The implications of this are rather fun, aren’t they?

Skinny people should not act as if they are “morally superior” to those struggling with their weight because the likelihood is they simply have lucky genes, new research has found.

A groundbreaking study by Cambridge University, which focused on healthy adults with a low body mass index (BMI), reveals the impact of genetics on body size is greater than previously thought.

The results help explain the considerable variation in weight within a population that shares the same high-calorie environment and sedentary lifestyle, the scientists said.

Namely, that PHE can go boil its head. If it’s all in the genes then control of what the population eats isn’t they way to deal with anything.

Sadly, I don’t quite believe the finding here – the thermodynamics of energy in and out still do rather seem to matter. PHE is still wrong of course, free people and all that, but its for a different reason.

Quite so, quite so

What may seem like poverty pay to a Guardian reader need not be so for a worker in Bangladesh (Revealed: the poverty pay behind the charity slogan, 21 January). A pound is worth roughly a hundred taka, so 35p is 35 taka. If someone works 40 hours a week, she would make £14 a week. The per capita income of Bangladesh is £1,400 (£3,650 in purchasing power parity). If she were employed for 50 weeks she would make up to half the per capita income – not rich, but not poor by local poverty standards.

Wages in Bangladesh are not determined by Comic Relief but by average productivity of labour. Bangladesh could use the employment provided by Comic Relief. If the “radical anger” of Guardian readers leads to cancellation of the contract, the Guardian readers may be happy, but not the Bangladeshi workers.

Wages in Bangladesh will take another 50 years to catch up with the UK. The economy is growing healthily. It can grow because its low wage attracts orders and helps exports. Leave it alone to grow.
Meghnad Desai
Labour, House of Lords

There’s an intense strangeness to this argument

The American Dream is that idea that in a free society you can indeed get ahead. Starting from near whatever point you can, by dint of work, application and that modicum of luck necessary in any human life gain a proper foothold on the economic ladder. Can, in fact, move up to the sort of riches and security which were nothing but a dream to earlier generations – and to distressingly large numbers of people out there in other countries.

So, here we’ve got a woman writing an acclaimed book telling us how hard this all is. How she worked as a maid and this proves the American Dream doesn’t work. Except, of course, having an acclaimed book published when one has been working as a hard pressed maid is a proof of that very American Dream, isn’t it?

A glorious complaint don’t you think?

The entire website of Elon Musk’s private charitable foundation is shorter than many of the Tesla CEO’s contentious tweets. “Musk Foundation. Grants are made in support of: Renewable energy research and advocacy; Human space exploration research and advocacy; Pediatric research; Science and engineering education,” the site reads.

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal how the foundation has put that vague mission statement into practice. Together, the documents show that many of the organization’s donations have gone far beyond its stated scope. Some have benefited the billionaire’s own initiatives and, indirectly, his family, while others have tackled his pet peeves – the foundation has given more money to artificial intelligence research than to any of the more traditional charities it says it supports.

Billionaire spends his charitable donations on things which he thinks important – that being what a peeve is.

Feminist drivel

To understand where the seven-day break really came from, we need to know a bit about how this society-changing drug works:

Studies have shown repeatedly that our medical system has an inherent bias against women.

The society changing contraceptive pill shows our medical system has a bias against women.

And with that logic pours petrol on itself, strikes a match and leaves the building. Pity about that science and civilisation thing but it had a good run, eh?

Rhiannon’s Drivel

But we social revolutionaries are old hat. These hubs for digital nomads are popping up everywhere in our cities, and now the Church of England wants some of the action. The Times reports that it is to offer desks to young professionals, not to mention on-site gyms, as part of a £35m drive to attract younger congregation members. Focusing on areas with large student populations, these churches will offer a range of trendy services, with Stockton-on-Tees even appointing a “social media pastor”.

I should probably say here that I am not religious, and tend to view the attempt to modernise on the part of most religions as fatally incompatible with the whole worshipping-a-fictitious sky-god-who-tells-us-women-and-gay-people-are-inferior thing. Introduce a guitar into the proceedings, and I’m the first one calling for the last judgment. I don’t care if the whole world turns into a Hieronymus Bosch painting, I’ll even lead the procession into the demon’s cavernous, gaping mouth provided I don’t have to listen to Christian rock. And that’s before we get to the archbishop of Canterbury’s “speaking in tongues” revelation.

Then again, I grew up having my tarot cards read, several people in my family are Buddhist, and I’m pretty sure I once saw a ghost, so each to their own.

That is, I don’t believe, I don’t contribute, but everyone must do it as I wish them to.

Workspaces where people sit on their laptops, atomised and alienated from one another are 10 a penny. Why offer more of the same? Shouldn’t religious buildings be places of refuge from the treadmill? Will those kinds of people really see such a backdrop as part of their “personal brand”?

Super, go buy a church and run it as you wish.

This is interesting

It’s generally the left who insist upon the legitimacy of the international community. You know, binding international law and all that, we get to tell others what to do:

Venezuela’s political crisis was turned on its head on Wednesday as a succession of world powers declared they were recognizing the opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the South American country’s rightful interim president.

“The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” Donald Trump tweeted as he announced what some believe could prove a game-changing decision.

Soon after, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay and Costa Rica said they would follow suit – although Mexico’s left-leaning government said there would be no change of policy for now and Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, attacked what he called an imperialist assault on South America’s right to democracy and self-determination.

Now that the international community is insisting that Bolivarian socialism is a crock, what’s a good lefty to do?

Side, as normal, with the international community? Or with socialism?

Yes, of course we know the answer. But fun to watch the squirming all he same.

They’ve got this so wrong

It’s actually sad to see scientific organisations descending to this level of idiocy:

The European chemists organisation – EuChemS – has just added to the torrent of environmental drivel with their new periodic table. They’re trying to tell us which elements are going to run out when and thus tell us all that we’ve got to recycle. The entire process is bunkum because they’ve not understood the first thing about the supply of minerals. They simply do not know the meaning of mineral reserve that is.


Parisian lunchtimes

Somehow I’d believe this more of Rome really:

Armed robbers pulled off a brazen bank robbery off Paris’ Champs-Elysées on Tuesday morning, locking staff and customers in for hours while they rifled through dozens of deposit boxes.

The masked suspects, some reports say at least four, burst into the Milleis bank – formerly Barclays – at around 8.30am local time on the Champs-Elysées roundabout.

They proceeded to tie up staff and customers with plastic tape and sprayed them with an unidentified liquid smelling of bleach, according to French reports.

According to Eddy Sid of the police union SGP Police FO, the suspects “placed a placard on the front door saying that the bank was shut”.

The gang calmly searched around 30 deposit boxes for three and a half hours before making their getaway at midday with an unknown quantity of valuables.

Yes, OK, it wasn’t lunchtime etc. But just a “Closed” sign makes more sense to me a little further south than Paris.

Note the word completed

CARDIFF City footballer Emiliano Sala is feared dead after his plane went missing over the Channel Islands last night.

Sala, 28, was onboard the Piper Malibu plane with one other person, when it lost contact at 8.30pm near the Casquets lighthouse, off Alderney.

Air Traffic Control confirmed the plane was travelling from Nantes in Western France to Cardiff when it vanished.

It followed severe weather warnings about snow and ice issued across France.

The Argentine footballer was believed to be travelling back from France after completing his £15million club-record transfer from Nantes to Premier League strugglers Cardiff City FC.

Cardiff’s out that £15 million then.

Teddies, Prams

I have resigned from those organisations I have been linked with that promote modern monetary theory.

I have done so without regret.

I remain convinced by the core argument of MMT as I see it, as explained here.

I have no time for being told this leads to one inevitable course of action that is the only available option if one wants to be theoretically compliant with the prescriptions of MMT.

I will say in future in response to that claim what I often think when faced with academic nonsense, which is that I live my life in practice and not in theory.

How long before there are no organisations left that he has even a modicum of agreement with?

This deserves a tumbril, no?

A Labour MP could face a parliamentary inquiry for using House of Commons notepaper to plead with a judge not to jail her “beautiful son” for serious drug offences.

Kate Osamor stated her position at the time on Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench when she wrote to the judge who spared her son a jail term in October for possessing drugs including cocaine and ecstasy with intent to supply.

Her letter was released yesterday after the judge agreed with an application by The Times and other newspapers, which argued that the public interest demanded transparency in the sentencing process.

“Don’t you know who I am” not being one of those things we Brits really take to….

Such an amusement

Matthew Bishop was told there was no treatment that could save his vision. But now scientific breakthroughs in gene therapy have given him, and others, hope

There’s an argument against genetic manipulation. I understand it even if disagree with it. There’s one in favour as well. But how do we construct an argument that’s in favour of doing it to humans and not to rice?

It did indeed happen


Anyone new to Auschwitz history may be unaware, as I was, that one of its objectives was to set up a local camp at Monowitz that would harbour a workforce to speed up the building (for the flagging war effort) of a nearby chemical factory. Monowitz, when Fritz and Gustav arrived, was a fenced and mud-sodden field of sheds – no kitchen, no sanitation, no heat – to which they were marched for three hours each day before working on the uncompleted factory. Here, swiftly identifying their skills in bricklaying and stitching, the Kleinmanns stayed alive while up to 150 of their less useful comrades went off each day to be gassed at Birkenau (Primo Levi was another survivor).

You’ve only got to change a few words to have a description of the Gulag. Starvation instead of gassing, bourgeois instead of Jew. Oh, and that we didn’t chase one set of guards and perpetrators to the ends of the Earth because reasons.

Sound advice

“There are only a few things that should go in your vagina and vegetables generally aren’t one of them.”

Although where that leaves the average teenage bloke trying to get a legover is not explained.