conspiracy theory?

I was just re-reading the post on “a not-so-realistic simulation of the WTC on 9/11

Talk about a conspiracy theory!  That is just too funny.  However I would like to poll the masses that frequent this blog (yes… BOTH of you)


What is your favorite conspiracy theory?  Don’t have one? Feel free to make one up.

Also what evidence (if any) do you have to support your claims?

the EPA wants to tax dust

With this being a humor blog that specializes in randomness, you might not expect a story on regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  But we sometimes cover stupid news, partly because it can be random (in the creativity of the stupidity) and/or just funny.  This story isn’t laugh-out-loud (LOL) funny but stupid-funny (or stupid-stupid).

The EPA is considering a strict regulation with heavy fines on dust.  (Yeah, you read that right — dust, as in airborne dirt.)  According to this one website someone showed me, “Farmers could be fined for everyday activities like driving a tractor down a dirt road or tilling a field.”  Some areas have already suggested having “no till” days in response to this proposed standard.

Do I need to explain how stupid that is?  Apparently so…  To farm and raise crops, the ground must be tilled, and heavy machinery must be used to do all the planting, watering, and harvesting.  Dust is inevitable.  That’s just the practical aspect of it.   But we can get even more basic — humans are made of dirt.  It’s not like dirt is harmful to us.   You may not like getting dirty from dust, but it’s not as bad as living in a heavily-populated city full of pollution, breathing car exhaust fumes.  I’ve been in Los Angeles and New York City and Chicago, and the atmosphere in those places definitely isn’t as fresh and clean as Arkansas.  I’ve even lived on a farm.   Some dust in the air is not the problem!

Another problem with that is if there are “no till” days, then crops can ruin. When a crop is ready to be harvested, you have only a small window of time to get the best harvest, and farmers have a tough enough time making a profit as it is, without the EPA telling them they can’t drive their tractors on certain days.

One commenter on that website suggested that this move by the EPA could be to create more jobs for illegal immigrants.   If farmers can’t use their heavy machinery, they could use illegal aliens to do the manual labor.  Maybe that’s what that comment about retrofitting buses with diesel engines is about — to transport the millions of immigrants who will till the soil after tractors are made illegal.  That sounds like a conspiracy theory, but there are people scheming in politics…

I have to wonder if lawmakers don’t like farmers.   Not just because of that, but because of this other potential legislation — fining farmers for flatulence cows.   That sounds silly, but such a “cow tax” has been in consideration.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution.  The American Farm Bureau Federation claims the EPA is proposing a required annual fee of $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle, and $20 per hog.   If this happens, it will probably get applied to more animals we consume (like chickens), and meat will become an imported item from other countries.   I’d rather that not become the standard.

I realize the government is hurting for money, but couldn’t they do something reasonable (i.e., not stupid and harmful)?  They could try the strategy of responsible spending — I don’t think they’ve attempted that one in many years…

some say exercise won’t make you thin

The blogosphere has been abuzz lately about an article in TIME magazine called Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.  It is interesting, because we’ve joked about such things before, yet here’s an article in a credible magazine suggesting it.  But before we dig into it, let me mention that the author of this article exercises regularly and talks about how he isn’t losing fat, yet he weighs only 163 pounds.  Unless he’s abnormally short, that’s not a bad weight for an adult male to be at.   I don’t see how he could be considered fat or obese.  Actually, my “ideal weight” is supposedly 190-200 for my height, so 163 seems too skinny to me.  Anyway, let’s get to the article.

First, let’s start with the author’s premise for his hypothesis:

Like many other people, I get hungry after I exercise, so I often eat more on the days I work out than on the days I don’t.  Could exercise actually be keeping me from losing weight? ~ John Cloud

He also quotes some other experts who back his claim: “In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,” says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.  That sounds extreme to me, but I’ll keep reading.

The notion that we eat more because exercise makes us more hungry and thus exercise makes it harder to lose weight sure sounds like something the “Important Doctor” came up with.  The article also mentions the idea that intense sessions of exercise may cause people to reward themselves by eating what they want.  I can see that — it’s much easier to justify a milkshake or snack if you’ve worked out.

Some scientists imply that it’s evolution’s fault that humans can easily get fat.  We don’t have much “brown fat”.  Rats, among other species, have a lot of it, which turns off their mitochondria (which are the cells’ power plants), so they don’t get an energy boost from eating too much — they just get warmer, which helps the calories burn effortlessly.  So for animals like that, it’s really difficult for them to get fat, even if they overeat.  In contrast, humans can barely overeat and yet gain weight, because unused calories get stored in regular “white fat” cells.

One example cited in the article explains why our compensation for exercise keeps us from losing weight:

A standard 20-oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 130 calories.  If you’re hot and thirsty after a 20-minute run in summer heat, it’s easy to guzzle that bottle in 20 seconds, in which case the caloric expenditure and the caloric intake are probably a wash.  From a weight-loss perspective, you would have been better off sitting on the sofa knitting.

Well, few people knit these days, but I think it would be fair to replace that part of the example with sitting on the sofa playing video games.  So there’s your proof that playing video games can help you lose more weight than running! (That definitely sounds like something from the “Important Doctor”.)

The article also says that self-control is like a muscle, that it gets weaker when you use it too much.  So if you force yourself to jog for an hour, your capacity for self-control becomes weakened, and you’re more likely to eat pizza than a salad.  (Although I’m always more likely to eat pizza than a salad, given those choices.)

Steven Gortmaker, who heads Harvard’s Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, agrees that exercising makes you more hungry, therefore he’s suspicious of the playgrounds at fast-food restaurants: “Why would they build those?  I know it sounds kind of like conspiracy theory, but you have to think, if a kid plays five minutes and burns 50 calories, he might then go inside and consume 500 calories or even 1,000.”   One study has shown that exercise causes kids to eat an average of 100 calories more than they had just burned.

Of course, some sites have countered the TIME article, with one even saying it is an “Epic Fail”.  The TIME article makes some points, but we don’t have to give in to overeating because we exercise.  And I don’t think self-control is like a muscle from a physiological sense, but the analogy may work if you carry it out further.  The more you resist something, the stronger you get, instead of weaker — after a while.  For example, if you give up cokes, it may be hard for a few days, but eventually you don’t even miss them anymore.  (I know, because I gave them up.)

I reckon what all this debate results in is that you can find a study that backs up whatever lifestyle you want to live.   If you don’t want to exercise, then you shouldn’t, because it makes you gain weight.   But if you want to lose weight, well, it’s hopeless.  (Of course the last one isn’t true — but if you want to blame it on evolution or misinformation or whatever, there’s an excuse.)  To me, it still seems really simple — if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.  Maybe that seems too-good-to-be-true, but it adds up, if you do the math.

viewer mail, issue #9

Welcome to another issue of our infamous viewer mail series.  Like in previous issues, we will look at actual search terms that people used to find this blog, then we will provide advice, answers, or humor that corresponds with what you were looking for.  (And this is open to your questions, too — just use our contact us form to send us any question you’d like an answer to, and we’ll come up with something.)  Let us begin.

  • chimpanzeewhy are chimpanzees smarter then humans? — Uhh, they’re not.  However, if you believe that, maybe they are smarter than some humans…  😮
  • ice cream buffet — I’ve never heard of one, but that sounds like a good idea.  And in addition to having many varieties of ice cream out there, of course there should also be lots of different toppings to choose from and mix in, like crumbled Oreos, Butterfinger chunks, hot fudge, caramel, graham cracker crumbs, etc.  I think somebody should make this happen.
  • how does the moon belch? — You’ve got me on this one.  I can say that I’ve never thought about this before, and I don’t know.  It would be really weird if the moon did belch or fart, because it would probably be very loud, and we might even hear it on the earth.  On a slightly more serious note, to answer your question, if it has any active volcanoes, then perhaps that’s how, but I don’t know of any.  However, there is the backside of the moon, which we don’t see, so perhaps there’s some clues on that side.
  • interesting facts to read while on toilet — There are a lot of good books and magazines out there for reading in such conditions, and comics are great for that also.  Another suggestion would be to print out some articles from this blog.  The free-for-all stories are good (just click on the title of each one to get all the comments, so you get the whole story), and there’s a page with lots of toilet facts (which would be appropriate, although some might give you pause), and there’s a few posts that have a lot of discussion in the comments (see here for starters).
  • nuclear scorpion — There’s been a lot of searches related to scorpions recently, and I wonder what all the hype / buzz is about.  Perhaps the next Godzilla movie will feature a nuclear scorpion.  (Has he ever fought one?)  So maybe this is from a leaked movie script, or it could be just some crazy conspiracy theory, or maybe my warnings about Turkey Point were prophetic.  I don’t know which it is, but I’m curious also.  If anyone knows why scorpions are so popular now, let me know in the comments.
  • flush toilet into air 10 feet away tooth — Hmm… how should I interpolate this one?  Did the toilet water (and waste) shoot 10 feet into the air when you flushed it and got on your teeth?  Ugh!  Let’s hope that’s not what you’re talking about, because that’s downright stank-nasty!  Generally, you want your toilet to flush downward, taking the poop and other excrement away from you.  If it’s going into the air, then your toilet is malfunctioning.  On a side note, if your whole toilet exploded and shot up in the air, that would be kinda cool, but you’d rather that not happen at your home or while anyone is nearby.
  • moon backside nasa — See, it’s not just me who thinks there may be something going on at the backside of the moon!  Because we can’t see the back of the moon, NASA (or some other space agency) could be having underground operations there without even having to go underground.  There could be something nefarious going on there, so we need to check it out for ourselves.  Do we have any volunteers to secretly go to the moon and investigate?  If you find something, we’ll film it, and it’ll make a great movie, perhaps even winning a Nobel Peace Prize (since Al Gore has lowered the bar so low with his documentary).  Who’s interested in going?

That’s all for this issue.  Feel free to discuss any of these topics in the comments.