Michael's blog

Again with "personal responsibility"

To start, a bit of boring repetition: I'm a food addict, but I believe unreservedly in personal responsibility. When I was active, no one but me put the food in my mouth, and I was responsible. I'm still responsible, but with help and support, I've been eating healthily for almost 20 years.

Who gets to talk?

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Back again today with the Center for Consumer Freedom: This post from yesterday, in their "Big Fat Lies" section, has several points worth commenting on, but I'm going to focus on one:

Who has the right to speak on questions of health? Is there a prerequisite, or can anyone chime in? The CFC's strong opinion is, people who are overweight should keep their mouths shut on questions of overweight. 

Well said

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A friend tipped me off to the blog of Dr. Joe Wright, writer-in-residence for the William B. Castle Society of Harvard Medical School, and I'm glad she did. The jumping off point for this post is Jamie Oliver, the young-ish chef cum nutritional crusader from Britain.

He makes several points, many of them really cogent. Such as...

Out of the mouths of interns

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I'll start with the obligatory: I eat meat. Not as much as I used to, but I don't see myself going vegetarian any time soon.

Having said that, I love this, from Grist mag: "EPA intern offends sensitive meat-industry souls," by Tom Philpott.

The intern, Nicole Reising, wrote, in part, "Regulations can be made to help prevent the effects of meat production, but the easiest way to lessen the environmental impacts is to become a vegetarian or vegan."

The political question

I am astounded by how often, and intensely, political views enter the obesity debate. Conservatives rail against the "food police," and hammer on "personal responsibility" as the solution. (As a former 365-pounder with 20 years of diligence toward achieving and maintaining a normal-sized body, I know about personal responsibility, and agree that each of us needs to claim our own part.)

Woohoo! A new refrigerator

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 When the energy auditor came, years ago, he told us we could save $60 a year if we switched refrigerators; we'd been using the one that came with the house since we moved in five-and-a-half years ago. But we never pulled the trigger.

But now, for a pretty short period, we can get $200 in rebate from Mass Save, a state program whose wind-power program we supported for better than a year, if we buy an Energy Star model, and of course we'd do that anyway.

Fast food booted

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When I saw on Twitter that fast food outlets at big US bases in Afghanistan would be closed, I thought for a moment that it might be a military statement in favor of healthy eating.

Alas, Burger King, Orange Julius, Dairy Queen, and others are being escorted off base because "they take up valuable resources like water, power, flight and convoy space and that cutting back on non-essentials is key to running an efficient military operation," Reuters reported.

Big bets on future-tech energy

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Grist looks at a septet of recipients of 7-figure Department of Energy funding, from a Steven Chu-devised program patterned on DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Ideas include liquid batteries, in which three substances that won't mix — in the manner of oil and water — conduct electrical charges; and using synthetic carbonic anhydrase to separate CO2 from coal-plant effluent before it leaves the stack. Carbonic anhydrase is the enzyme the human body uses to filter CO2.


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