Breast cancer and high-fat diet

Over the last several years I’ve seen many news stories that talk about how eating more fat makes women more likely to get breast cancer. But it’s always in the present. I’ve not seen any current stories about how the effect fits into a woman’s life cycle.

One of the big risk factors identified demographically by, of all people, Adele Davies (the author of popular books about nutrition and vitamins half a century ago), was the amount of fat in the diet before menarche. She correlated breast cancer rates with countries and noted that girls who moved to high-fat countries (e.g. the U.S.) from low-fat countries (e.g. Japan) tended to keep the good statistics. I did not go to the original papers to see if she was reporting them accurately. But I’d be very interested to see someone follow up on her hypothesis.

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Actors to wed at long last

Since a recent decision by the California Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage can not legally be forbidden, people who were denied the right to marry are stepping up to the altar. Actor George Takei. who played “Mr. Sulu” on Star Trek, will marry now that same-sex marriages are allowed in California. Takei and his business partner, Brad Altman, are planning their wedding. The two have been together for twenty-one years. I think that’s enough of a trial period.

George Takei“As an American, I was delighted that we’re getting closer and closer to more truly being faithful to the Constitution,” said Takei.

Referring there to his boyhood experience as one of thousands of Japanese-Americans sent to U.S. internment camps during World War II, Takei said he was “keenly mindful of the subtle and not so subtle discrimination that the law can impose.”

Takei said he and Altman have been together 21 years, since meeting at a gay men’s running club in Los Angeles, where Altman trained the actor for his first marathon.

The actor first came out publicly in 2005 to campaign for gay marriage rights after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a same-sex marriage bill passed by the state Legislature.

Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres has also announced that she will marry her girlfriend, Portia de Rossi.

Portia di Rossi and Ellen DeGeneresCiting the court’s ruling, DeGeneres said she and de Rossi (“Ally McBeal,” “Nip/Tuck”) would be getting married.

De Rossi, 35, who was in the studio, and DeGeneres, 50, were applauded by audience members, the person close to the production said….

The court ruling means same-sex couples could tie the knot in as little as a month. However, religious and social conservatives are seeking to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would undo the Supreme Court ruling and ban gay marriage.

DeGeneres has boldly used TV before to make a stand for gay rights.

In 1997, she brought her character on the ABC sitcom “Ellen” out of the closet, making the show the first on prime-time network TV to have an openly gay lead. The move drew cheers from gay civil rights organizations but was condemned by some religious groups.

A month before, DeGeneres had proclaimed from the cover of Time magazine that she was a lesbian.

DeGeneres and the glamorous de Rossi have been a familiar couple at Hollywood events, including the Academy Awards. Previously, DeGeneres had a high-profile relationship with actress Anne Heche.

In a 2005 interview with Allure magazine, the comedian said she hoped she and de Rossi are “together the rest of our lives.”

This brings to mind my thought that banning same-sex marriage after allowing it for a while is like trying to take the sugar out of a cup of coffee. No matter how small your tweezers, it’s not going to work. How can you take the legal status away from married spouses?

The secret of a Mona Lisa smile

Mona Lisa - detail - small

The smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has puzzled people for ages: why is it so enigmatic? Is she really smiling? How did the artist make it so subtle? An expert in visual processing has figured out the answer: The secret of Mona Lisa’s smile.

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