Bike Helmets: It’s Cool Not To Hurt Your Brain Comment

2:53 pm on March 25, 2015

aianfThe first thing you probably look for when buying a helmet is a seal of approval from either or both the ANSI Z90.4 standard or the Snell Memorial Foundation standard. But how much protection do these two labels really give you?

According to a newly released study conducted at the Biomechanics Laboratory at Wayne State University in Detroit, which put ANSI-and Snell-approved helmets through a series of rigorous tests, a lot.

“The study confirms that the two standards are very valid when it comes to reducing the risk of head injury,” says Jack Thrush, chief of the health surveillance section for the Michigan Department of Public Health in Lansing, which commissioned the study through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control.

It also shows …

Eat Right, Or Don’t! Comment

11:43 am on March 18, 2015

cnfcPromise, which claims to have less saturated fat than margarine because “it’s made from sunflower oil,” has the same amount as every leading brand of margarine. Go figure. With our increasingly processed diet, the need has never been greater for food labels that spell out fat, sugar, sodium, cholesterol and fiber content in a simple way. Instead we’re given too much information we don’t need and not enough of the information we do need.


Most product labels make only token efforts, if any, to address the needs of consumers trying to make healthy food choices. Many products aren’t required to give any information beyond an ingredient list, and even that can be misleading. Ingredients are listed in order by weight, with the most …

Get Smart With Athletic Shoes Comment

10:37 am on March 11, 2015

altcssWhen you consider that in running you hit the ground at a force equal to about three to four times your body weight, it’s little wonder that your footwear is so important. But finding a running shoe that fits, feels comfortable and won’t fall apart a month down the road requires some shoe smarts.



For years, women’s running shoes were simply scaled-down men’s products. These shoes often fit fine in the forefoot, but felt loose in the heel. And for good reason: Women’s feet are usually narrower at the heel than men’s.

Today, most major footwear companies offer at least one women’s running shoe designed on an anatomically correct last. (A last is a plastic form that gives a shoe …

Buy Smart And Save The Planet! Comment

10:19 am on March 3, 2015

bsastpThe Green Consumer: A person who chooses those products from socially responsible companies that don’t cause damage to the environment during their manufacture, use or disposal.

As I pulled out my wallet, the grocery clerk asked, “Paper or plastic?” She had a plastic bag out before I answered and was packing my bread and milk.

“That’s okay,” I said, finally looking up. “I can carry them without a bag.” The clerk nodded, took the milk out of the bag, wadded the bag up, and tossed it into the trash can under the counter.

Multiply this small thoughtlessness by the Earth’s population-nearly five billion people-and you begin to see why the environment is in trouble.

However, if the message of cutting down on waste seems to have …

Age Is A Number, Folks 2 Comments

8:49 am on February 24, 2015

aianfEarlier this summer, the woman who is arguably America’s best and most versatile female distance runner grew tired of answering reporters’ questions about her upcoming birthday and how it might affect her performance. In response she said, “What’s the difference between 29 and 30? Or 30 and 31? One year doesn’t matter Life doesn’t end at 30, especially not running life.”

As her family, friends and coaches now know, that’s precisely the sort of direct, confident response to expect from Lynn Jennings. An articulate and outs spoken woman who has weathered the peaks and valleys of world-class athletic competition for more than 15 years, Jennings has reason to feel confident. She’s running her best ever in track, road and cross-country races. And now, at age 30, …

Deal With Back Pain Right Now! 3 Comments

8:31 am on February 15, 2015

backpNext to sore throats, back pain is America’s most common ailment. It’s nature’s fault-we’re really not built to stand and sit erect. But since we can’t zap ourselves a few million evolutionary years into the future, the best way around back pain is to work toward proper posture. Proper posture is a learned, athletic skill; like any athletic skill, it involves muscular support and awareness. Weight training can help you develop the muscles you need for good posture, and you can work out with weights whether your back is healthy or in need of rehabilitation. (If you have a bad back, check with your doctor first.)


Measure yourself when you get up and before you go to bed, and chances are you’ll have shrunk: …

Communications Decency Act: A Failure? Comment

6:52 am on February 7, 2015

comdeactFIRST THINGS FIRST: I THINK PEOPLE WHO PREY ON children for their sexual kicks deserve the harshest punishments our legal and social systems allow. I do not want anyone giving pornographic material to my children, whether it is printed, filmed, videotaped, or beamed by infrared links or radio waves to a personal computer, a television, or a videotelephone.

That said, the Communications Decency Act, part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed by President Clinton earlier this year, is an ill-conceived, unneeded, damaging, and dangerous piece of legislation that was created by people who are as ignorant about technology as they are savvy about politics.

I’m willing to concede that many congressional supporters of the so-called decency legislation acted in good faith, with a sincere desire …

Will A “Virtual Company” Work For You? 4 Comments

6:32 am on January 30, 2015

vircoJust before Christmas in 1985 Matt and Gail Taylor called a staff meeting at their Washington, D.C., office and gave each of 20 staffers a modem and a book on running their own businesses. They announced that, henceforth, they would be running MG Taylor Corp. from their home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. More than 10 years later, most of the 20 staffers are still active in their company, a network that has grown to more than 50 workers nationwide.

Whether individually or as groups of small organizations, more entrepreneurs are following the Taylors’ new business model. They’re organizing technologically linked workgroups on a project basis or as full-blown companies. Together, they deliver services or products that they couldn’t provide alone. They’re called virtual companies …

Tools For Your Business, Part 2 Comment

6:19 am on January 23, 2015

Yes, there are even more!

tfyb2Professional and business association dues. The business contacts and client leads you can generate by joining an organization are invaluable, but you get a lot more than marketing benefits. Align yourself with an association and in many cases you gain access to trade lawyers, financial advisers, and industry-trend analysts. If you need help collecting from a slow-paying account or fear a client may slap you with a suit, put those dues to good use and give your association a call. Even better, you often get group discounts on insurance, supplies, and travel expenses.

Trade group membership fees vary: I budget roughly $500 a year for dues and an annual meeting (not including travel expenditures) for a writer’s association; accounting, medical, …

Tools For Your Business, Part 1 Comment

5:40 am on January 15, 2015

tfybWHETHER YOU’RE A WRITER LIKE ME OR A REPAIRPERSON, an accountant or an artist, we all have our favorite office products and services: the plain-paper fax that ended the era of curly paper; the tax software that lets us plan year-round; the voice-mail service that banished phone tag forever. Then there’s the why-did-I-ever-buy-that category. You know, the stuff that’s collecting dust out in the garage faster than my Lionel Richie record collection. Funny how those products seemed like such great investments–until you got them.

It turns out that the self-employed have very similar tastes when it comes to what works and what doesn’t. In an informal survey–online, on the phone, and in person– of dozens of businesspeople, I found that the same products, supplies, and services …