Surprised? NYC trans fat ban really did keep people out of the hospital

❝ In 2006, New York City passed a law banning artificial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated fats, in all restaurant foods. The law was first applied to fried foods — but not fried bread products like donuts — before taking effect for all restaurant foods in July 2008. A study released on Wednesday in the Journal of American Medical Association Cardiology found that the law, criticized by some as evidence of a “nanny state”, actually lead to a six percent decline in hospitalizations and strokes

❝ It’s been known since the 1950s that eating a lot of saturated fats is associated with heart attacks and poor cardiovascular health. Saturated fats are a kind of fat found primarily in animal products like lard and butter…and tend to be solid at room temperature. They get their name because, while all fats are made of long chains of carbon atoms, the carbon molecules that make up saturated fats share no double bonds—instead, they are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules…

Unsaturated fats, which tend to be liquid at room temperature, share double bonds between their carbon molecules and are often, but not exclusively, found in vegetables oils. Monounsaturated oils — like corn, peanut, and soy oil — have just one double carbon bond. Polyunsaturated fats (the so called ‘healthy fats’ like the omega-3 fats found in salmon or olive oil) have many double carbon bonds.

❝ The problem is that while unsaturated fats are healthier, they’re also tougher to use. They aren’t as versatile…And saturated fats, apart from being artery cloggers, also tend to go rancid…In the 1950s, researchers realized they could substitute animal fats with vegetable oils by using a hydrogen reaction to turn an unsaturated fat into a partially hydrogenated fat—one with many of the same properties as a saturated fat, but with less, well, saturated fat. Voila, they made margarine.

❝ Researchers didn’t invent trans fats—not exactly. Trans fats are naturally present in meat, but only in minuscule amounts. By finding a process to turn unsaturated fats into partially saturated fats, however, scientists set the stage for people to consume a lot of trans fats all at once for the first time…

❝ Artificial trans fats, as it turns out, are actually worse for humans than saturated fats. Not only do they raise our LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) just like saturated fats do, but unlike saturated fats, they also lower the HDL (“good cholesterol”), increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fat consumption is also associated with development of diabetes and dementia.

❝ The JAMA study, which analyzed data from the New York State Department of Public Health from 2002-2013 and compared rates of hospitalization between the 11 New York State counties (five of which comprise New York City) which banned trans fat between 2007 and 2011, suggests that the research is right. Trans fats can be deadly.

Given the track record for our Federal Government in general and Congress in specific, we can expect them to climb on board with this science in, say, 8 or 10 years. Or more.

Even electing a reasonably sane government populated with a fair number of folks who comprehend as much science as a 6th grader – after we shove the Trumpkins and neo-cons out to pasture – it will take a few years just to undo the stupidity put in place during the reign of populist idiocracy.

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California cranked out so much solar power this spring that wholesale electricity ran negative$

❝ The extraordinary success of solar power in some pockets of the world that combine sunshine with high investment in the technology mean that governments and energy companies are having radically to rethink the way they manage—and charge for—electricity.

California is one such a place.

❝ On March 11, it passed a milestone on the route to powering the whole state sustainably. For the first time, more than half the power needs of the entire state came from solar power for a few hours that day…

The power came from utility-scale solar photovoltaic farms, solar thermal plants, and the panels installed on private homes. Based on the data it collects, the EIA estimated that in each hour of peak times, that total capacity produced 4 million kWh of electricity on March 11…

❝ The spikes also have a big effect on wholesale energy prices, which dipped to zero or even to negative territory this spring during certain hours in California…That’s in sharp contrast to the same hours (8am to 2pm) in the month of March between 2013 and 2015, when average hourly wholesale prices ranged from $14-45 MWh.

Negative prices usually happen because there’s a glut of renewable energy, but non-renewable generators are also producing. They don’t shut them off completely because of the high costs of restarting.

California now accounts for a sizable chunk of the US market, having the highest energy demand of any state after Texas. It also has almost half of all the solar power in the US.

❝ This doesn’t mean, however, that Californians are paying nothing for their power because wholesale prices don’t translate directly into retail prices, which are based on averages, not single days. But it will mean energy companies start to rethink how they deliver and charge for electricity as the mix of renewables increases.

Unless, of course, you’re a public utility, fossil fuel producer or dimwit politician who hopes and prays that renewable power sources just disappear.

The latest dump of NSA tools means – get up-to-date with Microsoft Patches, folks!

❝ UPDATE: Microsoft has patched the majority of the exploits released by The Shadow Brokers. More details can be found here, and the company recommends updating to a supported version of Windows and downloading security fixes.

The original story follows below:

❝ On Friday, the group known as The Shadow Brokers dropped the hacking equivalent of a bomb, or perhaps several bombs, giving hackers all over the world the tools to easily break into millions of Windows computers

This is bad news not just for the NSA, but for the internet as a whole, according to security researchers who are poring through the dump. As someone called it, this is “cyber chaos.”

❝ Perhaps the worst tool released by the hackers is called “FUZZBUNCH.” This is a hacking suite or toolkit that contains several plug-and-play exploits to attack several versions of Windows operating system. Some researchers described it as something akin to Metasploit, a popular open source hacking framework…

In fact, the latest Shadow Brokers dump contains several working Windows zero-days in executable (.exe) binaries with “step-by-step logs laying out how they’re used and the commands to run”…

That means that pretty much anyone, from low-level cybercriminals to so-called “script kiddies” — hackers who are only good at reusing other hackers’ tools — could repurpose them to attack Windows computers…

❝ In the meantime, you can either shut down your Windows machine or block incoming connections to port 445 and 139 with the firewall to prevent some of the attacks, according to security researchers.

❝ The leaked tools are dated around 2013, so they don’t affect modern Windows operating systems such as Windows 10. But according to Hacker Fantastic, the FUZZBUNCH framework supports all kinds of Windows systems: server versions from NT, 2000, 2003, 2008 and up to 2012, as well as the consumer versions XP, Vista, 7 and Windows 8.

I worked within the Microsoft/IBM framework for 22 years before moving to Apple’s OSX [and following mobile OS’] over a decade ago. Yeah, anything can be hacked; but, ain’t much need to make it easy.