Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeREUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Fall/Winter 2014-2015 women’s ready-to-wear collection for French fashion house Chanel at the Grand Palais transformed into a “Chanel Shopping Center” during Paris Fashion Week.

Looks like a scene from The 10th Victim

Adult sugar intake should be less than 5% of total calories

Adults in the UK [and the US] should aim to cut their sugar intake to 5% of daily calories if they can, according to the World Health Organisation – less than the amount, for an average person, in a single can of Coca-Cola.

In a new draft guideline, the WHO said all people, at every stage of life, should try to reduce the amount of sugar they consume. It reiterated its 2003 guidance that countries should set an upper limit of 10% of daily calories from sugar – but said the ideal level would be 5%.

For an adult of average bodyweight, with an intake of about 2,000 calories a day, 5% would equate to 100 calories – which at four calories in a gram would be 25g of sugar, said Dr Francesco Branca, the WHO’s director of nutrition for health and development. A standard 330ml can of cola contains 35g of sugar.

Even at a 10% limit, said Branca, a can of sugar-sweetened drink “approaches the amount that is acceptable for an adult. For a child, since a child has a lower energy requirement, that could be a lot less. Consumption of a single serving of sugar-sweetened soda might actually exceed the limit of 10% of energy [from sugar] for a child.”

Branca added that soft drink consumption “is one of the elements that has been more constantly associated with increased weight gain, particularly in children. This is an area where more intense action needs to be taken if this guideline is to be implemented…”

The WHO’s nutrition guidance expert advisory group has been mulling over the evidence for nearly two years and commissioned scientific reviews of the evidence on the risks posed to health by “free sugars” – those added to food and drinks rather than the intrinsic sugars in fruit and vegetables.

The evidence is clearest on dental caries, the report says. Studies show an increase in tooth decay in children who get more than 10% of their calories from sugar…The link with obesity and diseases for which it is a risk factor, such as strokes, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, is less clear cut. However, analyses of all available well-conducted trials suggested that people who cut down on sugar also managed to reduce weight – and those who ate more sugar put on weight.

The new guideline is likely to be strongly opposed by the food and drink industry and their supporters, who argue that no one food or type of food is a problem – all food and drinks are fine in moderation, they say.

NSS.

Meanwhile, you’ll not be harming yourself by reducing sugar intake. So, why not get off your rusty dusty, sort out your nutrition and diet, squeeze a little more exercise into your daily life – and don’t waste too many tears on the food and drink industry.

Michigan city to remove law against willfully annoying people

On our way!

A law forbidding willfully annoying another person is about to be removed from the Grand Rapids, Mich., city code, the city attorney said…”It’s unconstitutional in terms of being vague. It’s simply unenforceable,” Catherine Mish, city attorney, said of the 38-year-old law.

The City Commission is expected to strike the wording from the code, the Grand Rapids Press said Tuesday, noting assault, battery, molestation and endangerment of life remains illegal.

Mish has been scouring the city code for archaic rules worthy of removal.

She said the law against disobeying a police officer does not apply to motor vehicles, apparently making it legal to keep driving if pulled over by a police officer.

The law against leaving a restaurant without paying is also muddy, Mish says, noting such cases are currently prosecuted under existing language that prohibits people from taking or removing property not their own.

She has not, however, proposed a change in a 1960s-era law prohibiting the carrying of guns in the city, an ordinance that has prompted demonstrations by gun advocates, the newspaper noted.

I am sometimes accused of willfully annoying people – online – though never accused of being a troll. My habit of pointing out ignorance of history, law, philosophy and science certainly pisses off the expected sector of political animals often in possession of a sixth-grade education at best. The rest of those I tend to offend often have a second-rate ideology they’re stuck into defending for what reason I can’t guess.

I’ll have to peer into New Mexico’s often out-of-date legal code and see if I should be worrying about one more political arrest on my rap sheet. This time for annoying some True Believer, True Local or other.

Meanwhile, the core answer I seek with my questions is significant. Are reactionaries generally stupid or ignorant.

Number 1 state in job creation also has the highest minimum wage

When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.

In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 — the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years…

“It’s hard to see that the state of Washington has paid a heavy penalty for having a higher minimum wage than the rest of the country,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at Brookings Institution who formerly was at the U.S. Labor Department.

Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps, as Obama proposes, would reduce employment nationally by about 500,000 workers, or about 0.3 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Feb. 18. At the same time, the increase would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and add $31 billion to the earnings of low-wage Americans, the report found…

The federal minimum-wage legislation is opposed by business groups such as the National Retail Federation, along with many Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio…

Gridlock in Congress may mean the debate is waged more immediately by states and cities instead of at the federal level…As of January, 21 states and the District of Columbia had a higher minimum wage than the federal floor. Cities including San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico, require even higher hourly earnings than the proposed federal level…

Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat elected in November…promotes raising the city’s minimum to $15. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranks 14th in a list compiled by Bloomberg of 50 cities where it’s hard for fast-food workers to gain upward mobility, based on median pay compared with rent, tuition and health-care costs. Advocates such as Murray say a higher minimum would help change that.

“We can’t rebuild this economy if it’s just people who buy 94-foot yachts and play in the derivatives,” Murray said. “You build an economy when a middle class is buying microwaves or flat-screen TVs or the next set of clothes for their kids.”

RTFA for more detail including, of course, conservative arguments against ever raising the minimum wage or even having one. You probably know those by heart by now.

We get to listen to the business and conservative side of every argument a hundred times over for any presentation of progressive programs. How ideology works in practice has never had much bearing on what America’s 1% considers fair access.

30,000-year-old giant virus thaws out – comes back to life!


Virus inactive for >30,000 years – revived in a laboratory in France

An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say…It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again.

The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed…

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time.”

The ancient pathogen was discovered buried 30m down in the frozen ground…Called Pithovirus sibericum, it belongs to a class of giant viruses that were discovered 10 years ago.

These are all so large that, unlike other viruses, they can be seen under a microscope. And this one, measuring 1.5 micrometres in length, is the biggest that has ever been found.

The last time it infected anything was more than 30,000 years ago, but in the laboratory it has sprung to life once again…Tests show that it attacks amoebas, which are single-celled organisms, but does not infect humans or other animals…

However, the researchers believe that other more deadly pathogens could be locked in Siberia’s permafrost.

The researchers say this region is under threat. Since the 1970s, the permafrost has retreated and reduced in thickness, and climate change projections suggest it will decrease further…

Prof Claverie warns that exposing the deep layers could expose new viral threats.

He said: “It is a recipe for disaster. If you start having industrial explorations, people will start to move around the deep permafrost layers. Through mining and drilling, those old layers will be penetrated and this is where the danger is coming from…”

Professor Jonathan Ball said…”We freeze viruses in the laboratory to preserve them for the future. If they have a lipid envelope – like flu or HIV, for example – then they are a bit more fragile, but the viruses with an external protein shell – like foot and mouth and common cold viruses – survive better.

“But it’s the freezing-thawing that poses the problems, because as the ice forms then melts there’s a physical damaging effect. If they do survive this, then they need to find a host to infect and they need to find them pretty fast.”

I nominate J.J.Abrams to make the movie…