Sorry for the little hiatus. Finals are coming Real Soon Now and my writing has been monopolized by a paper on Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. Fascinating stuff. For a minimally sciencey version, check out this biography.
Depending what day it is, the world news front is likely to say something about Iran, North Korea, and/or Syria. Iran is developing nuclear technology, and probably weapons. North Korea is more open about their weapon development. The US is warning Russia that they had better not send Syria better missiles, particularly since Syria is accused of using chemical weapons.
Now make no mistake. I don’t think anybody really wants Iran or North Korea having nukes. I don’t think most people think a better armed Syria is a good thing. But here’s the thing: who gave us the right to enforce our opinion?
Who is the United States to tell another sovereign nation what weaponry it can or cannot have? Under what authority? What if some other country decided that the United States shouldn’t have nukes? Or aircraft carriers? Or [insert fancy piece of military technology here]?
I know a lot of people in the West don’t think much of Al Jazeera as a news source, but they are right to point out that the American bargaining position regarding Iran — and truly, all 3 nations — is a lot like trying to negotiate with Republicans: the only possible option is “do it our way or else.” Or, if you prefer to be more patronizing
if not outright racist, “everything would run so much better if you brown people would do it our way like civilized people!”
Maybe, just maybe, international issues could be resolved more smoothly if we treated other sovereign nations like big boys and girls rather than little children who need our guidance.
In Closing: soda; I suspected as much; Jesus is coming, look busy; the Borgias are coming, look busy; um yeah, you can’t do that; student loan debt is officially bad for the economy; consumer spending is up and late mortgages are down (good news!); eVerify; Too Big To Fail must be Too Big To Exist; side effect; don’t forget that Federal law always trumps state law; and riiiiight, exactly where I want to go on Mother’s Day. Not.
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:
- Underestimating calorie intake (e.g. eating too damn much)
- Overestimating activity and calories burned (e.g. imagining that an amble around the mall is just like a 5 mile run)
- Poor timing of meals (the dreaded “starvation mode“)
- 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?; Onna–bugeisha; 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.
When Al Jazeera points this out, it’s a problem: School to Prison Pipeline. If you find this topic interesting (or horrifying, whatever), the ACLU is a great place to start.
Old Flowers: In this case, 32,000 years old. For those keeping track, that’s over 5 times as old as young-Earth creationists think the world is. <sarcasm> Miracle, or Satan’s lies? </sarcasm>
The Last Ninja: Is an engineer who admits that most of what he learned has no place in the modern world.
Break it down: Here’s where Google’s ad revenues come from.
Burnout: Half of doctors report some signs of it. I’m really disappointed that they didn’t even try to look at why they might feel that way.
It’s not your imagination: The middle class earned less than they did a decade ago.
Apparently Alabama law allows death threats on the job: Seriously.
That can’t be good: For all the news coverage of Romney talking about his energy plan, he specifically refused to go into details where the press might hear it (If this is true, shame on the press for not pointing out that they have an incomplete story). So, does he plan on making up details to suit his audience, or is his plan so out there that he doesn’t dare risk the general public learning the details? Either way, do we want him in charge? What is already known is attracting criticism from many places.