Football is Killing its Players

For the last few years, as evidence has been mounting about brain injuries befalling NFL players, I’ve found it really hard to separate the violent aspects of football I tolerated from the jaw-dropping highlights and strategy I enjoy so much.

I actually have several hundred words written on the topic of CTE in a draft on this blog that I will hopefully get a chance to publish someday, but this video sums up my thoughts pretty perfectly on the matter. It’s kind of unbelievable that given what we know about how football affects the brain, that we’re all just okay with this.

As with many ‘traditions’, it’s very hard to even discuss because some people refuse to even acknowledge there might be a problem with something their families have enjoyed for generations.

The other aspect mentioned in this video, the fact that they are talking about college football, where players get literally zero compensation (and if they take endorsement money or any other kind of gift, they face suspension), while coaches and other staff associated with this billion dollar system are paid up to millions of dollars a year. It’s quite clearly exploitation, and like they said in the video, “I’ve woken up”, and I just can’t look at football the same way again.


It happens to the best of us from time to time. Looking back at the last 8 months, I see that I’ve gone from right around 190 lbs all the way up to 205 lbs as of this week.

Now, granted, most people aren’t tracking their weight with extreme granularity like I am, so I have *definitely* seen this coming. Since my now 7-month old daughter was born back in April, I’ve gained almost exactly 15 pounds.

Back in 2015, when I started measuring and tracking my weight on a regular basis (at least daily), I used a spreadsheet and portion control to lose about 60 pounds in the course of about 9 months. At the time, I had set up a bot to let me automatically tweet my weight to hold myself publicly accountable for what I was (over)eating, and it worked wonders, even if nobody ever actually commented on the fact that I was doing it.

Waking up to a measurement of 204.27 lbs this morning means that I’m resurrecting the Twitter bot:

I’m hoping this will have the same effect as last time, and that being more deliberate about my goal of getting back under 195 lbs will help resolve my current lack of willpower and get me back on track so I can fit easily in to my clothes again.

If you’ve struggled with weight gain in the past, or are currently unhappy with the number you see on the scale or the way you look, I get that. It’s just a number, but it really affects the way you feel and the way you think about yourself, and making changes isn’t always easy.

I hope after 1-2 months of doing this, I will be able to turn off the Twitter bot because it will have yielded extremely positive results, but we will have to wait and see. You can always keep tabs on my progress here for a view of the last 3+ years: Tracking My Weight.

Climate change is not just real, it’s obvious

Vox has posted this before, but it was updated recently with new clips to bring it to the present. It highlights the partisan shift regarding climate change in American politics, from acknowledging that climate change is real, to Republicans realizing the best (only?) way to actually fight climate change effectively from an economic perspective is a tax on greenhouse gas pollution, which of course would be very unpopular for their base (and the business interests funding their re-election campaigns).

It’s particularly galling to me when you hear the Republican politicians early in the ’16 year’ timeline making points that are good and true about what needs to be done, both with respect to acknowledging the outcomes of scientific research, and to the effects of climate change in general. This is skillfully juxtaposed with clips later in the video where those same people are reversing those previous opinions with industry talking points about the economic impacts of climate change in the coal industry, for example.

It’s very frustrating to see this all play out like this on a linear timeline, because the hypocrisy of politics in general is expertly laid bare by the editor, with no context or narration given other than sound bites. The conclusion this video presents is quite an obvious one to me, and I think I would be hard pressed to find somebody who wouldn’t agree.

It’s politically disastrous for a Republican to support the existence of climate change because it will require a tax increase on businesses in order to actually have an impact in the short term (before non-polluting alternative energy becomes more economically advantageous, which will happen in due course). So those politicians, almost exclusively old white dudes, I note, cling to their voters and the business interests supporting their re-election, rather than taking action to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

We, as humans, are not used to our actions having a global impact, and I think this is why it’s so hard for individual people to accept that something they are doing could ruin the planet and ‘habitat’ of millions of others, but that’s the reality of what’s happening here. Our biology and instincts haven’t caught up with the scale of our civilization, and empathy on a massive scale will be required in order for any real change to come about on this issue.

Climate, and the well-being of all humanity, should not be a partisan bargaining chip, and I just hope we won’t be too late to fix the problems being caused right now when presented with even more obvious symptoms of the problem. It’s worth bearing in mind this adage: “The Earth will survive humanity, but humans may not“.