"The issue about what to do with the health-care system is sometimes
presented as a technical argument about the merits of one kind of
coverage over another or as an ideological argument about socialized
versus private medicine. It is, instead, about a few very simple
questions. Do you think that this kind of redistribution of risk is a
good idea? Do you think that people whose genes predispose them to
depression or cancer, or whose poverty complicates asthma or diabetes,
or who get hit by a drunk driver, or who have to keep their mouths
closed because their teeth are rotting ought to bear a greater share of
the costs of their health care than those of us who are lucky enough to
escape such misfortunes? In the rest of the industrialized world, it is
assumed that the more equally and widely the burdens of illness are
shared, the better off the population as a whole is likely to be. The
reason the United States has forty-five million people without coverage
is that its health-care policy is in the hands of people who disagree,
and who regard health insurance not as the solution but as the
Of course the only reason to eat chocolate is for the health benefits. The same is true for red wine, coffee and a drink of alcohol or two a day.
At least this week.
As this week dark chocolate is thought to be good for you, thanks to the "trained
panelists" at Consumer Reports who stepped up to the plate and tested the best dark chocolate bars on the market.
Their #1 pick is a bit surprising: Cacao Reserve by Hershey's ExtraDark.
The top five:
Cacao Reserve by Hershey's Extra Dark
Lindt Excellence Extra Fine Dark
Chocolove Organic Dark
Valrhona Le Noir Amer Dark Bittersweet
Scharffen Berger Semisweet Pure Dark
The worst of the bars they tested is Newman's Own Organics Sweet Dark, which you eat at your own peril.
Click here to see the full list. ( subscription required.)
True chocolate lovers may want to skip ahead to a realchocolate review website, seventypercent.com, which has reviews of
some of the bars mentioned by Consumer Reports, as well as dozens of
other fancy-schmancy versions.
North Carolina is home to America’s
first cultivated grape.
Florentine navigator Giovanni de Verrazzano
found it growing in our Cape Fear River Valley in 1524.
settlers called scuppernongs - a variety of the muscadine - “The Big
They began making wine from it in the 1700s.
A scuppernong is a
large type of muscadine,
a type of grape
native to the present-day southeastern United
States. It usually has a greenish or bronze color, and is similar
in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and about 50%
Its name comes from its original place of production, Scuppernong,
where it was first grown during the 17th century, a name itself
tracing back to the Algonquian
word ascopo for the sweet bay tree.
Several small green seeds are found in each grape. The skin is
very thick and tart. The pulp is viscous and sweet. The seeds, which
are bitter, can be swallowed with the pulp or extracted and spit out.
The most desired part of the scuppernong is the extra sweet juice
that lies underneath its skin.
There is a proper and time-honored method for eating a
scuppernong, the object of which is to combine its various components
into a single burst of flavor. Hold the grape gently yet firmly
within your thumb, index and middle fingers, with the stem scar
oriented towards you. Pucker your lips around the stem scar and
squeeze the grape gently while sucking the pulp and juice into your
mouth, straining out the seeds through a narrow slit between your top
and bottom teeth. Use a finger to flatten the grape skin against your
front teeth to extract the subcutaneous flavor concentrate, while
guiding the seeds away from the opening to the bottom of the grape
skin. The seeds should be left inside the empty skin, to be neatly
discarded. The whole process takes about a second and quickly becomes
Scuppernongs figure prominently in the story "The Goophered
Grapevine" (1887) by Charles W. Chesnutt, and are also mentioned
in the book "To
Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper
Lee. The scuppernong also figures prominently in William
Faulkner's novel "Absalom,
Absalom!" as the plant under which Coronel Thomas Sutpen and
Washington Jones sit down to drink.
Of the world population of about 6.5 billion, 57 percent is
malnourished, compared with 20 percent of a world population of 2.5
billion in 1950, says a new study to be published in December by a Cornell professor and 120 graduate students.
The team examined data from more than
120 published papers on the effects of population growth, malnutrition
and various kinds of environmental degradation on human diseases.
They found that malnutrition is not only the direct
cause of 6 million children's deaths each year but also makes millions
of people much more susceptible to such killers as acute respiratory
infections, malaria and a host of other life-threatening diseases.
Among the study's other main points:
Nearly half the world's people are crowded into urban areas, often
without adequate sanitation, and are exposed to epidemics of such
diseases as measles and flu.
With 1.2 billion people lacking clean water, waterborne infections
account for 80 percent of all infectious diseases. Increased water
pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes,
killing 1.2 million to 2.7 million people a year, and air pollution
kills about 3 million people a year. Unsanitary living conditions
account for more than 5 million deaths each year, of which more than
half are children.
Air pollution from smoke and various chemicals kills 3 million
people a year. In the United States alone about 3 million tons of toxic
chemicals are released into the environment -- contributing to cancer,
birth defects, immune system defects and many other serious health
Soil is contaminated by many chemicals and pathogens, which are
passed on to humans through direct contact or via food and water.
Increased soil erosion worldwide not only results in more soil being
blown but spreading of disease microbes and various toxins.