There’s no more universal question than why do we get fat? What’s the answer to weight loss and achieving a healthy weight? Is the obesity epidemic because of high fructose corn syrup? Fast food and the abundance of cheap calories? Does fat make us fat, or not? What’s the best diet for humans? Mediterranean diet, paleo diet, DASH diet, or the smoothies, pumpkins and cookies diet? Pumpkin, num!
There’s also no issue that is more illustrative of the ill-understood reality that despite our common sharing of the human genome there are huge variables in (1) how we all metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins, (2) whether we store excess fat as energy and (3) where we store that fat on our bodies! While we’re always looking for some universal panacea for these things, the pharmaceutical industry teaches us that humans vary so much that certain drugs may only be effective on 20% (or less) of people.
We would probably be shocked to learn that most drugs don’t do anything good for the majority of the people who use them.
In the study of human biology we’re still very, very, VERY early on in our studies of how things work and we are still figuring it all out. It is extremely likely that in coming years we will learn things that will turn our understanding of nutrition, weight and obesity on its head. One of the exciting things being researched right now is the overall influence of our gut bacteria, the varied 100 trillion bacteria in our gut (our microbiome), on our health.
I found this discussion of the early research on this fascinating. Maybe you will too.
What a ridiculous title for a post, nobody goes bowling anymore.
I’ve been feeling a little less than optimistic lately about the future. I’m just not seeing any real building urgency to our collective response to climate change. Maybe that’s because I recently read Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. the Climate” which brutally lays out the unappetizing reality of the future of life on our big blue marble. Mind you, that’s not the future IF we continue doing what we’re doing. Oh no, we’ve already cooked in (pun intended) a 2 degrees centigrade worldwide temperature increase which absolutely will turn presently occupied land into ocean area and generally wreak havoc on populations all over the planet. If we keep doing what we’re doing, which all evidence indicates that’s absolutely our intention, we will face 4 or 6 degrees in increased global temperatures. The consequences of that are that large parts of Earth will be much less hospitable to life.
In the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.
“Climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation,” said Michael H. Freilich, director of earth sciences at NASA, one of the agencies that track global temperatures.
They expect the heat to get much worse over coming decades, but already it is killing forests around the world, driving plants and animals to extinction, melting land ice and causing the seas to rise at an accelerating pace.
“We’re seeing a significant acceleration in the past few decades,” said study lead author Carling Hay, a geophysical researcher at Harvard University. “It’s concerning for cities along the U.S. East Coast” where water levels are rising even faster than the world average.
“It’s definitely something that can’t be ignored,” Hay said.
You never have enough closets or oceans, apparently, so our ocean expansion program is going great guns! The only problem with that is that all this heating up, as well as many other of our very horrible current human practices is the coming collapse of our ocean fisheries. That 2/3rds of our planet (and growing!) from which we get most of our oxygen and has always been a reliable resource for nourishment is dying like a pro-Muslim comic at the Paris Ha Ha Hut. Looking at a complete collapse of global fisheries by 2050.
The researchers found that 29 percent of species had been fished so heavily or were so affected by pollution or habitat loss that they were down to 10 percent of previous levels, their definition of “collapse.”
This loss of biodiversity seems to leave marine ecosystems as a whole more vulnerable to overfishing and less able to recover from its effects, Dr. Worm said. It results in an acceleration of environmental decay, and further loss of fish.
Dr. Worm said he analyzed the data for the first time on his laptop while he was overseeing a roomful of students taking an exam. What he saw, he said, was “just a smooth line going down.” And when he extrapolated the data into the future “to see where it ends at 100 percent collapse, you arrive at 2048.”
So get to Costco and stock up that garage freezer with your tuna, chad, cod, sea bass, whatever sea food you like. You know that difficult choice between the wild salmon and raised salmon? That thorny dilemma is going away, so cool, huh?
If the take away from all this is that we have been absolutely treating our planet like it’s our unpaid intern for which we have no long term regard, you’re understating it. It seems as though every one of the growing library of alarming articles about just how bad things are getting has at least some notes of optimism. Everybody seems to want to leave the audience with those hopeful “there’s still time to avoid the worst case scenario” scenarios. But in each case it will take urgent action beginning yesterday, which is already yesterday.
The truth is that 200 years of carbon burning has had a collectively deleterious effect on our planet and even the growing awareness of such over the last 50 years has not made much of a dent in our overall practices. Our capitalist system will not allow the necessary changes to take place. No matter how alarming the reports, somebody will weigh the response needed against the economic hit we’ll take by acting, so we don’t act. And then the next report is even more dire, necessitating a more arch response, that will be dismissed even quicker. Our great American climate change deniers have internalized the delusional belief that all of these doom and gloom scientists are involved in a world wide conspiratorial hoax in order to bring about global socialism. But frankly, their insanity is only part of what holds us back. Even the people who understand that THIS… IS… HAPPENING… seem paralyzed by the prospect of the drastic actions necessary. They fall back on the wishful thinking that technology and engineering will think us out of this. We can keep on burning fossil fuels and factory farming and clear cutting forests and whatnot because we’ll figure out a way to sequester the carbon or dome our cities, or grow gills on humans or something. Think of the fantasy that is “clean coal.” They’re all dangerous fantasies that keep us from facing and addressing our reality.
Which means that there will be a day, or more literally several decades, of reckoning. And then the planet Earth that was the bountiful green and thriving home that my father’s generation grew up on (and my generation largely enjoyed only slightly diminished) will be gone for my grandchildren. Changes in land and sea that made areas more or less hospitable for life that happened over centuries are now happening over shorter periods of time that will necessitate the kind of human intervention that previously only took place in cases of war or natural disaster. But it will be happening globally, which means there won’t be unaffected peoples that can respond as humanitarians. Every one will be in the same boat competing for diminishing resources – clean breathable air, clean potable water, healthy, nourishing food sources.
It’s a dystopian future that is real, not a movie. We could have prevented it, but we were too busy having a good time. Bowling, or something.
The character in this clip from the Newsroom is actually laying out what the best climate scientists now believe is inevitable. There’s no exaggeration in what he’s saying. And yet it doesn’t feel real because we HAVE NOT BEEN LISTENING TO THE WARNINGS.
Only 19% of New Jerseyans happy with Christie. I ask: what the hell are those 19% looking at?
Even my crazy tax hating neighbors must have realized by now that their property taxes have gone up the last 5 years despite their putting that Christie sign on their lawn. Sign wasn’t magic afterall. Electing a corrupt phony not the panacea they thought it was. Just kidding, they have no idea what “panacea” means.
Now this might not be a fair statement and I don’t think Fairleigh Dickinson included it in their poll that I can see, but in my opinion Christie’s still fat.
Do you want to see a woman president in your lifetime? Depends on what party you’re in apparently. I guess if some Republican woman was as likely as Hilary is, at least the GOP women might be more enthusiastic – the men would probably still be iffy. But let’s face it, if you’re a Republican today, whether man or woman or whatever Ann Coulter is, you probably agree more than a little with the existing patriarchy.
The rest of the Pew poll on Women and Leadership is interesting.
Among partisans, Republican men are the most likely to say the country has taken the steps needed to achieve gender equality in the workplace. About half of Republican men (54%) say the country has made the changes needed to give men and women equality in the workplace. By contrast about two-thirds (66%) of Republican women say more changes are needed. Even larger majorities of Democratic and independent women and Democratic men agree that gender parity is still a work in progress.
GOP ladies go talk to your men, would ya?
No, Rush Limbaugh isn’t on vacation. Bada boom! Please tip your waitresses.
Denmark Sets World Record for Wind Production at generating 39.1% of its electric power in 2014 from wind!
The news of Denmark’s feat adds to the national records the U.K. and Germany set for 2014 and further establishes Europe as a leader in the wind power industry. This is especially true when it comes to offshore resources, as countries like Scotland, England, and Denmark build out their offshore wind farms. Wind generated enough electricity to power just over 25 percent of U.K. homes in 2014 — a 15 percent increase from 2013. In December, Germany generated more wind power, 8.9 terawatt-hours, than in any previous month.
In 2012 Denmark passed legislation mandating the country achieve 35% renewable usage by 2020 and 100% by 2050. 50 countries have pledged to be carbon free by 2050. Many of those countries, including Germany, may well get there years ahead of schedule.
Records keep falling for wind and solar generation, no surprise there. What i did not know, somehow, is that 9 of 10 of all offshore wind turbines come from Denmark. No shit! They started up big into wind in the 70s and are really pushing it as an industry. The other surprise is that Texas is putting up some good numbers too. Yes, Texas, heart of the American oil industry is also going pretty big into wind.
Cutting global carbon use by 75% by 2050 is absolutely doable and is probably our only hope of avoiding the worst consequences of global climate change. This renewable train has left the station and will not be stopped. I’m figuring on getting panels on my home sometime in 2015, fingers crossed.
I have written about this before. I talked about my father’s bout with a nasty intestinal superbug that dragged on literally for years. I also quoted a doctor friend who chided her profession for being too cowardly to stand up to their own patients who demand antibiotics for colds and hangnails. Unless you’ve read up on those (like me) ringing the alarm bells on this slow moving train wreck that is coming our way, or if you’ve been in contact with people who have contracted a superbug and dealt with the preventable suffering that is caused by them, you may not even be aware of this potentially massive crisis.
Our insane abuse of antibiotics is incredibly dangerous and goes right along with our extractivist mindset that says we can keep polluting the land by extracting it’s carbon by any means necessary and keep destroying the air by burning all that carbon, and NEVER SUFFER ANY CONSEQUENCES.
If your goal is to to ruin the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs, I can think of two efficient ways. One would be to wildly overprescribe them—say, to people suffering from a cold virus, even though antibiotics work their magic on bacterial pathogens, not viral ones. The other would be to feed daily, low doses of them to animals confined by the thousands in vast indoor facilities. In both cases, you’re creating ideal conditions for bacteria to evolve to survive the drugs we throw at them: A percentage of bacteria withstands the chemical onslaught, and passes genes on to ever-heartier next generations.
The FDA and Agriculture Dept. have recommended that the meat industry stop using antibiotics on food animals. But if not for the growing organic food movement there’s been little voluntary movement from the industry to stop. The food industry uses 80% of all antibiotics. The AMA also has advised doctors to be much more discriminatory in dispensing antibiotic prescriptions, to little avail.
Like with climate change, we need media to latch onto such stories and raise the alarm, much like they would an active shooter situation in a neighborhood. The danger is silently approaching our doorsteps. Without more awareness and rational action to stop it, we will enter a “post-antibiotics” era where people will, once again, perish from infections that we thought we had conquered for all time.
Human hubris, like our new super bugs, seems to have no cure.
One day on the job running the place with a majority in the Senate and a venti majority in the House and the GOP has pretty much laid out what their priorities for the next 2 years are:
Steve Scalise, the one man in Louisiana who didn’t know what David Duke’s neo-Nazi organization (European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO)) was up to, is still the 3rd ranking Republican in the House. Hell, even the Chicago Cubs minor league team refused to stay in the same hotel as these “white culture” loving knuckleheads. But Scalise was blissfully ignorant and just gave his normal speech to them, ignoring the hoods. Michael Grimm (Felon-NY) had to go because felons embarrass the GOP, but the taint of racism is apparently not as embarrassing for the base. All you need to know about today’s GOP, really.
An attack on Social Security with a new rule that would threaten many recipients of social security disability payments, OR, at the very least could be used as leverage by the GOP for other “entitlement reforms”.
The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees estimated last year that the disability insurance program would run short of money to pay all benefits some time in late 2016. Without a new reallocation, disability insurance beneficiaries could face up to 20 percent cuts in their Social Security payments in late 2016 — a chit that would be of use to Republicans pushing for conservative entitlement reforms.
And while other issues are micro, the real macro problem is always how the CBO figures out what things cost. Surely, that’s not controversial, is it? Well, it is if your ideological bent is for tax cuts in the morning, tax cuts for lunch and tax cuts for dinner.
More macroeconomic projections will be included in cost estimates for major fiscal legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives under a rule change approved on Tuesday, a move critics said could mask the true impact of tax cuts.
As Ed Kleinbard wrote in the NYT:
The Republicans’ interest in dynamic scoring is not the result of a million-economist march on Washington; it comes from political factions convinced that tax cuts are the panacea for all economic ills. They will use dynamic scoring to justify a tax cut that, under conventional scorekeeping, loses revenue.
Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.