Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, September 30, 2021

I’m not much for milk, or dairy in general. I’m throroughly lactose-tolerant, but that doesn’t mean I actually favor the stuff.

But maybe that’s because the homogenization/pasteurization removes that special something from the cow. In which case, I ought to try some raw milk — unprocessed moo juice. It’s a treacherously illegal endeavour, though, even though advocates promote it as a healthier option and the Feds can’t cite an actual case of ill-health from raw consumption.

The historical context that justifies continued processing is the most interesting bit from Thomas Bartlett‘s slightly-loopy investigations:

Louis Pasteur invented his process in the 1860s, but decades later it was still not widely used for milk. Enter Nathan Straus, an owner of Macy’s department store and a crusading philanthropist. Straus, perhaps more than any other person, is responsible for the near-universal pasteurization practiced today. Disturbed by the infant mortality rate and understanding that bad milk was the culprit, Straus wrote pamphlets arguing for pasteurization and, more important, set up milk stations around the country to distribute pasteurized milk. Mortality rates plummeted. Straus almost single-handedly saved thousands of lives.

Voluntary pasteurization was such a success that cities started passing mandatory pasteurization laws. Chicago was the first in 1908; New York followed six years later. It took several more decades for states to catch up, and raw milk continued to be available in many places. Michigan became the first state to outlaw raw milk in 1948. It wasn’t until 1986 that a federal judge ordered the FDA to ban interstate shipment of raw milk. The ruling cited an FDA document stating that “raw milk, including certified raw milk, is a vehicle for transmission and spread of numerous diseases,” and there is no “scientifically confirmed benefit for the consumption of raw milk.”

The triumph of pasteurization seems like a victory for human progress. Raw milk advocates see it differently. They believe the health problem was caused by lack of regulation and refrigeration, not raw milk. On farms, people drank fresh raw milk. In cities, where the majority of deaths occurred, the dairies were filthy, and there were lax standards for transportation and storage. In addition, suppliers were often unscrupulous, as Cattle, a history of the cow by Laurie Winn Carlson, attests: “Milk was commonly mixed with additives to gain profit. Then, to make it look whole, additives were mixed in, such as carbonized carrots, grilled onions, caramel, marigold petals, chalk, plaster, white clay and starch. To replace the cream that had been removed, emulsions of almonds and animal brains were dissolved in the liquid to thicken it.”

I’ve heard of raw milk being a prized commodity for cheese production in New York State. I’m guessing they get around the FDA for their manufacturing purposes.

I’m thinking that, should raw milk ever get the legal clearance, it would still have to be diddled with in one respect: Its naturally yellowish color. Mass consumers will be repelled by that on contact. They’ll have to add food coloring to make it pure white, like folks are accustomed to.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/30/2006 05:46pm
Category: Food
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not actual size
I downloaded iTunes 7 a couple of weeks ago. It’s got a look-and-feel revamp, with little extras like the vaunted cover flow feature and gapless playback (finally!).

But that’s not what compelled me to upgrade. No, what hooked me was a little button on the iTunes Store (note, no longer “iTunes Music Store”, since Apple’s branched out to other media) that proclaimed, “iTunes Games”. And one of those games was Pac-Man.

Enough said. I upgraded to 7 because that was the only way to buy any of the games (a masterful stroke by Apple to make the new promos and sections visible in iTunes 6, but not accessible unless you got the new version). Once I installed it, I paid the five bucks without thinking twice, and synced the game over to my iPod. Incidentally, the iTunes upgrade included an update for the iPod’s firmware, to 2.1; it seems to fix some performance-lag bugs, and also brings a much-needed brightness control function to the device. Plus, you can’ t play any of the iTunes Games without it, so…

How does it play on the tiny screen? It’s not quite as microscopic as the action on the world’s tiniest website. That’s not saying much, though. And trying to manipulate Mr. Pac through the maze via scrollwheel is tough stuff — doubly so on a moving train, which is where I usually play it. It’s superb as a timekiller, but I’m not expecting to break any scoring records with it. I’ve yet to get past the Orange stage.

Drawbacks aside, the graphics are wonderously beautiful. The option to turn off the game’s sound effects is nice, as it allows you to listen to the iPod’s playlist. I also appreciate that the game designers included the time of day in the upper-left corner of the tiny screen; you know how the minutes can slip away while your popping power pills! The need for the game to load up is odd, and distinct from the iPod’s built-in firmware games; but it seems like that saves on battery power somehow.

I almost think someone’s going to come out with a little snap-on stub joystick for the iPod in response to this. Not sure I’d buy it, but I’d love to see it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/30/2006 05:00pm
Category: Videogames, iPod
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