These 10 companies make a lot of the food we buy. Here’s how we made them better.

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via OxFam America:

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true: There really are 10 companies that control most of the food and drinks you’ll find in the grocery store. Between them, these giants—whose revenues add up to more than a billion dollars a day—own hundreds of common brands, from Cheerios to Ben & Jerry’s, Odwalla to Tropicana. (See the infographic above to learn more.)

So why should these huge companies care about doing business responsibly? First, because their global operations touch countless lives. “These corporations are so powerful that their policies can have a major impact on the diets and working conditions of people worldwide, as well as on the environment,” wrote Alexander E.M. Hess in USA Today.

Second, because shoppers these days think about factors like fairness and sustainability—and we’re increasingly (and successfully) demanding that the brands we buy do the same. These food companies may be big, but no company is too big to listen to its customers.

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2 Futures Can Explain Time’s Mysterious Past

In the evolution of cosmic structure, is entropy or gravity the more dominant force? The answer to this question has deep implications for the universe's future, as well as its past.  Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team

In the evolution of cosmic structure, is entropy or gravity the more dominant force? The answer to this question has deep implications for the universe’s future, as well as its past.
Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team

via Scientific American:

Physicists have a problem with time.

Whether through Newton’s gravitation, Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward.

Of course the world we experience is entirely different. The universe is expanding, not contracting. Stars emit light rather than absorb it, and radioactive atoms decay rather than reassemble. Omelets don’t transform back to unbroken eggs and cigarettes never coalesce from smoke and ashes. We remember the past, not the future, and we grow old and decrepit, not young and rejuvenated.

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The Oil Coup

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mike Whitney from Counterpunch writes at Global Research:

“John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.” (Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia, Larry Eliot, Guardian)

U.S. powerbrokers have put the country at risk of another financial crisis to intensify their economic war on Moscow and to move ahead with their plan to “pivot to Asia”.

Here’s what’s happening: Washington has persuaded the Saudis to flood the market with oil to push down prices, decimate Russia’s economy, and reduce Moscow’s resistance to further NATO encirclement and the spreading of US military bases across Central Asia.

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Voices From The Ghosts of Vietnam Are Being Heard Again

It’s been nearly 40 years since what the American media called “The Fall of Saigon” and the Vietnamese referred to as the Liberation. I saw it then as the Fall of Washington.

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The ghosts of Vietnam are back, thanks to two filmmakers with very different takes. The first is Rory Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy’s youngest daughter. Her one-sided account has already been nominated for an Oscar. The second is Tiana, an American of South Vietnamese origin, who made the film, From Hollywood To Hanoi, years ago to promote reconciliation between our two countries.

Tiana is finishing a movie called The General and Me, on her unlikely conversations (for someone from a virulently anti-communist family) with North Vietnam’s legendary and late General Vo Nguyen Giap, a.k.a the “Red Napoleon,“ a.k.a the man whose military doctrines defeated the French Army and later the Pentagon’s brutal Vietnamization strategy.

Giap created the Vietnamese resistance Army at Ho Chi Minh’s request in 1944, and without training, became a military genius.… Read the rest

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DC Talk – Secret Chiefs of the Illuminati?

DCCoverOh, the weird shit you find on the internets. To preface this, earlier in the week I quite randomly had a dream that featured the impressively god awful Christian rap group DC Talk (which I wrote about on Facebook, Friend me). In this dream, I was in a classroom where DC Talk showed up to perform. We couldn’t believe our teacher actually thought this was something that we’d find interesting. So we students just mockingly encouraged them all hipster irony style as they did their crappy thing. Didn’t seem like there was a lot of substance to the dream, but upon waking up I realized that the only reason I’d heard of DC Talk in the first place had to do with them being forced on us in Church youth group as a kid. The dream had an incredibly similar vibe. “Hey kids, stop listening to that satanic secular music, these guys are church approved.” Being impressionable and somewhat open to the idea, those of us in the youth group took the tape home and gave it a listen just to discover that, wow, this is the worst rap group ever.… Read the rest

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Kill the Banker

Bomb in Wall Street, 1920

Bomb in Wall Street, 1920

via Vice.com:

A little violence can sometimes work to defend against predatory bankers. Consider the farmers of Le Mars, Iowa. The year was 1933, the height of the Great Depression.

A finance bubble on Wall Street had crashed the economy, the gears of industrial production had ground to a halt, and 13 million Americans had lost their jobs. Across the Corn Belt, farmers couldn’t get fair prices for milk and crops, their incomes plummeted, and their mortgages went unpaid. Seeing opportunity, banks foreclosed on their properties in record numbers, leaving the farmers homeless and destitute.

So they organized. Under the leadership of a boozing, fist-fighting Iowa farmer named Milo Reno, who had a gift for oratory, several thousand farmers across the Midwest struck during 1933, refusing to sell their products. “We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs” went the popular doggerel of the movement.

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Changing Our DNA through Mind Control?

Marguerite Agniel in a Buddha position with her legs crossed Wellcome V0048585.jpg

Marguerite Agniel, photo from Wellcome Library (CC)

A study finds meditating cancer patients are able to affect the makeup of their DNA, reports Scientific American:

“I think, therefore I am” is perhaps the most familiar one-liner in western philosophy. Even if the stoners, philosophers and quantum mechanically-inclined skeptics who believe we’re living an illusion are right, few existential quips hit with such profound, approachable simplicity.  The only catch is that in Descartes’ opinion, “we” – our thoughts, our personalities, our “minds” – are mostly divorced from our bodies.

The polymathic Frenchman and other dualist philosophers proposed that while the mind exerts control over our physical interaction with the world, there is a clear delineation between body and mind; that our material forms are simply temporary housing for our immaterial souls. But centuries of science argue against a corporeal crash pad. The body and mind appear inextricably linked. And findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on us – more specifically on our DNA.

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Scientists tallied up all the advice on Dr. Oz’s show. Half of it was baseless or wrong.

via Vox:

For years, I’ve been looking at some of the dubious and harmful health claims TV doctors make on their talk shows. In carefully examining Dr. Oz, unpicking the evidence behind the ideas he peddles, I came to the conclusion that, on balance, the bulk of what he has to say is misleading at best, and total nonsense at worst.

He is, after all, in the business of entertainment. Real, evidence-based medicine isn’t often entertaining, especially on the subjects — weight loss, diets — he tends to cover.

Now, science has confirmed my suspicions.

Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal examined the health claims showcased on 40 randomly selected episodes of the two most popular internationally syndicated health talk shows, The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors.

Continue reading.

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