I thought I’d break the news here first: I have incontrovertible evidence against human evolution. To wit: my lungs are persistently filling up with fluid over the last few days. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is pretty much the opposite of what they are allegedly evolved to do. I mean, what possible advantage could that have provided on the savanna? Aside from possibly repelling predators with weaker stomachs. Hear my mighty and productive coughs, o puny lion, and slink away revolted! Or something.
Why did we even bother to lose the gills, again?
This is becoming an annual tradition I’m not so sure I approve of: I was sick last year on my birthday as well. (Yes, today. 53. Thank you.) Last year Annette bought us a room in Tucson to celebrate, and we spent the day enjoying the city and eating lunch with friends, and then by the time we were halfway back to the Coachella Valley I was wracked with fever and hoping for truck stop soup.
I have to say, from the perspective of increasing age, that coughing fits aren’t nearly as fun as they used to be when I was a kid. And dextromethorphan is definitely becoming my least favorite recreational drug ever. Between this and PZ’s nosebleed, you all may want to cover your monitors with dental dams for the next few days. When do the Obamacare Death Panels kick in again? I’ll happily take my Socialist Suicide Pill if they cut it with some codeine.
Anyway, I do have a few interesting things to report that have accumulated over the last few days:
- We were talking here a while ago about wildlife agencies and their 19th Century-style obeisance to the hunting crowd. As an effort to emphasize conservation over game hunting and fish stocking, the former California Department of Fish and Game is now the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A cosmetic change, but an important one.
- Rebecca Rosen at The Atlantic has launched a campaign in which men pledge not to speak on science or tech panels that are all-male. I don’t get asked all that often, but I signed it anyway. Spread the word.
- A literature survey and metaanalysis published in JAMA suggests that while there are indeed links between significant obesity and increased mortality, as compared to people with “normal” range Body Mass Indices (BMI), “Grade 1 obesity overall was not associated with higher mortality, and overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality” [emphasis mine] than in people whose BMIs are in the “normal” range.
I think that last item means I’m gonna have to get over this goddamn cough the hard way.