Here’s an interesting news item I rediscovered in the NYtimes today: raising animals for meat releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than does the entire travel industry combined. This is based on research conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. I’m sure some of my regular readers will take issue with this, but it is kind of intriguing. Add to that the growing evidence that vegetarianism is a pretty healthy diet (possibly not the healthiest – a small amount of meat may actually be slightly healthier; see references below) and the connection to IQ (though not causal) and things are looking up for vegetarianism. Maybe this is just confirmation bias, as we all have a tendency to look for evidence to support the things we believe/want to believe. But some of this is also pretty good science. Anyway, here are the references:
Cho, Eunyoung, Wendy Y. Chen, David J. Hunter, Meir J. Stampfer, Graham A. Colditz, Susan E. Hankinson, et al. 2006. “Red Meat Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer Among Premenopausal Women.” Archives of Internal Medicine 166(20).
Gale, Catharine R, Ian J Deary, Ingrid Schoon, and G David Batty. 2007. “IQ in childhood and vegetarianism in adulthood: 1970 British cohort study.” BMJ 334(7587):245.
Spencer, E.A., P.N. Appleby, G.K. Davey, and T.J. Key. 2003. “Diet and body mass index in 38000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans.” International Journal for Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders 27(6):728-34.
Steinfeld, Henning, Pierre Gerber, Tom Wassenaar, Vincent Castel, Mauricio Rosales, Cees de Haan, et al. 2006. Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Last week I was gearing up for all of the orientations for the new job when I noticed on the schedule for Tuesday a keynote speaker who surprised me – George Ritzer. The non-sociologists who read this blog probably won’t recognize the name, so you may want to check him out on Wikipedia. The sociologists, on the other hand, will know who he is. I was excited just to hear him speak, but was even more excited when I was invited by a couple other UT professors to have dinner with him the night before his keynote.
I met him and the other professors at Bernini in Ybor. I was generally impressed with Professor Ritzer. He was very amiable, jovial, and fun to dine with.
How, you ask, did Professor Ritzer end up giving a keynote speech at a faculty workshop at the University of Tampa, which has 3 full-time sociology professors, including me? The business school at UT is substantially bigger than the sociology department and they are big fans of his work. So, they brought him in, and I got to spend time with him. It was very gracious of the business department faculty to invite me to dinner.
My Uncle, Stan Winston, offered to let my extended family take a tour of his studio while we were out there. I’m always hesitant to ask, as I know Stan is extremely busy. But most of my family was interested, so we took him up on his offer. What’s more, my cousin, Matt, offered to take us on the tour himself. We dropped Rosemary off to spend the afternoon with Shalynn and Anderson, then headed up to Van Nuys for a tour. Matt was, of course, greatly entertaining. And we lucked out as Stan was there and invited us all up to his office to meet him despite his extremely busy schedule. The tour was, as always, amazing. There is always so much going on there. You can see more info. on Stan’s studios here.
After the tour we went back to Scott and Shalynn’s then went to Marie Callendar’s for dinner. Debi always likes Marie Callendar’s, as she loves their potato cheese soup. However, when she tried it this time, she finally had to admit that my version of potato cheese soup is now better than Marie Callendar’s, something I’ve been trying to accomplish for a long time. I’m hoping this means we don’t have to go to Marie Callendar’s now every time we go back to Utah.
With early flights home for all of us the next day, we headed home early and spent the evening packing. And so ended our brief summer vacation in California.
We thought we might be touring my Uncle’s studio today, so we got kind of a late start. Also, Ethan seemed to be coming down with something – he had a temperature and was crying for much of the night. We ended up scheduling the tour for Tuesday, but with everything else going on we were slow getting out of the gate this morning. With the tour rescheduled, we moved to plan B – lunch with Scott near his summer internship followed by a visit to the La Brea tar pits. We stopped by Scott’s work around 12:15 and went to a nearby Italian place (where you could also order sushi from a restaurant next door) that was pretty good.
From there we headed to the La Brea tar pits and museum. Debi admitted to never having heard of the tar pits, but most of the rest of us had. For some reason when I was very young, maybe 6 or 7, I became fascinated by them. I don’t recall all of the details, but I was fascinated by sabre-toothed cats (not tigers) and knew that the La Brea tar pits where were most of the skeletons were extracted. I had no idea the tar pits were basically in downtown Los Angeles. So, I was super excited to visit them.
The museum is very professional, entertaining, and informative. We spent a good hour and a half or more walking through the many exhibits. They have lots of information about what they have extracted from the tar as well as a number of exhibits describing the history of the pits themselves. The great thing about the pits is that they still exist and are still being excavated. Unfortunately, we missed them working on the day we were there, but we were still able to walk around to see the pits. They really are amazing!
Anyway, here are a couple pics… If you look closely at this one, it is bubbling:
Here are Steve and Debi in front of a seep:
And here’s a wide view of one of the pits:
We headed back to the condo after the pits to pick up Brent and Suzy’s stuff then dropped them off at the airport. We also dropped of my rental car and were back down to the van. We then spent the evening in, watching TV and relaxing.
Mark and I woke up around 5:45 to get ready for the hike. Tom, well, Tom had been up all night anyway with the runs and vomiting and was semi-awake when we got up. For those who don’t know the intimate details of our trio, Tom may not do the most hiking of the bunch (Mark and I probably hike more than he does), but he is generally in the best shape and is able to run up mountains. So, when Tom weakly sat up and asked, “Do you think I should try to do the hike?” both Mark and I knew he was in bad shape. I’m not a physician, so I deferred to Mark (who is), but didn’t think he should. Mark pointed out the major issue – dehydration. Tom hadn’t been able to keep down water, let alone any food. If he attempted the hike there was a good chance he just wouldn’t make it… And it may even result in something worse, like him collapsing half way up and needing help getting out. So, we encouraged him to just stay in the hotel room. We offered to do something else rather than hike so we could spend time together, but Tom insisted we do the hike. So, Mark and I headed out around 6:30 for the trail head.
The hike starts at the Arizona Snow Bowl, which is a ski resort. When we arrived around 7:00 there were probably 20 cars in the parking lot, which made us think we’d see a lot of people on the trail. We started out around 7:15. The trail crosses a few ski runs then heads into the trees. It then works its way up a number of switchbacks until it reaches both the treeline and a saddle at the same time – the saddle is right on the tree line. In my estimate, the saddle is about 2/3 of the way to the top. We reached the saddle around 9:45 or 10:00. From the saddle you follow a mostly defined trail north, passing below the ridges of several smaller peaks. This part of the trail can be somewhat deceptive as it gives the impression several times that you are at the top or heading to the summit but then you reach that point and see another summit beyond it. Expect another 45 minutes to an hour of hiking from the saddle to reach the summit.
The nice thing about this hike is that from the saddle to the summit you don’t rapidly increase much in elevation (there is a sharper incline just below the saddle than anywhere above the saddle). This is the first summit I’ve reached in years where I walked up to the top and wasn’t completely out of breath and feeling like I wanted to die. We reached the summit around 11:00. There were three young hikers up there (though about 10 left just before we got there). We chatted with them for a while then they left, leaving the summit for Mark and me. We stayed for about 45 minutes, snacking, taking photos, and engaging in our yearly tradition of brushing our teeth on the summit. Mark also made a few phone calls, though the reception was a little spotty.
We dropped off the summit around 11:45 and followed a relaxed pace back down, reaching the trail head around 2:00 or 2:30. Once down we called Tom, who was waiting downtown to meet up with us. We found out later that Tom came up to the trailhead after checking out of the hotel. His plan was to hike up the trail a ways then hike out with us. But someone gave him bad directions and he ended up hiking for about an hour on the wrong trail. It was probably the right decision for him not to hike with us as he reported he made very slow progress while he was hiking, stopping frequently to rest.
Anyway, we met up with Tom then stopped at a subway for a late lunch and to exchange photos, then headed home.