Public Health

Reading List

Wash down that Big Mac with a book!


In Super Size Me, an exposé of McDonald's food, the filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but fast food for a month in order to show the dangerous health effects of a McDonald's diet. Stacking the deck, Spurlock consumes 5,000 to 5,500 calories per day and avoids all exercise, even cutting down on walking, to get the desired effects.

Soso Whaley is now turning this experiment inside out, demonstrating that it's just as easy to skew the results of Spurlock's experiment in favor of the McDonald's diet. For the next month, she'll be limiting herself to McD's cuisine, but choosimg healthier menu items and exercising regularly. Will she got as thin as Spurlock got fat? This is Whaley's diary of her McDonald's month.

My academic journey has not been easy. Fortunately, I have always been very inquisitive and love reading so that combination has led me to acquire titles as diverse as The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett, The Myth of Monogomy, by Barash Lipton, Doc, My Tiger's Got An Itch by John G. Martin and The Ultimate Einstein by Dr. Donald Goldsmith. I own hundreds of books, on many different subjects, I've read and collected both the mainstream and the unique.

Some books are for fun (I'll admit to being a big fan of Stranger in a Strange Land and other books by Heinlein) but most feed my hunger for knowledge. I always want to know more. After leaving school, I never really felt as though my education came to an end. Academic degrees should not be a reason to stop learning and thinking.

Unfortunately, many people are poorly equipped to evaluate the information that they are inundated with every day, so they just ignore it. I don't blame them. Critical thinking is not a subject that is broached very often in the public school system; in fact it is often discouraged by a very rigid academic system which these days tends to concentrate more on test results than creative thinking. But this lapse of common sense on the part of our educational system doesn't have to stop anyone of any age from rebooting and refreshing their minds. It's fun; give it a try. Look up "critical thinking" on the web if you like surfing, or pick up a good book like Statistics You Can't Trust: A Friendly Guide To Clear Thinking About Statistics in Everyday Life by Stephen Kent Campbell, et al.

Once you've learned a few techniques for recognizing things like junk science and alarmist propaganda you can then separate the wheat from the chaff and make more informed decisions about your life. Thinking and becoming more aware of your surroundings is an exhilarating experience but don't forget to exercise your body while working on your mind, brain cells thrive on oxygen.


Murphy was right, if anything can go wrong it will, and I'm not surprised it happened at the drive through window, but I do not blame McDonalds, this was simple human error, nothing more. I was given the wrong receipt for my lunch yesterday and my error was in not checking the receipt. I had hoped to recover the receipt by relying on the computerized cash register system but the registers had been cashed out and I had missed the cycle. The manager was kind enough to note my actual meal on the incorrect receipt and fortunately I had taken a picture of my double cheeseburger and medium coke. MORAL: Always check your purchase before you leave the drive through window