Aprisoner in Sydney, Australia, lost some 30 pounds in order to be able to squeeze through a hole he chisled in the prison wall, according to a recent report in the Reuters news agency. He was still at large (small?) at Just Desserts press time.
The inmate, Robert Cole, was serving time for robbery and assault. Apparently, he consciously dieted for months in order to become skinny enough to fit through a small hole he painstakingly constructed. He then made his way over the outer wall and fled.
We're no experts on tracking escaped convicts, but we hope the authorities thought to check all the local restaurants after they discovered Cole missing. He must have been one hungry bloke.
Cover Your Mouth When You Eat!
Some researchers claim to have found evidence that obesity can be contagious in the same way viral infections like colds and flus are. The research team points to three viruses, called adenoviruses, linked to obesity in animals. They theorize that, like any other virus, the pathogens can leap from organism to organism, creating an epidemic.
"With the exception of infectious diseases, no other chronic disease in history has spread so rapidly," argued lead researcher Dr. Leah Wigham of the University of Wisconsin to the British Telegraph news service. "The nearly simultaneous increase in obesity in most countries is difficult to explain by changes in food intake and exercise alone, and suggest that adenoviruses could have contributed."
Apparently the virus is more virulent in some parts than others, and seems perversely selective in its choice of victims. For example, it is especially prone to infecting sedentary fast food junkies, while rollerblading vegans seem strangely immune. Sumo wrestlers are helpless before its onslaught while marathoners seem to shrug it off. It is rampant among opera singers but almost unknown among ballet dancers. Kate Moss looks to be permanently resistant, Michael Moore terminally susceptible. Oprah seems to yo-yo between contagion and remission.
Some seemingly random lifestyle choices—watching sports instead of playing them, taking a car to work rather than a bike, supersizing instead of portion-controlling—seem to have a statistical correlation with one's chances of being infected. The virus also seems to thrive in some host foods, such as mega-burgers, ultranachos and double-fudge sundaes, readily infecting anyone who habitually eats them. But other foods—such as raw fruits and vegetables, for example—seem to contain some substance that kills the virus before it can be transmitted.
Oh, if only researchers could isolate what it is in mountain bikes and raw carrot sticks that neutralizes this terrible pathogen!
The City of the Big...er...
The poet Carl Sandburg famously termed Chicago the "city of the big shoulders." Today, he might choose a different body part and also cut that subsequent bit about being "hog butcher to the world" as being potentially insensitive.
The Chicago Transit Authority certainly would, were it in a poetic mood. The CTA recently put in a $17.2 million order for 125 new city buses featuring 18-inch seats, the biggest available. In doing so,
CTA is bowing to the reality that its customer base is larger than ever, and we're not talking turnstile counts. Men's Fitness magazine recently rated the Second City first in its Fattest U.S. Cities ranking.
Confirming that this is not just an urban phenomenon, Pace, the public transit authority responsible for Chicago's suburbs, followed suit with its own order of 96 new buses, also with the 18-inch seats.
But 'tis an ill wind, even in the Windy City, that blows nobody good. The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance was ecstatic.
"Any advancement to accommodate people of size we encourage and appreciate," spokesperson Peggy Howell told the Bloomberg News Service.