March 29, 2017

Roundup of Medical Technology: Robots in surgery, diagnosis and active aging companion, 'body on a chip' and heart tissue from a spinach leaf

Robot-assisted surgery is reaching an incredible level of precision!

Watch the video at the link and see for yourself how it peels a grape and then sews it back on!  It's astounding.

Robot Worm could be miniaturized to help doctors spot digestive issues

The robot that can move forwards or backwards in a wave-like motion is known as the single actuator wave-like robot (SAW) and was developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel.

Artificial Intelligence Will Help the Elderly  Watch the video at the link to see how ElliQ works

For the past month or so, a small group of older adults in San Francisco has been learning to engage with a talking device named ElliQ. It’s more desk lamp than archetypal robot—think of the hopping light at the beginning of Pixar movies. But while ElliQ is meant to sit on a table or nightstand, it’s all about movement, or more accurately, body language.

 Elio Robot For Elderly

ElliQ talks. But it also moves, leaning toward the person with whom it’s speaking. It lights up, too, as another means of engagement, and uses volume and sound effects to distinguish its messages. “If ElliQ is shy, she will look down and talk softly, and her lights will be soft,” explains Dor Skuler, CEO and founder of Intuition Robotics, the Israeli company behind the device. “If she tries to get you to go for a walk, she will lean forward and take a more aggressive tone, and her lights will be bright....

ElliQ keeps learning...One of the first steps in establishing a relationship with this particular robot is to set some goals, such as how many times a week a person wants to go out for a walk or be reminded to see friends. Then, it’s up to ElliQ to determine the most effective way to do its job. In other words, it will learn that one person responds better to “It’s nice out, why don’t you go for a walk,” while another needs to be prodded more aggressively with “You’ve been on the couch watching TV for four hours. Time to get up and take a walk.”  “That’s where the emotive side kicks in,” he says. “ElliQ can set a whole different tone, and use different body language and gestures based on what works and what doesn’t work. The machine fine-tunes itself.”

“Mass-Produced” Blood Now Possible,

Researchers at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant....developed a method to freeze stem cells in their early development — while they are still replicating — which has the effect of “immortalizing” them such that scientists can produce infinitely more stem cells. They will harvest the excess stem cells to produce blood.  Right now the new method is cost-prohibitive. For the foreseeable future, it will mostly be used to provide hard-to-source blood for patients with rare blood types.

Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue

Using the plant like scaffolding, scientists built a mini version of a working heart, which may one day aid in tissue regeneration.

Menstrual cycle recreated 'in a dish'

US scientists say they have made a mini working replica of the female reproductive tract using human and mouse tissue...to construct a palm-sized device that ooks nothing like a womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.  Researchers say it should help with understanding diseases of these organs and tissues and a novel way  to test new treatments.

The work is part of a project to create the entire human "body on a chip". The ultimate goal would be to take cells from any given individual in order to create a personalized model of their body to test drugs and treatments on.

We Were Wrong - the Testes Are Connected to the Immune System

Some parts of the body – including the tissues of the brain and testes – have long been considered to be completely hidden from our immune system....Last year scientists made the amazing discovery that a set of previously unseen channels connected the brain to our immune system; now, it appears we might also need to rethink the immune system's relationship with the testes...potentially explaining why some men are infertile and how some cancer vaccines fail to provide immunity.

An Unexpected New Lung Function Has Been Found - They Make Blood!  Video at the link shows how

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco also discovered a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells that makes this happen inside the lung tissue - cells that were incorrectly assumed to mainly reside in bone marrow....Scientists have now watched megakaryocytes functioning from within the lung tissue to produce not a few, but most of the body's platelets. So how did we miss such a crucial biological process this whole time?  The discovery was made possible by a new type of technology based on two-photon intravital imaging - a similar technique to one used by a separate team this week to discover a previously unidentified function of the brain's cerebellum.

10 Human Body Modifications You Can Expect in the next Decade

1. RFID Chips implanted in the body
2. Exoskeletons
3. Real-time Language Translation
4. Augmented Vision
5. Smart Contact Lenses
6. 3D Printed Body Parts
7. Smarter Drugs
8. Brain-computer Interfaces
9. Designer Babies
10. Enhanced Sexual Organs

UPDATE:  Paralyzed man moves his arm and hand with the power of his mind and a microchip

A cycling accident left Bill Kochevar unable to move from the shoulders down, but  he can now feed himself in his wheelchair, using a microchip in his brain. He is the first quadriplegic to have his movement restored by the system...
‘For somebody who’s been injured eight years and couldn’t move, being able to move just that little bit is awesome’...Researcher Dr Bob Kirsch said: ‘He’s really breaking ground for the spinal cord injury community. This is a major step toward restoring some independence.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:49 AM | Permalink
Categories: Aging with Grace and Grit | Categories: Health | Categories: Technology

March 28, 2017

Brexit begins

Brendan O'Neil writes on Facebook via Instapundit

What's amazing is the patience and dignity of Brexit voters. For nine months the political elite raged against them, ridiculed them, demonised them; branded them racist, destructive, "low information"; dragged their democratic choice to the courts in the hope that some clever judge would declare it illegitimate; took to the streets to call them idiots and buffoons and unwitting slaves of demagoguery; held them responsible for economic downturn and a return of fascism; declared them unfit for serious public life, which is apparently best left to experts. And yet Brexit voters didn't go mad or riot or crumble. They stuck to their principles (an amazing 96% say they'd vote for Brexit again) and patiently waited for their political choice to be acted upon. They kept their faith in democracy. They behaved liked the free-willed, autonomous adults that democracy needs in order to work and thrive.
The future is safe in their hands.

“Dover and Out”: UK Tabloid Celebrates Brexit in Grand Style

IT’S finally here . . . the most momentous day in Britain’s modern history. Today, Theresa May will officially tell the EU: We’re off.....British Prime Minister Theresa May officially triggered the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on Tuesday.  To celebrate, pro-sovereignty tabloid The Sun projected giant images on the iconic White Cliffs of Dover facing the continent.

 See-Eu-Later

 Better Dover Out

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 PM | Permalink
Categories: Government

March 25, 2017

Miscellany #62

Earliest known photo of Elvis Presley with parents Gladys and Vernon in 1938

 Elvis Earliest Photo

Scott Adams Declares Mobile Phone Carriers to Be Enemies of the State

My observation is that smartphones have made half of all adults mentally ill. I mean that literally, not figuratively. The business model of phones is addiction, not value. And they addict you at the expense of the things humans need in their lives to be happy and healthy.  Kids have it worse. They haven’t developed any natural defenses. They are pure victims.  Today I declare the phone companies to be enemies of the state. They are ruining everything you love, and everything you care about. And they are doing it right in front of you.

Hüseyin Sahin's Dream-like Photo Collages

 Digital Collage

The Big Dig in Boston. Did it Deliver? 10 years later

[T]he most expensive highway in US history, the Central Artery and Tunnel project...It didn’t just cost a lot of money. The copy-and-paste phrase on reporters’ computers was that it was “plagued by cost overruns,” ballooning from $2.6 billion to nearly $15 billion ($24 billion, counting interest on the debt). It didn’t simply take more time than expected; it was eight years behind schedule by the time it was done.

 Bigdig 10Yearsold

Girl Turns Her Skin Into Art After Being Bullied For Having Vitiligo

Diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 12 years old, Ash Soto was ashamed of her skin and bullied as a teen-ager
It wasn’t until she started doing body art that she learned to love her skin condition....“I never realized how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker."

 Ashley-Soto Vitiligo-Body-Art-Map

Hushme - The Weird Mask Muffles Your Voice to Keep Phone Calls Private

Don’t you just hate it when you have to take an important phone call and you’re surrounded by potential eavesdroppers? You either have to whisper or go outside to keep the conversation private, which is not exactly ideal.

 Hushme-1

Hushme is a bizarre high-tech mask that blocks the sound of the wearer’s voice so that people nearby can’t hear what is being said. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and comes with a pair of earbuds. When you get a private call, all you have to do is put the muzzle-like mask on and it will do the rest. The pair of thick cushy pads over your mouth do a good job of muffling your voice, but to ensure nothing gets through, Hushme also features external that play a variety of sounds when you speak.

March Madness

 Basketball-Head

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:57 PM | Permalink
Categories: Miscellany

March 20, 2017

"A life spent reading--that is a good life," Annie Dillard

 Reading-After-Lunch
Reading After Lunch by Sarah Bryant, British painter.

Can Reading Make You Happier?  by Ceridwen Dovey  in The New Yorker.  The answer is YES.

In response to the question “What is preoccupying you at the moment?,” I was surprised by what I wanted to confess: I am worried about having no spiritual resources to shore myself up against the inevitable future grief of losing somebody I love, I wrote. I’m not religious, and I don’t particularly want to be, but I’d like to read more about other people’s reflections on coming to some sort of early, weird form of faith in a “higher being” as an emotional survival tactic.
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In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself.
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For all avid readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others, but exactly why and how is now becoming clearer, thanks to new research on reading’s effects on the brain...A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology, based on analysis of fMRI brain scans of participants, showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves.
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So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.

Read the whole thing to learn about the rise of bibliotherapy, that is prescribing reading for its therapeutic effect.

 Reading Conversation-Past-Lives

Comfort Food: The Importance of Reading Aloud as Adults by Annie Hartnett

When I was in the third grade, my neighbor, Mrs. Cris — a 60-year-old woman with grown children — invited me and two other girls to form a weekly reading club. On Wednesdays, Mrs. Cris would serve us buttery Danish cookies, and juice in fancy punch glasses. We would sit on the floor while Mrs. Cris settled into the high-backed chair in front of the fireplace, and she would read out loud to us.

We would lie about it to other kids, what we did on Wednesdays. It wasn’t because I was ashamed, it never occurred to me that a reading club might be considered uncool. I lied because I didn’t want my other friends to be envious, and because I didn’t want anyone else to be added to the club. It was our secret, my favorite day of the week.
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The Reading Club taught me the importance of careful, concentrated listening, and taught me that I could find friends outside my immediate peer group. It taught me reading a story aloud is a way to take care of someone, a kind of care-taking that isn’t overbearing or smothering, and doesn’t feel like babysitting. As adults, reading aloud to one another is something we think we might have grown out of, but that’s only because we’ve forgotten how intimate and cozy it is to be read to, or to read aloud to someone who listens. It’s a simple, low-maintenance way to connect. And if you can tell a good story, I now believe, you can win anyone over, even the most skeptical of listeners. Especially if you serve cookies.

And don't forget the rich pleasure of listening to audio books and becoming deeply immersed in stories that surround you. 

 Stories Surround 1

I've a huge fan of audiobooks for decades, first on cassettes, then CDs and now on MP3s that I download to my iPod.
I've been a great reader all my life, but there were some books I just could not get into, like J.R,Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.  So, one day I ordered The Fellowship of the Ring narrated by Rob Inglis and was completely entranced. I loved them and have become, at last, a J.R.Tolkien fan.

Certain books are immeasurably enriched by a good narrator.  I can't imagine the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin series, beginning with Master and Commander without hearing the delightful voice of Patrick Tull.  Graham Greene's The End of the Affair as narrated by Colin Firth, A Town Like Alice narrated by Neil Hunt, A Gentleman in Moscow as narrated by Nicolas Guy Smith, Wolf Hall as narrated by Simon Slater, The Likeness as narrated by Heather O'Neill and Brideshead Revisited as narrated by Jeremy Irons.  This past year I discovered to my great delight Adrian McKinty and his Sean Duffy mysteries set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.  All, beginning with The Cold Cold Ground are narrated by the splendid Gerard Doyle   

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:16 PM | Permalink
Categories: Books | Categories: Integrating Mind, Body, Spirit

To mark her 100th birthday, Vera Lynn releases new album

You might not recognize the name, but you likely will recognize some of her most famous songs from WW2 movies or Dr. Strangelove:  I'll Be Seeing You, We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, and A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

Known as the "Forces Sweetheart", Dame Vera Lynn provided much needed moral for the people of Britain during the Second World War .  Today is her 100th birthday and she will be repaid with

a touching and a fitting tribute. To mark the national treasure's milestone 100th birthday, a pair of original wartime Spitfires are set to do a rare fly-over and display above the White Cliffs of Dover.  As WWII re-enactors perform a military salute, the iconic backdrop will be transformed more than 70 years after her wartime classic song gave hope to British troops in action.

 Hbday Veralynn 100

She is also marking the occasion with a new album.  In 2009, at age 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart.

 Veralynn 100Album

Asked for secret to a long life she said, 'Keep interested, read books, watch television, keep in touch with life'
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Dame Vera marked her birthday with a family tea party and said in a statement: 'I am truly overwhelmed by the wonderful messages, gifts and gestures that people have made to mark this milestone occasion with me. I feel blessed to have reached 100, and I am humbled by everyone's kindness."

 Vera Lynn

She is held in great affection by veterans of the Second World War to this day and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:54 AM | Permalink
Categories: Aging with Grace and Grit

Health round-up: Exercise and cancer, cystic fibrosis, statins, tea, coffee and vitamins

Cystic fibrosis patients living 10 years longer in Canada than U.S. thanks to a high fat diet

Researchers identify differences in diet, health insurance and access to lung transplants...A spike in Canadian survival rates noted in 1995 may be due to a high fat diet, emphasizing cheeses, fish and nuts, recommended for Canadians with cystic fibrosis since the 1970s.  "The Canadians tried high fat diets, more calories, more palatable, and this really had an impact on the nutritional status, particularly with children, and that seems to set the trajectory for the disease."

Antidepressants can stop prostate cancer from spreading to the bones where it kills 90% of patients

Prostate cancer metastasises, or spreads, to the bones in 9 out of 10 fatal cases.  Scientists found a reducing a protein in the brain stopped the cancer spreading.  Discovery could pave the way to a treatment for advanced forms of the disease

How exercise reduces the risk of cancer.

Exercising is known to reduce the risk of breast, bowel, colon and womb cancer.  But how?  Scientists say active people are better at removing a by-product - lactate -  that fuels tumors. Lactate – which makes muscles stiffen after exercise – is a key driver of cancer growth and spread, experts claim.

Dr Inigo San Millan, of the University of California, Berkeley, said: 'With this paper, we open a whole new door for understanding cancer, showing for the first time that lactate is not only present, but mandatory for every step in its development. 'We hope to sound the alarm for the research community that to stop cancer you have to stop lactate.'

Gene in some people which makes their brains 12 YEARS older than they should be

Researchers at Columbia University found a certain gene is present in people with prematurely aged brains
Just as some people physically age faster than others, the same goes for brains. The study examined autopsy data from almost 2,000 people without diseases.  They found those with older-looking brains had two copies of a certain gene - TMEM106B.  The common genetic variant greatly impacts normal brain aging from around the age of 65.  It may also increase one's risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease or dementia.

Just ONE cup of tea a day lowers the risk of toxic clumps forming in the brain

Researchers found that drinking tea reduces the risk of dementia by some 50% while those who carry a 'dementia gene' can slash their chances by around 86%.  Tea leaves are considered to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. And it doesn't matter whether you prefer green tea or black.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore assessed the tea consumption of 957 adults over the age of 55 over a period of 12 years.  Every two years, the participants were assessed on their cognitive function using standardized tools.  "A simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life," said Dr Feng Lei and help  protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.

Coffee 'stops vitamin pills working'

Scientists claim swallowing tablets with your morning cup of caffeine wipes out all of the good they do because the heat in the drinks can dramatically reduce the effects of tablets. It can even kill the ‘friendly’ bacteria in probiotic foods such as yoghurts..Now experts suggest waiting at least an hour before consuming hot food or drink after taking tablets.

City-dwellers should stock up on B vitamins, experts claim.

A new study suggests that the supplements may play a critical role in reducing the devastating impact of air pollution. In a trial on humans, scientists found just small doses could offset the deadly damage caused by tiny, toxic particles. Experts believe the findings could have a significant public health benefit in heavily polluted cities across the world.

Mediterranean diet 'as effective as statins' in reducing heart attack risk

“For most middle-aged people wishing to avoid heart disease, a healthy diet offers a far more powerful, sustainable and enjoyable plan than lifelong statin tablets,” said Prof Simon Capewell, vice-president of the UK Faculty of Public Health.

Taking high dosages of statins raises the risk of developing diabetes in older women by 50%

Australian scientists have carried out one of the first studies of its kind focusing on the effects of statins on more than 8,000 female pensioners....The team found over-75s face a 33 per cent higher chance of getting diabetes if they are taking them.  But the risk rose to more than 50 per cent for those on higher doses. It follows research last year which showed people with naturally higher levels of cholesterol, paradoxically, are less likely to suffer diabetes.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:42 AM | Permalink
Categories: Health

March 19, 2017

The Triangulum

Fr. Gordon McRae writes about a mystical dream and the photo a reader sent him of The Triangulum

I hope you will re-read and share Joseph’s Dream and the Birth of the Messiah and the strange and mystical dream I recounted. It may not have any real meaning. I know that the imagery in dreams may be no more than a psyche’s attempt to provide meaning and substance to random thoughts.

But sometimes “randomness” just doesn’t hold up. In that dream, I was shown a vague and distant constellation out my prison cell window. It was composed of three stars forming a triangle. “Look beyond the prison lights” came the instruction from my guide to the distant scene. Of course, no such constellation is visible out my cell window, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. A little research proved that it is in fact there, and it is called “Triangulum.”

in the dim distance behind the Constellation Triangulum was found the furthest object ever seen by human eyes or instruments. It is the most distant galaxy ever discovered at 12.2 billion light years away. It looks onto the very aftermath of the Big Bang and the emergence of the created Universe. I was simply in awe of this.

Then a reader sent me a photograph of Triangulum taken in a “Deep Field” long exposure image by the Hubbell Space Telescope. It is strikingly close to what I saw in my dream when I was bidden to look deeper still.

Does it mean anything? I’m not sure. But this is the more panoramic view of things that I wrote of earlier in this post. This photo gives me comfort and hope at a time when the carnage is growing all around me, and I wanted to share this image with you. It is simply remarkable! Whether it has any significance is a matter of faith, but even here, in the midst of destruction, there is some to be found.

 Triangulum

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:09 AM | Permalink
Categories: Science/ wonders | Categories: Spirituality and Religion

March 18, 2017

How to Raise Successful Boys

Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but Their Schools Probably Won't)

Students--and especially boys--need hours of physical activity every day. They don't get enough because their schools won't let them.

We inhibit children's academic growth (especially among boys), because the lack of physical activity makes it harder for them to concentrate...."In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order for them to pay attention, we need to let them move."

Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they're in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt--maybe getting upset--and getting right back into the physical action.Except at school, where they're required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess--and thus they sit still longer.)
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Restricting kids' movement like this leads them to increased anger and frustration, less ability to regulate emotions, and higher aggressiveness during the limited times they are allowed to play, Hanscom writes. "Elementary children need at least three hours of active free play a day to maintain good health and wellness. Currently, they are only getting a fraction."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:46 PM | Permalink
Categories: Parenting

On beautiful women

On beautiful women by David Warren.

"There are two kinds of women to whom I am attracted: bad ones and good ones"

....Over time — and I suppose age helps, though not as much as the young might suppose — I find that I have been developing "a preferential option for good women."...I am writing as a male, incidentally.  Women will have to speak for themselves.  Their attractions to men are beyond my comprehension.
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When it comes to bad women, I find that my attention is focused, almost but not quite involuntarily, on those who just happen to be young and gorgeous.  Whereas, when it comes to good women, my attention is captured by all ages.  And whereas, in the first case, the idea of possession is never far away, in the second it disperses.....And often enough, unconventionally beautiful, as for instance certain old ladies, married or widowed or never married or nuns, who exquisitely embody the feminine principle.  To be in their company is to be somehow washed, of that which makes one most grossly male.
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Women have been not "objectified" in our culture so much as monetized; used as a sales tool.  Every man who walks through our contemporary world is exposed to this gnawing devilry.  Women are demeaned by the "soft" pornography that surrounds us; on the billboards, but also walking the streets.  Actually it is quite hard pornography, by any traditional measure; one might even say it is exhausting.  It enters not only the eyes of men, portals to the soul; but also the eyes and souls of the women.  By increments they become what they behold.

There are women who are beautiful, as paintings.  I could gaze on them all day.  But in the moment lust enters the configuration, that beauty is destroyed.  As anything else in the economy it becomes something to use then discard.   
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:52 PM | Permalink
Categories: The Sexes | Categories: Wise Words and Quotations

Aging in Japan

Robots for the Elderly in Japan

 Telenoid

One of the Atlantic's photos of the week is this face of the remote-controlled humanoid Telenoid at a nursing home in Natori, Japan on March 13, 2017.

This is the first case of a Telenoid being installed at a nursing home in the world. The 2.7 kg humanoid enables the operator to communicate with the elderly over long distance, with its camera and microphone capturing the voice and movements of an operator and projecting them through its body to the elderly. The nursing home staff have seen elderly patients, especially those with dementia, becoming more active and positive to communicate when they communicate with the Telenoids. Telenoids cost 1,000,000 JPY (approximately $8,700) and can be rented for 50,000 JPY (about $435) per month.

Just as a Geriatric Crime Wave is sweeping across Japan
Japan's prison system is being driven to budgetary crisis by demographics, a welfare shortfall and a new, pernicious breed of villain: the recidivist retiree. And the silver-haired crooks, say academics, are desperate to be behind bars.

Crime figures show that about 35 per cent of shoplifting offenses are committed by people over 60. Within that age bracket, 40 per cent of repeat offenders have committed the same crime more than six times.  There is good reason, concludes a report, to suspect that the shoplifting crime wave in particular represents an attempt by those convicted to end up in prison — an institution that offers free food, accommodation and healthcare.
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Between 1991 and 2013, the latest year for which the Ministry of Justice publishes figures, the number of elderly inmates in jail for repeating the same offense six times has climbed 460 per cent.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:20 PM | Permalink
Categories: Aging with Grace and Grit

March 17, 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day

Some quotes and jokes to enjoy on this St Patrick's Day

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
William Butler Yeats

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat

I'm Irish. I think about death all the time
Jack Nicholson

We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.
Winston Churchill

If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.
Oscar Wilde

This [The Irish] is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.
Sigmund Freud

The Irish don't know what they want and are prepared to fight to the death to get it.
Sidney Littlewood

The Mouse on the Barroom Floor
Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor when the pub was shut for the night.
Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse and stood in the pale moonlight.
He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor, then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long you could hear him roar, 'Bring on the goddam cat!'

****

Reilly is walking through a graveyard when he comes across a headstone with the inscription "Here lies a politician and an honest man."  'Faith now,' exclaims Reilly, 'I wonder how they got the two of them in one grave.

****

The Doctor was puzzled 'I'm very sorry Mr O'Flaherty, but I can't diagnose your trouble.  I think it must be drink.'
'Don't worry about it Dr Cullen, I'll come back when you're sober.', said O' Flaherty.

****

Dermot McCann opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly 'phoned his best friend Reilly.
'Did ye see the paper?' asked Dermot. 'They say I died.'
'Yes, I saw it.' replied Reilly. 'Where are ye callin' from?'

****

Six Irish men were playing poker when one of them played a bad hand and died.  The rest drew straws to see who would tell his wife. One man draws the shortest straw and goes to his friend’s house to tell the wife.
The man says to her, “Your husband lost some money in the poker game and is afraid to come home.”
The wife says, “Tell him to drop dead!”
The man responds, “I’ll go tell him.”

****

An Irishman is struggling to find a parking space.  "Lord," he prayed. "I can't stand this. If you open a space up for me, I swear I'll give up the Guinness and go to mass every Sunday." Suddenly, the clouds part and the sun shines on an empty parking spot. Without hesitation, the Irishman says: "Never mind, I found one!"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:36 AM | Permalink
Categories: Just for Fun

March 16, 2017

Camile Paglia on Men

Camille Paglia Discusses Her War on 'Elitist Garbage' and Contemporary Feminism   Interview in Broadly to discuss her new book, Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, and Feminism, collecting her greatest hits about gender, sex, and feminism from 1990 to 2016.....Whether you agree or disagree with Paglia ... she has always understood the country while other experts did not.

 Camille-Paglia

Broadly: Why do you believe men need to be free for women to be free?
Paglia: My primary inspiration since adolescence has been the thrilling decades of the 1920s and 30s, following American women gaining the right to vote in 1920. There were so many major women figures entering the professions—like my idols Amelia Earhart and Katharine Hepburn, who were determined to show that women could achieve at the same level as men. The bold new women of that period did not insult or denigrate men. They admired what men had done and simply demanded the opportunity to show that women could match or surpass it. One of my persistent quarrels with second-wave feminism is how male-bashing became its default mode from the start. Movements often attract fanatics or borderline personalities, and that's exactly what happened....

..... women can never be truly free until they let men too be free—which means that men have every right to determine their own identities, interests, and passions without intrusive surveillance and censorship by women with their own political agenda. For example, if there is an official Women's Center on the Yale University campus (which there is), then there should be a Men's Center too—and Yale men should be free to carry on and carouse there and say whatever the hell they want to each other, without snoops outside the door ready to report them to the totalitarian sexual harassment office.

Broadly: The book argues that construction workers and other working class men's work have gone unnoticed....
Paglia: It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world. Only a tiny number of women want to enter the trades where most of the nitty-gritty physical work is actually going on—plumbing, electricity, construction. Women have played virtually no role in the erection of those magnificent towers in every major city in the world. It's men who operate the cranes or set the foundations or wash windows on the 85th floor. It's men who troop out at 2:00 AM during an ice storm to restore power to neighborhoods where falling trees have brought down live wires. It's men who mix the stinking, toxic cauldrons to spread steaming hot tar on city roofs. Last year in a nearby town, I drove by a huge, chaotic scene where emergency workers in hazmat suits were struggling with a giant pipe break, as raw sewage was pouring into the street. Of course all those workers up to their knees in a torrent of thick brown water were men! I've seen figures indicating that 92 per cent of people killed on the job are men—and it's precisely because men are heroically doing most of the dangerous jobs in modern society. The bourgeois blindness of feminist leaders to low-status working-class labor by men is morally corrupt! Gay men, on the other hand, have always shown their awed admiration of working-class masculinity and fortitude. It's no coincidence that a buff construction worker in a hard hat was one of the iconic personae of the gay disco group, the Village People, during the Studio 54 era!
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:40 PM | Permalink
Categories: The Sexes

Miscellany #61: Bananas, umbrellas, Wyatt Earp & John Wayne, Eagle Cam, Oxford comma, Hipster junk food, alcohol & caffeine, goldfish in a wheel chair

Smoking Banana Peels Is the Greatest Drug Hoax of All Time  They called it mellow yellow.

Umbrella Trees

 Umbrella-Trees

The city-state of Singapore is located in a tropical rainforest climate, getting 92 inches of rain every year. But in Singapore’s Little India, on the aptly named Hindoo Road, locals and tourists alike can get protection from the frequent downpours by sitting beneath one of the neighborhood’s unique Umbrella Trees.  Part of art installation created by local artist Marthalia Budiman, the Umbrella Trees have transformed a small public park space into an oasis of color, beauty, and protection from the elements.

Wyatt Earp Hung Out With A Teenage John Wayne

Wyatt Earp was one of those guys who wasn't satisfied sticking to one job for too long -- over the years he was a lawman, buffalo hunter, brothel keeper, miner and boxing referee, among others. But obviously he was best known for being an infinitely badass cowboy dude. Earp took part in the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral -- a 30-second gun battle that has inspired dozens of feature-length films.

Towards the end of his life, Earp settled in California and tried to break into Hollywood. Earp did get to befriend some Hollywood actors -- including a 17-year-old nobody called Marion Morrison. You might know him under his somewhat manlier fake name, John Wayne.

 Teen-Age John Wayne
Marion Morrison later known as John Wayne

While hanging out on movie sets, casually choreographing historical gunfights for directors like John Ford, Earp would share stories from the Wild West with the actors. The future Wayne, then a lowly extra/prop man, soaked them up. He also paid close attention to the way Earp talked and carried himself. ...once he went on to star in westerns of his own -- to the point that, according to his son, whenever Wayne had to play a tough cowboy, he just channeled Wyatt Earp

World watches nesting eagles fight storm to save eggs

Mr. President and The First Lady, a bald eagle pair nesting at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., hunkered down in the snow and cold to save their two eggs, which are expected to hatch later this month...The determined duo’s battle was watched live from around the world thanks to the DC Eagle Cam Project.

 Dc Eagles Protect Eggs

The First Lady covered the eggs with her body as she allowed herself to be covered by snow and ice. Mr. President joined her, partially covering her body with his wings as snow and ice accumulated on him. They continued to keep their bodies close, exchanging warmth and attempting to protect their future eaglets.

A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of an Oxford comma

A US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers have won their lawsuit against Oakhurst, and are eligible for unpaid overtime...The profoundly nerdy ruling is also a win for anyone who dogmatically defends the serial comma.

Artist Shows How To Repackage Junk Food So That Hipsters Would Buy It

 Slim Jim

How Alcohol and Caffeine Built Civilization

Chelsea Follett, managing editor of HumanProgress.org, a project of the CATO Institute, explained exactly how "alcohol and caffeine created civilization" in a recent USA today column....Consuming alcohol likely gave early humans a survival edge. "Before we could properly purify water or prepare food, the risk of ingesting hazardous microbes was so great that the antiseptic qualities of alcohol made it safer to consumer than non-alcoholic beverages — despite alcohol's own risks," she wrote.

"The domestication of plants [was] driven forward by the desire to have greater quantities of alcohol beverages," archaeologist Patrick McGovern told National Geographic. If alcohol inspired agriculture, caffeine jumpstarted progress.

"The impact of the introduction of coffee into Europe during the seventeenth century was particularly noticeable since the most common beverages of the time, even at breakfast, were weak 'small beer' and wine."  Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol began the day alert and stimulated, rather than relaxed and mildly inebriated, and the quality and quantity of their work improved....Western Europe began to emerge from an alcoholic haze that had lasted for centuries."

German Scientists Grow Tomatoes in Urine in Anticipation of Future Space Expeditions

Sick Goldfish Couldn’t Stay Afloat, So 19-year-old Taylor Dean Built Him A Tiny Wheelchair

 Tiny-Goldfish-Wheelchair

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 AM | Permalink
Categories: Miscellany

March 15, 2017

A Story of Elephants and Men

In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men by Fr. Gordon McRae

Some years ago, officials at the Kruger National Park and game reserve in South Africa were faced with a growing elephant problem....The helicopters were up to the task, but, as it turned out, the harness wasn’t. It could handle the juvenile and adult female elephants, but not the huge African bull elephants. A quick solution had to be found, so a decision was made to leave the much larger bulls at Kruger and relocate only some of the female elephants and juvenile males.

Sometime later, however, a strange problem surfaced at South Africa’s other game reserve, Pilanesburg National Park, the younger elephants’ new home....Rangers at Pilanesburg began finding the dead bodies of endangered white rhinoceros...rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the park. The result was shocking. The culprits turned out to be marauding bands of aggressive juvenile male elephants, the very elephants relocated from Kruger National Park a few years earlier. The young males were caught on camera chasing down the rhinos, knocking them over, and stomping and goring them to death with their tusks. The juvenile elephants were terrorizing other animals in the park as well. Such behavior was very rare among elephants. Something had gone terribly wrong.

What had been missing from the relocated herd was the presence of the large dominant bulls that remained at Kruger. In natural circumstances, the adult bulls provide modeling behaviors for younger elephants, keeping them in line....To test the theory, the rangers constructed a bigger and stronger harness, then flew in some of the older bulls left behind at Kruger. Within weeks, the bizarre and violent behavior of the juvenile elephants stopped completely. The older bulls let them know that their behaviors were not elephant-like at all. In a short time, the younger elephants were following the older and more dominant bulls around while learning how to be elephants.
---
In his terrific article, “Of Elephants and Men,” Dr. Wade Horn went on to write of a story very similar to that of the elephants, though it happened not in Africa, but in New York’s Central Park. The story involved young men, not young elephants, but the details were eerily close. Groups of young men were caught on camera sexually harassing and robbing women and victimizing others in the park. Their herd mentality created a sort of frenzy that was both brazen and contagious. In broad daylight, they seemed to compete with each other, even laughing and mugging for the cameras as they assaulted and robbed passersby. It was not, in any sense of the term, the behavior of civilized men.

Appalled by these assaults, citizens demanded a stronger and more aggressive police presence. Dr. Horn asked a more probing question. “Where have all the fathers gone?”...The majority of the young men hanging around committing those crimes in Central Park grew up in homes without fathers present
---
Real men protect the vulnerable, not assault them. Growing up having learned that most basic tenet of manhood is the job of fathers, not the police. Dr. Horn cited a quote from a young Daniel Patrick Moynihan written some forty years ago:

“From the wild Irish slums of the 19th Century Eastern Seaboard to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history:  A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations for the future – that community asks for and gets chaos.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:39 PM | Permalink
Categories: Culture and Society | Categories: Parenting

Feel-good miscellany

McDonald's worker is filmed jumping out of the drive-thru window to save a police officer who fell unconscious while picking up her order

Pedro Viloria jumped through window at restaurant in Doral, Florida. A second member of staff helped out by giving CPR.  The off-duty officer was suffering breathing duties and passed out in her SUV.

 Mcdonalds Worker Saves Life

Viloria told WPLG: 'In that moment, I thought, I'd rather save that woman's life. I see she's like inflating her neck, like trying to breathe, like "ahh", and basically I thought something was going wrong.' He jumped through the window and found she was unconscious, with her children anxious in the back seat.

Woman who formed a giant dreadlock after being bedridden with depression for six months is given a stunning new look by kind hairstylist who wanted to help 'change her life'

Kate Langman, a hairstylist described meeting a woman who had been bedridden for months with depression, leaving her unable to wash or brush her hair.  Over a grueling eight hours, Kate combed out the woman's hair, dyed and cut it, leaving it looking stunning, and leaving the woman feeling like herself again.

 Hairstylist+Depressed Woman

'By the end of this service, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and I could see her cheeks get rosy pink from the excitement of not only being able to run her fingers through her hair again, but she felt herself again,' said Kate. 'I changed someone's life today... and I'll never ever forget it.'...I LOVE MY DAMN CAREER.

He Got a Bad Grade. So, He Got the U.S Constitution Amended.

Gregory Watson went on a mission after getting a C on a paper in government class.  That mission to ratify the
Gregory needed 38 states to approve the amendment -- three-quarters. Nine states had already approved it, most back in the 1790s, so that meant he needed 29 more states for it to pass.  It took him 10 years. More than 200 years after it was written, the 27th Amendment was finally ratified.

“No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect
until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”

How Nuns Shaped Healthcare in the U.S.

1. American nuns have been called the first feminists. Nuns in 19th century America often made decisions in business without ever consulting a man. In a culture and country where most women followed the orders of a father or husband, these women were planning, building and even providing employment without the lead of a man. By 1906, over eight hundred hospitals and ten thousand schools, colleges and universities were founded by Catholic nuns.
2.  Helped start the Mayo Clinic.....
3.  Made the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous possible...
4. Participated and helped to develop the first prepaid health insurance plan in the U.S.....
5. Pioneered “family-centered” and “holistic” care.....

Texas mother  took in the mentally ill homeless man she drove past every day, gave him a job and helped him track down his family

 Texas Woman Homeless Man

Ginger Jones Sprouse took in Victor Hubbard, 32, after driving past him every day to work. He had been living on a street corner for three years looking for his mother.  Mrs Jones Sprouse gave him a job at her cooking school and bought him clothes. She set up a Facebook and GoFundMe page to help care for him which have now gone viral.  Victor is now receiving prescriptions to treat mental illness and has glasses. He has tracked down and spoken to his mother who abandoned him years ago.

It is unlikely he will be able to live independently but she is eager to settle him in to a 'normal life'. 'I just think of him as part of our family. 'Part of me feels very motherly towards him. I think he will probably always need a degree of supervision. 'One of our goals was to get his identification then another is to maybe get a bank account of his own. He is welcome to live with me and my family for as long as he wants to,' she said.

Hubbard said, "I can accomplish anything when I'm around Ginger so anyone around me can witness that and they can get to know me if they like me."

Midwife from Auschwitz: The woman who saved hundreds of newborns

Stanisława Leszczyńska and her husband.. got involved in helping Jews, which soon led to the arrest of the entire family by the Gestapo. ...in a tube of toothpaste she managed to smuggle German papers confirming her occupation. Despite enormous risk, she went to Dr. Mengele... and offered her assistance to women in labor....

 Midwife Auschwitz

As she wrote in a report, “Until May 1943, children born at the camp were cruelly murdered, they were drowned in a keg....Stanisława received the command: treat newborns as dead. She was short in stature, but she could stand up to the doctor. She replied, “No! Children must not be killed!” And she delivered approximately 3,000 babies, not one stillborn. None of the mothers died either. Even the best clinics in the world at that time could not boast of such statistics.
--
The prisoners called Stanisława Leszczyńska “mommy” and “the angel of goodness” which, as Elżbieta Solomon, one of the Auschwitz mothers wrote later in a poem, came to give “notice to the future centuries that there, in the midst of death, misery, and filth, there too, she brought forth Jesus— Mary in the striped uniform.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:54 PM | Permalink
Categories: Meaning, Passion and Purpose | Categories: Miscellany

Signs of the Times

Reza Aslan, Cannibal For CNN

"Aslan Ate a Human Brain and CNN Aired It" in the first episode of CNN’s new “Believer”.

Donald Sensing reports on the outrage that followed

....no criticism has come Reza's way for practicing actual cannibalism. No, he is under attack for deriding Hinduism....
Eating human beings? No problem. Pointing out that a small Hindu sect eats human beings? Unacceptable!  We are culturally rotted beyond belief.

 Subway Sign-Of-Times
via Ace

Environmentalist Protest Destroys The Environment At Standing Rock

Garbage, building materials, and months of untreated human waste from thousands of Standing Rock squatters now threatens the very water they claimed to be protecting.,,,The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access camps on federal land, hauling off 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris at the now-vacant site once occupied by thousands of protesters.

Man spends $50,000 on over 100 procedures to transform into a 'genderless' ALIEN

Vinny Ohh, 22, from Los Angeles in California, has had over 110 procedures to transform into a 'genderless' extra-terrestrial....The part-time model also wears large blackened contact lenses, alien like talons and unusual hair dye colors....The make-up artist believes he's neither male nor female and so his extreme look is a way to mirror how he feels inside.  Now he plans to fork out another $160,000  on surgery to have his genitalia, nipples and bellybutton removed.....He became an LGBT+ activist and feels like his look now represents his beliefs that 'people shouldn't be labelled'.

Judge gives custody of child to 1 dad and 2 moms

Mother and son are becoming father and daughter

 Mother+Son Now Father+Daughter

Time to learn! Eighty percent of Oklahoma City children aged six to 12 don't know how to read a clock because they rely on smartphones and iPads to tell the time

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:24 PM | Permalink
Categories: Signs of the Times
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Roundup of Medical Technology: Robots in surgery, diagnosis and active aging companion, 'body on a chip' and heart tissue from a spinach leaf
Brexit begins
Miscellany #62
"A life spent reading--that is a good life," Annie Dillard
To mark her 100th birthday, Vera Lynn releases new album
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The Triangulum
How to Raise Successful Boys
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Aging in Japan
Happy St Patrick's Day
Camile Paglia on Men
Miscellany #61: Bananas, umbrellas, Wyatt Earp & John Wayne, Eagle Cam, Oxford comma, Hipster junk food, alcohol & caffeine, goldfish in a wheel chair
A Story of Elephants and Men
Feel-good miscellany
Signs of the Times
Health Roundup: Dizzy spells, CML, artificial retina, cannabis, second-hand smoke and bad news for bald men
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Miscellany #61: Discrimination, Irish pubs, Hemingway, sky dancing, Coca Cola, Max Weber and Hitler
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George Washington, "First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen"
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Their 71st Valentine's Day Together
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The Religious Persecution you don't hear much about
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If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life. -Abraham Maslow

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness. -Friedrich Nietzsche

How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world? -Anne Frank

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