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Watch: Bill Nye and Bill Maher Slam ‘Feces-Throwers and Flat-Earthers’ who Still Deny Climate Change

February 22, 2015 in Blogs

By Arturo Garcia, Raw Story

“Science Guy” Bill Nye and Real Time host Bill Maher ripped climate change deniers on Friday.

“Science Guy” Bill Nye and Real Time host Bill Maher ripped climate change deniers on Friday, with Maher denouncing data showing that the phenomenon is “not a top issue” for either major political party.

“It’s not an issue for the feces-throwers and flat-earthers who you’re talking about who vote in the primary,” Maher said.

“You can’t shoot it down,” author Fran Lebowitz chimed in.

“Actually, there is a plan to pump sulfur dioxide into the air and reflect sunlight into the sky,” Nye told her. “Are you high? You can’t engineer a planet like that.”

Nye told the panel that there is “milennial anger” among younger generations concerning the lack of action taken by their elders on the issue.

“You guys heard about it in 1988 — James Hansen testified in front of Congress — and you haven’t done sh*t about it, what’s wrong with you people?’” Nye said, explaining the argument.

“I would say to them, stop taking pictures of your food and do something about it,” Lebowitz responded.

“I gotta disagree with you,” Nye told her. “That’s not the problem.”

Maher threw in with Lebowitz, telling younger advocates, “You have to care about it more than I do. I’ve already had my fun with the planet.”

Maher also criticized communities who seemed intent on “adapting” to pollution instead of changing their situations.

“I see people in Beijing and New Delhi, where they can’t breathe, they just wear masks,” Maher said. “If you can’t breathe the f*cking air, wouldn’t you want to make a fundamental change?”

Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.

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How Vitamins Are Making America Less Healthy

February 22, 2015 in Blogs

By Lindsay Abrams, Salon

Writer Catherine Price tells Salon about America's misguided “Vitamania.”

A, C, D, E, K and the eight Bs: There’s a lot that can go wrong when we don’t get sufficient amounts of these 13 chemicals in our diets. Things like pellagra, caused by a B3 deficiency and characterized by delusions, diarrhea and “scaly skin sores,” or beriberi, which occurs in the dearth of B1 and can affect either the nervous or cardiovascular system, depending on which type you’ve got.

But in North America, vitamin deficiencies are a rarity. The nutrition-related health problems we do have to worry about are a lot different: obesity comes to mind, as does diabetes and hypertension. Incredibly enough, argues science writer Catherine Price, it’s the fact that we’ve solved the former that’s contributing to the latter: food companies add synthetic vitamins to otherwise unhealthy fare, preventing us from developing scurvy but also, at the same time, from following truly nutritious diets. “We use vitamins as insurance policies against whatever else we might (or might not) be eating,” Price writes in “Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection,” “as if by atoning for our other nutritional sins, vitamins can save us from ourselves.”

“The irony of our vitamin obsession,” Price argues, is that ”by encouraging the idea that isolated dietary chemicals hold the key to good health, our vitamania is making us less healthy.”

Salon spoke with Price about this paradox, and about the best way to follow a healthy, vitamin-rich diet. (Hint: it doesn’t involve shopping at GNC.) Our conversation, which follows, has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What are vitamins and, more importantly, what are they not?

I’m glad you started with that question, because it’s something people get confused about all the time. Vitamins are technically only 13 dietary chemicals: A, C, D, E, K and then the eight B vitamins. There’s actually no concrete chemical definition of what a vitamin is; they’re basically these 13 chemicals that we get in small amounts from food to prevent specific deficiencies.

“Dietary supplements” is often also used synonymously with “vitamins,” but that’s a much larger category of basically any substance that can …read more


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George Washington, the Man Who Established the Republic

February 22, 2015 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

At the end of the American Revolution, King George III asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what George Washington would do next. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

“If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.”

Colloquially we now call the federal holiday on the third Monday in February “Presidents Day.” Legally, though, it’s still “Washington’s Birthday.” Which is appropriate, because without Washington we might not have had any other presidents.

George Washington was the man who established the American republic. He led the revolutionary army against the British Empire, he served as the first president, and most importantly he stepped down from power.

In an era of brilliant leaders, Washington was not the deepest thinker. He never wrote a book or even a long essay, unlike George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. But Washington made the ideas of the American founding real. He incarnated liberal and republican ideas in his own person, and he gave them effect through the Revolution, the Constitution, his successful presidency, and his departure from office.

Washington made the ideas of the American founding real.”

What’s so great about leaving office? Surely it matters more what a president doesin office. But think about other great military commanders and revolutionary leaders before and after Washington—Caesar, Cromwell, Napoleon, Lenin. They all seized the power they had won and held it until death or military defeat.

Washington held “republican” values — that is, he believed in a republic of free citizens, with a government based on consent and established to protect the rights of life, liberty, and property.

From his republican values Washington derived his abhorrence of kingship, even for himself. The writer Garry Wills called him “a virtuoso of resignations.” He gave up power not once but twice — at the end of the revolutionary war, when he resigned his military commission and returned to Mount Vernon, and again at the end of his second term as president, when he refused entreaties to seek a third term. In doing so, he set a standard for American presidents that lasted until the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose taste for power was stronger than the 150 years of precedent set by Washington.

Washington was not only a model for future presidents, too rarely followed, but he also left behind some advice. He laid out …read more

Source: OP-EDS