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.