Friday, January 21, 2011

Shannon Love at the Chicago Boyz blog:
Is it fair that every human society treats males, especially young adult males, as utterly expendable? Is is fair that men die at higher rates at all ages than women? Is it fair they live shorter lives? Is it fair that for every high-status elite male that feminists want to emulate, there are hundreds if not thousands of men who labored and died in obscurity? On what scale to balance the sacrifices that evolution has imposed on us?

(I’m sure all the men down in the mines, out on the fishing boats, crouching in foxholes or dying a decade early from overwork might have been willing to trade part of their lives of constant pain, stress and danger for a percentage chance of an unwanted pregnancy or two.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why we get fat

I am reading Gary Taubes' new book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. He is the author of the popular book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health and this new book seems to be an extension of further research into what makes us fat. I kept looking for something new here as it seems lots of diet books tout the low carb, high protein one that Taubes does, and this book delivers by providing more understanding into the science behind why we gain weight and how to change it.

Many times, people think that being fat is just a lack of willpower. I never have as I have met too many people who do not seem to eat all that much and are still significantly overweight. I, like most people, have also met many people who eat all the time and never seem to gain weight. Those latter people often like to think of themselves as paragons of virtue when it comes to food, but as Taubes points out in the new book, these people simply process carbs differently. In a chapter entitled "Why I get fat and you don't (and Vice Versa)," Taubes explains why people get fat in middle age:

...the conventional wisdom that those of us who fatten as we move into middle age do so because our metabolism slows down, probably has this cause and effect backward. More likely is that our muscles become increasingly resistant to insulin, and this partitions more of the energy we consume into fat, leaving less available for the cells of muscles and organs to use for fuel. These cells now generate less energy, and this is what we mean when we say that our metabolism slows down. Our "metabolic rate" decreases. Once again, what appears to be a cause of fattening--the slowing of our metabolism--is really an effect. You don't get fat because your metabolism slows; your metabolism slows because you get fat.

Overall, the book seems like a good one to add to your library if you want to learn more about the science of eating and how to stay slim. It takes a fairly scientific topic that is rather dry and makes it digestible for the average dieter.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is college making people dumber?

This sounds about right: "Many college students not learning to think critically:"
Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn't determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin.

Arum, whose book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" (University of Chicago Press) comes out this month, followed 2,322 traditional-age students from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2009 and examined testing data and student surveys at a broad range of 24 U.S. colleges and universities, from the highly selective to the less selective.

Forty-five percent of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college, according to the study. After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.

What can we expect when critical thinking that does not conform to academic liberal dogma is frowned upon, emotion is substituted for reason in most situations--and now, it is even called for in the Supreme court, and teens and young people are taught that thinking for yourself has severe consequences. It's a wonder they can think at all.
Pajamas Media has a new group blog where I will be posting on book reviews, men's issues and more from time to time. You can check it out here.

Great book title

I found this book Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School over at a blog post on why not to go to graduate school (via Instapundit). I had to laugh at the great title and went over to Amazon to check out the book and found it to be pretty straight forward on the downsides of a graduate school education. The book deals with:
• advice on maintaining a veneer of productivity in front of your advisor
• tips for sleeping upright during boring seminars
• a description of how to find which departmental events have the best unguarded free food
• how you can convincingly fudge data and feign progress

I would have given other tips and advice about grad school such as staying out of the department or the school for that matter, even for free food--who wants to hang around with professors and others that are already making your life miserable? Spend your time away from them and give yourself a break. Anyway, the book looks good. I wish I had read it before considering graduate school years ago.