Food makes us fat but media created global "cooling."

Two things today, following up on recent columns:

Today’s column is on obese children in our schools and how there are fewer Phys-Ed classes to combat it. The real message of the column is that schools really can’t do the job — we live in a culture of ease, overeating and obesity acceptance. Fat is normal, it is what children see as they grow up, it is how they are socialized. Changing that takes major effort and is never totally successful.

Just how hard is shown in a new book by David Kessler, former head of the FDA. His own experiences led him to investigate how food manufacturers — intentionally or otherwise — make foods that key into pleasure zones of our bodies, making us eat more and more whether we need to or not.

The NYTimes has a good article on the book here (click). Kessler doesn’t blame the food makers of the country, but he doesn’t exonerate them either.

One key point he makes is that those who condemn the overweight for not having enough will power are off-base. Food really is addictive — not of itself so much, but to people who are prone to addiction because of their own internal chemistry. Hang around the Alano Club on 24th Street in Ogden some time, you’ll find out how false that whole “will power” argument is regarding anything — food, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, shopping, whatever. Companies that make food that feeds into that addictive tendency, whether they do it knowingly or not, do not help the situation.

On to Global Cooling:

One of the arguments I hear a lot against Global Warming is that, the 1970s, scientists were supposedly predicting just the opposite — Global Cooling, the new Ice Age. “Why should we believe you now?”  the argument goes, “if you were supposedly right then?”

The problem is, there was no consensusamong scientists in the 1970s that Global Cooling was upon us. There were some studies, and some debate, mostly around whether added dust in the atmosphere would cause the world to cool or whether added CO2 would cause it to warm, or would both happen?

A new paper in published by the American Meteorological Society in September goes into this in depth, looking at how the science at the time was dealing with the debate and how it got picked up by the popular media, which keyed into the “New Ice Age” fear without looking at the whole debate. Newsweek Magazine published an article that is still cited today by Global Warming skeptics — as if Newsweek were ever a scientific paper.

Sadly, people are neglecting to look at the real scientific research of the time, which was far from settled then and, since then, has dismissed the fears of an Ice Age, agreeing in massively large part on the Global Warming thesis.

You can read the whole article here (click!).

Does this mean you shouldn’t believe what you read in the media?

No. It means you should consider all the possibilities, and when someone cites a 1970s issue of Newsweek Magazine you should be especially skeptical.

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14 Responses to Food makes us fat but media created global "cooling."

  1. flatlander100 says:

    Been reading lately some articles talking about the evolutionary contribution to American obesity. The general argument is that humans evolved over millions of years when the major activity of their ancestors was, every day all day, (a) finding the next meal and (b) avoiding being something else’s next meal. Eating whatever became available whenever it became available as quickly as possible had survival value. [In other words, binge eating.] As we were evolving, there was never a time when food was available on demand all the time in endless quantities. [And limitless food-on-demand has become available only in the merest blink of recent time, evolutionaryliy speaking.] So we”re pretty much programed to eat. Constantly. Whenever we get the chance. And a lot.

  2. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    Just wondering how scientists in the 60s and 70s figured measuring CO2 in Hawaii and Antarctica would

    …“clearly and conclusively,” in the panel’s words, that atmospheric carbon dioxide was rising as a result of fossil fuel burning. …

    How many factories and automobiles and other CO2 producing stuff are actually in those places?

    Still confused …


  3. Charles Trentelman says:

    they were measuring stuff generated in other places that was getting to Hawaii and Antarctica. The air moves around the planet. Dirty air from LA makes it hard to see the Grand Canyon. And so on. CO2 is the same thing.

    So when you are measuring the results of carbon burning in Antarctica, it means you have a worldwide problem.


  4. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    But …. if you have CO2 in the atmosphere, does it have a label on it saying where it came from (i.e. made in china) — or how it was produced (i.e. manmade materials, all natural content)?

    Like …. how do we know the methane they just measured came from the Hooper cows’ burps, or from the St. George Baked Bean Festival judges’ farts?

    I mean …. isn’t CO2 just CO2 and methane just methane in the end?

    Just wondering …


  5. Charles Trentelman says:

    there’s always CO2 in the atmosphere. it is a question of historical levels, not where it came from — if the level of CO2 in Antarctica, as measured in air bubbles trapped in ice for 10000 years, are all one thing, and you suddenly notice that, for the last 150 years, a gradual but very steady increase, if not a spike, you say “OK, cows have been around 10000 years, so have forest fires and volcanoes. What’s new in the last 150?”

  6. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    I thought they were measuring the CO2 in the air,not the ice …

  7. Michael Trujillo says:

    They measure CO2 levels in ice cores that they drill out of the ice in Antarctica. It’s like looking at the rings of a tree by boring a hole in it and taking a sample. That’s how they make a really good estimate of the CO2 level 10,000 years ago compared to today.
    Speaking of trees, they can detect climate changes in those core samples too. How much rain and sun the tree gets affects how much it grows in a given year. Of course, most trees only go back a couple of hundred years and we’ve now had human record keeping for that long. But they can look at the amount of acid and other pollutants in the tree rings to know if the air quality has changed over the past couple of centuries.
    Anyway, I sometimes wonder if I was the only one who stayed awake in science class at Layton High 30+ years ago, because we learned the basics of all this there.

  8. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    I didn’t go to Layton High. But I knew the thing about the tree rings.

    But …. if the earth’s rotation and tilt has changed over the millenia, haven’t the air currents also changed? So air from different places would flow to other places. Just sayin …

    I mean …,. maybe the CO2 light air from Antarctica flowed to Hawaii over 10000 years ago ….


  9. dan s. says:

    TLJ: If you add a teaspoon of salt to a pot of boiling water, it dissolves and mixes uniformly through the water in under a minute. Similarly, if you dump some extra CO2 into earth’s atmosphere (from any location you like), it spreads uniformly over the globe in a few weeks (I would guess). The same is true of anything else you add to the atmosphere, if it doesn’t get removed from the atmosphere first. Most components of “smog” (CO, O3, NOx, particulates) do get removed on time scales of days (or less), but CO2 lasts much longer.

  10. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    Thanks, Dan … I was wondering when I’d hear from you.

    One thing … the stuff that gets removed from the atmosphere … where does it go? And who ships it out?


    p.s. These are legitimate questions, because I really don’t know the answers … even if they are silly and / or annoying

  11. ctrentelman says:

    carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants and, in large measure, by plankton and stuff in the oceans — the problem we are having today is that there are more amounts of CO2 being put into the atmosphere than the system is designed to handle — forest fires and so on release a lot of carbon, but it’s absorbed as part of the natural cycle. Burning massive amounts of hydrocarbons (oil) that took millions of years to form in just a few hundred years dumps a huge overload of carbon into the system, which throws it out of whack.

    People who say “well, more CO2 will produce more plants, isn’t that good?” are missing the point that an ecological system out of balance is never good because it produces results that are unpredictable and almost always bad.

    Global warming may help a few plants, but it will shift the moderate temperatures of the climate north — it is already doing this — which will also create wider very dry and hot zones around the equator.

    This is very bad for Utah because Utah currently straddles the boundary between very hot desert and moderate zones — shift the line north, salt lake city gets very toasty and, more important, the very delicate water supply balance of the Wasatch Front, and the entire Colorado River basin, will be disrupted in very bad ways. Studies show that spring melt is already happening several weeks earlier than it has historically done so in the past, which effects the amount and type of runoff, increasing evaporation and giving us less water from the same amounts of snow.

    that’s very bad.

  12. MarkSense says:

    If more CO2 causes a rise in temperature, why have temperatures remained level for ten years while CO2 continues to increase?

  13. laytonian says:

    But temperatures haven’t remained level for ten years. Glaciers are melting and the ice caps are shrinking.

  14. ctrentelman says:

    laytonian is correct but doesn’t get into all of it — worldwide trends point to continual change from warming around the equator that doesn’t always show up as warming in specific places like Utah — ice packs are shrinking (despite cherry-picked year-to-year comparisons) various animals are changing their habitat patterns as warmer weather drives them north or upland, and data from NOAA and others shows a continual and measurable change in the patterns of snowpack melt in the colorado River Basin which is going to have a very severe, and so far not completely understood, impact on western water supplies.

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