Published on: September 12, 2008
There is a common belief that obesity can be the result of genetics, and that many people may have little choice about whether they are overweight.
But now comes a study saying that even people who have the obesity gene don't have to be overweight…as long as they engage in frequent and vigorous physical activity.
What’s interesting about this study is the people who were tracked. It wasn't folks who went down to the gym three or four days a week, or jogged 20-30 miles a week, or even warehouse employees who do manual labor for a living.
No, the study looked at the Amish – for whom physical activity means things like barn raising, milking cows at 4:30 in the morning, and agriculture without benefit of things like tractors.
I have to be honest here. I want to be in shape. I don't want to be obese. But if I get up at 4:30 in the morning to milk a cow, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
That said, I do think that part of the problem we have in this country is not that we don't raise barns in our spare time, but that we have a culture that almost always chooses the car over the bicycle or walking, that we’d rather watch the Olympics than go outside and shoot baskets. We have a society that, it seems to me, is just waiting for a magic pill or diet that will guarantee a slim waistline and good health with no muss, no fuss.
That’s a delusion. No matter what your genetic makeup.
I don't know about you, but I’m relieved that when the Large Hadron Collider went online this week in Europe, it didn’t swallow up the entire planet into a black hole.
The New York Times
reports that the Collider is “a technological marvel built by physicists and engineers, and described alternatively as heralding the next revolution in our understanding of the universe or, less felicitously, as a doomsday machine that may destroy the planet.”
According to a Los Angeles Times
story, the particle accelerator “will send particles crashing into each other at just a wink shy of the speed of light, generating energies more powerful than the sun” and may allow scientists to “peer into a looking-glass world that could contain entrances to extra dimensions and super-massive partners of the familiar particles that make up our world.” However, critics “think the collider could also spawn a black hole that will swallow Earth. That could be just an appetizer. Once the collider got going, according to the doomsday scenario, it could gobble up distant stars like a child popping Skittles.”
At least for the moment, the black hole worries seem to have been put to rest.
However, I found fascinating a story in the Dallas Morning News
saying that two decades ago, a Collider project was on track to be built in Texas. In fact, $2 billion was spent to lay 15 miles of tunnel…but then Congress killed the project in 1993, and it “moved to Europe, and eventually ended up on a rural patch of land used for dairy farming on the French-Swiss border.”
Go figure. A major scientific project that promises to expand human understanding of the universe, and the US cannot or does not support it.
The new television season is upon us, and there aren’t a lot of new shows that I’m particularly interested in watching. But I did turn on the debut episode of “Fringe,” the new series from JJ Abrams, who has brought us such terrific shows as “Alias” and “Lost.”
I wasn't disappointed. The 96-minute premiere was a convoluted but always fascinating drama about a young FBI agent who finds herself dragged into an investigation of paranormal occurrences. It sounds a lot like “The Night Stalker” and “The X-Files,” and with good reason – Abrams has cited those landmark shows as part of his inspiration in creating “Fringe,” though he also has given the new show its own texture and context, with enough twists and turns to keep any viewer on the edge of his or her seat. (You can catch up with the debut episode on iTunes, among other places.)
There are some wonderful performances, especially by Anna Torv as the FBI agent, and John Noble as the mad scientist who, I suspect, is going to be her guide into some pretty scary places.
I have no idea if “Fringe” will be able to maintain the level of suspense that it achieved during the premiere episode this week. But if it does, “Fringe” has the potential to be something special.
My wine of the week is the 2007 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend, which is fruity and crisp and is worth tasting on a warm evening before the summer weather fades into memory.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.