(Great Beyond)

NYC’s Big Soda Ban Crushed By Appeals Court

Nearly five months after a last-minute ruling by a NY State Supreme Court judge took the fizz out of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to ban the sale of large sodas in city-regulated stores and restaurants, the ban has once again been dealt a blow, as an appeals court panel agreed that the city overstepped its authority. [More]

Don't Even Think Of Smoking In New York Parks And Beaches

Don't Even Think Of Smoking In New York Parks And Beaches

New York City, a pioneer at smoking bans in restaurants, bars and workplaces, has extended its policies to the outside world, with a new law that makes smoking in city parks, beaches or public plazas a crime punishable by a $50 fine. [More]

CDC Will Probably Advise Flu Shots For Everyone This Fall

CDC Will Probably Advise Flu Shots For Everyone This Fall

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that everyone get flu vaccinations from now on, not just people in special higher risk groups. According to WebMD, “the CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall’s 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts.” [More]

Used Syringes Surprise Kohl's Shopper

Used Syringes Surprise Kohl's Shopper

We’ve all been there, trying on a pair of shorts in a Kohl’s dressing room when suddenly we feel the cold sting of three used syringes. Or maybe it’s a joy that was limited to a Texas woman who was shopping yesterday at the Kohl’s in Harris County, Texas.

Now In Farmed Fish: Mad Cow Disease?!

Now In Farmed Fish: Mad Cow Disease?!

Three scientists worry that feeding cow parts to farmed fish could expose seafood consumers to mad cow disease. The scientists published their findings in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and called on the government to ban cow meat and bone meal from appearing in fish feed.

Health Insurers Own Tobacco Stocks Worth Nearly $4.5 Billion

Health Insurers Own Tobacco Stocks Worth Nearly $4.5 Billion

Major health insurance companies own nearly $4.5 billion worth of stock in tobacco companies, according to a Harvard University study. It kinda makes sense: health insurers know tobacco sickens people, and so as long as people are smoking, why not profit from the killer? It’s what David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study, calls “the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back.”

Federal Court:  Cigarette Makers Are Liars And "Low-Tar," "Light" Cigarettes Are Dangerous

Federal Court: Cigarette Makers Are Liars And "Low-Tar," "Light" Cigarettes Are Dangerous

Cigarette companies have conspired for decades to defraud and mislead the public about the health risks of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes, a federal appeals court said yesterday. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a federal district judge was right to ban the terms from appearing on cigarette packages. Under the ruling, cigarette companies may soon be required to issue a public mea culpa admitting that they were killing people when they said cigarettes were safe and non-addictive.

Menu Labeling Controversy Reaches Congress

Menu Labeling Controversy Reaches Congress

California and New York City already require chains to display calorie counts alongside menu items, but if two Members of Congress have their way, menu labeling legislation will soon apply to chains and fast food restaurants throughout the nation. The Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) Act introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) would go even farther than existing state and local regulations by requiring chains to disclose fat, carbohydrate and salt content on their printed menus. The food industry, of course, is supporting a more palatable bill with an equally snappy acronym…

Carnival Cruises Is So Over That Swine Flu Thing

Carnival Cruises Is So Over That Swine Flu Thing

Pack up your maracas, Carnival is returning to Mexico! The cruise line wasn’t happy with putzing off the California coast, and the CDC says that swine flu isn’t deadly enough to keep us out of Mexico forever. By the end of the month, souvenir-seeking Americans will again be able to down margaritas and scoop up trinkets in Cabo, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta.

Track The H1N1 Swine Flu Across The Globe

Track The H1N1 Swine Flu Across The Globe

Everyone’s still unsure whether the H1N1 Swine Flu is a mild outbreak or something worse, but in the meantime you can amuse yourself with this grim Google Map of suspected and actual cases around the globe. It will give you something to do until the time comes when you have to decide between joining Randall Flagg or Mother Abagail.

Nighttime Itching? Bed Bug Infestations Up 500% Worldwide

Nighttime Itching? Bed Bug Infestations Up 500% Worldwide

Call it the Twilight phenomenon. The EPA held its first ever “bed bug summit” last week, to discuss the rise in infestations of the tiny nocturnal bloodsuckers. There was talk of more ‘bed bug task forces’ in big cities, possible federal research into new technology such as steaming or freezing the bugs, and lots of icky close-ups of parasites.

After Decade-Long Delay, House Tells FDA To Regulate Tobacco

After Decade-Long Delay, House Tells FDA To Regulate Tobacco

The House this week voted to empower the FDA to regulate tobacco, just in case people still smoke even after new taxes push the cost of cigarettes to over $9 per pack and the recession bankrupts everyone. Under the measure, which passed 298-112, the FDA would be able to set nicotine levels, control cigarette advertising, and require companies to provide a full list of cigarette ingredients. As usual, the killjoys in the Senate may force the House to smoke a light version of the cigarette bill…

POLL: Does The Current Drinking Age Limit Actually Encourage Binge Drinking?

POLL: Does The Current Drinking Age Limit Actually Encourage Binge Drinking?

A new campaign arguing that the 21-year-old drinking age is not working, and that it “has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking” on college campuses has been signed by an eclectic group of over 100 college presidents, including those of Duke, Dartmouth, The Ohio State University, and Johns Hopkins.

FDA Declares Bisphenol A Safe

FDA Declares Bisphenol A Safe

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is the chemical used in various plastic bottles and can linings that Canada recently banned, consumers in Arkansas, California, and Ohio have filed lawsuits over, and Playtex and Nalgene have stopped using. The fear is that it’s toxic—studies on animals in Canada have shown that it’s damaging, and some tests in the U.S. suggest it’s harmful to humans as well. Critics of the anti-BPA movement point out that the human studies rely on super high dosages that never occur in real life, and that making safety decisions based on the general public’s fears isn’t exactly scientific.

Closed: Too Much Rodent Poo At This Chicago Whole Foods

Closed: Too Much Rodent Poo At This Chicago Whole Foods

Over 100 rodent droppings in one cooler alone is too many, says the Chicago Department of Public Heath… and so the Lincoln Park Whole Foods has been closed until the management can eliminate the infestation. Ick.

There Are Bed Bugs On The Subway Benches. Yes, Really.

There Are Bed Bugs On The Subway Benches. Yes, Really.

Bedbugs are usually thought of as something that only hotel guests have to worry about, but apparently New Yorkers who like to sit on benches while they wait for the subway should be concerned about the bloodsuckers as well.

"$25,000 Dessert" Restaurant Closed Due To Cockroaches, Sewage, Mouse Droppings, Fly Infestations

"$25,000 Dessert" Restaurant Closed Due To Cockroaches, Sewage, Mouse Droppings, Fly Infestations

New York’s famous Serendipity 3 restaurant, home of the world’s most expensive dessert (the $25,000 “Frrozen Haute Chocolate”), has been shut down by the New York City Health Department after the restaurant failed two health inspections in a month.

Hepatitis A Scare At Calgary McDonald's

Hepatitis A Scare At Calgary McDonald's

Attention residents of Calgary: Anyone who ate at the McDonald’s at Foothills Industrial Park, 5326 72 Ave. S.E., across from the Calgary Soccer Centre from Oct. 1 to 23 is at risk for Hepatitis A after a food handler tested positive for the disease.