Beer is good for you, climate change not so much

Beer, it’s good for what ales you!

An article in the journal “Nutrition” is suggesting that drinking one pint of beer a day is good for your heart and circulation, reduces the risk of heart attacks, reduces kidney- and gall-stones, lowers blood pressure, and even helps protect against cancer.

John had a talk with our resident MD about this, Mark Thoma, and Mark is somewhat skeptical for a few reasons he passed along:

1.  He’s not sure if the methods that they used to test the benefits of alcohol are valid.  The measurements were done relatively immediately.  There’s no indication as to how long the supposed benefits last or if, indeed they do anything to prevent heart attacks.  And extrapolating from the brachial artery in the arm (a large artery) to what happens in the coronaries (much smaller and easier to clog than the brachial) might be risky.

2.  Alcohol has been known to increase HDL (good cholesterol) for a long time.  Two drinks per day for men, and one for women, are known to be beneficial, to a slight degree.  That is, people who drink already, should continue to drink 2 for men 1 for women.  But the benefits of drinking aren’t enough to tell people who don’t drink to start drinking (e.g., men should have 2- 6 oz glasses of wine/day if they’re already drinking).  However, drinking above that may actually have detrimental effects on heart health.

3.  It’s not clear that this journal is peer-reviewed.  Much research in it comes from Croatia and Czechoslovakia.  Not sure how good it is.

Party pooper.

Map of the US once the ice caps melt – buh bye Boston, NYC, Philly, DC…

What definitely isn’t good for your heart is drowning in a sea of former ice caps.

Now, granted, the current talk is about glaciers and ice caps melting, not about them being totally gone (yet).  But still, the amount of melting is setting records and worrying scientists, as is the speed of the melt.  And we’re seeing glaciers melt from the Himalayas to Alaska.

National Geographic has a cool interactive map showing what the various continents would look like if every last bit of ice melted — caps, glaciers, permanent snow, all of it — due to global warming.

The last time the Earth was entirely ice-free was 34 million years ago, in the Eocene era.

First up, here’s North America. It’s hard to tell on some of the cities, they should have zoomed in more, but all of Florida is gone, as is New Orleans and Houston, New York, Philadelphia and possibly even DC (sorry, John).

National Geographic - from interactive map of the continents if all the ice and snow melted

National Geographic – from interactive map of the continents if all the ice and snow melted

And here’s the same map for Europe. London is gone, as is Stockholm and Denmark. Amsterdam, Brussels, Venice, and Baghdad are all underwater too.


National Geographic – from interactive map of the continents if all the ice and snow melted.

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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