Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart: Scientific American
"Will the more recent thinking on fats and carbs be reflected in the 2010 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, updated once every five years? It depends on the strength of the evidence, explains Robert C. Post, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Findings that 'have less support are put on the list of things to do with regard to more research.' Right now, Post explains, the agency’s main message to Americans is to limit overall calorie intake, irrespective of the source. 'We’re finding that messages to consumers need to be short and simple and to the point,' he says. Another issue facing regulatory agencies, notes Harvard’s Stampfer, is that 'the sugared beverage industry is lobbying very hard and trying to cast doubt on all these studies.'"

OMFG who ARE these guys??? "We'll put it on the list of things to do", "Might be too complicated for dumb stupid consumers", "Lobbyists for Coke and Pepsi don't like it so probably not". Fuck the pyramids and all that other crap they create to make things "simpler" for us morons. How about this message "LAY OFF THE CANDY BARS!" to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich. It's very, very simple: eat as little processed/added sugar/flour as possible. And there is a mountain of evidence that overall calorie intake is not as important as the type of calories consumed.
Civil Eats - Supreme Court to Hear First GE Crop Case:
"The case began in 2006 when the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) on behalf of a coalition alfalfa conventional and organic farmers and environmental organizations over USDA’s approval of Monsanto’s GE “Roundup Ready” alfalfa, engineered to withstand repeated dousing of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. Farmers and environmental advocates raised alarm about the unintended spread of Monsanto’s patented variety and transgenic contamination of natural alfalfa given that alfalfa is pollinated by bees that can fly many miles distance.

In 2007 a federal district court agreed with CFS, holding that USDA had illegally approved the GE alfalfa and stopped any further planting until USDA complied with environmental laws. Monsanto, who had intervened in the case, appealed the ruling, but a federal Court of Appeals agreed with CFS, first in 2008 and then again in 2009.

Now, Monsanto has taken their case to the only court left—the U.S. Supreme Court. Monsanto was able to get the Court to take the case over the objection of both CFS and USDA. The Court only hears about 80 cases a year out of around 8,000 attempts. Here’s the point Monsanto wants addressed: although it is undisputed that USDA violated environmental laws and that the agency must rigorously analyze the crop’s impacts if it is to again approve it for sale, Monsanto is arguing that the lower courts should have allowed the planting of the now-illegal crop to go forward anyway, before the agency did its homework All lower courts agreed that the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa should halt because of the unknown and potentially harmful impacts of the crop on farmers’ livelihoods and the environment."

So what Monsanto is implying, and indeed have said explicitly before, is that they should be able to plant whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want until the USDA can prove what they have planted is not safe. The Supreme Court thinks they have a point otherwise why take the case? Why hasn't Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto lawyer, recused himself from this? Do not be surprised if Monsanto wins this one. They are the Enron of chemical companies. Only this time it is our food supply that is at risk.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Will Goldman Sachs prove greed is God? | Business | The Guardian:
"People have to understand this Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character. You have to live here to see it. There's a hatred toward 'moochers' and 'parasites' – the Tea Party movement, which is mainly a bunch of pissed off suburban white people whining about minorities consuming social services, describes the battle as being between 'water-carriers' and 'water-drinkers'. And regulation of any kind is deeply resisted, even after a disaster as sweeping as the 2008 crash.
This debate is going to be crystallised in the Goldman case. Much of America is going to reflexively insist that Goldman's only crime was being smarter and better at making money than IKB and ABN-Amro, and that the intrusive, meddling government (in the American narrative, always the bad guy!) should get off Goldman's Armani-clad back. Another side is going to argue that Goldman winning this case would be a rebuke to the whole idea of civilisation – which, after all, is really just a collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even when we can. It's an important moment in the history of modern global capitalism: whether or not to move forward into a world of greed without limits."

I know some of these tea party types. Many are "Christians". This just reinforces the theory that the human brain is "designed" by and for hormones that drive its behavior. The very notion of a "self" is preposterous. We are dumb, stupid animals.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Your Tax Dollars at War: Information Clearing House - ICH:
"The 2011 military budget, by the way, is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out war footing.

"This military spending in all its myriad forms works out to represent 53% of total US federal spending.

"It’s also a military budget that is rising at a faster pace than any other part of the budget (with the possible exception of bailing out crooked Wall Street financial firms and their managers). For the past decade, and continuing under the present administration, military budgets have been rising at a 9% annual clip, making health care inflation look tiny by comparison."

Truly obscene. And what is almost worse is the fact that this is NEVER brought up in ANY political discussion. The first thing they go after is "entitlements" which is a code word for Social Security, which is completely funded by your tax dollars until 2037 at minimum. Yes, Medicare has funding problems. Fixable problems. But this military spending is THE reason why our debt is the way it is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Choke : The Frontal Cortex:
"Interestingly, it turns out that simple differences in presentation can influence whether or not a math problem gets processed as a 'verbal' problem or as a 'spatial' problem. (More spatial problems, such as rotating an object in your mind, are more likely to be processed in the right PFC.) For instance, when an arithmetic problem is presented horizontally (84 - 18 = 66) it's seen as more verbal, since we're 'reading' the numbers from left to right, just like a sentence. In contrast, when a problem is presented vertically it's seen as more spatial:
In other words, merely changing the presentation of the problem can dramatically alter how the brain processes the information."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

the only functioning economy the US has left - Niqnaq:
"It’s striking, of course, that all this is happening at a moment when, domestically, small businesses can’t get loans and close to 10% of the population is officially out of work, while state governments are desperately scrabbling for every available dollar (and some that aren’t), even as they cut what would once have been considered basic services. In contrast, the Pentagon is fighting its distant wars as if US pockets had no bottoms, the national treasury had no limits, and there was quite literally no tomorrow. And there’s one more small contrast to be made when it comes to the finest military in the history of the world: for all the private security guards, mountains of burgers, lakes of gasoline, miles of blast walls, and satchels of cash to pass out to the locals, it’s been remarkably unsuccessful in its pacification campaigns against some of the motliest forces of our time. The US military has been fought to something like a draw by relatively modest-sized, relatively lightly armed minority insurgencies that don’t even pass muster when it comes to shooting straight. Vast piles of money and vast quantities of materiel have been squandered; equipment by the boatload has been used up; lives have been wasted in profusion; and yet the winners of our wars might turn out to be Iran and China. The US way of war, unfortunately, has the numbers to die for, just not to live by."

And all of this is apparently untouchable, yet Social Security and Medicare are "bankrupting the country". Americans are the stupidest people on Earth.