Friday, December 14, 2018


From THE  ECONOMIST - Dec. 2018
General Motors

Last-chance saloon

GM's boss announces factory closures at home and abroad

The car industry's changing fortunes have left a deep mark on Detroit's urban landscape. Once-bustling factories such as the Fisher body plant, Ford's Highland Park and the Packard plant became vast, abandoned graffitied shells—a sad reminder of the former might of America's "motor city". Now General Motors's Hamtramck assembly plant looks likely to join the list of closed facilities. On November 26th gm announced that Hamtramck, along with four other factories in North America, and two more unspecified plants elsewhere, would not be assigned new vehicles or components to put together after next year.

News of the cost-cutting initially sent gm's shares soaring. In total it will trim its North American workforce by a substantial 15%. Another Michigan plant is among those to be idled, as well as facilities in Ohio and Maryland, and in Ontario, Canada. The day after the announcement, however, criticism from President Donald Trump sent shares the other way. Mr Trump tweeted that he was "very disappointed" in Mary Barra, gm's chief executive, noting that she was not shutting down plants in Mexico or China: "The us saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" He threatened to cut off gm's access to federal subsidies for electric cars (although industry-watchers noted that this is not a concern, since gm has mostly used up its permitted allocation of such subsidies).

Mr Trump is not the only disgruntled politician. Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, tried to reassure workers about the proposed closure of the plant at Oshawa, on the shores of Lake Ontario, where gm started making cars over half a century ago. After trade liberalisation led to tighter integration of the North American car market, cars became Oshawa's lifeblood. When the financial crisis pushed gm towards bankruptcy, Canada joined America in bailing out the company to save local jobs.

Yet the swirl of forces upending the industry means gm probably had little choice but to take some action. Car sales in America and China are already growing only tepidly. Some worry that a harsh automotive recession is coming. Capacity utilisation in the American automotive sector has plunged from nearly 90% in late 2015 to 80% now. This is a particular problem for GM, which in the past was known for a "bigger is better" mindset. On one estimate, the five North American plants to be shut down have the capacity to make 800,000 cars but are producing fewer than 300,000.

A big factor behind that gap is collapsing consumer demand for saloon cars, long a mainstay of the big car firms. Six years ago, annual sales of pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles were roughly 7.5m in America, equivalent to sales of saloons. Now Americans buy over 12m Pickups and SUVs each year, more than twice the sale of saloons. The plants that GM is winding down make the Buick Lacrosse, the Chevrolet Cruze and other saloons. Once buzzing with three shifts, these plants have been running just one shift of late.

Another trend forcing Ms Barra's hand is rising costs. Both GM and FORD, its  CHIEF American rival, have estimated the infract on profits of the tariffs imposed by Mr Trump's administration on a variety of essential imports (most importantly, steel and aluminium) at over $1bn each. On top of this are the heavy investments that GM must make for the future in electric-vehicle and autonomous technology. Cruise Automation, its well-regarded autonomy division (which in May attracted $2.3bn of investment from Japan's SoftBank), expects to launch robotaxis on the streets of San Francisco next year.

Seen in this light, the cuts look sensible. Since taking over four years ago, says Colin Langan of UBS, a bank, "Mary Barra has done a phenomenal job". She moved faster than rivals in preparing for the future, he notes, by selling off GM’s loss-making Opel division in Europe and pulling out of several unpromising emerging markets. Nor will her cuts hit the factory floor alone— they include a vow to trim GM’s executive ranks by a quarter. In total the changes will take $ 6bn off the firm's annual cost base by 2020. Mr Trump may attack her and unions will revile her. But tough decisions are needed if GM is to survive another downturn and without another bailout. ■


The Economist —— December 1st 2018

Post-Soviet farming

Good times in Grainville

Russia has emerged as an agricultural powerhouse!

The district of Zernograd, or Grainville, in Russia's southern Rostov region has many hallmarks of a depressed post-Soviet backwater. Decaying villages dot dusty roads; grey apartment blocks fill sleepy cities. Yet thanks to its namesake crop, times for many here have never been better. Take Yuri and Aleksandr Peretyatko. The brothers launched their grain farm in the early 1990s, "we didn't even have bicycles," says Aleksandr. Now they own 1,500 hectares and cruise around in new white Lexus SUVs. Their children, Aleksandr boasts, "ride Range Rovers".

The Peretyatko brothers embody the optimism in Russian agriculture, a booming sector in an otherwise sluggish economy. Production has increased by more than 20% in the past five years, despite a broader recession and now stagnation. "That's what's called a breakthrough," President Vladimir Putin gushed as he discussed the up beat figures at a recent meeting with farmers. Expect, revenues from agriculture—which reached over $20bn in 2017— now exceed those from typically strong earners such as armament sales. Grain has been the star. In 2016 Russia became the world's leading exporter of wheat for the first time since before the Russian revolution. "Grain is our second oil," said Aleksandr Tkachev, the agriculture minister at the time.

This roaring output is the result of a confluence of short-and long-term factors. Since the Soviet Union's collapse, farming has undergone a gradual transformation from "a fantastically ineffective collective model to effective capitalism", says Andrei Sizov, head of SovEcon, an agricultural consultancy in Moscow. Although the state's overall role in Russia's economy has grown, agriculture has largely remained in private hands, fuelling competition. The devaluation of the Russian rouble in 2014 and bans on agricultural imports from countries that sanctioned Russia that year have provided additional boosts.

Tsaristera Russia was a big agricultural exporter, but Bolshevik collectivisation wiped out farming traditions and created an inefficient collective system that by the 1970s left the Soviet Union importing grain and other foodstuffs. In the post-Soviet era, farmers had to learn how to run competitive enterprisesrises. The Peretyatkos travelled to Europe to study best practices. "We went to see what private ownership meant, to see how people work for themselves," Yuri recalls.

Over the ensuing decades, investments in machinery, land and supplies accumulated; the government made agriculture a national priority, offering subsidies and support. Recognising the newfound strength of local competitors, in October an American trade group, US Wheat Associates, closed its Moscow office after 26 years of operations.

The rouble's devaluation has been a particular boon for exporters in recent years. Amid a global glut in grain, Russians have sucked up market share in Africa and the Middle East, leveraging their advantages in geography and weather over competitors in America, while undercutting prices. Grain traders have also begun targeting more distant markets such as Indonesia and even Mexico. Bans on agricultural imports from Western countries have also cleared space for local producers, though at the cost of higher inflation. Although Russia still imports more food than it exports, steps have been made towards the government's goals of feeding itself: in the past five years, for example, Russia has become self-sufficient in pork and poultry.

The future also looks bright owing to global trends. As populations grow, so too should food consumption, especially in some of Russia's largest export markets, such as Turkey. Rising temperatures and improving technologies mean longer" growing seasons, higher crop yields and wider swathes of arable land in much of Russia. "Everyone is moving north," says Yuri. His son has started farming in the Belgorod region, closer to Moscow.

Russia also has latent agricultural potential. Millions of hectares of land abandoned after the Soviet collapse could be reclaimed. Investments in digital technologies, where Russia lags, would lift productivity; downstream food manufacturing is underdeveloped. But tapping these possibilities would need infrastructure improvements. Grain terminals have struggled to cope with record harvests. Outside the fertile south, much farmland sits far from ports. Some also worry about competition as concentration in the hands of giant agro-holding firms increases.

Yet none of that can dampen the mood of those like the Peretyatkos who have seen the sector's turnaround first-hand. "When we started, we had big doubts about whether it would work out at all," says Aleksandr. Now, as Yuri puts it, "You could say that Zernograd is returning to its name." ■

Friday, November 30, 2018



A question about your content related to Resistance Training


Christina Edwards

Nov 27, 2018, 5:25 PM (3 days ago)
to me

I am Christina, emailing you in behalf of the owner of an authority nutrition website, located at

I have found your site on Google. First of all, I would like to congratulate you for building such a good website. I really like its design and its content too.
And I think you did a great job!

Actually, we published an article about the same topic named “Resistance Training 101: The Amazing Benefits Of Strength Training which makes it a lot easier for beginners to start resistance training as we added videos of training programs with specific routines for men/women/people training at home and included a list of the 27 most common strength training mistakes we see at the gym.

Feel free to add a link on your blog post if you like it.

Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

MS, RD, Content Editor

Thursday, November 29, 2018


How to Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes with Diet

In 2015 9,4 % of the American population had diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. That is 30 million people with diabetes and the organisation also reported that 84,1 million Americans had prediabetes, meaning they have elevated blood glucose levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. 1,5 million Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year and diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America. Type 2 diabetics make up the majority of people with diabetes. Furthermore, an estimated 415 million people worldwide had been diagnosed with diabetes.
The signs of having diabetes can be various and the consequences can plentiful. Diabetes is an illness that can be debilitating, lower your life quality, and even have fatal consequences as a result of the additional diseases and conditions you can develop if your diabetes is not managed properly – but did you know, that diabetes be managed through your diet?

You Are What You Eat

The food you consume and the fluids you ingest impact your body in numerous ways. Sugar of one kind or another are present in most foods, in varying amounts. This sugar, be it sucrose, fructose, or galactose, needs to be separated from the food in order to be broken down and used by the body. This happens with the help of insulin. In short, insulin is a pancreatic hormone that transports sugar from food into the body’s cells to be used for fuel when needed. The body’s resistance to insulin is measured by its ability to remove glucose (sugar) from the blood and thereby maintaining stable blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when your body is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate the blood glucose levels, or if your body cannot use its produced insulin efficiently enough. This causes the sugar to stay in the blood stream instead of entering the cells, thus resulting in high blood glucose levels.
There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic, auto-immune disease where the body turns on itself, instructing the immune system to falsely deactivate the pancreas rendering it unable to produce insulin. This type of diabetes usually runs in the family and cannot be prevented or modified with diet or exercise, although a healthy diet is recommended to help prevent additional illnesses that often occur in the wake of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to help their body turn glucose into energy.
Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by lifestyle choices and circumstances. While you are definitely at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes if there is a family history of diabetes, the risk greatly increases if you are overweight or obese, physically inactive, or aging. These risk factors mean that where there used to be a prevalence of older people getting type 2 diabetes due to aging, now there is a surge in diabetes in children and teenagers due to poor dietary choices and an inactive lifestyle.
Certain ethnic groups, such as Pacific Islanders, Indians, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive illness and the treatment is dependent on the stage at which it is diagnosed. Symptoms include pronounced dizziness, an involuntary increase in weight, a constant feeling of hunger and thirst, frequent urination, headaches, and mood swings. While there is no cure for diabetes, preventative measures can be taken if you are diagnosed as prediabetic, and there are multiple steps you can take to manage it after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The last type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the condition if they have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, if they are over the age of thirty, or if they have experienced gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies. The condition rarely requires insulin treatment and can usually be managed with diet. Most often gestational diabetes disappears again after birth.

Pregnant women are at risk of developing gestational diabetes. Speak to your doctor about getting tested if you have concerns. 
While a healthy, active lifestyle is also important in order to live a healthy life with type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes, this article will for all intents and purposes focus on type 2 diabetes. During the course of this article you will learn what diabetes is and how you can tweak your diet to help you manage it and increase your chances of avoiding diabetes complications such as glaucoma, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.

Nutrients for the Body

In order to understand diabetes, it is important to understand how different nutrients affect our bodies. All food consists of one or more macronutrients and a variety of micronutrients. Macronutrients are the major nutritional players such as carbohydrates, fatty acids, and protein, whereas micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.
The human body needs both macro- and micronutrients on a daily basis to thrive. The different nutrients serve different purposes within the body, but they each provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform optimally. Let’s break it down, starting with carbohydrates (the remaining nutrients will be covered later in the article), which is one of the key components in diabetes management. Understanding how carbohydrates is digested and absorbed and thereby affecting your body is paramount to understanding diabetes and learning how to manage it through your diet.

Monday, November 12, 2018



Written in the sky

Scott's hut at Cape Evans has been restored and preserved as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area, as has a cross on Observation Hill, Ross Island, erected in 1913 as a tribute to the lost party. And the map of Antarctica is dotted with physical features that bear the names of the men who first explored it. There is the Amundsen Sea, the Shackleton Ice Shelf and Scott Island. Also, of course, there's the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, a permanent research facility at the geographic South Pole, now occupied year-round by scientists.

But the ponies and dogs who made these voyages possible were largely forgotten. "The animals never got their due credit," says Smith. "There's a statue around, here and there. And as a poet, I saw this as not just a heroic/romantic period of history, but one of neglect for the animals who made it possible for the success of the brave men. They literally could not have done it without the animals. They didn't have the technology."

Commemorating individual animals with names in Antarctica wasn't an option. "International rules prohibit the animals having any physical feature of Antarctica named after them," Smith says. And so Smith turned his attention toward the sky. Two years prior to the 100th anniversary of Amundsen and Scott's reaching the South Pole, Smith launched a one-man campaign to rename 11 navigational waypoints after six of Amundsen's dogs and five of Scott's ponies.

It was no easy task. "Several international and government agencies had to agree to it," Smith says. "Human factors

James Pigg, called Jimmy, was named after a drunk and disorderly huntsman from the English comic novel, Hanciloy Cross, by Robert Smith Surtees. He seems to have been something of a comic character himself, as Lt. Edward Evans described him as a "friendly little rogue "!
Jimmy Pigg was one of the weaker ponies on the expedition, and he was sent hack early from the depot-laying journey in the spring of 1911. But under the attentive care of his handier. Petty Officer Patrick Keohane, he rallied to become a valued member of the trek toward the Pole “Jimmy Pigg kept up splendidly with the other ponies,” wrote Scott on November 26 "It is always rather dismal work walking over the great snow plain when sky and surface merge in one pail of dead whiteness, but it is cheering to be in such good company with everything going on steadily and well."

played in—who gets the credit; whose turf is it, and why should anyone listen to an Air Force officer in the level of government at which this had to get approved. This was all 'extra work' for people; it was not a requirement for anyone to prioritize its completion from agency to agency."
But Smith persevered: "First, I had to get people interested and made them aware of what I wanted to do. I started with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of State, the National Science Foundation and the New Zealand Air Traffic Control responsible for the airspace. Once I had complied agreement among them (and I found out later there were those who thought the project would never get anywhere), I worked with the Air Traffic Control agency to develop the five-letter names."
Smith researched the names of all of the animals on the two expeditions, to determine which ones lived and which ones didn't, as well as how they died. "I did this to evaluate which ones 'deserved' to get the waypoints named after them," he says. The names he chose were six of Amundsen's sled dogs—Per, Helge, Lasse, Mylius, Frithjof and Uroa—as well as five of Scott's ponies: Snippets, Jimmy Pigg, Bones, Jehu and Nobby.

"Once the names were developed, I had to work with the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which makes the maps, to get the new chart printed in time," Smith adds. "I had to coordinate with all the embassies in the United States and internationally who would be affected so no one got blind-sided. And I had to get the Department of State on board and get their continued blessing and backup. I sent official letters to all the ambassadors and their staffs, and all the other agencies' leadership, which were all way over my head."

But Smith's work did all come together. In November 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented a copy of the new aeronautical map at a meeting of the U.S. Antarctic Center and Antarctica New Zealand in Christchurch, with the comments: "The map has many benefits, but one especially unusual feature. As a reminder of the sacrifices it took to conquer the conditions on the continent, 11 of the waypoints have been named after the unsung heroes of Antarctic exploration —the dogs and ponies that made those early trips possible. In the story of the Antarctic, the names of the explorers are well-known and famous, but now they're joined by the likes of Helge and Snippet and Bones and Nobby."

Commemorative first editions of this chart can now be found in three museums: Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand; the AKC Museum of the Dog in St. Louis, Missouri; and the Kerry County Museum in Tralee, Ireland.

National rivalry may have driven the initial quest for the Pole, but today international cooperation governs the use of the southern continent. "The second reason I did this was to unite the countries involved for national bridge-building," says Smith. "This small gesture gave the U.S. Embassy another way to bond with Norway, Great Britain and New Zealand over this celebration of the chart and the 100-year anniversary. It's 'global poetry' for me."

 E Q U U S— JANUARY    2016