Sunday, April 18, 2010

Coffee and Provocation

A Little More Hexane in Your Veggie Burger?
Mother Jones magazine, notes that "In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein." Hexane, of course, is an EPA-regulated neurotoxin, but despite that fact, the FDA does not test for it. Read the article.

This Is Why You Defend the Second Amendment:
The U.S. Constitution says nothing about guns. Not a thing. What it talks about is the "right to keep and bear arms." If you remove that right, the state can actually march in and take your pocket knife. Think that's crazy talk? It's not if you live in the U.K., where a disabled man who kept a Swiss Army knife in his car's glove box has just gotten a criminal record for possessing an offensive weapon. The knife was not just in his glove box, by the way -- it was in a pouch in his glovebox, along with a small flashlight, a first aid kit, and waterproof matches.

This Is Why You Defend the First Amendment:
The Associated Press reports that: "Sarah Palin spoke to a crowd of about 16,000 attending an evangelical Christian women's conference in Louisville Friday night....She asserted that America needs to get back to its Christian roots and rejected any notion that 'God should be separated from the state.'" Great. Just what we need to be: a theocracy like Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Vatican.

Tasering Sheep on Meth:
In a study of Taser safety, scientists got a bunch of sheep hopped up on meth and then zapped them with tasers to see how they did with that. Read all about it.

Native American Genius:
W.T. Wallington's Forgotten Technology web site shows techniques he has developed to show how the stones for Stonehenge and the Pyramids might have been hauled, rotated, and lifted into place using nothing more than simple physics. Check it out by clicking on the picture on the home page, and clicking through the links at the bottom of each subsequent page. Yes this stuff works! No space ships or Martians needed -- or massive ramps either from what I can gather.

Doug's Expanding Menagerie:
Doug is rehabbing a red-shoulderd hawk and starting an adventure in bees, the animal most likely to kill you. Madness I say!

Dominance in Pigeons:
Who is the alpha pigeon? Researchers are studying it with little GPS backpacks.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation:
The Garden of Cosmic Speculation was created by Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick in Dumfries, Scotland in 1989. It contains bizarre and mind-blowing geometric patterns. Check it out! This is a private garden and open to the public only one day a year, so these pics are probably your only opportunity.

Whatever Happened to Sealyhams?
Sealyham's are a breed that was sucked into the kennel club vortex almost upon creation. For a web site documenting that, see this interesting, if obscure, web site on show sealyham terriers in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, complete with a pictures of what the Westminster show looked like at Madison Square Garden back then, and a little note about the first head of the "professional handler's association." Hat tip to Paul H. for the link!

Nice Blog!
If anyone wants to see what a fun life in Western Colorado looks like (complete with great photos), see the Dirt and Dogs blog and check out "the hunter and the hunted" post for a little amusement. Also a few pictures of Arizona in here. Of course, Jamie O'Neal claims there is no Arizona. I think Trina might disagree!

Vitamin C for Canine Snake Bites?
I am quite happy that we do not have to worry, too much about venomous snakes in my area; we are a little too far north for water moccasins, copperheads are way over-rated, and rattlesnakes are rare all over and generally confine themselves to rocky shelves and outcrops in the mountains. That said, not everyone is so fortunate and Jonathan from South African passes on this tip about Vitamin C shots as a treatment for snake bites in dogs. Does it work? There are reports on the internets that it does, but I have to say I am skeptical. Snakes do not always envenomate when they bite, and there's a lot of mis-identification of snake species as well. Still, when nothing else is there to help, break out the Vitamin C. It cannot hurt!



Kitty Carroll said...

Regarding rattlesnake bites. I remember reading Covey Rise magazine ( that there is a vaccine for rattlesnake bite. Apparently it is a lot cheaper than a vet bill for rattlesnake bite treatments.

Bartimaeus said...

Patrick; I think you are on the right track with the idea that many snakebites are "dry" bites, and people often misidentify the snake.
It looks like the idea of using Vitamin C for snakebites (and spider and insect bites) goes back to the 1930's, when they were trying it for just about anything under the sun, and had not developed many effective treatments for a lot of diseases yet.
Intramuscular injections of acidic compounds like vitamin C are very painful and can cause inflammation and tissue damage, so they might actually cause some harm, especially in the large volumes they are talking about online.

@Kitty Carroll;
There is a rattlesnake vaccine produced by Red Rock Biologics.
It is produced using western diamondback venom, and provides variable cross-protection against most western rattlesnake species.
They claim that it does not work as well against eastern diamondbacks. The rationale behind the vaccine makes sense-antivenin is produced by injecting small amounts of venom repeatedly into horses or sheep and then collecting the antibodies-and they say using the vaccine gives the dog the equivalent of 2-3 vials of anitivenin. There haven't been any controlled trials, and there probably won't be, so the vaccine has the same problem as treatments like vitamin C-variability in the severity of snakebites.Vaccinated dogs can still be treated with antivenin though, and some cases of vaccinated dog that were bitten look like the vaccine does reduce morbidity and mortality. The vaccine is fairly cheap (about 5$ a dose from the manufacturer) and Anivenin is very expensive and has been hard to get for the last couple of years, so if your dogs are at high risk, it might be worthwhile. Sometimes the vaccine can cause some temporary, localized swelling, but otherwise it seems safe. I use it for my dogs and for clients who hike or hunt in areas where snakes are common, but have not had any dog's I have vaccinated bitten yet. I have heard some rumors of some veterinarians charging a lot (up to $200) for the vaccine. It only costs about $125 for a full box of 25 doses, so if those stories are true, those vets are clearly ripping off their clients.

HTTrainer said...

Fortunately, the only rattler I have seen when traveling south was at the rest stop just south of Rte 1 & US 13 in Delaware. It was in the center of the foot path in the dog walk area. It was a foot long and full if piss and vinegar, a quick yank on the lead and we took another route.
Haven't seen one again, but I am especially careful at these rest stops.