Are You at Risk for Text Neck?

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Funny phrase this text neck, a malady Millennials and Gen X’ers are more likely to suffer than Baby Boomers.  If you don’t already know what it is, what the thing is may be a mystery.  I can say this, it’s not the craning of the neck to catch a glimpse of what others are texting, which came to my mind first when I saw the article headline – Text Neck is becoming an epidemic…I was also thinking about necking, the thing that went out of vogue in the early 80’s and that  only Baby Boomers, and the GI Generation would remember.  And of course I was wrong.  Text Neck is what you get when you bend your neck to text or read on your smartphone, tablet or smart watch.

Did you know that the brain weighs about 12 pounds but when you bend your neck just 30 degrees, the pressure on your spine is as much as if your brain weighed 40 pounds.  That would be a pretty big brain.  Imagine how much smarter we’d be if we had bigger brains.  But the trade off apparently is that all this bending destroys the spine and the natural curvature of the neck, causing all manner of aches, pains, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, and tissue tears, that, as one doctor claims, could lead one to have corrective spinal surgery.  The only corrective thing I ever had was shoes.  As a Baby Boomer, I have some natural protection against text neck.  I never learned how to text quickly having grown up using a typewriter.  I am just now getting comfortable with a computer keyboard.  No, I’m not 94 and not still using a flip phone with a phone card.  But this Qwerty keyboard is still foreign to me.  I can type fast, but can only peck a smartphone with the index finger of my left hand.  And by the way, there’s no such thing as peck neck.  The only thing I can do with my thumbs is give the thumbs up and hitchhike.  Yes, it’s a generational thing I think.  I’ll never get a smart watch which may ultimately cause teens extreme spinal degeneration.  I’d hate to see the younger generation walking around with bent backs and huge bowling ball heads that weigh 60 pounds.

I do feel bad for the next generation who are growing up in the era of global warming, climate change, famine, drought, GMO’s, new rounds of nuclear madness, text neck, and the new threat of being buried alive by unrecyclable k-cups.  What a way to die! The Baby boomers and those still alive who came before, will most certainly fall to cancer or heart disease, but won’t live a painful life of text neck.  And for the rest of you, Gen X and young Millennials, it’s not too late.  You still have time to save yourselves.  Put away your devices and live just a little.  In the badly paraphrased words of Mark Watt’s paraphrase of his father Alan Watts, with a modern twist:  stop thinking (and texting) and start experiencing life.  And I would add, look up, look around, not down!

The case for higher gasoline prices

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For those of us who live in the United States, the prices at the gasoline pump haven’t been so low since 2009, about $2.50 per U.S. gallon as of January 5 in the New England area.  It sure comes as a relief, but of course, our good fortune won’t last very long and maybe it shouldn’t.  Here’s the thing: we, yes, you too, WE are way too dependent on fossil fuels.  As a nation, we drill and frack the earth with such ferocious greed and disrespect for our natural and finite resources that it’s a wonder there’s anything left. The irony here is that all this voracious plundering of the earth has produced a market in the U.S. where there is more supply than demand which has helped to drive OPEC prices down.  But rather than cutting back supplies, OPEC is all in with hopes that declining oil prices will stop the U.S. from continuing to explore alternatives.  The end game for OPEC is to restore its monopoly, so that it can hike the price of oil back up and make more profits.  The end game for the U.S. is to make the big oil companies even more profitable than they already are.  And we consumers are the pawns in the game.

As a person concerned about the environment and how we leave it to future generations, I advocate for a sound and responsible energy policy that does not include fracking and that ridiculous X-L pipeline. And unless the U.S. and other like minded nations ramp up investments into sustainable clean energy sources, we will forever be dependent on fossil fuels, our own or OPEC’s.  In some ways, a world with higher fuel prices is preferable because it encourages people to consume responsibly, to walk and bike more, take public transportation and carpool.  It encourages hybrid technology and the use of clean electric, solar and wind power.

As is, with prices at the pump on the decline, automakers are producing and selling more SUV’s and pickup trucks and other gas guzzling models.  Come on people.  Show some respect for mother nature. Consume less and appreciate nature more.  Do your part.