Thursday, 3 February 2011

All about the Weather and the Best Time to Avoid Dying

Watched the Cyclone Yasi coverage coming out of Oz ... and couldn't help laughing at the antics of journalists. After all the buid-up, Yasi crossed over mostly unpopulated areas, and the commentators are faced with having to talk excitedly about how there's a few power cuts, leaves on the roads, the odd tree blown over and so on. There are parts of Waiheke that look worse normally.

They go around asking the usual journo-stupid questions ... "Aw we had a bit of a blow yep." In responce to "What was it like last night?" In the buildup there were lots of journalists telling us excidely how they are going to hide out in hotel bathrooms and ballrooms where the hotel service seems to have improved - kitchen open all night and so on ... will this deprivation never stop?

It's all in marked contrast to the war coverage we've seen, where journalists make a big deal of the (very real) risks they were taking to get us the news. Similar with the regime-change demonstrations coming out of the middle east. I guess we'll have to wait for the footage from storm chasers and similar nutters, bless-em, who drive out into these things to get something actually exciting to sell to the networks. Probably it's already uploaded to YouTube.

I like this one - look at how big NZ is in this satellite shot! Anyway - it seems the storm was much weaker than expected when it hit - if I got this right it was expected to be cat5 but manages cat3 ... which would be 100x weaker.

Right after the news was Dr Oz: Best time to avoid dying?

I wouldn't normally watch this show - I an ad for it early on and put it in the burn before viewing basket. Still, catchy title.

At a guess, I'd say: "Probably while you are still alive", but I could be mistaken ....

Dr Oz presents the #1 cause of death in a bathroom scene. At first sight you'd say the woman (dummy - I hope) on the floor has slipped and fallen only she's wearing ug-boots, not generally good for sliding. Then we remember that the #1 killer in the US is heart disease and Oz points ut that when someone says "I fell in the bathroom" he thinks "heart attack".

"Fall in bathroom = heart attack."
Heart attacks 3x more likely to occur in the morning.
BP higher in the am. Looks like you shouldn't get out of bed.

... suggestion: he advises 5 medications before you go to bed. Good grief!

Aspirin, Magnesium, Calcium, BP & colesterol meds, and floss your teeth too.
The first three were shown in branded bottles - with the brand turned to the camera. That's called a product placement - which means the show got paid to do that. The general gist is that before bed is the time to take preventative action ... even so, the one ad-lib in that section had him point out that you are best to take medicines throughout the day so you keep the blood concentration up.

There's actually a bunch of surveys being used here - against a vinear of "biorythms" - the trouble is that they do not show causation. For example - best time for a flu shot is 11am because there is the lowest report of pain at that time. But we don't know what reason for this. Maybe the patient is looking forward to lunch ... so the advise should be to promise yourself a treat after vaccinations, then the time doesn't matter.

Its also not quantitative - how much pain is reported in each time-slot? If the respondents rated pain levels out of 10 (there is a whole feild studying pain which has ways to handle the subjectivity involved) and the pain rating only dropped one point at 11, this would not be compelling. OTOH: if it dropped 9 points, then Dr Oz would be on to something.

The food-times (when to cheat on your diet to minimize the effect) the audience all got right - but I noticed they were almost all overweight. So it's not really all that effective - it's this qualitative thing again: how much effect does this have? Clearly not enough, in relation to how much (there it is again) they were eating.

Curiously, the best time for medical procedures and so on is supposed to be in the morning - when, according to the the first item (bathroom, above) you are most likely to get a heart attack. But not first-thing, nope, give the surgeons a chance to practice on another patient first. Presumably someone who has not watched the show.

Mondays to do chores and housework because your analytical mind is slowest then. But some housework needs analytical thinking surely? Anyway, who feels like doing chores on Mondays? And why Mondays anyway: is a seven-day week built in? Perhaps it is a rhythm enforced by the 5-day working week? Perhaps the answer is to have a seven-day working week, but a shorter working day so you can get up late in the morning (reducing heart attacks as well).

Time to have a fight with your SO - 8am - high seritonen level ... but also high BP anyway: this is not panning out. The idea is that the fight is most likely to be fair. But this is not what you want - you want to win. Later - best time to exercize is 7am ... more heart stresses. Best time to vaccuum is at 4pm - due to minimising allergies as vaccuuming stirs up pollen and dust. Pardon? Then he gives away a vaccuum cleaner which he touts as capable of trapping the dust and other allergins. This reveals the usual conflict US shows have between actually telling the truth and pandering to the sponsor.

Best time to have sex?

Sex is like a massage chair - sounds like the start of a woody allen joke. Best tie is in the morning ... with all this stuff, our mornings will be very crowded. Personally I usually find sex in the morning to be intensely irritating. I'm just too groggy.

So we take our pills just before bed, next day at 7am we're having sex - then we are havig a fight at 8. Breakfast is bacon and eggs (or nachos - according to the show). But you have to have your mammogram at 9 - before your coffee ... which must be at 9:15 - if the appointment is on time.

And so it goes.

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