I have reached my goal weight of 160 lb. (72.5 kg). This is the most I have ever weighed. In collece I was like 145, and last year I was 150 or so. One summer in high school I got really depressed and didn’t eat much, and then got pneumonia, and I was down at 135. Not pretty. New goal: bodyfat drop to around nine percent (was 11ish before gaining weight, probably a little more now). Shaquille O’Neal is around 16%, Lance Armstrong about 5%, and anything much below that gets seriously unhealthy.
Lance Armstrong impresses me so much. Partly, because he’s a freak of nature– he was good enough to be pro before he got sick, when he was too lazy to train properly. But he’s convinced me that the limiting factor in most endeavors is not innate ability but sheer will. I like the fact that he’s so good everyone else thinks he’s cheating. If he is, he’s gotten away with it better than anyone else. And I guess you can call me a gullible, star-struck optimist– not usually the first label you’d think of.
A lot of the coverage of his career has discussed the fact that everyone thinks he’s doping. There are over 2000 matches for the search “Lance Armstrong conspiracy.” He did a spot for Nike where he said “Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?”
Me, I’m on the goddamn interweb, googling for conspiracy theories.
Everybody loves a conspiracy theory, but really, it’s not that complicated. Check the seven signs of quackery, then read an indymedia piece on oil, war, and monetary reserves, and tell me why it’s full of shit.
Start with the author, who doesn’t give a full name and has an AOL email address. Everybody who wants to be credible ought to know better than to use an ISP that’s renowned for the stupidity of its users. Not to mention the fact that they’re attacking a media conspiracy by giving money to AOL/Time-Warner.
Then the essay begins: “Although completely suppressed in the U.S. media…” Did you see the problem there? Anonymous author alleging suppression of story by Powers that Be. Can you find this story in the European media, who would love to hear about any weakness in US finances? Can you find any good arguments for it in academic journals? Have you checked World Oil, Oil-industry.ru and Gulf Industry Worldwide?
No, but you’ve read Gore Vidal. I’m sorry.
Also, get an editor, and use a spell-checker. It’s “excerpt,” and if you don’t have a way to work a quotation into your essay, you refer to it in the bibliography, and don’t just tack it on to the end, hoping that someone else will organize your primary documents and your thinking for you.
Now, for the merits of the argument: that the US is attacking to prevent Iraq from selling its reserve dollars and switching its oil transactions to Euros, thereby flooding the market with dollars and weakening the US economy.
I suppose that it’s imaginable that Iraq and the rest of OPEC would try to destroy the value of the dollar, even if it came at a great cost to them. However, they haven’t got the cash to do that. Iraq is nearly bankrupt– them switching to Euros would have about as much effect on the currency market as a vacationer cashing a traveler’s check. Remember: the US economy is larger than the next three combined, and Iraq is nearly bankrupt. Most of those great oil fields won’t get drilled for 10-20 years, and if they were active now, sanctions would have choked them off.
Even if several major countries were to try and weaken the dollar by switching en masse to euros, the US and its financial allies would be able to buy excess dollars and maintain the stability of the currency. In fact, one of the reasons countries keep foreign reserves is to prevent radical fluctuations in currency value. Other countries could be expected to help out here because exporters, including the EU and especially Japan and the rest of Asia, want a strong dollar to make their exports more attractive. A weak dollar is worse for them than it is for the US!
Not only that, but switching to Euros would be doing it the hard way, given the obvious ability to just jack up the oil prices. Doing it via currency transaction details is just too complicated. Sure, high oil prices hurt OPEC too, but so does crushing the dollar, given that they have lots of their money in dollars.
So, why is Bush really intent on attacking Iraq? Because he’s really convinced that Saddam is evil and dangerous and that the US should get him out of there and install a friendly democratic regime. He’s isolated from reasonable argument and thinks that disagreement is a sure sign of treachery.
In other words, he’s a conspiracy theorist.