Wednesday, June 17

Starting Strong: US propaganda about the fun, glamour and benefits of joining the Army

"Starting Strong," a 10- week, unscripted, backstage pass to Army life, premieres on FOX affiliates in 16 markets and on's YouTube channel, June 2, 2013. (Photo courtesy the Army Marketing and Research Group)
“Starting Strong,” a 10- week, unscripted, backstage pass to Army life, premieres on FOX affiliates
 in 16 markets and on’s YouTube channel, June 2, 2013. (Photo courtesy the Army Marketing
 and Research Group)


"With the number of pre-recording services and commercial-free media options, traditional television commercials no longer reach key audiences as they did in the past, according to Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. In addition, research has shown that the Army’s recruiting demographic of 18-24-year-olds uses media differently.

Given that challenge, the Army Marketing and Research Group began exploring new and innovative ways to engage prospects and their influencers with content that realistically portrays the Army, Army life and the benefits of service. (emphasis added)

“We have always known that our Soldiers are the best advertisement for our Army,” Davis said. “But it is difficult to show the lifelong benefits of joining the Army team while countering the many myths about our Army in a 30-second commercial. We needed a new approach that allowed a deeper and unscripted discussion with our key audiences.”

Starting June 2, viewers will be able to see the result. “Starting Strong,” a 10-episode, long-form commercial, will be broadcast in 16 markets and available nationwide on’s YouTube channel.

“Starting Strong” gives civilians interested in becoming Soldiers the chance to live and breathe a military occupational specialty for a week with an Army mentor and actual Soldiers, to determine if Army life is for them. At the conclusion of each episode, the prospect is asked if he or she wants to join the Army.

“Starting Strong” will air Sunday mornings, June 2-Aug. 4, on FOX affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa, Minneapolis, Orlando, Austin, Memphis and Gainesville. Check local listings for times.

After each airing, full episodes will be at , while five-minute webisodes will be available on the “Starting Strong” page"

Source: US Army's Soldiers magazine.

Thursday, June 11

Nobel Prize in Medicine Richard Roberts: Drugs to chronify and not heal

Nobel Prize Richard Roberts interview to Lluís Amiget.

"Because drug companies often are not as interested in healing you as in getting your money, so that investigation, suddenly, is diverted to the discovery of drugs that do not heal completely, but chronify the disease and make you experience an improvement that disappears when you stop taking the drug."

"I’m 63 years old: the worst about getting older is that you consider many “truths” as holy: that’s when you need new questions. I was born in Derby, my mechanic father gave me a chemistry set … and I still enjoy playing. Married, four children, one quadriplegic by an accident, which keep me encouraged to continue investigating. I participate in the Campus for Excellence.

- Can research be planned?

If I were Minister of Science, I would seek enthusiastic people with interesting projects, just give them money so they wouldn’t need to do anything else than investigate and let them work ten years to surprise us.

- It seems like a good policy.

It is generally believed that to go very far, you have to support basic research, but if you want more immediate and profitable results, you must bet on the applied research …

- And is it not like this?

Often the most profitable discoveries have been made ​​from very basic questions. So was created the giant U.S. biotech billion-dollar industry where I work.

- How was it created?

Biotechnology appeared when passionate people started to wonder if they could clone genes and began to study and try to purify them.

- An adventure by itself!

Yes, but nobody expected to get rich with these questions. It was difficult to get funding to research the answers until Nixon launched the war against cancer in 1971.

- Was it scientifically productive?

It allowed much research (like mine), with an enormous amount of public funds, that didn’t work directly against cancer, but was useful for understanding the mechanisms that allow life.

- What did you discover?

Phillip Allen Sharp and I were rewarded by the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and gene splicing mechanism.

- For what was it useful?

That discovery led to understand how DNA works, however, has only an indirect link with cancer.

- Which model seems more effective research for you, the American or the European?

It’s obvious that the U.S., where private capital has an active role, is much more efficient. Take for example the spectacular progress of the computer industry, where private money financed basic and applied research, but for the health industry … I have my reservations.

- I see.

Research on human health cannot depend only on its profitability. What’s good for the corporate dividends is not always good for people.

- Could you explain?

Pharmaceutical industry wants to serve the capital markets …

- As any other industry

It’s just not any other industry, we are talking about our health and our lives and our children and millions of human beings.

- But if they are profitable, they will research better.

If you only think about benefits, you stop worrying about serving people.

- For instance?

I’ve seen that in some cases researchers dependent on private funds would have discovered a very effective medicine that would have completely eliminated a disease …

- And why do they stop investigating?

Because drug companies often are not as interested in healing you as in getting your money, so that investigation, suddenly, is diverted to the discovery of drugs that do not heal completely, but chronify the disease and make you experience an improvement that disappears when you stop taking the drug.

- It’s a serious accusation.

It is usual that pharmaceutical companies are interested in research that doesn’t cure but only make illnesses chronic with more profitable drugs that the ones that would completely cure once and forever. You just need to follow the financial analysis of the pharmaceutical industry and verify what I say.

- There are killing dividends.

That’s why we say that health cannot be a market and cannot be understood merely as a means of earning money. And I think that the European model of mixed private and public capital is less likely to encourage such abuses.

- An example of such abuse?

Investigations with antibiotics have been stopped because they were too effective and completely cured. As no new antibiotics have been developed, infectious organisms have become resistant and today tuberculosis, which in my childhood had been defeated, reappears and has killed this past year a million people.

- Are you talking about the Third World?

That is another sad chapter: Third World diseases are hardly investigated, because the drugs that would fight them are unprofitable. But I’m talking about our First World: the medicine that completely heals is not profitable and therefore is not researched.

- Don’t get politicians involved?

Don’t get too excited: in our system, politicians are mere employees of big companies, who invest what is necessary so that “their kids” get elected, and if they are not elected, they buy those who were elected.
Money and big companies are only interested in multiply. Almost all politicians – and I know what I mean, depend shamelessly on these multinational pharmaceutical companies that fund their campaigns. The rest are words …

Wednesday, June 10

A little known Robin Wiliams Story by Perry Marshall

A Little Known Robin Williams Story
Perry Marshall

“Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider.

For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do).

This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.

When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work.

I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back.

I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions.

He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.”

Monday, June 8

Robert Fisk talks about covering wars insurgencies and massacres

Right: 04/04/2008 - Robert Fisk, the iconic Middle East correspondent for the Independent, talks about his reporting career spanning three decades.

Fisk has reported from the Middle East for more than 31 years -- during which time he has covered 11 major wars as well as countless insurgencies and massacres.

He holds more British and international awards than any other foreign correspondent and is the author of the critically acclaimed The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest of the Middle East, an eyewitness history of the region's tragedy.

His latest book, The Age of the Warrior, is a collection of his Saturday columns for the Independent, which allows him to "speak out against the fraud and injustice of a world in which consent has become automatic". It covers issues ranging from the Middle East to the use and misuse of words, and the influence of cinema and novels on our age.

Left:Robert Fisk, award-winning journalist and Middle East Correspondent for The Independent newspaper, gave the annual faculty-appointed Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) Distinguished Lecture on April 20, 2010 on the subject of "State of Denial: Western Journalism and the Middle East." Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (GU-Q) student Amna Al-Thani introduced Fisk to a capacity audience of 800 guests at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha.

"War represents the total faillure of the human spirit."
Robert Fisk

Sunday, June 7

Dior Capture Totale foundation claims to reverse time

This is the description of the foundation in Dior's site:

What else you need to know:
This revolutionary formula works, in part, thanks to a broad band of multitoned pigments that create a more subtle, real, and natural effect than the four-part pigment palette (red/yellow/white/black) usually used in foundation. Capture Totale Foundation also treats all the signs of aging, supports natural collagen, nourishes, replenishes, and visibly plumps skin. It's ideal for mature skin, dry skin, or dull skin that lacks radiance. (emphasis added)"

This is how it is described in the online shops:

"Reduce the signs of aging while giving your skin a healthy, beautiful glow with Capture Totale triple-correcting serum foundation by Dior. The foundation is formulated to smooth wrinkles, erase dark spots and restore radiance to your skin for a youthful, healthy complexion." (emphasis added)

Whenever I come across with products that claim what they cannot do I ask myself why do companies do it and how can it be that some people believe it. It is beyond my comprehension and the price of products that use this kind of appeal is usually obscene.

I did read some costumer's reviews in online shops and frustration is the result for many people that are angry because they payed a lot of money for a foundation that doesn't work neither as a skincare product nor as a foundation.

I didn't know that a brand like Dior uses this kind of tactics to sell products.
It is up to the costumers to research, try the product and buy only after analyzing it in all aspects even for the high end brands.
I was thinking about trying Dior's Airflash - extremely expensive - but I love ethics. For me it is unethical promising to  reverse time with a foundation. It is make-up. Just Make-up. People go to dermatologists and make all kind of treatments in search for a better skin.
It is not up to makeup to "treat" the skin.

There is a good article "False Cosmetic Claims" that costumers should read.