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British director Nick Bennett ‘s latest film is a portrait of Wales-based studio potters James and Tilla Waters, at work in their Carmarthenshire studio.

Over 40% of American adults are obese. Nearly 1 in 10 are morbidly obese.

More than 4 in 10 Americans are now obese.

Key findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study »

  • In 2017–2018, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults was 42.4%, and there were no significant differences between men and women among all adults or by age group.
  • The age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity in adults was 9.2% and was higher in women than in men.
  • Among adults, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity was highest in non-Hispanic black adults compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
  • The prevalence of severe obesity was highest among adults aged 40–59 compared with other age groups.
  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity increased among adults.

This research corresponds to earlier studies that suggest half of adult Americans will be obese within 10 years.

More » Associated Press

New research associates the consumption of dairy milk with a much greater risk of developing breast cancer

Evidence suggest that consistently drinking as little as a quarter of a cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 percent.

Drinking one cup per days was associated with a 50 percent increase.

Drinking two to three cups of milk per day increases the risk 70 to 80%.

Science Daily »

Current U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend three cups of milk per day. “Evidence from this study suggests that people should view that recommendation with caution,” Fraser said.

Dietary intakes of nearly 53,000 North American women were evaluated for the study, all of whom were initially free of cancer and were followed for nearly eight years. Dietary intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), also repeated 24 hour recalls, and a baseline questionnaire had questions about demographics, family history of breast cancer, physical activity, alcohol consumption, hormonal and other medication use, breast cancer screening, and reproductive and gynecological history.

By the end of the study period, there were 1,057 new breast cancer cases during follow-up. No clear associations were found between soy products and breast cancer, independent of dairy. But, when compared to low or no milk consumption, higher intakes of dairy calories and dairy milk were associated with greater risk of breast cancer, independent of soy intake. Fraser noted that the results had minimal variation when comparing intake of full fat versus reduced or nonfat milks; there were no important associations noted with cheese and yogurt.

“However,” he said, “dairy foods, especially milk, were associated with increased risk, and the data predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk. This raises the possibility that dairy-alternate milks may be an optimal choice.”

Canada’s Food Guide was updated in January for the first time in more than a decade. Noticeably, there was a de-emphasis on dairy consumption and the suggestion Canadians should instead consume more water.

More » News Medical, Daily Mail

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

Patrick Greenfield and Jonathan Watts, The Guardian »

The JP Morgan report on the economic risks of human-caused global heating said climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

The study implicitly condemns the US bank’s own investment strategy and highlights growing concerns among major Wall Street institutions about the financial and reputational risks of continued funding of carbon-intensive industries, such as oil and gas.

JP Morgan has provided $75bn (£61bn) in financial services to the companies most aggressively expanding in sectors such as fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration since the Paris agreement, according to analysis compiled for the Guardian last year.

Johnny Ball demonstrates unique Russian and Egyptian Multiplication

G20 sounds first ever alarm over global heating and growing economic concerns over the climate emergency, despite Trump’s objections

Richard Partington, The Guardian »

The G20 group of the world’s wealthiest nations have agreed for the first time to collectively sound the alarm over the threat to the financial system posed by the climate emergency.

Overcoming objections from Donald Trump’s US administration, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Saudi Arabia over the weekend agreed to issue their first ever communique with references to climate change, according to reports from Reuters.

Read the whole article to get a better picture of the Trump’s Administration’s obstruction.

More » NY Times (paywall)

After 115 years and billions of hours of flight, no one can fully explain why planes stay in the air

To be clear »

… engineers know how to design planes that will stay aloft. But equations don’t explain why aerodynamic lift occurs.

Interesting read in Scientific American.

Study finds a quarter of all tweets denying the existence of the climate crisis are produced by bots

Oliver Milman, The Guardian »

The stunning levels of Twitter bot activity on topics related to global heating and the climate crisis is distorting the online discourse to include far more climate science denialism than it would otherwise.

An analysis of millions of tweets from around the period when Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement found that bots tended to applaud the president for his actions and spread misinformation about the science.

The study of Twitter bots and climate was undertaken by Brown University and has yet to be published. Bots are a type of software that can be directed to autonomously tweet, retweet, like or direct message on Twitter, under the guise of a human-fronted account.

More » BBC

Mediterranean diet increases good gut bacteria which is linked to healthy living

Half the participants were asked to eat more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, olive oil, and fish – and less red meat and dairy.

Paul O’Toole, University College Cork

Since our everyday diets have such a big affect on the gut microbiome, our team was curious to see if it can be used to promote healthy ageing. We looked at a total of 612 people aged 65-79, from the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. We asked half of them to change their normal diet to a Mediterranean diet for a full year. This involved eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, olive oil and fish, and eating less red meat, dairy products and saturated fats. The other half of participants stuck to their usual diet.

We initially found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet had better cognitive function and memory, less inflammation, and better bone strength. However, what we really wanted to know was whether or not the microbiome was involved in these changes.

[…]

Many of the participants were also pre-frail (meaning their bone strength and density would start decreasing) at the beginning of the study. We found the group who followed their regular diet became frailer over the course of the one-year study. However, those that followed the Mediterranean diet were less frail.

The link between frailty, inflammation, and cognitive function, to changes in the microbiome was stronger than the link between these measures and dietary changes. This suggests that the diet alone wasn’t enough to improve these three markers. Rather, the microbiome had to change too – and the diet caused these changes to the microbiome.

[…]

Future studies will need to focus on what key ingredients in a Mediterranean diet were responsible for these positive microbiome changes. But in the meantime, it’s clear that the more you can stick to a Mediterranean diet, the higher your levels of good bacteria linked to healthy ageing will be.

Paul O’Toole, Professor of Microbial Genomics, School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork

This excerpt is from an article published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Solar energy has become so accessible that new farms are being built in the most unexpected places – like the Arctic

Jody Ellis, BBC »

Sited a few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, the Willow farm gets less than six hours of daylight during the winter months. In January, the Alaskan solar company Renewable IPP switched this 10-acre farm on, making it the largest in the state. Its output is expected to be 1.35 megawatt hours per year – enough to provide power for about 120 average homes year-round. The farm is made up of 11 rows of panels, nine 133 kW rows and two smaller 70kW rows that were the farm’s pilot project.

The pace of climate change in the Arctic and its surroundings is much greater than other parts of the world, leading to an urgent need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and expand renewable energy options. Renewable’s four founding business partners met while working in Alaska’s oil industry. The four shared a mutual interest in renewable energy, with some of them having experimented with DIY solar projects at home. After generating power for their own homes, they wanted to find a way to expand solar within the state.

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