August 20th, 2008


In the ongoing debate of what constitutes good health

Today, the New York Times says "It's Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit."

Seriously. If you can't manage a good pace (walking only!) on a treadmill, for as little as 8 minutes, you are at a much higher risk of death than someone who can, no matter what your respective BMIs are. So this is me saying, once again, there needs to be less focus on body weight and more on getting exercise.

Sadly, this report supports my going to the gym today, which I'd prefer not to do.

In other longevity news, there's a fun article about chameleon that only lives a year. “If you go into a forest during the dry season, the whole population of chameleons there will be represented by eggs.” Cool, huh?

No bikkit? Yes bikkit!

I was a good test lead and found availability for someone to work on a project, thereby throwing water on a showdown between two projects with competing needs. (The loser was a project with a PM on vacation - he forgot to ask for an environment to deploy his project to, and thus the QA that was going to start that week just ain't happening.)

As a reward, I have been given a chocolate filled cream puff by the project manager. Sadly, this makes me very happy. With luck, the guy who's bacon I saved yesterday will also come through on a pile of pastries as promised. I admit that being rewarded with pastries means I can be bought cheaply, but, hey, it seems like a treat to me!

The Chinese Question (special for Ann)

I'm not watching the Olympics. It's not a protest; mostly I just don't care, and I don't watch TV so it doesn't register to me as something that's going on. And I know that not watching TV is not a noticeable protest, any more than signing an online petition. No goverment will pay attention to me.

But I also pretty actively don't support the government of China. I decided in 1989, fresh with my BA in Chinese and Political Science (Asian Studies) not to go work there lest I be held up to the media as proof of how other countries were indifferent to the Tian An Men Square massacre. Three years later, one of my political theory professors (Jack Crittenden) said that increased consumer choice would lead to a similar "marketplace of ideas" in Chinese Politics, a thought that made me laugh out loud (and to his face, I think). Sheldon Simon, who taught me realpolitik, had actually captured a much truer face of Chinese politics to me when he said that, basically, the government would hold onto power with all of its might and continue to pay no attention to silly calls for political liberalization. The Party is absolute.

The silly belief in China's political liberalization continues among American conservatives. Here's a charmingly misguided editorial from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, in which he tells a tale of applying for a permit to protest. He is interrogated for a mere hour, and leaves with the conclusion that "even though the process is a charade, it still represents progress in China, in that the law implicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of protest." (The comments later call him an apologist for the regime. I felt that was kind.)

Me, I just felt like he was seeing what he wanted to see rather than the cold hard truth, better summarized in this news article from today's Guardian: "Elderly women sentenced to year's labour over Olympics protest." Yep, freedom is just around the corner, after you spend time in jail. Aung San Suu Kyi is still waiting, after all; maybe when they're let out of jail, the little old Chinese ladies can go live with her. Actually, I think all of the apologists for the regime ought to look at experiencing a little house arrest, after which they can write a report on the many freedoms they experienced when they actually lived life in China.

PS: I'm not saying America's perfect. I just want to see things get much, much better in China.