All posts by Heleena Winter


Part 1


“The trouble with Paustenbach’s report is that it’s heavily biased.  He was hired by the Corn Refiners Association to investigate the problem, but they have a lot of money depending on HFCS and they stand to lose a lot if it is tainted by mercury.”

Argument to the Person (Ad Hominem)

I state that his argument is biased because the Corn Refiners Association hired him to do the research.  However, his research may still be valid.  I need to make sure I clarify that this is not the only reason I disagree with his report.  I need to make sure it’s clear that this is just one factor that makes it more questionable how in depth his research was.  There were other problems with his argument and those are what really need to be emphasized.


“These four factories having been operating for as long as 43 to 51 years.  Most factories that don’t convert to mercury-free technology have to close before they’ve been operating for 50 years.  He concludes that they will be forced to either upgrade or shut down.”

Hasty generalization

In this statement, I’m summarizing an argument made by another author.  I need to explain that, just because other factories have closed down, doesn’t necessarily mean that these will have to close as well.

Part 2

For my poster, I will divide it into three main sections.  The first will be a brief history of how corn has become a large part of the food industry.  The second will address the problems of obesity and why it shouldn’t be as big a concern as my third section: mercury contamination.  The majority of the board will focus on mercury, how it effects us, how it may be making it’s way into our food, and why I think more research needs to be done.

The most difficult thing about the poster will be keeping the words under 300.  Because the research on mercury is so new, it’s difficult to find graphs and other images that I can use.


One of the difficulties I came across in preparing for my presentation was that it was very hard to find information about HFCS that didn’t relate to obesity.  For my paper, I would like to find more relating to the lesser known problem of mercury contamination.  One of the most helpful suggestions for my paper was to look at the allergies of other countries and their consumption of HFCS.  I think this would be helpful in looking at whether this is an international problem, or if it is somehow related to the US consumption of HFCS.

Research Journal

Casey, J.P.  “High Fructose Corn Syrup.  A Case History of Innovation.”  Starch Volume 29, Issue 6   (1977): 196-204

Forshee, Richard A., Storey, Maureen L., Allison, David B., Glinsmann, Walter H., Hein, Gayle L., Lineback, David R., Miller, Sanford A., Nicklas, Theresa A., Weaver, Gary A. White, John S. “A Critical Examination of the Evidence Relating High Fructose Corn Syrup and Weight Gain.” Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition Volume 47, Issue 6 (2007): 561-582

White, John S. “Misconceptions about High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Is It Uniquely Responsible for Obesity, Reactive Dicarbonyl Compounds, and Advanced Glycation Endproducts?”  Journal of Nutrition Volume 139, Issue 6 (2009): 1219-1227

Skoog, S.M., Bharucha, A. E., Zinsmeister, A. R.  “Comparison of breath testing with fructose and high fructose corn syrups in health and IBS.”  Neurogastroenterology & Motility Volume 20 Issue 5 (2008): 505-511

White, John S.  “Supplement: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): Everything You Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 88, Number 6 (2008): 1716-1721

I think the last article by John S. White will be one of the most useful as this addresses several different issues relating to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  He clarifies what HFCS is, then goes on to explain how it came into use, and address some common misconceptions about HFCS.  He also includes statistics and graphs, which are helpful visually.  Overall, I think it will be a useful source as it provides possible answers to many of my questions.


When Stallybrass said “you are not, nor should you be, the origin of your own thoughts (any more than you are the origin of your own voice)” I think he was referring to the way our thoughts are influenced by the things around us.  The thoughts we have are inspired by things we see or hear.  When it comes to research projects, this is important because we have to look at the opinions and facts found by others in forming our “own” thoughts.  Our thoughts on a topic can’t be based on our thinking alone – there needs to be evidence and this evience often comes through other people.

Research Questions

I am interested in researching the changes in the food industry, specifically the introduction of high fructose corn syrup, because I want to find out if these changes are related to the increase of food related allergies and intolerances and this is important because what is added to our food may be having a serious affect on our health.

How has the food industry changed?

What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of using high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar?

Are more women than men experiencing food related difficulties?  If so, why?

Enola Gay Exhibit

Museums use their displays to tell a story.  However, sometimes the truth of the story can become distorted if the facts are not properly told.  An “official” story is circulated instead of the truth.  One such example was the Enola Gay exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum.  This exhibit displayed the plane used to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  One concept document stated that it would include pictures of the victims, as well as videos interviewing both survivors and crew.  One of the main themes would be “the increasing bitterness and brutality of a war that was also, for Americans, a war of vengeance for Pearl Harbor.”  Because the museum took that point of view on the attacks, its bias would come out in the display and thus influence the opinion of the museum visitors as well.  As it said in the Lavine and Karp article, “Every museum exhibition, whatever its overt subject, inevitably draws on the cultural assumptions and resources of the people who make it.  Decisions are made to emphasize one element and to downplay others, to assert some truths and to ignore others.”  When viewing a museum display, we must be careful not to be misled by the official stories and to instead seek out the truth.

Sodexo Protest

Sodexo, Inc. is the provider for many of the dining facilities here on George Mason’s campus, including Southside.  On their website, they claim it’s “a great place to work” with “competitive wages, attractive benefits, and a wealth of training and educational programs.”  However, there is a counter story that may prove otherwise.

Last week, several Sodexo workers gathered in front of Southside to protest poor wages and unsafe working conditions that they say resulted in injuries such as burns, cuts, and broken bones.  If this is true, then maybe Sodexo isn’t the “great place to work” that they’re advertising.  Only after deeper investigations are revealed will the full truth come out.

The Cleveland Gazette

Frederick Douglass kept a large number of newspaper articles that help us gain a better understanding of the times he lived in.  One clipping that was particularly interesting wasn’t an article at all, but rather a page full of advertisements.  One of the most prominent stated in bold letters, “THE BLACK PHALANX.”  Below, in slightly smaller print, it said, “A book for the Race.”  Surrounding this were other advertisements.  One asked, “ARE YOU A SUBSCRIBER OF THE CLEVELAND GAZETTE?” promising it was “Devoted to the Interests of the Race.”  A third read, “A NEW RACE IN A NEW ERA.  MAKING NEW LITERATURE AND HAVING A UNIQUE HISTORY.”  Others on the page were advertising a “good education” with teaching on “Grammar, Normal and College Courses.”

The newspaper was published in September of 1892, a time in our country when many black men and women couldn’t read.  It is clear that more and more literature was being written “for the Race” and The Cleveland Gazette was encouraging them to pursue an education in reading.

That Douglass saved these advertisements shows the way he too valued education.  As one who taught himself to read, it was important to him to see others learn as well.  The fact that he had this newspaper and could read it was a great feat in itself.  It leaves us wondering what emotions must have filled his heart as he read those words, knowing others were also discovering the freedom he found in the written word.