Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

You are what you eat

It is inconceivable that the leaders of the nation’s cooking oil companies would knowingly import feed-grade oil and sell it to the public. The oil contains impurities such as peroxides, free radicals and heavy metals, all of which can pose serious risks to human health.

DNA plays a major role in the human body’s cell mechanism and, unlike protein and polycarbohydrate molecules, is very fragile. Acids, bases and even heat can cause irreversible damage to DNA.

Peroxides and free radicals are very reactive and short-lived compounds, which could attack DNA and other biomolecules in the human body and affect their regular functions.

However, heavy metals are even more dangerous to human health. Heavy metal ions can easily bond to DNA by chelating with the phosphate moiety of the DNA, resulting in the unraveling of the double-strand DNA helix and impairing the transcription of DNA during its replication for protein synthesis.

Once DNA is mutated and the human body’s immune system fails to repair the damaged DNA, the growth of cancerous cells initiates and prospers in the body and produces tumors that eventually hamper the functions of normal cells.

Food safety is a basic right for human beings. Apparently, the government has failed to deliver a working system to ensure people’s health.

The Bureau of National Health Insurance spends tremendous amounts of resources every year on the treatment of kidney failure, liver disease and cancer. You are what you eat. The food Taiwanese eat is most likely the culprit.

Ji-charng Yang

Ohio

‘Cli-fi’ originated in Taiwan

A recent Associated Press (AP) wire story datelined from Tampa, Florida, and written by AP reporter Tamara Lush was headlined “Climate change inspires rise of ‘cli-fi’ flicks” and it said that the “cli-fi” genre was becoming increasingly popular in Hollywood.

The article, which was sent out on the AP wire to more than 5,000 newspapers and Web sites worldwide, quoted an American man living in Taiwan, who has been instrumental in creating the “cli-fi” term and boosting its media profile worldwide.

“Cli-fi movies have emerged as a niche genre, taking the pomp of doomsday science-fiction flicks and mixing it with the underlying message of environmental awareness,” the article said, adding that while new movie Interstellar is a sci-fi saga about an attempt to find a new home for humanity in another galaxy, the movie takes place in the near future, after Earth has been ravaged by a series of cli-fi events.

The article said that while environmental documentaries are important, “feature movies with film stars and vivid storytelling are also pieces of the equation,” quoting the Taiwan-based climate activist who has been credited with coining the “cli-fi” term.

Science-fiction film Soylent Green, from the early 1970s, which depicted a dystopian Earth coping with the ravages of overpopulation, is said by some to be an early example of cli-fi. An online film awards festival called the “Cliffies” that recognizes movies focused on climate change was also set up from Taiwan, although the article did not mention the Taiwan connection.

Among the winners of some “Cliffies” this year are Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and the South Korean film Snowpiercer, the article said.

“We need to go beyond abstract, scientific predictions and government statistics and try to show the cinematic or literary reality of a painful, possible future of the world climate changed,” the American man in Taiwan was quoted by as saying.

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