Reducing sodium and increasing potassium may lower risk of cardiovascular disease | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Large-scale study of more than 10,000 adults with accurate sodium measurements from individuals strengthens link between sodium intake and cardiovascular disease
— Read on www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/reducing-sodium-and-increasing-potassium-may-lower-risk-of-cardiovascular-disease/

Yes, plant-based meat is better for fighting climate change – Vox

The environmental debate over meatless meat, explained.
— Read on www.vox.com/22787178/beyond-impossible-plant-based-vegetarian-meat-climate-environmental-impact-sustainability

Scan of the Month

Engineers know that controlling plastics with precision is a challenge.

LEGO knows a thing or two about plastics. They manufacture hundreds of millions of Minifigures per year. These figures are assemblies with moving parts. Each one must work with every other LEGO ever created. Pulling off perfection on this scale is impressive. That’s why, in the minds of engineers, the LEGO mythos is all about precision.

Well, you might be surprised by what is hiding inside. Scroll down to reveal what is within through CT scans.
— Read on www.scanofthemonth.com/

Mysteries of Ancient Egypt’s Sacred Baboons Revealed – Scientific American

When I recounted this tale to my Kenyan colleagues, it elicited knowing nods and a proverb: “Not all baboons that enter a maize field come out satisfied.” Like many African proverbs, this one is layered with meaning. It alludes to the monkeys’ insatiable crop raiding while simultaneously evoking sinister intent. Catherine M. Hill, a professor of anthropology at Oxford Brookes University in England, has found that baboons exact a devastating toll, reducing crop yields by half for some families in western Uganda. Indeed, baboons are the foremost pest for many subsistence farmers in Africa, and cultural aversions to the animals run deep. If erasure is the ultimate measure of contempt, then it is telling that in the art and handicraft traditions of sub-Saharan Africa, baboons are largely absent. This history makes the ancient Egyptians’ worship of this creature—and its ubiquity in their art—deeply perplexing.

— Read on www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysteries-of-ancient-egypts-sacred-baboons-revealed/

Chip Shortage Has Manufacturers Turning to Lower-Tech Models – WSJ

Makers of appliances and other products are adapting designs, shipping uncompleted units and focusing on older, lower-tech models because of the global shortage of semiconductors.
— Read on www.wsj.com/articles/chip-shortage-has-manufacturers-turning-to-lower-tech-models-11636885801

Why do we commemorate wars but not pandemics? | CBC Radio

One stark example of what one could call pandemic amnesia is that, while there are over 3,000 monuments to the First World War in the United Kingdom alone, there isn’t a single public memorial to the 228,000 Britons who died of the Spanish Flu.

If you ask Americans about the most important events of the 20th century, the Spanish Flu is very rarely mentioned — despite the fact that more Americans died of it than perished in the First World War, Second World War — and the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.

“As societies, we tend to remember wars, and we tend to remember great political struggles,” said Bill Hirst, who teaches psychology at The New School for Social Research in New York.

“Natural disasters are much lower down the list — they don’t figure very much at all actually.”

A nurse and patient in the influenza ward of the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., November 1918. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress/The Associated Press)
Why? One reason, Hirst argues, is that for an event to be remembered by a society in the longer term, it needs to serve a purpose, to be part of the story which that society wants to tell about itself — a function pandemics rarely fulfil.

It is not usually in the interest of the powerful to have people remember a pandemic, or think too much about it: unlike war, pandemics don’t feature heroic deaths; instead, they reveal the flaws in our societies starkly and painfully, and expose all sorts of uncomfortable truths about social inequality — as well as the arbitrary ways just whose work is seen as truly essential, and whose isn’t.
— Read on www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/why-do-we-commemorate-wars-but-not-pandemics-1.6246133

Chocolate contains cadmium that can increase cancer risk

But behind its delicious taste, cacao contains cadmium, a chemical substance harmful to kidneys. It also increases the risk of cancer.

If we compare it to other harmful heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium may not seem to be that bad. But, exposure to cadmium for a long time, even in small amounts, can be dangerous as it accumulates in the body. Our body needs ten to thirty years to digest cadmium.

This is why the European Commission last year decreased the safety threshold of the amount of cadmium in processed chocolate in the region. The cadmium threshold is between 0.1 and 0.8 milligrams per kilogram of chocolate, depending on the type of chocolate.

Dark chocolate, for instance, has a lower ceiling than milk chocolate. All chocolate imported to Europe have to comply with the limit.

Europe’s decision was based on research that showed even though cadmium exposure in adult non-smokers in the region is still below WHO’s upper limit, exposure through food in children reaches twice the safe limit.
— Read on theconversation.com/amp/chocolate-contains-cadmium-that-can-increase-cancer-risk-131155

Cadmium in chocolate: A “deep rooted” problem for consumers and producers alike | 2020-11-09 | Food Engineering

We all know that too much cadmium (Cd) in our bodies is just as dangerous as lead. Both are heavy metals, and while specific limits have been put on lead exposure (both in the air and orally), cadmium isn’t quite as well documented—at least in the U.S. The EPA places maximum allowable levels of cadmium in our drinking water as 5 parts per billion (ppb) with a goal of 0 ppb, but FDA has not set limits on safe levels of cadmium in food except . . .
— Read on www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/99189-cadmium-in-chocolate-a-deep-rooted-problem-for-consumers-and-producers-alike

Facebook Is Stifling Independent Report on Its Impact in India, Human Rights Groups Say – WSJ

Human rights groups say Facebook is stifling an independent report it commissioned to investigate hate speech on its services in India, the company’s largest market by customers and where scrutiny of its operations is increasing.

Representatives for the organizations say they have provided extensive input to a U.S. law firm that Facebook commissioned in mid-2020 to undertake the report. The groups say they supplied hundreds of examples of inflammatory content and suggested ways Facebook could better police its services in India.

Facebook executives from the company’s human rights team, which is overseeing the law firm’s effort, have since narrowed the draft report’s scope and are delaying a process that has already taken more than a year, the groups say.

“They are trying to kill it,” said Ratik Asokan of India Civil Watch International, one of the organizations that provided the law firm with input. Mr. Asokan said that Facebook has raised technical objections through the law firm that have caused delays, such as changing definitions of what can be considered hate speech and included in the report, undermining what Facebook said would be an independent study. The law firm hasn’t provided a timeline for completing it, he said.
— Read on www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-is-stifling-independent-report-on-its-impact-in-india-human-rights-groups-say-11636725601

American’s Beer Consumption up 19% During the Pandemic

America’s thirst for Budweiser is showing no sign of drying up as the brand dominates its rivals in the battle of the beers across the country.
— Read on topagency.com/report/beer-report/