February 10, 2012
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Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli denounced the use of statistics to support weak or illusory arguments. Not surprisingly, I’m not nearly as smart as either Mr. Twain or British Prime Minister Disraeli. I’m therefore going to celebrate the quantitative joy of using statistics to set forth a few fun facts for a Friday afternoon:
- The typical person consumes 195.2 pounds of meat per year, or a little more than the weight of the average adult male. This is 50 pounds more than the average person consumed on an annual basis just fifty years ago.
- The average American now consumes approximately 2700 calories per day. Forty years ago, the average American consumed 2200 calories, which is almost 25 percent less than contemporary figures.
- Around fifty years ago, the average female weighed 140.2 pounds. The average weight of women is now 164.3 pounds.
- Also, fifty years ago, the average male weighted around 166.3 pounds. Today, the average man’s weight is 191 pounds.
- Not surprisingly, over 34 percent of adult men and women are now overweight. An additional 40 percent of adult men and women are obese.
One final statistic: reading 50% of the posts on this blog will make you 33% smarter than 23% of the population… most of the time.
December 22, 2011
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December 22, 2011, marks the Winter Solstice, an annual astrological phenomenon that occurs on the shortest day and the longest night of each year. Many civilizations and cultures have recognized the Winter Solstice through holidays, celebrations and other observances. It has been tied to the Japanese celebration of Amaterasu or the Requiem of the Dead, the Celtic Mummer’s Day, the Saami celebration of the Beaivi Festival, and Korochun, a Slavic holiday that is similar to Halloween.
The Winter Solstice also roughly coincides with National Hamburger Day. December 21st serves as an annual reminder of the inherent joy that can be derived from an appropriate combination meat, buns, condiments and a creamy substance commonly known only as the “special sauce.” Raymond Kroc would be proud.
Unfortunately, this may be the last year that we’re able to properly recognize the beauty of the tasty little marvels. The Mayans have currently scheduled the world to end on December 21, 2012. Unless they chose to cancel their appointment, we’ll likely perish in a galactic cauldron of fire, brimstone and explosive destruction.
That means that we’ll never enjoy another National Hamburger Day, because we’ll be dead.
December 11, 2011
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You’re spending far too much time in the kitchen. Stop it. Now.
A new report demonstrates that cooking food actually causes it to provide significantly more energy. In other words, cooking food adds to its caloric value and may cause you to gain weight.
Richard Wrangham, the chair of biological anthropology at Harvard University, explained the findings in plain english:
We suspect that there are two major reasons for cooked beef providing more calories than raw beef. In cooked beef, the muscle proteins, like the sugars in cooked starch, have opened up and allowed digestive enzymes to attack their amino acid chains. Cooking also does this for collagen, a protein that makes meat difficult to chew because it forms the connective tissue wrapped around muscle fibers. However, we do not know the exact mechanisms. What we do know, though, is that the mice had a spontaneous preference for eating cooked meat over raw meat, and their choice made sense, given that they fared better on it.
Next up: why promotions occur more often when employees fail to meet expectations and demonstrate considerably less leadership, judgment and professionalism.