World Health Organization

Face of the day

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Obama wants to stop female genital mutilation.

After my Face of the day yesterday about the man who had his genitals allegedly removed by a hospital in a circumcision gone wrong, I can only cross my legs in horror at the thought of my special bits being removed. Ask yourself what kind of mind set, what kind of attitude towards women does Genital mutilation reveal about a religion or race? Women are chattels much as they were more than a hundred years ago in European culture. Thank fully we have evolved but we are still dealing with religions and cultures that have not evolved. They control women and they mutilate women.

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Kiwis doing good on a global scale

New Zealand ranks 5th in the world for doing good.

Melinda Gates tweets:

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Whoops, attempts at reducing climate footprint have massively increased air pollution in London

You may have heard of Anthropogenic Global Warming or that man is to blame for the warming of the planet. It’s a fallacy but many in governments around the world have bought the spin and so they pass laws to improve our carbon output.

Now we have Climate Scientist caused pollution…because in reducing the carbon footprint they have massively increased other pollutants.

Bloomberg reports:

London has a dirty secret.

Levels of the harmful air pollutant nitrogen dioxide at a city-center monitoring station are the highest in Europe. Concentrations are greater even than in Beijing, where expatriates have dubbed the city’s smog the “airpocalypse.”

It’s the law of unintended consequences at work. European Union efforts to fight climate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2. However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London, a thriving bike-hire program and growing public-transport network.   Read more »

No botulism, but no sunlight either

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The shitty air in Tiananmen Square and the LED screen showing the virtual sunrise

China likes to lecture on food safety but it is a bit rich when breathing in China needs a health warning.

They can’t even see the sunrise so are now broadcasting it on massive screens to citizens can remember what the sun looks like.

The Daily Mail reports:

The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.

The futuristic screens installed in the Chinese capital usually advertize tourist destinations, but as the season’s first wave of extremely dangerous smog hit – residents donned air masks and left their homes to watch the only place where the sun would hail over the horizon that morning.  Read more »

Otago Uni troughers now targeting Transfats (& Fonterra)

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Whenever there’s a media report calling for a ban on something, it’s always worth having a little look at who is behind the call.

The NBR on Friday ran an article behind the paywall “Should NZ follow the US in banning trans fats?”. Their reporter must have been looking at other media for stories, as earlier in the month Stuff ran an article with the alarming header “US bans trans fats”.

As usual for the academics at University of Otago a ban is called for. This time it’s from Professor Robin Gauld, who says “there is a strong argument for intervention in NZ” and “NZ should consider following the US” in banning trans fats.  Read more »

Obesity caused by Global Warming

Is there anything that isn’t caused by global warming?

Did you know that obesity isn’t caused by stuffing food in alarming quantities into your gob?

Obesity is caused by global warming…or perhaps obesity is causing global warming…oh it is so confusing.

Obesity and climate change are two of the most pressing modern challenges.1 On the surface, there appears to be no connection between them, beyond their coexistence as major threats to global health and sustainability.

However, recent research suggests a causal bidirectional link between obesity and climate change. Mounting evidence suggests that “current food production, transport, land use and urban design negatively impact both climate change and obesity outcomes.” A recent article by Webb and Egger explores this connection.

More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.4 billion adults worldwide were overweight in 2008. Over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese. Overweight and obesity have nearly doubled since 1980 and have become the fifth largest cause of global mortality.  Read more »

Trougher of the Year?

Troughers are pretty much the same; they’re all after one thing – bludging more money from the taxpayer.

Trougher of the Year nominee Boyd Swinburn

Trougher of the Year nominee Boyd Swinburn

We’ve seen troughers like the very dodgy Shane Kawenata Bradbrook (who is still sucking on the public tit). But over the last year or so, a new breed of troughers have started to take the lead.

Yes, they’ve been on the public tit for years as well, but their focus has changed. No longer is tobacco the flavour of the month. No that was so last year. Now the target is Big Food.

Egged-on by the WHO, Tony Ryall can now expect to see troughers being paid by his Ministry of Health attend grand junkets all over the world.

One such trougher, and a lead contender for Trougher of the Year is Boyd Swinburn, Professor of Population Nutrition & Global Health at the University of Auckland. After years of sucking at the tobacco control tit, he moved onto the new big momma of health handouts – obesity.

However, to be eligible for WO Trougher of the Year Award, troughers really have to demonstrate extreme troughing abilities. And while it’s not quite the end of the year, Professor Boyd Swinburn is in a class of his own when it comes to leading the way.

His nomination comes in the form of a extravagant junket to the Bellagio Obesity Conference 2013.  Read more »

While China points the finger

China has been pointing the finger at New Zealand and criticising our 100% Pure branding. Trying to say New Zealand is 100% “pure festering sore”. The left wing of course has jumped onboard with this because running down the country is preferable to them.

But while China uses this scandal as a negotiating ploy to extract substantial discounts for new orders they really should be getting their own house in order before shamelessly pointing the finger at us.

The New York times in an article titled “Life in a Toxic Country” they examine and expose the startling hypocrisy of the Chinese government.

I RECENTLY found myself hauling a bag filled with 12 boxes of milk powder and a cardboard container with two sets of air filters through San Francisco International Airport. I was heading to my home in Beijing at the end of a work trip, bringing back what have become two of the most sought-after items among parents here, and which were desperately needed in my own household.

China is the world’s second largest economy, but the enormous costs of its growth are becoming apparent. Residents of its boom cities and a growing number of rural regions question the safety of the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. It is as if they were living in the Chinese equivalent of the Chernobyl or Fukushima nuclear disaster areas.

Puts a little bit of botox in some milk powder in perspective doesn’t it.

Before this assignment, I spent three and a half years reporting in Iraq, where foreign correspondents talked endlessly of the variety of ways in which one could die — car bombs, firefights, being abducted and then beheaded. I survived those threats, only now to find myself wondering: Is China doing irreparable harm to me and my family?   Read more »

Greens and nuclear power

ᔥ The Telegraph

Tom Chivers attempts and fails to understand greens opposition to nuclear power:

I don’t like the idea of being “fundamentally opposed” to one of the most obvious available options for keeping our lights on. If it is shown to be safe and economic, then we should use it. It’s not a moral issue; it’s just one more tool, which we can use well or badly, safely or unsafely. Also: how can an energy technology be “elitist”? I literally don’t know what that means. Is it elitist because it’s hi-tech and third-world countries can’t easily make their own? Well, so are iPads, then, and Toyota Priuses. Or does the word “elitist” just mean “bad” in Green-land, in the same way that “natural” means “good”? [Edit: I can't believe I didn't pick up on "undemocratic" as well. Since when are power stations democratic institutions?]

As for it not being renewable: well, neither is sunlight or the wind, if you’re taking a sufficiently long view. Eventually the Sun will consume the last of its hydrogen and expand into a red giant, probably blasting the Earth to its constituent atoms as it does so. But that’s quite a long way off, so we don’t worry about that. In the shorter but still decently long term, even if no more uranium deposits are found (although they will be) and no more efficient ways of using it developed (although they will be), “total identified resources are sufficient for over 100 years of supply”, according to the IAEA. That ain’t nothing.

“Carbon neutral” is a bit of a red herring as well in this case. It’s true, nuclear power is not carbon neutral. But it’s much less carbon positive, if that makes sense, than fossil fuels. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as the saying goes: just because something isn’t the best possible, doesn’t mean you should ignore it if it’s an improvement over what is available. Furthermore, there is potential to improve the carbon emissions of nuclear; if it is made economically attractive to do so, companies will do it themselves. Targeted carbon taxes, or an auction of carbon credits, would work; certainly the latter did for industrial sulphur dioxide emissions.

Of course once rpesented with all that the Green types fall back on the “safety” issue. But that too is a fatuous argument:

It’s about safety. Nuclear power is unsafe. Look at Chernobyl, look at Three Mile Island, look at Fukushima. It’s dangerous, as the Greens say, and its cost, dangers and waste will be “passed on to future generations”.

But as Prof Paddy Regan says in our paper today, that’s false. Chernobyl killed about 50 people (28 people in the immediate weeks after; an estimated 19, according to the WHO, died of radiation-induced cancers in the following 20 years). Three Mile Island killed, and indeed harmed, precisely nobody. And Fukushima was the most ridiculous of all: as a vast earthquake and tsunami killed 15,000 people, the world’s attention was focused on a meltdown in a 40-year-old reactor which, again, killed no one at all.

How many have died from other energy sources?

Meanwhile, in the last 40 years, tens of thousands of people have been killed by failures at hydroelectric dams; hundreds more have died in coal mines, and of course thousands every year in the US alone from respiratory problems caused by fossil fuels. But the fear of “radiation”, evident in the nonsense scares about “electrosmog”, trump the very real dangers of other energy sources.

Right so how about we get ourselves some nuclear plants and have cheap abundant energy, please.