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DrKoop.com: C. Everett Koop’s Unlikely Dot-Com Play

Details: Everett Koop, a public health official who was the very definition of old school, somehow became the exception. Serving for nearly eight years as the U.S. Surgeon General, Koop was perhaps the only person that served in that role that …

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SnackWell’s History: Eat More, They’re Healthy

Details: Advertising Age also heralded the coming of Nabisco’s low-fat line, pointing out that “Nabisco is trying to fill a consumer need without drawing attention to fat levels in its existing cookies and crackers” and that “Company materials say polls show the fat content of foods is ‘America’s No. 1 health …

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The history of bandages: This one's for the wounded

Details: band-aid, bandages, commerce, health, history, medicine, retail Today in Tedium: Blood is a terrible thing to waste, and for centuries, the ways to stop blood from leaving the body were inefficient at best and not exactly easy to use.

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Do Not Resuscitate Tattoo: Worst Idea Ever

Details: bad ideas, Do Not Resuscitate, health, medicine, tattoos. A tattoo probably isn’t a binding legal document, but it certainly seems like a convincing argument. Clearly you must believe what you tattoo on yourself if you’re willing to go to that level of permanence, right? But a recent saga involving a patient at a Miami hospital proved that

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Cell Towers: Not in My Back Yard

Details: The greatest moment, however, came in 2007, when an Australian man concerned about the health effects of cell towers decided to solve the problem by taking a tank and destroying as many cell towers as he could. Despite spending years in jail for the action, he's not sorry. $150k.

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Cereal Around the World: Could We Bring it Here

Details: Nutri-Grain, in Cereal Form. In the United States, Kellogg's Nutri-Grain cereal bars get a bit of a bad rap among health advocates—critics say that it represents one of the worst examples of an unhealthy product sold using healthy language. (The cereal giant defends its work, once pish-poshing a class-action suit over the issue.) That's interesting and all, but what's perhaps more

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Why Are LED Indicator Lights (Especially Blue Lights) So

Details: In a 2010 article for the academic journal Environmental Health Perspectives, author David C. Holzman noted the reason for that—it turns out that what affects single-cell organisms also affects humans: Hastings and Sweeney’s paper, published in the December 1958 Biological Bulletin, gathered dust for decades. No one thought these findings

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Guinness: No Longer Secretly Made With Meat

Details: As any fan of Guinness knows, it's the iconic glasses and the health benefits that do that. It'll be nice to have another drinking buddy at the pub. Next round's on me! Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith. Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out

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Lemon Juice Squeeze Bottles: Plastic's Natural Element

Details: Today in Tedium: Plastic, barring all the environmental problems and health concerns that might come with it, is awesome as a moldable product. It shows up in all sorts of places, from laptop cases, to CDs, to bottles.Today, I want to talk about a common, but relatively obscure use for plastic: As a way to sell lemon juice.

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Why Bob Vila Left "This Old House"

Details: An image of Bob Vila during the early days of This Old House. (WGBH press photo) How Bob Vila became the face of home repair. This Old House represented an interesting opening salvo in the way home renovation was presented on television.. Every season, the show would highlight an aging house, and renovate it, step by step, over the span of a number of episodes.

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The Great Chlorophyll Fad of 1952

Details: It’s literally the opposite of novel—it’s everywhere! But there was a time when chlorophyll found itself not as a vector for photosynthesis, but at the center of a major health fad. Today’s Tedium talks about the great chlorophyll craze of the early 1950s. Perhaps you’re green with …

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Alternative Medicine: The Drugs Don't Work

Details: In 1998, he got the standing of OAM upgraded to that of a medical center, then renamed to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine—with a budget upgrade to match the upgraded standing. These days, the center is known as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

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NYC Restaurant Inspection History: How We Got The Letter

Details: “The NYC health code is more rigorous than other cities. It is the same with our fire codes. They have to be because we are living on top of each other. We are crowded,” she says, adding that the city’s high unionization rate and insurance incentives create an experienced and better educated workforce that experiences minimal turnover.

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Ayds Branding Crisis: A Diet Suppressant's Unfortunate Name

Details: The answer seems simple now: get out of the way of a tragic public health crisis. But the answer wasn't simple then. Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith. Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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Virgin Cola: Richard Branson's Greatest Failure

Details: Soon, that brand would be used for mobile phones, health care providers, and … uh, spaceships. In fact, when the announcement that Virgin Cola was coming, a spokesman for Branson delightfully suggested that Virgin-branded marijuana was on the table. In 1994.

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Anything But Politics: A Tedium Mental Health Break

Details: Tedium, in its own way, is a great way to keep your own mental health in check. Hope it comes in handy tonight. Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith. Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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Water Consumption at Restaurants: Why

Details: Water has freely flowed through many server tables and bars around the United States, and has become so essential to the dining experience that it’s considered a major faux-pas by the server to forget to bring you a glass of water before you begin eating. Well, it’s at least that way in the U.S. If you go to a restaurant in Germany or

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Bitrex: The Story of the World's Worst Flavor

Details: That chemical, denatonium benzoate, goes by the brand name Bitrex, and it’s been around since the 1950s. It’s currently used in substances as diverse as antifreeze, perfumes, household cleaners, and pesticides. Only recently has the chemical come to the world of toys. But it packs a hell of a punch—a single molecule of Bitrex can make a

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Blood Donation History: Truly a Wartime Effort

Details: The Times noted that donors, largely men and otherwise manual laborers, were expected to stay in good health and to avoid alcohol, and even after all that, they didn’t even get paid all that much—between $35 to $50 for a case of blood, with perhaps a $5-per-day holding fee around the time that they’re needed.

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Breyers "Frozen Dairy Dessert": It's Not Ice Cream

Details: Basically, some of Breyers’ flavors fail to meet a basic criteria for ice cream set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: One, that the dessert is make up of 10 percent milkfat, and that the ice cream has an overrun of 100 percent or less—that is, the ice cream shouldn’t be mostly made of more than 50 percent air bubbles after it’s

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Why Do People Hate Eating Bread Heels, Anyway

Details: As far back as 1763, a writer named Nicholas Robinson felt compelled to write an unusual text discussing the health benefits of eating “a crust of bread” first thing in the morning—rather than in the evening. I wanted to quote from it, but the run-on sentences were so aggressive that I didn’t know where to start, so I’ll just say you

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Wang Laboratories History: Dissecting the Disrupted

Details: In poor health, just weeks after a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his throat, he found himself in the unenviable position of firing his son. The elder Wang, who died less than a year later , departed as his company was struggling to stay afloat—under a new set of leaders, who laid off thousands of the company’s employees.

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The Hard Part of Playing Death Metal is What Comes After

Details: The ambient level of bravado that cloaks the industry is a problem when musicians are proportionally more likely to have mental health issues than those in nearly any other career. And now, with declining record sales, oppressive record labels, and the advent of YouTube monetization, more rock stars and death metal gods than ever are becoming

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How COVID-19 Could Kill The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Details: Buffets were already problematic on the public health front even before COVID-19 freaked everyone out. COVID-19 is unequivocally bad news for an industry that had a hard enough time avoiding headlines for outbreaks of diseases such as salmonella, as the all-you-can-eat buffet long has.

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Asbestos: From Fake Snow to Public Health Threat

Details: — Historian Jock McCulloch, discussing in a 2006 academic article for Public Health Reports the role the asbestos industry has played in keeping the material on the market in various forms. This is a common theme that critics of asbestos emphasize online—the for-profit clearinghouse Asbestos.com, for example, features a lengthy timeline naming industry executives and corporations it

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Salad Bars: Healthy, Expensive, Green

Details: Some local health inspectors tried to veto the salad bars, claiming they created health hazards. But the updated law Congress came up with clarified that salad bars are safe. Today's issue ponders why salad bars have become so common and whether the scale is …

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Chewing Gum Marketing History: Your Fresh Breath Goes On

Details: It was one of several chewing gums that touted its health benefits and became recognized by the American Dental Association for its ability to help prevent cavities when chewed for 20 minutes after eating (but only if it’s sugarless). The brand later maintained the focus on chewing gum to …

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Adobe Antitrust Concerns: Is the Photoshop-Maker Too Big

Details: Adobe is increasingly not only trying to run the software that can create your flyer or logo or commercial, but it’s trying to own the whole marketing process, too, soup to nuts. Some companies might love that sort of integration, and it’s a big reason why Adobe …

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Ignaz Semmelweis: The Man Who Figured Out Hand-Washing’s

Details: Health authorities advised the public that hand-washing would help prevent spread of the disease, caused by a coronavirus. After the SARS outbreak, medical students at the hospital were much more likely to follow hand-washing guidelines, according to one study.

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Plastic Straw Sustainability: Why Straws Are Problematic

Details: Bamboo straws, shown at a TEDx event in Indonesia. (TEDx Ubud/Flickr)Alternative materials being used for modern-day straw design. Bamboo: The company Brush With Bamboo, which makes a bamboo-based toothbrush (and sports support from Ed Begley Jr. on its website), also sells a set of bamboo drinking straws, which are handmade in India and designed to be reused for many years.

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Live and Let Dye: Food Coloring's Not-So-Natural Roots

Details: For all the health concerns that still linger around various kinds of food dye—be they artificial, natural, or bug-based—the truth of the matter is, we're suckers for a little bit of color. Case in point: The rise of the red velvet cake. In the 1930s, the Adams Extract Company—which creates artificial dyes and flavorings—was smarting

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Uncola Marketing: 7UP’s Long Brand Evolution

Details: The year lithium citrate was removed from 7UP’s recipe. Originally one of the seven ingredients contained in the soda, lithium citrate was included by the drink’s inventor for its purported health benefits and supposed positive effects on mood.After some research determined the substance to be potentially dangerous, it was removed—but for some reason, the idea that lemon lime soda or

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Free-Net History: The Rise and Fall of Community Dial-Up

Details: On the boom side of things was the city’s fast-growing medical field, most famously in the form of Cleveland Clinic, which emerged as one of the country’s most prominent health providers starting in the 1980s. Long affiliated with Case Western Reserve University, the medical provider would get even bigger in later years.

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Envelope Adhesives: Why We're Still Licking

Details: There’s long been a belief among the health-conscious that letter adhesives have gluten—a fact that the Envelope Manufacturers Association specifically denies on its FAQ page. “Remoistenable adhesives are derived from corn starch and do not contain wheat or rye gluten,” the association emphasizes.

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Parchment Paper History: How We Got Paper Perfect for Baking

Details: — A quote about Marcus Gavius Apicius, a gourmet who lived in the first century A.D. and is widely associated with an early cookbook, the Apicius.That cookbook has one of the earliest references to parchment paper I can find, in a recipe for “Creamed Kid Flavored with Laurel,” a reference to a skewered meat dish made from a young goat, or kid. (That said, this version of events is from a

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Seaweed Goes Mainstream

Details: And while they’ve had a place in health food stores, manufacturers are aiming a bit bigger. Helping with matters is Harvard sustainable food expert Barton Seaver, who last year wrote a cookbook full of seaweed-based recipes. Seaver, a chef who directs Harvard’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Program, took a bullish line on seaweed.

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HANS Device History: A Tragic Parable About Safety & NASCAR

Details: Pretty soon, health professionals began exploring the links between CTE and full contact sports like hockey, boxing, and even baseball. Despite public outcry and debate (remember when Tom Brady’s dad caused an uproar after he questioned whether or not he would let his son play football nowadays?), football has rarely led to on field deaths in

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How American Samoa Avoided the Spanish Flu

Details: But unlike Poyer, he failed to control for the flu, allowing ships to dock unencumbered, leading the disease to quickly overtake Samoa. Within the span of just a few weeks, a fifth of the territory’s population had died. Poyer took a hard-line approach to quarantining American Samoa, barring ships from Samoa, where the disease had taken hold

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Yahoo! Games Failure: How To Checkmate Yourself

Details: The amount Yahoo! sold the ClassicGames.com domain for in 2010, according to Fusible. Yahoo! retired the domain by 2006 and had been trying to sell it for a few years by that point. Currently, the domain is a placeholder spam site. A pretty depressing state of affairs.

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How Woodpeckers Peck Wood Without Hurting Their Brains

Details: Concussions in people. Woodpeckers endure many high impact shocks to their heads as they peck. They have strong tail feathers and claws that help them keep their balance as their head moves toward the tree trunk at 7 meters—23 feet—per second. Then, when their beak strikes, their heads slow down at about 1,200 times the force of gravity (g).

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Dale Carnegie vs. Lin Yutang: How To Stop Worrying and

Details: The Skidelskys put forward seven basic goods that tend to constitute a good life, among them health, security, harmony with nature, and leisure. We should aim to reduce toil and increase leisure, they say, as that word used to be understood: In contemporary parlance, leisure is synonymous with relaxation and rest.

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Daylight Saving Time: Why This Longstanding Process Should End

Details: Critics of DST are correct about one thing: The biannual clock switch is bad for health and welfare. It wreaks havoc with people’s sleep cycles. Heart attacks increase 24 percent in the week after the U.S. “springs forward” in March. There’s even an uptick during the week in November when the clocks “fall back.”

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Bad Education: Child actors' life lessons

Details: To this day, Macaulay doesn’t speak to his father—who’s now in poor health—choosing instead to play in his pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band. Given the choice, wouldn’t you? “You miss out on a lot of things. I had to miss my prom. You …

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Privacy Policy Strategy: The Digital Fine Print

Details: Even government agencies are plugging in to commercial data bases to make decisions about eligibility for health-care benefits and Social Security. If not handled correctly, there was a lot of potential for the internet to take these already troubling trends and turn them into full-blown disasters.

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You Get What You Give: Why the New Radicals Broke Up

Details: The lyrics did two things: They casually dropped a whole lot of incongruent political issues, calling health insurance a rip-off and big bankers a threat, hinting at the overblown status of the looming Y2K bug, and questioning the ethics of cloning animals. They then slammed a bunch of pop stars.

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Meat analogues: How the fake sausage is made

Details: (The company said it was accidental.) In a great irony considering Kellogg's long history as a company born off the back of the health food movement, the firm has largely been considered a heavy user of GMOs in food—having long faded away from the health food movement.

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App Store Predecessors: Many Early Attempts at Digital

Details: Because of the large size of the iPhone user base and the sensitive data stored on their phones—photos, location data, health and financial information—allowing sideloading would spur a flood of new investment into attacks on the platform.

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Tedium Reader Roundup: The Moments of Tedium That Keep

Details: 2020, anything but politics, mental health break, relaxation, self-care, take a break, tedium, zen. Today in Tedium: Hi, I don’t know if you heard, but today is going to be the day where a lot of tension gets worked out at the polls in the United States. Building up to this moment has been particularly heavy this cycle, just as it was four

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Genesis StoryTime History: Resurfacing A Missing Cable Channel

Details: Art clearly put his faith in zappers and healthy eating as positive to his health. Art also wanted to use his engineering talents to help people. “He designed probably the best zapper there is, regarding the electrical components,” Greg added. The two remained friends until Doerksen’s death in …

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