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The Island Where People Forget to Die

October 27th, 2012 No comments

Photo of a town on the Greek island of IkariaDan Beuttner for the New York Times Magazine writes about a particularly healthy lifestyle on  an isolated Greek island:

Pointing across the Aegean toward the neighboring island of Samos, he said: “Just 15 kilometers over there is a completely different world. There they are much more developed. There are high-rises and resorts and homes worth a million euros. In Samos, they care about money. Here, we don’t. For the many religious and cultural holidays, people pool their money and buy food and wine. If there is money left over, they give it to the poor. It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.”

The island is named after Icarus, the mythical flier whose foolish ambition led to an early demise. The inhabitants of Ikaria appear to have taken the lesson to heart.

Two wheels better than four in Tokyo

December 3rd, 2010 No comments
Categories: bicycle, cycling, Japan, Tokyo

Tokyo Ramen according to the NY Times

January 30th, 2010 No comments
Categories: food, Tokyo

CIGNA exec on why the health insurance industry is so scared of the “public option.”

July 11th, 2009 No comments

Bill Moyers Journal interview of former CIGNA public relations executive:

BILL MOYERS: Why is public insurance, a public option, so fiercely opposed by the industry?

WENDELL POTTER: The industry doesn’t want to have any competitor. In fact, over the course of the last few years, has been shrinking the number of competitors through a lot of acquisitions and mergers. So first of all, they don’t want any more competition period. They certainly don’t want it from a government plan that might be operating more efficiently than they are, that they operate. The Medicare program that we have here is a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like three percent or so.

BILL MOYERS: Compared to the industry’s–

WENDELL POTTER: They spend about 20 cents of every premium dollar on overhead, which is administrative expense or profit. So they don’t want to compete against a more efficient competitor.

Even Howard Dean doesn’t believe a single payer system like the successful ones in Canada, Great Britain and here in Japan is politically feasible, but we should at the very least insist congress legislates a public option. Contact your congress-critter, write a letter to your local paper, etc. as a counter to the insurance industry’s massive lobbying effort.

Categories: health, politics

Less is more

July 11th, 2009 No comments

Permanent diet may equal longer life – Los Angeles Times.

It also isn’t clear whether caloric restriction would extend human lives by very much, Phelan said. He has combined results from animal studies with data on men on the Japanese island of Okinawa who ate 17% fewer calories than men in Tokyo. He calculated that reducing intake by 35% would extend the human life span by just two years.

“The trade-off just isn’t worth it,” said Phelan, who said he personally would have a hard time giving up doughnuts.

I think the issue is how many doughnuts.

One of the fringe benefits of maintaining a vigorous exercise routine like long distance cycling is that you need a lot of fuel and thus can justify eating just about anything. All that extra oxidation must be adding to the wear-and-tear though, and some days it feels as indulgent as indolence.

Categories: exercize, food, health

Morning walk with Bjorn

December 1st, 2008 No comments
Categories: Tokyo, walking

The Hacker’s Diet

November 29th, 2008 No comments
Categories: health