Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Age

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Drink Only Distilled Water

Water pollution is a large set of adverse effects upon water bodies (lakes, rivers, oceans, groundwater) caused by human activities. It is a serious problem in the global context. It has been suggested that it is the leading worldwide cause of death and disease, and that it accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily. Drinking water currently available around the world is severely carcinogenic.

Principal sources of water pollution are:

1. Industrial discharge of chemical wastes and byproducts
2. Discharge of poorly-treated or untreated sewage
3. Surface runoff containing pesticides
4. Slash and burn farming practice, which is often an element within shifting cultivation agricultural systems
5. Surface runoff containing spilled petroleum products
6. Surface runoff from construction sites, farms, or paved and other impervious surfaces e.g. silt
7. Discharge of contaminated and/or heated water used for industrial processes
8. Acid rain caused by industrial discharge of sulfur dioxide (by burning high-sulfur fossil fuels)
9. Excess nutrients added by runoff containing detergents or fertilizers
10. Underground storage tank leakage, leading to soil contamination, thence aquifer contamination.

Contaminants may include organic and inorganic substances.

Some organic water pollutants are:
1. Insecticides and herbicides, a huge range of organohalide and other chemicals
2. Bacteria, often is from sewage or livestock operations;
3. Food processing waste, including pathogens
4. Tree and brush debris from logging operations

Some inorganic water pollutants include:
1. Heavy metals including acid mine drainage
2. Acidity caused by industrial discharges (especially sulfur dioxide from power plants)
3. Chemical waste as industrial byproducts
4. Fertilizers, in runoff from agriculture including nitrates and phosphates
5. Silt in surface runoff from construction sites, logging, slash and burn practices or land clearing

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The Pain In Paint

Paints, the world over, are toxic. Some effects from the toxic ingredients of paints include:

1. Depression of the central nervous system,
2. Headaches,
3. Nausea and giddiness,
4. Irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory track,
5. Asthma, anaemia and bronchitis.

In 1989 the World Health Organisation reported that painting as an occupation was carcinogenic. Painters suffered from lung cancer 40% above the average and their children, too, were more prone to cancer.

In the indoor environment of buildings there is off-gassing from ingredients used in building materials, paints and furniture, and also from equipment. This may result in poor indoor air quality, particularly in a well insulated building where the drafts have been eradicated. The effect on the people using the building may be lowered vitality, more asthma and respiratory illnesses, headaches, and other symptoms of what has now come to be known as Sick Building Syndrome.

Both the production and use of paint/finishes can lead to major environmental problems. One tonne of paint can produce as much as thirty tonnes of solid waste, much of which is not degradable. Some paints may also contain heavy metals such as cadmium (a substance highly toxic to the heart, kidneys and liver and used particularly in yellow, orange & red pigments), and titanium. These often get discharged from factories into rivers and estuaries. It is estimated that over 10 million tons a year of paint are used world wide on buildings.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC's) are used by the major paint manufacturers as solvents, they evaporate very readily, entering your body through breathing the fumes, when painting and the water supply through washing out brushes and pouring the waste down the drain. VOC's react in the atmosphere leading to the formation of smog containing secondary pollutants like ground-level ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. Many paints and treatments also include fungicides, added to them in order to prevent mould. These include tributyl tin (listed as 'highly hazardous' by the World Health Organisation), carbamates & permethrin should all be avoided.

Synthetic paints are combustible and can catch and spread fire readily from one area to the next, giving off clouds of highly toxic smoke that can asphyxiate a victim very quickly. This extra fire intensity and spread, and heavy toxic smoke, makes it very dangerous for rescuers and fire fighters.

In America where there are a lot of timber frame houses, and even masonry structures with wood stud/gypsum interiors, little time is left for escape and the structure is generally completely consumed by the fire. Major old structures, mostly built out of stone, are still subject to quick flame spread, heavy toxic smoke, and high heat when painted with synthetic products. Although more of the structure would be standing, due to its stone/masonry construction, the interior would most likely be destroyed.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


What Makes Us Sick?

The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] classifies cosmetics and personal care products, but does not regulate them. In 1938, the FDA granted self-regulation to the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association [CTFA], the self-appointed industry organization. With The exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA ["Prohibited Ingredients", FDA Office of Cosmetics Fact Sheet, Dec. 19, 1994]. What this means is that the industry does not have to account to anyone, not even the FDA. The direct result of industry self-regulation is that all products on the market today that we use constantly--and worse, products that we UNKNOWINGLY use on our children and even babies in the womb -- are TOXIC. Wayne Stevenson of the FDA Cosmetics Registration Section says that "The cosmetic manufacturers aren't required to submit safety data to the FDA, so we don't really know what sorts of tests they run. When they run tests, they keep the results in their own files."

Some commonly used ingredients found in household products and their impact on the human body are as follows:

Alcohol: adult drink, acts as a solvent. Found in mouthwash [which may have higher alcohol content than beer or wine], astringents and facial cleansers, some toothpastes

1. Implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers [women have 90% higher risk; men have 60% higher risk than non-mouthwash users]
2. On skin, strips away natural protecting oils [takes skin 24 hours to repair itself]
3. When ingested, makes body tissues vulnerable to carcinogens

Alkyl-Phenol Ethoxylades: Found in shampoos, bubble bath

1. Reduces sperm count· estrogen mimic

Alpha Hydroxy Acid: [said to reverse aging and renew skin] Found in skin products

1. Removes outer layer of skin and prematurely exposes new skin to damaging effects of the environment
2. Inflames skin [and so wrinkles seem to disappear]
3. Destroys skin cells; long term use results in skin cancer

Aluminum: Found in antiperspirants, some cosmetics, cans and household utensils

1. Causes Central Nervous System dysfunctions [such as Alzheimer's disease]

Bentonite: [micro-fine clay used to suffocate forest fires] Found in foundations, soaps, and other cosmetics

1. Suffocates the skin [does not allow CO2 out or O2 in; traps toxins in]
2. Scratches the skins surface

Benzoic / Benzyl / Benzene: [preservative] Found in bubble bath, shampoos, shower gels

1. Carcinogens and endocrine disruptor
2. Cause birth defects

Bronopol: [2-bromo-2-nitropropane]

1. Severely carcinogenic

Coal Tar Dye: [esp. D&C Blue #1, Green #3, Yellow#5, Yellow #6, Red #33, phenylenediamine] Found in shampoos, especially dandruff shampoos, bubble bath, toothpastes, hair dyes

1. Cause severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness, lack of concentration
2. Increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and Hodgkin's disease

Note - The 1938 Act created a specific exemption for coal-tar dyes. The FDA cannot now ban them, even though their carcinogenicity has been recently proven.

Collagen: [makes skin feel artificially smooth] Found in creams and lotions

1. Molecules too large to penetrate skin; suffocate skin

DEA [Diethanolamine], TEA [Tea, triethanolamine], MEA Cocamide DEA; Laurimide DEA; Linoleamide DEA, Oleamide DEA: [solvent, emulsifier, wetting agent] Found in most things--shampoos, conditioners, lotions, shaving gels, bubble bath, skin creams, etc.

1. Severely carcinogenic

Dioforms: Found in tooth whiteners

1. Damages teeth enamel
2. Weakens protective shell of teeth

Elastin: [promoted as beneficial to skin] Found in creams and lotions

1. Suffocates skin, cannot be absorbed by skin [molecules too large]
2. Cannot restore tone to skin
3. Holds moisture in/out

Fluoride: [Sodium fluoride] Found in toothpaste

1. Environmental pollutant
2. May contain lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, radionucleides
3. Accumulates in body, destroying organs
4. Contributes to bone disease [American Medical Association, December, 1993]
5. Carcinogen [known since 1990: shown to not reduce cavities]

Dr. Dean Burk of National Cancer Institute: "Fluoride causes more human cancer death, and causes it faster than any other chemical"

Formaldehyde: [preservative, fixative, disinfectant] Found in shampoo, nail care, cosmetics, baby shampoo, bubble bath, deodorants, perfume, cologne, hair dye, mouthwash, toothpaste, hair spray, and many other personal care items.

1. Carcinogen
2. Neurotoxin

Note - The following information is taken from a Material Safety Data Sheet [MSDS] which, by law, must be supplied to anyone who uses any chemical product in the workplace. The MSDS for formaldehyde warns: "Suspected carcinogen; May be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through skin; causes burns; inhalation can cause spasms, edema [fluid buildup] of the larynx and bronchi, and chemical pneumonitis; extremely destructive to tissue of the mucous membrane."

Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances are made up of hundreds of chemicals. Some, such as methylene chloride, are carcinogenic; others can cause brain damage. A scientific analysis of one very popular perfume showed it to contain a very potent neurotoxin.

Kaolin: [micro-fine clay used to suffocate forest fires] Found in facial powders and other cosmetics

1. Suffocates and weakens skin, like bentonite

Lacquer: [stops things from running] Found in mascara

1. Causes eyelashes to fall out

Lye: Found in bar soaps

1. Corrodes or dries out skin

Methyl Methacrylate: Found in sculptured artificial nails

1. May cause inflammation of fingers and nails

Mineral Oil: [makes skin feel soft and smooth] Found in liquid foundations, blush, skin creams and baby oil; derivative of petroleum

1. Suffocates and dries out skin
2. Inhibits oils you produce naturally and so increases dehydration
3. Clogs pores; locks in toxins and wastes

Phthalates: [plastic softener, solvents] Found in lipstick, hair spray, deodorant, nail polish, hair gel, mousse, hand lotion, body lotion, and perfume, as well as children's toys and PVC plastic. Usually NOT found on label of ingredients. 52 of 72 products tested contained unlabelled phthalates in concentrations up to 3%.

1. Shown to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system, especially the developing testes
2. Accumulates in organs; women 20-50 have the highest levels in their bodies
3. Phthalates ingested as a result of lipstick use lead to breast cancer

Propylene Glycol: [humectant--prevents things from drying out] Found in deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, shaving gels

1. Implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities
2. Inhibits skin cell growth
3. Damages cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: [detergent] Found in toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap, liquid hand soap, bubble bath

1. Corrodes hair follicles and impairs ability to grow hair, may cause hair to fall out
2. Builds up in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact causing organ atrophy
3. Denatures protein--impairs proper structural formation of young eyes
4. Damages immune system

Talc: [dry lubricant] Found in baby powders, feminine powders, lubricant on condoms, found in blush

1. Carcinogen when inhaled
2. Use on condoms may result in fallopian tube fibrosis [leads to infertility]
3. Linked to post-operative granulomatous peritonitis and fibrous adhesions
4. 60% increase risk of ovarian cancer when used in genital areas
5. 90% increase risk of ovarian cancer when used in feminine deodorant sprays

Toluene: Found in nail polish

1. Endocrine disruptor
2. Carcinogen
3. Causes birth defects
4. Irritates respiratory tract
5. Causes liver damage

Tyrosine: [darkens the skin] Found in tanning accelerators

1. Carcinogen

Zinc Stearate: Found in blush, powder foundations

1. Carcinogen

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Anticipation II

Understanding Chinese

China's strategic culture has converged around Tao ("the way") three important ideas that emerged from prehistoric Confucian thought and belief: Shih, Hsing, and Lee. Any analysis of China's strategic culture and uses of force must begin with an understanding of these:


Congealing over several centuries around Sun Tzu's thought China's strategic culture that has formed solidly around the ancient Chinese abstraction-Shih-and its paired opposite-Lee. Several generations of strategists - Tai Kung, Sun Tzu, Wu Tzu, Wei Liao Tzu and their successors - developed and taught Shih as a coherent body of strategic thought. The defining theme in Sun Tzu's The Art Of Warfare, the essence of Shih was the dynamic power that emerged in the combination of men's hearts, military weapons, and natural conditions.

Strategic thinking focused on Shih was Shih-strategy, which converged Shih along three broad dimensions of warfare: the people, the context, and the enemy. Shih-strategy concentrated the power of the people in the soldiers and their weapons. The power of context appeared in opportunity, timing, and logistics. The enemy's power lay in the relative skill, competence, and will of the opposing force.

Since men and their hearts were critical to Shih-strategy, commanders and rulers needed to understand how to mobilize them. A ruler's adherence to the right way - Tao - brought the people into accord with the ruler in internal harmony. The ruler with a great Tao gained the deep, sincere, heartfelt support of the people. The ruler who had or created Tao could build a strong Shih for his people and his army. Without Tao, even the best commanders could not build or rely on Shih.


Sun Tzu understood Hsing as the outward appearence of an object or situation. As a military term, Hsing described the deployment and employment of forces. In war, commanders could transform equipment, weaponry, and troops into Shih through Hsing. Although some scholars and historians interpret Shih and Hsing as near synonyms, Hsing is explicitly the tangible, visible, and determinate shape of physical strength. Shih also includes intangible factors - morale, opportunity, timing, psychology, or logistics - that are often dynamic and always difficult to ascertain. In contrast to Hsing, which is static, Shih changes in some predictable pattern as flourishing and fading succeed each other in battle.


The counterconcept of Shih with its forward-looking perspective, Lee refers to self-interest or material gain and carries a definite priority for the present. Arising from materialistic thought and theory, Lee-strategy does not recognize intangible human factors as important elements of power. Instead it focuses on visible, material assets and enemy forces.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006


The End Of Easy Money

Just over a couple months ago the Bank of Japan made a simple yet historic announcement: that they were prepared to begin raising their interest rates shortly, perhaps as early as next month. Now admittedly on the face of it such an announcement wouldn’t appear all that groundbreaking—Central Banks the world over change their rates all the time, albeit rarely with such forewarning. But in Japan’s case the decision marks a pivotal moment in our modern financial history.

Japan is the world’s second-largest economy, and Japanese short-term rates had been hovering near 0% for almost six years. These two factors—high liquidity in combination with miniscule borrowing costs—have formed the backbone for a modern economic miracle known as the yen carry trade. But now with Japan preparing for the prospect of raising rates, the miracle is beginning to unravel…and it’s already started wreaking havoc with global markets.

The yen carry trade is a pretty sweet deal by which speculators could borrow money from Japan at well under 1% interest and then turn around and use the funds to purchase bonds or assets elsewhere, pocketing the difference as profit. This ultra-easy money policy was intended to spur Japanese bank investment and bring Japan out of a depression, but that didn’t really happen. Instead the money was used to finance global speculation. And because this “free money” was being distributed in seemingly limitless amounts by a sound industrial nation with deep pockets and a stable currency and rate history, the deal proved too good to pass up for major investment houses, banks, mutual funds, insurance groups, pension funds and hedge funds the world over.

The actual numbers are unfathomable, but we know the BOJ was injecting some $300 billion a day into the system (Zhejiang Online, April 20th), which was about $250 billion over their own stated “required level” of current account deposits. This means the banks were continually hard-pressed to find other uses for 5 or 6 times the money they actually needed, and that excess liquidity went anywhere and everywhere there was a profit to be had. The yen carry trade has bolstered U.S. Treasuries certainly in recent years, but in a highly competitive financial world a few percentage points in risk-free profit is never enough. Thus these funds quickly began to feed more speculative bond, currency, derivative and stock markets. They’ve even provided significant hot-air to inflate the worldwide housing bubble.

But now (to mix metaphors) the gushing spigot is being shut-off as the BOJ ceases rolling over most of their short-term debt. All told, perhaps some $2.5 trillion will gradually have to be repatriated as the longer loans come due (International Forecaster, April 2006). The BOJ is under definite pressure to go slow and to keep the liquidity flowing as long as possible, but a recent Nikkei Financial Daily opinion piece stated the liquidity draining is actually happening quite a bit faster than expected, and hinted therefore that the first rate rise could come in June (Bloomberg, May 9th). This indicates the BOJ may be more anxious to tighten things up than market players would like.

In a world already buckling under financial strain and suffering from high crude oil prices, with rising interest rates in advanced economies, global current-account imbalances, and with the U.S. Dollar seemingly under attack by policies both within and without its borders, the end of the yen carry trade party is bound to bring an unpleasant hangover.

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