April 2010


The Telegraph reports on a study of injury rates in presumably safe activities. The article glosses over the fact that people probably self-select out of more rigorous activities and the old folks who are apparently injuring themselves en mass while planting pansies and trimming tulips are probably much more likely to get hurt doing anything. But this quote from a doctor of therapy is both funny and tragic:

Anyone planning to spend time gardening or decorating this weekend should remember that they may be using muscle groups and joints they haven’t exercised in a long while. There are simple precautions people can take to avoid injury and the onset of a chronic condition. For instance simple stretching and remembering correct posture can make a massive difference

And if the idea of pulling a hammy while hanging new drapes isn’t bad enough, there is another category for people who manage to hurt themselves without all the fuss of actually moving about: “sedentary leisure injuries.”

At Modeled Behavior, Adam Ozimek rightly points out that government regulation of salt content in food as proposed by the Institute of Medicine represents a terrible infringement on personal freedom. But to illustrate one half of his slippery slope argument, Ozimek sites Glen Whitman’s point about smoking bans migrating from airplanes to just about everywhere.

In the process, Ozimek misses a fundamental difference between smoking and salt consumption and sells short his argument against salt regulation. Smoking has extreme, documented, and immediate negative externalities associated with its occurrence around others. It smells, it irritates the eyes and throat, and it causes cancer, all to people who aren’t participating willingly or enjoying any of the upside. Salt on the other hand has none of these effects. If you sit next to me swallowing fistfuls of salt, it has no effect on me.

The only negative externality of salt consumption arises if you get sick as a result and I have to pay for it, and this is a reason for me to avoid paying your healthcare costs more than a reason to force you not to eat salt. This makes the argument against salt regulation much stronger than that against smoking regulation. Linking the two only undermines former.

SEC Staffers Watched Porn as Economy Collapsed – (CNN)

Clearly the issues of the past two years had nothing to do with overly-loose monetary policy, global fiscal imbalances, bad information, or warped incentives. It was the porn that did us in.

SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed