Roger Ebert on the Aurora shooting

“Should this young man . . . have been able to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes. And the endless gun control debate will begin again, and the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association will go to work, and the op-ed thinkers will have their usual thoughts, and the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change. And there will be another mass murder.”

from “We’ve Seen This Movie Before


Here's the thing…

A few weeks ago, Apple released a new app called “Podcasts” for iOS with a “Top Stories” feature that lets your browse through popular podcasts. I came across a podcast called “Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin.”

Alec Baldwin has a podcast? I loaded up a few episodes and gave it a shot since somewhere in the back of my head, I had the idea that Alec Baldwin was a pretty smart guy and if nothing else, he’s got a good voice.

Turns out I love his interview style. He asks great questions, lets his guest tell their stories, and he has a laser-like focus. If you listen to an episode, you’ll notice it right away. He almost sounds as if he’s interrupting his guests, but not quite. He either has an uncanny ability to sense when the interview is going to drag, or he has a really good editor (I think it’s the former).

In the July 2 episode, Alec interviews Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist (he studies hormone glands in children). Lustig recounts a story of how a treatment for obesity in patients with a specific type of brain damage lead him to conclude that, for nutritional as well as behavioral reasons, the massive amount of sugar in the American diet is a huge factor in diabetes, obesity and cancer. Now there is some controversy about that opinion (I’d recommend checking out the comments section for links to differing opinions), but the interview itself is fascinating, engaging, and intellectually stimulating.

An aside: Lustig’s argument makes sense on the surface. The availability and low-cost of high fructose corn syrup combined with a low-fat craze and some nice profits for the food industry have pushed large amounts of sugar into almost everything we eat and sugar has addictive properties. I’m no nutritionist, so I can’t vouch for the validity of the argument and it does seem a bit over-the-top to demonize and cut out sugar entirely, so do your research before deciding on this one. Alec also maintains a sugar-free diet because he was diagnosed as “pre-diabetic.” You can take that as an endorsement for Lustig’s findings or as a bed for confirmation bias. Maybe both.

In any case, give the show a listen. If you’re not that into nutrition, try the interview with David Letterman.