Month: January 2019

Campbell to risk world title defence

Moments after confirming she is the world’s fastest woman in water Australia’s Cate Campbell revealed she is willing to risk losing that title in 2015 if it means overcoming a shoulder complaint by the Rio Olympics.

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Campbell already had rivals shaking in their boots after capping a stunning Pan Pacific championships on the Gold Coast by clinching 50m freestyle gold on Sunday night in the fastest time in a textile suit (23.96 seconds).

But her foes no doubt were left shaking their heads in astonishment after Campbell revealed she had achieved her remarkable success while nursing a chronic shoulder injury.

Campbell said she would soon go under the knife to remove a bone spur that was pinching a nerve on her right shoulder, ensuring she would miss the rest of the year – and perhaps beyond.

Campbell said she was prepared to miss the chance to defend her 100m freestyle title at the 2015 world titles in Kazan, Russia starting in late July if it meant she was fully fit by Rio.

Campbell’s resume boasts world, Pan Pacs and Commonwealth Games 100m titles.

Now the lanky 22-year-old wants to complete her collection with Olympic gold in Brazil – no matter what it takes.

“I’m actually getting shoulder surgery next week,” said Campbell after collecting 50m gold before sealing Australia’s stunning 4x100m medley gold win over Olympic champions the United States on Sunday night.

“If the Olympics were next year I’d hold off definitely, but I can’t struggle through another two years with a bad shoulder.

“If I’m not back to full capacity by next year it’s not a major drama, Rio is really the end goal.”

Campbell had never before mentioned a shoulder injury – and few could tell by her stunning results.

But Campbell admitted she had endured “chronic pain” for months upon completing her Pan Pacs campaign that helped Australia to an impressive final medal tally of 10 gold, eight silver and eight bronze.

They trailed only a 60-strong world No.1 United States (14 gold, 12 silver, 14 bronze) boasting Olympic great Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky.

“I’ve been keeping it under wraps because I’m not one to complain or make excuses but now that I’m finished you probably won’t be seeing me for the rest of the year,” Campbell said.

“It hasn’t hugely affected my training but it’s something I need to fix two years out from Rio.

“It is getting worse – I’m having troubles with necks and backs and those sorts of things.

“It needed to be done and now is the time to do it.”

Bruce bemoans Hull ‘injustice’ after draw

Hull manager Steve Bruce says he is angry at the “injustice” he feels denied his 10-man side victory in a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke in the Premier League.

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Bruce blamed the match officials for awarding the throw-in that led to Stoke’s equaliser at the KC Stadium on Sunday.

Stoke’s goal, just about bundled in by Ryan Shawcross, came seconds after referee Jonathan Moss had given Stoke a throw, despite the ball seemingly going out of play via a deflection off a Potters player.

Nikica Jelavic’s close-range finish shortly before half-time had put Hull in front despite James Chester’s 14th-minute sending off.

But rather than celebrate a draw, Bruce said: “We feel an injustice because you can see how blatant it is.

“Their player ran away and didn’t want to even take the throw-in. Surely that’s an indication to the referee or the officials to say, ‘Hang on a minute, it must have hit him’.

“It wasn’t even a slight deflection either. Everyone in the ground must have seen it except for the officials.

“I expect three officials to get something as blatant as that throw-in right…they’re only 30 yards away and I saw it.

“They said to me I was only guessing but when you see it, it’s ridiculous.”

Bruce added: “I got into trouble twice last year so I’ve vowed I’m not going to give the FA any more money.

“But we’ve had two shocking decisions in two weeks. Last week it was an awful penalty in the last 10 minutes but it didn’t count (against us), it was saved.

“Given the circumstances you would accept a point because we were down to 10 men in 15 minutes. But it’s difficult to take and it’s difficult for the players because the determination was manful to say the least.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who played alongside Bruce at Manchester United, was frustrated by his side’s failure to make their man advantage count but pleased to have a point following last week’s defeat by Aston Villa.

“Given the situation we found ourselves in we didn’t take the best from that situation,” he said.

“We found ourselves up against a team with 10 men and first and foremost you don’t concede a goal. So we found ourselves in a situation entirely of our own making.

“We needed to show a little quality and guile and use our intelligence to understand what was required.

“We didn’t do that to a great extent in the second half.”

Hughes added: “We’re an honest group and we know we can do better than that.”

Richard Attenborough: a much-loved fixture

Taking turns as an actor, producer and director and picking up a mantlepiece full of awards along the way, Richard Attenborough, 90, was a much-loved and long admired fixture in the British film industry.

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From his first acting role in 1942 war movie In Which We Serve, the acclaimed Brighton Rock, through to the multiple Oscar-winning Gandhi, which he directed, and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, he dominated the British film industry during a long and hugely successful career.

A member of the House of Lords, he was also tireless in his charity work, including as a goodwill ambassador to UNICEF, was president of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and life president of Chelsea football club.

A man with strong family ties, he married Sheila at 21, and lived in the same house for five decades in south-west London, an area that was also home to his younger brother David, the famous naturalist and wildlife presenter.

But tragedy struck in 2004 when one of Attenborough’s three children, Jane Holland, and her daughter Lucy died in the Asian Boxing Day tsunami. Famously open with his emotions, he said he never quite got over their deaths.

Born in Cambridge in August 1923, he made his big screen debut in 1942 with In Which We Serve, the Noel Coward-David Lean tribute to the Royal Navy at war, and appeared in more than 60 films over the next 50 years.

The clean-cut young Attenborough became a regular feature in the cheerful, stiff-upper-lip cinema of the postwar years, but he achieved greater distinction in murkier roles, particularly as the villain Pinkie in the 1947 adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock.

By the 1960s he had come to the attention of Hollywood and obtained regular character roles in such as films as John Sturges’s war epic The Great Escape and Robert Aldrich’s Flight of the Phoenix.

He had also acquired a taste for production, forming his own company with Bryan Forbes to make The Angry Silence and other social realist films such as Forbes’ own The L-Shaped Room.

In 1962 Attenborough was approached by an associate of the family of Mahatma Gandhi about making a film about the life of the founder of independent India. Although he had no familiarity with the subject, or with India, he met Pandit Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi the following year.

It would take another two decades for the project to be realised – by 1980 Attenborough had secured the money, and Gandhi became his biggest success.

The 1982 film won eight Oscars, including best director and best actor for Ben Kingsley, five Golden Globes, five Baftas (the British Academy of Film and Television Art) and brought him world acclaim.

By this point Attenborough was an old hand at directing – his first attempt in 1969 was Oh! What a Lovely War, a satire set on Brighton Pier, and he later delved further into patriotism with the 1972 Young Winston, the first of what was to become a lengthy series of biopics.

He continued acting occasionally, pausing to direct the $US26 million war epic A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Magic (1978), starring Anthony Hopkins, while picking up a knighthood along the way.

After Gandhi, he tried his hand at something much more light-hearted in A Chorus Line (1985), before turning back to the more weighty, though politically-safe, biopic Cry Freedom (1987), about murdered anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.

Other projects included Chaplin (1992), a critical flop, the well-crafted weepie Shadowlands (1993) about the writer CS Lewis, and an account of the early years of Ernest Hemingway, A Time to Love (1997).

Attenborough stayed behind the camera throughout the 1980s, but was enticed back onto the big screen by for Spielberg’s dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park in 1993 and its sequel.

In 1994, he played Santa Claus in the family drama Miracle on 34th Street, and supporting roles in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth followed later.

As he passed 80, Attenborough slowed down but kept working, including writing his memoirs, Entirely Up to You, Darling, with close friend Diana Hawkins.

Towards the end of his life Attenborough moved into a care home with his wife.

Outside the world of movies, Attenborough was a lifelong supporter of Chelsea Football Club and was made life president in 2008 after serving as a director since 1969.

Australia’s new tennis star arrives

She’s considered a future top 10 star, a marketing delight and on Tuesday she makes her grand slam debut for Australia at the US Open in New York.

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Croatian-born tennis talent Ajla Tomljanovic raised eyebrows last month when she revealed she was switching national allegiances after forging a successful partnership with Australian coach David Taylor.

Tomljanovic, who climbed to the cusp of the world’s top 50 after upstaging the fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the last 16 at the French Open, had been Croatia’s No.1 women’s player and brightest hope.

But the lure of greater opportunities and access to one of the most sought-after coaches were impossible to ignore.

Taylor guided Samantha Stosur to US Open glory in 2011, but it was the years of leg work he put in before that breakthrough that appealed to Tomljanovic, who considered Chris Evert a mentor while honing her power game previously in Florida.

“When I saw that he was with Sam before she was top 10 and winning slams, I really liked the fact that it was a six-year thing,” Tomljanovic said.

“It wasn’t just a flash, so that made me really want to work with someone like that.

“And obviously in the tennis world you know who is really the best coach and I was very excited to have a chance to work with him and I’m very glad it’s still going.”

The pair linked up last December and, like Stosur and Alicia Molik before her, Tomljanovic credits Taylor with giving her on-court clarity and an uncompromising game plan.

With such purpose, the former Australian Open junior doubles champion can focus solely on the process and let the outcome take care of itself.

“My coaches before never said this is the way and that’s it,” she said.

“He’s helped me a lot with my game and he obviously knows what it takes to get to the top level.”

Tomljanovic has a tough opener at Flushing Meadows against 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, the Spaniard who halted her fine run at Roland Garros.

Win or lose, the 21-year-old is promising to represent Australia with pride.

“I’ll definitely do my best and fight till this end,” said Tomljanovic, who has family on Queensland’s Gold Coast and will call Brisbane home.

“I’m very excited. I’ve known about this for a while obviously and I’m very happy that the moment has finally come.”

What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet

Technology has a lot to answer for: killing old businesses, destroying the middle class, Buzzfeed.

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 Technology in the form of the internet is especially villainous, having been accused of everything from making us dumber (paywall) to aiding dictatorships. But Michael Harris, riffing on the observations of Melvin Kranzberg, argues that “technology is neither good nor evil. The most we can say about it is this: It has come.”

Harris is the author of “The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection,” a new book about how technology affects society. It follows in the footsteps of Nicholas Carr, whose “The Shallows” is a modern classic of internet criticism. But Harris takes a different path from those that have come before. Instead of a broad investigation into the effects of constant connectivity on human behaviour, Harris looks at a very specific demographic: people born before 1985, or the very opposite of the “millennial” demographic coveted by advertisers and targeted by new media outlets.

Being in this situation puts us in a privileged position.”If we’re the last people in history to know life before the internet, we are also the only ones who will ever speak, as it were, both languages. We are the only fluent translators of Before and After.”

That means being able to notice things like the reduction of interactions to numbers, and how that translates into quantifications of human worth. “I think it has to do with this notion of online accountability. That is, noticing that you actually count seems to be related to a sense of self worth,” he says over the phone from Toronto, where he is based. “So it’s like if a tweet gets retweeted a couple of hundred times, that must mean that my thoughts are worthy. If my Facebook photo is ‘liked,’ that must mean I am good looking. One of the things that concerns me about a media diet that is overly online, is that we lose the ability to decide for ourselves what we think about who we are.”

Not yet a Luddite

Harris isn’t railing against these things, though. He doesn’t prescribe fewer internet hours or complain much about “kids these days.” Instead he acknowledges that his worries stem mainly from his anxieties about his own behavior. Like many of us, Harris checks his email on his phone first thing in the morning. “When you wake up, you have this gift of a blank brain. You could fill it with anything. But for most of us, we have this kind of panic. Instead of wondering what should I do, we wonder what did I miss. It’s almost like our unconsciousness is a kind of failure and we can’t believe we’ve been offline for eight hours,” he says. It is habits like this that are insidious, not the internet itself. It is a personal thing.

Analog August

Toward the end of the book, after having investigated our penchant for online confessionals, the perils of public opinion, and technology’s impact on everything from sex to memories to attention spans, Harris writes about his decision to take a month off from the internet. In the hands of a less talented writer or a shallower thinker, this might have been a bit of stunt journalism, and not a particularly original one either.

But Harris emerges unrepentant from his month in the wilds. Did he experience an epiphany? Not really. “But it’s the break itself that’s the thing. It’s the break—that is, the questioning—that snaps us out of the spell, that can convince us that it was a spell in the first place,” he writes. I asked Harris if he would recommend an “analog August” to others, as his publishers are doing to publicize the book—albeit only for a weekend rather than a whole month—with a free Penguin Classic thrown in for good measure.  “A full month off is a huge luxury which I was able to take because I was writing a book. For most people, taking a month off would mean losing your job,” he says.

Still, Harris says an occasional break can be helpful. “I think what you get is a richer interior light and the ability to see yourself in a critical light, living online. Because if you’re in the middle of something you can never see it properly.”

Leo Mirani is a reporter for Quartz in London. 

This article was originally published on Quartz. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Forget calories

By James Hamblin

“Coca-Cola is taking on obesity,” read the AP coverage of the company’s new commercial this week, “with an online video showing how [much] fun it could be to burn off the 140 calories in a can of its soda.

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The scene puts a covey of Californians around a comically oversized bicycle on Santa Monica beach. They stationery-cycle in montage for 20 to 30 smiling minutes each (depending on each person’s size and vigor), until they’ve burned the requisite number of calories to coax an aluminum can along a whimsical Rube-Goldberg-type trapeze. The can eventually reaches the big payoff, when a giant disembodied hand bestows to the pedaler Coca-Cola.

Not everyone thought it looked fun. “They’re showing exactly why you wouldn’t want to drink a Coke,” brand consultant Laura Ries said, presumably not while biking. “Twenty-three minutes on a bike is not fun for most people.” (23 minutes was the average time required for a 140-pound person—though as Adweek noted, the average 20-year-old man weighs 196 pounds, and the average woman of the same age weighs 166 pounds.)

It’s also uncomfortably evocative of a lab experiment where hamsters run on a wheel until they are delivered a pellet of, say, opium. But others in the foodie world were less skeptical of the marketing move than they were enraged by it. I probably would have been too, if I were still capable of strong emotions.

Because asking how much time it takes to burn off the calories in a can of Coke is like asking how many Hail Marys it takes to uncheat at poker. I think it does something for your immortal soul, but if you get caught you’re still going to get punched in the stomach. Even if you give everyone their money back, it’s not over. Best case scenario, future games are going to be awkward.

“This is a light-hearted, down-to-Earth message,” Coke spokeswoman Judith Snyder told USA Today. “There are fun ways to burn calories. We want to be very clear that this is not at all a dig at nutritionists but a fun, lighthearted way to present this message.”

It is, though. It’s a dig, Judith. Coca-Cola is not taking on obesity; it is taking on its rotting public image. The campaign is absolutely a dig at the work of nutritionists, in that “Keep eating junk food, just exercise the calories off” is exactly the message that public-health advocates have been fighting in recent years, because it’s not the legit proposition it might seem to be.

***

I like the sounds of the words diet-sage doctors use. I like their deliberate scrubs and airbrushed faces on billboards and book jackets. And I relate to Joan Didion’s notion of being a writer feeling no legitimate residency in the world of ideas. My eyes are drawn to the periphery of the weight-loss market, the absurd tag-lines of bestselling-hopeful books with titles like My Beef With Meat, to the drama in scientists slinging mud at one another with professionally acceptable level of passivity to mitigate their aggression. That’s what I like to write about.

“What’s one of the biggest misconceptions out there that you wish you could turn around?”

But writing is necessarily, Didion again, “an aggressive, even hostile act … an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s.” Like it or not, you are always imposing an idea. If writing is an invasion, then doing a TV or radio appearance is scorching the earth. There an idea is meant to be extracted in its most distilled form, on any number of the billion talking-head shows, in two to five minutes. Clearly, concisely, without caveats.

These appearances were never part of any plan I made for myself, but they come with writing, and to my mother it’s pretty much the height of success. So I do them, but I end up answering questions in ways that visibly/audibly disappoint hosts. Just tell me what’s good and what’s bad, the audience seems to want of its health media. “It’s complicated” is not a helpful answer. Last weekend I was on MSNBC talking about my feature “Being Happy With Sugar,” and the interviewer T.J. Holmes, doing his job perfectly, was trying to extract a stance on just how evil sugar is. And, it’s complicated. Sugar is “toxic” insofar as anything is toxic at the right level, and thinking of it as toxic may or may not be a helpful construct.

“What’s one of the biggest misconceptions out there that you wish you could turn around?”

Well, I’m not sure what your conceptions are? After a few minutes, Holmes said I was killing him. I was, I’m sure. He was killing me. Sugar is killing us all. To some degree. I hope the invasion of my sensibilities was more aggressive to Holmes than it was to the people watching weekend daytime news. But it helped me hone this idea that I have to deal in ideas in a frank, consumer-oriented way sometimes if I’m going to be productive to public health.

On Wednesday I got to do a longer segment on the local NPR affiliate alongside Dr. David Ludwig, a professor at Harvard Medical School. That was a good discussion, as it always is with host Kojo Nnamdi. Ludwig is a man of ideas, important ideas that he’s been saying for a long time. Here’s the most interesting part:

NNAMDI: Many of us have been led to understand that weight gain or loss is simply a matter of willpower, our ability to restore balance to that equation of the calories that go in our bodies and the calories that we use and go out. You’ve done a lot of research that suggests our basic understanding of that equation is off kilter. How so?

By eating this way, we can basically ignore calories and let our body-weight control systems do the work.

LUDWIG: … Very few people can lose weight over the long term with low-calorie diets. And those who can’t are blamed for lack of discipline and willpower. So, according to an alternative view, weight is controlled like body temperature and a range of other biological functions. Eating too much refined carbohydrate has, by this theory, raised insulin levels and programmed our fat cells to suck in and store too many calories. When this happens, there are too few calories for the rest of the body. So the brain recognizes this and triggers the starvation response. We experience that as becoming excessively hungry and our metabolism slows down. … Eventually we succumb to hunger and overeat. So a better approach, if this theory is correct, is to address the problem at its source by cutting back on the foods that are over-stimulating our fat cells: the refined carbohydrates like grains, potato products, concentrated sugars, especially the refined grains. And by eating this way, we can basically ignore calories and let our body-weight control systems do the work.

NNAMDI: Is it oversimplification to say that your research suggests we’re getting hungrier because we’re getting fatter?

LUDWIG: [No,] that’s right.

Ludwig and co-author Mark Friedman wrote about this in a New York Times article last month headlined “Always Hungry? Here’s Why,” saying that the “simple solution” ingrained in people who want to lose weight “is to exert willpower and eat less.”

The problem is that this advice doesn’t work, at least not for most people over the long term. In other words, your New Year’s resolution to lose weight probably won’t last through the spring, let alone affect how you look in a swimsuit in July. More of us than ever are obese, despite an incessant focus on calorie balance by the government, nutrition organizations, and the food industry. … As it turns out, many biological factors affect the storage of calories in fat cells, including genetics, levels of physical activity, sleep, and stress. But one has an indisputably dominant role: the hormone insulin.

The food industry didn’t necessarily focus on calorie counts until recently, but it has definitely embraced it now. Twix and Oreos come in 100-calorie packs. Coke tells you exactly how to burn its calories off. It’s better than nothing, right? Here’s my foray into the realm of nutrition ideas: Eating based on calories is a problem. That’s what I should’ve told T.J. Holmes. It’s really an aggregate of what many nutritionists and writers are saying right now, but: Calorie counting doesn’t work for most people, and it’s manipulated by companies marketing junk. It’s not a good way to think about food.

Highly refined carbohydrates—chips, crackers, white bread, soda, rice—spike our blood sugar. That spike makes the pancreas produce tons of insulin. That insulin tells our body to store energy as fat. Subsequently, as Ludwig and Friedmanwrite in the current Journal of the American Medical Association, “energy expenditure declines and hunger increases, reflecting homeostatic responses to lowered circulating concentrations of glucose and other metabolic fuels. Thus, overeating may be secondary to diet-induced metabolic dysfunction.” That is, refined carbs make us eat more, which makes us fat, which makes us eat more, and so on.

NNAMDI: James, the last time you joined us we talked about the addictive power of foods, whether Oreos are really kind of maybe like crack cocaine. It seems that part of this conversation is about a habit many of us develop in thinking that all calories are just calories, regardless of their sources. There are a lot of people out there now saying, no, all calories are not created equal. What are they saying and why is this significant?

HAMBLIN: It goes right in line with what Dr. Ludwig is saying, that certain calories will cause fluctuations in the body’s hormones and blood sugar levels, that will only augment future hunger. So you might be able to temporarily eat a low calorie diet of high-sugar foods but it’s going to be unsustainable, you’re not going to feel good. You’re probably going to feel constantly hungry. And after a few weeks, probably go back to eating more. Whereas if you focus on eating a more balanced whole food diet, you will sustain that longer. And ultimately, you know, we’re not proposing that this is overturning the first law of thermodynamics. You will need to burn more calories than you consume [in order to lose weight]. But it’s about where you focus that intention of eating. If you think about the calories, I think you tend to make choices to say, well, I can only eat 200 calories now, I’d really like to get that as the most delicious 200 calories possible. I’m going to eat 200 calories of ice cream or soda. …

LUDWIG: This is, of course, an argument the food industry loves because, by it, there are no bad foods. 

So the old paradigm of weight gain/loss, according to Ludwig and Friedman, looked like this:

And the new one looks like this: 

***

Exercise, too, is about more than burning calories. Ludwig has a good way to think about it:

NNAMDI: Allow me to go to Mark in McLean, Virginia. Mark, you’re on the air.

MARK: Hey, Kojo. I wanted to speak about eating clean and sort of healthy eating, in the way that a bodybuilder might eat. I’m currently on a diet and exercise campaign to drop a few pounds. And, you know, I’m eating healthy. I’m eating greens, dark greens. I’m eating fruits, I’m eating whole grains, and I’m eating protein—chicken and fish. And I’m exercising. I’ve never been a big juice drinker or a soda drinker. I don’t do ice cream. Those are the anti-clean-eating foods. So I wanted to ask your panel to comment about eating healthy in combination with exercise as an effective approach to weight loss.

LUDWIG: I think some physical activity is great. I am a strong advocate of it. I think physical activity is, oftentimes profoundly misunderstood in its role in weight management. To burn off the calories in one super-sized fast-food meal, it takes [running] a full marathon. You know, we’re much more efficient in holding onto calories than we are we can consume a tremendous amount quickly. And the body, through evolution, doesn’t want to be wasteful with its calories. So when you’re at extremely high levels of physical activity, you can begin to have a very substantial impact on calorie balance. But for most people, physical activity has a whole nether role. It’s not so much burning off calories as is it is in tuning up our metabolism, lowering insulin levels, promoting insulin sensitivity and helping bring those fat cells back into line in behaving more cooperatively with the rest of the body. So, physical activity is good if it’s linked to a diet that lowers insulin levels and helps control hunger. But by itself, [it’s] not a very good way to lose weight.

***

So yes, the first law of thermodynamics remains immutable. Energy balance is a true concept. A person will not lose weight if they eat more calories than they burn, and vice versa. But it’s just not a helpful way to think about food, given the fact that foods all around us are labeled with a calorie number that doesn’t fully tell us how that food will affect our metabolism and future hunger.

The proposed new FDA nutrition labels make the calorie number larger. That seems like a mistake. Focusing on calories puts the emphasis in the wrong place. The biochemistry is complex, but the way to think about it is not. Don’t focus on calories; focus on food choices. Eat real food, no added sugar, and you can really forget the numbers.

In 1924 the Journal of the American Medical Associationpublished a prescient idea similar to what Ludwig (and others) advocate. It read:

“Are you ashamed of your weight?” This question is the backbone of an attitude that is rapidly attaining prominence in many parts of the country. Obesity is being made the subject of attack from many quarters. From one direction, the threat of diabetes is heard; from the insurance office, the implication that he is liable to be a “bad risk” greets the corpulent person, while his own discomfort on vigorous effort serves as an even more immediate reminder of the consequences of lessened activity. The dressmaker and the tailor dispense additional reminders in the form of friendly, though unwelcome, gibes that drive the victim of adiposity to seek relief by some means. The outcome has been an unprecedented demand for “reduction” treatments, with a preference for ways that are quick and easy. The quack has not been slow to take advantage of his opportunity to extract a rich reward from the gullible.

When we read that “the fat woman has the remedy in her own hands—or rather between her own teeth,” and that “she need not carry that extra weight about with her unless she so wills,” there is an implication that obesity is usually merely the result of unsatisfactory dietary bookkeeping. When food intake exceeds energy output, a deposit of fat results. Logic suggests that the latter may be decreased by altering the balance through diminished intake, or increased output, or both … The problem is not really so simple and uncomplicated as pictured.

But that’s the simple paradigm that, 90 years later, Coke and everyone else peddling empty nothing “foods” as simply part of the calorie count are perpetuating.

This article was originally published on The Atlantic. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Smithsonian creates 3D portrait of Obama

A team at the Smithsonian Institution has scanned US President Barack Obama to create the first 3D portrait of a sitting president.

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Digital imaging specialists recently created a 3D printed bust and life mask of Obama, which will become part of his presidential depictions in the National Portrait Gallery collection.

Both were shown on Wednesday at a gathering of inventors, entrepreneurs and students at the White House.

The Smithsonian team scanned Obama earlier this year using two distinct 3D processes.

Experts from the University of Southern California used their “light stage” face scanner to document the president’s face from ear to ear.

The team also used handheld 3D scanners and cameras to record 3D data to create a bust of the president.

Similar life masks were created of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, using plaster casting, and they are kept in the Smithsonian collection.

“We were really inspired by our experience with the Lincoln life masks,” said Gunter Waibel, director of the Smithsonian’s digitisation program that has made 3D scans and prints of Lincoln masks from early and later in the Civil War.

The Lincoln masks have proven especially popular with school groups using the Smithsonian’s 3D scans.

“There’s a very, very deep connection that gets made when you have accurate data of a person’s face and that person was a part of history,” Waibel said.

“People really felt the Lincoln life masks deeply spoke to them and connected them to a place, a time, a life and ultimately a legacy of the 14th president.”

But past presidential masks were created through plaster casting that required a president to sit with plaster on his face, breathing through straws stuck in his nose.

So the Smithsonian set out to update that process with 21st century technology to make it fast and easy.

So the team proposed a scan of Obama about a year ago, and the White House agreed.

Obama joined them for about 15 minutes in the White House. The actual scanning took about five minutes.

The result was a 3D scan of the president at a higher resolution that is currently possible to print in 3D.

“You can see down to the wrinkles in the skin and the pores on his face,” said Vince Rossi, a 3D imaging specialist.

For centuries, artists have used the latest technology to create imagery of leaders, whether it was busts chiselled out of marble, paintings or photographs.

“We think we’ve really added a new genre to portraiture,” Waibel said.

“It will be fascinating to see how that will be picked up and how down the line other administrations will also use that particular tool.”

Patience on Raiders’ NRL signings: Stuart

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says he won’t be pressured into rushing out and signing any old player “willy-nilly” after failing to recruit the four stars on top of his NRL wishlist.

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The Raiders were rocked two weeks ago when Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco backflipped on a lucrative deal with the club just days before the round-13 deadline.

His shock decision came after Penrith flyer Josh Mansour and Bulldogs veteran Michael Ennis declined to join the club, while Melbourne forward Kevin Proctor backed away from a handshake deal.

Stuart on Thursday publicly broke his silence about the whole sorry saga, after only releasing a statement at the time of the Tedesco backflip, promising to continue his aggressive recruitment approach.

Despite the disappointing progress, Stuart urged fans not to get caught up expecting instant results as available top-line players weren’t always out on the market.

“I just can’t go out and rush into recruitment,” he said.

“What we do over the next two years here is to try and put us into a position for four to seven years down the track.

“It’s a tough job. I’m as impatient as every supporter and fan out there, believe me. The hardest job is for me to stay patient.”

Stuart also denied the Raiders had a problem with convincing players to join the club.

He said he’d had many players’ managers approach him to join the Raiders under his new stewardship. The fact was they just weren’t what he was looking for.

“We’re not out there willy nilly, trying to get anybody and everybody,” he said.

“There’s players out there that we’re saying no to – that never gets reported.”

Despite not being able to lure the top four on his wish list, Stuart insisted he was making inroads when it came to recruitment.

“We are targeting some other players,” he said.

“It’s not something we ever discuss publicly – the player managers do that for us.”

And despite having been burnt by players exploiting the round-13 deadline rule several times in recent seasons, Stuart said he wouldn’t be making a push for it to be changed.

“No, it’s there, it’s a rule and we have to run by what’s there,” he said.

Hyde Park rioter jailed for two more years

A former champion boxer who bashed a police officer during Sydney’s violent Hyde Park riot will be behind bars until at least 2016.

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Ahmed Elomar, who began boxing at age nine before turning pro at 15, was one of hundreds of protesters who marched through Sydney’s streets in 2012 before clashing with police at Hyde Park.

He was sentenced on Thursday to four years and eight months in jail but with time served, he will be eligible for parole on March 8, 2016.

The September 2012 demonstration was sparked by the YouTube film Innocence of Muslims, which mocks the Islamic faith.

Sydney District Court Judge Donna Woodburne said some protesters “were waving flags that said, in large print, ‘Behead all those that insult the prophet’.”

Elomar pleaded guilty to recklessly wounding a police officer, identified only as a senior constable.

The 31-year-old struck the officer with a flag pole so hard that the pole bent, the constable was hospitalised and he will bear a facial scar for the rest of his life.

The Crown had argued Elomar might not even have seen the offensive film before joining the hordes, but was rather lured in by the chance to commit “senseless acts of violence”.

Judge Woodburne said she accepted Elomar had a mild intellectual impairment and that he had difficulty physically and emotionally restraining himself.

“I do not find, however, that it deprived him of the ability to appreciate that it was wrong to bash a police officer on the head, as he did,” she said.

Wearing prison greens and with a long, curly head of hair, Elomar stroked his beard but otherwise made no reaction as the sentence was handed down.

World champion boxers Jeff Fenech and Anthony Mundine lent Elomar their support during the case, with Mr Fenech urging he be given a “second chance” and Mr Mundine arguing Elomar was “somewhat naive” but would “overcome this episode in his life”.

Elomar won the IBF Pan Pacific featherweight title in 2006.

Judge Woodburne said by 2012, Elomar had been out of work for some time following a string of serious accidents over several years.

More than a decade ago, he received serious head and neck injuries after diving from a bridge, and in 2004 he ruptured his spleen when he fell 11 metres at a building site.

His mother claimed he was also seriously affected by a brush with police in his parents’ home country of Lebanon in 2007, where he was “tortured for several days and kept without food before being released without charge”.

Elomar’s legal team had argued that a combination of post-traumatic stress arising from the Lebanon arrest, his intellectual disability and a history of head trauma all led to him falling under the influence of “deeply religious and more intelligent men” in the months leading to the riots.

Defence barrister Greg James QC had asked that his client be allowed to serve an intensive correction order, rather than go into full-time custody.

But Judge Woodburne said the community viewed attacks against on-duty police officers harshly and a jail term was the only appropriate sentence.

Explainer: Muckaty Station nuclear dump

Plans to build a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory deeply divided the community.

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A federal court challenge was recently underway with traditional owners of the land disputing the way the site was nominated. A proposed $12.2 million compensation package was also the source of much discontent in the small community near Tennant Creek.

On June 19, 2014 the court case was dismissed. The Northern Land Council said it stood by the process which led to the nomination of the land, but had decided not to go ahead. NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said that $A12 million that had been on the table from the government as compensation for the community would now not be paid.

Muckaty: the chosen land

Muckaty Station, also known as Warlmanpa land, is around 120km from the nearest town of considerable population, Tennant Creek. Originally under traditional Indigenous ownership, the area became a pastoral lease in the late 19th century, and currently operates as a cattle station. It was returned to the traditional owners in 1999. Muckaty Station covers 221,000 hectares and seven Aboriginal groups claim land within it.

In 2007 the Northern Land Council, on behalf of certain members of the local Ngapa clan traditional owners, signed a deal with the Commonwealth allowing a small part of Muckaty Station to be nominated to store low and intermediate-level nuclear waste. Fierce opposition soon erupted amongst other traditional owners who say they weren’t properly consulted and also have a claim to the land.  The Federal Court case, that was dropped on June 19, 2014, was to determine if that nomination was valid and whether the NLC violated the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

What was the radioactive plan?

The plan was to build a bunkered facility within a one kilometre security zone to store intermediate and low-level radioactive waste.

Low-level waste (LLW) – contains enough radioactive material to require action for the protection of people, but not so much that it requires shielding in handling or storage.

Intermediate-level waste (ILW) – requires shielding. If it has more than 4000 Bq/g of long-lived (over 30 year half-life) alpha emitters it is categorised as “long-lived” and requires more sophisticated handling and disposal.

Nuclear waste is the material that nuclear fuel becomes after it is used in a reactor. Each year Australia produces about 45 cubic metres of radioactive wastes. There are more than 100 locations around Australia where radioactive waste is stored. This includes hospitals and medical facilities, scientific organisations, universities and industrial facilities associated with mining and petroleum. Australia has only have one nuclear reactor, the OPAL research reactor that is operated at Sydney’s Lucas Heights.

The government has been searching for a location to store intermediate and low-level radioactive waste. The Commonwealth said nuclear waste storage at Muckaty would be about the size of two football fields. This kind of ‘waste dump’ is needed until a “geological repository is eventually justified and established, or alternative arrangements made.” Some of the waste would have come from the Lucas Heights nuclear waste facility in Sydney. If the Muckaty plans had gone ahead, it would also store Australian nuclear waste due to be returned from Europe in 2014/15. Australia has international obligations to repatriate spent and reprocessed fuel rods from France by 2015.

How is nuclear waste stored overseas?

Currently the world has to handle about 12,000 tonnes of waste every year. Australia’s percentage of that is relatively small. Nuclear waste is disposed of in various ways in other countries, mainly in shallow burial. Some countries also incinerate the waste first to reduce volume.

There are waste disposal sites all across the world including Spain, France and the US. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been wanting to get waste out of surface storage and into more environmentally susatinable set ups. Some argue that Australia has the best site on the planet to bury nuclear waste. 

Overseas there have been some concerns about living near a nuclear waste dump. If radioactive contamination was released into the environment, exposure to high levels of radiation could be linked to rapid sickness and death. Residents living near nuclear waste in Germany reportedly recorded higher rates of cancer.

Who were the major players in the Muckaty dispute?

The Northern Land Council: The NLC and the Commonwealth wanted to use two square kilometres of Muckaty Station to build the nuclear waste dump. The Northern Land Council is “responsible for assisting Aboriginal peoples in the Top End of the Northern Territory to acquire and manage their traditional lands and seas.”

The Ngapa clan: Certain members of the Ngapa clan (the Lauder family) signed a deal allowing the site to be used in exchange for federal compensation. They were backed by the NLC in their claim, as the NLC recognised them as the traditional owners.

Indigenous groups opposing the plan: The Milwayi, Yapa Yapa, Ngarrka, and Wirntiku people, and certain Ngapa clans outside of the Lauder family were opposed to the plan. They said the NLC didn’t consult them properly and that the proposed site is a sacred place and was always shared land.

The Northern Territory government: The NT government doesn’t have the power to refuse the dump and has changed its position in the past few years. In November 2012 the NT Chief Minister Terry Mills reiterated his support for the nuclear dump site at Muckaty.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam: Scott Ludlam has campaigned against the proposal for years. On June 3, 2014 Senator Ludlam told Senate Estimates the eight year campaign to dump radioactive waste at Muckaty had been a “disaster.”

What was in dispute in court?

The Federal Court was discerning whether or not the Northern Land Council violated the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act when it nominated Muckaty Station as a site for the potential dumping of nuclear waste. Traditional owners said they have claim to the land which is adjacent to a sacred site and that the NLC spoke to only a few of the local traditional owners about the deal. The NLC and the Commonwealth argue that there was valid consultation and town meetings were held, but the nature of this consultation has been called into question.

Another key issue of the case was determining who owns the roughly two square kilometres which would house the dump. The Lauder family of the Ngapa clan have been acknowledged by the NLC as the traditional owners, but other clans also say the land is theirs.

What happened in the case?

What about the millions promised in compensation?

The Lauder family were paid $200,000 and promised a further financial package to pay for a road, educational scholarships and other initiatives. If the nuclear waste dump had proceeded the Commonwealth promised to provide $12 million to be distributed amongst the community in Muckaty. But this payment was also being scrutinised in court. Lawyer for the traditional owners Ron Merkel QC told the court that “not one Aboriginal person” on Muckaty Station would have any right to the compensation. The deal involved money being put into charitable trusts which opponents argued have a very wide scope. But the NLC argued that it is “common policy” for funds to be structured to “generate long-term benefits.”