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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Links - 29th July 2018 (1)

Leading UK scientist reveals likely cause of childhood leukaemia - "The disease is triggered later, in childhood, by exposure to one or more common infections, but primarily in children who experienced 'clean' childhoods in the first year of life, without much interaction with other infants or older children... Professor Greaves suggests childhood ALL is a paradox of progress in modern societies – with lack of microbial exposure early in life resulting in immune system malfunction... Professor Greaves challenged previous reports of possible environmental causes, such as ionising radiation, electricity cables, electromagnetic waves or man-made chemicals – arguing that none are supported by robust evidence as major causes. Instead, he presented strong evidence for a ‘delayed infection’ theory for the cause of ALL, in which early infection is beneficial to prime the immune system, but later infection in the absence of earlier priming can trigger leukaemia. Professor Greaves suggests that childhood leukaemia, in common with type I diabetes, other autoimmune diseases and allergies, might be preventable if a child's immune system is properly ‘primed’ in the first year of life – potentially sparing children the trauma and life-long consequences of chemotherapy."

A 13-Year-Old Girl Is Not “All Grown Up” - Mara Wilson on the Sexualization of Child Actresses and Millie Bobby Brown - "Is Hollywood inherently corrupt, hostile to women and young people? Possibly. My position, as someone who grew up in and near Hollywood, has always been that it isn’t necessarily immoral, but amoral. When actors are dehumanized, objectified, seen as bankable resources rather than people, this makes for an extreme imbalance of power. And no one loves an imbalance of power more than a predator."

Do Ketogenic Diets Have a “Metabolic Advantage”? - "the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity. It posits that obesity is mainly caused by elevated insulin levels. According to this hypothesis, elevated insulin levels suppress the use of fat for fuel, promoting its storage in fat tissue... going on a high-fat (ketogenic) diet, after being on a high-carb diet, caused a slight increase in calorie expenditure. However, calorie expenditure gradually returned to base levels. Additionally, it did not lead to an increase in fat loss. On the contrary, fat loss appeared to slow down during the ketogenic diet... These findings undermine the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity. On the other hand, ketogenic diets might promote weight loss by decreasing appetite and calorie intake. Ketogenic diets are also associated with various other health benefits. Yet, they are hard to stick to in the long term and may not be for everyone."
Paper: Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men.

Is there any real science behind the low-carb Paleo diet? - "A 2012 meta-analysis of 23 clinical trials published between 1966 and 2011 reported that, overall, low-carb dieters experienced bigger drops in total cholesterol, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and blood triglycerides compared with low-fat dieters; they also had greater increases in ‘good’ HDL cholesterol... In the only clinical trial to compare very low-fat diets (less than 10 per cent fat) with low-carb diets, Ornish dieters had an exceptional amount of trouble and managed to reduce their fat intake only to some 30 per cent on average – three times more fat than they should have been eating. John McDougall, a California-based internist and the author of The Starch Solution (2012), says ‘the Atkins Diet is the easiest to follow – you simply drive by a fast food window, order a burger, throw away the bun, and scrape off the pickles and ketchup, and you’re on the diet’... the notion that sugar and refined carbs are dangerous seems to be the one point on which nutrition scientists at either end of the carb-fat spectrum agree"

Three Reasons Dieters Should Eat More Protein - "Why do people lose more weight eating high protein diets? Dietary protein is unique among the macronutrients in its ability to reduce fat and body weight. Unlike the other two macronutrients, fat and carbohydrate, protein preserves energy-burning muscle tissue and boosts energy expenditure because of three key characteristics exclusive to protein.
1. Dietary protein squelches hunger... Higher quality proteins, found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy (whey) and soy quell hunger more so than veggie proteins like legumes and seeds.
2. Protein digestion and metabolism burns more calories...
3. Protein increases lean body mass or muscle."

Dietary carbohydrates, glycemic load and serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations among South Indian adults - "Our findings indicate that both total carbohydrates and dietary glycemic load intake are inversely associated with plasma HDL-C concentrations among Asian Indians, with dietary glycemic load having a stronger association."

Dietary Carbohydrates Impair Healthspan and Promote Mortality - "The prospective cohort study, named PURE, found that in >135,000 participants from 18 countries, nutritive carbohydrates increase human mortality, whereas dietary fat reduces it, requesting a fundamental change of current nutritional guidelines"

Huge new study casts doubt on conventional wisdom about fat and carbs - "the international Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study... the PURE results challenged two widely held beliefs about fruits and vegetables. While most dietary guidelines stress the importance of eating more vegetables, among the PURE participants, eating more fruits, and more seeds and beans, was associated with greater benefits than eating more vegetables. Guidelines also tend to stress that if eating some fruits and vegetables is good, more must be better. But among the study participants, those whose diets included three to four servings of fruits and vegetables a day were no more likely to have died as those whose diets included eight or more servings a day... As an observational study, PURE can’t prove cause and effect. In an effort to eliminate the biases that are common in observational studies, the researchers took blood samples from the majority of the study participants and analyzed them for cholesterol and other lipids. Participants with higher intakes of fats, or lower intakes of carbohydrates, had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (so-called bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, and higher levels of protective high-density lipoprotein (so-called good cholesterol). Those tests help corroborate the main findings."

Brave changes needed to take Republic to next level - "it seems to me that to most Singaporeans, having talent means it is imported from overseas; expanding overseas means not following strict and honest business practices, and that being competitive means continuing to pay low wages."

New M’sia govt shuts down politically-linked agencies while S’pore govt increases budgets of theirs - "when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was alive, he once made a comment about the very close relationship between PAP and PA. He was commenting on what some Chinese officials had observed when they were visiting Singapore. He said, "They (PRCs) discover that the People’s Action Party (PAP) has only a small office in Bedok. But everywhere they go, they see the PAP – in the RCs (residents’ committees), CCCs (citizens’ consultative committees), and the CCs (community clubs)." And, indeed, in Singapore, all RCs, CCCs, CCs and grassroots organizations fall under the purview of PA, which according to Mr Lee, are linked to his political party, the PAP."

Robert Kuok ‘salutes’ Dr Mahathir for ‘saving country’

North Korean defectors struggle with South Korean dialect - "South Koreans enjoy making fun of the North Korean dialect, which sounds quaint or old-fashioned to Southerners. Comedy shows parody the North’s style of pronunciation and make fun of North Korean words that went out of style in the South years ago. And all that spells trouble for North Korean defectors... An even bigger challenge is learning all the new words South Koreans have acquired in the seven decades since partition, many of them borrowed directly from English... One way is with a new smartphone app called Univoca, short for "unification vocabulary." It allows users to type in or snap a photo of an unknown word and get a North Korean translation. There’s also a section that gives practical language advice, like how to order a pizza — or an explanation of some dating terminology... Some South Koreans regard the North Korean vernacular as more “pure” because of its perceived lack of foreign loan words. But Han disagrees, noting there’s no such thing as a pure language. “All languages are living and growing, including North Korean," he says. “Over the years they’ve borrowed foreign words too, but mainly from Russian and Chinese.” For instance, Han says, the word “tractor” made its way from English to North Korea via their former Soviet neighbors"

Bacon mosque attacker Kevin Crehan died in Bristol Prison after drug overdose - "The ‘protest’ saw bacon being placed on door handles, a St George flag tied to the fence and abuse shouted at two elderly people... Crehan was jailed for a year"
Bacon is very dangerous

School pencil cases banned to stop 'stigma' - "A school has banned pencil cases in a bid to stop pupils from poor families being stigmatised. St Wilfrid's Primary School in Blyth, Northumberland, said it had taken steps to get rid of any "designer goods"."

Why we should bulldoze the business school - "Having taught in business schools for 20 years, I have come to believe that the best solution to these problems is to shut down business schools altogether. This is not a typical view among my colleagues. Even so, it is remarkable just how much criticism of business schools over the past decade has come from inside the schools themselves. Many business school professors, particularly in north America, have argued that their institutions have gone horribly astray.One US survey compared MBA students to people who were imprisoned in low-security prisons and found that the latter were more ethical. Another suggested that the likelihood of committing some form of corporate crime increased if the individual concerned had experience of graduate business education, or military service... One US survey compared MBA students to people who were imprisoned in low-security prisons and found that the latter were more ethical. Another suggested that the likelihood of committing some form of corporate crime increased if the individual concerned had experience of graduate business education, or military service. (Both careers presumably involve absolving responsibility to an organisation.) Other surveys suggest that students come in believing in employee wellbeing and customer satisfaction and leave thinking that shareholder value is the most important issue, and that business-school students are more likely to cheat than students in other subjects."

'I don't use contactless': the woman whose name is on British banknotes - "“I personally don’t really use contactless. To be blunt, it wasn’t on my card for a long time and so I’ve just got into the habit of preferring not to. And I do hear stories of friends – this is a personal anecdote, this isn’t the official Bank view – whose money has been taken off contactless when you walk past something. And it’s only up to £30. So I use cash for lower transactions anyway and for big ones contactless wouldn’t work.”"

'Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack': Swedes turn against cashlessness - "Most consumers already say they manage without cash altogether, while shops and cafes increasingly refuse to accept notes and coins because of the costs and risk involved... Fraudsters have already learned to exploit the system’s idiosyncrasies to trick people out of large sums of money, even their pensions. The best case scenario is that we are not as secure as we think, Skarec says – the worst is that IT infrastructure is systemically vulnerable"

If plastic replaces cash, much that is good will be lost

Political scientists rate President Trump as worst ever, but you should be skeptical - "1. The survey respondents are not President Trump friendly
The majority of respondents (57%) self-identified as Democrats compared to just 13% who were Republicans. That 44-percentage-point split is about 35 to 40 points wider than what is found in the general public...
2. These surveys are capturing a moment in time among a specific subset...
3. Modern presidents are even more difficult to judge"
Given that even before he assumed office Trump was being condemned as the worst President ever...

Journalists' brains function at a lower level than average, study says - "Journalists' brains show a lower-than-average level of executive functioning, according to a new study, which means they have a below-average ability to regulate their emotions, suppress biases, solve complex problems, switch between tasks, and show creative and flexible thinking... journalists' brains were operating at a lower level than the average population, particularly because of dehydration and the tendency of journalists to self-medicate with alcohol, caffeine, and high-sugar foods"
Yet criticising the press = fascism

'Holier than thou': Elon Musk goes to war with the media in tweetstorm - "The public no longer respects the media because of "holier-than-thou hypocrisy" and lies, he said... "Anytime anyone criticises the media, the media shrieks 'You're just like Trump!' Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more. You lost your credibility a long time ago.""

Existential Comics on Twitter: "Watching Elon Musk seamlessly moving from "the free market solves everything" to "trade unions sow social division among classes" and "we need a watchdog to discredit lying journalists" is like watching capitalism decay into fascism in real time on twitter."
The definition of fascism gets steadily broader

I have just discovered that google is censoring my search results - Google Search Help - "we're all being conned by Google. they are controlling what we see. I went into incognito mode and I virtually got the same results. I went onto Bing and got a completely different - more relevant - set of results. Google is simply censoring us; preventing us from seeing what it doesn't want us to have or see."
It is instructive comparing certain searches on Google and Bing

How Google Censors The New American (and Other Conservatives) - "DDG only listed those five results, but realize that its index is far smaller than Google’s: The best information I have indicates that DDG searches perhaps a few billion pages. Google searches 30 trillion. In other words, Google should be running rings around DDG — instead, it had me running in circles as it played hide-and-go-seek (the Truth). I performed the same experiment with Yahoo’s search engine and got a trove of relevant results. Only Google didn’t have a gaggle of TNA results on its first page."

Why the generation after millennials will vote Republican - "Generation Z possibly had a major, yet completely overlooked, impact in this historic election. “Generation Z voters were likely attracted to Trump because of his strong stances on national security and economic recovery — the main concerns of that generation,” said Brauer."
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