Americans Fat, Lonely, Frequently Injured by Bikes

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The New York Times has a neat article today on the most recent census, and what it says about Americans. Judge for yourself.

Americans:

– Drank more than 23 gallons of bottled water per person in 2004.

– Consumed more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980.

– Remain the fattest inhabitants of the planet.

– Spend about eight-and-a-half hours a day watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies, or reading. In short, not interacting with other people. The average American spends more than 64 days a year watching television.

– Occasionally have sex with members of the same sex. Six percent of men and 11.2 percent of women say they have had same sex contacts.

– Are more frequently injured by wheelchairs than by lawnmowers.

– Are most frequently injured by bicycles and beds.

– Enjoy this here series of tubes. 16 million Americans used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog.

– Lost their jobs. From 2000 to 2005, the number of manufacturing jobs declined nearly 18 percent. Employment in textile mills fell by 42 percent.

– Aren’t very likable. In 1970, 79 percent said their goal was developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, 75 percent said their primary objective was to be financially very well off.

– Are seeing some form of gender equality. In 1970, 33,000 men and 2,000 women earned professional degrees; in 2004, the numbers were 42,000 men and 41,000 women.

As for the fact that Americans spend more and more of their leisure time doing solitary activites, that’s right in Harvard Professor Bob Putnam’s wheelhouse. He wrote the very good “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.” Wouldn’t you know it, the Times got a quote.

“The large master trend here is that over the last hundred years, technology has privatized our leisure time,” said [Putnam]…. “The distinctive effect of technology has been to enable us to get entertainment and information while remaining entirely alone.”

Except, of course, if you are one of those 16 million Americans who spends your lonely internet time on social networking sites. In that case, you are blowing Bob Putnam’s mind.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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