One more study finds children consume too much sugar – NSS!

Older children consume more sugar than younger ones do, boys consume more than girls, and white children consume more than black or Mexican-American children, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. And they all consume too much.

Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a continuous examination of a large cross-section of the American population. The survey includes interviews, physical examinations and laboratory tests of blood and urine. For this study, published on Feb. 29, researchers interviewed subjects about their food consumption over the previous 24 hours…

Boys got an average of 16.3 percent of their calories from added sugar, and girls 15.5 percent. The older the child, the greater the intake of sugar calories — the diets of 2- to 5-year-olds had less than 14 percent sugar, but boys 12 to 19 consumed 17.5 percent of their calories as added sugar, and adolescent girls, 16.6 percent.

Non-Hispanic whites consumed the largest percentage of calories from sugar and Mexican-Americans the smallest. Family income made no difference in sugar consumption.

The numbers reveal two facts that may contradict commonly held beliefs. First, young people got 60 percent of their sugar calories from foods, and only 40 percent from soft drinks. And second, whether it was from food or drink, they got most of their sugar at home, not at school or elsewhere.

Golly – what a surprise.

Before the next study determines the same stupid behavior one more time – how about we spend the money on something that explains to parents they’re brainwashing their kids into self-destruction?

Flush a toilet and cool Google’s data center

Google has turned to chilly outside air and even seawater for greener ways to cool its data centers. But the search engine giant says that it has now also tapped into recycled waste water to cool a data center in Douglas County, Georgia.

It’s the first time Google has used recycled waste water for a data center in the U.S. and the system was financed by Google and owned by the local water authority. In theory a Douglas County resident could flush a toilet and contribute to cooling the Google data center.

At the Georgia data center, Google built an evaporative cooling system, which uses both outside air and chilled sprayed water to cool servers. Google says in a blog post that this evaporative cooling process commonly uses “hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a day.”

To address that large water need, Google said it realized it didn’t need to use water that was clean enough to drink for the evaporative cooling process, and decided to go looking for how to tap into recycled, waste water. That’s where the Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA), and its water treatment plants, came in.

Working with the WSA, Google built a plant that sipheons off up to 30 percent of the waste water from one of the WSA’s plants, and Google uses that water for the data center cooling system. That water isn’t clean enough to drink, but it’s fine for cooling, and its partially cleaned by the time it reaches the data center. The WSA, in turn, saves money and energy by reducing the amount of water it has to fully clean.

Whatever water hasn’t evaporated through the data center cooling process, Google sends to another cleaning plant that it built close by to the data center; once that water is fully cleaned, it’s pumped back in the local Chattahoochee River. Hey, Google’s design might not work in all locations, but if there’s a water treatment plant and an amenable utility nearby, why not?

It’s always a positive to see technology leaders, successful firms in the new economy, adopting conservation programs that Congress hasn’t even thought of implementing in policy. Kudos to Google and Douglas County.

Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939 – 1943

These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by John Vachon.

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Evaluating the risk of corruption in your state government

The State Integrity Investigation, a partnership between the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International to measure the risk of corruption in every state, released full state report cards today. They include letter grades, reporter comments and research details, as well as each state’s rank among all 50 states.

See How Your State Ranks

The State Integrity Investigation is an unprecedented, data-driven analysis of each state’s laws and practices that deter corruption and promote accountability and openness. Experienced journalists graded each state government on its corruption risk using 330 specific integrity indicators. The Investigation ranked every state from one to 50. Each state received a report card with letter grades in 14 categories, including campaign finance, ethics laws, lobbying regulations, and management of state pension funds.

I’ve been a supporter of the Center for Public Integrity since it started over two decades ago. A source for serious research and journalist reports on the state of ethics in the United States and – the matching half of the equation – corruption.

Got this report in the morning’s block of emails and feel it should be up on every blog. Just as all politics is local, trying to change politics in this nation starts at the local level – if you want to take an active part in the process.

Read ’em and weep – or cheer. New Mexico surprised me by being 12th from the bottom. I wouldn’t have assumed we’d do that well. 🙂

A kidnapping is ignored – as most crimes go unpunished in Mexico

Photographs of Zynthia Cazares’ brother, husband and father, all still missing

Matamoros, Mexico — They have spotted their stolen vehicles at stoplights, driven by the same gunmen who used them to take their entire family captive last July. They have reported the brazen abduction to every branch of Mexican law enforcement, only to be ignored, or directed someplace else.

For the women of the Cazares family who were kidnapped with their families for ransom — and who are still searching for five missing relatives — the official response to their horrific ordeal has been even more excruciating than the crime itself. Even now, they say, after months of trying to goad the Mexican authorities into action, they still see criminals they recognize living large here in this border city, as untouchable as kings.

“We’re completely impotent,” said Zynthia Cazares, 30, an American citizen who was among those abducted and whose husband, brother and father are still missing. “No one will help us.”

Six years into a mostly military assault on drug cartels, impunity across much of Mexico has worsened, and justice is harder to find. Criminals in Mexico are less likely to be punished now than even just a few years ago, say current and former government officials and experts who have studied Mexico’s ailing judiciary, because the authorities have been overwhelmed by increases in violent crime while corruption, fear and incompetence have continued to keep the justice system weak.

Many areas now veer toward lawlessness: in 14 of Mexico’s 31 states, the chance of a crime’s leading to trial and sentencing was less than 1 percent in 2010…and since then, experts say, attempts at reform have stalled as crime and impunity have become cozy partners.

“Crime goes up, diminishing the likelihood of punishment, which causes crime to rise again,” said Alejandro Hope, a former senior intelligence officer for Mexico. “And so we go.”

On our side of the border we get the same crap press releases the Mexican government hands out on their side. The War on Drugs is succeeding – especially with the help of politicians in Washington, DC. Hogwash!

Remedies for a criminal drug culture are simple and well established in countries where decisions are grounded in science and medicine — not religious morality and ten cent slogans.

Authorities on both sides of the border might consider getting down to business and clearing the criminals out of government, disarming the gangsters on the street. It starts by taking the profit out of prohibition. It didn’t work the last time we made a big deal of it. It still doesn’t work.

RTFA for the details, the story of this tormented family, the silence and stonewalling of a useless government.

Puritan parents withdraw children from school because teacher has a summer gig as a model

Parents have withdrawn their children from an Italian primary school in protest at a teacher who poses for glamour calendars in her spare time.

Michela Roth, a 38-year-old American who has lived in Italy for years and has children of her own, often poses for glamour shoots during the summer holidays when she returns to the US. She has won several beauty contests, including Miss Mamma Italiana and Miss Culetto d’Oro (Miss Golden Bum), raising eyebrows in the tiny town of Castello di Serravalle near Bologna in northern Italy.

Four sets of parents have withdrawn their children from the primary school, which caters for one to five year olds, after Miss Roth posed for a Harley Davidson calendar.

“She’s too beautiful and I don’t want her teaching my son,” one indignant parent told the local newspaper.

What a dimwit!

But Miss Roth insists that parents who object are simply jealous and old-fashioned.

A photograph on her Facebook page shows her reclining on a couch wearing a see-through black negligee and high-heel shoes but she says there is nothing overly risqué about her modelling work…

“I’m always photographed in clothes, I’m never nude,” she told the local newspaper. “For me, being a model is a second job, and I do it especially during the summer when the school is shut. But I love being a teacher, that’s the main objective in my life. Those who know me can vouch for my professionality both as a teacher and a model…

An online poll conducted by the paper showed that the majority of readers were more sympathetic to the teacher than to the disgruntled parents – 83 per cent against 14 per cent, with three per cent who were unsure.

So, the newspaper sold a lot of papers, everyone in Castello di Serravalle got all excited for a day or two. Thoughtful people reflected on this tempest in a teapot – and supported the teacher’s right to have a summer job. Cripes – she’s not a criminal like Berlusconi.