Business & Technology

your liver, hfcs, and you

New research: Fructose increases risk of diabetes, heart disease [UPDATED]

You should lay off the sauce–it’s not good for your liver. [Author's Note:] This post, reacting to the findings of a University of California, Davis, study on fructose, quoted and relied heavily on an error-laden Times of London story. That said, the post generated a lot of valuable discussion in the comments section below, including a critique of the Times piece by Dr. Kimber Stanhope, one of the authors of the Davis study. In response to another comment, Dr. Stanhope agreed that the question remains how much fructose is safe to consume and she indicated that a current project of …

Five-year plan

Cellulosic ethanol: time to ‘party like it’s 2014’?

Cellulosic ethanol, after 30 years of R&D (much of it on the public dime), is ready to deliver on its promises. No longer perpetually five years away from commercial viability, the technology has come into its own. Unlike pretender energy sources like wind and solar, cellulosic is the “‘shovel-ready,’ ‘fire when ready’ technology for short-term reductions in fossil fuel intensity,” declares Biofuels Digest in a breathless post. According to BD, “commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol is just now upon us.” Forget the “five years away” mantra; “it’s time to party like it’s 2014,” the publication enthuses. Hay: probably not about to displace …

99 percent perspiration...

Silicon Valley to Copenhagen: It’s OK to fail, if you do it right

If at first you don’t succeed …a lesson from Silicon Valley for climate policymakers.iStock PhotoCOPENHAGEN — At the “To Be or Not To Be” business summit at Hamlet’s Castle over the weekend, one French executive joked about not trusting a business that was less than 150 years old (ah, those witty folk from “old Europe” …). But there was a very different perspective on display at a “view from Silicon Valley” reception in downtown Copenhagen on Monday. The carbon-accounting software startup Hara hosted the event, bringing its CEO, its “chief green officer,” and two venture capital partners to speak about …

TO CATCH THE CONSCIENCE OF THE KINGS

In Hamlet’s Castle, a royal court looks out for itself

Forty-seven kilometers up the coast from Copenhagen, at the narrowest passage between Denmark and Sweden, the 435-year-old Kronborg Castle stands as one of the most magnificent structures in a country that does not lack for stunning architecture. It was the setting where Shakespeare imagined his Hamlet, the clash of rivalries among aristocrats that ends in bloody disarray. Shakespeare imagined the Kronborg Castle as the setting for his tragedy, Hamlet. How fitting, then, that CEOs gathered here on Saturday night seemed mostly interested in painless sustainability.Casper Moller via FlickrOn Saturday night Kronborg was the setting for a modern-day royal court, a …

Yes, they can

U.S Gov’t official: ‘avoid BPA’ in food packaging

Oh, you wanted it poison-free? Let’s hope this report represents a tipping of the government’s hand on bisphenol A and not a case of someone going rogue: The head of the primary federal agency studying the safety of bisphenol A said Friday that people should avoid ingesting the chemical–especially pregnant women, infants and children. “There are plenty of reasonable alternatives,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. While stressing she is not a medical doctor, Birnbaum said she has seen enough studies on …

Jinx, you owe me a hoax

Employees* rage against the Coke machine in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN — Two Cola-Cola* employees urged people in Copenhagen to never drink the soft drink again, denouncing their company’s environmental and human rights record in a highly unusual press conference* in the Hopenhagen LIVE area in City Hall Square. The public relations* workers from Atlanta* said their consciences compelled them to speak out against the soft-drink conglomerate, inviting onlookers to make a public pledge against Coca-Cola’s water use, labor practices, and environmental claims. At least 20 people took the pledge, reciting, “I, [name], with respect for crimes against people and the planet, from this day forward, for the rest of …

Girls (and Boys) Gone Wild

Why should policymakers, investors, and businesspeople care about youth in Copenhagen?

Of the estimated 20,000 people converging on the U.N. climate conference this week and next, half of them are expected to be under the age of 30. My colleague in Copenhagen, Kristina Haddad, reports, “I observed that many in the crowds of people were young. Most were wearing t-shirts or passing out flyers that essentially pleaded for the world leaders to do the right thing — to stop the talking and compromise and really do something about this crisis or they will have no future.” She went on to describe how a group from India unraveled a banner at the …

Bargains of the faustian kind

Is Wal-Mart the future of local food?

Local food gets the Wal-Mart treatment. One of the most important historic developments in the food economy is embodied in this statistic: in 1900, 40 percent of every dollar spent on food went to the farmer or rancher while the rest was split between inputs and distribution. Now? 7 cents on the dollar goes to the producer and 73 cents goes just to distribution. That’s worth keeping in mind when you read things like this: … Wal-Mart, now the nation’s largest supermarket chain as well as retailer, has gotten into the local scene, embarking on an effort to procure more …

Chamber Made

International Chamber of Commerce: ‘We’re not with stupid’

COPENHAGEN — There is numbingly little news coming out of most of the 20 or so daily press briefings at the Copenhagen climate talks. Officials from national delegations and research, policy, and trade groups seem to use them to restate their already-known positions, wrapping them in as much jargon as possible just to be safe. That held true for Thursday’s briefing by the International Chamber of Commerce, where several American reporters came to learn how the ICC felt about the U.S. Chamber’s antics this year. The U.S. Chamber, for a refresher, fought the clean energy bill that passed the U.S. …

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