Links May 17, 2017

Does Depression Contribute to Opioid Abuse?

Is it even necessary to ask this question?

How Gluten-Free Diet Affects People Without Celiac Disease

People without the condition have started going gluten-free over beliefs that refraining from gluten will help them get higher energy, quick weight loss, and lower levels of inflammation. But, a study released by Harvard University earlier this month quashed those beliefs.

The study published in the British Medical Journal on May 2 found that cutting down gluten can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular issues problems (sic). After examining (sic) group of over 64,000 women and 45,000 men from 1986 to 2010, the researchers found long term gluten intake was not associated with heart diseases. However, staying away from gluten increased the chances of heart problems in the respondents.

“Quashed those beliefs” vs. “gluten free increases chances of heart problems”. Not quite adding up there. I’m not seeing anything specific that “quashes” people’s personal beliefs that gluten free gives them more energy and better weight loss.

Health and science writing continues to embarrass.

Opinion | The Age of Trump Is ‘Defining Deviancy Down’

Pat Moynihan, the great politician-intellectual, warned about the dangers of “defining deviancy down,” in which worse and worse behavior comes to be accepted as the norm.

The late New York senator’s essay, almost a quarter century ago, was about crime and family structure. Today it applies to the Trump presidency: the danger that chronic lying, ignorance of history and policy, petty invective, racial demagoguery and personal greed fall within the realm of the norm.

If President Donald Trump gives a speech that is reasonably coherent or takes a sensible action, suddenly even some critics treat it as a momentous occurrence. But wait a moment. That’s actually what presidents are supposed to do.

When he commits one of his especially egregious acts, the news media world too often fall into one flawed approach or another. Either they downshift into partisan mode — in which those who constantly attack him continue to do so, and those who critique his critics continue their barrage — or they pursue a misbegotten mission for “balance.”

Duplicity is the norm for Trump. As a candidate he repeatedly lied. As president he has persistently peddled fiction like the crazed charge that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower and baseless claims of widespread illegal voting.

But it is not the president alone who is defining deviancy down. It’s also how people react to his actions.

How We Reached Peak Superhero Bod

I’d really appreciate seeing more muscles on female superheroes and perhaps less scary vascularity on the men.

‘Looking Like a Liar or a Fool’: What It Means to Work for Trump

The firestorm touched off by the Comey firing has only reinforced the lesson Mr. Trump has usually taken away from past crises, that only one person was truly capable of defending him: the man in the mirror. It would be a “good idea” to end the daily news briefing, he told a Fox News host on Friday, suggesting that he was considering hosting his own news conferences every two weeks or so.

“Trump is putting a lot on the backs of his spokespeople, while simultaneously cutting their legs out from underneath them,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and a former adviser to Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “There is nothing more discouraging or embarrassing for a spokesman than to have your boss contradict you. In political communications, you’re only as good as your credibility.”

The view that the communications dysfunction begins at the top of the White House organizational chart is bipartisan.

“The most hazardous duty in Washington these days is that of Trump surrogate because the president constantly undercuts the statements of his own people,” said David Axelrod, a communications and messaging adviser to President Barack Obama.

“You wind up looking like a liar or a fool, neither of which is particularly attractive.”

Does the essential-oil trend pass the smell test?

Essential oils are a hot item in today’s holistic healing world — touted as a natural way to improve your mood, ward off sickness and treat ailments such as arthritis, dry skin and allergies.

Now, a growing number of hospitals are jumping onto the essential-oils bandwagon, offering them to patients to help manage pain, nausea and anxiety.

“It really is in every health care system,” McGurran said. “We have clinicians who are very engaged in using aromatherapies because we see the outcomes.”

Although research on the therapeutic benefits of essential oils is not conclusive, oil enthusiasts swear by their power. And the oils are increasingly moving into the mainstream. Although using oils derived from plants as medicine dates back thousands of years, they’ve now become big business, with marketing companies latching onto the trend.

Woke models: how activism became fashion’s latest must-have

But in the social media era, something new is happening. In the age of protest and fourth-wave feminism, it is no longer enough for models to slink down a catwalk anonymously: silence is starting to look seriously déclassé. The hot thing in modelling is not a look, but a viewpoint. It is having a voice and not being afraid to use it. It is TED talks and open letters. It is Instagramming pictures from protest marches and hosting debates about intersectionality. It is campaigning for charities and founding NGOs. It is outspoken. It is woke.

Nothing against celebrities or models per se, but I really have a problem with political activism being a requirement. Silence is also a right. And no one should be required to give an opinion, especially on a topic they don’t know much about.

This also ties into how much I loathe regular people’s entitlement toward celebrities. They don’t actually owe you anything.

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