Eating nuts improves your blood chemistry

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Loma Linda University has amassed the best statistics yet of the positive effects of eating nuts on blood lipids. By pooling the data from 25 individual nut consumption studies conducted in seven countries with more than 500 subjects, investigators determined the most informative numbers to date on how nuts lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels…

Eating an average of 2.3 ounces of nuts daily (67 g, about 1/3 cup) produced the following healthful reductions: blood total cholesterol was lower by 5.1 percent, LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7.4 percent, the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio by 8.3 percent, and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio by 5.6 percent. In people with higher than normal blood triglycerides—greater than 150 milligrams per deciliter—nut consumption reduced triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent.

“Results of this study provide yet the best evidence that eating nuts reduces LDL cholesterol and improves the blood lipids profile,” says Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, of Loma Linda University, lead researcher on this study and one of the pioneers in nut research. “The findings from this analysis support those from epidemiological studies which have consistently shown that habitual nut consumption reduces the risk of heart disease.

“Thus, a simple change of eating nuts regularly can make a big difference in people’s health,” he concludes.

Reminds me of my favorite line about “How do you catch a squirrel?”

Climb a tree and make a noise like a nut!

Navistar unveils eStar electric truck

Citing declining U.S. oil production and escalating world demand for energy, Navistar unveiled its new eStar all-electric delivery/cargo van in Elkhart, Ind., where the new vehicle will be built.

The eStar’s entry into the U.S. market has been long-anticipated. It is a culmination of Navistar’s 2009 acquisition of U.K. electric vehicle manufacturer Modec and a $2.4 billion investment by the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – funds that were matched by the trucking industry at large, for a total investment of $4.8 billion in the research and development of clean energy vehicles.

The new eStar is not a hybrid truck or a conversion from a gasoline- or diesel-burning vehicle. Rather, it is a purpose-built Class 3 delivery and cargo van that…balances the needs of the environment with the needs of businesses in the United States…

According to FedEx spokeswoman Deborah Willig, test vehicles evaluated by FedEx were able to work for an entire 8-hour day without requiring additional battery charges. And in the event that quick vehicle turnaround times are required, Terblanche said the battery cassette in an eStar can be swapped out in 20 minutes – much like a gigantic cell phone – returning the vehicle to the road for another 100 miles. Terblanche said the eStar easily is adaptable to future battery technology, which means the truck’s performance and range actually could improve as new power systems become available.

The first one off the assembly line goes to FedEx. Which makes great sense.

Leftover Bush flunkies allow Gulf drilling without permits

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.

The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.

Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed…

M.M.S. has given up any pretense of regulating the offshore oil industry,” said Kierán Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group in Tucson, which filed notice of intent to sue the agency over its noncompliance with federal law concerning endangered species. “The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws.”

The MMS reflects the thinking of Republicans and other latter-day conservatives who have turned their collective backs on conservation, abdicating any responsibility to taxpayers or future generations.

RTFA. Revelations and detail.

Obama and Salazar are like babes in the woods when it comes to dealing with the corruption of Federal bureaucrats and devotion to corporate greed.

Homophobic nutball whines about his public exposure

Rekers and companion photographed on their return trip

Shamed anti-gay activist George Rekers has resigned from the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality – a month after holidaying with a rent boy.

He left the organisation “to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me,” he said in a statement issued earlier today…

The escort in question, who has been called “Lucien,” “Geo” and “Jo-vanni” in news reports, has told various media outlets that he gave Rekers daily massages in the nude during the trip, which included genital touching…

In a message to the Joe.My.God. blog, Rekers said no one should be surprised he was found in the company of a male escort.

“Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them,” Rekers wrote. “Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. … If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called ‘Lucien,’ you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.”

Sounds like there was a great deal of sharing. Except for delusions.

The folks at are enjoying a surge in business from the free publicity – and have issued their own statement in answer to Rekers’ reeks:

“We remain open-minded and devoted to privacy for the people who use our site, but we can’t take the risk out of leading a double life, or having a closeted or hypocritical career… If you’re a famous heterosexual homophobe and you appear in public with a rentboy with your pants down, you’re just asking for trouble.

If you would like to Take a Pornstar or Male Escort on Vacation, is where you’ll find him. Excess baggage can indeed be heavy and there is nothing like a hot man to help you unload it.”

One in four women show ambivalence to pregnancy

For years, a widely held assumption was that women of childbearing age fell neatly into two camps: those trying to have children, and those not trying to have children.

A new nationwide study suggests, however, that nearly a fourth of women consider themselves “OK either way” about getting pregnant — a wide swath of ambivalence that surprised researchers, and that could reshape how doctors approach many aspects of women’s health care.

In a study of nearly 4,000 women ages 25 to 45 who are sexually active, about 71 percent said they were not trying to get pregnant, while 6 percent said they were. But nearly one in four, 23 percent, told researchers they were “OK either way” — they were neither trying to conceive, nor trying to prevent a pregnancy.

Among women who had no children, 60 percent said they were trying to not get pregnant, 14 percent were trying to get pregnant and 26 percent responded that they were “OK either way.”

“This finding dramatically challenges the idea that women are always trying, one way or another, to either get pregnant or not get pregnant,” said Julia McQuillan, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study’s lead author. “It also shows that women who are OK either way should be assessed separately from women who are intentional about pregnancy.”

In addition, the study examined the attitudes and social pressures regarding pregnancy of the respondents, as well as their socioeconomic status.

RTFA – in fact, read the study [.pdf]. Interesting stuff and something all sexes should consider.

UK bans “crooked” 500-euro notes

The 500-euro note is no longer available in Britain after evidence showed it was used mostly by criminals…

The note has not been criminalized, but the move means it will no longer be available from banks or money service bureaus, the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) said.

People will still be able to deposit 500-euro notes into British bank accounts if they bring the notes back from abroad, SOCA said. The amount of 500 euros is equivalent to about $628.

“There is no doubt that the main UK demand for the 500-euro note comes from serious organized criminals,” said the agency’s deputy director, Ian Cruxton. “The banknote wholesalers have shown decisive leadership in withdrawing supply. This is a bold and welcome move which will cause substantial disruption to criminals’ ability to move and launder large quantities of cash.”

Criminals have historically moved cash out of the country by exchanging high-denomination notes for lower denominations, which are harder to detect, regardless of the currency, SOCA said. An analysis by the agency, however, showed that more than 90 percent of British demand for the 500-euro note came from criminals…

SOCA said it hoped the move would make it harder for criminals to move and launder money and take cash across borders undetected.

Uh, OK. Life tells me they’ll just find a different model.