Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Public Smoking (Blog 9)

Upon reading Weston’s blog on banning public smoking I was in favor of having a smoke free environment for everyone. I have tried cigars to find they are incredibly horrific tasting. I know that some people have reasons to why they smoke: I was peer pressured, it calms my nerves, habit, ect., but the simple truth is that some people do not wish to harm their health and safety. From the National Cancer Institute , second hand smoke causes cancer, even in low levels of exposure to second hand smoke.

The people who are smoking are using their right to smoke and ruin their health but when their smoke comes in contact with others they have no right to put smoke into others lungs.

Even a laissez-faire approach to smoking is harmful to people who wish to smoke and people who do not. If there is one restaurant in a town and it offers smoking, where does one go to eat food with out people smoking?

I can relate this to Mayfair mall in Milwaukee. There were incidents where people under the age of 18 were causing problems, creating a safety hazard to everyone who works and uses the mall. Now people under the age of 18 are not allowed in the mall on the weekends at certain times with out a someone over the age of 21. Now I know this is a different scenario but it applies to safety.

People should be free to smoke till their lungs disintegrate but the fact remains that that second hand smoke causes cancer. This is an issue of where public safety should be above the pleasure of smoking a cigarette.

Blog 8

Capitalism brings wealth to a nation. The competition between businesses assures the public of a best quality product at the lowest price. Without the competition the government is left to control: what is being produced, how much is being produced, and how much the good will sell for. Because of bureaucracy involved with the government there is always a surplus or a deficiency in goods. A privately owned business can control the levels of goods being produced.

My favorite example of this can be seen in communist Russia. In 1921, Vladimir Lenin saw that Soviet industry fell over 14 percent after initiating socialism. Every citizen had a quota for grain production once this quota was met these people had no incentive to produce any more grain. However, Lenin came up with the NEP or the New Economic Policy. This was just a fancy word for capitalism.

When a person in Russia would meet its grain quota he or she was then allowed to sell the excess on the open market. This spurred agriculture production in Russia. . “Within a well-defined legal frame-work, the economic mechanism (NEP) worked without confusion, and the economy as a whole was capable of reasonable efficiency and growth.” Socialism is an alternative to capitalism because capitalism brings wealth to a nation, many socialists believe that only the wealthy elite are making money.

While the wealthy may be making money, they create jobs for the majority of society. These innovative hard working people also create innovations that effect the lives of everyone in the world. Take Henry Ford for example, his innovation of a cheap car for the masses amassed him great wealth but his wealth dwarfs the effect he had on the world.

If you would like a explanation of why capitalism works ask one of the thousands of immigrants who risks their lives in a homemade raft to live in the United States.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Endorsements (Blog 7)

LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player in the NBA. His basketball talents make him excellent for selling products, including basketball shoes.

LeBron James currently has his own line of basketball shoes that are sold by Nike. Part of the advertisement campaign for these shoes can be seen in this link. This advertisement shows LeBron getting ready to dunk a basketball. This black and white photo shows LeBron almost as an immortal with the phrase ‘We are all witnesses.’ Even though the shoes are not in the advertisement, anyone who would purchase basketball shoes would know LeBron James because of his great basketball talents.

Because of LeBron James’ high skill level in basketball having him endorse shoes is optimal. People are much more likely to buy basketball shoes from a great NBA basketball player than an average basketball player. Because LeBron is one of the best in the world and he wears Nike shoes, his shoes may give one an advantage over others.

To some extent LeBron should have expertise in choosing a great basketball shoe. However one needs to be aware of the amount of money LeBron gets from wearing Nike shoes, over 90 million dollars.

Even though LeBron is being paid millions not many people would question his ability to play basketball. With his Nike basketball gear one can imagine that they too are one the greatest basketball players.

Because of the huge investment Nike has made and because of the abilities of LeBron James I believe that his advertisements will work in attracting people to buy shoes endorsed by LeBron James. I know these advertisements work because I have personally bought a pair of LeBron James basketball shoes.

Comparing (Blog 6)

The use of the death penalty has steadily dropped in approval by the American people. These two articles show reasons to get rid of the death penalty and reasons for the death penalty. As of now I believe the death penalty should not be used. The amount of time and money felons spend fighting for their lives ends up costing tax payers more then just letting them sit in prison.

An article from TIME magazine shows the inefficiencies in the current death penalty system. These inefficiencies allow prisoners on death row to spend over 30 years in some cases fighting to stay in prison. The article also shows the inhuman nature of executions. One person in Louisiana was zapped in an electric chair only to survive because the chair was not working. Now even the murder did not bring his victim to death and then back again. The number of deaths by the death penalty has decreased in the United States, however some states have been expanding the death penalty.

In a CNN article, Texas and Georgia “show no signs of changing course” on the death penalty, while Virginia has been expanding their death penalty. Virginia’s death penalty now includes those who assist in murder.

By reading both articles I find that the death penalty should not be used. The current system is very inefficient and costs more money then locking up a prisoner for the rest of their life. The TIME article is more influential because of the inhumane accounts of the death penalty and effectiveness of explaining how the current death penalty system is flawed.

All in all, my views were changed after I read these articles. I always thought the death penalty should be used but because of its inefficiencies it is not the best option.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sustainable Agriculture (Blog 5)

Hunger and poverty is a huge problem around the world. From a lecture by Dr. Thurlow over 1.02 billon people are malnourished. An article by Kristi Heim states that Bill Gates is leading the charge in helping out these 1.02 billion people. Improving crop yields will help feed more people and put more money in the pocket of people who farm for a living. However, many times in order to raise crop yields the environment can be effected. There are two main points to solve this problem, saving the environment and keeping getting food into the hands of people who are going hungry.

In order to keep the environment adequate for the next generation Bill Gates wants sustainable agriculture.
“Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” UC Davis
The University of California Agriculture Research and Education Program explain the many parts of sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture can be associated with the use of water for farming, the use of soil, energy, and air quality.

Obstacles of topsoil depletion and groundwater contamination should be top priorities when tackling the issue of sustainable agriculture. If the soil eroded the ability to farm the land vanishes and if the groundwater became contaminated the drinking water of many could be sacrificed.

These issues can be solved by educating these people and giving them a helping hand. If a cheap, simple, and widely available solution can be found I believe it could work. With the backing of Bill Gates, professors like John Reganold of Washington State University, and with the growing support of others this problem can be solved.

Kinoki Cleansing Detox Foot Pads (Blog 4)

We have all seen television infomercials. They constantly try and sell people products that can improve your life. Kinoki detox footpads are a prime example (Amazon.com). These magical pads “absorb impurities and work while you sleep. These footpads contain holistic ingredients and are formulated in Japan.”

Dr. Ed Zimmy from Everydayhealth.com states that there is no scientific evidence for these pads. The pads cannot work anyway because the body does not have a mechanism to suck out toxins from the skin.

Another interesting article about Kinoki was written by the Federal Trade Commission. Kinoki was charged with deceptive advertising. Kinoki had false health claims and had no evidence to support their claims. The Federal Trade Commission wants to “bar the defendants (Kinoki) permanently from deceptively marketing the foot pads.” This action taken by the Federal Trade Commission could be the reason there is no website available for Kinoki.

Scanning another website(http://www.publichealthforums.com) I found on forums that some people believes this product works. However many of these claims sound more like the Onion then real life stories. This goes to show that you never know what is true on forums because you can be anyone on the internet.

I would never use this product because there is no scientific evidence that Kinoki footpads work. The fact that the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and a medical doctor calls this product bogus is evidence enough for me. However, many people may use this as a placebo. “A placebo is a substance having no pharmacological effect but given merely to satisfy a patient who supposes it to be a medicine” (Dictonary.com). This placebo can affect the mind and the person with a condition believes that they are better. From all this information I can conclude that Kinoki footpads are a scam. Having a better diet and exercise are much better than trying to remove toxins from the body.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Demonstration Speech

video

My demonstration speech had some parts I could have worked on. My introduction was good. After watching this however I could have added an interesting quote or some more information about racing. My organization was great I listed everything needed to race. I showed how each part protects you, where you can purchase these, and how to put on the safety gear. I could have explained the safety gear better but they are relatively simple. I could have wrapped up my speech better with a longer conclusion but I got nervous and moved quickly to the end. I practiced my speech but I think practicing in front of more people would help.

My visual aid was the centerpiece of my speech I showed how to put on a race suit. I used the exact safety materials that I used in a real race, and I think it worked very well. Now only I could have brought my racecar here too.

I spoke loud and clear, I stumbled a few times but I believe that to be nervousness. I used a lot of eye contact with a straightforward body language that was not distracting or boring. I think I went at a pace where everyone could understand me but not fall asleep to my speech.

All in all, I could have added a little bit more content to my speech. I made 5 minutes but I could have had a stronger conclusion. I believe it was informative and interesting. The audience was engaged and respectful. I should have checked my hair before my speech but I practiced before and my helmet messed up my hair. However, my speech excelled overall and gave me more confidence in giving more speeches in the future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blog 3: Preparing a Meal

Today I am preparing myself a meal from Frank’s Place, a cafeteria-style restaurant. I grab a tray and step into line. There are many choices but the Vietnamese jasmine rice stands out. I also choose some chicken dummies. Eating at Frank’s is nice because I do not have to cook. The downfall of it however is that I have a limited choice of what I can eat. If there is nothing on the menu I do not like, I am screwed. Thankfully I have not had that happen to me, yet.

After I grab my food I get a glass of water. Next I take my tray of food and sit down while watching SportsCenter. It is nice to sit down after a long day and relax. While I eat I normally think and watch people as they too get food and eat. This experience is much different than what I am accustom to at my home. Every night I would eat dinner with my family at the dinner table and now I constantly eat out, with new people every night.

Pollan’s claim that the American public accepts, “a flood of damaging innovations…such as low-fat processed food,” has legitimacy. I can see how many people are content eating processed foods. This comes from the American public not being informed of processed food. It can be confusing to which foods are the healthiest to eat and frankly some people just don’t care.

Tabita in her blog TABLOG, states it best when she makes up her own definition of “highly processed food” because she is unsure of the true definition. I too find myself unknowing of many of the foods I eat and make food choices based on what I think is the best for me. I think the public should be more informed and should be told of everything that is in the food we eat.

The meal of Vitnamese jasmine rice and chicken drummies good, it did not affect my opinion because I enjoyed my meal. I could make my own food but it is hard to prepare food in my dorm and if I would it would probably be worse for me then at Frank’s. However I try and eat food that is alive like salads or fruit as much as possible so I believe I am living a healthy life. And like Tabita make up my own definition of "highy processed food".

Blog 2: Fake Cheese

Fake cheese does not compare to its real counterpart. The fake cheese looks more rubbery then real cheese. The taste quality is unmatched. Real cheese has a rich creamy flavor where fake cheese tastes rubbery. It also tastes like something has been left out. This taste difference can be attributed to the ingredients used to make the cheeses.

Fake cheese is comprised of vegetable oil and starch when real cheese is made from milk. This could be the reason fake cheese cannot compare to real cheese. The Prabhupadanuga News has a interesting article about fake cheese showing up in German restaurants, stating that they did a taste test, “Some of them are really disgusting (fake cheese), and you can really tell the difference because it’s transparent or white, it has a different texture.”

The fake cheese may or may not have the same calcium as its real counterpart. Sometimes fake cheese omits the word cheese from its labeling. This makes me question the legitimacy of fake cheese and if it is equivalent to real cheese in terms of nutrients.

I made the switch when I was fourteen I found that real cheese tastes better. It may be more expensive because fake cheese does not have the high cost of milk that real cheese has, but I enjoy real cheese. I rather spend more money on food that is better tasting and better for me.

In the future I believe people will still eat fake cheese. One can save a lot of money by buying fake cheese. Also people may not be informed of the products they are buying. If someone has been eating fake cheese their entire life they may not know that they are eating fake cheese. All in all fake cheese is here to stay but I will avoiding it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Michael Pollan Extra Credit

Michael Pollan

Go Big Read

09/24/09

Kohl Center

“In Defense of Food” is a wake up call to everyone of the “western diet”. Michael Pollan states we should eat, “Real food-the kind your great-grandmother would recognize as food”. I find it great that there is an overflowing crowd for this even, seems like the VIP section on the floor likes to arrive right on time. Seriously, Michael Pollan work is centered on “nutritionism” which has masked the roots of a growing problem of people who consume the western diet.

Michael first brought the problems of health and the whole food system. Using Fruit Loops as example he showed that supermarket is made up of chemicals and sugar. The box of Fruit Loops was shown to be healthy when in fact it was half sugar. This leads into an “American Paradox” when Americans are obsessed about health but we eat unhealthy.

His next topic that is the basis of his book is nutritionism, breaking down foods into its good and bad nutrients. Nutritionism is constantly changing as scientists find new nutrients to add into foods. Nutritionism is the staple of the western diet where it gives bias to processed foods. Fruit and whole foods never change where as processed food, like the Fruit Loops mentioned earlier, can change its box to include what was the fad at the present time. Michael even goes to say his next evil nutrient is omega-6 that blocks the absorption of omega-3 fatty acid. The omega-3 fatty acid is a “good” nutrient. The model nutritionism in the food system makes companies billions of dollars leading to a resistance to change, which is bad for the entire population.

To add to the confusion of nutritionism food messages are becoming more confusing. Instead of talking about foods labels state nutrients which are not equivalent. The more confusion the label makes the more people are uninformed and cannot make right choices. As food became more nutrient oriented companies could sell more and more food because you can eat more food because the foods are full of “good” nutrients. Add the fact that good and bad nutrients are constantly changing and you have a society set up to lose.

You can take for example the low fat campaign in America. Science took away most of the fats in foods but then had to add more flavor foods got more salts and oils. People were inclined to binge on food and in fact America got heavier to the ring of about 12 pounds per person. The science of fat was wrong as saturated fats are not as bad as they seem, trans fats which were used as a substitute is worse.

All in all we as people need to eat whole food, not processed, nonliving chemicals and nutrients. Societies all over the world live off of many different foods. Where is no processing or engineering of food people are less likely to get diseases. We need to change our way as a society as a whole eats and thinks about food. We need to enjoy and get higher quality food. We have a great challenge before us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food investagets the world of nutritionism. Nutritionism concludes that food is made up of nutrients and nutrients are only what the body uses for fuel. Michael can agree with Kat from livingliberally.org when she gives her take of nutritionism:

"Nutritionism is the phenomenon that's given us all kinds of super-duper enhanced foods: probiotic yogurts; whole grain cookies that are high in fiber; orange juice with added calcium, and so on. It's a system of formulas, relying on various combinations of carbs, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients which--in the proper ratios--are supposed to be the key to good health.And yet, all these numbers haven't added up to a healthier nation--on the contrary." Kat

These super enhanced foods create a huge market for companies. Micheal Pollan shows how compaines profit from nutritionism. These companies cannot be blamed however because they are not breaking any laws if their food has enough nutrients. But as Micheal Pollan explained with baby formula, which is constantly being updated with new nutrients to fortify the old formula, maybe the food scientists are still missing nutrients.

The nutrients themselves are a wonder but its how they work within living food. Living food, keeps humans healthy. This is what Michael is trying to convey. Living foods hold more mysteries then just the nutrients they contain. They are they best fuel for our bodies and with out them our health may suffer. The Western Diet worsens our health but I believe that if everyone would just eat a more balanced diet of living foods, fruits and vegetables, everyone can live a better life.