Of Interest for February 1, 2016

Of Interest is a place for things I think are interesting enough to mention and deserve more than a twitter retweet, but aren’t in themselves something that needs their own blog post. Of Interest postings will typically be posted 2-3 times a month, or whenever I find enough stuff to warrant posting it.

The Calorie is Broken

There’s growing awareness that many of the basic assumptions we’ve made about weight, health and diet are, well, wrong. The latest place we’re seeing a new awareness that what we’ve been teaching everyone is mistaken is about that basic unit everyone’s diet obsesses over: the calorie. Ars Technica has a nice overview of the current thinking going on around this.

I’ve long felt this way – the concept of “calories in and calories out” and “a calorie is a calorie” lost all relevance to me long ago. If you plug in my current diet into any of the “count your calories to lose weight” tools or apps, they’ll tell you I should be losing about a pound and a half a week on my current diet and calorie intake. Just don’t tell that to my body. And when I talk to my doctor about that, he just giggles and reminds me that every body is different. And as I gear up for yet another serious attempt to get some of this weight off, I do so with the sad realization that much of what they tell us about how do to that is wrong, and if it was easy, we wouldn’t be facing the global epidemic of obesity that currently faces us as a species…

Is there any hope for the NFL and Football?

As we learn more about concussions and understand what they mean to those that suffer them, the news is not only bad, but catastrophic for american football, and I personally wonder how the NFL is going to survive this in the long run. The latest data from the league shows that reported concussions spiked last season (but I think at least some of that is better awareness among players and better and more consistent reporting). A very sad data point is that of Tyler Sash, who played only 23 NFL games in his career — about 2 seasons — but died of a pain pill overdose. An autopsy of his brain showed signs of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) evidence of brain trauma from repeated concussions. While his career in the NFL was short, he had 16 years of tackle football under his belt, and this calls into question whether it can be considered safe to play football at any level for any length of time.

Other sports aren’t free of this problem — hockey, especially the most physical players and the fighters, have struggled in recent years as well but the evidence is piling up there that if you play football at a high competitive level, you’ll end up concussed, and it’s beginning to look like it’s hard to see where there’s a safe level of the kind of physical play typical of football players in today’s modern version of the game.

If I were a parent, there is no way in hell my kids would play American Football.

For Your Consideration

(chuq: oops: was going to schedule this to go out monday morning and forgot. Oh well, enjoy early!)