JUNK SCIENCE: Made In The Shade

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR In 1978, the FDA established a labeling system for sun block that measures how well the product protects the skin from the ultraviolet B rays of the sun. This is the Skin Protection Factor, or SPF rating. UVB rays cause sun burn, skin wrinkling and cancer. The FDA said they’d get right back to us and establish a rating system for the other deadly rays, ultraviolet A, which penetrate the skin even deeper and also cause cancer and skin aging. Twenty-nine years later, we are still waiting. Yes, shocking but true, the SPF rating only […]


ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR It’s pitch dark out. I’m so far away from anything. There are absolutely no lights, except for the sparkles of a billion tiny pinpoints of light that I create each time I move. I’m floating in phosphorescent, bathwater-warm water, alone, off shore of a tiny island in the Caribbean Ocean far, far from the mainland somewhere between the border of Columbia and Panama. The island is postage-stamp size. It’s owned by a semi-autonomous tribe of Central American Indians called the Kuna. There are only a dozen people on the island. When I float to shore there […]

OP-ED: Stop The Reefer Madness — It Is Time For A Rational Marijuana Policy, Minus The Junk Science Paranoia & Drug Enforcement Budget Munchies

Friedman and others were acting in response to a 2005 report on the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition by Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard. By Miron’sĀ estimate, regulating marijuana would save about $7.7 billion annually in government prohibition enforcement — $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels. That’s a lot of money for English tutors and health care for indigents. Add to that amount income taxes that would have to be paid by marijuana producers. Drug dealers don’t pay taxes, after all. Nor do they concern themselves much with rules […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Think Globally, Eat Locally

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR This is a special season of wondrous fruits and the freshest of vegetables. It only comes once a year and lasts only a few short but tasty months. Right now, this very minute, is the time to jump on board and get with the program of buying your produce from neighborhood farmers markets.There are basically three types of places that grow our produce: big agribusiness factory-type farms, organic farms and recently, a growing movement of small local farms. It used to be a no brainier that if you wanted the best, most healthful food, and […]

JUNK SCIENCE: The Bottle And The Damage Done

[artwork by Alex Binnie] BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Booze — it’s intoxicating, complicated stuff. Light drinking can extend your life, heavy drinking will end it prematurely. Consuming a small amount of alcohol prevents platelets in the blood from sticking together and forming clots, thus preventing heart attack and certain types of stroke. (Aspirin helps prevent blood clots in a similar way.) But anything more than one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men is a bummer for your health. Drinking more can cause stroke and heart disease, and also messes up your liver […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Is That An Overworked Pancreas In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Hypoglycemia?

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR The Glycemic Index could save your life — literally. It could make living with diabetes easier. Or prevent diabetes in the first place. It can reduce your risk of heart disease. It will lower your cholesterol. It will make you thinner. It might even get you laid. The Glycemic Index is a scientific measurement of how rapidly foods release their sugars into your blood. It’s an invaluable, easy-to-use tool for maintaining or getting to a proper weight. Forget diets. Get jiggy wit’ the GI instead. Research on the Glycemic Index originally began as a way […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Seasons In The Sun

BY ELIZABETH FIEND I’ve been reading Wild Fruits, an unfinished, recently published manuscript by American naturalist Henry David Thoreau [pictured, above]. The book is a combination of diary and essay, chronicling the ways Thoreau spent his days and what he learned during the final years of his brief life. With each page I get more jealous, wishing I too could spend my day stalking a bee to find its hive and to learn what type of flower the bee drinks nectar from and how that affects the flavor of the honey. Of all the things I love to do (and […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Soy To The World!

BY ELIZABETH FIEND You wait and wait, eagerly anticipating your favorite time of the year, and suddenly, it’s here! April is National Soy Month, the most delicious month of the year! Soy is one hell of an amazing plant, one that’s been part of the human diet for over 5,000 years. But it’s much, much more than just veggie burgers. The soybean is also used as food for livestock and it has all the properties of petroleum — except unlike petrol, soy is biodegradable. Wow, doesn’t knowing that you could fuel up your car or feed your cow with it […]

JUNK SCIENCE: A Spring Clean For The May Queen

BY ELIZABETH FIEND The vernal equinox, AKA spring time, occurs when the earth is tilted so that the sun is directly over the equator at high noon. In this momentary balance of light and dark, we are halfway between summer and winter. Mid-points have been celebrated through out the ages and around the world. In ancient Babylon, the New Year occurred at the spring equinox. The ancients of America oriented their giant earthwork mounds to equinox sunrise points. Celtic Pagans lit fires at dawn to cure ills, renew life and protect crops. Today, we party in Cancun. Or we clean. […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Freeze! Drop The Twinkie!

BY ELIZABETH FIEND Spring is in the air, and peoples’ attention will be turning to romance and in turn lookin’ good for the summer months when you get to show off a lot more skin. If you’re considering going on a diet to look great to attract that special someone, I can help you because I know THE definitive way to lose weight. Send me a check and I’ll spill it. Oh hell, I’ll just tell you right now. The way, and this is the only way to lose weight — drum roll please….. eat less and/or exercise more. Or […]


BY ELIZABETH FIEND The first time I ate flowers, they were served to me by a man who just moments before had uttered the command: “Don’t smoke in this room, this is where we make our bombs.” He then pointed out the window, where on an overhanging roof rung with barbed wire I spied rows and rows of Molotov cocktails, finely crafted in Heineken bottles. The bombs were needed in case the police came a-knockin’. Or as I found out first hand, several hours later, when they don’t knock. The cops actually come a-bangin’, with a battering-ram. And they dress […]


BY ELIZABETH FIEND All the Homer Simpsons of the world — you know who you are — are in a tizzy because The Government is banning their beloved trans fat. Believe me, it’s going to be fine. Anyone who’s against the banning of trans fatty acids doesn’t understand what trans fat is all about. Number one, it’s NOT about flavor. Have you had an Oreo cookie lately? Some Wendy’s French fries? Taste good? Okay! See, you didn’t even notice that the trans fat was removed. Trans fatty acids, most often found in hydrogenated oils, do not taste better than other […]


BY ELIZABETH FIEND Sadly, we hear each day about the horrible human toll of war — the body counts, the amputees learning to cope, the countless and nameless children ravaged by the violence, rendered orphans or worse. War is hell on earth, of course. But war is also hell on The Earth, too. You may not be aware of just how toxic and devastating is the footprint that the military-industrial complex leaves behind on Battlefield Earth. Agent Orange, rocket fuel, lead, mercury, petroleum, asbestos, countless carcinogenic solvents. This toxic stew settles into the soil in which we grow our food, […]