Monday, November 3, 2008

Drunkorexia: Dieting Drinkers

When staying slim means drinking your dinner.

By Jay Dixit, Psychology

My friend Lori used to lose weight using a method she developed herself, one she called the CWAC diet: coffee, water, alcohol, and cigarettes. Though the regimen no doubt wrought havoc on her body, one thing was certain: It worked.

The idea of forgoing food in favor of alcohol isn't new. Dieters everywhere cower in fear of carbs; but alcohol, gram for gram, has even more calories than carbohydrates do. For many people, this creates a dilemma: If you want to restrict calories, you have to cut back on either food or booze. For a college student or 20-something who wants to party and have a good time yet still have a bikini body, the choice is obvious.

The result is a trend among young people, particularly young women, called drunkorexia—restricting food calories to make room for drink calories. The practice is widespread: 30 percent of women between 18 and 23 diet so they can drink, according to one study.

Subbing drink calories for food calories is not necessarily a problem in itself. We all make food choices. You might curtail your food intake slightly because you know you're going to have a drink—skip the potato for a glass of wine. That's fine, so long as you get all the nutrients you need from food, including the essential vitamins, plus enough protein and fats. In theory, skipping the potato in favor of a drink is no different from skipping the potato in favor of cheesecake—in fact, it's probably a smarter choice, particularly because moderate alcohol intake has proven health benefits.

The problem is that, in practice, many drunkorexics don't drink in moderation. Some skip meals entirely then binge on alcohol. Some women say: "I just won't eat on the day I drink." When taken to such an extreme, drunkorexia becomes a combination of alcohol abuse and an eating disorder. Binge drinking is on the rise among women, studies show—and women are also more prone to eating disorders.

Curtailing food calories in favor of drink calories carries several risks: The first is the danger that your body won't get the nutrients it needs, and which it obviously can't draw from the alcohol you substitute. You also wreak havoc on your metabolism, putting yourself on track for a metabolic yo-yo.

A twin danger lies in drinking too much—a risk that is magnified by the act of curtailing food calories. That's because the food in your stomach is like a sponge that absorbs alcohol: Drinking on an empty stomach gets you drunk faster. Being hungry may also cause you to drink faster, which further speeds up intoxication. On top of that, drinking alcohol with artificially sweetened mixers gets you to drink faster, according to a study. If you're not careful, you get drunker more quickly than you intended—and once you're intoxicated, you lose your defenses and you're more likely to binge.

"People end up drinking more alcohol than they anticipate, adding more calories that way," explains Carrie Wilkens, a clinical psychologist at the Center for Motivation and Change in New York. "Because they are disinhibited from drinking, they end up actually binging on food. The problem is, they aren't thinking: 'Okay, what happens when I lose control later in the night?'" That's the problematic paradox of drunkorexia: Drinking on an empty stomach reduces your self-control and predisposes you to make bad decisions. In the eyes of many health professionals, it's a balancing act that's not worth the risks.

Original here

Ten foods we love even though they taste wrong

In the great Venn diagram of foods, there’s a circle of foods we love, and a circle of foods that just don’t taste right—and then there’s the wonderful, sometimes surprising, always guilt-inducing delicious area where the two cross over. Yes, some foods just don’t taste like they’re supposed to. Let the choir sing “Hallelujah.”


10.Chef Boyardee Spaghettios
Syrupy tomato sauce plus low-grade meat multiplied by good marketing and the slightest flavor overtones of aluminum can? Childhood lunchtime bliss.

9. Banana Popsicles
These frozen confections are long and thin and clearly yellow. Beyond that, the resemblance to bananas is pretty weak. Science is able to replicate and thereby fake a huge number of culinary flavors, but apparently they hadn’t gotten around to banana when these were invented. Somehow, banana popsicles taste more like the color yellow than like banana. Yet somehow you mow down an entire box in the span of one Facts of Life rerun.

8. BBQ Potato Chips
BBQ can mean a range of things, from charred meats to hot sugary sauces. But the dusky vermillion powder on BBQ potato chips suggests neither of these, or anything close. As replications go, it's a total failure. Ah, but how majestically it fails, re-inventing itself as this standby flavor option for pretty much any chip product on the market.

Tang doesn’t taste like oranges, even though it’s obviously supposed to, according to the astronauts who for so long touted it as a space-age drink. But all this drink has taught us is a sincere mistrust of astronauts. It doesn’t taste like anything but itself. Drinking Tang is like dividing something by one.

6. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Little known fact: that orange cheese powder and Tang? Same thing.

5. Watermelon Jolly Ranchers
This might be some sort of local sin, given the long-time (and sorely missed) presence of the Jolly Rancher factory on the northwest side of town. But I know watermelon. Watermelon is a friend of mine. And this, sir, is not watermelon. Yummy, though. And not only does it taste good, but the way that dissolving sliver of candy goodness curls slightly on your tongue? Sublime.

4. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are one of those things that started off as a cheap rip-off of something else, and sort of became its own thing. Sort of like bologna being a mild salami, or Bazi Kanani being a less smug Adele Arakawa. These are supposed to taste like sausage, but they don’t. Maybe they never have. Thank God they’re awesome with mustard and onions.

3. Hormel Canned Tamales
A tamale is a bit of spiced cheese or beef wrapped in corn masa and held in a corn husk. I’m not sure what these little tubes of grease are supposed to be, but they’re not tamales. Still, they’re pretty gut-bombingly good, especially if you’re on the eastern plains and “tacos” are just plain ground beef in a shell. Revolutionary!

2. Baby Aspirin
We don’t use the little orange tablets of baby aspirin anymore, for several important reasons. But one of them was that we all liked the taste too much. The decline of the availability of baby aspirin has a direct correlation to the rapid rise over the last two decades in sales of Orange Cream Soda.

1. Nacho Cheese
Nacho cheese is sort of the bastard cousin of Cheeze Whiz, which is the red-headed stepchild of American cheese, which is like the white-trash member of the cheese family. So that makes nacho cheese the red-haired bastard inbred cousin/stepchild of a white trash cheese…and we still love the crap spooned over salty corn chips. Ain’t that America.
--Teague Bohlen

Original here

2nd egg emerges from giant chicken egg found at Shiga high school


A second, normal-sized egg popped out of a giant egg laid by a chicken raised at a high school in Shiga Prefecture, a school official said Saturday after breaking open the shell. The huge egg, which was 8.1 centimeters high and weighed 158 grams, was laid at the Yokaichi Minami High School in the city of Higashiomi in late October. The egg was scheduled to be displayed after grabbing headlines in local and national newspapers.

But school teachers decided on Friday to remove the shell by using a scalpel and tweezers after finding a crack. They later discovered another medium-sized egg inside the giant egg as the yolk and the white portion spurted out. Word of the second egg spread quickly after assistant principal Toshitaka Minami made a school announcement on making the surprising discovery. The hot topic at the high school now is whether another egg is hidden inside the second, medium-sized egg. To find out, Minami said the school plans to break open the second egg next week.

Original here

Stuck in traffic? Meet the new supercar based on a Ferrari that could fly you out of jams - for £500,000

By Arthur Martin

It's an idea that's never really taken off, despite featuring in countless books and films.

But the flying car could become a reality in two years, claim its makers.

Called the Autovolantor, it is being marketed as the perfect way for the rich and famous to avoid traffic jams, simply by taking to the skies.

flying supercar

The 'Autovolantor' used a specially designed hybrid fuel and electric system and could reach altitudes of up to 5,000ft

Its creators say it will cost £500,000 and allow drivers to reach speeds of 100mph on the ground and 150mph in the air.

Designer Bruce Calkins says the car, based on the £200,000 Ferrari 599 GTB, will be powered by eight fans mounted in its fuselage.

He said: 'On the ground these fans push the vehicle around with a firm but not-too-powerful thrust of deflected air.

flying supercar

The flying supercar is modelled on a £200,000 Ferrari 599 GTB with eight fans capable of creating as much as 800 horse power

'Once in the air the vehicle manoeuvres like a helicopter, tilting nose down to move forward, rolling right or left for changes in direction.

While maximum altitude could be much higher, the energy to obtain altitudes above 5,000 feet would be significant so we expect it to stay below that height.'

Mr Calkins said the car will run on a hybrid fuel and electric system to power the thrusters, creating as much as 800 horsepower.

He believes it will be able to travel for 75 miles by air or 150 miles by ground before it needs refuelling.

As yet, the design is in its infancy and only a tiny scale model exists.

Mr Calkins added: 'At first we were very sceptical that we could adapt a ground-vehicle with our technologies and make it work. But the model allowed us to verify quickly that it could in fact be done.'

The ambitious project was launched at aircraft designers Moller International in the U.S. after the company received a request to design the vehicle from a wealthy businessman who found the commute from the centre of Moscow to his country home would often be delayed by congestion.

For decades Dr Paul Moller, the company's founder and president, has dreamt of achieving a workable combination of ground and air transport.

flying supercar

Creators Moller hope the car could be available in just two years, but the asking price of £500,000 could put a few off

But despite the backing of a wealthy investor, he has yet to produce any practical real-world drive-and-fly vehicles.

Dr Moller concedes it may require a few tweaks to the Highway Code before the Autovolantor is allowed to hit the high street, saying: 'It seems that it might be practical in some parts of the world, but in our view a roadable aircraft, rather than a flying car, is still more practical for the greatest number of people.

'The Autovolantor is technically possible, but flying it in many cities is not going to be politically acceptable until it has been deployed successfully in other roles and environments.

'Practical or not, it excites the imagination to think about being able to rise vertically out of a traffic jam and just go.'

Original here

Day of the Dead: Not as Scary as It Sounds

Heading to Mexico in the fall is a chance to participate in el Dia de los Muertos (Day of The Dead), festivities that take place all over Mexico on November 2. Though on the surface the celebrations may appear to be similar in both rural and urban parts of Mexico, the motivations for celebrating can be very different. Despite its affinity for the dead, the Day of the Dead is anything but a morbid holiday. It is a day of celebration and recognizing that death is a part of life.

The origins of the Day of the Dead are in the Mesoamerican native traditions found in the calendar of the ancient Aztecs. In the month of Miccailhuitontli, the ritual festivities of that month were presided over by the “Lady of the Dead” and those same festivities were dedicated to both children and the dead. These festivities took place near the end of July and the beginning of August, but the Spanish Conquistador’s priests moved the festivals to the beginning of November to coincide with the Christian All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day. This practice of moving what were viewed as pagan holidays to coincide with Christian holidays has a long tradition in the Catholic Church as an effort to gain converts. So today, Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead during the first two days of November. The modern festivity is a blending of the ancient native traditions with Christian characteristics as are many holidays in Mexico.

Families welcome the dead back into their homes by building large altars covered with images of the deceased, decorated with marigolds or chrysanthemums, religious amulets, and with ofrenda, or offerings, of the deceased’s favorite foods or beverages and cigarettes. The elements of the earth, air, fire, and water are represented on the altar as well. The altars are the living’s way of welcoming the dead back into the home.

It is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit the living on this night. In the evening, families head out to the graveyard to spend the night at the graves of family members. The graves are cleaned, decorated with flowers, food is brought for a picnic, and there is much socializing with family and the community. To remember the dead, stories are told about their lives. Special foods are prepared with spicy sauces, Mexican hot chocolate, sugary confections, and cookies in a variety of animal and skull shapes and special egg-batter bread, pan de muerto. The gathering is a festive social occasion recognizing the part that death plays in human experience, despite the gruesome setting.

The calavera, or skeleton, is an important symbol during Dia de los Muertos. The skeleton is a mocking representation of Death, not a fatalistic one. Calaveras decorate the inside of shops and shop windows dressed as judges, soldiers, housewives, soccer players, doctors, etc. The calavera appears in many different handmade folk art forms including wood, papier-mâché, and of course, the famous sugar candy skulls.

Day of the Dead celebrations are found in Mexico and other Central and South American countries and in areas of the United States with communities of Latinos.

By Sara Sturtevant

Original here

10 SF Alternatives To Obama/McCain 08

By Graeme McMillan

I know, I know; you can't decide whether to go for McCain or Obama, and you're thinking of just skipping this whole "election" thing altogether. But wait - have you thought about all of the other candidates for President of the United States? I'm not talking about Ralph Nader - he's got no chance - but instead the various science fictional candidates who'd like your write-in vote on Tuesday. We've got a guide to ten(ish - You'll see) that you should consider.

Kirk Spock 08: They've saved the Earth countless times in the future, so why not let them save America from its current economic disaster? On the downside, they might end up being busy with that whole "big movie coming out in May" thing they have going on.

The Entire Star Wars Universe 08: Obviously, the political hi-jinks of the prequel trilogy wasn't enough for the children of George Lucas; look at how many Star Wars characters are itching to get into the political arena. I have to admit; I'd consider voting for Ackbar. At least he'd tell you if you were heading into a trap or not.

Roslin 08/Tigh/Roslin 08/Roslin/Airlock 08: Apparently, people really, really want to make sure that Laura Roslin gets into office, no matter which office or who her running mate is. Sure, she has that moral compass thing going on, but still; she tends to surround herself with a lot of Cylons. Can America afford a leader who associates herself with evil killing machines? I think not.

Conan/Swamp Thing 08:Strong on defense and strong on the environment. Combining traditional conservative and liberal views on one ticket may make them unstoppable... All we need now is for Swamp Thing to prove that he has no history of drug use - or, more accurately, growing drugs on his own body - and they may be a lock for the White House.

Colbert/Marvel Universe 08: The joke may be over on Stephen Colbert's own show, but that hasn't stopped Marvel Comics running it into the ground in their line - climaxing (we hope) with Colbert teaming up with Spider-Man to fight a bear two weeks ago.

Doctor Doom 08: You have to admit, it's refreshing to see a candidate not give any false hope during his campaign. No, Doom offers just one promise to voters: That we shall all one day face the iron hand of Doom. Also, just imagine how awesome the press conferences would be: "What does Doom think of the falling interest rates? Silence, whelp! Doom cares not about your impudent question!"

Tony Stark 08: Six words: Robert Downey Jr. Running Our Country. Surely that's all you need to know, right?

Reynolds/Washburn 08: Technically, yes, the VP nom is dead. But that never stopped Charles Fairbanks, the famous zombie vice president from the beginning of the 20th Century. And if too many voters complain, Zoe could just take over, and they wouldn't have to change any of the buttons.

Cthulhu 08: Sure, his website isn't incredibly exciting, but he's an elder god - He has more trouble with today's technology than John McCain (Yeah, like you weren't seeing that joke coming from a mile off).

Zod 08: Easily our favorite, based solely on his kneeling before platform and the fact that he would happily kill us with his heat vision if we didn't endorse him. Some may complain about the fact that he wasn't born on American soil, but his claim that America will become the basis for a new Krypton provides a handy side-step to that question. Remember: Vote early, vote often, vote Zod.

Original here