Jul 30, 2009

Did You Know


Anson Williams, Potsie, of Happy Days is the nephew of Dr. Henry Heimlich, creator of the 'Heimlich maneuver'. He sure has aged well.

Respect

This is an example of a word that is not used enough today. When Nelson Mandela was in jail and his lawyer came to see him, he said to the lawyer, "I’m sorry, I have not introduced you to my guard of honor (eight guards).” Mandela identified each of the officers to his lawyer by name. The guards were so stunned that they actually behaved like a guard of honor, each respectfully shaking the lawyer's hand. To get respect, you must give respect.

San Andreas Fault


See the diagonal line that runs through the orchard in this photo? That's the San Andreas Fault - a point where the edges of two tectonic plates meet, producing a visible displacement amongst the rows of trees.

When they were planted years ago, the rows were straight, but as the two land masses moved in opposite directions and rubbed against each other over the years the orchard was split. The top half of the field sits on the pacific plate, the bottom half on the North American plate.

Quotable

Do not forget little kindnesses and do not remember little faults.

Health Insurance Costs

Most of the time you read about the cost of healthcare, the article really means healthcare insurance, not the cost of care. Healthcare insurance costs have gone up 119% from 1999 to 2008, while salaries went up 34% during the same period.

Quotable

The world pays a salary for what you know and wages for what you do.

Vincent van Gogh

On July 29, 1890, Vincent van Gogh died at age 37 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was born in the Netherlands and had a happy childhood, but suffered serious mental problems during his adult life.

He committed himself to an artistic career at age 27, and all of his art was produced during the next decade. A quote of his, "As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed."

While van Gogh’s Christian affiliations resulted in his interest in the suffering of others, when he moved to Arles he ceased painting poor peasants, and instead subjected himself to suffering under the undue strain of painting. Having known early in his life about the suffering many peasants undergo, it is no surprise that when he learned of Buddhism, van Gogh would embrace its ideas of enlightenment through suffering, as he did to Christianity.

Van Gogh was born with a brain lesion that many doctors believe was aggravated by his prolonged use of absinthe, causing his epileptic condition. Dr. Gachet, another of Van Gogh's physicians, was thought to have treated his epilepsy with digitalis. This prescription drug can cause one to see in yellow or see yellow spots. This may have been one of the reasons why Van Gogh loved this color.

PC Monitor All in One



A few weeks ago, I showed a complete PC on a keyboard with built in monitor. This week we have a monitor PC, but without the keyboard built in.

The Averatec D1005 All in One PC comes with a 22 inch WXGA LCD display, and Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM which can be increased to 4GB, a 320GB SATA hard drive and a DVD drive.

On top of that there is Intel X4500HD graphics, 802.11n WiFi, Ethernet, a 2.0 megapixel web camera, 6 x USB 2.0 ports, and a card reader. All this for $799. Hey, maybe this chocolate and graham cracker keyboard might work with it.

To Drink or Not to Drink

That is the question. A study in Scotland of 6,000 working men, aged 35 to 64 from West and Central Scotland were tracked for 28 years, and yielded some interesting results. It didn't say, but it appears that a 'unit' is an ounce. According to the article, twenty one units of alcohol per week is the government’s recommended maximum weekly amount.

The results showed that men drinking over 22 units of alcohol a week had a 20% higher rate of admissions into acute care hospitals than non-drinkers, but low levels of alcohol consumption increased the number of days stayed in the hospital.

Those downing 22 or more weekly units had more admissions for respiratory illness, but they had the lowest rates of admission for coronary heart disease. Non-drinkers had the highest rates of admission for coronary heart disease.

The number of admissions for stroke started with a weekly tally of 15 units, and progressively increased the more weekly units were consumed.

Men drinking 22 or more units a week had more admissions for a mental health problem, but non-drinkers had a higher rate of admissions for mental ill health than those who drank between one and 14 units a week. Kind of reaffirms the old adage - all things in moderation.

Quotable

He’s a real outdoorsman. He drinks like a fish, sleeps like a log, and wakes up like a bear.

Jinni

If you like movies, especially free movies, this might be an interesting site to visit. It is in beta and has a free signup. The idea is to allow you to search for movies, compare your taste to others, and rank movies.

You can search according to plots, genre, actors, or even according to your mood. You can type in nearly any search phrase and something will come up. If you are confused about the connections between some of the movies that appear, you can click on a button that will tell why the movies are related. It has old movies and new movies. Interesting concept and moves another step closer to internet TV.

Pet Rock


Do you remember the pet rock fad that was around a long time ago?

Here it is updated to a USB pet rock. That's rockin'.

Quotable

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength, but by perseverance

I Don't Believe It

There is a new site, on the order of Snopes that allows you to find out if the web page you are reading is disputed by other sources and what the alternative points of view are.

As you browse, Dispute Finder looks for disputed claims. If it finds any then it highlights them. Clicking on a disputed claim brings up evidence for and against that claim found by other users of Dispute Finder. It allows you to mark new disputed claims and see what disputed claims have been marked by other users.

It is from Berkeley and beta, and somewhat biased from what I have seen so far, (You know how those damn academics are) but still might be fun to try. One example about Global Warming being a scam - it offers government data that shows the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ยบF in the last 100 years. Take off your clothes, another thousand years or so and this place will be about eleven degrees hotter. For those that use Firefox, there is a Dispute Finder extension. I use it and it seems stable.

Jul 21, 2009

San Diego Border

The border station is now the busiest on earth. It has a whopping 24 lanes of northbound traffic for those traveling through from Tijuana to San Diego and another 6 southbound lanes for those going the other way.

Every day up to 50,000 vehicles pass through this gate, plus another 25,000 people on foot, and that's just into the United States. Plus it's in the process of expansion.

Hmmm! Maybe the idea should be to reduce it to 6 lanes north and make the 24 lanes south.

Quotable

One difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.

Shoefiti

The fine old game of flinging shoes over wires or trees. A shoe tree, not to be confused with the shoe-preservation device of the same name, is a tree or a powerline pole or other wooden object that has been festooned with old shoes.

Shoe trees are generally located alongside a major local thoroughfare, and may have a theme, such as high-heeled shoes. There are currently at least seventy-six such shoe trees in the United States, and an undetermined number elsewhere. There have been many explanations why this happens, but no one really knows for sure. They do make an interesting, though weird, artistic statement.

Quotable

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

Knit Graffitti

Equally interesting as the shoe trees and equally weird art are the the knitters that encircle everything from trees to posts to park benches. Examples can be found all over the world. Keep your eyes open and you might be surprised.

OK - that's enough art for today.

Quotable

We might knit that knot with our tongues that we shall never undo with our teeth.

Tobacco Smoke Enema


True - From about 1750 to about 1810 the tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient's rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims.

A rectal tube was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase "blow smoke up one's a$$."

Quotable

"As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake." Mark Twain

Wombat Wonders

Did you know that Wombats were once as big as rhinos, way back in time? Now they are are only up to almost 4 feet and up to 80 pounds when adults.

Wombats are marsupials found in and around Australia, with a distinction - Their pouch is backward from kangaroos or koalas. They dig underground and the babies would be covered with dirt if the pouch faced forward. No, they are not badgers, which are carnivores, and related to the skunk family.

Wombats are herbivores with typical food digestion lasting 14 days, which allows them to extract every bit of nutrients to help live a desert existence. I believe the wombat is the only animal of any kind that has a perfectly square (cubic) feces. Wombats lifespan in the wild is around 5 years, but can live to the ripe old age of 25 in captivity.

Although they look cuddly, they have an extremely strong bite an would rather chew through things than walk around. They can run up to almost 25 miles an hour when threatened.

Did You Know

GM sold only about 25% of its vehicles in the United States during the first quarter of 2009 and it just signed a new partnership with eBay that will allow buyers in California to bid on vehicles, the way they do for other vehicles. With the government owning over 60% of GM, maybe we are seeing the beginning of something - like selling healthcare services on eBay.

Perfume Alternative


Hey girls, want to grab a man's heart and save some money too? Try this bacon soap.

Be clean and smell like bacon.

What man can resist this combo?

Counting Calories

A study, started in 1989 involving rhesus monkeys has provided the first strong evidence that caloric restriction slows the aging process in primates.

A diet that's nutritionally adequate, but provides 30 percent fewer calories than normal has been shown to extend life span and delay the onset of age-related diseases in other animals, including flies, worms, and rodents. Because studies on primates take much longer, the benefits had not yet been demonstrated. Researchers at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison report in July 2009 that in rhesus monkeys that had a caloric restriction diet begun in adulthood reduces risk of the most common age-related conditions, like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and brain atrophy, by 30 percent.

The research involved 76 monkeys, half of them on the diet. The 33 surviving monkeys have reached old age. Thirty-seven percent of the monkeys on a normal diet have died of age-related diseases, compared with just 13 percent of the monkeys on the restricted diet. Reminds me of the Jack Benny line when asked, "Your money or your life?". . . "I'm thinking about it."

Bottled Water Ban

A rural town in Australia has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact. They say huge amounts of resources are used to extract, package and transport bottled water.

Only one resident voted against the ban, along with a representative from the bottled water industry, ABC news reported.

Campaigner John Dee said local opinion had been incensed when a drinks company announced plans to tap an underground reservoir in the town. "The company has been looking to extract water locally, bottle it in Sydney, and bring it back here to sell it," he said.

New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees has backed the cause, ordering government departments to stop buying bottled water and use tap water instead.

Quotable

If they attach themselves to the bottom of a ship they are called barnacles. If they attach themselves to a politician in Washington D.C., they are called lobbyists.

Jul 18, 2009

Free Peek

If you are new to this blog, Please sit back, relax, have a read, and come back often. You can upload it to your iPhone and there is also an RSS feed.

You can click on the July 5 - July 12 link on the left, and get a free peek at a sample chapter in one of my recent books. It is the first in a series "Shubnell's Profound Thoughts Book 1" Great thoughts from great minds about Life, Time, and Ageing.

The second book, coming soon, will be "Shubnell's Profound Thoughts Book 2". Great thoughts about Friendship, Kindness, Happiness, and Laughter.

For the curious, go to Amazon.com to find almost all of my books.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you soon.

Quotable

If you fool folks to get their money, it’s fraud;
if you fool them to get their vote, it’s politics.

Don't Talk Back

The Obama administration is planning to use the National Security Agency to screen Internet traffic between government agencies and the private sector, the Washington Post reported July 3. They said this was a continuation of the plan started by Bush, but I don't think this is what he had in mind.

"We absolutely intend to use the technical resources, the substantial ones, that NSA has. But... they will be guided, led, and in a sense directed by the people we have at the Department of Homeland Security," Napolitano said.

Napolitano said the NSA would only be charged with looking at data going to or from the government system. What other kind is there besides going to or coming from?

"Each time a private citizen visits a 'dot.gov' website or sent an email to a civilian government employees, that action would be screened for potential harm to the network," the Post wrote. How can anyone be comfortable viewing sites intended to inform us or complain to their elected officials, knowing the NSA will be. . .

Quotable

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away;
this government reverses the process.

Speaking of Quiet

The Japanese have a problem. Japan's near-silent hybrid cars have been called dangerous by the vision-impaired and some users, prompting a government review on whether to add a noise-making device, according to an official.

The gas-electric vehicles, which in recent months have become the country's top-selling autos, hum along almost soundlessly when they are switched from fuel to battery mode.

The ministry has launched a panel of scholars, vision-impaired groups, consumers, police and the automobile industry to discuss the matter. They decided to consider introducing a sound-making function" in petrol-electric hybrids when the 13-member panel held its first meeting Thursday, the official said. They have not decided on what kind of sound should be used.

"On the other hand, we should pay attention to residents along roads as hybrids are excellent in reducing noise," the official added. Reduce sound pollution. OK, we reduced it. Now how much should we add back?

Quotable

An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.

Men vs. Women


Bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women.

3.9% of all women surveyed say they never wear underwear.

80% of American men say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again.

50% of American women say they would marry the same man.

58% of men say they are happier after their divorce or separation.

85% of women say they are happier.

< 3% of mammal species are monogamous, including Dwarf Mongooses, Beavers, otters, foxes, and Prairie Voles (shown above)

Quotable

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home,
and let the husband make her sorry to see him leave.

Mattress Facts

A ten year old mattress weighs double what it did when it was new, because of the debris which is absorbed through the years. That debris includes dust mites, their droppings and their decaying bodies, mold, millions of dead skin cells, dandruff, human hair, secretions, excretions, lint, pollen, dust, soil, sand and a lot of perspiration, of which the average person loses a quart per day.

Daily Sex is Good

Scientists studying infertility have determined that daily sex (or ejaculating daily) for seven days improves men’s sperm quality by reducing the amount of sperm DNA damage. The results of the study to determine whether or not men should refrain from sex for a few days before attempting to conceive with their partner were presented June 30 at the 25th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam.

The results showed 81% of men tested had an average 12% decrease in sperm DNA damage, while 19% had an average increase in damage of nearly 10%. The overall average for the whole group dropped by 8%, which is highly significant. Men have been saying more is better for years, now they have scientific proof.

Go Ask Alice

Here is an interesting site. It is a storeless shopping site where manufacturers display their household items directly. Coupons, if available, are subtracted from purchases and always free shipping. The idea is big savings by factory direct with multiple manufactures, like Tide, etc.

Manufacturers set their own prices and receive all of that revenue. The site makes money by giving the companies spending data, advertising space, and distributing samples for them to targeted customers. It allows price comparisons and just opened in June, so might have a few bugs for a while, but an interesting concept to save money on the mundane items we use everyday. Sorry, not available in Alaska or Hawaii.

Virtual Humans

A European project called the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) is designed to foster, harmonize and integrate pan-European research in the field of patient-specific computer models for personalized and predictive healthcare and ICT-based tools for modeling and simulation of human physiology and disease-related processes.

It plans a simulation of human organs and new knowledge extraction, methods. The idea is to end of animal testing and eventually even clinical patient drug trials.

There are 13 institutions involved in the VPH initiative and it will allow a wide range of academic, clinical, and industrial researchers to investigate the human body as a single complex system. They will be able to use the VPH network's expanding database of computer simulation data to develop better diagnosis and treatment methods, including using mathematical modelling to suggest solutions to currently unsolved biomedical problems.

The Virtual Physiological Human is an initiative that's being funded with 72 million Euros ($100 mil) by the EU. It could revolutionize medical science in the 21st century. It's expected that substantial advances in this field will be made during the next ten years in a range of diseases, from cancer to others. Can you imagine what the US could accomplish if we didn't have to spend an additional $1.6 Trillion on political healthcare issues?

How Big Is It?

The US is about half the size of Russia, three-tenths the size of Africa, half the size of South America, slightly larger than Brazil, slightly larger than China, and more than twice the size of the European Union. 90% of the continental United States is still open space or farmland.

Computer on a Keyboard

Coming out in August '09, this is an interesting idea from Asus.

Everything is self contained under the keyboard and the whole thing weighs 2 pounds. The only problem I see is the measly 5 inch touch screen on the right of the keyboard. Of course, it can be hooked up to any monitor or the TV and it comes either wireless or wired and can run Windows. It comes with a microphone and a set of speakers and will probably cost about $400. Might be a good way to marry your PC and TV and do emails during commercials.

Chicken and Egg Solved

According to Genesis 1:20-22 the chicken came before the egg. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that hath life. . . It doesn't say, "Let there be eggs."

Juice is Bad for Teeth


Whitening teeth is increasing and Eastman Institute did a study to see if there are negative effects on teeth from using whitening products.

The team determined that the effects of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, the common ingredient in professional and over-the-counter whitening products, are insignificant compared to acidic fruit juices.

It has long been known that juice and sodas have high acid content, and can negatively affect enamel hardness. The acid in orange juice markedly decreases hardness by 84% and increases roughness of tooth enamel. No significant change in hardness or surface enamel was found from whitening.

People who sip their drinks slowly over 20 minutes are more likely to have tooth erosion than those who finish a drink quickly.

Jul 13, 2009

Billy Mays

Many will miss the appearances of pitchman Billy Mays, but of course, there is always more to say.

A few months ago, he felt another pitchman ripped him off, Vince Shlomi (Offer) of Shamwow fame. In a radio interview on Feb. 10, 2009, Billy claimed that the popular Shamwow trod on the turf of Zorbeez, a super-absorbent towel he promoted in a separate infomercial two years prior. Mays suggested the two settle the score via a pitch-off. Mays predicted the outcome, "Shampow!"

Popular Mechanics magazine actually conducted its own test and put the rival rags head-to-head in a spill test of some blueberry beer. It also soaked snow puddles and clocked drying times.

The Verdict was Shamwow, by a mile. The Shamwow soaked three paper towels' worth of blueberry beer on a single swipe as Zorbeez pushed the liquid off the edge of the table. After one use, the Zorbeez began shedding fibrous blonde tufts, while the Shamwow retained its rubbery integrity. Sorry Billy, I use Shamwow and agree it works.

PS - Sincere condolences to the Mays family. We will all miss him.

Potato Chips are sooo Good

True - Oklahoma City resident Lahuma Smith, pled no contest to prostitution charges that she traded sex for a box of Frito-Lay potato chips.

According to the police report, undercover officers noticed Smith was flashing her headlights to 'catch' a date. They followed her car and found her with her blouse open and a man in the passenger seat pulling his pants up.

The man told police he was having marital problems and she told police the man said he was looking for company, but he didn’t have any money, so she agreed to be paid with a $30 case of Frito-Lay chips he had in his car. As much as I love potato chips, this one is not right. . . and they weren't even Better Made or Granny Goose potato chips.

My Life is Worth What?

Remember that nasty little word - rationing - that keeps rearing its ugly head? Well, here is a bit more food for thought. The decision to use expensive cancer therapies that typically produce only a relatively short extension of survival is a serious ethical dilemma in the US being debated by the oncology community published, June 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The authors show cost-benefit relationships for several cancer drugs. They ask, "Is an additional 1.7 months a benefit regardless of costs and side effects?" (They don't answer a benefit to whom.)

According to the article, one drug was found to extend life by 1.2 months and cost an average of $80,000, which translates into an expenditure of $800,000 to prolong the life of one patient by 1 year. They describe how much it might cost to extend the lives of 550,000 Americans who die of cancer annually, by 1 year.

They recommend that studies to detect a survival advantage of two months or less should test only interventions that can be marketed at a cost of less than $20,000 for a course of treatment.

Every life is of infinite value, the authors say, but spiraling costs of cancer care makes this dilemma inescapable. I thought this was against the Hippocratic oath, so went to find out exactly what the oath says. Seems there are multiple versions and all physicians do not even take the oath. They believe it is outdated and less than relevant these days.

Weighing Atoms


Did you know we can now weigh a single atom? European researchers have built a device that can do just that. It may ultimately allow scientists to study the progress of chemical reactions, molecule by molecule. They believe they can push the technology to detect the mass of a single nucleon - a proton or neutron.

Carbon nanotubes are ultra-thin fibres of carbon made from thin sheets of carbon only one atom thick, known as graphene, and rolled into a tube only a few nanometres across. Even the thickest is more than a thousand times thinner than a human hair and are 1000 times stronger than steel. And I thought only Superman was stronger than steel.

Jul 9, 2009

Profound Thoughts

Here is a copy of Chapter one from one of my new books. This the first in a series of compiled great thoughts from great minds. Hope you enjoy.

You can click on the arrows above the book to turn pages or place the hand cursor to the right side of the page and click to turn. Also, there is a little box above the book at the top right that you can click to see the book in full page mode.


Profound Thoughts 1x

Jul 3, 2009

Self Serving

I just had another book published on Amazon, 'Number One Book of Wacky Lists' - Should have the search inside feature available within about ten days. It's a hilarious compendium of lists from the sublime to the absurd. Interesting facts and bits of wisdom, humor, and just plain common sense.

Something for everyone to enjoy. . . and it is only $9.99. Check it out, you might like it.

PS - There is a link on the left for all my books.

July 4th

Happy 4th of July tomorrow. Let's remember what Independence Day is really all about, even if they call it just another paid day off in Washington, where they have traded in Free Speech for Cheap Talk.

Salute

Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute and soldiers from every country salute with their right hand.

July 4th Revisited

Imagine how you would feel if someone, maybe a sister or brother, or someone else kept telling you what to do all of the time and kept taking more and more of your allowance.

That is how the colonists felt in the years leading up to 1776. Great Britain kept trying to make the colonists follow more rules and pay higher taxes. People started getting angry and began making plans to be able to make their own rules.

They no longer wanted Great Britain to be able to tell them what to do, so they decided to tell Great Britain that they wanted to be independent. To be independent means to take care of yourself, make your own rules, and provide for your own needs. . . How soon we forget what our ancestors gave their lives for.

Date and Time

At 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4 AM on the 8th of July this year, the time and date will be 04:05:06 07/08/09

M&Ms

M & M's were developed so that soldiers could eat candy without getting their fingers sticky.

Medical Imaging

Data shows that imaging equipment in rural regions of the country operates 48 percent of the time an office is open, while equipment in non-rural areas operates 56 percent of the time a center is open for business.

President Obama recently recommended CMS base its reimbursement formula on a 95 percent utilization rate for advanced imaging equipment. MedPAC has recommended 90 percent for equipment that costs more than $1 million.

The utilization assumption is a key component of the Medicare formula. Dramatically increasing the utilization assumption results in a severe cut for imaging reimbursements.

Spending on advanced imaging has already decreased significantly since 2005 and imaging use has essentially flattened due to low reimbursement rates. More imaging reimbursement cuts will severely disrupt access to diagnostic services, including long waits for appointments, and patients driving long distances to find an office that has equipment. Medicare reduces costs without appearing to reduce rates. Hmmm! This is just the beginning of rationing, without using the word 'rationing'.

Hitler Quote

“What luck for the rulers that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

News

If you don't watch the news you are uninformed.
If you do watch the news you are misinformed.

George Washington

George Washington spent about 7% of his annual salary on liquor.

Quotable

Life is like a sandwich - the more you add to it, the better it becomes.