Below is a list of things you may or may not know but are not greatly publicized:
1. Social Security\Medicare has been de facto reduced for the first time in memory.
This year Social Security did not receive any cost of living increase AND the copay amount for Medicare went up. The net result is a reduction for all Senior Citizens in income.
2. Tivo spies on you and sells that info.
This may not be the biggest surprise but Tivo records everything you watch including the duration and sends that data directly to whoever wants it. They claim users have anonymity but they necessarily have the data of who the owner is and where they live…which is data that is worth money too so assurances of respecting privacy vs. profits with any corporation are less than convincing.
TiVo will offer stations, advertisers and program producers year-round, second-by-second information about the shows and commercials watched by people who have one of the company’s DVRs. The anonymous data will come directly from the boxes.
3. Bottled water is often just filtered tap water for which you pay 3,000% more than it would cost you at home.
This may be less surprising but many of the major bottled water companies such as Coca Cola’s Dasani and Pepsi’s Aquafina are simply selling you the water that comes out of your tap…at around 3,000 percent of what that same amount of water would cost you. Well, add in the cost of water filtration, through your refrigerator or stand alone like Pur and it might be more like 2,999 percent.
And that’s not even mentioning the massive impact to the environment that all those discarded plastic bottles and the manufacture of all that plastic is creating. With all this global warming going on that it’s contributing to, I sure could use a drink of cool, obscenely overpriced water right about now, how about you?
4. Queen bees dumb down their workers.
The allegory of this science article from the LA Times speaks for itself:
A queen bee needs to keep her subjects calm and quiet, and she does so by secreting a scent that prevents worker bees from learning, according to new research.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that a component in the queen’s pheromone inhibits the sterile worker bees’ ability to learn from negative experiences. The active scent element is similar to the brain compound dopamine, which is involved in learning and memory in humans and insects.
By preventing aversive learning, the queen ensures that her youngest offspring will stay in the hive and not use their stingers, even if something unpleasant occurs.
“Aversive learning is when the animal makes an association between a particular odor and a nasty experience,” said senior study author Alison Mercer, a neurobiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
The “nasty experience” in the study was a mild electric shock, accompanied by a particular smell.
Honeybees separated from the queen extended their stingers when they detected the odor. But young honeybees exposed to the queen’s pheromone did not respond. The young bees that groom the queen are exposed to high levels of her pheromone.
Older bees somehow become capable of aversive learning — otherwise they would have little chance for survival as they forage for food outside the hive.
5. Americans are rapidly getting too big for their britches…and their t-shirts, SnugWows and caftans. Obesity’s rapidly escalating.
I know it is not a secret that many Americans are obese but the rate in which that obesity is increasing and how prevalent it is seems not to be as widely known. According to a July 2009 report (http://healthyamericans.org/newsroom/releases/?releaseid=182):
Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states and exceed 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent. Sixteen states experienced an increase for the second year in a row, and 11 states experienced an increase for the third straight year.
At this rate, the medical costs and lethargy of the majority of Americans will grow exponentially. How does having a greater population of lethargic people with severe health conditions affect our society, economy and health care system? And what about politically, when even clicking on an email petition is just too much energy to expend, let alone rolling out of one’s home to vote.
We are a nation of consumers indeed. With great consumption comes great responsibility…for getting your fat ass on a treadmill and skipping the weekly trips to Olive Garden’s unending pasta bowls, Pizza Hut’s cheese stuffed crusts and McDonald’s McGob O’ Fat sandwiches.
Just wanted to hit several items for a start, hope those of you reading this will share some of the lesser known realities on your list so we can get them out there a bit more.