December 9, 2005

Hiatus caused by Business of Life

It will be even slow blogging for the next week or so. You see I have to deal with my Business of Life - accountants before year's end and packing to meet my move date of next Thursday and then of course there's Christmas. That means I have a lot of do when I get home from a party weekend in Chicago.

You'll know if I suffer from internet addiction, if you find me posting a lot. There are so many good blogs out there, you'll find something or you can check out my archives.

I'll check in to post from time to time and I'll definitely be back after the New Year.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 AM | Permalink

December 4, 2005

Where Have the Men Gone?

Only 43% of college students are men. This is a very troubling trend for society. Why aren't more of us concerned about how poor our school system is for millions of boys. They are struggling and need help. They are our sons, our brothers and will be husbands and fathers. It's time for a Movement for Boys so they can be their very best.

Michael Gurian writes more in the Washington Post: Disappearing Act
Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good

We all need to rethink things. We need to stop blaming, suspecting and overly medicating our boys, as if we can change this guy into the learner we want. When we decide -- as we did with our daughters -- that there isn't anything inherently wrong with our sons, when we look closely at the system that boys learn in, we will discover these boys again, for all that they are. And maybe we'll see more of them in college again.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:53 PM | Permalink

The $300 billion mistake

The largest civil engineering disaster in the history of the United States caused $300 billion in damages, half a million people out of their homes, and more than a thousand lives lost.

The National Science Foundation investigated the levee failures in New Orleans and found that the Army Corps of Engineers approved the design of the levees and said it would withstand 14 feet of water.

In fact, using data available from the Army Corps, forensic analysts concluded that the levees would fail at a water level between 11 and12 feet which is just what happened in Hurricane Katrina.

The Army Corp mis-underestimated the weak soil layers 10 to 25 feet below the levee and didn't extend the pilings deep enough.

"It kind of boggles the mind that they missed this because it's so basic and there were so many qualified engineers working on this"

You can expect a flood of lawyers and litigation to be filed against the Army Corps in the months and years to come.

17th Street Canal levee was doomed. Report blames corps: Soil could never hold. The Times-Picayune.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:30 PM | Permalink

December 2, 2005

The Daughter Track

American women who leave their jobs and exit their careers to take care of elderly parents may find that the needs of ailing parents can offer "cultural shelter" and an "excuse to pull away and look inward" in the words of Arlie Hochschild, professor at UCal, Berkeley.

From The Daughter Track: Trading Career for Caring.

Until February, Mary Ellen Geist was the archetypal American career woman, a radio news anchor with a six-figure salary and a suitcase always packed for the next adventure, whether a third world coup, a weekend of wine tasting or a job in a bigger market.

But now, Geist, 49, has a life that would be unrecognizable to colleagues and friends in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. She has returned to her family home near Detroit to care for her parents, one lost to dementia and the other to sorrow.

Geist sleeps in the dormered bedroom of her childhood and survives without urban amenities like white balsamic vinegar. She starts her days reminding her father, Woody, a sweet-tempered 78- year-old who once owned an auto parts company, how to spoon cereal from his bowl.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:45 PM | Permalink

Key to My Heart

By now, you've probably heard of the love molecule. Italian researchers say the molecule known as the nerve growth factor (NGF) makes your heart beat faster, gives you those butterflies in the stomach and the sense of euphoria when you fall in love. They say it only lasts about a year.

Ambivablog has read further and finds that NGF and Love Makes All Things New.

Could it be the Love itself along with the NGF has the power to renew and remake us all the way through life up to the gate of death? Can any new passionate attraction or friendship that we love do the same?

Some Stanford researchers have discovered a new type of lock-and-key mechanism that provides a critical step in reproducing nerve growth factor.

NGF and its family members called neurotrophins not only control the development of the nervous system in the embryo but also the maintenance of nervous tissue and neural transmission in the adult.

NGF plays a role in many nervous system problems such as neural degeneration in aging, Alzheimer's disease and neural regeneration in spinal cord injuries and other damage to neural tissue. It also may factor into mood and other psychological disorders. 

It's the key to my or to anyone's heart that opens to Love.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:44 PM | Permalink

December 1, 2005

Paying It Forward

This wonderful story comes from Pittsburgh, No longer strangers.

A few months ago, Suzanne Weiner and Heather Bonime didn't know each other. Now, says Weiner, "I think we'll be friends forever."

Their paths crossed unexpectedly after Weiner, grateful for community help in rebuilding her family's flood-ravaged grocery store, decided to give back -- and she gave to Bonime the gift of life.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:29 PM | Permalink

New Proposals to Save More

Just last night I was talking to an engineer who couldn't understand the complexity of retirement and savings plans and wondered why the government just didn't make it easier to save.

He's not the only one. The Wall St. Journal reports today that the President, his tax-reform commission, some Congressmen and a "bevy of economists and tax experts think so too. A New Approach to Savings Plans (subscription only) reports that support is growing for boiling all the various plans into three simpler ones.

A Save at Work account to replace 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans that would allow workers to set aside $14,000 in pre-tax wages for retirement.

A Save for Retirement account to replace IRAs and deferred compensation accounts allowing taxpayers to set aside an additional $10,000 after taxes annually.

A Save for Family account would replace college saving, health care and flexible-spending accounts and allow a taxpayer to put aside an additional $10,000 after taxes annually.

Makes sense to me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:52 PM | Permalink

Healthy Links

Just links to health articles this past week that caught my eye.

Too much junk in the trunk. Obese buttocks leave drug therapy behind. Medicine injected into large posteriors isn't reaching the bloodstream.

New and simpler CPR guidelines. 30 compressions on the chest for every two rescue breaths. "The more times someone pushes on the chest, the better off the patient is, the more blood flows to the heart and other vital organs.

Simple test gauges childhood asthma control. Seven question quiz helps patients and doctors improve treatment.

This is surprising. Parkinson's Tied to the Well-Schooled. Study says the more education you have, the greater the risk, especially for doctors.

This is not. Doctors Lack Training for End-of-Life Care. Dying patients pay the price.

This is good news. Breast-feeding may lower Mom's risk of diabetes. We know it's good for babies, we didn't know how good it was for Mom.

Breast-feeding helps a mother's body return to normal faster after pregnancy, according to the FDA. Some studies have suggested that women who breast-feed for long periods of time may have lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer.

Daily Aspirin a smart move after menopause. It significantly reduces death rates for post-menopausal women with cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the largest killer of women and women lag far behind men in getting important tests to diagnose the disease.

Long-term study proves tamoxifen helps prevent breast cancer. It helps prevent the malignancy in healthy women at high risk for the disease.

Being Irish, I'm not surprised that a Gene May Be Tied to Alcoholism. Apparently this gene contributes to a low level of response to alcohol and probably to overdrinking so that a person can feel high.

It's up to you. Better habits - less junk food, more fish, more exercise - can prevent 80% of coronary heart disease and 90% of type 2 diabetes. Heart Disease, Diabetes Are Preventable.

Another expert says Exercise is the real Fountain of Youth, reducing risk of heart disease and dementia, all part of the Healthy Aging Campaign.

Two thirds of Americans say they need and want help budgeting for health care. Here it is Family Health Budget

If you've never read Ground Rounds, a carnival of blog posts by doctors, nurses and health care professionals, go over this weeks host Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse. The big news is that Medscape is now sponsoring the weekly Ground Rounds

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:36 AM | Permalink