Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rabbit Starvation is a MYTH!!!

What is rabbit starvation? Simply it is a theory that (depending on the source) ranges from a claim that rabbit meat depletes your own body fat to a more common claim that it has insufficient fat to live off of if rabbits are the main source of fat and protein. Both variants have some very limited merit to them. Both are 100% dependant on the rabbits themselves being in a state of starvation.

The first variant is dependent on a series of unsubstantiated theories. When mammals starve, they release a hormone that tells the body to burn through the last reserves of fat. This has been collected from starving humans and injected into fat humans and has resulted in weight loss. Rabbit and human hormones are very similar (enough that the urine of a pregnant human female can be injected into the nape of a female rabbit's neck, and the human pregnancy hormone will trigger ovary growth in the rabbit as if the rabbit were pregnant - this is the old rabbit pregnancy test). If the starvation hormones are also compatible between rabbits and humans, then it is possible that eating a starving rabbit could cause you to loose more fat that you would get from the rabbit.

The second variant is based on the simple reality that if you are so starved that there is nothing but rabbit to eat and there is no greenery to supplement your diet with, chances are the rabbit is also starving (they don't have secret food stashes). A starving mammal of any variety is not going to have the fat content of a healthy mammal, and rabbits are no exception. To anticipate otherwise just doesn't make sense.

So now to completely bust the rest of that myth. From our friends at the USDA:

U.S.D.A. Statistical Breakdown of Various Meats
Meat ProteinFatMoistureCalories/lb
Rabbit 20.8 10.2527.9795

Chicken 20.0 11.0 67.6810

Veal 18.8 14.0 66.0910
(md. - fat)
Turkey 20.1 22.2 58.31190
(md. - fat)
Beef 16.3 28.0 55.0 1440

Lamb 15.7 27.7 55.81420
(md. - fat)
Pork 11.9 45.0 42.02050
(md. - fat)

So as anybody can see rabbits have virtually the same amount of fat and calories as a chicken. The differences are minimal. The cholesterol level is somewhat less than chicken, but still not dramatically lower (difference is about 25%):

And none of this is taking into account the sources of fat on a rabbit outside the meat. Rabbits also have strips of pure fat that run from the posterior end of the kidneys up to the diaphragm. Then of course there are the kidneys, heart, and liver (and the lungs, brain, and skin if you are really wanting that last gram of fat) which also have some fat in them.

So, baring a nasty winter, with nothing but snow and ice, after a famine, and with no other sources of nutrients, YOU WILL NOT BE LACKING FAT FROM EATING RABBIT MEAT!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Earthquake Bunkers...

I live in SoCal, so while hurricanes and tornados are not considered a normal consideration (albeit I was within a few miles of that tornado that ripped through some vacant areas and a freeway a few years back), wildfires and earthquakes are the primary disasters that can and have severely impacted whole regions. I’ll leave wildfires aside for now, but for an earthquake, the important things to remember is that the ground and anything attached to it or in the way of it is going to move back and forth (or up and down depending on the type of wave) violently, and it will happen without any appreciable warning (I did on one occasion hear one coming when all else was quiet or and a friend once saw street lights go out in a rolling wave, but neither gave any real reaction time). Unlike a hurricane or tornado, there is no warning (studies have actually found that even trying to take shelter beyond a simple duck and cover during an earthquake increases your odds of injury), and unlike a tornado, there is no sanctuary from an earthquake under ground. Anything that would collapse an earthquake coded house will covert a storm bunker into coffin even if you happen to be there already, or if you were able to get to it. That means, your earthquake shelter needs to be whatever shelter you happen to be in when the earthquake hits.

The ideal building to be in during an earthquake is pretty much any commercial building built to current earthquake codes. That covers most people that have office or warehouse type jobs – at least during work hours. But finding or building a house to commercial earthquake standards probably isn’t an option for most people.

That all said, the way houses have historically been damaged is by sliding off the foundation (hence the permanent foundation for the previously mentioned manufactured house) or secondary fire. When I was researching earthquake risks, I could not find a single instance of well built residence that was damaged by an earthquake from anything other than sliding off the foundation, or being burnt in a secondary fire. Simply put, unless the magnitude is such that your foundation rips down the middle and half your house disappears into a trench, your house is either going to slide off its foundation and shed in the process, burn in a secondary fire (possibly in addition to having slid off the foundation and shredding), or it is going to be structurally fine.

So that brings us to building or upgrading a house to function as an earthquake shelter. If I were to postulate an ideal "earthquake bunker", it would be a modern manufactured house on a permanent foundation or a site built house properly bolted to an earthquake coded foundation. There is a theoretical benefit in vibration and flex tolerance to the manufactured house, but I’ve yet to see any indication that there is a functional difference. Second to the foundation and structure of the house, there is the concern with gas appliances. Simply put, they need to be secured such that they won’t start walking during an earthquake. Added piece of mind can be had by installing an automatic gas shutoff valve that turns gas off at the meter if an earthquake is sensed.

Those two things cover the big losses seen in disasters like the San Francisco earthquake and the following holocaust. But what about the rest of the houses contents? Look around your house. Anything that can tip will. If your dishes can walk out the cupboard and onto the floor, they’ll do just that. If there is a poorly secured light or fan fixture overhead, count on it coming down. The solutions to these issues are mostly obvious and the intricacies are unique to each house. The commonalities are securing tall furniture to the wall, strapping TVs down if they are sitting on a stand, using child safe latches on cupboards with fragile dishes in them, and making sure that anything hung over head is as secure as possible.

That brings us to that last thing that people often consider for earthquakes (in terms of their homes at least). Earthquake insurance. I’m not familiar with any earthquake insurance other than the insurance offered directly from the state of California. To put it bluntly, it is a waste of money. In even a fairly severe earthquake, most damage is to the contents of the house and to sidewalks and patios around the house. Both are excluded from coverage. Where there is damage to the actual house there is an enormous deductible such that things like minor stress cracking along seems would not be covered, and the next step in damage is collapsing or foundation failure. And finally, if there is an actual collapse or foundation failure, you can bet you won’t be alone, but rather joined by an entire region, and there is a stipulation that in the event that claims exceed available funds, the funds will be prorated across applicants. An analysis on the fund showed that in the event of a “big one” type earthquake, the payouts would be severely undefended. Couple all that with the prohibitive cost of the premiums, you can see why I think it is a waste of money. If you want insurance that will cover you in this type of catastrophe, get life insurance instead. If your house pancakes, your life insurance will probably be the one to actually pay up. In either case, you aren’t likely to survive to see either insurance pay out if you are in your house during an earthquake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

5.11 Rush 72 Review

I use this bag mainly as a day bag for work. It fits my laptop, charger, mouse, binder, planner, lunch, change of clothes, water bottle, and anything else that I may decide to stuff in on my way out the door. It is bigger than I need about 90% of the time, but I'm glad to have it for that 10% of the time. It is also the perfect size for airline carry on since fully loaded it snugly fits under the seat.

Most of the upsides to this bag are obvious so I won't dwell on them much other than to say this bag deserves a solid 4 stars and isn't too horribly far off from that 5th star.

So the downsides:
- The bag has a horrible base. This alone would keep me from giving a fifth star since it is a persistently obnoxious issue that comes up about as often as you use the thing. Any time you set the bag down on its bottom, it rolls to its back. It is all but impossible to get this pack to stay upright without leaning it against something. Attaching (a) bottle carrier(s) to the back in a low position can give it better stability, but this adds a lot of bulk to an already bulky bag, makes it a no go in tight areas, and shouldn't be necessary anyway.
- The rear pouch has too much slack for the most part and tends to flop around. I stitched some Velcro in place, and it made a world of difference.
- The opening for the eyeglass pouch is too small for my taste. Getting glasses in and out is a bit tight, especially with wrap around safety glasses.
- The eyeglass pouch and the path a hydration pouch tube take interfere with each other. If the eyeglass pouch is full, the tube has to bend around it. If the tube is in place first, it is difficult to put anything in the eyeglass pouch. I've worked around this by cutting ports on the left and right side. To prevent tube kinking, I feed the tube through one side port and out the drag handle flap on the opposite side. The tube has to be on the long side for this to work however.
- The 5.11 logo replaces a portion of the PALS webbing at the bottom. Given that those missing loops are probably some of the most used for add on pouches, this is a pretty bad example of function following form. Hiking in high heels if you will. To fix this, I added a full row of webbing below it (which is useful anyway if adding stuff like bottle carriers as the lower placement will give the pack a better base). I have been too lazy (so far) to rip off the patch and fix the missing webbing, but I'd rather it not be there.
- There is no weapon pouch or any decent options for adding or converting one into the bag. For a bag like this, I was shocked at how hard it has been to find a solution for using this as a range bag to hold a handgun in a convenient place.