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One Man’s Quest to Make Google’s Gadgets Great

It’s early in the morning on October 4, 2016, and in a few seconds, Rick Osterloh will present Google’s latest gadget portfolio to the world. He’s not even six months into his new job, creating and running the company’s ambitious new hardware division. In April, CEO Sundar Pichai had tasked Osterloh with turning the software giant into a gadget maker that can compete with Apple. Osterloh has barely had enough time to sample all the snacks in the mini-kitchen, much less conceive of and ship a bunch of products. Yet here he is, tall and broad, clad in a gray short-sleeved Henley top, visibly nervous as he enters stage left and greets a roomful of reporters and analysts in a converted chocolate factory at the top of a San Francisco hill.

It can’t help Osterloh’s nerves that minutes earlier, Pichai was out on the same stage making a grand case for the historical significance of this day. “We’re at a seminal moment in computing,” Pichai told the audience, as he explained how artificial intelligence would create a revolution on the scale of the internet or the smartphone. Google’s efforts centered on Google Assistant, a virtual helper that Pichai had first announced a few months earlier. Assistant promised to create a “personal Google” for everyone on earth that would help them find information, get things done, and live life more efficiently and enjoyably. Pichai made clear that Assistant was a bet-the-company kind of product, and that Google was deeply invested in building the gadgets that would put Assistant in people’s hands. Then he introduced the new guy, Osterloh, who was going to make it happen.

Over the next hour, Osterloh and his new coworkers introduce a half-dozen products, including the Pixel phone, the Home smart speaker, and the Daydream View VR headset. None of them were Osterloh’s idea—the folks in Mountain View had been building hardware long before his arrival. It’s just that most of it wasn’t very good or successful.

Google could no longer afford to make ho-hum gadgets. Alphabet, its parent company, had become the world’s second-largest corporation by building software that worked for everyone, everywhere, delivered through apps and websites. But the nature of computing is changing, and its next phase won’t revolve around app stores and smartphones. It will center instead on artificially intelligent devices that fit seamlessly into their owners’ everyday lives. It will feature voice assistants, simple wearables, smart appliances in homes, and augmented-reality gadgets on your face and in your brain.

In other words, the future involves a whole lot more hardware, and for Google that shift represents an existential threat. Users won’t go to Google.com to search for things; they’ll just ask their Echo because it’s within earshot, and they won’t care what algorithms it uses to answer the question. Or they’ll use Siri, because it’s right there in a button on their iPhone. Google needed to figure out, once and for all, how to compete with the beautiful gadgets made by Amazon, Apple, and everyone else in tech. Especially the ones coming out of Cupertino.

Google does have some huge advantages—its software and AI capabilities are unrivaled. But the company has tried over and over to build hardware the same way it builds software and learned every time that that’s simply not how it works. Its supposedly innovative streaming device, the Nexus Q, flopped dramatically. Its “best in class” Nexus phones were eclipsed by competitors—and even its own hardware partners—within months. And Google Glass, well, you know what happened with Google Glass.

Osterloh wasn’t hired to dream up new products. He was brought in to teach a software company how to endure the long, messy, totally necessary process of building gadgets and to change the company’s culture from the inside. It’s not enough to have great software and the industry’s finest collection of artificial intelligence researchers. To take on Apple, Google had to finally learn how to build good hardware.

The man in charge of Google’s hardware renaissance has always had a weakness for gadgets. Growing up in Los Angeles, Osterloh has fond memories of taking apart the junk computers in his dad’s office and trying, unsuccessfully, to reassemble them into one epic supercomputer. Yet his first love was sports. Tall and athletic from an early age, Osterloh was an all-section volleyball and basketball player, and he enrolled in Stanford not because of its Silicon Valley cred but because it was a great school in California where he could keep playing sports.

In his freshman year, however, he sustained two knee injuries that threatened to end his athletic career. Osterloh hit an emotional bottom. “So much of my identity was in athletics, and I had to totally reinvent,” he says. He started seeking other ways to feel the same highs he did in sports: a team working toward a common goal, the thrill of accomplishment, the joy of the daily grind. He found his way into an engineering program and worked hard to make up for his late start in the major. Something about computers engaged the strategic, problem-solving part of his brain that had once been filled with inbounds plays.

Osterloh is still a sports nut—his Google office is easy to find, it’s the one with the huge poster of Warriors star Stephen Curry on the window—but the tech industry quickly became his home. After graduating in 1994, Osterloh landed a consulting gig, but he didn’t like that all he made was documents and presentations. So he went back to Stanford, this time for business school. After a summer internship at Amazon, he took a job at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, where he researched possible investments in mobile technology. BlackBerry was starting to generate interest, and Osterloh dove into a case study of it. He set up BlackBerry’s first device, the Inter@ctive Pager, and was amazed by how well the little messaging machine worked. He couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Kleiner had a company called Good Technology in its investment portfolio, and it sent Osterloh to help it figure out a business model. Originally, Good’s plan was to build modules for the Handspring Visor, a modular PDA that many thought would be the next big computing platform. Good’s first device was an MP3 player module called SoundsGood. But the Visor never took off, and the SoundsGood sold terribly. Osterloh presented a new idea: Let’s compete with BlackBerry. He thought Good could develop simple syncing and messaging software, and because BlackBerry by this point had become immensely powerful and valuable, any competitive idea was attractive to investors. Good raised millions.

Good was supposed to be a software company, but it needed a vessel for its code. The leadership team met with BlackBerry, which had recently begun making smartphones. Once BlackBerry execs saw what Good had built, “they hated it, because it was way better than their software,” Osterloh says. “And they realized we were an enemy, not a friend.” Palm and Danger were working on smartphones, as was Nokia, but none could match a BlackBerry. It became clear to Osterloh and Good that the only way to give their software a home was to build devices themselves. They began working on a BlackBerry-like gadget they called the G100.

Osterloh lights up remembering the days he spent building the G100. “It was so fun going through the design process, testing it with users,” he says. Everything about it was new and complicated: getting the keyboard just right, tweaking the trackball until it felt perfect, making sure the battery lasted several days. “It was so hard shipping that product,” Osterloh says. “When we shipped that thing, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do forever.’” Not only had he found his calling, he’d learned that the only way to get the most from your software was to build the hardware to match.

Unfortunately for Osterloh, Good didn’t want to make hardware forever. The G100 shipped in 2002 to rave reviews, but others in the company saw it as a mere reference device, a blueprint of sorts for other companies to follow and tweak. They assumed the phone industry would turn out like PCs: Many companies would produce hardware that all ran the same software. Yet there were no good phones to build for. “We went through this desert of terrible device after terrible device that never ran our stuff properly,” Osterloh says. Good built software for every phone it could find, eventually even working with contract manufacturers like HTC to try to improve the experience, but it never again found something that worked as well as the G100. “Businesses would come to us and say, ‘We love your software, but we hate Treos,’” Osterloh says, referring to the smartphone line from Palm. He never forgot that.

In 2006, Good was bought by Motorola, the onetime feature phone giant whose reign was under siege from smartphone makers. Motorola had no real software expertise and no plan for smartphones, and Good came riding in like a white knight. But the timing couldn’t have been worse. Only days after the acquisition closed, Motorola’s Razr, once an incredible cash cow, stopped selling almost overnight. Apple announced the iPhone not long after. Osterloh knew it was coming: Before the Motorola deal, he and Good had worked with Apple to build Good’s software into the new device. He told his bosses, many of whom dismissed Apple’s touchscreen oddity, that they were laughing in the face of the future.

While he’d been meeting with Apple, Osterloh and Good had also been working to integrate their software with an operating system for smartphones called Android. Now, as a Motorola employee, he saw Android as the company’s one defense against the iPhone. Osterloh became convinced that the only hope for Motorola was to produce a competing smartphone as fast as possible, and that meant using Android. Eventually Motorola came around, largely due to the efforts of new CEO Sanjay Jha, who showed up in 2008 and almost immediately shut down every division but its Android one. Osterloh helped create and ship the Cliq and later the Droid, which was the first great Android phone and the device that saved Motorola.

Not long after, Osterloh left for Skype, where he spent two years as head of product. But his break from the hardware world was brief. Google was in the process of buying Motorola for $12.5 billion and was looking to place new leadership at the company. Dennis Woodside, a longtime Google exec who had been chosen to lead Motorola, and Jonathan Rosenberg, a senior vice president at Google and longtime adviser to the company’s founders, called Osterloh to see if he might want to come back and lead Motorola’s product management team.

Google’s offer seemed like a perfect match, a chance to build hardware within Google, working alongside the now wildly successful Android team. With Google controlling both hardware and software, they could at last take on the iPhone.

Except that’s not how it turned out. Terrified of alienating its other Android partners, like Samsung and LG, Google went to great lengths to keep Motorola at arm’s length. “There was effectively no technical integration,” Osterloh says. “And that wasn’t quite what I expected.” He thought he would bring software and hardware together at last, but instead Motorola was treated as a wholly separate company. “It was tantalizingly close to my dream job,” he says. “But it never quite got there.”

Google’s relationship with hardware has always been awkward. Most of the company’s physical products are born the same way: Someone has a great idea for software, but they can’t find the right gear on which to run it. That person then sets out to build the missing gadget with very little help. Google tends to treat these products as reference devices or sources of inspiration, proving that an idea can work and hoping an ecosystem of hardware makers takes it from there. As a result, Google’s list of orphaned products and abandoned ideas—from the Chromebox to the Nexus Q to the Nexus Player—is enough to fill a Circuit City.

That's no surprise: Making hardware runs counter to Google’s entire corporate culture. The company shuns process and management, two things a hardware maker can’t do without. In its software development, Google actually encourages and applauds chaos, inviting anyone at the company to just build something and see if it works. (At one point, Google even experimented with a corporate structure involving no managers whatsoever.)

The company’s most successful products are subject to constant refinement. Former CEO Eric Schmidt calls this system “Ship and Iterate,” and in his book How Google Works he makes a consistent case for not even trying to get things right the first time. “Create a product, ship it, see how it does, design and implement improvements, and push it back out,” Schmidt writes. “Ship and iterate. The companies that are the fastest at this process will win.” When Google became Alphabet, all the company’s longer-term projects broke off, to give them breathing room away from Google’s ruthless product scythe. They were all called “moonshots,” as if anything that takes longer than a year might as well be impossible.

Ship and Iterate simply doesn’t work with hardware. A single tweak can cost weeks and millions of dollars. Every small change ripples through the entire supply chain, changing vendor timelines, requiring new tools, and slowing everything down. If one part is late, you’ll miss your ship date, and it’s not like you can move Black Friday. Oh, you want 50 percent more product than you thought? You’ll get it in six months if you’re lucky. There is no bending the hardware world to your whim.

Even when hardware development was going well, company culture didn’t support those teams in getting the software they needed. “We had to go beg and plead to make all the software teams care,” says Rishi Chandra, the Googler charged with building the failed Google TV platform in 2010 and later with developing Google Home. The engineers working on Chrome or Android were used to building products that would touch millions, even billions of people. They’d ask Chandra, how is your thing going to get that many users? And why should we care until it does? The culture is almost the antithesis of Apple’s. There, the software executives always work with specific products in mind; senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi’s goal is to make the iPhone great, just like everyone else at the company. Google’s priorities are comparatively all over the map, as it tries to support its own products, its partners, and the whole internet-using universe all at the same time.

Before Rick Osterloh arrived, Google’s hardware efforts were sprinkled throughout the company. He centralized them all under his leadership, including the Daydream View VR headset, the Chromecast, the Home smart speaker, and the Pixel phone.

Maria Lokke for Wired

At Google, the culture revolves around software. That’s what it's best at and where it makes its billions. With its push for a virtual assistant, that ethos was no different. Except that this time the stakes seemed much higher.

Pichai was certain that this helpful chatterbot would be the way billions of people interacted with Google in the future. Done right, Assistant could be an omnipresent artificial being, able to help with all the tasks and requests people have throughout the day—whether on their phones, a device like Google Home, or the lightbulbs, dishwashers and thermostats that will soon come online. It would connect people with information and services in ways that are more natural, more contextually aware, and more helpful than what is possible with only keyboards and screens. It might even inspire people to use Google more. Oh, and if Google didn’t get it right? Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana were ready to swoop in.

In these early days of voice tech, users still struggle to figure out what their assistants can do beyond setting timers and playing music. Yet the only way for Assistant to improve is for Google to convince people that it’s worth interacting with now. Google needs more data to understand more voices, accomplish more tasks, and convince developers to extend its functionality and incorporate Assistant in their own products. A key first step was making sure Assistant was always easily accessible, no matter where you were.

When Google had built hardware in the past, it had done so through partnerships with seasoned manufacturers. But its relationships with its Android partners were souring. Samsung, Android’s most important partner, was developing its own virtual assistant, Bixby, and distancing itself from the Mountain View giant. Google couldn’t even rely on its traditional Nexus program, through which Google would work with a manufacturer like LG or Huawei to build new devices. Those relationships gave Google little control over anything besides aesthetics, and partners would often keep their best tricks for themselves. “Last year, [HTC] helped us build Pixel, and then a few months later, they shipped the U11, and that phone had the best smartphone camera in the industry,” Osterloh says. Virtually every Nexus device was quickly followed by an even better handset from that same partner.

Unfortunately, Google had already divested itself of its own hardware expertise, selling Motorola to Lenovo in 2014 for about $3 billion. Nest, its other giant hardware acquisition, had lost its founder and was embroiled in management and product turmoil. If Google wanted to do hardware, it needed to start over—and this time, to do it all inside Google.

As the company was preparing to bring hardware in-house for real in early 2016, Osterloh was leaving Motorola. He didn’t want to move to China, where Lenovo is headquartered, and he’d landed an offer to become CEO of DocuSign, the electronic document-signing company. He called Jonathan Rosenberg, his longtime adviser and confidant, to thank him for all his help during Osterloh’s time at Google. Rosenberg stopped him in the middle: “You said I was helpful, right?” Yes, absolutely, Osterloh replied. “Well, would you do me a favor and have a conversation with Sundar?” Rosenberg asked. He told Osterloh that Pichai was looking to start a hardware group and wanted some advice. Just advice, nothing else.

Osterloh’s meeting with Pichai quickly turned into a job interview, with lots of questions on both sides. In many hours over a few days, Osterloh realized Pichai was actually, finally, talking about his dream job. He also started to believe that Google was at long last serious about making hardware.

But Osterloh had been burned before. So he tracked down Hiroshi Lockheimer, the head of Google’s Android team, who had worked with him at Good and also happened to be among Osterloh’s closest friends. They spent a whole day together talking about how they might once again be colleagues. Osterloh asked question after question about how hardware and software would integrate, and how building hardware internally could co-exist with the rest of the Android ecosystem. “I didn’t want to join the company if it was going to be like Motorola, where it’s difficult and there’s tension,” Osterloh says. He found the opposite: Google was ready, serious, and prepared to make hardware a priority. So Osterloh called DocuSign and told them that he wouldn’t be taking the CEO job after all. Then he became a Googler again, this time for real.

Immediately upon his arrival, Osterloh set out with Rosenberg to find every hardware project happening at Google, no matter how small. They found more than a dozen projects involving upwards of 1,000 people. Some were working on Nexus phones, others on a new line called Pixel. There were hugely publicized long-term projects like Google Glass and the Project Ara modular smartphone. Some Googlers were building Chromebooks, others were working on a new kind of Wi-Fi router. No centralized structure connected these teams, nor was there an overall plan. Osterloh called it a loose federation, “the European Union of hardware.” And he didn’t mean that in a good way.

Osterloh centralized all that hardware under his leadership, giving 55 percent of those 1,000 employees a new manager. Rather than having an executive in charge of each product, Osterloh chose to implement a “functional” structure, giving his leaders oversight of a larger segment of the Google hardware organization. Ivy Ross, formerly head of Google Glass, was put in charge of all hardware design. Mario Queiroz ran product management. Ana Corrales, a longtime manufacturing exec and Nest’s CFO and COO, was tapped to oversee all things operations and supply chain. The team began to centralize their planning and forecasting, and to streamline their conversations with suppliers. They made five-year plans, which were anathema to Google.

Osterloh’s current and former colleagues describe him as a kind man and a good boss. “The thing I appreciate most with Rick is that he is really about preaching patience,” Chandra says. In conversation he’s voluble and excitable, prone to answering simple questions with a 45-minute response. He is, according to past and present colleagues, perfect for this job: great attention to detail, slow to panic, quick to decisions. Above all, he’s a huge product geek. “He changes phones all the time, and he wants us to change phones all the time,” Corrales says. “I don’t want to change phones all the time!”

Part of the impetus for Osterloh’s new structure was to make sure nobody felt like their job was tied to one product, so they wouldn’t panic if that product were killed. Because Osterloh needed to kill some products.

He went through every hardware initiative at Google, choosing which to continue and which to wind down. None of the decisions was easy, Osterloh says, but two were particularly hard. He’d been around the Ara modular phone project since its beginnings at Motorola and believed fully in its mission: to build a $50 phone with upgradeable parts, which could last longer and be greener than any other device. Yet the device ended up being less modular and more expensive than anyone wanted. “So it was rather like every other phone, except there was an ability to add up to six or so modules to the back,” Osterloh says. He wanted to build one phone, not many, so he shut Ara down.

With Google Glass, too, Osterloh understood the vision but couldn’t figure out how to achieve it quickly. He ticks off the things you’d need to make a great face-worn augmented-reality device that aren’t yet possible: longer-lasting batteries in smaller packages, faster processors that generate less heat, and a populace ready to use such devices. “In the long run, this is going to be a key part of what we do,” he says. “But the timing is a key uncertainty.” In the meantime, Osterloh re-released Glass as an enterprise tool, where it found a surprising niche with factory workers and warehouse employees.

While he was re-writing org charts and culling product lines, Osterloh had also been working with the higher-ups at Google to figure out what, exactly, Google’s hardware strategy should entail. They coined platitudes like “radical helpfulness” and sought ways to communicate humanity and approachability, but mostly they focused on three words, in a very specific order: AI, software, hardware.

He had to embrace the fact that even as Google gets serious about gadgets, the company’s focus is, and always will be, elsewhere. Osterloh is fond of pointing out that Moore’s Law, which famously predicted the rapid rise in computational power, is mostly dead. It’s getting harder and harder to make fundamental leaps in power and capability. Google’s advantage, he says, is in its algorithms and neural networks. Osterloh’s job is to push Google’s AI capabilities more deeply into people’s lives.

For the new hardware team, the task was clear: Find more ways to get Google Assistant in front of people and build a sustainable business around it. Oh, and hurry, because Google is already behind, with Siri and Alexa already entrenched in consumers’ minds. Osterloh poured resources into the Pixel phone, a nascent project between a few Googlers and HTC, in which Google was taking on full responsibility for design and engineering for the first time and HTC was merely the manufacturer. The hope was that with this phone, at last, Google could give its software the physical form it needed. “We have a terrific ecosystem position with Android, but I think no one was really delivering the full Google experience,” Osterloh says.

Designing hardware and software in tandem allows for the detailed decision-making that makes people fall in love with their phones. Seang Chau, an engineering VP on the Google Pixel phone team, gives an example: For scrolling to be smooth and fast requires deep control of such factors as when to turn on the GPU, how to tune the processor, how to manage the power supply, even which cores of the chip run at any given time. “You pick up another phone that hasn’t had all those choices made, all those components chosen,” he says, and you notice the difference. Apple has been touting for years that its products excel because it builds both software and hardware; now Google is following suit.

Osterloh decided to flank the Pixel effort with other devices that were good matches for Assistant. Another team within Google had in the past released two terrific laptops, called Chromebook Pixel, that only saw limited commercial success. Osterloh told the team to go build something even lighter, thinner, and better—and to integrate Assistant. They decided to call it Pixelbook and set off on their way. A different group started working on headphones they called Pixel Buds that would provide access to Assistant without the need for a phone. The Google Home team and the Chromecast crew were also part of the push.

“Eventually, it will be the case that users probably have a constellation of devices to get things done,” Osterloh says. Google’s definitely thinking about tablets, definitely thinking about augmented-reality glasses, definitely thinking about wearables, and many more. But Osterloh speaks of “earning the right” to chase the buyers of those devices, of wanting to prove his team’s viability in existing markets.

With the employees of the hardware division settled into their new roles, Osterloh and his team started working out their production needs. He and Corrales toured manufacturers in Asia, telling them what Google was up to and how they’d be interacting going forward, and they brokered new deals with suppliers. In November 2017, Osterloh oversaw the $1.1 billion acquisition of an HTC division that brought more than 2,000 engineers to Google, many of them the same people who had spent the last decade building Nexus and Pixel devices as outside partners. The deal, Osterloh says, was “very important to help us scale faster. Hiring one at a time takes a long time, and our aspirations are to go faster.” In early 2018, Alphabet brought the entire Nest team under Osterloh's leadership, giving him control of the company's smart-home future as well.

There’s plenty of reason to rush. Apple and Samsung continue to push new competitive software onto their hardware, and new classes of devices are getting better all the time. Yet Osterloh notes time and again (and maybe partly as a reminder to himself) that building hardware is a slow process, that that’s a good thing, and that patience is a virtue. This moment is his chance to prove a career-long thesis about putting hardware and software together, and he wants to get it right. “There’s something big at stake here, both for him and the company,” says Ivy Ross, Google’s head of hardware design and one of Osterloh’s key lieutenants. “When you personally have a reason to drive, you’re just that much better.”

It’s now October 4, 2017, a year to the day since Osterloh first showed off the new generation of Google hardware.

The moment is familiar. Osterloh is wearing that same gray Henley and standing in the wings while Pichai explains that artificial intelligence is the future. This time, however, they’re at the SFJazz Center, a larger and more impressive venue. They’ve been rehearsing for weeks, tweaking the words and order of their presentations to better explain what Google is up to.

A year and a half into his tenure at Google, Rick Osterloh explains how Google is baking artificial intelligence into its latest batch of gadgets at an event in San Francisco.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The biggest difference, Osterloh says, is that this time he knows the story. In 2016, he was trying to retrofit a grand narrative around many disconnected products that turned out to be well liked but only moderately successful. (Amazon’s Echo was still crushing Google Home, and the Pixel didn’t exactly dent the iPhone’s bottom line.) With 18 months behind him, Osterloh now gets to show the world what Google hardware really looks like.

As he takes the stage, clearly more confident than a year ago, Osterloh starts with another overview. He reminds the audience of the 2016 launch and mentions the recent HTC acquisition. “By working more closely together, we’ll be able to better integrate Google hardware and software,” he says. “And our products,” he continues, with a smile expressing something between joy, relief, and aggression, “have built up a lot of momentum going into our second year.” Then he throws to one of Google’s trademark sizzle reel videos, with everyone from YouTubers to Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy loving their Google Homes and Pixels.

Over the next 90 minutes, Osterloh and his leadership team introduce a litany of new products that have Assistant baked in. At every turn, rather than tout spec sheets, Osterloh explains how artificial intelligence can extract remarkable experiences from ordinary hardware. As he introduces the Pixel 2, he mentions that although it only has one camera, its software includes an algorithm trained on faces that can help it turn standard photos into beautiful portraits. Google tweaked the audio processor inside the Pixel Buds to streamline the experience of using Assistant through headphones and to enable real-time translation. The Home Max can adapt its audio output to any space to improve sound quality. A new camera called Clips identifies snapshot-worthy moments and takes photos and video all on its own. Osterloh and his team went through gadget after gadget, showing with each one how Google could make its products smarter than the competition.

The launch goes well, but not perfectly. Some users have issues with the Pixel 2 XL’s OLED screen, which Google selected to show off its cool, contextually aware software. Others find fault with the touch panel on the Home Mini, which was accidentally turning itself on and recording hours of audio. Reviewers praise the idea behind the Pixel Buds, but not every feature.

All these issues make Osterloh angry—“I lose sleep every time customers aren’t happy,” he says—but they seem to energize him as well. He knows how to handle these kinds of challenges: more rigorous process, tighter management. It’s typical hardware stuff, lessons he learned long ago. Unlike the previous year, however, this time Osterloh has a clear path forward. The products under his watch are part of a story that spans the whole company. With its mission ironed out, Google needs to do more than release devices. It needs to learn how to win.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/one-mans-quest-to-make-googles-gadgets-great/

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45 Little Ways To Say I Love You Without Actually Saying It That Will Melt Your Girlfriends Heart


sept commercial

1. Come up behind her and wrap your arms around her waist when she’s not looking. Stay there for longer than just a second.

2. Tell her she’s beautiful instead of just saying it.

3. Tag her in a funny instagram that will make her smile when she’s at work.

4. Leave her a note on the bathroom mirror that says something you know will make her happy.

5. Make her coffee in the morning so she doesn’t have to do it herself before she goes to work.

6. Wipe her mascara tears away when she cries.

7. Slow dance with her in the kitchen for no reason at all other than to be close to her.

8. Cook her dinner (even if it’s boxed Mac N Cheese).

9. Pour her a glass of wine and bring it to her while she’s sitting on the couch and you know she wants one.

10. Plug in the heating pad when she has menstrual cramps.

11. Buy her tampons when she’s running out and needs them.

12. Have her favorite ice cream stocked in the fridge when she’s on her period.

13. Don’t watch your shared favorite show without her EVER.

14. Throw some of her laundry into the wash when you’re doing a load so she doesn’t have to.

15. Make her soup when she’s sick.

16. Put a small trash can or bucket next to her bed when she goes to bed drunk.

17. Hold her hair back when she’s puking from getting too drunk.

18. Get her Pedialyte or Gatorade when she’s hungover.

19. When you go to CVS bring home her favorite candy because you were thinking of her while you were there.

20. Love her dog just as much as you love her.

21. Take care of her dog like it’s your baby.

22. Same goes with any other animal she might have (cats, hamsters, iguanas).

23. Invite her as a plus one to your best friend’s wedding.

24. Invite her to your grandmother’s 90th birthday party and tell her to not feel obligated to come.

25. Cover her with a blanket when she falls asleep on the couch.

26. If she’s ever crying, tell her you don’t want her to cry.

27. Brush her hair back from her face when she’s upset.

28. Water her plants for her when she’s away.

29. Bond with her sibling(s).

30. Bond with her mom.

31. And her dad.

32. Bond with her grandmother.

33. and grandfather.

34. Talk about the future.

35. Kiss her forehead when she’s asleep.

36. Hold her hand when you’re walking down the street together.

37. Send her a text telling her you miss her when she’s away.

38. Send her a text when you’re out with all of your guy friends to let her know you’re still thinking about her even though you’re not supposed to be.

39. Bring her flowers just because it’s Tuesday and she deserves them.

40. Let her know you recognize how hard she works.

41. Give her a hug when she’s stressing about something that’s completely overwhelming her.

42. When she has an exam to study for help make her flash cards.

43. When she has to stay late at work, leave her something already made in the fridge to have ready when she gets home.

44. Watch a chick-flick with her even if you hate them.

45. Kiss her when you know she thinks she looks terrible, letting her know you don’t care, and that she never truly looks terrible to you.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/nicole-tarkoff/2018/02/45-little-ways-to-say-i-love-you-without-actually-saying-it-that-will-melt-your-girlfriends-heart/

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Yes, bacon really is killing us

The long read: Decades worth of research proves that chemicals used to make bacon do cause cancer. So how did the meat industry convince us it was safe?

There was a little cafe I used to go to that did the best bacon sandwiches. They came in a soft and pillowy white bap. The bacon, thick-cut from a local butcher, was midway between crispy and chewy. Ketchup and HP sauce were served in miniature jars with the sandwich, so you could dab on the exact amount you liked. That was all there was to it: just bread and bacon and sauce. Eating one of these sandwiches, as I did every few weeks, with a cup of strong coffee, felt like an uncomplicated pleasure.

And then, all of a sudden, the bacon sandwich stopped being quite so comforting. For a few weeks in October 2015, half the people I knew were talking about the news that eating bacon was now a proven cause of cancer. You couldnt miss the story: it was splashed large in every newspaper and all over the web. As one journalist wrote in Wired, Perhaps no two words together are more likely to set the internet aflame than BACON and CANCER. The BBC website announced, matter-of-factly, that Processed meats do cause cancer, while the Sun went with Banger out of Order and Killer in the Kitchen.

The source of the story was an announcement from the World Health Organization that processed meats were now classified as a group 1 carcinogen, meaning scientists were certain that there was sufficient evidence that they caused cancer, particularly colon cancer. The warning applied not just to British bacon but to Italian salami, Spanish chorizo, German bratwurst and myriad other foods.

Health scares are ten-a-penny, but this one was very hard to ignore. The WHO announcement came on advice from 22 cancer experts from 10 countries, who reviewed more than 400 studies on processed meat covering epidemiological data from hundreds of thousands of people. It was now possible to say that eat less processed meat, much like eat more vegetables, had become one of the very few absolutely incontrovertible pieces of evidence-based diet advice not simply another high-profile nutrition fad. As every news report highlighted, processed meat was now in a group of 120 proven carcinogens, alongside alcohol, asbestos and tobacco leading to a great many headlines blaring that bacon was as deadly as smoking.

The WHO advised that consuming 50g of processed meat a day equivalent to just a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog would raise the risk of getting bowel cancer by 18% over a lifetime. (Eating larger amounts raises your risk more.) Learning that your own risk of cancer has increased from something like 5% to something like 6% may not be frightening enough to put you off bacon sandwiches for ever. But learning that consumption of processed meat causes an additional 34,000 worldwide cancer deaths a year is much more chilling. According to Cancer Research UK, if no one ate processed or red meat in Britain, there would be 8,800 fewer cases of cancer. (That is four times the number of people killed annually on Britains roads.)

The news felt especially shocking because both ham and bacon are quintessentially British foods. Nearly a quarter of the adult population in Britain eats a ham sandwich for lunch on any given day, according to data from 2012 gathered by researchers Luke Yates and Alan Warde. To many consumers, bacon is not just a food; it is a repository of childhood memories, a totem of home. Surveys indicate that the smell of frying bacon is one of our favourite scents in the UK, along with cut grass and fresh bread. To be told that bacon had given millions of people cancer was a bit like finding out your granny had been secretly sprinkling arsenic on your morning toast.

Vegetarians might point out that the bacon sandwich should never have been seen as comforting. It is certainly no comfort for the pigs, most of whom are kept in squalid, cramped conditions. But for the rest of us, it was alarming to be told that these beloved foods might be contributing to thousands of needless human deaths. In the weeks following news of the WHO report, sales of bacon and sausages fell dramatically. British supermarkets reported a 3m drop in sales in just a fortnight. (It was very detrimental, said Kirsty Adams, the product developer for meat at Marks and Spencer.)

But just when it looked as if this may be #Bacongeddon (one of many agonised bacon-related hashtags trending in October 2015), a second wave of stories flooded in. Their message was: panic over. For one thing, the analogy between bacon and smoking was misleading. Smoking tobacco and eating processed meat are both dangerous, but not on the same scale. To put it in context, around 86% of lung cancers are linked to smoking, whereas it seems that just 21% of bowel cancers can be attributed to eating processed or red meat. A few weeks after publishing the report, the WHO issued a clarification insisting it was not telling consumers to stop eating processed meat.

Meanwhile, the meat industry was busily insisting that there was nothing to see here. The North American Meat Institute, an industry lobby group, called the report dramatic and alarmist overreach. A whole tranche of articles insisted in a commonsense tone that it would be premature and foolish to ditch our meaty fry-ups just because of a little cancer scare.

Nearly three years on, it feels like business as usual for processed meats. Many of us seem to have got over our initial sense of alarm. Sales of bacon in the UK are buoyant, having risen 5% in the two years up to mid-2016. When I interviewed a product developer for Sainsburys supermarket last year, she said that one of the quickest ways to get British consumers to try a new product now was to add chorizo to it.

And yet the evidence linking bacon to cancer is stronger than ever. In January, a new large-scale study using data from 262,195 British women suggested that consuming just 9g of bacon a day less than a rasher could significantly raise the risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The studys lead author, Jill Pell from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University, told me that while it can be counterproductive to push for total abstinence, the scientific evidence suggests it would be misleading for health authorities to set any safe dose for processed meat other than zero.

The real scandal of bacon, however, is that it didnt have to be anything like so damaging to our health. The part of the story we havent been told including by the WHO is that there were always other ways to manufacture these products that would make them significantly less carcinogenic. The fact that this is so little known is tribute to the power of the meat industry, which has for the past 40 years been engaged in a campaign of cover-ups and misdirection to rival the dirty tricks of Big Tobacco.


How do you choose a pack of bacon in a shop, assuming you are a meat eater? First, you opt for either the crispy fat of streaky or the leanness of back. Then you decide between smoked or unsmoked each version has its passionate defenders (I am of the unsmoked persuasion). Maybe you seek out a packet made from free-range or organic meat, or maybe your budget is squeezed and you search for any bacon on special offer. Either way, before you put the pack in your basket, you have one last look, to check if the meat is pink enough.

Since we eat with our eyes, the main way we judge the quality of cured meats is pinkness. Yet it is this very colour that we should be suspicious of, as the French journalist Guillaume Coudray explains in a book published in France last year called Cochonneries, a word that means both piggeries and rubbish or junk food. The subtitle is How Charcuterie Became a Poison. Cochonneries reads like a crime novel, in which the processed meat industry is the perpetrator and ordinary consumers are the victims.

The pinkness of bacon or cooked ham, or salami is a sign that it has been treated with chemicals, more specifically with nitrates and nitrites. It is the use of these chemicals that is widely believed to be the reason why processed meat is much more carcinogenic than unprocessed meat. Coudray argues that we should speak not of processed meat but nitro-meat.

Parma
Prosciutto di Parma has been produced without nitrates since 1993. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Pure insane crazy madness is how Coudray described the continuing use of nitrates and nitrites in processed meats, in an email to me. The madness, in his view, is that it is possible to make bacon and ham in ways that would be less carcinogenic. The most basic way to cure any meat is to salt it either with a dry salt rub or a wet brine and to wait for time to do the rest. Coudray notes that ham and bacon manufacturers claim this old-fashioned way of curing isnt safe. But the real reason they reject it is cost: it takes much longer for processed meats to develop their flavour this way, which cuts into profits.

There is much confusion about what processed meat actually means, a confusion encouraged by the bacon industry, which benefits from us thinking there is no difference between a freshly minced lamb kofta and a pizza smothered in nitrate-cured pepperoni. Technically, processed meat means pork or beef that has been salted and cured, with or without smoking. A fresh pound of beef mince isnt processed. A hard stick of cured salami is.

The health risk of bacon is largely to do with two food additives: potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre) and sodium nitrite. It is these that give salamis, bacons and cooked hams their alluring pink colour. Saltpetre sometimes called sal prunella has been used in some recipes for salted meats since ancient times. As Jane Grigson explains in Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, saltpetre was traditionally used when brining hams to give them an attractive rosy appearance when otherwise it would be a murky greyish brown.

In earlier centuries, bacon-makers who used saltpetre did not understand that it converts to nitrite as the meat cures. It is this nitrite that allows the bacteria responsible for cured flavour to emerge quicker, by inhibiting the growth of other bacteria. But in the early 20th century, the meat industry found that the production of cured meats could be streamlined by adding sodium nitrite to the pork in pure form. In trade journals of the 1960s, the firms who sold nitrite powders to ham-makers spoke quite openly about how the main advantage was to increase profit margins by speeding up production. One French brand of sodium nitrite from the 60s was called Vitorose or quick-pink.

Nitro-chemicals have been less of a boon to consumers. In and of themselves, these chemicals are not carcinogenic. After all, nitrate is naturally present in many green vegetables, including celery and spinach, something that bacon manufacturers often jubilantly point out. As one British bacon-maker told me, Theres nitrate in lettuce and no one is telling us not to eat that!

But something different happens when nitrates are used in meat processing. When nitrates interact with certain components in red meat (haem iron, amines and amides), they form N-nitroso compounds, which cause cancer. The best known of these compounds is nitrosamine. This, as Guillaume Coudray explained to me in an email, is known to be carcinogenic even at a very low dose. Any time someone eats bacon, ham or other processed meat, their gut receives a dose of nitrosamines, which damage the cells in the lining of the bowel, and can lead to cancer.

You would not know it from the way bacon is sold, but scientists have known nitrosamines are carcinogenic for a very long time. More than 60 years ago, in 1956, two British researchers called Peter Magee and John Barnes found that when rats were fed dimethyl nitrosamine, they developed malignant liver tumours. By the 1970s, animal studies showed that small, repeated doses of nitrosamines and nitrosamides exactly the kind of regular dose a person might have when eating a daily breakfast of bacon were found to cause tumours in many organs including the liver, stomach, oesophagus, intestines, bladder, brain, lungs and kidneys.

Just because something is a carcinogen in rats and other mammals does not mean it will cause cancer in humans, but as far back as 1976, cancer scientist William Lijinsky argued that we must assume that these N-nitroso compounds found in meats such as bacon were also carcinogens for man. In the years since, researchers have gathered a massive body of evidence to lend weight to that assumption. In 1994, to take just one paper among hundreds on nitrosamines and cancer, two American epidemiologists found that eating hotdogs one or more times a week was associated with higher rates of childhood brain cancer, particularly for children who also had few vitamins in their diets.

In 1993, Parma ham producers in Italy made a collective decision to remove nitrates from their products and revert to using only salt, as in the old days. For the past 25 years, no nitrates or nitrites have been used in any Prosciutto di Parma. Even without nitrate or nitrite, the Parma ham stays a deep rosy-pink colour. We now know that the colour in Parma ham is totally harmless, a result of the enzyme reactions during the hams 18-month ageing process.

Slow-cured, nitrate-free, artisan hams are one thing, but what about mass-market meats? Eighteen months would be a long time to wait on hotdogs, as the food science expert Harold McGee comments. But there have always been recipes for nitrate-free bacon using nothing but salt and herbs. John Gower of Quiet Waters Farm, a pork producer who advises many British manufacturers of cured meats, confirms that nitrate is not a necessary ingredient in bacon: Its generally accepted that solid muscle products, as opposed to chopped meat products like salami, dont require the addition of nitrate for safety reasons.

Bacon is proof, if it were needed, that we cling to old comforts long after they have been proven harmful. The attachment of producers to nitrates in bacon is mostly cultural, says Gower. Bacon cured by traditional methods without nitrates and nitrites will lack what Gower calls that hard-to-define tang, that delicious almost metallic taste that makes bacon taste of bacon to British consumers. Bacon without nitrates, says Gower, is nothing but salt pork.

Given the harm of nitro-meat has been known for so long, the obvious question is why more has not been done to protect us from it. Corinna Hawkes, a professor of Food Policy at City University in London, has been predicting for years that processed meats will be the next sugar a food so harmful that there will be demands for government agencies to step in and protect us. Some day soon, Hawkes believes, consumers will finally wake up to the clear links between cancer and processed meat and say Why didnt someone tell me about this?


The most amazing thing about the bacon panic of 2015 was that it took so long for official public health advice to turn against processed meat. It could have happened 40 years earlier. The only time that the processed meat industry has looked seriously vulnerable was during the 1970s, a decade that saw the so-called war on nitrates in the US. In an era of Ralph Nader-style consumer activism, there was a gathering mood in favour of protecting shoppers against bacon which one prominent public health scientist called the most dangerous food in the supermarket. In 1973, Leo Freedman, the chief toxicologist of the US Food and Drug Administration, confirmed to the New York Times that nitrosamines are a carcinogen for humans although he also mentioned that he liked bacon as well as anybody.

The US meat industry realised it had to act fast to protect bacon against the cancer charge. The first attempts to fight back were simply to ridicule the scientists for over-reacting. In a 1975 article titled Factual look at bacon scare, Farmers Weekly insisted that a medium-weight man would have to consume more than 11 tonnes of bacon every single day to run the faintest risk of cancer. This was an outrageous fabrication.

But soon the meat lobby came up with a cleverer form of diversion. The AMI the American Meat Institute started to make the argument that the nitrate was only there for the consumers own safety, to ward off botulism a potentially fatal toxin sometimes produced by poorly preserved foods. The scientific director of the AMI argued that a single cup of botulism would be enough to wipe out every human on the planet. So, far from harming lives, bacon was actually saving them.

In 1977, the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture gave the meat industry three months to prove that nitrate and nitrite in bacon caused no harm. Without a satisfactory response, Coudray writes, these additives would have to be replaced 36 months later with non-carcinogenic methods. The meat industry could not prove that nitrosamines were not carcinogenic because it was already known that they were. Instead, the argument was made that nitrates and nitrites were utterly essential for the making of bacon, because without them bacon would cause thousands of deaths from botulism. In 1978, in response to the FDAs challenge, Richard Lyng, director of the AMI, argued that nitrites are to processed meat as yeast is to bread.

The meat industrys tactics in defending bacon have been right out of the tobacco industrys playbook, according to Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University. The first move is: attack the science. By the 1980s, the AMI was financing a group of scientists based at the University of Wisconsin. These meat researchers published a stream of articles casting doubt on the harmfulness of nitrates and exaggerating the risk from botulism of non-nitrated hams.

Does making ham without nitrite lead to botulism? If so, it is a little strange that in the 25 years that Parma ham has been made without nitrites, there has not been a single case of botulism associated with it. Almost all the cases of botulism from preserved food which are extremely rare have been the result of imperfectly preserved vegetables, such as bottled green beans, peas and mushrooms. The botulism argument was a smokescreen. The more that consumers could be made to feel that the harmfulness of nitrate and nitrite in bacon and ham was still a matter of debate, the more they could be encouraged to calm down and keep buying bacon.

A
A bacon sandwich at a diner in Michigan. Photograph: Molly Riley/Reuters

The botulism pretext was very effective. The AMI managed to get the FDA to keep delaying its three-month ultimatum on nitrites until a new FDA commissioner was appointed in 1980 one more sympathetic to hotdogs. The nitrite ban was shelved. The only concession the industry had made was to limit the percentage of nitrites added to processed meat and to agree to add vitamin C, which would supposedly mitigate the formation of nitrosamines, although it does nothing to prevent the formation of another known carcinogen, nitrosyl-haem.

Over the years, the messages challenging the dangers of bacon have become ever more outlandish. An explainer article by the Meat Science and Muscle Biology lab at the University of Wisconsin argues that sodium nitrite is in fact critical for maintaining human health by controlling blood pressure, preventing memory loss, and accelerating wound healing. A French meat industry website, info-nitrites.fr, argues that the use of the right dose of nitrites in ham guarantees healthy and safe products, and insists that ham is an excellent food for children.

The bacon lobby has also found surprising allies among the natural foods brigade. Type nitrate cancer bacon into Google, and you will find a number of healthy eating articles, some of them written by advocates of the Paleo diet, arguing that bacon is actually a much-maligned health food. The writers often mention that vegetables are the primary source of nitrates, and that human saliva is high in nitrite. One widely shared article claims that giving up bacon would be as absurd as attempting to stop swallowing. Out of the mass of stuff on the internet defending the healthiness of bacon, it can be hard to tell which writers have fallen under the sway of the meat lobby, and which are simply clueless nutrition experts who dont know any better.

Either way, this misinformation has the potential to make thousands of people unwell. The mystifying part is why the rest of us have been so willing to accept the cover-up.


Our deepening knowledge of its harm has done very little to damage the comforting cultural associations of bacon. While I was researching this article, I felt a rising disgust at the repeated dishonesty of the processed meat industry. I thought about hospital wards and the horrible pain and indignity of bowel cancer. But then I remembered being in the kitchen with my father as a child on a Sunday morning, watching him fry bacon. When all the bacon was cooked, he would take a few squares of bread and fry them in the meaty fat until they had soaked up all its goodness.

In theory, our habit of eating salted and cured meats should have died out as soon as home refrigerators became widespread in the mid-20th century. But tastes in food are seldom rational, and millions of us are still hooked on the salty, smoky, umami savour of sizzling bacon.

We are sentimental about bacon in a way we never were with cigarettes, and this stops us from thinking straight. The widespread willingness to forgive pink, nitrated bacon for causing cancer illustrates how torn we feel when something beloved in our culture is proven to be detrimental to health. Our brains cant cope with the horrid feeling that bacon is not what we thought it was, and so we turn our anger outwards to the health gurus warning us of its hazards. The reaction of many consumers to the WHO report of 2015 was: hands off my bacon!

In 2010, the EU considered banning the use of nitrates in organic meats. Perhaps surprisingly, the British organic bacon industry vigorously opposed the proposed nitrates ban. Richard Jacobs, the late chief executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, an industry body, said that prohibiting nitrate and nitrite would have meant the collapse of a growing market for organic bacon.

Organic bacon produced with nitrates sounds like a contradiction in terms, given that most consumers of organic food buy it out of concerns for food safety. Having gone to the trouble of rearing pigs using free-range methods and giving them only organic feed, why would you then cure the meat in ways that make it carcinogenic? In Denmark, all organic bacon is nitrate-free. But the UK organic industry insisted that British shoppers would be unlikely to accept bacon that was greyish.

Then again, the slowness of consumers to lose our faith in pink bacon may partly be a response to the confusing way that the health message has been communicated to us. When it comes to processed meat, we have been misled not just by wild exaggerations of the food industry but by the caution of science.

On the WHO website, the harmfulness of nitrite-treated meats is explained so opaquely you could miss it altogether. In the middle of a paragraph on what makes red meat and processed meat increase the risk of cancer, it says: For instance, carcinogenic chemicals that form during meat processing include N-nitroso compounds. What this means, in plain English, is that nitrites make bacon more carcinogenic. But instead of spelling this out, the WHO moves swiftly on to the question of how both red and processed meats might cause cancer, after adding that it is not yet fully understood how cancer risk is increased.

The
The typical British sausage does not fall into the processed meat category. Photograph: Julian Smith/AAP

This caution has kept us as consumers unnecessarily in the dark. Consider sausages. For years, I believed that the unhealthiest part in a cooked English breakfast was the sausage, rather than the bacon. Before I started to research this article, Id have sworn that sausages fell squarely into the processed meat category. They are wrongly listed as such on the NHS website.

But the average British sausage as opposed to a hard sausage like a French saucisson is not cured, being made of nothing but fresh meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, salt and E223, a preservative that is non-carcinogenic. After much questioning, two expert spokespeople for the US National Cancer Institute confirmed to me that one might consider fresh sausages to be red meat and not processed meat, and thus only a probable carcinogen. (To me, the fact that most sausages are not processed meat was deeply cheering, and set me dancing around the kitchen with glee thinking about toad in the hole.)

In general, if you ask a cancer scientist to distinguish between the risks of eating different types of meat, they become understandably cagey. The two experts at the National Cancer Institute told me that meats containing nitrites and nitrates have consistently been associated with increased risk of colon cancer in human studies. But they added that it is difficult to separate nitrosamines from other possible carcinogens that may be present in processed meats like bacon. These other suspects include haem iron a substance that is abundant in all red meat, processed or not and heterocyclic amines: chemicals that form in meat during cooking. A piece of crispy, overcooked bacon will contain multiple carcinogens, and not all are due to the nitrates.

The problem with this reasoning, as I see it, is that it cant account for why processed meat is so much more closely linked to cancer than cooked red meat. For that, there remains no plausible explanation except for nitrates and nitrites. But looking for clear confirmation of this in the data is tricky, given that humans do not eat in labs under clinical observation.

Most of what we know about processed meat and cancer in humans comes from epidemiology the study of disease across whole populations. But epidemiologists do not ask the kind of detailed questions about food that the people who eat that food may like answers to. The epidemiological data based on surveys of what people eat is now devastatingly clear that diets high in processed meats lead to a higher incidence of cancer. But it cant tell us how or why or which meats are the best or worst. As Corinna Hawkes of City University comments, The researchers dont ask you if you are eating artisanal charcuterie from the local Italian deli or the cheapest hotdogs on the planet.

I would love to see data comparing the cancer risk of eating nitrate-free Parma ham with that of traditional bacon, but no epidemiologist has yet done such a study. The closest anyone has come was a French study from 2015, which found that consumption of nitrosylated haem iron as found in processed meats had a more direct association with colon cancer than the haem iron that is present in fresh red meat.

It may be possible that epidemiologists have not asked people more detailed questions about what kind of processed meats they eat because they assume there is no mass-market alternative to bacon made without nitrates or nitrites. But this is about to change.


The technology now exists to make the pink meats we love in a less damaging form, which raises the question of why the old kind is still so freely sold. Ever since the war on nitrates of the 1970s, US consumers have been more savvy about nitrates than those in Europe, and there is a lot of nitrate-free bacon on the market. The trouble, as Jill Pell remarks, is that most of the bacon labelled as nitrate-free in the US isnt nitrate-free. Its made with nitrates taken from celery extract, which may be natural, but produces exactly the same N-nitroso compounds in the meat. Under EU regulation, this bacon would not be allowed to be labelled nitrate-free.

Its the worst con Ive ever seen in my entire life, says Denis Lynn, the chair of Finnebrogue Artisan, a Northern Irish company that makes sausages for many UK supermarkets, including Marks & Spencer. For years, Lynn had been hoping to diversify into bacon and ham but, he says, I wasnt going to do it until we found a way to do it without nitrates.

When Lynn heard about a new process, developed in Spain, for making perfectly pink, nitrate-free bacon, he assumed it was another blind alley. In 2009, Juan de Dios Hernandez Canovas, a food scientist and the head of the food tech company Prosur, found that if he added certain fruit extracts to fresh pork, it stayed pink for a surprisingly long time.

In January 2018, Finnebrogue used this technology to launch genuinely nitrate-free bacon and ham in the UK. It is sold in Sainsburys and Waitrose as Naked Bacon and Naked Ham, and in M&S as made without nitrites. Kirsty Adams, who oversaw its launch at M&S, explains that its not really cured. Its more like a fresh salted pork injected with a fruit and vegetable extract, and is more perishable than an old-fashioned flitch of bacon but that doesnt matter, given that it is kept in a fridge. Because it is quick to produce, this is much more economically viable to make than some of the other nitrate-free options, such as slow-cured Parma ham. The bacon currently sells in Waitrose for 3 a pack, which is not the cheapest, but not prohibitive either.

I tried some of the Finnebrogue bacon from M&S. The back bacon tasted pleasant and mild, with a slight fruitiness. It didnt have the toothsome texture or smoky depth of a rasher of butchers dry-cured bacon, but Id happily buy it again as an alternative to nitro-meat. None of my family noticed the difference in a spaghetti amatriciana.

Nitrite-free bacon still sounds a bit fancy and niche, but there shouldnt be anything niche about the desire to eat food that doesnt raise your risk of cancer. Lynn says that when he first approached Prosur about the fruit extract, he asked how much they had sold to the other big bacon manufacturers during the two years they had been offering it in the UK. The answer was none. None of the big guys wanted to take it, claims Lynn. They said: It will make our other processed meats look dodgy.

But it also remains to be seen how much consumer demand there will be for nitrite- or nitrate-free bacon. For all the noise about bacon and cancer, it isnt easy to disentangle at a personal level just what kind of risk we are at when we eat a bacon sandwich. OK, so 34,000 people may die each year because of processed meat in their diet, but the odds are that it wont be you. I asked a series of cancer scientists whether they personally ate processed meat, and they all gave slightly different answers. Jill Pell said she was mostly vegetarian and ate processed meats very rarely. But when I asked Fabrice Pierre, a French expert on colon cancer and meat, if he eats ham, he replied: Yes, of course. But with vegetables at the same meal. (Pierres research at the Toxalim lab has shown him that some of the carcinogenic effects of ham can be offset by eating vegetables.)

Our endless doubt and confusion about what we should be eating have been a gift to the bacon industry. The cover-up about the harm of meat cured with nitrates and nitrites has been helped along by the scepticism many of us feel about all diet advice. At the height of the great bacon scare of 2015, lots of intelligent voices were saying that it was safe to ignore the new classification of processed meats as carcinogenic, because you cant trust anything these nutritionists say. Meanwhile, millions of consumers of ham and bacon, many of them children, are left unprotected. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about this controversy is how little public outrage it has generated. Despite everything, most of us still treat bacon as a dear old friend.

In an ideal world, we would all be eating diets lower in meat, processed or otherwise, for the sake of sustainability and animal welfare as much as health. But in the world we actually live in, processed meats are still a normal, staple protein for millions of people who cant afford to swap a value pack of frying bacon for a few slivers of Prosciutto di Parma. Around half of all meat eaten in developed countries is now processed, according to researcher John Kearney, making it a far more universal habit than smoking.

The real victims in all this are not people like me who enjoy the occasional bacon-on-sourdough in a hipster cafe. The people who will be worst affected are those many on low incomes for whom the cancer risk from bacon is compounded by other risk factors such as eating low-fibre diets with few vegetables or wholegrains. In his book, Coudray points out that in coming years, millions more poor consumers will be affected by preventable colon cancer, as westernised processed meats conquer the developing world.

Last month, Michele Rivasi, a French MEP, launched a campaign in collaboration with Coudray demanding a ban of nitrites from all meat products across Europe. Given how vigorously the bacon industry has fought its corner thus far, a total ban on nitrites looks unlikely.

But there are other things that could be done about the risk of nitrites and nitrates in bacon, short of an absolute veto. Better information would be a start. As Corinna Hawkes points out, it is surprising that there hasnt been more of an effort from government to inform people about the risks of eating ham and bacon, perhaps through warning labels on processed meats. But where is the British politician brave enough to cast doubt on bacon?

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/01/bacon-cancer-processed-meats-nitrates-nitrites-sausages

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Trump clapping at himself was the funniest part of the SOTU

You probably already know this, but President Donald Trump thinks very highly of himself. Need proof? Just look at his first State of the Union address, which he delivered Tuesday night.

If you watched it, you may have noticed an odd banging sound in the background during a few times when the audience stood up and started clapping. That’s Trump clapping at his own words…. into the microphone.

USA Today rounded up some of the moments that Trump clapped in a compilation video:

Trump’s clapping, amplified by his microphone, quickly turned into a joke on Twitter.

Meanwhile, others admired Sen. Tim Kaine’s “hate clap.”

If you need a refresher on Obama’s etiquette during the SOTU, here’s his last speech in 2016:

Obama mostly folded his hands or kept his hands at his side while the audience clapped during moments in this State of the Union. At the very least, he seemed to realize that clapping directly into a microphone would produce an uncomfortably loud sound.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/trump-clapping-sotu/

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This Is Why Your Wife Is Stressed Out (Spoiler Alert: It Might Be You)

Five months ago, mom and writer Cameron Reeves Poynter shared a heartfelt essay on Facebook about the invisible work she does for her family.

“I am the keeper. I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments,” she wrote, before diving into a laundry list of chores and responsibilities she takes on for her husband and two sons. 

“I am the keeper of emotional security,” wrote the mom, who is based in the Norfolk, Virginia, area. “The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears.” 

Most of the time, the load is manageable for the former attorney, but other times, it’s too much to bear. 

“Sometimes the weight of the things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath,” she wrote, before admitting that sometimes, “being the keeper is exhausting. Because you feel like you’re doing it alone.” (Read the entire essay below.)  

The post went viral and compelled many readers to reach out to Reeves Poynter with their stories of shouldering the lion’s share of childcare and household work. (In many cases, that’s on top of their day-to-day responsibilities at work.) 

“I have heard from hundreds of people ― men and women ― who told me they desperately needed to hear someone say, ‘I see you. What you do matters. You are not alone,’” she told HuffPost. “It’s hard because there is no objective rubric like a grading scale or a performance review to figure out how you’re faring with things like this.” 

The mental energy Reeves Poynter described in her viral essay is what therapists callemotional labor — the effort it takes to put your game face on when you’re utterly exhausted from managing nearly everything at home. (Originally, the term was applied to workplace interactions, but in recent times, it’s been applied to housework and parenting tasks, too.) 

The “keeper” is an apt job title and a good catch-all for the parent who handles almost all of the invisible work in the household: The keeper remembers that their 10-year-old has an eye exam on Tuesday, that supplies need to be bought for an upcoming science fair project, that teeth need to be brushed. The keeper takes care of the things that would cause familial chaos if they weren’t done.

It’s not just household logistics, either; the keeper often shoulders the weight of the family’s emotional burdens, too. They’re there for every tantrum, every mini crisis after a friendship spat, every lecture after a bad report card.

For working mothers especially, the so-called second shift” takes hold once they walk through the door from their day job. It’s relentless, exhausting work and it often puts a strain on the spousal relationship. 

Elisabeth LaMotte, therapist and founder of the DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center, said she’s heard clients complain about emotional labor and the second shift for decades. 

“Women ask, ‘Why is it always on me to make sure everyone knows the schedule and responsibilities for each child? Why am I always the one to absorb the worry about our children’s collective well-being?’”

The fear of being perceived as a nag keeps many of them from speaking up, so they simply grin and bear it. 

“Instead, they’ll do too much of the housework and become filled with annoyance and resentment,” LaMotte said. 

Of course, there are some households where the workload split is a little less lopsided. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey of American parents, half of married or cohabiting couples living with at least one child under age 18 said their household chores were split about equally. But 41 percent said the mother did more, while 8 percent said the father did more work. 

Then there’s caring for children: In 2015, fathers reported spending, on average, seven hours a week on childcare. That’s almost triple the amount of time they spent on the kids back in 1965, but they’ve got a long way to go before they catch up with their wives: Mothers spent an average of about 15 hours a week caring for the kids in 2015. 

The thing is, once women give themselves permission to let go of all the responsibility, they’re usually surprised at how much their husbands do pick up the slack. They might be annoyed that he doesn’t do it the same way she does, but it does get done.” Aaron Anderson, a couples therapist in Denver, Colorado

In a culture that encourages women to “lean in” at work, we’ve also discussed why we don’t ask men to lean in a bit more at home to balance things out. We don’t, in part, because women have been taught to accept their duties and not rock the boat with their partners. And far too many women think, “If I don’t do it, it will never get done,” said Aaron Anderson,a couples therapist in Denver. 

“The thing is, once women give themselves permission to let go of all the responsibility, they’re usually surprised at how much their husbands do pick up the slack,” Anderson told us. “They might be annoyed that he doesn’t do it the same way she does, but it does get done, and they end up appreciating their spouses more.” 

Indeed, sometimes allowing things to fall apart a bit ― dishes left in the sink, laundry undone ― is a necessary catalyst for change in a marriage, LaMotte said.

“If the over-performing spouse can tolerate refusing to pick up the fallen pieces, the under-performing spouse will almost always function up to the emotional task at hand,” she said. “It’s not easy, but allowing things to fall apart is often the blueprint for authentic change.” 

Of course, you can’t let the needs of your crying baby fall to the wayside in the same way you can ignore the pile of trash building up in the kitchen. Most women don’t want to micromanage or dictate a “honey-do” list for their spouses, either. They want a partner with initiative, someone who will schedule the kids’ orthodontist appointments or snuggle them to sleep at night withouthaving to be asked. 

But for any lasting change to be made, both partners need to accept that they may have drastically different approaches to housework. Though most men genuinely want to help around the house, they worry about doing a subpar job, said J.D. Moyer, a married science fiction writer from Oakland, California, who has written about emotional labor in the past. 

My wife and I have both learned to explicitly ask for praise and acknowledgement when we get something done.” J.D. Moyer, a science fiction writer from Oakland, California

After being married 21 years and having one daughter, Moyer and his wife Kia have worked out most of the kinks of household labor. Shared online docs ― like a shared Evernote grocery list ― take the guesswork out of what needs to be accomplished. And simply recognizing a job well done works wonders too, he said.

“My wife and I have both learned to explicitly ask for praise and acknowledgement when we get something done,” Moyer said. “It’s kind of silly to say, ‘Hey, come take a tour of the clean kitchen!’ but it beats feeling unappreciated and resentful.” 

Reeves Poynter also stressed the importance of being an observant, active participant in your household. 

“You have to look. Look at your house, your children, your spouse and see their splendors and their failures,” she said. “Look for the chances to help before anyone asks. Look for the moments to say ‘I see you.’”

Once you’re in the practice of actively looking, don’t let yourself slip back into disinterest or disregard. 

“Never look the other way,” she said. “Never stop looking with your eyes and with your heart.” 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-your-wife-is-stressed-out-all-the-time_us_5a79f380e4b06505b4e89f94

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Harry and Meghan on first Scottish visit

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Media captionPrince Harry and Meghan Markle have made their first official visit to Scotland.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have visited Edinburgh Castle on their first official joint appearance in Scotland.

The trip is part of their public engagements in the run-up to their wedding on 19 May.

The royal couple spent several minutes talking to people in the crowd as they arrived at the Esplanade in front of the castle.

They then attended the firing of the castle’s famous One o’Clock Gun.

The visit is the fourth public appearance the couple have made together following their engagement in November.

It follows trips to Nottingham, Brixton in south London and Cardiff.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle
Image copyright PA
Image caption Meghan and Harry were greeted by Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Harry and Meghan got engaged in November
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Harry and Meghan greeted well-wishers
Image copyright PA
Image caption Meghan Markle during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle
Image copyright PA
Image caption Meghan Markle shakes hands with a child in the crowd on the castle espalande

Royal fans braved wet and cold conditions to greet the prince and his bride-to-be at the start of their tour of the city.

Ms Markle wore a Burberry coat, with trousers by Veronica Beard.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Meghan Markle wore a Burberry coat and a handbag from Edinburgh firm Strathberry

She also carried a handbag made by Edinburgh firm Strathberry, the same make as the bag she wore on her first Royal engagement in Nottingham in December.

The couple paused on the Esplanade for a few minutes to shake hands and talk to people in the crowd.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hannah Davey, 6, joins crowds ahead of a visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Edinburgh Castle

One of the first well-wishers to arrive at the castle’s esplanade was Sarah Coronado, 28, a masters student from Mexico studying at Edinburgh University.

She said: “Seeing the couple is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We don’t have these visits in Mexico or my hometown of Monterey.

“They are also the hot couple of the moment because of their marriage coming up.

“I also think Meghan is a role model, she’s not just a pretty face. I think she’s going to change the face of the monarchy.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson and regimental mascot Cruachan IV

At the castle, Harry and Ms Markle joined Sergeant Dave Beveridge, district gunner, Royal Artillery, for the firing of the One o’Clock Gun.

They were given ear defenders before standing behind the gun, which dates back to 1861.

The couple also chatted to cadets and took in views across the city, before briefly waving to the crowds as they departed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Sgt David Beveridge (right) before he fires the One o’clock gun at Edinburgh Castle
Image copyright PA
Image caption Harry and Meghan before the One O’Clock gun was fired

Image caption Harry and Meghan stood back and wore ear defenders as the One O’Clock Gun was fired

Harry and Ms Markle then visited social enterprise cafe, Social Bite, where they were again greeted by large crowds.

Many people waited in the cold for three hours for a glimpse of the pair.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to Social Bite in Edinburgh

Social Bite distributes 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people across Scotland each year, as well as employing staff who have experienced homelessness themselves.

Harry and Ms Markle spent time speaking to co-founders Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson.

They explained how homeless people struggle to find employment without an address.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to Social Bite in Edinburgh

The cafe offers work to those without their own accommodation as part of efforts to end the issue in Scotland.

When speaking to staff in the kitchen, Ms Markle said she wanted to work there because it seemed “fun”.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Harry and Meghan meet Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a reception in the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Harry and Ms Markle then went to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for their final public engagement.

The couple attended a reception to celebrate youth achievements as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

Crowds lined the approach to the palace as the royal couple arrived.

A band from Impact Arts were among the performers and they made a tongue-in-cheek pitch to play at the royal wedding on May 19.

Band member Darren Telford said: “What we said was that a little birdie had told us that Ed Sheeran was going to be playing an upcoming wedding and if he couldn’t make it we are free if they wanted.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-43034104

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Me Chugging Water In The Kitchen At 3 Am…

Read more: http://www.ifunny.com//pictures/me-chugging-water-kitchen-3-am/

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This Is the Smart Home of the Future

Don’t worry: Technology may come and go, but some things never change. In the not-so-distant future, cars will drive themselves and men may become obsolete (sorry, guys), but home will always be home. It’ll just be a heck of a lot smarter.

Juicero​​​​​.
Photographer: Evan Ortiz/Bloomberg

Granted, some tech is better than other tech. No one needs a Wi-Fi-connected juice press that doesn’t actually juice anything. Gadgets that offer real utility—like a smart oven or open source furniture—stand a better chance of becoming ubiquitous. If you’re skeptical, think of it this way: In-home refrigeration was the crazy, newfangled invention of 1913. Now, few among us can imagine living without it.

What will the home of the future look like? We took stock of the most exciting tech-forward home products on the market. It’s only a matter of time until at least some of these come standard in every American home.

 

The High-Tech Living Room

Apple’s HomePod.
Source: Apple

Thirty-nine million Americans now have a smart speaker in their homes—that’s 1 in 6 people—and all signs indicate this figure will only creep higher with time. In the living room of the future, smart speakers will be a central feature, with newer models connected to every element in your home, from the lightbulbs to the lock on your front door to the thermostat. They will become so essential you won’t think twice about plunking down $400 for one.

Watching TV and movies will be a wildly different experience. Why devote precious square footage in your living room to a giant screen when you could have one that effortlessly rolls up away and out of sight, like the one LG Display debuted at this year’s CES? Or you may choose not to have a TV at all and opt instead for a superhigh-resolution short-throw projector that turns any white wall into your own personal movie theater. Sony’s new $30,000 model would fit the bill, assuming the price tag comes down.

Open source furniture from Tom Dixon via Ikea.
Source: Modsy

In the coming years, it’ll be much easier to design your living space. Apps and online platforms such as Modsy and Hutch will use virtual and augmented reality to help you visualize how a couch or chair will look in your home. You’ll have lots of options: Modular, open source furniture will dominate interior design trends, taking the lead from Ikea’s Tom Dixon-designed Delaktig couch, which has more than 97 different configurations. Choose wisely, because you’ll be spending more time on the couch than ever: Facebook Inc.’s forthcoming living-room-geared video chat device will reportedly use smart camera technology to make people on both ends feel like they’re sitting in the same room.

Also, expect your living room to be even more of a central hub than it already is. Deliveries will arrive here instead of on your front porch, thanks to Amazon.com’s new Prime service, which will let verified delivery persons carry goods right into your home.

And don’t for a minute think ultramodern gadgetry is only for the younger set: Homes for the elderly will be outfitted with internet-connected gear that allows adult children to monitor their aging parents.

Smart Cooking in the Kitchen

The June intelligent oven.
Photographer: Evan Sung/Bloomberg

Ultimately, the goal of kitchen technology won’t be to do the cooking for you. It’ll just make you a better cook. Smart ovens such as those from June will be outfitted with cameras and digital thermometers, helping you monitor your food as it bakes. And instead of just hoping the “medium-hot” setting on your gas range is hot enough, smart skillets will take guessing out of the equation by sizzling food at a precise temperature, which you’ll set on a connected app.

Smart refrigerators will help reduce waste by letting you know when the carrots in your fridge are about to go bad, and offer up several recipes for them to boot. The smart fridge from LG will even send cooking instructions to your smart oven. Meanwhile, 3D food printers will help you create intricately shaped pasta, and smart-technology-equipped ice cream makers will automatically sense the hardness of the mixture within and keep it ready until it’s sundae time.

Tech Enters the Bedroom

Eight Sleep’s smart mattress.
Source: Eight Sleep

The latest wave of home-focused technology is about making everyday life better and easier, and that begins with a good night’s sleep. Sleep trackers such as Eight’s smart mattress and smartphone apps Sleep Time and Sleep Cycle will use sensors to measure your sleep metrics, while smart alarm clocks like Amazon’s mini Echo will help you begin your day on the right foot with time, weather, and news.

Need a gentler wake-up? The smart aromatherapy alarm clocks from Nox Aroma will sense when you’ve reached your sleep cycle’s lightest point and release a wake-up scent of your choice.

Once you’re up and moving, it’s time to get dressed: Your closet will be filled with clothes you don’t just wear. They will actually interact with you, tracking health markers and habits. Among them: MadeWithGlove’s still-in-development smart gloves, which promise to detect skin temperature and provide heat accordingly. Your clothes might even change shape or color based on your feelings, as will the Sensoree mood sweater, now available for preorder.

And if you want a new wardrobe, you won’t have to even leave the house to find the best-fitting clothes: Amazon’s patented mirror will let you virtually try on outfits from the comfort of your own bedroom.

Yes, Even in the Bathroom

Moen’s smart shower system can be operated with Amazon’s Alexa.
Source: Moen

In the future, spa-like experiences at home will be the norm. No need to draw your own bath—your digital assistant can do that for you with smart shower systems like those from U by Moen. High-tech tubs such as those from Toto will induce relaxed brain waves, while nose-geared gadgets like Olfinity will let you program and control your own aromatherapy session from your iPhone while you soak.

Sound far-fetched? Remember a decade ago, few of us could have imagined being so attached to our smartphones, let alone ordering groceries off the internet or barking commands at a digital assistant. With time, even the strangest things can become normal.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/this-is-the-smart-home-of-the-future

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    Teaching robots to understand their world through basic motor skills

    Robots are great at doing what they’re told. But sometimes inputting that information into a system is a far more complex process than the task we’re asking them to execute. That’s part of the reason they’re best suited for simple/repetitive jobs.

    A team of researchers at Brown University and MIT is working to develop a system in which robots can plan tasks by developing abstract concepts of real-world objects and ideas based on motor skills. With this system, the robots can perform complex tasks without getting bogged down in the minutia required to complete them.

    The researchers programmed a two-armed robot (Anathema Device or “Ana”) to manipulate objects in a room — opening and closing a cupboard and a cooler, flipping on a light switch and picking upa bottle. While performing the tasks, the robot was taking in its surroundings and processing information through algorithms developed by the researchers.

    According to the team, the robot was able to learn abstract concepts about the object and the environment. Ana was able to determine that doors need to be closed before they can be opened.

    “She learned that the light inside the cupboard was so bright that it whited out her sensors,” the researchers wrote in a release announcing their findings. “So in order to manipulate the bottle inside the cupboard, the light had to be off. She also learned that in order to turn the light off, the cupboard door needed to be closed, because the open door blocked her access to the switch.”

    Once processed, the robot associates a symbol with one of these abstract concepts. It’s a sort of common language developed between the robot and human that doesn’t require complex coding to execute. This kind of adaptive quality means the robots could become far more capable of performing a greater variety of tasks in more diverse environments by choosing the actions they need to perform in a given scenario.

    “If we want intelligent robots, we can’t write a program for everything we might want them to do,” George Konidaris, a Brown University assistant professor who led the study told TechCrunch. “We have to be able to give them goals and have them generate behavior on their own.”

    Of course, asking every robot to learn this way is equally inefficient, but the researchers believe they can develop a common language and create skills that could be download to new hardware.

    “I think what will happen in the future is there will be skills libraries, and you can download those,” explains Konidaris. “You can say, ‘I want the skill library for working in the kitchen,’ and that will come with the skill library for doing things in the kitchen.”

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/10/teaching-robots-to-understand-their-world-through-basic-motor-skills/

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    Trumps Environment Pick: Fossil Fuels Ended Slavery, CO2 Is Good for You

    One of the most embarrassing political flops of 2017 was Donald Trumps nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a longtime fossil-fuel advocate, to direct the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Her confirmation hearing was a disaster, captured for posterity on YouTube. While she made it out of committee on party lines, the full Senate declined to consider her nomination as part of a bipartisan deal.

    Now, shes back.

    To the surprise of Hill-watchers, White has been re-nominated, setting up a showdown with Democrats and Republicans alike. (Per Senate rules, nominees not confirmed at the end of the year must be re-submitted.) One observer called her the most endangered of President Trumps environmental nominees.

    Why?

    Were all used to the fox guarding the henhouse phenomenon in this administration: a longtime opponent of public schools heading the Education Department, a man who made his name suing the Environmental Protection Agency now heading it, and on down the line. So its not surprising that White has spent her career taking money from ExxonMobil and the Koch network and spouting nonsense about how fossil fuels ended slavery, emit plant nutrients, and, of course, do not contribute to global climate disruption.

    What was surprising was how awfully she performed at that hearing.

    First, it was revealed that many of her written answers to the committee were apparently cut and pasted, word for word, from the answers submitted by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and his assistant Bill Wehrum.

    Then came the hearing itself.

    At one point, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked White to estimate how much of the excess heat from climate change is stored in the oceansa detailed question for you or me, but pretty standard for a climate-policy person. White said she didnt know, but said there were many opinions and no right answer. Thats the fossil-fuel industrys refrain, of course.

    Whitehouse asked if there was a serious scientific opinion that its below 50 percent. White said yes. Whitehouse said, Wow.

    The actual answer is 90 percent, and there is no dispute about that.

    Then Sen. Whitehouse asked if White agreed that water expands as it heats, a principle that can be proven on any kitchen stovetop. White said, I do not have any kind of expertise or even much laymans study of the ocean dynamics.

    Of course, water does expand as it heats, which is why hundreds of millions of people will likely have to flee coastal areas in the next few decades.

    For good measure, White also contradicted the EPAs new policy that its scientists may not attend conferences on climate-change science, and contradicted her own published statement that the IPCCs highly politicized and speculative science [is] increasingly contradicted by empirical evidence, saying at the hearing that the intergovernmental panel of climate-change scientists is a very good source.

    Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement, In the 17 years I have been in the Senate, I have never sat through a hearing as excruciating as Ms. Whites.

    Nor was the hearing a one-time flub. Heres a 2015 video in which, tripping over her words, White praises the really beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Satellites already show a greening of the earth, in part from very small amount of carbon dioxide involved with using fossil fuels.

    There is absolutely no basis in fact for that claim.

    Also in 2015, White wrote a piece for TownHall.com exclaiming that:

    No matter how many times, [sic] the President, EPA, and press rant about dirty carbon pollution, there is no pollution about carbon itself! As a dictionary will tell you, carbon is the chemical basis of all life. Our flesh, blood, and bones are built of carbon. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the gas of life on this planet, an essential nutrient for plant growth on which human life depends. How craftily our government has masked these fundamental realities and the environmental benefits of fossil fuels!

    Crafty indeed. Of course, White is here conflating the carbon-heavy pollution from coal (particulate matter, i.e. soot and dust), which is responsible for 3 million deaths annually, with carbon dioxide, which indeed is an essential nutrient but has hit concentration levels in the atmosphere not seen for 125,000 years.

    The only question is whether White is knowingly deceiving people in such statements, or whether she is indeed so ignorant or brainwashed that she believes this sort of thing. Is she a dupe or a knave? Im not sure.

    White is also a conspiracy theorist. Her opinion on climate change isnt just that its not so bad (a position at odds with 99.5 percent of actual climate scientists) but that the whole thing is, as Trump once said, a hoax. In that same Townhall piece, White wrote:

    As the evidence for unprecedented warming temperatures, extreme weather events, declining Arctic ice, and rising sea levels wanes, the entrenched warmists grasp for familiar tags such as pollution or environmental protection to sanitize their grand schemes to decarbonize human societies.

    Note the combination of lies and myths here. First, there is (and was in 2015) abundant evidence for every one of the items White mentions: the unprecedented warming of the climate, extreme weather events, declining Arctic ice, and rising sea levels.

    Second, theres the conspiracy-mongering: grand schemes to decarbonize human societies. White has made this claim many times: that the entire climate-science field, all around the world, is actually a cabal to undermine fossil fuels.

    Why would they want to do so? Leftist totalitarianism. In a 2014 blog post, she wrote, referring to MSNBCs Chris Hayes, Sometimes a single voice throws in hard relief the delusion, misanthropy, and unabashedly totalitarian policy of the Left. These characteristics are particularly embedded in the Left's secular religion: Apocalyptic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    That was also the piece in which White wrote that There is, in fact, a historical connection between the abolition of slavery and humanitys first widespread use of energy from fossil fuels.

    (Her point is that industrialization and urbanization were enabled by the use of coal and oil. In fact, the Industrial Revolution increased demand for slave-labor-produced raw materials, making slavery more lucrative. Also, you know, the abolition of slavery may have had other causes as well.)

    Whites rsum certainly makes her appear to be bright and qualified. Her current title is distinguished senior fellow in residence and director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). Previously, she chaired the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under Gov. Rick Perry.

    But look closer. TPPF is part of the State Policy Network, a system of conservative think tanks that are funded by Koch-backed dark-money groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, as well as the Koch-backed Claude R. Lambe and Charles G. Koch foundations, and ExxonMobil.

    Like many such think tanks, the TPPF is fake. The only thinking that goes on is of thoughts that Big Oil pays for.

    When White ran the TCEQ, she voted to build a new coal plant near Dallas, despite opposition from officials in 24 cities and counties; falsified data to help polluters get around water regulations; and, according to a 2003 Texas state audit, did not consistently ensure violators are held accountable for pollution.

    This is how one makes a career as a lackey for the fossil-fuel industry: First they pay for your fake job, then they get you into a position of power where you implement their policies.You can coast through for decades without anyone calling your bluff.

    But the Senate just might: Just two Republican defections would doom Whites candidacy. Eyes are focused, as usual, on Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has a strong environmental record and who voted against confirming Pruitt, as well as senators from agricultural states that stand to lose if White is confirmed.

    Of course, the Senate has confirmed Trumps anti-environmental picks beforebut then, none of them were quite as willfully ignorant as Kathleen White.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/kathleen-hartnett-white-trumps-environment-pick-fossil-fuels-ended-slavery-co2-is-good-for-you

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    Rising number of EU nationals leaving UK

    Image copyright Getty Images

    The number of EU citizens leaving the UK is at its highest level for a decade with 130,000 emigrating in the year to September, figures show.

    But far more EU nationals (220,000) moved to the UK in the same period, the Office for National Statistics found.

    It means net EU migration – the difference between arrivals and departures – was 90,000, the lowest for five years.

    The ONS said Brexit could be a factor in people’s decisions to move.

    Nicola White, head of international migration statistics at the ONS, said migration was complicated and could be influenced by lots of different reasons.

    The figures also show that more British people are emigrating than are returning to live in the UK.

    Of those EU nationals arriving in the UK, fewer were coming for “work-related reasons”, in particular to “look for work”.

    ‘More students’

    By contrast, immigration from countries outside the European Union is going up which means the UK population is continuing to grow at a similar level to early 2014.

    Some 285,000 non-EU citizens arrived in the UK in the 12-month period to September, and 80,000 departed.

    This gives a net increase of 205,000, the highest for six years.

    BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said this was largely driven by more people coming to study in the UK and an uncharacteristic dip in the previous year’s figures that may have been corrected.

    He also speculated whether firms were starting to struggle to recruit or retain people from the EU, forcing them to look outside the EU.

    Overall, net migration is estimated to have fallen by 29,000 to 244,000 in the same period.

    This includes 73,000 British people coming back to the UK and 125,000 Britons leaving.

    The overall net migration figure is still well short of the government’s target to reduce net migration to below 100,000, a pledge made in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 Tory manifestos.

    Analysis: A shift away from Britain’s shores

    By home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw

    What explanation could there be for the decline in EU migration other than Brexit? In the two years before the June 2016 referendum, the number of EU nationals arriving in Britain was stable at about 240,000 to 280,000.

    But every quarter since then has recorded falls, from 284,000 to 220,000.

    At the same time, the number of EU leavers, which hadn’t risen higher than 100,000 since 2010, began to rise, from 95,000 to 130,000.

    Whether it’s a feeling that EU citizens aren’t wanted in the UK, uncertainty about their future or the growing relative strength of other EU economies, there has been a notable shift away from Britain’s shores.

    Nevertheless, overall net migration remains at historically high levels, well above the government’s controversial target, with a rise in migration from outside Europe.

    Caroline Nokes, immigration minister, said the latest figures demonstrated that the UK was still attracting the “brightest and best people” to come to work and study and described the increase in the number of overseas students as a “huge positive”.

    “We are a country that is open for business,” she added.

    “We want to have great relations with our European neighbours going forward but at the same time we need to have a sustainable migration system,” she said.

    Asked whether falling numbers would adversely affect some sectors, in particular the NHS, Ms Nokes said the independent migration advisory committee was due to report its findings on EU patterns to the government in September so decisions could be made based on evidence.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionBBC head of statistics Robert Cuffe explains how the data is collected and what it means

    You might also be interested in:

    Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said net migration was still double the government’s target and accused the Home Office of turning away qualified doctors despite a recruitment shortage in the NHS.

    “This deficit hurts us all and highlights the immigration mess the government has created,” she said.

    The ONS figures also show that in 2017, the UK granted asylum, alternative forms of protection or resettlement to almost 15,000 people, 40% of whom were under 18.

    Separate figures from the Home Office showed more than 10,500 people have been granted refuge in the UK after fleeing the conflict in Syria, under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme.

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who is in Lebanon near the Syrian border, said the government was considering extending its commitment to rehome 20,000 people by 2020.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media caption“The UK has given us everything… but we miss our country”

    Other figures from the Home Office show there were 141,302 applications made for British citizenship in 2017, an increase of 8% on the previous year.

    This was 39% lower than the peak of 232,262 in 2013.

    There is evidence that more EU citizens, who have settled in the UK, are applying for citizenship, with applications more than doubling from 15,460 in 2016 to 38,528 in 2017.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43154308

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    15 Unusual Homemade Pizza Recipes That’ll Take You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

    Pizza. It’s one of America’s favorite foods, and the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to what ingredients you can top it with.

    Many prefer classic toppings such as pepperoni, mushrooms, sausages, or just plain old cheese, but why limit yourself when there are so many other tasty and unique options? If you’re ready to get a little more adventurous with your food, check out these 15 unusual — but no less delicious — homemade pizza recipes.

    1. Sweeten things up a bit with this strawberry, basil, and balsamic pizza

    2. …or this barbecue chicken apple pizza.

    3. Go all out with prosciutto, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Gorgonzola, and an egg to top your pie.

    4. Combine your favorite comfort foods in this Naan cheeseburger pizza.

    5. Twenty minutes is all you’ll need to put together and bake this buffalo chicken flatbread pizza.

    6. This chicken pizza has bacon-basil pesto AND bacon as a topping. Need I say more?

    7. If you like sweet and spicy pulled pork sandwiches, you’ll want to dive right into this barbecue pizza.

    8. Use tortillas instead of dough for a lighter Caprese pizza.

    9. Make taco pizza your new go-to Tuesday dinner.

    10. This cauliflower pizza with Greek yogurt pesto is perfect for health nuts and vegetarians alike!

    11. Celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl win with some mouthwatering Philly cheesesteak pizza.

    13. Love Hawaiian pizza? Add avocado and a drizzle of ranch to complement the flavors.

    14. Have pizza for breakfast with bacon, eggs, and potatoes on top.

    15. Enjoy your Margherita pizza in bite-sized phyllo shells.

    Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/unusual-pizza-recipes/

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