"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bureaucracy Gone Mad! 

English hospitals have banned people from cooing at other people's babies. The stated reasons for this move are (1) that cooing violates the babies' human rights; and (2) that it may spread infections. Reason 2 is sortof valid, although why babies are being left out in the open such that they are susceptible to this is mysterious to me. Reason number one is utter crap, for obvious reasons fairly well explored in the article.

In what may pave the way for some really silly bureaucratic regulations, English researchers say that adding a tasteless, odorless seaweed extract, alginate, to junk foods would make them healthier. Alginate is essentially dietary fiber, and is added to many things already as a thickening or gelling agent. No one disputes the claim that most people (at least in the West) should be getting more fiber in their diets, and clearly it's easier to just add fiber to foods that people eat than to change their habits. I wonder, however, if the effects will be what people seem to expect: research indicates that people who eat high-fiber diets are healthier, but how much is due to the fiber itself and how much to the foods (fruits, veggies, etc.) from which they get it?

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