Vis-A-Virus

Dirty Little Secrets
About Hand Washing

For at least a century now, it’s common knowledge that one of the essential conditions for good health is to wash your hands often. That’s still true in the age of sanitizers and nothing like the virus du jour to highlight that. It’s also when most people realize that six seconds under running water doesn’t clean anything.
The personal care industry makes billions every year but we still prioritize appearance, voice tone, timing, and a series of other silly parameters to gauge whether the person in front of us is friend or foe. And yet they could kill us with a handshake. No wonder the doctor who became obsessed with cleanliness lost his mind.
What’s curious is that a dweller of any modern metropolis does value showering daily or almost, and depending on education, brushing their teeth a least twice a day. Somehow the initial step, though, and despite the usual comforts of contemporary life, like indoor plumbing, taking the time to wash up is treated as a formality.

It’s hard to understand how come such a crucial habit fell through the cracks of culture. Or that we even survived to this age. The evidence clean hands do save lives is around for so long, just like soap, and in the big scheme of things, time spent washing up is negligible compared to other human activities.
And yet, here we are, with the coronavirus wreaking havoc those very activities on a global scale. The benefits of this simple habit to improve global health cannot be overestimated and neither can the growth of the soap and cosmetics industry during the same period. Human awareness though went the other way.
FIGHTING GERMS WITH ALCOHOL
Hand sanitizers are an ultra-modern invention likely devised to quell germophobic anxieties and up to a few months ago, could be found at every counter of every food and retail places in America. It’s not so available anymore and for a while hoarders and mad-greedy merchants thought their price should be many times higher.
Amazon and other delivery companies – which by the way are making a killing – have stepped in to curb price gouging, but the initial widespread adoption of antibacterial soaps prompted a number of alarming studies about their long-term effects. That’s why the FDA banned Triclosan, despite industry efforts against it.
The current virus outbreak may potentially produce yet another unforeseen economic impact: to boost the moribund corn industry. A perennial recipient of government aid, corn depends on two factors for its commercial viability, subsidies and the fact corn syrup is now added to arguably 90% of American food. Thus the demand for corn-made alcohol is expected to spike.
AREN’T YOU FORGETTING SOMETHING?
But dirty habits die hard. Consider the study by late 2003 Ig Nobel Prize in Literature John Trinkaus of CUNY, published at the Annals of Improbable Research. It recorded public use of a hand-sanitizing station in the lobby of a teaching hospital, with heavy traffic of medical professionals, patients, and their relatives.
Of a total of 500 observations made, only three out of 108 healthcare practitioners stopped and used the station, which runs (more)
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Read Also:
* We’re Not Alone
* Blowing in the Wind
* Tiny Friends

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That Can’t Be Right

A World Out of Whack in
Four Easy & Weird Stories

Ah, it’s a wonderful world out there. But it may be a matter of perception whose wonders are out there, and how much reality has to be bent to fully appreciate them. After all, as this year’s Ig Noble Award winning Psychology study has so thoroughly proven, ‘Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller.’
If that sounds like nonsense, boy do we have a post for you. From what dads are saying about their kids these days, and that includes those who shouldn’t even be called fathers, to how much arsenic your bowl of rice may be holding, to a completely off the left field study about ugly fonts and car crashes, the list is long.
And it’s all true. Or rather, if this is true, than how much of it you currently have in your life? Better get some, friend; if the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, you may still need to find your own seat. Or you may just want to forget it all and enjoy your football game, but wait, there’s something weird about that too.
It’s likely that from this season on, your favorite sport may no longer be as enjoyable as it used to be. First, research proved that the game itself has been causing brain damage to a lot of still able bodies. Then a dispute within the league, has unleashed onto the fields a platoon of unprepared referees that have so far wreak havoc on the season.
On top of that, you may still not be aware of the NFL’s best-kept secret: Continue reading

Spoiled Leftovers

What We Throw Away May  
Help Fuel Hunger & Obesity 

Technically, we already produce food enough to feed well all seven billion people on Earth. So how come there’s more hunger than ever before? That’s one of the reasons why starting a sentence with ‘technically’ almost always leads it to its opposite conclusion.
As a new report has shown, Americans throw 40 percent of their food in the trash, but it’s unlikely that we’re the only culprits; we’re just the fattest. Since we can’t always clear our plates, a lot of good stuff goes from there straight to garbage bins.
It seems cruel that in the world’s richest country, so much food gets thrown away, while poverty is rampant and natural resources can’t recover as quick as needed to meet demand. Some studies put the number of American children going to bed hungry at over 40 million every night.
At the same time, there’s a rush to produce more food, almost never with the necessary ethical standards, respect for the environment, and care about the health of those who will be fed. The under-regulated market for development and trade of seeds already moves billions, and is driven by profits, not social concerns.
In the U.S., the business of food production is so powerful as to write its own rules, and the ghastly realities of its main staple, animal products, are rigidly guarded away from the public eye. Periodically, an underground video emerges to offer a glance at the medieval conditions animals are submitted to feed us in this country.
No wonder food recalls are so numerous every month, due to contamination, poisoning, faulty packaging, poor storage, or pure low Continue reading

Breaking the Bank

Sperm Donor Quandary:
Fathers of Hundreds & Half Siblings

First, a word of warning: This post contains information that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is highly advised. 
We regret to inform you that the market for sperm donation in the U.S. can be treacherous, and artificial insemination is far from being a heartbreaking-free method. Proceed with caution.

Ideally, when would-be parents seek outside help to have a baby, they go through sperm banks, which are expensive but regulated institutions. 

Banks match them with potential donors after a thorough screening process, which involves health checkups and psychological profiling. 
It’s not an infallible process, of course, but it’s been for years a source of happiness for thousands of parents and their children. 
The conditions for a compatible match, though, are not unlike the probability of success for adoption of grown up children. After all is said and done, luck will play a big role in the final outcome. 

ONE FATHER, 150 CHILDREN 

Banks and fertility clinics have a database of potential donors and, some critics say, tend to rely on a set group of individuals with a Continue reading

Fading HIV

Good News May Point
to World Without Aids

The Obama administration’s formulation of a new Aids/HIV policy in the past weeks coincided with a cluster of good news that may be pointing to another turning point in the fight to control and eradicate this epidemic worldwide. At the same time, social factors continue to represent the most serious obstacle to achieve such lofty goals.

With about 37 million people living with the infection in the world today, one million of them in the U.S., plus the over 24 million who already died of the disease since 1981, including half-million Americans, Aids has definitely not gone away, despite the appearances that the worst is over. Continue reading

Rotten Eggs

Nature Is Not Allowed
Into Some Henhouses

So you’re trying to cut down on red meat and decided that eggs are a good source of protein to replace it. Not quite ready to become a vegan yet, you think eggs will do it for now, as long as they’re natural, cage free and organic, right?
Ah, nothing like the sunny view of happy chicken being called by their names, roaming free on verdant pastures. That is, until the day comes when their true calling is disclosed and they head straight to your breakfast plate.
Now there’s evidence that an even darker side to this picture can burst your bubble easier than you can crack an egg shell.
It turns out some chicken farms have been playing loose with the Continue reading