Alternative Housing Movie, Synthetic Food, and Other News Items

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In 1976 the USDA decided manufacturers no longer had to identify synthetic food as "imitation," because the label was hurting sales.

The following news items were drawn from multiple sources.

Alternative Housing Movie

Folks living in alternative forms of housing–domes, inflatables, sod structures,
or others–might want to get in touch with a young
movie-maker named Tom Schroeppel. The American Film
Institute has given Tom a grant to put together a half-hour
reel on the subject, and he’s looking for as many
“New Age” builders as he can find.

Synthetic Food Identification

Is it a steak or a fake? You may not
be able to tell any longer, now that the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration has ruled that manufacturers are no longer
required to identify synthetic foods as “imitation”.
Stephen McNamara, an attorney for the FDA (which,
incidentally, was set up to protect the consumer)
said in a recent statement that “Labeling food as an
imitation has had a bad impact on selling because people
think it’s inferior.

Home Childbirth Advantages

A recent study on childbirth,prepared for
The American Public Health Association by a team from
Stanford University, says that mothers whose babies are
delivered at home by midwives have fewer complications and
healthier infants than those who deliver in a hospital. The
research indicates that the sitting or squatting positions
commonly adapted during domestic deliveries, the
absence of drugs, and the relaxed atmosphere of
familiar surroundings make childbirth easier and safer for
all involved.

Hiking Etiquette

Who’s destroying our wilderness system?No, it’s not industry, big business, or hordes of
mobile-home tourists: It’s the millions of “ecology minded”
backpackers who’ve not yet learned to adjust their camping
and hiking habits to the severely increased demand for
backwoods recreation. The U.S. Forest Service says the
situation is critical. So remember: Don’t travel in
large parties; don’t build fires (even with dead,
fallen wood) unless absolutely necessary; avoid using
major trails; and pack your trash and your own
waste out.

Cement Eggs

Which came first: the chicken, the egg … or the experts? Well, it all started a few decades back
when someone hatched the idea of “supercharging” chickens
with drugs so they’d produce more eggs. The result, of
course, is today’s abundant supermarket supply of Grade A
paper-shelled ping-pong balls. But never fear. Researchers
at the Texas Agriculture Extension Service have been
working on the problem, and have come up with yet another
“improvement.” They’re now experimenting with a special
shell-toughening formula made just for modem poultry:
commercial chicken feed laced with cement.

Plywood Dome Home

Fumble-fingered folks who want to build their own low-cost homemight want to look into an
inexpensive, bolt together “instant house” called
“Hexadome.” We haven’t seen the structure ourselves, but
the manufacturer says the plywood unit comes shipped in kit form (24
triangles, two trapezoids, and all necessary hardware), can be assembled weather tight in just a few days (using
little more than a wrench), and costs just $2,500. The
company will send you a brochure on their product in
exchange for a stamped, self-addressed business-size

Deaf Eskimos

Eskimos who’ve switched from dogsleds to snowmobiles are learning an all-too-expensive
lesson on the “benefits” of modem-day transportation. A
recent issue of Audubon magazine reports that a
survey of 3,770 Eskimos in the Northwest Territories of
Canada showed that 33 percent of adult males–in fact,
83 percent of the men in one Baffin Island village–suffered
from impaired hearing that could be directly attributed to
long hours of high-speed hunting behind the wheels of those
noisy, gas-guzzling machines.

Methanol Research Suppressed?

An experiment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology involving the substitution of methanol
(wood alcohol) for gasoline in 200 automobiles came to a
halt shortly after Exxon Corporation donated $500,000 to
the school, according to a report in Science
magazine. University officials admit that Exxon bad been
opposed to the study but deny any connection between
Exxon’s “gift” and the decision to can the experiment.

Iceberg Harvesting

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Muhammad Faisal is
reportedly considering a plan to tow icebergs from the
South Pole to the Red Sea in order to increase his
country’s supply of drinking water. The
geothermal/meteorological impact of such a maneuver is not
known at present.

Packaging Increase

Packaging is on the increase according to
government statistics. The Environmental Protection Agency
estimates that in 1971 the packaging industry accounted for
half of all paper usage, three-quarters of total
glass production, 14% of aluminum, and 8% of plastic output
in this country. From 1958 to 1971, the total consumption
of packaging materials increased by nearly 71%.

House Renovation Manual

How to renovate a run-down house is the
subject of a recent USDA booklet, New Life For Old
The 99-page manual tells–with words,
photos, and diagrams–both how to appraise an old
structure to see if it can be salvaged, and how to
rehabilitate it once you’ve made up your mind to move in.