Category: Uncategorized

Want Employees to Lose Pounds? Offer In-House Programs … and Cancel Weekends.

By Melissa Lafsky | July 1, 2008 3:32 pm

fat employeeHere’s some good news about that new “Get Fit” program at work: A review of studies from the University of Cincinnati has found that employer-based weight-loss programs are effective, leading to a consistent, albeit modest, loss of extra pounds.

The review, which examined 11 studies published since 1994, found that programs such as nutrition education and diet/exercise counseling generally worked. Those in “higher intensity” programs such as frequent face-to-face counseling saw the best results, with an average loss of 2.2 pounds to nearly 14 pounds. Given the high costs of obesity for employers—not to mention the government—this is some pretty heartening news.

Unfortunately, there’s more.

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The Mommy Wars and Science Collide (Again)

By Melissa Lafsky | June 19, 2008 8:05 am

mommy warsOver at Wired, Nature Network blogger and Harvard Ph.D. Anna Kushnir has questioned the disparity between the number of women in science graduate programs (more specifically, the number of women in her graduate program) and the women in senior teaching and research positions. Women equal or outnumber men in the former, she observes, and are dwarfed in the latter. As such, she says, somewhere along the line (usually around the time of childbirth) female scientists are dwindling, and she concludes that forces such as motherhood, societal discouragement from an academic career, or lack of self-confidence are “applying this pressure to force women out of a career in science.”

Kushnir’s point is neither incorrect nor new, for scientists or the rest of the working world.

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Darwin and the Vertigo of Vision: Beyond the Science v. Religion Debate

By Adam Frank | February 12, 2008 4:58 pm

Adam FrankAdam Frank is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester who studies star formation and stellar death using supercomputers. His new book, “The Constant Fire, Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate,” has just been published. He will be joining Reality Base to post an ongoing discussion of science and religion—you can read his previous posts here, and find more of his thoughts on science and the human prospect at the Constant Fire blog.

“Today…new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory”. —Pope John Paul II

I can’t write a series of posts on science and religion and ignore Darwin’s birthday. Not when the theoretical structure whose foundations he laid remains one of the principle fronts on the war between science and religion. I have written before about the sullen – the scriptural literalists and intelligent design advocates. They have been the principle provocateurs on the religious side of this unfortunate chasm between science and the domains of human spiritual longing. Today it’s worth noting what they miss in their demand that the process and methods of science cleave to their preconceived ideas about the world.

The Pope really hit the nail on the head: “The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.” That’s it! That is the mojo that makes the theory of evolution, the idea of evolution, so extraordinary.

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