Acne, milk and the iodine connection

Read this carefully:

"Farmers give their cows iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection," he [Harvey Arbesman, M.D.] noted, "and they use sanitizing iodine solutions on their cows' udders and milking equipment. Consequently, there is lot of iodine in dairy products. For that reason, I've advised my acne patients for years to decrease their dairy intake."

The iodine is added by the farmer - cow's milk is not a natural source of iodine. Just one more benefit of factory farming, and a perfect illustration of how monkeying around with living systems can have unintended consequences decades down the road.

Dermatologists seem to agree that something in milk and dairy products may be linked to teen-age acne. But is it hormones and "bioactive molecules," as a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggested, or is there something else? University at Buffalo dermatologist Harvey Arbesman, M.D., says there could be something else: Iodine.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Apple faces iPod patent dispute

If you can't beat'em in the marketplace, sue'em out of existence! I happen to own both a Creative Nomad and an iPod, and there's no comparison in either style or quality, on both counts the iPod wins hands down. The user interfaces are completely dissimilar - with the iPod being far and away the superior interface, very user friendly and intuitive.

What really irks me, though, are these comments by Sim Wong Hoo, chairman of Creative:

"We are focused on the technology. This is still a technology marketplace. This is the key difference between a technology company and a branding company."

This is an obvious reference to Apple Computer - labeling them as naught but a marketing organization. This is the same mistake Microsoft is making, and fails to understand the genius that is Apple.

Apple's technology is not necessarily "bleeding edge". Creative could, and did, make consumer MP3 players long before the iPod. And I would be reasonably sure that there are some features of Creative products that are superior, technically, to their Apple competition. But they're unusable, mostly because they're buried in a complex structure of menus and options that make it difficult for the average geek to play with them, and all but impossible for the average consumer.

Apple's UI, on the other hand, is simplicity itself. My 80+ year old mom can operate the iPod without ever having read the manual. This focus on the end user and the ability to use the features of the machine extends to all of Apple's products - Mac's a famously regarded as being easy to use, and rightly so.

Apple's problem in the past was that sometimes, in making a machine easy, they buried or completely wiped out features that would've made the machine more useful to technologists (i.e. the command line on operating systems before OS X). But Apple has always understood that technology by itself is worth nothing is no one in the real world can use it. And they've made that their mission and their niche.

Apple can get litigious, too, and this should not be taken as a wholesale endorsement of their legal tactics. But nonetheless, I believe that their primary focus is on the technology, and on making that technology accessible to the broadest possible audience.

May I suggest, Mr. Sim, that your actions indicate that you're not focused on the technology at all, despite your words. You're obviously focused on the lawyers. And that, sir, is not being creative at all ...

Apple could be in for a bruising legal fight with rival Creative over the technology used in iPod music players.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 4 comments | permanent link