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.

Music Monday: A Better Movie than I Expected

Admittedly, I liked seeking the “Vegas of 1964” shots. The race sequence is remarkable because I know those landmarks: they really did start downtown, head south to cross Hoover Dam, somehow or another end up north of town on Mt. Charleston, and then cruised back down Rancho back to downtown. By the way, you’ll notice I said downtown and not The Strip? Those are two different places.

In Closing: They recommend the status quo; crime fighting fail; only CNN thinks it means anything; compare and contrast; Oh really!; and the best way to have some Viva Las Vegas? Free.

Good News on the Economy

Seriously, I’m coming up on 9 years of writing here, and this is the first time I’ve been able to write those words without meaning it sarcastically.

First, unemployment is down to 8.1% (locally, down to 12.4%). That’s still too high, and it still doesn’t account for people who have given up on finding a job and people who have settled for part time work. And the economy still isn’t quite up to making enough jobs for people new to the workforce, and new grads are still going to have a crappy time out there. However, not that long ago we were looking at almost 10%.

Second, there are signs of life in American manufacturing. Auto plants are working at capacity, and may have to actually hire an additional shift of workers — which is much less expensive than building a new plant and then having it sit idle 16 hours a day. Some industries that decided it was cheaper to make it overseas and ship it here are thinking twice. Senior executives are cautiously optimistic, and 40% report moving operations to the United States.

Finally, home prices are starting to inch up. Granted, this is at least in part because of reduced supply (and at least in part because prices got stupid-low on a per-square-foot basis in some places).

So there you have it. People are getting jobs and buying stuff. Some manufacturers are running out of the ability to make more stuff — so they may have to build places and hire people to make even more stuff. Maybe soon the Fed can raise interest rates from the supposedly “stimulating” levels they are today, and in turn banks will be able to make a reasonable profit lending money without making up fees or outright committing fraud.

In Closing: Who could have guessed that Citizens United could open the door to ordinary people taking over elections?; never forget Romney’s dog; Tokyo Sky Tree now open; too useful to be real; cheap and free ebooks; yet one more reason I’m against school vouchers; FISA; $27,000??; and the Vatican gets outraged when nuns actually act on What Would Jesus Do.


Seriously, California?

One thing that happens every January like clockwork is a whole bunch of new laws go into effect, and this year is no exception.

California has decided that kids must be kept in child safety booster seats — in the back seat, of course — until they are 8 years old or 4’9″ tall. If these child safety laws get any sillier, I may have to figure out how to drive from a booster in the back seat.

Was there any science whatsoever behind this law? Perhaps more to the point, any science that wasn’t produced by a manufacturer of children’s car seats? How many “lives” will this save, really? Is there any reason that a 4’9″ 7 year old is less safe than a fully grown 4’9″ woman? And who exactly are these 4’9″ second graders? If California seriously thinks there is a problem with car seat safety for young people under 4’9″, then just maybe they should send some California Department of Transportation officials to Detroit to ask for better safety from the seat and seatbelt already securely mounted in the car. Perhaps those same officials could talk to the guys in Washington DC that make the regulations.

Nope, it’s easier to make people buy a cheap piece of plastic and mount it in the back seat, lest they receive a $475 fine.

And that brings me to the other interesting observation about this law: it will be enforced disproportionately against those who can least afford it. It will be used as a tool to harass immigrants and people of color and women the cops don’t like. After all, some Rich B**** in a minivan has the money to buy the car seat, and the means to hire a lawyer to contest the ticket. In short, she will be a pain in the @$$ if she gets pulled over!

Bet it can’t be enforced on school buses or public transportation.

In Closing: on Religious Law; unemployment is no vacation; one more person tells me how “Liberal” the President is and I may lose it; scroll down to the revised jobs chart; free stuff; the downside is they will know where you live; and for those of you with weight/fitness New Years Resolutions, an entire community’s wisdom in one infographic.