I always thought dehydration was nonsense

From the New York Times:

After years of telling athletes to drink as much liquid as possible to avoid dehydration, some doctors are now saying that drinking too much during intense exercise poses a far greater health risk….

Until recently, the condition was all but unheard of because endurance events like marathons and triathlons were populated almost entirely by fast athletes who did not have time to drink too much.

“Elite athletes are not drinking much, and they never have,” Dr. Noakes said.

I always ignored my coaches in college who encouraged me to “stay hydrated”. It never made much sense to me in the first place, being a sprinter, and drinking more than a few swallows of water made me feel like an overloaded boat wallowing through the waves. At an all-day meet when the sun was quite hot, they made us hydrate and I wound up throwing up in between the 200 and the 4×100.

The fact that avoiding the nonexistent dangers of dehydration is actually killing people is just too ironic for words. And to think that we often let science define truth for us!

Mailvox: Don’t get fooled again

KS explains why he won’t remarry:

I found the timing of her divorce declaration to be interesting, to say the least. Six weeks before her graduation, and six weeks before she was supposed to get a job according to our long-standing agreement, she announced she wanted a divorce….

I cried myself to sleep every night for the next several months. I cried until I had no more tears left to cry, until there was simply no more sorrow and emotion left in me. My whole world, my children, the little people who I loved more than anything in the world and for whom I would lay down my own life, were gone. Vanished. They were gone not because I was dishonest or had an affair or intentionally abandoned them. They were gone simply because my ex-wife decided they should be.

Since my divorce I have had seven offers of marriage from six different women (one of them asked me twice), despite the fact that I have told each of these women up front that I would never be interested in marriage again. I have refused marriage not because I thought these women weren’t nice people, but because I simply don’t trust the courts to be fair or honest in the event of another divorce….

As I have had the chance to relate my story to friends and work associates over the years, I have frequently been asked the rhetorical question, usually by someone who has not experienced the horrors that I have experienced, “So, you’re against marriage because you had one bad experience?” My response is usually to ask how many experiences I am required to have in order to know that the institution is hostile to my interests and doesn’t meet my needs.

So I’m opposed to marriage not because of “one bad experience” or “one bad person”, as though my position is somehow childish or ill-considered. Quite to the contrary. I’m opposed to marriage because of extensive, ongoing experience with one bad system that I do not think will change in the foreseeable future…. Since the family courts did not honor either the written law during my divorce nor the oral contracts that were made during my marriage, I have no reason to believe that they would now honor written prenuptial agreements or private contracts, either. I simply don’t trust the family court system, and will not place myself under its jurisdiction again.

KS cuts to the heart of the matter. The reason men need to be far more careful about deciding to get married doesn’t have anything to do with their feelings for a specific woman or even women in general. It has to do with the wisdom of voluntarily sticking your head into a quasi-legal system that is designed to destroy men and their families.

There are a number of ways to protect yourself, of course. Overseas investments are not only wise from a financial point of view, but will almost surely reduce the risk of losing everything in a divorce. If the woman has no idea where the money is and knows that the minute she files, you’re off to the Cayman Islands, she’s probably going to think twice before cutting her financial throat. Even if you’re not rich, you can use an offshore account as a bargaining chip; after all, she doesn’t need to know that there’s only $500.00 in your Bahamian account until after she trades you custody of the kids for it.

This isn’t to say that you should behave in a Machiavellian manner from the first day of the honeymoon – although if you are diving in the Caymans, why not open an account there while you’re at it – but a divorce seldom comes out of nowhere. The time to begin defensive operations is when the signs start appearing, not when the papers get served.

And what are those signs? From the descriptions of divorces I’ve been receiving in the mail, they include:

1. total loss of interest in sex (this means 3x per year, not 3x per week)
2. weight gain
3. loss of interest in the children, their activities and appearances
4. scheduling frequent activities alone in the evening
5. laziness, especially a refusal to work part-time when it’s needed
6. disinclination to do simple household chores
7. noticeable increase in bitterness
8. spending majority of time with a toxic, man-hating friend

Gentlemen, given that you have nothing to lose but your house, bank accounts, children and credit rating, it just might behoove you to pay a little attention to this sort of thing should it crop up in your marriage.

Mailvox: ideological inanities

CS writes in support of government executions:

You seem to play the relativist in that you are so disdainful of ALL government that you even descend to equating Communist regimes with the United States government. You also seem to lump in the the many “killings” by such regimes neglecting that they were not in any sense the execution of Biblically defined justice

You play to the lowest common demoninator when you use broad strokes to paint capital punishment by any and all types of government as “equal”. You also fail to neglect that Jesus Himself was a victim of capital punishment. In fact, He has been the only one who was truly innocent in that has ever been unjustly executed. Your wisdom my assured belief that liberals and libertarians kiss as the far Left meets the far Right.

Not only does CS embrace the assuredly asinine concept popular among left-wing academics that the ideological spectrum is circular – which makes the left-right lexicon irrelevant as well as allows these campus socialists of an international bent to wash their hands of responsibility for their nationalist kin – but he manages to trip over his own rhetoric in insisting that justice was served in every government execution.

This conflation of Original Sin with temporal justice is bizarre, but at least it is uncommon. What is rather more common, if equally wrong, is the idea that the states or the federal government are the least bit interested in justice. Does CS, or anyone, seriously believe that the same people who break their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution – and the borders – can be relied on to provide justice?

I don’t think so.

Furthermore, I have never equated the US government with lethal socialist regimes; I have rather warned of a dangerous direction the USA increasingly appears to be headed.

Viaggio al centro di Jules Verne

Umberto Eco writes of the great science-fiction author on the centenary of his death:

April 11, 2005

When we were boys, we were divided into two groups: those that held to Salgari [Italian author Emilio Salgari] and those that held to Verne. I quickly confess that at that time I held for Salgari, and now History compels me to revisit my opinions of that time. Salgari, retold, cited from memory, loved for all the colors it gave one’s infancy, no longer seduces new generations or – to tell the truth – the elders either. When they reread him in search of a little ironic nostalgia, the reading simply makes them tired, and too many of those mangroves and wild pigs come to be an annoyance.

Instead, in 2005 we are celebrating the centenary of the death of Jules Verne, and not only in France are there daily and weekly conventions dedicated to him, searching to demonstrate the many ways that his fantasies anticipated reality. A look at the editorial catalogs in our country suggest to me that Verne was republished far more often than Salgari, to say nothing of France, where there exists an absolute industry of Vernian antiquities. The old hardbound Hetzel editions are certainly very beautiful. (In Paris, on the Left Bank alone, there are at least two stores possessing these splended volumes laid out in red and gold, offered at a prohibitive price.)

For all the merits that our Salgari must be remembered, the father of Sandokan did not have a great sense of humor, (not unlike the rest of his characters, with the exception of Yanez), while the romances of Verne were full of humor. It is enough to remember those splendid pages of “Michele Strogoff” where, after the battle of Kolyvan, the reporter from the Daily Telegraph, Harry Blount, goes to the telegraph office and spends thousands of rubles transmitting verses of the Bible* to his corrispondent in Paris in order to impede his rival, Alcide Jolivet. But Jolivet succeeds in robbing Blount of his position at the telegraph and blocks him in turn by transmitting the little songs of [François] Béranger.

“Hallo!” said Harry Blount.
“Just so,” answered Jolivet.”

And tell me if this is not style!

Another reason for this fascination is that many futuristic stories, read at a temporal distance when that future is already known, leaves the reader a little disappointed, because the things that truly happened, the inventions that were actually realized, are more marvelous than those imagined by the books of the previous era. With Verne this is not so, no atomic submarine will be more technologically wonderful than the Nautilus and no dirigible or jumbo jet will ever be as fascinating as the majestic helix ship of Robur the Conquistador….

And if we do not have the money to buy the old Hetzel editions from antique bookstores and we are not satisfied with the contemporary re-editions? You can go on the Internet, to the address http://jv.gilead.org.il/. There a gentleman by the name of Zvi Har’El, a collector of all the news of Verne, has a list of the worldwide celebrations, a complete bibliography, an anthology of sayings, 304 incredible stamps dedicated to Verne from various countries, translations in Hebrew, and most of all, a virtual library where you can find integral texts of Verne in various languages and see the original French editions as well all of the engravings to save and afterwards enlarge as you like because, sometimes, we are even more captivated the second time.

One of the most decent things about writers, a famously indecent lot, is that they are one of the few disciplines who trouble to remember those who went before.

*Eco makes an uncharacteristic mistake here, as “the verses learned in his childhood” do not refer to the Bible, but rather “the well-known verses of Cowper”, which is to say, William Cowper, the English poet.