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

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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 »

Another Goff stuff up, NH90s not fit for purpose

Phil Goff signing away nearly $800 million on rubbish helicopters

Phil Goff signing away nearly $800 million on rubbish helicopters

The NZ Herald editorial explores yet another legacy of the idiot Phil Goff from when he was Defence Minister.

Nine years ago, the decision to buy eight NH90 helicopters for the air force was accompanied by considerable fanfare. The French-made multi-purpose choppers would, said the Defence Minister, Phil Goff, be bigger, faster, more versatile and have a far greater lift capability than the ageing Iroquois they were replacing. Such acclaim was only to be expected given that they represented the biggest single defence purchase since the navy’s two Anzac frigates in the 1980s. The NH90s cost $771 million, a sum which demanded everything should be done to ensure they met Defence Force requirements for military deployment and disaster relief.

Clearly, this was not done to an acceptable standard. Cyclone-hit Vanuatu has proved as much. None of the NH90s have been taken up there because they are considered too difficult to transport and are not yet cleared for “island-hopping”. In addition, the air force is concerned about how the helicopters would cope with “wind-wash” in the islands. So much for Mr Goff’s assurance that the multi-role ship Canterbury, now in Vanuatu, had the capacity to carry up to four NH90s, along with a Seasprite helicopter, light armoured vehicles and 250 soldiers.

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12 working days in Auckland traffic?

So Auckland is more congested?

I think that would already feel most obvious to commuters in Auckland but the question is why? And is this survey to be followed by the usual calls for public transport?

I have friends who have commented in the last few months that their work commutes have suddenly changed in terms of trip time.

Last year they were taking around 25-30 minutes on average but this year are finding that those trip movements have jumped significantly to 45 minutes and upto an hour for a cross town trip from East Auckland towards the airport.

What caught my attention is that they followed their observations with a cynical comment that their increased trip times have coincided with Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan survey on transport.     Read more »

Sign of the Day

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Shorpy

Photo: Shorpy

Ku-Klux-Klan Air

March 18, 1922. “Members of the Ku-Klux-Klan about to take off with literature which was scattered over the suburbs of the city.” The date coincides with a Klan parade through Washington’s Virginia suburbs.

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