Friday, January 21, 2011

Diet and exercise ... and diet

Just in case you weren't convinced that  is full of idiots, along comes Jennifer R. Scott with this "nugget" of wisdom:
Experts agree that it's easier to exercise than to cut the same number of calories that exercise shaves off. In other words, it's just plain easier for us to be a little more active than to do without more food to achieve the same calorie reduction.
I'm sorry, but W.T.F.A.Y.T.A? Not one sentence above, we get this:
For example, a 180-pound person who walks at a brisk 3 mph will burn just over 250 calories in 45 minutes.
Guess what else is 250 calories? A chocolate bar. How long does it take to eat? A few minutes. So what is more effective for losing weight? Jennifer, put your hand down. Let the adults answer.

Why is exercise associated with weight loss? The two have very little to do with one another. For example, whenever they show ads for The Biggest Loser, they show an obese person jogging on the beach and then chowing down on a sub. The only thing that jogging will do for an obese person is destroy their knees. The only reason the two are linked, that I can think of, is very active people tend to be skinny. But correlation does not equal causation.

If common sense wasn't enough, how about some studies. After a brief 24.8 second search on the Internet, I found this link which outlines several studies, all of which show that exercise "is not a major factor" in weight loss. I would look further, but I'm losing Rant Energy.

So next time you see an ad or a news story on weight loss and they show people exercising, do what I do, shake you fist at the TV. And think about how dumb Jennifer is.

P.S. I don't know Jennifer and the quality of her other post. She may or may not be an idiot*.

*Note: she is an idiot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monkey and who, now with more cats!

Guess who's back for another year of misadventures. That's right, it is the calendar that makes every dumber, "Monkey" & me.
I had a big list of things to blog about, and I even wrote them down. I can't find the list, so I'll have to wing it.

"You stole my idea!"
I watched The Social Network. I thought it was pretty good, but, like Monkey and Me, in contains a line that will infect peoples' brains for years to come.

"You stole my idea!" has its history in grade school. Being a "copycat" is bad. What the teacher wasn't telling the hundreds of snot-nosed kids coloring pictures of horses and spaceships, doing reports on the solar system and natives, etc. is she's seen it all before. Hundreds of times.

Nothing is new. I think it was in college that I realized how dumb I really was. Nothing can be done if you are trying to reinvent the wheel, so the only way to do anything productive is to stand on the shoulders of giants. (I promise not to combine two lame cliches in one sentence again.) You must copy. You must steal. Everything is synthesis. In Engineering, we add things called "References" at the back of technical papers. In art, we call it homage or inspiration. But any creative person knows that they never really create anything new.

I'm interested in screen (and normal) writing. Beginning writers are nervous about discussing story ideas with others. They are worried people will "steal their idea". They soon learn no one cares about ideas. They care about the concrete expression of those ideas. The actual lines of dialog, the descriptions of scenes. That is where the difficulty is. Google and Lycos are both "search engines".

Copyright law recognizes this, therefore only actual expressions are subject to copyright, not ideas. More than that, if ideas were subject to copyright, it could infringe on free speech. Copyright is a government granted monopoly given to creators to make "copies" of their work. Its purpose to encourage creators to make more work and therefore enrich society. The ultimate measure is society's benefit, not whether a given creator is making a living.

Copyright is not a property right. If I make a mix tape and give it to a friend, I'm not stealing anything. I am "infringing" on the creators right to make copies. Some people like to stretch definitions and say I'm stealing some of the creators potential revenue, because the friend may have bought the original CD.

A friend tells you a joke while at coffee. That night, you tell the same joke to a group of acquaintances. Your friend overhears and is upset with you. "That was my joke!" My reaction is to tell him to buzz off. If he didn't want people to hear the joke he should have kept it a secret.

Culture is a conversation. Copyright law must be a balance between encouraging people to speak in the conversation and allowing people to respond.