September 10, 2009

Random: poetry, sex, & journalists

Photo: DerrickT

This blog covers subjects of fitness
But sometimes, as God is my witness,
We need to be random
And share with the fandom
Some studies that are mostly hit/miss

What? Why're you looking at me like that? Poetry is educational. It's classy. Makes us look like we're into culture and all that stuff.

I know we joke about how a study is published and then the next week another study contradicts it, but in real life it usually takes longer than a week. Not this time.

According to one study, Britain is going to be a lot less crowded to visit in the future. British people are too lazy for sex.

I mean, we're talking seriously lazy. "One in six say that if the remote control was broken, they would prefer to watch a TV program they didn't like rather than get up to change the channel...."
funny pictures of cats with captions

And yes, this study is related to fitness. "More than half (58 per cent) ... blamed their barren sex lives on a lack of fitness."

Seems straightforward enough. Except...

The week after this study came out, it was followed up by this one:

The British birth rate is on the increase. "The UK population grew more in 2008 than at any time since 1962." How they're managing that when they're too lazy to have sex would make an interesting study in itself.
Um... this method doesn't look like much fun, judging by her expression...

All right, so half of the increased births were to women "born overseas, but living in the UK." Even so, if they're living in Britain, aren't they affected by the environment they're living in? According to the first study, Glasgow was "Britain's most slothful city, with 75 per cent of people admitting they don't get enough exercise, followed by Birmingham and Southampton in joint second place with 67 per cent admitting their laziness."

If you're surrounded by that many lazy bums, it's going to rub off. If nothing else, it's an environment geared toward people driving cars rather than walking, living in buildings with easily accessible elevators and dingy, hard-to-find stairs, being surrounded by fast food and slow traffic. Besides which, there have been enough studies out there demonstrating that hanging around obese people will increase your chances of gaining weight. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, "found that a mutual friend becoming obese correlated with a 171 percent increase in the probability of obesity in the other friend."

No, as I see it, the second study is 180 degrees from the first. The women being 'from overseas' isn't really an important enough factor. We tend to pick up on the behavior of those around us.

I know I tend to sound off a lot about journalists, but sometimes it's hard not to. For example, a Bangladesh newspaper picked up on an article in an American publication, which featured an interview with Neil Armstrong confirming that the Moon Landing was a hoax. Only problem? It wasn't a real story. It was a hoax. (I mean the story was a hoax. A hoax of a hoax, if that makes any kind of sense.)

This is the part that got me. The journalists' defense? "We thought it was true so we printed it without checking. We didn't know The Onion was not a real news site."

Okay, let me make this clear. Just because The Onion makes incredible sense sometimes Does Not mean it's real, 'k?

Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size

Okay, one last weird story. I realize everybody's getting more lawsuit-happy these days, but even so...

Legal case against God dismissed
A US judge has thrown out a case against God, ruling that because the defendant has no address, legal papers cannot be served.

Oooooookay. I'm not even going to try to relate that one to health or fitness.


  1. Okay... I know I've mentioned on my blog how inactive I used to be, but I was NEVER forced to watch a TV program due to the gravitational pull of the couch on my butt. Remote down or not, you need to move people!

    But I know the point of your post is more about the inconsistancies that seem to come out of different studies and I completely agree. One of the first things my statistical psychology professor told the class was that numbers can be used to support any theory. But then, she was only right 63% of the time.

  2. ok the head size article?

    we (I? tomato tomaaahto) spend so much time fretting about inanimate objects impacting out daughters sense of body image.
    why knew we needed to fret about them longing for a cranium the size of Sputnik!

  3. Weird stuff!

    I find it bizarre that over half blamed their lack of fitness for not having sex! What sort of acrobatics do they engage in over there? Or are people so out of shape that any sex at all is too exhausting?

    Some of the other examples were alarming too, like not playing with their kids or walking their dogs.

    But I also wonder how the questions were framed--sometimes, if you're looking for sensationalist answers you can elicit them. Like if you ask "have you EVER been too tired to have sex," you're going to get a high number (if people are honest) that doesn't necessarily mean no one's bothering to do the deed anymore.

    Still, it's depressing how "normal" being completely sedentary is getting these days.

  4. Well cranky some people like acrobatic sex...HA!

    Great post!

  5. Honestly, it's easy to blame lack of a sex life on your fitness level. Because you can presumaly change that. If the people are generally jerks, they're not going to know it.

    The increase in population could reflect better advancements in fertility therapy, or in immigration. It didn't say that the birth rate increased (or maybe it did, I just read your summary).

  6. I think a far more serious problem is being overlooked here: not watching tv because you can't figure out which of four remotes to use and need a cheat sheet in order to put on a DVD. Between the home theatre, the LCD TV, the Roku, the PS3, the VCR, DVD player, and the Wii, I am "the only mom in second grade who can't put on a movie." I think we need a study of THAT. For recreation, I am forced to stick with blogging, Zumba, and sex.

  7. Actually I think the influence of immigrant populations on the birthrate of European countries is both sound and fascinating science. You see the same effect here - of the immigrants influencing the native culture (in addition to the inverse) - just on a more localized scale. But you're right - the studies taken together do make for weird reading. My main takeaway from the British laziness study is respect that respondents were so honest!! I'm wondering if British survey takers are more honest than their US counterparts...

  8. Charlotte, I agree -- the immigrant birth rate affected the results. (Though only half of the increase was traced back to immigrants giving birth, so some Brits must have said 'to hell with the remote.')

    It would be interesting to read the effects of immigrants on a particular country. All I can think of at the moment is how the cuisine is taken up by the main population -- but then it's modified to fit the general palate. American Chinese food, or American pizza, etc., are different from their source foods.

  9. I found that last one hilarious. The guy who filed the suit sounds completely nuts.

  10. The Brit study - it could really drive one quite mad, couldn't it?

    And no address for God? No wonder I'm having trouble getting through.

  11. Remind me to skip Britain when I finally go abroad!

    That Hot Dog pic is seriously creepy... almost as creepy as Bratz Dolls. This comment as my witness my future children will never be allowed to play with those creepy @ss things!!!!

  12. I heard that story about increasing birthrates in Britain last night on NPR, too. Weird. I don't think it's lack of sex. Rather, the recently extended pub times are probably to blame. Or maybe that's why birth rates are going up. So confucius!

    And I really do believe that the Onion's story on dolphins growing opposable thumbs is true. Or at least hope that it is.

  13. Vanna White got the job turning letters on Wheel of Fortune because Merv liked her oversize head! True that :-)

  14. I love conflicting studies...makes my job seems so meaningflul. No wait... :)

    I find it funny that people are too lazy to have sex. Seriously? Are they up to great feats of sexxual gymnastics...or just not really having good sex. Hmmm...

    I find the more I exercise the know.
    Works for me.

  15. I heard that about Vana White, but never confirmed it. It could be like the one about Jamie Lee Curtis that runs around and everyone things is true, but has no backing to it.
    Ah, the joys of the telephone game. Everything gets distorted. I don't even want to go into how journalists screw up a perfectly clear article. Frustrating.

  16. I'd heard about Jamie Lee Curtis from a teacher in Biology class. But he didn't mention how he knew, so maybe it was hearsay.
    (In case you haven't heard this particular rumor, JLC is supposedly a genetic male. There are some conditions where the male hormones aren't expressed. In these cases, the fetus develops as a female by default.)

  17. This one:

    was making the rounds a few years ago & had some VERY ardent supporters who apparently cannot grasp the concept of satire.

  18. "Mr Chambers, a state senator for 38 years, said he filed the suit to make the point that "anyone can sue anyone else, even God"."
    Which begs the question: can he be sued for wasting taxpayers' money?

  19. the overseas women in Britain is probably a bit confusing. i think first generation immigrants don't actually interact that much with the culture(s) of the people already living in Britain. they often live quite separate lives in separate communities.

  20. OK, thx for the fun & laughs. Way too much. AND, I always wondered about those heads on the Bratz dolls!

  21. It's true about Vanna! I heard Merv Griffin say it in an interview about why he hired her.

  22. And I though Barbie was bad for a child's self!!!!

  23. No, no, clearly Barbie is /much/ more healthy for children. She has a very /small/ head ;)

    I have to say, there are a lot of immigrant women around the suburbs of Portland. And while they may tend to cook good, healthy immigrant food at home (immigrant food is almost invariably more healthy than the Standard American Diet), yet while they're out and about they still tend to use American forms of transportation, i.e. they don't walk much, and as far as I can see their young children tend to beg for McDonald's rather than healthy home-cooked food. And so they eat the food along with their kids.

    Mind you, not all immigrant food is more healthy. I spent the weekend listening to horror stories about Ukranian raw fish delicacies and similar foods.

  24. Super late response.

    Hilarious and great post.

    Love the poetry!

  25. Great post...I love the Bratz link.

    As for the British birth rate studies, I'm thinking there are other factors at play. Theoretically, people could be having less sex than they were five years ago, but with no contraception. That would increase the likelihood of pregnancy, and could explain the disparate results.


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