Greetings astute traveller, this website now exists for historical reasons.

Much has been learned since 2006. I urge you to keep exploring the evolution of information through other websites.

TED – Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers

ted I’ve been following the lectures on TED for a couple of years, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in ideas, technology and design.

TED is an organisation that holds lectures by innovative thinkers, where you’ll often see people of notable prestige in the areas of science, health, and education.  TED releases videos (almost daily) to the public, for free.

These videos; usually just 15 minutes in length, are sure to get you thinking about relevant issues and interesting new solutions.

Visit their website and open your world: http://www.ted.com/

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The Flip Side to the Obesity Epidemic

lindsay_lohan_nicole_ritchie_skinny Dr Martin Donohoe MD FACP has researched the body image problem that is ubiquitous throughout western civilisation.  He has uncovered some interesting statistics.

From the article:
As many as 66% of women and 52% of men have reported feelings of dissatisfaction or inadequacy regarding their body weight.[4] Sixty percent of girls in grades 9-12 are trying to lose weight, compared with 24% of boys.[4] The number-one wish of girls aged 11-17 is to lose weight.[5] Women are more likely to judge themselves as overweight when they are not, whereas men are the opposite.[6] Women who desire to lose weight are more likely to do so in the hopes of improving their appearance, whereas men who wish to lose weight are more likely to be concerned about their future health and fitness.[7]

Body-image distress is now classified as a psychological disorder. Five percent to 10% of females have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.[4] Male and female high school athletes are especially at risk for unhealthy weight-control behaviours, such as restricting food intake, vomiting, over-exercising, using diet pills, inappropriately taking prescribed stimulants or insulin, and using nicotine.[8] Some adolescents dehydrate by restricting fluid intake, spitting, wearing rubber suits, taking daily steam baths and/or saunas, and using diuretics or laxatives.[8]

Consequences of abnormal weight-loss behaviours include delayed maturation, impaired growth, menstrual irregularities or loss of menses, increased rates of infection, eating disorders, and depression. Alternatively, such behaviours can be a sign of depression or verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.[9,10]
Media images have contributed to a misguided perception of the "ideal" body. Today, models weigh 23% less than average women; in 1986 it was only 8%.[11] Modelling schools for teens create unrealistic expectations. Only a very "select" few models achieve financial success (of these select few, beginners earn $1500 per day, those in the top tier $25,000 per day, and supermodels $100,000 or even more per day).

The full story:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/571497_print

Further Reading:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/skinny-fat/

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Not getting enough sleep? Welcome to the machine…

 

A recent report from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research has confirmed what most people are already painfully aware of;  not getting enough sleep.

From the report:

Almost a fifth of NSW’s adult population doesn’t get enough sleep according to research to be published this month in international publication Internal Medicine Journal. 

With 11.7% experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness and 18.4% reporting sleeping less than 6.5 hours per night. the study warns the impact of sleep and sleepiness on the public health could be
large.

Results  found  excessive  daytime  sleepiness  was  most  commonly  associated  with  short  sleep durations, getting older and symptoms of insomnia and depression. 

Dr Delwyn Bartlett, Sleep Psychologist at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and chief author  of  the  paper,  explains  short  sleep,  either  self-imposed  or  forced,  is  being  increasingly recognised as a contributor to impaired health and increased death in the community.   “It  can  impact  on  everything  from  cardiovascular  disease,  type-2  diabetes,  insulin  sensitivity, appetite, immune responses to vaccinations and concentration levels for even the simplest tasks,” she said.

“If the NSW figures are reflective of the nation as a whole, chronic sleep restriction is likely to
have a major impact on Australian public health.”  Dr Bartlett says.

My opinion:

Society exploits people… and does so by appealing to our animal instincts.  Our consumerist culture with it’s attitude of "more, more, more!" convinces us to work longer hours to buy a bunch of stuff that we really don’t need, and usually that stuff will not bring any lasting happiness.  Alain De botton summed it up well in his book and documentary aptly titled "Status Anxiety" in which he observes the anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser.  He writes:

"A sharp decline in actual deprivation may – paradoxically – have been accompanied by a continuing and even increased sense of deprivation and a fear of it. Populations blessed with riches and possibilities far outstripping those imaginable by their ancestors tilling the unpredictable soil of medieval Europe have shown a remarkable capacity to feel that both who they are and what they have are not enough."

But for now, we’re sold on it, and we’ll keep consuming energy drinks and high sugar foods so we can work longer hours to get the stuff that we don’t really need.

Perhaps someday in the future people will look back on the 21st century in disbelief and horror at the exploitation people suffered.  Perhaps they will think we’re idiots… and I wouldn’t blame them.

So what we can we do about it?  Firstly, I would recommend getting out into the wilderness and looking around.  Take notice of all the things that are free… oh yeah, that would be everything.

Secondly, I would think of the times in  your life when you were genuinely happy, because the chances are that they weren’t based on money.  Some of my greatest memories involve times in my life where I was flat broke.

And last but not least, tell all the proverbial "Jones’s" to shove their have and have-not mentality up their butt.  That is, if their head isn’t taking up all the space.

We live in strange times, where slavery; rather being enforced, is chosen.  You do have a choice… yes you do.

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Survey reveals Aussie Teens are unhealthy – fat and lazy

aussie_teens A survey of 18,486 secondary school students at 322 schools across all Australian states except Western Australia has found that a significant proportion of students fall short of current, national dietary and physical activity recommendations for teenagers.

Study author Dr Victoria White, from the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at The Cancer Council Victoria, said the survey found that only 20% of students were meeting the daily requirement of four serves of vegetables while 39% were eating the recommended three daily serves of fruit.

“Our survey found consumption of unhealthy/non-core foods was high, with 46% of students having fast food meals at least twice a week, 51% eating snack foods four or more times per week, and 44% having high-energy drinks four or more times per week.

“We found that only 14% of students engaged in recommended levels of physical activity and about 70% exceeded recommended levels of sedentary behaviour,” she said.

The Cancer Council Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Ian Olver, said the survey was an important new piece of evidence showing why obesity levels in Australia more than doubled between the mid-1980s and the mid-’90s.

“Obesity and overweight are important causes of cancer and, unless current trends in child and adolescent obesity are turned around, will have an unprecedented impact on future cancer incidence and mortality in Australia,” Professor Olver said.

“Government-backed measures to better research the problem of obesity and encourage healthier eating and more physical activity are likely to be far more effective if they are not competing with multimillion dollar advertising campaigns promoting unhealthy food,” he said.

“The results of this survey, combined with the growing evidence that food marketing reform is the most cost-effective intervention to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity, emphasise the need for government to restrict junk food advertising as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing tomorrow’s cancer burden through improved nutrition and physical activity in today’s 12 to 17 year olds.”

Source: http://www.cancervic.org.au/

My opinion:
A glaring point to be seen here is this; mass marketing has a lot to answer for.  Junk food advertising is a culprit but the real enemy is the food companies that advertise their products as being healthy, when they’re anything but healthy.

One example of the lie tactics food corporations use is the misleading labels found on breakfast cereal cartons, while another example is the use of low-fat labeling, which attempts to convince the consumer that the product is healthy because it contains little fat, when often the product is high in sugar, which is arguably more dangerous.

It is difficult (perhaps impossible) for a government to regulate advertising because marketing forces are able to execute their art with such diverse subtly i.e. suggestive advertising.  Quite often an advertisement for food doesn’t mention anything about ingredients, and instead focuses on the Freudian-like status that comes with purchasing the product.  So given this vague (but effective) style of marketing, it is clearly impossible for a government to regulate advertising – there’s simply too many grey areas.

I personally feel that regulation is not an ethical means anyway; who gets to say what information is withheld?

I propose a revolt against modern marketing forces, by individuals.  The first step being awareness; realising that food companies exist to make money, period.  Secondly, we need to educate ourselves about nutrition, learn about what we put in our mouth and how it effects us.  And thirdly; we need to vote with our wallet and NOT buy the junk that food companies are passing off as healthy food.

Each of us can take the fight into our own hands, and send a clear message to irresponsible food companies that says; “you won’t fool me again!”

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