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Monday, July 3, 2017

Installing Logic X Under Mac OS X Under VMWare Under Windows, Random Stuff, and More

- we're going to attack this from a number of different perpective since it's a bit more complex then you'd normally expect. As you can see fro my previous posts I've tried this type of thing before:
- for those who aren't aware, the main desktop virtualisation programs out there are VMWare Workstation and Oracle VirtualBox. Both require 'hacks' of some sort to the program itself and/or the version of Mac OS X being installed
- I tried installing directly from a downloaded DMG (of Mac OS X via Apple App Store) which VirtualBox actually allows you to do. No such luck with VMWare Workstation though (based on the version that I was using which was 12). The frustrating thing is that the underlying DMG file format seems to be proprietary and converting it to a to a useable, bootable ISO seems to be difficult if not impossible if you don't have access to an Apple device already. I've been examining the file format itself. It wouldn't actually be that bad if weren't for the fact that they keep on changing the underlying file format (I looked at 10.4, 10.6, 10.8, and so on...) It feels like they went from an file archival format to a partition style archival format which meant that a lot of software out there that could previously deal with the problem now can't (goes across the board whether you're dealing with free or paid software)? My suggestion is that if you don't know someone with a Apple system find one at a computer or electronics store which you can 'borrow' for a few minute to convert the image and copy it to a USB drive (exFAT for easier transition as Mac OS X doesn't real with NTFS so well). The funny thing is that they'll often have a copy of a later version of Mac OS X downloaded already somewhere on the system on it's not really going to inconvenience anyone...
hdiutil convert image_name.dmg -format UDTO -o image_name.iso
- if you've been aware of the OSx86 world you'll have been aware that are multiple variants out there (Niresh, iAtkos, iDeneb include some of the more popular ones). I actually thought that these had a greater chance of installing correctly (and without hacks) under a virtualisation environment. That's not actually the case. I had to deal with a bunch of stalls and freeze which had seemed to relate to kext, SMC, EFI, etc... The frustrating thing for me is that while you can obviously work your way through each problem it can often easier to find simply that is 'pre-made'?
- realistically, you can't really use OSx86 hacks this as a long term option. The primary problem is that is that there is often a delay between getting the hacks to work and deployment, another issue is security (you can't audit something that big by yourself), etc... It's mainly an experimental environment
- it's at this moment that you suddenly realise that if you are under time constraints the only realistic way to get a newer version of Mac OS X going under a virtualisation environment is to download a pre-made copy from somewhere online or else hope that someone has come up with a 'cheat sheet' which will allow you get around the error that you are likely to encounter along the way (obviously the latter method will allow for better auditing of code that you may need to run?). The key unlocking difficulties which you'll face seem to revolve around unlocking VMWare itself to allow it to run Mac OS X and also to deal with performance issues (should you face them)
- unlike my earlier encounter of Logic 9 on Snow Leopard there were no hacks required to get Logic X going under VMWare as I had a newer version of Mac OS X available already running (10.11/El Capitan). The only issue is that you may need to download extra plugins and sound collection in order to turn your version of Logic X into something genuinely useful
- for me, the funny irony of all this is that some people want to install a copy of Mac OS X under a VM for security/experimental reasons but there are so many roadblocks that it's becoming increasingly more difficult? What's worse is that the Mac OS X EULA seems to allow for this eventuality so what's the problem?

Random Stuff:
- animals news roundup
Stay cool - Husky puppy claims coldest spot in house
Ele-fun - Baby elephant sliding down hill in China
- if you look at some of these devices are actually pretty impressive especially when you consider their size
- surprising the number of artists out there who use vocal effects now?
vocal effects vst
- AI is based on the premise that humans behave in roughly the same fashion? It dosen't really deal with the 'unexpected' events that you can often expect from people? It mainly helps to weed out the obvious ones quickly?
- latest in science and technology
SpaceX Falcon9 lifts off to take more satellites into orbit
Hiding behind web encryption Telegram app used by St. Petersburg bomber – security service
‘Elsa’ Malware - Wikileaks dumps new docs on CIA hacking tools
Russian MoD launches own satellite into space
World is running out of sand, scientists say
Counting the Cost - Google versus the European Union - Counting the Cost
Cyberattack goes global, hits companies in at least 10 countries worldwide
- latest in defense
Russia Warns the US They Will Defend Syria
Will Afghanistan manage to find peace - UpFront
Will US Coalition Strike Damascus on False Pretenses
Britain Backs US to Launch Strike on Syria
‘Aerial Limits’ - Russian S-300s perform firing launches at annual competition
'Conclusions are based on questionable data' - Russian envoy on latest OPCW report
The future is now - Russian military unveils next-generation combat suit
Complicated Picture - Future for Kurdish forces in Syria after fight against ISIS
RAW - USS Coronado takes part in joint drills with Philippine Navy
- latest in finance and politics
CrossTalk - Bullhorns say it straight (EXTENDED VERSION)
CrossTalk - Democrats Keep Losing
CrossTalk - Counterfeit News Network
Keiser Report - Green Gold (E1089 RE-UPLOAD)
Keiser Report - Molar City (E1090)
Brexit, Theresa May held hostage by the DUP & the political power of comedy
The Listening Post - Gulf crisis - Al Jazeera in the crosshairs - The Listening Post (Full)
Expression, Creativity, and Culture in Putin’s Russia
‘Big Nothing Burger’ - CNN contributor admits Russia scandal made for ratings
On Contact - Noam Chomsky discusses his latest book 'Requiem for the American Dream'
Rashkin Report
Modi's enthusiastic bear hug bests Trump's handshake
Muslims on India train assaulted 'because they ate beef'
- apparently, there does seem to be remedy/compensation for damage caused to other equipment if something you've purchased may have caused it in many jurisdictions
damage to other equipment consumer law
electrical damage to other equipment compensation
electrical products causing circuit breaker to trip
- always wanted to know what the most popular eBooks were...
top book topics
online ebook stores for authors

Random Quotes:
- For instance, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that college students often get logical answers wrong but don't realize it. This so-called "bias blind spot" happens when people cannot detect bias, or flaws, within their own thinking. "If anything, a larger bias blind spot was associated with higher cognitive ability," the researchers of the 2012 study wrote in the abstract.

One question, for example, asked the students: "A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" The problem isn't intuitive (the answer is not 10 cents), but rather requires students to suppress or evaluate the first solution that springs into their mind, the researchers wrote in the study. If they do this, they might find the right answer: The ball costs 5 cents, and the bat costs $1.05.

If intelligent people are less likely to perceive their own bias, that means they're less rational in some respects, Dutton said. So why is intelligence associated with atheism? The answer, he and his colleague suggest, is that religion is an instinct, and it takes intelligence to overcome an instinct, Dutton said. [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]
- The most chilling moment in the new series of House of Cards comes during President Underwood’s inauguration. As he solemnly swears the oath of office he smugly turns to us and says “You made this bed, America. You voted for me. Are you confused? Are you afraid? Because what you thought you wanted is now here, and there you are staring back slack-jawed, bewildered, wondering if this is what you actually asked for. This democracy, your democracy elected me.”

He seems almost disappointed in us – and well he might be. How could we let this happen? How could the grandest of all democracies have elected a man like him? He makes you feel ashamed and you remember, with a shiver, that it’s too late to take it back. That’s why this series is so disturbingly effective. It speaks perfectly to the dark moment we find ourselves in and doesn’t shirk from apportioning us much of the blame.
- If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them.
- So where does Fukuyama see Trump and his movement today? "I don't think it's valid," to say the nationalist populist movement has peaked globally, he tells me.

"I think there's an underlying sociology that has to do with the left-behind working class and a strain of identity politics that's still very strong. And I think that the biggest threat is the US." 

Trump could yet go down as a "weak and ineffectual president", certainly not an American dictator. 

"It's ridiculous to talk of impeachment because that would require the Republicans to turn against him and he still has the support of 75 per cent of Republicans." 

It's possible the Republicans would start to abandon him in a year or so if he presents a big risk to the midterm election prospects of Congressional Republicans, but "he's not going to go quickly or easily", Fukuyama says.

And the people who elected Trump, the right-wing populists, will remain angry, he says, mobilised because "they have been disrespected, they hate the liberal elites for ignoring their interests and looking down on them culturally".

But Trump's policies don't address the interests of working-class Americans, on tax, on healthcare or on welfare support programs. Doesn't matter, Fukuyama says. "It's one of the enduring mysteries of US politics – why working-class whites vote for policies that hurt them."

The hurt and the hatred aren't going away, he argues, and neither is the movement that they have animated. The monster isn't dead, it seems, just digesting. 
- A national survey has found that almost two-thirds of job seekers lose interest in a job if they don't hear back from a prospective employer within two weeks.

Recruitment company Robert Half surveyed more than 2000 Australian office workers about their experiences when applying for a job.

It found 63 per cent lost interest in a role if they did not hear back from a prospective employer within two weeks.

A quarter began to lose interest if they did not hear back in response to a job application within seven days.

    I emailed them and didn't hear back after a week and then gave up after they didn't get back to me.

A third began to look for other jobs after a week of silence and 30 per cent questioned the company's ability to make decisions.

Robert Half said slow recruitment times meant Australian companies risked missing out on the best candidates for jobs.

Another Robert Half survey of 100 Australian human resources managers found more than half (57 per cent) had lost a qualified candidate to another opportunity because of a lengthy hiring process. 

More than half (55 per cent) of the managers also said the hiring process had become more lengthy in recent years.

Senior managing director at Robert Half Asia-Pacific, David Jones, said companies that wanted to be sure they hired the best candidate for a job often extended the hiring process, adding days or weeks to the recruitment process.

"But this often results in companies losing top candidates," Mr Jones said.
- So, to this day, the budget papers are written in two different financial languages. The bit prepared by Treasury is written in cash, whereas the much bigger bit prepared by the Finance department is written in accrual – as it's supposed to be.

Get this: our bilingual budget means the budget papers offer us four different measures of the budget bottom line to pick from.

There's the "underlying cash" balance (the one Treasury wants us to focus on), the "headline cash" balance (please don't ask questions about this one), the "fiscal" balance (the close accrual equivalent of underlying cash) and, buried up the back, the accrual-based "net operating balance".

The news is that Treasury is sticking with underlying cash as "the primary fiscal aggregate" – the one it will make sure we focus on – but will ditch the fiscal balance (always just a face-saver cooked up by Treasury) and replace it with – give "increased prominence to" – the net operating balance, henceforth known as the NOB.

Bringing the NOB from the back up to the front will "assist in distinguishing between recurrent and capital spending" because, in accountingspeak", "operating" and "recurrent" mean the same.
- You should have gotten wind of the stench when Max started pushing bitcoin, Maxcoin, StartCoin, and so on. That's when I bowed out. I warned my friends bitcoin was another hoax when it first came out, but no one listened. One of my good friends lost his shirt, and learned the hard way. He asked me how I knew. I knew because I ignored all the blather and looked at the story of its founding. The guy that allegedly started it, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a ghost. Let's see, if we do a direct translation of that, his name means “intelligent central”. Flipping it, we get Central Intelligence. He published the invention on Halloween, 2008. Bitcoin is the first crypto-currency, and the word came into usage with it. I don't trust anything with the name “crypto”. They might as well call it crypto-Jewish currency, although I guess you might figure it out if they did that. 
- In any future conflict, the aim if the Russians will not be to march to Berlin or Paris. NATO and US aim will not be to occupy Russia. Thus the warring terrain and objective are areas such as the Baltic, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia etc... NATO forces in these countries are limited in several ways. Size, command structure, alertness, and basing. It would only take a few long range Russian strikes to quickly diminish our skeleton force structure in Eastern Europe.

Look at Crimea, it was taken overnight. Thousands of Russian forces crossed a non land border within a few days before anyone in the West or NATO could even so much as mobilize a statement, much less an army. And the nuclear scenario is real, especially for our European allies, who do not have their own nuclear weapons but rely on NATO (ie. the US).

The best thing we can do is give these countries their own nukes that way in any case of Russian aggression, they can nuke the hell out of Moscow and we can stay out of it. When we are involved, Russia knows that we will not trade US cities, for small capitals on Russia's doorstep. But if we remove ourselves and allow the Polish or Lithuanians nuclear capability, suddenly, Vilnius for St. Petersburg is not such an attractive trade.
- But the longer America strained to break Russia, the weaker it became – and the stronger Russia became. This political paradox is typical for any empire which tries, at the twilight of its power, its resources stretched over a vast area of responsibility of long-corrupted vassals, to confront a stubborn and flexible opponent which cannot be physically destroyed. Russia was impossible to destroy – its nuclear shield guaranteed protection against America's 'humanitarian aggression'.
- Check Point explains. To bypass Bouncer, Google Play’s protection, the hackers create a seemingly benign bridgehead app, meant to establish a connection to the victim’s device, and insert it into the app store.

Once a user downloads a malicious app, it silently registers receivers which establish a connection with the C&C server. The server replies with the actual malicious payload, which includes JavaScript code, a user-agent string, and URLs controlled by the malware author. The malware opens the URLs using the user agent that imitates a PC browser in a hidden web page and receives a redirection to another website. Once the targeted website is launched, the malware uses the JavaScript code to locate and click on banners from the Google ads infrastructure.

Clever way to beat a bouncer!

Check Point says the malicious apps were all developed by a Korean company named Kiniwini, registered on Google Play as ENISTUDIO corp. The company develops mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms. It is quite unusual to find an actual organization behind the mobile malware, as most of them are developed by purely malicious actors. It is important to note that the activity conducted by the malware is not borderline advertising, but an illegitimate use of the users’ mobile devices for generating fraudulent clicks, benefiting the attackers.
- Led by figures like the philosopher Peter Singer, effective altruism calls for a measure of intellectual rigour rather than a robotic handing over of cash. When you do the research, you find organisations like GiveWell that, through strict monitoring, rate the most effective charities.

World's best at the moment? The Against Malaria Foundation - a fully transparent group that has demonstrably saved thousands of lives by providing cheap and effective insecticide-treated netting in nations where children are most vulnerable to mosquito-born malarial infections. Others that rate well include groups battling parasitic infections that are cheap to combat but can devastate the future lives of children left untreated. You won't find any of the big name religions or familiar charities anywhere near this list.

Last Sunday I joined that line of cars refusing to pull over and give to the Salvation Army. After the Royal Commission findings that they failed to protect children in their care from abuse for more than half a century, I've placed the Salvos in the same cellar as the Catholics, Protestants and the rest of the multi billion-dollar religious groups who continue enjoying tax-exempt status, despite decades lying about the disgusting cruelty they perpetrated on thousands of helpless children.

A few weeks ago I sat through a catholic mass because of a family event. As the plate was passed around for a second time I ignored it and thought of the years of haggling by the hordes of callous lawyers the church had employed to pressure and deny its victims rightful compensation.

From now on I'm doing my homework and making sure that when I give, it counts. Charitable foundations that pay top salaries to chief executives and big religions that long ago lost their Christian spirit certainly don't deserve our dough. They're not using my money to buy their way out of Hell.
- "If you want to secure your sensitive data either at rest — on your hard drive, in the cloud, on that phone you left on the train last week and never saw again — or on the wire, when you’re sending it to your doctor or your bank or to your work colleagues, you have to use good cryptography.

"Use deliberately compromised cryptography, that has a back door that only the 'good guys' are supposed to have the keys to, and you have effectively no security. You might as well skywrite it as encrypt it with pre-broken, sabotaged encryption."
- From a strategic point of view terrorism has a dismal predictability. Whatever its context or motivation its central objectives are usually the same: a) to provoke a militarily more powerful opponent into an overreaction that will strain its opponent's resources and draw it into a debilitating confrontation from which the terrorist hopes to gain in the long run b) to re-engineer society so that there are no spaces for moderation or neutrality - only two sides locked into all-out war c) to undermine the political authority of the state by demonstrating that it cannot protect its own people.

Around these central aims other factors may also come into play: simple vengeance for a real or imagined grievance; the desire to demonstrate the power and reach of the terrorist organisation or cause; rage at the real or imagined indifference of the targeted society towards acts of violence and repression for which its government may be responsible.

These components have been replayed again and again in different ways in one terrorist emergency after another, so on one level the horrors that are now unfolding globally are not entirely unprecedented. What is new is the sustained and deliberate barbarity of the attacks that are now unfolding. In country after country we are witnessing what are essentially crimes against humanity carried out by a variety of 'jihadist' groups who have clearly abandoned even paying lip service to rules and customs of war established over thousands of years.
- TOKYO -- Japan's first F-35 stealth fighter jet, which underwent final assembly in the country, was unveiled at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Minami Komaki Plant in Aichi Prefecture on June 5. But Japan's expectations for a larger role in the aircraft's production remain unfulfilled.

The F-35 is the Air Self-Defense Force's next-generation, mainstay fighter plane. The Defense Ministry plans to import four assembled F-35s, but this time components manufactured abroad were imported and assembled here. During the ministry's selection process for the next mainstay fighter, the Japanese defense industry requested a role producing some parts. But things are not going as planned.

Lockheed Martin developed the F-35 jointly with partners from eight other countries. Japan was not involved. The aircraft has high stealth capability that makes it difficult for radar to detect. The ASDF will deploy them to deal with North Korean provocations and foreign aircraft violating Japan's airspace.

Since the U.S. is already operating F-35s, joint operations will be easier. Expectations for the new model are high because Japan's fighter jets, including the F-2 jointly developed with the U.S., are aging.

It remains uncertain, however, whether the F-35 will give Japan's defense industry a boost since it may be involved only in final assembly.
...
Despite high expectations, the only role Japan is presently slated to play for the F-35 is in assembly. There was a plan to produce part of the fuselage in the country when the F-35 was chosen, but it has virtually been abandoned, according to a defense industry source. In short, selecting the F-35 hardly benefits parts makers and reduces their role in the aircraft industry.

The ministry is planning to purchase 42 F-35s. Of them, four will be imported as finished products. The ministry will then choose how to further replace the aging SDF fleet, but the F-35 is not a lock because Boeing, which lost the f-35 bid to Lockheed Martin and is looking to make a comeback.
- "Our police force, fortunately, so far, do not use batons, tear gas or any other extreme measures of instilling order, something that we often see in other countries, including in the United States," he added.

The Russian president pointed to the Occupy Wall Street movement that had been protesting against economic inequality and social division.

"Speaking of opposition, let us recall the Occupy Wall Street movement," he noted. "Where is it now? Law enforcement agencies and special services in the US dismantled it into small pieces, and dissolved it. "I'm not asking you about how things stand in terms of democracy in the United States," he went on to say.

"Why do you believe you are entitled to raise such questions with us and, mind you, do it all the time, (you) moralize and teach us how we should live?" he asked, posing a rhetorical question.

"We are ready to listen to our partners, ready to listen to appraisals and assessments when it is done in a friendly manner, in order to establish contacts and create a common atmosphere and dedicate ourselves to shared values," he elaborated.

"But we absolutely will not accept when such things are used as a tool of political struggle. I want everybody to know that. This is our message."
- Eugene said his company was ready to prove "that Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system market to fiercely promote its own — inferior — security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users’ previously self-chosen security solution.

"Such promotion is conducted using questionable methods, and we want to bring these methods to the attention of the anti-competition authorities."

He said the complaint to the Russian authorities had brought about some results. "Microsoft has fixed some of the issues that we highlighted – and did so without waiting for FAS to issue an official statement."

Eugene said Microsoft used pop-ups (seen above) to warn against the installation of Kaspersky's software, using language that could be taken to mean that it (Kaspersky's software) was inferior and could not be trusted.

Additionally, he said, for three days after a licence for Kaspersky software expired, it could not issue any reminders to users; this could only be done through Microsoft's Action Centre. This had happened only after the release of Windows 10 and only applied to anti-virus software.

"Thus, it looks like, after years with no success (in competing with other anti-virus software), Microsoft has resorted to the use of alternative, OS-empowered (in our view – underhand) tactics," Eugene claimed.

He also alleged that Kaspersky software often went missing when people upgraded to Windows 10. "In many cases, while the update is still ongoing – perhaps due to those same underhand tactics again – Windows decides that your existing security solution is, after all, incompatible with Windows 10, deletes its drivers (leaving a bunch of useless files (the solution won’t work without the drivers)), and in its place switches on its own solution."
- Some Russian security systems could effectively be used in Turkey’s asymmetrical fight against a number of militant organizations including ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers' Party. One particular Russian system, Girgin said, can detect handmade explosives at a distance of 30 meters and can be an asset in Turkey’s fight against terror. 
Another important, nonlethal system is a powerful beam projector that can be used against targets at a distance of 3.5 kilometers, causing the enemy temporary blindness for up to half an hour.  
Turkey’s state-controlled military electronics specialist Aselsan, the country’s largest defense firm, is hopeful about a large-scale Russia-related program. In April, the company said it is seeking an “active role” in the future modernization work for 10,000 Russian-made Mi-series helicopters worldwide. Aselsan referred to that ambition as its “most important next goal.” It said it has a particular interest in upgrading Mi-series helicopters in the Gulf and Central Asian countries.
Another industry source in Ankara said although Russia and Turkey can seek procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunition and missile technology, there are potential snags.
“Turkey wants to develop these systems indigenously, and I do not think Russia will wish to share its technology with a country that only a year and a half ago shot down its military aircraft and could in the future pose a security threat to its own interests in the Middle East,” he said. 
An Ankara-based expert on Turkish-Russian defense trade said the two countries have “completely different business mentalities.” There is, he said, a striking incompatibility. 
“But some longer-term cooperation, particularly in naval and land systems, can be possible, especially weapons systems to be installed into naval and land platforms,” the expert said. 
In agreeance with Girgin, the expert said some Russian-made gear, particularly what he called “peculiar items” to be used in asymmetrical warfare, can find a niche market in Turkey. “These would be high-tech anti-terror systems,” he added. 
Yet, he cautioned that the Turkish-Russian detente is too premature at the moment, and the two countries’ diverging political priorities and goals in the Middle East — especially in Syria — can change the climate and make Russian systems simply unwanted in Turkey. “Any future significant Russian penetration into the Turkish market would be too much exposed to political risk,” he said. 
- "The Air Force has grounded all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter operations at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, after pilots complained of hypoxia-related symptoms, officials said Friday.

"The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, canceled local flying operations today for F-35A Lightning II aircraft due to a series of five incidents in which pilots have experienced hypoxia-like symptoms," Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email statement.

He did not say when flight operations would resume.

Base officials informed the service that since May 2, five F-35A pilots have experienced "physiological incidents while flying," the statement said. In each case, officials said, the aircraft's backup oxygen system kicked in, and the pilot followed the correct procedures, landing safely.

"In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations, we have canceled local F-35A flying. The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots," said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents."

The Air Force said Friday it had contacted other F-35 squadrons and international partners operating the aircraft to educate pilots on the incident.

"Pilots will also be briefed on all the incidents that have occurred and the successful actions taken by the pilots to safely recover their aircraft," the release said."
- Why have Swedes stopped smoking? Because Sweden has adopted a "harm reduction" strategy. It has largely replaced deadly cigarettes with a product that supplies users with both nicotine and tobacco yet doesn't increase the odds of dying the way smoking does. That product is called snus (rhymes with goose).

A modern iteration of snuff, snus are little pouches of moist tobacco placed under the upper lip. Scandinavians have been ingesting nicotine via smokeless tobacco since the early 18th century, a habit that changed only during World War II, when cigarettes became popular. Smoking peaked in 1980 in Sweden at 34 per cent of the population. Since then, the growing awareness of the dangers of smoking has brought about a steady, year-over-year reduction in the smoking rate, just as it has in much of the Western world.

Unlike most of the world, however, Swedish smokers already had a traditional way to stop smoking without having to overcome an addiction to nicotine, which of course is what makes quitting so difficult.

And that's what they did. In the 1990s, cigarette sales declined while sales of snus rocketed. By about 1996, more snus cans were being sold than cigarette packs, a gap that has widened in the ensuing years. Today, 15 per cent of Swedes use snus.

You might assume it took a major government marketing campaign to persuade people to move from cigarettes to snus, but that's not what happened. Although snus makers such as Swedish Match are not allowed to claim that their product is less harmful than cigarettes, the Swedes figured that out for themselves. The government did eventually create tax incentives for people to choose snus over cigarettes.

The health consequences of Sweden's move to snus are nothing short of amazing. As Kenneth E. Warner and Harold A. Pollack pointed out in a 2014 article in The Atlantic, "Sweden boasts Europe's lowest male lung-cancer death rate - as well as the lowest male death rate from smoking-related cardiovascular diseases, and the lowest male death rate from other cancers that are attributable to tobacco." Even the risk you'd most likely suspect, oral cancer, is only slightly higher than for non-users.

In effect, Sweden has been conducting an important experiment for 30-plus years, one that tobacco-control advocates have long claimed they wanted to see. What happens when, instead of relying solely on societal persuasion to get people to quit smoking, you offer them a nicotine fix without the carcinogens that come with smoking?

The answer is that smokers will embrace that solution. And as they do, smoking-related deaths will drop dramatically. No doubt there will be non-smokers who decide to use snus (or e-cigarettes) and become hooked on nicotine, an addictive but non-lethal substance. But that seems a small price to pay to get Sweden's results. In any case, that's why they call it a "reduced harm" approach rather than a "harm-free" approach.

What is truly maddening is that, despite the powerful evidence provided by Sweden, most countries refuse to acknowledge it. The EU won't allow snus to be sold in most of its countries. In the US, the FDA last year turned down Swedish Match's application to be allowed to advertise snus as less harmful than cigarettes.

Most tobacco-control advocates in the West continue to push the idea that quitting all forms of tobacco and nicotine is the safest policy - true, but a classic example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. And they continue to harbour a deep suspicion of alternative nicotine products. Their understandable animus toward Big Tobacco has clouded their ability to see that replacing one kind of tobacco product (combustible cigarettes) with another (snus) can save lives.

The difference between the Swedish smoking rate and that of the next-lowest countries is enormous. If the West really hopes to achieve a tobacco-free world by 2040, Sweden has pointed the way. Like it or not, harm reduction is the only answer.

Chinese Style Noodle Soup with Dumplings Recipe, Random Stuff, and More

This is the latest in my series on quick, easy, and tasty meals: http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2017/09/sweet-chilli-chickenporkbeef-noodl...