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New July 2013

Lindsay Lohan Says She Had a Miscarriage While Filming Her Docu-Series

In the finale episode of her OWN docu-series, Lindsay Lohan says that she had a miscarriage during filming, which started four days after she was released from rehab. No one knows this; I had a miscarriage for those two weeks that I took off. It’s a very long story … That’s … More »

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Ask Umbra: So even BPA-free plastic is poisonous now?

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Send your question to Umbra! Q. In light of recent BPA-free-wait-this-stuff-is-worse confusion, what kind of water bottles can I drink from? I don’t trust myself with a glass Nalgene. Thanks, Hannah W. Cleveland, Ohio A. Dearest Hannah, Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water bottle … Out comes disturbing new research saying our new, safer plastics aren’t necessarily all that safe after all. So where can we turn to fulfill our hydration needs now? First, for those of you who don’t have a Google Alert on BPA, a.k.a. bisphenol A: The Center for Environmental Health recently released a study that looked at chemicals in several brands of BPA-free kids’ sippy cups. Nine of the 35 cups tested contained significant amounts of estrogenic chemicals similar to BPA – seven of which actually measured higher for estrogenic activity than products with BPA. This joins a 2011 study finding that most plastics leach synthetic estrogens, even those labeled BPA-free, and even without exposure to stressors like microwaving, dishwashers, or UV light. What gives? Didn’t we solve this dangerous-hormones issue a few years back, when the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles and kids’ cups and manufacturers switched en masse to BPA-free plastics? It seems we owe this out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire situation to the fact that legally, chemicals are considered safe until proven otherwise. With BPA out, companies may have turned to untested replacements – some of which are now coming up positive for hormonal activity. I don’t blame you for wanting to chuck all your plastics, Hannah. The FDA’s official position may be that low levels of BPA are OK, but plenty of other scientists dispute the agency’s recent research. Given the health issues implicated with synthetic hormone exposure, I think the time-tested “better safe than sorry” plan is a prudent one. Luckily, I do have a few solutions for you. One, you could tote a stainless steel bottle, long a favorite option for the plastic-wary because they’re durable and recyclable. Though breakable, a glass water bottle is also a good, nontoxic bet, and you can slip a silicone sleeve over it to guard against butterfinger moments. A third option might be an aluminum bottle with a BPA- and phthalate-free liner, but given the choice, I’d still opt for steel. As long as you’re ditching plastic for all on-the-go drinking needs, I think you’re in good shape. Hydratedly, UmbraFiled under: Article, Living

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This necklace tells you when your cows are horny

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Farming apps are the new bubble, my friend (a Tinker Bell-sized bubble, but still). Not only can you track your yield, find commodity prices, and chart rainfall, but now you can keep tabs on when your dairy cows are feeling frisky. NMRThe key to the latter is a British innovation called the Silent Herdsman, which cows wear like a high-tech necklace. (It’s more of a Tamagotchi than an iPhone app.) The sensor monitors cattle’s temperature and wirelessly alerts the farmer via computer when they’re in heat – otherwise, somebody would have to be constantly elbow-deep in bovine hoo-ha. Perhaps unsurprisingly, farmers are constantly looking for a way to avoid these more hands-on methods — the Silent Herdsman isn’t even the first estrus-monitoring tool we’ve reported on. A Swiss device sends texts when a cow is in heat, but it involves implanting a transmitter in the genitals — a leeeeetle more invasive. Knowing the intricacies of a cow’s cycle isn’t just to avoid getting your leg humped. As Silent Herdsman CEO Annette MacDougall explains, “It’s important because, if you can maximize the probability of a pregnancy in cows, the likelihood is you’re going to increase your milk yields.” Small farmers need all the help they can get. The Silent Herdsman is coming to the U.S. soon; it’s already a reality in China, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany. As Sydney Brownstone of Fast Company suggests, it’d be even cooler if the device could measure methane from cows. After tracking their fertility, farts seem like no big deal.Filed under: Living

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How Hong Kong’s government subsidises those who need it least

<!– google_ad_section_start –> We hate the poor and favour the rich and well-off. The way our government has favoured our tycoons and helped them to unimagined fortunes is well-known. Far lesser-known is how much we have directly subsidised the middle and upper-middle classes since 2004, mostly through property-related concessions. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Kangaroo farts could help slow climate change

Not only are kangaroos cuter than cows — those built-in overalls! — but their farts contain way less planet-warming methane. (They aren’t totally methane-free, as scientists once thought, but the amount per food unit is about 80 percent less than cows.) And scientists think the intricacies of kangaroos’ bacteria-rich guts could help them figure out how to cool the planet. A new study by Australian researchers in The ISME Journal explores the kangaroo foregut and forestomach, traditionally understood as where marsupial foresandwiches go. Specifically, scientists found that the bacteria Blautia coccoides and types of Prevotella, Oscillibacter, and Streptococcus help kangaroos metabolize carbon dioxide and hydrogen. As a result, kangas’ gas is mostly acetate, not methane. It’s not quite as simple as getting cows to avoid beans, the magical fruit, but this research and the rest of the marsupial fart canon could help scientists tweak cow diets to make their farts low-methane. Kangaroo toots may smell like a gross blend of cheese and vinegar, but at least they’re fairly eco-friendly. Filed under: Climate & Energy, Living

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Workers fear for the future in Ukraine’s heavily industrialised east

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Donbass’s miners and factory workers are justifiably concerned what the geopolitical tug of war means for themStanding outside Donetsk’s coal mine, Igor Yefremov mused over the future of Ukraine’s heavy industry. “If we join the European Union our mines and factories will shut down,” he said. “Already the orders from Russia are drying up. Russia doesn’t want us because of the chaos in Kiev.”Yefremov was waiting to meet his brother-in-law, who was working on the early shift at the city centre mine. Above ground, the scene was tranquil. Off-duty workers sat on benches in a small, sunny rose garden, dwarfed by two giant pit frames.

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Now you can get raw milk from a vending machine

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What if buying fresh milk from local cows was as easy as getting a Sprite? It is in Europe, of course (an entire continent seemingly dedicated to inspiring jealousy). Modern Farmer reports that raw milk vending machines are commonplace in countries like France, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Expat Rebecca McCray raves that not only do local farmers own all of Slovenia’s raw milk vending machines, or mlekomats, but the unpasteurized stuff simply tastes better: [T]he unskimmed milk from the mlekomat is utterly unrecognizable compared with the bluish, watery counterpart I bought in the U.S. True that. Skim milk is nobody’s idea of a good time. Of course, there are some problems with quality control. Mlekomats automatically stop selling milk if it hits an unsafe temperature — even texting the vending machine owner a real-time alert! — but as Rutgers Professor Don Schaffner told Modern Farmer, some pathogens can thrive even if the milk is refrigerated. (Exhibit A: Italy’s problems with raw milk pathogens.) Sure, drinking raw milk could kill you. But cigarettes can too, and they’re still in vending machines across America.Filed under: Food, Living

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China’s Xi kicks off French trip with wine and cheese

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Chinese leader Xi Jinping kicked off his trip to France Tuesday with a selection of Beaujolais wine, saucisson and cheese shortly after arriving in Lyon, the country’s gastronomic capital. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Scientists figured out how to remove the valuable stuff from your pee

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Phosphorus is some tricky stuff. Pros: It occurs naturally in milk and meat; we need it for strong bones; it’s vital for food production. Cons: It’s increasingly snuck into food, and when phosphorus hits rivers, it suffocates marine life. So basically it’s good if we can stop it early on in the waste stream, but in the past, that’s been “unnecessarily inefficient.” Which is why it’s so cool that scientists have discovered a way to take the phosphorus out of our pee (and that’s a lot — we piss out 3 million tons of it each year). And considering that people have been fretting about “peak phosphorus” for the past few years, the innovation just might have come in the nick of time. The technique, as Gizmodo explains, sounds only slightly more complicated than holding a magnet in your toilet bowl: [T]he German Phosphorus Platform … adds something called superparamagnetic particles to the water. When the particles detect a magnetic field, they themselves become magnetic. The phosphorus particles then end up “piggybacking” off the superparamagnetic particles and can be removed from the water with a magnet. Sure, this works with other wastewater too, but in our book, urine will always be No. 1.Filed under: Living

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Milk & Cookie Cliff Looms

Milk could hit $8 a gallon if there’s no breakthrough in Farm Bill negotiations, and it won’t just be dairy products spiking in price — cookies and most other food would also be hit.

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More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk

The research was met with a mixed reaction, as there is disagreement among scientists about whether omega-6 fatty acids are harmful.

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China fines five jewellers 10.1m yuan for price fixing

<!– google_ad_section_start –> China has fined five domestic jewellers 10.1 million yuan (HK$12.79 million) for fixing their prices, state media said on Monday, the second time in less than a week that authorities penalised firms found to be anti-competitive. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Cashing in on health scares, China online food sales boom

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Chinese consumers are responding to a powerful new marketing tactic that plays to a widespread fear of food contamination – the promise of safe groceries sold online. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Fonterra starts inquiry into tainted products, New Zealand government to follow

<!– google_ad_section_start –> New Zealand dairy food giant Fonterra launched an inquiry on Monday into how infant formula products became contaminated with a botulism-causing bacteria, anxious to repair a damaged reputation that has threatened the country’s export trade. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Teachers to be taught first-aid for teeth

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Teachers should learn to administer first-aid to students with dental injuries, researchers at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Dentistry say. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

Saks Fifth Avenue
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Bren-Books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction<

bren-books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction

US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
J&R Computer/Music World
Burberry
New July 2013