North Korea’s Bratty Emperor

Maybe you haven’t heard, or read anything about North Korea lately. You know, that militarily despotic country that has oppressed its people since the 70’s? The one that was made fun of (brilliantly I might add)  in the movie America: World Police, we had M.A.S.H. on TV about (for longer than the actual police action) and recently had its dictator die and hand power over to his bratty and despotic progeny? If you have not, try reading this recent article, http://www.asianewsnet.net/N-Korea-seeks-nuclear-power-status-43303.html and here is my take on the recent developments. While I take a sarcastic tone, please understand, the talking points i bring up are quite real, and I keep it light to offset the gravity of the situation. This is a country that would starve its people in order to gain nuclear capability. That is a terrible misuse of scientific resources and intellectual resources. the scientists that make it out of there are fortunate, and the people that stay to try to make it better face the threat of torture, imprisonment, and death, just to help their people. The courage of those people, and the common people that keep the country together should not be ignored by China, Russia, or the world. THIS is what the U.N. was made for. Kim Jong Un… your 15 minutes are ticking away quickly sir.

So, a country that has a food shortage of 800,000 TONS, and 500,000 TONS of crude oil, spends its money and talent on nuclear capability? And not only that, it then wants to use that to leverage its ONLY friendly trade partner? Y’know, sometimes, some kids, just need to get spanked. Hit them while they haven’t weaponized their ballistic missles yet. We have sizeable drones, hey China, wanna borrow some of our cool remote-controlled toys? We have been keeping Pakistan down so they can’t keep trading nuclear parts to N. Korea, or do ya just wanna roll tanks and planes into their backyard and destroy their sandbox? Either way, they don’t have the nuclear capability yet, and if they use nuclear, the collateral damage of glassing the capital where the bratty kid (Kim Jong Un) hides out, is worth the security and peace to the rest of the world. The lesser of 2 evils, sometimes is the greater of 2 goods. This is an easier strategy than Iraq, or Pakistan. The people in N. Korea are not motivated for fighting, they need food. Between a massive humanitarian effort to relieve them of their hunger, a military effort to depose the jackass in power, and a worldwide effort (Read mostly China, and hopefully Europe, since they have the wind and other green-tech on ready, and we should be working with S. America) to provide simple,  efficient, and sustainable power, farming methods, and waste disposal. N. Korea can maintain its alliance with China, and Russia could even get in on it by becoming a major source of raw material trade, and a close source of foodstuffs from N. Korea. Between the lift of trade sanctions, the tying up of foreign capital in the local areas, and freeing the United States from military costs and deployment, as well as strengthening our ties to our hemisphere, a conglomeration from the U.N. defense council could ensure and secure a greater peace in the region, and the world. Please, if there is to be military expenditures and deployments, and the U.N. is to convene, let this be an issue, the U.N. security council is made up of every country that stands to benefit, and has the philosophical reasoning to justify, stopping this madness. Screw the oil places, stop the nuclear proliferation into the hands of madness.

Your little Dose of Andrew…

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“Natural” Flavor

“Natural Flavor”, the name itself conjures up something nice, yet most people wont even be able to imagine what it is exactly. After all, when you read or hear the name, what do you think of? Do you think of actual fruits, vegetables and animals? How often have you stopped, and actually tried to imagine what these “natural flavors” are? If you are a cook, you may think of something like a reduction, where you boil, simmer, or otherwise “reduce” (gotta love real science for explanatory nomenclature) something. Like beef bouillon, or a fruit sauce. These are what I would consider natural flavors to be. If I am making a small dessert, or perhaps a syrup, then boiling down my  raspberries into a concentrated sauce, and adding just a few more, is what I would do for enhanced flavor. a couple of raspberries (or other fruit, vegetable, or animal constituent) may not have the flavor balance that my recipe is calling for, but a small amount of reduction would add enough to compensate. This is not what most “Natural Flavors” are. Check out the business end of Flavors, here is a wonderfully indicative website, that sells these things, notice the “Organic” section, and the limited list there. http://www.flavor.com/ and for some contrast, http://www.naturesflavors.com/ and yes, I am a fan of Ed Begley, as well as Bill Nye.

The legal and regulatory definition of “Natural Flavors and Flavorings” as per our governmental regulatory bodies is as follows: from Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations

The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

“…whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.” Not ONLY function,  not nutritional, just the vague term “significant function”, which allows quite a bit of leeway. There is no mention of addictive qualities, no mention of avoiding nasty side-effects, just significant. It even specifies that it must not have nutritional value as its significant function. This is under the auspices of brand differentiation, or maintaining original formulas. But I ask, “Exactly how many different kinds of raspberry go into ‘raspberry flavor’?” I mean, I get the amounts being a secret, but then why is the ingredients to such a thing secret? I have NEVER seen a blue raspberry in my life. I am not the only one who wonders this type of question, I am certain of that. If you wonder these things as well, I suggest you start at this website http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/what-is-natural-flavor.html , after you have looked at the others, it may just change your mind, and change your life. Once you realize you may be eating crushed bugs, bug extract, and the glands of beavers (or be smelling them in perfumes) you may just change your diet, or at least start trying out a community garden, to grow your own, which is always a good thing. And in the end, learn to cook, if you cant grow your own, at least cook your own, then you will always know what goes into your food.

Girl Fighting

Girl fights. That wonderfully taboo event that has guys all over watching in awe. Scantily clad women rolling around, beating each other to a pulp has many of us men drooling. And I must admit I am one of them,  but for different-than-average reasons. I absolutely love the courage, and drive, the sport gives to women. It shows that toughness and grit are not exclusive of beauty (http://thecagedoctors.com/2009/11/the-11-hottest-mma-fighters/). There are many examples of beautiful women who have been through a lot of things, and continue on (http://www.missreece.com for 1 example) and i wish to take nothing away from them, not everyone is going to knock someone’s block off. but think of all the women out there, the young girls, the wayward youth, the young hotties selling themselves, the older hotties who haven’t got past being hot, despite their many virtues.

The amount of violence against women (http://www.onebillionrising.org, http://www.silentnomoreawareness.com) and all of the other websites and organizations dedicated to helping women who have been assaulted, not to mention just beat down mentally. Yet, here we are, the 21st century, no flying cars (yet! http://www.examiner.com/article/flying-cars-fast-becoming-a-feasible-reality) and we still have women being hurt because of beauty, (acid splashing) jealousy and low self-esteem (physical assault, verbal and psychological abuse) and then the images of beauty that are pervasive in our culture to the point where many women falsely believe that they must look a certain way to get guys to like them. It is overwhelming to many, especially if they do not have other positive messages to balance out what all these other messages tell them. Yet, here is a championship fight between 2 beautiful women, who have the skills to kick most guy’s ass. Not to mention a few better than average guys’ asses. and they have poise. In a world that is slowly showing more and more women that are truly good role models, I applaud Dana White for FINALLY getting a good women’s act together, better late than never, and given the UFC’s track record of promotion, I hope they can, and will, keep the hype relatively clean.

There are many women beginning to show the younger generation what it means to be a successful woman, from journalism, to the sciences (a personal fave of mine, I have a degree in physics, and science girls were few and far between when I first got into it, today’s geeks have it way better) but with the advent of internet and digital marketing, the “Boy’s Club” has fallen quite a ways now. In fact, more than ever, beautiful, savvy, strong, independent women are able to make a career, and independent life, for themselves in greater numbers, and in a more constructive way, than ever before. I appreciate the strides that have happened, but even the girls today need to realize, they are more than pinups, they need to show their full and true beauty, because a well-rounded woman, with intellect, curiosity, aspirations, and imagination will be beautiful for the rest of her life, not just for as long as she fits in a swimsuit. Or lingerie. Or nothing at all. I will not be able to honestly say I am above liking a beautiful woman in such clothing, or lack thereof, but I have said in the past something I still believe, I can go to a museum, appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the art, and not need to take any off the walls and bring them with me, especially if I already have my own masterpiece at home. however, if I have a daughter, I want to make sure that women, whether in MMA, online publishing, talk shows, hip-hop, science, technology, or any other fields, are given their moment in the spotlight to show that it isn’t just a man’s world, it is also someone else’s, it is the answer to the question, “Who runs the world?…”

That is my latest thoughts on girl fights, and i for one, am not ashamed to say, I can’t wait to see and read about which girl beat the other up. Whatever the outcome, women and girls everywhere win this fight.

Endosymbiosis

I recently read this article http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33711/title/Steal-My-Sunshine/ and I really began to notice a very distinct reference to an aspect of evolution, something I believe in, that is rarely mentioned.  That is the absorption of other symbiotic organisms in what is termed endosymbiosis. Effectively, this means that one organism absorbed another, but instead of digesting it, the 2 organisms merged, and symbiotic life as we know it began. This is in contrast to what most people think of as evolution. The simple explanation usually given is one of random mutations and such, and while this type can fall under this broad umbrella, it is different than just survival of the fittest, it is mutual survival of the fittest. A concept that is often lost in modern explanations. Some of these algae and other single-celled organisms stay fairly autonomous and functioning, as in a coral. Yet there are some that lose their innate photosynthetic ability, and their metabolic abilities become more useful to the host organism. This strikes me as somewhat akin to sexual symbiosis, and could have a profound effect on the historical,  and statistical nature of evolution. It is like having a virus that a human becomes symbiotic with, or a fungus, and then have that organisms functions develop along with “normal” evolution. It is a huge set of genetic “leap” possibilities that punctuates an otherwise smooth and random evolution. I found this article both informative, and thought provoking. I am happy to have learned something, and I hope everyone who reads this does too.