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Does TV Watching Make You Sick? Not Exactly…

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment
File:Televison Hungarian ORION 1957.jpg

Beware! It might kill you! Photo Credit: Istvan Takacs

I’m a little annoyed with some headlines hitting a few news websites today:

TV Watching Raises Risk of Health problems, dying young

Excess TV time linked to early death

TV time tied to death, diabetes risk

The stories are talking about a study getting published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association

The study is a meta-analysis of 8 studies over the past 40 years which look at the correlation between watching television and risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study found, unsurprisingly, that increased television watching was correlated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The pooled relative risks per 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 1.20 (95% CI, 1.14-1.27) for type 2 diabetes, 1.15 (95% CI, 1.06-1.23) for fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and 1.13 (95% CI, 1.07-1.18) for all-cause mortality.

In layman’s terms, this means that for each 2 hours of television watched per day, risk of type 2 diabetes increased by about 20%, risk of developing fatal or non-fatal heart disease increased by about 15%, and risk of dying of any cause increased by about 13%.

So does watching TV make you sick? Not exactly.

I’m not doubting the results of the study, though they should be taken with the usual grain of salt that should be taken with all epidemiological studies.

They are observational studies, not controlled studies in a lab. There are many variables which can influence the results.

That being said, the results of the study are not surprising and I have every confidence that there is truth in there.

But the media takes these types of studies, gives them a sensationalized headline and doesn’t put them in the proper context.

Watching TV does not make you sick; being lazy makes you sick. What this study is really showing is that watching TV correlates to a lazy lifestyle.

There’s nothing wrong with kicking back and watching some Star Trek reruns or even *groan* Dancing with the Stars. Just make sure you go out for a jog now and then. Or play some basketball. Or just do anything that isn’t sitting around and being lazy!

I’m sure snacking is a big factor in the results of this study as well. No doubt increased time in front of the TV leads to eating more unhealthy foods.

But if you sit in front of the tube and eat baby carrots or oatmeal, then you are probably not at a huge risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.

So if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not necessarily going to die young because TV doesn’t make you sick.

But if you eat a lot of junk food and don’t exercise, then you might die young. But then again, THAT’S not exactly news, is it?

Kurt Russell Auditions For ‘Star Wars’

September 16, 2010 1 comment

Although he is a decent actor, Kurt Russell was not meant to be Han Solo.

I read about this on Moviefone, which recently put together a bunch of interesting screen tests. You can see Dustin Hoffman practice being Tootsie, and Tobey Maguire working out the kinks being Spiderman.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter

August 14, 2010 2 comments

I used to be a Twitter hater. An anti-Twitite, if you will.

I thought it was stupid. I thought “Why do I care what people are doing at every moment of every day?” It made no sense!

Well, eventually I gave in to peer pressure and got myself a Twitter account. It was peer pressure, and it was also because I heard myself say “I don’t understand what the kids are doing these days!”

THAT really freaked me out.

So I got my own Twitter account, fully expecting to find it stupid, inconvenient and irrelevant. My tune changed quite shortly after that.

First I added some famous people. Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Stephen Colbert were among the first.

@StephenAtHome provides insight into current events with a ridiculous right-wing perspective.

@ActuallyNPH provides updates on his life which I find interesting. This completely disproved my thoughts that I would find these updates irrelevant.

@SarahKSilverman gives hilarity, often with too much of a graphic nature.

And there was much more information waiting for me.

I get to know right away when West Jet has a seat sale, or when my favourite bloggers put up a new post.

Me being a science nerd, I kinda like the idea of knowing whats going on at CERN at all times too. Never know when the Higgs boson will be found!

I also like knowing when Bill Nye, my hero growing up, will be making a TV appearance.

So while my own Twitter following leaves something to be desired (I have 11 followers, roughly half of whom I believe are NOT real people), I’m working on increasing my Twitter presence.

(Oh yeah, feel free to follow me!)

So I apologize Twitter, I prejudged. I was afraid of new things, like 90 year old man who can’t work the debit machine.

Perhaps its having all my interests in one place that is the appeal. Perhaps its the fact the information is in (nearly) real-time. Or maybe its because I always wanted people to speak to me in 140 characters or less.

Whatever the reason, in the future I will have more of an open mind to social media and the like. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check my Twitter.

My Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies: #1! And The Winner Is…

August 8, 2010 Leave a comment

#1 – Back to the Future (1985)

Back when you couldn’t download movies and movie stores sometimes didn’t HAVE the VHS tapes you were looking for, I couldn’t get enough of this movie.

So I would rent it. Or rather, I would make my parents rent it for me. Over, and over, and over again. And I could not stop watching it.

Its just an all around fantastic movie. Its funny, exciting, and assuming time travel were actually possible, the causality paradoxes are somewhat, umm.. realistic?

Back to the Future recently turned 25, and its aged quite well. I still find myself watching it over and over again. Still laughing at how Doc Brown looks exactly the same in 1955 and 1985, and at Biff’s ultimate demise.

So building a time machine into a DeLorean was a great idea Doc Brown. It lead to two more BTTF movies as well; the second wasn’t that great, but part three in the old west was almost as good as the original.

So the great directing of Robert Zemeckis, great acting by Lloyd and Michael J. Fox and a clever script make Back to the Future my favourite science fiction movie of all time. Actually, its my favourite movie of all time in ANY genre.

Well I hope you all enjoyed reading my top 10 sci fi movies of all time (mostly from the 80s). Check them out if you haven’t already. Good times.

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

Full List:

#10 – The Terminator (1984)

#9 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

#8 – The Fifth Element (1997)

#7 – Aliens (1986)

#6 – Blade Runner (1982)

#5 – E.T. (1982)

#4 – Jurassic Park (1993)

#3 – V for Vendetta (2005)

#2 – Star Wars Trilogy (1977 – 1983)

#1 – Back to the Future (1985)

My Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies: #2 – The Star Wars Trilogy

August 7, 2010 Leave a comment

#2 – The Star Wars Trilogy (1977 – 1983)

So this one is a no brainer. Does it even require an explanation? Probably not, but I’m gonna tell you anyway!

So I first saw Star Wars back when you actually had to go to the movie store to rent the VHS tapes. Scary.

I rented the first one, loved it. The next weekend I rented Empire Strikes Back. Of course, I immediately needed to see Return of the Jedi. But when I went back to the store, it was checked out!

Never have I been so distraught at the absence of a movie on the shelf. I had to wait a whole entire week before I could find out what happened to Han Solo after he was encased in Carbonite.

But then again, thats not so bad. Those who saw the movies when they first came out had to wait 3 years to find out what happened to their heroes. But in a small way, I felt their pain.

Of course the Star Wars Trilogy lives on as one of the greatest sci-fi epics of all time. Even though the new trilogy tarnished its image, no one can dispute the epic awesomeness of the original trilogy.

“That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”

Full List:

#10 – The Terminator (1984)

#9 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

#8 – The Fifth Element (1997)

#7 – Aliens (1986)

#6 – Blade Runner (1982)

#5 – E.T. (1982)

#4 – Jurassic Park (1993)

#3 – V for Vendetta (2005)

#2 – Star Wars Trilogy (1977 – 1983)

#1 – Back to the Future (1985)

My Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies: #3 – V for Vendetta

August 6, 2010 1 comment

#3 – V for Vendetta (2005)

Now this is a movie that really polarizes people. Some love it, some hate it.

At the time of its release, our dear departed president George W. Bush was at the height of the news. And he had quite a way of polarizing people as well.

So this movie really took shots at the right-wing. It advocated gay rights, religious rights, and freedom of expression. It also didn’t try very hard to hide the fact that it was directly criticizing the US.

But all that aside, the movie is entertaining. The Wachowski brothers don’t make Oscar-calibre movies, they just make entertaining ones. V is a fantastic character. He is well spoken and can kick ass which I always admire in my action heroes (or anti-heroes).

And I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Natalie Portman (she went to Harvard!), so this movie is right up my alley.

So love it or hate it, ‘V for Vendetta’ made a big impact, and its one of my favourites. So it cracks the top 3 on my Top 10 Sci-Fi Movie list.

“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”

Full List:

#10 – The Terminator (1984)

#9 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

#8 – The Fifth Element (1997)

#7 – Aliens (1986)

#6 – Blade Runner (1982)

#5 – E.T. (1982)

#4 – Jurassic Park (1993)

#3 – V for Vendetta (2005)

#2 – Star Wars Trilogy (1977 – 1983)

#1 – Back to the Future (1985)

My Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies: #4 – Jurassic Park

August 5, 2010 1 comment

#4 – Jurassic Park (1993)

In a science fiction top 10 list, you knew there had to be a couple Spielberg movies in the mix. So now I’ve given you two in a row.

When I was in the 4th grade, I literally watched this movie every single day for about a month. The special effects were incredible (for the time) and they hold up pretty well today as well.

And of course, like every nerdy 4th grade kid, I was pretty into dinosaurs at the time. I think this movie was a major factor in my decision to study science in my future.

The pacing of the movie is perfect, the characters are real and interesting, and the story line actually made it seem plausible that dinosaurs could be genetically engineered.

And the metaphor of losing control of our creation is what I think gives this movie a timeless quality. Its a story that will always be relevant to our daily lives, and thats one of the reasons I think it resonates with a large audience.

“We’ve made living biological attractions so astounding that they’ll capture the imagination of the entire planet.”

 

Full List:

#10 – The Terminator (1984)

#9 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

#8 – The Fifth Element (1997)

#7 – Aliens (1986)

#6 – Blade Runner (1982)

#5 – E.T. (1982)

#4 – Jurassic Park (1993)

#3 – V for Vendetta (2005)

#2 – Star Wars Trilogy (1977 – 1983)

#1 – Back to the Future (1985)