Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Art De Vany on Evolutionary Principles of Health and Fitness

If you haven't read The New Evolution Diet, you should. Note, however, that the word "diet" is in the title in order to categorize the book, and it really doesn't give the work Dr. De Vany has done proper credit. In fact, on his website and in this talk (about 30' long) I've linked, you learn the fascinating science and mathematical modeling behind his work. If you want to listen to a brief, albeit slightly technical consideration of this work, this link will serve as a good starter. His conclusions seem somewhat radical: limited exercise time (no jogging or marathons) , no grains, lots of rest time, and intermittent fasting,which avoids both regular meals (3-6 a day) and the opposite extreme of caloric restriction (CR) over a lifetime. I noted in browsing through a magazine that C bought, it rated New Evolution Diet a "D" book among diet books rated. This shows you how long it takes for popular conceptions, even among journalists who should be on the cutting edge, to catch up with innovative thinking. Anyway, ignore the magazine, and consider this an "A" book for how to live a healthy life.

Ariana Huffington on Sleep From the TED Talks for Women in DC

I agree with her. I, for one, find nothing makes my day better (including, but not limited to, more "productive"), than a good night of sleep (about 8 hours). Take heed and govern yourselves accordingly! (Too bad Berna couldn't score a ticket for this!)

P.S. "Conditioning Research" is a very good health and fitness website from Scotland.

Stephen Walt on the Top Ten Events of the Past Decade (Political Affairs Edition)

Stephen Walt dodges on predictions (wise him) and reflects on events of the past decade. Worth considering. Ponder this? What if Al Gore, who won the popular vote, had been inaugurated president? Where would the U.S. be now? In Iraq? Doubtful. In Afghanistan? Maybe. I doubt we would have avoided 9/11 or at least some similar calamity. And we do our very best to ignore global weirding. What if Gore had been president, would we awaken sooner from our lethargy?

David Brooks on All Things Shining

Because of Brooks's discussion, I'm going to have to read this book. Brooks, who has a very perceptive eye for current culture (his politics are a bit to the right for my tastes, but nonetheless thoughtful). While Maureen Dowd usually has the snarky (and therefore humorous) take on the zeitgeist, Brooks ponders without proving ponderous. In this brief book review (which is what this column is), he raises some really good points. What is the role of the ecstatic in our culture? What role do sports, religion, or culture (music, theater) play in this? How do we distinguish collective feelings of "whooshing" (see his article for a definition) from the bad?For instance,how is a Nazi rally from the 1963 civil rights rally on the Washington mall? The easy answer is content, obviously, but how do we parse more subtle differences? Anyway, a thought-provoking column about what sounds like a thought-provoking book.

The book, by the way, is All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, by Herbert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly.

A Better Way to Teach History? Niall Fergusson & Tariq Ali

As someone who loved reading and learning history for as long as I can remember (and I don't know what planted this seed), I'm always distressed and puzzled when people say that they don't enjoy learning history. On the other hand, memorizing dates is nonsense. I'm about as good at dates as anyone (save perhaps some professional historians), and I never studied dates.I've learned narratives, and dates were simply place markers. Anyway, this site is about a five-minute long discussion about teaching history in British schools. Fergusson, and his "left" counterpart, Tariq Ali, agree that history teaching is suffering in GB. Their main point: history needs some overarching narrative (or narratives). Not triumphalism or some such nonsense, but at least a set of questions to guide a narrative of inquiry. History isn't just discreet events, its always part of a past and what was a future, it's a flow. Anyway, anyone who's interested in history and how it's taught, this provides a good brief frame.

And is the interviewer THE Colin Firth?

Must You Be of a Certain Age to Enjoy Paul Krugman?

I enjoy reading Krugman for his wit and insight, but now, in addition to earlier Monty Python posts, he's added another blast from my past.