Tag Archives: fitness

Is Gaming Evil?

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Mostly not. It can improve reaction time, and foster cooperation and competition. But there is a Dark Side. Players who become addicted lose track of friends in the real world, and enter a kind of Virtual Reality of combat, where everyone who doesn’t look like “us” (whoever the “us” is) are seen as an enemy worthy of dying. Kinda like the ISIS view of US. Or North Korea. A few younger kids who are bullied at school may take their parent’s weapons to exact revenge. The NRA would rather have automatic weapons in wide circulation, with kids being killed by police, as the kids kill others, than to upset the 2nd Amendment…which never imagined such weapons in hands of kids. In some video games you can kill kids and cops with flame throwers, chop up women you don’t like—alive—and then piss on your victims. All “just a game,” they say. No effect whatever? Science not conclusive? Ask Lt. Col Dave Grossman, an FBI and CIA trainer, about that. He wrote for Psychology Today. What about the kids who kept notes taken from violent first-person shooters, and posted messages with direct quotes from games before they went to shoot up a school? Why do we need to have machine pistols for sale at Cabelas? What are you going to hunt with a machine pistol—snipe? Forget about guns, what about the deadening of young player reaction to violence, of older players not wanting to get “involved”…of concentrating on selfies posted to Instagram of fitness “goals?” Half of American culture is a big middle finger raised to anyone trying to “stop them,” whatever that means. Who is trying to stop you, and from what? From climbing a bell tower with a sniper rifle? Currently, few would succeed in stopping you doing that. The police rely on tips, since it’s hard to track lone wolf shooters. What if a shooter or bomber is “off the grid?” What if they are using gaming consoles to communicate, as they did in the Paris attacks? What if they know more about social media than your average bear? …What if they believe in fate and luck, not science…or their own brand of whacked-out religion (sports is also a religion, with concussions affecting the brain, and obsessive attention to “winning,” whatever that means.) All things in moderation, is one quote that comes to mind. Another is from the book “The Beginning of Infinity,” the best science audiobook I’ve ever heard, by a quantum computer pioneer who debunks bad science so well that the NY Times called it a masterpiece. “Differences in degree constitute differences in kind.” That’s one of the laws of logic. Being obsessed, as many are, and addicted to screens instead of the natural world and real friends, is a problem also mentioned by Nicholas Carr in “Utopia is Creepy.” Technology is only great if it remembers that we are still human, while in the meantime the abusers of technology (The Four) are trying to turn us into robots before our time. 

One of my novels, “Fame Island,” was narrated by a Star Wars gaming (and movie) actor. He has appeared in many TV series, from The Rockford Files to Law & Order, and the second edition of The Twilight Zone. He is heard as HK-47 on in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Currently he directs Hallmark movies. Met him in L.A., at the Audie Awards.


The Case Against Sugar

healthGary Taubes is a staff writer for Discover, and a correspondent for Science magazine. An award winning investigative journalist, he has appeared in the NY Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Esquire. He is a co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, his previous book “Why We Get Fat.” This audiobook is narrated by actor Mike Chamberlain. Preorder here.



Went into a health food store looking for flour without added iron. The owner asked me why. I told her about the new book THE MINDSPAN DIET, which shows that the American diet is saturated with supplemental iron, and it is a leading cause of dementia. She started to lecture me about nutrition, saying that no one knows what causes Alzheimer’s. I told her it was a recent book with new science. She didn’t want to know the title or the author, or anything about it. Instead she repeated her contention that “no one knows,” and that studies are “first one way and then the other.” So I tried to explain that surveys were taken of the longest living people on Earth with the least dementia, and in all cases those areas showed the least amount of supplemental iron or red meat in the diet (red meat is high in iron.) She began to get angry. How dare I, a mere customer, suggest she might be wrong? Her identity was tied to her knowing what her customers do not, and, after all, so many of her products are fortified with iron, how could they all be wrong? I smiled, made my purchase (twice the cost of regular flour for one not “enriched”) and left. Then I went to my sister’s and found that she had purchased many prepackaged “nutrition” dinners and “healthy” snacks from Nutrisystem and Medifast. They all contained supplemental iron. Most cereals contain supplemental iron. Most breads and cakes. The author, a geneticist from Harvard, says that Americans already get 100 times the amount of iron we need, and no one needs added iron after grade school. The levels of iron Americans get can be toxic to people over 40, and cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. But the general public largely doesn’t know this yet. We still believe the labels. It sounds so good: “fortified with iron.” And apparently it is all a LIE. Just like Coke and Pepsi told us that HFCS was okay as a sugar substitute, or that artificial sweeteners are okay too. Except this is even worse. Alzheimer’s is now the #3 killer. Like diabetes, it is epidemic. And very costly. Why wouldn’t you want to know?


Unlike the health food store owner, to me it doesn’t matter who says something or what someone believes. My opinion doesn’t matter. Only the science matters. You go where the science goes. Convince me otherwise, and my opinion will change. As it should. How about you? Thoughts?