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List of Brands That Are Facing Scrutiny and May Rebrand Amid Protests

A number of iconic brands are looking to rebrand their image following racial inequality protests in the U.S.

Justin MacLachlan

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(TMU) – A number of iconic brands are looking to rebrand their image following the racial inequality protests in the U.S.

The companies, some of which may be rooted in racism, others just poorly named, are being forced to rebrand their mascots and logos that have long been criticized as racist.

Six brands thus far have announced plans to change or are considering changing their mascots and names in 2020. These are: Land O’ Lakes Butter, Aunt Jemima Syrup, Uncle Ben’s Rice, Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup, Cream of Wheat Oatmeal, and Darlie toothpaste.

In addition to those six, Nestle has also announced that it will change the names of two of its products: Red Skins and Chico’s sweets. This is due to “Redskin” being a derogatory term for Native Americans and First Nations Canadians, while “chico” can be an offensive term for people of Latin American descent, The Guardian reported.

Parent companies have committed to entirely overhauling their brand, as in the case of Aunt Jemima, which announced it would lose both its name and brand image due to racist connotations.

While this may seem sudden, criticism has long plagued brands such as Aunt Jemima and Cream of Wheat for decades. However, the recent killing of George Floyd and other black men that have sparked protests across the U.S. are helping force companies to make changes as soon as possible.

First, Quaker Oats said it would retire Aunt Jemima from packaging on its brand of syrup and pancake mixes, acknowledging its prior work to update the mascot was “not enough.” Then in rapid succession, the owners of Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Cream of Wheat said their products’ packaging would also face scrutiny and a rebranding process.

The decision to rename and repackage Aunt Jemima came a day after a TikTok video from singer Kirby titled “How To Make A Non Racist Breakfast” went viral.

In the short video, Kirby gives a well-deserved history lesson of the 131-year-old brand, noting the name means “slave mammy on the plantation South” and that the brand was founded by a white man Chris Rutts who got the name after attending what’s called a “minstrel show,” (think blackface).

Cream Of Wheat is also rooted in racism, the brand has long been criticized for the use of a grinning Black chef on its packaging since the 1890’s. The mascot on early boxes was known as Rastus, a caricature of a happy former slave often featured in those same minstrel shows.

Uncle Ben’s rice brand is linked to the practice of white Southerners calling older Black people “aunt” and “uncle” because they refused to use “Mr.” or “Mrs.”

Similar to Aunt Jemima, the Mrs. Butterworth’s brand has been criticized for years for perpetuating the offensive “mammy” stereotype, which positions Black women as subservient.

Darlie is a Chinese toothpaste owned by Colgate, the toothpaste quite literally translates to “Black person toothpaste” and used to feature a man in blackface as its logo.

In April, shortly before the protests started, Land O’Lakes announced it was removing the Native American woman’s illustration that embellished its packaging since 1928 and is replacing it with “lands and lakes.”

Land O’Lakes failed to mention the illustration when announcing its move but rather focused on the company being “a farmer-owned co-op” and the need to “better connect the men and women who grow our food with those who consume it.”

These aren’t the only brands that are now considering a name change, ‘Eskimo Pies’ has also announced that it will change its name following backlash to its stereotype of Eskimos, USA Today reported.

The unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other members of the Black community have caused protests across the country, with millions of Americans demanding the abolishment of police and institutional racism. This movement has also targeted the parent companies of popular brands, asking them to wake up and change their products’ image, especially if they were built on racist foundations like the ones listed above.

As the year continues we can only expect more and more brands to re-examine their image and possible racist history and rebrand for the sake of saving face. We should expect a growing list of brands  to rename or modify their mascots for the modern era.

Health

Humans May Have Found a Way To Not Only Stop Aging – But To Reverse It as Well

Elias Marat

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Humans have long to reverse the effects of aging and prolong their lives. Whether this was due to a love of power, a love of wealth or simple human anxiety about the loss of youth, tales about immortality can be found in the folk tales of countless cultures.

And while aging is a wholly natural process, humans have always struggled to fight against it – be it through science and medicine or through the search for supposed cures such as the mythical Fountain of Youth.

And now, Israeli scientists have claimed to have figured out a solution not only to the process of biological aging – but to reverse it as well, simply by administering pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

In a study published Nov. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, the scientists claim to have showed how aging could be reversed in two key biological clocks in humans related to aging and illness by administering high-pressure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

When humans grow olders and their cells divide, the sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – grow shorter with time. After the telomeres become too short, the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies.

While telomere shortening can keep rogue cancerous cells from multiplying rapidly, this also results in genetic aging. As a result, geriatric cells that aren’t able to divide –  also known as senescent cells – accumulate throughout our lives, and are one of the key causes of aging.

In the clinical study, 35 people aged 64 or older were given hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) for 90 minutes a day, five times a week over the course of three months. Blood samples were collected from subjects prior to the treatment, after after the first and second months of the trial, and two weeks after the trial ended.

The patients didn’t have any lifestyle, diet, or medication changes during the study. However, their blood revealed major increases in the telomere length of their cells and a decrease in the number of their senescent cells.

For the researchers, the results of the study offered proof that the process of aging is reversible.

“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

The groundbreak study, he added, “gives hope and opens the door for a lot of young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”

The oxygen treatment also improved subjects’ attention, ability to process information, as well as subjects’ executive functions, the researchers said.

While attempts to halt aging through modifying one’s lifestyle or intensively exercising can provide “some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening”, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment is more effective, said Efrati’s partner at the Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny.

“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” Hadanny said.

The study could open the door to a radical new approach to medical problems and medicine in general.

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going backwards in time.”

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Saturn and Jupiter Will Align and Create Extremely Rare ‘Christmas Star’ During Winter Solstice

Elias Marat

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The 2020 holiday season is widely expected to be one unlike any other, due in no small part to the ongoing public health emergency. However, Christmas celebrations will also be unique due to an extremely rare planetary alignment, the likes of which have never been seen since medieval times.

Star-gazers will be in for a major treat come December 21, 2020 – the date of the winter solstice – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely close to one another in our night sky, making the planets appear that they might almost collide and becoming one extremely luminous point of light.

The rare celestial treat coinciding with Christmas week will see the Solar System’s two largest planets appear as a “double planet” for the first time in almost 800 years.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a press release from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” he added.

Of course, these massive planets won’t be close to one another. Consider our own planet’s distance from the sun. Astronomers use what’s called astronomical units (au) to measure distances in the sprawling expanse of our solar system. Jupiter lies 5 au from the Earth, while Saturn lies 10 au away.

Since the summer, Jupiter and Saturn have been headed towards each other in our own night sky. And from Dec. 16-25, they will appear to be separated by only less than the diameter of a full moon.

While astronomers are recommending that the best views will be seen from around the equator, if good weather permits then the alignment will be clear from any location here on Earth.

Jupiter and Saturn will also be clear during the twilight, for roughly an hour after sunset every evening. However, a telescope tilted toward the western sky will be the best way to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare event.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon.”

Websites like Stellarium will also be helpful in figuring out where you should look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

If you don’t get a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn this close together, you can catch the pair again relatively soon – on March 15, 2080.

However, the next time Jupiter and Saturn will be so close in earthly night skies will be in 2400.

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Breonna Taylor Protest Leader, Suspect in Drug Case, Both Shot Dead Within Days

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Two people with close ties to the Breonna Taylor case have been shot and killed this week, and no suspects have announced in either case. Last Thursday, 28-year-old Adrian O. Walker was shot and killed in west Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal. Walker was one of the primary suspects in the investigation that led to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home back in March. 

Adrian Walker entered a not guilty plea in late July to charges of engaging in a criminal syndicate, along with drug and gun charges, in connection with the investigation. He was one of the three people listed on the search warrant for Taylor’s home. 

Adrian Walker is not related to Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired back at police when the home was raided, they just happen to have the same last name. 

Police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was storing cash and receiving packages of drugs at Taylor’s home, and that Adrian Walker was working with him.

Glover previously told reporters that he was offered a plea deal in which he would be promised a lighter sentence if he agreed to claim that Taylor was a criminal who belonged to an “organized crime syndicate.”

Glover turned down the deal. He believes that Taylor’s house may have been targeted because she bailed him out of jail when he was in trouble in the past. Police say that Glover was selling drugs out of a house nearly ten miles away from where the raid occurred, but he has pled not guilty to those charges and claims that the police are mistaken.

Adrian Walker, who was listed as an associate of Glover’s in the warrant, was found dead sometime in the afternoon on November 19th, on the 2300 block of Magazine Street, and police have not shared any details about the case with the public.

Just a few days later, one of the protest leaders behind the justice for Breonna Taylor movement was shot and killed, the Courier-Journal reported. On Monday, Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, was killed on the 2100 block of Crittenden Drive, also in Louisville.

Alton Strupp / Courier Journal

There are no suspects in his shooting either, and police have not revealed any details about the case.

In a post on Facebook, Nagdy’s mother and stepmother both confirmed his death. His sister, Sarah Nagdy, launched a GoFundMe for Nagdy’s funeral expenses, which has already raised over $17,000 in the first day that it was posted. A candlelight vigil in Nagdy’s honor will take place at Jefferson Square Park at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

There is no indication that these two shootings are connected, but it is concerning that two people with connections to such a high profile case have died in unexplained murders.

So far this year there have been over 140 homicides in the city of Louisville, breaking the city’s record of 117 homicides in 2016 over a month before the end of the year.

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