Monday, February 4, 2013

Shortest Month of the Year

In honor of the shortest month, here are a few short examples in the key behavioral dimensions.

(Critical Thinking)  A yogurt container reads "From cows not treated with rBST."  Below is added “No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST treated cows and non-rBST treated cows.”  The only reason to make the first statement would be to satisfy people who incorrectly believe that there is a difference.  Would a farmer intentionally put water into his tractor’s fuel tank or something harmful into his cows?

(Perspective)  Last year at this time, you couldn’t turn on the radio or TV without hearing about Jeremy Lin, a basketball player from China playing for the Knicks.  He was “Lincredible,” sparking “Linsanity” at Madison Square Garden.  This year it took two searches to find recent news about him.  When I did, it was asking “What does Jeremy Lin need to do to turn his season around?”  A better question would be:  Why do we allow ourselves to be so easily caught up in the hype?

(More Perspective)  Does anyone know what suffering means anymore?  A radio ad asked me if I was suffering from hair loss.  Well, I have a lot less hair than I used to, but I’m certainly not suffering!  Another asked if I was suffering from hypertension.  I thought it was called the silent killer because it shows no physical symptoms until it’s too late.  Again, I hear of couples suffering from infertility.  The inability to have children could be a huge disappointment to some, but is it suffering?

(Discipline)  Binge drinking continues to be a worrisome, under-recognized health problem among women and girls, according to a new CDC report. Nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge…” Social pressure and other factors may contribute, but no one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to drink to excess.  It's just a poor choice.  (The same goes for men.)

(Responsibility)  Whatever happened to:  “Ask not what your country can do for you…”?

(Critical Thinking)  Another reason to exercise caution with dietary supplements is that in response to FDA warnings, at least one company just changed the name on the bottle and kept selling it. 

(Even More Perspective)  How can the number one news story on January 15, 2013, according to all the major media outlets, be that Lance Armstrong admits using drugs?  All he did was ride a bicycle.  Sure, he was the best in the world, but really, how important do we make riding a bicycle?   During the same week another story considered important enough to make national headlines told of a Notre Dame football player’s non-existent girlfriend.  While we are stressing over these issues, people are dying in Syria and rioting in Egypt.

(Economic Understanding)  If the government couldn't borrow money and couldn't spend more than they had unless they sent everyone a letter saying, “This is what we are doing and your share is $X; please send a check,” would that change their behavior?

(More Critical Thinking)  How can every car insurance company save me money over every other car insurance company?  All their ads say so.

(Final Critical Thinking)  In another example of substituting derogatory nicknames for scientific discussion, as happened last year with "pink slime," the critics of a genetically engineered salmon have dubbed it "frankenfish."  The company spent 17 years doing research and winding through the approval processes of the FDA and other government agencies.  The salmon are shown to be environmentally safe and safe to eat, but opponents hope to build a grassroots protest by attaching a scary name.

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