Much Like a Dead Horse, Yes

  • Somewhere, a headline-writer has earned her wings. So, the low-carb cult, yes it’s been beaten into the ground much in the same manner as a long-deceased equine. But the carbs of this diet aren’t the ones you’re thinking of, and it can’t really be called a diet. Nonetheless, a low-hydrocarbon “diet,” trimming energy use in key areas (transportation, residential heating & cooling, and industry), could actually allow for massive $$$ savings in things like paper and household appliances and lighting. Not a massively interesting article by itself, but you have to credit them for the unique hook. (Science Daily / Cornell University: “Low-carb Energy Diet, Using 33 Percent Less Hydrocarbons, Would Trim U.S. Consumer Fuel Costs By $438 Billion, Cornell Ecologists Claim” [May 25, 2004])
  • I always wondered. Michael Quinion (of World Wide Words fame) explains (in an excerpt from his soon-to-be-published book) why we say silly things like “dressed to the nines” and the “bee’s knees.” Almost as interesting for the myths it debunks as it is for the facts of where these phrases actually come from. (Daily Telegraph: “How the bee got his knees” by Michael Quinion [May 31, 2004])
  • Higher Status = Longer Life. Sort of. Maybe. While other factors certainly come into play, Michael Marmot claims (with 30 years of research behind his claim) that status—your position in a social hierarchy—has a definite impact on the quality of your health. Curiously, however, it’s actual status—where you stand in relation to other people—more than your income that helps to determine your health and general well-being, e.g.:

    “And just a small difference in social status can have a big effect on health, he says. For example, people with doctorates live longer than those with Master’s degrees.”

    Granted, it’s a devilishly complex correlation to try to match up, and I’m sure there are any number of different interpretations of the results. But it’s an interesting thought. (NewScientist: “Higher status leads to a longer life” by Shaoni Bhattacharya [June 8, 2004])

  • Sneaky Doors Threaten Humans. For the record, I’ve always been wary of revolving doors. (BoGlo: “After death, many injuries, Japan wary of revolving doors” by Peggy Hernandez [June 12, 2004])