What close to $3 billion a day can buy!


Offshore oil rig in the Pechora Sea, Russia

The oil and gas industry has delivered $2.8 billion a day in pure profit for the last 50 years, a new analysis has revealed.

The vast total captured by petrostates and fossil fuel companies since 1970 is $52 trillion, providing the power to “buy every politician, every system” and delay action on the climate crisis, says Prof Aviel Verbruggen, the author of the analysis. The huge profits were inflated by cartels of countries artificially restricting supply.

The analysis, based on World Bank data, assesses the “rent” secured by global oil and gas sales, which is the economic term for the unearned profit produced after the total cost of production has been deducted.

The study has yet to be published in an academic journal but three experts at University College London, the London School of Economics and the thinktank Carbon Tracker confirmed the analysis as accurate, with one calling the total a “staggering number”. It appears to be the first long-term assessment of the sector’s total profits, with oil rents providing 86% of the total.

If you find yourself, your peers, wondering how many of the politicians controlling your country might be owned by the masters of the fossil fuel industry…the answer is “as many who are willing to have their pockets, bank accounts, investment portfolios, filled with enough money to make them richer than they ever dreamed”.

Daily nut consumption linked to reduced death rate

In the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t consume nuts, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, contains further good news. The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate the widespread worry that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight…

“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, MD…the senior author of the report. “But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs…

Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect couldn’t be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts and for “tree nuts” — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts.

Several previous studies have found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked increased nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for over 30 years.

For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes. The Nurses’ Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010. Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years…

“In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period,” explained Ying Bao, MD, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, first author of the report. Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a seven percent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 percent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 percent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 percent reduction, and seven or more times a week, a 20 percent reduction in death rate.

You can wander through the dry details over here. The findings are no surprise to anyone who approaches nutrition as an exercise in evolution and anthropology. We evolved as a species eating nuts and berries before we got round to agriculture. On the non-meat side of the ledger.

One more reason to celebrate George Washington Carver’s invention of peanut butter. 🙂

In praise of the daily walk

A brisk half hour walk a day will keep you healthy – and sane – say researchers. Eight people reveal what walking means to them

Billy Bragg, musician

Walking my dog twice a day across the fields of Dorset around our house is better exercise than I could ever get in a gym – I don’t have to compete with everyone and though the route may be repetitious, the natural cycles of the countryside make every day different. What I wouldn’t get at a gym is me time, an escape from a crowded cluttered day and a chance to recalibrate my senses all the way to the far horizon. Walking is a time for contemplation and, on good days, inspiration.

Folks have started adding their own walks, feelings about daily walks in the comments after the article over at the Guardian. Or you can add ’em here.

Regular readers here know from my notes and photos that I walk with our companions three or four – or more – times a day. We’re down to only one dog, right now, and Rally gets a little grumpy with me sometimes. She’s as old as me in dog years and probably just as creaky.

If you claim it, they will come. Man visits Virgin Mary every day!


“Not much. How about you?”

Here’s a guy who has a rolling conversation with the Virgin Mary every day. And– big surprise– he likes to have an audience present.

Judging from his demeanor while he is doing this, it must be pretty exciting. I imagine it goes something like this:

Guy: “How are you doing today?”
VM: “Fine. How about you?”
Guy: “Fine. How’s the Father?”
VM: “He’s fine.”
Guy: “Good. How’s Jesus?”
VM: “Fine.”
Guy: “OK.. well.. good seeing you again.”

You can watch the video here: [The exciting BBC report and video]