Some call it hockey? Shortest workout possible

Super-short workouts are all the rave in media space.

Me, I want to go back to working out 3 hours a day, and being mindful of it.

Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times wrote in Feb. 2007, in an exaggerated example of exercise porn, that she had written about seven-minute, six-minute, four-minute, and even one-minute workouts. They are appealing because they require so little time, but they also demand straining effort.

Martin Gibala is the scientist we most have to thank for the popularity of very brief, very hard exercise. All of these workouts are built around the concept of high-intensity interval training, in which you push yourself almost to exhaustion for a brief spurt of minutes or seconds, and then rest and recover for a few minutes before repeating the intense interval.

It’s called hockey (the ice kind).

45-seconds shifts, go hard or go home, and do it again.

Tim, this one’s for you: Earthing Gwyneth Paltrow offers ridiculous depression cure

My friend Tim in Edmonton wrote a best-seller, Why Gwyneth Paltrow is Wrong About Everything.

If he’s working on a second edition, here’s a fairytale to add.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous new-age lifestyle site GOOP has delivered the goods once more, offering subscribers some rather unusual advice on how to combat depression.

A new post on the Paltrow-helmed website introduces readers to the concept of “earthing” — that’s going barefoot, in layman’s terms.

Walking around barefoot outside isn’t a sure-fire way to step on something sharp — it’s actually an incredibly powerful healer for mental and physical woes including depression.

“Earthing therapy rests on the intuitive assumption that connecting to the energy of the planet is healthy for our souls and bodies,” says the post, which insists there is a “scientific angle” to the theory, and that ‘GP’ (Gwyneth Paltrow herself) swears by the practice.

There is one caveat: You must do your ‘earthing’ outside. Walking around barefoot in your own home just won’t cut it.

“Walking barefoot in your home, where minimally conductive or nonconductive materials like concrete foundations and hardwood floors insulate us from the earth’s electric potential, will not have the same effect,” GOOP quotes an earthing expert as saying.

Is this GOOP’s weirdest advice to date? Honestly, how do you even quantify that anymore? This is a website that, this year alone, has advised women to stick jade eggs into their vaginas to balance their menstrual cycles, and told anyone dealing with a breakup to immediately burn all their underpants in a bonfire.

In the past, Paltrow’s blog has even claimed underwire bras could cause breast cancer. The American Cancer Society disproved that myth.

There is the problem of worms.

Bats in salad is yuck factor stuff; actual illnesses end up lost

I don’t know exactly when the barfblog risk factor vs. yuck factor thing was coined, but it’s been a running theme for over a decade. The concept is that stuff that grosses some people out (like this 3-year old’s poop party) garners more attention than the stuff that actually makes people sick.

There’s literature out that that shows that individuals are likely to perceive a situation or product as unsafe if it appears dirty, gross, or yucky, regardless of whether or not there is an actual food safety risk.

Many food safety regulatory systems, at national and local levels, employ a risk-based standard and inspection process grounded in both epidemiological and scientific evidence for monitoring and addressing food safety from farm-to-fork.

Risk and yuck get confusing.

Like bats and scorpions in bagged salad are a bigger deal for the mere mortals like the hockey parents I hang out with than actual outbreaks (like this one). Finding something that’s gross, and isn’t expected, garners a stronger media reaction than seven cases of E. coli O157.

Lots of folks I’ve talked to over the past couple of days want to know why there are suddenly more of these weird animals-in-food events (there aren’t) and how it happens.

We’ve seen stuff like this before:

Frog found in bag of Aussie salad

‘Why have I a soggy fishcake on my plate?’ Tesco customers’ horror as they find dead bird in salad during meal

And rats.

It’s possible that the mechanical harvesting could pick something like this up and it makes it through the quality control steps (see this video of what a salad mix mechanical harvester looks like beginning at 1:17)
.

The washing, sorting line is a place for quality control to happen (and here’s another video about that process), but it doesn’t surprise me that small animals make it through (and these events seem really rare)

As for risk, animals can carry human pathogens. As with any fresh produce item, there’s not a cook step (usually), so the potential for these extra critters (and their feces or body parts) to carry something like Salmonella is there. But the exposure chance is pretty low. Once discovered, I don’t know if many folks will eat around the animals once discovered.

Folks might benefit from targeted information about yuck versus epidemiologically-driven food safety risks. Not just the home chefs, but the industry and government risk managers that have to explain where their food safety priorities lie – and how stuff – like bats – slip through the cracks.

‘We meet all standards’ Fresh Express uses Pinto defense after dead bat found in salad

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support an investigation of a dead bat that was found in a packaged salad purchased from a grocery store in Florida. Two people in Florida reported eating some of the salad before the bat was found. The bat was sent to the CDC rabies lab for laboratory testing because bats in the United States sometimes have been found to have this disease. The deteriorated condition of the bat did not allow for CDC to definitively rule out whether this bat had rabies.

Transmission of rabies by eating a rabid animal is extremely uncommon, and the virus does not survive very long outside of the infected animal. CDC is supporting Florida local and state health officials in evaluating the people who found the bat in the salad. In this circumstance, the risk of rabies transmission is considered to be very low, but because it isn’t zero, the two people who ate salad from the package that contained the bat were recommended to begin post-exposure rabies treatment. Both people report being in good health and neither has any signs of rabies. CDC is not aware of any other reports of bat material found in packaged salads.

On April 8, 2017, Fresh Express issued a recall of a limited number of cases of Organic Marketside Spring Mix. The salads were sold in a clear container with production code G089B19 and best-if-used-by date of APR 14, 2017 located on the front label. The recalled salads were distributed only to Walmart stores located in the Southeastern region of the United States. All remaining packages of salad from the same lot have been removed from all store locations where the salad was sold.

The company said in a statement it worked quickly with officials to remove the entire batch of salads from store shelves, and only one line of its products had been affected.

“Fresh Express takes matters of food safety very seriously and rigorously complies with all food safety regulations including the proscribed Good Agricultural Practices.”

Maybe install bat filters as the lettuce goes through a wash?

KState changes handwashing recommendations

Twelve years after Chapman and I set out for Prince George, B.C., where Chapman announced his fears of both bears and jello-swim nights at the local college, and then went to Kansas State University, where I met a girl (who’s still my best friend and wife), where I got sexually advanced upon in an unpleasant manner by a professor dude, where I had lunch with the president, got a job offer, and enjoyed a great career, my former boss sent me this:

KState has changed its handwashing recommendations.

They disconnected the blow dryers in those groovy all-in-one handwashing units.

One reason I was offered the job is because I took the prez to the bathroom and showed him how shitty their handwashing recommendations were.

But that story is old.

No one should be recreating their past glory days (and if I ever quote a Bruce Springsteen song again, put me out of my misery).

Change does sometimes happen: usually not as fast as any of us would like.

She podcasts too: Mapping Layers of Colonial Memory into Contemporary Visual Art

From January to May 2016, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (known as MuCEM) in Marseille, France hosted an exhibition called “Made in Algeria: Genealogy of a Territory”. The exhibit proclaimed to be the first large-scale exposition on the Algerian territory and gathered cartographic depictions of Algeria from the earliest European encounters in the fifteenth century to twenty-first century images of an independent culture still bearing colonial remnants, with a goal to show “this long and unique process which was the impossible conquest of Algeria” (MuCEM 3).

The most recent pieces, notably by artists Zineb Sedira who was born to Algerian parents in France, and Katia Kameli who has a French mother and Algerian father, show layering of colonial memory into contemporary images of the Algerian people and landscape. The exhibit, which in title wants to show the origins of the Algerian territory, is created primarily in France, for a French audience, and is built upon French imagination. By assessing the lines, grids and other marks that are still visibly mapped onto Algeria in the exhibit, this paper explores how what is in name “Made in Algeria” remains heavily marked by France.

She’s the smart one: Amy’s book review in Europe Now Journal

Vertriebene and Pieds-Noirs in Postwar Germany and France: Comparative perspectives

4.april.17

Europe Now Journal

As Europe continues to face the largest wave of refugees pouring into its borders since World War II, past influxes of migrants across the continent offer important lessons about national identity and integration. With Germany receiving the vast majority of refugees, and France ranked in the top three destinations, Vertriebene and Pieds-Noirs in Postwar Germany and France is particularly timely. The goal of this book is to compare how the estimated 12 million expellees from Germany’s European Empire were reintegrated within Germany’s shrunken borders after World War II, and how France’s nearly 1 million colonial citizens of Algeria were received in France after Algerian Independence was recognized in 1962. Both the expellees and the Pieds-Noirs were full-fledged citizens who had been fulfilling a national duty for their motherland in its outlying territories. However, when the borders shifted with the fall of the German Empire, and Algeria became independent from France, notions of colonial grandeur waned and died. How the motherland dealt with these living reminders of a failed mission had to fit carefully within the myths of the nation, both present and past. For Germany, this was complicated by the two Germanies, East and West. Where expellees decided to resettle impacted directly on how they would be reintegrated. France, trying to hush up its colonial failures, wilfully silenced the war story, leaving the Pieds-Noirs struggling to share their experience as they banded together in a newly homogenised community. Some quietly integrated, but many today still proudly strive to keep their memories of Algeria alive. Both Vertriebene and Pieds-Noirs have negotiated national ideas of victimization and forgetting, silencing, integrating, and assimilating back into their so-called homeland.

The two populations shared various challenges, one being that unlike “repatriates,” many had never before set foot in the homeland, and some spoke different languages altogether (Polish, for example among the expellees or Spanish for many Pieds-Noirs). For the Pieds-Noirs who had been implanted in the settler-colony of Algeria for more than 130 years, they were distinct from the French because of their diverse heritages (Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Jewish and even German communities existed in colonial Algeria, all made citizens of France) and their specific cultural backgrounds. The expellees, running counter to this ethnic diversity, were part of a program meant to create homogenous communities abroad. Nonetheless, when “returned” to the motherland, it was not immediately obvious how to integrate these representatives of unsuccessful expansion.

In Vertriebene and Pieds-Noirs, the editors Manuel Borutta and Jan C. Jansen draw useful comparisons between the German expellees post World War II (Vertriebene) and the former French citizens of Algeria who repatriated to France in 1962. The book’s pretext is compelling: these two groups carried a similar amount of stigma related to lost territories during eras of expansion; the two groups represent a large postcolonial diaspora that have not often been addressed because of the sense of “homecoming” involved in their returns to Germany and France respectively. Pieds-Noirs and Vertriebene, in many instances, had to quickly take what they could and flee to the motherland. The trauma of this exile was not easily mitigated because it was often not addressed. With losses pinned to their identities and unfavorable political sins enmeshed in their existence, both groups (responsible or not for these sins) went through difficult integration into the motherland even when support was offered.

The editors have gathered research from the most prominent scholars in their fields: Jansen, Savarèse, Shepard, Baussant and Eldridge, have long been studying the Pieds-Noirs and the memory of the Algerian War, and are each suited to provide authoritative commentary. Likewise, Baranowski, Bösch, François, and Troebst are highly regarded scholars in German studies. Borutta and Jansen have equally established a clear and pedagogically sound structure for their book by pairing studies focused on Germany and France on roughly the same topics: nation-building after the empire, repatriation and integration, community organization and identity, commemorative practices, and politics, and remembrance. Each of the six parts of the book builds on the previous section, which manages to bring even the uninformed reader up to level through the progression of articles. The book represents a vast array of topics ranging from culturally specific Vertriebene culinary practices to Pied-Noir pilgrimages in France, from economic plans for resettlement and reintegration to the place of memory in each community.

Each of the articles are supremely researched, compelling, and enjoyable to read. I read from the position of knowing a lot about the Pieds-Noirs but almost nothing about the Vertriebene. Articles on both topics are clear and engaging for the newcomer and expert alike. For example, the first chapter, “Legacies of Lebenstraum: German Identity and Multi-Ethnicity” by Shelley Baranowski, clearly situates the Vertriebene within German histories of migration and follows them through the histories of both East and West Germany (and the flux between the two) as well as post-unification. This is an eloquent article that is delightful to read. The paired chapter by Todd Shepard, “The Birth of the Hexagon,” offers thoughtful insight on the position of the Pieds-Noirs across history (and their near disappearance in seminal works like Pierre Nora’s Les Lieux de mémoire) and how the community has been positioned in broader notions of French national identity. The conclusion of the book written by Etienne François relates the memories of exile on a personal level. François recounts his family’s unique position of being attached to both Algeria and Germany before the fall of the empires. He sensitively compares the similarities and differences as well as the impact of exile and the traumatic context of departure, on these two communities.

This book provides a rich comparative study, the first of its kind, and certainly the first in English (featuring four French articles that were superbly translated by John Tittensor) to address two lesser known populations of migrants who had and continue to have an important role in the national identities of France and Germany. Specialists in migration studies, diaspora and memory studies, as well as the unversed in the history of the Pieds-Noirs and Vertriebene, will find this book useful. It is clearly and cogently written so that both scholars and general readers will gain insight from the texts and perhaps also better understand the complexities and suffering associated with exile and integration even for those who are said to be coming home.

 

Show me the data: butter at room temperature edition

I like butter on my bagels. So does Jan Polanik. According to the New York Times, he filed a pair of class-action lawsuits after paying a quarter for butter every time he ordered bagels over a four year period, but was given margarine without being told.

Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners settled the suits, but not until after using food safety as a defense.

In 2013, a Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman, Lindsay Harrington, offered an explanation for why a vegetable spread might be used.

“For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry,” she told The Boston Globe. The recommended procedure in the store, she said, was for individual whipped butter packets to be served on the side of a bagel or pastry, but not applied. “The vegetable spread is generally used if the employee applies the topping,” she said.

I’m not sure what the food safety reasons are since the salted version (over 1.5%) of oil-in-water emulsion doesn’t support the growth of foodborne pathogens or staph toxin formation -and remains safe at room temperature when the power goes out.  Stuff will persist, including Listeria, but temperature control isn’t a factor. It’s a quality thing.

Blame ‘bad souvlaki’ GPA data to catch Sydney taxi drivers using laneway as a toilet

Who says the space program hasn’t led to great inventions: Tang, Teflon, and GPS to track down taxi drivers in a public poo pandemic that’s leaving a group of business owners flushed with anger.

Shop owners on Hercules St, Ashfield in Sydney’s inner-west say discovering human feces in the laneway behind their businesses has become “a daily occurrence” along with the nauseating task of cleaning-up the offerings.

The situation has become so bad real estate agent Tim Simpson is considering relocating the business he’s run in the suburb for 40 years.

He said the final straw was catching a taxi driver “in the act” last weekend.

“I understand drivers are expected to work 24/7 but surely there’s better options than this,” he said.

“We’re the ones who are having to clean it up. It’s like living in the Third World.”

National taxi firm 13 CABS is investigating the claims by matching complaints against data from GPS devices fitted in taxis.

Head of client services Simon Purssey said he was “shocked and horrified” to hear the reports.

“I understand ‘when a man’s gotta go, a man’s gotta go’ but if you’ve eaten a bad souvlaki and all of a sudden have to pull over you don’t do it in someone’s property,” he said.

And I thought Australia had great access to public shit depositories, compared to the rest of the world.

 

Heston still don’t know food safety, and Aust. viewers thought he was on acid

In late February 2009, complaints from customers who suffered vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms began pouring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant, the Fat Duck.

A report by the UK Health Protection Agency concluded that 529 patrons paying a ridiculous amount of money for food-porn styled dishes were sickened with Norovirus – this at a restaurant that only seats 40 patrons per night — introduced through contaminated shellfish, including oysters that were served raw and razor clams that may not have been appropriately handled or cooked.

Investigators identified several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant that may have contributed to ongoing transmission including: delayed response to the incident, the use of inappropriate environmental cleaning products, and staff working when ill. Up to 16 of the restaurant’s food handlers were reportedly working with Norovirus symptoms before it was voluntarily closed

Last night, Heston appeared on Australian current affairs program, The Project, and left hosts and viewers scratching their heads.

Appearing on the show to promote the announcement of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Blumenthal was asked a simple question by Waleed Aly but gave the world’s most confusing answer, with some viewers joking he might have been on “acid.”

“What is it that makes a great restaurant?” Aly asked.

“This might seem a little tangential,” Blumenthal replied, which turned out to be the understatement of the year.

“Human beings became the most powerful species on the planet because through being able to imagine things that don’t exist we created shared beliefs. So all the things that happened after humans: religion, money, language, cultures, social media, fairy tales, they are very human being.

“The reason that happened was the brain trebled in size for lots of reasons but primarily through eating cooked food. It broke the food down and our gut changed and this [touches head] is on top of our body to protect, because this [touches neck] is where the next generation are prepared for life.”

Blumenthal’s answer was met with blank stares from The Project panelists, but the celebrity chef pushed on.

“And so the thing, we should be called omnivores or herbivores, we’re coctivores … we are interdependent beings,” he said.

“We’ve been able to work collectively in numbers larger than any other creature and our efficiency in group learning has become quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker. We don’t have to climb a mountain to get water every day, we don’t have to kill an animal to the death to feed our children.”

The Project’s resident smarty pants, Waleed Aly, interjected and said, “That explains why we like restaurants, but how do we tell the good ones from the bad ones?”

And Blumenthal was off again.
“We have two universes,” he said.

“We have our internal universe, our human being and we have our human doing. We have our feelings and our emotions and then we have getting on in life … The problem that’s happening is we are confusing the two things. We are thinking that our happiness is going to be developed by a numerical system … thank god we have because that’s what’s got us to where we’ve got to.

(Hang in there, it’s almost over)

“There’s a palliative care nurse that wrote a piece in The Guardian last year, the most common things, regrets people had while they were passing away and it was they wished they lived a life true to themselves,” Blumenthal said.

“If every human being had an ambition not to have that feeling, and that’s because our new brain that came from eating cooked food … starts to fade and then our raw emotion comes through and we realise, actually, this is about emotion. Food is about emotion.”

Food is also about sustenance, enjoyment, socializing, and not making one barf.

Heston is a master of both food and words to make one barf.