urbpan: (dandelion)
While searching for some back-up for my crazy pest control notions (clean trash cans and dining areas with a pressure washer to keep yellow jackets away) I came across this horrifically wrong article. I won't link to it for fear of driving unsuspecting traffic their way.

With summer on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about picnics and barbeques and all those fun outdoor activities! Wherever you bring food outside, inevitably pests like bees and wasps turn up ready to ruin your party. How do you keep bees away from your food? Here are some tips for getting rid of bees and wasps:


1. Clip On Bee or Wasp Repellent. This is an easy way to get rid of bees and wasps without using traditional wasp or bee repellents that come in spray bottles. The clip ons are just as effective, but there’s no worry about getting chemicals into your picnic food!


There is no such thing as wasp repellent (I'm going to ignore every time they say bee when they mean yellow jacket. I'm getting used to this bit of taxonomy fail.) Anyone who tries to sell you wasp repellent is guilty of fraud. Perhaps this blogger is talking about mosquito repellent. Knock yourself out.

2. Dryer Sheets. Dryer softener sheers are an easy way to keep away bees and wasps without using chemicals. Just leave a few sheets around your picnic table or areas you’re serving food. Best of all, your picnic will smell clean and fresh! You can also use dryer sheets to keep bees and wasps away from people. Simply rub the sheets on exposed skin, or keep a sheet or two in your pockets.

Not proven to work, but hey, as wastes of time and money are concerned this one is pretty minor. If your brand of dryer sheets don't have chemicals in them, you are being swindled. Do they have an odor? Chemicals.

3. Mothballs. These musty smelling balls act as an effective wasp repellent. Scatter them around your picnic area to get rid of bees and wasps. To ensure they don’t get in food or eaten accidentally, try tying a few in old pantyhose. Though mothballs are intended to kill moths in enclosed areas, in open spaces they perfectly safe for humans. Bees and wasps don’t like the smell so they work perfectly as a bee repellent.

HO LEE SHIT. Perfectly safe for humans?? This is by far the most irresponsible part of this article. Not only is this an "off-label" use of a pesticide (against federal law) but it's one of the most dangerous pesticides still in use.


4. Brown Paper Bags. One of the easiest ways to keep away bees and wasps is to hang up a blown up brown paper bag. Simply fill a bag with air and round it off to look like a bee or wasp nest. Bees and wasps are very territorial and will not venture near areas where there are other bees or wasps. It may sound silly, but it works.

Again, this is a harmless waste of time and money. Let me tell you about the times that I have found 3-5 different eusocial wasp nests in the same hundred square feet area.

5. Cut Up Cucumber. Bees and wasps dislike the scent of cucumber slices, so leaving a few of them around your food platters on a picnic is an easy way to keep wasps away with something you may already have on hand. And if your guests are hungry for a snack, you have a healthy one at the ready!


Do they dislike cucumbers enough to ignore the tuna salad and the apple juice? Try it and let me know.


6. Cloves. Bees and wasps don’t like the strong smell of cloves. Scatter a few around the perimeter of your picnic, to get rid of bees and wasps.

This is based on a grain of truth: clove oil is an insecticide. Is there enough clove oil in a jar of cloves that you scatter on the ground to keep aerial pests from visiting your picnic area. I'll stay skeptical on this one.

Hopefully these easy tips have taught you how to keep bees away from your next picnic, using a few materials you probably already have around the house!

And here's the real problem. There must be an easy fix using materials we already have around the house right? That easy fix is called don't eat outside in the summer. OR if you do, don't use anything containing sugar or meat, and while you're at it don't wear any products that smell like flowers or fruit. The truth is that there are (depending who you ask) about a dozen species of yellow jackets, two or three of which are very very attracted to human sources of food. Yellow jackets can be unpredictable: I have eaten an entire "meal" of chicken fingers, sweet and sour sauce (their favorite! Smells like fermenting fruit juice), and soda, all the while with yellow jackets all around, crawling on my hands and on the food. I was not stung. I have been stung, randomly, out of nowhere, just because I wandered close to a nest I didn't know about.

Use common sense and please don't misuse pesticides.
urbpan: (dandelion)
On tumblr, where I spend an increasing amount of my online time, I keep seeing a post about Gouldian finch chicks. It claims that these birds have phosphorescent spots on the sides of their bills to help guide the parents to the baby's food hole. We have, and breed, Gouldian finches where I work, and I'd never heard of this. Surely if we had baby birds with glow in the dark spots on their faces someone would have mentioned it to me.

So when I was at Bird's World recently, I told the keepers there about this ridiculous tumblr post. "Yes," they said in chorus, "you can see it right now if you want."

 photo P1010946_zpsdoze5nc6.jpg
So a coworker pulled down a nest box, opened it up, and let me see the glow.

 photo P1010947_zpsppw0y6uu.jpg
The effect is even more striking when the chicks' mouths are open, but you get the idea. However, a quick side trip to wikipedia quashes our fantasies of a bioluminescent bird:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouldian_finch
"Very young birds, like many other species of Australian cavity-nesting finches, have a variety of odd features in and around their mouths including a "palate marked in the fashion of a domino" and several "prominent rounded tubercles" with an "opalescent lustre" at the back of the gape. These tubercles are commonly (and incorrectly) described as phosphorescent in spite of much scientific evidence to the contrary.[4] It is believed that these tubercles simply reflect light and are not luminescent.[4] Scientists have hypothesized that this domino-like palate and striking tubercles may facilitate feeding within the dark confines of a nest cavity, although no experiments have been conducted to support this idea."

footnote [4] is: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2421636?sid=21105707320511&uid=4&uid=2
urbpan: (dandelion)
 photo IMG_0466_zpsa930c6a8.jpg
We ate at the Dedham Diner, which was decorated with children's crayon drawings. One child had quoted Michael Pollan.

 photo IMG_0467_zps8cb415b2.jpg
Over in the supermarket, some con artist is trying to sell bird seed by putting cherry scent on it. (Songbirds have very poor senses of smell, and do not orient to food by olfaction.)
urbpan: (dandelion)
So, @TweetsOfOld just posted this link. The highlighted news story, from a 1906 Kentucky newspaper, reads in its entirety: "A four-year-old boy was playing in front of his parents hut at Varallo, Italy, when an eagle suddenly swooped down and carried him off. The eagle was seen to alight on the summit of a high mountain some miles away with his burden safely in his beak. No trace of boy or eagle has been discovered since, although fully 100 mountanineers (sic) spent three weeks continuously searching on the mountains."

This story was either made up completely by the newspaper, a la the Weekly World News, or was spun by the grieving but guilty parents of a child whose death was caused by negligence or malice. The tiniest four year old could not be lifted by the most powerful of european eagles (the golden, again), and eagles don't carry large prey animals with their relatively weak mouths.

Once I asked an ornithologist, "besides mute swans, what flying birds could possibly kill a human being?" She thought for a moment and said "a harpy eagle could kill a small human." Harpy eagles prey on monkeys and sloths, so a four year old is in the right size range for that. They don't pluck the animals from the trees and fly away with them to eat them in their aerie like a roc, however. (oh, wait, yes they do.)

The eagle snatches child video was all too reminiscent of the eagle snatches dog urban legend--another clue to it's doubtfulness.

I don't want to come off as smug--I was totally taken by the eagle video at first. The student filmmakers did a good job of shaking the camera in horror, animating a plausible-appearing grab by the bird, and so on. What this really makes me think about is how valuable it is to actually experience something first hand. Technology can make anything look real--you can synthesize a virtual dragon, dinosaur, faerie, troll, god, alien, or trip to the sun. Why should a child who can watch a perfect artificial dragon bother going to a zoo (for example) to see an anteater or (perish forbid) out into the wilderness to see a moose?
urbpan: (dandelion)
I won't post it because I suspect it's a viral video advertisement and they don't need my help, but there's a very convincing video out there of a large bird of prey swooping down and lifting a toddler a few feet before dropping it. It blew up on my twitter page last night around midnight, with people from disparate sources suddenly talking about it at once. That to me is the biggest evidence that it is part of a marketing campaign and not a real event. If it's real it will be picked up by legitimate journalists, and it will be kind of a big story. But I don't think it is.

Edit: we seem to have identified our hoaxers. I'm pleased that it was a not-for-profit operation.
urbpan: (Default)
Doing research at work, I came across the FAQ section of the American Mosquito Control Association. I found this paragraph to be especially enlightening. Bold emphasis mine.


What attracts mosquitoes to me?

Why some people seem to be more attractive than others to mosquitoes is the subject of much repellent (and attractant for traps) research being conducted nationwide. Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 meters. When female mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide they usually adopt a zigzagging flight path within the plume to locate its source. Once in the general vicinity of a potential host, other cues predominate, including body odors (sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat. Odors produced by skin microflora also play a part in inducing the mosquito to land. Over 350 compounds have been isolated from odors produced by human skin. Either singly or in combination, many of these compounds may be attractants - and many may be repellents. As you can see, the situation is complicated and will require many years of testing before it can be sorted out. Visual stimuli, such as movement, also factor into host-seeking. What can be safely stated, though, is that ingestion of garlic, vitamin B12 and other systemics has been proven in controlled laboratory studies to have no impact on mosquito biting. Conversely, eating bananas did not attract mosquitoes as the myth suggests, but wearing perfumes does. People drinking beer have been shown to be more attractive to mosquitoes. Limburger cheese has also been found to be attractive. Scientists have theorized that this may explain the attractancy some mosquitoes find for human feet.


Despite this, I will not stop eating massive amounts of garlic or drinking copious volumes of beer.
urbpan: (Default)


A Slurpee day.

I find the rapid dissemination of a fake quote attributed to Martin Luther King more interesting than the death of Bin Laden.
urbpan: (Default)
I know many of you are fond of eating wild foods.  I just got this question to my 365 urban species post on Japanese knotweed:

  can you make a tea with japanese knotweed...will the liquid contain
 resveratrol?...Zev Bodek


Beats me!  Do you know?

EDITED to add:  Resveratrol, as seen in ads alongside half of the pages I look at on the internet, appears to be the flavor of the month in herbal supplements.  It has a variety of effects in laboratory animals, and may help reduce blood sugar levels in humans.  I'll let you read the wikipedia page yourself.  It is a chemical produced by plants in response to fungal infection.  Different plants have different amounts of it, and individual plants that have been attacked by fungi contain more of it.  It is found in some foods, including grapes and wine.  It has been isolated from Japanese knotweed roots for use in the supplement market.  I've never made tea from knotweed roots, but I bet it tastes nasty, not that taste stops people from herbal medicine.  Burdock root is about the worst thing I've ever tasted and people put it in food.  Some teas can be made from the leathery and woody mushrooms that grow on dead trees.  Urban knotweed roots are likely to have a great many other components in them besides resveratrol, including pollutants that may be harmful if consumed.  Just sayin'.

urbpan: (Default)
I know there are a lot of people out there who aren't sure about vaccinations, especially for kids. I always wondered where the idea that they cause autism came from. From a fraudulent study, as it turns out.

I think this one had so much traction because people like to distrust doctors.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] drhoz for the link.
urbpan: (Drinky crow)
"There is a devil in every berry of the grape."

This is a wonderful quotation or proverb, but where does it come from? If you rely on a quick search of the internet, the loud and clear answer is "The Koran." (Or the Quran or Qu'ran, but most of the time, "The Koran.")

But information and misinformation travel just as widely and as quickly on the internet, and given the sensitive nature of attributing a quotation to this particular text, it deserves a cross-check. I tried to nail down exactly where in the Koran this quote comes from. If you quote Biblical scripture, you follow it with the name of the Book, and the numbers of the chapter and verse. None of the sites I found alleging that this quote was from the Koran specified what chapter it was from.

I checked a searchable Koran site, and could not find the quote. There are some verses that mention grapes, including this nice one: "And of the fruits of the palms and the grapes-- you obtain from them intoxication and goodly provision; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who ponder." (The Bee 16.67) But the full phrase quoted above (even using the two words Iblis and shaitan that may be translated into "devil") doesn't seem to appear.

Deeper in the search results is another possible origin: Thomas A Kempis, medieval German monk, and author of Imitation of Christ, an influential Catholic text (I confess I knew the title only from a Psychedelic Furs song). A sizable minority of lists of quotations attribute the proverb to Kempis. At least one source claims that the phrase "there is a devil in every berry of the grape" comes from Imitation of Christ, but I couldn't prove that by searching a few different online versions of the book.

I did however find the phrase in another book. "...Perhaps everyone has not heard the proverb, 'There is a devil in every berry of the grape.' This proverb is in use in some parts of England, and is said to have strayed hither from Turkey." This is from Flowers and Flower-lore by Hilderic Friend, published in 1884. ("Turkey" in this period referred to the Ottoman Empire, which comprised most of the Islamic world.) This citation lends support to the notion that the quote has an Islamic origin, if not actually that of the Koran itself.

My best guess is that the proverb's origin is lost to history. We may never know the identity of the poetic teetotaller that coined it. I doubt that the saying even comes from the Islamic world; I suspect that it became attributed to the Koran as a way of making it seem more significant and "quotable." If someone reading this has studied the Koran or Imitation of Christ and can say for certain that the origin is in one of these texts, please do. And please provide chapter and verse numbers, so that we can all see it for ourselves.
urbpan: (monarch)
I'm no longer a member of [livejournal.com profile] wtf_nature  (I found the community attitude to be irritatingly adolescent), but I bet someone there has posted about the Calyptra moth.  Assuming this wikipedia entry is true and not some kind of hallowe'en season hoax, this is a very interesting animal that I can't believe I just learned about.  Lepitopterans are almost unique among orders of insects for not inspiring disgust or anxiety in the general public.  No one much minds if a butterfly lands on them, unlike, say, a flying cockroach.  Moths are mostly beneath the notice of most people, unless their larvae are eating an apple or an expensive wool suit. 

But then there is Calyptra (apparently), a group of moths that mostly pierce fruit with their drinkng-straw mouthparts to draw out nectar and juice.  Except for a few species which have mouthparts strong and sharp enough to pierce the skin of mammals, in order to drink blood.  These vampire moths don't seem to habitually feed on humans (the wikipedia article says "After human skin has been penetrated it tends to turn red and be sore for the following two to three hours. Despite the wound being more severe than that of a mosquito it is thought that there is no health risk and the moths need not be avoided."    Sure they don't!  Why would you want to avoid a blood sucking moth?

Anyway, if this is all true, I don't know why Calyptra moths aren't known by chldren around the world.  Why don't they have their own "vampire moth" show on Animal Planet?



Are you kidding me?  Of course, the reason I'm posting this is that I know several entomologists read my journal, which is just about the best thing in the world.

EDIT: Apparently I needed to look no further than the unread National Geographics on my table to verify the story.

urbpan: (Charlie's jacket)
It's obvious why those of us who own pit bull type dogs get angry about efforts to ban our dogs. But why should anyone else care? Sure, if you own another breed of dog that's sometimes singled out for negative attention you should be wary, too. Once they ban pit bulls, it will be that much easier to ban Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherd dogs, huskies and malamutes, chow chows, shar-peis, akitas, mastiffs, bulldogs, ad infinitum. But what about those people who own only small dog breeds, or those people who don't own, or even like dogs? Why should they care about dog breed bans, or breed-specific legislation?

Because, as has become all too familiar in recent years, fear and misinformation are being used to take away your freedom. Fear is used by the media as much as sex in order to get our attention. And your attention is more valuable than ever to the media. It means ad revenue. The media doesn't care what you think or believe, or how much freedom you have, it justs wants your attention, so that it can sell more ads.

Misinformation is a great way of spreading and amplifying fears. It can be as simple as emphasizing a fact in a story, or even better, omitting a fact. It can be an outright mistruth, since there are no consequences for the media outlet that redacts their misstatement in a subsequent issue, hidden on the bottom of page three. And it can be as easy as choosing words for impact, instead of literal meaning. In that spirit, I am going to henceforth refer to the media's use of misinformation, omissions, and mistruths, as 'lies.'

The people who wish to ban certain breeds of dogs, or otherwise restrict ownership of them, use media stories to back up their position. They repeat the lies, which, since they are written by a professional news outlet, are taken to be facts. They back up their media-inflamed assertions with studies cobbled together from 'data' mined from media stories. They use the news media as if they were scientific journals, reinforcing their fears with misinformation deliberately concocted to reinforce their fears. Lawmakers react to emotional pleas from a fearful public, which drowns out the reason and knowledge of the veterinary community, animal behaviorists, and dog experts.

Today I read a news story that used several well-worn tactics for spreading fear through misinformation. I'll go through it, point by point. Remember, even if you don't like dogs, or if you hate pit bulls, or your idiot neighbor who owns pit bulls, what I'm talking about here is LIES used to TAKE AWAY your FREEDOM.

The headline reads 'Baby boy attacked by family pit bull.' Whoa. Am I really going to defend this dog, this monster that turned on its own family, that ATTACKED a BABY? Well, no, I don't even know this dog. But I will point out facts in the story that don't quite mesh with this alarming headline. For starters, reading the body of the story, we find that the baby does not belong to the family that owns the dog. The baby came with visiting relatives--so technically, everyone involved is family, but the dog doesn't know that. Again, I 'm not excusing the dog from attacking, I'm saying the dog did not know it was attacking 'family.' We can't accuse the dog of betrayal, as the headline suggests.

More importantly, we have facts about the circumstances of the 'attack,' which are often omitted in this kind of story. It turns out that the baby approached the dog while it was eating. Again, this is a terrible thing, a baby was bitten by a dog, but any idiot knows you don't approach a strange dog while it's eating. A DOG OF ANY BREED, toy poodle, golden retriever, your loveable mutt, is more likely to bite if it's approached while eating than any other time. The use of the word attack, in this context, is misleading. If I slap your hand away when you reach to steal something off my plate, am I attacking you?

Pretend for a minute that some other kind of dog snapped at a strange kid who was approaching it while it was eating. Is that really news? If a cairn terrier (Toto from The Wizard of Oz) bit a member of the family who owned it so bad that it required a trip to the hospital, and made the family question whether or not they should keep the dog, would that be something worthy of a television news crew? My mother's cairn terrier did just that, and broke my father's finger--if he was a baby on the floor, it would have been facial injuries, like what happened with the pit bull in this news story. Where were the reporters?

It's only news because you can get people to pay attention to the words PIT BULL, no matter what actually happened. If a pit bull gets loose from a fenced in yard and chases a child, and the child is not injured, the headline will read 'PIT BULL ATTACKS, CHASES CHILD.' If a pit bull injures another dog, it's a MAULING. My mother's cairn terrier was torn to shreds by my neighbor's German shepherd when it got loose from its kennel. Somehow that didn't make the news either, even though she made a miraculous recovery that the news outlets would have loved. If a pit bull attacks a domestic animal, like a horse, goat, or cat, it makes the news. Again, my mother's cairn terrier got ahold of my pet hamster and killed it; dogs are predatory animals that attack and kill other animals every day--it's not news. Unless the dog attacking the domestic animal is a pit bull, then it can be added to the scary mythology of the monster dog.

Overstatements, lies, misstatements, facts out of context, and more lies, all engineered to make you scared. I'm not saying there aren't dangerous pit bulls out there owned by irresponsible people--they are one of the most popular breeds in the country, it's the law of averages that some jerks will mistreat their dogs, chain them up in yards, let them run without leashes, and refuse to get them spayed and neutered. I won't stand up for criminals, but I also ask that those of us who keep our dogs correctly not be made into criminals because of the dog breed we choose. It's not fair, it's not right, and it's a violation of our freedom.

You should care about pit bull bans because the same kind of fear tactics could be used to take away your freedom in another sphere of life. You would be forgiven if you thought that the number of dog attacks was spiraling out of control--it sure sounds that way. In fact, despite the increasing population of people and dogs in the United States, attacks per capita have been going down steadily for decades. There isn't an epidemic of pit bull attacks, there's an epidemic of reporting of pit bull attacks, real and imaginary. But since it fits the story, the scary story that there is this one breed of dog unlike all the others, that's popular with inner city people and trailer park people and drug dealers, and that they are on the rampage, attacking and killing the people that own them and innocent strangers too. LIES. I'm tired of mincing words about it. LIES TOLD TO YOU to make you scared, and to make you needlessly scared of my dogs, so that you join the herd of panicked sheep taking away our freedoms. Stop believing lies.
urbpan: (caveman jef)
In art school, I was taught that some 40,000 or so years ago, there was matriarchal society (or societies) across much of Europe, if not the whole of the peopled world. (I should stress that I was not taught this in the context of a history or anthropology course.) This society, peaceful and artistic, produced artifacts like the "goddess of Willendorf." Many people I was close with embraced the notion of this society as fact, and moreover, as a model of what we--should we choose to discard the patriarchy--should aspire for our own culture.

Alas, there is a paucity of facts to back up the existence of this great matriarchy, and a great deal of wishful thinking. My bs detector wasn't as sensitive back then, but I did sometimes wonder how the fact of this unknown society had come to be so obscure. Shouldn't I have learned about it in, well, a history class? I should have, if there was any evidence that it ever existed, or any actual scholarly research done backing it up. For more than a decade I've let the possibility that it existed simmer on the back burner of my mind--it's a good story, at least.


Today's Straight Dope describes the idea, what's right with it, and what's wrong with it. Always good to hear from Uncle Cecil.
urbpan: (pigeon foot)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] macabre_grrl for pointing me to this post at [livejournal.com profile] hip_domestics. It's a post about an inexpensive house fly control method that is apparently widespread among restaurants with outdoor seating, farmers markets, and the like. But I had never heard of it.

The method is to fill a clear plastic bag with water and hang it up where you would like to keep flies from. This particular post included a detail which set my bs detector off like a klaxon. There is a shiny new penny in the bag with the water. Why? Because, according to the restauranteurs who hung the thing up, "flies have compound eyes and see the penny's reflection as a honeycomb beehive. Flies don't want to be near them and stay away from dining guests."

Nuh-uh. While it is true that flies have compound eyes, their nervous systems are able to gather the information from those eyes into images that help them navigate their environment, avoid predators, etc. If they saw a single penny as a beehive, they would also see a single predatory wasp as an overwhelming swarm! Every pile of dog doo would be a mile wide buffet! To belabor the point, I'll draw attention to the fact that we have two eyes, and we don't mistake every single thing for a double thing. (Despite what you might have learned in a Monty Python skit about mountain climbers.)

Back to the bag of water. Why should flies be repelled by it? According to the staff at The Straight Dope, the bag acts as a crude magnifier, "in which the movements of people in the area are reflected. Even if the fly is too far from the action to see it directly, it can see a shifting of light and dark in the water bag, which it interprets as nearby movement, and it will fly away from the bag."

Maybe. I don't totally buy it, but I haven't tested it. Fortunately, someone suggested it on the Mythbusters forum, so maybe those guys will try it out. Keep in mind that for this to work in the way that the Straight Dope guy said it does, that there have to be people around, their images dancing around in the plastic bag in a way that menaces them (in a way that the people themselves don't, for some reason.) Other message boards discussing this folk pest control method say that it works, but like most visual repellents (shiny balloons, fake owls) the effectiveness drops off once the pests acclimatize to the stimulus.

Wait, so what about the penny? According to one message board comment, the penny is there to prevent algae from growing in the water, which (according to the comment) would only work if it was a penny minted before 1982, back when they were still made of copper.

I suspect that the biggest benefit of folk remedies, whether they're for health, pest control, or attracting good spirits, is the fact that they make the person feel involved. "I did something to make it better: I put a penny in a bag of water, I rubbed the wart with a penny, and then I put the penny in my shoe." It's very human to want to feel like your actions are meaningful. And like most folk remedies, a bag of water at least won't make it worse.
urbpan: (fsm)
Wild speculation worded as if it were science, published in a "science journal," proves wacky theory of panspermia.

I especially like the figure of "one trillion trillion times more likely" that life originated in the non-frozen heart clay-and water filled of a comet than on earth. Not that anyone has proven that any comets contain liquid water, or clay. That's a big number. It must be true.

If someone can mine a comet, and produce the building blocks of life from it, then we can talk about comets "seeding life." But in the meanwhile, Panspermia is just a way of saying that Earth isn't special enough to have produced life--it's just the telescope owner's version of Special Creation or Intelligent Design. Magic Man Comet done it.
urbpan: (Default)
I know you're all quite web-savvy, and I don't have to tell you about Bible Bars, but are you aware of the breakthrough science of intestinal ozonation? Clicking that link will also remind you that oxygen is obtained by breathing, and that you can't get more by drinking a liquid with oxygen dissolved in it. And thank goodness for that, or else we would get higher carbon dioxide levels from drinking soda pop and everyone would die every time they drank a can of coke.

But House of David is also selling Bible Bread, which is advertised only as "unleavened" and "tasty," and they don't inply that it gives you superpowers, so I'm tempted to try it. Not that I don't want superpowers, but I if a company suggests to me that their product will give me superpowers, who knows what other weird lies they may be telling? Jesus, there could be scale insect excrement in there (scroll down about 2/3 of the page to find what Exodus 16:14 has to do with scale insect excrement)

But royal jelly gives the queen bee her superpowers, right?. But if it worked, why wouldn't it catch on, and then everybody would have superpowers? That would be cool! And all it takes is some bug barf! But it doesn't.

But I have no right to beat on these people and their bizarre taste for insect cack, and their belief that they are better than everyone else. After all, every culture on earth eats some nasty crap that no one else would touch (want some haggis? sheep's eye? cheese? roasted cockroach? scrapple? bird's nest soup? uncooked fish?) and thinks they are better than everyone else (exhibit A: all of human history). To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I covet their whole grain snacks, but I distrust their belief in magic pills and ingested oxygen. But no one is holding a gun to my head and making me buy these things, or look at their website. Besides, if they were, I wouldn't be afraid--because I have superpowers. I got them from fermented grains.

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