How do we dig our way out of this one?

Treehugger posted a story saying that all is lost, using the sales stats of the Ford F series trucks as an argument…and am admittedly compelling one, as they sell one every 4.5 seconds! It just adds to a similar train of thought in my life lately though..how do we dig ourselves out of this pit we’ve created for ourselves…how do we transition to a sustainable society? The Global Footprint Network attempts to calculate the difference between how much natural resources we use, and how fast nature can replenish that. If you hadn’t figured it out already, that date falls on August 2nd this year, and has been getting worse every year (follow this link for more on that). We’re on a dead-end path here, robbing from future generations so we may live lives of luxury.

So what’s the solution? There’s is insufficient public willpower to effect change, sadly. Change of the magnitude needed will only happen if there is a sizable natural disaster of global proportions…otherwise these days will go down in history as the peak of this civilization and perhaps even of this species. If anyone is left to record this history, that is. This frustrates me…I feel we have the technology and the ability to change the course we’re on…but how to reach people, that’s the challenge…

How coffee helps protect the heart

Coffee’s health benefits are nothing new (a topic I cover occasionally at Coffeeopolis.com).  There’s a steady stream of scientific studies that generally support that conclusion…which I guess is not surprising, I mean, considering coffee’s popularity, I imagine there’s no shortage of scientists eager to study the topic more!  But I digress.  A team in Germany has made progress in understanding exactly how coffee helps your heart.  More specifically, it’s the caffeine that in this case is responsible…it triggers the action of a protein called p27, which basically helps cell repair processes in the heart.  However, the data comes from studies done with mice…whether it works the same in humans is less certain.  Read more at this link if you’re curious (or the published paper in the journal PLOS)

Do you want to know the best news?  The optimal caffeine intake to achieve these benefits is about for or five cups of coffee a day!  So, drink up!

Siri gets smarter

Apple unveiled its upcoming iOS 12, the update for iPads and iPhones coming this fall, and what I found most interesting was some long overdue upgrades in Siri’s capabilities. You’ve probably noticed how when you get in your car, a message is often displayed on the lock screen anticipating where you’re going and telling you how long it’ll take to get there. Apple is now adding the ability for Siri to learn how you’re using apps, and to use that information to make suggestions. As Apple put it:

Siri can now intelligently pair your daily routines with third-party apps to suggest convenient shortcuts right when you need them.

You can also set up shortcuts, teaching Siri to perform a number of actions when a simple command is provided. When you’re heading home from work, a single command can adjust your home thermostat, tell you how long it’ll take to drive there, text your significant other that you’re on the way, and start playing your favorite podcast. There are other interesting examples in this article at TechCrunch, check it out if you’re curious.

iOS 12 should be available this fall, and will work on most devices (going all the way back to the iPhone 5S!)

Apple on 100% renewable energy

Apple achieved a milestone recently, powering 100% of its operations via renewable energy! That includes all offices, data centers, and stores…and they’ve accomplished this without having to pay more for electricity, either. Next up, they’re putting pressure on their suppliers to follow suit…and with a customer as large as Apple asking, I doubt much pressure at all will be needed! It’s cool to see tech companies like Apple and Alphabet leading the charge here. Read more here.

Is coffee a cancer risk?

First off – don’t panic. 🙂 Keep drinking your coffee while you read this.

A judge in California has ruled that coffee companies have to display a warning that coffee poses a cancer risk, due to the presence of acrylamide, a chemical produced in the roasting process.  It’s true, too…this is nasty stuff, discovered in 2002.  Lab studies have shown an increased risk of cancer, though the levels used around 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than what people would be exposed to in food.  It’s not just in coffee though…it’s found in potato chips, bread, cereals, french fries, cigarettes, even canned black olives.  California has a law, though (Proposition 65) requiring consumers to be informed if the product they’re buying contains dangerous chemicals…hence this court ruling.  So…sure, acrylamide can cause cancer at high levels…but so can a lot of other things we are exposed to.

On the flip side, coffee has been shown to have positive health benefits too, being linked to a reduced risk of death from heat disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological disease, etc.  So…no need to panic, if you ask me.  Just enjoy everything in moderation. 🙂

Read more about acrylamide at the American Cancer Society if you’re interested.

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