Army looking for volunteers to eat packaged meals for 21 days

Three weeks, nothing but packaged, ready-to-eat meals. 

It’s not a far-flung mission, nor is it a lost wager — it’s how Army researchers hope to discover how new knowledge of the digestive process could improve future Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs.) The work could even help protect soldiers from sickness while deployed.

Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing study, run by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s military nutrition division:

1. “Gut health” goals. Researchers want to learn how MREs effect the trillions of bacteria housed in soldiers’ digestive systems — microorganisms that, when fed properly, can benefit overall wellness.

By finding a base level of these bacteria under study conditions, researchers can determine how to improve MREs when it comes to minding what study head Dr. J. Philip Karl calls “gut health.”

“There’s a lot of interesting and new research looking at gut bacteria, and how those gut bacteria interact with the human body,” Karl said, adding that an “explosion” in research technology over the last decade allows researchers to “really get an understanding that we never have before.”

2. Nutrient addition. As the study continues into 2016, Karl’s team plans to determine what bacteria fuel — indigestible carbohydrates, for instance — might be lacking in the MRE menu.

By working with fellow researchers at the Army’s Combat Feeding Directorate, they can begin to incorporate these nutrients into the meals. Plant-based materials proven to benefit the bacteria could be extracted and included in a First Strike energy bar, for example.

“Research will give us some idea of what we think will work, we’ll go and test do make sure it’s doing what I think it’s doing, and at that point it starts to get incorporated into the rations,” Karl said.

3. Reaping the rewards. Soldiers may not notice the tweaks made to MRE recipes, but the changes could effectively weaponize the rations for use against other digestive threats, Karl said.

“We think we can manipulate the bacteria in a way that helps the bacteria fight foreign pathogens — things that could cause food-borne illness, for example,” he said.

“Oftentimes, war fighters are overseas and they eat something off the local economy that can cause [gastrointestinal] distress. Potentially, what we could do by increasing the amount of beneficial gut bacteria is to help prevent some of that.”

Karl also pointed to emerging research into the cognitive benefits of “gut health,” which could improve soldier readiness in the often-extreme conditions that require a regular diet of MREs.


4. Study basics. Participants must be within a reasonable drive to ARIEM’s Natick, Massachusetts, location, and be willing to go without anything but MREs, water and black coffee for three weeks — no other food or drink, including no alcohol.

The study, which includes multiple blood draws and other medical scans, requires a six-week commitment. Full details and registration information are available here.

Not all of the 60 or so participants will be asked to change their diets — half will be part of a control group subject to medical screenings but maintaining their regular eating habits for a month.

5. MRE makeover. Even the most dedicated prepackaged-food fan might sour on the offerings during a 21-day trial, so Natick research dietitians Adrienne Hatch and Holly McClung came up with a book of recipes pulling from multiple MRE offerings.

Study participants can craft everything from specialty beverages (“Canteen Irish Cream Latte”) to main dishes (“Bunker Hill Burritos”) to desserts (“Fort Bliss-ful Pudding Cake”) as they try to keep their palates fresh.

Hatch, who had little experience with MREs before the study kicked off over the summer, said she’d heard a few negative comments from soldiers enforcing negative MRE stereotypes, but “working with this cookbook project has shown me a lot about what the MRE can offer.”

DOJ response To Dawgs Blog request to investigate DA’s office sharing of classified information


Today I received this letter in response to my letter sent to the DOJ about the activities of The DA’s office and Linda Taylor.

The letter was the same I had posted here about who I have affectionately called the copsucker See posted letter here .

As you can see the response received from the DOJ does not address the issues I pointed out about classified information being given to a citizen to aid them in an investigation they could not do themselves It only says the DA’s office has the discretion to file charges as they see fit. Again that is not what my issue presented to them entailed.

This was a proverbial kiss off in telling me to contact the local agency involved. I will respond to this letter and post same.



KAMALA D. HARRIS    State of California



P.O. BOX 944255


RE: Stanislaus County District Attorney

Dear Martin Carlson:

Thank you for your correspondence to the Office of the Attorney General regardino the handling of criminal cases by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.

California law gives discretionary authority to a locally elected prosecutor in filing criminal actions. The decision whether or not to file charges calls for consideration of the prospects of obtaining a conviction against a particular defendant. In making that decision, the district attorney must evaluate the likelihood that a jury, after weighing all of the conflicting evidence, would find the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt. ”

We understand it is not uncommon for members of the public to differ with the district attorney on the question of whether the filing of criminal charges is warranted. However, that decision rests with the locally elected official responsible for such a decision, the district attorney.

The Attorney General’s intervention is discretionary and is appropriate only where there is a demonstrated conflict of interest that would disqualify the district attorney from a particular case. Also, if there is an obvious abuse of the district attorney’s legal discretion in the decision whether to file a criminal charge, the Attorney General may intervene. The fact that an incident has created strong feelings within the community does not provide a basis for intervention by the Attorney General, especially since the district attorney is the official elected by the people of the county to make prosecutorial decisions, including those which may be controversial or unpopular.

The primary authority to file criminal charges rests with the local district attorney. We suggest you contact that office for further assistance and information.


Kimberly McCrickard Public Inquiry Unit

For KAMALA D. HARRIS Attorney General

Any suggestions here:

Dawgs Blog 2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Bill Cosby arrested…….

It was nearly 12 years ago when Bill Cosby allegedly drugged Andrea Constand and sexually assaulted her in his suburban Philadelphia home.

Authorities had just days remaining under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations when they charged Cosby Wednesday with felony aggravated indecent assault in the alleged January 2004 incident. Constand’s story is similar to those of the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, but advocates say statutes of limitation have prevented charges from being filed in many of those cases.

Constand’s case is the first to result in an arrest.

A criminal complaint released Wednesday details how a two-year-long friendship ended with Constand contacting police about the man she considered a mentor.

It turns out, prosecutors say, that mentorship wasn’t the actor and comedian’s goal when he befriended the former Director of Operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team.

“Cosby testified that he developed a romantic interest in Constand the very first time he saw her at the Temple basketball game and that he found her good looking,” investigators wrote in the affidavit, which includes a summary of recently released depositions from a 2005 civil suit.

“He testified that before he acted upon that interest, he needed to develop a friendship with her.”

Constand allegedly told police that she and Cosby developed what she “believed to be a sincere friendship.”

CBS News does not typically identify the alleged victims of sexual assault unless they indicate their willingness to be named, as Constand has.

She told police that before the alleged attack in early 2004, she twice rejected Cosby’s sexual advances.

“She never thought he would hit on her, especially since Cosby is much older than her father,” according to the affidavit.

But at some point between mid-January and mid-February 2004, Cosby allegedly invited her to his house to talk about her career plans.

He greeted her in a sweat suit, she told police. She “told Cosby she felt ‘drained,’ and ’emotionally occupied.'”

Cosby allegedly left the room and came back with three blue pills. Cosby later told detectives he gave Constand Benadryl, according to the affidavit.

“These will make you feel good. The blue things will take the edge off,” he allegedly said.

She said she asked if they were herbal.

“Yes. Down them. Put ’em down,” he allegedly replied. “Put them in your mouth.”

“Cosby then told the victim to “taste the wine,” according to the affidavit. “When she resisted and told him that she hadn’t eaten anything that day, Cosby again directed her to ‘just taste the wine.'”

Constand said that 2o to 30 minutes later her vision blurred, and she had difficulty speaking. She told police she lost strength in her legs, which felt “like jelly.”

“She could not keep her eyes open, was not aware of any sounds, had no sense of time, and was ‘in and out,'” according to the affidavit.

She said she was unable to move or speak, was “frozen” and “paralyzed” as he allegedly fondled her, penetrated her with his fingers, and placed her hand on his genitals.

Constand said when she awoke at 4 a.m., Cosby, dressed in a robe, “gave her a muffin, walked to the front door, opened it, and said, ‘Alright.'”

Constand soon moved back to her parents home in Canada, according to the affidavit. And in 2005, after telling her mother about the allegations, she contacted police.

It’s been nearly 11 years since detectives in Cheltenham, Penn., first interviewed Cosby. Detectives say his story matched Constand’s on a lot of details, even the muffin she was given the next day. But they said he described the incident as consensual.

“When directly asked if he ever had sexual intercourse with the victim, Cosby gave the unusual answer, ‘never asleep or awake,'” according to the affidavit.

Bruce Castor, the previous District Attorney in Montgomery County, Penn., declined to charge Cosby in 2005. But the case was reopened in July after a judge ordered depositions from Constand’s civil case released.

As the 12-year deadline to file charges approached, the case became a political issue in the county. In November, when Kevin Steele was elected district attorney, defeating Castor, he told supporters, “You made a choice to take it forward, to fight for victims.”

Cosby’s attorney Monique Pressley said in a statement to The Associated Press Wednesday that she was not surprised by the charges, but called them unjustified.

“Make no mistake: We intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge, and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law,” Pressley said.

The Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate said in a statement that the charges are “vindication” for other alleged victims, seven of whom Cosby recently sued for defamation.

“Sometimes justice moves slowly and often for victims in high profile sexual assault cases, it never comes,” the office said.

Attorney Glorida Allred represents 29 women who have brought accusations against Cosby, none of which resulted in criminal charges. At a press conference Wednesday she criticized statute of limitations laws that may have prevented authorities from filing charges in those cases, and kept all but one out of civil court.

“Unfortunately, for most of the women who allege that they are victims of Mr. Cosby, it is too late for their allegations to be the subject of a criminal prosecution or a civil case because of the arbitrary and restrictive time limits set by law,” Allred said.

Cosby made a brief appearance at a Pennsylvania courtroom Wednesday. Bond was set at $1 million. He posted $100,000 and left soon after.