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Weighty matters for the new year
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Forsyth County News
Recently, a great deal of attention has been given to issues surrounding global warming, climate change and melting ice caps. The focus has been so intense that families all over the world, living in low-lying coastal areas, have been adding scuba equipment to their survival gear.

But surprisingly, the two most important potentially-catastrophic changes of all have been neglected by both scientists and the media, and even Al Gore. First, gravity has been increasing dramatically; second, so has the spin of the earth.

How do I know this? Simple. It comes from personal experiences, experiences which most of us have had but may not have linked to these changes. As soon as they are explained, you will immediately see the connection.

Let’s look at each one separately and then, worst of all, the impact of the combination of these phenomena.

Gravity, in this case, may be defined as the force of attraction exerted by the earth upon objects near its surface. It pulls us toward the center and keeps us from flying off into space, especially for people who live at the bottom of the globe.

That force has been increasing, steadily over the years. Young people may not notice it, but as one ages and acquires more experience, the body develops greater sensitivity and awareness to these environmental forces.

The proof of what is happening is clear. To convince yourself, all you need do is lie down on the floor. You will see how much more difficult it is to get up today than it was a year ago, and especially if you compare today with 10 years ago or longer.

There is another easy way to corroborate these findings. Just step onto your bathroom scale. Weight is directly related to the strength of the gravitational field. I have absolutely incontrovertible evidence here. Although there have been minor fluctuations from time to time, there is a clear trend. Each year the number gets higher and higher.

Now let’s turn to the spin of the earth. No question here, either. Think about 2008 and how much faster it went by than did 2007. I remember when, as a child, a year was still a year. Today a year is just a shadow of what it used to be. It’s a process somewhat akin to inflation, which, over time, makes the dollar worth less. But here the currency is “time.”

Normally, one would expect the increasing spin to toss us all off into space. But that hasn’t happened. The only logical explanation (again, more proof) is that the increased centrifugal force has been countered by an even greater increase in gravity. So weight gain is not all bad.

Now let’s look at the combined effect, which can best be seen at the end of the year when, for some as yet inexplicable reason, the impact intensifies. Maximum impact seems to come in late December. The holiday season whizzes by.

As a child, I remember how long it took for Christmas to arrive, and the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day seemed like a whole week. Not any more. Even worse, despite the severely condensed passage of time, the gravity invariably spikes. Again, I would refer you to the bathroom scale for proof.

So what can we do to deal with these two aberrations of nature? There’s nothing much to do about the spin, except to hold on tight. It really would be terrible to see people zinging off into space.

Interestingly, increasing one’s mass, and therefore increasing gravitational attraction is one way to deal with this situation. Perhaps it’s nature’s way of coping.

I keep fighting the time compression problem. So far I’ve tried setting my watch back a few minutes every day. That hasn’t worked. Sometimes, I just don’t tear off pages of the calendar. That doesn’t work either. Here, I’m afraid, we need a major breakthrough that is currently beyond the capabilities of modern science and technology. But some day…
The problems related to increasing gravity have been well researched. Millions of people see the impact in the form of increased weight.

A number of years ago I did research on the increase in weight of the average American. Calculations pointed to an amount approximating 1 million tons. In essence, that is equivalent to having 13 million extra people tucked away (at 150 pounds per person), which the U.S. Census totally neglects.

The main antidote that has been developed is what we call “the diet.” Several thousand years of experience and developmental effort have gone into creating the perfect diet, but we are still a long way from having anything that is effective. Most have a limited “shelf-life.”

For example, many dieting New Year’s resolutions made just a few days ago have already fallen by the wayside. A second problem is that diets are not enforceable by law, and many events and additions tend to contaminate the process. Finally, it would seem that, in the long range, diets are counterproductive, as nature rises to the challenge by increasing gravity even faster.

Personally, I have found two paths that seem particularly intriguing. Many diets promise quick weight loss. Most are not fun, one constantly has cravings, and it’s hard to stick with them for long, even given the time acceleration factor. My solution: to go on two diets simultaneously, lose twice as much weight, cut the time frame in half, and do so with fewer cravings.

The other possibility is based upon research conducted with mice. It has been shown that feeding them the same food over and over, eventually results in substantial weight loss.

What’s good for a mouse should be good for a person. Keep your eyes and ears on the alert. You may soon be hearing about my new “hot-fudge-sundae diet,” Atkins and Weight Watchers be warned.

Of course, there are some misguided people who think exercise helps. Over the years I’ve bought almost every piece of exercise equipment that has come on the market. I can assure you that the impact has been negligible, except on my finances.

They look great, however. One of these days I may even unwrap them.

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful, happy and healthy new year. As you read this, may all your resolutions still be intact. And if, like me, weight is an issue for you, let’s hope we see less and less of each other as 2009 goes whirling by. We’ll try to deal with less weighty matters in the future.

Dr. Melvyn Copen lives in both Georgia and Arizona. He is an educator and businessman who has worked and lived in many foreign countries and provides consulting services throughout the world. His column appears every other Wednesday. Please share your comments with him via e-mail at