Monthly Archives: December 2014

A new HPV vaccine is approved amid global concerns over Gardasil

 

Screen shot 2014-12-28 at 7.38.33 PMThe FDA has approved a new Human Papilloma Vaccine covering 9 strains of HPV. The approval of this vaccine, to be marketed as Gardasil 9 is of great concern for it has double the amount of the aluminium adjuvant – a neurotoxin – as Gardasil. Continue reading

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Filed under gardasil, health, Media and health, news, vaccination

2.1 billion spent on Boxing Day sales

 

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It’s hard to believe that people are shopping again today. What on earth do they want to buy? What is enough I wonder?

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What price marriage?

Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 10.45.57 AMMy sister and her partner are going to marry. Both had long previous marriages which they were happy to leave. They had brought up their children and once they were gone found the marriages over, pointless, empty and left.

My best friend left me and married again. Thanks Loretta for telling me that you married your best friend – formally my best friend. I would never have imagined him remarrying nor did I think my sister would be taking matrimonial vows again.

My sister, four years my senior was an early devotee of feminism. While married and with young children she studied women’s studies at university in the 1980s. Her liberation ensued; she began to smoke and had her own ‘room’ . Her husband seemed supportive of her new-found freedom and their fragile marriage limped on for a few more years.

I never imagined my former best friend would marry again and yet he did. He didn’t agree with monogamy, said if anything he preferred an open marriage – having the occasional extramarital affair but remaining married. Having it all ways really.

And several years ago my former husband remarried. I wasn’t surprised at his decision to marry for he never wanted to divorce and needed a woman to own. But all has not gone smoothly for this marriage which recently experienced a messy breakup, followed by a mutual reconciliation and at present the rocky relationship continues.

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And as I write this blog my daughter is tying the knot on a romantic holiday in Thailand. This is the first time for her and the second try for her husband to be – I wish them the best of luck!

Seems everyone wants to be married-I wonder why. I couldn’t wait to be out of my 17 years of marriage. In the late 1960s and early 70s it was still uncommon to leave your family and live with a partner. To do this you had to be married so most people did. I think that my marriage survived as long as it did due to the flurry of activity that was involved having children and rearing them. One just got on with it. There was not a lot of time to think things through and although the disagreements and fights were common the union continued until a certain point when it became impossible. It was then that I had to make the big break and have the marriage dissolved.

There was no freedom to be my self within my marriage. When I returned to study and became pleasantly absorbed in student life, I knew that it was time to leave my marriage. My husband could not stand my new love of learning for I was less available to him. This freedom to learn and change is difficult to do in the traditional marriage. Marriage is, after all a patriarchal institution. Even though the intent of the modern marriage and hopefully the practice has changed it still has at its roots the ownership of women and children by men – its establishment and its continuance being heavily supported by the state and the church.

Screen shot 2014-12-21 at 11.56.43 AMAnd so I have to wonder why being single isn’t given the same recognition and support. To be able to function, earn a living, contribute to society as a single woman should be seen as a worthy way to live. I have time to think, learn and write – these are really valuable components of a rich life, well lived. Of course there are many downsides. I have just returned from a visit to a neighbour who is unable to walk due to a foot operation that will put her out of action for six weeks. She tells me that her husband is doing the house work and caring for her daily needs. I would not have this help and must maintain my independence by looking after my health and fitness. But I believe this is a small price to pay for having an authentic life.

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Filed under feminism, popular culture, reflection, womens rights

Raw milk madness!

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The Herald Sun has reported that a three-year-old Mornington Peninsula child has died and four other young children have become seriously ill in recent weeks after drinking unpasteurised milk  sold in Victoria. The reports of this death and injuries were accompanied by screaming headlines in both large font and capital letters KILLER MILK, and the next day Cosmetic milk controversy: State in grip of toxic milk madness.

Let’s put this death into perspective. Was it the consumption of the raw milk that caused the child’s death? Was this a healthy child or was the child already unwell? Where are the mainstream stories that question this assertion?

Raw milk is sold in health food shops across the country as bath milk for cosmetic purposes although everyone knows that it’s really being bought to be consumed, not bathed in. The Herald Sun found the raw milk in health stores in Malvern, Carlton, Fitzroy, Balaclava, Thornbury, Elsternwick, Albert Park, Box Hill and Belgrave. As to the benefits of drinking raw milk: A new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has found that raw milk can actually help prevent colds, viruses and respiratory tract infections from forming in kids, as opposed to commercially processed milk which provides little or no health benefits.

The reporting of this story is a great example of over reacting, a classic case of media sensationalism done in the pathetic endeavour to sell more copy. And there are major ramifications: Already there are calls to ban the sale of raw milk. Even the Federal Government has weighed in and is saying it’ll crack down on the ‘killer’ bath milk and Daniel Andrews, the new Premier of Victoria says he’s not satisfied with the regulations surrounding the sale of raw milk.

Fortunately large numbers of raw milk drinkers have contacted the Herald Sun saying that they will continue to drink it because they believe that raw milk is healthier. And it is! Raw milk is unpasteurised milk straight from the organically pasture fed cow. Raw milk contains the delicate enzymes and essential bacteria which are destroyed with pasteurisation. It is the lack of these natural enzymes in pasteurised milk which makes it indigestible for many people.

For thousands of years, raw milk nourished and produced generations of strong, healthy humans. But now it’s illegal to sell nature’s real milk, the raw product and that is why raw milk  is being sold under pseudonyms such as Aphrodite’s bath milk or Cosmetic milk and found in health food stores  all over the country.

The story of why raw milk became illegal has its origins in the early years of the 19th century in USA which saw a rapid growth in the population with immigrants making their way to the cities. These new arrivals wished to access milk but with the cities a long way from the farms and lacking the transport and refrigeration this was no easy task. So they made do with the milk that was produced in the cities – a far from healthy product. Around this time the whisky industry was booming and the waste product of the distillery was swill or slop which was fed to cows that were conveniently housed next to the whisky distilleries. This waste product of the distilleries was obviously not a food that cows generally ate but it made the cows produce a lot of milk. These cows were sick, crowded, dirty, poorly nourished and forced to spend their short lives chained in one place, handled and milked by, often, very unwell people who poured the milk into dirty containers and sold it to the unsuspecting public. Very soon and not surprisingly the death rates of infants and children soared and it was generally recognised that there was a “milk problem”.

At this time microbiology was in its infancy. The belief in this new science which recognised germs and microbes as the cause of all illness, led to the call for pasteurisation, or heating, of milk to make it free of any potentially harmful bacteria, regardless of how it changed the quality of the milk. As the media and governmental spin continued, dairies found it easier to go with pasteurisation than to clean up their acts.

The mainstream media are once again negligent in their reporting of this young death and the alleged link to raw milk. Was this child healthy? Did he die from the consumption of raw milk? According to the vendors of raw milk in the municipality of Darebin there is no evidence that the very unwell child who died, died as a direct result of raw (bath) milk consumption.The milk that was tested found a toxin, not a bacteria. This toxin can be found in lots of other places.

Our food is increasingly processed and devoid of essential minerals and trace elements – goodness really. Pasteurisation of milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

A ban on raw milk is a knee- jerk reaction to media hype and shouldn’t take place!

 

 

 

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In search of cerebral content

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What happened to the opinion page? Remember The Age  when it was a broadsheet and there were three or more opinion pieces in the middle pages that bordered the letters to the editor. These were lengthy pieces of analysis  on topics relating to current public debate. Usually 800-1000 words of worthy content  engaging the reader and leading to enjoyable swapping of ideas and information among family and friends later in the day. Of course there are still opinion pieces  in The Age but these are poor replacements, and badly positioned so as not to be  easily seen and rarely read.

And as for ABC radio: Jonathan Holmes former host on ABC TV’s ‘Media Watch’ and now a columnist at The Age recently wrote about content in this digital era lamenting the fact that on Radio National, long-form, specialist journalism is being down-sized in favour of the radio equivalent of fast food. This is sad for those of us who like to read and listen to programs that make us think and not just designed to dumb us down.

Article%20Lead%20-%20narrow6376523111ysdvimage_related_articleLeadNarrow_353x0_11ypkf_png1417557002488_jpg-300x0And it’s not just radio, TV and newsprint that are changing for the worse, it’s the cinema too. Reflecting on her 28 years presenting ‘The Movie Show’, retiring presenter Margaret Pomeranz says: the big change has been how much money has come to dominate the industry, with studios bankrolling sequels but not taking risks on smaller films.

And then there’s the publishing industry – same problem, different product. This time it’s books and the wonderful ideas within that are at risk from technology giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple .

The blurb for  Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing written by Susan Hawthorne reads:  In a globalised world, megacorp publishing is all about numbers, about sameness, about following a formula based on the latest megasuccess. Each book is expected to pay for itself and all the externalities of publishing such as offices and CEO salaries. It means that books which take off slowly but have long lives, the books that change social 269norms, are less likely to be published.

Independent publishers such as Susan Hawthorne of Spinifex Press are seeking another way. A way of engagement with society and methods that reflect something important about the locale or the niche they inhabit. In  Bibliodiversity Hawthorne writes that Independent and small publishers are like rare plants that pop up among the larger growth but add something different, perhaps they feed the soil, bring colour or scent into the world.

We need to cherish our remaining newspapers, our beleaguered ABC , and nurture our book and movie industries from which we gain so much.  And in the words of author P.D James who died last week: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

And hang on to the dwindling hope that good content sees the light of day in a world where money, not thought, rules.

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