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  • September 2010
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links for 2010-09-02

  • quote:"Russia announced a 12-month extension of its grain export ban on Thursday, raising fears about a return to the food shortages and riots of 2007-08 which spread through developing countries dependent on imports

    // Proof we need for ethanol subsidies.

  • Quote:"The study of about 20,000 young people aged between 17 and 24 found that those who slept fewer than five hours a night were three times more likely than normal sleepers to become psychologically distressed in the next year.
    Each hour of sleep lost was linked to a 14 per cent increased risk of distress, according to the results, published in the journal Sleep.

    Professor Nicholas Glozier, who led the research, said: 'Sleep disturbance and in particular insomnia is a predictor of later development of depression and possibly anxiety.'

    // More proof that technology is one of the worst things you can give your kids

  • Quote:"
    Then there's the IPCC's earlier prediction in 2007 — which it claimed to have "high confidence" in — that global warming could lead to a 50 percent reduction in the rain-fed agricultural capacity of Africa.

    Such a dramatic decrease in food production in an already poor continent would be a terrifying prospect, and undoubtedly lead to the starvation of millions. But the InterAcademy Council investigation found that this IPCC claim was also based on weak evidence.

    // Duh

  • Quote:"The director general of the BBC admitted Thursday that his organisation had been guilty of a "massive bias to the left" but said "a completely different generation" of journalists now works at the broadcaster.
    Mark Thompson told the right-of-centre Spectator magazine that there was an institutional bias when he joined the organisation, reinforcing the findings of a 2007 internal report which concluded that greater efforts were required to avoid liberal bias.

    // Duh.

    (tags: Duh Media bbc)
  • Quote:"Struck calculated that Diocles’ s total earnings of 35,863,120 sesterces were enough to provide grain for the entire population of Rome for one year, or to fund the Roman Army at its height for more than two months.

    “By today’s standards that last figure, assuming the apt comparison is what it takes to pay the wages of the American armed forces for the same period, would cash out to about $15 billion,” wrote Struck.

    // Yes, but did he like to sleep with porn stars?

    (tags: sports history)
  • Quote: Stephen Hawking:" We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse–the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. "

    // Hawking would rather believe in an infinite number of universes, that we cannot see ar measure, than acknowledge God as a necessity for existence. He solves a design problem with a design problem, for why would nothing produce in infinite number of infinite universes, rather than just one, rather than just nothing.

  • Quote:""Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," Hawking writes.

    // Hawking creates a circular argument here. Why is there a universe? Because there is gravity. Why is there gravity? Because there is a universe. I'd like to see his complete argument though, before coming to a conclusion on its validity.

  • Quote:"Layers of bacteria can actually dissolve gold into nanoparticles, which move through rocks and soils, and then deposit it in other places, sometimes creating purer "secondary" gold deposits in cracks and crevices of rocks. The process overturns the long-held belief by some scientists that gold ore is created only by "primary" physical geological processes.
  • Quote:"The British medical journal The Lancet reported in 2006 that over the last 20 years there have been 10 million missing female births in India. That’s half a million girls per year. In some parts of India, fewer than 800 girls are born for every 1,000 boys.
    (tags: abortion life)
  • Quote:"Villagers in eastern China has been forced by the country's unbending bureaucracy to change their family name as the character is so rare it cannot be typed.

    The problem affects about 200 people in a village in Shandong province who share the surname Shan.

    // Thankfully, I have yet to be forced to change my name from the unpronounceable Andrade to an easier Allen or Anderson.

    (tags: communism)
  • Quote:"But how healthy is bottled tea? Research presented at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society revealed that health-savvy consumers of bottled tea may not be getting their antioxidant bang for their buck. The healthy antioxidants–called polyphenols–that are responsible for tea’s ability to protect our cells from free radical damage are barely present in most bottled teas.

    This recent study tested six brands of bottled tea purchased from the supermarket, using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to measure the polyphenolic content. Shiming Li, Ph.D., who reported on the research, was surprised by the low pholyphenol content and stated: “Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits.”