by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


Health & Wellness

18 August 2014

Epic California Ice Bucket Challenge to Fight Drought

Posted in Health & Wellness

Epic California Ice Bucket Challenge to Fight Drought

During California's drought, nothing raises awareness more than wasting clean water. That's why one million Californians will perform an epic Ice Bucket Challenge at, where else, the middle of the Folsom Lake Reservoir, which dropped to 17% capacity.  

The event takes place on Labor Day (September 1), the last official day to wear white. Better skip that part before getting drenched.

Unless one million Californians crave enough attention (What's the population of Hollywood?), the challenge will likely fail. The satirical Adobo Chronicles, where the story originated, imagined the event. 

Good news for the Californians who received $500 fines for posting Ice Bucket Challenges during a statewide drought. They're not real either. 

Unfortunately, the very real proposal of opening a water slide the size of 3 football fields in Los Angeles may be dead in the water. Due to justified public backlash in a state where 80% is in extreme drought conditions, registration closed for the event and dates remain TBD.

Despite the ambiguous status, interestingly, event details show participants could slide for charity. Perhaps more challenges should raise awareness of water slide cancellations. 

The Ice Bucket Challenge engulfed the internet in the summer of 2014, inspiring 2.2 million tweets from July 29 and 1.2 million shares on Facebook from June to August. Each video challenged viewers to participate and/or donate to ALS Association, which received nearly 10 times as many donations as last summer. The challenge is simple: 

1: Film yourself giving a shout out to ALS and the 30,000 of Americans with it today. Take your time with this part. It took me a while just to realize the abbreviation was for amytrophic lateral sclerosis and not Lou Gherig's Disease. 

2: Get wet (preferably with a bucket of ice water). 

3: Dare a friend or celebrity you want to see wet to do the same. Anyone can donate to ALS, but even if you turn down a challenge, the philanthropy police won't force you.   

Unlike trendier afflictions like Ebola, Lou Gherig's disease struggled to remain relevant in the modern age, having lost its spokesperson and namesake 75 years ago. There's still no cure. 

14 July 2014

Does Obamacare Pay for Medical Marijuana?

Posted in Health & Wellness

Does Obamacare Pay for Medical Marijuana?

As approval ratings get high on legalizing medicinal pot, Americans wonder, "Does Obamacare pay for medical marijuana or will it soon?".

Having an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act is like having the Munchies. In every bag are 4 essential snacks: Rold Gold pretzels, Doritos, Cheetos, and Sun Chips just like in every Obamacare insurance plan there are 10 Essential Benefits: birth control (despite some exceptions due to Hobby Lobby), prescription drugs, preventive care, etc.

So if anyone with insurance has access to pain medicine, why is a drug that eases pain like medical marijuana not covered by insurance companies?

Until marijuana is declassified from a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, insurance companies can't even flirt with the idea of pot prescriptions, even if President Obama flirted with the chance to smoke a joint in Colorado.

According to the US Justice Department, marijuana and other drugs in its class have no health benefits. Contrary to the federal stance, 23 states and Washington DC have legalized medical marijuana.

Even if declassified, marijuana would still be considered experimental medicine, which is expensive for providers to pay for. But like any experimental drug, you can find out how to get into marijuana research studies by the government. No they won't nark on you.

If enough people find marijuana clinical trials (snacks included!), marijuana legalization could be on the ballot as soon as 2016. Ever wanted to serve your country? There are dozens of free open studies in most states, including California of course. 

The final test is whether insurance providers find pot is easier and cheaper to manufacture than even generic drugs, which could save them and you on prescriptions - the whole point of the Affordable Care Act. Considering an old lady can grow this pot plant she found at a flea market without even realizing what it was, I imagine marijuana can be made for less than pills.

54% of Americans support marijuana legalization and even Hillary Clinton herself approves the availability of medical marijuana if research justifies it.

In other words, your participation in clinical trials could help define Hillary's stance on marijuana. You read it here first: Hillary Clinton wants you to try pot so she can run for president. 

Did I forget to answer your question? I must've had the Munchies. No Obamacare doesn't pay for medical marijuana. For now.

11 July 2014

Your Old Cell Phone Can Now Detect Illegal Logging in Rainforests

Posted in Health & Wellness

Your Old Cell Phone Can Now Detect Illegal Logging in Rainforests

I've never known what to do with my old cell phone so I still have all 4. Anyone want a pink Razr? Americans throw away 150 million cell phones each year, but now they serve a purpose under Rainforest Connection, a Kickstarter campaign that turns old phones into rainforest surveillance equipment to catch illegal loggers.

What Captain Planet never told you was deforestation emits more carbon pollutants than the world's plane, train, and automobile transportation combined.

In Los Angeles, where cell phones cause train accidents and plane and automobiles cause air pollution-related illnesses that cost California $200 million annually, donating phones to fight pollution is a no brainer and could save lives; human and monkey-kind alike.

If Obamacare subsidies helped you save some money on health insurance, you might want to contribute to the Rainforest Connection's kickstarter campaign goal of $100,000. The funds will be spent on collecting, building, and installing mobile devices for rainforest surveillance.

Rainforest Connection (RFCx) devices are amalgamated cell phones placed on trees that utilize the microphone to detect chainsaws sounds nearby. The devices are solar powered and even work under tree canopies. They send distress signals to local enforcement agents who can quickly appear on the scene and investigate, saving the trees and the residing kookaburras.

An international organization funded by 1% of Norway's GDP, Project Leaf (Law Enforcement Assistance of Forests), combats illegal logging by aerial and satellite surveillance equipment, but not in real time. When investigators finally arrive on the scene, the illegal loggers are long gone by days, sometimes weeks.

Camera traps are the closest in similarity to RFCx devices but pale in comparison. Outdated devices cost $500-800 each and only detect illegal loggers within 100 sq feet. For the same price or less, RFCx devices would cover 1 square mile.

One square mile of rainforest deals with 50 tons of carbon pollutants per year - the same amount of pollution made by 3000 cars annually otherwise known as Los Angeles's rush hour. One RFCx device would prevent that amount of carbon from escaping in the first place.

Before it's too late (Kickstarter goal ends in 18 days), donate to Rainforest Connection to curb carbon pollution, which will help reduce air pollution-related illnesses worldwide not to mention assist the Planeteers, which is every child's dream besides owning the latest iPhone.

Go, Planet!

18 June 2014

5 Most Creative Rolls for International Sushi Day

Posted in Health & Wellness

5 Most Creative Rolls for International Sushi Day

Today is International Sushi Day and if you've visited the best sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, you probably knew how unhealthy sushi was when you left with more "rolls". Mayonnaise, sodium-filled soy sauce, white rice, and deep fried rolls are delicious, but defeat sushi's healthy reputation. 

Sashimi is a fish-only alternative and relatively healthier, albeit with risk of containing more Mercury. It doesn't have its own holiday, though.

The following original sushi rolls are neither healthy nor made with the previously-mentioned ingredients, but should still be enjoyed if this is your first International Sushi Day. 

Candy Sushi

Food explorer and Dumb & Dumber aficionado, Kim Becker earned her namesake "MommyKnows" from out-smarting your dad with such recipes as: Kool-Aid hair dye and sushi made from Swedish fish, rice crispy treats (for rice - brilliant!), and fruit roll up "seaweed". If only she could do something with Petey the Parakeet's head. 

Cowboy Sushi

Alternatively, "Redneck Sushi" combines dill pickles, cream cheese, and just before we throw in some cigarettes; Buddig Beef, a deli meat sold in the Midwest. Apparently if you're feeding a cowboy, he won't eat anything without cream cheese, you know; the food product synonymous with Philadelphia, Texas. 

Hot dog Sushi

 During the Korean War, rations of Spam were delivered to American soldiers, many of whom were married to Korean locals. The wives would cook the processed meat (a "delicacy"), vegetables, and whatever rations they could find into "budae jjigae" or "army base stew". Generations later, hot dogs and Spam wrapped into sushi rolls called "Kimbap" are to every Korean Baptist church picnic as lemon squares are to every Protestant potluck. 

Lego Sushi

Edible for Ages 6+. What other recipe calls for Storm Troopers, a pirate flag,  and those little orange flames I always lose? Oh yeah: "Budae jjigae". 

Obama Sushi

Okay, this one has fish. But why not celebrate the penultimate sushi day with Obama in office by eating him? Made of shrimp, fish paste, and black sesame, the Obama Roll is complimented by wasabi, soy sauce, and MSNBC. 

03 June 2014

Flossy Foodies: Grab Your Gourmet Flavored Toothpicks

Posted in Health & Wellness

Long before Ryan Gosling littered the San Fernando Valley with toothpicks in Drive, our ancestors used bronze toothpicks as dental insurance.

Compared to the precious metals of the past, our wooden toothpicks are overdue for an upgrade. Introducing: flavored gourmet toothpicks by Castor. 

The Phood Station product has its own Kickstarter which expires in 2 weeks, but the shelf life of the aromatic flavored powder on the tip of each cocktail stick is probably a lot longer. 

Every toothpick comes in 2 flavors. The aforementioned powder is coated on each tip and upon tasting, the flavor pops like a toothpick to a balloon. The second flavor along the stick has a longer lasting effect, which sounds dirty, especially if described by a Frenchman

When I first saw the innovative cleaning device, I wondered who would want chunks of random flavors stuck in their gums, especially oddities like: sake & blueberry, raspberry & wasabi, and kumquat & beet. 

Then I removed the toothpick from my brain and had an epiphany without reading the product description. It's not just for after eating, it's for enhanced eating. 

Imagine serving your snobby foodie friends with flavored toothpicks paired with your favorite hors d'oeuvre. Then get comfortable with using the word "hors d'oeuvre". The Castor toothpicks are already a French-Canadian product. 

Each box comes with 32 toothpicks and an educational "English-French" translation. 

"Kumquat" doesn't translate in French, just as "betterave" isn't code for party drugs. It means "beets". However, scroll to the FAQ and you'll learn the important answer to the lingual enigma, "Is there a difference between (the American spelling) 'flavor' and (French spelling) 'flavour'?" Ours is more flavorful.  

Just before you try slicing a prime rib with buttered potato dental floss, wake up. That isn't real. Gourmet toothpicks by Castor are the future, but only with a small donation from you. Feeling rich? An $8000 donation lets you create your own double flavor toothpick.

Just don't use pine & oak, spruce & birch, or bamboo & redwood. Those woody flavors defeat the purpose of a futuristic toothpick. And besides, I came up with them.