Health is the New Wealth

Even though the pandemic curve is starting to flatten, the new reality of life will be a heightened sensitivity to the cost of poor health and the value of good health.

And, like anything with value, it becomes sought after and marketed.

The cost of poor health has been clearly identified both in terms of the overall death rate from Covid-19 (over 50,000 as of the time of writing this post) as well as to who is dying from it (people with inflammatory issues due to diabetes, damaged lungs from smoking or pollution, and general obesity). I would have added age as a risk factor until this guy proved me wrong.

The impacts from both our current epidemic of bad health choices plus now this pandemic and future ones, highlight the immense cost of being unhealthy as well as the great value of being healthy.

By health I don’t mean necessarily six-pack abs and a bright smile fit for Instagram (although that indicates a controlled diet and good dental hygiene which is no mean feat), but it does mean a lifestyle where one makes better choices around their eating habits, how they socialize, and how they spend their time.

These choices make for healthy people and, from a societal and business perspective, those are the people who come with more assets and lower costs. For employers that means a person who shows up to work and can be a productive member of the team. For life outside work, that means a potential life partner who won’t be a burden on someone who cares for them.

If the 2008 financial crisis led to people inquiring about the debt burden of a potential partner, the Covid pandemic will lead to people inquiring about a person’s health before getting into a relationship.

Nature is a predator and predators always go after the weak. It thins the herd which improves the environment for those that remain. So put down that vape pen, take a run, and get to bed on time. Your choices matter more than they ever did before.

My First Day in San Francisco

View of Golden GateThe city is great, with busy streets, places to eat; and plenty of people to watch. As a small-town boy (Seattle), it is a shock at times but I am enjoying San Francisco while still missing home.

Here people move faster, are more direct (no “Seattle freeze” here), and there is a greater diversity of people and styles. As a friend said to me, “This is the home of the internet,” and that is true (for example, my office is right across from Uber and Yahoo is not far away).

Below are some more of my amateur cell phone pics.

 

St Patricks

End AnnieSFO StreetAlley Stop

Men and Women

“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.” – Camille Paglia

A man’s life is a series of journeys and trials while a woman is born as is – hence a woman’s inability to understand why men do dumb things. – NW Mondo

Studying for the Test…with an IV?

 

If this NYT article is correct than maybe the next generation of students in China (and hopefully India) will go through a less demeaning and stultifying educational experience (being hooked to IV’s in order to study extra hard is a priceless image of a scary future – Matrix anyone?).

Nothing beats the old practice of honing the full individual through a combination of academics and athletics. To borrow from the Japanese and our ancient Greek heritage, the “sword and the pen” make the individual (emphasis on the individual and his or her dreams).

 

Student Loan Debt: Time for Change

Student loan debt is at the $1 trillion dollar mark according to the NY Times and one of the long-term drags on the US economy. Flushed with taxpayer dollars, colleges have been increasing tuition across the board, putting students so deeply into debt that many of them are having to put off buying a car, a home, and saving for retirement.

College-at-any-cost is creating a generation of people with sometimes fancy and often useless college degrees that have little demand in the current job market. At the same time, companies are pressuring Congress and the Obama administration to loosen visa requirements for overseas professionals to fill jobs that Americans are not able to fulfill.

The solution is simple: the university system, which has remain unchanged since the Sorbonne in the 13th century, has to change. Degrees need to be rated (and paid for) according to their current market value. Computer science and medicine are worth more than sociology and journalism.

The delivery of educational content needs to change too. Drawing upon the Sorbonne example, information once had to be delivered in person to ensure that students could ask questions and that schools could reach their student population.

With current and future technology, there is less need for dormitories or for schools to require physical attendance in classes. That need does exist as education goes from the generalist BA level to a MA or research-style program. And for pre-med and similar programs that require lab work, some of that university tradition makes sense.

Don’t get me started on university sports programs. They are a multi-billion dollar waste of time, designed to satisfy alumni and the school’s financial bottom line. They are a far cry from the amateur sports programs predicated upon the ancient Greek principle of training the mind and the body

Singing In the Rain

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The weather is beautiful today but for some reason I am thinking about one of my favorite clips of Gene Kelly. It’s the famous “singing in the rain” scene where Gene is walking home after dropping off his girlfriend.

He’s so happy that he just starts singing and dancing…in the rain. Great moves by one of the greatest dancers of American cinema.

What struck me most was how Gene’s character showed uninhibited happiness and enthusiasm. That is something that no modern movie would portray. Now all of our leading men have to be unsure and “nuanced.” Some would say “whiny.”

Movies reflect the values and trends of their times, and some could say that nowadays we just know more, that relationships are more difficult; that we live in more complex times.

However, movies like Singing In the Rain were done in post-war America. Soldiers had come back home after seeing the Nazi death camps, the flood of refugees throughout Europe and Asia, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the earth-shattering changes of a new world order.

Despite all of that, simple happiness and enthusiasm were what people wanted. Perhaps because they had seen so much they knew what counted.