Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: The Prime Minister will see you now

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    You can bet Hamish Carter ate at least as many calories as David Lange, and it's likely that wiry little Sarah Ulmer eats as much as the morbidly obese Dawn French.

    I would expect they'd both eat massive amounts more calories. When my brother trained for his karate black belt, they put him on a diet that was twice as many calories as the recommended amount. Of course he was exercising 3 hours a day, so it all got used up. When he got the grading, cut back the exercise, he didn't adjust the diet properly, and whoops - hullo tummy!

    Also the nature of the food would be important. Hamish Carter, when in full training mode, would be on a very healthy diet. Probably no alcohol, low sugar, high in fruits and vegetables and carbs, low in fat. He'd just be downing a lot more than a person not burning it up as much.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Ben: your anecdote about your Fatty Boomsticks friend with an eating disorder? Is not actual data.

    Dyan:

    most parents of obese children do not see their child as overweight, much less obese

    Oh, how I wish everyone would regularly read Junk Food Science. Yes, a diet consisting solely of freedom fries and Dr Pepper is bad. But the chunkiness of kiddies is not the actual problem - measuring the BMI of children is just weird. They're all growing in fits and starts. *Health* is the problem. Varied healthy diet and exercise should be the issue we're concentrating on, not paranoia about thunder thighs.

    (Not that I think you think that, Dyan. That was just a jumping-off point for one of my rants. :))

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Friedman is a total blowhard. The only thing that changes is the subject on which he is hyperventilating. Buffet is much more on the money.
    Are we in for a bad time? Most likely, yes. Why? Due to previous, currently being made, and likely future bad policy decisions. Is this preordained and unavoidable, signally that the growth we have had over the last fifty years is no longer sustainable? What a load of crap.

    Bad policies have bad consequences. Which policies? All the ones that we all should all have heard of by now. The Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to make bad loans and created the sub-prime loan market. Fannie & Freddie gorging on sub-prime shit. Congress preventing proper rules & regs being implemented around Fannie & Freddie. Greenspan’s nutty low interest rates from 2001 to 2005. Ratings agencies which must have had their heads up their asses to rate mortgage backed CDOs as triple A in an obvious housing bubble. Companies that levered 30 to 1 to buy stuff with sub-prime shit in it in an obvious housing bubble. People who took on mortgages they couldn’t afford. Administrations that bail out organizations that failed and need to die, and keep bailing them out. Congresses that pass absurd “stimulus” bills that are nothing more than increases in govt spending and programs and pork. Administrations that propose insane budgets with massive deficits as far as the eye can see. Who the fuck is going to fund all that debt? Planning to increase taxes on the people and small businesses that create jobs. Take away all those bad policies and decisions and you don’t have a problem.

    So where to from here? Back to the 1970s. Inflation and stagnation. Stagflation. For quite sometime. We may well do better this year than expected, then inflation will kick in (monetary policy has a 12 month lag). Interest rates will have to go up to fight inflation and to attract people to fund the insane deficits (why would you buy debt in a currency that is inflating?) And in a similar timeframe tax rates are set to go up.

    In 1965 the Dow crossed 1000 for the first time. In 1981 the Dow was below 1000 (inflation adjusted, it lost 80% of its value) Sixteen years of the kind of policies we are heading into caused a decade and a half of stagnation. And it was all down to bad policy decisions. But back then you could make an argument that policy makers didn’t really know what was the right policy or not. We don’t have that excuse anymore. We know very well what works and what doesn’t. It is just that the powers that be are in the grip of the set of policies that prevailed from 1965 to 1980. It sucks. Why can’t people in power read a bit of economic history?

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    "Morbidly obese" - I've always been intrigued by that phrase.

    "Morbidly obese" means 50% or more above your medically desired weight.

    Oh, how I wish everyone would regularly read Junk Food Science. Yes, a diet consisting solely of freedom fries and Dr Pepper is bad. But the chunkiness of kiddies is not the actual problem - measuring the BMI of children is just weird. They're all growing in fits and starts. *Health* is the problem.

    But measuring BMI is very useful, especially when determining where in terms of the healthy range an individual's weight is, and it is particularly useful when examining health of an entire population.

    Junk Food Science is not as reputable a source as the World Health Organisation's stats or the CDC, NIH or any sources that would be used within the medical community. Trends for obesity and its related diseases (lumped under the term "metabolic syndrome") are all on the rise; the costs in public health are huge and arguing that this is just semantics or hysteria caused by the media is hugely unhelpful, downright irresponsible.

    When I worked in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention there were similar dissenting voices - AIDS is not real, it's caused by vaccines, it's untreated malaria, it's a case of media feeding frenzy. This media dissent also voiced whenever SARS of H5N1(avian flu) is discussed. But the facts are better obtained through sources like WHO or through reputable health agencies.

    According to every other reputable source of obesity statistics, the global trend is towards is that of startling increase. That we are still having to argue that obesity is indeed on the rise and is indeed a cause of numerous diseases is on a par with 19thC lunacy that saw huge resistance to using public funds for sanitation, because no one really believe polluted water was causing disease.

    Varied healthy diet and exercise should be the issue we're concentrating on, not paranoia about thunder thighs.

    Well, yes I heartily agree with you there. And "thunder thighs" are a good sign, not a bad one. It's the "apple shape" or metabolic syndrome shape - shared by indigenous people around the world - the fat middle and skinny extremities that is a sign of impending health trouble. If you're carrying fat on your lower half - butt and thighs - and your waist is small in relation to your hips - you are just fine, you probably have no predisposition to disease from obesity.

    The most relevant markers are: hip to waist ratio, resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and relevant bloods (glucose tolerance, LDL to HDL, serum cholesterol etc).

    And exercise itself is useful, but even more useful is the "built environment". Cities where there are plenty of opportunities to walk and where physical activity - not necessarily exercise per se, simply walking from A to B - have a greater impact on health than exercise programs.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Gah. Post got eaten, which is probably just as well as it was even more ranty.

    The most relevant markers are: hip to waist ratio, resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and relevant bloods (glucose tolerance, LDL to HDL, serum cholesterol etc).

    So health is not mostly about being fat at all? Why are they measuring those little kids' BMIs then?

    I also think your characterisation of Junk Food Science is pretty unfair - that's not a denialist position she's taking, but rather a 'hey media, perhaps you could read the peer-reviewed studies you're writing press releases from! They do not say what you think they say!' Which is something we seem to have been discussing a lot here recently...

    (The blog is also about lots and lots of other 'media hysteria' about health, not just Teh Fatties. I particularly like the 'pregnant women eat this! But don't eat that! And never drink this! Or your baby will have three heads!' ones.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    The most relevant markers are: hip to waist ratio, resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and relevant bloods (glucose tolerance, LDL to HDL, serum cholesterol etc).

    So health is not mostly about being fat at all? Why are they measuring those little kids' BMIs then?

    It's not about size but it's certainly about fat. And it's about shape. Pear shape, safe to be overweight apple shape, not safe to be overweight.

    Body mass index is a measure accepted by every researcher and clinician who works in this field. It is indeed useful for determining whether a person - child or adult - is obese. Once the BMI is calculated, then the more definitive tests will give a clearer picture.

    Junk Food Science is not a credible source of medical information. A better source would be either medical journals or perhaps the World Health Organisation website. The author on Junk Food Science is writing with a political agenda; she has no clinical or scientific credibility.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Dyan, you're arguing against a point I'm not making by saying something with which I do not disagree. Since JFS is all about using peer reviewed studies from credible medical journals, and I'm actually talking about poor reporting of those studies. So I'm not entirely sure where we go from here. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I have to say the successful avoidance of chaos was one of the greatest geek triumphs I've ever witnessed. Years of effort all over the world, no stuff ups and unsurprisingly widespread skepticism afterwards.

    I think it wasn't so much that a lot of computers would have problems (as they did last year on a smaller scale with the DST change).

    It was the concept that without computers having the correct time, we would suffer a disaster on a par with earthquakes. We wouldn't - we might have gone back to 1973, when computers were mostly in back offices and used in batch mode. Banks could work without computers - you let people have $300 a day and mark their chequebook. So could shops - you mark prices on the stock and add the bill up manually. Most industrial plant doesn't need to know what day it is - that factory could have been set to 1-Jan-1990 and would have rattled on regardless.

    It's the same sort of geek arrogance that suggests that the Internet is an essential public utility.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Rich, if you are relying on what you saw in the media then I understand your attitude. However, even a decade ago computers were far more essential and interwoven than you suggest.

    The factory example I mentioned is real - do you seriously think they would have done the remedial work for fun? Flight navigation and other systems with critical impacts also failed under test. That no planes subsequently fell from the skies or nuclear plants melted down reflects considerable success.

    Far from being arrogant, most geeks I've ever known would be the last to blow trumpets. And they get the difference in implications and scale between Y2K and daylight saving changes. Can't necessarily say the same for all journos.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Oh, and I should add that I'm no fan of the triumphal "all technology is good" stuff - pisses me off sometimes too.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm screaming internally, but I can't gather my thoughts to clarify them because I am sick of this shit. I am sick of, every day, having to point out to women how lovely they are, and having to be, it would seem, the only person in someone's life who tells them that they are OKAY the way they are. I'm sick of people loathing their bodies. Life is entirely too short - whether you die early or not - to bother with the self hate thing. And I am very, very over this whole obesity argument. Hip to waist ratios, pear or apple shape? I don't give a shit. Eat good food, do some exercise, but most of all, be joyful. Really, can it be that hard? What's difficult to understand about the equation - our forebears were slender because they worked their arses off, but they didn't live as long because they didn't have the medical wherewithal. Do we really need all these diet porn people making money out of us? Do you want to live to 95 - when the likelihood is that your mind won't be as sharp, you will be societally invisible, your children will be over you, you'll probably have lost all mobility, and your friends have all died, anyway? Isn't life about making the most of what you have, and enjoying it? Isn't life too precious to be farting on about how much other people eat, and why that's a bad thing? I know alot about the science of it and people, I'm high risk for all the crap you're talking about. And guess what? I don't care. I exercise, enough. I sometimes eat alot, sometimes I don't. My life as a fat person is not open to public examination. Look after your own problems. You might say that talking about childhood obesity is very different to what I'm talking about. And it is. But most people don't make the distinction. And they get the message that fat is bad, and nothing else. Self loathing begins.

    In Italian "morbido" means "soft" rather than "pathological", so for a very long time I thought it meant "obese to the point of bouncy softness".

    I knew I should have been Italian.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Sure, the problem was real. What I dispute is that, even if people had been a great deal slacker about Y2K, there was ever a chance of a real disaster.

    Nuclear plants and aircraft have rigorous quality processes - it's unlikely that they would ever fail catastrophically. (For one thing, most of them are built on an "essentials only" approach - if the system doesn't need to know what day it is, it won't).

    Also, I've worked in IT for 25 years. I've found arrogance, stupidity and groupthink to be extremely prevalant in the industry - both amongst those who consider themselves "geeks" and the increasing overburden of the dedicatedly non-technical that the industry seems to have acquired. Sure, there are professionals around with a constructive approach to solving problems, but they're the minority and have been for some years.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Simple question, Rich - did you actually work on any Y2K projects?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm screaming internally, but I can't gather my thoughts to clarify them because I am sick of this shit. I am sick of, every day, having to point out to women how lovely they are, and having to be, it would seem, the only person in someone's life who tells them that they are OKAY the way they are.

    I don't think it's what Dyan was saying at all. And surely people who know about the health impacts of our prevalent diets ought to be able to warn us about a preventable health crisis? It's not their fault if then society takes that information and turns it into the shaming of men and women who happen to be overweight. The crisis remains, it is preventable (prohibiting the use of artificial sweeteners on the part of the food industry would be a start) and not talking about it because of larger issues surrounding body politics seems an abdication of responsibility.

    In my own experience I found that Marion Nestle's Food Politics was a very non-judgmental (although possibly a little Americo-centric) place where to start.

    (And yes, she's a critic of the food industry and her surname is Nestle.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    It's not their fault if then society takes that information and turns it into the shaming of men and women who happen to be overweight.

    I'm not sure that it's true that these people exist in some sort of magical Objectivity Vacuum outside society, though, Giovanni. For a long time, medical studies were done on men only, because women were 'too complicated' or 'not important enough' or whatever to study as part of clinical trials. This continued until well into the 1980s. The first study of estrogen as a preventative measure for heart disease was done solely on men. Isn't that nutty? And that's just one example of the ways in which social biases can be reflected in medical research.

    I'm not a denialist about things like type two diabetes by any means, although I do question how cureable Teh Fat is once it's attached to you, and whether 'curing fat' is truly what we need to be doing. Even the all-important medical journals are pretty iffy on the efficacy of longterm (greater than two years) weight loss. (See American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 74 (5): 579-584, November 2001; Am Psychol. 2007, 62(3):220-33; Br J Gen Pract. 2008 Feb;58(547):112-7; etc. There's also a fun little article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2004 which basically says that women who've spent a lot of time dieting are more likely to have fucked up immune systems. Awesome.)

    I understand Jackie's frustration with this issue. There's a lot of stuff going on here, and it's all about gender and bodies and medicine and science and self-hatred and health and shame and food and big business. It's hard to unravel and it's kind of a mess. I just think saying 'OMG we're in an epidemic FATTIES STOP EATING CHIPS!' is what we're getting, most of the time, from a lot of people (including some scientists), and it's not really helping anyone.

    Which was a longwinded way to say something kinda milquetoast. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Thankyou for translating my frustrated rant, Danielle. Really.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    did you actually work on any Y2K projects?

    97-99, I was a consultant for an information delivery firm. I had to handle a bit of the paperwork from our customers (mostly banks) who wanted to know a bunch of answers, many of very dubious relevance.
    That firm didn't have any major issues in Jan 00.

    99+, I was building a search engine firm. I didn't pay much attention to Y2K - I don't think we had much of an outage, maybe one bug I had to fix in January.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    What could have been, but wasn't...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Both with Jackie - and Danielle.
    It's even more recent that researchers have started to factor in ancestry (e.g. people of Polynesian descent really do have denser/heavier bones, and more of a propensity to add body fat from fats & sugars paticularly.)
    The more *blame* is taken away from the whole obesity equation, the better. Information, and education - and support- work. Blame doesnt.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Heh. Great advert - up there with those Welsh techno-sheep:

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    The more *blame* is taken away from the whole obesity equation, the better. Information, and education - and support- work. Blame doesnt.

    Yes. Yes. And yes.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    *Health* is the problem. Varied healthy diet and exercise should be the issue we're concentrating on, not paranoia about thunder thighs.

    Firstly, could someone tell me what those *'s actually mean?
    Secondo, I thought Dyan was sayin' why we do need to address obesity and thought she/he did do a fine jobby there and thirdly, a lady I work for, in a slightly different field of Diabetes in utero of which types1 and 2 are extensively researched, was a guest speaker in Puna for the Dr Ranjan Yajnik mentioned earlier by Dyan and the emphasis does seem to concentrate on the health effects rather than any blame which takes me back to Dyan and goes round and round so i'll just stop there, except to say, varied healthy diet and exercise sure do work for a healthier lifestyle, but it's quite hard to convince people of that,hence the need for measuring etc :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The * is an old online convention that stands for bold (someone can probably give the history) but PAS needs two of them ** to work.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Why thank you Sacha, doh just noticed on the left here but was having difficulty with one * at the front and one at the back, or is that something else?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The standard is one before and after, which is why some people just use that out of habit. Like the unapplied <i> tags we see here every now and then ..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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