Tom Dwyer Automotive http://tomdwyer.com Portland's Best Auto Repair - Now Servicing 1998+ Vehicles Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 OMSI- “Car of the Future” winners http://tomdwyer.com/2014/uncategorized/omsi-car-future-winners/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/uncategorized/omsi-car-future-winners/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:16:47 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15941 OMSI’s second “Drive Revolution- The Future of Transportation” was July 19, and we were proud to be part of it once again.  We were there to talk with folks about the futuristic level of automotive care available at Tom Dwyer, but … Continue reading

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OMSI’s second “Drive Revolution- The Future of Transportation” was July 19, and we were proud to be part of it once again.  We were there to talk with folks about the futuristic level of automotive care available at Tom Dwyer, but the kids weren’t very interested in that… they were interested in our “Car of the Future” coloring contest, where we ask them to let their imaginations run wild about what the future of transportation will be.  The winners receive gift certificates for Wallace Books in Sellwood.  Hope you enjoy the results as much as we did!

SonyaX

First prize- We chose this one because it responded to a specific problem we may encounter in the future

MitchellR

Second prize

RyumN

Third prize

 

 

AmeliaB CeceliaC DimitryX JensenC JocelynO LydiaL NaoJ RomanO VioletR ZekeB

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Keith Tucker’s “What NOW?!!” Toon for July http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/keith-tuckers-now-toon-july/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/keith-tuckers-now-toon-july/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:59:11 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15919 The post Keith Tucker’s “What NOW?!!” Toon for July appeared first on Tom Dwyer Automotive.

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voter-supression-what-now-510-sm-color-72-dpi-RestOfNewsletter

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Humorousness- The lighter side of global annihilation http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/humorousness-lighter-side-global-annihilation-2/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/humorousness-lighter-side-global-annihilation-2/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:55:28 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15854 There’s nothing funny about global warming or climate change, but that may be part of the problem.  The time has long since passed when doubt of the science could be considered legitimate, but media continues to bring on science deniers … Continue reading

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aaaHumorosnessThere’s nothing funny about global warming or climate change, but that may be part of the problem.  The time has long since passed when doubt of the science could be considered legitimate, but media continues to bring on science deniers in a search for balance that is neither accurate nor productive.  Why?  Maybe because we’re not laughing hard enough at their flamboyant RestOfNewsletteridiocy.  Satire sometimes succeeds where facts and logic can’t by tearing the clothes off the Emperor, by pulling aside the curtain to reveal the little man flicking the levers.  From Will Ferrel and John Oliver to The Onion, comedy is taking on climate change, and it’s actually funny!  We’ll see if it’s effective.  This month we bring you the Guardian’s pick of 11 comedians’ thoughts on climate change, followed by as many (funny) climate change memes as you can stomach.  Enjoy them until the Apocalypse comes, in one form or another!

four horsemenClick here for The Guardian’s 11 funniest climate change videos

(The first Onion video, discussing the court ruling that Climate Change be taught alongside the Biblical Apocalypse to “teach the controversy” is particularly good)

fallon-climate-changeClick here for a selection of the best Climate Change net memes

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Tom’s Tidbits-  Please, just stop talking. http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/tidbits-please-just-stop-talking/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/tidbits-please-just-stop-talking/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:53:29 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15812 Greetings! It was just over a year ago, in April of 2013, that ISIS officially announced its existence.  Just over a year!  We’ve spent the last three months of this year watching them sweep through Iraq, destroying the sham borders … Continue reading

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TidbitsButtonGreetings!

RestOfNewsletterIt was just over a year ago, in April of 2013, that ISIS officially announced its existence.  Just over a year!  We’ve spent the last three months of this year watching them sweep through Iraq, destroying the sham borders drawn after WWI and crushing any gains the US made in our ill-informed misadventure.  Now, as the world debates how to prevent a brutal 7th-century theocracy from taking root in the Middle East, we desperately need voices of experience and wisdom to guide us.

iraqwarmistakeInstead, we have noise from the same people who got us into this mess.

America was swept into a war of aggression by a flood of lies and half-truths from a very few ideological cultists.  Against the better judgment of rational people in government and the intelligence community, and against the voices of millions in America and around the world, vested interests pushed our country over the fine line from political meddling to military criminality.  The losses in blood, treasure, and prestige continue to mount.

IraqWarCard

The Center for Public Integrity has put together an exhaustive report on the lies that led to war. Search by individual liar, what they lied about, how often, and when, and then find out what they actually knew while they were lying. Hours of fun!

But who’s raising their voices in what passes for public debate on Iraq?  At least George “Yellowcake” Bush is remaining blessedly silent.  But Don “Saddam-has-links-to-911” Rumsfeld, Charles “Saddam-has-weapons-of-mass-destruction” Krauthammer, and Paul “We’ll-be-welcomed-as-liberators” Wolfowitz are all crawling out from under their rocks. Worst of all, Dick “We-have-found-the-weapons-of-mass-destruction” Cheney, the torture fetishist whose company made billions off the Iraq debacle, has the stones to accuse President Obama of treason for not being able to maintain the lipstick on the pig he created.

PunditFact

Here’s a great site to check up on the claims of your favorite media oracles. Do they stack up?

I’m not against hearing from these people for partisan reasons; Obama and the Dems have made enough missteps to criticize on their own.  I want them to be quiet on purely pragmatic grounds.  Let’s assume that (despite all evidence) the voices for war had every good intention in Iraq.  They were wrong.  Blatantly, inescapably, provably wrong.  When even Megyn Kelly thinks you’re wrong, it’s hard to blame partisanship.  People of good will can disagree, but once you’ve proved yourself malicious and incompetent at every level… it’s time to stop talking and let the adults handle things.

Take Care and Make a Great Day!

 aaazTomSignature

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Welcome to the Future!  48 glimpses of things to come http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/welcome-to-the-future/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/welcome-to-the-future/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:51:20 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15813 The future is coming, and there’s not much we can do to stop it.  Every day we’re inundated with new technologies, new ideas, and new possibilities.  Some are thrilling, some are fun, and some are downright scary, but they’re all … Continue reading

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FeatureFutureThe future is coming, and there’s not much we can do to stop it.  Every day we’re inundated with new technologies, new ideas, and new possibilities.  Some are thrilling, some are fun, and some are downright scary, but they’re all things that we and our children will be living with.  As we’ve trolled the net looking for interesting things to share with you we’ve run across some mind-blowing articles that didn’t really mean much on their own, but we’ve collected them all in one place and they’re pretty cool.  Strap on your jet pack and get ready… this month, we’re taking you on a whirlwind tour of your future…RestOfNewsletter

3D Printed Body Parts

3D printing has come a long way in the past few years. These printers are able to make houses, foods, and even body parts! Tara breaks down some of the recent mindblowing developments in 3D printing, including how we’re starting to print human organs!

Solar Powered Roads

Solar Roadways is a project to develop solar panels that are strong enough to be walked on, biked on, driven on and parked on. What’s more, they contain heating elements designed to melt snow and, if that wasn’t enough, they’re embedded with LEDs to display warnings and traffic messages.

Hope for paraplegic patients: Implantable microelectrode stimulates spinal cord with electric impulses

People with severe injuries to their spinal cord currently have little or no prospect of recovery and remain confined to their wheelchairs. Now, all that could change with a new treatment that stimulates the spinal cord using electric impulses. The hope is that the technique will help paraplegic patients learn to walk again.

The Ethical Robot

UConn professor emerita Susan Anderson and her research partner, husband Michael Anderson of the University of Hartford, a UConn alumnus, are teaching machines how to behave ethically.

More Video Craziness With da Vinci Surgical Robots

SurgicalRobotOperationIt’s worth mentioning, I think, that had a human not been in the loop here, the robot could almost certainly gotten that wishbone out much, much faster. In fact, I personally challenge robots everywhere to perform the fastest flawless game of Operation ever and post it on YouTube.  Aaaaand, GO!

Brain-inspired Microchips Simulate One Million Neurons In Real Time

By modeling a circuit board on the human brain, Stanford bioengineers have developed microchips that are 9,000 times faster than a typical PC. Called Neurogrid, these energy-efficient circuits could eventually power autonomous robots and advanced prosthetic limbs.  Bioengineers are smart to take inspiration from the human brain. It’s a highly efficient information processor capable of crunching 100 million instructions per second (MIPS). Astoundingly, it only uses about 20 watts to power its 100 billion neurons. Today, our best supercomputers require a million watts to simulate a million neurons in real time (measured in terraflops). A standard desktop computer requires about 40,000 times more power to run and operates about 9,000 times slower.

Tricking the uncertainty principle: New measurement technique goes beyond the limits imposed by quantum physics

Today, we can measure the position of an object with unprecedented accuracy, but the uncertainty principle places fundamental limits on our ability to measure. Noise that results from of the quantum nature of the fields used to make measurements imposes what is called the ‘standard quantum limit.’ This background noise keeps us from knowing an object’s exact location, but a recent study provides a solution for rerouting some of that noise away from the measurement.

New technique lets scientists monitor small worm’s entire nervous system

Researchers have created an imaging system that reveals neural activity throughout the brains of living animals. This technique, the first that can generate 3-D movies of entire brains at the millisecond timescale, could help scientists discover how neuronal networks process sensory information and generate behavior.

Engineer invents a way to beam power to medical chips deep inside the body

Researchers have invented a way to wirelessly beam power to programmable devices deep inside the body. These medical chips could be as small as a grain of rice. They would sit alongside nerves, muscles and other tissues. The chips could be programmed for a wide variety of medical tasks. The wireless power recharging would enable them to be implanted once and repowered as need be. This is a platform technology to enable a new therapeutic category — ‘electroceutical’ devices.

Mini-satellites send high-definition views of Earth

MicroSatellitesImagine being able to monitor deforestation tree by tree – and act accordingly.  Or, as a farmer, remotely monitoring the health and yield of crops on a daily basis over huge swathes of land.  Perhaps as an aid agency, effortlessly estimating the flow of human traffic across borders over the course of a week.  And for business retail analysts, estimating the footfall of a retail chain by counting the sheer number of vehicles in its car parking lots across a region.  These are just some of the countless possibilities conceivable when our world is observed from on-high every day or week, rather than the years it can currently take to completely update our planet’s imagery on services such as Google Earth.

New manufacturing methods for ‘soft’ machines, robots

Researchers have developed a technique that might be used to produce ‘soft machines’ made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics. Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

Should the Higgs boson have caused our universe to collapse? Findings puzzle cosmologists

British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the latest observations of the sky with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Robots Programmed to Behave ‘Morally’?

EthicalRobotCan a robot love? Can it think? How about kill?  These questions have been endlessly explored in sci-fi novels, but lately it’s been a topic of international diplomacy. The United Nations probed present-day robot ethics last month at the four-day Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons meeting in Geneva.  The meeting brought together experts and government officials to talk about the opportunities and dangers of killer robots. No international agreement was reached, but the discussion made clear that autonomous robot technology moves much faster than the policies governing it.  Meanwhile, here in B.C., robotics experts are investigating the ethical implications inherent to firsthand interactions between humans and robots.

Robots on TV: AI goes back to baby basics

A robot toddler could have much to teach artificial intelligence (AI) researchers and psychologists alike, by providing a simplified non-human model for early child development.  Sensorimotor theories of cognition argue that body posture and position affect perception. In one experiment, toddlers were presented with an object that was always in the same place – to their left, for example. If their attention was then drawn to that location when the object was absent and a keyword was spoken, the toddlers later associated the keyword with the object, and did so wherever it was presented to them – whether to their right or left.

Weave a cell phone into your shirt? Engineers envision an electronic switch just three atoms thick

Researchers believe they’ve discovered a crystal that can form a monolayer three atoms thick. Computer simulations show that this crystal, molybdenum ditelluride, can act like a switch: its crystal lattice can be mechanically pulled and pushed, back and forth, between two different atomic structures — one that conducts electricity well, the other that does not. The team hopes experimental scientists will make this semiconductor crystal and use it to fashion flexible electronics.

Monkey controls limb movements of ‘avatar’ using its mind

In the movie Avatar, humans operate the bodies of a human-hybrid species, called Na’vi, with their minds. Now, researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, have carried out a similar technique in monkeys – using neural devices that allowed an alert monkey to control the mind of one that was temporarily paralyzed.  The research team, including Ziv Williams of the Department of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, says the findings provide proof of concept that such strategies could be used in the rehabilitation of patients who are paralyzed.

FDA panel debates technique that would create embryos with three genetic parents

The provocative notion of genetically modified babies met the very real world of federal regulation Tuesday, as a government advisory committee began debating a new technique that combines DNA from three people to create embryos free of certain inherited diseases.  The two-day meeting of the Food and Drug Administration panel is focused on a procedure that scientists think could help women who carry DNA mutations for conditions such as blindness and epilepsy. The process would let them have children without passing on those defects.  The debate over whether the technique — nicknamed “three-parent IVF” — should be allowed to proceed to human tests underscores how quickly the science of reproductive medicine is evolving. Scientists argue that this technology, like cloning and embryonic stem cell research, has huge potential to help people. But it is also highly sensitive, touching ethical and political nerves.

The Extreme Science of Flyboarding

FlyboardingFlyboarding is captivating in its tricks and its physics, with hundreds of horsepower shooting out of your feet, but can it become a viable competitive sport? Doc North reports on the science and gives it a try for himself.

Google:  Yes, we “Read” your Gmail

While Google Inc. (GOOG) insists its actions are perfectly legal, what the world’s top internet firm is doing with your email may come as a shocking surprise for some.  Google in a court filing this week wrote: “All users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing. Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [email provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.”

Meet the woman who did everything in her power to hide her pregnancy from big data

Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, had an idea: would it be possible to hide her pregnancy from big data? Thinking about technology—the way we use it and the way it uses us—is her professional life’s work. Pregnant women, she knew, are a marketing gold mine; a pregnant woman’s marketing data is worth 15 times as much as the average person’s. Could Vertesi, a self-declared “conscientious objector” of Google ever since 2012, when they announced to users that they’d be able to read every email and chat, navigate all the human and consumer interactions having a baby would require and keep big data from ever finding out?

Corn-eating worm evolves to feed on GMO corn designed to kill it

A voracious crop-destroying pest has evolved to feed upon the very GMO product that was designed to eliminate it. Wired.com reported that the triumph over corn rootworms was one of biotech’s great success stories, saving billions of dollars in crops each year.  So-called Bt corn — named for the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, which killed rootworms, corn borers and other pests — currently makes up more than three quarters of the total corn grown in the U.S., a lack of crop diversity that could spell disaster if the resistant cornworms spread.

How to erase a memory –- and restore it: Researchers reactivate memories in rats

Researchers have erased and reactivated memories in rats, profoundly altering the animals’ reaction to past events. The study is the first to show the ability to selectively remove a memory and predictably reactivate it by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells, called synapses.

Building heart tissue that beats: Engineered tissue closely mimics natural heart muscle

When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there’s no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.

In 100 Years, What Will The Internet Look Like?

We can’t predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, whether it’s 10 years or 100 years from now. But we can look at where today’s technology is heading for a glimpse at what the Internet may be like in the future. Cars will work like laptops on wheels; you’ll be emailing tangible objects, using DNA to authenticate digital documents and searching the Web with your brain, among other things. At the pace of technology moves, it’s likely you’ll see some of these innovations come to life.

Robots Are Stealing Your Job

Robots are awesome, but beware: They’re after your jobs! Here’s a look at the work robots are doing today, that once required a human touch.

Amazing video shows bio-engineered ‘bulletproof’ human skin reinforced with spider silk

Human skin can stop a bullet – with a little help from genetically modified goats.  The skin is mixed with goat ‘milk’ from goats ‘tweaked’ to produce the same protein found in spider silk. Woven spider silk is four times stronger than Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests.  The ‘silk’ is layered with bio-engineered human skin grown in laboratory, and can withstand a direct impact from a bullet – although not one fired at full speed, yet.

World’s only robot rock band takes the stage at international android exhibition

Other bands may cover their arms in tattoos, spikes and 1980s haircuts, but they will still not be able to beat these guys when it comes to being metal.  German metal band Compressorhead are made up of three 5ft tall robots, and brought down the house when they took the stage at the Robot Ball exhibition at ARTPLAY Center for Design in Moscow this weekend.

New Computer Programming Language Imitates The Human Brain

For nearly 70 years, computer scientists have depended upon the Von Neumann architecture. The computer that you’re working on right now still uses this paradigm — an electronic digital system driven by processors and consisting of various processing units, including an arithmetic logic unit, a control unit, memory, and input/output mechanisms. These separate units store and process information sequentially, and they use programming languages designed specifically for those architectures.  But the human brain, which most certainly must be a kind of computer, works a lot differently. It’s a massively parallel, massively redundant “computer” capable of generating approximately 1016 processes per second. It’s doubtful that it’s as serialized as the Von Neumann model. Nor is it driven by a proprietary programming language (though, as many cognitive scientists would argue, it’s likely driven by biologically encoded algorithms). Instead, the brain’s neurons and synapses store and process information in a highly distributed, parallel way.

IBM’s “neurosynaptic” chips are the closest thing to a synthetic brain yet

While the comparison between the computer and the human brain is one that has been made for over half a century, the way each one processes information could not be more different. Now, IBM researchers have designed a revolutionary chip that, for the first time, actuallymimics the functioning of a human brain.  Are we finally on the verge of true artificial intelligence?

Your T-shirt’s ringing: Printable tiny flexible cell phones for clothes?

A new version of ‘spaser’ technology being investigated could mean that mobile phones become so small, efficient, and flexible they could be printed on clothing. A spaser is effectively a nanoscale laser or nanolaser. It emits a beam of light through the vibration of free electrons, rather than the space-consuming electromagnetic wave emission process of a traditional laser.

Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy: Re-growing auditory nerves

Researchers have for the first time used electrical pulses delivered from a cochlear implant to deliver gene therapy, thereby successfully regrowing auditory nerves. The research also heralds a possible new way of treating a range of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, and psychiatric conditions such as depression through this novel way of delivering gene therapy.

Bionic bodies

Advances in bionic technology are changing lives, and wearable robots are making it possible for paralysed people to walk.  Phil Torres takes us to Colorado to meet one woman who is standing tall despite a devastating disability. Amanda Boxel was injured in a skiing accident 21 years ago that left her paralysed from the waist down. Now, with the help of Ekso Bionics, she can stand and walk again using a battery-powered exoskeleton that was originally designed for the military.  Kosta Grammatis takes us to Maryland to meet a young man who surprised the world by inventing a test that predicts cancer. Sixteen-year-old Jack Andraka invented a cancer screening test which uses strips to test blood for high levels of mesothelin, a protein overproduced in people with pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. This test can catch cancers in their earliest stages where chance for survival is 100 percent.

Electrode Experiment Allows Paralyzed Man To Stand

PARALYSIS-articleInlineA young man paralyzed by an injury to his spinal cord has regained the ability to stand for short periods, take steps with help and move his legs and feet at will, with the help of an electrical stimulator implanted in his lower back.  The device is experimental and not available to other patients, and because it has been studied in only one person it is not known whether it would work as well in other people with different types of spinal injury.

Robot Surgeon Enters Through Belly Button

Tiny medical robots capable of operating inside an astronaut’s body could someday provide emergency surgery in space without the mess. A fist-sized robot is scheduled for its first zero-gravity test in the next several months, one small step toward enabling robotic medical attention for humans stuck on deep-space missions lasting for months.  The compact robot is the product of Virtual Incision and researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, according to New Scientist. It’s designed to slip inside a person’s body through a small belly button incision — not unlike the dreaded robotic “bug” from “The Matrix” — and inflate the patient’s abdominal cavity with an inert gas to create room to work. Two arms tipped with multiple tools can perforate gastric ulcers, cauterize and suture wounds, or perform emergency appendectomies.

Living organ regenerated for first time: Thymus rebuilt in mice

Scientists have succeeded in regenerating a living organ for the first time. Researchers rebuilt the thymus — an organ in the body located next to the heart that produces important immune cells. The advance could pave the way for new therapies for people with damaged immune systems and genetic conditions that affect thymus development. The team reactivated a natural mechanism that shuts down with age to rejuvenate the thymus in very old mice. After treatment, the regenerated organ had a similar structure to that found in a young mouse.

Stick-on electronic health monitoring patches

WearableMonitorWearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate off-the-shelf electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The patches stick to the skin like a temporary tattoo and incorporate a unique microfluidic construction with wires folded like origami to allow the patch to bend and flex.

Don’t Worry, Doctor Robonaut Is Here to Help

Robots are notoriously horrible at being generalists. The most efficient and effective robots have been purpose-built to do one specific task very, very well. This is why we have Roombas and not Rosies, and it’s why robotic telemedicine platforms look (and let’s be honest here) kind of scary, all things considered. But, at least part of the reason that humans (as a species) are so successful is that we are generalists. And our fantasy is to be able to create robots that are generalists too, able to bring that trademark robot intelligence and speed and precision to bear on whatever task we might require. This is certainly not the easiest route to take, but under some very specific circumstances, it might be the best one, which is why NASA’s Robonaut is learning to be a doctor.

Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death

Doctors will try to save the lives of 10 patients with knife or gunshot wounds by placing them in suspended animation, buying time to fix their injuries.  NEITHER dead or alive, knife-wound or gunshot victims will be cooled down and placed in suspended animation later this month, as a groundbreaking emergency technique is tested out for the first time.  Surgeons are now on call at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to perform the operation, which will buy doctors time to fix injuries that would otherwise be lethal.  “We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,” says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who is leading the trial. “So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”

In the future, everything will learn

This year, IBM researchers are exploring the idea that everything will learn – driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics and learning technologies all coming together.

Immortality for Humans by 2045

The man behind the 2045 Initiative, described as a nonprofit organization, is a Russian named Dmitry Itskov. The ambitious timeline he’s laid out involves creating different avatars. First a robotic copy that’s controlled remotely through a brain interface. Then one in which a human brain can be transplanted at the end of life. The next could house an artificial human brain, and finally we’d have holographic avatars containing our intelligence much like the movie “Surrogates.”  Gizmag’s Dario Borghino wisely warned that “one must be careful not to believe that improbable technological advances automatically become more likely simply by looking further away in the future.” And in the grand scheme of things, 2045 is not that far away.

The Future Of Drones:  Technology Vs. Privacy

Will the skies of the future be filled with buzzing drones? Small commercial drones available to anyone are already up. They’re monitoring farmers’ fields, wildlife and our border and are used by photographers to capture spectacular vistas. Some say drones will replace ground delivery of many of our packages. One enthusiast predicts one in five persons will own one. But the fact that many of these unmanned flying vehicles has a camera raises privacy issues that Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein says may soon need to be addressed through regulation. Morley Safer explores the new world of commercial drones and talks to Feinstein and others about it for a 60 Minutes story to be broadcast Sunday, March 16 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Electric ‘thinking cap’ controls learning speed

Caffeine-fueled cram sessions are routine occurrences on any college campus. But what if there was a better, safer way to learn new or difficult material more quickly? What if “thinking caps” were real? Scientists have now shown that it is possible to selectively manipulate our ability to learn through the application of a mild electrical current to the brain, and that this effect can be enhanced or depressed depending on the direction of the current.

Firefighting Robot Prepares To Walk Through Flames

FireRobotThe ultimate Navy Seal may end up being a humanoid robot that can carry heavy equipment, interact with officers and head straight into a face-melting fire without hesitation.  The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, SAFFiR for short, has been in the works for several years as a safety tool for Navy ships. Recently the advanced bot was brought out for a collaborative demonstration with researchers from Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania, according to the lab.

Superhero Vision Coming in Graphene Contact Lenses?

It sounds like something from a spy thriller movie: putting on contact lenses that give you infrared vision without the need for a bulky contraption that covers your face. But now, thanks to research at the University of Michigan, such a contact lens is a real possibility.  The Michigan researchers turned to the optical capabilities of graphene to create their infrared contact lens. IBM last year demonstrated some of the photoconductivity mechanisms of graphene that make it an attractive infrared detector.

New materials developed that are as light as aerogel, yet 10,000 times stronger

Imagine materials strong enough to use in building airplanes or motor cars, yet are literally lighter than air. Soon, that may not be so hard to do because a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed new ultra-lightweight materials that are as light as aerogel, but 10,000 times stiffer, and may one day revolutionize aerospace and automotive designs.

This is what robot strippers look like

The robot apocalypse may just start in a strip club. At the CeBIT expo in Hanover, German software developer Tobit put together a booth that features two pole dancing robots, egged on by a fellow robot DJ with a megaphone for a head. The two ladybots move and twist in time to the music, though the actual performance is surprisingly tame. This isn’t the first time Tobit has brought the robots to the show, but this year featured updated models. “We changed them a little bit to make them more interesting,” a Tobit representative told RuptlyTV. According to the BBC, you can pick up a bot of your own for $39,500.

Record-breaking inflatable wind turbine floats 1000 feet above Alaska

FloatingWindTurbineConventional wind turbines, which are based on land and are mounted on top of tall masts, are probably the most recognizable form of wind energy harvesting devices, and wind farms are already a viable method of producing clean renewable energy. But tower-mounted wind turbines do have a few limitations, as winds nearer to the ground can sometimes be inconsistent, with slow or gusty wind conditions affecting the power output from them.  And while ground-based wind turbines remain a practical system for generating clean electricity, the future of low cost wind power for remote areas might be found in high altitude wind turbines (HAWTs), which are deployed high above the Earth, where they can take advantage of stronger and more consistent winds.

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FREE Sellwood Concerts Are Back In Full Swing! Here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/free-sellwood-concerts-back-full-swing-heres-taste-youve-missing/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/free-sellwood-concerts-back-full-swing-heres-taste-youve-missing/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:46:10 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15814 We look forward all year to the FREE concerts in Sellwood Park.  Every Monday night for five weeks, the park is filled with the sound of music, the laughter of families, and the lazy haze of summer.  These concerts are … Continue reading

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Feature-ConcertsWe look forward all year to the FREE concerts in Sellwood Park.  Every Monday night for five weeks, the park is filled with the sound of music, the laughter of families, and the lazy haze of summer.  These concerts are part of a larger program put on by Portland Parks and Recreation, who promise there will be some free activity in a Portland park every night through the summer.  Concerts, swimming, picnics, movies, and more are available to delight you and your family.  But, of course, we’re partial to our own Sellwood shows and we’d like for you to join us.  To help tempt you into coming, we’ll share some pictures from the first two shows of the season, “The Quick and Easy Boys” from July 7 and “Pilon D’Azucar” from July 14th’s Salsa Night show.   We hope you enjoy this taste of what you’ve been missing, and that you’ll be there for the remaining three shows of the season…RestOfNewsletter

July 21-  Love Gigantic – Nimble, Anthemic Folk Rock

July 28-  Robert Moore & The Wildcats – Original Jazz & Blues

Aug 4-    The Wanderlust Orchestra – Vaudevillian, Bohemian Cabaret

“The Quick and Easy Boys” jamming out Getting into the groove of The Quick and Easy Boys Dog heaven in the shadow of the Sellwood Bridge View down the dock on the Willamette River Sellwood Park has its own swimming area on the Willamette River The Quick and Easy Boys after the show The sunsets would make the evening special even if nothing else was going on Plan some time for your kids to enjoy the free arts and crafts booth The growing “vendors row” is an opportunity to meet the neighborhood businesses who help make these concerts possible. Stop by and see us at the palatial Tom Dwyer pavilion.  Your kids can enter our “Car of the Future” coloring contest to win extravagant prizes! If you don’t bring food, don’t worry.  You’ll find everything for dinner at the many food vendors. After the music, sun, and food, you’ll find plenty of people-watching to keep you occupied The fun doesn’t necessarily end when the show’s over.  Many people stay after the crowds have left to enjoy the evening on their own.

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When Will YOU Switch To Synthetic Oil?  Synthetic oil is better for you, your vehicle, and the planet http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/when-to-switch-synthetic/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/home/when-to-switch-synthetic/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:44:46 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15815 (July, 2011)-  Not so long ago, few people had heard of synthetic oil and even fewer wanted to buy it.  Things have changed… crude oil prices are rising, people are keeping their cars longer, and more people are worried about … Continue reading

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FeatureSynthetic(July, 2011)-  Not so long ago, few people had heard of synthetic oil and even fewer wanted to buy it.  Things have changed… crude oil prices are rising, people are keeping their cars longer, and more people are worried about the environment.  Now we have a steady stream of people at the shop asking about this important product, but many more still aren’t aware of the advantages of synthetic oil.  If you’re one of the people who hasn’t made the jump yet, there are three main reasons to switch to synthetic oil.  Synthetics are:RestOfNewsletter

              • Better for you
              • Better for your vehicle
              • Better for the planet

Let’s look at each of these points a little more closely…

Better for you

Synthetic oils are better for you because they save you valuable time and money!  The superior protection of synthetics mean you only need to get your vehicle’s oil changed half as often, so you’ll spend less of your valuable time chasing oil changes. We recommend that clients using synthetic oils have their Minor Interval Service with oil change about every 6 months or 6000 miles.  This interval coincides well with the need for tire rotation and periodic inspection.  The superior properties of the synthetic oils could (in a pinch) actually be pushed as far as 12 months or 10,000 miles, though we would not recommend it. The superior protection also reduces expensive mechanical failures, keeping you on the road more reliably.

Better for your vehicle

When synthetic oils were in their infancy in the 40′s and 50′s, the challenge was to make them as good as conventional oil.  Since then, synthetic technology has far surpassed the capabilities of regular crude.  Now, synthetics have fewer impurities, leave fewer deposits, are better for extreme driving conditions (especially temperature), offer better mileage, lower oil consumption, lower octane requirements, and more.  For example, “Film Strength” is how strong the film of oil is between any moving parts.  While petroleum oils have film strength of around 500 psi, synthetics average about 3000 psi, over 6 times stronger!

In modern engines with tight tolerances and high operating temperatures this extra strength is critical to extending the life of your engine.  In New York taxi tests, taxis that were run 60,000 miles on synthetic oil without oil changes (but using a special filter) showed less wear than taxis using conventional oil changed every 3000 miles.

Better for the planet

Crude oil has thousands of natural impurities that can’t be entirely removed in the refining process.  The corrosive acids, paraffin and other waxes, heavy metals, asphalt, napthenes and benzenes, as well as countless compounds of sulfur, chlorine, and nitrogen in crude oil mean more toxics emitted into the air with crude than with synthetics.  These chemicals also pass through your catalytic converter, reducing its life and efficiency.

The actual size of the oil molecules also has an effect on emissions.  Crude oil has variable size molecules, while synthetic oil’s molecules are mostly the same size.  In crude oil the smaller molecules are stripped away to form gunk in the engine and goo in the emissions.

Since synthetic oil is made from crude oil as a feedstock, it isn’t a complete replacement for conventional oil. The extended life of synthetic oils does reduce our dependence on crude oil.  This is good for two reasons:  Environmentally, every drop of oil we don’t use is a drop we don’t use.  This leaves carbon sequestered in the ground and not free in the atmosphere to influence global climate change.  Politically, every drop of oil we don’t import helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Conclusion

So why hasn’t everyone already switched to synthetic oil?  Some people (even professional mechanics) aren’t aware that modern synthetic oils have solved the problems of their early ancestors, but the biggest reason is probably the fact that the oil itself is about twice expensive as conventional oil.  This seems like a logical stumbling block, but the higher price for the synthetic oil has to be weighed against the advantages of your time savings, fewer oil changes, better mechanical performance, longer vehicle life, better mileage, lower emissions, and the environmental advantages.   We think that the advantages far outweigh any perceived cost drawbacks, and recommend that you consider synthetics on your next Minor Interval Service. Like many quality products; they may cost more upfront but the long-term return makes them by far the best value.

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Drew’s Kitchen- Mushroom Chicken Sautè   http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/drews-mushroom-chicken-saute/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/drews-mushroom-chicken-saute/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:42:32 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15816 Ingredients:  1 tsp olive oil, divided 1 tbsp butter or margarine, divided 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves Salt and pepper 8 oz mushroom pieces (about 3 cups; choose from button, crimini, oyster, and shiitake) 2 green onions with tops, … Continue reading

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DrewKitchButtonIngredients: 

  • 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz mushroom pieces (about 3 cups; choose from button, crimini, oyster, and shiitake)
  • 2 green onions with tops, slicedRestOfNewsletter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Preparation:

  • Heat half the olive oil and half the butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
  • Cover and sauté, turning once, until juices run clear, 10-15 minutes; remove and keep hot.
  • Add the remaining oil and butter to skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms.  Cook and toss 5-7 minutes, until golden.
  • Add green onions and wine; cook 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon mushroom-wine mixture over chicken and serve.

 

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Shop Talk- Summer Freebies Abound http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/shop-talk-summer-freebies-abound/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/shop-talk-summer-freebies-abound/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:41:23 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15817 Do you have an older vehicle we HAVEN’T seen? You know we don’t take on NEW clients with older vehicles, but you may not know that for our EXISTING clients with older-than-1998 vehicles we HAVEN’T seen, we can consider supporting those … Continue reading

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MonthlyNL- ShopTalkDo you have an older vehicle we HAVEN’T seen?

You know we don’t take on NEW clients with older vehicles, but you may not know that for our EXISTING clients with older-than-1998 vehicles we HAVEN’T seen, we can consider supporting those as well.  While many vehicles may be too poorly maintained for us to take on, we’d be happy to inspect your vehicle and care for it if possible.

RestOfNewsletterIf you act before August 31 we’ll perform our Comprehensive Inspection (normally $150) on your older vehicle for just $75! And, if you spend a minimum of $300, it’s FREE!

If ANY of your vehicles are approaching our 1998 age limit, DON’T WORRY… we don’t “age out” vehicles, and we’ll gladly continue servicing yours. While we don’t take on NEW clients with older vehicles, our policy has always been to service existing clients’ older vehicles as long as it makes economic sense for them.

Referral Reward Program Update

Our Referral Reward program is continuing, and we’re coming up on our second quarterly winner next month.   To date, 61 people have combined to donate over $2260 to deserving organizations!  You can join the fun and help a group you care about by just referring a new client to our shop.  For every new client who comes in and tells us you sent them, we’ll donate 20% (up to $50) of the qualifying purchases from their first invoice to the non-profit group of your choice.  There’s more… each quarter we’ll choose one group to get an additional $200, and at the end of the year pick one group for a final $500 award to their cause! Naturally there are a few restrictions, but you can read all those at our Referral Reward Webpage.

Here are the groups our clients have chosen to support our shop most recently.  Click the link for more information on any of these groups…

Ride Connection

ACLU Oregon

XRAY-FM

Nature Conservancy

Portland Waldorf School

Equine Outreach

Sisters of the Road Café

Planned Parenthood

The Clear Fund (Givewell)

Your reviews and referrals matter

We are constantly grateful for the supportive and loyal clients we have developed over the years.  Your comments and appreciation keep us on the right road to providing the superior automotive service you deserve.  Your reviews and referrals are not only the highest compliments we can receive, but they’re the lifeblood of our new business.  If you like what you’ve found at Tom Dwyer Automotive Services, please tell a friend or take a minute to write a review on YelpAngieslistGoogle, or the review site of your choice. Thank you!

Postcard Contest

How’s the summer going for you?  Have you gotten out to see new parts of the world, experience new things, or think new thoughts?  Do you have a postcard from your adventure you’d like to share?  Send it in, and you’ll be entered in our summer Postcard Contest.  We’ll choose the best one (in our best editorial judgment) and give the winner $50.  Be impressive, though, because you’ll be up against some stiff competition… that’s the winner from our 2010 contest at right!  Send your postcards to:

Tom Dwyer Automotive Services,  530 SE Tenino, Portland, 97202

Contest closes September 15, 2014, and the best postcard wins $50!

Free Carwash Season is in full swing

Have you come by for YOUR free carwash during FREE CARWASH SEASON yet?  To make up for our dusty parking lot we offer coupons for free Washman car washes from May 15 through September 15.  These are only for services over $100, but that’s a pretty low mark to hit with auto repair!  Come on by and pick up your ticket to a shiny summer ride!

Latest Automotive Recalls

Automobiles are just like any other product; occasional flaws in manufacture or design can cause problems once they leave the factory.  When an issue is identified the manufacturers and government work hard to bring the vehicles back in for refit or repair, but not all recalls make the front pages.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a constantly updated list of recalls from every manufacturer.  The last month’s recalls are below, but clicking the button at right will take you to the full list at the NHTSA website.

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Health Notes- The straight dope on some scary additives http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/health-notes-straight-dope-scary-additives/ http://tomdwyer.com/2014/newsletters/health-notes-straight-dope-scary-additives/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:37:51 +0000 http://tomdwyer.com/?p=15818 Everything You Need to Know About 10 Common, Scary Sounding Food Additives By Larry Schwartz on AlterNet, June 27, 2014      Michael Pollan, the best-selling author and one of the leaders of the modern food revolution, is a big … Continue reading

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MonthlyNL- HealthEverything You Need to Know About 10 Common, Scary Sounding Food Additives

By Larry Schwartz on AlterNet, June 27, 2014     

Michael Pollan, the best-selling author and one of the leaders of the modern food revolution, is a big one for Food Rules. In fact, he wrote a book by that name. In today’s complicated, processed food world, it’s helpful to have tips to navigate, like Pollan’s Rule #19: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t”.  Or rule # 36: “Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk”.RestOfNewsletter

What these rules imply is that when foods are unnatural, or do unnatural things, they may not be the best thing to put into our bodies, bodies being temples and all that.  When we pick up a package of food in the supermarket, we might look at the ingredients and be horrified at all the exotic, multi-syllabic chemicals that are listed, often ten, twenty or more horrible sounding ingredients that we didn’t have in mind when we felt like mac ‘n cheese that night.

While Pollan’s seminal advice, “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” is undoubtedly wise, we cannot always be as mindful as we want to be.  Our busy lives may preclude time to cook one evening, or our children may be whining for that snack their friends get to eat.  In moments of weakness, stress, or just plain desire, we open up the freezer and pull out the TV dinner, chemical listings be damned.  Perhaps if we knew what the chemicals are in these foods, why they are there, what they might do to us, we could either be a little more discerning or less concerned about our occasional indiscretions.  In that spirit, here is a list of ten common chemical items in our supermarket cornucopia of processed foods, and advice on whether to avoid it or go for it.

1. Artificial dyes

Almost all processed foods today contain some sort of artificial coloring to make the food more attractive looking (admittedly, a subjective judgment, since I, for one, find almost no pink food, for instance, very attractive…but I dare you to find a child who does not vehemently disagree…).  Some of you might remember the controversy decades ago when the food coloring Red Dye #2 was found to cause cancer in lab animals when consumed in large quantities.  That particular dye was subsequently banned, but other dyes, with literally colorful names like FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Green #3, Orange B, and FD&C Yellow #6 still abound in our foods.  Aside from the aforementioned Red#2, what do these dyes do to us?  Well, in England, a 2007 study in the esteemed medical journal “The Lancet” found some links between these dyes and hyperactivity in children.  As a result, The European Foods Standards Agency asked food companies to voluntarily remove the dyes from processed food.  In America, the Food and Drug Administration has declined to follow suit on the ESFA action, and still considers the dyes safe.  There were also studies in the 1950s that linked a particular dye, Yellow #5, with asthma symptoms, but subsequent studies did not bear that link out.

Examples of common processed foods containing artificial dyes: sports drinks, Mac ‘n Cheese, Jello, ice cream

What to do: If you have a hyperactive child, best to think twice before giving him Fruit Loops for breakfast.  Otherwise, you are probably OK with dyes.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sweetener derived from corn, sweeter than cane sugar, and cheaper.  That latter combination accounts for its presence in a seemingly infinite number of processed products and beverages.   The United States has been suffering through a veritable epidemic of obesity for decades, and many experts (and non-experts) have fingered HFCS as the culprit.  They point out that the obesity problem began at about the same time as high fructose corn syrup became widespread as a substitute for cane sugar.   There have also been some studies that link HFCS to type 2 diabetes.  The claim is that the body metabolizes HFCS differently than cane sugar, resulting in increased risk for type 2 and obesity.  Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University, on the website WebMD, disagrees, however.  “It’s just sugar.  Biochemically, there’s no difference…The body can’t tell them apart.”  Meanwhile, the American Medical Association has found little evidence that HFCS is any better or worse than cane sugar, and that you should essentially limit both.

Examples of common processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup: almost anything that is sweetened, including breakfast cereals, sodas, crackers, condiments like ketchup

What to do: Don’t lose any sleep over high fructose corn syrup, but, like all sweets, a little goes a long way.

3. Aspartame(brand name NutraSweet or Equal)

Almost any processed “diet” food or beverage contains an artificial sweetener, and that sweetener is usually aspartame.  Once upon a time, that sweetener was usually saccharin, but lab studies (since refuted) linked large amounts of saccharin to bladder cancer, and it was subsequently removed from many food items.  Aspartame has gone through similar close inspection, and some studies have linked it to cancer (including leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors), seizures, headaches, even lowered IQ.  Some people may have difficulty metabolizing aspartame, according to the website phys.org, a leading science and research news organization.  However, a large-scale study (500,000 people) by the National Cancer Institute found no link between aspartame and cancer.  A survey by the National Institutes of Health of over 2000 cancer patients also found no link.  The FDA has deemed aspartame safe numerous times.

Examples of common processed foods containing aspartame: most diet sodas and beverages, sugarless gums, sugarless yogurt

What to do: Pop open a Diet Coke if you want.  It’s definitely not good for you, but it probably isn’t the aspartame that is hurting you.  (Just remember, that stuff cleans off car batteries…).

4. MSG (AKA monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast)

Humans are able to discern four flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty.  In recent years, foodies have added the “flavor” umami” to that list.  Umami is that savory sensation you can detect when eating meats, tomatoes, soybeans, and mushrooms, for instance.  MSG is a chemical that enhances that umami flavor.  Chinese restaurants are famous (or infamous) for adding MSG to their dishes.  In the 1960s, customers began complaining that Chinese food was making them ill, with headaches, flushing, and chest pains being some of the symptoms.  MSG was suspected as the agent of their symptoms.  Over the past 40 years, many studies have been made on MSG, and there have been no definitive links between it and any specific symptoms.  What links may have been discerned have been exceedingly rare.  While some people may indeed be sensitive to it, the majority is apparently not.

Examples of common processed foods containing MSG: potato chips, salad dressings, dry roasted nuts, cold cuts

What to do: Bring on the egg rolls, unless you feel are one of those rare souls who are allergic to MSG.

5. Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative found in lots of food and beverage products.  Most processed foods have some sort of preservative(s), as they are likely to be sitting on a shelf for a significant amount of time.  As with food dyes, “The Lancet” listed sodium benzoate among the chemicals linked to hyperactivity in kids.  Additionally, it was found that in items containing both sodium benzoate and Vitamin C, the two ingredients reacted together to form benzene, a known carcinogen.  The FDA, in 2006 and 2007, had the manufacturers of over 200 beverages reformulate those drinks, which were then deemed safe by the FDA.  FDA testing was limited, however, and benzene exposure may still be a problem in some cases.

Examples of common processed foods containing Sodium Benzoate: soft drinks, salad dressing, pickles, condiments

What to do: A no-no for hyperactive children.  Probably not a great idea for their adult parents either.  In any case, look for sodium benzoate and vitamin C together.  If it is there, don’t eat it or drink it.   Probably OK for the car battery though…

6. Sodium Nitrite

Everything is good with bacon on it, right?  Think twice about that.  Bacon and most cured meats and sausages contain sodium nitrite, which gives preserved meat a reddish color, preserves it, and inhibits the formation of harmful bacteria on the food.  The chemical was used extensively in food processing before the 1930s, and was suspected as the cause of gastric cancer, which was the leading cause of cancer deaths at that time.  When meats containing sodium nitrite are overcooked or charred, they form a compound called nitrosamine, which is a known carcinogenic.  Since the 1930s, refrigeration plus moderating the amount of the sodium nitrite used has cut down the mortality rate of gastric cancer significantly.  Studies on a direct link between sodium nitrite and cancer have proven inconclusive, and the jury is still out.

Examples of common processed foods containing Sodium Nitrite:  cured meats, smoked fish, jerky, hot dogs

What to do: A BLT once in a while won’t kill you.  Maybe cut down on the sausage pizza.  Ditch the bacon ice cream.  Don’t overcook your meats (don’t undercook them either!).  As with most things, moderation is a wise course.

7. Trans Fat (AKA partially hydrogenated vegetable oil)

Once upon a time, the jingle went “Everything’s better with Blue Bonnet on it,” (Blue Bonnet being the leading margarine product). Those were the days. Butter bad, margarine good. How times have changed. Many studies have now borne out that margarine (and any of the multitude of products containing trans fat) is much worse for you than momma nature’s real stuff, butter. Trans fats have been linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They lower your good cholesterol (HDL) and raise your bad cholesterol ((LDL). The American Heart Association tells us we should get no more than 1% of our calories from trans fat.

Examples of common processed foods containing trans fat: margarine, shortening, non-dairy creamer, microwave popcorn

What to do: When you see “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” among the ingredients listed on your food package, know that that product is definitely not your friend.  Don’t be chowing down on that stuff.

8. BHA/BHT

The preservatives BHA and BHT are both used in of crackers and cereals as a means to keep foods with fats and oils from going rancid. They are derived from petroleum.  The World Health Organization has listed BHA as a possible carcinogen, and the FDA, while approving it, has left the door open for further studies as to its safety.

Examples of common processed foods containing BHA/BHT:  breakfast cereals, bread, crackers

What to do: Petroleum-derived ingredients don’t qualify as real food…  Avoid them if you can.

9. Carrageenan

You see carrageenan a lot in ice cream (and dressings and sauces), and you probably ask, what does carrageenan do to enhance my chocolate chip experience?  Carrageenan is a thickener.  Manufacturers use it to make their ice cream (or dressing or sauce) creamier in texture.  It is made from seaweed.  Some complaints have been made that carrageenan causes stomach and digestive problems, but studies have not shown any link (degraded carrageenan has been shown to cause this in lab animals, but degraded carrageenan is not used in food products).  The FDA has approved it as safe.

Examples of common processed foods containing carrageenan:  ice cream, yogurt, sour cream

What to do:  Don’t lose any sleep over carrageenan (some very preliminary studies have even shown that it may be helpful to digestion).

10. Calcium Propionate

Calcium propionate is used primarily in bread and baked goods as a preservative.  There is a reason supermarket breads aren’t moldy after a few days (I guess it puts the wonder in Wonder Bread).  Some people have pointed at calcium propionate as a trigger for migraine headaches, but no medical studies have shown any link.

Examples of common processed foods containing Calcium Propionate: bread, condensed milk, cheese

What to do: Good to go.  Calcium propionate won’t hurt you (won’t help you either, unless you count avoiding moldy bread on the plus side).

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