The Sugar Blues

I was turned onto this a while ago

A growing body of evidence has revealed how industry groups have worked to suppress the scientific findings on the harmful effects of sugar for decades — either by promoting studies that downplay its negative effects or suppressing studies that reveal its harms.

The word “suppress” is too mild. John Yudkin first started writing about the dangers of sugar in our diets back in the 1960’s. The sugar industry blackballed him and ruined his career.  And if there is a villain in this story, it may be a Harvaard researcuer by the name of Ancel Keyes.

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It was Keyes who claimed that scientific research proved that saturated fat was causing heart disease in the US. When Yudkin challenged that, Keyes led the charge to discredit him. The sugar industry was glad to support him.

Lesson learned: beware of nutritionists and wonder diets. The reality is that digestion is still pretty much a mystery.  A related reality – the connection between digestion and the immune system is also mysterious.

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Films: Gary Oldman as Churchill

Full Disclosure: I have been, for many years, a Churchill fan. I recognize the dude’s weaknesses – especially his overly romantic view of empire – and I admire his strength of character.

We have yet another of those films where a famous actor impersonates a historical figure. Sir Winston Churchill, of course, is one of the most difficult to impersonate. Hardy did a passable job. Now we get Oldman. in a new film “The Darkest Hour”. The film dramatizes Churchill’s most dramatic moments in public life – when he took over as prime minister in the early days of the war, when all seemed lost.

And we get the usual problem. In order to add drama to the story, the movie fudges what really happened.  It is not a huge fudge. Just a made up scene or two or three. But aren’t we a bit weary of made up facts these days?

Ah well. There is an odd parallel dimension to this problem. Churchill himself was not above fudging the facts when needed. For example, that dreadful bungling of the Norwegian escapade. You see, Churchill had a tendancy to micro-manage. And that was not a very endearing quality. It worked for him, however, when he got the top job and could intrude where he pleased.

Here is the trailer

Like the Internet the way it is? Too Bad for you!

For years now, traditional media companies have been trying to destroy the internet. The reason is simple. The internet has impeded their ability to make money as the gatekeeper to content flow.  And if you are in doubt about how much money is at stake there, just take a look at your cable bill.  That is a gatekeeper charge.

Those traditional media companies had — up to now — failed to change the rules that would give them back their gatekeeper power because of something called “net neutrality”. Net neutrality means that  internet service provider cannot change access speeds for a given service. instead, they have to be neutral. Therefore, they cannot accept money from traditional media companies to speed up those sites and slow down others who do not pay. And we get access to a lot of content and services that would otherwise not be worth investing in.

Guess what. The Trump FCC is now determined to get rid of net neutrality. Just the latest in example of this administration’s “deep” thinking about public policy.

Fred Wilson has a good post on what you can do about this — including contacting your representative, and suggestions for selecting ISP’s and further developing mesh networks.

Trump, the Bumbling Machiavellian

Machiavelli is alive and well. At least his warnings about the weakness of democracy is.

The key thing for Machiavelli was always to value the rule of law — that’s the key thing for citizens to do. Which is why they have to be careful about who they put into power. Democracies are never entirely stable, and once the rule of law is subverted, it’s very difficult to get it back. All it takes is one authoritarian or one dictatorial party to undermine every norm that sustains democratic life.

Donald Trump has brazenly attempted to subvert the rule of law on numerous occasions. Obstruction of justice is a major line of investigation for Bob Mueller. And he is not stopping –  he is, for example, pushing the Justice Department into pursuing a political witch hunt against his opponent in the last election, something you see in banana republics. The question is whether he will be caught out or not.

Nixon was caught out. Not just in the Watergate coverup. Also when he instructed the department of Justice to settle a major litigation matter that was pending against IT&T as a quid pro quo to get a campaign contribution for the Republican Party.

Trump is now issuing instructions to his Justice Department. And they appear to be listening. Trouble for us all!

Films: A Wrinkle in Time

Back in 1962, Madeleine L’Engle tried to get her science fiction book entitled “A Wrinkle in Time” published. It was not easy. 26 publishers rejected it. Why?

… too complicated, too adult, and no one reads books with young female leads.

Ooops! Mr. Farrar of Farrar, Straus & Giroux liked the book and went with it. A Wrinkle in Time then went on to become a classic children’s book. BTW, I love the Farrar, Straus & Giroux house. They have done so many great things!

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In the late 1970’s it came out with illustrations by Diane and Leo Dillan

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And FINALLY it is being made int a feature film (there was an earlier TV version). That film will be released next spring, so mark your calendars. All we have now is a trailer — and if the film sustains the level that you find in the trailer, it might be worth watching.

If you live in a state where pot is legal, this film is for you! And BTW, this is the first book of a trilogy.

Let’s Face it. The Jazz Suck without Gobert!

The Sixers thrashed the Jazz last night without breaking a sweat. Errr … thanks to Ben Simmons who had a titanic second half. 

This was not great basketball. But the Sixers demonstrated that they can control the pace against lesser teams. Keep in m ind that the Jazz just thrashed the Magic by 40 a few days ago. So they are capable of waking up. Thanks to Ben and Joel, they did not wake up last night.

So what did Simmons do? He scored as needed, rebounded, and stole the ball just enough to keep the Jazz off balance. In fact, it was a career night for him with 27 points.  Errr .. a career that is less than 20 games old. And Ben seemed to realize that the Sixers need a boost in the second half. He showed a killer instinct. Much needed!

Embiid, on the other hand, did only as much as needed. I think he was a bit sore, and it showed in how he moved. Let’s hope that that wears off.

My favorite moment (you can see the video from the above link)

Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell (who subscribes to the “shooters shoot” philosophy) went full YOLO mode in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, and tried to drive on Joel Embiid….  it did not end well.

Errr … YOLO mode?

Back to the story! Embiid, being Embiid, taunted Mitchell, yelling “Get that shit out of here!” Mitchell lost his cool and after lifting his carcass off the floor, gave Embiid a shove. Embiid did a pratfall and got the call for a foul. Mitchell had to explain that to the coach while Embiid egged the crowd on.

HeeHee! Life in the NBA.