Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Orthorexia

Have you ever had someone bring a veggie burger to your barbeque?  Have you ever had an "intervention" by a concerned friend or family member who preached about the "correctness" of their "healthy" diet?  Did they get defensive when you provided counter evidence to their dogma?  Or, maybe that person is you (If you feel defensive, it's okay.  That's a normal response).

These behaviors relate to the condition "orthorexia", which refers to an extreme obsession with only eating "healthy" (derives from the Greek "Ortho" for "correct or right" and "orexis" meaning "appetite").  When I was a kid, it was called "health nut". 

Not that eating healthy is a disorder.  There is plenty of evidence that a healthy diet can reduce the incidence of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  This is how the term "Western Diseases" was coined.  However with all of the conflicting information on health, its not surprising that such a "disorder" could exist (it's not officially a disorder yet).

Here's a little self-test to determine if you or a loved one are orthorexic: Self-test from MetroActive

Here's a confessional from a recovering orthorexic (and the person who coined the term): Health Food Junkie

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tsunami Inundation Maps for California

The Tsunami in Japan was larger than prepared for, which raises the question: "Are you vulnerable to a Tsunami?".  I found this analysis of "Tsunami Inundation" for California:

http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/geologic_hazards/Tsunami/Inundation_Maps/Pages/Statewide_Maps.aspx

Keep clicking to drill down to detailed maps.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Unexpected Love Affair

I am a bit surprised at how the liberal democrats have taken to protecting Muslims.  Here's a short list of how they show their support:
  • Objecting to the Congressional Hearings on "The Radicalization of Muslims"[1]
  • Firing of Juan Williams from NPR for "offensive" comments towards Muslims.[2]
  • Support the "religious right" to build a Mosque near Ground-Zero of 9/11.[3]
  • Walk off of their own show (The View) in defense of Muslims [4]
  • Call to not jump to conclusions on Fort Hood shootings [5] 
 The reason I am surprised at these positions is because of the contrast in their beliefs.  Let's compare side by side:

Liberal DemocratsMuslims and Sharia Law
Believe in separation of church and state Believe religious law should BE state law (Sharia Law)
Believe that religion should not be forced on anyone Becoming non-religious, is strictly forbidden and punishable by death
Believe in equal rights for women The rights of women are arguably fewer. Polygamy is legal.
Believe in criminal rights and reform Penalty for theft is cutting off one or both hands
Believe in sexual freedom The punishment for adultery is stoning
Believe in equal rights for homosexuals Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death
Against death penalty Death penalty for adultery, homosexuality, apostasy, etc.
Believe in legalization of controlled substances such as alcohol and marijuana Liquor and drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opium, etc are all unlawful

In all fairness, these are extreme examples and the beliefs are not necessarily shared by all Muslims. Also, this list excludes any similarities(for example, Muslims allow for abortion up to 4 months of pregnancy). Still, the differences are significant.

The best explanation that I can come up with for the love affair is "The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend" or in other words, liberal democrats think "Muslims are the enemy of Christians, who are typically conservative Republicans, therefore we like them". It's a little like teaming up with Stalin to beat the Nazis - after you get rid of the Nazis, how do you get rid of Stalin?

Update March 15, 2011 - Another possible explanation is that liberal democrats always look out for the underdog; even if they are ideological polar opposites.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Islamic Radicalization Hearings

The media calls these Congressional hearings a "witch-hunt" similar to the days of the "red scare" when McCarthyism lead to Hollywood Blacklisting.

Luckily I was able to watch a portion of the hearings on my favorite reality show (C-SPAN).  As a result I feel less frightened and more sympathetic towards American Muslims.  I think we've come a long way as a country in the last 60-70 years in how we can discuss sensitive issues like this.

The Democrats were united in objecting every chance they got, saying that these hearings would only result in Islamophobia.  They wanted the hearings to be fair and include all of the Christian terrorists groups as well.  In fairness to them, I think they helped keep it civil by reminding everyone of the dangers in discussing such a sensitive subject.

The Republicans made the point that is was about time this hearing happened as there was no Congressional hearing on the Fort Hood shootings (which killed 13 people and injured 29) 2 years ago, though a hearing was held on Toxic FEMA Trailers which apparently had killed no one.


A Muslim witness also pointed out that the government report on the Fort Hood shootings made no mention of the radical Islamic motivation of the shooter[1].  He made the analogy that if you are trying to get rid of cancer, but are not allowed to mention it in any way, then you will have a hard time removing it. He said it is time to talk about the cancer. 


I only watched a portion, but what I heard seemed fair minded and from what I could tell the millions of peace loving American Muslims outnumber the extremist American-hating Muslims.

There were many good sound bites, but my favorite was the Los Angeles County Sheriff talking about reading the Koran and sharing the true message of Islam :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winners!!

The best reality show on TV today is C-SPAN.  It temporarily took second place last week to the "winner", the Charlie Sheen Show.

If you haven't watched C-SPAN, let me elaborate the storyline.
 The United States is falling apart.  People are losing their jobs.  Everyday, families are evicted from their homes adding to the growing homeless population.  Food prices are rising and children go to bed hungry.  Gas and fuel prices are skyrocketing.  At the same time, the world is losing confidence in the U.S. with soaring debts.  Anti-U.S. sentiment and terrorism are growing.  Little-by-little, China is buying U.S. debt and will soon have enormous power over us.  Our heros, the representatives of the people, the Democrats (D) and Republicans (R) stand tall and firm.  They are the only ones who are willing to step up and claim the power to save us from all of our woes.

Scene 1 (The Debate floor):

The (D) tags the (R) and says "it's all your fault, your it".  Then the (R) tags the (D) back and says "no, it's all your fault, your it".  The (D) tags the (R) and says "your it, no tag backs".  The (R) tags the (D) and says "undo no tag backs, your it, double no tag backs".

Winners!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BYU Honor Code

Here are some answers to questions I've seen about the recent dismissal of Brandon Davies, the starting center for the BYU Men's Basketball.

Q. Who turned Brandon in?
 
A. Brandon turned himself in.  Tom Holmoe (BYU Athletic Director) said, Davies came to him and coach Dave Rose seeking "direction and counsel ... There was a serious violation of which we were made aware. He used us as a resource."[1]

Q. What about forgiveness? Wouldn't the REAL Christian thing be to forgive Brandon Davies?

A. Added Holmoe: "The first thing we did was put our arms around (Davies). Our No. 1 thing then, now and in the future is going to be to look out for his best interests, to be able to make sure we can help him along the process of getting him back with the team and getting back on track to achieving all of his dreams." [1]

Q. Who would want to go to BYU with such strict standards?

A. According to US News, BYU (Provo) is the #1 most popular university, above Harvard and Stanford. [2]  What this means is that for students accepted to BYU, more go on to enroll than any other college.  The number of students that accept these standards is 46,383 students (if you count all BYU campuses: Provo-29,780, Idaho-14,100, Hawaii-2,500, since they all have the same honor code).  Last year over 4,000 students (38% of applicants) were denied admission (it's getting a lot harder to get into BYU).


Q. Why couldn't they just let him finish the season?  The basketball team was doing so good.

A. It's easy to get distracted from high standards by short term temptations.  Over the long term,  consistency pays off.  For example, BYU ranks #11 in schools "whose graduates were the top-rated by recruiters". [3]