Friday, August 2, 2013

Assorted Links: Fruit is Good, a Future Mini-Atlantis, and Police Geese

On this first Friday of August* I will share a few links to a semi-random assortment of pieces which don't strongly connect to any recent themes here but caught my attention and may provide some minor enlightenment for others as well.

1. Even though fruit is full of sugar, it is good for you. More specifically:
Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In a recent perspective piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, he cited observational studies that showed that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.

Whole fruits, he explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits. When you bite into an apple, for example, the fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits. But fiber is not the full story.
See the blog post in The New York Times here for more, including why the following holds true in terms of health benefits: fresh fruit > dried fruit > fruit juice. I have found that the last claim can easily rile some fruit-juice lovers.

2. Often those who had little to do with creating a problem are among those who are most affected by it:
Almost no one in America has heard of the Alaskan village of Kivalina. It clings to a narrow spit of sand on the edge of the Bering Sea, far too small to feature on maps of Alaska, never mind the United States.

Which is perhaps just as well, because within a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered - if at all - as the birthplace of America's first climate change refugees.
I'm not sure if the "forever" is a foregone conclusion. There could be another ice age in thousands of years, right? Whatever the case, see the article on BBC News Magazine here for more about the plight of the indigenous Inuit people who live in Kivalina.

3. If you have never had the chance to interact with a goose, I recommend visiting your local geese congregation point. Geese have a lot of character, including the desire to fight crime as appears to be the case in Xinjiang, China:
Law enforcement agents described the geese as a new “highlight of stability maintenance work” and said they had proved themselves “better than dogs” in tackling crime.

“Geese are very brave. They spread their wings and will attack any strangers entering [someone’s] home,” said Mr Zhang, the local police chief. The birds were like “a radar that does not need power”, he added.
See the article on The Telegraph here for more about the heroics of the police geese.

I had another piece to share in this post, but I now feel commenting on it deserves more thoughtful consideration than I now have time for. So I'll share it later. Plus, it's hard to top a gaggle of geese.

*This date holds no particular significance for me, but it seemed like enough of an excuse for semi-random linkage. Who knows, maybe it's the beginning of a tradition.

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