Category Archives: Life

(BBG) Lifestyle Farming Is the Latest Addictive Hobby for Banker Types

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Mangalitsa hogs.

During the week, Chris Andersen runs his Manhattan investment banking firm, G.C. Andersen Partners LLC, from behind a desk that’s a replica of one owned by Lorenzo de’ Medici. On the weekends, he heads to his farm in New Jersey, where he shovels out corn cobs and bruised watermelons to feed his herd of Mangalitsa hogs, an especially tasty breed of pig from Hungary.

Andersen, 81, calls himself the Colonel Sanders of the Mangalitsa. He started his farm more than a decade ago on a lark. It’s since turned into a passion, one that’s produced 4,000 pigs across seven farms in three states. He employs three full-time farmers and has even built a facility in Pennsylvania to produce charcuterie that he sells under the American Mangalitsa brand.

Unlike investment banking, the farms are unprofitable. Andersen estimates he’s spent in the low seven figures each year for the last 10 years on them and is now at about break-even before capital expenditures. “Being a farmer is a lot more complicated than most people realize,” he says.

Although he may be doing it in a more expensive fashion than most, Andersen is part of a growing “lifestyle farming” trend. It’s a hobby that wealthy Americans have been devoting nights and weekends to over the past few decades, says Rhonda Skaggs, an emeritus professor of agriculture economics at New Mexico State University. These individuals subsidize their hobby with other work, often in a nearby city. While a few thousand farms generate the lion’s share of U.S. food production, there are millions of small ones in the country. According to the Department of Agriculture, 41% of farms in the U.S. are modest affairs whose operators have a primary occupation other than farming.

Houston-based tractor maker Mahindra North America sees lifestyle farming as the fastest-growing of all its markets. Ryan Pearcy, a senior product manager at the company, says it forecasts the segment will expand by about 10% a year for the next decade. There are a few obvious causes for the increase, starting with the wave of still-active baby boomers who are entering retirement. Also, in general, more Americans are interested in growing their own food.

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Andersen at his farm in Brandville, N.J.Photographer: Christina Holmes for Bloomberg Businessweek

“Many people would like to live in the countryside, have some horses or own a few acres, have the lifestyle, even though their primary occupation is something else,” says Eric Hansotia, chief operating officer of Agco Corp., one of the world’s biggest agriculture machinery companies.

As a hobby it can be quite expensive, but many of those on Wall Street have the means to be more extravagant with their projects, and owning farms and elaborate country houses is a tradition for the wealthy. In the U.S., there are also tax benefits to owning land that has an agricultural use—a commonly exploited loophole.

Christopher Dixon, a retired securities analyst at UBS AG, has been keeping livestock out on pasture for more than a decade. But in recent years he’s taken up a project that seeks to reinvent small-scale farming. He put together a group of investors and purchased Stone Acres Farm, a 63-acre property in Stonington, Conn., that dates to 1765. It offers a Community Supported Agriculture program, operates a space for events and dinners, and is open to visitors. Dixon calls the project an experiment “to see if we can come up with a way to sustain these farms in New England.”

Jon McConaughy was a Wall Street stalwart for two decades, most recently as a managing director at Credit Suisse Group AG, before a hobby farm he started in 2004 morphed into a second profession. Double Brook Farm LLC in Hopewell, N.J., came into being when he felt a pull to get back to the land.

Originally, he and his wife started the farm to feed themselves and their two children. Double Brook has since become a far larger operation, which includes animal and vegetable farms on hundreds of acres, a butcher shop, a bakery, a retail market, two restaurants, and a slaughterhouse. It’s a closed-loop, sustainable food system that McConaughy hopes can be a model for future farming. “Deep down in all our genes, there’s some desire to be able to look at what you’ve done at the end of the day and touch it and measure it,” he says—not really a quality of a finance job.

relates to Lifestyle Farming Is the Latest Addictive Hobby for Banker Types
At Andersen’s farm, the hogs roam comfortably.Photographer: Christina Holmes for Bloomberg Businessweek

Most lifestyle farmers, however, aren’t farming for profits, even if their operations are producing revenue, says Scott Martinez, marketing manager for Stotz Equipment, a John Deere dealer based in Phoenix. “It may be part of it, and they may like the extra income, but that’s not why they’re doing it.”

Instead, it’s how they unplug. There’s something calming about mowing pastures, moving around bales of hay, or taking care of animals. Lee Montgomery spends his days building foundations for shopping malls and houses in Southern California. But when he’s done for the day, all he wants to do is farm his vineyard. He says he’s the type that can’t keep still, so he planted 8 acres of grapes—6,000 plants—which translates into a lot of walking for him.

“Farming is very relaxing, like meditation and yoga. It’s peaceful, fulfilling, and it’s a good thing to fade into,” Montgomery says, noting that he’s hoping the hobby will turn profitable by the time he retires. “It’s for people that don’t want to sit around and watch TV or have too much energy. I do my job, then go home and work in the vineyard.”

41% of U.S. farms are small operations run by people who have another job

For Andersen, the pig farmer, the draw was more elemental. Formerly head of investment banking at Drexel Burnham Lambert, he’s known for creating the first high-yield bond fund. But in 2007 he had his first taste of jamón ibérico de bellota in Spain and fell in love. The cured pork comes from a black pig that roams the oak forests of central and southwestern Spain and Portugal, feeding on a diet of acorns, olives, and chestnuts, among other things. The resulting ham is prized for its smooth marbling and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Andersen wanted to bring some of the hogs home, but there were U.S. government restrictions on imports. “You can buy everything in New York,” he says. “You can buy guns, drugs—but not Spanish hams.” So he found another curly-haired breed that’s a close cousin—the Hungarian Mangalitsa, first bred in the 19th century and reserved for Habsburg royalty. He calls the hogs “avocados with four legs” because their meat is predominantly unsaturated fat.

When he raised his first pigs in 2008, he imported chestnut flour from France to feed them. One of the farms next to his raised goats, so he also fed them raw goat’s milk. Those didn’t end up tasting like jamón ibérico. Since then, he’s found a better combo—which he’s keeping a secret.

Americans can now import jamón ibérico from Spain, but the live pigs still can’t be brought here. “I got into it to raise a better-quality animal and ultimately aim toward creating some of the better hams,” Andersen says. “It’s the most exciting and interesting thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

(Reuters) Long-lost Italian painting could fetch $6 million at French auction

(Reuters) Long-lost Italian painting could fetch $6 million at French auction

Art expert Eric Turquin inspects the painting “Christ Mocked”, a long-lost masterpiece by Florentine Renaissance artist Cimabue in Paris

The painting "Christ Mocked", a long-lost masterpiece by Florentine Renaissance artist Cimabue is displayed in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – A long-lost painting by a 13th century Italian master discovered in the kitchen of an elderly French woman has been valued at up to six million euros and will be sold at auction next month.

The “Christ Mocked” painting by early Renaissance artist Cimabue was valued at 4 to 6 million euros ($6.6 million) by Paris old masters specialist Eric Turquin and will be sold by auction house Acteon in Senlis, north of Paris, on Oct. 27.

For years, the painting had hung close to a cooking plate in the kitchen of an elderly lady in Compiegne, north of Paris. It was found to be a Cimabue when an auction house specialist came to value her possessions.

Turquin said there was no doubt about the authenticity of the painting, as it was in the style of the Italian master and tunnels made by woodworms in the poplar wood panel match those of two similar Cimabues, a “Madonna Enthroned” in London’s National Gallery and “The Flagellation of Christ” in the Frick Collection in New York.

“This is an important work in art history. Cimabue pushed the envelope, he broke with the Greek style of painting with no perspective and he introduced humanity. In 1280, that was totally new, he was a revolutionary,” Turquin told Reuters.

The painting, executed in egg tempera, shows the figure of Christ surrounded by an angry crowd who have come to arrest him.

Turquin said the tiny painting – measuring just 20 by 26 cm (10 inches) – is believed to be part of a diptych consisting of eight small panels. It may have been cut apart by an art dealer in the 19th century to get a better price.

“Works by Cimabue are very rare. When I was an art student, I would never have dared to think that one day I would have the chance to hold a painting like this,” he said.

The sale will be the first instance of a Cimabue painting coming to market and will be the first chance to value the artist’s work, the auction house said.

Born in Florence, Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo, was a pioneering Italian primitive painter, of whom only about 10 known works have survived. He was one of the first to use perspective and paint in a more natural style that broke with mediaeval and Byzantine traditions.

(NYT) How to Disagree Better

These days, arguments can become a destructive land-grab for social media points, and quickly hit a dead-end. If we want to find solutions, it’s vital that we learn how to disagree thoughtfully and with curiosity. At this very moment, people are ready to pounce on anyone they deem “wrong.” And someone is definitely wrong on the Internet right now. Some of them are wrong in your social media feeds, and there’s a good chance you’re already friends with at least one such person. We get things wrong all the time. So what do we do when we decide someone’s wrong? Engage — or not? Disagree loudly — or roll our eyes silently? Block them, or troll them? A rare option would be to make an impossible conversation possible through the techniques above. Research confirms that central to influencing — or just productively engaging with — other humans is a sense of psychological safety. Letting friends (or strangers on the internet) hold beliefs that you think are wrong, but letting them know you’re still friends (or still just strangers on the internet, not mortal enemies) reinforces that safety.

(ZH) Tesla Jumps After German Press Says Volkswagen Preparing Acquisition

(ZH) Elon Musk may have finally secured some of that precious financing he once claimed to have secured (roughly one year ago), though, according to a report in German business magazine Manager, things didn’t turn out quite like he had hoped.

Per the magazine, Tesla is getting ready for a takeover, perhaps by Volkswagen, as carmakers scramble to roll out rival electric cars.

Of course, given Musk’s track record, it’s important to take this news with a grain of salt – but Tesla shares are ripping higher in the premarket.

(BBG) Your Personal Genetic Counselor

At a new clinic in Boston, genetic counselor Carrie Blout helps healthy patients get their DNA tested for predispositions to more than 2500 diseases. Bloomberg’s Aki Ito goes through the testing herself, trialing a controversial technology at the forefront of modern medicine. This is an episode of Next Jobs, a mini-documentary series about careers of the future.

(RotaDoPetisco) Bar O Típico

Tradicional pork sandwich with cheese

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(OBS) “Deixem o Facebook. Para sempre”, avisa fundador da Apple Steve Wozniak

(OBS)

“Quem sabe se o meu telemóvel está a ouvir o que eu estou a dizer, neste momento?”. Não é paranóia, diz Steve Wozniak, fundador da Apple que defende que as pessoas deviam sair das redes sociais.Partilhe

A maioria das pessoas que usam redes sociais como o Facebook devia “encontrar uma forma de sair”, de forma definitiva, para proteger a sua privacidade. Em declarações feitas de mochila às costas, no aeroporto, o fundador da Apple (que já não está na empresa mas continua ligado ao setor tecnológico) diz que a maioria das pessoas — com exceção para aquelas cujo benefício de estar no Facebook supera os riscos — devia fazer como fez Wozniak há cerca de um ano, isto é, sair da rede social.

“Tudo sobre aquilo que você é… Quero dizer, é possível medir o batimento cardíaco de alguém por meio de lasers, eles conseguem ouvi-lo usando vários dispositivos. Quem sabe se o meu telemóvel está a ouvir o que eu digo, neste momento? A Alexa [da Amazon] tem estado nas notícias frequentemente”, refere Wozniak, ouvido pela TMZ, em alusão às notícias sobre a forma como os novos dispositivos de assistentes pessoais gerem a informação que recolhem.

O investidor conhecido como “Woz” diz que “existem muitos tipos de pessoas, e para algumas os benefícios do Facebook valem a pena quando comparados com a perda de privacidade”. Mas todas as outras devem estar conscientes da forma como as empresas de redes sociais vendem os dados das pessoas a anunciantes, incluindo, potencialmente, o conteúdo de conversas privadas.

Já em novembro, Steve Wozniak tinha recomendado a Mark Zuckerberg, o fundador e presidente do Facebook, que deixasse de “colocar o dinheiro à frente dos valores morais”. Isso passava, concretamente, por tornar o Facebook (e as outras redes sociais afiliadas, como o Instagram) mais transparente a respeito das práticas publicitárias da empresa — desde logo informar as pessoas, com clareza, sobre a quais empresas é que os dados foram vendidos (e que dados).

Uma proposta ainda mais ambiciosa seria que Mark Zuckerberg aceitasse que as pessoas fossem “donas” dos seus dados, ou seja, permitir que cada um pudesse, facilmente, “exportar” toda a informação que o Facebook tem sobre si, para que se pudesse carregar essa informação para outras empresas de redes sociais. Mas esse é um passo, em prol da concorrência, que Wozniak duvida que Mark Zuckerberg admita dar.

(NYT) Savoring Lisbon’s Local Tastes on a Budget

(NYT)

Traditional restaurants known as tascas specialize in Portuguese comfort food at comfortable prices.Petisco Saloio, in the Campo Pequeno neighborhood, is one of Lisbon’s great dining bargains.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Petisco Saloio, in the Campo Pequeno neighborhood, is one of Lisbon’s great dining bargains.
Petisco Saloio, in the Campo Pequeno neighborhood, is one of Lisbon’s great dining bargains.CreditCreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

By Miguel Andrade

Lisbon may be one of Europe’s more affordable capitals, but if you’re in search of a spectacular meal, it’s not difficult to drop 120 euros (about $135) for a three-course dinner (without wine) at restaurants like the Michelin-starred Belcanto.

Fortunately, budget travelers can turn to tascas: small, unpretentious restaurants that, back in the early part of the 20th century, catered mostly to the working class, and sold wine and petiscos, or shared plates, along with what was once their main product: coal.

These days, Lisbon’s tascas — including those that have recently opened or been taken over by new owners — still serve traditional, filling dishes, with meat- and seafood-based stews figuring predominantly.

“The word tasca,” said Tiago Cruz, the author of “Guia das Tascas de Lisboa,” a guide to about 25 of Lisbon’s most traditional restaurants, “is a compliment, more like a guaranteed, trusted value, with well-cooked, comfort Portuguese food, and honest prices.” While newer versions of tascas “bring a touch of refinement,” he said, “the Portuguese traditional tasca cuisine continues to be there.”

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Twenty euros or under will buy you a three-course meal with wine at most of these restaurants, and you can expect to find dishes like pataniscas de bacalhau (salt cod fritters) and cozido à portuguesa (meat-and-sausage stew) on the menu, along with a variety of petiscos: clams à Bulhão Pato (clams with a sauce of olive oil, garlic and cilantro), say, or moelas estufadas (chicken gizzard stew).

If you’re looking for a taste of local Lisbon, here are four spots — all part of a new wave of tascas — worth checking out.

Entrecosto assado, slow-cooked ribs, are among the main dishes at Petisco Saloio.
Entrecosto assado, slow-cooked ribs, are among the main dishes at Petisco Saloio.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times
A thick bean and cuttlefish stew at Petisco Saloio.
A thick bean and cuttlefish stew at Petisco Saloio.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Walk downstairs to this small, tiled, basement-level restaurant in the residential neighborhood of Campo Pequeno, and you’ll find one of Lisbon’s great dining bargains.

The two new owners and cooks, Carlos Pinheiro and Diogo Meneses, weren’t even born when this tasca first opened 30 years ago with the name O Buraquinho, which means tiny hole (and indeed, the dining room seats only about 20 people). Their goal is to attract a mainly neighborhood clientele with dishes that the former tasca specialized in: filetes de peixe-galo (John Dory fillets), feijoada (bean stew) and arroz de gambas (rice and shrimp), while keeping the TV on a news channel.

For 8.5 euros, you’ll get a full lunch, with bread and olives, a main course, dessert and espresso. On a recent visit, I settled on a wooden stool next to two locals who were already devouring pots of feijoada with a bottle of homemade piri piri, a Portuguese sauce made with crushed chiles, lemons and red bell peppers. I hesitated between petingas fritas com arroz de tomate (fried whitebait with tomato rice) and entrecosto assado (slow-cooked spareribs), and settled on the latter, which was tender and moist, served with homemade fries and a tomato and lettuce salad. Dessert was a sweet, dense slice of syrupy torta de laranja (orange roll cake).More on traveling in Portugal …36 Hours in LisbonApril 19, 2018In Portugal, a Land Finely Aged Like WineJan. 16, 201536 Hours in Porto, PortugalJan. 28, 2016

Pleased, I returned for dinner and sampled choco frito (fried cuttlefish) with paprika mayonnaise; bochechas de porco (braised pork cheeks); and, for dessert, a tasca mainstay: doce da casa, a mix of egg cream, Maria cookies and condensed milk. The cost was 15 euros, without wine.

Petisco Saloio, Avenida Barbosa Du Bocage 38, Campo Pequeno, Tel. (351) 21-796-2989. Entrees from 5 to 8.5 euros.José Saudade e Silva at his restaurant, Cacué.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

José Saudade e Silva at his restaurant, Cacué.
José Saudade e Silva at his restaurant, Cacué.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Amid the tall office buildings and hotels of Picoas, a few blocks from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the Eduardo VII Park, is the 36-seat Cacué, which has been a hit ever since it opened last fall.

For almost 25 years, this space was called O Tomás, a favorite among locals, not only for the convivial atmosphere, but also for its inexpensive daily specials. When the new owner and chef, José Saudade e Silva, bought it in 2017, he wanted to improve its appearance, so he replaced the dark wooden walls with lighter wood, and added a counter in front of the kitchen. He has barely touched the prices, though, with daily dishes costing between 6 and 12 euros. He also hired Dona Rosa, who cooked at the original tasca, to produce a weekly menu that runs to feijoada, bacalhau à minhota (salt cod with onions and potatoes), and favas com entrecosto (fava beans with spareribs).At Cacué, most dishes cost between 6 and 12 euros.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

At Cacué, most dishes cost between 6 and 12 euros.
At Cacué, most dishes cost between 6 and 12 euros. CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

A friend and I recently had a marvelous lunch that included pataniscas (cod fritters), pastelinho de língua (veal tongue patty), ovas panadas (fried fish eggs) and turbot fillets, both with tomato rice on the side. For dessert, we had an indulgent chocolate mousse and arroz doce (rice pudding).

There are no reservations for lunch, so get here early or late to beat the crowd, but you should book a table for dinner. Expect to pay 15 euros for lunch, and 20 for dinner, with wine.

Cacué, Rua Tomás Ribeiro 93 B-C, Picoas, Tel. (351) 21-608-2990, restaurantecacue.com.Clams and seaweed at A Taberna da Rua das Flores.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Clams and seaweed at A Taberna da Rua das Flores.
Clams and seaweed at A Taberna da Rua das Flores.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

In 2012, the city’s downtown shopping district, Chiado, was only just starting to feel the consequences of Portugal’s financial crisis. In that same year, A Taberna da Rua das Flores opened in a building once used by a pharmacy for storage, and has not only survived the economic crisis, but thrived. Diners here will find an emphasis on innovative versions of classic dishes.

On a recent afternoon, a friend and I sat down at a small table. We started with rye and wheat bread, olives and puntillitas, tender fried baby squid served with chopped red onion and parsley. The servings were copious: frango com tomilho e laranja, a moist half chicken with orange, apples and parsnip in a thyme-scented broth; and iscas com elas, or thin slices of marinated cow liver with boiled potatoes (a dish that has silently disappeared from most tasca menus). We shared a creamy lime mousse, but there was also leite-creme queimado (burned custard) listed on the chalkboard menu. The cost was 15 euros per person, without wine.

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He’s Your Destiny. Just Be Patient.How a Dallas Photojournalist Captured an Image of a Gunman Mid-AttackA Taberna da Rua das Flores serves innovative takes on classic dishes.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

A Taberna da Rua das Flores serves innovative takes on classic dishes.
A Taberna da Rua das Flores serves innovative takes on classic dishes.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

For dinner, you can sit in the pleasant narrow dining room, or in the back, near the bar, which was once a laboratory, and order Portuguese-Asian inspired dishes like picadinho de carapau (chopped, marinated mackerel with baby shrimps and krill), fried eel, duck breast with kimchi, and a chocolate mousse with a dash of olive oil for less than 20 euros, without wine. No reservations and cash only.

A Taberna da Rua das Flores, Rua das Flores 103, Chiado, Tel. (351) 21-347-9418.Taberna Sal Grosso is a popular spot in the Alfama district.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Taberna Sal Grosso is a popular spot in the Alfama district.
Taberna Sal Grosso is a popular spot in the Alfama district.CreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

It may be tough to land one of the 30 seats in the popular Taberna Sal Grosso in the touristy Alfama district, but if you do, prepare yourself for some difficult choices. On a Friday night visit, there were nearly 20 seasonal petiscos listed on the chalkboard menu, each costing between 3.5 and 10 euros. The mellow dining room features a large painting of two beloved Portuguese figures — the singer Amália and the soccer player Eusébio — overlooking the mix of tourists and locals seated at marble-topped tables.Sal Grosso RestaurantCreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

Sal Grosso Restaurant
Sal Grosso RestaurantCreditAna Brigida for The New York Times

A friend and I started with a bittersweet watercress, orange and onion salad, and a faultless croquete de língua (pan-fried, minced cow’s tongue in bread crumbs). Our mains were bacalhau à Brás (salt cod, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes) and a rich, buttery raia alhada (stingray in garlic sauce). The desserts were exceptional, too, including the cinnamon baked apple with pennyroyal ice cream, and dark-beer pudding. Include house wine or one of the restaurant’s homemade brews, as we did, and you can get away for less than 18 euros a person. Reservations are crucial, and can be made only by email (tabernasalgrosso@gmail.comor Facebook (facebook.com/tabernaSalGrosso/), or come after 9.30 p.m., when the restaurant is not as busy.

Taberna Sal Grosso, Calçada do Forte 22, Santa Apolónia, tabernasalgrosso@gmail.com.

(CNBC) Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy — and it’s hard to delete

(CNBC)

  • Google saves years of information on purchases you’ve made, even outside Google, and pulls this information from Gmail.
  • It’s complicated to delete this private information, and options to turn it off are hidden in privacy settings.
  • Google says it doesn’t use this information to sell you ads.
GP: Google CEO Sundar Pichai Testifies 181211

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, is sworn in during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google tracks a lot of what you buy, even if you purchased it elsewhere, like in a store or from Amazon.

Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-edthat said “privacy cannot be a luxury good.” But behind the scenes, Google is still collecting a lot of personal information from the services you use, such as Gmail, and some of it can’t be easily deleted.

A page called “Purchases ” shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I’ve bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy’s, but never directly through Google.

But because the digital receipts went to my Gmail account, Google has a list of info about my buying habits.

Google even knows about things I long forgot I’d purchased, like dress shoes I bought inside a Macy’s store on Sept. 14, 2015. It also knows:

  • I ordered a Philly cheesesteak on a hoagie roll with Cheez Whiz and banana peppers on Jan. 14, 2016.
  • I reloaded my Starbucks card in November 2014.
  • I bought a new Kindle on Dec. 18, 2013, from Amazon.
  • I bought “Solo: A Star Wars Story” from iTunes on Sept. 14, 2018.

And so on.

Take a look at this sample, which covers some things I bought within the last week:

CNBC Tech: Google Purchases

A list of my purchases Google pulled in from Gmail.Todd Haselton | CNBC

Go here to see your own: http://myaccount.google.com/purchases.

“To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC. “You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page.”

But there isn’t an easy way to remove all of this. You can delete all the receipts in your Gmail inbox and archived messages. But, if you’re like me, you might save receipts in Gmail in case you need them later for returns. There is no way to delete them from Purchases without also deleting them from Gmail — when you click on the “Delete” option in Purchases, it simply guides you back to the Gmail message.

CNBC Tech: Google purchases 1

You need to delete each purchase manually rom Gmail to get rid of it.Todd Haselton | CNBC

Google’s privacy page says that only you can view your purchases. But it says “Information aboutyour orders may also be saved with your activity in other Google services ” and that you can see and delete this information on a separate “My Activity” page.

Except you can’t. Google’s activity controls page doesn’t give you any ability to manage the data it stores on Purchases.

Google told CNBC you can turn off the tracking entirely, but you have to go to another page for search setting preferences. However, when CNBC tried this, it didn’t work — there was no such option to fully turn off the tracking. It’s weird this isn’t front and center on Google’s new privacy pages or even in Google’s privacy checkup feature.

Google says it doesn’t use your Gmail to show you ads and promises it “does not sell your personal information, which includes your Gmail and Google Account information,” and does “not share your personal information with advertisers, unless you have asked us to.”

But, for reasons that still aren’t clear, it’s pulling that information out of your Gmail and dumping it into a “Purchases” page most people don’t seem to know exists. Even if it’s not being used for ads, there’s no clear reason why Google would need to track years of purchases and make it hard to delete that information. Google says it’s looking into simplifying its settings to make them easier to control, however.

(GUA) Bad diets killing more people globally than tobacco, study finds

(GUA) Eating and drinking better could prevent one in five early deaths, researchers sayS

A half-pounder burger and chips in a takeaway carton
 While sugar and trans-fats are harmful, the biggest problem is the lack of healthy foods in our diets, researchers found. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Unhealthy diets are responsible for 11m preventable deaths globally per year, more even than smoking tobacco, according to a major study.

But the biggest problem is not the junk we eat but the nutritious food we don’t eat, say researchers, calling for a global shift in policy to promote vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes.

While sugar and trans-fats are harmful, more deaths are caused by the absence of healthy foods in our diet, the study found.

The research is part of the Global Burden of Disease study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, published in the Lancet medical journal.

Heart attacks and strokes are the main diet-related causes of death, followed by cancers and type 2 diabetes, say researchers.

The study found that eating and drinking better could prevent one in five deaths around the world. Although diets vary from one country to another, eating too few fruits and vegetables and too much sodium (salt) accounted for half of all deaths and two-thirds of the years of disability attributable to diet.

“Our findings show that suboptimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking, highlighting the urgent need for improving human diet across nations,” they write.

Rather than trying to persuade people to cut down on sugar, salt and fat, which has been “the main focus of of diet policy debate in the past two decades”, it would be better to promote healthy options, they say.

“Generally in real life people do substitution. When they increase the consumption of something, they decrease the consumption of other things,” said Dr Ashkan Afshin of the IHME, the lead author.

Countries that have a mainly Mediterranean diet eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, said Afshin, naming Lebanon, Israel and Iran among the better performers. “But no country has an optimal level of consumption of all the health foods. Even in countries that have a Mediterranean diet, the current intake of many other dietary factors is not optimal.”

The paper is the most comprehensive analysis on the health effects of diet ever conducted, says the IHME.

It looked at 15 different nutrients – some good for health and some not so good. The main risk factors were eating too much salt and too few whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids from seafood. Other risk factors considered were consuming high levels of red and processed meat and sugary drinks, low milk consumption and low fibre.

Poor diets were responsible for 10.9m deaths, or 22% of all deaths among adults in 2017. Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause, followed by cancers and diabetes. Nearly half – 45% – were in people younger than 70.

Tobacco was associated with 8m deaths, and high blood pressure was linked to 10.4m deaths.

Israel had the lowest rate of diet-related deaths, at 89 per 100,000 people, followed by France, Spain and Japan. The UK ranked 23rd, with 127 diet-related deaths per 100,000 and the US was 43rd with 171. Uzbekistan was last, with 892.

Prof Walter Willett from Harvard University, a co-author of the study, said that the findings were consistent with a recently published analysis of the benefits for cardiovascular health of replacing red meat with plant sources of protein.

“Adoption of diets emphasising soy foods, beans and other healthy plant sources of protein will have important benefits for both human and planetary health,” he said.

Tom Sanders, a professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said the analysis put too much emphasis on individual components rather than the overall diet. “Obesity is a major driver for risk of type 2 diabetes as well as cancer and the health evidence for this relationship is strong. Obesity is caused by eating more food energy than required rather than specific dietary components such as sugar. The trend for populations to become increasingly sedentary is a major reason why there is an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure but increased availability of foods with a high energy density (more calories/gram) makes it too easy to overeat.”

Dr Christopher Murray, a director of the IHME and one of the authors, said: “This study affirms what many have thought for several years – that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world.

“While sodium, sugar, and fat have been the focus of policy debates over the past two decades, our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium, or low intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables. The paper also highlights the need for comprehensive interventions to promote the production, distribution, and consumption of healthy foods across all nations.”

(GUA) ‘Buildings that defy categorisation’ – Arata Isozaki wins 2019 Pritzker architecture prize

(GUA)

He’s designed an inflatable concert hall, an underground sports arena and envisaged entire cities floating above the earth’s surface. Now, at 87 years of age, Arata Isozaki has been crowned the winner of the 2019 Pritzkerarchitecture prize, an honour regarded as the Nobel prize of architecture.

Regarded as a visionary who helped foster an architectural dialogue between the east and west, Isozaki’s style has remained fluid for more than half a century of work. He first made waves with his futuristic 1962 City in the Airproject, in which Tokyo’s Shinjuku district was reimagined with a new city suspended over the old one on tree-like structures. Though unrealised, the project was a taste of what was to come: among Isozaki’s best-known works are the red sandstone Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the twisting, metal Art Tower Mito in Ibaraki, Japan and the Palau Sant Jordi, a 17,000-person sports arena designed for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, that sits partially below ground in order to draw focus to the surrounding hillside.

Visionary ... Arata Isozaki.
 Visionary … Arata Isozaki. Photograph: Courtesy of the Pritzker Architecture Prize

In their praise of Isozaki, the jury noted: “In his search for meaningful architecture, he created buildings of great quality that to this day defy categorisations.”

Isozaki was born in Ōita on the island of Kyushu, in 1931. The 1945 atomic bombing of nearby Hiroshima had a profound impact on him as a child. “I grew up on ground zero,” he recalled. “It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city. Only barracks and shelters surrounded me. So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities.”

Submerged ... Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain
 Submerged … Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain Photograph: Photo courtesy of Hisao Suzuki

Isozaki had travelled the world several times by the time he was 30. “I experienced many places before I started designing buildings,” he said. “I wanted to feel the life of people in different places around the world. I travelled extensively inside Japan but also to the Islamic world, villages in the deep mountains of China, south-east Asia, and metropolitan cities in the US. Through this, I kept questioning: ‘What is architecture?’”

After graduating from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1954, Isozaki designed buildings in his hometown: Ōita Medical Hall and Ōita Prefectural Library were both heavily influenced by European brutalism. Isozaki went on to fuse these ideas with those from the Japanese postwar metabolist movement, in which designers took inspiration from plants, the oceans and organic biological growth.

Tsukuba Center, 1979-83, Ibaraki, Japan.
 1983: Tsukuba Center, Ibaraki, Japan. Photograph: Yasuhiro Ishimoto

Isozaki has not showed signs of slowing down. Following the 2011 tsunami that devastated parts of Japan, he created Ark Nova with Anish Kapoor, a travelling inflatable concert hall that could visit the affected areas. He recently designed the Shanghai Symphony Hall in China and the Allianz Tower in Milan, the latter in collaboration with Italian architect Andrea Maffei.

The Pritzker architecture prize was founded in 1979, and each year honours an outstanding living architect or architects who has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. This year’s jury, which included 2007 winner Richard Rogers and 2010 winner Sejima Kazuyo, summarised Isozaki’s lifetime achievements by noting: “[He] became the first Japanese architect to forge a deep and long-lasting relationship between east and west. Possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant garde, he never merely replicated the status quo but challenged it.”

Isozaki is the 46th laureate of the Pritzker prize, and the ninth to hail from Japan. The 2019 Pritzker prize ceremony will take place in France this May, accompanied by a public lecture in Paris.

(BBC) Why humans have evolved to drink milk

(BBC) Humans didn’t start out being able to digest animal milk – but now many populations do. Why has evolution favoured tolerating dairy? 

Dairy milk has competition. Alternative “milks” made from plants like soya or almonds are increasingly popular. These alternatives are often vegan-friendly and can be suitable for people who are allergic to milk, or intolerant of it. The runner-up in the 2018 series of The Apprentice (UK) ran a flavoured nut milk business.

But the rise of alternative milks is just the latest twist in the saga of humanity’s relationship with animal milk. This relationship dates back thousands of years, and it has had a lot of ups and downs.

When you think about it, milk is a weird thing to drink. It’s a liquid made by a cow or other animal to feed its young; we have to squirt it out of the cow’s udders to obtain it.

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In many cultures it is almost unheard of. Back in 2000, China launched a nationwide campaign to encourage people to consume more milk and dairy products for health reasons – a campaign that had to overcome the deep suspicions of many older Chinese people. Cheese, which is essentially milk that has been allowed to go offcan still make many Chinese people feel sick.

Milk is poured at a dairy farm in Russia

Milk is poured at a dairy farm in Russia. Compared to humanity’s 300,000-year history, drinking milk is a new habit (Credit: Getty)

Set against the 300,000-year history of our species, drinking milk is quite a new habit. Before about 10,000 years ago or so, hardly anybody drank milk, and then only on rare occasions. The first people to drink milk regularly were early farmers and pastoralists in western Europe – some of the first humans to live with domesticated animals, including cows. Today, drinking milk is common practice in northern Europe, North America, and a patchwork of other places.

Baby food

There is a biological reason why drinking animal milk is odd.

Milk contains a type of sugar called lactose, which is distinct from the sugars found in fruit and other sweet foods. When we are babies, our bodies make a special enzyme called lactase that allows us to digest the lactose in our mother’s milk. But after we are weaned in early childhood, for many people this stops. Without lactase, we cannot properly digest the lactose in milk. As a result, if an adult drinks a lot of milk they may experience flatulence, painful cramps and even diarrhoea. (It’s worth noting that in other mammals, there aren’t any lactase-persistent adults – adult cows don’t have active lactase, and neither do cats or dogs, for example).

So the first Europeans who drank milk probably farted a lot as a result. But then evolution kicked in: some people began to keep their lactase enzymes active into adulthood. This “lactase persistence” allowed them to drink milk without side effects. It is the result of mutations in a section of DNA that controls the activity of the lactase gene.

Artwork from the tomb of Methethi in Egypt

Artwork from the tomb of Methethi in Egypt, dated to around 2350BC, shows an ancient Egyptian milking a cow (Credit: Getty)

“The first time that we see the lactase persistence allele in Europe arising is around 5,000 years BP [before present] in southern Europe, and then it starts to kick in in central Europe around 3,000 years ago,” says assistant professor Laure Ségurel at the Museum of Humankind in Paris, who co-authored a 2017 review of the science of lactase persistence.

The lactase persistence trait was favoured by evolution and today it is extremely common in some populations. In northern Europe, more than 90% of people are lactase persistent. The same is true in a few populations in Africa and the Middle East.

But there are also many populations where lactase persistence is much rarer: many Africans do not have the trait and it is uncommon in Asia and South America.

A woman purchases soy milk in Hong Kong

A woman purchases soy milk in Hong Kong. Dairy can make many people feel sick in Asia, where the lactase persistence trait is uncommon (Credit: Getty)

It is hard to make sense of this pattern because we don’t know precisely why drinking milk, and therefore lactase persistence, was a good thing, says Ségurel: “Why was it so strongly advantageous in itself?”

The obvious answer is that drinking milk gave people a new source of nutrients, reducing the risk of starvation. But on closer inspection this doesn’t hold up.

“There’s a lot of different sources of food, so it’s surprising that one source of food is so important, so different from other sorts of food,” says Ségurel.

People who are lactase-non-persistent can still eat a certain amount of lactose without ill effects, so drinking a small amount of milk is fine. There is also the option of processing milk into butter, yoghurt, cream or cheese – all of which reduce the amount of lactose. Hard cheeses like cheddar have less than 10% as much lactose as milk, and butter is similarly low. (Read more about parmigiano, a cheese with so little lactose it can be eaten by the lactose-intolerant). “Heavy cream and butter have the lowest lactose,” says Ségurel.

Hard cheeses like parmigiano-reggiano can have little to no lactose

Hard cheeses like parmigiano-reggiano can have little to no lactose (Credit: Getty)

Accordingly, people seem to have invented cheese rather quickly. In September 2018, archaeologists reporting finding fragments of pottery in what is now Croatia. They carried fatty acids, suggesting that the pottery had been used to separate curds from whey: a crucial step in making cheese. If that is correct (and the interpretation has been questioned), people were making cheese in southern Europe 7,200 years ago. Similar evidence from slightly more recent times, but still more than 6,000 years ago, has been found elsewhere in Europe. This is well before lactase persistence became common in Europeans.

That said, there is clearly a pattern behind which populations evolved high levels of lactase persistence and which didn’t, says genetics professor Dallas Swallow of University College London. Those with the trait are pastoralists: people who raise livestock. Hunter-gatherers, who do not keep animals, did not acquire the mutations. Neither did “forest gardeners” who cultivated plants, but not livestock.

It makes sense that people who did not have access to animal milk were not under great evolutionary pressure to adapt to drinking it.

The question is, why did some pastoralist people acquire the trait and not others?

A Sudanese boy milks a cow at a cattle camp

A Sudanese boy milks a cow at a cattle camp; an enduring mystery is why only some pastoralist groups acquired lactase persistence (Credit: Getty)

Ségurel points to east Asian herding peoples, such as those in Mongolia, who have some of the lowest rates of lactase persistence even though they rely heavily on milk from their animals for food. The mutations were common in nearby populations in Europe and western Asia, so it would have been possible for them to spread into these east Asian groups, but they didn’t. “That’s the big puzzle,” says Ségurel.

Dairy benefits

Drinking milk might have other advantages besides its nutritional value

She speculates that drinking milk might have other advantages besides its nutritional value. People who keep livestock are exposed to their diseases, which can include anthrax and cryptosporidiosis. It may be that drinking cow’s milk provides antibodies against some of these infections. Indeed, milk’s protective effect is thought to be one of the benefits of breastfeeding children.

Women nurse their children in Bogota, Colombia

Women nurse their children in Bogota, Colombia for a World Breastfeeding Week event. Milk’s protective effect is thought to be a benefit of breastfeeding (Credit: Getty)

But some of the mysterious absences of lactase-persistence could be down to sheer chance: whether anyone in a group of pastoralists happened to get the right mutation. Until fairly recently there were a lot fewer people on Earth and local populations were smaller, so some groups would miss out by plain bad luck.

“I think the most coherent part of the picture is that there’s a correlation with the way of life, with pastoralism,” says Swallow. “But you have to have the mutation first.” Only then could natural selection go to work.

In the case of Mongolian herders, Swallow points out that they typically drink fermented milk, which again has a lower lactose content. Arguably, the ease with which milk can be processed to be more edible makes the rise of lactase persistence even more puzzling. “Because we were so good at adapting culturally to processing and fermenting the milk, I’m struggling with why we ever adapted genetically,” says Swallow’s PhD student Catherine Walker.

There may have been several factors promoting lactase persistence, not just one. Swallow suspects that the key may have been milk’s nutritional benefits, such as that it is rich in fat, protein, sugar and micronutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

It is also a source of clean water. Depending on where your community lived, you may have evolved to tolerate it for one reason over another.

It’s unclear whether lactase persistence is still being actively favoured by evolution, and thus whether it will become more widespread, says Swallow. In 2018 she co-authored a study of a group of pastoralists in the Coquimbo region of Chile, who acquired the lactase-persistence mutation when their ancestors interbred with newly-arrived Europeans 500 years ago. The trait is now spreading through the population: it is being favoured by evolution, as it was in northern Europeans 5,000 years ago.

Dairy cows munch on alfalfa in north-western France (Credit: Credit: Getty)

Dairy cows munch on alfalfa in north-western France, a part of the world where people would have adapted to drinking milk around 3,000 years ago (Credit: Getty)

But this is a special case because the Coquimbo people are heavily reliant on milk. Globally, the picture is very different. “I would think it’s stabilised myself, except in countries where they have milk dependence and there is a shortage [of other food],” says Swallow. “In the West, where we have such good diets, the selective pressures are not really likely to be there.”

Dairy decline?

If anything, the news over the last few years offers the opposite impression: that people are abandoning milk. In November 2018, the Guardian published a story headlined “How we fell out of love with milk”, describing the meteoric rise of the companies selling oat and nut milks, and suggesting that traditional milk is facing a major battle.

But the statistics tell a different story. According to the 2018 report of the IFCN Dairy Research Network, global milk production has increased every year since 1998 in response to growing demand. In 2017, 864 million tonnes of milk were produced worldwide. This shows no sign of slowing down: the IFCN expects milk demand to rise 35% by 2030 to 1,168 million tonnes. (Read more about how milk became a staple food in industrialised societies).

Still, this masks some more localised trends. A 2010 study of food consumption found that in the US milk consumption has fallen over the last few decades – although it was replaced with fizzy drinks, not almond milk. This fall was balanced by growing demand in developing countries, especially in Asia – something the IFCN has also noted. Meanwhile, a 2015 study of people’s drinking habits in 187 countries found that milk drinking was more common in older people, which does suggest that it is less popular with the young – although this says nothing about young people’s consumption of milk products like yoghurt.

While milk consumption has fallen in the US, in Asia demand is growing

While milk consumption has fallen in the US, in Asia demand is growing (Credit: Getty)

Still, it seems unlikely that alternative milks will make much of a dent in the world’s growing appetite for milk, at least over the next decade.

Walker adds that alternative milks are “not a like-for-like substitution” for animal milk. In particular, many don’t have the same micronutrients. She says they are most useful for vegans and for people allergic to milk – the latter being a reaction to milk protein, and nothing to do with lactose.

Alternative milks like almond milk don’t normally have the same micronutrients as dairy

Alternative milks like almond milk don’t normally have the same micronutrients as dairy (Credit: Getty)

It’s particularly striking that so much of the growth in milk demand is in Asia, where most people are non-lactase-persistent. Whatever advantages the people there see in milk, they outweigh the potential digestive issues or the need to process the milk.

In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has pushed for people in developing countries to keep more non-traditional dairy animals, such as llamas, so that they can obtain the benefits of milk even if cow’s milk is unavailable or too expensive.

What’s more, a major study published in January described a “planetary health diet” that is designed to both maximise health and minimise our impact on the environment. While it entails drastically cutting down on red meat and other animal products, it nevertheless includes the equivalent of one glass of milk a day.

Milk, it seems, is not down and out. If anything it’s still on the up – even if our bodies have mostly stopped evolving in response to it.

(BBC) The truth about Japanese tempura

(BBC)

When 16th-Century Portuguese came to Japan, they brought a special dish with them. Today, in Japan, it’s called tempura and has been a staple of the country’s cuisine ever since.

In 1543, a Chinese ship with three Portuguese sailors on board was headed to Macau, but was swept off course and ended up on the Japanese island of Tanegashima. Antonio da Mota, Francisco Zeimoto and Antonio Peixoto – the first Europeans to ever step on Japanese soil – were deemed ‘southern barbarians’ by the locals because of the direction from which they came and their ‘unusual’, non-Japanese features. The Japanese were in the middle of a civil war and eventually began trading with the Portuguese, in general, for guns. And thus began a Portuguese trading post in Japan, starting with firearms and then other items such as soap, tobacco, wool and even recipes.

The Portuguese remained in Japan until 1639, when they were banished because the ruling shogun Iemitsu believed Christianity was a threat to Japanese society. As their ships sailed away for the final time, the Portuguese left an indelible mark on the island: a battered and fried green bean recipe called peixinhos da horta. Today, in Japan, it’s called tempura and has been a staple of the country’s cuisine ever since.Y

No-one knows the exact origins of peixinhos da horta. “We know it existed in 1543,” said Michelin-starred chef Jose Avillez when I met up with him at Cantinho de Avillez, one of his acclaimed Lisbon restaurants. “But before that, it’s anyone’s guess.”

Green beans, it turns out, changed food history.

However, peixinhos da horta was only one of many dishes the Portuguese inspired around the world. In fact, Portuguese cuisine, still heavily overshadowed by the cuisines of Italy, Spain and France, may be the most influential cuisine on the planet.

Portuguese cuisine may be the most influential cuisine on the planet

When the Portuguese turned up in Goa, India, where they stayed until 1961, they cooked a garlicky, wine-spiked pork dish called carne de vinha d’alhos, which was adopted by locals to become vindaloo, one of the most popular Indian dishes today. In Malaysia, several staples, including the spicy stew debal, hail from Portuguese traders of centuries past. Egg tarts in Macao and southern China are direct descendants to the egg tarts found in Lisbon bakeries. And Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, a stew with beans and pork, has its origins in the northern Portuguese region of Minho; today, you can find variations of it everywhere the Portuguese have sailed, including Goa, Mozambique, Angola, Macau and Cape Verde.

Peixinhos da horta were often eaten during Lent or Ember days (the word ‘tempura’ comes from the Latin word tempora, a term referring to these times of fasting), when the church dictated that Catholics go meatless. “So the way around that,” Avillez said, “[was] to batter and fry a vegetable, like the green bean. And just to add to it, we called it peixinhos do horta, little fish of the garden. If you can’t eat meat for that period of time, this was a good replacement.”

The word ‘tempura’ comes from the Latin word tempora

And it had other functions too. “When the poor couldn’t afford fish, they would eat these fried green beans as a substitute,” Avillez said. And sailors would fry the beans to preserve them during long journeys, much in the way humans have been curing and salting meat for preservation purposes for centuries.

Perhaps not constricted by tradition, the Japanese lightened the batter and changed up the fillings. Today, everything from shrimp to sweet potatoes to shitake mushrooms is turned into tempura.

“The Japanese inherited the dish from us and they made it better,” Avillez said.

Avillez said Japanese people sometimes turn up at his restaurants and see the fried bean dish and say, “Hey, Portuguese cuisine is influenced by Japanese cuisine.” He added, “And that’s when I say, ‘No, in this case it’s the other way around’.” A Japanese-born sous chef at Avillez’s two-Michelin-starred Lisbon restaurant, Belcanto, even chose to train in Portugal instead of France because he recognised the influence on his home cuisine, particularly in peixinhos da horta.

Avillez said his one complaint about the dish, in general, has always been that the beans are often fried in the morning and so they go cold and limp by the time they get to the table later that day. He remedies this by not only cooking them on demand, but by adding a starch called nutrios that keeps them crispy. After the bean is blanched, it gets rolled in the batter of wheat flour, egg, milk, and nutrios and then flash fried.

Other chefs I talked to in Portugal had their own recipes for the fried green beans, but they didn’t deviate much. “It’s a very simple dish,” said chef Olivier da Costa, when I met up with him at his Lisbon restaurant Olivier Avenida, located in the Avani Avenida Liberdade hotel. “I use a batter of flour, milk, eggs, salt, pepper and beer,” he said. “Beer?” I asked. “Yes! It ferments the batter and the beer foam gives it a better taste.” He didn’t have the dish on his menu at the time so I had to take his word for it.

One reason why Portuguese love peixinhos da horta so much, da Costa said, was nostalgia. “We all eat it as children and thus have fond memories of it. These days it’s been making a comeback, not just because people are eating more vegetarian food, but because a younger generation are taking more interest in our local cuisine and because they want to be taken back to that simpler time.”

Avillez is taking this newfound interest in super traditional Portuguese cuisine to a new level. Along with his Japanese-born sous chef, he plans to temporarily offer a tasting menu called ‘1543’, the year the Portuguese first showed up in Japan, offering peixinhos da horta and other Portuguese dishes that have inspired Japanese cuisine. Alongside the Portuguese dishes, he plans to serve the Japanese versions that evolved from the Portuguese presence in Japan four-and-a-half centuries ago.

Each bite was like taking a first bite

Back at Cantinho de Avillez, an order of peixinhos da horta appeared in front of me. They were rigid like pencils with a lumpy texture and a yellow-ish hue. Each bite was like taking a first bite: crisp, light and super flavourful, the crunchy texture of the batter complimenting the sturdy feel of the bean. The dish has been one of the only consistent items on the menu at Cantinho de Avillez, which opened in 2012.

“I can’t take it off,” Avillez said. “My regulars would be enraged.”

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(BBG) If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?

(BBG)

New research suggests personality has a larger effect on success than IQ.

How much is a child’s future success determined by innate intelligence? Economist James Heckman says it’s not what people think. He likes to ask educated non-scientists — especially politicians and policy makers — how much of the difference between people’s incomes can be tied to IQ. Most guess around 25 percent, even 50 percent, he says. But the data suggest a much smaller influence: about 1 or 2 percent.

So if IQ is only a minor factor in success, what is it that separates the low earners from the high ones? Or, as the saying goes: If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?

Science doesn’t have a definitive answer, although luck certainly plays a role. But another key factor is personality, according to a paper Heckman co-authored in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month. He found financial success was correlated with conscientiousness, a personality trait marked by diligence, perseverance and self-discipline.

To reach that conclusion, he and colleagues examined four different data sets, which, between them, included IQ scores, standardized test results, grades and personality assessments for thousands of people in the U.K., the U.S. and the Netherlands. Some of the data sets followed people over decades, tracking not just income but criminal records, body mass index and self-reported life satisfaction.

The study found that grades and achievement-test results were markedly better predictors of adult success than raw IQ scores. That might seem surprising — after all, don’t they all measure the same thing? Not quite. Grades reflect not just intelligence but also what Heckman calls “non-cognitive skills,” such as perseverance, good study habits and the ability to collaborate — in other words, conscientiousness. To a lesser extent, the same is true of test scores. Personality counts.

Heckman, who shared a Nobel Prize in 2000 and is founder of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Economics of Human Development, believes success hinges not just on innate ability but on skills that can be taught. His own research suggests childhood interventions can be helpful, and that conscientiousness is more malleable than IQ. Openness — a broad trait that includes curiosity — is also connected to test scores and grades.

IQ still matters, of course. Someone with an IQ of 70 isn’t going to be able to do things that are easy for a person with an IQ of 190. But Heckman says many people fail to break into the job market because they lack skills that aren’t measured on intelligence tests. They don’t understand how to behave with courtesy in job interviews. They may show up late or fail to dress properly. Or on the job, they make it obvious they’ll do no more than the minimum, if that.

John Eric Humphries, a co-author of the paper, says he hoped their work could help clarify the complicated, often misunderstood notion of ability. Even IQ tests, which were designed to assess innate problem-solving capabilities, appear to measure more than just smarts. In a 2011 study, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth found that IQ scores also reflected test-takers’ motivation and effort. Diligent, motivated kids will work harder to answer tough questions than equally intelligent but lazier ones.

Teaching personality or character traits in school wouldn’t be easy. For one thing it’s not always clear whether more of a trait is always better. The higher the better for IQ, and perhaps for conscientiousness as well. But personality researchers have suggested the middle ground is best for other traits — you don’t want to be so introverted that you can’t speak up, or so extroverted that you can’t shut up and listen.

What does any of this have to do with economics? “Our ultimate goal is to improve human well-being,” Heckman says, and a major determinant of well-being comes down to skills.

newer study published this month in the journal Nature Human Behaviour focused on the flip side of success: hardship. After following some 1,000 New Zealanders for more than 30 years, researchers concluded that tests of language, behavioral skills and cognitive abilities taken when children were just three years old could predict who was most likely to need welfare, commit crimes, or become chronically ill.

The lead author of that paper, Duke University psychologist Terrie Moffitt, says she hopes the results would foster compassion and help, not stigma. Her results also suggested that helping people improve certain kinds of skills before they’re out of diapers would benefit everyone.

(ECO) O ano em que decidimos ser estúpidos – Diogo Queiroz de Andrade

(ECO)

Em 2018 a máscara do Facebook caiu em definitivo. A gananciosa máquina que converte ódio e crimes em lucros é generosamente sustentada por todos nós, que já não temos desculpa.

Há um ano, já tínhamos ouvido falar da interferência russa nas presidenciais americanas e no papel que o algoritmo do Facebook desempenhou conscientemente em tudo isso. Sabíamos que o Facebook era uma excelente plataforma para a disseminação do discurso de ódio contra minorias, para a promoção do suicídio e para a fazer equivaler mentiras a verdades científicas. Mas não sabíamos a dimensão da coisa. Aliás, o quarto dia de 2018 começou com o senhor Zuckerberg a prometer resolver os problemas do Facebook. A partir daí foi uma animação. Só para destacar os casos mais graves, fica um resumo mensal do ano que passou:

  • Ainda em janeiro, no World Economic Forum, a plataforma é apresentada como uma ameaça à sociedade e um obstáculo à inovação.
  • Em fevereiro a Wired publica uma enorme investigação que detalha os pormenores e a dimensão da interferência russa na vida política americana através do Facebook.
  • Em março, o Observer dá a conhecer o imenso escândalo Cambridge Analytica, em que se confirmam os abusos de privacidade dos utilizadores para os manipular politicamente; os fundadores do WhatsApp, comprado pelo Facebook em 2016 e até aí funcionários da casa, aderem à campanha #deletefacebook; e o BuzzFeed dá a conhecer um memorando interno em que se defende o crescimento a todo o custo, mesmo que morram pessoas pela utilização da aplicação.
  • Chegamos a abril e são os próprios responsáveis a admitir que é muito provável que quase todos os dois mil milhões de utilizadores tenha sido, num momento ou noutro, vítimas de invasão de privacidade; e nas inquirições no congresso americano e no Parlamento Europeu, a postura robótica de Zuckerberg e a imagem das frases que deveria repetir expuseram a falácia de todo o processo.
  • Em maio entrou em vigor na Europa o GDPR, que deu imediatamente origem a centenas de processos contra a plataforma; e o relatório provisório da comissão parlamentar britânica que investigou o Brexit é demolidor para a suposta isenção política do Facebook.
  • Em junho o New York Times revelou que o Facebook deu aos produtores dos telemóveis acesso aos dados pessoais dos utilizadores; três dias depois, admitiu ter encontrado um erro em que a informação que estaria reservada apenas para amigos era afinal publicamente visível; e numa entrevista ao Guardian a comissária europeia Verstager alertou contra os riscos para a democracia que vêm dali, dizendo que não sabe se o Facebook tem demasiado poder porque teria antes de definir uma “teoria de maldade” aplicada à plataforma.
  • O verão não correu melhor, porque em plena ronda de relações públicas decorrida em julho, Zuckerberg admite que não quer limitar a liberdade de expressão e por isso defende o direito dos negacionistas do holocausto a estar presentes, mesmo que isso custe vidas e aumente a descriminação; uma semana depois, a publicação dos resultados financeiros faz desaparecer mais de 20% da valorização bolsista da empresa.
  • E em agosto as Nações Unidas acusam a plataforma de ter desempenhado um papel consciente no genocídio dos Royhinga em Myanmar, mesmo depois de sucessivos alertas oficiais em público e em privado; e uma nova investigação demonstrou como, na Alemanha, a propagação do discurso anti-refugiados coincidiu com ataques coordenados a refugiados.
  • Em setembro ficou a conhecer-se a extensão da manipulação política nas Filipinas e na Líbia graças à plataforma e às suas ferramentas; outra investigação jornalística mostra como o Instagram promoveu vídeos de abusos de crianças, acelerando a saída dos fundadores do Instagram por choques com Zuckerberg; e a própria empresa admitiu outra falha que permitiu o roubo de dados privados subsequentemente usados para manipulação financeira.
  • O último trimestre, por si só, seria suficiente para desgraçar qualquer empresa: em outubro chegaram as eleições brasileiras e com elas a revelação da forma como os grupos que promovem desinformação usaram o Facebook e o WhatsApp para atacar os concorrentes de Bolsonaro; na Índia, uma campanha anti-vacinação de crianças levou à suspensão de uma ação da OMS; e novos dados sobre os anúncios no Facebook demonstrou como se publicita a venda de casas e novos empregos excluindo minorias raciais e sexuais, como se falsificam informações políticas e como se podem colocar anúncios a recrutar para… o Estado Islâmico.
  • Em novembro relatou-se o impacto do Facebook nas campanhas de ódio étnico e nas matanças de minorias na Nigéria; o New York Times revelou como o Facebook pagou a empresas de relações públicas para denegrir publicamente, por vezes com base em insultos raciais, os críticos da empresa; a ameaça da nova lei de proteção de dados da União Europeia vai abrir caminho a novos processos; e a justiça britânica tomou posse de uma série de documentos que mostram como a empresa abusa do seu poder para esmagar a concorrência e abre caminho a novos processos milionários.
  • Chegados a dezembro, os próprios responsáveis de segurança da empresa admitem que as fotos de sete milhões de utilizadores foram partilhadas com mais de mil e quinhentas apps; e logo a seguir o New York Times publicou mais uma investigação em que revela como deu a empresas acesso às mensagens privadas dos utilizadores; Um dos papas de Silicon Valley, Walt Mossberg, apagou-se do Facebook pelo desconforto; o Senado americano publicou um relatório em que se revê em alta a interferência russa nas eleições americanas através do Facebook e Washington anunciou uma ação legal contra a plataforma e os seus responsáveis por causa dos falhanços na proteção de dados, provocando mais um trambolhão na bolsa (este “apenas” de sete por cento).

Nada disto acontece por acaso. Todos estes crimes ocorrem porque são inerentes ao funcionamento da própria plataforma e à forma como esta trafica tráfego e informações pessoais por publicidade.

Todos os dias, todos nós, com a participação nesta plataforma, aceitamos ser cúmplices conscientes destes crimes. Estamos a contribuir para crimes raciais, para genocídios, para manipulações políticas e para violações de privacidade. Somo parte ativa de uma máquina que promove emoções e difunde mentiras, enterrando verdades científicas debaixo de camadas e camadas de discursos de ódio. Pior do que isso, estamos a ser parte ativa de um sistema que está a pôr em causa o modelo de democracia liberal em que vivemos, com consequências dramáticas para o futuro. Sabemos isto tudo e continuamos lá. A culpa é nossa, toda nossa.

Para o ano, as coisas vão piorar. Em Inglaterra, porque o Brexit não vai ser bonito. Nos EUA, porque o Trumpismo está cada vez mais afinado como máquina de destruição da coesão nacional. Na Europa, porque vem aí uma eleição – e um parlamento – em que os populistas vão ganhar muito poder. Em Portugal, porque a informação livre vai continuar a morrer e a demagogia vai aumentar na aproximação às legislativas. Mas nada disto é grave: afinal, podemos sempre usar o Facebook para nos queixarmos.

Ler mais: O melhor resumo do caso contra o Facebook está resumido em Anti SocialMedia: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. O livro foi publicado no início de 2018 e, apesar de não ter quase nenhum dos factos aqui relatados, demonstra quão grave já era a situação. E o seu autor, Siva Vaidhyanathan, é uma voz autorizada e reconhecida: doutorado pela Universidade do Texas, fundou a disciplina de Critical Information Studies e é uma voz influente no estudo das influências culturais dos média.

(Times) What’s the best way to cure a hangover? The experts’ advice

(Times) Is there really anything we can do to reduce the pain of the morning after a big night?P

Hangovers after a big night out can persist for more than half a day
Hangovers after a big night out can persist for more than half a daySTOCKSY

It’s hard to avoid hangovers, particularly at this time of year — and, as we all know, they’re not a pleasant experience. Fatigue, dehydration, headache or muscle aches, dizziness, shakiness, and a rapid heartbeat are symptoms that three quarters of us experience at least some of after drinking, according to a study published in the journal Addiction.

The misery persists for an average of six and a half hours, with one in eight people admitting that their most recent hangover had lasted more than half a day, according to a survey by Cancer Research UK.

So what really causes us to feel so bad after drinking? And, more importantly, what, if anything, can we do to reduce the pain? The answer from scientists seems to be not as much as we would hope.

Despite what supplement and health tonic manufacturers would like us to believe, there is no cure for a hangover. “That’s because we are still not entirely sure precisely what causes the hangover,” says Sean Johnson, a researcher into alcohol and its effects at the University of the West of England in Bristol and a member of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG).

“Researchers have ideas that are currently being tested, but we do not yet have a firm understanding of what happens in the body between consuming alcohol and waking up feeling like crap.”

What scientists do know, though, is that when we drink, our blood becomes concentrated with alcohol, and the higher the concentration of alcohol, the worse the symptoms to follow later. According to Johnson, hangover severity is worse when blood alcohol concentration reaches zero, which usually occurs 12 to 14 hours after you stop drinking. That is because, although the alcohol has left the system, the toxins left behind are at their peak.

“A hangover is the result of toxic substances such as acetaldehyde that are products of alcohol metabolism, and they contribute to us feeling sweaty and nauseous,” says Dr Sally Adams, assistant professor of health psychology at the University of Bath and another member of the AHRG panel. “These are most concentrated after 12 to 14 hours.”

A surge of other chemicals is also involved in causing hangover symptoms. “Alcohol initially produces an increase in the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine,” Johnson says. “So you feel great at first. But there follows an immune response that triggers an elevation of cytokines — inflammatory proteins that can cause you to feel hot, flushed and queasy.”

Your choice of drink will also play a role in determining the severity of your hangover. High levels of compounds associated with fermentation, called congeners, are linked to worse hangovers. More of these are found in dark-coloured spirits, such as bourbon and whisky, than in light-coloured drinks, such as gin and vodka.

Apart from swapping to lighter-coloured drinks, is there anything else we can do to avoid the worst of the post-party pain? In 2015 scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an independent Australian government agency, suggested that consuming 220ml of Korean (also known as Asian) pear juice before drinking alcohol could reduce blood alcohol levels by 20 per cent and cut hangover suffering.

This particular variety of pear, sold in UK supermarkets, is said to act on the key enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism to help the body to eliminate alcohol more quickly. “Reductions were seen in blood acetaldehyde levels, the toxic metabolite thought to be responsible for the hangover symptoms, with pear-juice consumption,” the CSIRO team noted. Overall hangover severity, as measured by a 14-item hangover-symptom scale, was significantly reduced in the Korean-pear group compared with those who took a placebo drink.

Alternatively, you could try increasing your intake of asparagus. A 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science, showed that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus extract may alleviate hangovers and protect liver cells against toxins.

If these pre-binge measures might help, a Bloody Mary afterwards will not, say experts. Attempting to treat a hangover with yet more alcohol is a lost cause, says Dr Laura Veach, a researcher at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. She says that a hair of the dog the morning after may temporarily ease your suffering because it tops up alcohol in your system. “But it doesn’t cure the hangover,” Veach says. “It just sort of tricks you by masking the symptoms. They’re going to show up eventually.”

There is also bad news for older drinkers because, yes, hangovers do really get worse with time. That is because as we age, our tendons and cartilage lose fluid, which means we retain less water. And the less fluid we have in our bodies, the less capable we are of diluting alcohol, which means that any alcohol consumed is more concentrated and therefore more potent.

Menopausal women are also likely to suffer worse hangover symptoms for this reason, according to Liz Earle, a wellbeing expert and the author of The Good Menopause Guide (Orion Spring) “During the perimenopause and beyond, the body’s water content is reduced, so any alcohol consumed is more concentrated,” she says.

Johnson says that there are scientific reasons for the link. “Both alcohol and the menopause elicit an immune response and both produce elevated levels of cytokines . . . that are responsible for similar symptoms, such as hot flushes,” he explains. “In combination, alcohol plus the menopause could provide a double blow to the body, with the increased responses amplifying many menopausal symptoms, such as sleeplessness and fatigue.”

Whatever our age, our genes, too, have an affect on how bad a hangover will be. Which explains why some suffer more than others.

“We all respond differently to alcohol, with some being more sensitive than others to its effects,” Johnson says. “Some people are super-metabolisers of alcohol, meaning they experience less hangover effects. Others experience side-effects after very little.”

Will drinking a glass of water before bed prevent a hangover? Unfortunately not, say experts. Although dehydration will play a part in your hangover, there is no science confirming that it alone is responsible for your symptoms the next day.

“A hangover is more than just dehydration,” says Dr Adams. “After heavy alcohol consumption we see inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and an imbalance of electrolyte or body salt. Together these contribute to the symptoms, and a glass of water won’t resolve them.”

In recent years, a number of hangover remedies have emerged on to the market, some containing the herbal compound dihydromyricetin, shown in studies to sober up rats immediately, but all purporting to lessen the agony of a post-drink binge. Do they work? They might help to alleviate some of the symptoms, such as dehydration and loss of body salts in some people, says Johnson, but none will accelerate full recovery. “Nothing has yet been shown to help people overcome the impairments in cognitive functioning — such as concentration, memory and psychomotor performance — that are factors of a hangover,” he says.

Ultimately, trial and error is the best route to finding out what works for you after a night on the tiles. “Some people will find they respond to electrolyte drinks, others to painkillers and a banana, and you will need rest and recovery,” Johnson says. “Then it is just a matter of waiting for alcohol to leave your system and normality to resume.”

(BBG) Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost

(BBG) No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion.

This is hardly a single-industry phenomenon, as men across the country check their behavior at work, to protect themselves in the face of what they consider unreasonable political correctness — or to simply do the right thing. The upshot is forceful on Wall Street, where women are scarce in the upper ranks. The industry has also long nurtured a culture that keeps harassment complaints out of the courts and public eye, and has so far avoided a mega-scandal like the one that has engulfed Harvey Weinstein.

‘Real Loss’

Now, more than a year into the #MeToo movement — with its devastating revelations of harassment and abuse in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond — Wall Street risks becoming more of a boy’s club, rather than less of one.

“Women are grasping for ideas on how to deal with it, because it is affecting our careers,” said Karen Elinski, president of the Financial Women’s Association and a senior vice president at Wells Fargo & Co. “It’s a real loss.”

There’s a danger, too, for companies that fail to squash the isolating backlash and don’t take steps to have top managers be open about the issue and make it safe for everyone to discuss it, said Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison.

“If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”

Channeling Pence

While the new personal codes for dealing with #MeToo have only just begun to ripple, the shift is already palpable, according to the people interviewed, who declined to be named. They work for hedge funds, law firms, banks, private equity firms and investment-management firms.

For obvious reasons, few will talk openly about the issue. Privately, though, many of the men interviewed acknowledged they’re channeling Pence, saying how uneasy they are about being alone with female colleagues, particularly youthful or attractive ones, fearful of the rumor mill or of, as one put it, the potential liability.

A manager in infrastructure investing said he won’t meet with female employees in rooms without windows anymore; he also keeps his distance in elevators. A late-40-something in private equity said he has a new rule, established on the advice of his wife, an attorney: no business dinner with a woman 35 or younger.

The changes can be subtle but insidious, with a woman, say, excluded from casual after-work drinks, leaving male colleagues to bond, or having what should be a private meeting with a boss with the door left wide open.

‘Not That Hard’

On Wall Street as elsewhere, reactions to #MeToo can smack of paranoia, particularly given the industry’s history of protecting its biggest revenue generators.

“Some men have voiced concerns to me that a false accusation is what they fear,” said Zweig, the lawyer. “These men fear what they cannot control.”

There are as many or more men who are responding in quite different ways. One, an investment adviser who manages about 100 employees, said he briefly reconsidered having one-on-one meetings with junior women. He thought about leaving his office door open, or inviting a third person into the room.

Finally, he landed on the solution: “Just try not to be an asshole.”

That’s pretty much the bottom line, said Ron Biscardi, chief executive officer of Context Capital Partners. “It’s really not that hard.”

In January, as #MeToo was gathering momentum, Biscardi did away with the late-night, open-bar gathering he’d hosted for years in his penthouse suite during Context Capital’s annual conference at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. “Given the fact that women are in the minority at our events, we want to make sure that the environment is always welcoming and comfortable. We felt that eliminating the after-party was necessary to remain consistent with that goal.”

In this charged environment, the question is how the response to #MeToo might actually end up hurting women’s progress. Given the male dominance in Wall Street’s top jobs, one of the most pressing consequences for women is the loss of male mentors who can help them climb the ladder.

“There aren’t enough women in senior positions to bring along the next generation all by themselves,” said Lisa Kaufman, chief executive officer of LaSalle Securities. “Advancement typically requires that someone at a senior level knows your work, gives you opportunities and is willing to champion you within the firm. It’s hard for a relationship like that to develop if the senior person is unwilling to spend one-on-one time with a more junior person.”

Men have to step up, she said, and “not let fear be a barrier.”