American Elephants


Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airship — the Next Revolution. by The Elephant's Child

You learn something new every day. I had no idea they were working on this. I’ve long been familiar with dirigibles.  Used to drive by the hangar near the freeway just north of San Jose, fairly frequently. The working model pictured is 1/3 scale, so Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships — the real ones — would be huge.  Able to go to areas with little transportation and no highways or runways.  The possibilities seem endless. Fascinating.



For Good Health Eat Chocolate? What Lovely Advice. by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Health Care, Humor | Tags: , , ,

150615191518_1_540x360(photo credit: © larisabozhikova / Fotolia)

I take it all back. This changes everything. “Eating 100 grams of chocolate daily linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk.”

Eating up to 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk. The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires. …

The EPIC-Norfolk participants (9214 men and 11 737 women) were monitored for an average of almost 12 years, during which time 3013 (14%) people experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke.

Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

This sounds like Edward Archer’s ‘ poor way of doing science,’ that is asking people in the study to remember what they ate. But but hey, it’s chocolate! Maybe this study is right. Wouldn’t hurt. How much is 100 grams?



Food Fetishes, Control Freaks, Food Faddists and Charlatans by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 6:53 am
Filed under: Junk Science, News, Politics, Regulation | Tags: , ,

The FDA is expected to issue a rule that will effectively ban the use of manmade trans-fat containing hydrogenated oils in all foods. There’s some controversy about the difference between the manmade variety — the trans-fats that occur naturally in beef and dairy products — and the trans fats in partially hydrogenated oils. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2 grams per day.

In any case, the FDA claims the ban could save around 7,000 lives per year. The agency has required food manufacturers to list the trans fat content of packaged foods since 2006. That’s helped reduce the amount of trans fats in the average American’s diet from far above to well below the American Heart Association recommendations.

So if Americans are already eating less trans fats than health experts recommend, why the push to ban them?

The ban comes as a result of a lawsuit by centenarian Dr. Fred Kummerow, a professor emeritus at the U.of Illinois who has been researching trans-fats for more than 50 years. His lawsuit forced the FDA to act. The agency will revoke its GRAS status, without that anyone wanting to sell foods containing partially hydrogenated oils would have to petition the FDA to demonstrate their safety. This follows the pattern of the ban on raw milk. And then there was the government’s complete reversal of the limits on dietary cholesterol. The recommendations to cut out the salt are on the ropes, because humans seem geared for more salt that authorities think is good for them. And the FDA seems to have caffeine needlessly in their crosshairs. Coffee just got a clean bill of health from health authorities.

The line “could save 7,000 lives per year” sounds exactly like the EPA. They regularly claim that X,000 number of children will not die from asthma because of the new regulation they are issuing. Physicians do not know the cause of asthma, which is probably why the EPA picked it.

The federal food police seem to be a hobbyhorse of mine. I have previously written five other posts about the federal government’s efforts to tell us what to eat, which surprised me. Getting rid of the committee and their guidelines seems to be high on my list. If you enter “dietary guidelines” in the search box just over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar, you will find them all, if you are interested.

Food is a problem. There is too much information, much of it completely wrong. There is no benefit whatsoever to Organic food, unless it salves your soul to believe that you are not consuming nasty chemical fertilizers, which is nonsense. With “organic” you get cow manure.

Genetically modified organisms have been occurring naturally in crops for centuries. Some Asian countries that depend heavily on rice need Golden Rice, a GMO variety that has added a gene for beta carotene which will save thousands of children from blindness and death. The nitwits who are terrified (needlessly) about GMO foods and want their foods labeled to prove they were not genetically modified are simply ignorant about what genes are. Yet their protests make third world countries fearful and they won’t permit the GMO foods that would save the children.

Then there’s the “Food Babe” who catapulted to her ten minutes of fame by accusing Subway of using a “harmful” chemical in yoga mats to make its bread fluffy. She gets attention by fear mongering about “harmful chemicals” with little understanding of the science involved, nor of the simple idea that the dose makes the poison. And, of course there are all the little ads on many websites that proclaim that “just this one food…”



The Federal Government’s Dietary Guidelines Are Bunk! by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 6:32 am
Filed under: Junk Science, Regulation | Tags: , ,

For decades, the federal government has been telling us what to eat — not that we pay that much attention — but nevertheless they regularly establish dietary guidelines. A new article by University of Alabama Birmingham researcher Edward Archer and colleagues Gregory Pavela and Carl Lavie and published this week in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, informs us that the conclusions drawn by the federal government’s -usdacontroversial Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) are bunk. They were more polite, they said their work rests on fatally flawed assumptions about usable data, and the research used to support their work is so far off base as to be scientifically useless.

The DGAC is a rotating group of academics who have been charged by Congress since the 1990s with meeting every five years to recommend broad federal dietary policies. Unlike experiments in the hard sciences of chemistry, physics and biology, most diet studies are based on self-reported data. Study subjects are examined for height, weight and health, then are questioned about what they eat. Their food choices are then linked  to health outcomes — cancer, mortality, heart disease etc,

Edward Archer says that’s a poor way of doing science. “The assumption that human memory can provide accurate or precise reproductions of past ingestive behavior is indisputably false.” Well, yes, can you remember what you had to eat on Friday? “An analysis conducted by Archer in 2013 found that most of the 60,000 + NHANES subjects report eating a lower amount of calories than they would physiologically need to survive, let alone to put on all the weight that Americans have in the past few decades.”

They’ve just been plain wrong as well. We were told never to eat butter, but to use margarine instead. Now we are urged to eat butter and not use margarine. The grocery stores are well ahead of the feds. They hardly carry any margarine at all anymore. The dietary guidelines mistakenly urged us to rely on lots of whole grains and other carbohydrates, and the stores stocked up on lots of tasty snacks, If they are wondering where the obesity came from — there you go. And pay no  attention to the healthy plate diagram shown above. That’s bunk too.




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