Archive for August, 2006

Poseidon Adventure Stokes Fear in the Faint-hearted

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Okay, I’ve never been on a cruise, but regular readers know that in October we’re taking the crew and some relatives, ala Scott Adams, on a Disney cruise. What’s on the flatscreen as I type? Poseidon Adventure. I hear screaming right now.

Does it seem like a good idea to you to aggravate fears or is watching the movie a version of desensitation and a form of “conquering” the fear? Just hearing the shrieks of terror is freaking me out.



Apple: Come Home To Mama

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Okay, I thought that maybe I wouldn’t be posting tonight, ‘cuz of the new wheels and all. But, my iMac took like two seconds to hook up. They play music and everything when you turn it on for the first time.

My husband, who bought this for me for an anniversary present, laughed at my delight and said, “Did Apple make you feel special?”

“Yes, it did!” is my enthusiastic reply.

Only downside thus far, is that I’m going to have to use html tags because there is no short-cut interface in Blogger that I see. Am I missing something? Will that change when I load Microsoft’s Windows programs? Any advice from Mac lovers would be helpful.

Otherwise, it’s choice and fast. More soon. I’m going to go post on my ancient back-up computer in the kitchen.



Mmmmmm Apples

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I got one of these today. (Except mine has 2MB RAM and 500 GB Hard Drive. Zoom! Zoom!) Might be a while before I post from it. But I hope not.

By the way, what am I leaving behind? A Dell Inspiron that has burnt through four hard drives even though I don’t travel with it. Working on it this last year has been like driving in a traffic jam 24/7. Can you say high blood pressure?

The questions: Will Apple live up to the hype? And, is Dell as bad as everyone says they are now?



Guardsman Attacked While in Uniform

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Tolerance: thy name is Progressive. NOT!



Maxed Out Mama: "Grim and Grimmer"

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

She is none too happy with recent housing happenings. Real-estate investers, owners, etc. Take note!

I have been trying to explain aspects of the mortgage market that have changed sharply in the last five years over at Piggington’s. I don’t think I’m succeeding. But try this paper for an explanation of the shift in the market (pdf).

Also, please take a look at the second post on this NJ RE Report thread. I got this from the comments on Grim’s excellent blog, which has poor linking facilities. So this is the best I can do.



Wal-Mart Changing the World One Lightbulb at a Time

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Glenn Reynolds links to this article. He says that he isn’t too happy with his fluorescent bulbs:

I replaced the bulbs in the overhead fixture in my study with compact fluorescents, and I’m not crazy with the quality of the light they’re producing. But I may not have chosen the best new bulbs. I have been replacing outdoor lights with fluorescents, though, as I don’t care as much about the light quality there.

Then Glenn, I have something for you: Full-Spectrum lighting. Not quite as energy efficient as fluorescent but much better. Full-spectrum (really “fuller spectrum” since only the sun is full spectrum) light is more natural light. So reading is easy. They are quiet and they last for years. We have them at our Chiropractic office and use them constantly. They required changing only every five years, or so, with constant daily use. Not bad. They use 60% less energy than incandescent, but more than fluorescent. The downside? About 10x the expense. But in my opinion, for an office and other works spaces, it is definitely worth it.

Here’s more:

Lighting designer Stefan Graf, IALD, principal of Illuminart in Ypsilanti, Mich., says to think of full-spectrum lighting in audio terms. “Full-spectrum sound has bass and treble frequencies, as well as everything in between,” he says. “Most light sources have peaks and valleys across the spectrum of light frequencies, but a full spectrum lighting system delivers nearly all light frequencies equally.”

Graf inserts the word “nearly” in that phrase because he says that the only true full-spectrum light source is the sun. Many electric light sources come close to full-spectrum—some labeled as full-spectrum and some not—but none truly are so. “They should be labeled ‘fuller-spectrum,'” Graf says.

*********

Full-spectrum lighting does offer some positive human effects. Graf points to recent research that proves that fuller-spectrum lighting helps improve visual acuity and accuracy. “Almost everyone who lives or works under a fuller-spectrum lighting environment says the space just ‘feels’ better,” Graf says. “It enables your eyes to work more efficiently because of better visual acuity and depth perception, so almost every task is easier and more comfortable to perform in some way.”

Perhaps that is where the greatest benefits for full-spectrum lighting are: in areas and for tasks where visual acuity, accurate color rendering and comfortable light levels are needed. Spaces such as offices, retail stores, print shops and design studios may benefit from the improved color quality and visual acuity offered by full-spectrum lamps.

I should note here that there is controversy over health benefits with “full spectrum” lighting. They may or may not exist due to “full spectrum” bulbs.

It is universally recognized, though, that all people should spend at least 20 minutes per day out in the sun with little sunblock (depending on your skin tone–darker pigmented skin requires less sun-block) or sun glasses to help with Vitamin D production. This action significantly reduces colon and other cancers, as well as prevents osteoporosis. Get your young girls, elementary to teenagers, into the sun for bone development! Good diet alone will not meet the needs of your daughters bone formation. They do need Calcium (lactate cheap and effective, no carbonate) supplemented as it is imposssible to get the calcium needed through diet.

The sun isn’t bad. Excessive burning is bad. There is a difference.

Update: Reader Sharon sent this link. Looks like Wal-Mart is changing the world one Rainbow Flag at a time, too.

Update II: Oh my goodness! I’ve been Instalanched!!! Thanks, Glenn & I really do hope you buy some full-spectrum lights.

Update III: Now, that I’m back on the granny computer, I just got an Apple (woo hoo!), I’d like to point you new people in the direction of a post or two you might like. Two days ago, I posted about the “neuterization” of America where any gender tendencies are scorned. Also, the Duke case has bugged me since the beginning. The NYT’s article made it more irksome. More today, too. Thank you for visiting! I hope you come back soon.



Violent Kids: Send Them to Church

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

The results of this study should surprise no one. (This is a 2001 article, so the info. is old, by the way). In a nutshell:

  1. Kids exposed to violence are more likely to use violence to solve a problem.
  2. Kids who regularly go to church are less aggressive and violent.

That second point ends the Psychology Today article, but to me, it’s the most important point: a structured church environment and the teachings provided help ameliorate youth aggression even if they see the violence at home.

DuRant’s study found that the greater the subjects’ exposure to violence, the more likely they were to engage in violent behavior. “They see others winning conflicts by using violence. As a result of that modeling, they choose to use those same behaviors,” he says. And just as in the Canadian study, high levels of depression were associated with violent behaviors.

In addition, children who attended church regularly were generally less violent than non-churchgoers. By engaging in positive social activities, DuRant speculates, it’s possible that schoolyard bullies would be better-equipped to respond positively to difficult situations. “If they’re victims of severe corporal punishment, if they witness their mothers being hit, there’s very little you can do from a policy standpoint to change that,” says Durant. “But what we want to do is influence their response to those exposures and teach them positive ways to deal with conflict.”

I did some research into Dr. DuRant’s background: for what it’s worth, he says that teens watching Professional Wrestling ups dating violence. Of course, that might be true, too. Let a bunch of ten year old boys watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and watch what happens. Or, older guys watching the SuperBowl. The ER is filled with sauced up, carb-laden middle-aged men with knee and ankle injuries from getting out there and re-enacting the game.

Note: To the editors at Psychology Today and other online news organizations, please put links to the actual research in your articles or an interview with the research at least. Oy, it took me fifteen minutes of looking to verify the research.



Fat Men & Infertility

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Fat guys have fertility problems.

Morbid obesity is a problem for men and women because fat secretes estrogen. That is why the little pooch a post-menopausal woman has is called the “third ovary”. Men with belly fat, essentially grow an ovary. Where that can be helpful for a post-menopausal woman, the estrogen interferes with testosterone, and thus sperm production, in men.

Researchers found that men’s BMI was an independent risk factor for infertility. The researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect fertility, including high BMI of the woman, age, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and solvent and pesticide exposure. After adjustment, there was a general increase in infertility with increased BMI, reaching a nearly 2-fold increase among obese men.

When researchers divided the sample into two equal groups by men’s age, they found that men’s BMI was a risk factor for infertility in both the older and younger men.

The researchers did not have data on frequency of sexual intercourse, so it is possible that overweight men have less sexual intercourse than their normal weight counterparts and this could influence fertility. However, there have been recent studies looking at semen characteristics that show lower semen quality for overweight and obese men, as well as hormonal differences.

I’m also wondering, since the study was conducted on farmers, about repetitive stress from sitting on tractors all day. What used to be an active profession, has become less so with airconditioned combines.

Another problem with being fat–less energy for sex. It becomes a degenerating cycle: people feel bad about themselves because they’re fat, they get depressed and embarressed, they don’t have sex, which makes them feel more depressed, they eat more, and they get fatter.

The solution is actually very simple: take a 30 minute walk five days a week. No need to kill oneself. It ups the endorphins (feel good hormones), ups the testosterone (also tied to a more positive outlook, less depression, better muscle mass) and gets the blood flowing to everywhere. Your brain (the main sex organ anyway) gets infused with blood. The extremities do, too–all of them. Better sleep means reactive eating. Better sleep means more alert mentition, more engagement. Better sleep means less fatigue at the end of the day which can translate into more sex, which can translate into more babies.

As an aside, Vitamin C and Zinc, support hardy sperm production. Take 1-2 gms/day of Vitamin C and 15 mg of chelated Zinc. This helps, too.



Bill Frist: Fined for Missing Continuing Ed

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

State Boards, the bane of every Doctor’s existence. The Boards are made up of political appointees. Their job is to generally harass Doctors and other professionals, make money for the state, make money for favored continuing ed cabals, and make money off of continuing education. Oh, that’s right, they discipline doctors for infractions and sins and every once in a while get after the real criminal docs, but that’s rare.

Essentially, State Boards are the hall monitors of the profession throwing the kids without passes into detention and letting the pot-heads go. Why? Cause it’s easy to bother the minor rule breakers.

Do I sound sympathetic to Dr. Frist? Well, I am. The same thing happened to me about two years into practice. I had two babies, one a sick child who had just been diagnosed Autistic. I had to cancel my continuing ed weekend because of his illness. Well, that pushed me into a later month. My continuing ed happened after my birthday, so it didn’t count for that year–even though my paperwork was in like a week and 1/2 late. I could have appealed, of course, but my personal circumstances were still the same. That meant driving to Austin to appeal–a whole day shot. Or, I could pay the fine. I paid the fine.

The situation in Texas is so political. They won’t allow Chiropractors to do more than four hours of on-line continuing education. Why? Money. It is a huge hoo-ha to get a course certified for continuing education in Texas. Rather than certify a course, they certify by hour. The course instructor/company must pay for each course hour certified. The Colleges in Texas want the continuing ed to stay off-line, too. Otherwise they lose money. It’s a racket.

The State also charges a $30 fee to send a certificate for all the continuing ed a doc takes. I can only imagine how much money the system generates for the state.

To top it all off, the Board publishes all the doctors names every year who are fined. They don’t say why they were fined–just that they’re fined. So docs who were late on continuing ed are in the same category as the doc doing something really bad. Nice.



Duke Drama

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Betsy has a good round-up. She mentions an ESPN piece by Jon Pessah (via KC Johnson) that I hadn’t seen that explores how the case affects six people–players, coaches, professors.

You know, I think this Nifong guy is going to go to the ropes over this case. And you know what? I have flashes of the O.J. case…..in reverse. If the jury can be set up to Nifong’s satisfaction, these boys will be hung before they’re tried no matter how feeble the evidence.

While the boys at the New York Times opined about race and privilege, they meant exactly opposite the problem being exposed in Durhum. There is a bias against white, educated, athletic, “in crowd”, popular men. These guys are the younger version of the stereotype it’s okay to hate in America–they’re just not fat, bald and in senior managment, yet. If they can be stopped while they’re young, though, the world will be saved! Why, Mike Nifong is doing everyone a favor: one of these guys could be a future President Bush.

As long as college towns have existed the “Townies” have hated students. Sometimes for good reason. More often, it is simply malicious jealousy. If you read some of the history, you’ll see that a couple of the police officers in Durham made sport of putting students picked up for some drunken misdemeanor into a cell with hardened criminals.

While Mike Nifong and his keystone cops exploit this case and seem to be making a sport of the whole thing, lives are at stake. Reputations are at stake.

And the biggest loser of this case, ultimately? Women. This case is having a chilling effect on truly traumatized women coming forward to press charges. More men, true criminals, will get away with rape in the future because of this. And that is what upsets me most about this case.

Background here and here.