Friday, April 30, 2010

Sugar and good cholesterol

Woah, perhaps another reason to cut back on the sugars:

Current thinking is that the HDL cholesterol is the good stuff.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Expendables - Japanese trailer ... a must see

Drink milk to get your vitamin D, unless ...

"Using the latest national data (NHANES 2003-2006) on what more than 16,000 Americans ages two and older eat, researchers investigated the contribution of each food group to the total vitamin D intake. No other food item came close to the vitamin D contribution of milk. In fact, for kids ages 2 to eighteen, milk provided nearly two-thirds of all vitamin D in the diet."

Oh, this doesn't apply to the UK because we don't add vitamin D to our milk. Whoops a daisy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brace yourself for a frugal few years

'Under any of the parties, the years 2011-2015 would involve the "deepest sustained cut to spending on public services since 1976-80", when the UK was forced to borrow from the IMF.'

That's from a chap from the IFS. Goldmans et al have taken all the money and run. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No food for a year, and more

The New Scientist recently looked at the maximum human. Here are some snippets:

- The longest recorded starvation was by the Irish hunger-striker Kieran Doherty in 1981, who died after fasting for 73 days. With a supply of vitamins and water, people have been known to survive over a year without eating. "It used to be a very fashionable way of losing weight around 30 years ago," says Powell-Tuck.

- Remembering an 11-digit telephone number is hard enough for most of us. Yet one of the current record-holders for a feat of memory, Chao Lu of China, was able to accurately recite 67,890 digits of pi from memory in 2005.

- Most people find it hard to hold their breath for more than a minute, so imagine the extreme self-control Stephane Misfud mustered on 8 June last year when he held his breath for 11 minutes and 35 seconds

Vitamin D & diabetes

I think the only thing it isn't correlated with is bringing people back from the dead, but then again, not much is.

This one is from a new study reported in the AJCN:

Results: A total of 133 T2D cases were identified over a 7-y average follow-up. In comparison with individuals in the lowest tertile of the predicted 25(OH)D score at baseline, those in the highest tertile had a 40% lower incidence of T2D after adjustment for age, sex, waist circumference, parental history of T2D, hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, impaired fasting glucose, and Dietary Guidelines for Americans Adherence Index (DGAI) score (hazard ratio: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.97; P for trend = 0.03).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that higher vitamin D status is associated with decreased risk of T2D. Maintaining optimal 25(OH)D status may be a strategy to prevent the development of T2D.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

First football match - Arsenal v Man City

When you've planned to study all day, and the sun is shining, and you've been offered a spare ticket to the Emirates Stadium to see Arsenal v Man City, what do you do? Put the books down is what you do.

The game itself could have been better, as Arsenal's lack lustre performance produced a flat score line of 0-0, but the experience was great; people were far more civilised than I expected, the stadium is really impressive, and the colosseum type effect of being part of a 60,000 strong crowd was pretty cool.

Here a few pics I snagged on my mobile:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vitamin D

For the first time in my memory, I've made it through the winter without catching a cold or flu. Is it the vitamin D? Perhaps:

Objective: We investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.

Design: From December 2008 through March 2009, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements (1200 IU/d) with placebo in schoolchildren. The primary outcome was the incidence of influenza A, diagnosed with influenza antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab specimen.

Results: Influenza A occurred in 18 of 167 (10.8%) children in the vitamin D3 group compared with 31 of 167 (18.6%) children in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.58; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.99; P = 0.04]. The reduction in influenza A was more prominent in children who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.79; P = 0.006) and who started nursery school after age 3 y (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.78; P = 0.005). In children with a previous diagnosis of asthma, asthma attacks as a secondary outcome occurred in 2 children receiving vitamin D3 compared with 12 children receiving placebo (RR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.73; P = 0.006).

Conclusion: This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.
Source: ACJN

Blogging what, what

In the run-up to the second wave of accountancy exams, blogging may well be a bit thin on the ground.

Your humble bean counter.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Where is Michael Dudikoff?

Like a ninja, he just disappeared.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Film review: Kick Ass

Damn it's good. Hit Girl is especially cool.


Bored of counting to the movies

to watch Kick-Ass. There's a lots of 4 and 5 star reviews, and a handful of scathing one star ones, with haters including the Daily Mail and the Financial Times (they share some opinions, then).

Does it kick ass, or does it get it's ass kicked ... be back soon with my verdict ....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tenuous link to the grand national winner

I bought my car from the pilot who used to fly currency speculator and horse race owner JP McManus about, and one of JP's horses just won the National.

Friday, April 09, 2010

What does the cod fish eat?

This one is a bit more random than usual.

Here we look at the diet of cod:

Cod pursue and gorge on squid at every opportunity, and on various small fish, particularly on herring, on launce, and (in the north) on capelin; also on shad, mackerel, menhaden, silversides, alewives, silver hake, young haddock, and even on their own young, rising into the upper waters for this purpose when necessary (p. 184). They also pick up flounders, cunners, rock eels (Pholis), blennies, sculpins, sea ravens, small hake and skates from the bottom. In fact, they take any fish small enough to swallow, including the hard slim alligatorfish and even the sea horse. And Welsh noted that many cod taken near the Isles of Shoals on May 1, 1913 spat up small rosefish from 4 to 6 inches long. The eggs of the longhorn sculpin and of the eelpout (Macrozoarces) also have been found in cod stomachs. Adult cod as well as small are also known to feed on pelagic shrimps in the waters around Iceland, but we have never heard of them doing so in the Gulf of Maine.

Even a wild duck does not escape from a large cod now and then. ...
(Source: US Dept of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service, 1953)

Watch New York get wrecked by retro video games

Nice piece of work.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

5-a-day and cancer

I've recently developed a bit of an aversion to fruit. I find some fruit too sweet (e.g. grapes), but the bigger problem is that the refreshing feeling fruit creates makes me pretty hungry afterwards - apples are particularly useless in this respect. In addition to believing that fruit has a very low satiety score, I've have my my own pet theory that our genomes didn't evolve to fit the standard 5-a-day recommendation, at least with respect to fruit. Vegetables, however, I love very much. Many are not too carby, they are convenient as they can be eaten from frozen, they are pretty nutritious, and they are actually filling.

Semi-supporting my current bias is this new study, which is doing the rounds in the media. The NHS and other commentators point out that is a pretty well conducted piece of research, despite the relatively damning conclusion concerning fruit and vegetables and their effect on cancer:

'In summary, the findings from the EPIC cohort add further evidence that a broad effort to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables will not have a major effect on cancer incidence. Such efforts are still worthwhile because they will reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, and a small benefit for cancer remains possible. Research should focus more sharply on specific fruits and vegetables and their constituents and on earlier periods of life. For prevention of cancer, the primary focus at present should be heightened efforts to reduce smoking and obesity because obesity in the United States has become similar in magnitude to smoking as an avoidable cause.' (from the editorial).
Kinda interesting.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cheese and marmite sandwich, with a fried egg?

Take a cheese and marmite white bread sandwich (yes, you can buy these things in the UK). Microwave it for 20 seconds to melt the cheeese a little. Then butter both sides and fry on a low heat until crispy.

Now comes the coup de grace de marmite: fry an egg, keeping the yolk nice and runny, and plop it on top. Grind a little salt and pepper on top.

Sounds disgusting, tasted fantastic...okay, filthy fantastic.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Deconstructed omelette

I just fried up some mushrooms, onions and peas, planning to mix them up with eggs and cheese to make an omelette. In a last minute change of mind, I carefully cracked a couple of eggs on the veg, sprinkled the cheese on top, and let the whole pan sit under the grill for about 5 minutes. It made for some darn good eating, with delicious runny yolks oozing all the plate.

: )

Starbuck's new drink size

Starbucks has responded to customer feedback and launched a new size in their range. See their press release from 01/04/10 for more.