Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Photo on Wikipedia "disappearance of Madeleine" is not Madeleine

While looking for information on Madeleine’s coloboma I came across a print of a girl which the Wikipedia page “disappearance of Madeleine McCann” (under the subheading ‘family’) plainly entitled “Projected image of Madeleine as an older girl (shown draped over a building).

The image of the supposed ‘aged’ Madeleine has no coloboma in her right eye. This intrigued me and armed with full confidence in the contents of Wikipedia I went ahead with an article entitled “Huge Projected Image of Madeleine McCann” and later included it in another article “Madeleine’s Coloboma – Fact or Fiction.” The question was why the artist had omitted her coloboma from his artistic impression.

Some months later, on 15th March 2010, I received a polite email from Cyril (Studio Helnwein – the official site of Gottfried Helnwein) who informed me that the image is not Madeleine but of a girl named Molly from Waterford. She was part of an art installation by the artist Gottfried Helnwein (2008). Apparently the picture of Molly was left on the Old Mill longer than the rest of the installation. Once I understood this, the article “Huge Projected Image of Madeleine McCann” and any reference to it in "Madeleine's Coloboma - Fact or Fiction" was immediately removed from ‘Little Morsals.’

Cyril has also informed me that the Wiki user RTG has incorrectly labelled the image. Cyril explains:

The image "The Last Child" is actually a print and not a projected image. The print is actually so large, that it had to be done in 3 sections and stitched together for hanging off the old mill in Waterford.

Links kindly provided by Cyril:

You can see more information about the art installation in Waterford here: Exhibitions

And here you will find some articles about the installation: Ireland Helnwein

After explaining where I’d found the information, Cyril contacted Wikipedia (also on 15th March 2010) after which the image was immediately put up for deletion. Information here: Debate on Projected Image of Madeleine

RTG, the Wiki user who incorrectly labelled Molly’s photo as being an aged appearance of Madeleine has since explained that he uploaded it because of the likeness between the two girls (and nothing more?) Regardless, the removal of the image - even after nine days – is still being discussed. Currently the last statement on the debate page is that there is no copyright infringement.

To put the record straight, the issue isn’t copyright – it’s the fact that the image of Molly (“The Last Child”) is neither that of Madeleine nor a depiction of her and as they are fully aware of this then to my mind they are deliberately misleading their readers by leaving the image in situ on their “Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” page.

This is not the first time Wikipedia has come under the spotlight for displaying incorrect information on their pages. They can be forgiven for mistakes but to deliberately and knowingly retain misinformation and appearing reluctant to remove it, then to my mind that is unacceptable.

I doubt I’ll have as much confidence in Wikipedia as I once did and I am now extremely wary about using their site for future research/reference. It’s a shame because they had the potential to be a useful resource site.

Let's hope they do the right thing now and remove the image of Molly or at least the misleading title "Projected image of Madeleine as an older girl (shown draped over a building)."

EDIT: The photo has now been removed from Wiki's Disappearance of Madeleine McCann page.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Beware - Aspartame Has Been Renamed 'AminoSweet'

Many thanks to Grenville for this article


Beware - Aspartame Has Been
Renamed 'AminoSweet'

And is now being marketed as a 'natural' sweetener!
By Ethan Huff
Citizen Journalist

In response to growing awareness about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world's most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto, maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with its rebranded version of aspartame, called "AminoSweet".

Over 25 years ago, aspartame was first introduced into the European food supply. Today, it is an everyday component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts, and chewing gums in countries worldwide. But the tides have been turning as the general public is waking up to the truth about artificial sweeteners like aspartame and the harm they cause to health. The latest aspartame marketing scheme is a desperate effort to indoctrinate the public into accepting the chemical sweetener as natural and safe, despite evidence to the contrary.

Aspartame was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who had been trying to produce an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug for G.D. Searle & Company back in 1965. Upon mixing aspartic acid and phenylalanine, two naturally-occurring amino acids, he discovered that the new compound had a sweet taste. The company merely changed its FDA approval application from drug to food additive and, voila, aspartame was born.

G.D. Searle & Company first patented aspartame in 1970. An internal memo released in the same year urged company executives to work on getting the FDA into the "habit of saying yes" and of encouraging a "subconscious spirit of participation" in getting the chemical approved.

G.D. Searle & Company submitted its first petition to the FDA in 1973 and fought for years to gain FDA approval, submitting its own safety studies that many believed were inadequate and deceptive. Despite numerous objections, including one from its own scientists, the company was able to convince the FDA to approve aspartame for commercial use in a few products in 1974, igniting a blaze of controversy.

In 1976, then FDA Commissioner Alexander Schmidt wrote a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy expressing concern over the "questionable integrity of the basic safety data submitted for aspartame safety". FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill believed that a grand jury should investigate G.D. Searle & Company for lying about the safety of aspartame in its reports and for concealing evidence proving the chemical is unsafe for consumption.

Despite the myriad of evidence gained over the years showing that aspartame is a dangerous toxin, it has remained on the global market with the exception of a few countries that have banned it. In fact, it continued to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and endocrine disruption, among other things.

The details of aspartame's history are lengthy, but the point remains that the carcinogen was illegitimately approved as a food additive through heavy-handed prodding by a powerful corporation with its own interests in mind. Practically all drugs and food additives are approved by the FDA not because science shows they are safe but because companies essentially lobby the FDA with monetary payoffs and complete the agency's multi-million dollar approval process.

Changing aspartame's name to something that is "appealing and memorable", in Ajinomoto's own words, may hoodwink some but hopefully most will reject this clever marketing tactic as nothing more than a desperate attempt to preserve the company's multi-billion dollar cash cow. Do not be deceived.


Ajinomoto brands aspartame 'AminoSweet' -
Aspartame History Highlights - Janet Starr Hull - Sweet
FDA's approval of aspartame under scrutiny - The Globe and Mail (Canada)
An Overdue Ban On A Dangerous Sweetener - Huffington Post