Archive for the ‘NY Times Mag’ tag
This story isn’t so much about soap-less-ness as it is about a specific product, but as a person who’s been largely soapless — - I wash my hands, and use soap in the shower if the oily griminess is overwhelming, but otherwise avoid it — - for a few years I recommend it. The author’s conclusion about its effects:
My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna’s worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning “shower” — a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products — I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.
Whatever else is true, Jason Everman has had an eventful life. A member of both Nirvana and Sonic Youth, he went on to be a well-regarded US Special Forces operative. Clay Tarver tells his story so far well:
Kurt Cobain had just killed himself, and this was a story about his suicide. Next to Cobain was the band’s onetime second guitarist. A guy with long, strawberry blond curls. “Is this you?”
Everman exhaled. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.”
I’m increasingly aware of how much I like random bits of non-conclusive pondering. It’s not that it’s better than a conclusion, it’s that it’s more interactive. In that spirit, I enjoyed Sam Anderson’s essay about reaction videos:
It’s no accident that all of this started on YouTube in 2007 — at a moment when, and in a place where, human experience was beginning very visibly to splinter. Watching thousands of people react identically to “2 Girls 1 Cup” (“Come on!” they invariably shout, and “Why!?”) feels like a comforting restoration of order and unity. Which means that the most disgusting and offensive video ever to go viral was ultimately, oddly, a force of togetherness.
This isn’t the first piece I’ve linked to about how bad conventional running footwear advice is (examples one & two), but it’s the one that’s made me think most seriously about actually taking up running again (I was probably 13 the last time I gave it any serious consideration). Christopher McDougal’s effusive praise for this ball-running teaching technique — the 100-Up — makes me wonder if he may have actually cracked it. Half of the technique:
I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the “Minor,” you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. “Now raise one knee to the height of the hip,” George writes, “bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg.”
There’s a video on the page as well if, like me, you found that description a bit hard to visualize.
Very interesting story about the questionable effectiveness of the prostate-specific antigen test which is very frequently given to men over 40. These sentences provide a good summary of why it might not be all the useful to know whether or not you have prostate cancer:
The current thinking is that about 30 percent of men in their 40s have prostate cancer, 40 percent of men in their 50s and so on, right up to 70 percent of men in their 80s. Yet only 3 percent of all men die from the disease. In other words, far more men die with prostate cancer than from it, and only a tiny fraction of prostate cancers ever cause symptoms, much less death.
A great story about the problems facing an autistic person trying to become an independently functioning member of society.
(via Snarkmarket, where Tim Carmody’s thoughts makes a nice compliment to the piece)
There’s no single solid takeaway from this essay about the culture we feel obligated to consume, but I think it’s a good and valuable thing to think about and pay attention to.
My reaction, upon seeing this question as a headline in the New York Times Magazine, was dismissive doubt. People have called sugar “a poison” for years with scant evidence and weak arguments. Upon giving the article a thorough hearing though, I think that there’s certainly reasonable evidence to at least give the idea some thought. Consider:
If you want to cause insulin resistance in laboratory rats, says Gerald Reaven, the Stanford University diabetologist who did much of the pioneering work on the subject, feeding them diets that are mostly fructose is an easy way to do it. It’s a “very obvious, very dramatic” effect, Reaven says.
At least for American Muslims, I think there’s a reasonable argument for calling “jihad” a curse word in the “nigger” sense. That’s one of the salient points made in this quite good (and rather long) profile of Yasir Qadhi, a rather popular conservative cleric.
This is a bit like a how-to for no one, but I still liked it.
Our hearts understandably thrill to the courage of those who stand up to power — from Tiananmen Square to Tahrir Square and all the streets that now teem with the young and freedom-hungry. But there is another heroism, scarce and undervalued, that accrues to those who know how to stand down.
EDIT (4 Mar 2011) — Soon after this piece was published, its author ran into one of the men he praised, the result is as interesting as the initial piece.