Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stuff below the fold

A FilAm has his DNA analyzed and finds a male gene from China but a lot of other genes from "Taiwan" or "Europe". The "Chinese" part is because Chinese merchants came to the Philippines and married local gals to get around the law limiting outsiders owning businesses. The Spanish did the same. But the Taiwan part might puzzle some: It is because nowadays, many Han Chinese moved and took over the best land in Taiwan over the last milleneum, but the original Taiwanese were though to be the ancestors of much of the SEAsian/Polynesian island settlers.
The really controversial question is how much Denisovan genes are in the local population.

The EU is checking if the third and fourth Birth control pills are safe.

The original pill had a  lot of estrogen in it, which caused blood clots.
So they cut the estrogen, so fewer blood clots and lighter periods, but the high progesterone made women feel like they had PMS all the time.
So they came out with newer pills, which had more estrogen and a different progesterone. Alas, these (and the patches) also have more blood clots.

Not in the study: If the pill has something to do with the worldwide epidemic of obesity. If BPA in the environment may be inducing obesity and metabolic syndrome because of it's estrogenic side effect, is the estrogen (from the urine) of millions of women doing the same thing, including affecting men?

I read an article about one conspiracy nut complaining that juice in plastic boxes was causing an epidemic of homosexuality. Like most conspiracies this has a tiny truth in it:  that BPA and estrogens in the water supply might be affecting people.

As for gays: from what I understand giving estrogen to men merely slows them down (we used to treat prostate cancer with estrogen...stopped because it made the men drop dead of heart attacks). However, what about fetuses exposed to BPA or whose mom took the pill when they didn't know they were pregnant?

Yes, that conspiracy theory is on line too...

My take? Few women want six kids....which is the alternative.

Grandmom was right: Wash the fruit before you eat them.

But why does the NYTimes have to tell their sophisticated readers this?
The are worried about "chemicals", but the real danger is that the fruit picker might not have washed his or her hands and you might be exposed to salmonella, shigella, or other germs.

This last part is ignored in the article, of course.

As for "organic". Yes. We are starting to grow them under a government program so tend to eat organic.
No chemicals, but probably more germs. And just ignore those little worms in the fruits and veggies. Think of them as a protein source.

Eggs were the evil food awhile back, but now a study of 300 thousand folks show eating one egg a day is not dangerous. (although if you are a diabetic and eat 2 or three a day it might increase your cholesterol).

But I am happy the docs noted this obvious problem with the study (and with a lot of surveys: people don't always tell the truth).
The authors, writing online this month in the journal BMJ, acknowledge that self-reports regarding food consumption are not always reliable and that most of the studies had no information about the cooking methods, which could have affected the results.

Speaking of conspiracy theories: Why does homeland security need all those weapons, and why are they storing boxes of ammunition all over the country?

For later reading: The Hubris Nemesis Complex.

Headsup instapundit.


StrategyPage has a nice summary of the long history of Islam and terrorism into historical perspective:
One theory, long popular in the Moslem world and increasingly accepted in the West as well, is that the main cause of Islamic terrorism is Western attempts to destroy the Islamic terrorists who attack the West. This theory blames the West for not accepting Islam when first attacked by Moslem armies in the 7th century, and constantly fighting back against subsequent attacks. To Moslems, forcing non-believers (“kaffirs” or “infidels”) to convert to Islam is a duty and the ends justify the means. Fighting back is blasphemy. Most in the West, and a growing number of people in the Islamic world, consider this nonsense.
related item: The Sunni Shia wars reborn.

Not PC of course, but the site tends to get things right about countries where I have first hand knowledge (as opposed to reciting the talking points of the media), so it might be worth a read.


 CSMonitor has an article on prosecutors gone wild, and notes two recent cases might result in their being restrained in the future.
In the Swartz case, the young hacker and co-creator of the Reddit website faced 13 felony counts from Ms. Ortiz' office tied to his use of an MIT network to download millions of academic journal articles to his laptop computer. The problem, critics of the prosecution say, is that Swartz' actions constituted a breach of contract more than a felony crime.
 interesting: they quote an article by the law professor behind Instapundit.

this StrategyPage article includes this factoid:
The murder rate in the Western hemisphere (about 8 per 100,000 people a year) was much higher than in Europe, where it has long been between 3 and 4. Middle Eastern nations have likewise varied between 5 and 10. The United States is often regarded, at least by Europeans, as a wild, gun happy place. But the national murder rate has been declining for two decades and is currently about 4.8 per 100,000.
 a CDC report shows the American rate is clustered in certain areas/ages/ethnic groups,

In 2007, among males ages 10-24 years, the homicide rate was highest for Non-Hispanic Blacks with 60.3 deaths per 100,000 population.  Among females ages 10–24 years, the homicide rate also was highest for Non-Hispanic Blacks with 6.7 deaths per 100,000.  For comparison, the homicide rate for Non-Hispanic White males was 3.4 per 100,000 and the homicide rate for Non-Hispanic White females was 1.6 per 100,000.

UKMail article on twins born at 23 weeks.


In Our Prayers:
A terrible nightclub fire in Brazil brings up memories of a similar tragedy here in the Philippines.

But for Lady Gaga, it is merely a chance for more publicity. Shame.


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