Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food and Other Products Recall

Lots of food, vehicle, and other recalls:

Apr 29---Tim Hortons customers warned of Hep A EXPOSURE---Ontario
Apr 29---Lion Pavilion recalls Hot-Pot Seasoning PRODUCTS
Apr 29---Joe Brown’s issues allergy alert on Carmel/Cheese CORN
Apr 29---Target issues allergy alert on Archer Farms Salad & Pasta SEASONING
Apr 29---Personal Care Products recalls Non-Acetone Nail Polish REMOVER
Apr 29---Under Armour recalls Athletic CUPS
Apr 29---Universalink International Trading recalls Special/Narita HAIR DRYERS
Apr 29---HMI Industries recalls Filterqueen Majestic 360 FLOOR CLEANERS
Apr 29---DND Imports recalls Dinosaur PLAY SETS
Apr 29---Norwex recalls Silver Care TOOTHBRUSHES/ REFILLS---Canada
Apr 29---Asda recalls 'Travels' Universal Worldwide Travel ADAPTORS---U.K.
Apr 29---Canon recalls PowerShot G10 CAMERAS---France
Apr 29---Terex Telelect recalls TLM AERIAL DEVICES
Apr 29---Gulf Stream recalls 2009 Prairie Schooner Fifth Wheel TRAILERS
Apr 29---Crossroads RV recalls 2009 Cross Terrain Travel TRAILERS
Apr 29---KTM recalls 2009 Duke/Smc MOTORCYCLES
Apr 29---Nabi recalls Several 2003-2007 Transit BUSES
Apr 29---Jonway recalls 2008 YY150T-12/YY50QT-21A/Sunny SCOOTERS
Apr 29---Hyundai/Kia recall Several 2006-2007 VEHICLES
Apr 29---Daimler recalls Several 2001-2007 CONDOR TRUCKS
Apr 29---Nature & Health Co. recalls LIBIMAX Dietary Supplement
Apr 29---Pfizer recalls CALAN Verapamil Hydrochloride TABLETS
Apr 29---MHRA recalls ALL Bioprosthetic HEART VALVES---U.K.
Apr 29---DH recalls Non-English SLIMMING PRODUCT---Hong Kong
Apr 29---Smiths Medical recalls Surgivet Advisor Vital Signs MONITOR---Veterinary/Int.
Apr 29---Cyberonics recalls VNS Therapy Demipulse GENERATORS---Int.
Apr 29---DiaDexus Inc. recalls Plac Test Calibrator KITS---Int.
Apr 29---Abbott Lab. recalls Several AxSym REAGENT PACKS---Int.
Apr 29---Abbott Lab. recalls Hematology Reagent SYRINGES---Int.
Apr 29---Berchtold Corp. recalls Operon Electrical Operating Room TABLES---Int.
Apr 29---Pointe Scientific recalls Liquid Auto HDL Cholesterol REAGENT SETS---Int.

Stay safe, friends!

Do Only Swine Catch Swine Flu?

Pigs confined in gestation cages. (Photo: Farm Sanctuary on Flickr)

The bad news is that swine flu does not attack only the human porcine; but, will infect anyone – the good news is that the outbreak is not as severe as the media would have us believe. (Follow the spread of swine flu here.)

However, this does not mean that we should take this pandemic seriously. Swine flu can be more severe than your garden-variety flu. Apparently, it can manifest itself with a range of symptoms from mild to very severe.

The root of swine flu has yet to be confirmed, but theories abound. The Wall Street Journal has this to say: the swine flu that has:
sickened hundreds more is still a mystery contagion. But this much is known: The virus is unusually made up of genetic material from avian, pig and human viruses; it can transmit from person to person; and in many people, it only triggers mild symptoms seen in garden-variety influenza.

The finger is being pointed at several questionable agribusiness practices – namely “confined animal feeding operations” and the overuse of antibiotics in the pork industry.

The overuse of antibiotics has long been blamed for creating “superbugs” that not only are of superior virulence; they are now antibiotic-resistant. These bacterial "superbugs" include:

...methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, pronounced “mersa”), campylobacter, drug-resistant E. coli and salmonella. Though MRSA has cropped up in hospitals since the 1990s, there have been more recent strains cropping up in on hog-farming operations.

Nicholas Kristof’s insightful New York Times column cites these alarming statistics:
- A small Dutch study found Dutch pig farmers to be 760 times more likely to carry MRSA, without necessarily showing symptoms. Scientific American reports that this MRSA strain was also found in 12 percent of Dutch retail pork samples.
- This same strain of MRSA has also been found in the United States: according to a new study by University of Iowa epidemiologist Tara Smith, 45 percent of pig farmers and 49 percent of the hogs tested carried MRSA.
- other research by Peter Davies of the University of Minnesota found that 25 percent to 39 percent of American hogs carry MRSA.

Many scientists have long suspected that the link between the antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the meat industry are the antibiotics that are being pumped into these animals to allow chronic overcrowding and poor care to continue. They have even gone so far as to speculate that these massive pig farming businesses could become incubators for super-pathogens that are able to quickly spread becoming a dreaded pandemic.

According to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70% of all antibiotics used in the US are going to healthy livestock; while, a 2008 peer-reviewed study by the Medical Clinics of North America concluded that antibiotics in livestock feed were “a major component” in the rise in antibiotic resistance.

“We don’t give antibiotics to healthy humans,” says Robert Martin, who led a Pew Commission investigating antibiotic use on industrial farms. “So why give them to healthy animals just so we can keep them in crowded and unsanitary conditions?”

Governments everywhere need to make stricter, more stringent guidelines coupled with adequate penalties for not maintaining the minimum standards necessary for the humane care, housing, treatment and health of our livestock. Maybe this outbreak of the swine flu will open eyes everywhere to the changes that must be made to agribusiness to keep us all safe.

After all, if we can’t trust one of our food sources, we have a bigger problem that the swine flu.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Use for Sea Shells

Photo: Flickr, CC

Many developing countries, such as Vietnam are plagued by poor water quality. Millions of people suffer from illness and/or death because they lack access to clean drinking water. Local companies are unable to afford the expensive treatment facilities and techniques needed to cleanse wastewater; so, the water re-enters the groundwater supply contaminated. And the cycle continues and worsens.

All this may change now due to a previously overlooked resource.

On the banks of the Saigon River in Vietnam, researchers have just completed tests on a new way to combat water pollution that could save millions of lives in coastal cities throughout the developing world.

The exciting news about this is that there nothing hi-tech to the materials at all. The materials used are plentiful, totally natural, totally organic, cheap and readily available – the humble seashell.

The factories of Ho Chi Minh City (one of the most polluted environments in the world) was the site Stephan Kohler of the Graz University of Technology (Austria) and a team of researchers cleansed water of such toxic heavy metals as cadmium, zinc, lead and iron using only seashells.

From Discovery News:
Kohler's team has found that pouring metal and acid-laden water over a bed of crushed clam or mussel shells provides an easy fix. The shells are made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate (CACO3) that readily swaps out its calcium atoms in favor of heavy metals, locking them into a solid form. The shells are naturally basic, too -- when dissolved they have a pH of 8.3. [...]

The team's technique stems from work in 2003 by Manuel Prieto of Oviedo University in Spain, who first showed that shells effectively remove cadmium from water.

"The idea of using aragonite shells arose because abiogenic aragonite is not an extremely abundant mineral," Prieto wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Moreover, in the North of Spain we have a very important seafood canning industry (cockles, mussels, clams, etc.) and shells are the most important wastes of that industry."

The team’s work proves that not only can seashells be used to treat normal wastewater; but, it can also be used to cleanse real-life factory wastewater.

While developed countries can afford more sophisticated filtration system; and, probably will not convert to using seashells; developing countries (particularly coastal communities) will be able to greatly increase the quality of their public drinking water using this technique.

Food and Other Products Recall

Quite a few food items:

Apr 28---Battenkill Valley Creamery issues allergy alert on Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ICE CREAM
Apr 28---Piller Sausages and Delicatessens recalls Smoked HAM/ TURKEY BACON---Canada
Apr 28---Austinuts Wholesale recalls PISTACHIO Kernels/Nut MIXES
Apr 28---Setton clarifies product and identification codes of recalled PISTACHIO Products
Apr 28---Food Trac recalls Lar Frozen Cooked DICED CHICKEN---U.K.
Apr 28---Jolly Good Food issues allergy alert on Several ORGANUC PRODUCTS---U.K.
Apr 28---Sainsbury's issues allergy alert on Strawberry PENCILS---U.K.
Apr 28---Baby Gap recalls Duffle/Toggle COATS---U.K.
Apr 28---Advanced Carbon Composites recalls EXT-300 Motorcycle HELMETS
Apr 28---Trimark recalls Emergency Vehicle DOOR LATCHES
Apr 28---Tyco Healthcare/ Covidien recall Paediatric Tracheostomy TUBES---U.K.
Apr 28---Pfizer recalls Lignocaine HCl INJECTION---Hong Kong

Stay safe, friends!

Food and Other Products Recall

Another mixed bag:

Apr 27---Update---Raw Alfalfa Sprouts Linked to Salmonella Contamination
Apr 27---Paramount Fitness recalls Leg Curl FITNESS MACHINES
Apr 27---The Bargain Shop recalls NOVELTY WATCHES w/Butterfly Charms---Canada
Apr 27---Blu expands 2008 Children's SLEEPWEAR recall---Canada
Apr 27---Health Canada expands Bambino Reale CRIB Advisory---Canada
Apr 27---Hoffmann-La Roche issues safety information regarding HERCEPTIN (trastuzumab) Medication---Canada
Apr 27---ConMed recalls Disposable Singular Polypectomy SNARES---U.K.
Apr 27---Advice on safe use of Bench-Top Steam STERILIZERS---U.K.

Stay safe, friends!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vancouver First Frog-Friendly City

This Save the Frogs! Day froggy update from Dr. Kerry Kriger, SAVE THE FROGS! Nonprofit Organization, Founder, Executive Director & Chief Ecologist
I am happy to announce that Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver, British Columbia has officially proclaimed April 28, 2009 as Save The Frogs Day in Vancouver. SAVE THE FROGS! would like to declare Vancouver, BC as Canada's "First Frog-Friendly City".

We now have a county as well: Chairman Corey Stewart has officially proclaimed April 28, 2009 as Save The Frogs Day in Prince William County, VA.

So that’s the City of Vancouver, the County of Prince William and the State of Virginia that have recognized Save The Frogs Day in their respective localities. In 2010, we need YOUR city, YOUR county, YOUR state. I’ll be working on the countries…

Happy Save The Frogs Day!

As you may or may not know, Surrey is a suburb of Vancouver, BC; so, I am pleased to be part of Canada's First Frog-Friendly City.

Save The Frogs Day

Image courtesy of

This from the Save The Frogs website, is part of their introduction:
In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, the scientific community has declared April 28th, 2009 the 1st Annual 'Save The Frogs Day'. On this day we encourage the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life.

Please get involved and help spread the word! Remember that only a small proportion of our public is aware that frogs are disappearing, and that amphibian conservation efforts will not be successful until amphibian declines are common knowledge: think of how long it has taken for any political action on global warming to occur! Politicians rarely act until the public demands action. Our goal is to make the amphibian extinction crisis common knowledge by 2010: help make it happen!

The website opens with the most wonderful chorus of frogs singing in the background. I haven't heard frogs like that since I was a little girl. In just 40 odd years, my neighbourhood (the same one I was in as a child) went from sounding like the rainforest we were to the concrete jungle we are now.

If you love frogs, you will adore this website. It has frog photos, cool frog facts, frog gifts, a frog newsletter and more.

Hop on over, friends and remember to think all things "frog" today!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Food and Other Products Recall

A slow two days for recalls:

Apr 26---Mucci’s Food Products recalls Mama Mucci's Frozen Meat/ Poultry PASTA PRODUCTS
Apr 25---McCormick & Company issues allergy alert on Lawry's Fajitas Spices & Seasonings PACKAGES
Apr 25---Land O'Lakes Purina Feed recalls Country Acres POULTRY FEED
Apr 25---Sobey's recalls No Brand PISTACHIO Products---Canada

Stay safe, friends!

The European Union Sets a New Standard

Photo via DELERI Click here for a map of the European countries forming the European Union.

The European Union has agreed to set environmental standards on “energy-related” household goods. This bold move could lead into a ban on the sale of products that aren’t energy efficient.

Import items that directly affect energy consumption such as showerheads and windows will now need to meet an energy-efficiency standard before they can be sold in the European Union.

An environmental standard had already been set by the EU (2005); but, it covered electronic devices, heating equipment and electrical equipment. That definition has been modified to include all “energy-related” goods. Items such as windows and showerheads make obvious sense; but, this will also include items we may not immediately associate as being one of the “energy-related” goods.

From Bloomberg:

The European Parliament approved a draft law expanding 2005 legislation on the ecological design of energy-using products to cover goods that have an indirect effect on power consumption. Water-using items such as taps are covered because hot water requires energy.

This initiative is being put in place in an effort to reduce energy consumption across the EU while possibly improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.

Again, from Bloomberg:

This will “provide consumers with more efficient, more reliable and longer-lasting products,” said Magor Imre Csibi, a Romanian member who steered the measure through the 27-nation EU assembly today in Strasbourg, France. Governments have already signaled their support under a fast-track accord with the Parliament, making their final approval a formality in the coming weeks.

The bloc is trying to prevent its 50 percent dependency on energy imports from rising to 65 percent in 2030. They are also hoping to reduce emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide; one of the greenhouse gases being blamed for global warming and produced mainly by energy use.

The Brussels-based regulatory arm of the EU feels that approximately 1/3 of the energy used in buildings could be saved by 2030 through adoption such modifications as eco-design standards.

Readers: Thoughts on whether we need to be legislated into saving our own lives through measures such as EU proposes…

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Food and Other Products Recall

Seems to something for every country:

Apr 24---Boucherie Jacques Saint-Pierre issues allergy alert on Pork SAUSAGE/ LASAGNA---Canada
Apr 24---La Ferme du Coteau recalls Raw Milk CHEESE---Canada
Apr 24---Jolly Good Food issues allergy alert on Organic Puffed RICE---U.K.
Apr 24---Memory Lane Cakes issues allergy alert on Nestlé FUNtastic Chocolate CAKES---U.K.
Apr 24---Blair recalls Full Length Women’s CHENILLE ROBES
Apr 24---Bref recalls Tornado Gel Disinfectant CLEANERS---Hungary
Apr 24---Denver Electronics recalls 7" Portable DVD PLAYERS---Netherlands
Apr 24---Palmer’s recalls Skin Success FADE CREAMS---Netherlands
Apr 24---Andy Peters recalls Child's Blue/Green PUFFY JACKETS---Greece
Apr 24---Jumbo recalls Grey/Pink Girl's DRESSES---Greece
Apr 24---U Games recalls Creativity for Kids Dream JOURNALS---Australia
Apr 24---K-Mart recalls Tiffany/ Homemaker Stainless Steel BLENDERS---New Zealand
Apr 24---Yonchen recalls Soft Toy BEARS/ DOGS---Spain
Apr 24---Gioseppo recalls Ladie's RED SHOES---Spain
Apr 24---Lola Doudou recalls Noukie's Toy TEDDY BEARS---Germany
Apr 24---Haiyixing recalls LED Display ENTRANCE SIGNS---Germany
Apr 24---Aquahot recalls Electric WATER HEATERS---Malta
Apr 24---L’Asessor recalls White SCARF'S w/Blue Flowers---Finland
Apr 24---First & Main recalls Rainbow Soft TOY BEARS---Finland
Apr 24---Kid Phone recalls Children's Toy ROOM PHONES---Slovakia
Apr 24---2 Different LIGHTING CHAINS recalled---Slovakia
Apr 24---Team-Tex America recalls Babyride Child Restraint SYSTEMS
Apr 24---Kawasaki recalls 2008-2009 KLE650 MOTORCYCLES
Apr 24---Thule recalls Rapid Fixpoint XT CAR RACK Kits---Sweden
Apr 24---Derbi/Aprilia/Gilera recall 50cc/125cc MOTORCYCLES---Spain
Apr 24---Buell Motorcycle recalls 2008 1125R/XB12R/XB12SCG MOTORCYCLES---Australia
Apr 24---Toyota recalls 2006-2009 Camry VEHICLES---China
Apr 24---Reckitt Benckiser recalls DETTOL Antiseptic Liquid
Apr 24---BioScan Ltd. recalls Blood Glucose METERS---Hong Kong

Stay safe, friends!

Future Earth

I have just finished watching part 1 of the 4-part series Future Earth. I highly encourage everyone to find the times this series is being broadcast in their area and tune in. The photography is brilliant, the information astonishing, and it is explained in layman's terms so everyone can understand.

During part 1, we went to the Arctic to do series of tests during a "drift" on the ice station/boat Tara. The researchers wanted to determine how the glacial ice was melting, where it floated to during spontaneous movement and the effects this was having on the environment.

The scientists took the Tara to the Arctic and let her freeze in. With no anchor, they monitored the course they drifted on, ice depths on that drift, how fast they drifted, and many other tests.

According to the information they have gathered so far, the Arctic polar ice cap could melt entirely by 2013!

Watch the other 3 parts and visit their website. It is a cornucopia of information - some of it designed to help us help the environment.

The Mountain Chicken

Frogs worldwide are feeling the effects of global warming, human encroachment, pollution, disease and many other life-threatening situations – most of them manmade.

The Caribbean island of Montserrat has long been a playground of the rich and famous; as well as, the rich and infamous. Montserrat is back in the news for a totally different reason. That reason is the Mountain Chicken.

Chytridomycosis, a fungal disease, has wiped out amphibian populations worldwide and now has a stranglehold on Montserrat. The mountain chicken is already critically endangered with hundreds of victims due to chytridomycosis. If something isn’t done soon, the mountain chicken could become extinct. It is believed that the disease entered Montserrat in late 2008 or early 2009.

What does chytridomycosis, a fungal disease that attacks amphibians, have to do with the possible extinction of the mountain chickens of Montserrat? Simple, once you realize the mountain chicken is actually a frog. It is probably the largest frog known to man, has been hunted by locals for food and has hind legs that resemble a chicken’s wing – hence mountain chicken.

Working with the Department of Forestry in Montserrat, a team from DWCT (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust), surveyed the condition of the frog population after they discovered the disease. The frogs’ condition was grave. A decision was made to evacuate as many healthy frogs as possible.

At this time it would appear that only one population of mountain chickens remains disease-free; although, biologist believe it’s just the calm before the storm.

“I remember being surrounded by calling frogs in Montserrat and the effect of the sound echoing off the sides of the valleys was magical,” says DWCT’s Head of Herpetology, Gerardo García. “It has been very sad to return to these valleys and see them either empty or full of dead and dying frogs. The one positive aspect was that we were able to get to the main population in a place called Fairy Walk before the disease, and now these animals form the basis of our rescue efforts”.

Can frogs fly? These critically-endangered frogs can. Fifty mountain chicken frogs were airlifted to safety thanks to a partnership between Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Parken Zoo in Stockholm, Sweden. Each partner received a batch of frogs to be the basis of a captive breeding program.

“As we see from elsewhere in the world, chytrid has spread to Montserrat with devastating effect,” says Quentin Bloxam, DWCT’s Director of Conservation Management. “We now have a strong collaboration between institutions that are well placed to lead this effort. The captive populations form a crucial part in protecting this species from extinction.”

“Our captive breeding unit means that we are now in a great position to support the Mountain chicken frogs from Montserrat at a time when their home is rife of this deadly disease,” says Ian Stephen, ZSL’s Assistant Curator of Herpetology. “This ex-situ rescue population gives genuine hope for the future survival of this species.”

It is worth noting that the mountain frog was driven to extinction on the island of Dominica by chytridmycosis in 2002. At that time, only two islands still had populations – the islands were Dominica and Montserrat.

Also noteworthy: The Montserrat Mountain Chicken Frog is listed as #158 on EDGE’s amphibian list. This list categorizes species regarding their threat-level and genetic distinction.

The following is a super video from National Geographic discussing the mountain chicken and the problems it faces today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rivers Shrinking Worldwide

Photo via Jaymi Heimbuch

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is releasing a study showing that major rivers worldwide are drying up due to climate change. The study further shows that approximately one-third of the world’s major and most vital rivers have suffered significant changes over the last half century including the Ganges, the Niger and the Colorado.

The comprehensive study assessed 925 rivers using both satellite data and on-the-ground measurements. They found that while changing rainfall patterns, glacial melt water; and, other causes increased the flow in some rivers; the majority of rivers had lost water. The researchers are singling out global warming as the major contributing factor to the world’s major rivers drying up.

This map shows the change in runoff inferred from streamflow records worldwide between 1948 and 2004, with bluish colors indicating more streamflow and reddish colors less. In many heavily populated regions in the tropics and midlatitudes, rivers are discharging reduced amounts into the oceans. In parts of the United States and Europe, however, there is an upward trend in runoff. The white land areas indicate inland-draining basins or regions for which there are insufficient data to determine the runoff trends. (Graphic courtesy Journal of Climate, modified by UCAR.)

Still, it is not altogether fair to put all the blame on global warming as climate change is not the only thing endangering our water systems. Humans have built dams, levees, dykes and other structures that alter the flow; divert the natural flow of rivers to send the water elsewhere; drained rivers for agricultural purposes; and, the list goes on.

However, it certainly plays a significant role, as shown in this study. Quote from

Overall, the study found that from 1948 to 2004, annual freshwater discharge into the Pacific Ocean fell by about six per cent, or 526 cubic kilometres – approximately the same volume of water that flows out of the Mississippi river each year. Similarly, the annual flow into the Indian Ocean dropped by about three per cent, while the flow of the Columbia river in the US declined by about 14 per cent.

In contrast, annual river discharge into the Arctic Ocean rose about 10 per cent, primarily as a result of higher temperatures leading to increased levels of glacial melt water.

"Reduced runoff is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially with more demand for water as populations increase," said Aiguo Dai, a scientist at the NCAR and lead author of the report. "Freshwater being a vital resource, the downward trends are a great concern."

The study comes on the heels of the warning by the officials in Australia that parts of the Murray River have fallen so low that Adelaide could run out of water within two years. Regions globally facing the greatest threats now include those dependent on the Niger in West Africa; the Ganges in South Asia; the Yellow river in China; while large areas of the western US could be impacted by the reduced flow of the Colorado river.

In related news, Oxfam International released a report this week warning that aid agencies could be overwhelmed within seven years as a result of the increased incidence of climate change-related disasters.

The study showed that the number of people impacted by extreme weather events has doubled within 30 years and is likely to increase by a further 54 per cent by 2015, based on the latest climatic predictions.

The report concludes that global emergency spending will have to be nearly doubled to $25bn (£17.2bn) a year. Other required help would include funding developing nations be provided with significantly increased funding to allow them to take advantage of climate change adaptation measures. Further, it went on to state that any UN climate change negotiations include that rich countries deliver a medium-term commitment to spend $42 bn a year to help poorer countries with climate change adaptations. It also states that the spending be increased to $50bn (£25bn)a year in the near future.

The results will be published May 15 in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.

Out of The Mouths of Babes...

I read this little bit in one of those never-ending emails. A group of school children had been asked how they knew when someone loved them. Among the various answers that one might expect was this from one little fellow. He knew someone loved him when "his name was safe in their mouth."

Wow! What a profound thought. You know someone loves you when your name is safe in their mouth. What an all-encompassing thought.

This person's love will never tell an untruth about you; engage in gossip about you behind your back; will stand up for you if you are not there to defend yourself; will support you if you are there and need help; will never exaggerate facts to make you look less than what you are; will never use words to humiliate or in any way hurt you; will instead use words to comfort and uplift you...

How old was this child?

What a compliment for anyone to receive: I know my name is safe in your mouth!

Food and Other Products Recall

Quite a few medical recalls - nuts still top the list:

Apr 23---Harry & David add "A Gift for You" BOXED NUTS to Pistachio recall list
Apr 23---Kariba Farms Inc. recalls CranPistachio MIXES/Shelled, Roasted PISTACHIOS
Apr 23---Ricci & Co. recalls 2 PISTACHIO Products
Apr 23---Alternative Baking Co. issues allergy alert on Several Chocolate Chip COOKIES
Apr 23---Stop & Shop Supermarket issues allergy alert on Simply Enjoy Pina Colada White Chocolate Gourmet COOKIES
Apr 23---Archway & Mothers Cookie Co. issues allergy alert on Iced Oatmeal Crispy Snacking COOKIES
Apr 23---Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese recalls more Oaxaca Soft Mexican-style CHEESES
Apr 23---Hershey Creamery recalls Peanut Butter Pretzel Explosion ICE CREAM
Apr 23---Mave Enterprises recalls It's Delish PISTACHIO Products
Apr 23---China Yurun Food Group recalls LUNCHEON MEATS---China
Apr 23---Haier America recalls Toaster OVENS/ BROILERS
Apr 23---Updated List of recalled Sitech DIVING HOSES
Apr 23---J Blackwood & Son recall Renfroe Lifting CLAMPS/ Gripping CAMS---Australia
Apr 23---Michelin recalls Agriculture TIRES---Australia
Apr 23---Amgen/Immunex report serious fungal infections associated with ENBREL(etanercept) Medication---Int.
Apr 23---IMB recalls AidFast/1st Aid/Powerplast Digital THERMOMETERS---Int.
Apr 23---IMB advises care in use of Bonjela Oromucosal/Teejel ORAL GELS---Ireland
Apr 23---EMEA updates safety information concerning METHYLPHENIDATE Medication---Ireland
Apr 23---Vickmans Lab. ordered to suspend operations involving FRUSEMIDE Tablets---Hong Kong
Apr 23---Stryker Howmedica recalls Modular Replacement System (MRS) CEMENTED STEMS
Apr 23---Maquet recalls ALM Prismatic Surgical LIGHTS
Apr 23---Medtronic recalls Streamline Bipolar Temporary Myocardial PACING LEADS
Apr 23---EP Medsystems recalls NurseMate Monitoring and Charting STATIONS
Apr 23---Stryker Spine recalls Trio Small Offset CONNECTORS
Apr 23---Stryker Howmedica recalls AxSOS Torque Limiting SCREWDRIVERS
Apr 23---Datascope Corp. recalls Low-Level Output CABLE
Apr 23---Cardiovascular Systems recalls Diamondback 360 CSI ViperWire Orbital Atherectomy GUIDE WIRES
Apr 23---Hamilton Co. recalls 300 Microliter CO-RE TIPS
Apr 23---Biomet recalls Marrowstim Concentration KITS---Int.
Apr 23---Smiths Medical recalls CADD Medication Cassette RESERVOIR---Int.
Apr 23---Pointe Scientific recalls Direct Bilirubin Reagent SETS---Int.
Apr 23---Smith & Nephew recall Reflection Microstable Acetabular LINERS---Int.
Apr 23---Edwards Lifesciences recalls Swan-Ganz Thermodilution CATHETERS---Int.

Stay safe, friends!

Food and Other Products Recall

Bit of this, bit of that:

Apr 22---Los Angeles Calco recalls ALFALFA SPROUTS
Apr 22---Walgreens recalls Deerfield Farms Mediterranean Fruit and Nut BLEND
Apr 22---CFIA adds 2 more products to PISTACHIO recall list---Canada
Apr 22---Glutenfree Bakery issues allergy alert LAMINGTONS---Australia
Apr 22---SportsPlay Equipment recalls Several Children's PLAYGROUNDS
Apr 22---Ontario Lottery recalls 92 LOTTERY TICKETS---Canada
Apr 22---Poundland recalls Bicycle Puncture Repair KITS---U.K.
Apr 22---Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories recalls PRODUCTS manufactured in Detroit?---India
Apr 22---BMW recalls 2008 R1200 GS MOTORCYCLES
Apr 22---Yakima recalls Quickback 2/3 Trunk Mounted BIKE RACKS
Apr 22---Universal ABC Beauty Supply International recalls Several Dietary Supplement PRODUCTS

Stay safe, friends!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Is Good For One, May Not Be Good For Another

Mediterranean Gulls

The Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) located in the UK was started in 1973. I know some of my readers are birders and this website is unbelievable. Hurry your little mouses (or is it meeces?) over there and check it out!

Anyway, back to story at hand. The numbers of little egrets, firecrests, cranes and Mediterranean gulls are at their highest since monitoring began by the RBBP. While this may be good news for some rare and endangered species, it is having a negative impact on other species.

As every good scientist knows: For every action – there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or as my mother often says: Swings and roundabouts, swings and roundabouts.

According to the 2006 Rare Breeding Birds survey (the latest information available) showed little egrets increased to 434 breeding pairs with the actual population estimated at approximately 600 pairs.

The firecrest reached an all-time high of 341 pairs. This increase in numbers is thought to be a combination of warmer weather and the increase in plantations which provide them with a suitable habitat.

Mark Holling, secretary of the RBBP, said the firecrest was "a species which has found new habitat and a climate to suit", although the most recent cold winter may have reduced numbers.

According to the study, milder winters have also benefited the Wood larks, Cetti’s warblers and Dartford warblers. The opposite reaction is the warmer weather may be having a negative impact on some northerly species, such as the Purple Sandpiper and Temminck’s stint. The study was only able to record one bird of each species in 2006.

Mr. Holling said it was "tempting" to conclude these birds, which breed in the Scottish Highlands, were affected by mountainous areas becoming less cold. There appears to be a shrinking of populations which are more northerly and an increase of birds which have come to us from the continent."

There were some surprises found in the report. Some species which researchers expected to benefit from the warming trend had; in actual fact, declined. Species such as the Golden oriole, Marsh Warbler,Wryneck did not even appear in the study.

Mr. Holling said the decline of Golden orioles may be environmental in cause. There has been a recent increase in the felling of the poplar plantations these birds favour as a habitat.

"It might be getting warmer: but, if their habitats have been degraded, they can't find the spaces to successfully breed," he said.

Mark Eaton, a senior conservation scientist at the RSPB and a member of the RBBP said: "The report is further proof that our bird populations are changing. Avocets, Mediterranean gulls, firecrests and Cetti's warblers all enjoyed their best year on record; but, a century ago these species weren't even breeding in Britain. However the report shows that the wryneck, which was formerly one of our more widespread birds, is slipping closer to extinction, as for only the second time on record no breeding records were reported during the year."

Puffins Are Returning To Craigleith

Puffins are suffering due to climate change. Photo: PA

1999 was a good year for puffins in Craigleith near North Berwick in the UK. The population has since dropped from a high of 28,000 breeding pairs to just a few thousand.

The decline was caused by the spread of the tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) plant. This woody plant grows up to 9’ tall and can easily choke out the entrance to the puffin burrows preventing the birds from nesting and rearing their young.

Picture of Tree Mallow (Lavatera arborea) courtesy of Wikipedia

The plant has been on the nearby Bass Rock for hundreds of years; but, is usually killed off by the winter’s frosts. The tree mallow has only recently affected the small, 14-acre island of Craigleith and the neighbouring island of Firdra.

Experts at the Seabird Centre at North Berwick believe the tree mallow was able to make the jump to Craigleith so quickly and easily because of the milder frost-free winters caused by global warming.

The seabird centre has started project SOS Puffin – a major conservation project that has drawn hundreds of volunteers. The volunteers visit the island to cut down the Mediterranean plants in an effort to encourage the birds to return.

Tom Brock, the centre's chief executive, said the SOS Puffin project is beginning to win the battle with the numbers of puffins returning to nest increasing slightly each year.

The work is suspended each nesting season from April to July and begins again in autumn after nesting season is over.

Puffin numbers are also suffering in the Firth of Forth (Scotland) due to a lack of sand eels, their main food source, which are also thought to have been affected by climate change.

Monday, April 20, 2009

International No Hitting Day

International No Hitting Day is April 30 this year. This, of course, includes hitting any sentient being be it human or animal. Sad, we need this day; maybe, we can eliminate it one day in the future. Give your human and non-human loved ones an extra hug and cuddle today.

National Volunteer Week

My apologies, readers! I shall subject myself to a week of overcooked vegetables for this mistake :(

National Volunteer Week is already underway. It is officially April 19 - 25, this year. However, there is still time to volunteer somewhere if you are so inclined.

For those who already volunteer time, money, effort, or whatever throughout the year: Congratulations! The world should have more people like you.

Food and Other Products Recall

Mixed bag; mostly food items with a few vehicles:

Apr 20---Papa Joes Gourmet Market and Catering Stores recalls PISTACHIO Products
Apr 20---Amalgamated Produce expands Crunchy SPROUTS/ PEA MIX recall
Apr 20---Kamdar Plaza recalls Raw/Roasted/Salted PISTACHIOS
Apr 20---Nut's on Clark recalls Roasted/Salted In-Shell California PISTACHIOS
Apr 20---Nature's World recalls NW Delights Deluxe MIXED NUTS
Apr 20---The Peanut Shop recalls Several PISTACHIO Products
Apr 20---Raja Foods recalls Swad Raw/Roasted Salted Natural PISTACHIOS
Apr 20---Virginia Diner Inc. recalls Gourmet Deluxe MIXED NUTS
Apr 20---L&H Industries recalls World Famous Gourmet Nutty Nanners Frozen BANANAS
Apr 20---CFIA updates Smoked SALMON recall alert---Canada
Apr 20---A G Barr recalls Simply Aqua/Simply Fruity DRINKS---U.K.
Apr 20---Espuna recalls Sarta Fort/Sharf Hot CHORIZO---U.K.
Apr 20---Kyoto Factory Stores recalls Bottled CREPES---Japan
Apr 20---Japan Dairy Coop. recalls Drinking MILK---Japan
Apr 20---Co-op recalls Salad DRESSING---Japan
Apr 20---Kudankita Corp. recalls Processed Seafood PRODUCTS---Japan
Apr 20---Sane Resources recalls Women's SHOES---Japan
Apr 20---Hyundai/ Kia recall 48,000 VEHICLES---South Korea
Apr 20---Update---Volvo recalls 2007 Diesel VEHICLES---Europe
Apr 20---Varian Medical recalls Exact COUCH TOP---U.K.

Stay safe, friends!

Earth Day 2009

Photo courtesy: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In 1963, former US Senator Gaylord Nelson felt a need to do something for the environment. Considering the circumstances and the state of politics at that time, Senator Nelson was a very forward-thinking individual.

It was Senator Nelson that came up with the idea for Earth Day - an entire day set aside for learning how to help the environment; improve the quality of our lives; how to maintain environments that encourage biodiversity and so much more. Knowing the value of kid power, he sent letters to colleges and put a special article in Scholastic Magazine (distributed to schools) explaining what he had in mind and soliciting their help.

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held. Earth Day has continued to evolve and is now celebrated globally.

The following link takes you to an Earth Day Network with lots of suggestions, ideas, links and other good stuff to help celebrate.

Things to do to celebrate Earth Day:

1. Spend some time in quality meditation (preferably outside somewhere sunny).
2. Read that book you've been putting off.
3. Plant a tree.
4. Plant a few annuals to create a small garden (in your yard, on your balcony, in a sunny window.) Annuals die off every winter; so, your Earth Day project for next year is assured - replanting your garden!
5. Sign a petition to ban BPA from soda drink cans sponsored by Environmental Defense.
6. Go to the Care2 Petition Site and sign a few petitions that are close to your heart.
7. Commit a random act of kindness.
8. Reassess your "greeness". Are there things that could be tightened up?
9. Eat vegetarian for one day.
10. If you have the ability to plant something growing, think about plants and/or flowers that are bee and butterfly friendly.
11. Donate something - time, money, clothing, support.
12. Visit a housebound senior with a huge bouquet of flowers.

Here's to a wonderful Earth Day for all - most especially Mother Earth!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ancient Extremophiles Found Under Glacial Ice

Diatoms can be found living in a wide variety of extreme environments, including ancient Antarctic Ice. Some believe they may even exist on Europa and in interstellar dust. The above diatom, Surirella, was collected from the alkaline and hypersaline Mono Lake. Originally uploaded in Microbial Life.

For millions of years a secret has been hiding below Taylor Glacier in Antarctica’s desert waste, the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This secret is newly-discovered microbes (some of which could be similar to the one pictured above) that have been living and developing in isolation without access to sunlight or oxygen; and, breathing iron.

"Among the big questions here are: How does an ecosystem function below glaciers? How are they able to persist below hundreds of meters of ice and live in permanently cold and dark conditions for extended periods of time, in the case of Blood Falls, over millions of years?," says Jill Mikucki, lead author of the paper and research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth.

These extremophiles, so-called because of their ability to survive in the most severe climates our planet has to offer, are living in a briny liquid trapped under the glacier. This brine is not dissimilar from seawater; and, given the other conditions, no one would have expected any life to survive whatsoever.

"This briny pond is a unique sort of time capsule from a period in Earth's history," says Mikucki. "I don't know of any other environment quite like this on Earth."

Much to the researchers' surprise, they discovered that while these microbes existed in isolation, they shared many similarities with microbes found in marine environments. This has lead researchers to a novel hypothesis: they believe these extremophiles are adapted remnants of a once-larger population of ocean-dwelling microbes.

"The salts associated with these features are marine salts, and given the history of marine water in the dry valleys, it made sense that subglacial microbial communities might retain some of their marine heritage," Mikucki said.

One theory says that when the sea level fell more than 1.5 millions years ago, microbes and possibly other smaller life forms, became trapped in this seawater pond. This pond eventually became covered over by the Taylor glacier trapping everything inside. Most of the other life forms would have died; but, these microbes obviously managed to adapt.

"It's a bit like finding a forest that nobody has seen for 1.5 million years," says Ann Pearson, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard. "Intriguingly, the species living there are similar to contemporary organisms, and yet quite different -- a result, no doubt, of having lived in such an inhospitable environment for so long."

Chemical analysis proves the microbes survived by breathing iron with an assist from a sulfur catalyst.

Scientists believe these microbes will provide a better understanding of Earth’s geological period when most of the world was covered in ice. Also, it opens the mind to the possibilities of life on other planets; including the ice caps on Mars; and, one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, which is covered in ice.

Foods and Other Products Recall

Nuts and vehicles today:

Apr 18---Jeppi Nut and Candy recalls Natural PISTACHIOS
Apr 18---NOW Foods recalls In-Shell PISTACHIOS
Apr 18---Ross Nut Co. recalls Roasted Salted In-shell PISTACHIOS
Apr 18---CFIA recalls Spunky's PISTACHIO Products---Canada
Apr 18---Sabersport recalls Aftermarket Corner/Bumper LAMP ASSEMBLIES on Many Vehicles{check list}
Apr 18---Tiffin recalls 2008-2009 Allegro BUSES
Apr 18---Daimler recalls 2008-2009 Orion VII BUSES
Apr 18---Mazda recalls 2010 Mazda3 VEHICLES
Apr 18---Carrier recalls K410 Rooftop Mounted Condensor ASSEMBLIES
Apr 18---Hyundai recalls Several 1999-2008 VEHICLES

Stay safe, friends!

EPA Declares Greenhouse Gases A Public Health Threat

Image of projected climate change. Image by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association).

Finally, a government is admitting to what we have known all along. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. Hopefully, this type of finding will begin to be recognized by governments worldwide.

"Today’s action shows that President Obama takes the threats posed by global warming seriously and is ready to act," said Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation. "The Obama administration has removed a road block in curbing pollution responsible for climate change and signaled a turn toward a clean energy future. We applaud this action, and welcome the President’s leadership to overcome the greatest environmental challenge of our time.”

The action is a response to the Supreme Court’s landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision from 2007. Earthjustice co-argued this case at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2005.

"The Obama administration has reaffirmed that the Clean Air Act gives EPA authority to combat global warming pollution, and this is what we have been fighting for all along," Hayden said.

Read the proposed finding here:

Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Lichen Discovered

Caloplaca obamae growing on Pleistocene soils on Santa Rosa Island. Credit: J. C. Lendemer

It seems like the world has been infected with “Obamamania” – from the high and mighty to the meek and lowly.

Lichen is about as meek and lowly as you can get - visually speaking. It is a plant-like growth that looks like moss; possibly a dry leaf or it could resemble something dying on a rock. However, lichen is good browse for wildlife when other food is not available; and, it is lichen that supplies the “antifreeze” needed to keep the reindeer’s blood from freezing in Lapland and similar countries.

This recently-discovered species was the pot at the end of the rainbow for Kerry Knudsen, lichen curator at the University of California, Riverside Herbarium. He was doing a survey in 2007 on lichen diversity on Santa Rosa Island in California when he found it.

While many scientists name a species they discover after themselves or a loved one, Kerry Knudsen named his lichen after President Obama.

"I named it Caloplaca obamae to show my appreciation for the president's support of science and science education," he said. "I made the final collections of C. obamae during the suspenseful final weeks of President Obama's campaign for the United States presidency."

C. obamae, is the first species of any organism to be named in honor of President Obama. (You really want to check this last hyperlink!)

"This species barely survived the intensive grazing of cattle (100 years), elk and deer on Santa Rosa Island," Knudsen said. "But with cattle now removed, it has begun to recover. With future removal of elk and deer — both of which were introduced to the island — it is expected to fully recover."

Lichens, which grow slowly and live for many years, result from fungi and algae living together.

Of the 17,000 species of lichen worldwide, 1,500 are from California. Of those 1,500, more than 300 lichens are from Santa Rosa Island. There are almost as many native species of plants on the island as there is lichen.

"C. obamae teaches us that possibly other species of lichens and plants unique to Santa Rosa Island may have disappeared, without ever being known to science, since sheep ranching began there in the 1850s," Knudsen said.

Knudsen published his discovery in the March issue of the journal Opuscula Philolichenum.

Food and Other Products Recall

Vehicles, food, toys, candy and food:

Apr 17---Ivar's Soup, Seafood and Sauce issues allergy alert on Turkey SOUP BASE Products
Apr 17---GP Supermarkets issues allergy alert on Dauphinois CHEESE---Canada
Apr 17---Janzen Farms recalls Roasted/Salted PISTACHIOS in the Shell
Apr 17---Staples recalls Crunch Time PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 17---Dollarama issues allergy alert on Bergen Apple Cinnamon COOKIES---Canada
Apr 17---CFIA recalls more PISTACHIO Containing Products---Canada
Apr 17---Sainsbury’s recalls Frozen Thin & Crusty Vegetable Stonebake PIZZA---U.K.
Apr 17---Tesco issues allergy alert on Storck Nimm 2 POLISH CANDY---U.K.
Apr 17---The Swiss Colony recalls Certain In-Shell PISTACHIO Products
Apr 17---Osage Pecan Company recalls Roasted/Salted In-Shell PISTACHIOS
Apr 17---Island Snacks recalls Chile Lemon PISTACHIOS
Apr 17---Life Time Sales/Besco Beauty recall SHAMPOO/ CONDITIONER/ MOUSSE---Canada
Apr 17---SkyLead Trading recalls Remote Control TOY HELICOPTERS---Canada
Apr 17---Eprom/Maruson Tech. recalls Micro AVR-1000 POWER BARS---Canada
Apr 17---Oley recalls Motorised PROJECTOR SCREENS---U.K.
Apr 17---Irish Creative Stamping recalls Toy KALEIDOSCOPES---U.K.
Apr 17---Colgate-Palmolive recalls Twister Fresh TOOTHBRUSHES---U.K.
Apr 17---Pacific Magazines recalls Ben 10 Alien Fighter WATCHES---Australia
Apr 17---Atomic recalls Several Different LIGHTERS---Cyprus
Apr 17---Xoops recalls Children's Sweatshirt TOPS/JACKETS---Lithuania
Apr 17---Dipinto recalls Hooded SWEATSHIRT TOPS---Finland
Apr 17---Salsa Collection recalls Cotton Cake Food IMITATION PRODUCTS---Germany
Apr 17---Newquida recalls Wavechopper Remote controlled Boat ADAPTORS---Germany
Apr 17---Botanis recalls Goat Butter SKIN CREAMS---Germany
Apr 17---Koopman recalls Reindeer/Snowman DRAUGHT STOPPERS---Germany
Apr 17---Vivanco recalls Compact TRAVEL ADAPTORS---Germany
Apr 17---Kress recalls Wet/Dry VACUUM CLEANERS---Germany
Apr 17---Pasite/Nio Nio/Ess recall Several BOOTS/SHOES/FOOTWEAR---Spain
Apr 17---Soaker Slammers/Lanard recall Plastic TOY MACE---Spain
Apr 17---Unilite recalls Ball-Point Pen Electronic LIGHTERS---Spain
Apr 17---Hohot Toys recalls MUSICAL DOLLS---Spain
Apr 17---Witka recalls Magnetic EDUCATIONAL TOYS---Spain
Apr 17---Powerplus recalls Petrol POWER GENERATORS---Spain
Apr 17---Dokocom/Denver recall DVD Player BATTERIES---Denmark
Apr 17---Buddy Wood recalls Animal Toy WOODEN TRAINS---Denmark
Apr 17---Jumbo recalls Red/Blue BABY'S JACKETS---Greece
Apr 17---Liberty recalls Gouache WATER COLOR SET---Greece
Apr 17---Pop recalls Make-Up BEAUTY SET---Greece
Apr 17---Common Toys recalls "Fluffy Ball" YO-YO BALL---Greece
Apr 17---Disney Baby recalls Disney Baby/Jumbo BABY'S JUMPSUIT---Greece
Apr 17---Boxing Game recalls Toy BOXING SET---Greece
Apr 17---Akamai recalls White Children's JACKETS---Greece
Apr 17---Hyundai recalls 2001-2003 Elantra/Tiburon/Santa Fe VEHICLES
Apr 17---Ford recalls 2005-2007 Focus VEHICLES---Germany
Apr 17---Honda recalls GG2/GG3 Jazz VEHICLES---Germany
Apr 17---Volkswagen recalls 2007 Crafter VEHICLES---Greece
Apr 17---Renault recalls 2003-2006 Twingo VEHICLES---Germany
Apr 17---Citreon recalls Several Models of VEHICLES---Germany
Apr 17---Shen Neng Herbal Med. recalls Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan PILLS---Australia

Stay safe, friends!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Reader Says...

Hello Pippa,

I couldn't find your contact info., so I figured I could leave you a message on here. first off, my name is Miranda Mullett and it seems we have a lot of the same interests. I will be going to Beijing in 4 weeks to somehow use myself to help sustain the environment. Do you have any ideas? My e-mail address is Thanks!!

Here's link to her page on Beijing:

Readers: the gauntlet has been thrown, let's give this woman some really great ideas to take to Beijing with her. You can leave her messages either by email or on her blog - unfortunately I was only able to establish a link to her blog page.

Food and Other Products Recall

More nuts and some medical recalls:

Apr 16---R.U. Nuts Co. recalls Roasted Salted PISTACHIOS
Apr 16---Haas Baking Co. recalls Nut/Peanut ROLLS, Coffee CAKE
Apr 16---Triunfo Import & Export recalls Nestum Flocos/Nestum/Cerelac CEREALS
Apr 16---D. F. Stauffers Biscuit Co. recalls Original Gourmet Original Double Chocolate Chip COOKIES
Apr 16---Union International Food updates Lian How/Uncle Chen SAUCE/ OIL recall
Apr recalls Ten GIFT BASKETS w/Pistachios
Apr 16---Superior Nut and Candy recalls Several Pistachio Containing PRODUCTS
Apr 16---Zenobia Co. recalls California PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 16---European Food & Feed recalls---Week 15
Apr 16---European Food & Feed recalls---Week 14
Apr 16---Bush Hog recalls Off-Road Utility VEHICLES
Apr 16---EB Brands recalls Bally Total Fitness/Everlast/Valeo/Body Fit FITNESS BALLS---International
Apr 16---Tupperware recalls Shape-O TOY MARACA---International
Apr 16---Holica Electronics recalls Digital POWER SAVERS---Canada
Apr 16---Keystone recalls 2010 Hornet TRAVEL TRAILERS
Apr 16---Motor Coach Ind. recalls 2008-2009 J4500 Coach VEHICLES
Apr 16---Subaru recalls 2008-2009 Impreza VEHICLES---Australia
Apr 16---DiaDexus recalls PLAC Test Reagent KITS
Apr 16---Cardinal Health recalls ReadyMed Elastomeric Ambulatory PUMPS
Apr 16---Roche/Hitachi recalls Several Modular Analytics SYSTEMS
Apr 16---Integra LifeSciences recalls Bilayer Matrix Wound DRESSING
Apr 16---GE Healthcare recalls Infinia Hawkeye SCANNERS---International
Apr 16---Medtronic issues RV LEAD Integrity Alert---International
Apr 16---Physio Control recalls Internal Sterilizable Lifepak PADDLES/HANDLES---International
Apr 16---Biomet recalls Offset Tibial Tray ADAPTORS---International
Apr 16---Boston Scientific recalls Delivery/Introducing SHEATH KITS---International
Apr 16---Cardinal Health recalls Viasys Sonora Transcranial Doppler (TCD) SYSTEMS---International
Apr 16---Immuno Concepts recalls ANA Fluorescent/Colorzyme Test SYSTEMS---International
Apr 16---Teleflex Medical recalls Pilling Coronary SCISSORS---International

Stay safe, friends!

Susan Boyle: Bringing Out My SoapBox

I think it only fair to tell you that I am on my soapbox on this one. My parents say I have more soapboxes than Ivory Snow has flakes; but, keeping quiet has never been my long suit. Today's lecture: Never judge a book by its cover. (And especially NOT infront of the book you're laughing at!)

Susan Boyle is an eccentric 47-year-old lady from Scotland. She is not very attractive, never been married, never been kissed, and lives with her cat Pebbles in a tiny village that is little more than an enlargement in the road. She is a contestant on Britain's Got Talent 2009.

When it was her turn, she walked on stage and during her little intro expressed her desire to be as famous as Elaine Paige - a hugely popular British singer. The polite snickered up their sleeves (a quaint British expression) while the not-so-polite laughed out loud. Faces were pulled and it was generally bad behaviour by all.

If it were not for the rules that said she had to be given a chance to sing, I doubt they would have let her continue.

So, with everyone expecting her to fall flat on her face and make a fool of herself on National TV, Susan began to sing. (Keep your eyes on Simon's face.)

All the way to the million with ya, Susan!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Food and Other Products Recall

Pistachios top the list and the rest is a bit of a mixed bag:

Apr 15---National Importing recalls Smoked SALMON Products---Canada
Apr 15---Gordy’s County Market issues allergy alert on Taco BRATWURSTS
Apr 15---Hines Nut Co. recalls Roasted/Salted Inshell PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 15---Indian Groceries & Spices recalls Raw Pistachio KERNELS
Apr 15---Azar Nut Company recalls Raw PISTACHIOS
Apr 15---Nino Salvaggio Int. recalls Special Selection PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 15---Nassau Candy recalls Various PISTACHIO Products
Apr 15---Albanese Confectionery recalls PISTACHIO Products
Apr 15---In-Room Plus recalls In-Shell/Berry Granola PISTACHIOS---U.S./Canada
Apr 15---Nut Producers recalls Value Pack Dry Roasted/Salted PISTACHIOS---Australia
Apr 15---Philips Consumer Lifestyle recalls Senseo One-Cup COFFEEMAKERS
Apr 15---Athearn recalls Genesis SD60M HO TRAINS
Apr 15---B&Q recalls Barcelona Wooden Garden HAMMOCKS---U.K.
Apr 15---Omega Tankers & Trailers recalls Heil TANKERS---Australia
Apr 15---ION Labs Inc. recalls Influend Cough/Cold PRODUCTS
Apr 15---Teleflex Medical/Arrow Int. recalls Intra Aortic Balloon Pump (IAB) CATHETERS
Apr 15---FDA updates Ceftriaxone (marketed at Rocephin and generics) PRODUCT alert
Apr 15---GE Healthcare issues medical alert on Aisys/Avance Anaesthetic CARESTATIONS---U.K.

Stay safe, friends!

Capt. Richard Phillips: Victim of Overfishing? You Be The Judge!

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, Maersk-Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips, right, shakes hands with Lt. Cmdr. David Fowler, executive officer of USS Bainbridge after being rescued by U.S Naval Forces off the coast of Somalia on Sunday April 12, 2009. (AP Photo/ U.S. Navy)

The entire world breathed a sigh of relief on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009, when Captain Richard Phillips, was freed from his Somali captors. As everyone knows Captain Phillips and his crew were taken hostage by Somali pirates. Capt. Phillips courageously offered himself as hostage; so, his crew would be set free.

The theory is being put forward now that Captain Phillips and his crew are actually the victims of overfishing. How can a hostage-taking be linked with overfishing? The theory is:

Thousands of Somalis once made their living as fishermen. The waters around the coastline of Somalia once teemed with fish providing an adequate living for the fishermen, their families and all the trickle-down businesses that flourished because of the fishing trade. However, Somalia has been without a central government for nearly two decades; so, there is no government body that is actively and effectively protecting the country’s rights to its coastline. Foreign countries have been willing to take advantage of this; and, exploit the fisheries off Somalia’s coast leaving the nets of the local fishermen empty.

WE (wealthy Europeans) have overfished and overexploited our own stocks; so, now we feel justified in helping ourselves to theirs. This from Johann Hari, columnist for the London Independent:

More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

But never let it be said that Europeans take things out without putting something else back in. In return for the fish they were harvesting illegally within Somalian waters, they repaid them with mysterious barrels thrown over the side of equally mysterious European ships.

Coincidentally, it was about this time that the coastal population began to get sick. Strange rashes developed accompanied by nausea. There was an increase in the number of deformed babies being born among the coastal populations. Then came the 2005 tsunami.

Give things a heck of a shaking and it’s amazing what pops out. Hundreds of dumped, leaking barrels were washed up on shore. People within close proximity to the barrels developed radiation sickness with over 300 eventually dying.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, told Johann Hari: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it."

Again from Johann Hari:

Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

Watching your loved ones starve (sometimes to death) brings a special kind of desperation and many of the fishermen took matters into their own hands. Many of these “pirates” began as vigilante patrol squads challenging vessels that were either fishing illegally or dumping toxic waste in Somali waters and demanded they pay a tax. This proved ineffective and these vigilantes organized into the “pirates” you see today.

The New York Times has an enlightening interview with a Somali “pirate” (given after his capture) who assisted in taking a Ukrainian vessel carrying a huge load of weapons to the Sudan.

So…you be the judge? Is Captain Phillips really the victim of overfishing? Thoughts, comments, musings, ramblings on this subject welcome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Food and Other Products Recall

No surprise here...more nuts!

Apr 13---CFIA issues allergy alert on Choripdong BISCUITS (Rice Puffs)---Canada
Apr 13---Everson Distributing recalls Watta Munch Natural PISTACHIOS
Apr 13---Eastern Lamejun Bakers recalls PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 13---House Of Flavors recalls Pistachio Containing ICE CREAM
Apr 13---Aurora Products recalls Several PISTACHIO Products
Apr 13---Freshdirect Recalls PISTACHIO Products
Apr 13---Bremner Food recalls Shurfine/Stop & Shop/Giant/First Choice PISTACHIOS
Apr 13---Flanigan Farms recalls PISTACHIO NUTS
Apr 13---Bezzerides Co. recalls Art’s California PISTACHIOS
Apr 13---Solo Italia recalls Gorgonzola CHEESE---Netherlands
Apr 13---Raisio Feed at center of Infected Chicken/Pig FEED---Finland
Apr 13---NEA/HM closes STALLS at Geylang Serai Temporary Market---Singapore
Apr 13---Hollow Tourist Farm recalls Kibi Vegetables OKIMASHI---Japan
Apr 13---Akira Maru recalls CHICKEN WINGS---Japan
Apr 13---Tokyu Hands recalls Otsuka Soyjoy Fe PRUNES---Japan
Apr 13---Sitech recalls Diving Hose Flow Restriction INSERTS
Apr 13---Beijing Gaoli recalls four varieties of Locecn COSMETICS---China
Apr 13---Dyson recalls DC22 VACUUM CLEANERS---Japan

Stay safe, friends!

Greenhouses Made From Pop Bottles

Photo courtesy Lucas County, OH.

Here’s a great way to make a greenhouse cheaply from waste materials.

We’ve all seen houses made from bottles before: wine bottles, beer bottles, coloured bottles, clear bottles, long-necked bottles… The Scottish Sustainable Development Charity REAP is promoting, designing and building inexpensive greenhouses from reclaimed soda bottles.

There are so many pluses for using old soda bottles: they’re plentiful; they’re cheap; they magnify heat; it keeps “waste” material out of the landfill; easy to build, maintain, and run; and, when finished, leave you with a “fun” greenhouse.

REAP recently told The Guardian that recycled bottle greenhouses are the perfect project for schools. They’re a great building/learning experience for the children; and, the children will probably be able to supply some of the plastic soda bottles needed.

Richard Bennett of REAP explained how easy the process is to Jane Perrone of The Guardian's excellent gardening blog:

With lots of children to help gather the bottles and wash them, it's a great re-use educational structure that really works. A standard construction of 2m x 3m will need around 1400 bottles to be collected and rinsed. The bottoms are cut off by the children with their safety scissors, two tabs are cut on either side near the top by an adult with a craft knife to stop the top bottle sliding down it.

Now it is ready to be placed in the wall. A sturdy frame is built with wires spaced at 30cm intervals up the frame and roof: the wires hold the bottle in place and it is the cross tie wire that binds it into a solid wall, closing most of the gaps. On a sunny day it can easily be 10 degrees hotter inside the plastic bottle greenhouse than outside.

A PDF instruction guide on how to build your own greenhouse is available at the REAP site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Fish Species Discovered

This new fish is amazing. Take a look!!