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Posted By Bakari

As I mentioned in the main "Be Healthy", I found when writing it that this subsection of overall health was just too large to fit comfortably in with the rest (no pun intended). While not one of the basic fundamental pillars of health any more than any other specific ailment, given that the majority of individuals in our culture have unhealthy body fat percentages, maybe it is actually worthy of its own essay. Just keep in mind that everything to follow is meant to be considered from within the context of the main "Be Healthy" essay. (Since blogs are listed with the most recent entry on top, the main essay is immediately below this one. If you have not already, read that one first)
Having below a certain percent body fat does not automatically make you healthy!

*I've been using the term "weight" for the sake of simplicity, and out of laziness. We've all gotten accustomed to talking about weight. The common charts list something called body mass index (BMI) which considers only height and weight. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed 260lbs when he competed. That gave him a BMI of 33. In other words, he was technically morbidly obese. However, he had a bodyfat percentage of only around 6%! The average American is around 25%(male)/35%(female). The average American is right on the border between "overweight" and "obese"; judged not by weight, but by the amount of the body which is composed of stored fat. A healthy fat percentage is nearly half of what most of us are, about 12%(men) / 20%(women) - women naturally have more fat than men, even when perfectly healthy. Our friend Arnold, obese by BMI standards, had half the bodyfat of a average healthy person at 6%. Muscle weighs more than fat. If you are trying to get more healthy, (not just look a certain way) you are exercising in addition to dieting. If you are exercising (at least if you are doing it right) you will gain muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, the number on the scale may actually go up, even while you need to use ever tighter holes on your belt to keep your pants from falling off.
Weight means nothing.
It is excess fat, not excess "weight", that contributes to a host of diseases, lack of fitness, and lack of longevity. Everyone has heard the list.
Two much more meaningful measures are fat percentage and strength-to-weight ratio. The first can be measured most accurately by being weighed while underwater (fat floats, muscle does not). More feasible and convenient, you can approximate body fat percentage at home with a tape measure and any of several free online calculators.
They take different measurements, so will give you slightly different answers, but they will give you a good general idea of your fat percentage...

[as my readers are no doubt aware, this blog server has a character limit. The rest of this essay can be read here:
It has some fancy things in it: charts, pictures, even a cartoon! I spent a lot of time putting together information from a lot of sources - but if you don't want to take my word for it, I list those sources at the end. Read. Enjoy. Put into practice! Be healthy, my friend]


Posted By Bakari

The word "Health" has become almost meaningless.

This is due to a number of factors, but one of the chief ones, I suspect, is marketing.
It helps to sell things as "healthy" if there is no clear idea what that actually means.
I will resist the temptation to get into that whole topic...

What I do want to do is try to remove some of the abstraction, by breaking it down into its constituent parts. While the term itself eludes a single precise definition, there's a list of components that are part of it, and those parts are reasonably concrete.


-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, infection (by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungus, or parasite)

Even a healthy person may get the occasional cold, but they will get better more quickly
-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, (non-infectious-agent - such as diabetes or angina)
-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, injury
-Longevity (how long you live)
-General fitness*
-Mental/emotional health - I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this is a very important part of overall health; however there is so much to cover just considering physical health that I won't mention it here any further than this sentence.

Many people seem to get obsessively caught up on just one or two components, sometimes to the complete exclusion of considering the others. And as a result there are raw-foodists who can't do a single push-up, athletes who eat junk food, people who take all manner of drugs and vitamins, and others who take herbs and supplements and "superfoods", both thinking health can be reduced to just what you ingest.


When someone, be it a friend or an ad or even a doctor, claims that X food, Y herb, or Z activity, is "good for you" or "unhealthy" or whatever, ask exactly in what ways does it contribute to health? Which of these elements does it affect, and how? Personally, I suspect that extremely few of the millions of things passed off as healthy stand up to that sort of test.


Just to complicate things again, some of these components can sometimes conflict with others. For example, while strength leads to resistance to injury and pathogens, the process of exercise itself is sometimes the cause of injury, and intense exercise (which is the only effective kind) tends to lower immunity (although only temporarily). Similarly, exercise lowers the risk of most non-communicable disease, but at the same time higher metabolism rates accelerate aging.


Since some components can be considered in conflict with each other, it would be hard to say in absolute terms what is the healthiest a person can possibly be. None-the-less, there is clearly a range, from someone who is sick all the time, can't walk far without being winded, and dies at 50, to the people who are still running marathons at 70 and live to be 100.


[this blog space came free with my website.  It isn't very good.  It has severe character limitations.  The rest of this entry can be read here: ]



Posted By Bakari

Total # of deaths from "swine" flu: 8

Total annual deaths from regular old human flu: between a quarter and a half million.

Turns out this isn't the first panic over "swine flu"

Only 1 person died from swine flu in 1976.  Hundreds of Americans were killed or seriously injured by the inoculation the government gave them to stave off the virus.

Of course it isn't just about ratings and selling papers. Some of it is human nature.  I think we enjoy panicking.
I understand that people have a hard time taking history into account.  If it didn't happen in one's own lifetime it becomes an abstraction, and therefor not something to learn from.  But "bird" flu was only, what, 3 years ago?  The "global pandemic" of bird flu killed a little over 200 people world-wide over the course of about 5 years. 
Before that was y2k.  It was supposed to shut down every computer, crippling all of modern civilization.
The supposed financial "crises" hasn't even wore itself out, and already we are on to our next one.

I stopped watching/reading "news" a long time ago, and yet somehow I keep hearing about this stuff.
I keep imagining to myself that somehow humanity is going to collectively stop being so stupid.
I know how terribly deluded I am.
I think I should just give in.
Anyone know where I can buy one of those masks?

Posted By Bakari


Latin for "Against Life"

That which kills, poison, death.

We consider it medicine. We use anti-life to keep us alive.

We don't like to think that we are animals. The "higher" primates. "More" evolved - if a specie is still here, its equally highly evolved. We are more recently evolved.
We like to think our motives are better, more pure or more altruistic - we want to make the world a better place, which shows we have souls, we are not animalistic motivated by lust and hunger and fear. But altruism is common is social species, it is animalistic; and we are motivated by lust, hunger, and fear.

We teach our children early on - not on purpose, but by example, that things that are slimy are "gross". Amphibians, for example.
I can barely imagine a more pleasant sensual experience than a Japanese "SoapLand" - all slimy and slippery and soft and squishy and squirmy.

We, humanity, most societies, are antagonistic toward even just the concept of sex. We take it as given that knowing that sex exists will harm, or at least confuse children. Sex is bad for children? Without sex there are no children! Sex is life. We're not going to learn how to bud off clone offspring anytime soon.

We like everything purified and sanitized. Sanitized for your protection. Antibiotic. Wouldn't want to make your immune system have to work. Don't drink the water. The people who live in second and third world countries drink the water everyday, and they haven't all died. We avoid dirt. Dirt is soil. Soil grows plants, primary producers, that every other specie depends on for sustenance. Dirt is life. We can't photosynthesize. We need dirt. A little dirt with your water, with your food, it won't hurt you. What other specie drinks water only after its been distilled, or reverse osmosised. Its unnatural.

We can see, we can hear, we can feel, we can taste, we can smell. We don't seem to care much for smell. Things have scents. Saying something "smells" is synonymous in our language for something smells bad. As though every smell were bad. Something is making a sound doesn't automatically mean a gratingly annoying sound. Most creatures that smell, they use it, they recognize each other by smell, they find food. We don't like each others smell. We wash it away. We deodorize it. The fact that we overly concentrate it with clothing even on a warm day certainly doesn't help. Most animals don't like the small of strong chemicals, but who else finds the smell of their own species to be gross?

Some of the best things about being alive, like sex and food and some of the best play, is slimy and smelly and dirty and filled with bacteria - but not the kind of bacteria that are going to kill you.

We don't find much visual stimulus to be repulsive. Seems like half of all scents stinks to someone.

If we are protected from life, what is the point of living?
Why would anyone want to ingest something which is called an "anti-biotic"?

Posted By Bakari

Step 1:
Sell your car. Buy a bicycle. Ride it to work, and to the store, and everywhere else you need to go. Better yet, run. Yes, you can do it. Guess what people do in countries where there are no cars? Guess what humans did before cars were invented?
Ever see a fat cave man?
What you mean is "I don't desire to be healthy if it means inconvenience!" Quit whining and either accept that you will die of a heart attack before you reach 50, or go post an ad for your car.

Step 2:
Become vegetarian. Throw out all the stupid "low-fat" this and "carb" that. It's all worthless junk trying to get fat people's dollars. It is unnatural and unhealthy for humans to eat mammals. Fish is OK, poultry in moderation is OK. Also, stop eating crap like cakes and pies and ice cream. Too difficult to give up fast food? Then you don't really want to be healthy. Stop pretending that you do. Instant gratification is clearly more important than either your appearance or your health.

People try to rationalize that weight genetic. Right, because as we all know, Americans are genetically all the same. This explains why Americans have a greater obesity rate than any other country in the world, in all of history, it's the United Statesian Fat Gene.

Being over weight is voluntary. It results from a culture of laziness. We have more cars than drivers in this country. Every TV comes with a remote. You wouldn't want to have to get up and walk the three feet to the TV! We are a nation which watches sports on TV instead of getting up and PLAYING them.

Posted By Bakari

Imagine this:
A corporation takes out a patent on your name. Now, if you ever write or speak your own name, you owe that corporation money. If you introduce yourself to someone new, sign a document, or send an e-mail with your name as the sender, you owe them money, and they get to decide how much.  Or if they wanted, they could say you can't use it at all.  If you do, you could be sued and ultimately jailed for violating the law, because they have a valid patent.

In reality, you can change your name or use a different one. You can't change you genes. They are more personal to you than your fingerprints or retina patterns.

More importantly, they hold clues to diagnosis, and cures, of all sorts of genetically related diseases including cancer and heart disease. Not only could this be important to an individual, but gene patenting prevents any company or individual from doing research on the patented gene except the patenting company. If the company which first took out the patent on a particular gene chooses not to do research, the research doesn't get done at all.

Gene patenting is happening.

In fact, 20% of your genes have been patented already.
Legally, you can not learn your own gene sequence without the approval - and fees - of dozens of differant pharmaceutical and biotech corporations and companies.

Although this is the most extreme example, the fact is that the very concept of patenting puts profit of the wealthy above the advancement of humanity. It slows the advancement of technology, because when one person comes up with a good idea, no one else can build upon it without paying them.

Imagine if Leonardo DaVinci, Galileo, or Pasture had to deal with patent laws like the ones we have today. Einstien and the Curries did not work so they could become billionaires; they worked because of interest in science.

Imagine if fire, the wheel, the bow and arrow, clothing, bread, were patented.  Someone had to come up with these things, but they spread, and were improved upon through out all of humanity ultimately to the benifit of everyone.

If corporations will not research medical advancment without profit as an incentive, then it should be taken over, like all other aspects of societal benefit with no profit to be made, by the goverment.

That is the one thing government is actually good for - providing those things to society which can not be sustained through the free market economy, like roads, fire departments, the military, weather sattelites, social security, public schools - things which don't produce any profit but which are nessecary to have a complex socitey and all the comforts and conveniences we take for granted.  These are things which we all agree everyone should have access to, even if they aren't wealthy, like school and emergency health care. Having unrestricted access to your own genetic make-up should be a basic human right; it should go without saying.

On the other hand, having unrestricted profit should not be a basic human right.  No one ever earns billions of dollars.  Earns - as in: actually makes it through hard work and ingenuity. Marketing, patents, monopolies, and government contracts through bribes and corruption don't count as earning any more than robbery does.  Yes, you CAN make money those ways, but no individual would willingly pay you for it, because it offers no benefit to them.

We as a society need to realize the differance and decide if we really wish to allow our leaders (both the government and the CEOs) to prioritize their own profits over the betterment of life for all.