More than 90 million Americans are unable to adequately understand basic health information says the Surgeon General.
The fallout is anything but trivial. Researchers have found that poor health literacy, which is especially prevalent among the elderly, results in poor adherence to prescription instructions, infrequent use of preventive medical services, increased hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room and worse control of chronic diseases.
The consequences are poorer health and greater medical costs.
Do not wait until doctors become better at communicating. If you want the best medical care, you have to take the initiative. If the doctor says something you do not understand, ask that it be repeated in simpler language. If you are given a new set of instructions, repeat them back to the doctor to confirm your understanding. If you are given a new device to use, demonstrate how you think you are to use it.
Insist that conversations about serious medical matters take place when you are dressed and in the doctor’s office. Take notes or take along an advocate who can take notes for you. Better yet, tape-record the conversation to replay it at home for you and your family or another doctor.
If you have received a diagnosis of a new problem and want to explore it further on the Internet, be sure to look up reputable sites. Two that can be relied on are www.nlm.nih.gov, produced by the National Library of Medicine, and www.healthfinder.gov, produced by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Many major medical centers also provide useful, accurate information online.
My favorite battlefield slang from Iraq via Austin Bay
Battle rattle: Slang for combat gear. "Full battle rattle" means wearing and carrying everything (helmet, body armor, weapons).
Beltway clerk: A derisive term for a Washington political operative or civilian politician.
Blackwater: Specifically, a private security firm operating in Iraq. Used as slang, can mean any private security firm. "Gone to Blackwater" indicates that a soldier quit the armed services and went to work for a private security firm.
Blue canoe: Slang for a portable toilet.
Bohica: Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. Pronounced "bo-HEE-ka." Means "we're about to get screwed, as usual." This term was in use in the Army in the 1960s.
Embrace the suck: Phrase heard in OIF1 (the original Operation Iraqi Freedom force). Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.
Flash-blasted: Being screamed at or chewed out by the unit's senior noncommissioned officer.
Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq.
O dark 30: Pronounced "oh dark thirty." A word play on military time. Means a very early hour during the night. ("We had to get up at oh-dark-thirty.")
PUC: Person Under Custody. ("We got two PUCs on that last raid.")
Turkey peek: To glance around or over an object or surface, such as a corner or wall.
Waxed: To get hit hard or get killed.
What is it like to be autistic? Take a look at In My Language on YouTube.
When you watch it, it's like being in someone else's skin. Odd, compelling and strange.
“One day you’re a healthy 36-year-old with long hair, black mascara and low-rider jeans,” she said. “You’re going through the rhythms of life, going to work, going to dinner, hanging out with friends. And the next minute you’re Cancer Girl.
“It’s a hard thing to reconcile.”
“It changes your perspective on everything,” she said. “You think: ‘Wow, I could be dead next year. And there are so many things I haven’t done.’ ”
Putting it all together, What I learned from 9-11 Conspiracy Theories.
Hat tip Kathy Shaidle
Robert Paterson on Nature's Big Idea - Trusted Space.
Get the initial conditions right .
Mother Nature does not micromanage an entity throughout its life cycle. She uses leverage.
She allows for the best beginning to set the best course for the best potential. An entity that has enjoyed the best Initial Conditions will, all on its own, have a high probability of fulfilling its ideal potential.
Conversely, if an entity has suffered from poor Initial Conditions, there is little chance of getting back on track let alone meeting the full potential. Nature is neutral. She just sets the rules.
You have to read the whole thing to see how he applies this theory to families and organizations.
Is a courtesan, not a prostitute, but a courtesan the ideal archetype for a truly modern woman?
Robert Paterson and his sister Diana will be exploring the lifestyle of courtesans in a short series on Trusted Space that looks very interesting.
Here's a taste.
Looks are transient. A beautiful woman becomes a faded beauty, something sad to behold.
A clever, witty and kind woman ages without her age being noticed, and she, has maturity, and good sense and a great deal to offer younger women and she knows well her time has passed and she loves nothing more than to pass on her experience to a
younger intelligent woman she respects.
Age is no obstacle for her. She has no need of plastic surgery because she takes on her new role as grand dame with great relief.
She has had many men and many experiences, and she is happy to live with her memories and move forward with her personal interests. She does not need to diet because she is now fulfilled by things that feed her mind. Her pleasure of the body has been replaced by the utter pleasure of all things interesting to her.
She sleeps alone and comfortably. She leaves the fretting of love and not love to younger women. She has no more of those thoughts to cloud her mind and take away her sleep. She is comfortable with herself.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
He expands on this advice for 3000 words
And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. ....Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
Nuturionism is not nutrition, it's a religion.
No one likes to admit that his or her best efforts at understanding and solving a problem have actually made the problem worse, but that’s exactly what has happened in the case of nutritionism. Scientists operating with the best of intentions, using the best tools at their disposal, have taught us to look at food in a way that has diminished our pleasure in eating it while doing little or nothing to improve our health.
When Kevin Cohen, 20, was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in 2002, he was single, although he dreamed of a family some day.
His parents sued to gain access to his sperm, a sample of which had been taken 2 hours after his death, because they wanted to continue their bloodline into the future. They wanted a grandchild even if the hospital said only a spouse could have access to the dead man's sperm.
Four years later, an Israeli court ruled that his family can have his sperm impregnated into the body of a woman he never met.
... soldiers increasingly have been leaving sperm samples, or explicit instructions on post-mortem extraction, before heading to battle.
She said she knew of more than 100 cases of Israeli soldiers who, before last summer's war with Lebanese guerillas, asked to have their sperm saved if they were killed. American soldiers have also begun donating sperm before heading to Iraq, she said.
"I think it is a human revolution," Rosenblum said. "Ten years ago, who would believe that a human being can continue after he has died. I think it is great for humanity."
Rosenblum said the woman who is to act as surrogate mother has requested to remain anonymous.
"She's like family to us," Rachel Cohen told the Tribune. "Cruel and good fate brought us together."
Of course you should save, but learning to live below your means may be just as important.
It seems there's an awful lot of people who go missing on cruises. The cruise industry reported to a U.S. subcommittee that 24 passengers had disappeared between 2003 and March 2006. Since then there's been ten more.
These are not known suicides and something suspicious seems to be going on. Going on a cruise is the perfect way to commit a perfect crime said Congressman Christopher Shays who warned of a
"growing manifest of unexplained disappearances, unsolved crimes and brazen acts of lawlessness on the high seas". Like small cities, he said, cruise ships experienced crimes. "But city dwellers know the risks of urban life - and no one falls off a city never to be heard of again.
Death on the High Seas, a special report from the Guardian.
Out at sea, there are no police.
It is extremely difficult for any detective to piece together a murder case without a body, and chances of finding a passenger dumped into the ocean are slim indeed. And while all cruise ships employ security officers, they do not always seal off crime scenes, detain suspects and interview witnesses in the manner that might be expected of them.
"The cruise companies just want it to go away," says Randy Jaques, an American security officer. He claims personally to have dealt with more than 50 complaints, and says hundreds of women have signed "Jane Doe agreements" - meaning they have reached an out-of-court settlement with the cruise lines and signed a confidentiality clause.
Passengers can find themselves in a complex legal situation, potentially under numerous jurisdictions when sailing abroad. With many cruise ships registered under flags of convenience with relatively slack tax and labour regimes, the relevant laws might be those of Panama, the Bahamas or Bermuda. Prosecuting, say, a sacked crew member who has returned to his own country brings a whole new dimension of complexity. Charles Lipcon, a Miami lawyer who has built a 30-year career on suing cruise lines, says his firm does not normally take on cases without a clear jurisdiction. "What I've seen over the years is that it's a hot potato for everyone, and nothing much gets done," he says.
In the U.K, young British muslims are getting more radical.
Forty per cent of Muslims between 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under sharia law. One in eight said they admired Al Qaeda and other groups prepared to fight the West. Thirty six per cent said they believe that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be 'punished by death'.
While Bernard Lewis, the pre-eminent Middle Eastern and Islamic scholar said the Muslims seem about to take over Europe.
Instead of fighting the threat, he elaborated, Europeans had given up.
"Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence," he said. "They have no respect for their own culture." Europeans had "surrendered" on every issue with regard to Islam in a mood of "self-abasement," "political correctness" and "multi-culturalism," said Lewis, who was born in London to middle-class Jewish parents but has long lived in the United States.
The threat of extremist Islam goes far beyond Europe, Lewis stressed, turning to the potential impact of Iran going nuclear under its current regime.
The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which prevented the former Soviet Union and the United States from using the nuclear weapons they had targeted at each other, would not apply to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran, said Lewis.
"For him, Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement," said Lewis of Ahmadinejad. "We know already that they [Iran's ruling ayatollahs] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. If they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick, free pass to heaven. I find all that very alarming," said Lewis
UPDATE. What Ayaan Hirsi Ali said to the Council of Racial Equality via Deroy Murdock at the National Review
“Human beings are equal; cultures are not.”
"A culture that holds the door open to her women is not equal to one that confines them behind walls and veils,”
“A culture that encourages dating between young men and young women is not equal to a culture that flogs or stones a girl for falling in love.
"A culture where monogamy is an aspiration is not equal to a culture where a man can lawfully have four wives all at once."
“Unfortunately, it is this culture that is under threat today,” she told CORE’s guests. “Many of those born into it take it for granted or, worse, apologize for it.” As Ayaan Hirsi Ali asked: “Let’s join together to protect this culture of life, this culture of liberty, this culture of ladies first.”
The Real Live Preacher makes a good case that male yoga is nothing more than playing catch
Right in the middle of the conversation, I asked Cristopher, “When was the last time you played catch?”
“Yeah, just got out with a friend and threw the ball back and forth.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Years, I guess.”
“So why did we stop doing that? I mean, I LOVE playing catch. I wish I could play catch right now!”
And so was born a new kind of lectionary study group. I pulled my old glove out of the closet – the one I’ve had since I was 12. I had to re-lace parts of it, but it still feels perfect on my hand. Cristopher and I get together once a week or so. We throw the ball around while talking about the passages in the lectionary for the coming Sunday. Sometimes we just play catch and say nothing. Or we might stop, sit down and talk more seriously. We do whatever we want to do.
I was scared the first time we met, wondering how long it would take before I regained my instinctive feel for my arm and my release. The baseball felt very small in my hand, and I was pretty wild. And man, was I ever sore the next day. We’ve gotten together three times now, and my arm has loosened up considerably. It’s starting to feel natural for me to throw a baseball. I don’t worry about it. I just let it loose and feel the power of my arm. My whole body moves in the follow-through, and when our "study session" is done, I feel loose and warm all over.
It’s like the ultimate male yoga.
Six years: 1939 to 1945. It was life. One's literacy was newspapers, bombs, Germans. We didn't have a childhood. We had the war.
From both my mother and father I learned endurance. Things were pretty tough. But things could be tougher.
Everything you hear about the true American spirit -- the matriarchy and the femininity and the toughness -- you find in Kate Hepburn. She was funny as hell and brave and dotty. Kate! I gave my daughter her name.
Years later, in Ireland, daughter Kate, then nine or ten, said, "Daddy, there's an old Gypsy woman at the door!" We had a Gypsy nearby who would pinch our flowers. I went to the door and said, "No, thank you, we don't -- oh, hello, Kate." She had four jackets on. One belonged to Barrymore, one to Spencer Tracy, one to me, and one to Humphrey Bogart. Khaki trousers and boots -- this was her uniform.
For professional women who have dropped out of the workforce to take care of children or an elderly parent , the Wharton School and UBS have teamed up to design a program just for them.
At no charge, thanks to support for UBS.
Career Comeback - a program to be praised and copied.
One movie isn't going to change their lives, but it will give some of them hope and hope belongs to everyone.
About 100 homeless people were guests of the mayor's office Thursday for a screening of "The Pursuit of Happyness," the real-life story of a homeless man who worked his way to becoming a millionaire.
When Gardner, who gets evicted along with his young son, is finally offered the stockbroker job he painfully strove for, the audience burst into applause and wiped away tears.
If you're a Welsh dairy farmer getting up early every damned day to milk the cows, you can't be hanging around pubs at night looking for love.
Why not a message on a bottle? That's just what they are doing, pasting their photos on thousands of plastic containers of organic milk destined for grocery shelves. The campaign has caused a sensation in Wales.
A wonderful new program called Canines for Combat Veterans has been started in Massachusetts using selected prison inmates to train dogs to become assistants to wounded veterans.
Trained to serve others
An inmate, a soldier and a dog share a bond.
Can you forget the urge to smoke? Smokers and former smokers say never, but a recent study says differently.
In Clue to Addiction, a Brain Injury Halts Smoking
Scientists studying stroke patients are reporting today that an injury to a specific part of the brain, near the ear, can instantly and permanently break a smoking habit. People with the injury who stopped smoking found that their bodies, as one man put it, “forgot the urge to smoke.”
I can attest to this. I don't have the brain injury, my sister Deborah does. About 15 years ago, Debby, who also suffers from multiple sclerosis, got encephalitis, probably after being bit by a mosquito. She had seizures for several hours. When she awoke, she completely forgot she had been a smoker. She also forgot about chocolate, a far more grievous memory loss. "Chocolate?, what's chocolate." she said.
Her brothers and sisters soon took great pleasure in reintroducing her to wonders of chocolate. Cigarettes, we never mentioned.
This is the first time we’ve shown anything like this, that damage to a specific brain area could remove the problem of addiction entirely,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which financed the study, along with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling.”
Feeling relief when someone dies is rarely admitted, but more common than you think.
Jennifer Elison does in My Turn - The Stage of Grief No One Admits To: Relief.
Would you donate half of your liver to keep your father alive?
What if your father were an alcoholic?
What if you had a difficult relationship with him?
Mark Foster faced all these questions and more in The High Price of Keeping Dad Alive (Wall St Journal)
The decision to surrender a piece of a liver can be an affirmation of love and selflessness. As Mark Foster and his parents discovered, it also can be an agonizing choice for the donor and recipient, one that forces families to confront tensions they might have preferred remain dormant.
For decades, almost all organs used in transplants came from deceased donors. But as the operations have become more routine, the number of available organs is falling far short of demand. As a result, living donations have tripled in the past decade to about 7,000 a year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees transplants in the U.S.
Liver donations make up more than 300 of that number, with a close relative the typical beneficiary.
When you're swimming and a shark comes by and grabs you by the head, poke him in the eye.
That forces the shark's jaws to release and you can struggle free.
Eric Nerhus did just that and saved his own life.
He escaped with deep puncture wounds to the chest and shoulder and a broken nose. His weight vest prevented more serious injuries.
Good tips from Bottom Line Secrets.
1. You get the best rate by calling the hotel's local number, not the 800 number. The manager on duty, the general manager and the director of sales have authority to negotiate rates.
2. Rooms are more expensive in the morning. Best time to call is right after 6 pm when all no-shows unsecured by credit card are wiped out. In NYC and San Francisco, the deadline is 4 pm.
3. Everything is negotiable. Even parking.
4. Rooms are available even when a hotel has no vacancies. Tell the manager you are willing to take an 'out of order' room.
5. A thief takes only one credit card, not your entire wallet. Check if you've left it unattended and take only the cards you need when you travel.
6. It pays to tip the housekeeper every day. $2 or $3 matters a lot to the most under-appreciated people in the hotel.
7. Your bags aren't safe with the bellhop. Make sure that they are kept in a secure room if you plan to leave your bags for several hours.
8. Hotel rooms are infested with germs. Worst spots - TV remote control, telephone and clock radio. Do travel with anti-bacterial wipes so you can clean them off.
9. The lost and found is a great resource for cell phone users. Forgot your recharging cord? Most hotels are willing to lend you one from their lost and found.
So I've been memed by Theresa at Technicalities.
1. My: What would I give my right arm for? If we're talking literally here, I'd give my right arm to save my life or someone else's if I'm feeling good. Otherwise, I'd give my right arm for someone to show me how to use Garage Band to edit audio tracks and how to record audio on my computer because I want to start podcasting because the BOOK is almost DONE and so is the SOFTWARE.
2. Me. What's one word that describes how you want people to see you?
3. Meme: If you could be any blogger, which blogger would you be and why?
If your future self could send you a fax with advice on what to do right now to make your future self happier and healthier, two tips would rise to the top.
1. Wear sunscreen
I think it was Walter Reuther who said, "If I knew I was going to live so long, I'd have flossed more."
Now the Wall St Journal's Tara Parker Pope is on the case with her report that poor oral health is linked to deadly pancreatic cancer.
You never think of your mouth as a key body part when it comes to overall health but it is. It's the gateway.
Your yearly visit to the dentist may be as important to your future health as your yearly medical checkup.
When grandparents can't see their grandchildren because of family disputes, it's always sad, and especially so when the grandchildren are the only connection the grandparents have to their child, killed in the 9/11 attacks.
“Sometimes, the spouse is remarried and just doesn’t have time for Grandma and Grandpa anymore,”
One 9/11 family advocate said he had encountered more than 100 conflicts in which aging parents of a World Trade Center victim, desperate to remain connected to the children of their lost offspring, had found themselves in bitter struggles with a surviving spouse who would rather they did not. A mediator who helped negotiate settlements among 9/11 families in the early years after the attacks said 1 in 10 of his cases involved estranged grandparents.
Tom Brokaw found the World War II generation astonishingly straight, decent and steadfast. A lot of it had to do with the way they were brought up and the culture in which they lived.
Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of the Australian, sends off his father and looks at the life of John Sheridan, an ordinary, extraordinary man of his generation.
It is an intense paradox of our situation that people of my father's generation were routinely much better educated than people today. You couldn't go through the Christian Brothers in those days without reading the great books, learning of the great music and studying the great history. Today we have a surfeit of information points and a dearth of education, a flood of trivial information and a lack of knowledge of who we are or where we come from.
My father tried twice to enlist in World War II but was knocked back on medical grounds both times. But he always did the right thing. Except on occasion of grave illness, he never missed Sunday mass in his entire life. One wife, one family, one profession, one religious faith, one house, his sons at the same school as him: a life as unfashionable in its limits and commitments as anything could be today. And yet a life within those self-imposed limits and commitments of vast, imaginative richness.
His son is a baby boomer. My father came from much the better generation, and was much the better man.
Talk About Life Changes. This is creepy.
Jackson's face change on YouTube.
It reminds me very much of the only novel Oscar Wilde wrote, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Mountains of data are rising with the costs of digital storage so cheap.
Enjoying Technology's Conveniences, But Not Escaping Its Watchful Eyes
In just one day, Bernard paid eight tolls electronically. She used her credit card four times and sent 20 e-mails. She passed before security cameras at least 50 times.
"Amazing," she said in a follow-up interview. "It's astounding to think that my whereabouts and activities can be tracked by any number of companies and individuals."
They are called 4D scans, a more developed form of ultrasound, that produces a "real-time" video of tins in the womb as they move.
There's even one of twins that appear to be kissing.
Engaged couples spend far more time planning their wedding than planning their marriage. No wonder post-bridal depression is so widespread. It's the things you don't know that can hurt you. Marriage Is Not Built on Surprises
Too often, people planning to marry don't ask some questions because they don't want to rock the boat.
Considering the time this has spent on the New York Time's most emailed stories, it's past time I resurrect an old draft to lay out Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying in the extended entry.
Readers pile in with more questions to ask on bended knee.
Earlier I've written about the financial questions engaged couples should ask in Money is a Life Skill.
Know what the single most destructive attitude in a marriage is.
Know that hard marriages can harden your arteries and arguments can dramatically slow wound healing. So you certainly need to know about the Care and Feeding of Husbands. The latter works well with Animal Training Techniques for Husbands.
Maybe you're just thinking about living together in which you should know the Four Myths About Living Together. Guys, the Case for Marriage shows that you will benefit financially, socially, sexually and have a better career when you make that commitment.
Above all, remember Love is not a feeling. Love is a doing. Do love.
1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
12) What does my family do that annoys you?
13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
In Argentina, what happened to the children of the 'disappeared' who were never returned to their next of kin?
Claudia Carlotto, coordinator of the National Commission for Right to Identity said,
"It is an open wound, an unfinished search, an unrepaired damage,"
For three decades, the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, formed by mothers of the disappeared, have struggled to find their surviving grandchildren. They have scoured birth records, filed lawsuits, and established a DNA bank with samples from thousands of relatives. Thanks to their efforts, dozens of children were reunited with their families, but hundreds more, now adults, remained undiscovered.
"We have long said there will come a day when our grandchildren will search for us, and that day has finally come," said Rosa Tarlovsky de Roisinblit, 87, vice president of the Grandmothers group.
What is was like in the 19th century.
A pair of researchers, drawing on the experience of nearly 22,000 couples in the 19th century -- has measured the "fitness cost" of human reproduction. This is the price that parents pay in their own health and longevity for the privilege of having their genes live on in future generations. The findings, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, manage to be both predictable and surprising.
Not surprisingly, women paid a bigger price than men. Older mothers were four times as likely to die in the year after having a child than their mates. Having lots of children was especially risky. A mother of 12 had five times the risk of dying prematurely as a mother of three. Even after their child-bearing years came to an end, women who had had many children died earlier than women who had had few.
The price of parenthood wasn't trivial for men, either. Despite the obvious fact that men avoided the hazards of childbirth, fathering more children meant more risk of dying before their time, too.
And it wasn't only parents who paid the "fitness cost" of reproduction.
The later-born children in very large families had less chance than their older brothers and sisters of surviving into adulthood and having children themselves. Losing a mother raised every child's risk of dying young.
According to an analysis of census data by the New York Times.
In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.
Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.
“This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people’s lives,” said Prof. Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group. “Most of these women will marry, or have married. But on average, Americans now spend half their adult lives outside marriage.”
Professor Coontz said this was probably unprecedented with the possible exception of major wartime mobilizations and when black couples were separated during slavery.
William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a research group in Washington, described the shift as “a clear tipping point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women.”
Whatever Greer and her ilk might say I’ve tried their philosophy — that a woman can shag like a man — and it doesn’t work. We’re not built like that. Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.
It took me a long time to realise this.
It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy.
With all the anxiety and sense of foreboding at loose in the world, it's refreshing to look back and see how far we've come.
Believe it or not, we're improving as a species.
Appreciating Our Moral and Mental Development by Arnold Kling.
"In 16th century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted on a stage and was slowly lowered into a fire. According to the historian Norman Davies, "the spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized."
As horrific as present-day events are, such sadism would be unthinkable today in most of the world. This is just one example of the most important and under appreciated trend in the history of our species: the decline of violence."
-- Steven Pinker
In reality, the human race is changing. The physical improvements in humans have been emphasized by Robert Fogel in The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death. He coined the term "technophysio evolution" to describe the phenomenon. He points out, for example, that people have become so much larger and active over the past three hundred years that today's human could not survive on the diet of our recent ancestors.
I would argue that the increases in human longevity, size, and health have been paralleled by increases in cognitive and moral reasoning. One of the most dramatic illustrations of the cognitive improvement is the Flynn Effect, which demonstrates that average IQ has been rising steadily in many countries for most of this century. Average IQ's in Britain may be more than two standard deviations higher than they were a hundred years ago, which says that the average citizen today would have been in the top 5 percent of intelligence early in the 20th century.
On the other hand, there is also plenty of evidence that is inconsistent with moral improvement. Examples that come to mind include vulgarity and violence portrayed in movies and video games. Clearly, the abuse of civilians by terrorists is not a sign of moral improvement.
Still, I suspect that if one could examine every human interaction and attach a measure of the moral reasoning involved in that interaction, the average moral "score" would be rising. To put it another way, I would conjecture that on average we see a higher proportion of interactions that follow the Golden Rule today than we did 20 years ago, which in turn is higher than the proportion 50 years ago, and so on.
Robert Godwin, aka Gagdad Bob thinks along the same lines.
my belief that humans have actually continued evolving over the centuries, and that most people and cultures were impossibly cruel, barbaric, and frankly crazy by today's standards. This is an unpopular notion because it doesn't appeal to either traditionalists on the right or contemporary liberals on the left. Traditionalists don't like it because it seems contrary to the idea that human beings were created by God with an unchanging nature: a man is a man is a man, whether 2500 years ago or today. And liberals don't like it for reasons of multiculturalism and moral relativism.
The nation's largest banks take in between $30 billion and $50 billion a year, about 44% of all their revenues.
A quest for 'more info' on bank fees.
That's an awful lot of $3 unexplained monthly fees.
Which might explain why banks approve new cards on torn-up credit card applications. Cockeyed has photos and more.
Since I don't have a shredder, I tear them up and wait until I can mix them up with garbage - coffee grounds and old Chinese take out works well - before I throw them out,
It's harder to reform a procrastinator than an alcoholic says psychologist William Knaus.
That's a real problem, considering that procrastinators are less healthy, less wealthy, and less happy than normal folk.
Even worse, procrastination is on the rise. In 1978, only 5% of Americans thought of themselves as chronic procastinators. Today, it's 26%.
Let's face it, there's just too much fun or more pleasant stuff to do, from surfing the web, to checking on email, to playing games, all making procrastination effortless.
I know I should be working on my book, but here I am.
University of Calgary professor Piers Steel was 5 years late in delivering his research published this month in Psychological Bulletin.
"That stupid game Minesweeper - that probably has cost billions of dollars for the whole society," he said.
The U.S. gross national product would probably rise by $50 billion if the icon and sound that notifies people of new e-mail were to disappear, he added.
From the Wall Street Journal comes good advice to consider in 2007.
1. Create your own board of advisors. You are your own CEO. Act like one.
2. Spread the word. When other people give you a compliment, ask them to repeat it to your boss.
3. Try something new. What new skill can you learn this year that will help out your boss and company.
4. Take inventory. Enhance your capabilities, work on deficiencies.
5. Watch your company. Don't be the last to find out trouble is brewing.
6. Beware of burnout. If you are reaching a breaking point, start looking around.
7. Get involved. It's easier to network if you volunteer for a committee
8. Asset yourself. Try Toastmasters.
It sounds like a pretty good idea
The technology consulting company Accenture is developing a system called "The Virtual Family Dinner" that would allow families to get together — virtually — as often as they'd like.
The concept is simple. An elderly woman in, say, California, makes herself dinner. When she gets ready to sit down and eat, the system detects it and alerts her son in Chicago. The son then goes to his kitchen, where a small camera and microphone capture what he is doing. Speakers and a screen — as big as a television or as small as a picture frame — allow him to hear and see his mother, who has a similar setup.
"We are trying to really bring back the kind of family interactions we used to take for granted," said Dadong Wan, a senior researcher in Accenture Ltd.'s Chicago labs.
"To physically eat with others, to be able to do that, there are not only social benefits, but health benefits," said Dr. Julie Locher, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, who specializes in eating issues among older people.
When a prototype becomes available, possibly in about two years, it likely will cost $500 to $1,000 per household
The top 1% of American earners paid 35% of all taxes paid to the IRS, according to the IRS's annual study of income tax data.
The Top 1% Pay 35%
Here's a way to think of the distribution of current income-tax payments: Imagine a banquet attended by 100 random Americans. If the bill for the meal is distributed like the income tax, the richest person in the room is required to pay one-third of the tab -- or more than all 50 attendees with a below-average income. The three richest people are charged as much as the other 97. And the 30 or so lowest-income people in the room -- those with a family income of $30,000 or less -- pay nothing and eat for free.
This is by any definition a "progressive" tax system. Make that highly progressive. It's true that lower-income workers are also dunned with payroll taxes, but that still doesn't do much to alter the fact that the current tax code really does soak the rich.
"The problem with Asperger's," she says, "is you're stupid and smart at the same time."
"I feel people's eyes are always saying something," she says. "It's very intense for one thing, so it's overwhelming. The other thing is I don't know what they're saying."
Nomi Kaim tells the Boston Globe that living with Asperger's syndrome means taking everything one step at a time.
'I didn't know where people like me were'
Kaim's brain is wired differently from most people's. She has Asperger's syndrome, a mild autism recognized as a disorder only since 1994. Those with Asperger's are verbal and as intelligent or more intelligent than average individuals . They have problems processing the myriad cues around them -- trouble understanding social situations and communicating in social settings, trouble distinguishing what's important from what's not, trouble with sensory overload or understimulation, trouble organizing their lives, trouble, as the saying goes, seeing the forest for the trees.
Kaim is 23, fast-talking and slow-walking, smart and curious, serious and self-absorbed, bad at multi-tasking and good at pouring herself into whatever she does. She's uncomfortable socially and comfortable, when not depressed, with solitude. She craves structure and resists uncertainty. She longs for human connection but cringes at being touched and balks at the reciprocity of friendship
1 in 500 have Asperger's according to the Asperger's Association and the numbers are growing.
Individuals with Asperger disorder have normal or even superior intelligence, and they may make great intellectual contributions, while demonstrating social insensitivity or even apparent indifference toward loved ones. Published case reports of men with Asperger disorder suggest an association with the capacity to accomplish cutting-edge research in computer science, mathematics, and physics. .... Persons with Asperger disorder have exhibited outstanding skills in mathematics, music, and computer sciences. Many are highly creative, and many prominent individuals demonstrate traits suggesting Asperger syndrome.
The Assistant Village Idiot has put his finger on something I couldn't articulate when I wrote Radical Life Extension about Joel Garreau's book on Radical Evolution. I was extremely discomfited at the way Ray Kurzweil talked about extending the human life span to 140. It gave me the creeps.
In Your New Masters Will Have Asperger's , AVI writes about the rigid and childish assumptions exhibited by Ray Kurzwei and others like him that all new technology will be good, bringing us a Heaven on earth. But such men lack the width and breadth of human experience or apparently recourse to any religious or philosophical thought and so they have trouble understanding the implications for society as a whole.
Sue Shellenberger is following three trends she says are gaining momentum, just in time to counter the discontented more people feel with their work-life balance
Reasons to Hold Out Hope for Balancing Work and Home (Wall St Journal subscription only.
Some you might expect - more job flexibility, more telecommuting, fewer transfers and flex hours.
But this surprised me. Overseeing Mom or Dad from afar will get easier.
Two vendors are about to begin marketing in-home electronic monitoring systems to consumers. The systems track a resident's movements through wireless sensors mounted on walls, switches, doors, medicine cabinets or appliances, and alert 24-hour emergency-response workers of irregular activity patterns. Caregivers can monitor the systems via the Internet or request notification of irregularities via email, phone calls or text messages.
Living Independently Group, New York, plans this month to start targeting working caregivers with cable-TV ads for its QuietCare system, says George Boyajian, executive vice president. The system will be priced at $199 to install and $79.95 a month thereafter. Lusora, Austin, Texas, also expects in the first quarter to start marketing its "Lisa" personal-security system, for $249 to install plus $50 a month, says COO Scott Gurley.
Marguerite McCullough, 67, who lives alone in a Florida retirement community, had QuietCare installed after she spent five hours one night alone and helpless in her bathroom, disabled by a bad case of stomach flu. The system, which is set to alert her four children or a neighbor of any problems, "does give you peace of mind," she says.
I can't believe how much time I spent today watching and reading all about Steve Job's presentation of the gorgeous iPhone with all its promise of beauty and elegance, power and magic.
Jobs got a standing ovation. iPhone drool shorted keyboards across the country.
I want one. Who doesn't?
It's not the medical care, but early nutrition that gives us longer, healthier lives concludes the Assistant Village Idiot.
He reviews Robert Fogel's The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death 1700-2100.
All of this is not very new information, though it has yet to penetrate the popular imagination as much as it should. Fogel's contribution to all this is to insist that it is the consistent nutrition, not improved medical care, that has extended life expectancy. Early or even prenatal "nutritional trauma" is strongly implicated in late-life medical difficulties. Diabetes, respiratory illness, cardiac conditions, genitourinary conditions - all these are cause more by early malnutrition than medical care throughout life.
Among the more dramatic statistics: Males after age 50 today have on average slightly more than one serious medical condition, such as hypertension, COPD, diabetes. In 1910, males after age 50 had six of these, on average. Those who reached 50 could often expect to reach 63-66, but they were uncomfortable, painful, inactive years.
Women bosses are significantly more likely to discriminate against female employees and are prone to mark down women's prospects of promotion.
So say the findings of the authors based at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and published in the journal sex roles.
The findings, based on experiments carried out among more than 700 people, suggest that the “queen bee syndrome” of female rivalry in the workplace may sometimes be as important as sexism in holding back women’s careers.
Nicola Horlick, the City financier nicknamed “Superwoman” for combining a demanding job with a large family, said some women looked on other women as a threat and preferred to surround themselves with men.
“It is called the ‘queen bee syndrome’,” she said. “I have seen women in managerial positions discriminating against other women, possibly because they like to be the only female manager or woman in the workplace.”
We all know women like that.
Hat tip to Dr. Helen who writes in Fight the Matriachy
I guess the "Sisterhood" is only alive and well when the drones know their place.
Your very own eccentric British aristocratic title from Lady Fortune the Absurd of Greater Internetshire.
I had great fun, trying on different titles. My favorites are in red. Even more fun will be the first time I fill out an application using one of them.
Very Lady Jill the Larger of Goosnargh Leering
Honourable Lady Jill the Cosmopolitan of Pease Pottage
Her Royal Highness Jill the Erudite of Puddleston St Droop
Her Exalted Highness Duchess Jill the Pusillanimous of Lardle Midhoop
Her Noble Excellency Jill the Implacable of Nether Wombleshire
Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Jill the Excited of New Scagglethorpe
Her Exalted Highness Duchess Jill the Glutinous: of Kirkby Overblow
Her Eminence the Very Viscountess Jill the Purple of New Invention
Her Royal Highness Jill the Fortunate of Melbury Bubblewick
Venerable Lady Jill the Mad of Lower Slaughter
Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Jill the Confused of Featherstonehaugh St Fanshaw
Marchioness Jill the Assiduous of Giggleswick on the Naze
Her Most Noble Lady Jill the Incomplete of Porton Down
I am told that the motto on the shield "Fallentis semita vitae" comes from Horace and means the untrodden paths of life.
Life's been getting better for everyone, including the poor, writes economics professor David Henderson in TCS.
....citing data from the aforementioned Cox and Alm and from Kirk Johnson showing that the average poor family in 2001 did as well as or better than the average family in 1971 in ownership of motor vehicles, air conditioners, color TVs, refrigerators, VCRs, personal computers, and cell phones. Of course, the last three didn't exist in 1971, but that's part of the point. When poor families can afford what even middle-income families couldn't imagine having 30 years earlier, aren't things working out pretty well?
In the chaotic aftermath of Katrina, 3 state troopers and 7 Illinois conservation officers, using flat-bottomed boats, rescued nitrogen tanks filled with 1400 embryos from a sweltering hospital.
On January 16th, Rebekah Markham will give birth to one of them, nine months after being implanted with one of the rescued embryos.
UPDATE: It's a boy! Noah Benton Markham.
Named after the most famous flood survivor of all
The bad news is Herpes might cause Alzheimer's. The good news is the key ingredient in marijuana, THC, might fight Alzheimer's.
Here are small steps for healthier living from Tara Parker Pope in the WSJ.
1. Eat at the table. Numerous studies show that meals consumed at the dinner table are more likely to be healthful and contain fewer calories than meals eaten elsewhere in the house or on the run.
2. Play with your kids. Whether it's ice-skating or soccer, playing with your kids is exercise.
3. Downsize favorite foods. Switching from a grande to a tall latte saves calories and money.
4. Eat more soup. You feel fuller on few calories.
5. Use the kitchen. Cook at home more often and you'll lose weight.
6. Schedule a birthday checkup. As your birthday rolls around, let it be a reminder to schedule all the annual tests you need. That way you'll remembe.r
Education is the signal factor that most effects good health and long life.
The Surprising Secret to a Long Life
The one social factor that researchers agree is consistently linked to longer lives in every country where it has been studied is education. It is more important than race; it obliterates any effects of income.
Year after year, in study after study, says Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, education “keeps coming up.”
And, health economists say, those factors that are popularly believed to be crucial — money and health insurance, for example, pale in comparison.
Emily Yoffe, an advice columnist, found that the advice she gave to a pregnant woman to marry her boyfriend and think about the new baby rather than what her parents would think and her advice to stable, happy couples to have children provoked the most mail, mainly con, then she got all year.
readers let me know that my notion that a young woman in a committed relationship should marry the father of her child-to-be is as passé as serving aspic at the wedding—if there were a wedding.
One said - Marriage and motherhood are two of the biggest steps a woman will ever take, and to take one just because you're taking the other is ludicrous."
With nearly 40% of children being born to unwed mothers, it's the "unmarriage revolution", one with disastrous consequences.
Who are these women listening to?
When will these women wise up and think about their own futures and the futures of their children that will be handicapped in just about every respect by having only one parent.
Miss Kelly has a fine summary post on Kids, Marriage, Mothers and Fathers, Wealth and Poverty.
UPDATE: T.J. knows all about the DNA syndrome - DNA -Daddy Not Around
"Most of the kids I deal with today, they say, 'My mama be tripping' or 'My daddy, I don't know where that sucker's at.' They're angry. They're raising themselves. ... No wonder we've got 14-year-old kids having kids. That 14-year-old girl is on her own and she's easy prey for men. That 14-year-old boy has a friend who's 21 and you wonder why you've got a Glock in your house.
"I know. That 14-year-old boy was me. That man preying on the girls was me. We've got to raise our children. They can't raise themselves, and that's where the problem is. A lot of men, especially black guys, we say we're not with our baby's mama because of what that woman did to us ... .
Will Durant is not a very familiar name these days, even if he wrote The Story of Philosophy which sold 2 million copies and gave the new publishing house Simon and Schuster, a solid foundation and Will the financial freedom to do what he wanted.
He and his wife Ariel spent the next fifty years writing The Story of Civilization, an integral history or historiography of civilization written for the "common man", selling in the end some 17 million books.
Together, they won the Pulitizer Prize as well as the Presidential medal of Freedom from President Ford.
What if it is for life's sake that we must die? In truth we are not individuals; and it is because we think ourselves such that death seems unforgivable. We are temporary organs of the race, cells in the body of life; we die and drop away that life may remain young and strong. If we were to live forever, growth would be stifled, and youth would find no room on earth. Death, like style, is the removal of rubbish, the circumcision of the superfluous. In the midst of death life renews itself immortally.
All things must die, but love alone eludes mortality. It overleaps the tombs and bridges the chasm of death with generation. How brief it seems in the bitterness of disillusion; and yet how perennial it is in the perspective of mankind -- how in the end it saves a bit of us from decay and enshrines our life anew in the youth and vigor of the child! Our wealth is a weariness, and our wisdom is a little light that chills; but love warms the heart with unspeakable solace, even more when it is given than when it is received.
On The Value Of Love
Youth, if it were wise, would cherish love beyond all things else, keeping body and soul clear for its coming, lengthening its days with months of betrothal, sanctioning it with a marriage of solemn ritual, making all things subordinate to it resolutely. Wisdom, if it were young, would cherish love, nursing it with devotion, deepening it with sacrifice, vitalizing it with parentage. Even though love consumes us in its service and overwhelms us with tragedy, even though it breaks us down with its passing and weighs us down with separations, let it be first.
Ariel was only 15 when she fell in love with her teacher Will and he with her. He resigned his position and married her.
What I most admire is their lifelong love, partnership and commitment that developed such a deep companionship "so that we almost have one breath, one life, one interest."
They lived long fruitful lives and died within days of each other and are buried together.