Curiosity, not assumptions, makes life interesting

I get lots of barfblog.com fan mail like the piece below.

Normally I just cc Chapman on my reply, so someone can take over when I die (me in the hospital last week with gall bladder issues, my partner and daughter bought me a nice light robe for the Australian summers, and I was with Larry, my portable IV unit I shared a shower and bed with), or get tired of doing this, or my brain sufficiently rots, but this was too ripe, so welcome to the daily insults of an unpaid blogger.

Hello Doug I trust all is well.
I have a question for you.
Do you (brilliant Scientist, food safety guru) really think the Fox host has not washed his hands in 10 years
Doug you used a pile of E.  dung to purposely smear the President of a country that you are not a citizen of. 
I ask you to please rebuke your political opinions and stick with what has and always will help advance food safety – you!

I am an American citizen. I worked long and hard for that distinction, given my Canadian prison record. I voted in the last election, and not for Mr. Trump. The Fox News dude is now saying his lack of handwashing was a joke, but given the discourse on Fox, I kinda doubt it. More like covering his ass (like a HACCP plan).

I am a citizen of three countries and have three passports – Canadian, American and Australian. So does Sorenne. Amy has two. It’s not a secret and could easily been discovered, but you chose to assume rather than ask. That’s a problem for science and journalism: People making up shit.

Others might call it fake news.

To paraphrase what I told sceptics in 1987 when I started the University of Guelph alternative newspaper, if you don’t like my blog, don’t read it, start your own, and stop wasting my time.

Peace.

And here’s a video from another citizen of Canada and America.

Trump gets his news here: Fox News host says he has not washed his hands in 10 years ‘Germs are not a real thing’

To the chagrin of his co-hosts, Fox and Friends presenter Pete Hegseth told the show’s audience Sunday morning that he hasn’t washed his hands in a decade.

Katherine Hignett of Newsweek writes the revelation came after co-hosts Ed Henry and Jedediah Bila questioned Hegseth’s off-camera consumption of pizza left out after National Pizza Day Saturday. Hegseth had argued that pizza “lasts for a long time.”

Bila then quipped Hegseth “might take a chomp out of” anything on a table “that’s not nailed down”—including mugs.

“My 2019 resolution is to say things on air that I say off air… I don’t think I’ve washed my hands for 10 years. Really, I don’t really wash my hands ever,” Hegseth continued, prompting laughter from his co-hosts.

“Someone help me,” Bila said. “Oh man.”

“I inoculate myself. Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them. Therefore the’re not real,” Hegseth said.  

“So you’re becoming immune to all of the bacteria,” Bila replied, rolling her eyes. “My dad has that theory too.”

Hegseth later shared a Tweet in support of his unusual concept of health and hygiene with the hashtag “DontWash.”

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that handwashing is a vital way to prevent the transmission of disease. By washing your hands—especially after using the bathroom—you prevent the spread of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli that can persist in tiny, invisible particles of human feces

It’s also important to wash your hands after handling raw meat, as this can harbor germs leftover from animal feces.

“A single gram of human feces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs,” the CDC reports.

Filion, K., KuKanich, K.S., Chapman, B., Hardigree, M.K., and Powell, D.A. 2011. Observation-based evaluation of hand hygiene practices and the effects of an intervention at a public hospital cafeteria. American Journal of Infection Control 39(6): 464-470.

Background

Hand hygiene is important before meals, especially in a hospital cafeteria where patrons may have had recent contact with infectious agents. Few interventions to improve hand hygiene have had measureable success. This study was designed to use a poster intervention to encourage hand hygiene among health care workers (HCWs) and hospital visitors (HVs) upon entry to a hospital cafeteria.

Methods

Over a 5-week period, a poster intervention with an accessible hand sanitizer unit was deployed to improve hand hygiene in a hospital cafeteria. The dependent variable observed was hand hygiene attempts. Study phases included a baseline, intervention, and follow-up phase, with each consisting of 3 randomized days of observation for 3 hours during lunch.

Results

During the 27 hours of observation, 5,551 participants were observed, and overall hand hygiene frequency was 4.79%. Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently by HCWs than HVs (P = .0008) and females than males (P = .0281). Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently after poster introduction than baseline (P = .0050), and this improvement was because of an increase in frequency of HV hand hygiene rather than HCW hand hygiene.

Conclusion

The poster intervention tool with easily accessible hand sanitizer can improve overall hand hygiene performance in a US hospital cafeteria.

Wilson, S.M., Jacob, C.J. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Behavior-change interventions to improve hand hygiene practice: A review. Critical Public Health 21: 119-127.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a934338802~db=all~jumptype=rss

Despite the role of hand hygiene in preventing infectious disease, compliance remains low. Education and training are often cited as essential to developing and maintaining hand-hygiene compliance, but generally have not produced sustained improvements. Consequently, this literature review was conducted to identify alternative interventions for compelling change in hand-hygiene behavior. Of those, interventions employing social pressures have demonstrated varying influence on an individual’s behavior, while interventions that focus on organizational culture have demonstrated positive results. However, recent research indicates that handwashing is a ritualized behavior mainly performed for self-protection. Therefore, interventions that provoke emotive sensations (e.g., discomfort, disgust) or use social marketing may be the most effective.

Will the world get a sad poop emoji? Or just a shithole?

Vomit.

Poop.

Shit.

It’s everywhere.

And biological.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, vomit and fecal contamination has forced the closure of Christchurch’s public pools 178 times during 2017.

The Christchurch City Council has taken steps to reduce closures across its three indoor facilities. This has led to a 20 per cent drop in closures this year compared to 2016 when the pools were closed 224 times.

Pioneer pool in Spreydon was the hardest hit, experiencing 79 closures, including 50 “code browns” and 26 vomiting incidents. Pioneer pool was closed 93 times in 2016.

Most incidents happened in the leisure pool, which was closed 52 times, followed by the teach pool with 20 closures.

With those kind of numbers, should there be a sad poop emoji to go with the smiling pile of poop emoji?

Barbara Ortutay of USA Today reports that the Unicode Consortium is tasked with setting the global standard for the icons. It’s a heady responsibility and it can take years from inspiration — Hey, why isn’t there a dumpling? — to a new symbol being added to our phones.

That’s because deciding whether a googly-eyed turd should express a wider range of emotions is not the frivolous undertaking it might appear to be. Picking the newest additions to our roster of cartoonish glyphs, from deciding on their appearance to negotiating rules that allow vampires but bar Robert Pattinson’s or Dracula’s likeness, actually has consequences for modern communication.

Not since the printing press has something changed written language as much as emojis have, says Lauren Collister, a scholarly communications librarian at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Emoji is one way language is growing,” she says. “When it stops growing and adapting, that’s when a language dies.”

So full congrats to the New York Daily Post, whose front-page this morning slammed the immigration comments of so-called U.S. President Donald Trump with an appropriate emoji of its own.

According to the Washington Post, which first reported the story, President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting. 

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 

George Washington said in 1783, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent & respectable Stranger, but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights & privileges” (except for colored people which was sorta dumb).

Maybe Jimmy Buffett got it.

Buffet’s 1978 album, Son of a Son of a Sailor, was one of the first 8-tracks I bought while on vacation in Florida when I was 15-years-old, and it included the track Manana, which weirdly applies to Trump.

She said I can’t go back to America soon

It’s so goddamn cold it’s gonna snow until June

Yeah, they’re freezin’ up in Buffalo stuck in their cars

And I’m lyin’ here ‘neath the sun and the stars.

Customs man tell her that she’s gotta leave

She’s got a plan hidden up her shrewd sleeve

Wants to find her a captain, a man of strong mind

And any direction he blows will be fine.

Please don’t say manana if you don’t mean it

I have heard those words for so very long

Don’t try to describe the ocean if you’ve never seen it

Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up being wrong.

Tried and I tried but I don’t understand

Never seems to work out the way I had it planned

Hanging out at a marina when Steve Martin called

Singin’ anybody there really want to get small.

But women and water are in short supply

There’s not enough dope for us all to get high

I hear it gets better, that’s what they say

As soon as we sail on to Cane Garden Bay.

Please don’t say manana if you don’t mean it

I have heard your lines for so very long

Don’t try to describe the scenery if you’ve never seen it

Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up in my song.

Called all my friends on those cheap nightly rates

Sure was good to talk to the old United States

While the lights of St. Thomas lie twenty miles west

I see General Electric’s still doing their best.

I’ve got to head this boat south pretty soon

New album’s old and I’m fresh out of tunes

But I know that I’ll get ’em, I know that they’ll come

Through the people and places and Caldwood’s Rum

So please don’t say manana if you don’t mean it

I have done your lines for so very long

Don’t try to describe a Kiss concert if you’ve never seen it

Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up being gonged

And I hope Anita Bryant never does one of my songs.

 

Trumped

If I paid $300,000 for a membership, the kitchen better be pristine and safe.

As President Donald Trump took office earlier this year, state health inspectors arrived at Mar-a-Lago, the new president’s “winter White House,” for their annual inspection of the the private club’s kitchens.
What they found was not pretty.
Just weeks before Trump began entertaining world leaders and other dignitaries during his frequent visits to the Florida club, Mar-a-Lago’s restaurant was cited for 13 health code violations in a single inspection, the Miami Herald reported.
The infractions included potentially serious violations, including serving dangerously raw fish and keeping raw meat in malfunctioning coolers. The minor violations included not having hot enough water for staff to wash their hands and employees failing to wear hair nets when preparing food.
So, how do the kitchens at Trump’s “summer White House” in New Jersey compare?
The kitchens at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster — where the president is wrapping up his working vacation — have been cited for at least 17 health code violations during routine inspections between 2011 and 2016, according to records obtained through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
The reports included mostly minor infractions in the main kitchen serving the clubhouse restaurant and a smaller kitchen serving the pool-side cafe. Both restaurants are open to members as part of their $300,000 membership fee.
The violations included “significant fly activity” in the pool kitchen and main kitchen, dirty wiping cloths, grease-covered fryer units, uncovered and spilled food storage bins, melons stored at the wrong temperature and dirty kitchen utensils with “old and encrusted food buildup.”
In each case, the violations were minor enough for the golf club to get a “satisfactory” rating and its restaurants were allowed to remain open.

Noro is serious shit: Hotel housing athletes in world-class fail

As the world seemingly lurches to World War III, I’m reminded it’s the little things that add up.

Especially compensating for little hands.

BBC Sport and CNN report that Botswana’s Isaac Makwala has withdrawn from the 400m final, “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF Medical Delegate (Rule 113).”

Public Health England says 30 athletes and support staff have been affected by sickness at the Tower Hotel in London.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said Makwala withdrew from Monday’s 200m heats “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF medical delegate.”

He admitted to vomiting before the heats, but said he was not tested.

“I could have run. I did my warm up well and I was ready to run. I feel ready to run today, tonight,” he said.

Several German and Canadian athletes staying at the Tower Hotel fell ill last week.

A further 30 Germans due to arrive on Tuesday will be moved to other hotels.

German triple jumper Neele Eckhardt collapsed but was well enough to compete on Saturday, and took part in Monday’s final.

The Ireland team, who are also staying at the hotel, have confirmed that one athlete – 400m hurdler Thomas Barr – has been affected.

The Tower Hotel said investigations conducted with environmental health officers and the IAAF had shown the hotel was “not the source of the illness”. That has also been confirmed by Public Health England.

Ireland’s Thomas Barr withdrew from the 400m semifinals, while German and Canadian athletes also staying at The Tower Hotel near Tower Bridge have reportedly been affected too.

In a statement to CNN, Dr Deborah Turbitt, Public Health England (PHE) London deputy director for health protection, said: “We have so far been made aware of approximately 30 people reporting illness and two of these cases have been confirmed as norovirus by laboratory testing.

“PHE has been working closely with British Athletics and the hotel to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness.”

Public Health England said most peopled made a full recovery from the illness — often caught through close contact with someone carrying the virus or by touching contaminated surfaces — within one or two days without treatment.

A spokesperson for The Tower Hotel told CNN it was “not the source of the illness,” and that “We have followed strict hygiene protocol, ensuring that those affected are not in contact with other guests and all public areas have been thoroughly sanitized.

Uh-huh.

The chill started in Kansas, I live in Australia: USDA scientists have been put on lockdown under Trump

For the many who have asked, barfblog.com is on hiatus while I chill and focus on other things.

But some things deserve a wide audience.

Buzzfeed reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its main research division from publicly sharing everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration.

According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff — including some 2,000 scientists — at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.

“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added.

Indeed, the last tweet from ARS’s official account was sent the day before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Though the terse internal note did not explicitly mention the new presidential administration, department scientists around the country interpreted it as a message from Trump that changes were coming to the department.

The memo was also met with some confusion. When asked if the notice constituted a halt on the publication of academic articles, one regional director told scientists that research papers could be published in academic journals and presented at conferences, but that all media interviews must be approved by the office of communications in Washington.

In a statement on Tuesday to BuzzFeed News, the department acknowledged sending an internal email that halted the release of “informational products like news releases and social media content” on Monday. “Scientific publications, released through peer reviewed professional journals are not included,” he added.

“As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency, ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public as we strive to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting America,” Christopher Bentley, a spokesperson for ARS, said in the statement.

The Netherlands thing is hilarious. Thanks, Amy.

Take a dump on Trump: Poo Haiku for World Toilet Day

 

 

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Your poo orange too.

trumptoiletSaturday is World Toilet Day, a serious effort by the United Nations focusing on the fact that one-third of the world’s population — or 2.4 billion people —  have no toilet at home. A third of those people are children. They are vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and other major problems because there is no clean way of going to the bathroom where they live.

Marylou Tousignant of The Washington Post writes the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations want everyone in the world to have proper toilets and safe drinking water by 2030.

People living in present-day Scotland and Pakistan built the first indoor toilets about 4,500 years ago. Pipes carried the waste outdoors. Knossos palace, built 3,700 years ago on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, had some of the first flush toilets. They used rainwater and water from nearby springs. A wooden seat kept users dry.

Medieval castles had toilets built high on an outside wall. There was a stone seat at the top, and gravity took care of the rest. Often the waste dropped into the castle moat. People living in towns, meanwhile, collected their waste in what were called chamber pots, and they emptied them by heaving the contents out a window. Public lavatories, which were not common at the time, were often just several toilet holes in a row built over a river.

In 1596, England’s Sir John Harington designed a flush toilet with a handle and a raised water tank. He said using it would leave rooms smelling sweet. He gave one to his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who didn’t like it. Instead, she used a pot in a box covered in velvet and trimmed with lace. The idea of an indoor flush toilet didn’t catch on until 200 years later.

The word “toilet” comes from the French “toile,” meaning “cloth.” It referred to the covering on a lady’s dressing table and, over time, to the dressing room itself and the primping that went on there. (Wealthy people in the 17th and 18th centuries often had rooms at home just for getting dressed.) In the 19th century, “toilet” got its modern meanings: the place where bathing and other private acts occur and the bowl into which human waste is deposited.

Over time, chamber pots and toilet bowls got fancier and fancier. One such pot, sold during the American Revolution, had an image of Britain’s King George III at the bottom of the bowl.

Thomas Jefferson, who used flush toilets while he was the U.S. ambassador to France in the 1780s, had three small rooms for toilets built at Monticello, his home in Virginia. But there is no proof that they were true flush toilets. And because most American homes did not have running water until a century later, the widespread use of flush toilets came later as well.

Chinese businessman Zhong Jiye will not give up the brand name on his Trump Toilet products, NBC News reports.

“We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing,” said Zhong, referring to Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, which mostly manufactures high-tech toilet seats. 

hanksy-dumptrump“If (U.S. President-elect Donald) Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China’s laws,” CEO Zhong told NBC News, adding that he is prepared to defend his company’s legal rights to the Trump brand name.

In Chinese, the company name means “innovate universally.” 

Vicky Hallett of NPR reports that poetry may be one way of getting people to discuss diarrhea.

That’s the idea behind Poo Haiku, a competition created by Defeat DD, a campaign dedicated to the eradication of diarrheal disease.

Although everybody’s had the runs, it’s not something most folks talk about, says Hope Randall, digital communications officer for PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, which created DefeatDD to bring together resources on vaccines, nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, sanitation and more.

Kat Kelley of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, which references a recent study published in The Lancet:

Just six pathogens

But eighty percent of kids’

Diarrheal deaths.

Randall herself penned an entry:

A vicious cycle,

Gut damage, malnutrition

We can halt the churn.

And from Doug Powell:

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Is your poo orange too.

(Depends whether the word orange is one syllable or two.)

Idiot America: Donald Trump Jr. compares Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles

Donald Trump’s appearance on Monday in Estero, Fla., got eclipsed by comments made by his son, Donald Trump Jr., about Syrian refugees.

skittles-wrapper-smallTweeting an image with the “Make America Great Again” logo, he compared Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles:

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you.

Would you take a handful?

That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Donald Trump Jr. @DonaldJTrumpJr

This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016

In addition to his deplorable politics, he knows nothing about food safety. Or Skittles.