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Bloomberg Versus Giant Sodas: It's Not the Nanny State, It's Democracy At Work
Mayor Bloomberg's latest anti-obesity proposal—ban sales of giant flagons of sugary drinks by next spring—has been criticized as bad politics in support of good policy. In fact, it is the opposite: Such a ban will do almost nothing to lower obesity, but it is an example of democracy working the way it should.
The plan won't achieve much because it's premised on the notion that the entire population drinks too much soda, and that this contributes to the general rise in obesity in the city's population. As Trevor Butterworth nicely explained here, though, general statistics about per capita soda consumption disguise reality. Most people don't consume vast amounts of sugar water. But those who do, well, they really do. Most of the population, then, won't be affected by the regulation. And what's to stop the other 20 percent from just buying two or even three cups at the new 16-ounce maximum size?
But Butterworth also castigates the Mayor for political tone-deafness, saying he has turned soda into "a symbol for intrusive, meddlesome, government." In other words, the Mayor has set back the cause of health-promotion by linking it to the dreaded imagery of the Nanny State.
The assumption here is that there is some fixed boundary between private life and public affairs. In fact, this boundary moves over time, with changes in societal circumstances and scientific knowledge.
For example, in 1900, millions of people around the world were outraged at the thought that the government could force them take a vaccine for smallpox—what could be more private, and sacrosanct, than the individual's right to control his own body? How could the government force anyone to offer herself up to "pollution and filth and disease"? Clergy preached that "medical liberty'' was vital as freedom of religion. Doctors protested the trampling of their professional dignity. In Great Britain, anti-vaccinationists were strong enough in Parliament to win a personal-conscience exemption in the 1898 mandatory immunization law. It gave birth to a new legal term: ``conscientious objector.''
But the germ theory of disease had laid bare an undeniable connection between the private life of the body and public welfare. When a forced-vaccination case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1905, the libertarians lost, 7-2, as the Court held that individual rights are outweighed by the community's "right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.''
In other words, the turn of the last century saw a redrawing of the boundaries of private life, in the name of fighting infectious disease. Today, as the Bloomberg initiative illustrates, we're arguing about whether to redraw those boundaries again, in the name of fighting chronic disease (diabetes, heart ailments, stroke, kidney failure and so on). The reason: Your likelihood of coming down with one of those appears to depend on small, habitual, daily choices about what you eat and do with yourself.
That's the case for seeing these private choices as public business. Maybe the result of today's ongoing political debates will be to leave the definitions of public and private life as they were in 1980. But I wouldn't count on it.
In any event, the right thing for a democracy to do is to have the debate. This is my second problem with the "Nanny State" caricature. In announcing his ban, is mobilizing the angry public and attracting argument against it (and a few in favor). If he succeeds short-term (likely, as he needs only the approval of the Board of Health, which he appointed) then we, the sugary-drink-constrained hordes, might adapt to a new landscape, as we have with smoking in bars and restaurants. If we decide instead this ban was stupid, we will vote in a new Mayor sworn to oppose it, and/or get the City Council to overturn it. This is how it's all supposed to work—debate, persuasion, votes, majority rule.
This noisy and messy process seems to me entirely preferable to the other game in town, which is to get people to change their behavior by insidious means. Set up the organ donation system so that people unthinkingly check "yes." "Nudge" them to put more into their retirement IRAs by changing the forms a little. Tell them they should cut down on soda, even if, for many people, it isn't true.
I'm referring here to the mentality embodied in this reaction to a recent study suggesting that regular exercise can be harmful to some healthy people: "There are a lot of people out there looking for any excuse not to exercise,” William Haskell, emeritus professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, told Gina Kolata. "This might be an excuse for them to say, 'Oh, I must be one of those 10 percent.' "
Think about that for a moment. Professor Haskell doesn't dispute the merits of the research; he's simply saddened that people will learn about it. Because people, pfffft, you never know what they're going to go off and do with information.
I've seen a fair amount of this attitude toward fellow citizens, summed at one wellness-promotion conference a few years ago as "how we can minimize consumer irritability while extracting their cooperation in improving their health and wellness." It is as undemocratic as you can get. Yet governments are increasingly interested in it.
So, two cheers for Bloomberg's soda proposal. In a time when public-health officials are increasingly attracted to hidden, unnoticeable persuasion, at least he wants to play fair.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.