The Doctor's Consultation: Better fed children do better at school!
by Dr. Iain Corness
Over the past twenty years there has been much research
into just how what we eat determines the kind of people we are going to be.
“Digging our graves with our teeth” has been a catch-cry for some time.
With children, not surprisingly, their food requirements
are not the same as adults, but very surprisingly, some “healthy choices”
may not be as healthy as many parents would imagine.
Unfortunately, especially in the so-called “developed”
countries, the incidence of childhood obesity is rising. It is a well
documented fact that if both parents are overweight, their children have an 80
percent chance of being obese as well. This is not totally a straight out
genetic factor, but is a combination of Nature and Nurture. Children learn by
watching and copying, don’t they?
One of the biggest problems with children is what I call
the “picky” eater. Very often Mum gives in to the refusal to eat
“good” foods, thinking that if the child will eat other items, then he or
she is at least getting “something”. Unfortunately, that “something”
can sometimes be quite wrong for growing children. One example of this is
fruit juice. It is “natural” and therefore “healthy” as far as most
exasperated Mums and Dads are concerned. However, any child that takes more
than one litre of fruit juice daily is more likely to get dental caries,
diarrhoea and even suffer from a failure to thrive. The best liquid for the
thirsty child is, not surprisingly - water! One side effect of changing from
juices to water is that the child appears to drink less. This is fine, because
the child is now drinking to counteract thirst, not drinking for the sweet
So what should children have in their diet? Pre-schoolers
should get three serves of milk or milk products every day and three serves of
meat every week. They should also have five serves of fruit or vegetables and
three serves of cereals or grains every day. Low fat products, just like those
recommended for adults, are also the go for children over the age of two
years, though under two the high fat, high energy diet is satisfactory. There
should also be no added salt or sugar. Water should be the primary thirst
quencher, and snack foods and soft drinks should be restricted to once a week.
(The soft drink industry will probably send me hate mail after this article!)
Dieticians are now also suggesting that this age group
should only get a maximum of one hour’s TV daily as well. Not that TV
viewing is edible - it is the plethora of snack food and drink advertisements
that is the problem in dictating or influencing children’s choices! We ban
cigarette adverts because of the influence - but unsuitable foods are ignored!
Now breakfast does matter! Kids who skip breakfast because
they are running late, or doing last night’s homework, are more likely to
fill up on high fat and high cholesterol foods during the day. And with those
who do eat breakfast - a high fat breakfast tends to produce children who eat
high fat meals for the rest of the day as well. On the other hand, high
carbohydrate breakfasted kids are more alert and less hungry during the day.
Finally, kids who get more than 20 percent of their recommended daily energy
intake at breakfast perform academically better than those who get less than
10 percent. Makes you think, doesn’t it!
You’ll be happy to know that I am about to start another business
venture in Chiang Mai. I have developed a tiny piece of electronic
gadgetry that attaches to all mobile phones thus converting them to lie
detectors. Males will now be able to test their girlfriend to determine if
deceptive behaviour is being demonstrated. At the push of a button the
device will emit a hypnotic ringtone that puts the subject into a trance.
Tiny wires are then attached to various body parts to monitor and record
responses. Questions can be asked and a red light will flash if the person
is lying. Each time she smiles at you, her thoughts will be visually
interpreted and an image of either you, another lover or an ATM will be
displayed on the colour screen of the phone. Customers will now be able to
determine whether or not their Thai girlfriends are truly faithful, how
many email addresses are stored in her Hotmail account and if the water
buffalo has really died. Do you think that there are enough untruthful
Chiang Mai girls to make my business successful?
Dear Mighty Mouse,
Shame on you, my pet squeaker! How could you possibly infer that Chiang
Mai girls could be guilty of being sparing with the truth? Have you been
hurt, my Petal, and this is your way of getting revenge? Has Minnie Mouse
been nibbling at more than just ‘your’ piece of cheese? I can’t
really believe it, you have always been such a careful little mouse when
chasing birds, leaving no tern unstoned on your relentless pursuit of
truth and adherence to the law. However, in answer to the question, there
are probably enough untruthful girls in Chiang Mai, but are there enough
‘savvy’ males In Chiang Mai, to buy your device? I think a much better
business proposition would be peddling miracle cures for buffaloes, as the
mortality rate in these imposing and expensive beasts seems to be way too
After spending six months and much money on a young lady here I am
confused. She has had a hard life so far and I started the relationship by
thinking that I would be showing her there is a ‘better’ world out
there, instead of a bar life. But now I’m not so sure of what is going
on. This dame runs hot and cold and it only seems to me that she becomes
satisfied when I am pouring money into her tiny little hands. If it’s
not Mama that’s sick, it’s the buffalo or the brother’s motorbike.
Are they all like this Hillary? Or have I just picked a gold digger?
Mike the Miner
Dear Mike the Miner,
There are many, many sob stories out there, my Petal, but working in a bar
is surely the worst as far as any young woman’s future is concerned -
but these girls pick the ‘profession’ and pick the suckers. The number
of young ladies from Isaan who are forced into prostitution in the expat
end of the scene is very small. Even poorly educated farm girls could get
other employment, as maids, for example. Finally, a proper relationship is
not based upon money, but I am sure that while your little lady knows
what’s in your account, you have no idea what is in her account!
Hillary’s boob! What pedaling?
I’m sorry, my little purple plum (who never carries through his
promises), but ‘pedaling’ is perfectly acceptable. With a single
‘l’ it is American spelling, with a double ‘l’ it is English.
However, in either version of your mother tongue, ‘mean’ and
‘non-delivering’ is spelled the same, and apply equally to you. Get a
better dictionary and try again, Mistersingha! By the way, in future
please refer to my bra’s contents as ‘breasts’, not ‘boob’.
I am intrigued as to why when eating Thai food you get given just a fork
and a spoon. Yet at other times chopsticks appear as well. When I asked my
husband who has travelled extensively throughout Thailand, he had no real
idea either. I am really confused as to when I am supposed to use
chopsticks and when to use the fork or spoon. Can you help us?
Like all things in Thailand there is a certain historical aspect to it, my
Petal, wrapped up with the inherent Thai practicality and pragmatism.
Chopsticks come from the Chinese element, and many Thais (in fact some
authorities would say almost 90% of Thais) come from this background, so
the use of chopsticks is fine with dishes of Chinese origin. So you will
be given chopsticks with many noodle dishes (kwiteo nam, for example).
With ‘steam boat’ dishes you will also get chopsticks to help you fish
the food from the broth - the long sticks stop you burning your fingers
from the heat. On the other hand, with curries you will be given spoon and
fork. There is no need for knives as everything is cut into bite sized
pieces before cooking. Knives are also a symbol of aggression and so these
should not be brought to the family dinner table. One last thing, you eat
Thai food with the spoon, not the fork, so you don’t leave the curry
Camera Class: Aperture Settings for Dummies
by Harry Flashman
For many people, the idea of taking the camera off the
“Automatic” exposure setting is too difficult, however, after today you can
try it without fear. And you will still get properly exposed photographs.
Learning how to take better photographs is really not all
that difficult. There are only two main variables, and after you understand them
and what they do to your photograph, it becomes very simple.
first thing to remember is that the correct exposure is merely a function of how
large is the opening of the lens and how much time it is left open to let the
light strike the film. That’s it - photography in a nutshell. No gimmicks or
fancy numbers - a straight out relationship - how open and for how long - this
we call the “Exposure”.
Now look at the top of your SLR camera and find the knob
which you have turned to “Auto” and left it there, or the menu system to
give you different ‘modes’.
Let’s go straight to the position on the “mode” dial
which is called “A” or Aperture Priority. Don’t be nervous about this
function. It merely means that you can set the aperture, and the camera will
work out the shutter speed that corresponds to the correct exposure. In other
words, you can set the lens opening at any size you want, and the camera will
work out the appropriate shutter speed. In other words, the camera will work out
the correct shutter speed to produce a correctly exposed print.
So let’s play with this facility to give you some better
pictures. Select “A” (or Aperture Priority) and then look at the lens barrel
and you will see the Aperture numbers, generally between 2.8 and 22. To give you
a subject with sharp focus in the foreground and a gently blurred background,
you need to select an aperture around f2.8 to f4. Hey! It was that simple. To
get those “professional” portrait shots, with the model’s face clear and
the background all wishy washy, just use the A mode and select an Aperture
around f4 to f 2.8.
Now, if on the other hand you want everything to be nice and
sharp, all the way from the front to the back, like in a landscape picture, then
again select “A” and set the lens aperture on f16 to f22. The camera will do
the rest for you, so don’t worry about the shutter speed. Again - it’s that
Having mastered “A”, let’s try “S”, or Shutter
Priority mode. In this one, you set the shutter speed and the camera
automatically selects the correct aperture to suit. Take a look at the shutter
speed dial or indicator and you will see a series of numbers that represent
fractions of a second. Usually these will go from 1 second to 1/2000th of a
second. This is the way to “stop the action” by using a fast shutter speed,
and it doesn’t need 1/2000th either. For most action shots, select S and set
the shutter speed on around 1/500th to 1/1000th and you will get a shot where
you have stopped the athlete stretched out over the hurdle, or the motorcycle in
mid corner, or the horse jumping. Yes, it is that easy.
So this week you have learned that to get a good portrait
shot use the A mode and set the aperture on f4 to f2.8 and forget about the rest
of the technical stuff. Just compose a nice photograph and go from there. (Do
remember to walk in close!) To get a great landscape shot, again use the A mode
and set the aperture at f16 to f22.
Finally, to stop the action, choose the S mode and around
1/500th of a second and you won’t get blurry action shots ever again.
Now certainly there are some more points in advanced photography, but learn
the above tips and you have got a good basic grounding that will improve your
shooting - and give you more satisfaction with the results. See you at the photo
Money Matters: Portfolio building
MBMG International Ltd.
We’ve recently been looking at the ways that you can build
a portfolio that will perform satisfactorily in good markets, hold up extremely
well in negative markets and overall produce extremely good levels of relative
and absolute return over periods of longer than one year. In particular we’ve
highlighted the need to avoid taking on board any uncompensated risks within a
portfolio as being one of the main ways of adding value.
Enhanced index strategies typically have less tolerance for
uncompensated risk than traditional active managers. However, investors have
been faced with an increase in the different types of enhanced index strategies
- for example, investors can now choose between enhanced index strategies that
use an exclusively stock selection based approach or an exclusively synthetic
(i.e. derivative based)approach or ideally a “hybrid” approach. It is
therefore important that the investor be able to differentiate between the
different types of enhanced index strategies and understand the different
For the investor, the challenge is thus to identify an
enhanced index manager that has demonstrated an ability to stay one-step ahead
by discovering the latest investment insights and in applying these insights
broadly, quickly and efficiently. In order to separate the wheat from the chaff,
it’s important to understand the criteria. A “good” enhanced index manager
must be able to:
A) Capture market inefficiencies.
B) Minimize uncompensated risk.
C) Demonstrate a consistent and repeatable investment
D) Prove stringent cost management controls.
Although all four criteria are of paramount importance, it is
the art of capturing market inefficiencies that is probably the most difficult
as today’s investment insight may be tomorrow’s old news – market
inefficiencies can get arbitraged away and systematic changes to the marketplace
do occur. Moreover, in today’s markets, new information is impounded at an
increasing rate thus eroding traditional sources of capturing out-performance.
Also, the playing field is increasingly being levelled due to
tighter regulations surrounding the disclosure of material information (e.g., in
the US, disclosure standards recently changed under SEC Regulation Fair
Disclosure). As such, strong research and innovation capabilities are
pre-requisites to the success of any manager and these are the key qualities
that an investor should look for in an enhanced index manager.
MBMG subscribe to the investment philosophy that superior
investment outcomes are most reliably reached through Total Performance
Management the management of return, risk, and cost. The philosophy centres
around three core themes:
1) Markets are not perfectly efficient, and therefore
securities become over/undervalued at different points in time. These
mis-valuations represent opportunities systematically add value by superior
forecasting of stock returns.
2) “Winning by not losing” - by minimizing all investment
and operational risks that aren’t justified by increased returns.
3) Minimize implementation costs - an in-depth understanding
of trading costs is coupled with extensive global trading capabilities designed
to minimize them.
A systematic, quantitative approach enables forecasting stock
returns and implementation of enhanced index and risk-controlled active
strategies. Stock selection process should be rooted in sound economic
principles that have been thoroughly tested, and unlike the processes of
traditional active managers, are not driven by emotion. The process identifies
and captures excess returns from diversified portfolios, based on an evaluation
of literally thousands of stocks and other assets, including futures,
commodities and debt instruments on a daily basis. It is this scientific
approach that differentiates risk-adjusted approaches from traditional active
With stocks, the important focus is frequently on
understanding stocks’ fundamentals, their earnings and growth prospects, and
insights that can be gleaned from the actions of corporate management and market
participants. These sensible investment considerations form the foundation of
many risk-adjusted quantitative processes, which carefully evaluate the
trade-off between stocks’ expected returns, risk, and cost of trading.
All of these are factors that lead to efficient portfolios
i.e. portfolios with high expected and realized IR. The driving force is
therefore often the combination of strategy and research, often encompassing
areas such as physics, mathematics, engineering and computer science, as well as
finance and econometrics.
MBMG International has been in the forefront of the movement
to bring these strategies and methodologies from the institutions that have been
profiting from them for many years (as have wealthy accredited investors as
we’ve mentioned in previous articles) to private investors everywhere.
In fact for as little as ฃ100 per month, an investor
can now make regular purchase investments into a risk-adjusted portfolio. The
institutions have served the role as proving ground for many of these strategies
which complete with current refinements and enhancements offer a long track
record of consistency and repeatability and bring investors the opportunity to
structure their portfolios in a manner that carefully considers the risk taken
to achieve the desired return outcome.
The above data and research was compiled from sources
believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its
officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above
article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any
actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For
more information please contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected] na