April 28, 2006

Why People Procrastinate

From Psychology Today

Procrastination is not just an issue of time management or laziness. It's about feeling paralyzed and guilty as you channel surf, knowing you should be cracking the books or reconfiguring your investment strategy. Why the gap between incentive and action? Psychologists now believe it is a combination of anxiety and false beliefs about productivity.

  • False beliefs
  • Fear of failure
  • Perfectionism
  • Self-Control
  • Punitive Parenting
  • Thrill-seeking
  • Task-related anxieties
  • Unclear expectations
  • Depression

What's your excuse?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:52 AM | Permalink

Scientists Figure Out Why We Age

From Nature, Wrinkled cell nuclei may make us age. It may be that blocking an aberrant protein could keep cells "pert and young".

The team suggests that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A protein, but that young cells can sense and eliminate it. Elderly cells, it seems, cannot.

Critically, blocking production of this deviant protein corrected all the problems with the nucleus. "You can take these old cells and make them young again," Misteli says.
"If this really has a physiological role in normal elderly people then it's a huge deal," says David Sinclair who studies the molecular mechanisms of ageing at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:37 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2006

Grace Under Fire

The very best article I've seen on the San Francisco is Grace Under Fire by Michael Castleman in the Smithsonian magazine.

Even as the city burned a "hardy band of men worked feverishly to save the city's mint - and with it the U.S. economy."

When martial law ended, the Granite Lady became a centerpiece of San Francisco's rebirth. Residents returning to the charred ruins of their homes found that the mint had the only potable water in the area. Leach installed pipelines from the mint's well to distribute water to residents until the mains could be repaired. Because of the people lined up for water, the neighborhood's first businesses to reopen after the fire set up in tents around the building. The mint also functioned as a bank for the federally sanctioned wire transfers that poured in from around the country—$40 million in the first two weeks alone, about $900 million in today's dollars.

For his efforts, Frank Leach earned a promotion to director of the mint in Washington, D.C. and the undying loyalty of his men. "Through his coolness and ability," Joe Hammill later wrote, "the men under him worked to the best advantage. He took his turn at the hose with the others, and did not ask his men to go where he would not go himself. It is remarkable how he stood the strain of the fire." The same could be said of the brave men who stood beside him, and saved not only the mint but perhaps also the U.S. economy itself.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:51 PM | Permalink

Rally with Sally

It's not just be lack of estrogen that leads to osteoporosis in post menopausal women, the pituitary gland may play a big role.

Pituitary Hormone May Be Linked to Osteoporosis

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland may play a role in bone loss in postmenopausal women, challenging the notion that declining estrogen levels are solely responsible for the problem.

High levels of the hormone, pituitary-derived follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), caused an increase in bone loss in mice. And mice who lacked either the FSH hormone or its receptor became resistant to bone loss, even if they showed evidence of estrogen deficiency.

The findings open up the possibility that therapies other than estrogen to treat or prevent bone loss may one day be possible. Estrogen-replacement therapy is not an ideal solution because it has been linked to a heightened risk of breast cancer, especially when administered in combination with the hormone progestin.

Sally Field who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis may want to look into this. She's become a new spokesman raising awareness about the disease.

She announced Thursday she is partnering with drug manufacturers F. Hoffmann-La Roche and GlaxoSmithKline to launch the "Rally with Sally For Bone Health" campaign.

The two companies are the co-marketers of Boniva (ibandronate sodium), an osteoporosis medication.

Through a website (www.bonehealth.com) and a toll-free number (877-BoneHealth), the project is asking at-risk women to join Field in a signed pledge to improve their bone health. The pledge involves five steps: taking sufficient calcium and vitamin D; choosing and maintaining an osteoporosis drug regimen; exercising regularly; visiting a physician regularly, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol.

As for that recent study that cast doubts on the benefits of calcium, Tara
Parker-Pope clears up some of the confusion in today's Wall St Journal. She concludes calcium works, but only if you take it regularly. If you do take your calcium regularly, there is a 34% reduction in overall fracture risk.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:17 PM | Permalink

No Original Rules

Remember that book I mentioned Unwritten Rules by Ray Swanson that included The Waiter Rule? Raytheon has given away some 250,000 copies of the booklet

Swanson, the CEO of Raytheon, admitted yesterday that at least 16 of the 33 aphorisms are remarkably similar to the rules compiled six decades ago by W.J. King, an engineering professor.

I regret that over the course of the years and in the process of compiling the 'Unwritten Rules,' any reference to Professor King's work was not properly credited," he said in a statement.

While embarrassing for Swanson, perhaps diluting his effectiveness as CEO, the experience also proves that human nature doesn't change.

To his credit, Swanson was forthright.

''This experience has taught me a valuable lesson -- new Rule #34," he said in his statement. ''Regarding the truisms of human behavior, there are no original rules."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:11 PM | Permalink

April 24, 2006

Life Lessons Collection

What do these "life lessons" have in common.

Just because you like it doesn't mean she will.

Your kid doesn't care that it's fourth and goal.

Children will repeat every single thing you say.

Not everyone's dying to see your baby pictures.

There are better rewards than food.

The all-you-can-eat buffet is not a challenge

Merlot and email don't mix.

They all have their own figurines you can customize with hair, skin and eye color at the The Learning Channel's Life Lessons Collection.

  Merlot And Email Don't Mix

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:30 PM | Permalink

Ten little fingers

Well, whaddya know. You may have cholesterol to thank for your ten little fingers and ten little toes right where they are supposed to go.

From Science Daily. Cholesterol Gets Thumbs Up for Role in Digit Development.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:38 PM | Permalink

April 22, 2006

Estate of War

John Donovan hoped his fortune would create a legacy. But it tore his family apart.

After amassing a fortune of $100 million, was John Donovan shot in a plot by his son James, a money manager at Goldman Sachs, or did father John stage the crime scene?

Estate of War (WSJ subscription required)

After examining forensic evidence and financial records -- and interviewing Mr. Donovan, his two ex-wives, his five children and Goldman officials -- prosecutors are investigating whether Mr. Donovan staged a crime scene to discredit his son James, whom he believed had masterminded a campaign by his children to take over his money and property, according to people interviewed by prosecutors.

The violent incident was the climax of a sordid feud that has torn apart the Donovan family and shaken Hamilton, Mass., a town of estates and horse trails north of Boston. Over the course of three years, what began as a dispute over tens of millions of dollars in trust funds has become an acrimonious battle featuring allegations of violent threats, betrayal, forgery and sexual abuse.

All that seems clear is that John Donovan lost his family and pretty much everything else.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink

Interview with the Dalai Lama

He wakes at 3:30 am to pray, he flies business class, his only indulgence is watchstraps, he now lives in half a house because it was too expensive and exhausting to rebuild a whole house after a recent earthquake, and his attitude is to give everyone some of his time.

Even though he says things that take many people aback - he's against homosexuality, abortion and oral sex, thinks George Bush is very straightforward and was astonished by his grasp of Buddhism, everyone respects and listens to the Dalai Lama.

From the Telegraph, U.K. "Westerners are too self-absorbed."

"It is fascinating," he says, speaking in slightly stilted English. "In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences - yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don't bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours; you have more food than you could possibly eat, yet that makes women like Heidi miserable."

The West's big problem, he believes, is that people have become too self-absorbed. "I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them. They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice - which brings no real freedom.

He laughs when I change the subject and talk about the West's attempts to become more spiritual through yoga, massage and acupuncture. "These are just physical activities," he says. "To be happier, you must spend less time plotting your life and be more accepting."
The West is now quite weak - it can't cope with adversity and it has little compassion for others. People are like plants - they can develop ways of countering negative forces. If people took more responsibility for their own problems, they would become more self-confident."

He does not believe that you have to be religious in order to have a meaningful life. "But you have to have morals, to strive for basic, good human qualities. I don't want to convert people to Buddhism - all major religions, when understood properly, have the same potential for good."

"Buddhists are taught that if there is something you can do about a situation, you must do it immediately. But if there is nothing you can do, you can't worry - that is indulgent."
"But the Tibetans always say: wherever you feel most comfortable, that is your home. Whoever shows you greatest kindness and comfort, they are your family. So I am happy to die in India."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:42 AM | Permalink

April 21, 2006

Injustice Put Right for Heroine of Resistance

"Charlotte Gray

The real Charlotte Gray finally gets her wings, 61 years late.

SHE was handed her CBE insignia personally by the Queen, she is a heroine in her adopted France, and her wartime exploits in the French Resistance are the basis for an acclaimed novel. But for 63 years a little bit of sex discrimination has rankled with Pearl Cornioley.

Amends were made yesterday when two British officers travelled to her retirement home at Châteauvieux in southwest France to present the 91-year-old widow with her parachute wings.

Mme Cornioley, born in Paris to British expatriate parents, was one of the real-life models for Charlotte Gray, the Sebastian Faulks novel that became a film. She was so adept at blowing up railway lines that the occupying Nazis put a price on her head of a million francs.

She is modest about her war. “It was a complete accident that I ended up leading 1,500 Resistance fighters. I was not a military person — I was supposed to be a courier — but I ended up having to use whatever sense I had. But I certainly didn’t do this on my own.” Her valour was recognised and she was cited for the Military Cross. But the rules did not allow it; the MC was not for civilian women.

Hat tip to Rebecca Blood

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 PM | Permalink

The Japanese Martha Stewart

She's like the queen of Japan, an Empress of Domesticity, the Japanese Martha Stewart. Harumi Kurihara is in New York to publicize her first book in English, Haruma's Japanese Cooking.

"Harumi's Japanese Cooking : More than 75 Authentic and Contemporary Recipes from Japan's Most PopularCooking Expert"

Cooks like Ms. Kurihara, who incorporate modern and global flavors without stooping to fast food, earn both worship and respect.

A Japanese mother's reputation in school rests on her bentos," said Nobuko Suzuki, the editor of Ms. Kurihara's Japanese cookbooks. Bento boxes — and the wrapping, arranging, rolling, folding and decorating that goes into them — are portable national icons, carried by children and adults alike.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:35 PM | Permalink

April 20, 2006

The Waiter Rule

CEOs say how you treat the waiter says a lot about your character.

12 out of 12 CEOs agree.

They acknowledge that CEOs live in a Lake Wobegon world where every dinner or lunch partner is above average in their deference. How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul.

Take a look at Swanson's Unwritten Rules in the sidebar.

32: A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person. (This rule never fails).

Swanson is Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson. Raytheon has given away 250,000 copies of the booklet with his unwritten rules of management.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:35 PM | Permalink

Never Underestimate the power of giving a girl flowers

Some life lessons, what the Waiter Rant calls bits of wisdom

“Never make a decision when you’re high in the sky or down in the dumps.” – my high school principal.

(On relationships) “If it isn’t fun in the beginning – forget it.” – female coworker

“When you first get married you should be having sex in every room of the house.” - same female coworker

“The biggest asshole in a community is the guy who doesn’t change the toilet paper.” – a Trappist monk

“I never trusted a man who never smoked or drank.” – Abraham Lincoln.

“It’s easy to love people in China. It’s tougher to love the person living next door.” – I heard that one in confession

“Sometimes pathology matures into ability.” - a psychiatrist

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” - Yoda

“It’s just a feeling. You don’t have to act on it.” – spiritual director

“Sex isn’t life. But life’s impossible with out it.” - unknown

Fighting should always be the last resort. But sometimes you just have to punch a guy in the nose.” – Unknown.

“No amount of money in the world is worth not being able to look at yourself in the mirror.” – Dad

“Some times the right thing is the terrible thing.” - unknown

“Love isn’t a feeling. It’s an act of will.” – spiritual director

“Count to ten.” – Mom

“Never underestimate the power of giving a girl flowers.” – Unknown.

“When you’re young you want to change the world. When you’re older you just want to understand it.” - Unknown

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 PM | Permalink

More Salmon, Less Murder?

I know I go on a lot about omega 3 fatty acids as evidenced by prior posts.

Eat salmon and be more agreeable
Fish Oil and Breast Cancer
Salmon as Brain Food
Mom's Diet May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk in Daughters
Omega 3 fats feed the human brain and may improve psychiatric conditions as well as visual function
Splendid Omega

Never though, did I think to tout eating salmon to lower the murder rate as the New York Times did this past week in Idea Lab.

Is violent aggression largely a product of poor nutrition?

researchers are studying whether inmates become less violent when put on a diet rich in vitamins and in the fatty acids found in seafood.
In 2001, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, published a study, provocatively titled "Seafood Consumption and Homicide Mortality," that found a correlation between a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (most often obtained from fish) and lower murder rates.
Consider, for example, a study conducted by researchers in Finland. They tested prisoners convicted of violent crimes and found that they had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than ordinary, healthy subjects. Why? Omega-3's foster the growth of neurons in the brain's frontal cortex, the bit of gray matter that controls impulsive behavior. Having enough of these fatty acids may keep violent impulses in check.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:19 PM | Permalink

April 19, 2006

Outsourcing Rent-a-Womb

I suppose it's no great surprise and was bound to happen eventually.

In India, Wombs for rent, real cheap

Both sides of the debate agree that the fertility business in India, including "reproductive tourism" by foreigners, is potentially enormous. Current figures are tough to pin down, but the Indian Council of Medical Research estimates that helping residents and visitors beget children could bloom into a nearly $6-billion-a-year industry.
money was the primary reason these women had queued up to be surrogates; without it, the list would be short, if not nonexistent. Payment usually ranges from about $2,800 to $5,600, a fortune in a country where annual per capita income hovers around $500.

But Patel cited cultural components as well -- an empathy with the childless here in a society that views producing progeny as an almost sacred obligation, and Hindu teachings about being rewarded in the next life for good deeds performed in this one.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:08 PM | Permalink

Blogging for a good career

From the Boston Globe

Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.
''For your career, a blog is essential," says Phil van Allen, a faculty member of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

''It's the new public relations and it's the new home page. Instead of a static home page, you have your blog," he said. It's a way to let people know what you are thinking about the field that interests you.

The eight reasons why are right here. Blogs 'essential' to a good career

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:03 PM | Permalink

Future Sex

Future Sex: gizmos, robots

When America's top sex researchers gathered recently to discuss the next decade in their field, some envisioned a future in which artificial sex partners could cater to every fantasy.

"What is very likely to be present before 2016 would be a multi-sensual experience of virtual sex," said Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington.
There is already a field called "teledildonics" which allows computers to manipulate electronic devices like the Sinulator at the other end for sexual purposes.

"The Iraq war...was kind of a boom for our company."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:41 PM | Permalink

Why Angry/Negative People Are Bad for Your Brain

Kathy Sierra explains why in Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain. Read the whole thing

1. Our "mirror neurons" activate in the same way watching someone else do something as they do when we're doing it ourself -

Spend time with a nervous, anxious person and physiological monitoring would most likely show you mimicking the anxiety and nervousness, in ways that affect your brain and body in a concrete, measurable way. Find yourself in a room full of pissed off people and feel the smile slide right off your face. Listen to people complaining endlessly about work, and you'll find yourself starting to do the same.
Regarding the effect of mirror neurons and emotional contagion on personal performance, neurologist Richard Restak offers this advice:

"If you want to accomplish something that demands determination and endurance, try to surround yourself with people possessing these qualities. And try to limit the time you spend with people given to pessimism and expressions of futility. Unfortunately, negative emotions exert a more powerful effect in social situations than positive ones, thanks to the phenomena of emotional contagion."

2. Emotional Contagion

"When we are talking to someone who is depressed it may make us feel depressed, whereas if we talk to someone who is feeling self-confident and buoyant we are likely to feel good about ourselves. This phenomenon, known as emotional contagion, is identified here, and compelling evidence for its affect is offered from a variety of disciplines - social and developmental psychology, history, cross-cultural psychology, experimental psychology, and psychopathology."

3. Happy People. Happy people are not vacuous.

"Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people's ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. "

In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.

And apparently happier = healthier:
Happiness is not our only emotion, it is simply the outlook we have chosen to cultivate because it is usually the most effective, thoughtful, healthy, and productive.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:33 PM | Permalink

Tracking Your Family's Whereabouts

Now you can track where your teenager is going. For $9.99 a month, Sprint offers you the Family Locator that lets parents track their kids' whereabouts using the GPS capabilities in each child's cellphone.

Big Mother Is Watching.

The whole idea of tracking your family in this manner is weird and alarming on some levels. So is the notion that we're all so deathly afraid for our kids that there's even a market for this.

But now that the technology is out there, it's not going away anytime soon.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:32 PM | Permalink

April 18, 2006

The Great Basilica of Nature

Excerpts frpm the essay by John Barrow, winner of the 2006 Templeton Prize, entitled The Great Basilica of Nature . After a dazzling description of seeing the interior of St. Marks Cathedral in Venice, Barrow writes

But, on reflection, what was more striking to me was the realization that the hundreds of master craftsmen who had worked for centuries to create this fabulous sight had never seen it in its full glory. They worked in the gloomy interior, aided by candlelight and smoky oil lamps to illuminate the small area on which they worked, but not one of them had ever seen the full glory of the golden ceiling. For them, like us, 500 years afterward, appearances were deceptive.
The nucleus of every carbon atom in our bodies has been through a star. We are closer to the stars than we could ever have imagined.

It is to this simple and beautiful world behind the appearances — where the lawfulness of nature is most elegantly and completely revealed — that physicists look to find the hallmark of the universe. Everyone else looks at the outcomes of these laws. The outcomes are often complicated, hard to understand and of great significance – they even include ourselves – but the true simplicity and symmetry of the universe is to be found in the things that are not seen. Most remarkable of all, we find that there are mathematical equations, little squiggles on pieces of paper, that tell us how whole universes behave. There is a logic larger than universes that is more surprising because we can understand a meaningful part of it and, thereby, share in its appreciation.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:16 PM | Permalink

Prepare yourself, rely on yourself

Nearly half of public health employees unlikely to work during pandemic.

Over 40 percent of public health employees surveyed said they are unlikely to report to work during an influenza pandemic, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel

In case you didn't get the message with Katrina, here's another reason to prepare yourself to rely on yourself.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:59 PM | Permalink

Max Headroom Creator made Roswell alien

People believe in all sorts of crazy things and nefarious conspiracies for reasons far beyond me. .

Today at least, we can put to rest any question that aliens crashed a UFO in Roswell N.M. in 1948.

Max Headroom Creator Made Roswell Alien

THE creator of Max Headroom, a 1980s television cyber-presenter, has claimed he was one of the hoaxers behind the Roswell film, the grainy black and white footage supposedly showing a dead alien being dissected by American government scientists after a UFO crash.

John Humphreys, a sculptor and consultant on Alien Autopsy who has also worked on special effects for Doctor Who, said it was he who made the models for the alien dissected in the original fake footage.

Rather than being shot in 1947 near Roswell in the New Mexico desert as previously claimed, the film was actually made at a flat in Camden, north London, in 1995.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:55 PM | Permalink

April 17, 2006

Judas and the Church of the Self

Gerard Van der Leun has crafted another marvelous essay on betrayal and Judas where everything is allowed in the Church of the Self.

This dark thrill of denigration has the immediate benefit of pleasingly confirming them in their own Church of Zero, and the secondary benefit of being much, much safer than, say, sticking it to Islam, a faith that enforces its demands for respect with bombs and beheadings, and whose central message to all cowards is "Don't mess with Muhammad." The sad fact of our modern era is that if you denigrate Islam, you often have to bag up body parts and hose down the sidewalk, but when you denigrate Christianity the most you need to clean up after yourself is a warm washcloth.

We've long permitted greater and greater levels of betrayal in our society. We've codified them as law, policy and custom as far as the wishes of the individual are concerned. It is no longer sophisticated or fashionable to speak of selfishness as betrayal. That word is so harsh when, after all, we are only speaking of "differing needs," aren't we. When the betrayal of others is glossed over with phrases such as "I needed to be me," or "I needed my space," or "I needed more money,"or "We were just on different paths," then the elevation of this disease of the soul from the betrayal of another into the larger realm of treason against all is only a question of degree.
Betrayal is a common catechism in the Church of the Self.

Judas: A Saint for Our Seasons

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:33 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2006

Tipping Point with Rudeness

What happens when you reach a tipping point with rudeness and you just don't want to put up with it anymore?

Well, if you want some civility get thee to New York City.

know I was surprised to learn New York Leads Politeness Trend? Get Outta Here.

Somehow a city whose residents have long been scorned for their churlish behavior is now being praised for adopting rules and laws that govern personal conduct, making New York an unlikely model for legislating courtesy and decorum.

"Most people just seem to ignore common sense and common courtesy so it does have to be legislated," she said. "To have this happen in New York is going to inspire a lot of other people. I cannot applaud it enough. My hands are tired from clapping."

• no cellphones in movies, theaters and concerts
• $50 fine if subway riders put their feet on a seat.
• owners responsible for cleaning up after vandals
• smoking ban in bars, restaurants and nightclubs
• new stiffer noise code
• penalties for sports fans who throw things on the field or spit at the players
• parents can be ejected from Little League games for "unsportsmanlike" conduct

Can't come fast enough for me. Otherwise we will see the rise of the Howling Mob where some children have no conception how to act.

The four teenaged punks who chased an NYU student into the path of an oncoming car looked and laughed as he lay on the street dying, a prosecutor revealed yesterday.
"They didn't call for an ambulance. They didn't call for help. Rather, they stood on the street corner and laughed," prosecutor Joel Seidemann said of the 13- and 15-year-olds who chased Broderick John Hehman into traffic.

Hehman, 20, died four days later from his massive head injuries.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:44 PM | Permalink

April 14, 2006

Food for thought

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.


If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.

John Heywood. English Playwright and Poet, 1497-1580

The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.

Sydney Harris

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Les Brown

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult.

E. B. White

The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create. Leonard Sweet.
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.

Max Plank as he accepted the Nobel Prize

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:59 PM | Permalink

Outsourcing the Elderly and the Elder Beat

The New York Times says Elderbloggers Stake Their Claim.

Ronnie Bennett of Time Goes By is quoted
Blogging helps keep older minds sharp, offers a platform in which to express views and opens social networks all over the world,

While in Britain, a foundation has built a township in India so that the elderly can be outsourced

Dignity Lifestyle, as the new township is known, is a first-of-its-kind concept in India. The foundation is emphatic about the fact that it is not an old-age home. It is about ìproductive ageingî, where the elderly are able to enjoy facilities like libraries, film shows and talks. As the town is part of the state governmentís semi-rural area development programme, the elderly have the option of getting involved in the regeneration of the area through literacy and other developmental programmes.

Uma Devi, administration manager of Dignity Foundation, said: ìIn India, we donít have a culture of dumping our elderly in old-age homes and this is not a home but more a lifestyle. We have a full-fledged geriatric care unit to take care of the needs of those requiring extra care due to diseases like Alzheimerís.î

Back in the U.S, there's a new blog chronicling Ageism in America sponsored by the International Longevity Center

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:58 AM | Permalink

April 13, 2006

Cowboy Boots for Every Woman

That's what Manolo says in The Boots of the Cowboys.

Mine are red.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:23 PM | Permalink

Say it ain't so

Beer may hike lung cancer risk
Beer drinking, even if it is relatively moderate, heightens the risk of contracting lung cancer, while imbibing a little wine can have the opposite effect, suggests a striking new Canadian study.

But what about the DNA damage beer prevents?

And Guinness has anti-oxidants that may prevent heart clots

What to do about conflicting studies?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:05 PM | Permalink


The Business of Life for Christians in the Holy Land is increasingly troubled. The Agony in the Garden and the Way of the Cross have become a way of life. I looked about, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that there was no one to lend support;

From Reuters In Bethlehem,
A 76-year-old Greek Orthodox monk is beaten up by villagers, his carefully tended olive trees are uprooted and his isolated West Bank monastery is defaced with graffiti depicting nuns being raped.
Corruption and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza in the past decade have hit Christians harder than others because, as a minority, they have not been able to defend themselves easily.

Exasperated at the failure of the Palestinian Authority to act and the reticence of churches to speak up, a group of Christians in Bethlehem drew up a list of grievances that included theft of their land by Muslims, attacks and desecration of Church property.

The Christians passed the list to Church leaders, saying local authorities had done little to help.

"If the situation continues, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity will become cold, empty museums," said Samir Qumsieh, a Palestinian-Christian businessman, referring to two of the holiest Christian shrines.

I looked about, but there was no one to help,
I was appalled that there was no one to lend support

Isaiah 63

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:33 PM | Permalink

Men with Breast Cancer

Richard Roundtree, star of the original Shaft movies, had breast cancer.

Roundtree, it turns out, was diagnosed nearly 13 years ago with breast cancer. His life was saved by a mastectomy and chemotherapy; now he lectures around the country about early detection.

"There is help out there if we take advantage of it," he told our colleague Yolanda Woodlee, noting that most men don't. "
Men take better care of their cars than their bodies. . . . If I had not been such a hypochondriac and gone straight to the doctor when I noticed a lump in my breast, I would not be here talking to you today."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

April 12, 2006

Involuntary Parentage

That's what Michael Wofford says about the suit his ex-girlfriend is bringing for child support and college tuition for the twins she gave birth to after Michael agreed to donate sperm so she could have children.

Sperm donor sued for child support

"She was a lady with a plan -- and that plan wasn't marriage," Mirabelli said. "He trusted her. Why? Because she said 'I don't want anything from you. I just want your semen.' "

Both are 45 and met online at Match.com.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:39 PM | Permalink

Genetic Bounty

Genetic testing is not just for finding out your family's ancestry.

Says sociologist Troy Duster, "It's about access to money and power." Some call it the "American Indian Princess" syndrome where families are looking for ways to validate their children's eligibility for race-based admissions or government entitlements.

Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests
Naturally when you're applying to college you're looking at how your genetic status might help you," said Mr. Moldawer, who knows that the twins' birth parents are white, but has little information about their extended family. "I have three kids going now, and you can bet that any advantage we can take we will."

It may be only natural then that ethnic ancestry tests, one of the first commercial products to emerge from the genetic revolution, are spurring a thorough exploration of the question, What is in it for me?
Prospective employees with white skin are using the tests to apply as minority candidates, while some with black skin are citing their European ancestry in claiming inheritance rights.

This is the underlying problem of identifying people by race in an increasingly multiracial society. Since most applications accept self-descriptions of race and ethnicity, we can expect to see many more DNA ethnics.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:35 PM | Permalink

April 11, 2006

Karate Granny

I say you're never too old to learn yoga or tai chi. Karate is usually for younger folk.

Not this granny though. Granny used karate

75 year old Anica D was sleeping when an intruder broke into her house and attacked her.

No one answered her calls for help so she tried out some karate moves she learned from television, immobilized the 30 year burglar, then called the police who arrested him and later charged him with burglary and attempted rape.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:16 PM | Permalink

First-time Mothers

In this brave new world, new mothers have things to do older mothers can't even imagine. No wonder they're so exhausted.

From Mother Pie, First Baby? Top 10 Must Do List.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:28 PM | Permalink

April 10, 2006

Postcards to yourself

What do you do if you've fallen in the habit of defining yourself in terms of who you are to other people and what they expect of you?

Her children grown, Alice Steinbach decided to take a year off from her job as a reporter with the Baltimore Sun, leave her friends and family and head off for Europe Without Reservations. That's the title of her book she ended up writing about her adventures in Paris, Oxford, Milan, Venice and London.

In so doing, she gives the single best travel tip I've ever seen: Write postcards to yourself to remind you not just of what you saw, but what you felt and thought. So much easier than keeping a travel journal. Plus, you have the stamps, the thoughts and the context to propel you back to another time.

I must say she's awakened a new travel lust in me.

"Without Reservations : The Travels of an Independent Woman" (Alice Steinbach)

She also has some marvelous quotes that will resonate with many women of a certain age.
From Colette, "that lightheartedness that comes to a woman when the peril of men has left her." The peril of men being those times when women needed men more than they needed their own independent identities.

I liked this one too, by Walter Berry in his advice to those about to enter the wilderness.
"Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place, there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into."

In preparation for the journey ahead of her, Alice's mother took this quote with her in her handbag to the hospital where she later died.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:11 PM | Permalink

Senior Co-housing

A lot of us who are growing older, some with, others without spouses are looking for a new way to live. Not for us, nursing homes or living in Sun City. Florida or Arizona may be too far from our families.

We want, like we always did, more. We want to stay close to friends, be independent yet live in a community where new friends can be made, meals can be shared and neighbors counted on to help if needed. We want something affordable, easy to maintain yet comfortable and we don't want to become dependent on our children.

In talking with a few friends about the idea of living together sometime in the future, we agree on the physical and emotional virtues of living in a small community or neighborhood, but we never got to the point of figuring out where or how or when.

Luckily, Charles Durrett has published a handbook, Senior Co-housing, A Community Approach to Independent Living that gives us a process to follow when we get serious. Why make mistakes that other people have already made? Why not take advantage of the lessons learned elsewhere?

"Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living" (Charles Durrett)

His book will be helpful to many.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:34 PM | Permalink

April 7, 2006

Seeing Clearly a New Purpose

Dr. Fleishman was the chief of ophthalmology at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, MA, when he began to have trouble with his own eyes.

After a growth on his right eyelid damaged his cornea, he was forced to begin wearing corrective lenses. Then came treatment for a partially detached retina and severe carpal-tunnel syndrome. That condition left the eye surgeon with trembling hands and, in 2001, he was forced to retire. "My life just collapsed," Dr. Fleishman says.

What to do with the void in his life?

Finally, a family friend advised him to take another look at what he had left behind. "If you are going to focus on something, focus on optics," Cindy Port recalls telling him. "That is your love."

So that's just what he did.

Dr. Fleishman originally set out to publish a paper on spectacle history in a professional journal. But as he grew more captivated by what he discovered, he decided to launch a Web site instead to cover it all. Gathering pictures of spectacles that had belonged to everyone from Beethoven to Mark Twain, he was struck by how much the invention had changed the course of history.

"I saw myself putting together this puzzle and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger," he says. "Eyeglasses are taken for granted and yet they have had a profound impact on mankind. We are trying to show that they are important and deserve more recognition."

He's found new meaning and purpose.

Curators and collectors say that Dr. Fleishman's Web site has been an important contribution because it has connected spectacle enthusiasts around the world and offers instant access to images and information once available only from obscure publications and dusty archives.

Even better, he's made sure his project survives by revising his will to leave money to keep it going.

Hats off to Dr. Fleishman.

More at Eyeglass Buff Makes Historical Finds of a Spectacular Sort by Robert Tomsho in the Wall St Journal

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:59 PM | Permalink

April 6, 2006

We all need a Motherpie

It's not that often I am called an Online Treasure. so I must stop and take note of the wonderful company I'm in.

Let me salute Hattie Page for her sagacity and discernment and not just for her wonderful Motherpie blog that keeps on getting bigger and better.

Hattie, you made my day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:23 PM | Permalink

Baby Shower Goes Bad

Three guests arrested in what police call 'baby shower gone bad'

A baby shower erupted into a fight among guests in which one man was shot and several other people, including the seven-months-pregnant guest of honor, were beaten with a stick, police say.
The argument, over whether the woman let their five-year-old daughter drink beer, escalated

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:47 PM | Permalink

Cinnamon and Cloves

Following on the news of ginger and pepper, comes Cinnamon and Cloves with good news for diabetics.

Two new studies suggest that cinnamon and cloves boost insulin function while lowering cholesterol.

But don't go crazy now. Lots of cautions in the article on how to use cinnamon safely.

And for heaven's sake don't take echinacea or St John's Wort while taking prescription drugs or oral contraceptives. "Herbal interference" with these two seem to affect the way your body metabolizes up to 25% of all drugs and over-the-counter medications.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 AM | Permalink

April 5, 2006

Library Elf

Since I can't possibly afford all the books, DVDs and books on tape or CDs, my local library is essential. I hold libraries themselves in the highest regard.

I've been using ELF for about a month now to keep track of my library books and CDs. They mail me a notice when something is due or a hold is ready.

I highly recommend ELF for anyone who needs help in keeping tabs on library material, especially families with children and lots of books or someone like me who requests a lot of holds.

Elf is FREE. Sign up here for your personal library reminder service.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 PM | Permalink

Ginger and Pepper

There are cures all around us for what ails us if only we can decipher the clues and find them.

Ginger, pepper treat difficult cancers.

Ginger can kill ovarian cancer cells while the compound that makes peppers hot can shrink pancreatic tumors, researchers told a conference on Tuesday.

Ginger an Ovarian Cancer Killer

Not only did ginger trigger ovarian cancer cell death, it did so in a way that may prevent tumor cells from becoming resistant to treatment, a common problem with chemotherapy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:39 PM | Permalink

April 4, 2006

Stay up late tonight

If you stay up late tonight, into the wee hours, you'll be awake for a once-in-a-lifetime moment

01:02:03 04/05/06

Of course, any moment you're awake is a moment that will never come again, never to be repeated. Still, some of us go real slow when the odometer is about to turn into 30,000.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:17 PM | Permalink

Growing new organs

Seven young patients have new bladders thanks to tissue engineering and their own cells.

Doctors grow bladder cells and produce rebuilt organ

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have reconstructed the defective bladders of seven young patients using the patients' own cells, marking the first time that tissue engineering has rebuilt a complex internal organ in humans, a top medical journal reported yesterday.
Someday, scientists believe, they will be able to routinely regrow failing organs using tissue engineering, which takes the patient's cells, cultivates them to grow along a scaffold that gives them the needed form, and then re-implants them where needed

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 PM | Permalink

April 3, 2006

The Luxuries of Freedom

On being freed from captivity. Jill Carroll says in today's Christian Science Monitor

I finally feel like I am alive again. I feel so good. To be able to step outside anytime, to feel the sun directly on your face - to see the whole sky. These are luxuries that we just don't appreciate every day.

On the earlier video.

"Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Allan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Allan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends - and all those around the world, who have prayed so fervently for my release - through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this."

Now reunited with her parents

  Jill Carroll Homecoming

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:31 PM | Permalink

Reality is a Mistake

One Egyptian doctor on why genital mutilation is necessary.

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: Reality is a mistake, we must rectify it.
In Egypt we have four and a half million spinsters. The definition of a spinster is a woman who has reached 30, without ever receiving a marriage proposal. We have a spinster problem in the Arab world, and the last thing we want is for them to be sexually aroused. Circumcision of the girls who need it makes them chaste, dignified, and pure.

Dr. Sanity says freeing women is the key to developing a saner Mideast.

the treatment of women under Islam is not only the key to understanding the pathology of the culture, but also the key to developing an antidote to its most poisonous and toxic elements. Unveiling the women of Islam and eliminating their second-class status; empowering them in the oppressive Islamic countries where their individuality and self-expression has been crushed-- may cause a ripple effect that could eventually alter a family structure that currently encourages the development of generation after generation of dysfunctional and pathological men and women.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:21 PM | Permalink

Loving Robots

Will robots fill the space now empty of husband, children and pets?

Seemingly sentient robots can fill void, researchers say.

The AIBO from Sony ''gives me a sense of identity," Light said. ''The dog loves me all the time. . . . It gives me an entrée into a world I had thought I'd lost forever."
Alan Beck, lead researcher in the Purdue study, said he feels no misgivings when using the robots among elders who are mentally competent and who let themselves imagine that the machine has feelings. ''It's a suspension of disbelief," he said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:03 PM | Permalink

April 2, 2006

Doctor Doom

What can anyone possibly say about this man who advocates killing 5 billion people and the people in this room who gave him a standing ovation? In Texas of all places!

Meeting Doctor Doom

But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka (Fig. 1), the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

The depravity is staggering.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 PM | Permalink

Ready to Set Sail

Far from his home and family in the Dominican Republic, M'ximo Cid Ortiz has been in Washington, an outpatient at the NIH and is now dying of a bone marrow disease with only weeks to live, in his words, "ready to set sail."

He couldn't go home so his family came to him and his eldest daughter, a 14 year old pianist, performed a special concert to a packed hall, including a piece she composed in honor of her father, "Mi Alma" (My Soul). All because one friend Grace Rivera-Owen said, "That's something I could do." It was Music to a Father's Ears.

At night's end, friends and strangers approached Cid Ortiz. Many didn't know what to say.

"I can't describe the amount of gratitude I have," he said again and again.

His wife wiped drops of blood that dripped from his nose, tucking the stained tissues into a plastic wine cup as Cid Ortiz made his way out of the hall.

Cid Ortiz donned his surgical mask, stepped outside and boarded a waiting car. He returned to the hospital with Castillo and the girls, who have decided to stay by his side until he's ready to set sail.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:53 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2006

Why is this day like no others

Borders blasts back at online critics

"This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four."
- Mark Twain

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:43 PM | Permalink

Three or Four Computers Ago

About two million Americans met their spouses online.

Today the Wall St Journal in Mism@tched.com (subscribers only) examines how dating sites are scrambling now that the first wave of divorces are starting.

False claims on online dating profiles may be introduced in court years later. Anecdotal evidence indicates that engagements are shorter as people rush into marriage sooner and overlook some of the potential downsides.

Best quote.
Some even say they would date online again. Kelly Fleshman, 35, a Web developer from suburban Baltimore, says she doesn't blame the medium for the problems in her marriage. "We got along better than anyone I have ever gotten along with in my life," she says. They ended the marriage last year, and Ms. Fleshman says she's relieved the love notes that started their relationship are nowhere to be found: "I don't have those emails -- that was, like, three or four computers ago."

How much of the record of our lives is lost because it was "like, three or four computers ago."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:45 PM | Permalink