Fwd: Food

'Based on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recent recommendations, this Viewpoint urges the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services to remove limits on total fat consumption in their 2015 Dietary Guideline to promote consumption of healthful fat.'




Fwd: budget

'What encourages the deception is the glacial speed of change. Over long stretches, government is being remade, but in any one year, the shift is tiny and virtually invisible. Look at what has happened since 1990 - and what lies ahead.

In 1990, federal spending equaled about 21% of gross domestic product. Social Security and major health programs (mainly Medicare and Medicaid) represented a little less than one-third of all spending.

The rest was defense, domestic "discretionary" programs (homeland security, environment regulation, law enforcement and the like) and non-elderly "entitlements" (unemployment insurance, welfare).

In 2015, the federal government is still spending 21% of GDP, but now Social Security and major health programs consume about half the budget, according to the CBO report. Most health spending goes to the elderly.

As the CBO makes clear, an aging population and high health costs will perpetuate this trend for years. Under current law, Social Security and health programs will account for two-thirds of today's budget levels (measured by GDP) by 2040, estimates the CBO. What's left for the rest? Not much.

The remaining amounts are "the lowest ... relative to the size of the economy since the 1930s," says the CBO. Either the rest of government will shrink dramatically - or Congress will expand government spending sharply. That, of course, would require higher taxes or bigger deficits.

But budget deficits are not the problem. They are simply the consequences of the problem, which is that the combination of an aging society and expensive health care threatens many vital government functions.'


Fwd: Mars

'NASA has already begun trying to figure out where its first Mars astronauts should touch down, about two decades before the pioneers are scheduled to launch toward the Red Planet.

Trace looks at the top theories for how Mars could be terraformed. Just don't expect for there to be a nice new red planet to move to before the next Super Bowl.

The space agency will hold a workshop in Houston this October to kick off serious discussions about possible landing sites for NASA's first manned Mars mission, which the agency aims to launch by the mid- to late 2030s.

At the four-day meeting, researchers will propose roughly 62-mile-wide (100 kilometers) "exploration zones" that they believe would be scientifically interesting and possess enough resources, such as subsurface water ice, to support human explorers.'



Fwd: Cancer

'Anti-cancer strategies generally involve killing off tumor cells. However, cancer cells may instead be coaxed to turn back into normal tissue simply by reactivating a single gene, according to a study published June 18th in the journal Cell. Researchers found that restoring normal levels of a human colorectal cancer gene in mice stopped tumor growth and re-established normal intestinal function within only 4 days. Remarkably, tumors were eliminated within 2 weeks, and signs of cancer were prevented months later. The findings provide proof of principle that restoring the function of a single tumor suppressor gene can cause tumor regression and suggest future avenues for developing effective cancer treatments.


Fwd: Iran

'For years, the United States and other world powers have demanded that Iran come clean about its past nuclear weapons research. But with a deadline for a landmark deal rapidly approaching, President Barack Obama's administration is now saying such an accounting of prior military activity would be redundant.. It has the ability to devise a stringent U.N. monitoring system capable of preventing it from cheating down the road…

The U.S. position reflects a calculation that Iran's leaders, including the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will never publicly admit they have lied about their secret efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. That may be true, but the shift has already fueled criticism from some nonproliferation experts, who argue that the United States is yielding on a critical point of principle that accommodates Iranian intransigence and weakens the International Atomic Energy Agency. The shift also places the United States at odds with a key negotiating partner, France, which has argued recently that gaining a clear understanding of Iran's secret efforts to design a nuclear warhead is vital for a deal.




'A new low-power, high-speed memory technology on the horizon could replace solid-state drives, hard drives and DRAM in PCs, and bring higher levels of storage capacity to mobile devices and wearables.

The new memory from Nantero, called NRAM (nonvolatile RAM), is based on carbon nanotubes. The memory is hundreds of times faster than flash storage used in mobile devices and SSDs, claimed Greg Schmergel, CEO of the company.

Carbon nanotubes are cylinders made out of carbon atoms, with a diameter of one to two nanometers. The nanotubes are known to be stronger than steel, and better conductors of electricity than other known materials used in chips, making the technology an excellent candidate for storage and memory.

Nantero's NRAM operates at the speed of DRAM and is nonvolatile, meaning it can store data. The small size of carbon nanotubes allows more data to be crammed into tighter spaces, and the storage chips will consume significantly less power than flash storage and DRAM. That could bring more storage and longer battery life to laptops and mobile devices…

Nantero, which was formed in 2001, has spent 14 years refining carbon nanotubes, which has been researched for decades by universities, the U.S. government and companies like IBM and Intel. Many top chip and device makers have shown interest in NRAM, which is now ready for manufacturing, Schmergel said…

Nantero won't make the NRAM, but license the technology to device makers and manufacturers. The first NRAM chips will appear as DRAM-compatible modules that can be plugged directly into memory slots on motherboards.

"We are designing chips that are DDR3 and DDR4 compatible, you just put in carbon-nanotube memory," Schmergel said.

Devices makers will be able to put carbon-nanotube storage on top of NAND flash circuitry so it fits in mobile devices and PCs. The technology will be compatible with storage, memory systems and protocols that exist today, Schmergel said.

The NRAM chips should arrive in the next few years, Schmergel said, adding that chip and device makers are designing the memory into new products. '



Fwd: INF

'The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty found its way to the headlines last week. The U.S. State Department issued a report stating that Russia continues to be in violation of the treaty, and an article on possible U.S. military responses sparked angst in Moscow. 

Until fairly recently, the INF treaty had for a long time been of interest only to arms control junkies. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty back in December 1987. It banned all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. It entered into force in June 1988. Three years later, the two countries had destroyed some 2,600 missiles—the first time ever that an entire class of nuclear arms had been eliminated…

U.S. officials have said that, if Moscow does not correct the problem and come back into compliance with the INF Treaty, they will ensure that Russia gains no significant military advantage from the violation. A range of options are being considered, some which would be consistent with the treaty and others which would require withdrawal. The options include defensive measures to defeat the Russian GLCM as well as "counterforce" capabilities that would presumably allow the cruise missiles to be attacked before launch. 

A June 4 Associated Press story noted that one counterforce option could entail deployment of new U.S. land-based missiles in Europe. That got noticed in Moscow. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow "placed much attention" on the report. Colonel General Victor Zavarzin, a member of the Russian federal assembly's defense committee, warned "if the Americans indeed deploy their ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe, in this case we will face the necessity of retaliating."

It comes as no surprise that the possibility of U.S. INF missiles in Europe provoked concern in Moscow. The Soviets really did not like the U.S. GLCMs and Pershing II ballistic missiles deployed in Europe in the 1980s, a key factor in getting Moscow to change its negotiating stance and ultimately accept a treaty banning all INF missiles. The thought that the Pentagon might dream up a Pershing III makes the Russian Ministry of Defense nervous—and hopefully reminds the Kremlin of why it saw value in the INF Treaty in the first place.  '




Fwd: USB-C

'It's only taken thirty years, but we'll soon have one plug that, on paper, does it all: power, video and all kinds of peripherals. Cue headlines about "one cable to rule them all". And it's reversible!

However, "soon" isn't "now". It's going to be a confusing and expensive journey before the promises are fulfilled.

The last piece in the jigsaw fell into place yesterday at Computex, and cemented the USB-C socket as the winner. Intel announced that the third generation of Thunderbolt will support USB-C plugs.

So only one kind of plug is needed to support power, video and audio, and high-throughput data peripherals such as disk drives.

But that doesn't mean one cable will support everything: there will be several different kinds of USB-C supporting different capabilities, ensuring confusion continues for some time to come.

The reason is obvious to the tech-savvy, but less so for the typical user who has wandered into PC World on a Saturday morning. The plugs may be the same, but the capabilities are defined by the gadgets at each end of it.

Since the expense is defined by the capabilities of the host controller, it all depends on how much the market-conscious manufacturer wanted to spend.

Most people who'll see a USB-C socket won't be getting Thunderbolt 3 performance, as the Thunderbolt hardware is a luxury-priced item that will continue to be in high-performance hardware, rather than the value mass-market.

So the industry is moving to "one plug", but retains lots of different standards. At least in the bad old days, you knew you couldn't plug your projector monitor into the modem port and expect it to work. It wouldn't fit.'



Fwd: Iran

'An Iranian artist was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for drawing a cartoon disparaging members of parliament…

Atena Farghadani, 28, had what Iran considers a trial in Tehran's Revolutionary Court on May 19 and learned on Monday of the verdict and sentence. She was charged with "insulting members of parliament through paintings" for drawing  the officials as animals, according to Amnesty International.'


Postal worker assaults:Attacks on U.S. Postal Service letter carriers on the rise