Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 7th, 2018

Great movie on Netflix: “Big Game”

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I didn’t thnk I would like it, but 93% recommendation. It’s terrific.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy

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Erika R. Cheng, Lauren G. Fiechtner, and Aaron E. Carroll report in the NY Times:

Obesity affects 40 percent of adults and 19 percent of children in the United States and accounts for more than $168 billion in health care spendingeach year. Sugary beverages are thought to be one of the major drivers of the obesity epidemic. These drinks (think soda and sports drinks) are the largest single source of added sugars for Americans and contribute, on average, 145 added calories a day to our diets. For these reasons, reducing sugary beverage consumption has been a significant focus of public health intervention. Most efforts have focused on sodas.

But not juice. Juice, for some reason, gets a pass. It’s not clear why.

Americans drink a lot of juice. The average adult drinks 6.6 gallons per year. More than half of preschool-age children (ages 2 to 5) drink juice regularly, a proportion that, unlike for sodas, has not budged in recent decades. These children consume on average 10 ounces per day, more than twice the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents tend to associate juice with healthfulness, are unaware of its relationship to weight gain and are reluctant to restrict it in their child’s diet. After all, 100 percent fruit juice — sold in handy individual servings — has been marketed as a natural source of vitamins and calcium. Department of Agriculture guidelines state that up to half of fruit servings can be provided in the form of 100 percent juice and recommend drinking fortified orange juice for the vitamin D. Some brands of juice are evenmarketed to infants.

Government programs designed to provide healthy food for children, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, offer juice for kids. Researchers have found that children in the program are more likely to exceed the recommended daily fruit juice limit than those who are similarly poor but not enrolled.

Despite all the marketing and government support, fruit juices contain limited nutrients and tons of sugar. In fact, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is roughly what’s in a can of Coke.

Drinking fruit juice is not the same as eating whole fruit. While eating certain fruits like apples and grapes is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, drinking fruit juice is associated with the opposite. Juices contain more concentrated sugar and calories. They also have less fiber, which makes you feel full. Because juice can be consumed quickly, it is more likely than whole fruit to contribute to excess carbohydrate intake. For example, research has found that adults who drank apple juice before a meal felt hungrier and ate more calories than those who started with an apple instead. Children who drink juice instead of eating fruit may similarly feel less full and may be more likely to snack throughout the day.

Juice may also be a “gateway beverage” — 1-year-olds who drank more juice also drank more sugary beverages, including more soda, in their school-age years. Children’s excessive consumption of juice has been linked to an increased risk of weight gainshorter stature and cavities. Even in the absence of weight gain, sugar consumption worsens blood pressure and increases cholesterol.

It’s tempting to minimize the negative contributions of juice to our diets because it’s “natural” or because it contains “vitamins.” Studies that support this view exist, but many are biased and have been questioned.

And we doubt you’d take a multivitamin if it contained 10 teaspoons of sugar.

There is no evidence that juice improves health. It should be treated like

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Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Food, Health, Science

I found this commentary on AlphaGo Zero v. AlphaGo Master fascinating

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I am fascinated by the analysis and discoveries.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 1:48 pm

How the US acts: Immigrant Mothers Were Moved Outdoors During Kirstjen Nielsen’s Secretive Visit to Detention. They Shouted for Help to No Avail.

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The US seems to be becoming an increasingly ugly place. Ryan Devereaux and Debbie Nathan report in the Intercept:

HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY Kirstjen Nielsen made a series of secretive visits to South Texas immigrant detention centers on Friday. One of the facilities the secretary visited, in Los Fresnos, houses parents whose children were taken from them under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy. Many of the detainees there are women, and many desperately wanted to speak with Nielsen. Instead, they were moved to a distant soccer field, where they shouted to Nielsen for help but were too far away for her to hear them.

Reporters could not talk to Nielsen either, even though, as confirmed to The Intercept by a DHS press secretary on Monday, she toured two Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for adults in South Texas and a shelter in Brownsville that houses young children separated from their parents. Additionally, ICE confirmed to The Intercept on Tuesday that more than 60 women were moved during the secretary’s visit, though the agency claimed the move was for the purpose of “recreation.”

Nielsen’s visits happened with no public announcement, though tips and rumors abounded among the press in Brownsville. Reporter Mark Reagan, of the Brownsville Herald, told The Intercept that he learned from confidential sources that Nielsen would be at ICE’s Port Isabel Service Processing Center, a razor-wired facility on desolate land near the Gulf of Mexico that can hold as many as 1,175 adult detainees, in prison-like conditions.

Reagan drove 30 miles from Brownsville to the detention center, but his reporting did not go as planned. He expected to get some quotes from Nielsen, but when he got to Port Isabel, no one handed out talking points or conducted a press conference. Instead, Reagan saw official-looking vehicles pull up, but it was impossible to see who was in them. The vehicles departed after two hours, with the passengers’ identities still a mystery.

And they were a mystery to the prisoners at Port Isabel, too. Under an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, Port Isabel has been designated as “the primary facility” housing parents separated from their children as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” campaign, which began in May and ended last month.

Four women who were detained there on Friday have since communicated with The Intercept. Each recounted being told by guards that afternoon to tidy up their dormitories. They were then directed onto a soccer field bathed in glaring sun with temperatures in the high 90s. One woman heard another say she did not want to go. “But the guard said we had to, that it was an order because some important officials were coming,” the woman said.

Once on the field, the women said, they saw from a distance a group of about 10 people dressed in street clothes. Details of the group’s appearance were hard to make out, but one detainee said she saw a “tall woman with shoulder-length, blond hair.”

Among the detainees were two women who have no idea where their teenage sons are being held and have not talked with them, as well as a woman whose 6-year-old is hundreds of miles away and unable to speak to her during calls from the child’s shelter, because he only cries when he gets on the phone. When The Intercept spoke with these women, none of them had lawyers.

On the soccer field, the women and dozens of other detainees assumed that the visitors were important people who could influence the U.S. president. So they began shouting together in Spanish: “Ayúdenos!” “Help us!”

Two women said their group was too far away from the officials to be heard. Two others said they believed that they and the other detainees had been put on the field so they would be hidden.

In an email to The Intercept, ICE’s Central and South Texas spokesperson, Nina Pruneda, said, “After coordinating with U.S. Secret Service special agents supporting DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen’s June 29 visit to the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas, ICE officers briefly moved detainees from one of the dorms to the soccer field for recreation. About 62 ICE detainees were involved; Secretary Nielsen spoke to various detainees while she toured the facility.”

The women who spoke to The Intercept indicated that Friday’s events were hardly recreational. They said they were kept on the field for two hours, until the visitors left. They did not get a chance to see if the official visit was publicized because, as two of them told The Intercept, they have no access to news broadcasts on television. “We ask the guards to turn the TV to a news channel, but they don’t,” said one woman. “Sometimes they do, but then they change it back, like to the World Cup,” said another. “Or they put on the news for a little bit but then turn the TV off,” said a third.

ProPublica reported yesterday that  . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 10:03 am

Savory foods may promote healthy eating through effects on the brain

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I more or less deliberately retrained my taste to prefer savory to sweet, so that breakfast, for example, is never pancakes or waffles or boxed cereals but is eggs and bacon and sautéed vegetables (with a dash of Aji-no-moto). The Eldest pointed out this interesting article by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center that appeared in Science Daily:

Researchers have found that consuming a broth rich in umami — or savory taste — can cause subtle changes in the brain that promote healthy eating behaviors and food choices, especially in women at risk of obesity.

Umami is a Japanese word to express a delicious, savory meal, and it represents one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. A key component of umami taste is glutamate, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that can be found in nearly all foods, and especially in foods high in protein such as dairy products, fish, and meat.

Previous experimental studies have shown that intake of a broth or soup supplemented with monosodium glutamate (MSG), a sodium salt of glutamate, prior to a meal can decrease appetite and food intake, especially in women with a propensity to overeat and gain weight. In a study published March 30 in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers evaluated changes in the brains of healthy young women after they consumed chicken broth with or without MSG added.

The investigators used three laboratory tools to detect changes: a computer test that measured inhibitory control (a key mental process that is necessary for self-regulation of eating), a buffet meal during which participants ate freely while wearing special glasses that tracked eye movements, and a functional brain scan that measured brain activity while participants made food choices.

Following intake of the umami-rich broth, participants performed the inhibitory control test better, had more focused gazes during the meal, and had more engagement of a brain area that is linked to successful self-regulation during food choice. Also, after consuming the umami-rich broth, those at higher risk of obesity consumed less saturated fat during the meal.

“Previous research in humans studied the effects of umami broths on appetite, which is typically assessed with subjective measures. Here, we extended these findings replicating the beneficial effects of umami on healthy eating in women at higher risk of obesity, and we used new laboratory measures that are sensitive and objective,” said senior author Miguel Alonso-Alonso, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine in BIDMC’s Department of Surgery, BIDMC. He also noted that much research has examined the effects of sugar and sweetness on the brain, but the study of savory taste has been limited.

The results may open new ways to facilitate healthy eating and reduce food intake in the general population. “Many cultures around the world advocate drinking a broth before a meal. Our study suggests the possibility that people at high risk of obesity could benefit from an umami-rich broth before a meal to facilitate healthy eating and healthy food choice,” said Alonso-Alonso. “However,  . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 8:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Getting to No: Trump’s negotiating technique explained

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David Honig posts at DailyKos:

I’m going to get a little wonky and write about Donald Trump and negotiations. For those who don’t know, I’m an adjunct professor at Indiana University – Robert H. McKinney School of Law and I teach negotiations. Okay, here goes.

Trump, as most of us know, is the credited author of “The Art of the Deal,” a book that was actually ghost written by a man named Tony Schwartz, who was given access to Trump and wrote based upon his observations. If you’ve read The Art of the Deal, or if you’ve followed Trump lately, you’ll know, even if you didn’t know the label, that he sees all dealmaking as what we call “distributive bargaining.”

Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you’re fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump’s world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.

The other type of bargaining is called integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining the two sides don’t have a complete conflict of interest, and it is possible to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Think of it, not a single pie to be divided by two hungry people, but as a baker and a caterer negotiating over how many pies will be baked at what prices, and the nature of their ongoing relationship after this one gig is over.

The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can’t demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren’t binary. China’s choices aren’t (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don’t buy soybeans. They can also (c) buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.

One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you’re going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don’t have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won’t agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you’re going to have to find another cabinet maker.

There isn’t another Canada.

So when you approach international negotiation, in a world as complex as ours, with integrated economies and multiple buyers and sellers, you simply must approach them through integrative bargaining. If you attempt distributive bargaining, success is impossible. And we see that already.

Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM – HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.

Trump has the same weakness politically. For every winner there must be a loser. And that’s just not how politics works, not over the long run.

For people who study negotiations, this is incredibly basic stuff, negotiations 101, definitions you learn before you even start talking about styles and tactics. And here’s another huge problem for us.

Trump is utterly convinced that his experience in a closely held real estate company has prepared him to run a nation, and therefore he rejects the advice of people who spent entire careers studying the nuances of international negotiations and diplomacy. But the leaders on the other side of the table have not eschewed expertise, they have embraced it. And that means they look at Trump and, given his very limited tool chest and his blindly distributive understanding of negotiation, they know exactly what he is going to do and exactly how to respond to it.

From a professional negotiation point of view, Trump isn’t even bringing checkers to a chess match. He’s bringing a quarter that he insists of flipping for heads or tails, while everybody else is studying the chess board to decide whether its better to open with Najdorf or Grünfeld.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2018 at 8:49 am

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