Short shot #51: op-ed frog-boiling

Not really about language, though it does link back to my previous adventure with frog-boiling.

Nicholas Kristof in an op-ed piece “Our Beaker Is Starting to Boil” on Sunday (July 18, here), about the retreat of glaciers, on Mt. Everest and elsewhere:

Some research in social psychology suggests that our brains are not well adapted to protect ourselves [I would certainly have used us here] from gradually encroaching harm. We evolved to be wary of sabre-toothed tigers and blizzards … The upshot is that we’re horrifyingly nonchalant at the prospect that rising carbon emissions may devastate our favorite planet …

[bad news on temperatures and snow cover]

So signs of danger abound, but like the proverbial slow-boiling frog, we seem unable to rouse ourselves.

[digression on the frog-boiling story]

(On a more personal note: I had a whole lot of tests done two weeks ago, and they’re all splendid. Iron levels back up to (low) normal, bad cholesterol spectacularly low, etc. — and I’ve lost 45 pounds (so far), taking me from obese through overweight to high normal. Everyone tells me that I look fantastic, except for the people who worry that I’ve become “rather gaunt”, as one friend tactfully put it. Still at work on the five diets; I’ll compose another linguistic post on diets of various kinds soon.)

2 Responses to “Short shot #51: op-ed frog-boiling”

  1. Jan Freeman Says:

    Wait, I thought you were going to congratulate Kristof for actually including a paragraph noting that the frog-boiling story was not in fact true. It doesn’t seem fair to skip over it as a mere “digression.”

    [(amz) Good point. Thanks for including it.

    I’m not coping well with accumulating 10-20 things to post about a day, while only managing to post at most 2 or 3 things a day. So every so often I try to do very brief postings. Apparently this is always a mistake.]

    Congratulations on the lab results!

  2. David W. Fenton Says:

    On the weight loss issue, years ago when I lost 65 pounds in one year, I discovered how odd the body is in reshaping and redistributing what remains. I was young then (19-20) and my body didn’t show the loss visibly for a long time. I was still getting “you’ve lost so much weight!” comments two years later, even though the exclaimees had seen me repeatedly and frequently during the whole two-year period. What was happening was that my body was slowing redistributing what remained so that it was actually a while before it was redistributed in a way that made my relative thinness noticeable.

    Now that I’m older, I notice that it’s gone the other way — variations in my weight show right away, and only then adjust back to something more normal.

    Congrats on the weight loss — I hope you can maintain it, since that’s harder than losing it in the first place. Mostly, it’s a matter of developing healthy habits that keep your weight stable.

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