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Bad Analogy of the Day

David Vaskevitch, Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer in the Daily Telegraph, 29/06/2003:

[begin quote]
If all this change comes to pass, does that mean that we are heading for another technology bubble? "A boom? Absolutely. Like the dotcom one? I sure hope not," he says. "There's such a lot of things that were wrong with the dotcom boom. The idea that you can start a company and it doesn't really matter if it's never going to be profitable just feels wrong to me.

"And it's also like, would I like to live in a world where you don't have to exercise but you stay fit and you can eat whatever you want but you don't get fat? I don't even know if I'd want to live in that world. But even if I did, it's not a real world."
[end quote]

Sorry, surely this is the American dream?-)

Nobby Good Guy
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Really? I don't like to make generalizations, but since you brought it up, it seems like Americans are pretty obsessed with health and fitness, whereas Europeans are often proud to be slovenly smokers who spend 3 hours eating a meal.

See? Generalizations don't help. :) (No, I don't believe what I just wrote. I'm trying to get a point across.)

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I think that would be a dream for anybody, regardless of where you live. A world where you could enjoy things that are considered harmful (e.g. smoking, driving too fast, eating the wrong foods, drinking, etc.) without any consequences would be ideal. So many people do these things knowing the risks, imagine their happiness if those risks weren't there.

Chris

Chris
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

[it seems like Americans are pretty obsessed
with health and fitness]

Have you LOOKED at any Americans lately?

The Real PC
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I think he's right with "obssessed" -- he didn't say anything about them actually *doing* something about it :)

jedidjab
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

>>So many people do these things knowing the risks, imagine their happiness if those risks weren't there.

Not at all. The main reason they bring so much hapiness is because we know they're  B A D.

Yanwoo
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

"...whereas Europeans are often proud to be slovenly smokers who spend 3 hours eating a meal."
That's funny, I was just talking about this last night! We figured that there are a lot less cars in Europe--people walk everywhere, and that had something to do with it? Or maybe taking 3 hours to eat is better for your body and digestion than rushing a crappy fast-food meal into your body in 2 minutes flat?

Jordan Lev
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Okay, folks, you can stop micro-analyzing the things I said I didn't believe. :)

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

> Americans are pretty obsessed with health and
> fitness, whereas Europeans are often proud to be
> slovenly smokers who spend 3 hours eating a meal.

There is a cultural difference: in Europe, the middle of the day meal usually takes one hour.

It is mainly a social event. People relax a little and get to speak with the other people working at the same company.

This is good for the company, in the long term, because lots of information is exchanged that way, and people know each other and feel that they belong to the same team.

It is also good for the productivity, because people work for 4 hours, then rest and eat for about 1 hour, then work the other 4 hours with renewed energy.


> "And it's also like, would I like to live in a world
> where you don't have to exercise but you stay
> fit and you can eat whatever you want but you
> don't get fat? I don't even know if I'd want to
>? live in that world. But even if I did, it's not a
> real world."

There are people for whom this happens for real.

They are thin, they simply eat what they want and how much they want, have a sedentary life style, and still don't get fat.

I know several such people.

John K.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Regarding a world in which people could do what they want and never get fat/unhealthy/etc a good book that covers this in an AI/sci-fi way is "The metamorphosis of Prime Intellect".

http://www.kuro5hin.org/prime-intellect/

Very good short story.  A bit too much gratuitous violence in a section, but in the end you see how it fits into the whole world.  Covers the "what would people do if they could do anything with no consequences" angle very well.  There are also a few short stories set in this world linked to from that page as well.

Andrew Hurst
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Sooner or later, neurobiologists will figure out the molecular basis of appetite, and then we'll have a safe, effective pill for weight loss.  Building muscle and cardiovascular endurance via pills might be more difficult.

J. D. Trollinger
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Safe? Hey boys and girls, let's mess with your bodies on a bio molecular level.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

There's more walking in European cities because they developed at times when everything had to be convenient for walking. Thus useful facilities are within walking distance.

Secondly, that same history means many streets are small and unsuitable for traffic.

.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

MarkTAW:  Obesity causes health problems.  If a drug can cure obesity, then some incidence of dangerous side-effects may be justified.

J. D. Trollinger
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Andrew, I'm probably slow.  Could you point out the other stories set in that world?  I don't see them.

A very good story, no matter the media or genre.  Too bad he didn't do all the boring work of getting published.  Maybe it's good to season though.

sammy
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

JD Trollinger:  Why would anyone wish to unnecessarily inflict him-/herself with drug-induced side-effects when there's a much better long-term solution:  appropriate diet and exercise?

Yes, I suppose you can make an argument that there is this tiny percentage of the obese population for which diet and exercise doesn't (hasn't?) worked.  However, I'm of the opinion that typical medical solutions address symptoms, as opposed to actually "curing" root causes.  I.e., taking an aspirin doesn't "cure" the cause of your headache; it just suppresses the pain.  In like manner, drugs are not likely to be the catalyst that will "cure" obesity.

bpd
Thursday, July 03, 2003

"there is this tiny percentage of the obese population for which diet and exercise doesn't (hasn't?) worked. "

Tiny?  The percentage is huge -- maybe 90% or more of obese people will never lose weight via diet and/or exercise.  Your argument is a bit like saying that heroin addiction really isn't a problem -- all people need to do is quit shooting-up.  Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of obese people won't lose weight until researchers come up with some kind of pill for it.

J. D. Trollinger
Friday, July 04, 2003

"[...] maybe 90% or more of obese people will never lose weight via diet and/or exercise."

I don't disagree.  But there's also a huge difference between "will never" and "can never".  You make the point that they _won't_ loose weight (to which I don't disagree); while my point is that they _can_ loose weight (via diet and/or exercise).


"Your argument is a bit like saying that heroin addiction really isn't a problem -- all people need to do is quit shooting-up."

But that's right - that's all they need to do.  It may not be "easy" (in the case of heroin, it may be life threatening), but a pill isn't the cure for an addiction.  Unless a person's obesity is "forced" upon them (and, therefore, doesn't qualify as an addiction), isn't it, as with other addictions, a matter of will/choice/desire/inner-strength (pick your term)?  By definition, an addiction is a person's devotion to some habit, practice or pursuit; a choice made by the addict.

However, you may not have meant to suggest that obesity is an addiction.  In which case, the preceding paragraph may be of little value to the discussion.

bpd
Friday, July 04, 2003

It's largely an academic question as to whether people do or do not have the ability to lose weight through diet and exercise. The point is that they simply don't do this in practice, for whatever reason.  Thus, there are only a few options as what can realistically be done to foster weight loss.  Surgery is one option (it worked well for Al Roker and Carnie Wilson).  Pills will be another option, someday.

J. D. Trollinger
Friday, July 04, 2003

Exercise has very little to do with weight loss; most of the weight loss from jogging is caused by heat loss. You might as well have stood still.

It is possible that the increasing difficulty of exercising while obese acts as a warning and results in less eating.

Obesity has much to do with the availibility of food; a hundred years ago there were no fat men in the desert; now the Gulf States have the highest obesity levels in the world.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 06, 2003

Hmmm, I pretty much eat what ever the hell I want and although I'm not the slimmest (185cm, 82kg) dude or dudette about, I sure ain't gonna win no biggest muchacho awards either.

Hell, would you look at that...

[gratuitous caps ahead]

I'M LIVIN THE AMERICAN DREAM, BABY, YEAH!!!

Jack of all
Tuesday, July 08, 2003

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