Saturday, January 13, 2007

trans fat

"over six years, male monkeys fed a western-style diet that contains trans
fat had a 7.2 percent increase in body weight, compared to a 1.8 percent
increase in monkeys that ate monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil.
According to the FDA, trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings, some
margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or
fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Unlike other fats, the majority of
trans fat is formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats
like shortening and hard margarine by adding hydrogen."

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Secret Santa dies

"Larry Stewart, a millionaire who became known as Secret Santa for his habit
of roaming the streets each December and anonymously handing money to
people, died Friday. He was 58."

How sad that such a good person has died.

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Milk Eliminates Cardiovascular Health Benefits Of Tea, Researchers Warn

"Research published online in the European Heart Journal has found that the
protective effect that tea has on the cardiovascular system is totally wiped
out by adding milk.
Tests on volunteers showed that black tea significantly improves the ability
of the arteries to relax and expand, but adding milk completely blunts the
effect. Supporting tests on rat aortas (aortic rings) and endothelial
(lining) cells showed that tea relaxed the aortic rings by producing nitric
oxide, which promotes dilation of blood vessels. But, again, adding milk
blocked the effect."

I guess I'd better stop adding hot chocolate mix (which contains powdered
milk) to my morning green tea! It sounds like what I do sometimes - adding
cooking cocao and crushed up peppermint candies - might be ok, since I don't
add milk then.

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Radiation Degrades Nuclear Waste-containing Materials Faster Than Expected

"Minerals intended to entrap nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of
years may be susceptible to structural breakdown within 1,400 years, a team
from the University of Cambridge and the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory reported today (Jan. 11) in the journal Nature.
This could lead to swelling, loss of physical strength and possible cracking
of the mineral as soon as 210 years, well before the radioactivity had
decayed to safe levels"

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power blinds

"Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University, Joe Magee of the Wagner Graduate
School of Public Service at NYU, and colleagues at Stanford University found
that possessing power itself serves as an impediment to understanding the
perspectives of others."

Experience, on both a personal and political level, show this is true.
However, another possibility for the results of this particular experiment
is that the powerful just don't care about other people's perceptions.

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deficit vs. debt

"In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Friday that the
deficit from October through December totaled $80.4 billion, the smallest
imbalance for the first three months of a budget year since 2002. The budget
year starts Oct. 1.
The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the 2007
budget year will rise to $286 billion, an increase of 15.2 percent from last
year, but that figure could be lowered when the CBO releases its revised
estimate later this month.
Bush, who took office while the country was running record surpluses, saw
the deficit hit an all-time high in dollar terms of $413 billion in 2004."

As usual, the news media only report the amount of the budget deficit (or
surplus, when Clinton was president). The deficit is the amount by which
the national debt has grown in a single year. We citizens also need to know
the national debt, the total amount which the government owes (much of it to
China), which is not usually given. Many people don't know the difference.

Since this administration has no regard for truth, I regard any information
it puts out with scepticism. (Of course, even with honest evaluations, it
takes time for all information to come in, so that there are always later
corrections). People who will change the meaning of scientific reports, to
protect the financial interests of the rich at the expense of the health of
our people and country, cannot be trusted to tell the truth on any topic.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pollutants' link to diabetes

A preliminary study has found Americans who live near toxic waste sites are hospitalized more for diabetes than those who live in clean communities.

Such results suggest environmental triggers of diabetes, a fairly new research area, are worthy of more investigation, Carpenter said. As type 2 diabetes has exploded -- a two-fold increase from 5.8 million to 13.3 million Americans from 1980 to 2002 -- scientists have scrambled to find explanations for the rise. Although experts often point to the obesity epidemic, that alone can't account for it, Carpenter said.
Indeed, the "evidence is accumulating rapidly that environmental exposures are very important factors," he said.
Dr. Larry Deeb, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, also stressed obesity can't be the only culprit for the dizzying increase in diabetes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

harnessing child power
The Clinton conference began Wednesday with a slew of world figures, among them first lady Laura Bush, who announced a partnership aimed at bringing clean drinking water to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The program, called Play Pumps, will install specially designed playground equipment that will use the force generated by children using the equipment to pump clean water from beneath the ground.

After all the people (like me), remarking that we could supply much of our energy if we could harness the energy of children, someone has actually done it.

cheap computers
Rwanda is the eighth developing country to join the One Laptop Per Child initiative aimed at giving away inexpensive computers to all young students.

I would like to buy one of these myself. Microsoft keeps making more powerful and expensive computers. All many people need is a basic computer.

If I could afford it, I would get a Mac suitable for composing music, but since I don't anticipate being able to afford that soon, if ever, I would like to buy an inexpensive, basic computer.