WHO and eating processed meat

Interesting press release from WHO that eating processed meat increases potential for colon cancer.

http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/

The quoted eating “50g of processed meat can increase your changes by 18%”, evening assuming that the studies reviewed do show causation not just a relationship, the vital bit of information is what is the new risk.

In Wikipedia there is a statement that based on late 2000 data from America around 4% of men and women born around then will experience some form of colon cancer.

Hence we have a risk of 0.04 x 1.18 = 0.047, near 5%, which does seem a lot of people, the vast majority would occur over 50 years of age, incidence and mortality, and we have not idea of the world wide factors.  

Causes would be multi-faceted, and the reference below, from the US shows a decline in most population areas but that Afro-American’s have a higher rate of noth incedence and resultant mortality. There are also other interesting demographic differences e.g. Alaska has a much higher rate.

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-028312.pdf

The press release from WHO does not give sifficient detail and will simply cause problems with interpretation.

Decline in participation in Mathematics

http://theconversation.com/why-it-matters-that-student-participation-in-maths-and-science-is-declining-47559

Mathematics and Science are the basic tools along with Philosophy that enable us to ask question such as, why is that happening, are there connections, what is…….

Of course we can ask these questions without using a scientific approach but probably such an approach would value certain factors more than they should be. For example, a belief that God will provide, and it is the will of God what happens are, to say the least, problematic.

One wonders the role of doubt in these non-scientific thought processes. Science values doubt, it seems non-science does not.

This non-valuing of doubt results in reactionary thinking, or conservationism in the face of change.

Open positive letter to Clive Palmer – Climate Change

Dear Clive,

Keith is a dear friend from Uni days, he is a paid up PUP member and he is concerned you get this right, too.
Please don’t discount Tim Flanery – he is an excellent communicator and I feel a positive conversation would help developing understanding and awareness…..Tim if I have made any inaccurate statements in what follows please correct me (us).
I am writing to you directly as I was both impressed and dismayed at certain things said to the ABC Insiders and in an interview with Tony Jones.
I am not involved in any political party or movement – I am however a concerned Australian, currently living in Vietnam and soon Istanbul.
And, before we start I am trying to help.
Your statement about 97% carbon in nature and 3% created by man, and the idea that carbon in nature can be reduced is simply impossible.
There is a fixed amount of carbon.
It is stored in various forms e.g. gas, fossils, underground coal gas and plenty more.
The carbon cycle is fundamental to why earth is livable.
Photosynthesis is main process by which the volume of carbon, CO2 is kept in balance not too much and not too little – plants (plankton in the sea being a significant part) recycle Co2 and output Oxygen that we breath – any threat to the oceans will be catastrophic.Along with the layes of atmosphere that filter light and heat rays, with the specific natural balance here we would all fry or freeze.
(a) The science is clear, irrefutable, CO2 lets in sun light but not the reflected heat rays coming from earth’s surface that in normal circumstance simple go back into space, if trapped we get increased heat.
(b) Increased heat is likely to cause increased cloud and water vapor, water vapor acts exactly in reverse, it reflects sunlight back into space but lets through (out)reflected heat from the surface of the earth -hence cooling can occur.
It is very complex in how things will play out, I can assure you the computer simulations are very, very complex pieces of mathematics, each model consistently shows dangerous patterns that we simply do not understand the likely outcomes off.
The 3% you refer to is the increase due to mankind burning fossil fuels.Man is not creating anything, we are simply converting carbon from one for to another, and upsetting the natural cycle, so there is build up, year on year.
Small amounts of CO2 over time are being added that the current natural carbon cycle can’t remove and store. NOTE: it is impossible simple DELETE or destroy carbon, it is simply converted into a different form and stored, and on very long time cycles.
This small amount is hence adding to and gradually increasing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere – and hence the risk of points (a) and (b) occurring is heightened, and also why the issue is referred to as climate change – we could get heating and/or cooling, it is likely however that (a) and (b) will not simple cancel each other out, but this could happen.
To the KEY issue – you cannot remove carbon, the amount is fixed. You can’t simply look at a forest, for example, and somehow remove and throw away carbon, this would be alchemy.
What one can do is to try and restrict the increase of CO2 into the atmosphere – there are many schemes – storing the gas underground, or finding alternative energy sources eg Solar power, and looking eating habits to reduce methane from cows!
And, what is missed in the debate is that CO2 is only one of many gases that we should be worried about.
Australia is a very highly skilled scientific country, what I suggest is getting behind the issue and prompting our science and turning this into industries that employees. The CSIRO is a fantastic institution, a world leader, and acts independent of but is dependent on  Govt funding. As are our fantastic Universities whose only way of thinking at the moment is to increase fees and further reduce the spread of the students able to go to University – intellect is equally distributed, women, men, rich, poor, ethnicity, none matter. The inequity of access to Australian higher education is appalling, notice nobody ever talks about the outputs i.e. the socio economic background distribution of graduates. Public education is and SHOULD be seen as an investment, a right and not one restricted to the rich.
Australia has not been good at turning our knowledge into high added value industries -it is far simpler to dig ore/coal/gas out of the ground and export it, and we have an ethical issue here in that we are directly fueling carbon release in other large population countries.
I strongly urge you to do what you suggest, get briefed, listen and above all understand. I am very worried if indeed you are treated with distain and not listen too or approached, maybe if I am proffer some advice – “ask, shut up, listen, think, then ask questions….you owe it to your party members to get it right and LEAD”
We are talking about a fundamental fact or set of facts, which if not understood invalidates comment, in that if the argument presented cannot be traced back to showing understanding, then it has to be discounted.
I urge you to understand and get behind Australian Science, help with the step of monetizing our knowledge to create industries of high value and employment. Many small companies, in a vibrant intelligent competitive yet cooperative environment is the way forward – none of this silly “you are a dick, not your are, ya f’wit” , lets move on, the current two party system and that ridiculous parlementray question time is anti intellectual, anti business and just a bloody national and international disgrace.
Also, your comment on the NBN is misguided too – at least in my view – Australia must have a highly efficient and fast data transmission infrastructure on which new industries can be built. I have run a very small business in the past educating teachers around the world how to teach computer science – the Internet and access to it via the world wide web has been simply breath taking in the speed of its development, think since around 1995 when the first browsers that were easy to use came about. Get behind Australian education and research and the creation of a backbone NBN.
What is then needed is competition from providers of services – this is were Telstra should not be allowed to operate, Telstra should simple deliver the access to the backbone, across ever part, no inequality.
Your comments about Aboriginal children was appreciated, it is an Australian disgrace!
Good luck and please get to grips with the issue and no more ill informed comment – I am equally amazed that the Insiders said nothing, it exposes their lack of expertise, and credibility rather they are simply interested in the gossipy side of politics and really have no qualifications to comment further.
Kind regards
Dr Andrew Meyenn

Humid visit downtown and what was in the paper

I find idiocy in most things, probably because I am one, an idiot at heart that is. During the past few weeks I have been hiding in doors following an exfoliating treatment on my face and arms, but mercifully this is now on the repair. Cathie is doing an inservice – on a weekend – hence I am dispatched to purchase trinkets for Cathie to give to Drew when she goes home in a few days, and also to drop off some stuff that needs polishing at her favorite Jeweler, and I thought great I can have a spot of brekkie and read of the Age rather than the online version.

At the minute Saigon is about 100% humidity – I just don’t travel well and  sprout like a tap. With instructions ringing in my ears, I took the boat and head to Bahasa – i am sure the toys are on floor two -, NO, the place is being renovated, so I traipse off to the other one, a mere kilometer away! Nothing there either, but at least it was open. I remember the alternative…try the Russian store….so I do and there are many trinkets (I can’t but think about Cook and Hawaii and how well trinkets went there on his last visit), anyway, I purchase some….result. I emerge and start walking off towards the Jeweler, and on route the massage girls take pity, normally they say….you want massage….., but this time some hilarious young lady says ….. you look like you need massage, we have shower too!….in reference to my sodden appearance.

I make it to the brekkie place and find a seat, next to a table with a Vietnamese lady typing at speed on a nice little computer, and answering rings on the ubiquitous iphone, her son then arrives, there is no verbal greeting, in fact no sounds at all due to headphone usage by both, he plonks down and within 5 minutes has slaughtered the inhabitants of planet Zork…on his iPad. In walks Dad, and American – but not the Silent type made famous by Grahame, possibly an ironic title! I think he is greeting what I image is his wife and son, but no, he is using voice recognition on his iPhone to chat (type version) to someone, this continues for some time – as far as I could tell, there was no communication to the wife or son. My small serving of an English arrives and I am distracted, but then out comes the huge MacBook Pro that fully displays his business spreadsheet – and he continues to chat verbally over chat with someone back in the States. As far as I could make out he was involved in selling packs of something that contained 2.5 gallons of an unspecified substance, but obviously a defoliant! By the time I left there had still been no communications!

I travel to the UK a bit and need to replace a light weight Rivers shirt and pants that I have worn….out! There is an advertisement that catches my eye in the paper….Slim fitting (clearly this is for me) with a wrinkle resistant (looking good) and stain repellent finish….must get some. And then there is an advertisement for foot wear…walking shoe only $109.99 each, seems odd, normally a pair is sold. And, then I notice Thermals – high performance, moisture management and breathability (no hyphen, I wonder if the Oxford has caught up with that) are trumpeted as the selling points, what on earth is the ad talking about, is it a computer, would it solve my sweat (oops perspiration) issue? I ask you.

Again there is an odd mix up over plural & singular…..each thermal is advertised as costing $49.99 each or on Sale as 3 for $69.98 EACH! At least you are close to a 69, Andrew don’t be indelicate.

Moving on, and on a serious note, I read an article about the refugee boat arrival issue and a reference to Gareth Evans (affectionately known as Biggles or Gareth, Gareth as he coveted the UN job) by Ken Berry from his book about the Cambodian peace process of the late 1980’s. Which is apt because many people forget it was the Vietnamese who got rid of Pol Pot. Ken posits that in general, and now I quote “pre-conditions for a successful operation [Peace keeping..and anything] include that the plan be conceptually sound and appropriately detailed, with clear and achievable goals, adequately resourced and the support of all the key players“, now how could you argue with that, the article mentioned this in reference to our Foreign Minister’s recent suggestion to Cambodia that they might like to take a few refugees off our hands – inference is obvious.

Funny world!