Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day Photo: ALAMY

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

Telegraph | Nov 18, 2011

By Victoria Ward and Nick Collins

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible.”

German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.

They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.

They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.

However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.

A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.

He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.

EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.

Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.

Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.

“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.

“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”

Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.

He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.

“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”


Scientists Invent ‘World’s Lightest’ Material

telegraph.co.uk | Nov 18, 2011

By Damon Poeter

Researchers have created a material that’s so light it can rest comfortably on a dandelion seed head without disturbing the fluffy, delicate structure of the plant. The “ultralight metallic microlattice” invented by scientists at UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories, and Caltech is described in the Nov. 18 issue of Science.

The new material is 100 times lighter than styrofoam, according to reports. The secret to its lightness is a cellular architecture fabricated from hollow tubes that supports a material structure that is in reality 99.99 percent air, according to the research team that built it.

That means the material’s density is less than one-thousandth that of water. And the stuff is pretty resilient as well—researchers said that when squashed to half its height, the material rebounds 98 percent of the way back.

“The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” lead author Tobias Shandler of HRL said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The material seen resting on a dandelion seed head in the picture above is 90 percent nickel, according to the Times, but Bill Carter, manager of the architected materials group at HRL, told the newspaper that it can be made out of other materials as well.

One UC Irvine researcher involved with the project suggested the ultra-lightweight material might be used for impact protection, and might have applications “in the aerospace industry, acoustic dampening, and maybe some battery applications,” according to the Times.

The material behaves somewhat like a feather when dropped, floating to the ground, Carter told the paper.

“It takes more than 10 seconds, for instance, for the lightest material we’ve made to fall if you drop it from shoulder height,” he said.

Yacht captain: “Wagner’s to blame’ for Natalie wood’s death

Ms Wood and Wagner, pictured on the Splendour two weeks before she died, had apparently argued on the night she went overboard

Could DNA solve mystery of Natalie Wood’s death? Police reveal ‘credible’ new evidence as boat skipper says: ‘Wagner’s to blame’

  •  Ship’s captain says death is ‘linked to argument she had with actor husband Robert Wagner’
  •  Claims Wagner waited for four hours to call coastguard
  •  Ms Wood’s sister thinks Wagner lied to police and reveals her sister would never go to the water as she was afraid of it
  •  Autopsy revealed two dozen bruises on her body
  •  Author of book on actress said death was inadequately investigated at the time

Daily Mail | Nov 18, 2011

By Rachel Quigley

Police confirmed today they will reopen the investigation into Natalie Wood’s death and said they may use new DNA technology after receiving ‘credible and substantial information’.

They said, until they find evidence to say otherwise, her death will still be ruled as an accidental drowning and would not say who or where the ‘credible information’ had come from.

The sheriff said at this point Robert Wagner is not a suspect and would only say they would follow up on leads and reevaluate the evidence in the death of the actress.

One of the key witnesses in the reopening of the investigation is the captain of the Splendour boat from which Ms Wood fell and drowned in 1981 who police confirmed they would soon interview.

Dennis Davern blamed Ms Wood’s husband for the murder,  claiming that – at the behest of Wagner – they did not do enough to find Ms Wood, after he advised against calling coastguards for four hours.

When asked if he thought Wagner was responsible for Ms Wood’s death, he said: ‘Yes, I would say so.’

Mr Davern, Ms Wood, Wagner and her Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken had been boating near Santa Catalina Island just off the coast of California.

The three friends had been drinking heavily and investigators ruled after interviewing all parties on board that Ms Wood’s death was by accidental drowning.

But now Mr Davern has admitted he lied in the police report and that he believes it was her husband who was responsible for her death.

He told NBC today: ‘I made some terrible decisions and mistakes. I did lie on a report several years ago.

‘I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report.’

He added: ‘We didn’t take any steps to see if we could locate her. I think it was a matter of, “We’re not going to look too hard, we’re not going to turn on the searchlight, we’re not going to notify anybody right now”.’


Wagner has yet to speak out about the new claims and has remained out of the public eye, holed up in his Hollywood mansion.

His publicist released a statement saying they were leaving the matter in the hands of the LA County Sheriff’s department but appeared to blame Mr Davern for trying to profiteer from her death.

The statement said: ‘We trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death.’

At a press conference in California today, police said in their eyes it is still an accidental drowning and will remain so until they follow up on the new information.

Meanwhile Ms Wood’s sister Lana today said she never believed the account Wagner gave police about her sister’s death.

She also says she’s not buying the story that Natalie was trying to secure a dinghy and fell overboard because she was deathly afraid of water, to the point she wouldn’t even go in her pool, according to TMZ.

Detectives are said to be interviewing Lana Wood to find out if her sister’s relationship with her husband was volatile.

The former captain spoke extensively to Marti Rulli, author of the book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, published in 2009 while she was writing it.

He denies trying to do anything other than see justice done by coming forward after 30 years.

He told NBC: ‘I’m not really the investigator here, and I’m far away from even thinking about profiting over a 30-year anniversary. I’ve known this information for many, many years and my book has been out for two years. I’m not in it for any kind of profit, I’m in it for the justice of the whole situation.’

Speaking to CNN today he told them that though he never saw Wagner push Ms Wood or be in any way violent towards her, he still holds him responsible for her death.

Witnesses said they heard a woman scream around the time Ms Wood disappeared but he said he did not hear any scream but only ‘a lot of yelling, a lot of moving about’.

Mr Davern did say that he was on the bridge of the boat and had music on loud so he could drown out the noise of their arguments.

Co-author of the book Ms Rulli said she believes the actresses death was not adequately investigated at the time, saying: ‘The case was never really investigated in 1981, and yes, I am relieved they are going to give the case the attention it has always deserved.

‘I am confident it is in good hands at this time. This has been a long process, and I have worked my way through the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and with a new generation of detectives in the department they are taking it seriously.’

Speaking on CNN,  she said: ‘There are many, many things that should be examined, but mainly the four-hour wait to call for the Coast Guard.’

She said Ms Wood was missing from 11.05pm, but a ship-to-shore call wasn’t placed until 1.30am and the Coast Guard wasn’t called until 3.30am.

‘This unacceptable delay in reporting a person missing from a yacht was never officially examined,’ she wrote in the dossier.

Natalie Wood was wearing a red down jacket when authorities discovered her body 30 years ago … and her wardrobe could prove she floated alive in dark water for hours while Robert Wagner allegedly stalled rescue efforts.

While writing the book, Ms Rulli performed a forensic test on down coats similar to the one Ms Wood was wearing when she drowned which prove they act like a life jacket in the water.

She said: ‘It will not sink but instead remains floating.’

This finding completely contradicts the opinion of the coroner at the time – who insisted the jacket would have been too much for her to cope with and weighed her down in the ocean.

This additional information has prompted homicide detectives to re-open their investigation into her death.

Full Story

. . .

Natalie Wood – The Green Promise

Young Natalie Wood (as “Susan”) in her bunny suit, leaves the party to rescue her lambs, in a sequence said to have caused her life-long fear of water, from The Green Promise, 1949.

Natalie Wood on Bette Davis @ AFI Tribute

“So the first day we were filming on Sterling Hayden’s sailboat and all of a sudden it turned out that I had to jump off the boat and swim to a faraway raft! So there I was, faced with the threat of being flung into the ocean, or losing the part, and I went into hysterics. It must have been heard all the way to Catalina. [!!!!!!] [Betty Davis] did tell the director that she wouldn’t stand around while he threw some terrified kid into the ocean, and that if he’d wanted a swimmer, he should have gotten Johnny Weismuller.”