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World Wide Wednesday

On Grantland, Chuck Klosterman profiles Royce White, the Houston Rockets rookie who has had a very public battle with mental illness this season:

Part of what makes White so baffling (and, to his detractors, so infuriating) is the degree to which he seems totally normal. He concedes this is part of the problem, perception-wise; he says he’s thought about his condition so much that he can now control it, most of the time. But that control makes it difficult for him to illustrate how he’s different from any normal person who tends to get more nervous than necessary. For instance, it’s not that White cannot bear to step on an airplane; he’s taken dozens and dozens of flights throughout his short career, including one to Italy to play an exhibition for Iowa State. He just deeply hates the experience of flying (and says that he’s racked with anxiety for several hours before takeoff, which is worse than the flight itself). White also hates driving and constantly scans the road for “threats,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t drive (in the Real Sports segment, we see him calmly operating a vehicle with only one hand on the wheel). When I speak with him at the Cheesecake Factory, he seems more composed than many other celebrities and athletes I’ve interviewed in the past. But this, he insists, proves nothing except the complexity of his dilemma. “Everything is tied to my mental illness,” he tells me. “It’s like when you have arthritis: Even when you’re not hurting, you’re worried about when you will hurt next. It’s always related.”

In The New Republic, Judith Shulevitz talks about how older parenthood will upend society:

We have been conditioned to think of reproductive age as a female-only concern, but it isn’t. For decades, neonatologists have known about birth defects linked to older fathers: dwarfism, Apert syndrome (a bone disorder that may result in an elongated head), Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue that results in weirdly tall, skinny bodies), and cleft palates. But the associations between parental age and birth defects were largely speculative until this year, when researchers in Iceland, using radically more powerful ways of looking at genomes, established that men pass on more de novo—that is, non-inherited and spontaneously occurring—genetic mutations to their children as they get older. In the scientists’ study, published inNature, they concluded that the number of genetic mutations that can be acquired from a father increases by two every year of his life, and doubles every 16, so that a 36-year-old man is twice as likely as a 20-year-old to bequeath de novo mutations to his children.

The Nature study ended by saying that the greater number of older dads could help to explain the 78 percent rise in autism cases over the past decade. Researchers have suspected links between autism and parental age for years. One much-cited study from 2006 argued that the risk of bearing an autistic child jumps from six in 10,000 before a man reaches 30 to 32 in 10,000 when he’s 40—a more than fivefold increase. When he reaches 50, it goes up to 52 in 10,000. It should be noted that there are many skeptics when it comes to explaining the increase of autism; one school of thought holds that it’s the result of more doctors making diagnoses, better equipment and information for the doctors to make them with, and a vocal parent lobby that encourages them. But it increasingly looks as if autism cases have risen more than overdiagnosis can account for and that parental age, particularly paternal age, has something to do with that fact.

In Slate, Sam Eifling discusses conflicts of interest for NFL team doctors:

The expansion Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars signed the first known medical sponsorship deals in the mid-‘90s. Since then, health care providers have been cutting deals with teams for the right to advertise themselves as the franchise’s “official” choice—even paying millions for those marketing rights.

Medical ethics codes expressly forbid conflicts that could place financial gain ahead of patient welfare; the 1,500-year-old Hippocratic Oath protects patients against “harm and injustice.” Yet it’s standard for teams to sell their affiliations to the highest bidder. After the New York Yankees won the 1999 World Series, the team solicited $1.5 million for its health care marketing rights. Among the hospitals to decline that honor was the Yankees’ longtime care provider, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Its executive vice president told the Daily News: “Even if we were flush, I’m not sure I would do it. I’m not comfortable with that kind of deal, and I don’t think it would necessarily be good for the institution.” Other doctors have voiced similar concerns. Then-Atlanta Falcons team doctor Andrew Bishop told the New York Times in 2004 that he would resign if the team entered a hospital sponsorship deal: “It compromises you as a physician. The perception is that if this individual was so eager to do this he’s willing to pay to do it, then he’s going to do whatever management wants to keep the job he paid for.”

At SB Nation, Amy K. Nelson puts together a wonderful oral history and video documentary on the Costaco Brothers, who made unbelievably surreal sports posters in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s:

Tom Rees, friend/co-worker: Tock would always be to work on time and he would stay late. John would get in late and leave early. But, then again, John never really stops working. He is on all the time. He must make 100 phone calls a day. He’s totally connected. Tock is a details guy. And you needed both, that’s the amazing thing. John was the balloon and Tock was the string.

Eva Costacos, John and Tock’s mother: Johnny was very persistent and he found the agents.

Charles Barkley: John’s personality is infectious, like he’s got batteries. I’m pretty sure if I looked up his ass, he’s got batteries.

Jim McMahon: They weren’t the corporate types you normally deal [with]; they were just kind of off the wall and “Hey, we’re doing this. We just started this thing.” Their energy [and] enthusiasm was fun to be around. That’s why we did a lot of posters.

Shawn Kemp: I didn’t know who John was, but it didn’t take me very long. Ken Griffey was a very good friend of mine. I’d go over to his house at night and we’d play video games. He had the posters all around his place, so it didn’t take me very long to get familiar with how strong they were into the game.

Quick Reads 

- The 60 best athletes to follow on Instagram [SI]

- 15 tips to help you live to 100 [Huffington Post]

- HMV employees commandeer corporate Twitter account after round of layoffs [Businessweek]

- The Vine app, which integrates with Twitter, is basically Instagram for video [Wired]

Food Porn

Went to Sullivan’s Steakhouse for Restaurant Week and my friend Matt’s birthday, had the ribeye:

Sometimes Chipotle is still the best:

My friend Joey shared a photo from Carney’s in LA:


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