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#422 Hanging in there and hanging on

Posted  September 6, 2019  by  Anonymous

We’re all pretty much the same. Packed tightly in our skintight skin is a bumpy clump of slippery organs and brittle bones. Yes, you’re a pile of bones, I’m a bucket of blood, you’re a slab of muscle, I’m a chunk of chub. And no matter what we got squeezing through our veins, zooming through […]

The post #422 Hanging in there and hanging on appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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Democratic Presidential Candidates Face 7 Hours of Tough Questions on Climate Change, From Fracking to Fossil Fuels

Posted  September 5, 2019  by  Sharon Kelly

Read time: 10 mins

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer kicked off a seven-hour long town hall on climate change with an unambiguous message of urgency on climate change.

This unprecedented town hall is dedicated to the climate crisis,” he said, “an issue many voters say needs aggressive action and some scientists say that action needs to happen now.”

Many of the candidates offered multi-trillion dollar plans to address the crisis — as economists warn that the price of failing to act could be $69 trillion worldwide by the end of the century and U.S. firms forecast roughly $1 trillion in climate-related hits to their bottom lines over the next five years.

But the highlight of the evening wasn’t the economics nor was it the candidates. It was the questions — a mix of queries from CNN reporters, video-taped messages, and those attending the town hall in person. The questions were often nuanced and detailed — and drew on understandings shaped by both personal experience and professional expertise.

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Return to Raspberry Rising

Posted  September 5, 2019  by  Anonymous

Kathleen Graham crawls beneath a curtain of stalactites inside Raspberry Rising cave

Kathleen Graham crawls beneath a curtain of stalactites inside the Raspberry Rising cave system in B.C.’s Glacier National Park. (Photo: Christian Stenner)

It’s Hallowe’en night, and total darkness envelopes me as I crawl through a tunnel deep inside a mountain in British Columbia’s Glacier National Park. I am one of the first humans to lay eyes on these forbidding passages. At a fork, I choose to go right, and enter a room where I can stand. The beam of my headlamp lands on the skeleton of a rodent, its tiny bones surrounded by white calcite. A dead end. 

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#423 When the foul ball at the baseball game is flying right at you

Posted  September 5, 2019  by  Anonymous

And here’s the pitch. The bat cracks and the ball smacks high into the twilight sky. Eyeballs pop, voices cry, and the crowd rises as the ball dives down to the stands. Popcorn is dropped, gloves are smacked, and heartbeats thump as it rushes towards our seats. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Want more book […]

The post #423 When the foul ball at the baseball game is flying right at you appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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Wall Street Journal and Senator Barrasso Still Peddling Koch’s Electric Car Myths

Posted  September 4, 2019  by  Ben Jervey
Senator John Barrasso

Read time: 4 mins

Senator John Barrasso and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board are once again attacking the federal electric vehicle tax credit, and are once again relying on easily debunked talking points born of the Koch network’s influence machine. 

Senator Barrasso has reportedly sent a letter to Republican colleagues in the Senate, advising them not to extend the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. 

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board cheered Senator Barrasso’s act in an editorial published Tuesday. The deception and falsehoods are so rife in the WSJ editorial that it that begs for rebuttal. So here goes. 

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Why You Should Turn Off Your TV And Holster Your Devices Before You Eat

Posted  September 4, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Ok, it’s a short study and it relied on dietary recall, but if taken at face value, the results certainly suggest you should be turning off your devices and eating away from the TV.

The study involved the 3 day recall of both diet and media use among 473 individuals.

Plainly, researchers found that meals that were consumed along with some form of media distraction contained 149 more calories. They also found that people consuming those extra calories at a media meal did not compensate by eating less at their next meal.

Given how easy it is to do this, and how by doing so you might even strengthen some interpersonal relationships by eating with friends or family around a table, you really have almost nothing to lose by trying, except perhaps a few calories.

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#424 The Official Boat Waving Policy

Posted  September 4, 2019  by  Anonymous

These are the rules of the sea. If you’re on a boat you must wave to anyone who waves at you from another boat, you must wave to anyone who waves at you from land, and you must initiate waving to as many other boats as possible. The only way you can avoid these rules […]

The post #424 The Official Boat Waving Policy appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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As Aerial Footage of Devastated Bahamas Emerges, Campaigners Ask How Much Destruction and Death Before Global Climate Action Taken?

Posted  September 3, 2019  by  guest
Hurricane Dorian destruction

Read time: 5 mins

Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BYSA 3.0 US.

As the National Hurricane Center announced Tuesday that Hurricane Dorian’s core was “finally moving away from Grand Bahama Island,” toward the Southeastern U.S. coast, footage of the storm’s devastation flooded the internet alongside calls for governments and the news media to recognize the here-and-now destruction of the climate emergency.

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#425 When you’re merging into traffic on the highway and there’s absolutely no traffic to merge into

Posted  September 3, 2019  by  Anonymous

Forget speeding up, forget slowing down, forget twisting your neck in twelve different directions. Nope, now’s your chance to calmly merge without any worries and enjoy a smooth and relaxing drive home. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Check out my Youtube channel —

The post #425 When you’re merging into traffic on the highway and there’s absolutely no traffic to merge into appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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Geography teacher of the month: Michel Emery

Posted  September 1, 2019  by  Anonymous

Yukon teacher showing how to use geo technologies in the classroom

Michel Emery provided a workshop at Canadian Geographic Education’s 2019 Geo-tech Summer Institute, showing teachers how to incorporate VR and AR technology, and 360-degree photography into their classrooms. (Photo: Tanya Kirnishni/Canadian Geographic)

Michel Emery is a tech wizard — although his official title is teacher librarian and technology specialist at F. H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse, Yukon. Emery is passionate about helping students explore and learn about the world through tools such as virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree photography. He has been teaching in the Arctic for the past 21 years and worked as a consultant for the department of education when they were modernizing their libraries and shifting toward learning commons.

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Saturday Stories: Suicide, Goop, Vaccines, And Kurbo

Posted  August 31, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Connie Schultz, in Creators, on what to say (and not say) to someone whose loved one has died by suicide.

Amanda Mull, in The Atlantic, on what Goop really sells.

Richard Conniff, in National Geographic, on the world before vaccines.

[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s my take on Weight Watcher’s new kids Kurbo app and how while Weight Watchers might know kids aren’t likely to lose much weight, do the kids?]

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Pipeline Permit Scandal Highlights Confusion Amid Push to Build Plastics Plants

Posted  August 30, 2019  by  Sharon Kelly
Shell Cracker Plant

Read time: 9 mins

For the past 42 years, the Beaver County Conservation District in western Pennsylvania has hosted their Maple Syrup Festival, an annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast featuring syrup made from maple trees in a park in Beaver Falls.

It’s a huge event in this county, population 164,742; organizers expected up to 40,000 attendees at last year’s festival, which included a Civil War re-enactment, pony rides, and craft demonstrations like bobbin lace making.

But with the arrival of Shell and its $6 billion plastics manufacturing plant, currently under construction in Beaver County, the conservation district assumed more serious responsibilities than throwing a maple syrup festival — including permitting the fossil fuel pipelines feeding the massive plastics complex.

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Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Phase out Nuclear Power Draws Attacks — Here’s Why They’re Wrong

Posted  August 30, 2019  by  Anonymous
Nuclear power cooling towers

Read time: 6 mins

Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has released an ambitious climate proposal, one which champions of the status quo were quick to criticize. One line of attack, coming from many different sources, focuses on Sanders’ plan to phase out nuclear power, but the arguments, and who is behind them, deserve a closer look.

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Testing the future of tidal energy in Nova Scotia

Posted  August 29, 2019  by  Anonymous

PLAT-I tidal energy platform in Grand Passage, May 2019

Technicians work on the tidal energy platform PLAT-I in the Grand Passage near Westport, N.S. in May 2019. (Photo: Alexandra Pope/Canadian Geographic)

It’s a bright, windy May day in Nova Scotia as the freight ferry Kipawo pulls out of Westport Harbour and, fighting the powerful ebb tide, makes its way into the Grand Passage channel. Kipawo cuts through this narrow strip of fast-moving water between Brier and Long islands at the extreme western tip of Nova Scotia’s Digby Neck peninsula toward Sustainable Marine Energy’s new tidal energy technology, PLAT-I. 

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Phoenix Voters ‘Say Yes to the Future,’ Rejecting Koch-Backed Effort to Ban Light Rail Expansion in Least Sustainable US City

Posted  August 28, 2019  by  guest
Phoenix light rail

Read time: 3 mins

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BYSA 3.0 US.

The city of Phoenix dealt a decisive blow to a Koch Brothers-backed measure on Tuesday when voters rejected a proposition that would have banned any expansion of the city’s light rail system.

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On David Koch’s Passing and the Koch Network’s Ongoing War on Clean Energy

Posted  August 26, 2019  by  Ben Jervey
David Koch

Read time: 4 mins

Billionaire libertarian activist and oil industry tycoon David Koch died on Friday, leaving a toxic legacy that includes helping birth the climate denial movement, fighting against regulations that protect worker and public health, and — critical to our work here on DeSmog’s KochvsClean project — helping fund and coordinate a decades-long attack on clean energy and low carbon energy solutions.

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Comment: Rail Industry Publication Attacks New York Times Over Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Tragedy

Posted  August 26, 2019  by  Anonymous
Lac-Megantic oil train fire

Read time: 7 mins

Six years after the oil train derailment and explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec — which claimed 47 lives and destroyed the downtown of this small lakeside town — The New York Times reviewed what progress has been made since the disaster, with a headline that noted “Deadly Cargo Still Rides the Rails.”

However, Railway Age, the leading rail industry publication, attacked The Times’ coverage in an incredibly flawed critique. The title of finance editor David Nahass’s take-down is “Clickbait Journalism at The New York Times.”

In reality, both stories miss the mark on oil train safety.

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DNC Shuts Down Climate Debate Compromise

Posted  August 26, 2019  by  guest
Tom Perez

Read time: 4 mins

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will not let 2020 primary candidates share the stage in a debate devoted to the climate crisis, the party voted Saturday during its summer meeting in San Francisco.

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The Rewards Project – A Registered UK Charity Geared At Putting An End To Sugary School Rewards

Posted  August 26, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

So it’s back to school time, and zero doubt, many of your kids are going to have teachers and schools who will use candy and junk food as a reward.

It’s a shame too, not just because they’ll be providing your kids with junk, but also because they’ll be teaching them, over and over and over, that junk is a reward for anything and everything.

I’ve written before about easy non-junk food rewards for teachers, I’ve also written about how you might want to approach things with your kids’ sugar pushers, and I even kept track one year of just how much junk other people were offering my kids. What was clear from the response to all of these pieces was just how prevalent this problem was, and just how frustrated parents are.

Well as a sign of those times, in the UK, a new charity has popped up called The Rewards Project and its mission is trying to change this common practice. Click through and you’ll find some sample letters to send to your child’s school (though I think they’d be much better were they to offer some alternatives and suggestions in them and as I wrote about and linked above, lead with praise for the school and its teachers).

All this to say, if there are charities popping up geared at tackling this issue, clearly there’s a real appetite out there for change. In turn this suggests – and my experiences with my kids’ schools and more would definitely support this notion – that your kids’ schools and teachers might be more open to changing things than you might think.

You’ll never know unless you try.

(Thanks to Dr. Miriam Berchuk for sending this my way)

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Understanding Christians’ Climate Views Can Lead to Better Conversations About the Environment

Posted  August 24, 2019  by  guest
Christian steeple

Read time: 5 mins

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Saturday Stories: Fitness Evolution, Soda Taxes, and Tick Saliva

Posted  August 24, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

James Steele, in The Evolution Institute, on how evolution best informs exercise.

Jeremy B. White, in The Agenda, on how the food industry may be winning the war against soda taxes.

Sarah Zhang, in The Atlantic, marvels about tick saliva.

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‘Game-Changer’: Sanders Unveils Green New Deal Plan Detailing 10-Year Mobilization to Avert Climate Catastrophe, Create 20 Million Jobs

Posted  August 22, 2019  by  guest
Bernie Sanders

Read time: 5 mins

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BYSA 3.0 US.

Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the United States and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.

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How an Application for Propane Fracking Attempts to Circumvent New York’s Fracking Ban

Posted  August 22, 2019  by  Anonymous
Anti-fracking protesters in New York

Read time: 6 mins

Four years after New York announced the state was banning hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Tioga Energy Partners, LLC has filed an application with the state to frack for natural gas, but there’s a catch. The company is proposing to swap propane into the industry standard mix that usually calls for water.

Environmental advocates consider this application to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and specifically a propane gel, an attempt to circumvent New York’s 2015 ban on fracking for fossil fuels.

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Documents Show Koch Network’s ‘Structure of Social Change’ in Action

Posted  August 19, 2019  by  Ben Jervey
Koch Student Commons, on the ground floor of Kansas University's business school.

Read time: 10 mins

Back in 1996, the president of the Charles Koch Foundation laid out a blueprint for the Koch network’s goals of social transformation — a three-tiered integrated strategy to roll back government regulations, promote free market principles, and, in doing so, to protect the industries that turned the Koch brothers into billionaires. 

More than three decades later, that blueprint is still being followed in a broad-scale effort to serve the Kochs’ free-market libertarian ideology, to prop up the oil and gas industries that pad their fortunes, and to forestall any political action on climate change that they believe would threaten their bottom line.

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Did North Dakota Regulators Hide an Oil and Gas Industry Spill Larger Than Exxon Valdez?

Posted  August 19, 2019  by  Anonymous
Exxon Valdez

Read time: 15 mins

In July 2015 workers at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant, in Watford City, North Dakota, noticed a leak in a pipeline and reported a spill to the North Dakota Department of Health that remains officially listed as 10 gallons, the size of two bottled water delivery jugs.

But a whistle-blower has revealed to DeSmog the incident is actually on par with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, which released roughly 11 million gallons of thick crude.

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9 Great Suggestions For Improving The Quality Of Dietary Research (And 1 That According To @JamesHeathers Is “Deeply Silly”)

Posted  August 19, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Last week saw the publication of an op-ed authored by Drs. David Ludwig, Cara Ebbeling, and Steven Heymsfield entitled, “Improving the Quality of Dietary Research“. In it they discuss the many limitations of dietary research and chart a way forward that includes the following 9 great suggestions,

  1. Recognize that the design features of phase 3 drug studies are not always feasible or appropriate in nutrition research, and clarify the minimum standards necessary for diet studies to be considered successful.
  2. Distinguish among study design categories, including mechanistic, pilot (exploratory), efficacy (explanatory), effectiveness (pragmatic), and translational (with implications for public health and policy). Each of these study types is important for generating knowledge about diet and chronic disease, and some overlap may invariably exist; however, the findings from small-scale, short-term, or low-intensity trials should not be conflated with definitive hypothesis testing.
  3. Define diets more precisely when feasible (eg, with quantitative nutrient targets and other parameters, rather than qualitative descriptors such as Mediterranean) to allow for rigorous and reproducible comparisons.
  4. Improve the methods for addressing common design challenges, such as how to promote adherence to dietary prescriptions (ie, with feeding studies and more intensive behavioral and environmental intervention), and reduce dropout or loss to follow-up.
  5. Develop sensitive and specific biomeasures of adherence (eg, metabolomics), and use available methods when feasible (eg, doubly labeled water method for total energy expenditure).
  6. Create and adequately fund local (or regional) cores to enhance research infrastructure.
  7. Standardize practices to mitigate the risk of bias related to conflicts of interest in nutrition research, including independent oversight of data management and analysis, as has been done for drug trials.
  8. Make databases publicly available at time of study publication to facilitate reanalyses and scholarly dialogue.
  9. Establish best practices for media relations to help reduce hyperbole surrounding publication of small, preliminary, or inconclusive research with limited generalizability.”

But there was one recommendation that seems at odds with the rest,

Acknowledge that changes to, or discrepancies in, clinical registries of diet trials are commonplace, and update final analysis plans before unmasking random study group assignments and initiating data analysis.

For those who aren’t aware, clinical registries are where researchers document in advance the pre-specified methods and outcomes being studied by way of an observational experiment. The purpose of pre-registration is to reduce the risk of bias, selective reporting, and overt p-hacking that can (and has) occurred in dietary research.

Now to be clear, I’m a clinician, not a researcher, and I’m not sure how commonplace changes to or discrepancies in clinical registries of diet trials are, but I’m also not sure that’s an argument in their favour even if they are. I do know that recently two of the authors claiming registry changes are commonplace were found to have modified one of their pre-specified statistical analysis plans which if it had been adhered to, would have rendered their results non-significant.

But commonplace or not, is it good science?

To answer that question I turned to James Heathers, a researcher and self-described “data thug” whose area of interest is methodology (and who you should definitely follow on Twitter), who described the notion of accepting that changes and discrepancies to clinical registries were commonplace was, “deeply silly“.

He went on to elaborate as to why,

First of all – the whole definition of a theory is something which sets your expectations. the idea that ‘reality is messy’ does not interfere with the idea that you have hypothesis driven expectations which are derived from theories.

Second: there is nothing to prevent you saying “WE DID NOT FIND WHAT WE EXPECTED TO FIND” and then *following it* with your insightful exploratory analysis. In fact, that would almost be a better exposition of the facts by definition as you are presenting your expectations as expectations, and your after-the-fact speculations likewise.

Third: if you have a power analysis which determines there is a correct amount of observations necessary to reliably observe an effect, having the freedom to go ‘never mind that then’ is not a good thing by definition.

Fourth: The fact that changes were made is never ever included in the manuscript. i.e. they are proposing being able to make changes to the protocol in the registry *without* having to say so. it’s a ‘new plan’ rather than a ‘changed plan’.

Fifth: If you can still do the original analysis then no-one will ever believe that you didn’t change the plan after looking at the data. you have to protect yourself, and the best way to do that is to follow your own damned plans and be realistic from the get.

Lastly, Heathers is unimpressed with the argument that registry changes are A-OK because they’re commonplace, and he discussed ancient Aztecan punishments for those citing it.

All this to say, there’s plenty of room to improve the quality of dietary research. Here’s hoping the bulk of these suggestions are taken to heart, but please don’t hold your breath.

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Yes, It’s Due to Human Activity: New Research ‘Should Finally Stop Climate Change Deniers’

Posted  August 19, 2019  by  guest
Scientists testing ice

Read time: 4 mins

By Tim Radford for Climate News Network

European and US scientists have cleared up a point that has been nagging away at climate science for decades: not only is the planet warming faster than at any time in the last 2,000 years, but this unique climate change really does have neither a historic precedent nor a natural cause.

Other historic changes — the so-called Medieval Warm Period and then the “Little Ice Age” that marked the 17th to the 19th centuries — were not global. The only period in which the world’s climate has changed, everywhere and at the same time, is right now.

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Saturday Stories: Morning People, In Sickness, And Mom Bods

Posted  August 17, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Olga Khazan, in The Atlantic, discusses people like me – cursed to wake up every day before 5:30am.

Mark Lukach, in The Pacific Standard, discusses love in the face of severe mental illness.

Alice Sueffert, in ScaryMommy, discusses finally showing her mom bod some love.

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Christopher Leonard’s New Book Puts an Ever-Expanding ‘Kochland’ on the Map

Posted  August 16, 2019  by  Sharon Kelly
Kochland book cover over Pine Bend refinery

Read time: 8 mins

Christopher Leonard’s new book, Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, begins, appropriately enough, with an FBI agent, who is investigating criminal activity by the company, standing in a field with a pair of binoculars, trying to catch a glimpse of the daily operations of a company that prizes secrecy.

Koch Industries was under investigation for theft of oil from the Osage and other Indigenous nations. Walking into the company’s office building involved passing through security checkpoints, Leonard explains, so numerous that one investigator later told Leonard that it “reminded him of traveling to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.”

Through exhaustive reporting and extraordinary interviews with past and current company executives, including some turned whistleblower, Kochland offers readers a view far larger than can be seen through binocular lenses, walking readers past those layers of security checkpoints and into the inner workings of an institution that has for decades tirelessly built itself into practically all American lives, while largely evading accountability or transparency.

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Big Oil Can’t Fight the ‘Irresistible’ Rise of Electric Vehicles — Report

Posted  August 16, 2019  by  guest
EV charing

Read time: 4 mins

By Paul Brown for the Climate News Network

The days of oil as a fuel for cars, whether petrol or diesel, are numbered — because the economies offered by wind and solar energy and other cheap renewables, combined with electric vehicles, are irresistible, a French bank says.

BNP Paribas Asset Management calculates that oil majors like Exxon, BP and Shell will have to produce petrol from oil at $10 a barrel (the current price is $58) to compete with electricity on price, while for diesel, it says, oil can cost no more than $19 a barrel.

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Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution, Says New Study

Posted  August 14, 2019  by  Sharon Kelly
Flaring in Permian Basin Shale with sunflowers

Read time: 8 mins

Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That’s both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of the Climate report, which was published this week with the American Meteorological Society.

That pollution creates a greenhouse effect that is over 42 percent stronger than it was in 1990, the report added.

And while carbon dioxide hit a new level last year, it isn’t the only climate-changing gas that’s on the rise globally. Pollution of the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane also climbed in 2018, showing an increase “higher than the average growth rate over the past decade,” the report adds.

A new Cornell University study published today in the scientific journal Biogeosciences helps to explain what sparked the surge in those methane concentrations, both here in the U.S. and around the world.

One big culprit: shale drilling and fracking.

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Adani Beware: Coal Is on the Road to Becoming Completely Uninsurable

Posted  August 13, 2019  by  guest
Coal mine

Read time: 6 mins

By John Quiggin, The University of Queensland

The announcement by Suncorp that it will no longer insure new thermal coal projects, along with a similar announcement by QBE Insurance a few months earlier, brings Australia into line with Europe where most major insurers have broken with coal.

U.S. firms have been a little slower to move, but Chubb announced a divestment policy in July, and Liberty has confirmed it will not insure Australia’s Adani project.

Other big firms such as America’s AIG are coming under increasing pressure.

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Children

Kellogg’s Partners With Random House To Use Free Books To Sell Ultra-Processed Sugary Junk Food To Children

Posted  August 13, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

To be clear, neither Random House, nor Kellogg’s, should be fairly expected to do the right thing when it comes to health.

Kellogg’s job is to see food. Random House’s job is to sell books. Nothing more, nothing less.

So it’s hard to get mad with either company for their “Feeding Reading” initiative which provides parents with permission or excuse to buy their children such health foods as:

  • Frosted Flakes
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Eggos
  • Nutrigrain Bars
  • Froot Loops
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Apple Jacks
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats (note, unfrosted mini-wheats are not eligible)
  • Corn Pops
  • Raisin Bran
  • Krave
  • Keebler cookies
  • Cheez-its
  • Austin crackers
  • Pringles

Truly, not a single choice parents or children should be encouraged to make. All ultra-processed, sugary, junk (and some crackers and potato chips).

Again, no reason to expect either Random House or Kellogg’s to be doing the right thing by kids, but in my opinion, their clear partnership in doing the wrong thing here certainly doesn’t reflect well on either of them.

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Saturday Stories: Apples, Crystals, and Mindfulness

Posted  August 10, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

James Hamblin, in The Atlantic, on how fresh apples (and other fruit) are perhaps the only probiotics you should be buying.

Emily Atkin, in The New Republic, explains why even if you believe in the nonsense around healing crystals, you probably shouldn’t be buying them.

Sahanika Ratnayake, in Aeon, with some truths about mindfulness.

[And in case you don’t follow me on social media, in Medscape this week I ask does the anger, zealotry, and ugliness of the more vocal parts of the low-carb community hinder its wider adoption?]

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National Post Publishes Correction

Posted  August 9, 2019  by  bigcitylib

BOOYAH!  JOB DONE!  The Natty Post corrects in response to this story:

Editor’s note: In the original article, Michael Rogers intended to say “early evolutionary ancestors” instead of Neanderthals when speaking about the agricultural revolution. As well, he intended to say there’s no anthropological evidence of Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1. All changes have been made in his quotes. 

Not even sure the phrase “early evolutionary ancestors” cuts it science-wise in this context but fuck it I’m in  a good mood.  We’ll let it go.  Kudos to Bianca Bharti for fixing things and being a good sport about it.  As for Doc Rogers, well they say he is from the University of Guelph.  I had a friend who went there.  When I asked him what it was like he said Guelph is the sound a whale makes when it swallows.  I don’t know what that means but I don’t think its a compliment.

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National Post Publishes Absolute Bullshit Re Beyond Meat

Posted  August 8, 2019  by  bigcitylib

The absolute bullshit is this bit:

“For the last million years, we’ve evolved with a very specific diet that’s been based on whole foods,” [Michael] Rogers said. “There hasn’t been a change in our diets this drastic in all of human evolution with the exception of one event in human history: when the Neanderthals ventured from forests into pastoral land and started … agricultural practices,” more than 12,000 years ago.

I don’t know who Michael Rogers is, but this kind of quote is the kind of thing that makes you think he isn’t much of an expert.  I mean, the timing of wheat domestication is about right, a couple thousand years too early, maybe.  But the species is wrong.  The last Neanderthals walked maybe 40,000 years before crops were domesticated, unless Mr. Rogers knows something nobody else does.

Seriously, this is a big fat fucking boner of a mistake: Neanderthals invented agriculture.  BULLSHIT!!!   That the NP published it without  fact checking is embarrassing.  And if you are trying to criticize alt-meat, making this kind of claim isn’t going to help.

PS.  I have never tried a Beyond Meat product nor do I have an opinion on the company.

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General

The Recipe For Aging Gracefully And Adding Life To Your Years

Posted  August 6, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

No one wants aging to happen to them, and yet.

While eventually we’ll all lose the fight, that doesn’t mean we can’t go down swinging, and the good news is the recipe for aging without frailty is exceedingly straight forward and was recently spelled out in a systematic review published in the British Journal of General Practice.

The magic formula the 46 included studies pointed to? A mix of regular strength training with regular protein supplementation.

Spelled out a bit further?

20-25 minutes of strength training 4x per week and the purposeful inclusion of protein with every meal and snack (or alternatively, two daily protein supplements providing 25g of protein each).

Though the aforementioned formula won’t guarantee a long life, the evidence certainly suggests it’ll help to provide a better one adding life to your years if not years to your life.

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Exercise

Most Generous Conclusion Of Chocolate Milk In Exercise Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis? It Will Increase Your Time To Exhaustion By 47 Seconds Over Placebo

Posted  July 29, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Literally every time I write about chocolate milk being a beverage worth actively minimizing in your diet (have the smallest amount of it you need to like your life), someone inevitably chimes in to tell me I’m wrong because it’s great for exercise recovery.

And I’m not sure how I missed this when it came out, but last year, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials involving chocolate milk and exercise recovery.

After excluding studies that didn’t meet their inclusion criteria, the (non-conflicted) authors were left with 12 studies, 2 deemed of high quality, 9 of fair quality, and 1 of low quality with 11 having extractable data on at least one performance/recovery marker including ratings of perceived exertion, time to exhaustion, heart rate, serum lactate, and serum creatine kinase.

Their overall conclusion?

The systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that chocolate milk consumption had no effect on any of those variables when compared to placebo or other sport drinks.

Their most generous conclusion?

If they excluded one study from their analysis of the effect of chocolate milk on time to exhaustion then chocolate milk was found to increase time to exhaustion by 47 seconds over a placebo beverage. They also found, in another subgroup analysis, that lactate was slightly attenuated in chocolate milk drinkers compared to placebo (a finding that was not present in the high quality RCT looking at same).

(for a brief discussion on the stats involved and the subgroup analysis, here’s a post on same from epidemiologist @GidMK who concluded that chocolate milk is “not a fitness drink“).

Happy to have this post published so that I can share the next time someone inevitably tries to suggest that chocolate milk is magic.

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