Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bring on the fat!

This is a fascinating article in the New York Times today about how the myth was born and perpetuated that a diet high in fat contributes to poor health:

Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

Aside from the fact that it appears that eating fat does not actually lead to bad things like heart disease, the real interest in this article is how it's an example of the dark side of democracy in a sense. The point is that if you get enough reputable people to agree on one thing, there are social forces that can compel a group to reach the wrong conclusion, one that is based on assumptions and not hard data.

If the long-held idea that consuming fat leads to a shorter lifespan has such a dirty secret origin, it tends to make me suspicious of any conclusion made by the so-called experts of the world. And of course, don't get me started on the politicians that perpetuate fallacies for their own agendas. I guess the lesson is that we all need to think for ourselves and not rely too heavily on expert opinions.

I got a new assignment today to help prepare a pitch for a governmental agency in the country of Qatar, which is located on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf. I narrowly avoided having to actually go there to present the pitch, since my boss wasn't able to go, but another VP stepped up and volunteered. Part of me does like the idea of traveling overseas, but the idea of being alone on business in a Middle Eastern country, even a relatively liberal on like Qatar, doesn't sound like my idea of fun.

And by the way, it's hard breaking the habit of reaching for the "u" key on the keyboard when typing Qatar! There's also been some disagreement on the correct pronunciation - some call it "Kay-TAR" and others say "CUT-ter." Anyway, new project, so I'll be learning about this country with the funny name.

The Yankees lost last night, so their season is over. My family is taking it really hard, being lifelong Yankees fans. For myself, I have the comfort of merging right into the basketball season, where I still follow my beloved hometown Houston Rockets on NBA League Pass. That's pretty much the biggest reason I even bothered to get cable installed last weekend.

Plus, as the weather gets cooler, I'm looking forward to going out to the park and shooting some baskets with my brand-new ball I bought last year and never took out of the box. I think the fact that the Rockets won their two NBA championships in 1985 and 1986 during my formative years has something to do with my being a lifelong fan. Being part of a sports championship is a very special thing for a sports fan - you have to be a fan of the right team at the right time, unless you're the fair weather type of fan that jumps on any championship bandwagon.

And besides, how many other women can say they've shot baskets one-on-one with the great Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon on the court of Hofheinz Pavilion at our alma mater, the University of Houston, as I did when I was in college?