Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 5th, 2012

Aptly said, sir

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

Hunter at DK:

Going down the list of numbers from PPP’s post-election poll, there’s quite a bit of encouraging news to be had. David already covered two of the specifics, but here they are again just to review:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

This is outstanding news. Despite not actually existing, ACORN appears to be just as effective at secret conspiracies to steal elections as they were when they did exist.

And these are the people that Obama is supposed to compromise with. What happens when reality and anti-reality collide?

Posted in anti-truth, polls, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 9 Comments »

Obesity: the brain chemistry behind fat

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

A remarkable series of articles on brain chemistry and obesity has been opened to the public by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Kaiser et al. (U. Alabama) give an overview on a hypothesis that, given a perceived deficiency in food availability, the body either adds fat or slows metabolism in a way that lengthens life, depending on whether calories are actually available.

William Banks, VA looks at the role of leptin, a protein that diminishes the desire to eat. In obese people, leptin is, paradoxically, overabundant. This represents a resistance syndrome analogous to insulin resistance. One of the regulators of leptin transport into the brain is triglyceride. In starvation, triglyceride levels rise. Short term fasting increases facilitates leptin transport into the brain, but long-term fasting does the opposite. So fasting can play a positive role in helping to reduce hunger.

Renato Pasquali of Malpighi Hospital in Bologna looks at stress hormones and sex hormones: “stress activates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and the sympathoadrenal system” resulting in the rise of cortisol and catecholamines and an activation of blood pressure elevators like renin and its target, angiotensin. During chronic stress, cortisol elevates lipoprotein lipase, which stores fat especially in the abdomen (perhaps that explains the apple/pear dichotomy, with people with waist fat suffering greater health effects). The term allostatic load refers to the damage inflicted by adapting to adversity. In women, abdominal fat seems to be related to a rise in androgens (male hormones), while in men, to female hormones.

Lucassen et al (NIH and elsewhere) look at the relationship of sleep to obesity. Sleep has declined by over 1.5hr over the last 50 years. Slow wave sleep, which diminishes with age, is probably especially important, though it’s still not clear what’s correlation and what’s causation.

There’s plenty more here.

Posted in health issues, science and medicine | Comments Off on Obesity: the brain chemistry behind fat

Hm. Wonder if this happens in the US?

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

Seumas Milne, The Guardian:

As in the phone-hacking scandal, the evidence of illegality, surveillance and conspiracy is incontrovertible. In both cases, the number of victims already runs into thousands. And household names are deeply tied up in both controversies – though as targets in one and perpetrators in the other.

But when it comes to the blacklisting scandal, the damage can’t only be measured in distress and invasion of privacy. Its impact has already been felt in years of enforced joblessness, millions of pounds in lost income, family and psychological breakdown, emigration and suicides.

It’s now clear that workers across Britain have been systematically and illegally forced into unemployment for trade union activity – often on publicly funded projects and in collusion with the police and security services – by some of the country’s biggest companies, using secret lists drawn up by corporate spying agencies.

Of course blacklisting isn’t new. Throughout the cold war, the virulently rightwing Economic League ran a similar corporate espionage outfit, from where Kerr brought his database. And more recently civil servants, police and corporations have been shown to work hand in glove against climate change and other environmental activists.

You know, you can’t have a meritocracy if political reliability is what determines who works and who gets ahead. If you don’t have a meritocracy, then the worst people rise.

Which could explain why there are so many psychopaths among corporate leaders.

Posted in abuse of power, corruption, workers | Comments Off on Hm. Wonder if this happens in the US?

We’re only the 19th least honest!

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012


From Transparency International, US ranks behind Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Germany, Barbados, Belgium, Japan and the UK in terms of perceived corruption. We edged out Chile, Uruguay, the Bahamas, and France.

I guess the good news is that we don’t seem to have fallen too much since 2001.

Posted in corruption | Comments Off on We’re only the 19th least honest!

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