Archive for March, 2006

Super Discounts

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Everyone knows about sites like Tech Bargains and Slick Deals.

Well, while looking for dell coupons for a friend of mine’s recent need to get a laptop, I came across an excellent deal…. from office depot. From 3/12 - 3/18, 2006, you can get a 19″ Viewsonic LCD (no DVI, VGA-only) for about $160. In order to do it, you have to enter your cart and select in-store location to be able to add the VA902b model to your cart.

I just recently purchased it (picking it up in-store tomorrow), and encourage you to consider this deal…its almost as sweet as the two-year old 21″ wide-screen dell monitor for $600. Its replacing a very well-made 21″ viewsonic P810 CRT that I’ve had since the late 90s. Unfortunately, I left a strong magnet near the monitor over night and the next day I couldn’t get video to show up anymore :(
The price shown on is $329.99.
There’s a $40 discount on purchases greater than $200 from home depot when ordering. The coupon code is 47250577. Enter it via coupon code in your cart.
There’s a $50 Viewsonic mail-in rebate.
There’s a $30 Office Depot mail-in rebate.
There’s a $50 Office Depot mail-in rebate.

So, total savings is… $170. Which means its basically 50% off the price. You might even be able to use office depot’s Price Matching to get it cheaper, as Walmart lists the same monitor for $289.99.

If I could, I’d buy two of these. The price/quality ratio cannot be beat.

Microwaves and Freezer Burns

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Recently a friend of mine said something about microwaving food and freezer burn as causing a molecular change in the food itself, thus making the food harmful to those who eat it. I decided to do some research to verify if this information is accurate.

Research is a loose term, mainly trying to discover based on data and studies done whether or not these things hold any water, not doing any actual experiments myself.

Freezer Burn
According the FDA, freezer burn is a quality, not a safety issue. This is a process whereby food loses moisture in some parts, which cause those parts to dry out, and may cause them to discolor. So, there is nothing dangerous about freezer burn. In fact, it can be prevented by removing as much air as possible before putting something in the freezer.

The Dangers of Microwave Ovens
This was a bit more challenging. When I did a search on the web regarding this theory, I found a number of links to articles related to the dangers of microwave ovens. However, I did not find these types of links that contained any data or were backed up by studies. In fact, the only commonality among the articles was that 1. the articles all indicated that there were dangerous carcinogens coming out of microwave oven cookery and 2. most of the sites were some part of a homeopathic/herbal/hocus pocus site.

That being said, I changed the wording of what I was looking for and found that microwaving food is safe. The dangers of using the microwave include 1. burns or over-heating may occur when using containers that are not microwave safe, 2. that the food doesn’t always cook evenly, which could open the door to increasing bacteria in the food, and 3. that microwaves should not be used to sterilize anything. There is no molecular change to the food. However, it is interesting to note that the study in Australia concluded that plastics, even those labeled as microwave safe, may allow chemical migration to occur into the food. It recommends to not allow the food to touch the plastic, and indicates that higher-fat foods tend to increase the amount of chemical migration of particles. The FDA concluded that the amount of chemical migration is well below what would be deemed as harmful.

It also indicated that aluminum foil may be used in the microwave, as long as it doesn’t touch the sides of the microwave itself.

An interesting side-note was that, according to studies, microwaves actually help food retain more of their vitamins, minerals, and nutrition than boiling. This contradicts what the anti-microwaving sites were pointing out.

So, all-in-all, I think the people who think microwaving is bad are a bit off-kilter. Food is cooked by the agitation of water molecules inherint in the food. That is all that happens. The agitation is due to the polarity of water being manipulated by the microwaves, causing two different types of heating: dielectric and ionic.