Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Switzerland Shorn of Bankers Proves Industrial Juggernaut

Finance was more interesting before most in academia even heard of it. For decades people have wondered why USA top MBA programs need to produce so many finance majors. The 2008 crash raised more questions. Excess bankers should retrain as manufacturers (if they are smart enough). Depressed areas of USA maybe should figure out how to make a watch, a Ford, or something that sells well. We could do it in the past, leading edge. Is the gene pool much different? Fried brains from drugs or junk food? Why can't they produce? http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-28/switzerland-shorn-of-bankers-proves-industrial-juggernaut.html Switzerland Shorn of Bankers Proves Industrial Juggernaut Behind the headline-grabbing job reductions at Switzerland’s biggest banks is a manufacturing boom that is keeping the economy ahead of the rest of Europe. Even after 10,000 Swiss job losses at banks in the past five years, the nation’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.1 percent, the lowest of Europe’s 10 biggest economies and less than the rate a decade ago. The nation of 8 million is adding workers in factories that make electrical equipment, airline seating, toilets and drugs. “People think that precision engineering, watchmaking and the medical industry are minor, but collectively added up, they are quite sizeable in Switzerland,” Banks are “overemphasized” in the public perception, the industrial base is “powerful and important.” Banks and insurers had 152,000 full-time employees last year, compared with 588,000 who work for industrial companies. The banking industry’s share of domestic economic output fell to 6.2 percent in 2011 from 8.7 percent in 2007 “Switzerland is like a Silicon Valley for the manufacturing industry,” Given the higher cost base, no Swiss manufacturer would survive if it’s not world leading or top quality Universities such as Zurich’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a pro- business regulatory environment have helped make Switzerland a home for research hubs for U.S. companies The growth in engineering and manufacturing helped to make up for job losses in the finance industry. In response to requests from regulators, Swiss banks have reduced their dependence on borrowed money and exited businesses that fail to deliver big enough returns. Banks employ 10,000 people fewer in Switzerland today than five years ago, the country’s association of banking employees said Jan. 28. The number of Swiss bankers is set to shrink further after Zurich-based UBS, the country’s largest lender, said in October that it will shed 10,000 jobs globally and abandon most debt- trading operations to focus on money management. ** With few natural resources apart from water and beautiful landscapes, Swiss companies have focused on specialized, knowledge-based industries because of competition from lower-cost countries Switzerland has the world’s highest industrial production per capita and is the most competitive nation overall. Industrial production in the country has grown “sharply” since 2005, while traditional manufacturing nations such as Japan and Germany saw only a slight increase, and the U.K. saw a decline The Swiss success story is rooted in the country’s history as a neutral nation that hasn’t fought a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815. That stability has attracted foreign investors and entrepreneurs.** A report from the European Commission on innovation said Switzerland is the regional “leader,” continuously outperforming all 27 countries in Europe’s political bloc. Employer-friendly labor laws and a strong work ethic have helped keep job losses to a minimum. Switzerland has some of the longest working hours in Europe and a statutory retirement age of 65, giving companies leeway to cope with the country’s high wages. “Some companies went to employees and said we have a poor situation with the franc,” Workers were asked whether they would work two hours more per week for the next 1 1/2 years and “people agreed,” Switzerland will maintain its industry-focused economy over the long term. “When you travel around Switzerland, you see the idyllic Swiss alps, but you are never too far away from a chemical factory,” Chen said. “It would be a mistake to move to a pure service economy.”

Terrorists monetary benefits from USA government!

I saw one article with neighbor saying the terrorist was "just a normal kid who smoked tobacco and marijuana" The below may be true. Big waste of taxpayer money. Boston should be ashamed. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/30/boston-bombing-suspects-family-reportedly-received-100g-from-taxpayers/ "the breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning." http://www.gopusa.com/news/2013/04/30/tsarnaev-family-received-100g-in-benefits/ Tsarnaev family received $100G in benefits By Boston Herald (MA) The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance -- a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned. [gallery]

Online College cheaper and better from MIT, UC Berkeley, Stanford,...

Close most colleges by 2020. Shut down all Phd programs now. Cheap or free online education is a proven success. Why take boring junk classes from state college when you can take Artificial Intelligence from UC Berkeley? New York Times has several good articles on this topic free and Online! I saw this coming a long time ago. The technology came of age in the past 3 years. Save taxpayer money and eliminate student debt by much needed deflation of professor's egos and pay or elimination of their jobs altogether. Administrators can learn subsistence farming -- they are not good for anything else. Smart kids can skip high school and get their degrees by age 20 without any debt at all. Substitute low cost high quality services for high cost low quality services. http://nyti.ms/11y4WuM NYTimes:Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden Universities begin blending open online courses,created to deliver elite college instruction to anyone with an Internet connection Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are now turning to the gritty task of harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in American higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate on time. Nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States arrive on campus needing remedial work before they can begin regular credit-bearing classes. That early detour can be costly, leading many to drop out, often in heavy debt and with diminished prospects of finding a job. Meanwhile, shrinking state budgets have taken a heavy toll at public institutions, reducing the number of seats available in classes students must take to graduate. In California alone, higher education cuts have left hundreds of thousands of college students without access to classes they need. To address both problems and keep students on track to graduation, universities are beginning to experiment with adding the new “massive open online courses,” created to deliver elite college instruction to anyone with an Internet connection, to their offerings. While the courses, known as MOOCs, have enrolled millions of students around the world Udacity and San Jose State are expanding those classes to 1,000 students, and adding new courses in psychology and computer programming, with tuition of only $150 a course. Anant Agarwal, an M.I.T. professor who taught a free online version of the circuits class, to ask whether San Jose State could become a living lab for his course, the first offering from edX, an online collaboration of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.without any formal agreement or exchange of money, he arranged for San Jose State to offer the blended class last fall.The results were striking: 91 percent of those in the blended section passed, compared with 59 percent in the traditional class.“We’re engineers, and we check our results, but if this semester is similar, we will not have the traditional version next year,” said Khosrow Ghadiri, who teaches the blended class. “It would be educational malpractice.” The three leading providers, Udacity, EdX and Coursera, are all offering proctored exams, and in some cases, certification for transfer credit through the American Council on Education. Traditional teaching will be disappearing in five to seven years, he predicts, as more professors come to realize that lectures are not the best route to student engagement, and cash-strapped universities continue to seek cheaper instruction. The San Jose State professors were surprised at the speed with which the project came together. “The first word was in November, and it started in January,” specter of professors being laid off, turned into glorified teaching assistants or relegated to second-tier status, with only academic stars giving the lectures. Indeed, the faculty unions at all three California higher education systems oppose the legislation requiring credit for MOOCs “But why should we invent the wheel 10,000 times? This is M.I.T., No. 1 school in the nation — why would we not want to use their material?”

Monday, April 29, 2013

House Price Deflation Example University of Illinois and Chicago

Danville IL is a typical mid-west old line farming community of 33,333 people has been deflating for 100 yearsas thefarms supersized with machinery and the coal and manufacturing industries died out. The people were not needed so they inflated themselves by driving 3 hours north to Chicago or east to Indianapolis or west to Saint Louis leaving some of the best farmland in the world. Cheaper than Missouri but Illinois is somewhat better off economically with the bigger city Chicago. Danville has a community college and is just east of U Illinois, a top 5 engineering and computer science very large university. U Chicago + U Illinois is top 5 in almost everything or flat #1. Northwestern is similar, a little more plush and rich in a better neighborhood. Hundreds of interesting old houses real cheap, some with acreage. Many other such communities in most of the rich farming areas around the USA. Inflated people go to thebooming citiesleaving the deflated, depressed, despondent, in the poor rural areas 3 hours away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danville,_Illinois http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Danville_IL/sby-1?pgsz=50 Sort 1. 1 2. 2 3. 3 4. 4 5. 5 6. Next 608 Winkler Rd, Danville, IL 61832 * *608 Winkler Rd*Danville,IL61832 * $4,9502 Bd1 Ba568 Sq Ft1.07 Acres * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 23 Minnesota Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /8 Photos/ * *23 Minnesota Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $7,0002 Bd1 Ba957 Sq Ft6,534 Sq Ft Lot * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 110 S Crawford St, Danville, IL 61832 /4 Photos/ * *110 S Crawford St*Danville,IL61832 * $8,0002 Bd1 Ba929 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 27 S Collett St, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *27 S Collett St*Danville,IL61832 * $9,0004 Bd1 Ba1,755 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ *There are 2 listings for*586 Brickyard Rd 586 Brickyard Rd, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos//NEW/ * *586 Brickyard Rd*Danville,IL61832 * $11,5002 Bd1 Ba1,200 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 586 Brickyard Rd, Danville, IL 61832 * *586 Brickyard Rd*Danville,IL61832 * $11,5002 Bd1 Ba1,200 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: PRUDENTIAL LANDMARK R.E. * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 215 Grace St, Danville, IL 61832 * *215 Grace St*Danville,IL61832 * $11,5003 Bd1 Ba948 Sq Ft5,663 Sq Ft Lot * Single Family HomeBrokered by: PRIORITY ONE REAL ESTATE * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 8 N Virginia Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *8 N Virginia Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $12,4002 Bd1 Ba990 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 418 N Franklin St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *418 N Franklin St*Danville,IL61832 * $14,5004 Bd2 Ba2,688 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 16 Schultz St, Danville, IL 61832 /7 Photos/ * *16 Schultz St*Danville,IL61832 * $14,9992 Bd1 Ba1,140 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 220 S Virginia Ave, Danville, IL 61832 * *220 S Virginia Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $15,0005 Bd2 Ba2,027 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: PRIORITY ONE REAL ESTATE * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1005 Giddings St, Danville, IL 61832 * *1005 Giddings St*Danville,IL61832 * $15,0002 Bd1 Ba730 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: BARNEY REALTY * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 9 Columbus St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *9 Columbus St*Danville,IL61832 * $15,5001 Bd1 Ba700 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RANDALL, ROBERT W, RLTR * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1311 N Grant St, Danville, IL 61832 * *1311 N Grant St*Danville,IL61832 * $19,4002 Bd1 Ba1,150 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CLASSIC HOMES REALTY * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1415 Meitzler St, Tilton, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *1415 Meitzler St*Tilton,IL61832 * $19,9002 Bd1 Ba896 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 63 Maplewood Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /5 Photos/ * *63 Maplewood Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $19,9003 Bd1 Ba915 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 1645 Ray St, Danville, IL 61832 * *1645 Ray St*Danville,IL61832 * $19,9002 Bd1 Ba1,334 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: PRIORITY ONE REAL ESTATE * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1202 N Bowman Ave, Danville, IL 61832 * *1202 N Bowman Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $19,9002 Bd1 Ba970 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 112 Iowa St, Danville, IL 61832 /15 Photos/ * *112 Iowa St*Danville,IL61832 * $20,0003 Bd2 Ba1,425 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: Twin City Realty-Monticello * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1324 N Walnut St, Danville, IL 61832 /10 Photos/ * *1324 N Walnut St*Danville,IL61832 * $20,0004 Bd2 Ba2,400 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 13 E Voorhees St, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *13 E Voorhees St*Danville,IL61832 * $21,7002 Bd1 Ba1,100 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: 1ST CHOICE REALTY * Save Listing Visit 1st Choice Realty on the web. Visit 1st Choice Realty on the web. /Collapse this Listing/ 1322 N Gilbert St, Danville, IL 61832 /NEW/ * *1322 N Gilbert St*Danville,IL61832 * $23,0003 Bd1 Ba1,420 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CLASSIC HOMES REALTY * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 79 Lake St, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *79 Lake St*Danville,IL61832 * $24,5002 Bd1 Ba800 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 608 Florida St, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *608 Florida St*Danville,IL61832 * $24,9003 Bd2 Ba1,394 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 310 N Alexander St, Danville, IL 61832 * *310 N Alexander St*Danville,IL61832 * $24,9002 Bd1 Ba1,343 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1314 W Williams St, Danville, IL 61832 /4 Photos/ * *1314 W Williams St*Danville,IL61832 * $25,0002 Bd2 Ba1,100 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1017 N Vermilion St, Danville, IL 61832 * *1017 N Vermilion St*Danville,IL61832 * $25,0004 Bd1 Ba2,034 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CONNIE DAVIS REALTY * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1310 N Walnut St, Danville, IL 61832 /7 Photos/ * *1310 N Walnut St*Danville,IL61832 * $25,9004 Bd2 Ba2,004 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 32 Pennsylvania Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *32 Pennsylvania Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $25,9003 Bd2 Ba1,602 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1514 N Franklin St, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *1514 N Franklin St*Danville,IL61832 * $26,0002 Bd1 Ba1,166 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 732 Commercial St, Danville, IL 61832 * *732 Commercial St*Danville,IL61832 * $27,0003 Bd1 Ba1,029 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1304 Lape St, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *1304 Lape St*Danville,IL61832 * $27,5003 Bd1 Ba1,300 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 906 Koehn Dr, Danville, IL 61832 * *906 Koehn Dr*Danville,IL61832 * $27,9003 Bd1 Ba924 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: WALKER REAL ESTATE * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1310 Sheridan St, Danville, IL 61832 /10 Photos/ * *1310 Sheridan St*Danville,IL61832 * $28,0003 Bd1 Ba1,159 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: Twin City Realty-Monticello * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1228 Edgewood Park Cir, Danville, IL 61832 /12 Photos//NEW/ * *1228 Edgewood Park Cir*Danville,IL61832 * $29,9003 Bd1 Ba949 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FRIDY REALTY * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 515 W Harrison St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *515 W Harrison St*Danville,IL61832 * $29,9004 Bd2 Ba2,454 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1022 Giddings St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *1022 Giddings St*Danville,IL61832 * $29,9002 Bd1 Ba1,000 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 201 Oregon Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /0 Photos//NEW/ * *201 Oregon Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $31,9002 Bd1 Ba1,000 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 713 Sherman St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *713 Sherman St*Danville,IL61832 * $32,9003 Bd1 Ba1,355 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1327 N Grant St, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *1327 N Grant St*Danville,IL61832 * $33,5002 Bd1 Ba870 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 212 E Winter Ave, Danville, IL 61832 /6 Photos/ * *212 E Winter Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $33,9003 Bd2 Ba1,525 Sq Ft7,405 Sq Ft Lot * Single Family HomeBrokered by: FARREN REALTY GROUP * Save Listing Passionate • Motivated • Determined Passionate • Motivated • Determined /Collapse this Listing/ 17 Virginia, Danville, IL 61832 /11 Photos/ * *17 Virginia*Danville,IL61832 * $34,9002 Bd1 Ba1,150 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 913 Timberline Dr, Danville, IL 61832 * *913 Timberline Dr*Danville,IL61832 * $36,5003 Bd1 Ba975 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1115 Martin St, Danville, IL 61836 /0 Photos/ * *1115 Martin St*Danville,IL61836 * $37,5003 Bd1 Ba1,000 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RE/MAX 2000 * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 1218 N Griffin St, Danville, IL 61832 /1 Photo/ * *1218 N Griffin St*Danville,IL61832 * $38,5002 Bd1 Ba920 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: RANDALL, ROBERT W, RLTR * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 65 Columbus St, Danville, IL 61832 * *65 Columbus St*Danville,IL61832 * $38,9003 Bd1 Ba2,146 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 611 S Bowman Ave, Danville, IL 61832 * *611 S Bowman Ave*Danville,IL61832 * $39,0003 Bd1 Ba1,546 Sq Ft * Single Family HomeBrokered by: CB HONIG-BELL * Save Listing /Collapse this Listing/ 110 W 4Th St, Danville, IL 61832 /2 Photos/ * *110 W 4Th St*Danville,IL61832 * $39,5002 Bd1 Ba1,056 Sq Ft0.5 Acres * Single Family HomeBrokered by: 1ST CHOICE REALTY * Save Listing Visit 1st Choice Realty on the web. Visit 1st Choice Realty on the web. /Collapse this Listing/ 1. 1 2. 2 3. 3 4. 4 5. 5 6. Next

Deflation, blondes, trucks Re: $580,000 for a cup of coffee.

Most people's pay have gone up faster than the cost of trucks so the cost of trucks has actually dropped. You don't have to work as long or as hard to buy a fancy truck nowadays. Probably some don't work at all, just welfare and sell a little pot, or collect disability. Government may even give you a ride to the doctor. Inflation rate calculation ln(6)/(2013-1969)=0.04072180611 or 4% per year -- most of that was back in the 1970s before the neocon, Volcker, Thatcher, Reagan, debt + tight money deflation strategy took over. New trucks are more reliable, better paint, upholstery, better radios, electronics, get better mileage, automatic transmissions, all kinds of extras that they did not have back then. . Lots of blonde young female bankers here drive trucks, barely out of high school. Today I parked by a big fancy red dodge ram driven by a fancy blonde I say hi to every day when I stop into the bank to get my free newspaper, free coffee, and free chocolate chip cookies! Could not do that back in 1969. I took a 3 hour walk and weight lifting and made sure she could see me shirtless walking back to my car getting a tan. I am still skinny but starting to get my arms back at least compared to most of the slobs around here. Injury on right shoulder. Starting to do more on my back now, like rowing. And curls. On 4/29/13 3:59 PM, JOHN C. JOHNSON wrote: > Bob, you are correct. If it is hard to visualize, then why did my 1969 > Ford F100 Pickup cost 3,200 dollars brand new in April '69, and > something comparable now costs 6 times or more as much? That is > INFLATION. The devaluation of the dollar, and it goes on endlessly. I > agree that it will be accelerated by adding fiat monies. > > JOHN > > > * > * > > OK, I'll be the dummy here. What am I missing? Joe, I honestly > believed (and still do) that price inflation is usually due to wealth > deflation, caused by dilution of that “wealth,” i.e. fiat money. You > seem to be saying that these are two are totally unrelated?? ‘Splain > that one to me! > > I realize prices can fluctuate due to supply and demand, but the > inflation we see in essentials that we buy is primarily the effect of > increasing “money” supply (maybe M2 perhaps) created by increasing the > amount of fake fiat “dollars.” > > I believe sheeple can overpay for goods and *falsely conclude that there * > > *is inflation while in reality it is their wealth is being deflated.* > > Why should I pay so much to drink coffee with a guy who lost billions in > > stock market value? Why should I pay too much for anything? > > Meet the current frontrunner for $580K coffee with Tim Cook > > http://www.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57581696-37/meet-the-current-frontrunner-for-$580k-coffee-with-tim-cook/ > > > > Which is worth more, coffee w/Tim Cook or a Lamborghini? > > At $605,000, bidding for a meeting with Apple's CEO approaches a > > Charitybuzz record > > Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster. > > > > > The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster fetched $610,000. > > Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 11.05.24 AM > > > > Cook > > FORTUNE -- it seems likely that bidding for a chance to have coffee > > with Apple CEO Tim Cook is going to set a record both for theRobert F. > > Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and > > forCharitybuzz , the > > site running their 2013 auction. >

Inflation Deflation Fwd: Shoppers Turn Blind Eye to Bangladesh in $6 Bikini Hunt

Today most of the world is deflated or deflating. Billions live on less than $2 per day and can't afford to pay high prices for anything. Everywhere the rich inflate themselves: big egos, big assets, fat wallets. They get richer by grabbing more for themselves. USA and Worldwide a high skew in wealth distribution and income disparity is increasing or already high in most countries. Inflation happens in booms that make more people rich. Deflation happens in recessions and depressions such as in the 1930s and 2008. USA had a huge migration from poor rural farms to the cities 1900-2000 so the people could live in luxury and enjoy inflation. China is an even bigger migration today out of the poor rural areas into the highly inflated cities that are more expensive than most of USA. Typical example from Bloomberg below. Deflated $6 Bikinis on Oxford Street in London (with the world's most inflated real estate) made by Pakistanis working for $3 per day -- deflated but better off than a billion of their neighbors. Rich countries get inflated by deflating the poor in other countries as well as deflating the poor in their own countries. Eventually those poor Pakistanis may become inflated too. Walmart is a prime example. The game is how to take advantage of deflation to inflate yourself at the expense of others. $6 bikinis are hard to make profitably but how about bourbon or rye whiskey? Wild boar salami? Deer jerky? Websites? Social Media? Electronic currency? Conspiracy Theories? Books? Derivatives? Fake gold coins? These are outrageously expensive but cheap to make in the USA... so cheap that many quit making some of this stuff decades ago. Joe Shoppers Turn Blind Eye to Bangladesh in $6 Bikini Hunt In the wake of disasters in Bangladesh garment factories that have claimed hundreds of lives in recent months, shoppers in the west have shown growing concern about worker safety in developing countries. As long as it doesn’t mean an end to bargains. “It bothers me, but a lot of retailers are getting their clothes from these places and I can’t see how I can change anything,” 21-year-old university student Elizabeth McNail said, clutching a brown paper bag from clothier Primark the day after a building collapse in Savar, Bangladesh, killed at least 381 people. “They definitely need to improve, but I’ll still shop here. It’s so cheap.” Both of Primark’s (ABF) stores on Oxford Street in central London heaved with crowds sorting through clothing under neon signs heralding “Amazing Fashion Amazing Prices” last week. The floors were littered with crumpled t-shirts, jeans, and sundresses, while shoppers waited in queues 50-deep to pay for summer wear like a 1.50-pound ($2.32) fluorescent sun visor and 7-pound cut-off denim shorts. Primark, a unit of Associated British Foods Plc (ABF), is one of at least five retailers whose products were made in the eight- story building that collapsed. Loblaw Cos.’ brand Joe Fresh, U.K. budget retailer Matalan Ltd. (MTN), plus-size womenswear seller Bonmarche Ltd. and Spanish department store El Corte Ingles have also said they had suppliers in the building. A 2012 report by consultants McKinsey & Co. said purchasing chiefs at American and European clothiers considered Bangladesh the “next hot spot” due to its low costs. Over four-fifths plan to cut China sourcing, where wages are rising, because of declining profit margins. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association says the country is the world’s second-largest apparel exporter, after China. Textiles account for about 80 percent of Bangladesh’s exports. *Electrical Wiring * The shift to Bangladesh has created an $18 billion manufacturing industry, yet one that is marred by factories with poor electrical wiring, an insufficient number of exits and little firefighting equipment. More than 1,000 Bangladesh garment workers have died in fires and other disasters since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, an advocacy group in Washington. A November fire at a factory making clothes for companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. killed 112 people. Clothing companies have come under increasing pressure to lower costs as the rise of fast fashion at cut-throat prices has trained consumers to expect $5 T-shirts and $6 bikinis. The cost of clothing in Britain has dropped 20 percent since 2005, according to the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, while food is up 43 percent. *Sunglasses, Handbag * Even small price increases in the name of better worker safety would be enough to turn away some shoppers, like American exchange student Shannon Atwell. The 21-year-old spent 12 pounds on a dress, sunglasses and a fake-leather handbag at Primark last week. “I didn’t buy a 13-pound dress because I thought it was too much,” she said. “If prices went up I wouldn’t buy from here.” As attention turns to Bangladesh, Primark is among the companies with the most to lose. The retailer has more than doubled sales in the last five years to 3.5 billion pounds, far outpacing rivals on the British high street like Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) and billionaire Philip Green’s Topshop. That’s been driven by a focus on trendy, regularly updated fashions and low prices on garments imported from Bangladesh and other Asian countries. *Contractor’s Subcontractor * Primark says it hired a supplier called Simple Approach to make some of its garments. Simple Approach, in turn, contracted with a company named New Wave, which had a workshop in the collapsed building. Since the factory collapse, Primark has vowed to push for structural surveys of buildings as part of supplier audits. Spokesman Chris Barrie said the retailer has sent senior staff to Bangladesh to work with a non-governmental organization to get food and other assistance to the local community. He declined to comment further. Primark has many pages on its website dedicated to what it calls its ethical trading stance. The company outlines its code of conduct, supplier auditing process, and its own performance. The site includes a short film about how the company provides health and nutritional education for female garment makers in Bangladesh. The program “has encouraged me to learn more and work harder,” Habiba, a 24-year-old worker whose surname was not provided, said in a case study on the site. *Conduct Code * The Ethical Trading Initiative, a consortium of apparel makers, trade unions and non-governmental organizations that establishes codes of conduct for companies, has spoken out against the “horrific incident” in Savar and called for better safety. The ETI declined to comment specifically on Primark’s sourcing practices. “This terrible tragedy highlights the urgency of putting a stop to the race to the bottom in supplying cheap means of production to international brands,” said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the Industrial Global Union, which says it represents 5 million garment workers worldwide, including some at the collapsed Bangladeshi factory. The challenge for Primark is balancing activist and government demands with customer desires for cheap clothes. Those two forces collided April 27 when a group called War on Want held a protest outside Primark’s Oxford Street store, according to the BBC. *Nike’s Reaction * While Primark will likely see little impact from the disaster, despite the global headlines, “it’s something they have to monitor more carefully because while it won’t hurt trade, it may impact consumer perception of how well they look after their suppliers,” said Honor Westnedge, an analyst at retail industry trackers Verdict Research. Perceptions do matter. Just ask Nike Inc., the world’s largest sporting-goods maker, which improved Asian factory conditions in the late 1990s after its stock sank amid widespread reproach from advocacy groups, politicians, and shareholder activists. Critics said workers were hurt by low wages, forced overtime, and the use of toxic chemicals in poorly ventilated facilities. To avoid similar censure, Primark should put more time and effort into monitoring its suppliers, according to Planet Retail analyst Isabel Cavill. “They could probably afford to invest in their factories, but it’s a tough market and it’s very difficult to up prices,” Cavill said. “The consumer may need to start getting used to higher prices.” To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net <mailto:sshannon4@bloomberg.net> To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net <mailto:cperri@bloomberg.net> Find out more about Bloomberg for iPhone: http://m.bloomberg.com/iphone/

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Joe's email's

Brenda, Beach opens mid-May. Bright sunshine Vitamin D is very important to prevent MS, cancer, and many other diseases. Also take sulfur MSM pills from Walmart. Skin in sunshine converts cholesterol into cholesterol sulfate that is water soluble so the cholesterol can get to the brain and heart where it is needed. Also Vitamin D is water soluble too, so it gets around better. Map shows MS is much more common in the northern climates. I will probably move to Hawaii in a few years so I can go to the beach every day.

 http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/facts.html [image: Inline image 1] MS is predominately a disease of temperate latitudes and of the western hemisphere. Principally, it is a disease prevalent in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Although MS is found in Japan, China and some other temperate, eastern countries, it is very much rarer than it is in the West. Regions north of 40 degrees latitude have a markedly higher incidence than those south of this divide. Within Europe, Scandinavia, The British Isles, the Low Countries and Germany have very high rates. Canada, northern USA and New Zealand have an equivalently high prevalence. Within these areas, certain localities such as the border areas of Scotland (203 per 100,000), Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada (217 per 100,000), the northern-most province of Sweden (253 per 100,000) and others have been found to have extremely high incidences of the disease. http://www.invw.org/article/a-map-of-multiple-scleros-1329 Multiple Sclerosis has long been known as an autoimmune disorder that affects more people living in the Pacific Northwest than in most other parts of the country, and the world. [image: Inline image 2] Jeff, > >

I wrote a blog at > > Enter the health topic of your choice in the "search" box and a bunch of > posts will come up. Or email me questions. > > I am back body-building and walking. Almost ran a marathon yesterday but > it was raining. > > Still working on reducing my carbos to nil, especially getting rid of > sugar. No gluten, no grains, no GMO. Moving to the "paleolithic" diet of > fishing and hunting (I live on a lake). > > No meat or eggs from "confined animal feeding operations" which is all > you can get in grocery stores, poison. > > Fermented foods very important. Lots of cheese, kefir, sour cream, sour > kraut, buttermilk, ... any fermented vegetable or pork. Raw and cooked > vegetables important too. > > I just learned about most of this past 2 years from books and internet. I > had to go into reverse and do the opposite of what I have been doing. I > can really tell the difference. > > Saturated fat is very healthy. > >

 > > > Hi Jeff here are a few of  emails concerning health. >>

 I have Jeff's email now:) I will have to send another email this >> outlook express will not let me leave this page. >> >> Brenda >> >> >> >> ** >> >> > > [gallery]

$580,000 for a cup of coffee. Apple loss stock market value

I believe sheeple can overpay for goods and falsely conclude that there is inflation while in reality it is their wealth is being deflated. Why should I pay so much to drink coffee with a guy who lost billions in stock market value? Why should I pay too much for anything? Meet the current frontrunner for $580K coffee with Tim Cook http://www.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57581696-37/meet-the-current-frontrunner-for-$580k-coffee-with-tim-cook/ Which is worth more, coffee w/Tim Cook or a Lamborghini? At $605,000, bidding for a meeting with Apple's CEO approaches a Charitybuzz record Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster. The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster fetched $610,000. Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 11.05.24 AM Cook FORTUNE -- it seems likely that bidding for a chance to have coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook is going to set a record both for theRobert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and forCharitybuzz , the site running their 2013 auction.

Unlimited free USA calling through your DSL or Cable Internet. Permanent Deflation

Magic Jack costs more. I have used the VOIP below for two years without a glitch for $50 one time hardware investment. Get your free google phone number at https://www.google.com/voice You can use that free on your computer. Better to use any old phone you already own and plug it into a $50 obihai http://www.amazon.com/OBi110-Service-Bridge-Telephone-Adapter/dp/B0045RMEPI OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP Telephone Adapter by Obihai 4.6 out of 5 stars (964 customer reviews) Price:$49.24 & FREE Shipping.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Frauds in the University

Very long article. I believe fraudulent research is quite common. Journals want simple, funny stories that agree with what editors wrote before. Such as rationality, market efficiency, equilibrium, optimality, maximization, utility,... that valorize the rich and powerful who fund the university and run the government and big companies and banks. The story below is flagrant. Most the the problems are subtle and hard to see. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/diederik-stapels-audacious-academic-fraud.html?_r=0 “People have lost faith in the church, but they haven’t lost faith in science. My behavior shows that science is not holy.” What the public didn’t realize, he said, was that academic science, too, was becoming a business. “There are scarce resources, you need grants, you need money, there is competition,” he said. “Normal people go to the edge to get that money. Science is of course about discovery, about digging to discover the truth. But it is also communication, persuasion, marketing. I am a salesman. I am on the road. People are on the road with their talk. With the same talk. It’s like a circus.” He named two psychologists he admired — John Cacioppo and Daniel Gilbert — neither of whom has been accused of fraud. “They give a talk in Berlin, two days later they give the same talk in Amsterdam, then they go to London. They are traveling salesmen selling their story.” status served as a shield, his confidence fortified him further. His presentations at conferences were slick and peppered with humor. He viewed himself as giving his audience what they craved: “structure, simplicity, a beautiful story.” Stapel glossed over experimental details, projecting the air of a thinker who has no patience for methods. The tone of his talks, he said, was “Let’s not talk about the plumbing, the nuts and bolts — that’s for plumbers, for statisticians.” If somebody asked a question — on the possible effect of changing a condition in the experiment, for example — he made things up on the spot. “I would often say, ‘Well, I have thought about this, we did another experiment which I haven’t reported here in which we tried that and it didn’t work.’ his peers, journal editors and reviewers of the field’s top journals were to blame for letting him get away with it. The committees identified several practices as “sloppy science” — misuse of statistics, ignoring of data that do not conform to a desired hypothesis and the pursuit of a compelling story no matter how scientifically unsupported it may be. most troubling about the research culture the committees describe in their report are the plentiful opportunities and incentives for fraud. “The cookie jar was on the table without a lid” is how Stapel put it to me once. Those who suspect a colleague of fraud may be inclined to keep mum because of the potential costs of whistle-blowing. The key to why Stapel got away with his fabrications for so long lies in his keen understanding of the sociology of his field. “I didn’t do strange stuff, I never said let’s do an experiment to show that the earth is flat,” he said. “I always checked — this may be by a cunning manipulative mind — that the experiment was reasonable, that it followed from the research that had come before, that it was just this extra step that everybody was waiting for.” He always read the research literature extensively to generate his hypotheses. “So that it was believable and could be argued that this was the only logical thing you would find,” he said. “Everybody wants you to be novel and creative, but you also need to be truthful and likely. You need to be able to say that this is completely new and exciting, but it’s very likely given what we know so far.” Fraud like Stapel’s — brazen and careless in hindsight — might represent a lesser threat to the integrity of science than the massaging of data and selective reporting of experiments had been frustrated by the messiness of experimental data, which rarely led to clear conclusions. His lifelong obsession with elegance and order, he said, led him to concoct sexy results that journals found attractive. “It was a quest for aesthetics, for beauty — instead of the truth,” Stapel’s fraud may shine a spotlight on dishonesty in science, but scientific fraud is hardly new. The rogues’ gallery of academic liars and cheats features scientific celebrities who have enjoyed similar prominence. The once-celebrated South Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk stunned scientists in his field a few years ago after it was discovered that almost all of the work for which he was known was fraudulent. The prominent Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser resigned in 2011 during an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services that would end up determining that some of his papers contained fabricated data. Every year, the Office of Research Integrity uncovers numerous instances­ of bad behavior by scientists, ranging from lying on grant applications to using fake images in publications. A blog called Retraction Watch publishes a steady stream of posts about papers being retracted by journals because of allegations or evidence of misconduct. Each case of research fraud that’s uncovered triggers a similar response from scientists. First disbelief, then anger, then a tendency to dismiss the perpetrator as one rotten egg in an otherwise-honest enterprise. But the scientific misconduct that has come to light in recent years suggests at the very least that the number of bad actors in science isn’t as insignificant as many would like to believe. And considered from a more cynical point of view, figures like Hwang and Hauser are not outliers so much as one end on a continuum of dishonest behaviors that extend from the cherry-picking of data to fit a chosen hypothesis — which many researchers admit is commonplace — to outright fabrication.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Obama scandal gives $billions to Black liars. New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/us/farm-loan-bias-claims-often-unsupported-cost-us-millions.html?_r=0 $50,000 payouts to black farmers Federal Spigot Flows as Farmers Claim Discrimination Government payments to address minority farmers’ claims of discrimination by the Agriculture Department have ballooned amid signs of fraud Obama administration’s political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court. The deal, several current and former government officials said, was fashioned in White House meetings despite the vehement objections of career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination. What is more, some protested, the template for the deal — the $50,000 payouts to black farmers — had proved a magnet for fraud. The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion. From the start, the claims process prompted allegations of widespread fraud and criticism that its very design encouraged people to lie: because relatively few records remained to verify accusations, claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm. Agriculture Department reviewers found reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination.

coffee, Healthy Sulfur, Potassium,...

Ron, I guess my marathon is rained out tomorrow. Espresso coffee: I dump ginger, chocolate, turmeric, cinnamon into the cup before the coffee comes out. Then stir and add cream. The spices overwhelm the coffee taste but I have seen other people destroy coffee with such. While brewing coffee I take 1 teaspoon each of: coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil, wheat germ oil.... A quick and easy breakfast with plenty of spices than are sometimes recommended for health. I have used Swanson occasionally over the years, an old line Swedish North Dakota company. Seems their prices are lower than my local suppliers and it is pouring rain all day and my favorite supplier is a 100 mile round trip drive. MSM Sulfur is good for the joints and most people are deficient due to soil depletion. Sulfur is the 7th most abundant atom in the human body by weight. Similarly for potassium. I recently started taking potassium and immediately felt better. I have never tried Vitamin C in powder form, but it seems that powder would be better without the fillers and binders in tablets. Rose hips, flavonoids are probably important in conjunction with C. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hips https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavonoid#Human_health For some reason I really like Brewer's yeast and Lecithin. They are considered health foods, probably for good reason. Yeast has a lot of vitamins and protein. Lecithin is various soybean fats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecithin Untitled Document www.SwansonVitamins.com *my account* *Item* *Status* *Qty* *Price Each* *Total* *MSM Powder* 16 oz (454 grams) Pwdr Item #: SW851 In Stock 1 $11.89 $11.89 *100% Pure Lecithin Granules* 16 oz (454 grams) Granules Item #: SW348 In Stock 1 $8.49 $8.49 *100% Pure Brewer's Yeast* 32 oz (908 grams) Pwdr Item #: SW330 In Stock 1 $10.99 $10.99 *Daily Multi-Vitamin & Mineral* 250 Caps Item #: SW257 In Stock 1 $13.99 $13.99 *Vitamin C with Rosehips Powder* 8 oz (227 grams) Pwdr Item #: SW942 In Stock 1 $9.99 $9.99 *Magnesium Citrate* 8 oz (227 grams) Pwdr Item #: SW1376 In Stock 1 $5.99 $5.99 http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/natural-health-tips/using-coconut-oil?mobile=off&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Banner+Ads&utm_campaign=Coconut+Oil&sourceCode=INTCON001

Thursday, April 25, 2013

inflammation, obesity, gut flora, immune, auto-immune, gastric bypass, brain.... Berkeley

Good article but written in a journalistic mode that doubles the words and makes it hard to get at the facts. I have read much of this elsewhere. The more the different sources the easier it is to understand and the more trustworthy. I just got exposed to the importance of probiotics and gut flora 2 or 3 years ago. But I very much like fermented foods, my favorites. Reinforces what I already agree with. The economy is a machine that creates disease and then treats those diseases. The worst day fishing is better than the best day working. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1439199388 An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases A brilliant, cutting-edge exploration of the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases and the controversial, potentially groundbreaking therapies that scientists are developing to correct these disorders. Whether it is asthma, food or pollen allergies, type-1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? Science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff explains the latest thinking about this problem and explores the remarkable new treatments in the works. In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance. The idea that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem. This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy. In the future, preventive treatment—something as simple as a probiotic—will necessarily begin before birth. An Epidemic of Absence asks what will happen in developing countries, which, as they become more affluent, have already seen an uptick in allergic disease: Will India end up more allergic than Europe? Velasquez-Manoff also details a controversial underground movement that has coalesced around the treatment of immune-mediated disorders with parasites. Against much of his better judgment, he joins these do-it-yourselfers and reports his surprising results. An Epidemic of Absence considers the critical immune stimuli we inadvertently lost as we modernized, and the modern ills we may be able to correct by restoring them. At stake is nothing less than our health, and that of our loved ones. Researchers, meanwhile, have the good fortune of living through a paradigm shift, one of those occasional moments in the progress of science when a radically new way of thinking emerges, shakes things up, and suggests new avenues of treatment. You’ll discover that you’re not you at all, but a bustling collection of organisms, an ecosystem whose preservation and integrity require the utmost attention and care. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/04/gut-microbiome-bacteria-weight-loss Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss? Imbalances in the microbial community in your intestines may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. What does science say about how to reset our bodies? |A few years before/Super Size Me/hit theaters in 2004,Dr. Paresh Dandona , a diabetes specialist in Buffalo, New York, set out tomeasure the body's response to McDonald's —specifically breakfast. Over several mornings, he fed nine normal-weight volunteers an egg sandwich with cheese and ham, a sausage muffin sandwich, and two hash brown patties. Dandona is a professor at the State University of New York-Buffalo who also heads the Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York, and what he observed has informed his research ever since. Levels of a C-reactive protein, an indicator of systemic inflammation, shot up "within literally minutes." "I was shocked," he recalls, that "a simple McDonald's meal that seems harmless enough"—the sort of high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal that 1 in 4 Americans eats regularly—would have such a dramatic effect. And it lasted for hours. Inflammation comes in many forms. The swelling of a sprained ankle indicates repairing torn muscle and tendon. The redness and pain around an infected cut signifies the body's repulsion of microbes. The fever, aches, and pains that accompany the flu represent a body-wide seek-and-destroy mission directed against an invading virus. They're all essential to survival, the body's response to a perceived threat or injury. But inflammation can also cause collateral damage, especially when the response is overwhelming—like in septic shock—or when it goes on too long. Chronic, low-grade inflammation has long been recognized as a feature of metabolic syndrome , a cluster of dysfunctions that tends to precede full-blown diabetes and that also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and even dementia—the top killers of the developed world. The syndrome includes a combination of elevated blood sugar and high blood pressure, low "good" cholesterol, and an abdominal cavity filled with fat, often indicated by a "beer belly." But recently, doctors have begun to question whether chronic inflammation is more than just a symptom of metabolic syndrome: Could it, in fact, be a major cause? For Dandona, who's given to waxing grandiloquent about the joys of a beer on the porch in his native Delhi, or the superb ice wines from the Buffalo region, the results presented a quandary. Food was a great pleasure in life. Why would Nature be so cruel, he wondered, and punish us just for eating? Over the next decade he tested the effects of various foods on the immune system. A fast-food breakfast inflamed, he found, but a high-fiber breakfast with lots of fruit did not. Abreakthrough came in 2007 when he discovered that while sugar water, a stand-in for soda, caused inflammation, orange juice—even though it contains plenty of sugar—didn't. *DIAGRAM: Meet the complex bacterial ecosystems instrumental to a healthy body.* The Florida Department of Citrus, a state agency, was so excited it underwrote a subsequent study, and had fresh-squeezed orange juice flown in for it. This time, along with their two-sandwich, two-hash-brown, 910-calorie breakfast, one-third of his volunteers—10 in total—quaffed a glass of fresh OJ. The non-juice drinkers, half of whom drank sugar water, and the other half plain water, had the expected response—inflammation and elevated blood sugar. But the OJ drinkers had neither elevated blood sugar nor inflammation. The juice seemed to shield their metabolism. "It just switched off the whole damn thing," Dandona says. Other scientists have since confirmed that OJ has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Orange juice is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, beneficial flavonoids, and small amounts of fiber, all of which may be directly anti-inflammatory. But what caught Dandona's attention was another substance. Those subjects who ate just the McDonald's breakfast had increased blood levels of a molecule called endotoxin. This molecule comes from the outer walls of certain bacteria. If endotoxin levels rise, our immune system perceives a threat and responds with inflammation. If theories about the interplay of food and intestinal microbes pan out, it could help cure obesity and revolutionize the $66 billion weight loss industry. Where had the endotoxin come from? One possibility was the food itself. But there was another possibility. We all carry a few pounds' worth of microbes in our gut, a complex ecosystem collectively called the microbiota. The endotoxin, Dandona suspected, originated in this native colony of microbes. Somehow, a greasy meal full of refined carbohydrates ushered it from the gut, where it was always present but didn't necessarily cause harm, into the bloodstream, where it did. But orange juice stopped that translocation cold. Dandona's ongoing experiments—and others like it—could upend much of we thought we knew about the causes of obesity, or just that extra pesky 10 pounds of flab. If what some scientists now suspect about the interplay of food and intestinal microbes pans out, it could revolutionize the $66 billion weight loss industry—and help control the soaring $2.7 trillion we spend on health care yearly. "What matters is not how much you eat," Dandona says, "but what you eat." *EVER SINCE THE DUTCH DRAPER*Antonie van Leeuwenhoekfirst scrutinized his own plaque with a homemade microscope more than three centuries ago and discovered "little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving," we've known that we're covered in microbes. But as new and cheaper methods for studying these microbes have become available recently, their importance to our health has grown increasingly evident. Scientists now suspect that our microbial communities contribute to a number of diseases, from allergic disorders like asthma and hay fever, to inflammatory conditions like Crohn's disease, to cancer, heart disease, and obesity. We are, numerically speaking, 10 percent human, and 90 percent microbe. As newborns, we encounter our first microbes as we pass through the birth canal. Until that moment, we are 100 percent human. Thereafter, we are, numerically speaking, 10 percent human, and 90 percent microbe. Our microbiome contains at least 150 times more genes, collectively, than our human genome. Think of it as a hulking instruction manual compared to a single page to-do list. As we mature, we pick up more microbes from breast milk, food, water, animals, soil, and other people. Sometime in childhood, the bustling community of between 500 and 1,000 species stabilizes. Some species are native only to humans, and may have been passed down within the family like heirlooms. Others are generalists—maybe they've hopped aboard from pets, livestock, and other animal sources. Most of our microbes inhabit the colon, the final loop of intestine, where they help us break down fibers, harvest calories, and protect us from micro-marauders. But they also do much, much more. Animals raised without microbes essentially lack a functioning immune system. Entire repertoires of white blood cells remain dormant; their intestines don't develop the proper creases and crypts; their hearts are shrunken; genes in the brain that should be in the "off" position remain stuck "on." Without their microbes, animals aren't really "normal." What do we do for our microbes in return? Some scientists argue that mammals are really just mobile digestion chambers for bacteria. After all, your stool is roughly half living bacteria by weight. Every day, food goes in one end and microbes come out the other. The human gut is roughly 26 feet in length. Hammered flat, it would have a surface area of a tennis court. Seventy percent of our immune activity occurs there. The gut has its own nervous system; it contains as many neurons as the spinal cord. About 95 percent of the body's serotonin, a neurotransmitter usually discussed in the context of depression, is produced in the gut. Children raised in microbially rich environments—with pets, on farms, or attending day care—are at lower risk of allergic diseases. So the gut isn't just where we absorb nutrients. It's also an immune hub and a second brain. And it's crawling with microbes. They don't often cross the walls of the intestines into the blood stream, but they nevertheless change how the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems all work on the other side of the intestine wall. Science isn't always consistent about what, exactly, goes wrong with our microbes in disease situations. But a recurrent theme is that loss of diversity correlates with the emergence of illness. Children in the developing world have many more types of microbes than kids in Europe or North America, and yet generally develop allergies and asthma at lower rates than those in industrialized nations. In the developed world, children raised in microbially rich environments—with pets, on farms, or attending day care—have a lower risk of allergic disease than kids raised in more sterile environments. metabolism flowchart —BySarah Zhang Those who study human microbial communities fret that they are undergoing an extinction crisis similar to the one afflicting the biosphere at large—and that modern medicine may be partly to blame. Some studies find that babies born by C-section, deprived of their mother's vaginal microbes at birth, have a higher risk of celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and obesity. Early-life use of antibiotics—which tear through our microbial ecosystems like a forest fire—has also been linked to allergic disease*,*inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity. Which brings us to the question more and more scientists are asking: If our microbiota plays a role in keeping us healthy, then how about attacking disease by treating the microbiota? After all, our community of microbes is quite plastic. New members can arrive and take up residence. Old members can get flushed out. Member ratios can shift. The human genome, meanwhile, is comparatively stiff and unresponsive. So the microbiota represents a huge potential leverage point in our quest to treat, and prevent, chronic disease. In particular, the "forgotten organ," as some call the microbiota, may hold the key to addressing our single greatest health threat: obesity. *PARESH DANDONA LEFT INDIA*in 1966 for a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. He became "the first colored guy," he says, to head his unit at the University of London hospital. His bearing—heels together, back stiff, and an orator's care with words delivered in a deep, sonorous voice—recalls a bygone era. He moved to Buffalo in 1991. During those decades, the number of Americans considered obese nearly tripled. One-third of Americans are now considered overweight, and another third obese. Worldwide, one-fourth of humanity is too heavy, according to the World Health Organization. In 2011, the United Nations announced that for the first time ever, chronic diseases, most of which are linked to obesity, killed more people than infectious diseases. In the United States, obesity accounts for 20 percent of health care costs, according to Cornell University economists. And the problems aren't limited to the obese themselves: Children born to obese mothers have hardened arteries at birth, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They have a greater risk of asthma. Some studies suggest they're more likely to suffer from attention deficit disorders and autism. Why are we increasingly prone to obesity? The long-dominant explanation is simply that too little exercise and too many calories equals too much stored fat. The solution: more exercise and a lot more willpower. But there's a problem with this theory: In the developed world, most of us consume more calories than we really need, but we don't gain weight proportionally. A pound of body fat contains roughly 3,500 calories. If you run a daily surplus of just 500 calories—the amount in a bagel with a generous serving of cream cheese—you should, judging by the strict calorie-in-must-equal-calorie-out model, gain a pound of fat per week. Most of us do run a surplus in that range, or even higher, but we either gain weight much more slowly, or don't gain weight at all. Some corpulent people, meanwhile, have metabolisms that work fine. Their insulin and blood sugar levels are within normal range. Their livers are healthy, not marbled with fat. And some thin people have metabolic syndrome, often signaled by a beer gut. They suffer from fatty liver, insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, and low-grade, systemic inflammation. From a public health perspective, these symptoms are where the real problem lies—not necessarily how well we fit into our jeans. Inflammation might not be a symptom of metabolic syndrome: It could be a cause. Here's the traditional understanding of metabolic syndrome: You ate too much refined food sopped in grease. Calories flooded your body. Usually, a hormone called insulin would help your cells absorb these calories for use. But the sheer overabundance of energy in this case overwhelms your cells. They stop responding to insulin. To compensate, your pancreas begins cranking out more insulin. When the pancreas finally collapses from exhaustion, you have diabetes. In addition, you develop resistance to another hormone called leptin, which signals satiety, or fullness. So you tend to overeat. Meanwhile, fat cells, which have become bloated and stressed as they try to store the excess calories,**begin emitting a danger signal—low-grade inflammation. But new research suggest another scenario: Inflammation might not be a symptom, it could be a cause. According to this theory, it is the immune activation caused by lousy food that prompts insulin and leptin resistance. Sugar builds up in your blood. Insulin increases. Your liver and pancreas strain to keep up. All because the loudly blaring danger signal—the inflammation—hampers your cells' ability to respond to hormonal signals. Maybe the most dramatic evidence in support of this idea comes from experiments where scientists quash inflammation in animals. If you simply increase the number of white blood cells that alleviate inflammation—called regulatory T-cells—in obese mice with metabolic syndrome, the whole syndrome fades away. Deal with the inflammation, it seems, and you halt the dysfunction. Now, on the face of it, it seems odd that a little inflammation should have such a great impact on energy regulation. But consider: This is about apportioning a limited resource exactly where it's needed, when it's needed. When not under threat, the body uses energy for housekeeping and maintenance—and, if you're lucky, procreation, an optimistic, future-oriented activity. But when a threat arrives—a measles virus, say—you reprioritize. All that hormone-regulated activity declines to a bare minimum. Your body institutes a version of World War II rationing: troops (white blood cells) and resources (calories) are redirected toward the threat. Nonessential tasks, including the production of testosterone, shut down. Forget tomorrow. The priority is to preserve the self today. This, some think, is the evolutionary reason for insulin resistance. Cells in the body stop absorbing sugar because the fuel is required—requisitioned, really—by armies of white blood cells. The problems arise when that emergency response, crucial to repelling pillagers in the short term, drags on indefinitely. Imagine it this way. Your dinner is cooking on the stove. You're paying bills. You smell smoke. You jump up, leaving those tasks half-done, and search for the fire before it burns down your house. Normally, once you put the fire out, you'd return to your tasks and then eat dinner. Junk food may not kill us directly, but rather by prompting the collapse of an ancient and mutually beneficial symbiosis. But now imagine that you never find the fire, and you never stop smelling the smoke. You remain in a perpetual state of alarm. Your bills never get paid. You never eat your dinner. Your house smolders. Your life falls into disarray. That's metabolic syndrome. Normal function ceases. Aging accelerates. Diabetes develops. Heart attacks strike. The brain degenerates. Life ends early. And it's all driven, in this understanding, by chronic, low-grade inflammation. Where does the perceived threat come from—all that inflammation? Some ingested fats are directly inflammatory. And dumping a huge amount of calories into the bloodstream from any source, be it fat or sugar, may overwhelm and inflame cells. But another source of inflammation is hidden in plain sight, the 100 trillion microbes inhabiting your gut. Junk food, it turns out, may not kill us entirely directly, but rather by prompting the collapse of an ancient and mutually beneficial symbiosis, and turning a once cooperative relationship adversarial. We're already familiar with aversion of this dynamic : cavities. Tooth decay is as old as teeth, but it intensified with increased consumption of refined carbohydrates, like sugar, just before and during the industrial revolution. Before cheap sugar became widely available, plaque microbes probably occupied the warm and inviting ecological niche of your mouth more peaceably. But dump a load of sugar on them, and certain species expand exponentially. Their by-product—acid—which, in normal amounts, protects you from foreign bacteria—now corrodes your teeth. A once cooperative relationship becomes antagonistic. Something similar may occur with our gut microbes when they're exposed to the highly refined, sweet, and greasy junk-food diet. They may turn against us. *A DECADE AGO,*microbiologists at Washington University in St. Louis noticed that mice raised without any microbes, in plastic bubbles with positive air pressure, couldgorge on food without developing metabolic syndrome or growing obese. But when colonized with their native microbes, these mice quickly became insulin resistant and grew fat, all while eating/less/food than their germ-free counterparts. The researchers surmised that the microbes helped the rodents harvest energy from food. The mice, which then had more calories than they needed, stored the surplus as fat. But across the Atlantic,Patrice Cani at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, suspected that inflammation contributed, and that the inflammation emanated from native microbes. To prove the principle, hegave mice a low dose of endotoxin , that molecule that resides in the outer walls of certain bacteria. The mice's livers became insulin resistant; the mice became obese and developed diabetes. A high-fat diet alone produced the same result: Endotoxin leaked into circulation; inflammation took hold; the mice grew fat and diabetic. Then came the bombshell. The mereaddition of soluble plant fibers called oligosaccharides, found in things like bananas, garlic, and asparagus, prevented the entire cascade—no endotoxin, no inflammation, and no diabetes. "If we take care of our gut microbiota, it will take care of our health," says one researcher. "I like to finish my talks with one sentence: 'In gut we trust.'" Oligosaccharides are one form of what's known as a "prebiotic": fibers that, because they make it all the way to the colon intact, feed, as it were, the bacteria that live there. One reason we've evolved to house microbes at all is because they "digest" these fibers by fermenting them, breaking them down and allowing us to utilize their healthful byproducts, like acetic acid, butyric acid, B vitamins, and vitamin K. Cani had essentially arrived at the same place as Dandona with his freshly squeezed orange juice. Only his controlled animal experiments allowed a clearer understanding of the mechanisms. Junk food caused nasty microbes to bloom, and friendly bugs to decline. Permeability of the gut also increased, meaning that microbial byproducts—like that endotoxin—could more easily leak into circulation, and spur inflammation. Simply adding prebiotics enjoyed by a select group of microbes—in this case,/Bifidobacteria/—kept the gut tightly sealed, preventing the entire cascade. The fortified bacteria acted like crowd-control police, keeping the rest of the microbial mob from storming the barrier. "If we take care of our gut microbiota, it will take care of our health," Cani says. "I like to finish my talks with one sentence: 'In gut we trust.'" So our sweet and greasy diet—almost certainly without evolutionary precedent—doesn't just kill us directly: It also changes gut permeability and alters the makeup of our microbial organ. Our "friendly" community of microbes becomes unfriendly, even downright pathogenic, leaking noxious byproducts where they don't belong. H.G. Wells would be proud of this story—the mighty/Homo sapiens/felled by microscopic life turned toxic by junk food. It's nothing personal; the bugs that bloom with an energy-dense diet may act in their own self-interest. They want more of that food sweet, fatty food on which they thrive. *AROUND THE TIME*when Paresh Dandona began puzzling over the immune response to a fast-food breakfast, a Chinese microbiologist named Liping Zhao was realizing that he needed to change how he ate, or he might drop dead. He was 44 pounds overweight, his blood pressure was elevated, and his "bad" cholesterol was high. He caught wind of the studies at Washington University in St. Louis suggesting that microbes were central to obesity. The research jibed with ancient precepts in Chinese medicine that viewed the gut as central to health. So Zhao decided on a hybridized approach—some 21st-century microbiology topped with traditional Chinese medicine. He changed his diet to whole grains, rich in those prebiotic fibers important for beneficial bacteria. And he began regularly consuming two traditional medicinal foods thought to have such properties: bitter melon and Chinese yam. Zhao's blood pressure began normalizing and his "bad" cholesterol declined. Over the course of two years, he lost 44 pounds. He sampled his microbes throughout. As his metabolism normalized, quantities of a bacterium called/Faecalibacterium prausnitzii/increased in his gut. Was its appearance cause or consequence? Others have observed that this bacterium is absent in people suffering from inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease, as well as Type 2 diabetes. Scientists at the University of Tokyo have shown that colonizing mice with this bacterium and its relatives—called "/Clostridium/clusters"—protects them against colitis. But still, evidence of causation was lacking. Then one day in 2008, a morbidly obese manwalked into Zhao's lab in China . The 26-year-old was diabetic, inflamed, had high bad cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar. No one in his immediate family was heavy, but he weighed 385 pounds. Aided by a high fat diet, the microbe appeared able to hijack the metabolism of both mice and man. Zhao noticed something odd about the man's microbes. Thirty-five percent belonged to a single, endotoxin-producing species called/Enterobacter cloacae/. So he put the man on a version of his own regimen—whole grains supplemented with other prebiotics. As treatment progressed, the/Enterobacter cloacae/declined, as did circulating endotoxin and markers of inflammation. After 23 weeks, the man had lost 113 pounds. That bacterial bloom had receded to the point of being undetectable. Counts of anti-inflammatory bacteria—microbes that specialize in fermenting nondigestible fibers—had increased. But could Zhao prove that these microbial changes caused anything? After all, the regimen may have simply contained far fewer calories than the patient's previous diet. So Zhao introduced the/Enterobacter/into mice. They developed endotoxemia, fattened up and became diabetic—but only when eating a high fat diet. Mice colonized with bifidobacteria and fed a high fat diet, meanwhile, remained lean, as did germ-free mice. The enterobacter was evidently unique, an opportunist. Aided by a high fat diet, the microbe appeared able to hijack the metabolism of both mice and man. Zhao, whorelated his own story to/Science/ last year, has repeated a version of this regimen in at least 90 subjects, achieved similar improvements, and has more than 1,000 patients in ongoing trials. He declined to be interviewed for this article, saying that the response to his research, both by press and individuals seeking advice, had been overwhelming. "I receive too many emails to ask for help but I can not provide much," he wrote in an email. "I feel very bad about this and would like to concentrate on my research." There's a flood of what you might call "fecoprospectors" seeking to catalog and preserve microbial diversity before it is lost in the extinction wave sweeping the globe. Other researchers have tried an even more radical approach to treating the microbiome: the fecal transplant. It was originally developed to treat the potentially life-threatening gut infection caused by the bacterium/Clostridium difficile/. Studies so far suggest that it's 95 percent effective in ousting/C. diff./and has no major side effects. "Fecal engraftment" is now being considered a method for rebooting microbiota generally. Scientists at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam mixed stool from lean donors with saline solution and, via a tube that passed through the nose, down the throat and past the stomach, introduced the mixture to the small intestine of nine patients with metabolic syndrome. Control subjects received infusions of their own feces. Those who received "lean" microbes sawimprovements in insulin sensitivity , though they didn't lose weight and saw the improvements disappear within a year. But Max Nieuwdorp, senior author on the study, aims to conduct the procedure repeatedly to see if the "lean" microbes will stick. And when he's identified which are important, he hopes to create an anti-obesity "probiotic"**to be taken orally. Probiotics are just bacteria thought to be beneficial, like the lactobacilli and other bacteria in some yogurts.**In the future probiotics might be bacteria derived from those found in Amazonian Indians, rural Africans, even the Amish—people, in other words, who retain a microbial diversity that the rest of us may have lost. Already, the literature suggests that a gold rush has begun—a flood of what you might call "fecoprospectors" seeking to catalog and preserve the diversity and richness of the ancestral microbiota before it is lost in the extinction wave sweeping the globe. Ultimately, the strongest evidence to support microbial involvement in obesity may come from a procedure that, on the face of it, has nothing to do with microbes: gastric bypass surgery. The surgery, which involves creating a detour around the stomach, is the most effective intervention for morbid obesity—far more effective than dieting. Originally, scientists thought it worked by limiting food consumption. But it's increasingly obvious that's not how the procedure works. The surgery somehow changes expression of thousands of genes in organs throughout the body, resetting the entire metabolism. In March,Lee Kaplan , director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston, published a study in/Science Translational Medicine/showing asubstantial microbial contribution to that resetting . He began with three sets obese mice, all on a high-fat diet. The first set received a sham operation—an incision in the intestine that didn't really change much, but was meant to control for the possibility that trauma alone could cause weight loss. These mice then resumed their high fat diet. A second set also received a sham operation, but was put on a calorically restricted diet. The third group received gastric bypass surgery, but was then allowed to eat as it pleased. As expected, both the bypass mice and dieted mice lost weight.**But only the bypass mice showed normalization of insulin and glucose levels. Without that normalization, says Kaplan, mice and people alike inevitably regain lost weight. "I won't argue that all the effects of the gastric bypass can be transferred by the microbiota. What we've found is the first evidence that any can." To test the microbial contribution to these outcomes, Kaplan transplanted the microbiota from each set to germ-free mice. Only rodents colonized with microbes from the bypass mice lost weight, while actually eating more than mice colonized with microbes from the other groups. In humans, some studies show a rebound of anti-inflammatory bacteria after gastric-bypass surgery. Dandona has also noted a decline in circulating endotoxin after the procedure. "I would never argue, and won't argue, that/all/the effects of the gastric bypass can be transferred by the microbiota," says Kaplan. "What we've found is the first evidence that/any/can. And these 'any' are pretty impressive." If we understand the mechanism by which the microbiota shifts, he says, perhaps we can induce the changes without surgery. *NOW, NOT EVERYONE ACCEPTS*that inflammation drives metabolic syndrome and obesity. And even among the idea's proponents, no one claims that all inflammation emanates from the microbiota. Moreover, if you accept that inflammation contributes to obesity, then you're obligated to consider all the many ways to become inflamed. The odd thing is, many of them are already implicated in obesity. Particulate pollution from tailpipes and factories, linked to asthma, heart disease, and obesity, is known to be a cause of inflammation. So is chronic stress. And risk factors may interact with each other: In macaque troops, the high-ranking females, which experience less stress, can eat more junk food without developing metabolic syndrome than the more stressed, lower-ranking females. Epidemiologists have made similar observations in humans. Poorer people suffer the consequences of lousy dietary habits more than do those who are wealthier. The scientists who study this phenomenon call it "status syndrome." Exercise, meanwhile, is anti-inflammatory, which may explain why a brisk walk can immediately improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise may also fortify healthy brown fat, which burns off calories rather than storing them, like white fat does. This relationship may explain how physical activity really helps us lose weight. Yes, exercise burns calories, but the amount is often trivial. Just compensating for that bagel you ate for breakfast—roughly 290 calories—requires a 20-minute jog. And that's not counting any cream cheese. Sleep deprivation may have the opposite effect, favoring white fat over brown, and altering the metabolism. Brain inflammation precedes weight gain, suggesting that the injury might cause, or at least contribute to, obesity. Then there's the brain.Michael Schwartz *,*director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington in Seattle, has found that the appetite regulation center of the brain—the hypothalamus—is ofteninflamed and damaged in obese people . He can reproduce this damage by feeding mice a high-fat diet; chronic consumption of junk food, it seems, injures this region of the brain. Crucially, the brain inflammation precedes weight gain, suggesting that the injury might cause, or at least contribute to, obesity. In other words, by melting down our appetite control centers, junk food may accelerate its own consumption, sending us into a kind of vicious cycle where we consume more of the poison wreaking havoc on our physiology. Of course there's a genetic contribution to obesity. But even here, inflammation rears its head. Some studies suggest that gene variants that increase aspects of immune firepower are over-represented among obese individuals. In past environments, these genes probably helped us fight off infections. In the context of today's diet, however, they may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. Whether inflammation drives obesity or just contributes, how much of it emanates from our microbiota, or even whether it causes weight gain, or results from it—these are still somewhat open questions. But it is clear that chronic, low-grade inflammation, wherever it comes from, is unhealthy. And as Dandona discovered all those years ago, food can be either pro- or anti-inflammatory. Which brings us back to the question: What should we eat? *FIFTY YEARS AGO,*due to the perceived link with heart disease, nutritionists cautioned against consuming animal fats and recommended hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as margarine, instead. Alas, it turned out that these fats may encourage the formation of arterial plaques, while some fats that were discarded—in fish and olive oil, for example—seem to prevent cardiovascular disease and obesity. As people unwittingly cut out healthy fats, they compensated by consuming more sugar and other refined carbohydrates. But a high-sugar diet can produce endotoxemia, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome in animals. So that's yet another reason to avoid refined, sugary foods. What about popular weight loss regimes, like the Atkins diet, that emphasize protein? In a2011 study by scientists at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, 17 obese men were given a high-protein, low-carb diet. It prompted a decline of anti-inflammatory microbes, whose fermentation byproducts are critical to colonic health, and produced a microbial profile associated with colon cancer. So although it may prompt rapid weight loss, a high-protein, low-carb diet may predispose people to colon cancer. In the rodent version of this experiment, the addition of a prebiotic starch blunted the carcinogenic effect. Again, it's not only what's present in your diet that matters, but also what's absent. So, should we sprinkle a packet of fiber on our cheeseburger? Dandona has looked at this possibility and says that though this study has not yet been published, he's found that packeted fiber does, when eaten with a fast-food meal, soften the food's inflammatory effects. Fast-food companies could, in theory, pack their buns full of prebiotics, shielding their customers somewhat from metabolic syndrome. But that's not really what Dandona or anyone else is advocating. The pill approach—the idea that we can capture a cure in a gel cap—may be part of what got us in trouble to begin with. Natural variety and complexity have their own value, both for our own bodies and for our microbes. This may explain why orange juice, which contains plenty of sugur, doesn't have inflammatory effects while a calorically equivalent quantity of sugar water does. Flavonoids, other phytochemicals, vitamins, the small amount of fiber it carries, and other things we have yet to quantify may all be protective. Fast-food companies could, in theory, pack their buns full of prebiotics, shielding their customers somewhat from metabolic syndrome. To that end, consider astudy by Jens Walter (PDF), a scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He supplemented the diet of 28 volunteers with either brown rice, barley, or both. Otherwise, they continued eating their usual fare. After four weeks, those who consumed both grains saw increased counts of anti-inflammatory bacteria, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation—more so than subjects who just had one grain. Walter doesn't think it's an accident that those who ate both barley and brown rice saw the greatest improvement. The combination likely presented microbes with the largest array of fermentable fibers. Scientists are also intensely interested in concocting "synbiotics," a mixture of probiotic bacteria and the prebiotic fibers that feed them. This type of combination may already exist in staple dishes and garnishes, from sauerkraut to kefir, in traditional cuisines the world over. In theory, such unpasteurized, fermented foods that retain their microbial communities are a health-producing triple whammy, containing prebiotic fibers, probiotic bacteria, and healthful fermentation byproducts like vitimins B and K. A smattering of recent studies suggest that embracing such grub could protect against metabolic syndrome. In onemonthlong trial on 22 overweight South Koreans , unpasteurized fermented kimchi, which is made from cabbage, improved markers of inflammation and caused very minor decreases in body fat. Fresh, unfermented kimchi also helped, but not as much. In another double-blind, placebo-controlledstudy on 30 South Koreans , a pill of fermented soybean paste eaten daily for 12 weeks decreased that deadly visceral fat by 5 percent. Triglycerides, a risk factor for heart attacks, also declined. An epidemiological study, meanwhile, found that consumption of rice and kimchi cut the odds of metabolic syndrome. It all hints at a future where sauerkraut, kimchi, sour pickles, and other fermented foods that contain live microbial cultures do double duty as anti-obesity medicine. So what else to eat? Onions and garlic are especially rich in the prebiotic fiber inulin, which selectively feeds good bacteria within. Potatoes, bananas, and yams carry loads of digestion-resistant starches. Apples and oranges carry a healthy serving of polysaccharides (another form of prebiotic). Nuts and whole grains do as well. Don't forget your cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) and legumes. There's no magic vegetable. Yes, some plant products are extra rich in prebiotics—the Jerusalem artichoke, for example—but really, these fibers abound in plants generally, and for a simple reason: Plants store energy in them. That's why they're resistant to degradation. They're designed to last. (For more on what foods to eat, see "Should I Take A Probiotic? ") The very qualities that improve palatability and lengthen shelf life—high sugar content, fats that resist turning rancid, and a lack of organic complexity—make refined foods toxic to your key microbes. Biologically simple, processed foods may cultivate a toxic microbial community, not unlike the algal blooms that result in oceanic "dead zones." In fact, scientists really do observe a dead zone of sorts when they peer into the obese microbiota. Microbes naturally form communities. In obese people, not only are anti-inflammatory microbes relatively scarce, diversity in general is depleted, and community structure degraded. Microbes that, in ecological parlance, we might call weedy species—the rats and cockroaches of your inner world—scurry around unimpeded. What's the lesson? Junk food may produce a kind of microbial anarchy. Opportunists flourish as the greater structure collapses. Cooperative members get pushed aside. And you, who both contain and depend on the entire ecosystem, pay the price. Previous Page 4 of 4 Front page image:Julien Tromeur /Shutterstock * * * * * Moises Velasquez-Manoff is author of/An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases/. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rich avoid taxes. Cloud data storage. Prison industrial complex....

Why waste money on gold that never paid a dividend when you can invest in prisons that pay 10% courtesy of new laws that favor the rich and well connected? Gold will crash after Paulson can find enough suckers to relieve him of his gold hoard. The recent dip was a premature mistake. The major bear market is coming when the Japanese deflation tsunami hits the USA. Interesting that computer data cloud storage can classify themselves as REITs. Facebook is building a huge data storage facility in Iowa on the fiber optic line running along I-80 freeway. I wonder if they will use this law to avoid taxes? Storage of posts is the core of their business, and most such businesses nowadays. My new hobby is removing myself as much as possible from the internet. Hundreds of sites, hundreds of emails per day.... go back to paper. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/business/restyled-as-real-estate-trusts-varied-businesses-avoid-taxes.html Restyled as Real Estate Trusts, Varied Businesses Avoid Taxes growing number of American corporations, operating in businesses as diverse as private prisons, billboards and casinos, are making an aggressive move to reduce — or even eliminate — their federal tax bills. They are declaring that they are not ordinary corporations at all. Instead, they say, they are something else: special trusts that are typically exempt from paying federal taxes. The trust structure has been around for years but, until recently, it was generally used only by funds holding real estate. Now, the likes of the Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates 44 prisons and detention centers across the nation, have quietly received permission from the Internal Revenue Service to put on new corporate clothes and, as a result, save many millions on taxes. REIT — a designation signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower — has suddenly become a hot corporate trend. One Wall Street analyst has characterized the label as a “golden ticket” for corporations. several data storage companies, including Iron Mountain and Equinix, are in the process of converting. the trend raises questions about the purpose of corporate income taxes at a time when there are so many ways around them. The conversions are one of many strategies that businesses use to avoid paying the corporate tax rate of 35 percent. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzb75m8NuMQ?list=PLdw9wQjRLHcI1lPJv3953KuTswLeCDsfg&w=560&h=315]

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Old Los Angeles Photos

Found on Facebook. Interesting photo site -- flows down the page. I remember some of thesescenes. Smog changes over time. Population much larger now. http://www.flickriver.com/photos/g_cliser/sets/72157625895927403/

Hi tax rates 56% motivate spending cuts for lazy bums on welfare

Pax Americana dividends in Europe fading. They will have to start paying for their own upkeep. Similarly New York is an overpriced place to warehouse nonproductives. Let them pay for their own food stamps or buy a cow. Why should taxpayers support their lifestyle? Raise taxes to 56% for the rich and we will see more spending cuts in the USA New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/world/europe/danes-rethink-a-welfare-state-ample-to-a-fault.html?_r=0 With little fuss or political protest — or notice abroad — Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements. Life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16. Robert Nielsen, 45, made headlines when he was interviewed on television, admitting that he had been on welfare since 2001. Mr. Nielsen said he was able-bodied but had no intention of taking a demeaning job, like working at a fast-food restaurant. He made do quite well on welfare, he said. He even owns his own co-op apartment. “Lazy Robert” seems to be enjoying the attention. “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/nyregion/city-report-shows-a-growing-number-are-near-poverty.html In 2011 about 46 percent of New Yorkers were not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. Definition: a family with two adults and two children could earn $46,416 a year and still struggle to get by. The city’s measure balances the added value of tax credits, food stamps, rent subsidies and other benefits against expenses like health and day care, housing and commuting that reflect New York’s higher living costs. “The next mayor is going to face a very difficult budget situation in which he or she will struggle to maintain basic services and have little room to expand welfare-related programs or services to needy New Yorkers” Without tax credits and food stamps, the proportion of poor people would have soared to nearly one in three. The poverty rate is lower in New York than in many other major cities.