Tag Archives: health

If anything, Bitcoin is inflationary


Bitcoin fails as a form of “money” according to how economists look at money. This has lead many economists to conclude that Bitcoin will fail. What it really means is that economists need to change how they look at money.

The Internet is the history of disruptive innovation. The telephony system had evolved slowly for over a 100 years, then the Internet came along and changed everything. The old engineers, steeped in telcom lore, unwilling to challenge old assumptions, claimed that the Internet would never work. And, according to their principles, it doesn’t. For example, when I use Facetime with my brother who lives in Japan, there is a lot of “latency” or “lag” between when I say something and I see my brother react. That’s what the old telcom engineers warned us about: the “packet switching” nature of the Internet would cause unpleasant lag in telephone calls.

But did I mention my free video call, in high definition, from my iPhone in the United States, to his iPad in Japan? That this works at all, and so cheaply, is inconceivable according to old telcom principles. No matter how right the old telcom engineers were, they were still obsolete. Nobody cares about their old principles; the Internet is a whole new set of principles of free, world-wide, high-speed connectivity.


Old economists have the same problem as old telcom engineers. What economists say about Bitcoin is correct, after a fashion, but it’s obsolete.

For example, a major critique of Bitcoin is that there is a fixed supply (21 million coins), and thus can’t expand to accommodate demand. This causes the value of Bitcoin to rise (“deflation”). This in turn encourages hoarding (why spend the coin when it’ll buy twice as much tomorrow?). And this in turn causes the value to rise even further. This means nobody will be able to buy anything using Bitcoin because everyone else will be hoarding them.

That’s true for normal currencies, but not true for Bitcoin. The idea that hoarding money makes it unavailable only applies to physical money, because you can’t move it around and subdivide it. This doesn’t apply to electronic currency, because somewhere in the world you can always find somebody willing to part with a billionth of a coin so that you can use it to purchase something. Hoarding has no effect on the “supply” (sic) of money available for transactions.

Well, another reason hoarding is bad is because it causes volatility. As people hoard Bitcoin, a bubble forms, a sort of ponzi scheme driving up the value until the music stops, after which the price collapses. Such volatility makes it too impractical to use as money.

Again, volatility matters more for physical currency than electronic currency. Volatility is only a risk for the duration that you hold onto the currency. This matters, for example, if you need to save money to pay rent at the end of the month. But, in a fully liquid electronic system, such timing goes away. Instead of a monthly, weekly, or even daily wage, you could get paid once per second. The incoming pennies every second can then automatically be spent every second on rent, food, gasoline, and so on. Even in situations like Zimbabwe’s trillion-percent inflation, earning/spending electronic money on a 1-second timeframe means volatility doesn’t much matter.

Bitcoin’s timeframe is around 10-minutes for transaction, so volatility matters somewhat more. But here’s the thing: the amount payment processors charge for Bitcoin is less than what they charge for credit cards like American Express or Visa. The total risk associated with Bitcoin, including volatility, is still less than the total risk associated with other payment methods. And in any case, a recent study has shown that Bitcoin volatility has been steadily decreasing.

So we’ve proven that Bitcoin’s deflationary issues don’t matter, but here’s another thing: it’s not even deflationary.

The word “Bitcoin” can mean many things. It can refer to the coins (B⃦) themselves. It can refer to the “blockchain” (public ledger) that holds those coins. It can refer to the “bitcoind” software that most everyone uses to process the blockchain. It can refer to the “protocol” that the software implements. It can refer to the general algorithm that the protocol/software implements. It can refer to the general idea of “cryptocurrency without centralized control”.

If 21 million coins aren’t enough, somebody can simply fork the blockchain, starting a new one with another 21 million coins. Or, somebody can fork the software/protocol, creating a new currency with more than 21 million coins (and other useful properties, like shrinking the transaction window, or changing the proof-of-work algorithm). Or, somebody can come up with a wholly new cryptocurrancy vastly different than Bitcoin.

People have done all these things. There are a vast number of “Bitcoin” things running around.

For example, “Bitcoin mining” can now only be done by those who invested a lot of money in custom silicon chips (“ASICs”). It takes two years to create a new chip, so only enthusiasts who invested two years ago can profitably mine Bitcoins today. However, many forked Bitcoin variants use different mining incompatible with these chips. You can still mine these “alt-coins” (as they are called) using a desktop computer with a graphics card. I do this. I mine whichever alt-coin is more profitable at the moment, and then exchange them for true “Bitcoins” at the end of the day. Thus, I’m earning about 0.02 Bitcoin per day (about $10) through mining — but without directly mining Bitcoin. This demonstrates that more “coins” are being created than just the 21 million limit on Bitcoins.

Some of these alt-coins, namely Litecoin and Dogecoin, can be used to buy things online. For a payment processor, or online trading site, handling multiple types of coins is as easy as handling one. If Bitcoin is volatile and has a high risk premium, a buyer could easily switch to Litecoin, which might have a lower premium. If more people would use Litecoin, then that means fewer people would use Bitcoin, and that the value of Bitcoin would drop.

QED: Bitcoins are inflationary in the long run.

So it’s not about Bitcoin, but the entire ecosystem of alt-coins that needs to be evaluated for inflationary or deflationary tendencies. On the whole, the system is inherently inflationary (anybody can fork the system at any time), but it depends upon the willingness of payment processors and customers to use new kinds of coins.

We might find that it’s self-regulating as alt-coins are accepted or dropped from the system. New alt-coins might be created when the price of existing coins rises. Lesser alt-coins might stop being accepted when their price decreases. We might find a decade from now that the Bitcoin-ecosystem turns out to be more stable than national currencies.

What we see here is that old timers (the economists) are right on every principle, that a physical currency limited to 21 million coins would be inflationary, volatile, and unusable as money in the economy. But, they are ignoring how online currency changes those rules, and that Bitcoin isn’t a single currency, but an entire ecosystem. For economists to be right, they have to hold onto their immutable principles for old currencies and ignore all the innovation happening online.

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman opined back in 1998 that “by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s”. After being mocked for that, he gave this rebuttal:

“I don’t claim any special expertise in technology… The issues about Bitcoin, however, are not technological! Everyone agrees that it’s technically very sweet. But does it work as money? That’s a very different kind of question.” — Paul Krugman, from Business Insider

But he’s wrong. That Bitcoin is technology has everything to do with whether Bitcoin works as money. It’s like old time telcom engineers who claimed that while they didn’t understand computer networking, they didn’t have to, because it was long distance transmission of data that mattered, regardless whether it was computer data or voice data.

Consider my claim that the Bitcoin-ecosystem is inherently inflationary. Let’s take that to the logical extreme and assume that anybody who has Bitcoin gets rid of them as fast as they can, as they would any inflationary currency. They only acquire Bitcoin if they can immediately spend them. If that’s the case, and assuming that Bitcoin accounts for 10% of the U.S. underground economy, then the value of Bitcoin comes out to one penny, or 1¢, or $0.01. It’s simple math, taking the $2 trillion underground economy (IRS estimate) and taking into account the 10 minute transaction window enforced by the Bitcoin protocol.

I arrive at this 1¢ value by technology, now explain it with economics. I’m pretty sure squaring the two will discover something new about the properties of money, all monies, that economists hadn’t considered before, at least, been able to convincingly prove. I predict that in 20 years (these things take time), some economists are going to win Nobel Prizes for their theories on cryptocurrencies.

The technology of decentralized cryptocurrency is here to stay. It’ll be used by those dissatisfied with existing currencies (namely, the underground economy unhappy with the surveillance mandate placed on existing money). Instead of poo-pooing this technology claiming it won’t work, the successful economist is going to be one that analyzes it, gathers data, and explains why it does work.

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Attractive teen girl using a mobile phone while driving

Tech Tools for Safe and Confident Teen Drivers


It’s natural for parents to worry for their teens’ safety behind the wheel. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children ages 16-19. Topping the list is vehicular accidents.

Tech-savvy teens and parents have an advantage. There are numerous tools that they can use to make their driving experience less stressful and much safer. In every stage of driving, there is a resource to help teens become excellent drivers. These tech tools give teens the confidence they need while giving their parents peace of mind.

Driving-Tests.org

Passing the driving test is not the first step to getting on the road. The first step is preparation. Teens need help preparing for the test and for their first time out on the road. Driving-Test.org is a site that helps them get ready for their driving test. The company claims that it’s even better than the DMV handbook for preparing teens to take their driving test. Because they base their practice tests on the DMV manual, it really lives up to this claim. The site provides sample DMV driving practice tests that can be taken as many times as needed. They also have an app available called DMV Genius on the Apple store. The best part of all is that the site and the app are free.

SafeCell App

Most people know that texting and driving don’t mix. Texting contributes to a large portion of teen car accidents. The SafeCell app gives teens local knowledge of traffic laws and offers an incentive for teens to drive safely, and can be downloaded from the Apple store for $11.99. The app automatically reminds drivers of the local cellphone driving laws by using the GPS system in smartphones. Also, safe drivers are rewarded with gift cards from popular stores.

Faces of Distracted Driving

Many teens hold the false belief that an accident could never happen to them. Attentive driving can greatly reduce their chance of getting into an accident. The US Department of Transportation has posted a series of videos that gives teens and their parents different case studies of situations in which the driver was distracted. Some of the stories are true, while others are fictional representations, but they all drive home the point that distracted driving is dangerous.

Driver Feedback

Parents may observe that their teen is an attentive driver, but what about when their parents are not around? Do they still follow laws, obey the speed limit, and drive defensively? State Farm has created an invaluable tool for parents to see if their teen is a safe driver when no one is looking. Driver Feedback tracks the teen’s driving performance and alerts parents when and where unsafe driving occurs. There is also a tracking system that shows how the teen has improved over a period of time.

Billie BatesRetired Psychologist, Grandma, Water Aerobics Fanatic

how’s the health of your digital business?


How do you judge or measure the health of your digital business today?

Does it truly bring to life your brand, your customers perception of your brand; the sense of inclusion, loyalty and WOW factor? No matter what industry you are in, or who your customers are, in business, you need to be always thinking about your customers and their perception of you. Those first impressions certainly do last, (and I always like to go under the assumption of only one touch away from your competition) but what if their first impression is on their mobile device (well, it is the primary device for most people (probably your customers) now).

How does your brand experience live up to the anticipation now? Have you just won over a potential new customer as your site is responsive to their device, delivers the latest thinking in UX design & creative use of this smaller form factor, and not how you would prefer (or hope) them to view it. Remember those days of being told “for optimum experience please use…” and of course the Web1.0 fixed height/width and let’s not forget the style of the buttons or links that were designed for the click of a sharpened arrow from the comfort of a mouse, not the subtle touch from a finger tip.

Depending on who you speak to within your organization, from Marketing to IT to Operations or Creative — or whomever in your business, each will have their own take on what is successful and what is NOT with the digital health of the business.

From digital ad campaigns that lead nowhere due to the landing pages not being responsive or fluid, through to the site being slow and cumbersome to load or a site that is overloaded with content, links, buttons — in essence a “throw everything on the page” in a hope that something will stick or work for the customer.

brilliant basics: tetra pak packaging — then add some magic touches: make it look like a banana

The reality comes down to truly understanding your customers, (your prospective customers and let’s not forget your competitions customers) and their wants, needs, desires and experience that they are looking for — to understand this vital part of the puzzle will simply the rest of the process, but never forget that simple is sometimes best — get those brilliant basics right, then add those magic touches that epitomize your brand.

so, let’s begin

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LinkedIn Looks For The Next Nate Silver


Original URL: http://readwrite.com/2014/02/19/linkedin-publishing-platform-expansion#awesm=~owlqjgtbtU8qZU

Now 25,000 members can join the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates in publishing on the professional network.

February 19, 2014 Social

Call it Harvard Business Review meets Tumblr: LinkedIn is expanding its publishing efforts beyond essays from a few hundred hand-selected business leaders to original pieces from its broader membership.

LinkedIn is initially allowing 25,000 members to post pieces to the site. Unlike the work of its high-faluting Influencers program, which features the likes of Jack Welch and Sallie Krawcheck, LinkedIn expects their output to be more technical and practical. The site will display these posts to members’ contacts—not the broad public distribution that Influencers get.

The professional network, still known to many as a job-hunting site, has been pushing its media ambitions for some time. The goal of this new program, says executive editor Dan Roth, is to let members show off their skills and knowledge in a concrete form. Or as he put it, “You’re building your professional permanent record.”

A Farm Team For LinkedIn’s Content

While Influencers and the new member publishers differ in how far their content can spread, LinkedIn hopes to tie them together.

“If this thing works the way we believe it will, there should be some amazing voices that come out of it,” Roth told us.

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He cited the example of Nate Silver, the sports and politics analyst who recently jumped from the New York Times to ESPN: “The Nate Silver of LinkedIn, someone who’s writing amazing content for her particular field, and just starts getting more and more attention, we take that person and she becomes an Influencer and gets enormous distribution.”

For now, members who haven’t been invited to publish will have to wait to hear more, according to a help page on LinkedIn’s site: “We’re in the process of rolling out this feature to all members but it may take a while. We’ll let you know as the feature rolls out to more members and when you’re able to publish posts on LinkedIn.”

In the meantime, here’s a look at the publishing tool LinkedIn is offering:

Snapchat Hires Googler, “Pisses Off” His Googler Friends


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This morning ephemeral messaging app Snapchat announced that it had poached a Googler, in addition to an Amazonian and a Facebooker. The company will be bringing Google App Engine director Peter Magnusson on board as VP of Engineering.

The announcement article in the WSJ, however, did not sit well with Magnusson’s former colleagues at Google App Engine, specifically this line: “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, [Snapchat co-founder Bobby] Murphy said.”

Snapchat is a huge App Engine success story. The fact that Snapchat, an app with crazy growth and image sharing, hasn’t ever fallen over like so many startups do when they scale, is a point of pride for the developer tool suite.

Thus the suggestion that Magnusson left App Engine to help Snapchat migrate off of it is apparently causing some issues back at the Mountain View ranch.

Magnusson himself comments on the Wall Street Journal article:

For the record, the quote “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, Murphy said.” is (a) not what Bobby said, (b) not really a focus of my job either. Thx WSJ for pissing off all my old Google friends.

A more correct statement is that we’ll continuously evaluate alternatives, and likely over time develop more infrastructure ourselves, in particular in specialized areas of our apps. Google is a great partner, and the success of Snapchat would simply not have been possible without Google Cloud, and we expect to work closely together. Period

In the comment, Magnusson softens the quoted statement from “lessen the reliance on [Google App Engine]” to “expect to work closely together” while “evaluating alternatives” and implies that Murphy was misquoted.

The “piss[ed] off” part of the comment echoes what we’ve heard is the general App Engine reaction to the tone of article; it would be like if someone from WordPress joined TechCrunch to help us migrate off of WordPress. And framed it as such.

Disclosure: My SO works at General Catalyst, which is an investor in Snapchat. I’m not particularly passionate about Google App Engine.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/18/snapchat-hires-googler-pisses-off-his-googler-friends/

Apple granted patent for fitness tracking headphones


7 hours ago

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Original Article URL: http://gigaom.com/2014/02/18/apple-granted-patent-for-fitness-tracking-headphones/

Apple health tracking headphones

photo: USPTO
Summary:The patent describes a headphone-based monitoring system that can detect metrics such as heart rate, perspiration and temperature.

Rumors of a fitness-focused iWatch from Apple have only recently reached a fever pitch, but a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday shows the company has been interested in a way to track health and fitness since at least 2007. Spotted by AppleInsider, the patent describes a head-mounted monitoring system that can detect data such as heart rate, perspiration and temperature, and can be controlled via head movements.

In the patent, Apple details ways to incorporate this monitoring system into earbuds, headphones or headsets. Because any of those devices are worn close to your ear, an embedded activity sensor can measure fitness metrics such as heart rate. This data is then synced back to your iOS device via the headphone cord or wirelessly over Bluetooth.

Apple EarPods

Additional sensors — such as an accelerometer, gyroscope and/or motion sensor — might also be integrated, allowing the headset to recognize movement-based controls. This means you could skip songs or control volume with a simple tilt of your head, though I could also see a feature like that making for a lot of unintended musical choices.

Apple originally filed for the patent back in 2008 (after a provisional application in 2007), but it actually seems more relevant than ever today. The headset it describes reminds me a lot of the heart rate monitoring headphones that LG introduced at CES earlier this year, though it looks as if Apple’s version could detect a lot more than just heart rate.

Considering Apple first filed for the patent over five years ago, this idea likely predated the rumored iWatch and fitness focus for iOS 8. And while Apple’s trademark white earbuds may not be as ubiquitous as they once were, I could see them making a comeback if they could be used to do more than listen to music. I just hope they’ll sound better too.

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Follow @alexandergcolon or @gigaom for more stories like this.

http://gigaom.com/2014/02/18/apple-granted-patent-for-fitness-tracking-headphones/

Success on Google Play: Not Just a Matter of Development – Part 1


How multi-tasking can help indie Android Developers succeed on Google Play

A lot of indie mobile developers think that the fact they’re able to develop an app will be the key to an undisputed success on mobile App Stores.

Of course, one of the most important things to possess as mobile developer is fluency with the programming language. Just like you can’t write a novel without knowing the alphabet or the grammar, having a strong knowledge of the system and its APIs will help you buid apps faster and better.

Multi-tasking is the key for success on App Stores

However, from my experience as an Android Developer, success on Mobile App Stores, and on Google Play in particular, is all about multi-tasking.

I’m not referring to “multi-tasking” as a synonym of “doing multiple things simultaneously”, what I mean is “being able to do multiple things”. The success of a mobile app is driven by a very large number of factors, so an indie developer needs to be aware that his application needs to fulfill multiple requirements.


In my opinion, the most important thing to keep in mind is that apps will be available to millions. So, the dev needs to be conscious of the common denominator between users, and in particular of the user base of his app (the people that, after a while after installing it, keep using the app).

This needs to start even before the app is developed; indie developers need to scratch the surface of mobile App Stores, and try to understand what’s going on, what is trending. There are plenty of web services that monitor App Stores on a daily basis, returning statistics on app installs and comments (for example, for Android and Google Play there’s AppBrain, or the App Stats app). Statistics are some of developers best friends. Use them.

UI of the App is really important

The app needs to be clear and clean. Users should understand how to use it without too much effort, and don’t want to feel dumb using your app. The best way to accomplish this task is follow the development guidelines of the system you’re working on; this way the app will have a look & feel users are already used to work with, and you don’t have to instruct them on how to use most common features.


Graphical assets are important. Really important. You don’t have to be a Photoshop hero, but you need to know the basics.

A great app icon is the best Graphical asset to provide

A great app icon will be what lures users to your app on the App Stores, so don’t understimate it. If your icon looks bad, or not interesting, or unprofessional, users will not click on it: they just won’t. So be careful and provide the best icon you can come out with.

Screenshots are a great tool to make a good first impact on people. Keep in mind that an app (in particular Android apps) are meant to work on multiple devices, with substantially different screen sizes. So, provide the most meaninful screenshots to show off your app features, but for multiple screen sizes (from 3” to 10” displays).

There are literally hundeds of phones and tablets form factors

This brings up one of the most important tool to develop and test a great app: test devices. A good developer needs to provide a decent number of app tests in order to claim to have developed a good app. The best way to accomplish that is to phisically run the app on multiple devices. As a developer, I own more than 15 Android devices, all with different form factors and a bunch with older versions of Android. This really helps testing out the features of apps and how they performs on older devices. Emulators are a resource too (if you’re an Android dev, check out Genymotion), but they definitely can’t fully replace how a real device perform.


Testing your app on multiple devices will really help you with one of the most important things you have to consider when dealing with mobile app stores: your customers’ ratings.

Customer Support really helps you improve your app ratings

Customer support is one of the best way to drive traffic and users to your app. Users are always very clear about what they expect from your app. Usually, customers ratings and comments can be split in some macro-categories:

  1. Enthusiasts (“5-star” ratings): users that are really happy with your app and give it an amazingly high rating on the App Store . A good way to interact with this users is answer with gratitude to their good comments and ratings, and ask how can you furtherly improve your app. They already showed that they love it, so usually they’ll be happy to cooperate, and also will feel “considered” by the dev, which creates a good virtuous circle. If you’ve done a very good job with your app, “5 star ratings” will rappresent the majority of your app ratings.
  2. Happy Users (“4-star” ratings): if you’ve done a decent job with your app, you’ll have plenty of 4-star ratings. These users appreciate your app, but not enough to give it a top-notch rating, so here’s where you have to be careful. These people are “ready” to turn into Enthusiasts, so keep in mind that you have to carefully consider their advices/requests, because they are usually also ready to change their minds and abandone your app if you don’t improve it. 4-star rating customers often leave accurate comments on the reason they appreciate yor app and what it need to go the extra mile to gain that “fifth star”. Take care of what they suggest!
  3. “Meh” users (“2-3 stars” ratings): usually, people who have found serious issues in your app. It can be everything: missing feature, performance glitches, force close, ugly graphical assets… Your app is not doing what they supposed it to be doing. So you, as developer, did something wrong, somewhere. Be aware: since 3-stars are in the middle of possible ratings, some of 3-stars ratings are given by people who consider 3 stars an average good rating (like in european hotels)!! So, pay attention to differentiate between users who are not happy with your app and customers who are giving you what they think is a good rating. A good approach is to get in touch with them in order to understand better their rating.
  4. Unhappy users (“1 star” ratings): they have found major issues in your app. These is the category you have to watch more carefully, because it will be the litmus test of your app: if you see a bunch of 1-star ratings showing up all of a sudden, it means you’ve done something really wrong with your app or latest app update. This is also a customer category where interaction is a panacea: get in touch with these users, and try to understand the issues they’re experiencing. You’re going to get a lot of 1-star ratings, no matter what. Be careful to separate unshappy users from…
  5. Haters (“1-star” rating with really bad comments): Haters gonna hate. You’ll always get nonsensical comments, users shouting against your app claiming it has broken their devices, people that say they can’t download your app (if so, how can you rate it?!?) and so on. Deal with it, there’s nothing you can do/say to make this people remove or change their comment. Fortunately, it’s just a small circle of users, and they show up more often on free apps than on paid apps. If you think their comments are really impacting your overall app rating and downloads, there’s always a handy “Report this comment” button.

In general, keep in mind that you have to monitor your customers feedback in order to have a good impact on mobile app stores, in particular on Google Play. Interact with your customers, don’t be shy and ask them what they think of your app. Try not to be oversensitive on your app and be open to new possibilites, sometimes your users will come up with ideas that are definitely better than yours: embrace them.


Finally we can say that good knowledge of the system, practice in creating good and consistent graphical assets, understanding of development guidelines, app testing and customer care are some of the fundamental skills needed by a good indie developer.

That’s why, in my opinion, being able to perform multi-tasking is what allows a developer to really start growing in mobile app stores. All the described skills need practice to be accomplished in the right way, so take your time, don’t be scared, don’t get mad, focus and try.

After all, we’re always learning, aren’t we?


In the next episode we will discuss other peculiarities that make an app impactful: What are the best development tools? How can I measure the impact of an app over time? How can I get my app under the proper spotlight? And so on! If you have suggestions or comments, please share them!

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The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean


Originally Published Article:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/12/275376259/the-full-fat-paradox-whole-milk-may-keep-us-lean

I have to admit, I melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt.

It’s an indulgence that we’re told to resist. And I try to abide. (Stealing a bite of my daughter’s YoBaby doesn’t count, does it?)

The reason we’re told to limit dairy fat seems pretty straight forward. The extra calories packed into the fat is bad for our waistlines. That’s the assumption.

But what if dairy fat isn’t the dietary demon we’ve been led to believe? New research suggests we may want to look anew.

Consider the findings of two recent studies that conclude the consumption of whole fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.

In one , published by Swedish researchers in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared to men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.

Yep, that’s right. The butter and whole-milk eaters did better at keeping the pounds off.

“I would say it’s counter-intuitive,” says , executive vice president of the National Dairy Council.

The second , published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies. There has been a hypothesis that high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity and heart disease risk, but the reviewers concluded that the evidence does not support this hypothesis. In fact, the reviewers found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

“We continue to see more and more data coming out [finding that] consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat,” Miller says.

It’s not clear what might explain this phenomenon. Lots of folks point to the satiety factor. The higher levels of fat in whole milk products may make us feel fuller, faster. And as a result, the thinking goes, we may end up eating less.

Or the explanation could be more complex. “There may be bio-active substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies,” Miller says.

Whatever the mechanism, this association between higher dairy fat and lower body weight appears to hold up in children, too.

Parents are currently advised to switch toddlers to reduced-fat milk at age 2.

Cows graze in a pasture at the University of New Hampshire's organic dairy farm in Lee, N.H., Sept. 27, 2006.

As we last year, a study of children published in the Archives Of Diseases in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, concluded that low-fat milk was associated with more weight gain over time.

“It really surprised us,” study author Mark DeBoer, a pediatrician at the University of Virginia, told us.

So, where does this leave us, the rule-followers, who have complied with the skim-milk-is-best edict?

Well, opinions differ. The recommendations that led to the fat-free dairy boom were, in part, born out of concerns about cholesterol.

Whole-milk dairy products are relatively high in saturated fat. And eating too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. So many experts would agree that adults with high cholesterol should continue to limit dairy fat.

But it’s also becoming clear that there are benefits to full-fat dairy too, at least for some consumers.

As we’ve , in addition to the body weight association, organic whole milk contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

It’s unclear whether more people are opting for whole milk products. Though non-fat and low-fat are still dominating dairy sales, the organic sector is experiencing an uptick in whole-fat sales.

“We definitely in the last few years are seeing a trend toward the whole fat products,” , CEO of the farmer-owned Organic Valley, told us. His company’s sales of whole-fat milk are up 10 percent, he says. And sales of skim milk have trailed off. Also, there’s been a .

So, stay tuned. Though it’s a sounds-too-good-to-be-true finding, researchers are continuing to investigate how dairy fat may help people control their weight.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/12/275376259/the-full-fat-paradox-whole-milk-may-keep-us-lean

Mozilla Will Sell Ads In Firefox To Create A New Revenue Stream


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Open-source browser Firefox announced in a blog post that it is considering selling ads for its new tab page. Publishers will be able to purchase sponsored tiles that will appear alongside normal tiles, with a clear promoted label.

At first, Mozilla just wants to pre-populate the new tab page. When you are using Firefox for the first time, the current new tab page, is mostly empty, with just a link to the Firefox website. Similarly to other speed dial features in other browsers, Firefox uses your browsing history to put your most visited websites on the new tab page. But if your history is empty, the new tab page is empty as well.

That’s why the non-profit foundation plans to put the most popular websites in your area by default. In addition to that, some spots will be used for promoted tiles.

It might just a first try to see how users react before pushing promoted tiles to all users in their new tab page.

For now, the foundation most of its revenue from ads in Google. Google and Firefox signed an agreement so that Google is the default search engine. The two entities also share advertising revenue on Google AdWords ads.

And that’s about it — 90 percent of Mozilla’s yearly revenue comes from Google. As Firefox’s market share is shrinking, the foundation needs to find a new revenue stream. While Mozilla used be one of Google’s major partner, the company may renegotiate a much less favorable deal now that it has its own browser — Chrome is now much more popular than Firefox as well.

For the last couple of years, Mozilla and the advertising industry have been at odds. The foundation created the do-not-track feature to prevent targeted advertising. When users opt in, the browser won’t accept third party cookies anymore, making it much harder to display targeted ads around the web. Last year, Mozilla even chose to automatically block third party cookies from websites that you hadn’t visited.

Now, Mozilla wants to play ball with advertisers. It’s unclear when Mozilla is going to show promoted tiles to its new users. The foundation probably wants to talk with potential advertisers first.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/12/mozilla-will-sell-ads-in-firefox-to-create-a-new-revenue-stream/