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Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Skin cancer for your health?

Ever get that feeling that you just read something really, well, so naive it's disturbing? There's an article (full text found here) in today's Northern Iowan (our campus newspaper) by Katie Hammitt, NI Features Writer, that talks about the health benefits of using tanning beds. That's right, the benefits. Did somebody skip too many biology classes? The article claims that tanning is a "healthy activity", saying that tanning strengthens the immune system and even fights cancer. You've got to be kidding me. A freshman female was quoted as saying "I know it can be bad for your skin, but you only live once. I figure by the time I get skin cancer, if I would, they'll have a cure, so I don't have to worry about that." You only live once? You only die once, too, and there are many opportunities for painful and expensive surgeries and other cancer-removing treatments. This article is part of a series dealing with "health and happiness" - what's next, an article talking about the benefits of anorexia and bulimia? How about the strength-giving magic of anabolic steroids?

Just to make sure I wasn't behind the times, I did a little checking and found a recent article by the Associated Press claiming that people who use tanning devices are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to get skin cancer than those who do not use the devices. If you start tanning before age 20, the study cited claims you are 3.6 times more likely to get skin cancer. The National Library of Medicine has many more facts and figures about skin cancer at their website. A quick search on Google will provide a whole lot more helpful information.

Aside from science, I realize that people are concerned about looking "white and pasty", assuming that looks "unhealthy". I think vanity is unhealthy, a life-long, unattractive illness that can be worse than any cancer. Maybe cancer is a cure for the conceited...

Monday, February 18, 2002

Where there's a helpful smile...

If you're an observer with attention to strange details you can make a trip to your local grocery store or large discount shopping chain an entertaining experience. I went to our local Hy-Vee food store (the famous one where St. Louis Rams' MVP quarterback Kurt Warner used to work) and, among other things, noticed that when you check out the first item shown purchased on your receipt is the name of your cashier, and the price is $.00. I wonder if Christie K. knows I bought her for nothing?

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Blogger Pro

Okay, I know downclimb.com isn't taking shape as quickly as I would have hoped, but that is the way web development generally goes. If you remember when I first put up this section, you'll recall I was using a service called "Blogger". I've been pretty pleased with it, pleased enough that I just signed up for their "Pro" service. It won't make what I post here any more interesting, but things are a little nicer from my end. Check out what they have to offer at http://www.blogger.com.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

I've been really quiet lately. I should have made a post about that guy in Colorado who got strangled by his pet python. That meets my definition of noteworthy news. Anyway, I've been working on some web stuff, doing some programming, making some thesis progress, and doing some job hunting. I can't say that I've made any truly significant progress in any of those areas, but I've gained in each one. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes...

Friday, February 01, 2002

There's a great article at the Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune about University of Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson. I've had a few brief encounters with J Robinson, and I've heard many more stories, and I think the article gives a good description about the general feelings towards this very successful but contraversial man. I don't know what it feels like to have J Robinson on your side, but as an opponent he makes you uneasy because you have no reason to question his desire to beat you. And I'm sure that's exactly what he wants you to feel.