Sausage sandwich
photo credit: adactio

Should fat people be blamed for conributing to global warming?

No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.

George Bernard Shaw

We all know that drinking alcohol is both big and clever but it does sometime provoke a wee bit of violence, which doesn’t matter as long as you can fight, but it ultimately leads to weight problems. Think darts player.

Fat people can’t catch a break these days in a society that prizes thinness above all. We make the obese the butt of our jokes, berate them for running up health care costs and treat them like modern-day lepers. And we’re even blaming them for global warming. A new study estimates that America‘s cars burn a billion gallons of extra petrol a year, just to lug around the extra pounds of their lardy bodies.

Silhouettes representing healthy, overweight, ...

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Another study estimates that commercial planes burn another 350 million gallons of fuel for the same reason. People will apparently seize on any ammunition, however tenuous, to scapegoat the fat and get them to change their dissolute ways. Subjecting the obese to a non-stop diet of criticism is not just cruel – it’s also counter-productive. A researcher recently asked 3,000 fat people how they responded to stigmatisation and discrimination. Almost everyone said they ate more. Perhaps they should jog more, mind you look at what happened to Jim Fixx.

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People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find that at the root of a large number of organizational problems is poor communications. Effective communication is an essential component of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal, intergroup, intragroup, organizational, or external levels.

  1. Stand up and be counted. Research shows that those with the courage to speak out are listened to, respected and rewarded. Dare to have the conversations that others shy away from.
  2. Get ready. Prevent difficult conversations from becoming emotionally charged. Ask yourself ‘What do I want to achieve here?’ before you go into the conversation. The answer can act as a reminder to pull back from an argumentative stance.
  3. Start with the facts. Sharing your feelings is a powerful way to express why something is important to you, but differentiate between facts [the report has three errors in it), assumptions [it was clearly done at the last minute] and emotions [I feel let down]. Facts are indisputable, so are easier to share first.
  4. Describe actual behaviours. If delivering constructive criticism, avoid the infamous ‘feedback sandwich’ [good-bad-good]. It comes across as disingenuous and dilutes the impact of your message.
  5. Allow time for reflection. Give people the chance to respond, but don’t force them: arrange to talk about it later.
  6. Open up. Listen without showing any negative or defensive emotions [this will be difficult, but is essential]. Show that you understand not only what they are saying but how they feel.
  7. Collaborate. When asked about the turning point in the Cold War, Gorbachev replied that the crucial moment came at the 1986 Reykjavik summit with Reagan. This was the first time the leaders had entered into genuine dialogue, sharing their values, assumptions and aspirations. Their resulting trust and understanding began to reverse the nuclear arms race. Ask questions and work together without judgment.
  8. Keep moving. If you can’t agree on an issue, don’t waste hours debating it. This conflict quicksand will get you nowhere. Park the issue and move on – you can always come back to it.

What do you think? Have I missed any points? Please leave your comments below:

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Britney Spears

To the casual observer the life of Britney Spears looks like a tram wreck and that’s no doubt true on a personal level. In business terms, however, the troubled singer is at the centre of a thriving economy.


Image by EuPaparazzi via Flickr

Her own earnings, estimated at around $9m a year, are chicken feed next to the earnings she generates for record companies, promoters, perfume makers, the paparazzi and the media. A rough calculation of all these spin-off profits suggests the Britney Industrial Complex is worth around $120m a year to the struggling US economy. One photo agency, X17, estimates that she accounts for 30% of its revenue: the agency sold $2.5m worth of Britney photos in 2007 alone. And in the weeks that America’s celebrity tabloids put her on the cover, they each sell an average of 1.28 million newsstand copies, some 33% more than they sell in normal weeks.

Britney no VMA

No wonder, then, that between January 2006 and July 2007, she graced the front of six such magazines 175 times. Britney is equally ubiquitous on the internet, topping the annual Yahoo search rankings for six of the last seven years.

The 26-year-old’s life may be spiralling out of control, but the Britney economy is doing better than ever.

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