Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Rage is Not about Health Care - Part 2

Are Tea Partiers Racist? It seems not all of them, but a recent survey indicates a substantial proportion of Tea Partiers have racist sentiments.

You do have to ask what the tea party "rage" is about. It can't be income taxes because most of us got an income tax reduction under President Obama. Nor can it be about the federal deficit or debt or size of the government. If that was the case, we would have seen plenty of tea party demonstrations during the GW Bush years. Is it about government being intrusive in our lives? If it is, where is the outrage over the new Arizona "show me your papers" law?

Signs carried by tea party demonstrators give us a hint that many of them have problems with non-white people.

So what do the latest survey results tell us?

Well, the first part of the above graph gives us a hint. A substantial portion of tea partiers (73%)believe that blacks don't try hard enough compared with 33% of those who oppose the tea party.

Sixty percent of die hard tea partiers also believe that "we have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country". This attitude compares with 23% of tea party skeptics. Seventy seven percent of tea party skeptics believe that "If people were treated more equally, we'd have many fewer problems in this country", compared with only 31% of tea baggers.

The tea party tells us they are upset about big government and government intrusion into our lives. Unfortunately, 56% of tea baggers disagree that "The government can detain people as long as they wish without trial". Ninety percent of us non-tea baggers disagree with this statement.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Essential Fatty Acids - Part 1

Fatty acids are organic, carboxylic acids consisting of long, unbranched chains of hydrocarbons. Fatty acids can be either saturated, with no double or triple bonds (top left), or unsaturated, containing one or more (polyunsaturated) double or triple bonds (top right).

Unsaturated fatty acids can be found in either the cis or trans configuration.

In the cis configuration, the hydrogen atoms are found on the same side of the double bond. In the trans configuration, the two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bond. Fatty acids in the cis congiguration are bent or kinked. This affects their melting temperature resulting in the fats being liquid at room temperature.

The human body can make most of the fatty acids it needs. However, there are two essential fatty acids the body cannot make. These fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids, must be ingested because humans lack the enzymes necessary for producing double bonds at the Omega-3 and Omega-6 positions. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are made from the two essential fatty acids. These acids are catagorized based on their physiological properties using the n-x nomenclature.

The top fatty acid pictured is named using the conventional nomenclature for fatty acids where the first double bond is counted from the carboxy end of the molecule (the COOH end). The Omega-x (or w-x)nomenclature is the opposite. The location of the first double bond is counted from the methyl end of the molecule. In the above case, the first double bond is located at the 3rd carbon and the second double bond is located at the 6th carbon.