Bill Gates was in Mozambique recently, giving another $168 million to HIV/AIDS and malaria projects in Africa. Gates has given more than either the US or the EU to malaria projects – and according to WHO, malaria is the biggest killer of children in Africa. The charitable foundation started by him and his wife Melinda has now given more than $3.5 billion to health charities since its foundation in 2000.
Frankly, I find it unbelievable that one man is doing more to combat malaria than the EU and US. It’s sick.
Cory over at Boing Boing posts something on how UK health spreads FUD on Atkins. He says “The British government is busting out FUD over the Atkins diet, telling people it will make them fat and sick and that it’s unsustainable. Of course, this is true, for people for whom it doesn’t work. For people for whom it does work, it’s a big, fat lie. And for some reason, opponents of low-carb diets can’t distinguish between those two sentences.” For “some reason” I think Cory needs to either take an elementary logic class, or look at those last two sentences again, because the semantic content of it is “Atkins either works or does not work”, which, given the hardcore nature of the diet doesn’t make sense.
Although human physiology does vary from individual to individual, it doesn’t vary enough to cut out a complete food group and not have pretty identical long-term effects. And it’s that “long-term” that’s the key. Notably, mainstream Atkins doesn’t mean the complete end of consumption of carbohydrates, because that would have ridiculously bad effects on your health. What Atkins does is simply use a fasting trick: cut out carbs, and it fools your body into burning fat faster. That doesn’t mean carbs are bad. It doesn’t mean carbs make you fat, which is the ridiculous and simplistic idea of Atkins that’s unfortunately spreading.
I believe Cory has done Atkins, and lost lots of weight, which perhaps explains the element of zealotry in what he wrote on Boing Boing. It would have been far more honest had he lead with a “I’ve done Atkins, and it worked for me”. In fact, if you read the advice from the Food Standards Agency, it basically says that carb-zero diets are unsustainable long-term, and if you carry on with them for a long time the scientific evidence suggests it’s bad for you. Period. Hardly “a big fat lie” – unless Cory has turned into a dietician with 20 years of experience all of a sudden.
What’s notable, too, about Atkins is that the company responsible is already couching its phrases carefully: in an Observer story, it claims that “consumption of large amounts of carbohydrates with a high-glycemic index, such as white bread, white rice or white potatoes, which increased the risk of coronary heart disease” (my emphasis). That’s very different from “carbs are bad” – it basically reiterates the sensible message that too much process, low-fibre carbs are bad, something that’s been a staple of nutritional advice for many years.
My take on Atkins is simple. As a short-term “lose-weight-fast” diet, it works and as long as you follow it to the letter it’s reasonable. The majority of the weight loss probably actually comes from simply watching what you eat, as you cut out all the crap snacks, high-sugar junk and pizza that’s the staple of too many people’s diets. It’s not a sustainable long-term diet, as free-reign on saturated fats is going to kill you most people in the West, thanks to the sheer amount of them that are hidden in foods.
The move towards a non-military controlled positioning system gather pace, as China joins EU’s satellite network. The American’s don’t like the idea, so that automatically means the French do. The Germans and Brits get lots of jobs, so they like it. And the rest of Europe hopes for little tidbits of cash from what will probably be one of the largest industrial projects of the next few years.
Neil MacIntosh, the poor fellow, owned an early Star-Tac and suffered. Yes, the dirty little secret of the ST was that it sucked. Or at least, the interface sucked and it would cut out a fair amount. But it looked damn good and everyone wanted one. It’s the only American phone ever to actually look like anything other than a brick. What a shame, then, that every other Motorola phone since has looked like a breeze block, and inherited all the “issues” that bedeviled the early ST’s software. Not entirely fair, but you get the idea.
How can a company that created the Star-Tac, one of the classic early mobile phone designs and for a while the hottest geek product in the world, go so wrong since then? Christopher Kenton in BusinessWeek Online rants about the awfulness of his Motorola phone – should be required reading for any Motorola executives.
According to Creative Commons, new record label
Magnatune “is completely rethinking old music industry business models. They offer music from a wide range of genres that you can download, stream, and listen to. And, like computer shareware, you buy stuff you like only after trying it out first. The label splits profits with artists 50-50 and even offers a sliding scale for purchases through Paypal.”
It’s not quite “The bands own everything. The record company owns nothing. Everyone has the freedom to fuck off” though, is it?
Salling Clicker is brilliant, but it’s not the only option for controlling your Mac from a Bluetooth-equipped phone. Also worth having a look at is Romeo, which has the advantage of being open source.
Slava at Unsanity points out a little factoid delved from the internals of iChat: the existence of an encryption module, at least internal to Apple. Hopefully, this is something that Apple will add to the product for the rest of us in the future. As more and more people use IM, it’s likely to be more and more of an issue.
An utter non-story from News.com about challengers to PDF. In fact, all the challengers are is Autodesk defending its turf a little with some silly adverts, and Jakob Nielsen claiming – quite rightly – that PDF can be a pain to use online. [via CNET News.com]
John Gruber posts an entertaining piece on Why 2004 won’t be like 1984., riffing on the theme of why Apple isn’t like other companies. However, in the process he gets a few things muddled or just plain wrong. For example, he claims that “in reality, [Apple and IBM] weren’t competing much at all,” because of the differences between the Mac and the IBM PC. But this ignores the fact that in the business market, particularly small businesses, IBM was eating Apple’s lunch: Instead of buying Apple II’s, small businesses were buying IBM PCs and Apple’s market share was tanking as a result.
John’s also wrong about OS/2, which he claims Microsoft “pretended to support… while secretly planning all along to abandon.” If you read the excellent book on the origins of Windows NT, Showstopper, you’ll find that this simply wasn’t true: Gates was very committed to OS/2 early on. To quote the book: “at the outset, Gates had been so bullish about OS/2 that he vowed it would supplant DOS in less than three years,” and even when it proved a disaster “Gates did not want a rupture with IBM.” However, unlike IBM, he recognised OS/2 for what it was – a waste of effort – and made sure that there was an alternative, Microsoft-owned product in the pipeline. Even then it was Paul Maritz who told Gates and Ballmer than “we either have to choose the Windows horse, or the OS/2 horse” as late as 1990.