MonthMay 2012

Study: Moderate Jogging Increases Longevity

From a press release regarding an as of yet unpublished study conducted over the past 36 years:

Undertaking regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reveals the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart study presented at the EuroPRevent2012 meeting.

Reviewing the evidence of whether jogging is healthy or hazardous, Peter Schnohr told delegates that the study’s most recent analysis (unpublished) shows that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a “slow or average” pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity. […]

The debate over jogging first kicked off in the 1970s when middle aged men took an interest in the past-time. “After a few men died while out on a run, various newspapers suggested that jogging might be too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people,” recalled Schnohr.

European Society of Cardiology: Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy

The press release doesn’t talk about how the study controlled for other health factors. Do joggers live longer than swimmers or cyclists? Did the joggers and non-joggers have otherwise similar health habits (diet, tobacco, etc.)?

See also: How and Why Exercise Boosts Your Brain. Plus: How Little Exercise Can You Get By With?

DEA Deprives Man in Holding Cell of Food or Water for Four Days

Emphasis mine:

By his own admission, Daniel Chong planned to spend April 20 like so many other college students: smoking marijuana with friends to celebrate an unofficial holiday devoted to the drug.

But for Mr. Chong, the celebration ended in a Kafkaesque nightmare inside a San Diego Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell, where he said he was forgotten for four days, without food or water.

To survive, Mr. Chong said he drank his own urine, hallucinated and, at one point, considered how to take his own life. By the time agents found him on the fifth day and called paramedics, he said he thought he could be dead within five minutes. […]

A spokeswoman for the D.E.A. said the case was under investigation, but confirmed that Mr. Chong had been “accidentally left in one of the cells” from April 21 until April 25, and that he had not been charged with a crime.

New York Times: California Man’s ‘Drug Holiday’ Becomes Four-Day Nightmare in Holding Cell

(Thanks Donnie)

Recently: Undercover Cops Seduce High School Students and Entrap Them into Selling Weed

The Psychology of Punditry

Juian Sanchez speculates that that our contemporary mediasphere has become hyperpolarized not just because of the “filter bubble” problem, but also as a result of the coping mechanisms adopted by pundits who are constantly assaulted by a barrage of uncivil criticism:

The nice way to say this is that selects for pundits who have a thick skin—or forces them to quickly develop one. The less nice way to say it is that it forces you to stop giving a shit what other people think. Maybe not universally——you’ll pick out a domain of people whose criticisms are allowed to slip through the armor—but by default.

Probably it always took a healthy ego to presume to hold forth on a wide array of public issues, confident that your thoguhts are relevant and interesting to the general populace, or at least the audience for political commentary. But in a media space this dense, it probably takes a good deal more.

If the type and volume of criticism we find online were experienced in person, we’d probably think we were witnessing some kind of est/Maoist reeducation session designed to break down the psyche so it could be rebuilt from scratch. The only way not to find this overwhelming and demoralized over any protracted period of time is to adopt a reflexive attitude that these are not real people whose opinions matter in any way. Which, indeed, seems to be a pretty widespread attitude.

Julian Sanchez: The Psychological Prerequisites of Punditry

(Thanks Skilluminati)

It makes sense. Busy blogs and forums can get toxic fast. I got a lot of vitriolic comments while covering enterprise tech at ReadWriteWeb, and can only imagine what someone blogging on more popular topics at a bigger blog would experience (especially if I were a women). It can be tough to keep going. It makes sense that only a certain type of personality is going to keep blogging in public, and that you’d get worse at taking any sort of criticism from outside your own circle at all.

Conjoined Twins with Connected Brains

Krista and Tatiana Hogan

Krista and Tatiana Hogan are conjoined twins joined at the head. But unlike all other known craniopagus twins the Hogans’ brains are also linked, by a small bridge connected the thalamus of one girl to the thalamus of the other. Susan Dominus wrote for The New York Times last year:

Suddenly the girls sat up again, with renewed energy, and Krista reached for a cup with a straw in the corner of the crib. “I am drinking really, really, really, really fast,” she announced and started to power-slurp her juice, her face screwed up with the effort. Tatiana was, as always, sitting beside her but not looking at her, and suddenly her eyes went wide. She put her hand right below her sternum, and then she uttered one small word that suggested a world of possibility: “Whoa!”

New York Times Magazine: Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?

(Thanks Trevor)

Zen Pencils

Gavin Aung Than illustrates quotes from historical figures as comics. For example, here’s Hunter S. Thompson’s “Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride”:

The most popular are:

  • 12. CARL SAGAN: Make the most of this life
  • 17. FRANK HERBERT: Litany against fear
  • 21. RUDYARD KIPLING: If
  • 40. CALVIN COOLIDGE: Never give up
  • 33. EDGAR MITCHELL: A global consciousness
  • 13: The DALAI LAMA answers a question
  • 36. BRUCE LEE: There are no limits
  • 41. AYN RAND: The question
  • But don’t forget the Bill Hicks one.

    It may seem that these skew towards touchy feel good inspiration and affirmation, but there are some darker ones, like George Carlin on assassination.

    I love how certain characters recur in the strips.

    Some of the navigation is confusing, but you can head straight to the archives to find all the strips.

    (via Metafilter)

    Meta-Study Suggests Acupuncture No Better Than Placebo

    I’ve linked before to research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for managing pain. But a recent meta-study published in PAIN suggests that real acupuncture is no more effective than “fake” acupuncture:

    The authors observe that recent results from high-quality randomized controlled trials have shown that various forms of acupuncture, including so-called “sham acupuncture,” during which no needles actually penetrate the skin, are equally effective for chronic low back pain, and more effective than standard care. In these and other studies, the effects were attributed to such factors as therapist conviction, patient enthusiasm or the acupuncturist’s communication style. […]

    In an accompanying commentary, Harriet Hall, MD, states her position forcefully: “Importantly, when a treatment is truly effective, studies tend to produce more convincing results as time passes and the weight of evidence accumulates. When a treatment is extensively studied for decades and the evidence continues to be inconsistent, it becomes more and more likely that the treatment is not truly effective. This appears to be the case for acupuncture. In fact, taken as a whole, the published (and scientifically rigorous) evidence leads to the conclusion that acupuncture is no more effective than placebo

    ScienceDaily: Acupuncture for Pain No Better Than Placebo — And Not Without Harm, Study Finds

    The story also mentions harmful side affects from acupuncture malpractice (though malpractice is a risk in just about any professional service).

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