food and nutrition

One of the reasons there are concerns about privacy on the Net is that much of our data can be cross-reference, and what we thought was anonymous becomes attached to our names. Here is a great example involves our tech villain du jour, Google.

“Annually, we get the American Community Survey (ACS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While it conveys a slew of statistics, the problem is a time lag that could exceed two years. Because our government tends to use people rather than technology for gathering data, what we learn can be out-of-date. Instead, scholars from four U.S. universities demonstrated how Street View from Google Maps could provide data much more quickly.”

From EconLife, ...

The Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle has been adapted by the European Union (EU) and is being used more frequently in the US.

Here is the EU’s definition of the Precautionary Principle, as adapted by the EU:   

“If there is the possibility that a given policy or action might cause harm to the public or the environment and if there is still no scientific consensus on the issue, the policy or action in question should not be pursued. Once more scientific information becomes available, the situation...

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos sure knows how to play the game. In his quest to get glyphosate (Roundup) banned from parks and other public spaces, he uses a tried and true method. Simply include the words "children" and "cancer" in the same sentence and bang - news coverage. Say what you will about Kallos' scientific acuity, but you have to hand it to him – he does scare with a flair:

“I’ll take weeds all day long over cancer. I don't know why this is such a big problem.”

Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member 

Personally I don't know of anyone who would prefer cancer to weeds, so in a...

In 2017, 810 women died every day in childbirth. While 94% lived in middle or low-income countries, the US had its share. With approximately 660 deaths annually, we rank last among our peers, the high-income countries. Common causes of global maternal deaths include bleeding, infections, eclampsia (a form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure), and complications of delivery. This retrospective study looked at US maternal deaths associated with the complications of delivery.

Complications happen. Failure-to-rescue is a metric originally designed to assess how well...

The explanation can be found in the School of Public Health’s website in an article entitled The Problem with Potatoes. I found the update of potato’s reclassification upsetting, far more so than the belief that ketchup, derived from the tomato, a fruit, was a vegetable.  The authors point at the glycemic index of a potato which is high – meaning that the carbohydrates are easily digested and bring a surge in blood sugar. They go on to argue that “Potatoes seem to be a particular culprit for weight gain and diabetes.”

“…a cup of potatoes has a similar effect on blood sugar as a can of cola or a handful of jelly beans.”...

 

 

 

 

This plot shows the growth of daily new COVID-19 cases since March 2020 with 3 “waves” and the possible beginning of a 4th. The red line is the trend created by the virus spreading throughout the nation and represents the nation's baseline growth rate of about 5,000 cases per month. The baseline values are similar to the lowest seen among large cities. Retroactive extrapolation sets the beginning of the pandemic at about January 1, 2020, which is realistic. The peaks increase over time because they multiply the baseline values through exponential growth. 

The ratios of successive peak daily cases are...

I wrote about AstraZeneca’s vaccine problems a little over three weeks ago, mainly about the “unforced errors” in reporting. At that time, concerns about abnormal blood clots were being investigated and thought to be unanticipated but not abnormal, at least statistically. The situation seems to have changed.

The Background

Let’s talk for a minute about platelets, a cellular element that circulates in our bloodstream and provides the scaffolding for the formation of clots. If you view our arteries and veins as a plumbing system, you know that leaks, small or large, are bound to happen. In those instances, and they occur throughout our day, platelets plug the leak as other...

Radiation was a concern during the Apollo space program, where we barely crossed the street in cosmic terms – the trajectory of the craft traveling to the Moon was partially based on minimizing the amount of time the astronauts spent traversing the van Allen radiation belts that surround the Earth. Since the end of the Apollo program, human beings have remained safely ensconced within the protection of Earth’s magnetic field – but that half-century is about to end. 

This is the first in a series discussing the subject of radiation exposure in space. This article will dwell on the biological effects of radiation exposure, including the sort of radiation to which our astronauts will be exposed. Then we will look at how radiation safety is practiced in space and finally consider...

In recent months, the mainstream press has been on a crusade against COVID vaccine skepticism, tenaciously promoting science-based medicine and expressing little tolerance for anybody who holds a contrarian opinion. “Covid vaccine does not affect fertility but misinformation persists,” The Guardian announced in February, addressing a common concern about coronavirus immunizations. “A big reason we might never reach herd immunity,” an equally zealous CNN recently reported, “because not enough people are willing to get vaccinated.” 

These claims are perfectly...

Unless your head is firmly implanted in your rectum, there can be little doubt about how COVID has devastated the world (if it is implanted up there, please let us know how the view is).

It may be of little comfort, but if you think about it, some positive developments have arisen from the pandemic. Here is an arbitrary and capricious list of 4 of them. Enjoy.

1. Good news for germaphobes!

Think about it. How many colds did you get this winter? How about norovirus ("stomach flu") cases? Or real flu (influenza). The first two can be answered, but only anecdotally. I don't know a single person who got a cold or the dreaded stomach bug. I have a "norovirus" Google news alert that was strangely quiet all winter. And the flu season "never happened" ...