Health and Society

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Category archives for Health and Society

Is Total Cholesterol Misleading?

Under 200. That’s the usual target for total cholesterol as reported in popular media. But are all 200s the same? I just received my profile from a recent blood test. Here’s what it said. Total cholesterol: 204 LDL (bad cholesterol): 131.6 HDL (good cholesterol): 57 Triglycerides: 77 The total is computed as LDL+HDL+Tri/5. These are…

Energy Equivalence

Two things that seem to be in the headlines of late: oil prices and overweight Americans. How do these things go together? Time for a fun “back of the envelope” calculation. According to the CDC about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese (a BMI over 25 tags you as overweight while a BMI…

Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Spook, has a new book debuting this month: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. To promote her new book, Roach is making the interview rounds. Check out her interview with Katharine Mieszkowski for Salon: Getting it on for science. An excerpt pertaining to sexual arousal in women…

Hinckley Reservoir Revisited

In early October I posted a series of pics regarding the low water level at Hinckley Reservoir in upstate NY. The combination of low rainfall and demand had reduced the lake some 35 feet below spill level. I had hoped to post some pics in Spring 2008 to contrast these to normal levels. That won’t…

Some Smoking Stats

The local paper ran an article yesterday regarding smoking statistics in upstate NY. The major point of the story is seen in its headline “Region’s smoking rate is among highest in state”. The basic stats involve a region of upstate NY including 11 counties ranging from Utica, down to Cooperstown, up to Plattsburg, and much…

Speaking as a mother who breastfed both of my kids and was a card-carrying member of LaLeche League (an uneasy relationship since I worked outside the home but valuable all the same for many other reasons), I figured I’d weigh in on this, but not from the Facebook angle. There are plenty of other offerings…

Hitchens’ Supreme Sense of Humor

I concede. As self-deprecatory as I can be, I am left in the dust, gasping and quivering, by the mighty Christopher Hitchens who aptly displays the gloriously superior sense of humor that is characteristic of the human male. I am humbled, Mr. Hitchens. My hat’s off to you. In the latest Vanity Fair, Hitchens writes…

It’s the Heat AND the Humidity

Runners have a tendency to track their workout times. This can be both misleading and dangerous if you don’t figure in the effect of weather, a trap both newbies and experienced runners can fall into. Consider long runs. Last week, I went down to the local canal trail for a long run. I ran 16…

Pit Bull Denialism

“He won’t hurt you”. Check out this thread which popped up after a report of a child being killed in a pit bull attack. We can thank commenter scorp1101 for jumping right into it with the pit bulls are just fine and I know because I own one argument. The remainder of the thread is…

Walk or Ride?

Is walking to the store “greener” than riding there in your car? Here’s an interesting article from The Times UK arguing for the car. The upfront argument is specious. Consider: “Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere,” he said, a calculation based on…