Friday, October 31, 2014

High milk diet 'may not cut risk of bone fractures'

File picture of milk being poured Milk is rich in calcium, a key component of bones

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Drinking lots of milk may not lower the risk of fracturing bones, a study in the British Medical Journal suggests.
The research, conducted in Sweden, showed women who drank more than three glasses a day were actually more likely to break bones than those who had less.
The researchers cautioned that their work only suggested a trend and should not be interpreted as proof that high milk consumption caused fractures.
Factors such as alcohol and weight were likely to play a role, they said.
Twice the chance
Milk has been recommended as a good source of calcium for many years but studies considering whether it leads to stronger bones and fewer fractures have had conflicting results.

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Those who had a high milk intake also had a 50% higher risk of hip fracture”
Prof Karl MichaelssonUppsala University
A team of scientists in Sweden examined the dietary habits of 61,400 women in 1987-1990 and 45,300 men in 1997 and then monitored their health for years afterwards.
Participants were asked to complete questionnaires on how frequently they consumed common foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese over a one-year period.
Researchers then tracked how many developed fractures and how many participants died in the years afterwards.
In the 20-year follow-up period in which the women were monitored, those who drank more than three glasses, or 680ml, of milk a day were more likely to develop fractures than those who had consumed less.
The high-intake group had a higher risk of death too.
Prof Karl Michaelsson, lead researcher at Uppsala University, said: "Women who drank three or more glasses a day had twice the chance of dying at the end of the study than those who drank less than one glass a day.
"And those who had a high milk intake also had a 50% higher risk of hip fracture."
Men were monitored for an average of 11 years after the initial survey and the results showed a similar but less pronounced trend.
Opposite pattern
When fermented milk products such as yoghurt were considered, the opposite pattern was observed - people who consumed more had a lower risk of fractures.
Prof Michaelsson says the findings could be due to sugars in milk, which have been shown to accelerate ageing in some early animal studies.

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Individuals should still be encouraged to consume a balanced diet”
Prof Sue Lanham-NewUniversity of Surrey
"Our results may question the validity of recommendations to consume high amounts of milk to prevent fragility fractures.
"The results should, however, be interpreted cautiously given the observational design of our study."
Dietary advice should not be changed until more research had been conducted, he said.
Prof Sue Lanham-New, from the University of Surrey, said the study was of limited use. "We do not have a feel for the influence of physical activity or other lifestyle habits important to bone or overall mortality.
"And the effect of increasing body mass index has not been fully investigated in this study.
"Milk and dairy products in the UK provide 50-60% of the calcium in our diet.
"We know that low calcium intake (less than 400mg a day) is a risk factor for osteoporosis.
"Individuals should still be encouraged to consume a balanced diet from the five key food groups of which milk and dairy are key."

5 Routine Elements for Managing Bipolar Disorder

Several years ago my life spiraled out of control because of my bipolar disorder.
Thankfully, soon after Thanksgiving in 2011, I began inpatient treatment at a mental health facility that specializes in treating individuals with severe mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. The staff there helped me stabilize, laying the foundation for me to manage the disorder. Yet I knew it would still take significant effort to sustain that stability once I checked out.
In the two years since I left the facility, maintaining mental balance has boiled down to five fundamental needs I have to think about every day.

1. Medication

Taking my medication every day is the most important thing I do to manage my bipolar.
There's some trial and error involved when you first start on any of these medications. You have to suffer through that initial period when the dosage level isn't quite right. And even after the doctors make adjustments, some people don't respond well to certain drugs like lithium. But for me, within three days, lithium lifted me out of a severe depression. It was amazing.
Currently, I take three different medicines once a day right before I go to bed. Since I take them all at the same time, forgetting to take one means forgetting all three. If I go to bed without them one night, the next day I feel very weird. I'm more irritable; thoughts start racing through my mind. It doesn't take me long to realize the mistake-they make such a huge difference. But I pair taking my medication with brushing my teeth, so it's not very often that I forget.

2. Sleep

I've always been a morning person, so going to bed at a decent hour isn't particularly challenging, but that's not to downplay how absolutely essential it is for my mental health. The only time I didn't get enough sleep was when I was manic. During an episode I would sleep-at most-four hours each night.]
Now, I'm usually in bed by 10 p.m. If I go to bed later than that, I don't feel well the next day. In the middle of work, all I want to do is crawl under my desk and sleep for three hours. Just like with the medicine, any deviation from the routine and I notice it very quickly the next day.

3. Exercise

Before I went to the mental health facility-even before my diagnosis-I noticed how beneficial exercise was for my mood and my mind. I follow my morning routine pretty religiously, walking a mile before work each day and 2.5 miles on Saturdays and Sundays.
It's harder to stick to the routine during the winter months, but I just have to push through it and get up and out. I can miss a day of walking or being active, but if I go two or three days without exercise, I definitely feel off. I'll get more stressed out-and stress can easily trigger a bipolar relapse.

4. Diet

When I was manic, I wouldn't eat, and I kept losing weight. So once I began feeling better, I just started eating heavily. In the last few years, I've gained a lot of weight. In part, it's a side effect of the medication, but I was definitely overindulging.
I eat pretty well now. While splurging used to mean eating a whole cake, now it's putting too much Nutella in my yogurt. Most mornings, for breakfast I'll have an energy bar and coffee; for lunch, I'll have a salad, sometimes with chicken; and then for dinner, I'll go out with people from my AA group, or my boyfriend will cook for the two of us.
I remember one day when I didn't find the time to eat; because of the lack of food, my mind began to race and I started to panic. After that day, I realized that eating consistently is just as important as eating well. I try to munch on some almonds between meals to tide me over, so I don't risk going too long without food.
And it's not about what you should eat, but what you absolutely can't consume, and for me, that's alcohol. Before I started medication, alcohol was the medication. For years, I relied on white wine to slow down my thoughts. Now, I'm over two years sober.

Pirate Bay Founder Convicted on Hacking Charges, Sentenced to 3.5 Years

The founder of the file-sharing site Pirate Bay was found guilty today in Denmark on hacking charges unrelated to the web site.
Swedish national Gottfrid Svartholm was found guilty of hacking into servers belonging to the U.S. technology firm CSC after beingpartially acquitted of other hacking charges in Sweden.
In the Danish case, Svartholm and a 21-year-old Danish accomplice were accused of hacking CSC’s servers in April 2012 and remaining inside for four months, stealing and altering data during the breach, according to prosecutors.
As evidence, authorities offered documents belonging to CSC that were found on Svartholm’s computer as well as IRC logs between two parties using the handles “Advanced Persistent Terrorist Threat” and “My Evil Twin” discussing the security of CSC’s systems. Prosecutors asserted that “My Evil Twin” was Svartholm and his Danish accomplice was the other party.
But the Danish defendant, who has not been identified and has refused to cooperate with authorities by giving them the encryption key for his computer, testified that he had met “My Evil Twin” in person and it was not Svartholm.
The defense team argued that Svartholm, who went by the online name “anakata,” was framed. They said he did not commit the crimes, but that his computer had been hijacked by someone who used it as a proxy to break into CSC’s servers.
Prosecutors argued this was impossible.
Noted Tor developer and security expert Jacob Appelbaum testified on behalf of the defense that it was possible, and Svartholm’s legal team produced an antivirus scan of his computer showing that 545 threats had been found on it, some of which were capable of providing a hacker with remote control of the computer.
At least two jurors determined that the remote hacking defense couldn’t be ruled out, so voted to acquit Svartholm, according to TorrentFreak.
“There were so many leads pointing toward the fact that my client’s computer was in fact remotely controlled,” Svartholm’s attorney Luise Høj, told WIRED. “That was a point that the court accepted.”
She says he was convicted because authorities claimed that in an encrypted partition they found on his computer that contained the stolen CSC files “there was also personal information about my client, and due to that argument and a couple of other arguments prosecutors said even though it was likely the computer was remotely controlled, there was other information that pointed toward my client.”
Asked what evidence she provided, beyond the antivirus scan, that someone actually had hijacked Svartholm’s computer to use it to hack CSC, Høj told WIRED that she provided none.
“I only needed to reach the point where there was reasonable doubt about it,” she says. “It wasn’t in my interest to find out if it was in fact remotely controlled or not. I just have to prove to the court that it was in fact a possibility. Because the police so categorically said this is not a possibility, it actually made my argument a bit easier [because] then I could say to the jury for sure that’s not true.”
Svartholm was previously convicted in 2009 on separate charges for operating the illicit file-sharing service where pirated movies and other material was traded. He was sentenced to one year in prison in that case and had completed that sentence when the separate hacking charges arose.
With regard to the hacking case in Sweden, Svartholm was charged with hacking into Nordea Bank to siphon money and into an IT company called Logica, a contractor for the Swedish tax authority. He was found guilty of hacking Logica, but was acquitted on the bank hacking charges. He was sentenced to two years in prison on that case, while an accomplice was given probation.

Why Tim Cook’s ‘Proud to Be Gay’ Essay Means So Much to the Workplace

Apple CEO Tim Cook became the first openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list on Thursday, after publicly acknowledging his sexuality with a personal essaypublished to the web. The move was widely heralded as the start of a new chapter for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the workplace—and for good reason. At businesses across the country, so many gay business leaders and employees feel the need to hide their sexuality in order to be successful at work, and Cook—one of the most recognizable figures in the business world—can help pave the way to a world where they can be more open.
The problem is more acute than you might think. With a recent study, Deloitte University’s Leadership Center for Inclusion examined a phenomenon that sociologists refer to as “covering,” where people will attempt to mask part of their identity in the workplace, and it revealed just how pervasive—and potentially damaging—the practice is among members of the LGB community.
The study surveyed more than 3,000 employees at businesses across the country to determine what percentage of them admit to covering at work, and why they feel the need to do it. The study included people of a variety of races, genders, and sexual orientations, and found that while 61 percent of all respondents said they had covered, a whopping 83 percent of gay respondents said they had. That’s more than black respondents, female respondents, and any other minority group surveyed (the transgender sample size was too small to be included).
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook  Alex Washburn / WIRED
That came as no surprise to Dr. Christie Smith, managing principal of the center. In 29 states, it’s still legal to be fired for your sexual orientation. “Of course that would produce more covering,” she tells WIRED. “No other cohort faces that same threat to their livelihood.” But what’s more troubling than the fact the vast majority of gay subjects reported covering is the fact that more than half of them also said that doing so was detrimental to their sense of self.
It’s not hard to see why. Covering can take many different forms, some of which can have a significant impact on an individual’s personal relationships outside of work. There’s appearance-based covering, in which a person might dress differently or change his looks to downplay a certain part of his identity. There’s affiliation-based covering, where someone purposely avoids behavior that might verge on being a stereotype. And there’s advocacy-based covering, in which people choose not to “stick up for” a group, even though they belong to that group.
But, according to the study, the most detrimental type of covering is association-based, in which, say, a gay employee might refrain from bringing his same-sex partner to a company party. This type of covering, you see, influences life both in and out of the workplace.
The survey also asked questions about why people cover, and who or what is pressuring them to do so. Among respondents in the LBG community, 57 percent said that pressure comes from leadership. In some cases, Smith says, that pressure is overt. “Some people gave us examples where their leader would make derogatory jokes about gays or they might say, ‘That’s so gay,’” Smith explains.
The study yielded some other surprising findings — like the fact that millennial LBG employees reported higher incidences of covering than their older peers — as well as some not so surprising findings, including the fact that managers tend to cover more than their junior staffers.
And yet, despite these dismal results, some 93 percent of respondents said that their employers list “inclusion” as a core value. That’s a good indication, Smith says, that the current approach to inclusion isn’t quite working. She says that at most organizations, inclusion means setting up a safe space for employees from the same group to connect. Google, for instance, has its Women@Google group and it’s Gaygler club. Smith calls this type of inclusion “bonding capital,” because it forms bonds between people with a common life experience.
But what more businesses need today, she says, is “bridging capital,” or vehicles that allow people from different groups to openly and honestly discuss their differences. “We live in a society and in a corporate world that’s almost gone too far on the spectrum of equal opportunity employment rules. We’re fearful of asking people who are different from us about themselves and what their experiences have been,” she says. “Bridging capital is about building a competency within your organization to have those conversations across differences.”
The good news is 17 percent of respondents to the study say that they have “uncovered,” and that doing so has actually enabled them to be more successful at work. As one subject put it: “If you can’t be your ‘whole self’ at work, you’re not at your best. A company that allows people to be themselves and judges them only on the quality of work they do will be far ahead in the long run.”

How Facebook Sped Up Its iPhone App by Nearly 50%

 You weren’t imagining things. The Facebook iPhone app was getting slower.
In 2012, the social networking giant launched its first native iPhone app, and over the next two years, according to Facebook engineer Adam Ernst, its all-important News Feed gradually slowed down as the company beefed up the app with new features. But recently, after a careful investigation of the problem, Ernst and his fellow engineers managed to regain all that lost speed by completely rebuilding part of the app’s underlying infrastructure. “We took this big ambitious project where we wanted to swap out how we stored and managed data,” Ernst says.
Detailed in a company blog post, the project is a great example of how precarious application performance can be—and how engineers must constantly rethink their software code. This is especially true at companies like Facebook, which run such complex online operations.
At first, Ernst and crew didn’t even realize that something was wrong. Each new version of the Facebook iPhone app was a little slower than the last, but the difference was so slight as to be virtually imperceptible. But over the course of two years, they started to see the cumulative effect of these tiny slow-downs. Then they tried to root out the cause, adding tools that could track each step in the process of loading the News Feed.
It turned out the problem lay with the iPhone’s native data storage system, known as Core Data. Each new feature in the app required new tables, rows, and columns in the database, and that was causing a massive—and unnecessary—slow down for the News Feed. “Every new feature would slow down old features,” Ernst says.
“We realized that while Core Data had served us well in the beginning, we needed to go without some of its features to accommodate our scale,” he writes in the company blog post. The team decided to create a new data storage system for the app. That would have been a big project in and of itself, but the real issue was how to replace the data storage system while other Facebook teams were still writing new code for the app. “It’s like changing out the jet engines in the air,” Ernst says. Basically, they separated the code from the data.
Not all iPhone app developers will experience this problem. Facebook’s operation is unusually large and complex. If they do, Facebook can point the way the forward.

Operator in Rocket Blast Hit Self-Destruct When Problem Became Clear

The unmanned rocket that exploded seconds after liftoff Tuesday on its way to the International Space Station did so because the operator hit self-destruct once problems with the launch became apparent, the company that owns it said.
The Antares rocket, operated by Orbital Sciences Corp., crashedin a large fire Tuesday night, scattering debris over a wide area. It was carrying more than 5,000 pounds of scientific instruments, food and other supplies for the astronauts aboard the space station when down with the rocket. NASA says the space station is equipped with plenty of food to last while additional resupply missions are organized.
Orbital spokesperson Barron Beneski told CNN the crash was initiated by the flight termination system. Such an order is typically given after it’s clear the rocket will not meet its intended trajectory in order to ensure that it goes down over a relatively small and unpopulated area. No injuries were reported in the crash.
The problem occurred in the first stage of launch, Orbital said late Thursday, in a possible sign that its vintage, Russian-designed engines could have been the cause.

Starbucks Announces Plans for Coffee Delivery Service

Paper cups of different sizes are seen on display at Starbuck's first Colombian store at 93 park in Bogota

The service will launch in select markets during the second half of 2015

If you’re one of those people that can’t start their day without a cup of Starbucks coffee, you may soon have to go no further than your front door.
During the company’s Thursday earnings conference call, CEO Howard Schultz outlined plans to begin a food and beverage delivery service late next year, according to NBC.
The deliveries will be available to the chain’s loyalty program customers in a few specific markets at first, and will be integrated into a new Starbucks mobile app set to debut in Portland, Ore., next month before expanding to the rest of the country. The app will also allow users to order and pay with their phones.

Google developing cancer and heart attack-detecting pill

Google’s new pill could detect the presence of cancer cells in the body before they become a problem.
 Google’s new pill could detect the presence of cancer cells in the body before they become a problem.Photograph: Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Dr. Stan/Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited
We’ve learnt that the internet giant is moving into the health industry and is developing a pill containing tiny magnetic particles that could identify cancers, heart attacks and other diseases before they become a problem.
Andrew Conrad, head of life sciences inside Google’s “moonshot” X research lab told the WSJD Live conference in California on Tuesday:
Essentially the idea is simple; you just swallow a pill with the nano particles, which are decorated with antibodies or molecules that detect other molecules.
Google’s latest move is significant as nanotechnology is a new field in medical science, and the lucrative health market is worth around 10% of the economy of developed nations.

World Bank is now investing $100m to deal with Ebola

Health workers wear protective gears before entering the house of a person suspected to have died of Ebola virus in Port loko Community situated on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.
 Health workers in protective clothing in Sierra Leone. Photograph: Michael Duff/AP
The World Bank is to invest $100m (£63m) in an attempt to increase the number of foreign health workers heading for west Africa to care for people with Ebola.
Treatment centres in the three countries at the heart of the epidemic – Liberia,Sierra Leone and Guinea – are being built but the biggest need is for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to staff them.
The United Nations says around 5,000 international personnel are needed, including up to 1,000 foreign health workers.
This brings the World Bank’s total Ebola contribution to $500m.

80% don’t know how many calories in a glass of wine

Wine and Beer – how many calories are in your drink?
 How many calories are in your drink? Photograph: stockstudioX/Getty Images
People have no idea how many calories their alcoholic beverage has, and public health experts say beer, wine and spirits should be labelled with the calories they contain to tackle the country’s obesity epidemic.
A large 175ml glass of 13% ABV (alcohol by volume) wine contains 160 calories, a bottle of alcopop contains 170 and a pint of 4% ABV beer contains 180. Yet the vast majority of drinkers are unaware of the calorific value of their drinks, saysthe Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
“I don’t think they think about it,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive. “We go out at lunchtime and look at the sandwiches on display. We know and understand what the labelling means. We pick the sandwich or salad on the basis of the calories. But people don’t think about that when they go out on a Friday night.”
The RSPH polled 2,000 people to find out what they knew about the calories in alcohol and found that the vast majority had little idea.
More than 80% did not know, or incorrectly estimated, the calorie content of a large glass of wine. And almost 60% did not know how many calories there were in a pint of lager.
In England about two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight, which is a risk for serious life-shortening diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

4G+ five times faster than average broadband

Britain will have access to superfast 4G mobile Internet services by the end of the year.
 Britain will have access to superfast 4G+ mobile Internet services by the end of the year. Photograph: AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Finally, more people in the UK will get advanced mobile internet speeds comparable with South Korea and the US, with the launch of EE’s next generation 4G+ network.
The UK is now back to being a world leader in mobile networks. Just two years since we were behind every developed market from the US to Japan, we’ve invested in innovation, driven competition and given people in London a mobile network that’s as faster than almost any other in the world, and even faster than most fibre broadband available here.
The new technology to be rolled out, called carrier aggregation or LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) allows devices to connect to two different 4G mobile signals at the same time, doubling the capacity in the most densely populated areas. That means even on packed trains the data network remains strong, removing frustrating overcapacity issues as commuters all attempt to access the internet at the same time.
EE has the largest 4G network in the UK covering 300 towns and cities and 75% of the population and with six million subscribers. O2 and Three have yet to confirm plans to follow EE and Vodafone.
There are 83.1 million mobile phone subscribers in the UK, according to data from Ofcom, while 61% of adults have a smartphone.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dilma Rousseff has a second chance to invigorate Brazil’s foreign policy

Dilma Rousseff is being urged to focus more on Brazil's role in the world in her second term.
 Dilma Rousseff: how will she define Brazil’s role in the world in the next four years? Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images
After an election campaign that was more unpredictable and nerve-wracking than Brazil’s popular soap operas, President Dilma Rousseff will lead the country for another four years.
Brazil’s government has defined its foreign policy as “active and prominent”. This is a legacy of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who wanted to lead Brazil towards greater autonomy and relevance in the global order. He wanted Brazil to contribute to a more democratic and multipolar world; diversify its partnerships – with particular focus on countries in the global south and the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa); and promote South American integration.
However, these initiatives were not without their tensions and contradictions. Rousseff appeared to give less priority to foreign policy and some of the achievements of Lula’s administration stagnated under her. What should she focus on now the election is out of the way?

Regional integration

The global economic crisis played a major role in slowing moves towards strengthening regional bodies such as the Union of South American Nations and the Common Market of the South.
Given its size and influence, Brazil should seize the opportunity to be both a political and economic engine to trigger a different and more collective answer to crisis and strengthen the region in the face of an increasingly globalised and volatile economy (for example, Russia increased food imports from Brazil as a result of Europe’s sanctions over its actions on Ukraine). Moreover, its initiatives need to go beyond economic integration and promote people-centred integration.

Development financing

While Brazil should continue to pressure the US Congress to approve the changes negotiated over five years ago with the G20 on a larger voting quota at the IMF, it needs to move beyond traditional sources of finance available from the Bretton Woods institutions. The Brics development bank, announced in July, is one obvious space in which to do this.
Brazil’s record has been unimpressive in relation to similar initiatives such as theIBSA Fund and the Bank of the South. If it truly aspires to alternative approaches to development, and hopes to challenge this northern-dominated sector, Rousseff’s administration will need to make this a priority.

South-south cooperation

One area in which Brazil has been prominent politically is south-south cooperation, promoting collaboration on politics, economics, society, culture, the environment and technology. However, there have been persistent challenges. Brazil’s budget for cooperation initiatives has decreased significantly since 2010, while there have been concerning trends blurring the boundaries between cooperation, trade and investment. The ProSavana project in Mozambique is a perfect example, where the Brazilian government has been accused of exporting domestic contradictions.
Brazil needs a strong agency to coordinate its efforts; ways to ensure transparency; and spaces for civil society to be involved. Rousseff has to prove that south-south cooperation really is different from north-south cooperation, as both she and Lula have declared.

Democratising foreign policy

Civil society has been calling for foreign policy to be more democratic by creating a participatory council linked to Brazil’s foreign ministry. This is in the context of a wider effort to incorporate social participation across government, and has even been agreed, in principle, by foreign minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo. However, negotiations reached a standstill.
Brazil’s foreign policy in the past 12 years has taken a new turn. The country has gained a place at the global table. It has played its cards as both a southern and a rising power. It is Rousseff’s responsibility to lead a public dialogue to define which identity better fits the wakening giant.

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