leisure

Flakes of pastry on the gusset of her dress: daub of sugary flour stuck to her cheek. Rhubarb tart with liberal fillings, rich fruit interior. Josie Powell that was.

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Physical activity has a multitude of health benefits — it reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even cancer — but weight loss is not one of them.

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that exercise alone has almost no effect on weight loss, as two sports scientists and I described in a recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. For one, researchers who reviewed surveys of millions of American adults found that physical activity increased between 2001 and 2009, particularly in counties in Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. But the rise in exercise was matched by an increase in obesity in almost every county studied. There were even more striking results in a 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that people who simply dieted experienced greater weight loss than those who combined diet and exercise. […]

It’s calorie intake that is really fueling the obesity epidemic. But it’s not just the number of calories we’re eating as how we’re getting them. The sugar calories are particularly bad. […] The World Health Organization now recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for the average adult. […]

The food and beverage industry is most guilty of perpetuating the false belief that the obesity epidemic is simply due to lack of exercise, spending billions to market nutritionally poor products as “sports drinks” while simultaneously promoting the benefits of physical activity. […]

None of this means you should turn in your gym membership card. Working out will make you healthier and less susceptible to disease. No matter what your size, even 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity that breaks you into a sweat five times per week will substantially improve your health and well-being. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, cycling, sex or all three. If it’s longevity you’re after, note that elite athletes in high-intensity sports don’t live any longer than top golfers.

But if weight loss is your goal, your diet is what really needs to change. An analysis by professor Simon Capewell at the University of Liverpool revealed that poor diet (for example, eating too much junk food without enough nuts, whole grains, fruit and vegetables) now contributes to more disease and death than smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity combined.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

‘Free from what?’ —Nietzsche

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{ Adam Savage’s Overlook Hotel Maze Model | watch video }

‘To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy.’ –Hippocrates

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We all know that exercise can make us fitter and reduce our risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. But just how, from start to finish, a run or a bike ride might translate into a healthier life has remained baffling.

Now new research reports that the answer may lie, in part, in our DNA. Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. […]

Epigenetics [is] a process by which the operation of genes is changed, but not the DNA itself. Epigenetic changes occur on the outside of the gene, mainly through a process called methylation. In methylation, clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach to the outside of a gene like microscopic mollusks and make the gene more or less able to receive and respond to biochemical signals from the body.

Scientists know that methylation patterns change in response to lifestyle. Eating certain diets or being exposed to pollutants, for instance, can change methylation patterns on some of the genes in our DNA and affect what proteins those genes express. Depending on which genes are involved, it may also affect our health and risk for disease. […]

The volunteers pedaled one-legged at a moderate pace for 45 minutes, four times per week for three months. […] More than 5,000 sites on the genome of muscle cells from the exercised leg now featured new methylation patterns. Some showed more methyl groups; some fewer. […]

Most of the genes in question are known to play a role in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation within muscles. In other words, they affect how healthy and fit our muscles — and bodies — become.

They were not changed in the unexercised leg.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { David Hasselhoff, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, 2004 }

related { Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors }

Hear the loud alarum bells

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To examine the effects of grunting on velocity and force production during dynamic and static tennis strokes in collegiate tennis players. […]

The velocity, force, and peak muscle activity during tennis serves and forehand strokes are significantly enhanced when athletes are allowed to grunt.

{ Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research | Continue reading | more }

image { Imp Kerr, Pantherhouse, 2000 }

You have corrupted my imagination and inflamed my blood

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Regular exercise may alter how a person experiences pain, according to a new study. The longer we continue to work out, the new findings suggest, the greater our tolerance for discomfort can grow.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘Good questions outrank easy answers.’ –Paul Samuelson

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This paper documents a close connection between the timing of corporate news disclosures and CEOs’ absences from headquarters. I identify CEO absences by merging publicly available flight histories of corporate jets with real estate records of CEOs’ property ownership near leisure destinations. I find that CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work. Mandatory Form 8-K disclosures of material company news are more likely to be filed late if news occurs while CEOs are at their vacation homes. […]

The paper’s results seem consistent with an agency cost hypothesis, under which CEOs might slow down their firms’ news disclosures for personal convenience on the days that they requisition company aircraft for golf or ski trips. However, the observed associations between news disclosures and vacation schedules may well be endogenous, if CEOs plan to be away from the office when the company expects to have little news to announce. To understand more clearly the direction of causation between disclosures and CEO absences, I conduct a variety of tests, examining how company news announcements change when CEOs return to headquarters at unexpected times. I also estimate a bivariate probit model of news days and vacation days, in which weather at the CEO’s vacation site is used as an instrumental variable that should be associated with trips to the vacation home but not be connected to company news developments. Much of the analysis from these tests supports the agency interpretation, with news releases appearing to occurr less frequently simply because the CEO is absent from the office. However, it is difficult to test causation in the other direction, which would require an instrumental variable associated with news at headquarters but uncorrelated with the CEO’s decision to take time off.

{ David Yermack/NYU School of Law | PDF }

It was a very fancy hotel. They even made you wear a tie in the shower.

{ Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hotel experiences }

The colossal project, which cost more than $50 billion – more than all previous Winter Olympics combined – was expected to turn Sochi into a sporting paradise, packed with arenas and a new airport. Instead, corruption and construction accidents have plagued preparations, with hotels still unfinished just days before the opening ceremony.

{ Zero Hedge | Continue reading }

‘Years of love have been forgot / In the hatred of a minute.’ –Edgar A. Poe

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related { Lady Flashing — HO Scale Train Model Frigure }

‘Repression is the only lasting philosophy.’ –Charles Dickens

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American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life… […] The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players. […]

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. […]

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

{ ProPublica | Continue reading }

related { A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later }

Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Kaplan?

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Risk compensation is an interesting effect where increasing safety measures will lead people to engage in more risky behaviors.

For example, sailors wearing life jackets may try more risky maneuvers as they feel ‘safer’ if they get into trouble. If they weren’t wearing life jackets, they might not even try. So despite the ‘safety measures’ the overall level of risk remains the same due to behavioral change.

This happens in other areas of life.

{ MindHacks | Continue reading }

photo { Gert Jochems }

O no there was the face lotion I finished the last of yesterday that made my skin like new

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{ Can the Gamification of Female Masturbation Remove Its Social Stigma? }

Knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ th’ name of Beelzebub?

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You probably haven’t heard of HD Moore, but up to a few weeks ago every Internet device in the world, perhaps including some in your own home, was contacted roughly three times a day by a stack of computers that sit overheating his spare room. “I have a lot of cooling equipment to make sure my house doesn’t catch on fire,” says Moore, who leads research at computer security company Rapid7. […]

Moore’s census involved regularly sending simple, automated messages to each one of the 3.7 billion IP addresses assigned to devices connected to the Internet around the world (Google, in contrast, collects information offered publicly by websites). Many of the two terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) worth of replies Moore received from 310 million IPs indicated that they came from devices vulnerable to well-known flaws, or configured in a way that could to let anyone take control of them.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Miro, Blue III, 1961 }