@jeffhargarten

a blog of data, dystopia and despair

  • Scientific Calculations

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  • TV Rankings

    There are too many shows1, certainly way too many to keep track of or ever finish watching.

    But we are in the Golden Age of prestige television, a world where each episode can cost well over $8 million dollars. So getting sucked into the thrills of high-production, serialized storytelling is pretty much unavoidable for me.

    So here’s a ranked of what data shows are my favorite TV programs, including my ranking and its RottenTomatoes score.

    1. Burneko, Albert. “There Are Too Many Shows” Deadspine. September 22, 2017. Link 

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  • The Nutrition Conundrum

    Food is cheap and plentiful in wealthy western countries, so for me to complain about food is pretty offbase, it could be argued.

    But how well are we eating?

    There’s an ocean of conflicting advice from doctors, researchers, regulators, businesses, health gurus and various huxsters trying to make a quick buck off a populace with absolutely zero notion of what a healthy diet actually looks like.

    And I’m one of those people.

    Anecdotally, many of us have seen studies that say any number of foods are carcinogens1, while also being everyday, vital parts of our diet.

    Then there’s the parade of fad diets like Dukan, Atkins, Paleo and other programs aimed at shedding pounds and promoting general health that simply don’t work2. And everyone’s got a dietary plan3 it seems, each claiming to hold the true key to health through property dietary nutrition.

    Much of the consensus is built around the idea that if food tastes good, or is purchased from a store or restaurant, that there’s something inherently wrong with it. For some, unless you’re shaking fresh soil off a piece of organic produce, you’re eating poison.

    It’s rooted in this false concept of “toxins” in the body4 that need to be purged through “detoxes” – because somehow our livers aren’t working hard enough to do that.

    And what about quality of life? If we’re all going to die anyway, why does it matter what we eat or don’t eat, ultimately? Shouldn’t we just enjoy ourselves? Just don’t eat in ways that will cause you suffering down the road, and pay attention to your individual needs rather than broadly prescribed guidelines.

    My solution so far has been simple: everything in moderation. Unless I’m legitimately allergic to it, I’ll eat or drink anything edible – just not too much of it. But even this idea, which seems to work for me, has come under fire5.

    So I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing is safe, nothing is true and if that’s the case, it might as well taste good.

    But that hasn’t stopped me from at least being somewhat conscious of what I’m putting in my body. I’ve successfully eliminated soda and beer from life and drink water, tea and various juices instead. I train every day, walk everywhere and consume calories in balance with what I burn. This simple formula has me feeling much better and more energetic.

    Health gurus might faint dead away at the notion of things being this uncomplicated, but I have to say, at this point, I really don’t care.

    1. Steen, Juliette. “17 Carcinogenic Foods You Probably Eat Every Day” HuffPost. August 16, 2016. Link 

    2. Chan, Amanda. “17 Carcinogenic Foods You Probably Eat Every Day” HuffPost. April 19, 2011. Link 

    3. Thomason, Kristine. “38 popular diets ranked from best to worst” FOX News. January 16, 2016. Link 

    4. Mohammadi, Dara. “You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?” The Guardian. December 5, 2014. Link 

    5. Almendrala, Anna. “Study Reveals That Eating ‘In Moderation’ Is A Fool’s Errand” HuffPost. June 9, 2016. Link 

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