Video of the day

Did you hear about the GoPro camera that went into the stratosphere and came down over the Grand Canyon two years ago and they just now found it?!  Cool.

It’s about portions

This finding is not new, but now there’s a nice new meta-analysis that really hits the key points.  If you want to eat less, you basically need to have less food in front of you:

Adults consistently consume more food when given larger portions, plates or silverware, a large review of studies has found.

The analysis, published in The Cochrane Library, included 72 randomized controlled trials, all conducted in high-income countries, and most in the United States.

Adults consistently selected and ate more when larger portions or larger tableware was presented, but children did not. The effect was apparent in both men and women, in people who were overweight and in those trying to diet.

The experiments were conducted on single days, but the effect was so great that the authors estimate that if similar reductions in portions, packages and tableware could be consistently achieved over time, average daily energy intake would decrease by between 8.5 percent and 13.5 percent in Britain, and even more in the United States.

Actually, one of the reasons Kim and I always use the medium rather than the full-size plates.  Definitely good information to use to your health advantage.

Photo of the day

This Telegraph gallery of images from the Zoological Society of London animal photography competition is stunning.  Here’s the winner:

ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2015

A photograph of a shaggy-haired grizzly bear silhouetted against a distant mountain range has been named as the overall winner in the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)’s fourth Animal Photography Prize. The image taken by Andy Skillen in Alaska also won the ‘Size Matters’ category.

Andy explains how he got the shot: “A female grizzly bear was patrolling the beaches of the Greater Lake Clark National Park area with Alaska’s mountains providing an iconic backdrop across the strait. It was late in the day, and the light was lending itself to a truly spectacular silhouette. I lay down in the water a little way along the beach and waited for her to come into shot. She dipped her head to search for fish and her back momentarily became part of the mountain range.”

Picture: Andy Skillen

Doubling down on Rubio

You can put Vox’s Zack Beauchamp in the Rubio camp, too:

The Trump-Rubio exchange, overshadowed by some of the flashier showdowns in the media post-mortems, was one of the most important moments of the night. It showed that Marco Rubio is the most viable Republican Trump-slayer: an articulate, confident conservative with foreign policy expertise that far outstrips the other major candidates. His poll numbers make him look like a dark horse, but last night’s debate revealed that Rubio has a real — and increasingly viable — shot at winning the nomination…

Republican elites need someone to dethrone the populists — someone who’s mainstream, polished, and has predictably conservative views. Early on, that was supposed to be Jeb Bush: he had the name, the connections, and the money.

But Bush’s poll numbers have been sinking in the past few months. Last night’s debate revealed why — Bush simply has no good answers to the big problems with his candidacy, particularly his relatively centrist stance on immigration and his family’s legacy…

Just look at how he responded to this question, from Hugh Hewitt, about why his main foreign policy advisers all have ties to George H.W. and W. Bush:…

That is, quite literally, the thing people don’t like about Jeb. He has an obvious and unavoidable link to a Republican past with some spectacular failures under its belt, most notably in Iraq. The Republican support for outsider candidates, is in part, fueled by disdain for people like Bush. Jeb is the worst possible candidate for dethroning someone like Donald Trump.

Besides Bush, there are really only two other plausible establishment candidates: Scott Walker and Rubio. Walker’s performance last night was utterly forgettable: this morning, I compiled a list of the most notable quotes from each candidate, and I had to really struggle to find something for Walker. This blandness speaks to Walker’s inability to build a real support base. His poll numbers (even in Iowa, a state that should be favorable to someone as conservative as Walker) are collapsing. Reports from inside Team Walker suggest a campaign in disarray…

Rubio has his problems (like Bush, his record on immigration is checkered). But he’s broadly acceptable to all of the party’s major wings, and already has a strong support base among the neoconservatives…

Rubio’s poll numbers, as they stand, aren’t all that impressive. And his similarly strong performance last debate didn’t help. But his thwacking of Trump last night showed why he might be the candidate best positioned, in the long run, to take advantage of the chaos that’s threatened to consume the GOP campaign.

And thanks to Jon for sending me a link to Pivit (from the creators of Intrade) where I bet strong (alas, not real money) on Rubio and shorted a whole bunch of others.

They knew it wasn’t a bomb (?)

Okay, this is an anonymous internet posting as far as I know, but it certainly rings true with what I’ve read:

I said: it’s sad they thought that kid had a bomb.
She said: they didn’t think he had a bomb.
I said: yes, they thought he made a bomb and even called the police.
She said: They just wanted to humiliate a little Muslim boy. They didn’t think he had a bomb.
I said: Don’t be a conspiracy theorist. They might be a little prejudiced, but I’m sure they thought he had a bomb.
She said: OK.
But they didn’t evacuate the school, like you do when there’s a bomb.
They didn’t call a bomb squad – like you do when there’s a bomb.
They didn’t get as far away from him as possible, like you do when there’s a bomb.
Then they put him and the clock in an office: not like you do when there’s a bomb
Then they waited with him for the police to arrive, and then they put the clock in the same car as the police.
Then they took pictures of it.

I said: Damn…..They never thought he had a bomb.

So, maybe I’m missing something, but from everything I read it really does sound like nobody was ever truly worried this was a bomb.  Anybody who thinks the fact that the kid was Ahmed Mohammed is just a coincidence is completely beyond hope in the Fox News cocoon.

Two post debates takes

Really liked Hans Noel’s:

The outsiders’ arguments boil down to a protest against “politics as usual.” Trump says he can do for government what he has done for business. Carson says politicians just “put their finger in the air” and do what is “politically expedient.” Fiorina says politicians are like fish. They’ve been in the water (politics as usual) so much that don’t even know it’s water.

But it is water. The other term for “politically expedient” is politically savvy. Accomplishing things in government requires negotiating with other politicians. It requires negotiating with world leaders. It requires politics. The other term for “finding out what way the wind blows” is representation. You can’t represent a country whose opinions you ignore. Political science research actually suggests that politicians do not pander to public opinion. They do tend to represent their districts, but they also lead and shape public opinion.

Since the outsiders don’t really know what it takes to do politics, they are a distraction from those who do. I thought the debate got really good about 45 minutes in, when the politicians on the stage starting talking about disagreements about Iran, about China, about religious freedom, about Planned Parenthood. That was also the part of the debate when the outsiders were mostly quiet. When Carson and especially Trump got back in front of the camera, the debate got silly again. (Fiorina, by contrast, did have some useful things to say, although not always factually accurate ones. She’s not alone there.)

Politics is water, and politicians are fish. Fiorina, Trump and Carson are not fish. Put them in government, they drown.

And Charles Pierce:

The first time I ever noticed Chris Hayes was because of a terrific piece he wrote for The Nationregarding something called The NAFTA Superhighway. This was a planned project that would be built up through the middle of the North America roughly from El Paso to, I don’t know, Winnipeg, I guess, so as to ease the transportation of cheap Mexican goods—and of undocumented immigrants!—around the continent. This, of course, would be done largely for the benefit of the hidden corporate masters of the New World Order. Hayes noticed that the issue had particular political salience, particularly in where-the-fck-else? Kansas. He also noticed that its political salience was not diminished by the fact that the NAFTA Superhighway did…not…exist...

The whole debate was contested on the NAFTA Superhighway and, on that track, Carly Fiorina was Jimmie Johnson in that No. 48 Chevrolet, Bubba.

She was steely-eyed in her prevarication. She was relentless in her determination to launch pure crapola into the stratosphere. She smiled rarely. She glowered effectively. The woman stares daggers better than anyone I’ve ever seen. And, on many occasions, she lied her ass off with a formidable brand of armored certitude. If you eliminate “telling the truth” from the assessment, Carly Fiorina was every bit the winner she is universally acclaimed to be this morning.

By far, her most effective falsehood was her thunderous denunciation of what she allegedly “saw” in those phony videos involving Planned Parenthood. Here it is, in its gloriously fact-free entirety…

There is a monumental question facing political journalists this morning. How do you cover a campaign in which 15 candidates are running on the basis of things that simply are not true, on the basis of things that simply do not exist? There are two choices: call bullshit for what it is, or just surrender to the unceasing barrage of truthless performance art. [emphasis mine]

If a cop sees someone on the sidewalk evincing a “curious detachment to reality,” he will run that person in for medical observation, but read on, and Klein correctly points out that Fiorina doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. On foreign policy, and on immigration, and on a host of other issues, she simply asserts that which is not true…

If the elite political press is going to treat fiction as fact as long as the fiction is delivered in a compelling, dramatic manner, then the country truly is lost. If Carly Fiorina is adjudged to be the winner of a debate simply because of how “crisply” she delivered lies about Planned Parenthood, or how “forcefully” she responded to a cartoon like Donald Trump, or how “sharply” she presented her nonsense about reining in Vladimir Putin with “aggressive military maneuvers” on his borders, then there is a problem in the political process that is metastasizing by the hour. Ronald Reagan was the index patient for that problem. They truly are his children now.

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