Diet Research? It must be January.

Yes indeed, it’s the first week of the year, and that means millions of Americans are trying to shed between 5 and 500 pounds. Some scientists were even willing to stick their necks out there and say fructose is a culprit in weight gain (a culprit not the culprit). Check the archives and you will find me many times saying that every weight loss diet that works requires drastically reducing if not altogether eliminating added sugars.

So Loyola University wants to help you out. They’ve got what they think are the top 4 reasons diets fail. Let me save you some reading:

  1. Underestimating calorie intake (e.g. eating too damn much)
  2. Overestimating activity and calories burned (e.g. imagining that an amble around the mall is just like a 5 mile run)
  3. Poor timing of meals (the dreaded “starvation mode“)
  4. Inadequate sleep (having a job and other responsibilities)

Really? I’m on board with reasons 1 and 2, although I see them as two sides of one coin. But do they really think that sleep is a bigger issue than unrealistic expectations in the first place, or diet plans that are for whatever reason unsustainable? Do they think that eating at the wrong time is truly a bigger issue than unsupportive friends and family who –subtly or openly — undermine the dieter’s efforts?

Want to lose weight without torturing yourself? Try eating reasonable portions of real food: plenty of veggies; adequate protein; no sweets, no crap that comes out of a box, no food-like chemistry sets. Hey, it’s no dumber than the other diets you’ve tried over the years.

In Closing: free classes; Downtown Vegas and F15; maybe now somebody will ask banks to follow the law pretty please?; Onnabugeisha; ha!; conform or be called a terrorist; Malala; why oh why did Texas give him a second term?; more employment data than you probably want; somebody inform Scalia that 24 is not a documentary; the estate tax is not a wealth tax, it’s a wealth moving into the hands of someone who didn’t actually earn it tax; it turns out you need facts before you can figure out what to think about them; well that’s gonna have conservative panties in a wad; the Romney Loophole; is anybody surprised by this?; and I think Brent may have been playing Black Ops 2.

The Shorties in Black

In Plane Sight: I have a soft spot for Boeing. Here’s the latest version of the 747.

True: About the 2012 Elections.

On the Economy: global growth; more than 3 people for every available job in June despite the highest number of job openings in 4 years.

Math: “With regard to mathematics, the problem is not that we are teaching too much of it—but that we are teaching math ineffectively.  The expectations and architecture of the new Common Core State Standards in Mathematics can help to remedy this.  Faithful implementation of those standards will support districts that want to adopt curricula that unfurl mathematics in a rational, coherent program and that jettison approaches that are illogically sequenced and that overuse and abuse manipulatives.”

Perhaps there’s a logical explanation: Kids who eat good food turn out smarter than kids that eat junk food. Is it that good food contributes to intelligence, or that smarter parents feed their kids better stuff? I fail to see that this study accounted for the IQ, educational level, or socio-economic level of the parents.

People stand with the Nuns: and they appreciate it.

Today I learned: apparently, a psychic’s word is enough to get a warrant to search somebody’s property for a mass grave. Local governments are strapped for cash, but somehow they’ve got money for psychics? I do hope the locals find a way to get rid of the sheriff and judge that signed off on this.

The truth about corporate income tax: Many companies don’t pay that much.

Killer Kats: Turns out that outdoor cats kill a lot more than anybody knew. Funny thing about them being predators.

Funny, I have yet to kill anybody: “People without Facebook accounts are suspicious“? Seriously? I don’t have a Facebook account. There are millions of people who don’t. I’d say that relatively few of us are planning violence. Except maybe against idiots who think it means anything that I choose not to participate.

Happy Solstice

And first day of Summer. Does anything say summer quite like fresh fruit?

In closing: glitch, or back door to true universal health care?; digital destruction; good luck with that first line; trickle down; enough war; Science American Style; it’s the jobs, stupid; tied; origins of the Japanese; explains the evening “news“; and 747-8.

Shorties Saga: Eclipse

Ok, the title was kinda a cheap one.

Solar Airplane!: “The organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a piloted solar-powered craft, reaching an altitude of just over 28,000 feet above sea level at an average speed of 23 knots, or about 26 miles per hour.” The biggest problems were drinking water that froze and an iPod battery that ran out. Maybe he could have used a solar powered MP3 player!

How to reduce unemployment, Republican style:
Ed Stein

Susie’s Right: Maybe paying attention to the base instead of the cash, the cash and the votes will take care of themselves.

Comrade E.B. Misfit is right too: on Declining Sales and Spying on Americans (which seems to me a colossal waste of resources).

Roman Treasure: Amateur with a metal detector stumbles on thousands of rare old coins.

Well, I guess I’m willing to give up on ever being on MSNBC too: No really, a female employee was once found dead on the floor of then Congressman Joe Scarborough’s office. It’s true! And then the strange part happened.

Shoppers are back, but they’re picky: 10 months of retail gains, but things aren’t improving as fast as experts thought they would (or as fast as retailers would like).

Another Cartoon About Republicans (Because I Feel Like it):

Rob Rogers

Yeah, but you have to do business with Chase: Chase is offering discounted interest to small businesses that borrow money and then hire new employees. Interesting that they are trolling for “qualified” borrowers. I wonder how hard it is to actually qualify for the program.

This is going to be a mess: New reporting rules that were stealthily placed into the health insurance reform bill would require small businesses to report and file a form 1099 on any vendor from whom they bought more than $700 of goods or services. For example, I will have to report my office rent, my cell phone bill, and probably my office supplies. I might be able to get around reporting my NAR membership because the money gets split between national, state, and local organizations. Sounds like the “Put IRS Agents and Accountants To Work Act”. Hat tip to Jukkou-san, sorry it took so long to find an authoritative source.

Raise interest rates?: That’s what Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig says. His reasoning is that the economy is growing and rates are too close to 0% now. I agree, but for different reasons.

And Finally: Look out for sub-standard olive oil. I honestly don’t know what to tell you other than to make sure you trust your supplier, sniff it before you use it, and hope.

The Water Bottle Saga

Last summer, we made some changes in our exercise routine, such that for the first time it made sense to actually consume some sort of “recovery drink.” A simple glass of water — or refilling one of those water bottles you get at the convenience store — was no longer going to cut it. My requirements for such a bottle included the following:

  • BPA free.
  • Dishwasher safe!
  • No stupid gasket that really should be removed for cleaning or it will get gross, but won’t really fit back in correctly should you manage to pry it out of there.
  • Mouth of bottle must be big enough to fit ice cubes, preferably from the door dispenser on the freezer rather than having to shove them through individually.
  • Must be easy to drink from quickly.
  • Must hold roughly a quart or liter of fluid (I won’t quibble over the small difference between the two sizes)
  • Must not be prone to leaking.
  • Must be translucent.

Why translucent, you may ask? We mix our own recovery formula so we can not only control the number of calories involved (here’s the nutrition panel for Gatorade dust; I can choose to make a “weaker” version). We can add a small quantity of glutamine to the mix, something even Gatorade’s scientists admit may be helpful [Update: here’s what we do and why]. If you can’t see through the bottle, you can’t know if it’s shaken enough. For that matter if you can’t see the insides, how the heck do you know it’s really clean?

So this seems to me like a reasonable enough list. I think most people would agree that these are good things to have out of a water bottle for sport/exercise use. Things like “using recycled materials” and other buzzwords are nice, but not if the product can’t do the basic job.

So then consider this list of “best” reusable bottles from HuffPo. What I see here are a lot of bottles you can’t see through, many of which have teeny necks that you have to manually force an ice cube through, and a lot of bottles that you have to completely remove the lid to have a drink. When you only have a 30 second break for hydration, that just won’t cut it. I actually went to REI (why do I bother, they never have what I need) to look at their selection. It was almost exclusively Nalgene and Camelbak products, and not a darn thing that met all my criteria. For what those products cost, I will not settle for “almost.”

As a stopgap — the bottle I had been using had developed a leak around the base of the drinking spout — I found a Rubbermaid bottle that was clear, dishwasher safe, and best of all cheap. However, it was prone to tipping and did have a gasket in the lid. Moreover, that opening looks pretty wide, but it’s a couple millimeters too narrow to avoid spraying ice cubes all over the kitchen. That’s just something you can’t tell in the store.

Yesterday I happened to be in a supplement store when I stumbled across something called the Blender Bottle. While this thing was really designed for some of the heavier protein mixers and such, it fit what I needed perfectly. The little spring thingy is really kind of optional when we’re talking about something as light as Gatorade. The mouth is wide, the spout generous and easily operated, no gaskets, dishwasher safe, even heat safe. So far so good on this thing.

In closing: on the national debt; here‘s obligatory health insurance reform links; the next incarnation of the iconic 747 flies; more reason to like Alan Grayson; the real filibuster-proof majority; the Social Security “reform” idea that just wouldn’t die; and two items on the changing face of employment. What a shame that someone doesn’t get that women are holding their jobs specifically because they often get paid less for the same work!