Whereas last week’s stew was thin and barely filling, this week’s is quite hearty. Although I had trouble finding groups of three articles to link with a theme, I had bunches of groupatwos with interesting subjects. So in this week’s stew you’ll find mini-themes on milk, money, connections, bones, security, plus some other random stuff for flavoring. Shall we begin?
- Milking It. This is a groupatwo having to deal with milk and diet. (1) The first deals with the diet aspects — much as we think we know the foods that make us fat and the foods that don’t, we keep learning things that turn that understanding on its ear. For the longest time we thought it was simply calories, and low-cal food was in. We saw that didn’t necessarily solve the problem. Next we looked at low-fat and low-carb, and getting rid of animal fat. Here’s a survey that confounds that: it appears that full-fat dairy products help you lose weight better than low-fat dairy products. (2) The second item deals with milk itself — particularly breast milk. It appears that the chemical composition of breast milk differs based on whether the child is a boy or a girl. This actually dovetails with a segment that was on a recent Quirks and Quarks that cows produce more milk for daughters than for sons. This emphasizes the notion that breast is best — and more importantly, your mom’s breast is best for you. Producing a one-size fits all formula just doesn’t work.
- Where The Money Is. This is a groupatwo that looks at where the money is. (1) The first item looks at Las Vegas casinos and where they make their money on table games. What’s interesting here is that they make a lot of money on table games — more than would be expected by just looking at the odds on the games. That’s because the odds are calculated on people playing the games in a perfect manner, and people rarely do. Translation: Not only does the house have an advantage, but unless you’re perfect, they have a greater advantage than you think. (2) The second item looks at the changing market for collectable American cars from the 50s and 60s. It appears that such cars are going down in value — boomers are less interested and millenials couldn’t care less. The translation here is not to depend on things you collect for your retirement nest egg (ask anyone who collected Beanie Babies). I’ve seen this with stamp collecting — once a popular hobby, you now don’t see it anywhere, and most collections aren’t worth all that much (I know mine isn’t, and there’s not much interest in my dad’s first day covers).
- Everything is Connected. This is a groupatwo dealing with connections. (1) The first item looks at the weird weather this year, and showing that it is all connected to the ridge of high pressure off the California coast, which has started changes in the jet stream that has created snow in the south, rain in Britain, and warmth in Sochi. (2) The second looks at the impact of all the chemicals we use, and how many we thought were safe may be leading to the growth in autism. Yup, it’s not vaccines at all; it is plastics and pesticides. Humans often get risk identification wrong, as this shows. So perhaps GMOs are safe?
- Great Bones. This last groupatwo looks at the underpinnings of some things here in LA. (1) The first item looks at a massive concrete pour here in Los Angeles — a continuous 20 hour pour with more than 2,000 truckloads of concrete, each of which must be delivered freshly made. This is all to build the foundation of the new Wilshire Grand, which will end up as the tallest building W of the Mississippi. Fascinating pour, especially when you look at the cooling issues. (2) The second item is a look at the Burbank Studios, and their history as the NBC Color City complex. I’ve actually been to the studios — I was there to see a taping of Flip Wilson, as well as the 2nd incarnation of Laugh-In. I’ve also been to CBS to see Cher filming. In any case, I love history like this.
- Security. I’ve grown more and more impressed with the work Brian Krebs does — and he’s the source for the last groupatwo. In the first article, Brian continues his in-depth study of the Target Breach — this time looking at how email was involved. What’s interesting here is how the metadata on innocuous files provided information that was later used on the attack. The second article is a bit more intriguing — it explores how some denial of service attacks are created by exploiting a flaw in the Network Time Protocol.
- Looking for Love. And a last singlet for flavoring. For Valentines Day, LA Metro introduced speed dating on the Red Line. So how did it go? Pretty good, according to the LA Times. I wonder what this says about our city?