Globs of Fat

 

fat-jpeg-2

So I went to get my flu shot today in the office. 


Yes, it’s that time of year to start getting ready for Winter and all the germs that come with it. 


Anyway, while I was at the health center, they had this model of what body fat looks like. 


It was sort of just laying right on the table in the waiting room–yeah a big ick! 


It said:

“Globs of Fat

This glob represents the look and feel of 5 pounds of body fat.”


And this thing was enormous, bigger than someones hand, maybe even two hands. 


There was some text about another 1 pound piece of body fat, but I didn’t see that lying around anywhere (and frankly the 5 pound glob was enough to get the point without comparison). 


This fat demonstration would make practically anyone want to chuck the carbohydrates and forever.


Pizza, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes–be gone!


Having recently done this myself, I can really appreciate how important this is and also how hard it can be. 


The food industry has us addicted to this crap and really it should be illegal. 


The high carb diet in America is truly of epidemic proportions and is potentially catastrophic to our health and longevity.


The only thing that glob of fat is good for is tossing it out the window and into the garbage dump. 


A high carb diet that makes people fat is death and we want to live! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Conflicts That Challenge Us

Woman

My wife told me something good today (first time ever, haha).  


There are three types of conflicts:


1) Between Man and Himself — these are our internal conflicts or demons (fears, anxieties, guilt, compulsions, and evil impulses) that we must conquer. 


2) Between Man and Man — these are conflicts we have with others and we must resolve them with either empathy, compromise, giving, and forgiveness or at the other end of the spectrum with fight or flight.


3) Between Man and His Environment — these are conflicts that are man-made or natural in our surroundings and may involve scarcity, harsh or destructive conditions, and obstacles to overcome with scientific and engineering problem-solving. 


I would add a 4th type of conflict:


4) Between Man and G-d — these are conflicts we have in trying to understand why we are here, what G-d wants from us, and “why bad things happen,” and involve our relationship and reconciliation with and service to our maker. 


Basically, these four conflicts are more than enough to keep us busy day-in and -out for our entire lifetime, and either we resolve them and go to the afterworld, or perhaps we have to come back to do some more work on resolving them again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Six Internet Creepoids To Beware Of

Six Internet Creepoids To Beware Of

There are a lot of basket cases out there–both in the physical world and in the virtual one.

The New York Times today has an article by Henry Alford about people who act or are mainly just perceived as creepy online.

He gives examples of people who take out their smartphones (with cameras) in the locker room, who show their online photos and whoops there’s an indecent doozie, who mistakenly send a critical email to the wrong person or distribution list, who say the wrong thing online because of autocorrect or autofill, and who act the detective looking up too much information about others.

At the end, Alford calls for “more tolerance toward the gaffe-makers.”

And while we should be good people and forgive genuine mistakes, some things are not accidents and deserve the seal of “ick!”

Here’s the list of 6 Internet Creepoids to seriously beware of:

1) Overly Cyber Friendly or Familiar: People who chat, text, email, or comment in a way that portrays an inappropriate knowing or intimacy with others.

2) Cyber Stalkers: Those who unsolicitedly and unwanted or obsessively follow, friend, monitor, or harass others on the Internet.

3) Internet Trolls: Individuals who giddily sow discord with argumentative, inflammatory or extraneous messages online narcissistically or just to be jerks.

4) Cyber Exhibitionists or Voyeurs: People who inappropriately or compulsively expose themselves or watch others naked or engaged in sexual activity online.

5) Cyber Impersonators or Identity Thieves: Those who falsify their identities by exaggerating or masking their true selves, pretend to be someone else, or otherwise steal someone’s online identity.

6) Cyber Freaks: Individuals who behave online in extreme unusual, unexpected, and frightening ways.

So while some things are innocent or accidentally creepy from otherwise nice and decent people, other actions are genuinely such from the real online creepoids. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Addictions R Us

Addictions R Us

I was having an really interesting conversation with a friend–okay, and it got a little deep.

He said something fascinating to me–which is that everyone is addicted to something.

Think about it–some are addicted to the hard stuff…drugs, alcohol, smoking.

Others are addicted to sex, work, shopping, exercise, even religion.

In modern times, there are new addictions to technology, gaming, and social media.

My friend is smart and we discussed or alluded to a number of reasons for the addictive nature of all people.

1) Meaning – Many people have a tough time dealing with the seemingly meaningless, mortal nature of their lives. Without a strong purpose and meaning, we can sort of float through every day looking for some anchor, stability, or rhythm. Addictions, for better or worse, can provide that habit or repetition compulsion. While not very meaningful itself, these addictions help people forget–temporarily, during their high or while they are being kept busy–that they are perhaps lost amidst it all.

2) Pain – Everyone has pain–emotional, physical, mental–these cause stress on people and their ability to deal or cope can be stretched thin, and they turn to some sort of addiction as a “crutch” to help them get through the day. It reminds me of a very crude song that I overheard years ago, called “F*ck the pain away” (excuse the language here, please). Anyway, simply replace the first word, with “work, shop, drink, and so on and poof, you have opiates (i.e. pain relief) for the masses.

3) Fear – People are afraid–afraid of living, afraid of dying–and addictions take us away from having the time to stop, think, and have to deal with our fears. If every minute, I am running around doing a million things–then I don’t have the time to shut it all down and out, and deal with what’s really going on inside. In fact, some people credit the Holy Sabbath day, as being beneficial to us to just stopping all that daily stuff at least for one day a week!

We are all human, and there is no one who is immune to looking for meaning, avoiding pain, and dealing with their fears.

The question is do we just throw ourselves into something to keep going or do we take more of a Buddhist approach, accept that life is suffering and try to raise ourselves above it through healthy balance, contemplative meditation, compassion and thinking about others, doing good deeds, and so on.

Keeping busy is good too–but going through life in a drug or otherwise induced fugue is not–then we’ve lost ourselves, which is maybe the point for our crazy world where addictions abound and we are all too happy to dive right in. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Miles Cave)

Stark Raving Internet Crazy

Internet_crazy

An article in the Daily Beast/Newsweek called “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?”postulates that we are addicted to the Internet by virtually every definition of the word.

Physically:
– “Americans have merged with their machines”–literally starring at computer screen “at least eight hours a day, more time than we spend on any other activity, including sleeping.”
– Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unableto be without their media links to the world.”

Psychologically:
– “Every ping could be a social, sexual, or professional opportunity” so we get a (dopamine) reward for getting and staying online.
– Heavy internet use and social media is correlated with “stress, depression, and suicidal thinking” with some scientists arguing it is like “electronic cocaine” driving mania-depressive cycles.

Chemically:
– “The brains of Internet addicts…look like the brains of drug and alcohol addicts.”
– Videogame/Internet addiction is linked to “structural abnormalities” in gray matter, namely shrinkage of 10 to 20% in the areas of the brain responsible for processing od speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory, and other information,.”
– The brain “shrinkage never stopped: the more time online, the more the brain showed signs of ‘atrophy.'”

Socially:
– “Most respondents…check text messages, email or their social network ‘all the time’ or ‘every 15 minutes.’
– “Texting has become like blinking” with the average person texting (sending or receiving) 400 times a month and the average teen 3,700 times!
– “80% of vacationers bring along laptops or smartphones so they can check in with work while away.”
– “One in 10 users feels “fully addicted’ to his or her phone,” with 94% admitting some level of compulsion!

At the extreme:
– “One young couple neglected its infant to death while nourishing a virtual baby online.”
– “A young man bludgeoned his mother for suggesting he log off.”
– “At least 10…have died of blood clots from sitting too long” online.

These are a lot of statistics, and many of these are not only concerning, but outright shocking–symptoms of bipolar disorder, brain shrinkage, and murderous behavior to name a few.

Yet, thinking about my own experiences and observations, this does not ring true for the vast majority of normal Internet users who benefit from technology intellectually, functionally, socially, and perhaps even spiritually.

Yes, we do spend a lot of time online, but that is because we get a lot out of it–human beings, while prone to missteps and going to extremes, are generally reasoned decision-makers.

We aren’t drawn to the Internet like drug-abusers to cocaine, but rather we reach for the Internet when it serves a genuine purpose–when we want to get the news, do research, contact a friend or colleague, collaborate on a project, make a purchase, manage our finances, watch a movie, listen to music or play a game and more.

These are not the benefits of a drug addict, but the choices of rational people using the latest technology to do more with their lives.

Are there people who lose control or go off the deep-end, of course. But like with everything, you can have even too much of a good thing–and then the consequences can be severe and even deadly.

Certainly people may squirrel away more often then they should for some un-G-dly number of hours at a computer rather than in the playground of life–but for the most part, people have taken the technology–now highly mobile–into the real world, with laptops, tablets, and smartphones being ubiquitous with our daily rounds at the office, on the commute, walking down the street, and even at the dinner table.

Is this a bad thing or are we just afraid of the (e)merging of technology so deeply into every facet of lives?

It is scary in a way to become so tied to our technology that it is everywhere all the time–and that is one major reason why cyber attacks are such a major concern now–we are hopelessly dependent on technology to do just about everything, because it helps us to do them.

From my perch of life, the Internet does not break people or attract broken souls except on the fringes; more typically it puts people togetherto achieve a higher individual and social aggregate capability then ever before.

If the pressure to achieve 24/7 would just come down a few notches, maybe we could even enjoy all this capability some more.

Now I just need to get off this darn computer, before I go nuts too!  😉

(Source Photo: here adapted from and with attribution to Cassie Nova)