could quickly blame Verizon and leave for another service, hurting the wireless carrier’s core business and reducing its monthly subscription fees.

“We offer voice services,” he said of Verizon’s core business. Advertising “is tertiary on top of that.”

Complete Story - New York Times

Friday, December 15, 2006

Daily Horoscope for Aquarius

All neurons are firing now as mental sparks fly and communication becomes intermittent from static noise. Your key planet Uranus is electrifying your thinking and everyone may not be able to keep up with your quantum leaps of logic. Others might not recognize your brilliance today, for your mind is racing faster than you can speak. Don't waste energy trying to bring someone along on your ride. You can always fill them in on the experience later on.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Mappy Hour!

Coolest tool ever. Click Here for a map and then click on a location to see a list of all the Happy Hour bars in that location.

Map + Happy Hour = MappyHour. Get it?

"There are 40190 happy locations in our databank, and rising."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Google SMS

I recently discovered this cool feature from Google that allows you to send a text message to Google from any mobile phone and then Google will text back free information (such as driving directions, phone listings, translations) to you. It's actually an old feature (who knew!) that I just uncovered.

SMS Quick Start

1. Start a new text message and type in your search query

2. Send the message to the number "46645" (GOOGL)

3. You'll receive text message(s) with results

Here are some examples:

Local listings: hospital San Jose CA
Driving directions : pasadena CA to santa monica CA
Movies : world trade center 94110*
Weather : weather dallas tx
Stock quotes : tgt
Q&A : population of Japan
Glossary : define prosimian
Translation : translate coffee in french
Froogle : price mp3 player
Zip code : 94043
Area code : 650
Calculator : 160 pounds * 4000 feet in calories
Currency conversion : 5 usd in yen
Sports : ny jets
Help : help
Tips : tips

You can go HERE to enter terms into a sample phone to get a feel for how it works.

The only cost is a normal text message cost from your provider. This is a great feature when you are on the road and away from your computer or an internet connection. You can send a text message to 46645 and get directions, phone numbers, language translations, many things! Check out Google's site for specific instructions.

Google SMS

Sunday, September 24, 2006


George Carlin (on religion)

"Religion has actually convinced people that there is an invisible man living in the sky, and he has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these things he will send you to a place full of fire, and smoke, and burn and torture forever and ever 'till the end of time.... but he loves you. And he needs money."

~ George Carlin