Daily Archives: May 4, 2014

Could have been Berkeley but wasn’t, this time


The English have always been keen on racial diversity

The English have always been keen on celebrating racial diversity

English progressive school orders students to line up by skin color.

Children were told to line up according to their skin colour as part of a primary school lesson – with one boy later picked on because he was said to be the ‘blackest’.

Teachers at the school in South-East London told a class of around 30 children to ‘organise themselves from the darkest to the lightest’. The year six children are aged between ten and 11 and school bosses said the exercise which took place last Wednesday helped them learn about ethnic diversity.

Oasis Community Learning defended the lesson, saying it was designed to prepare children for secondary school by encouraging them to talk about ‘ethnic diversity’.

A spokesman said: ‘Inclusion is our raison d’etre and we are very committed to equality. In this instance, it was about celebrated differences and saying it is OK to talk about them in a positive way but recognising we are all the same underneath.

The school’s website states that it ‘aspires to treat everyone inclusively and recognises the importance of a holistic approach  to education’.

Its ‘vision and values statement’ says: ‘At Ryelands we aim for all our children to achieve their best in a safe and stimulating environment.

‘The Ryelands learning community also aims to develop and encourage mutual respect, self confidence, co-operation and self-motivation.

‘We encourage our children to be enthusiastic and independent learners who engage in the world around them with enquiring minds and compassionate hearts.’

As well as that, the school says that it aims to ‘foster respect, tolerance and love for others, regardless of race, gender, religion or difference, within a framework of equality of opportunity and fairness’.

Parents didn’t share the school’s teaching method; in fact, they were displeased, but the school is holding firm:

‘We fully support the teaching assistants that were involved but of course we are always willing to listen to feedback about how we do things in the future.’



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Show me the way to go home


Well I had a little drink about an hour ago ...

Well I had a little drink about an hour ago …

Pulled over for striking a police car, motorist hands officer a beer instead of his license.


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Modern science


Breakfast of (long-lived) champions

Breakfast of (long-lived) champions

While the idea that saturated fats are actually good for you is not news, this weekend’s WSJ has an interesting article on how bad science becomes “settled science:” via a gullible media, ambitious scientists and profiteers.

Fat and butter are good for you.

“Saturated fat does not cause heart disease”—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. ….

The new study’s conclusion shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias.

…. Too much institutional energy and research money had already been spent trying to prove Dr. Keys’s hypothesis. A bias in its favor had grown so strong that the idea just started to seem like common sense. As Harvard nutrition professor Mark Hegsted said in 1977, after successfully persuading the U.S. Senate to recommend Dr. Keys’s diet for the entire nation, the question wasn’t whether Americans should change their diets, butwhy not? Important benefits could be expected, he argued. And the risks? “None can be identified,” he said. In fact, even back then, other scientists were warning about the diet’s potential unintended consequences. Today, we are dealing with the reality that these have come to pass.

One consequence is that in cutting back on fats, we are now eating a lot more carbohydrates—at least 25% more since the early 1970s. Consumption of saturated fat, meanwhile, has dropped by 11%, according to the best available government data. Translation: Instead of meat, eggs and cheese, we’re eating more pasta, grains, fruit and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Even seemingly healthy low-fat foods, such as yogurt, are stealth carb-delivery systems, since removing the fat often requires the addition of fillers to make up for lost texture—and these are usually carbohydrate-based.

The problem is that carbohydrates break down into glucose, which causes the body to release insulin—a hormone that is fantastically efficient at storing fat. ….

…. Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon, followed by fish. The reality is that fat doesn’t make you fat or diabetic. Scientific investigations going back to the 1950s suggest that actually, carbs do.

The second big unintended consequence of our shift away from animal fats is that we’re now consuming more vegetable oils. …. [which] got a boost from the American Heart Association—which Procter & Gamble, the maker of Crisco oil, coincidentally helped launch as a national organization. In 1948, P&G made the AHA the beneficiary of the popular “Walking Man” radio contest, which the company sponsored. The show raised $1.7 million for the group and transformed it (according to the AHA’s official history) from a small, underfunded professional society into the powerhouse that it remains today.

After the AHA advised the public to eat less saturated fat and switch to vegetable oils for a “healthy heart” in 1961, Americans changed their diets. Now these oils represent 7% to 8% of all calories in our diet, up from nearly zero in 1900, the biggest increase in consumption of any type of food over the past century.


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