Sorry, DNA-Based Diets Don’t Work

Diets have always gone through fads. The grapefruit diet, Atkins, paleo, Whole30 — like a many-headed weight-loss hydra, just as soon as one falls out of favor, another rises in its place.

The weight-loss technique du jour: DNA-based diets. Companies such as DNAFit and Helix suggest consumers pay about $ 100 and a simple cheek swab; the resulting genomic analysis will purportedly show them what kind of diet will keep their bodies in peak health. Maybe a low-fat diet would work best to help you slim down — or maybe it’s a low-carb diet. These companies claim (with some scientific support) that individuals’ genomic code can hold information about a person’s propensity to obesity – and that the diets they suggest would counteract that. 

But a recent study shows these DNA-based diets may be just another fad.

In the study, published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers put 609 overweight adults on one of two diets: a low-fat diet, or a low-carb diet. Both groups successfully implemented their new eating habits, and both lost weight over the course of the year. Using DNA tests, and by assessing a number of other biological factors, the researchers hypothesized whether a low-carb or low-fat diet should work for each person.

People in both groups did lose weight over the course of a year: an average of 11.7 pounds for the low-fat group, and 13.2 for the low-carb set. But the difference between how much weight people lost on average was so small that researchers don’t consider it to be statistically significant. And when they compared participants’ genetic analysis across groups, they found no correlation. That is, people seemed to respond about the same to the weight loss regimen, no matter what their genetics might indicate. 

Someday, this could all change — DNA has the potential to help us figure out the best things to eat. DNA analysis yields pretty much the same results each time, but it’s the interpretation that varies because the results are probabilistic. A certain genetic variant might mean someone is more likely to display a particular trait, but it gets complicated when you start to take other genetic variants into account that might turn others “off” or “on.”

When you start to think about the effect of the environment on these genes, the picture starts to get way more complicated. It’s all a matter of drawing conclusions from the data that’s available. For now, scientists haven’t been able to untangle all those factors. That will likely change as they get a better sense of the inner-workings of the genome. 

Yes, these diets could someday be much more prescriptive and individualized. But that day is not today. At least for now, these diets are pretty useless.

Here’s some good diet advice: eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s one tidbit that will never go out of style.

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3 Reasons Why Crypto Might Work For Venezuela (And Why It Might Not)

People are looking to cryptocurrency to solve all kinds of problems, from making sure that photographers get paid for their work, to addressing carbon emissions. Now the Venezuelan government hopes that a new digital coin might be able to counteract the country’s economic collapse.

As extreme inflation drags the Venezuelan bolívar down, food and medicines are scarce, crime is rife, and essential public services have buckled under the strain. Many residents have already fled the country. The new digital currency – dubbed the petro, in reference to its value being based on the price of oil – is the government’s last-ditch attempt to stem the flow.

Here’s why the plan might work:

It’s a Tried-and-Tested Strategy

Why do crypto companies run initial coin offerings? Because they are a great way to raise a lot of money quickly, and that’s exactly what Venezuela needs to pay off its debt. President Nicolas Maduro claims that the petro raised $ 735 million in the first day of its presale, as per CNBC. If that number is to be believed, the project off to a great start.

It’s Built Upon Existing Infrastructure

Wisely, the petro seems to be leveraging existing crypto technology, rather than starting from scratch with its own bespoke exchange platform. Venezuela does have plans to eventually open its own exchange, but the coin will also be traded on others. What’s more, the petro is based on proven blockchain technology – although its white paper and its buyer’s manual disagree on whether it’s built on Ethereum or NEM, as noted in a report from CoinDesk.

It Casts Off U.S. Sanctions

The Trump administration has introduced sanctions that prevent the purchase of new securities issued by the Venezuelan government in the American market, according to a report by The New York Times. The petro offers investors a way to sidestep these measures.

But Here’s Why it Might Not Work

Cryptocurrency can be volatile, and Venezuela is the first country to create its own digital currency in this manner. While various other nations are pursuing crypto, these projects are not desperate measures to save the future of the national economy.

It remains to be seen whether the petro will woo investors. People need a reason to invest in this untested coin – and given that the lack of ties to a central government has paid into the popularity of bitcoin and its ilk, the petro already has a mark against it.


Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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Failure of Pixel 2 exposed a larger problem: Google’s ads don’t work

Article Image

Across 2017, Google heavily promoted its Pixel phone brand. Despite being lauded as being "the world’s most valuable brand" and its status as the world’s largest purveyor of advertising, all of Google’s global efforts, including DoubleClick and YouTube, resulted in inconsequential Pixel sales. Worse than its failure to sell hardware is the fact that Google has proven that its advertising simply isn’t very effective.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Will an EZPass mobile payment partnership work? It very well could

Over the decades, major technology advances have typically fallen into one of two categories: truly disruptive, where the approach is meaningfully different from anything that exists; and piggyback, where the technology leverages something that already widely exists, thereby sharply reducing both the cost of implementation and any needed behavioral changes.

In short, piggyback advances are seen as less risky and easier to adopt. (My favorite piggyback mobile implementation is several years old and came from Macy’s, which opted to leverage the huge number of audio speakers in its stores as a low-cost way to identify customers for loyalty programs.)

To read this article in full, please click here

Computerworld Mobile

How To Work Magic With Your IPhone

The iPhone can change the way a person lives their lives by helping them to easily perform daily tasks from their phone. If you want to get all the amazement out of the iPhone that it was designed for, you really need to be educated about it. By taking some time to read the information below, soon you will be an expert in knowing all about the iPhone.

To disable your edge connection or 3G GRPS connection, press the setting button. Then tap general, network, and cellular data network. When you get to the field that asks for your APN username and password, put in a few words that will prevent your iPhone from giving providers the right values. Then restart your phone.

Download and sign up with the Find My iPhone app. This invaluable application can help you locate your iPhone in the event that it is lost or stolen. This app not only allows you to display a message on the screen or cause the phone to ring extra-loud, but it allows you to wipe data or lock your phone from a remote location.

Did you know that unlike many cell phones, you can assign a ringtone for each feature on your phone? Well, it is the truth! All you have to do is go to the settings, tap on the sounds feature and assign the tone. For contacts, tap on a contact and assign a ringtone to this specific entry!

You can use your iphone to store all sorts of files. The only way to do this, however, is to purchase the iphone drive app, but once you do you can store almost anything on your phone. This enables your phone to function almost completely as a mini portable computer.

If your iPhone uses the iOS4 platform, you may find that running more than one app will drastically slow down the phone’s performance. Double-tap the Home button to bring up a list of all currently running and suspended apps. Tap, then hold each one until each icon wiggles. You can then use the delete button to close any unneeded apps.

Although experts in child care do not recommend you use electronic devices to entertain your children, iPhone apps can help keep your child occupied during a long automobile trip. Some of these apps are also educational and will help your child learn at the same time they are being entertained.

There is a way you can take pictures faster instead of going through your apps. Double-tap on the Home button, and the camera icon will be available for you to tap. This even works if have your iPhone locked. Once you do this, use the volume up button to take the picture.

Make sure that you update your iPhone whenever this becomes available, as this can give you the ability to gain new functions that are created by Apple. Typically, you will find a notification under the settings tab, which will prompt you to update your entire phone to get these different abilities.

If your iPhone has frozen and pushing down on the Sleep/Wake button is not working, there is another option. Just press and hold down both the Home button and Sleep/Wake button at once. Then, you will see a message telling you to “Slide to power off”. Go ahead and do just that. When you restart the phone, it should work just fine!

For typing messages on your iPhone, you can enable or disable the auto correct feature. This feature will change a word that you type wrong while entering a text message to a friend or family member to the most logical word that it should be. If you do not want this feature you can simply take it off in Settings->General->Keyboard section.

If you are a parent, and you do not want your child looking at “adult” things on your phone, all you have to do is turn on the parental control feature. To turn on this feature, all you have to do is go to settings, tap on “general” and then tap on “restrictions.”

A great tip for using your iphone is to purchase some kind of app that will help you find restaurants near your location. There is actually an app available that will randomly bring up a restaurant according to what you put in such as mexican food, italian, or whatever you want.

To conserve battery life, lower the display brightness of your screen. You only need a bright screen in dimly lit situations, so lower it during the day or anytime you will not be using the phone for some time. This is a great way to conserve battery life and avoid having to charge your phone so often.

Your iPhone’s calander can be a great tool. It’s a lot quicker and more efficient to add events directly rather than relying on the + button. First, change into “Day” view. Next, you can simply tap and hold any hour; a new event will automatically be created in that specific time. By using this feature, you can quickly add all events to your schedule.

One of the things that you can do when you are typing a message on your iPhone is to double tap the space bar, which will automatically add in a period for you. This is much more functional and practical than going to three different screens to find the period on your phone.

When you are typing a text message on the iPhone, you can select the whole body of text by holding down your finger on the sentence for approximately three seconds and clicking select all. This will give you the ability to delete or copy the whole set of text that you have selected.

People who are new to iPhones are typically surprised at the number of things that they can do. Those new to the iPhone many not be aware of what it can truly do. If you make use of the advice in this article, you will be amazed at just how much you can do with your iPhone.