Friday, May 6, 2016

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories

By Roberto A. Ferdman 
March 25, 2015 

Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations' cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. In the Caribbean, where the starch is often mixed with beans, it's a staple too. Even here in the United States, where people eat a comparatively modest amount of rice, plenty is still consumed.

Rice is popular because it's malleable—it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food—and it's relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn't that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

But what if there were a simple way to tweak rice ever so slightly to make it much healthier?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

6 things to know about Singapore's Elected Presidency

The next presidential election is due to be held on or before Aug 26, 2017. But before then, here's what you need to know about Singapore's Elected Presidency system.

JAN 27, 2016

Lee Min Kok

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will appoint a Constitutional Commission to study potential changes to the Elected Presidency system, which was introduced in 1991.

The three areas he highlighted: reviewing the qualifying criteria of presidential candidates, whether the views of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) should be given greater weight and how to ensure that minorities have a better chance of being elected.

The president, however, will remain an elected office, Mr Lee said in his speech in Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 27).

Here are six things to know about the Elected Presidency.

The choice explosion

David Brooks

May 4 2016

A few years ago, social psychologist Sheena Iyengar asked 100 American and Japanese college students to take a piece of paper. On one side, she had them write down the decisions in life they would like to make for themselves. On the other, they wrote the decisions they would like to pass on to others.

The Americans filled up the side for decisions they want to decide for themselves. Where to live. What job to take. The other side was almost blank. The only "decision" they commonly wanted to hand off to others was, "When I die."

The Japanese filled up the back side of the sheet with things they wanted others to decide: what they wore; what time they woke up; what they did at their job. The Americans desired choice in four times more domains than the Japanese.

News Reaction: Chee disses Murali

Chee has been reported to have said about his opponent: "There is very little Mr Murali can do about the plight of our elderly because it is the policies of his party that have caused the elderly to lead such miserable lives."

Online Comment:
Even if we take your words at face value, even if we concede that the plight of our elderly is because of the policies of the PAP, the ruling party, what is your solution? Win one by-election, get into parliament, finally get a good paying job, work full-time as an MP (as opposed to working part-time as an MP and writing books full-time? G. R. R. Martin, you are not. J.K. Rowling you are not.), and somehow by yourself, or even with the other opposition MPs, you will convince the PAP to change their policies? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Obama leaves a diminished America on world stage

Jonathan Eyal
Europe Correspondent

MAY 2, 2016

His stance has also diminished the foreign policy debate in the current US presidential campaign

LONDON • He didn't care much for foreign policy matters and didn't mind that people noticed his lack of interest. But with only nine months remaining to the end of his presidency, Mr Barack Obama is now busily recasting himself as an international relations guru.

The US President now gives long interviews on foreign matters to scholarly magazines read by the sort of policy wonks he never welcomed to his White House. Mr Obama has also just concluded a week-long jaunt to Europe, which proved short on real work but rich in photo opportunities. Similar grand tours are being planned for Asia in the near future.

One explanation for this remarkable transformation is the traditional desire of any US president to leave a positive legacy. But another reason for Mr Obama's increasingly frantic efforts to explain his approach to the world is the near-certainty that foreign policy would be remembered as the most controversial aspect of his presidency.

For what is increasingly being referred to as the "Obama Doctrine" not only diminished America's global footprint but is now also restricting the foreign policy options available to Mr Obama's successors. The foreign policy straitjacket under which Mrs Hillary Clinton now has to operate and the intellectual void in which Mr Donald Trump floats are both the result of fundamental flaws in Mr Obama's foreign policy vision.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thais woke up to a scandal per day

When those in power view corruption as an expected perk


APRIL 28, 2016

The public learned a bit more about how the Thai system works, and it was not a pretty sight. The lesson from last week was arguably that anyone — literally anyone who can do it, does it. Not only does it but actually takes it as an expected perk.

The subtext: The man who blames the politicians for it also does it.

In Asia, govts struggle to deal with a worsening water crisis


APRIL 29, 2016

Asia’s water woes are worsening. Already the world’s driest continent in per capita terms, Asia now faces a severe drought that has parched a vast region extending from southern Vietnam to central India. This has exacerbated political tensions, because it has highlighted the impact of China’s dam-building policy on the environment and on water flows to the dozen countries located downstream.

[Don't know if the dam building is for hydro-electric power to reduce China's carbon emission from coal-fired power plants. If so, trying to save the earth, is killing the earth.]

Today’s drought in parts of South-east and South Asia is the worst in decades. Among the hardest hit areas are Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (a rice bowl of Asia) and central highlands; 27 of Thailand’s 76 provinces; parts of Cambodia; Myanmar’s largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay; and areas of India that are home to more than a quarter of the country’s massive population.