Bring on the eggs!

Dietary cholesterol limits should be abandoned and vegetarian and Mediterranean diets recommended, according to an advisory committee report that will shape the nation’s dietary guidelines.

The scientific advisory report…will form the foundation for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to be released by the federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services after a public comment period.

If the recommendations are followed, the 40-year-old warning on cholesterol — recommending no more than 300 mg/day, or about the amount found in two eggs — would disappear due to lack of evidence that it has much impact on arterial cholesterol or leads to heart disease…

Indeed, cholesterol wasn’t the only change suggested for the 5-year update to the nation’s dietary guidelines.

The advisory committee recommended adding three diets with more than 30% of calories from fat to the recommended list: A healthy diet based on U.S. foods, The Mediterranean diet, A vegetarian diet…Overall, though, the emphasis wasn’t on specific diets or nutrients but a dietary pattern.

The committee found evidence that a “healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

“Additional strong evidence shows that it is not necessary to eliminate food groups or conform to a single dietary pattern to achieve healthy dietary patterns.

“Rather, individuals can combine foods in a variety of flexible ways to achieve healthy dietary patterns, and these strategies should be tailored to meet the individual’s health needs, dietary preferences, and cultural traditions.”

That conclusion drew an “Amen to that!” from David L. Katz, MD…president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine…

Of course, I shudder to look forward to the headlines from mainstream media sources with 19th Century editorial boards, diatribes from dietary hustlers with a particular axe to grind and niche health fans of this week’s magic bullet [for only a small subscription fee].

Exercise and eating whatever is fresh – in moderation – is pretty much a given for survival. Excess in sugar and salt is the result of too much processed foods regardless of preference. Think about what you eat, folks. It ain’t that complex.

Obama and Congress back off on mandatory encryption bill

Burr and Feinstein continue to turn their backs on liberty and privacy

Draft legislation that could’ve forced U.S. corporations like Apple to decrypt data on-demand following a court order won’t be formally introduced this year, and has lost the support needed to advance anyway…

The bill — backed by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein — didn’t have the support of the Obama administation, the sources told Reuters. Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden in fact claimed that the White House has “dropped anchor and taken down the sail.”

Well, NO LONGER had the support of Obama.

Although Burr and Feinstein are the Republican and Democratic heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee, respectively, Committee members from both political aisles have reportedly backed away from the legislation, particularly Democrats. No one in the House ever offered support…

The Burr-Feinstein bill emerged in the wake of Apple’s fight with the Department of Justice and the FBI over unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Although the DoJ ultimately withdrew a court order asking Apple to build a workaround for iOS’ passcode retry limits, encryption issues had gained more prominence, and indeed many in U.S. law enforcement — such as FBI director James Comey — are still asking for backdoors, worried that encryption is putting some communications beyond their reach.

Most folks are aware of how and why such legislation illustrates the corruption of both political parties. Add in the sheer stupidity of introducing bills which can only affect communications inside the US – sort of – and the whole world gets an object lesson in how much of American politics is play-acting. Little morality plays designed to keep Talking Heads employed and useless politicians in office.

Senators put secret text in a bill giving FBI warrantless access to your email

A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs — most commonly, information about the name, address, and call data associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.

Since a 2008 Justice Department legal opinion, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transactional records,” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.

The spy bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, with the provision in it. The lone no vote came from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote in a statement that one of the bill’s provisions “would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers.”

Wyden did not disclose exactly what the provision would allow, but his spokesperson suggested it might go beyond email records to things like web-surfing histories and other information about online behavior. “Senator Wyden is concerned it could be read that way,” Keith Chu said…

Nothing released to the public about which Congress-creeps put this crap into the bill for the FBI. Richard Burr, from North Carolina, and Tom Cotton, from Arkansas, are two Republican Confederate stalwarts advocating for a police state as hard as any other backwardness – who may be responsible.

NSLs have a particularly controversial history. In 2008, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine blasted the FBI for using NSLs supported by weak evidence and documentation to collect information on Americans, some of which “implicated the target’s First Amendment rights.”

NSLs have a sordid history. They’ve been abused in a number of ways, including … targeting of journalists and … use to collect an essentially unbounded amount of information,” Andrew Crocker wrote.

One thing that makes them particularly easy to abuse is that recipients of NSLs are subject to a gag order that forbids them from revealing the letters’ existence to anyone, much less the public.

Just another good reason why it’s called a “police state”. These thugs not only want the right to snoop into our lives unencumbered by any constitutional rights – they wish to continue the gag order process introduced to every aspect of American life by the Patriot [sic] Act. No more concerns about free speech if you’re not allowed to speak at all.

Watch Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, shrink

The water level in Lake Mead — the United States’ largest reservoir that serves as a source of water for over 20 million people — has dropped to an all-time low, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the reservoir and the Hoover Dam…Water level in the reservoir dropped to 1,074.34 feet Friday — bringing it to its lowest level since the dam was built in 1936…

Lake Mead, whose high-water capacity is about 1,225 feet, is currently only 37 percent full. At 900 feet, Lake Mead becomes a “dead pool,” which means that nothing would flow downstream from the Hoover Dam…

The reservoir has not reached full capacity since 1983, and, over the past 16 years, as the Colorado River basin reels under a historic drought, its water levels have fallen consistently.

❝ “This problem is not going away and it is likely to get worse, perhaps far worse, as climate change unfolds,” Brad Udall, a climate research scientist at Colorado State University, told the Desert Sun. “Unprecedented high temperatures in the basin are causing the flow of the river to decline. The good news is that we have time and the smarts to manage this, if all the states work together.”

Officials from California, Nevada and Arizona — the three states that would face crippling water shortages if the reservoir’s water levels drop further — are believed to be working on a deal to temporarily reduce water withdrawal from Lake Mead.

Just, please, don’t tell the conservative anti-science nutballs in Congress that states are working to solve problems that include the words “climate change” in any portion of the question. They’ll go into action faster than any speed-trap sheriff in West Texas.

They may be incapable of passing a budget which doesn’t support the Republican War on Women or filling vacancies in any portion of our judiciary above the rank of suburban family court – but, boy, can they roll into hearings, conferences, lawsuits faster than you can say, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi – all guaranteed to stop up the works of useful projects.

Woman faces deportation for checking hubby’s cellphone

“My husband’s a creep!”

A woman was fined and ordered to be deported from the United Arab Emirates for breaching her husband’s privacy by checking his cell phone to see if he was cheating on her…

The unnamed Arab expatriate was fined $40,843 by the criminal court in the emirate of Ajman…

Her lawyer said she had accused her husband of having an affair. She admitted she had accessed his phone without his permission and transferred photos to her device, the lawyer added.

The husband lodged a complaint with the court which convicted her on Thursday last week under a cyber crime law which penalizes “the invasion of privacy of another person” using information technology…

Sounds like the kind of protection our elected Congresspunks expect for themselves – without extending reasonable concern to the unprivileged.

In the UAE, generally, the primary dividing line is gender.

Senators Pimps demand Feds halt inquiries into oil companies’ climate denial

Five hardline conservative senators, including former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have demanded the US justice department stop all investigations into whether oil and gas companies lied to the public and shareholders about climate change…

The letter intends to forestall a federal investigation like those begun by states around the US. In New York last year, the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, began an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil lied to its investors about the dangers of climate change, and subpoenaed the oil giant for records.

Also on Wednesday, Exxon’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, defied shareholders and activists who have called on the company to acknowledge climate change and change its behaviors. He said. blah, blah blah, blah, blah.

Some investors have tried to force change within the company, and the Rockefeller family, descended from Standard Oil tycoon John D Rockefeller, divested fully from Exxon earlier this year…

Parallel investigations have either been announced or reported in more than a dozen other states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia. The senators’ letter took note of these investigations, and called them…an assault on free speech…

Not that these lying bastards have ever worried much about free speech for ordinary citizens…Instead of the privileged corporations they represent full-time.

The oil and gas industry gave more to the Texas senator’s campaign than to any other candidate’s in the Republican primary election.

William Gibson has written a graphic novel — it rocks!

Click to enlarge

[minor spoiler alerts in the linked article]

William Gibson has made the leap from prose to picture books, collaborating with Michael St. John Smith and artist Bruce Guice to give us this week’s first issue of new IDW series Archangel.

“It’s an alternate-history/cross-worlds story,” Gibson writes in the back matter. “And I wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the frame, because that’s an inherent part of our narrative. But I will say that one of the first verbal tags we had for the material was ‘Band Of Brothers vs. Blackwater.'”…

Now comes the frustrating part. Having to wait at least a month for the next 20-odd pages is going to seem like an eternity. Archangel evidently hit a chord, though. Publisher IDW sold out the initial run in just a few days before announcing it would print a second run. But seeing as we live in our non-dystopian 2016, Archangel is also available in PDF and ePub formats, which suffer no such restrictions. If you’re fan of thought-provoking science fiction, of Gibson’s oeuvre, or even World War II spy thrillers, you ought to check it out.

I’m getting it, tomorrow.

Inside an antineutrino detector

Click to enlargeLBNL/Roy Kaltschmidt
Inside a Daya Bay Antineutrino Detector

Why is there more matter than antimatter in the Universe? To better understand this facet of basic physics, energy departments in China and the USA led in the creation of the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment. Located under thick rock about 50 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong, China, eight Daya Bay detectors monitor antineutrinos emitted by six nearby nuclear reactors.

Featured here, a camera looks along one of the Daya Bay detectors, imaging photon sensors that pick up faint light emitted by antineutrinos interacting with fluids in the detector.

Early results indicate an unexpectedly high rate of one type of antineutrino changing into another, a rate which, if confirmed, could imply the existence of a previously undetected type of neutrino as well as impact humanity’s comprehension of fundamental particle reactionsthat occurred within the first few seconds of the Big Bang.


Thanks, Ursarodinia