Saturday, March 27, 2010

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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE? Sweethearts, the heart-shaped candies with phrases printed on them, were revamped in time for Valentine's Day 2010. For the first time in 145 years Necco changed the recipe. To get rid of the admittedly chalky taste, banana and wintergreen flavors were replaced with green apple and blue raspberry. The candies' colors were also brightened; and the new sayings came from a consumer contest, with "TWEET ME" and "TEXT ME" being among the ten sayings chosen. Sweethearts are the #1-selling, non-chocolate Valentine's Day candy with 6 billion made a year. That's a lot of "sweet-talk". Looking a bit farther into the future Barbie, the world's most popular fashion doll, will have new careers. Over the past 50+ years since being created by Mattel in 1959, she's had many careers, but 2009 was the first year the public voted on them. With over 500,000 votes cast for 2010, career #125 will be Computer Engineer - with binary-code-patterned T-shirt, pink-framed glasses, pink laptop and Bluetooth earpiece. Career #126 will be News Anchor - with pink suit, news folder, camera and microphone. Previous jobs have included princess, ballerina, McDonald's cashier, paratrooper, astronaut, and U.S. president. Didn't anyone but Ken vote for Mother Barbie? GlowCaps are pill bottle caps that remind people to take their medicine. The caps flash orange when it is time for a pill. If a pill isn't taken within an hour, the cap plays a melody. Anyone still forgetting to take their medicine receives a call or text message within a few hours. Although these caps are sold online for $99, the manufacturer expects in the future they'll be free add-ons to pills distributed by pharmacies. Because the World Health Organization estimates drug adherence is only 50% among chronically ill people, GlowCaps literally encapsulate the hope of wireless technology. Finally, way into the future is Aircruise, a Seymourpowell concept for a vertical, floating hotel. Ten luxury apartments, dining room, bar and lounge would accommodate 100 guests/crew. The giant, hydrogen-filled airship would be approximately 265 meters tall, with large, hydrogen fuel cells providing onboard power and some drinking water. The cruising speed is calculated to be between 100 and 150 kilometers per hour, enabling the hotel, for example, to cruise from London to New York in 37 hours. Because various views of the world will be seen from thousands of meters above ground, Aircruise vacations will undoubtedly be priced just as high.
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IS THERE A HOLE IN THE THINK TANK? As of January 2010, Indonesia planned to raise money for protecting its remaining 400 Sumatran tigers by renting some already in captivity. These tigers would rent for $107,100 a pair - with any cubs produced being government property. The renters would have to be Indonesian; allow quarterly visits by a team of vets, animal welfare officers and ministry staff; and provide cages at least 16 x 19 x 32 feet. However, because the government allows the tigers' natural habitat to be destroyed by concessions to logging companies, renting a tiger seems to lack … "the eye of the tiger". On January 27, 2010 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had its own bad idea. PETA wanted Punxsutawney Phil replaced by a robotic groundhog. According to PETA, it's unfair to keep Phil in captivity, subjecting him to bright lights and huge crowds every February 2nd - Groundhog Day - the day he predicts 6 more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow. According to the President of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil is well cared for, lives in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state's Department of Agriculture. Perhaps PETA was just "groundhogging" publicity. Then there's TV's very public "The Biggest Loser". In 2010 it received criticism from nutritionists and physicians. First, obesity has serious health risks - heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Second, beginning strenuous exercise suddenly can cause problems with hydration, electrolyte balance and cardiac function; but contestants exercise 5-6 hours daily. Third, a 1-2 pound weight loss weekly is considered safe, but the strenuous exercise plus strict diets result in double-digit weight loss. Losing weight too quickly can cause gallstones, mineral deficiencies, loss of muscle tissue and reduced bone density. This makes The Biggest Loser an unhealthy "weighting game". Writing of unhealthy, a 2010 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found 1 in 5 prescriptions weren't filled. Of the prescriptions given to approximately 75,000 insured, Massachusetts patients during one year, 22% weren't filled. With first-time prescriptions the rate was higher - 28%. These unfilled prescriptions included ones for chronic conditions with serious consequences. Between 28% and 31% of new prescriptions for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol weren't filled. However, the prescription least filled - 55% - was for pain medication. Obviously, pain doesn't motivate people to act in a "painstaking" manner.

Knight Pierce Hirst

I may be the only writer who has moved to Los Angeles for the weather.

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