News fast experiment

Steve Pavlina reports on his experiences of going “news free”:http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/09/overcoming-news-addiction/. In fact, he calls it “overcoming news addiction.” He lists some very good reasons to go news free.

I’m thinking about it. I certainly think this would change the nature of the blog, because I would not be reacting as much to events. It may also change the nature of my interaction with my world, because I would become less of a passive receiver of information in response to which I react, but rather a proactive gatherer.

So I think I am going to follow these ideas in a small way. 30 days, starting today, and targeting mostly general news sites. There are a few specific news sites germane to my industry that I still feel the need to track, so I will continue to do that during this experiment. It’s also a great chance to prune my newsreader of old feeds that I just skip over.

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See the contrast?

“Ben Franklin or Richard Jackson, 1759”:http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin:

bq. Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

“??WaPo??, 2006”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/28/AR2006092800824.html?sub=AR:

bq. The Senate joined the House in embracing President Bush’s view that the battle against terrorism justifies the imposition of extraordinary limits on defendants’ traditional rights in the courtroom.

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Good news in Iraq

They’re building a $75 million “police academy”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087928/ in Iraq.

No, wait, that isn’t right.

They’re building a $75 million “police academy”:http://sadlyno.com/archives/3914.html in Iraq.

Oops. Let’s try one more time.

They’re building a $75 million “police academy”:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15022363/ in Iraq.

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Innovation in evangelical churches: sometimes I just shake my head

One church puts a “tithing ATM(Automated Teller Machine)”:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-holyatm28sep28,0,7916395.story?coll=la-home-headlines in its lobby. Apparently you can go up to the machine, stick in your credit card to be charged at the 19% interest rate (or higher, whatever it is for cash advances), and then walk into the sermon without feeling guilty for refusing the offering plate.

What will they think of next?

Hmmmm ….

buddyjesusdollar.jpg

Mmmmmm… transfatdoughnuts — write Krispy Kreme

The other day, my wife and I engaged in a bad death-bringing activity known as “stress-eating” (perhaps not bad for the cavemen, but bad for a person living in modern society). We bought a dozen “Krispy-Kreme”:http://www.krispykreme.com doughnuts, and proceeded to scarf one down. Then, after this had a brief moment of life-saving lucidity and examined the contents of the doughnuts.

4 grams of trans-fat _per doughnut_.

Let me shout that from the rooftops:

%{font-size: large; font-weight: bold}4 f***ing grams of trans-fat per doughnut!!!!1!%

So, upon returning home, I took the remaining doughnuts straight in the garbage can, with a thin film of transfat on my lips. As much transfat as _four Wendy’s singles_. Then my wife wrote the company.

Here’s the response:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding trans fat. We certainly
> understand and
> appreciate your concerns and wanted to take the time to address them
> personally with further information.
>
> Responding to the changing needs and lifestyles of our customers has
> been
> the history and heritage of the Krispy Kreme brand for more than 67
> years.
> We are always watching trends and working to react to our customers’
> needs
> and their lifestyles. We are presently looking into alternatives that
> would
> allow us to reduce the level of trans fats in our products while
> maintaining
> the quality and taste standard that we have to meet and that our
> customers
> expect.
>
> Also as you may know, Human Health Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
> released the FDA final rule for nutrition labeling of trans fat
> content in
> food and dietary supplements. The rule calls for labeling trans fat
> content on a separate line of the Nutrition Facts panel immediately
> under
> saturated fat. Krispy Kreme will make the necessary labeling changes
> to
> comply with new labeling requirements for packaging. Additionally, we
> are
> taking steps to include the information in our nutritional listings in
> our
> stores and on our Web site.
>
> Krispy Kreme’s customers will remain top of mind in all that we do.
> We are
> a member of and work closely with a number of leading industry
> organizations, both health and science focused, with whom we are in
> regular
> contact with on the issues surrounding the use of hydrogenated
> vegetable
> oils. We will continue to follow the findings of leading
> organizations on
> this matter and listen closely to the FDA’s recommendations as further
> conclusions are made. We will, in turn, respond with whatever changes
> we
> feel are necessary to ensure the best interests of our customers are
> served.
>
> Again, we appreciate your input and concern.
>
> Best regards,
> Carlos Rodriguez
> Krispy Kreme Customer Experience
> http://www.krispykreme.com

Well, this is at least a step in the right direction. While removing even all of the transfat from doughnuts won’t make them healthy, less transfat is less deadly. Time to put some consumer pressure on them:

“Krispy Kreme contact page”:http://krispykreme.com/contact.asp

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Your shadow self

Apparently, if you stimulate part of the brain (left temporoparietal junction), you induce the feeling of _autoscopy_ or _heautoscopy_, where you experience a double of yourself.

Mind Hack discusses some of the “recent research”:http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2006/09/inducing_the_shadow.html behind these phenomena.

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Walmart vs. Big Pharma

Insider has the “scoop”:http://pharmagossip.blogspot.com/2006/09/wal-mart-vs-big-pharma-first-casuality.html on Walmart’s decision to sell generic drugs for $4 per 30 day supply.

It seems to me that the 800-pound gorilla is trying to help its neighbors while still making money. Making money is still definitely at the top of the priority list, but maybe helping neighbors has climbed a few notches. At any rate, this is going to put a lot of pressure on brand-name makers, and, if this idea catches on (especially if pharmacies, who have been caught with their pants down, start to make competitive moves), it could eventually have ramifications on drug development.

Right now, brand name drugs enjoy a few years on market while still under patient, and then generic drug competition pushes the price down. The brand name makers can still make money on the drug, but it’s scaled way back. Now, it just might go to zero.

Drug development is a risky prospect in a risk averse environment. This development (which, as a consumer, I see as positive) is going to make the risk a bit higher. I wonder how we as drug developers are going to respond.

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