Let Them Eat (genetically engineered) Cake

About the food industry, not in a nice way

Archive for February, 2010

greg’s monsters

Posted by jeanne on February 25, 2010

this is a transcript of someone i know in a text conversation with someone else i know, late at night.  B is the person driving and texting back incredulously.  G is the person who is seeing monsters.  G is evidently communicating from within an ambien-induced sleep-texting episode.  G has been known to sleep-program (he’s a computer programming genius), sleep-eat, and sleep-converse with his daughter at some length, giving the impression of being awake, but saying and doing strange things, and having no recall later.  we believe this is caused by a combination of paxil during the day, and ambien at night.   both are reported to cause sleepwalking, and ambien is real good at vivid dreams and amnesia.

B got a text from G at twenty to one in the morning, while B was driving.

G: 12:40  there is some kind of monster on the loose…hiding in the basement

B: 12:41  ak-47 time

G: 12:42  it’s coming…i hear it roaring.  i can smell the flames!

B: 12:43  jump

G: 12:44  it’s calling my name!  did you tell it where to find me?

B: 12:45  what

G: 12:45  it says it wants my linux box with telephone support

B: 12:45  did u take your meds?

G: 12:45  the dog isn’t barking.  she must be in on it.  (pixie a miniature schnauzer with a bark that can shatter crystal)

B: 12:46  are u awake

G: 12:47  i’m supposed to be in bed but the scraping noises from its tail woke me up.

B: 12:47  go outside.

G: 12:48  maybe, i’m in the basement so i had to be awake to get here.  why am i naked?

G: 12:49  it’s very loud.  maybe the police will come.

B: 12:49  it saw you naked and ran.

B went home and transcribed his text message exchange with G, and had this comment:

“i have been driving this whole time, that’s why my texts are so short.  but coming into traffic, i just called him.  he answered and said, ‘what am i doing in the basement?’  short call and he went back to bed.”

G now claims that he was wide awake the whole time and just fooling with B, but nobody who knows him believes this.  he went on to sleepwalk down the stairs a few weeks later, and broke his neck when the stairs weren’t there in his dream.  i hope he sues.

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let’s criminalize recorded political phone calls

Posted by jeanne on February 9, 2010

i want to know why we can’t make all those awful pre-recorded political calls illegal.  opt-in.  at the moment there’s nothing we can do to avoid those calls except go totally cellular.  and that’s not good enough.

Labour’s Vera Duckworth phone calls broke privacy rules

The Labour Party broke privacy rules by making automated phone calls to nearly 500,000 people without their consent, the information watchdog has ruled.

In 2007 it was told not to use a recorded message by actress Liz Dawn, best known as Coronation Street battleaxe Vera Duckworth.

But more complaints were made in 2009 – an enforcement notice has been served on the party to stop the calls.

Labour said it would examine the ruling and always tried to meet guidelines.

The commissioner’s office said Labour had breached privacy and electronic communication regulations that ban automated direct marketing calls to anyone who has not consented to receive them.


Labour has 28 days to appeal – failing to comply with an enforcement notice could lead to a prosecution.

The party is not the first to fall foul of the rules on automated phone calls – nicknamed “robocalls” in the United States.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party (SNP) have all had similar notices served.

The SNP, which had been criticised over its own automated calls using the voice of Sir Sean Connery, made one of the complaints against Labour in 2009.

Labour – having been warned in 2007 that calls featuring Liz Dawn’s voice amounted to direct marketing – went on to make automated calls featuring her voice in 2009.

Advice sought

The calls were made to about 495,000 people in areas with strong Labour support, urging them to vote in local and European elections.

Deputy information commissioner David Smith said all the major parties had been told that any promotion counted as direct marketing.

He added: “The fact that the calls were targeted at what were believed to be Labour-supporting areas confirmed our view that they were designed to promote the Labour Party’s electoral cause by encouraging Labour supporters to vote.”

The Labour Party said it had considered advice from the information commissioner’s office before making the calls and had believed it had abided by it.

A spokesman said: “We will now examine this decision in detail. The Labour Party has always sought to abide by the Information Commission guidelines and will continue to do so in the future.”

But the SNP complained that it had taken the information watchdog too long to act.

It said the Conservatives, SNP and Lib Dems had faced immediate enforcement notices but the watchdog appeared to have “relied on a promise of good behaviour” from Labour in 2007.

Joe Fitzpatrick, the MSP who lodged a complaint in 2009, said: “Labour have been the subject of repeated complaints over their inappropriate use of telephone calls during election campaigns but it seems where other parties have faced the law Labour have been allowed to get away with it.”

Liz Dawn, a longstanding Labour Party supporter, left Coronation Street in 2008 after 34 years of playing Vera Duckworth, one of the ITV1 soap opera’s most popular characters.

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they say this every time

Posted by jeanne on February 5, 2010

Airport scanner radiation risk low, agencies say

VIENNA (Reuters) – New full-body airport security scanners using X-rays generate much lower doses than normal background radiation, a draft report compiled by international agencies says.

Such devices, which cost about 10 times as much as conventional airport scanners, are likely to go into much wider use since a Nigerian man with explosives hidden undetected in his underwear boarded a U.S. airplane heading to Detroit on December 25.

While normal annual background radiation per person runs to about 3,000 microsieverts — a unit used to measure radiation exposure — the body scan delivers 0.1 to 5 microsevierts, the report, compiled by a group of international bodies including the European Commission and the U.N. nuclear agency said.

“This (risk) is very small,” Renate Czarwinski, head of radiation safety and monitoring at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, told Reuters Friday.

“Every application of X-ray systems should be justified…you have to weigh the benefits and the probable harm. The benefit, for security, is very high,” she said.

There are two types of full-body scanner — one which uses high frequency radio waves and one using X-rays — and only the latter machine would expose passengers to the ionizing radiation such as that used in medical X-rays, Czarwinski said.

Although the dosages are small, the inter-agency report said exposures should be carefully monitored.

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