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AdLib On September - 25 - 2009

confused-question-mark-man-thumb4364270So many things are going on around us without our knowing. For example, I just took a bite of your tuna sandwich. Mmmm…delicious mercury!

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.

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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.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

22 Responses so far.

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  1. nellie says:

    For some reason, the bee story really freaks me out. I have two bee hives in my backyard, and I’m fascinated by these little guys. They are completely friendly unless someone gets too close to the hive. They fly right by me on their way home from their daily endeavors — whatever they may be. And they’re always on the move, coming and going.

    I’m a little saddened to think they’re kept deliberately stupid by their leadership. Reminds me of the GOP. I like to think of nature as more progressive. I always thought bees had some kind of genetic disposition to get the work done. Like ants. At least there’s no unemployment, and the community feels a sense of purpose.

    Now I’m wondering about ants — are they made to be stupid, too? This could disrupt my entire concept of the natural world!

    Great article, AdLib!

    • Questinia says:

      Nellie, what do you think TV does?
      Since I’ve stopped watching it nearly altogether, my ability to think has increased.
      TV is the hearth and the opium of the masses.

      • nellie says:

        TV is a double edged sword. I haven’t had television in about three or four years, I guess. I can’t say I think any better, but I feel a lot calmer. And I still watch a good Frontline or a documentary or Bill Moyers, or even a cool show like Burn Notice, on the internet. There’s good and bad. I think television is just one of those things that got invented and people use, like cars.

  2. VegasBabe says:

    Wow. Didn’t know about the bees, had no clue about the water and as for the obesity thing in America, well…about that…:)
    Thanks Adlib for yet another GREAT article!

  3. Questinia says:

    I want to be part of the Speaker’s Corner Police (SCP) pulling people over for being off topic, making them write a sentence with a subject and predicate that relates to the topic, and wearing those cyber-boots made of finest Italian leather that Adlib promised to buy me.

  4. Questinia says:

    Interesting about the bees and dopamine. Dopamine is implicated in addiction (too little) and schizophrenia (possibly too much).

    So the Queen bee keeps her boys behaving by having them crazy addicted to her and stupid. Smart girl that Queen bee.

  5. whatsthatsound says:

    Here’s my plan. You don’t charge people to dream, you just charge them royalties on licensed characters. Let’s say you have a dream, and Snoopy appears in it. Or, I don’t know, Jessica Alba. Different types of dreams, obviously. Sorry, your subconscious can’t just go around borrowing licensed characters and stars -- you gotta fork out for that! Somebody made and marketed such things, after all, and they deserve their cut!

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    The bottled water thing -- what a scam! They’ll have us buying bottled air soon enough. Just think how many people are sitting in brainstorming sessions in corporate citadels, hearing their boss say something like this:
    “Okay, I want you guys to go out on a limb. Think WAY outside the box! How can we get people to pay for everything? I mean EVERYTHING? Can we sell air? Can we license dreams? Just think of all the opportunities to fleece Peeples we’re not exploiting! No WONDER the economy tanked last year! We’re not being imaginative enough!”

    As for something else that few people know, giraffes only sleep about ninety minutes a day. What’s up with that? My average nap is longer than that!

    • AdLib says:

      No doubt there were people 50 years ago joking about how one day people would willingly pay 3,000 times more one day just to drink water out a small bottle.

      I do find it viable that one day, people will pay for portable air to breathe that will simply be filtered air.

      Many great science fiction stories (see Philip K. Dick, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”) use the concept of commercialization of thoughts, dreams, memories, etc. Really tickles the imagination…which one can then figure out how to sell.

      As for giraffes, based on your info, I believe I am part giraffe.

      Do they make Ambien for giraffes?

    • Kalima says:

      About the bottled water thingy, we are guilty as charged because where we live the tap water smells and tastes really bad too. We order 3 x 18 liter bottles each month, they are huge, heavy plastic things and are sterilized for reuse so I don’t feel that bad about it.

      Maybe in your area of Tokyo, the water quality is better, here even my easy going hubby won’t drink it.

      😆 Poor giraffes, if I don’t get my 7 hours a night, I need to be put in a straightjacket. Is the divorce rate high in the giraffe community?

      • AdLib says:

        Have you tried water filters? They’re pretty good nowadays and the cost of water would be a fraction of what it’s costing you now.

        Before I had a refrigerator with a water dispenser and filter, I used a PUR filter on the faucet and later switched to the PUR pitcher which I kept in the fridge to have cold filtered water.

        And just think how much less Giraffes would sleep if they had cable.

        • Kalima says:

          The problem with my kitchen is that the counter space is so limited that the contraption I need to filter the tap water would leave me with only a foot of space for preparing meals. Our kitchen is the smallest room in the house, I often wonder how I manage to cook 3 course meals there sometimes, it’s magic.

          We pay about $35 a month, a lot cheaper and less thrash compared to buying cases of Evian about 20 years ago.

          Let’s put it this way, the water from our taps smells just like the water we flush our loos with.

          Years ago I would order mineral water whenever we ate out, if they brought a glass of tap water, I knew it without tasting it and always sent it back or had them open the bottle at the table.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Ha ha! Divorce is probably too complicated for giraffes. EVERYTHING is complicated if you’re a giraffe. It takes them a long time to drink water from a watering hole, because they basically have to lower themselves like a crane. Natural selection at its most perplexing!

        • Kalima says:

          😆 I know all about having to lower yourself like a crane believe me, they do it so much more gracefully than I ever could. I adore them, they have such beautiful, trusting eyes, most animals do, and those eyelashes, wow!

          • whatsthatsound says:

            I love them too! Aesthetically, they are probably my favorite animal.

            • Kalima says:

              They are beautiful but I would have to go with cats, large and small. The gang made me say that, not really. 🙂

            • Kalima says:

              My oldest is 12 too, Abyssinian, they never stop running around like a kitten. They love food, my food, I can’t remember the last time I had a meal in peace. She is the remaining one of 4 we have had, her beautiful brother Leo died a few years ago, always

              Ok, I’ll send photos of the terrible “J” gang, tell me when you’ve had enough. 🙂

            • AdLib says:

              Kalima, thanks for the sweet compliment, my dog is wagging her tail.

              She gets along with cats and even hamsters but she will chase squirrels forever (but never catch them).

              She’s going on 12 and has slowed down a bit just in the last year but she still has her moments when she jumps and runs around like a pup.

              Please do send me a new pic of the “J” gang, I saw the ones you posted here to show K7 when the site was just up and running.

            • Kalima says:

              Your dog is a beauty, did I ever send your photos of the “J” gang?

              Don’t get me started, they are so vain, so demanding but I love them when they sleep.

            • AdLib says:

              Heh! My daughter loves giraffes, they’re cool too but my golden retriever is looking at me curiously so I better say dogs are my favorite or she may eat my eggs next time I get up from the table.

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