Your Health & Happiness:
41 nations assist Thailand’s tsunami relief effort
Thailand has received donations and
assistance from 41 nations and 10 international organizations to help with
its tsunami relief effort, Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula revealed.
Bhokin made the announcement after holding talks with a delegation from
Switzerland led by Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who traveled to the
country’s southern resort province of Phuket to express her condolences to
Around 20 Swiss nationals are thought to have been killed
the tsunamis, while scores more are still missing. The Swiss delegation
traveled to hospitals around Phuket to visit survivors.
The unprecedented tsunamis on December 26 hit the
kingdom’s six southern provinces of Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi, Trang,
Ranong and Satun, leaving nearly 5,000 dead, with over 10,000 injured and
over 6,000 more still missing so far. (TNA)
The Doctor's Consultation: The Polymeal - Great news
for wine and chocolate lovers!
by Dr. Iain Corness
Latest data out of Europe is great news for many people.
150 ml of wine and some dark chocolate taken every day has the potential to
reduce your chances of heart attacks by almost 75 percent! The redoubtable Ms.
Hillary will live forever!
A couple of years ago the scientific community put forward
the proposal that we were now in receipt of enough evidence that certain
pharmacological agents could reduce the chances of catastrophic cardiovascular
events. Some of these I have mentioned before, such as the 100 mg of aspirin
that I (and you) take daily. Other ingredients in the wonder Polypill included
a statin, three antihypertensive drugs, and folic acid. It was postulated that
taking this pill would reduce cardiovascular events by 80 percent. It would
certainly reduce cholesterol and stop high blood pressure as well as making
the blood less likely to form clots. All theoretical ‘good medicine’.
Certainly this would be expensive good medicine, but there
are doubts that the world is ready to pay for such preventive measures. So
researchers used this concept to look at foods that have been shown to produce
health benefits. We all have to eat, so ‘healthy’ foods would not be an
extra drain on our finances, but what should be included in the
The researchers from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam
came up with a list of ingredients which were more natural, safer, and
probably tastier than the Polypill and could reduce cardiovascular disease by
more than 75 percent.
Data on the ingredients of the Polymeal were taken from the
medical literature. The evidence-based recipe included wine, fish, dark
chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic, and almonds. Data from the Framingham
heart study (one of the forerunners in this preventive health research) and
the Framingham offspring study, were used to build life tables to postulate
the benefits of the Polymeal in the general population after age 50.
The results were spectacular. Combining all the ingredients
of the Polymeal would reduce cardiovascular events by 76 percent. For men,
taking the Polymeal daily represented an increase in total life expectancy of
6.6 years, an increase in life expectancy free from cardiovascular disease of
9 years, and for women 4.8 years increase in total life expectancy and a life
free from cardiovascular disease of 8.1 years.
So what is in the Polymeal recipe and what will each
ingredient do? First off, daily consumption of 150 ml of wine reduces
cardiovascular disease by 32 percent. Fish (114 gm) eaten four times a week
reduces cardiovascular disease by 14 percent. 100 gm of dark chocolate eaten
daily reduces systolic blood pressure by 5.1 mm mercury and diastolic blood
pressure by 1.8 mm equating to a reduction in cardiovascular disease events of
21 percent. A total of 400 gm of fruit and vegetables consumed daily produced
a reduction in blood pressure similar to that observed with chocolate (4.0 mm
mercury systolic blood pressure and 1.5 mm mercury diastolic blood pressure),
producing a likely reduction in cardiovascular disease of 21 percent.
Daily consumption of 2 gm of fresh garlic reduced total
cholesterol concentrations and they assumed a reduction of 25 percent in
cardiovascular disease events for garlic. Consumption of 68 gm of almonds
daily should produce a 12 percent reduction and if you like you can throw in
olive oil, echium oil, soya oil, soya beans, tomatoes, oat bran, cereals,
nuts, tea, and chickpeas too for extra benefits.
So there you have it - the wine and chocolate diet to good
health! And thank the Dutch researchers!
I do so much enjoy reading your column both for the problems that are
raised for your advice and the pithy answers that you mostly provide. I
even find your ongoing relationship with ‘mistersingha’ more
entertaining than any ‘soap’ on TV, he’s so full of promise(s)
isn’t he? But for downright good sense and excellent advice you will be
hard put to better that which you gave to John the Singaporean on the 10th
of last month. He, who’s so afraid that his plans for a loving,
comfortable retirement have been dismissed by his current partner, would
do well to heed your advice. No attempt to have fun at John’s expense
was made and the advice for him to enjoy the days available whilst making
other financial plans for the future which he may or may not live to enjoy
was spot on. Good on you Hillary, keep it up, you are one of the Chiangmai
David, Western Australia
Dear David from WA,
Oooohhh! Hillary is all thrilled. Finally I am a “star”! Thank you,
Petal, thank you! I do try to tailor my advice relevant to the incoming
queries, and it is nice that some of the readers can see this. Let us hope
that John the Singaporean does heed my words. However, as far as that
mistersingha person is concerned, and all his empty promises, I shall
continue to treat him with ignore until he makes good with the choccies
and champers. Did you see last year where he offered to send a small
bottle of Baby Cham? Baby Cham! Probably the second worst fizz-water in
the world. If you don’t believe me, you had a concoction that came from
Australia called Barossa Pearl that was even worse!
Whilst not actually decrepit, we, the two undersigned, fall into the
category highlighted by Judgmental John, in that our legal partners are
both very young and indeed very beautiful - one Thai and one Filipina and
certainly bringing joy and happiness into our lives. (John wrote to
Hillary before the New Year saying, “I see these old farangs walking
around everywhere with what we back home in the UK call ‘trophy
brides’. Surely they don’t think that these girls actually like going
around with these old geezers? They only look at them as ATM’s and as
soon as they have emptied it, they’re off.”)
Both of us have lived in Asia for 30 years, both have worked here in
senior management positions, with considerable exposure to the Asian
environment and not an easy mark for gold diggers. In general, young men
are not preferred by the young ladies of Thailand because they are seen to
be very noisy, often drunk, naive, inconsiderate, cocky, and mainly out
for as much sex as they can get, for as low a cost as possible. Rippling
steroid induced muscles, heavily tattooed with inappropriate emblems do
not really make anyone really macho or attract women, panting for a
relationship. Judgmental John, obviously, has problems because, if he had
found his ideal companion he would not have the time to closely study us
old geezers and write to you, in criticism. It is clear that he is
suffering from an inferiority complex so perhaps should retreat to
someplace of meditation until he attains the age that would bring maturity
and thus attractiveness to the opposite sex. Sorry John, our brides do
like being with us, are very critical of those that snipe at our
relationship and the only ATMs in their lives is for the banks where they
maintain their personal accounts. Our suggestion Judgmental John, is put
some pancake make up on those tattoos, accept that one day you may be an
old geezer looking for a companion (without luck I am sorry to say if you
do not change your attitude), and go out and be nice to the girls.
However, do not stop watching us old geezers as you may learn from us! Oh
and by the way, send Hillary a bottle of Champagne for New Year. Hillary
dear, love and kisses.
Jimmy and Tony
Dear Jimmy and Tony,
I am so happy to read your letter, Petals, and I am sure that your wives
are both as lucky as the pair of you appear to be. While there are many
tales of duplicity that come across my desk (makes a change from
chocolates and champagne which rarely come across my desk - especially
from mistersingha) there are probably far more examples of good strong
healthy relationships than otherwise. However, it is generally only those
that feel they have been hard done by that write in. The happy ones
don’t need advice. Everything in the garden is coming up rosy, generally
without the need for Vitamin V either.
I am glad the smug attitude of Judgmental John was
enough to spur you both into action. You both obviously have a good
relationship with your ladies that demonstrates that it is possible, for
what is often termed a ‘mixed’ marriage, to work. It depends upon the
character of all concerned in the relationship. Thank you for your letter
on behalf of all those who do not need my counsel (brilliant as it may be)
and all the best to all four of you in 2005.
Camera Class: Kirlian photography and Kirlian cameras
by Harry Flashman
Kirlian photography is not new, despite claims to the
contrary. What should be more correctly referred to as the ‘Kirlian effect’
was demonstrated at the end of the 19th century and was then known as
it did not get the publicity it needed to catch on until a Russian electrical
technician Semyon Davidovitch Kirlian and his wife Valentina Kirliana published
a paper in 1950 in the Russian Journal of Scientific and Applied Photography in
which they described the process, now known as Kirlian Photography.
‘New Age’ followers seized upon this as being able to
photograph the ‘aura’ of a person, and, at long last, show to the
unbelievers that all the ‘bio-energies’ had a basis in science. Kirlian
photography has been linked to telepathy, orgone energy, N-rays, acupuncture,
ancient eastern religions, and other paranormal phenomena.
I am not going to get embroiled in semantics as to whether
the Kirlian effect and the aura can be used for medical diagnosis (as is
claimed), or whether Reiki practitioners have sparks coming out of their fingers
when they are ‘healing’. However, I can reveal what is being recorded on
film, and what you need to have your own ‘Kirlian’ camera.
First off, the Kirlian effect is ‘real’, but what is
being recorded is not paranormal; it is a phenomenon called ‘Corona
Discharge’. Corona discharge is seen in lightning and the sparks that come off
your fingers after you walk on nylon carpets. This used to be done as a party
trick by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) who used to introduce new discoveries with his
body glowing and sparks flying from his fingertips. Tesla, by the way, was a
brilliant inventor, and it was he who introduced the concept of alternating
current, used today, rather than Edison’s direct current.
The corona discharge that is recorded by the Kirlian
photographers requires the object being subjected to an electric current and the
size and colour depends upon moisture that is present on the skin, and this is
why inanimate objects do not give off a discharge as do animate ones.
Terence M. Hines, a psychology professor says, “Living
things (like the commonly photographed fingers) are moist. When the electricity
enters the living object, it produces an area of gas ionisation around the
photographed object, assuming moisture is present on the object. This moisture
is transferred from the subject to the emulsion surface of the photographic film
and causes an alternation of the electric charge pattern on the film. If a
photograph is taken in a vacuum, where no ionised gas is present, no Kirlian
image appears. If the Kirlian image were due to some paranormal fundamental
living energy field, it should not disappear in a simple vacuum,” he said.
One team that spent some time examining the Kirlian effect
has found a list of 25 factors that can effect a Kirlian photograph, including
thickness of the skin, recent physical activity, and yes, mental stress. All of
these affect the amount of moisture on the skin. Other factors include voltage
level, voltage pulse rate, atmospheric gasses, the internal force and angle of
the object held against the film, and barometric pressure. In effect, a single
person can come up with different ‘auras’ simply by changing finger pressure
and the amount of moisture found in the skin. That’s the science. As for the
psychic energy claims, you can make up your own mind!
To make your own Kirlian photographs you will need a high frequency
generator, as well as a camera, and ‘fortunately’ the old Polaroid SX70
works well here. A quick check on the internet came up with the following outfit
that you can buy. The price includes HV/HF generator, Polaroid camera body,
camera case, sample instant Polaroid film (3.25" x 4.25", type 669 or
equivalent), instruction manual, interpretation guide, 11x17inch Laminated
Poster, and “Life’s Hidden Forces”. Specifications - Shipping Weight:
7lbs, dimensions: 15in x 11 x 6, Power: 110/120V or 230/240V, please specify).
And all that, which will allow you to make money at ‘alternative’ fairs will
only set you back USD 745.
Money Matters: The Long and Short of it (part 2)
MBMG International Ltd.
The short positions are obtained through “borrowing”
the stock. The manager borrows the stock from its broker at an agreed price
and then places a sell order to liquidate it. Putting it more simply, the
manager sells a stock that it does not own. In closing his short position,
if the manager could buy the stock from the market at a lower price than the
price the broker agreed to lend in the first place, he will make a profit.
A short trade could be demonstrated using Microsoft
Corporation back in March 2004. Although Microsoft is a giant software
company that dominates its industry, the bearish sentiment was sparked by a
negative catalyst. The markets started pricing in the news emerging from the
European Competition Commissioner who completed a draft of his decision in
the EU’s antitrust probe against Microsoft Corporation. The expectations
were that a negative decision would lead to having the world’s largest
software maker fined as much as 500 million euros, a figure around 2% of the
company’s annual sales.
A long/short manager, picking up this negative catalyst,
taking a short position by short selling the Microsoft Corporation for an
average price of $28.50 a share from January 23 to 26, could have closed his
short position by buying shares from the markets on March 23 at a low of
$24.15 a share to deliver them back to their broker. This would have led to
an 18% profit over 2 months, during a period when the overall direction of
the markets was negative, with the S&P500 index registering a loss of
5.4% for the same period.
If used wisely, the ability to sell short provides
managers with a great tool to control the market risk that they are exposed
to. Successful long/short managers have been able to deliver double digit
absolute returns over the tough times of 2001 and 2002 by controlling their
market exposure. Coupled with such hedging abilities, the inherent ability
to use leverage gives long/short managers the upper edge compared to the
traditional long only managers.
Managers may also use leverage in order to have higher
exposure to both long and short positions in order to enhance returns. For
instance the manager above could have taken short exposure to Microsoft to
the extent of 100% of the amount of his portfolio and long exposure to
Google to the extent of 200% of his portfolio. This would have created a
100% net long position (the same as a traditional fund in terms of delta
risk) BUT the return would have been over 210% instead of just under 100%
for the same level of risk.
In reality many long short funds would actually try to
achieve the same level of returns as the traditional fund (in this case just
under 100%) but look to reduce risk (in this case the risk taken by the long
short fund that achieve the same return as the traditional fund would have
only been around 47% of the risk taken by the traditional fund). Long short,
even in this basic example allows you to take the same risk and more than
double your returns OR achieve the same return but at less than half the
amount of risk.
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 Alan Hall on