It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking, Even In Your 60s – KATHERINE HOBSON November 30, 2016 12:02 AM ET


One more coffee, one more cigarette. One more morning, trying to forget. | Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Older people who smoke may think there’s no reason to give up the habit. After all, hasn’t the damage to their bodies already been done?

But it turns out there’s a benefit to quitting even later in life. Research published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that older adults who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower chance of dying in the years that followed than contemporaries who kept smoking.

“It’s never too late,” says Sarah Nash, an epidemiologist and one of the study’s authors.

The results are based on data from more than 160,000 participants older than 70 who were part of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants completed questionnaires about their smoking history in 2004 or 2005 and were tracked until the end of 2011 to see who had died.

The study found that it’s definitely best to avoid smoking entirely. During the follow-up period, 12 percent of participants who never smoked died, compared to 33 percent of current smokers. And the earlier people quit the better, but there was still a benefit even for late quitters. Of those who quit in their 30s, 16 percent died. In their 40s: 20 percent. In their 50s: 24 percent. And in their 60s: 28 percent.

Still, people who quit in their 60s had a 23 percent lower risk of death during the study than current smokers, says Nash, who conducted the research while she was a fellow at the National Cancer Institute.

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Cannabis capitalists: the business leaders hoping for a marijuana boom – The Economist Published on Nov 29, 2016

Over half of all American states have taken some steps to legalise marijuana, a move The Economist has argued for since 1989. There is now a burgeoning industry being shaped by a new generation of cannabis capitalists.



Black Caucus head won’t commit in Dems’ leadership race – BY MIKE LILLIS – 11/29/16 11:01 PM EST

The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Tuesday declined to endorse a candidate ahead of Wednesday’s leadership contest between Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).

© Getty

© Getty

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), emerging from an hours-long closed-door meeting of the CBC in the Capitol, said he’s “not authorized to make a statement at all.”

“If I could I would,” Butterfield said. “I’ll get in trouble if I make a statement.”

The remarks are a steep departure from Butterfield’s comments earlier in the month, when the CBC chairman offered a strong endorsement of Pelosi.

“I’m going to vote for Nancy Pelosi, that’s for sure,” Butterfield said at the time. “I think she’s been a great leader, and I’m going to continue to support her. But if someone wants to run against her, it would not offend me, because that’s the way a caucus operates.”

Days later, Ryan launched his long-shot challenge, which hinges largely on the notion that Pelosi’s leadership strategy has failed, over four straight cycles, to return control of the House to the minority Democrats. Ryan and his supporters say the Democrats need a shakeup at the very top to bring younger faces and new ideas into the leadership fold.

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CIA chief warns Trump: Scrapping Iran deal ‘height of folly’ – By Gordon Corera Security correspondent, BBC News


The director of the CIA has warned US President-elect Donald Trump that ending the Iran nuclear deal would be “disastrous” and “the height of folly”.

In a BBC interview, John Brennan also advised the new president to be wary of Russia’s promises, blaming Moscow for much of the suffering in Syria.

In his campaign, Mr Trump threatened to scrap the Iran deal and also hinted at working more closely with Russia.

Mr Brennan will step down in January after four years leading the CIA.

In the first interview by a CIA director with the British media, John Brennan outlined a number of areas where he said the new administration needed to act with “prudence and discipline” – these included the language used regarding terrorism, relations with Russia, the Iran nuclear deal and the way in which the CIA’s own covert capabilities were employed.

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Chapecoense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian team – BBC News

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES Image caption A young boy mourns the team at their stadium in Chapeco - many more have gathered outside

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image caption
A young boy mourns the team at their stadium in Chapeco – many more have gathered outside

Top football sides pay tribute to a Brazilian team which lost most of its players in a plane crash.

Source: Chapecoense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian team – BBC News

Tens of thousands of low-wage workers flood the streets demanding higher pay – Bryce Covert November 29, 2016

Fast food workers, Uber drivers, childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, and adjunct protested on Tuesday.`

The movement, which now calls itself the Fight for 15, is demanding a minimum wage of at least $15 as well as the right to unionize. And Tuesday’s day of action proved just how massive it has now become. Strikes and protests weren’t limited to New York City — they reached 340 cities. Fast food workers were joined by a variety of low-paid people, including childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, adjunct professors, and, for the first time, Uber drivers.

Uber drivers went on strike in more than two dozen cities. They were joined by striking hospital workers in Pittsburgh as well as a number of fast food employees across the country.

Many airport workers, including baggage handlers and cabin cleaners, also went on strike for the first time. A group walked off the job at Boston’s Logan International Airport, while more than 500 went on strike at Chicago O’Hare. They were backed up by protests at nearly 20 other major airports.

A number of other workers and supporters were arrested for acts of civil disobedience. In Detroit, Michigan, home care worker Renita Wilson was arrested at 5 a.m. while demanding she be paid $15 an hour, be allowed to join a union, and have access to affordable health insurance with a client she cares for, Carl Watkins, at her side.

Uber drivers, fast food employees, and airport workers were also arrested outside of McDonald’s restaurants in a number of cities, including Cambridge, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. Organizers said tens of thousands of people joined the protests.

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Magnets Aren’t Miracles, But Solar Flares Burst With Magic – NICK STOCKTON 11.29.16 5:13 PM





IN ONE CORNER of John Knoll’s office at Lucasfilm stand three racks of imposing black computer servers. The sleek 6-foot-tall towers, complete with mechanical switches and fans, flash blue LEDs. Each bears the insignia of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars and a name—Death Star 748, Death Star 749. Imperial computers, these are.

As impressive and menacing as the machines appear, they aren’t real. They’re just faceplates wired with Arduino controllers to make the lights blink and flutter like actual computers. They are, in other words, visual effects—and a look into the mind of Knoll, the 54-year-old chief creative officer of Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s famed VFX arm.

A museum’s worth of movie props and models decorate Lucasfilm’s labyrinthine halls—the flotsam of Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T. … a half century of iconic cinema. But Knoll’s servers (or, rather, faceplates) aren’t from a movie. They’re what made the movies. They come from the machines that spent roughly 13,000 hours rendering digital effects for the three Star Wars prequels, on which Knoll was a lead effects supervisor. The march of Moore’s law turned the server farm that created those movies into scrap. Or, for Knoll, a project.

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