I'm no fan of his company and attitude towards intellectual property, but his cooking efforts are remarkable and unique ... a bit of vision and a boatload of money - and a willingness to lose that money - are a nice combination.
Increasingly physical inactivity is being seen as unhealthy - another interesting study noted in the NY Times.
Hoping to learn more about how inactivity affects disease risk, researchers at the University of Missouri recently persuaded a group of healthy, active young adults to stop moving around so much. Scientists have known for some time that sedentary people are at increased risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. But they haven’t fully understood why, in part because studying the effects of sedentary behavior isn’t easy. People who are inactive may also be obese, eat poorly or face other lifestyle or metabolic issues that make it impossible to tease out the specific role that inactivity, on its own, plays in ill health.
So, to combat the problem, researchers lately have embraced a novel approach to studying the effects of inactivity. They’ve imposed the condition on people who otherwise would be out happily exercising and moving about, in some cases by sentencing them to bed rest.
Yale researcher Dan Kahan and his colleagues set out to study the relationship between political views, scientific knowledge or reasoning abilities, and opinions on contested scientific issues like global warming. In their study, more than 1,500 randomly selected Americans were asked about their political worldviews and their opinions about how dangerous global warming and nuclear power are. But that’s not all: They were also asked standard questions to determine their degree of scientific literacy (e.g, “Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria—true or false?”) as well as their numeracy or capacity for mathematical reasoning (e.g., “If Person A’s chance of getting a disease is 1 in 100 in 10 years, and person B’s risk is double that of A, what is B’s risk?”).
The result was stunning and alarming. The standard view that knowing more science, or being better at mathematical reasoning, ought to make you more accepting of mainstream climate science simply crashed and burned.
Instead, here was the result. If you were already part of a cultural group predisposed to distrust climate science—e.g., a political conservative or “hierarchical-individualist”—then more science knowledge and more skill in mathematical reasoning tended to make you even more dismissive. Precisely the opposite happened with the other group—“egalitarian-communitarians” or liberals—who tended to worry more as they knew more science and math. The result was that, overall, more scientific literacy and mathematical ability led to greater political polarization over climate change—which, of course, is precisely what we see in the polls.
I wonder how conservative one has to be for this effect to work and how solid the evidence is? Also, if it exists, where do independents lurk? The Mooney piece suggests independents and liberals are not affected, but where are the boundaries and what are they a function of? This is probably part of the selective belief structures that people tend to have - education gives one new tools for obfuscation and repudiation if one is willing to selectively ignore core information.
I had this in the "you should post" list for over a year and sadly it fell through the cracks. An interview with a real genius - Richard Avedon that appeared in the PBS American Masters series.. Longish, but worth the watch, so find some time and a good snack and bring an open mind. It is divided into nine chunks, but you can find them in the youtube playlist.