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Over millions of years dogs have developed bigger brains than cats because highly social species of mammals need more brain power than solitary animals, according to a study by Oxford University.

For the first time researchers have attempted to chart the evolutionary history of the brain across different groups of mammals over 60 million years. They have discovered that there are huge variations in how the brains of different groups of mammals have evolved over that time. They also suggest that there is a link between the sociality of mammals and the size of their brains relative to body size, according to a study published in the PNAS journal.

THE best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply will come as early as Monday night, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on the F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization bill. This legislation is by no means perfect. But it promises to achieve several important food safety objectives, greatly benefiting consumers without harming small farmers or local food producers.

This is interesting, the bill is opposed by the anti-regulatory types of the right-wing and many in the organic movement. I wonder what they'll say now that their hero Michael Pollan has come out in favor of the bill.

Good news it passed. Now we have the tools to prevent tainted food whether it comes from conventional or organic farms. Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations

Report Questions Need for 2 Diet Supplements

The very high levels of vitamin D that are often recommended by doctors and testing laboratories -- and can be achieved only by taking supplements -- are unnecessary and could be harmful, an expert committee says. It also concludes that calcium supplements are not needed.



Good news it passed

Great news, and they said the Democrats couldn't get stuff done. here is another bill we had to wait 70 years for.

Report Questions Need for 2 Diet Supplements

I had a big discussion about supplements with my brother. basically, my stance was there is little or no evidence they do you any good. Eating good food is a hard thing to replace.

They do plenty of good if you are actually deficient. What's more important than taking supplements is to figure out why you are deficient. I believe doctors are doing a disservice to just prescribe supplements and leaving it at that.

I had the same discussion with my brother not so long ago. He was quite insistent that we all should be taking them, particularly my sister. I made the point that unless you were deficient that it was simply a waste of money, and as you pointed out it is far better to get them from your food rather than pills. I asked my sister if she was persuaded, it turns out she had been tested and was found not to be deficient in vitamin D.

I don't know how much it costs to be checked, but it may well be more expensive than a years supply of Vitamin D

At the core of my arguement was that there really no studies that show Supplements add vitamins to your system in a functional way.

Many pass right through your digestive track and fertilize the local sewage plant. Those that get into your blood, do so in a spike that can have limited positive effect.

There are plenty of studies that show vitamin deficiencies cause negative health effects (I am having one at the moment and need to go get more magnesium in my diet) I have never seen a study that shows vitamin in pill form really solve a deficiency or have long term health benefits when taken daily.

Some countries don't allow their sale because of the lack of any tested health bennifits.

Funny you should mention that. Slo-mag, or Mag64 would easily raise your magnesium levels in a safe way. Magnesium Oxide would just make you poop.

re: S510 Food Safety Modernization Act "I wonder what they'll say now that their hero Michael Pollan has come out in favor of the bill."

comment: I don't know what M. Pollan has had to say about it, but here's one Organic Farmer's view (having read perhaps 40% of the amended bill).

Senator Tester's amendment passed with the bill, rendering it a bit easier for small farmers. The bill now includes: a) documents understanding and agreement that large and small farms are different environments, and 'one size fits all' regulations are not necessarily appropriate to both.

b) clarifies that Farmer's markets, roadside farm stands and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) fall under the FDA's "Retail Food establishment" definition and are thus exempt from FDA registration under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act.

(note: Organic Farmers must already register with their State Depts of Agriculture, so this doesn't much change our registration requirements but it helps other small conventional and community farms/gardens.)

c) grants a 3 year exemption from formal HAACP requirements for farms with under $500,000/year revenue who sell the majority of their product within 275 miles of their farm. It requires instead, basically, that these farms document hazard access points, what they do about them, and maintain records about that. Which is, of course, perfectly reasonable and something anyone concerned about food safety would do anyhow. If such an exempted operation has a food safety problem, that exemption will, of course, be rescinded.

The bill has a bunch of homeland security stuff in it, I think DHHS and co. have 2 years to come up with a National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy which they are s'pozed to make public except for the parts they don't (national security and all...)

The bill still gives producers a chance to do the right thing voluntarily if there is a food problem with their product, but now gives the govt the right to demand that they do so should circumstances so require. It give the govt the right to inspect, increases the frequency of inspections, establishes some fast tract arrangements for food importers. It also has a whole section of food allergies, authorizing programs be developed to help schools and other community food operations deal with them.

Of potential concern: Depending on how it's implemented, I see some potential holes in the fast track food import deal. Also, we don't yet know how bizarre the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy will turn out to be.

However in general, anyone who's learned how to deal with the National Organic Program regulations, already considers Government Paperwork as their most voluminous product, so they oughta be able to handle SB510.

I don't know what M. Pollan has had to say about it

He was one of two authors of the article I linked to: Stale Food Fight

Most people get enough vitamin D from the Sun. Women who spend their lives shrouded beneath burqas, living in places where there is little sunshine, such as Ireland, are the exception.

sorry, I read the "Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations" link but not the "Stale food fight" one.

In any case, I've always viewed Mr. Pollan as thoughtful and competent writer, not a 'hero', so it matters little to my review of the regulation.

I don't know who I view as my hero. Maybe Ironman. I think he's pretty cool. Back in the day, I might have named Dale Evans.


Whatever Americans eat, from KFC to Manna, it doesn't make them any more intelligent, or help them live longer, or be more compassionate, or be more aware of the greater world around them, now does it?


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