Friday, May 05, 2006

Life on one end of the Belle curve

According to the BBC news, aspartame (Nutrasweet) does not cause cancer. This is is according to a report by the EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority).

For me, that's like saying that Twinkies are fat free, or that lard has no sugar. It misses the point. I'm real down on aspartame for two reasons. One is that it appears everywhere, and is often difficult to avoid. It seems that someone thinks that everyone on Earth needs it. The other is that i get what amounts to an allergic reaction to it. If my tongue becomes just wet with a diet Coke, i get a six hour migraine headache. That's a day ruining event.

That's if i'm lucky. So far, i've been lucky. I've heard that this stuff can cause strokes for some people. This is easy enough to believe, from my perspective.

So, when i'm not at home, my diet drink of choice is water. But i have to make sure it doesn't go through one of those multi button spigots. Any residual diet drink in the spigot would get into my drink, ruining my day.

This issue is bigger than me, and bigger than aspartame. The real problem is that mass production markets like to push narrow sets of products on the entire population. It seems OK to ignore the ten or fifteen percent of the population for which the product is useless. And entire industries think this way. So, something like 15% of the population is left handed. Yet 95% of camcorders are very much right handed only. The other 5% are sort of awkward ambidextrous designs. There aren't any left handed camcorders available. At the store, there may be 30 camcorder models to choose from. Presumably, each model gets about 3% of the market. While a left handed model could sweep up 15% of the market, there aren't any. People are built from a code that produces variation. The belle curves are wide. So there are adults who are too short or tall or fat for any production car. They're stuck.

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