Friday, May 28, 2010

Oil in perspective

Images of oil-- picturing scale

I am trying to construct a narrative that is large enough to encompass the new facts and ensuing time since the Deep Horizon oil rig explosion and the unfolding disaster began in the gulf of Mexico.

I gather that the trouble started because they were attempting to cap the oil well.   Some report this was an exploratory drill that was to be capped and then possibly returned to in the future.  Others say that the  well was disappointingly "unproductive"and British Petroleum (BP) who bought the rights to this oil field wanted to move the oil rig elsewhere in the gulf.  Reportedly it costs $500,000 per day for BP to rent an oil rig from its owner Transocean Ltd, and, running the operation costs another $ 500,000 per day so, one day and  ~$ 1million gets the crude oil out of the ground (water).   Thus, the amount of oil we see spewing into the gulf waters via webcam was, prior to April 20, 2010, "trivial" relative to some level of profitability and consumption.  At day 35 in this ecological, humanitarian, economic, political, and moral disaster, lack of oil production is not the problem.

Looking for ways to chip in and help I donated money to Audubon and then 34 more days have passed. In an effort match the personal response needed or, at the very least, visualize it, I thought perhaps I should reduce my own daily consumption (and that of my less enthusiastic family members) by the amount this represents.  This led me to review some basic facts and then try to shake these into some pattern that I could work with.  What I have is not a coherent story but a pile of shattered fragments that, taken together, are unbelievable.

A barrel of crude oil is 42 gallons. Out of every 100 measures of liquid crude oil one would get about 40 measures of gasoline (or about 40% of crude oil is gasoline). Chemical means have allowed us to increase this proportion by breaking larger hydrocarbons or combining smaller ones to make more gasoline.

What is flowing out of that 21 inch diameter pipe is crude oil-- at a rate that was, until yesterday reported to be 5000 to 100,000 barrels per day or 210,000 to 4,200,000 US gallons.  However according to the Associate Press reports today two separate teams of experts using different methods report that 17 million to 39 million gallons of oil have leaked thus far (1/2-1 million gallons per day).
So how much is that? 

In America we use 20 billion barrels of oil per day.
A billion is a thousand million or 1,000,000,000.
Of this total, 9 billion barrels per day is used in cars.  In the more familiar measure this is ~390 billion gallons per day of gasoline.
The ANWR reserve in Alaska that we keep almost drilling, "drill baby drill", is estimated to have 10.4 billion barrels of oil total. As someone pointed out, not enough for a day.
The oil field in the gulf that was tapped by the Deep Horizon was estimated by BP to have a total of 50 million barrels (7.9×10^6 m3) of oil prior to the blowout.  When BP submitted documents for permits they estimated 160,000 barrels per day as "worst case scenario". These were updated by them to 240,000 barrels per day.  Thus, presumably unless the fish get mechanically inclined we may have a calculable, albeit tragic, end point.  No, I do not know why I would believe that number was credible.

The largest oil spill in history was not the Exxon Valdez with the paltry 11 million (mind your zeros) gallons (not barrels) it was a 10 month long spill in Mexico.

BP has accepted responsibility for the oil spill and the cleanup costs, but indicated they are not at fault as the platform was run by Transocean personnel.
Haliburton corp (yes, they do seem to do everything and be everywhere) put the cement in the well pipes 20 hours prior to the explosion and were to put in a final cement cap so that the well could be re-tapped in the future if it became more profitable to do so.

A group of BP executives were on board the platform celebrating the project's safety record when the blowout occurred;[46] they were injured but survived.

The US coastguard discovered the spill on April 22.
On April 23 BP sent a remotely operated vehicle and reported there was no oil leakage. The coast guard agreed.
On April 24 the coast guard said there was a leak.
As of May 2, 2010, BP had sent six remotely operated underwater vehicles to close the blowout preventer valves, but all attempts were ultimately unsuccessful.
Oil was known to be leaking into the gulf from three different locations. On May 5, BP announced that the smallest of three known leaks had been capped. This did not reduce the amount of oil flowing out, but it did allow the repair group to focus their efforts on the two remaining leaks.[103]
On May 18, 2010, CBS reporter Kelly Cobiella tried to visit the beaches in the Gulf of Mexico to report on the disaster. She was met by BP contractors and American Coast Guard officers who threatened her with arrest if she did not leave. The Coast Guard officials specified that they were acting under the authority of BP.[98]
On May 19, scientists monitoring the spill with the European Space Agency Envisat radar satellite stated that oil reached the Loop Current, which flows clockwise around the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida, and may reach Florida within 6 days
On May 20, 2010 (one month or 30 days) the US secretary of the interior stated that the U.S. government will verify how much oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico
On May 14, engineers began the process of positioning a riser insertion tube tool at the largest oil leak site. After three days, BP reported the tube was working. Since then, collection rates have varied daily between 1,000 and 5,000 barrels (42,000 and 210,000 US gallons; 160,000 and 790,000 litres), the average being 2,000 barrels (84,000 US gallons; 320,000 litres) a day,
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, the chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming discovers that there is a video clip of the oil leak on Youtube and demands BP release video footage and feed to US government.
May 21 tube removed so BP can "close the well".
At this point BP continues to report spill rates of 5000 barrels per day.
On May 25, a scheduled flyover was denied permission after BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.[99]
PBS' "Newshour" converted a video feed from BP to make it work on most Web browsers and has made that available for free.
May 26th BP starts the "top kill" operation
On May 27, U.S. Coast Guard reports that BP engineers had succeeded in stopping the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. He further stated that the well still has low pressure, but cement will be used to cap the well permanently as soon as the pressure hits zero.[114]

Tonight we learned that the US government and BP officials reported to the news media that "things" were going well with the newest operation to stop the oil spill by blocking the pipe with mud and concrete from above.  These reports were provided to us when in fact the operation stopped at 11 pm the previous evening.  Incredibly, this means the US government is relying on BP to provide valid and timely information.  Couldn't the US government wiretap BP officials or constrain them in some way to operate under surveillance? Perhaps it is a trend in the right direction insofar as the lifespan of lies is less than 12 hours.

Seven fisherpeople of the gulf were taken to hospital today with what was deemed toxic effects of oil and dehydration. Thus, all private (or non-corporate) boats working to mitigate the effects of the oil spill were called back to shore.

Two additional relief wells are being drilled into the oil field to reduce the pressure. These will take 2-3 months before they will be able to contribute significantly to the solution.

The head of the Mining agency resigned today. It was cited that this agency was given tickets to ballgames by BP and shared computer porn.

All the means of prevention that are standard in other countries we do not employ- cost you know.

I will keep up my calculations to see if I can figure out means to express the amount of oil as percent of daily energy use or car drives or something that we can respond. I do know that I want people to stop telling me their response is adequate unless they are closing the well or washing birds. Our leadership needs to get the data, get in charge, and then give us all a way to take this disaster and make a commitment to lower cost (lower environmentally costly) fuels and reduced consumption. High oil prices in 2008 reduced our use and changed our habit in one month. For example, Americans travel 7 billion miles per day but with hike in gas prices we reduced our miles driven by 9.6 billion in the 31 days of May 2008.

We act like we cannot change. Its simply impossible to expect sacrifices in terms of energy or the need to use petrochemicals and coals. But, the people that live in LA, FL, AL, are sacrificing again, with everything and maybe a few of us could make life changing moves too. To reduce the risks of oil spills, oil wars, loss of integrity and oh, yes, global warming.

With great sorrow I see so many dirty hands and shortcuts from years of the same until its normalized.

Let me know if this is useful to you or what you think would help tell the story better.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Education revolution from TED series

This is an entertaining and activating talk on education that may resonate with you. He offers some useful and powerful mental images to help illustrate his points.

As we work with some incredible people to create/design tailored education for our daughter the term "community-based" education seems apt.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Notecards available at Joes Pond Crafts

Wonderful new images in the spring-summer collection. This year I have been focusing on botanical images and birds.  I keep finding new favorites with each batch scanned.  I've been making prints and they come out very well.  Check out the New-BirdsNew-Potpourri, and New Gardens galleries.

Deb Stresing picked a fine group for her shop in West Danville Vermont- Joe's Pond Crafts on Route 2.  The entire group she picked is in a special gallery for you to see go to gallery of Notecards on sale at Joes pond.  She is happy to order more and you can also order via the website.

Joes Pond Crafts is a lovely place in a big old barn that features local artists work with a Vermont theme. Check it out.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

International Health

RSS Justmeans Health editorial  This is an editorial by Ano Lobb MPH on the JustMeans site (social entrepreneur website) that was posted today.  I was asked to do a technical review of the methods and content and given a chance to weigh in. For many people it is a shock to find out that all the discussion about the burden of disease and mortality are estimates because most countries to not have a system in place to count deaths. It seems like a simple thing to do but has not been given priority.  
International health study measures global mortality 
Posted On: May 20
international-health-mortalityA new international health study in The Lancet attempts to answer a seemingly simple question: What are the leading causes of death for children under age 5? That death rate is an often-used measure in international health, and reducing it is a UN Millennium Development Goal. The good news: despite a growing population, total deaths declined between 2000 and 2008 from 10.6 million to 8.8 million. Other interesting, if somewhat despair-inducing figures:
  • Of the estimated 8.8 million deaths in children 5 years or younger, 68% were from infectious disease, including pneumonia (18%), diarrhea (15%) and malaria (8%).
41% of death occurred in neonates (under 1 month), with preterm complications (12%), birth asphyxia (9%), and sepsis (6%) being the leading causes.

Different high-death regions have different mortality profiles, with most deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occurring in those 1 month to 5 years, while deaths in China and India occurring more frequently in neonates.

In developed areas, genetic causes are a notable cause, something not widely seen, or at least reported or measured, in the developing world.

The methods of this paper are nearly as telling as the results. International health studies often report death rates, but deaths are not routinely counted in most of the world. Consequently, the authors present an exquisite flow chart with 33 different boxes depicting how they calculated their estimates. North America, parts of South America, Europe, Russia, Oman, Australia and New Zealand are the only areas routinely recording births and deaths. For the vast majority of the rest of world, some form of "verbal autopsy" is used as the basis for death estimates. In other words, asking a parent or family member, or perhaps health worker, what they think a child died from. International health expert Sharon McDonnell, MD, MPH, reviewed the paper for Justmeans.

"The verbal autopsy doesn't bother me so much," said Dr. McDonnell, whose career spans several decades with senior positions at both WHO and CDC. "It can be better than what is on paperwork via registries, so it doesn't necessarily speak to the quality of the data. It's often gathered at community level going door to door so it can be more likely to get accurate population estimates compared to health facility estimates."

Political factors also can't be overlooked in international health.

"The reporting of deaths in any way simply relates to whether the government has a system to count people. Most systems to count people were developed to tax them or send them to the military, sp there's little incentive to be counted on the part of the population. Westerners have a cultural frame of democracy and representation- having a voice. In many places you really don't want to stand out or be heard, it's best to blend in. Imagine the picture: a poor woman goes to a government official and says "my baby died". The official says "yes, so?"

"Until action and compassion are tied to reporting it is unlikely and almost irrelevant."

Photo credit: The Lancet

Friday, May 21, 2010

Health through imagery -- Laughter is so good even animals do it

A blog for friends that need a laugh. We all need reminding sometimes.
I have some favorites in this new gallery but I shall pick "high spirits" to head up the group

He was an 6 week old pup and an orphan that was  brought out to the house. Oh what a smile.

Laughter-- Another one of the traits we considered uniquely human but, has been found in a much broader array of the animal kingdom.  Rats, even rats... you have to see the video of the scientist who finally figured it out and recorded it.
Rats laughing- Youtube

Laughter is communicable-- infectious perhaps? It is a "resilience factor"-- in contrast to a risk factor. It increases resilience and protects our health.  It is better than aerobic exercise, it creates social bonds and releases all sorts of positive biochemicals that mitigate stress and improve immune function.

Rather than wait for a reason or the mood to laugh, since it is infectious, you just need to play a tape of people laughing and you will laugh. I swear its true. I bought a DVD to put on around the house. You can test it yourself because, of course, there is a website where you can listen to laughter.
Listen to Laughter and try not to laugh! 

Check out the other motley crew of expressive laughing animals in the gallery- just click on the link-   Health through imagery Animals-Laughing.

Also Check out the Radio Lab episode  on laughter if you have not heard it.
Radiolab on Laughter

Try if you can-- wishing you well


Monday, May 17, 2010

Visual aids to help talk to your medical team when times are tough

Health Through Imagery
Pictures to aid communication

For Bruce Dan

Bruce, perhaps these images can act as communication aids with your care team.  We could give you a whole range of emoto-animals that your team could use to gauge your mood and open-mindedness to things like early morning awakenings and another dose of benadryl.  
The Remarkable and intensely expressive bird on the top is an Egyptian eagle.  She has the look of disapproval down to an art form.  The hair style helps.

The menacing open-mouthed bird below the first bird is a Red Shouldered Hawk.  This is a look that I consider in the category of "baring ones teeth" and may allow some topics to just "poof".... dissipate. "No, no benadryl" or whatever.
If necessary you can ramp it up and do the high pitched screeching noise they make when they look like this. Guaranteed to be taken seriously.

Many Jungian practitioners consider it a good idea for us to practice acting like different animals as a way for to extend our physical and emotional range.   Its not my place to say you should try acting from your inner predator but, who am I to argue with Jung.

On a more positive note, check out our Gallery called  Birds -- yoga, bathing, and fitness
They are funny, earnest, and surprising.  Maybe when you feel a bit better you can try some of the avian aqua yoga too.

But for now we will hold you in the light.  I hope your days are more restful and less dramatic.

Love from all of us Sharon,Gib,Natalya, and the crew in northern Vermont.
PS- got to use some data from TSS case while teaching the other day. We were reviewing epicurves.

For Karen, a friend entering breast cancer therapy

Health advice:  It is important to move about, stretch, and look silly as part of your health regimen.  This particular example is avian aqua yoga a natural method for stretching and strengthening  muscles and bones.  It is done by advanced practitioners in little pools of water presumably to stay cool.  Splash about and raise a wave.

Pull your arms way up over your head--a salute to the sun, practice balance and looking tall.

Note: Your hair looks much better than theirs however, a little suit of feathers might cheer you up and the silver shoes on the Baltimore Oriole could be just the ticket to feeling less vulnerable around oncologists and chemotherapy.  If we can be any help procuring the various accoutrement just say so.

We are thinking of you. If you want more health advice from the little creatures just let me know.

To see more from the Gallery Birds -- yoga, bathing, and fitness

oh and as a former southerner check out the audiobook 'the help" (see previous blog) if you are cooling your heels in waiting rooms.

Best Sharon, Gib, and Natalya

Kind words and light to Karen

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Help- Kathryn Stockett Audio on Amazon

This is a great read but, even better, it is a fantastic listen.  It was heartily recommended by a friend with the specific instructions that I should get the audio version.  Part way through the book she had to buy the audio version so she could keep "reading" while she drove cross country.   She recommended that I go directly to that version and, she was right, as usual.   I do not think my imagination could have done justice to the richness of the voices that these women, the readers and the author have created. Natalya and I have been listening to it over and over as we drive back and forth and back and forth and back and.... well, you get the idea, to Maine.  We are working on respectable imitations of the voices we have heard.

One of the rewards is the chance through the story to talk deep history with my daughter.  Another is to remember those years-- to feel, again, the nuanced but unyielding divisions that existed; maintained through thousands of tiny gestures and unspoken supports.  At the risk of playing into some horrible cultural gaffe let me say that my ears were hungry for the timbre, rhythm, and resonance of a black woman's voice.  

It is a kind book, one that makes me stop short when I realize I cannot talk about it with my mother. A heart stopping realization. There was such pleasure in finding things that I knew down to the marrow  of my bones would make her laugh or cry.   There is so much to it and savoring all that is in it, even the hard parts, is a pleasure.  We would have, my mother and I, talked about all the invisible lines, the guy wires that support a terrible injustice making it huge, impossible to ignore, and obscenely invisible.  A society spends enormous energy pretending not to see large injustices. There is a next wave of the civil rights movement that belongs to those of us that are of "mostly-European-American" race.

There is much to be said about race and class. Regrettably, it has become difficult to talk about and therefore to learn. I believe Ms. Stockett has contributed to the possibility of conversation. 

Have you read the book?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nature Photography:  Grandma peels back the curtain

Gay wrote naturalist picture stories as letters to her grandchildren. Fortunately, most of Gay's grandchildren liked icky things like bugs and snakes.  During visits to Missouri one grandchild or another would come in beaming and grubby opening his/her hands saying "look what I found grandma".  Gay would peer down, finding frogs, insects, slugs, little turtles, snakes, cocoons, or some other little form of life. She would gasp with wonder and pleasure, clap her hands and either name it in Latin or run for the right guide.  What a pleasure! Then she would tell some outrageous fact about the creature-- science fiction has nothing on science for really great stories.

This is a story about the Rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus,  
also known as a grass snake or whip snake.    
We have added a few details to her original story (in blue).   

By Gay Bumgarner October 2004
and Friends May 2010 
"The other day in the garden I found two one inch by 1/2 inch white blob-like things. At first I thought they were mushrooms but I couldn't see a stem and the shape wasn't right.  I picked them up.
They were firm but not hard, a little sticky, and they actually did feel like mushrooms. They were eggs,  snake eggs!  I wasn't sure exactly what kind but I figured they would be interesting to watch and photograph so I moved them inside to my terrarium (that little world in the glass box upstairs in the guest bedroom/ studio) so I could watch the whole thing unfold.  I spent some time looking in the books to be sure what I could expect to see and what "it" might need. I called my friends and experts in the vivarium world and was given the advice that they were most likely green snake eggs or ring neck snakes.

I went upstairs often to look in on them and see what was happening. I wasn't sure how fast they might hatch since I didn't know how long ago they were laid.   On the third day I saw this little face peering out.  cute!

It was a Rough green snake, alert, looking around, sticking out its tongue (smelling), and taking its first glimpse of the world. It breaks through (pip) by making a tear on the side of the egg with its egg tooth.  I set up my cameras waiting for more action but, amazingly, it stayed right there in the egg for two days.  It would pull his/her head back or poke it out but, seemed to be quite content.  I wasn't sure if it was waiting, building up its strength, or even stuck, I wondered, should I rescue it-- Snake Midwife?  The other one did the same thing and for awhile they both had their heads poking out looking at each other and the world. 

Eventually they came out.  It was about the size of a small worm with a thread-like tail.

When I put my finger down toward him to see if I could touch him this is how he responded.  Adorable just like a big snake.

He wanted to frighten away whatever this "threat" was. As you can see he has no teeth and he is quite harmless but he is putting on a good show and sometimes the show is everything.  Both eggs hatched and I returned them to the garden where I found the eggs.  Rough green snakes are arboreal and live in trees which is unusual in the US.  Their green color helps them hide among the leaves in trees.  When the wind blows they purposely wave their bodies like a branch. In fact when these snakes hang on branches, they maintain rapid, rhythmic, side to side head movements.  Some say these motions enhance the snakes vision and ability to see in three-dimensional range, some say it helps them hide.  I say it definitely makes them look cool.

In this very brief video clip by the state of Missouri you can see the head movements of the baby snake.

Even more exciting..... a couple of days ago Ben my garden helper saw a bobcat in the shed up in  the woods.  I find this very exciting since bobcats are hard to see especially since they are nocturnal (stay up all night). THE END.

I love you all
Mother-grandmother Gay"

Thanks to Sharon McDonnell, Suzanne Rhodes, Meg Harper, Karen Joyce and Natalya McDonnell for editing, expertise, and questions.

Additional Questions from our editorial board and readers:
1. Snakes in eggs?  
Yes. Some snakes are born from eggs that are laid outside the mother.  Other egg-laying snakes besides the rough green snake are black rat snakes, bullsnakes, kingsnakes, racers, worm snakes, ring-necked snakes.  As a more "evolved" or advanced alternative there are snakes that retain their young inside their bodies in yolk sacs until they are completely developed.  These include water snakes, garter snakes, brown snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and rattlesnakes.

Mother Green snakes can can keep the eggs in their bodies until they are almost ready to hatch or lay them.  The longer they are in their mother the more quickly they hatch because they stay warmer.  So, if you see an egg on the ground it might hatch in 4 days or 2 months. 

2. They stay in the eggs? Is that typical? Aren't they are hungry or restless?
Female Rough green snakes sometimes lay their eggs in communal sites on the ground or in the holes of trees. As a young snake develops within the egg, a small egg tooth grows on the tip of its snout; the snake uses this tooth to slit the shell when hatching and then sheds it after hatching.
Baby snakes may stay in the egg for 48 to 72 hours after pipping, in order to absorb the remainder of the yolk sac.

3. What do baby green snakes eat? Did Gay have to bring them food?
These snake east all sorts of soft bodied or hairless insects (including moths, butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers, and many caterpillars) and spiders.  A snake will find prey by vision or the chemosensory systems on it's tongue.  Since these snakes are not venomous, nor constrictors and don't have teeth they simply grab, gum, and swallow.  There is a video of this on YouTube that involves a cricket that I spared you.

Yes, Gay fed them little crickets and mealworms before she put them back in the wild. Yummm.

4. If this is a rough green snake is there a smooth green snake?
You betcha. Rough and smooth depend on whether they have scales (rough) also known as keels.

5. They live in trees?
As the University of PA site points out, the name of this wee green snake is very informative.  "It is a “serpent” (“ophios”) that lives in trees (“drys”) that is active in the warm months of summer (“aestivus”)".  They like climbing branches to high sunny spots to keep warm.  But, they are comfortable on the ground and if they need to they can swim quite well too.

6. Any good links if I want more information about green snakes?
a. Animal world pictures and backround on rough green snake
b.  Pennsylvania University site on rough green snake

Want to see a picture of a copperhead? Picture of copperhead snake
How about a funny snake picture?  Snake and dragonfly
If you have more questions or would like us to explore your favorite animal or natural event please send us a suggestion in the comments.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Welcome to first health through imagery blog Join us. If you want to see  background about the health through imagery project check it out at this link:  Health through Imagery described

You can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without finding a cacophony of dogmatic information about what to eat, how many miles to walk each day, and the latest magic pill that will ensure you a long and healthy life.   Confused? Here’s the good news:  Your life (or lifestyle) is more or less what makes you healthy.  Not to take anything away from professional health care,  but your health is in your own hands, no expertise needed.  In fact, many of your urges and pleasures are not sinful but are actually good for you and part of your own unique recipe to produce “health”, well being, and vitality.

Health advice via experts is not universally healthful. Trust me about this.  I am a health expert.  In part this is because advice about things like nutrition (aka eating), exercise (moving about or playing) may be based on science that is likely to change dramatically. Frequently these dictates are also difficult to follow because they are hard to comprehend and hard to do.

 As an example, in 2007 Gary Taube wrote a mind-changing article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine called “Science and the Stairmaster:  Why most of us believe that exercise makes us thinner—and why we’re wrong”.   This article uproots every deeply held notion about the relationship of exercise, eating, and weight loss and its validity has been consistently confirmed.  In summary: “….despite half a century of efforts to prove otherwise, scientists still can’t say that exercise will help keep off the pounds. This is not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons to be physically active . . . But there’s no reason to think that we will lose any significant amount of weight, and little reason to think we will prevent ourselves from gaining it.”

Oh no! Another magic bullet gone the way of bran, Vitamin E, margarine, low fat diets, and sugar substitutes.  Could the essential flaw be our powerful desire to reduce health to that single magic bullet?  Instead of holding out for just one thing that will save or change our lives perhaps instead we need a variety of them, many of them fun things that make us feel good.

As pleasing as a simple linear relationship might be—food in, weight out—it doesn’t seem to be true.  We live in relationship, in dynamic interaction with our cellular and universal environments. The science of health proves over and over that humans are complex systems and social animals.  The answer to our ongoing search for good health will be multifaceted and include what we think, if we love, if our lives have pleasure, if we eat real food and drink water.  The commonsensical but scientifically grounded words of Michael Pollen about eating, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” strikes just the right tone.

In this spirit, as a nearly reformed health expert, I offer the following advice: Start and stick with things that consistently make you feel fit, able, and energetic, no matter what the experts say.  Become an expert about yourself.

As an example of how we each need to feel our way to health, let’s continue with advice about exercise.  In animal studies, if Animal #1 enjoys running on its treadmill it will benefit from the exercise. However, if animal #2 is obliged to run every time animal #1 does, Animal #2 not only doesn’t necessarily benefit from the exercise but also may actually be at greater risk of ill health from such things as ulcers and cardiovascular disease. Exercising against your will, when it is a duty, may actually be bad for you. (ref R Sapolsky) Animal #2 may love to square dance or make rock pathways, laugh out-loud or god-forbid, read.  

In the particular environment of a person’s life, any one of these things may contribute to well being.  Thus, the best advice about exercise and your health must come from you and it depends on how you “feel” about that exercise.  Apparently the more it resembles fun or play the more contributes to your health and happiness.

Coming next…. The nearest thing to a magic bullet—social connection or “lets make friends”.


Reference links

  1. Gary Taube- New York Times Sunday Magazine, Science and the stairmaster:  Why most of us believe that exercise makes us thinner—and why we’re wrong (
  2. Robert Sapolsky- multiple sources. A fun one is a podcast he has made on his excellent book “Why Zebras don’t get ulcers” and another on what baboons can teach about stress us available from Stanford University for free download at:  Sapolsky podcast
  3. Micheal Pollen newest book "Food Rules" is fun, well written and scientifically sound. Great for kids or adults.