The month that was (yes, another one gone)

Let’s tear into the Google Analytics stats:

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Why it is ill-conceived to for Obama to deal with Iran

The Obama administration is bending over backwards to assist Iran.

It is madness, especially when senior officials in Iran hold the view that the total annihilation of Israel is a non-negotiable point.

And it isn’t just a nobody either, Mohammad Reza Naqdi is the chief of the Basji Militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and it is his declaration that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable.”

He also threatened Saudi Arabia for its campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. The Saudis for their part have warned Naqdi, would share the “fate of Saddam Hussein.”

The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.

Militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi also threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein.”

Naqdi’s comments were made public as Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue nuclear negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June.    Read more »

Angry Little Andy prefers honesty over pretending to keep the high ground

What do you mean I need a media person?

Labour leader Andrew Little says his party decided to back Winston Peters in the fight for Northland after the first polls came out showing the New Zealand First leader with a commanding lead.

But he expects Mr Peters would have won with or without Labour urging their supporters to “send a message” to the Government – a thinly veiled endorsement of the 40-year political veteran. Read more »

Unanimous verdict in Lundy re-trial: guilty

Not sure why he needed a re-trial.

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Failure of fast food ban on South L.A.

The Doug Sellman’s and Boyd Swinburn’s of this world want sugar taxes, bans on fast food and labelling of what they call “unhealthy” products.

The main problem, apart from their control freak nature, is that they don’t work in combatting obesity.

The evidence is there for all to see.

The national discourse about health and obesity has never been a particularly cordial conversation.

In 2008, it hit a tendentious peak when a ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles brought the term “food apartheid” to the table. The ordinance, which was implemented in a part of the city that is both disproportionately poor and obese, came as a response to the idea that there are two different systems for accessing food in Los Angeles, one with more limited options in an economically depressed part of the city that is predominantly black and Latino, and the other with more variety in more affluent neighborhoods.

Ban this, block that…no bottle stores near schools, stop fast food joints opening up…never is there a though about personal choice in the matter. Sugar taxes and bans and plain packaging will work they tell us.

Yeah, nah.

[T]he South Los Angeles ban was unprecedented in that it was the first to connect a policy to the obesity epidemic. The ordinance didn’t shutter existing restaurants, but it did block construction of new stand-alone fast-food restaurants in an area with 700,000 residents. (That’s a population that, if separated from the rest of Los Angeles, would still make one of the U.S.’s 20 largest cities.) The effort also dovetailed with an initiative to encourage supermarkets and stores with presumably healthier fare to move in.

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Dodgy Socialist Dam cops another one in the chook

Fenton "Jong-un" Wilson

Fenton “Jong-un” Wilson

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has lost another court battle over the Ruataniwha Dam.

This is the fourth time they have lost in a court. They got smashed by the Board of Inquiry, the lost in the High Court when they refused to release the TRIM model, and they lost an appeal and had to pay costs because they were so wrong and now the maoris had smashed them up over their dodgy socialist dam and the degradation of the waterways that would result from the project.

You have to start wondering when the council will give up their dodgy plan.

Iwi authority Ngati Kahungunu is celebrating an Environment Court decision it says is a victory over Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s attempts to reduce water-quality standard provisions for the region’s aquifers.

At a hearing in December, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated challenged the council’s attempts to change two objectives related to groundwater quality as part of a change to the regional resource management plan.   Read more »

Mental Health Break

It’s ok, eating red meat is good for you

The wowsers out there won’t like this new study that shows that contrary to their demands, eating red meat is actually good for you.

If I wanted to cherry-pick studies myself, I might point you to this 2013 study that used the same Nhanes data to conclude that meat consumption is not associated with mortality at all.

Let’s avoid cherry-picking, though. A 2013 meta-analysis of meat-diet studies, including those above, found that people in the highest consumption group of all red meat had a 29 percent relative increase in all-cause mortality compared with those in the lowest consumption group. But most of this was driven by processed red meats, like bacon, sausage or salami.

Epidemiologic evidence can take us only so far. As I’ve written before, those types of studies can be flawed. Nothing illustrates this better than aclassic 2012 systematic review that pretty much showed that everything we eat is associated with both higher and lower rates of cancer.

We really do need randomized controlled trials to answer these questions. They do exist, but with respect to effects on lipid levels such as cholesteroland triglycerides. A meta-analysis examining eight trials found that beef versus poultry and fish consumption didn’t change cholesterol or triglyceride levels significantly.    Read more »

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Map of the Day

Sponsored by What Power Crisis, click here for this week’s Solar Deal


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The World Divided into Regions with a GDP of 1 Trillion Dollarsuniquejobs


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Possible “Ice Gas” bonanza for NZ

The other day I highlighted what Japan was doing in exploration for hydrates or “ice gas”.

We are nowhere near peak oil as we discover new sources of energy.

At the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit yesterday, the boss of Shell also covered this energy source.

New Zealand’s next energy game changer could be the “super resource” of gas hydrates, says Shell New Zealand chairman Rob Jager.

Speaking to the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit yesterday, he said “ice gas” beneath the sea off the coasts were recognised internationally as having significant potential as a future energy resource.

“One [government study] explains this resource could possibly be about 10 times as big as the giant Maui gas field when it was first found,” Jager said. “GNS science says we have some of the biggest deposits of ice gas in the world, with the potential to meet all New Zealand’s needs and create a gas export for decades.”    Read more »