links for 2010-04-13

  • I've wondered why in the world England has been so long occupied by humans. An island in the north Atlantic doesn't really lend itself to settlement (why continue past the south of France?) It turns out that Great Britain was connected to Europe by a land mass large enough that "land bridge" doesn't really do it justice. Sea levels rose, cutting off Great Britain about 8500 years ago. "Doggerland," as the land mass is now known, is submerged, but it's not very far down. It's proven to be an incredibly rich source of archeological materials.
  • U.S. companies produce ground beef and ship it to Mexico. Sometimes it fails Mexico's tests, containing levels of contaminants that are too high. So they ship it back to the U.S. and sell it here, since our standards are much lower. For instance, there are limits for how much salmonella that beef can contain, but not how much (say) chromium. So, deadly levels of chromium? No problem! Another reason to avoid factory farmed beef.
    (tags: food health meat)
  • Outback Steakhouse’s "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under" (which, by the way, sounds like the Australian equivalent of "Montezuma's Revenge") contains 1,911 calories. Urk.
    (tags: food health)

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

3 replies on “links for 2010-04-13”

  1. “Worst Food Invention”: Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta.

    I’m just gobsmacked by the very idea of such a thing.

  2. Avoiding factory farmed beef is about to get a lot harder unless folks start calling their senators.

    S.510 – the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is poised for a vote anytime and, if it passes the way it currently reads, will likely impose sufficient hardships upon small farmers as to make it hard for them to stay in business.

    I talked to Trevor Dean, the food safety staffer at Senator Webb’s office, today about it. He and the senator feel that this legislation is vital to preserve the safety of our food and feel it would be kowtowing to special interests to work in an exemption for small farmers. The only headway I was able to make regarded leveling the playing field – that is, asking that the bill be amended such that the cost of compliance as a percentage of revenue could be made equal. Thus if the Frank Perdues and Cargills costs of compliance worked out to say 3% of revenues, then that is what Farmer Joe would pay as well. It’s not hard to implement – Albemarle County has a similar system for assessing business license fees.

    As much as I disagree with this bill, I don’t think there is any point in asking the senators to vote against it – they are hell-bent on getting this thing passed. But if folks call and ask that small farmers get help with compliance costs, that just might happen.

    Trevor said that he had talked to only some two dozen people from Virginia about this. It would be nice if Virginians could get a little more involved in this issue and keep his phone a bit busier than that.

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