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Posts Tagged ‘television’

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?

My Favourite Blog Right Now

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

It is election time in Canada (again), which means a plethora of poll data is just waiting to be analyzed by journalists, pundits and, well me.

So since I like numbers and statistics, my favourite blog for the rest of the month will be TheeHundredEight.com

ThreeHundredEight.com

This site amalgamates poll data and gives a projection of the next parliament. It is also updated every day so you can obsess over stats every single morning!

Now, I know Canadian politics does not have the animosity, craziness, stupidity or entertainment value of American politics, but that is something we Canadians should be proud of; even if its less fun to watch on TV.

While this site may only be interesting to my readers who occupy the intersection of this Venn diagram:

which should be what? Like, 8 people? 12? Meh, whatever. The site also gives poll data by province and even by riding, so even if you don’t like stats you may be interested in seeing which way the wind is blowing in your area.

Since I live in Alberta, and I am a bleeding heart left-wing hippy (which is how conservatives try to paint anyone who is not conservative), my vote will pretty much be useless. But I will still vote for poops and giggles.

Actually, The Globe and Mail also has a nice summary of the party platforms on its website. It is being continually updated as well, so keep an eye on that if you want a nice summary of the different platforms.

Hurray for democracy! And statistics!

SURVEY SAYS… More Female Star Trek Fans Than Male

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Image via Wikimedia

A blog called Subspace Communique took an online poll of Star Trek fans in preparation for publishing a book called ‘The Anthropology of Star Trek’. The poll garnered 5041 participants and focused on how Star Trek fans view themselves and how  much they participate in Star Trek fan culture.

Most of the results were not surprising; 67% said they would be more involved in Star Trek culture if they had the money; 82% felt that their involvment in Star Trek fandom was “average to below average”; 43% said they refer to themselves as a “trekkie”.

But the most surprising result? 57% of the fans were female! I know, right!?

Now, the skeptic inside me wants to say things like, “Probably just more females were willing to take the survey”. But I’m going to tell that part of me to shut-up for now, and try to imagine how much different high school would have been if more girls were into Star Trek back then.

While I enjoy that fantasy, you can watch this video of a girl clearly OK with her Star Trek obsession. Enjoy!

‘A Dance With Dragons’ To Be Released on July 12!

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Yes, after 5 years since “A Feast for Crows” was published, George RR Martin has finished the 5th book in his Song of Ice and Fire series, entitled “A Dance with Dragons”!

The news was announced today on Martin’s webpage, and later confirmed on the Tor homepage.

Fans have been waiting a long time for this book, and it seems like a good time to release it as well. The first book, ‘A Game of Thrones’ has been adapted as an HBO series and will have its first episode shown on April 17.

A big year for Martin, and his fans. A lot of people are going to be excited about this one!

Fascinating!

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Want to make your day better? Watch Spock say “fascinating” 46 times in 91 seconds.

CBC Marketplace Crushes Homeopathy

January 15, 2011 6 comments

Homeopathy is bull. 100% pure organic bull.

And for once, reality TV delivered everything I had hoped for.

An episode of CBC’s Marketplace aired tonight puts homeopathy to the test. I watched it, and I still can’t believe how happy I was with the episode.

I was expecting some science with mostly woo trying to make a “balanced” view for the story. Boy was I pleasantly surprised.

In this weeks episode, CBC Marketplace host Erica Johnson heads out to try and find the evidence of efficacy behind homeopathy. What she finds is excuses, loopholes and shrugging shoulders.

One homeopath even went so far as to warrant the treatment of stage 1 breast cancer with homeopathy. A claim met with (unexpected) skepticism from this TV show. How does it work? “We’re not really sure” she replied. Are you freakin’ kidding me!?!

The episode also featured a piece about a group from the Canadian group from the Centre for inquiry, a skeptic group, who went outside a Vancouver hospital and purposefully overdosed on a variety of homeopathic medicines. The result? Yeah they’re fine.

But as one of them pointed out, the real tragedy would be if someone gave their child homeopathic medicines instead of real medicine. In fact, homeopaths are selling “vaccines” for a huge range of diseases, including whooping-cough and, yes even polio. Are you freakin’ kidding me!?!

Homeopathic remedies have no active ingredient. None, whatsoever. They have been diluted to the point that no single pill has any active ingredient in them. To think that these pills could actually have any effect on the body is ludicrous. Yet because of tradition, these medicines have been given credence and even legitimacy by the Canadian government.

It is incredibly irresponsible of our government to give this kind of credibility to a product that, well, has no credibility! Its crap!

Homeopathy has been debunked time, and time, and time again. It has no credible science behind it, no logic behind it, and now it doesn’t even have the CBC behind it (whom I have criticized of late).

So great job CBC. Hopefully Ontario takes the hint and will get rid of its plans to regulate the sale of homeopathic medicine and call it “witchcraft” like the British government.

Update: You can now watch the full CBC Marketplace episode of  “Cure or Con” here.

Support Cookie Monster’s Bid to Host SNL

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I love Cookie Monster, and I’m on board.

You can join the Facebook group here to support the cause. Pass it on!