Thursday, May 30, 2013

Morning Twitter Messages -- May 30

When Vali Nasr sez look at something I always look. He's one of the sharpest knives in the drawer.
This article cautions the US not to keep too many eggs in the Sunni basket as the balance of power between Sunnis and Shiites continues to shift. The writers of this piece, incidentally, have also earned their chops. 
Now that Iran is being weakened by the slow-motion collapse of Bashar al Assad’s Alawite regime, a chaotic Syria will likely become — even more so — the fulcrum of a power struggle between Iran and the Sunni Arab world for years to come, preventing either side from being able to dominate the region. 
Cold wars are tolerable precisely because they are cold. And a new cold war in the Middle East, assuming sectarian violence can be kept down at a reasonable level, will be something that policymakers in Washington may see as being in the American interest. A region balanced at least has the possibility to be a region at relative peace, with a Shiite bastion composed of Tehran and Baghdad facing off against a belt of Sunni revivalism stretching from Egypt to Anbar in western Iraq. It is for this reason that Barack Obama’s administration should not be in favor of a zero-sum result in Syria.
Jim Culleny is poetry editor at 3Quarks Daily but this ain't poetry by any stretch of the imagination. 

Gina Rinehart Calls For Sterilization of The Poor
May. 28, 2013

Conservative billionaire Gina Rinehart called for the sterilization of the poor today, arguing that the only way to alleviate poverty is to stop the "underclasses" from multiplying. 
In a video uploaded to her official YouTube account, the Australian mining heiress said that income inequality is caused by differences in intelligence, and eugenics is the only answer. 
"Our nation [Australia, thankfully] faces a grave economic crisis as the combination of a strong Australian dollar and falling commodity prices sap our ability to compete globally," she explained. "The only logical solution to this crisis is to strengthen the quality of our most precious resource: human capital. 
"I believe that any couple making less than $100,000 a year should be forcibly sterilized through a vasectomy or fallopian tubal ligation. Those earning more than $100,000 a year should be encouraged to have as many as 10 or 12 children. 
"Only by eliminating waste and focusing on our brightest, most efficient workers can we hope to see off our rivals in the emerging world."

Wonder if they will have separately designated water fountains and restrooms as well.

Mona is one of my favorite people. And she does have a huge mop of hair.

Camels in Dubai
Camel latte, camel cheese, camel muffins and more ways to eat camel

Penelope Walsh visits Dubai’s first and only camel dairy farm, Camelicious, for a lesson in camels, their milk and a taste test of the end result 
A camel meat burger, or ride in the desert on safari, are just some of the ways camels are put to use in modern day Dubai. The most modern, however, is the current proliferation of camel milk now seen on menus across the city. From cappuccinos to ice creams to cheeses, the vast majority of camel milk products on the market are made using the milk from Dubai-based camel farm and dairy factory, Camelicious.
Located in Umm Nahad on the road to Al Ain, Camelicious operates as a farm, where the camels are tended and milked and a dairy factory, where fresh and flavoured milk, cheese and laban are produced and bottled, with the products having first hit consumer shelves in August 2007. Camelicious also operates as a one of a kind research centre, studying the use and care of camels for dairy purposes, as well as the health benefits of camel milk for potential pharmaceutical use. 
From Camelicious has sprung two further sister projects. Al Nassma, which is named after the Arabic word for the gentle desert breeze, is the first company to create chocolate made with camel milk. The Majlis Café, located in the atmospheric Souk area of Dubai Mall, sells a classic menu of cakes, sandwiches, coffees and even three-tiered afternoon menus, where nearly everything is made with a hint of camel milk, be it a pain au chocolat, or the bread used to make savoury sandwiches. 
Now, the concept is growing. Dubai has recently been given trade approval by the European Union to export camel milk to the region, which primarily effects Camelicious as the only potential exporter in the Emirate. With 3,000 camels at the farm at present, Camelicious tells us the aim is to increase numbers by 10,000 in the next two years. Also in the pipeline is a new Camelicious range of flavoured labnah, and a second branch of The Majlis Café, located on Beach Road, both to launch in summer. 
When we visit we are faced with some of Camelicious’ 3,000 camels, our first reaction is surprise at how characterful and unique in appearance they are. The animals are fed a diet of hay, with occasional carrots as a treat, which we see them greedily relish. Chief veterinarian Dr Judit Juhasz, who is charged with their care, tells us they are ‘lovely animals’ and is evidently very fond of them. We are also surprised by how sweetly charming the camels seem to be, despite being traditionally branded stubborn and ill-tempered. 
However, the biggest revelation is that camel dairy farming is an innovative process, with little previous heritage in the UAE. According to Kirsten Lange, director of communications from Camelicious, for the bedouin, ‘camel milk was not part of the daily diet.’ It was only available, she explains, to breeders, who drank the milk raw and unpasteurised ‘straight from the camel’. ‘Camels were mostly used for transportation, leather and meat, but camel milk was not used for making cheese, as there was no process of conserving cheese in the desert.’ 
It has consequently been an untapped resource. Camel milk, we learn, is lower in fat than cow’s milk, and higher in vitamins and minerals, containing four times as much vitamin C, and ten times as much iron as cow’s milk. It can be consumed by those who are lactose-intolerant. It is high in lactoferrin, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and high in lanolin, which has soothing properties when applied directly to the skin. Most significantly, in the UAE, where diabetes rates are high, camel milk naturally contains insulin, and studies to date have found that for patients with diabetes two, a regular dose of insulin from drinking camel milk can help regulate the effect of more conventional diabetic medicine. 
In addition to the culinary potential, these properties make camel milk a potential ‘wonder’ ingredient for both the pharmaceutical and beauty industries. In fact, it could potentially revolutionise diabetes treatment in the region. According to Mutasher Al-Badry, deputy general manager at Camelicious, the research centre is already involved in providing camel milk in powder form for use in the pharmaceutical industry, but demand continues to outstrip supply, due to the amount of milk the camels can be expected to produce. 
In production, the milk has to be pasteurised at 75C, which is within the safe, but lower end of the pasteurisation scale, in order not to destroy these health properties through high heat. In addition to fresh milk, the milk is also made into powder. Again, in contrast to the high temperatures usually employed in this process, Camelicious have had to create their own innovative freeze drying technology, which operates at minus 20C, in order to preserve these minerals and vitamins in the milk. 
The camel milk powder is used in the baked goods at The Majlis Café, where liquid camel milk would interfere with the precise composition and consistency needed in pastry preparation, such as cakes and Viennoiserie. ‘There were no existing recipes for these products, so we had to develop them all by experimentation, and it took a lot of time to develop,’ explains Roddy Fok Shan, general manager at The Majlis Café. ‘We had to experiment with fresh milk, and two types of powder, one that looks like a conventional powder, and one that is flaky’. 
The powdered camel milk is also used in the chocolate made by Al Nassma. ‘A few years ago, people thought it would be impossible to make pastries and chocolate out of camel milk,’ Kirsten says. ‘It is the fat content that makes chocolate liquid when heated, but it solidifies once it cools down. We have to use the camel milk as powder in the chocolate, otherwise it won’t become solid.’ The powder is then transported to a chocolate factory in Austria, which is one of the few chocolate producers in the world to create bean to bar chocolate, before returning to Dubai for packaging and sale.

This one's a macroeconomic quagmire. Money quote:
Nothing is quite satisfying. There are a lot of stories playing out, and perhaps there's no good explanation of it all, but it's certainly fascinating to watch the ground moving.
Shorter PA -- We ain't gonna be pimped.

Two of my favorite people -- Chait and Klein.
What's not to like?
The subject is health care costs. No one is talking about it much but the cost of healthcare is no longer out of control escalating.
The link is to a Bloomberg site, by the way, and Klein gets beat up pretty bad in the comments thread.
The healthcare cost curve is finally "bending" whatever that means.
The curve is bending, but we don’t really know why, and we don’t know if it’ll stay bent. [...] Does the Affordable Care Act deserve any of the credit? There are two answers: The first is “maybe a bit.” The second, “who cares?” [...] can argue that the Affordable Care Act is contributing to lower costs now. But there’s a stronger case that it will do so in coming years. If hospitals let readmission rates rise, they’re going to take a financial hit. If employers begin offering pricier insurance coverage, they’ll pay a hefty excise tax. If Medicare spending rises too much, the Independent Payment Advisory Board will have fast-track authority to reduce it. And some of the law’s more exciting cost-control experiments -- including accountable care organizations, bundled payments, medical homes and value-based purchasing -- are only just beginning to come online. That’s why it doesn’t really matter if Obamacare is responsible for the recent bend of the cost curve. What matters is that it will make it easier to keep the curve bending down in the future.
This post is already too long so I'm stopping here. 
Thanks for reading.  

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