June 18, 2012

Round-up: how many gays, new indentured class, shoes, exercisers, aging well, smart people

Another round-up to close out some tabs.

Is it any wonder that a very high percentage of Americans think a quarter of the country is gay when reality shows it's probably less than 2 percent.
From the Atlantic, Americans Have No Idea How Many Gay People There Are

Our indebted graduates are the modern indentured class. with little prospect of finding well-paying work or servicing their enormous college debts.

A robotic exoskeleton allows Dr. Eugen Alford, a paraplegic, to walk upright giving new hope to people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

New studies from Germany on How to Age Well.  Learn how to let regrets go, especially those you have little opportunity to fix.

People who exercise more, earn more, about 9% more.  They have more discipline, more energy and a better attitude.  Study here.

Shoes as a source of first impressions

Research shows that the smarter people are, the more susceptible they are to cognitive bias.  They make more 'thinking errors'.

Scientists create the healthiest meal ever.  fresh and smoked salmon terrine,  mixed leaf salad with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, chicken casserole with lentils and mixed vegetables,  yogurt-based blancmange topped with walnuts and a sugar-free caramel-flavoured sauce.

Facebook pays out $10 million to five users for putting advertisements in their Timelines

TV remote and light switch are germ hotspots in hotels.  News you can use.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:03 PM | Permalink

Nothing scientific about Global Warming

Powerline shows how James Hansen has led every one very wrong on global warming with  his widely off the mark predictions

While global warming alarmists cloak themselves in the mantle of science, the truth is that there is nothing scientific about their enterprise. The models that are the sole basis for global warming alarmism have been proved conclusively to be wrong. That really is all that needs to be said about the matter. The fact that alarmists and their supporters in the media and in politics continue to try to foist discredited theories onto the public shows that their real interest is not science, but politics and power.

How off the mark.  150%  Take a look at this chart and go to the link for an explanation.

 Hansen Predicitions

Another global warming alarmist is mugged by reality  James Lovelock, Influential Father of Gaia Theory, endorses tracking after his energy costs skyrocket in the U.K. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:40 PM | Permalink

Books in Art 2

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee via Colossal.  See more at Laramee's website

 Laramee  Carved Book Landscape

 Laramee Booksculpture4

 Laramee Booksculture3

 Laramee Oceansurf

 Laramee Petras

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 AM | Permalink

June 14, 2012

Health Roundup: cancer, statins, autism, allergies, collusion, flossing, trillions of bacteria

Human trials are being carried out on a Virus that could wipe out cancer in double blow by killing tumor cells while triggering immune system.

A cancer-detecting breathalyzer was unveiled last week at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology.  A far-cheaper alternative to CAT scans and mammograms.

Statins Sap Energy, Study Affirms.  40% of women are more tired and fatigued on simivastin.  They should be prescribed with more care.

Autism research may be set back by as much as 10 years because a freezer failure at the Harvard-affiliated McLean hospital severely damaged one-third of the world's largest collection of autism brain samples.

The Farm Effect: Contact with animals and dirty environments may be one reason why farm kids have far fewer allergies.

Old people smell different not worse.  In fact, much better than young or middle-aged men.

How a Pfizer CEO and Big Pharma colluded with the White House at the public's expense to pass Obamacare.  Crony capitalism. 

Poor brushing of teeth linked to premature cancer deaths as bacteria increase risk by up to 80%.  Infection and inflammation passes from the gums into the bloodstream.  Flossing is a habit everyone should acquire.

Over 100 trillion good bacteria in every human body.  The results from the Human Microbiome Project. make the federal deficit seem small.

"The gut is not jam-packed with food; it is jam-packed with microbes," Proctor said. "Half of your stool is not leftover food. It is microbial biomass."

'Germs occupy every nook and cranny of your body. Health people have over 10,000 species of bacteria lining in or on them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:41 AM | Permalink

Mother and Father Families Best for Children

Study, Children fare better in traditional mom-dad families

“The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in his study in Social Science Research.

Using a new, “gold standard” data set of nearly 3,000 randomly selected American young adults, Mr. Regnerus looked at their lives on 40 measures of social, emotional and relationship outcomes.

He found that, when compared with adults raised in married, mother-father families, adults raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.

Children of gay couples are disadvantaged because of family instability.

Regnerus found that children in the study rarely spent their entire childhoods in the households of their gay parent and partner. Only two of the 175 subjects who reported having a mother in a lesbian relationship spent their whole childhood with the couple, and no children studied spent their entire childhood with two gay males. The numbers drop off pretty sharply as time progressed, too: For example, 57 percent of children spent more than four months with lesbian parents, but only 23 percent spent more than three years.
One deficit is particularly worrying: Less than 2 percent of children from intact, biological families reported experiencing sexual abuse of some nature, but that figure for children of same-sex couples is 23 percent. Similarly disturbing is that 14 percent of children from same-sex couples have spent some time in foster care, compared with around 2 percent of the American population at large. Arrest, drug experimentation, and unemployment rates were all higher among children from same-sex families.

In the LA Times,  The Single-Mom Catastrophe

The embrace of "lone motherhood" — women bringing up kids with no dad around — has been an American specialty.  "By age 30, one-third of American women had spent time as lone mothers," observed family scholar Andrew Cherlin in his 2009 book, "The Marriage-Go-Round." "In European countries such as France, Sweden and the western part of Germany, the comparable percentages were half as large or even less."  The single-mother revolution has been an economic catastrophe for women.

Poverty remains relatively rare among married couples with children; the U.S. census puts only 8.8% of them in that category, up from 6.7% since the start of the Great Recession. But more than 40% of single-mother families are poor, up from 37% before the downturn. In the bottom quintile of earnings, most households are single people, many of them elderly. But of the two-fifths of bottom-quintile households that are families, 83% are headed by single mothers. The Brookings Institution's Isabel Sawhill calculates that virtually all the increase in child poverty in the United States since the 1970s would vanish if parents still married at 1970 rates.
Women and their children weren't the only ones to suffer the economic consequences of the single-mother revolution; low-earning men have lost ground too. Knowing that women are now expected to be able to raise children on their own, unskilled men lose much of the incentive to work, especially at the sometimes disagreeable jobs that tend to be the ones they can get. Scholars consistently find that unmarried men work fewer hours, make less money and get fewer promotions than do married men.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink

June 13, 2012

Books in Art 1

Lately, I've come across several artists who use books in their art.  I've decided to feature them in a series of posts and this is the first. 

Alexander Korzer-Robinson creates 3D book sculptures by cutting around some of the illustrations and removing others.

 Alexander Korszer Robinson

A fascinating gallery of his work in the Telegraph.

 Book Sculture 2

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:37 PM | Permalink

Coffee reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease

I know a lot of people who stopped drinking coffee because they thought caffeine was bad for them.    Yet there's no evidence that that is the case. 

In fact the evidence shows that moderate coffee drinking and caffeine intake seems to be a preventative against of many diseases of aging.  The New England Journal of Medicine published earlier this year a study showing coffee drinkers reduced their risk of Parkinson's, stroke, type II diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and breast cancer..

Now there's a new study from the University of South Florida that coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk of dementia or late onset.

Coffee Cuts Alzheimer's Disease Risk

The reason seems to be that coffee and some other component of coffee act to boost cytokines in a way we still don't understand.

I think I'll have another cup of joe.     Coffee-Cup-In-Hands

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:58 PM | Permalink

A Father's Love

A father's love is the one of the greatest influences on the personality development of a child, perhaps even more so than a mother's love.

That's the conclusion reached after a mega analysis of research of more than 500 studies about the power of parental rejection and its role in shaping our personalities.

In our half-century of international research, we’ve not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood,' says Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, who co-authored the new study in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Children and adults everywhere - regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender - tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures.'  When it comes to the impact of a father’s love versus that of a mother, results from more than 500 studies suggest that, the influence of one parent’s rejection, often a father's, can be much greater than the other’s. 


There’s an extraordinary poem by Robert Hayden that depicts one of these uneasy father-child connections—the shrouded feelings, both paternal and filial, that can come to be seen in the fullness of time as the love that was always, always there. I offer it on this Father’s Day to all of you.


Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house.

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

From the Washington Times editorial, Your Dad, Your Hero

The Book of Proverbs says that parents are the glory of their children. A father is his son’s first hero, and his daughter’s first love.
Whether you knew it or not, he was always worrying about you, always caring. He made decisions you never knew about that made your life better. He shielded you from knowledge of the evils of the world as long as he could. He helped give your childhood a hint of magic.

He’s the guy you told yourself as a teen you would never be like, then later found yourself trying to live up to his example. You remember the times you ignored his advice and learned from the experience the hard way. He’s the guy who, the older you get, the more sense he makes.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:08 PM | Permalink

The Mastery of Rescue

Atul Gawande on Failure and Rescue

In commencement addresses like this, people admonish us: take risks; be willing to fail. But this has always puzzled me. Do you want a surgeon whose motto is “I like taking risks”? We do in fact want people to take risks, to strive for difficult goals even when the possibility of failure looms. Progress cannot happen otherwise. But how they do it is what seems to matter. The key to reducing death after surgery was the introduction of ways to reduce the risk of things going wrong—through specialization, better planning, and technology. They have produced a remarkable transformation in the field. Not that long ago, surgery was so inherently dangerous that you would only consider it as a last resort. Large numbers of patients developed serious infections afterward, bleeding, and other deadly problems we euphemistically called “complications.” Now surgery has become so safe and routine that most is day surgery—you go home right afterward.
Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered the answer recently, and it has a twist I didn’t expect. I thought that the best places simply did a better job at controlling and minimizing risks—that they did a better job of preventing things from going wrong. But, to my surprise, they didn’t. Their complication rates after surgery were almost the same as others. Instead, what they proved to be really great at was rescuing people when they had a complication, preventing failures from becoming a catastrophe.
So you will take risks, and you will have failures. But it’s what happens afterward that is defining. A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it—will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right?—because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks. It’s about mastery of rescue.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

Roundup of interesting links

Clearing out some tabs open too long.

The Best pizza in the world sounds absolutely delicious.

An example of moral clarity and the electrifying effect it had on people behind the Iron Curtain.

The Fatal Idiocy of California.  Walter Russell Mead on the social catastrophe that is a drag on the whole country

Fascinating history of brooms  - from the Gospels  to Swiffer  and featuring the Shakers who made brooms beautiful and flat.

Wearing 'tightie-whities' can harm your male fertility. Alcohol, drugs, tobacco and weight matter little. Underwear counts.  Wear boxers.

Professionals share shocking secrets from their industries like all keys to Chevy police cars are the same key.

The State Department will spend $16.5 million on 2,500 Kindle e-book readers from Amazon, which amounts to a whopping $6,600 per Kindle device that retails for $189.  Government never spends its own money; it spends ours.

'Like finding the Amazon rainforest in the Mojave Desert': Shock finding of massive algal bloom under the Arctic ice.  The abundance of life in the most unexpected places is awesome.

50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Recycle and Upcycle Old Things -

Brilliant  Use-Old-Toilet-Paper-Rolls-To-Store-Organize-Cables-And-Chords Reusing Toilet Paper Rolls to Organize Cables and Cords

And beautiful  Use-Marbles-To-Fill-Fence-Holes  Using Marbles to Plug Fence Holes

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:32 AM | Permalink

June 11, 2012

"The amulet to ward off overly aggressive care"

Discovered: The Magic Word

The word “hospice” usually evokes a shift, a pivot from trying to cure to providing comfort and support at the end of life. Hospice workers help people through the final weeks and months of terminal illness, easing dying people’s pain and fear, bolstering their exhausted families.

But in one case I heard about recently, the word served a different function: It became a kind of magic shield. Simply saying it could protect against unwanted medical treatments for a vulnerable old woman who possibly wasn’t dying at all.

Dr. Sei Lee, a geriatrician and palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who told me the story, described this use of hospice as “an amulet to ward off overly aggressive care.” He put that potent word to use a few weeks ago; the woman in question was his mother.
Once he wielded the amulet, “the change was fairly instantaneous.” And well-timed: The next day, as his mother awaited discharge, nurses noticed flecks of blood when she vomited, which sometimes signals internal bleeding. The normal procedure would have involved a naso-gastric tube (something Dr. Lee had tried on himself as a medical student and found intensely uncomfortable), then sedation and insertion of a second tube through her esophagus, into her small intestine. “But they didn’t do it,” Dr. Lee explained, with relief, “because she was under the care of a hospice.”
The way to ensure the most personalized, least invasive care for Mrs. Lee was to say, in effect, “We’re taking her home to die.”

What’s wrong with this picture?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:35 AM | Permalink

June 9, 2012

Congratulations to the Queen on her 60 years

I missed the whole of the Queen's Jubilee, so I caught up over the weekend with a few articles from the London papers.    She is a paragon of duty and responsibility, old-fashioned qualities that have become even more valued as they are lost in the greater society.

What the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said

When you looked at the crowds on the banks of the Thames yesterday, you saw that they get the point the republicans miss. They know why she is so valuable, and that it is nothing to do with her politics or her lifestyle or the many houses or racehorses she owns.

She not only incarnates the history of the country in her DNA. She provides a focus for their own love of their country: and in that sense the monarchy fulfills a function that Left-wingers should fervently support. She collectivizes the nation. In a selfish and atomized age, she gives people a way of thinking not so much about themselves, but about everyone; not me, but us. She has done it brilliantly for 60 years, and that is why they cheered for such hours; because no one in history has fulfilled that role so skillfully and so successfully.

And some fine photographs of the Queen's reign chosen by the Royal Historian  from the TV coronation to the first walkabout including this splendid portrait by Pietro Annigoni which is now in the National Portrait Gallery.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:06 PM | Permalink

CAD10, the Vaccine for Alzheimer's

Hurrah!  Groundbreaking Alzheimer's vaccine could cut cases by half and be first step towards finding cure

A groundbreaking vaccine that could cut cases of Alzheimer's disease by half has been discovered.  The jab developed by scientists in Sweden could delay the onset of the debilitating illness and be the first step towards finding a cure.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and attacks nerves, brain cells and neurotransmitters that carry messages to and from the brain.  The vaccine, known as CAD10, helps patients create protective antibodies to defend against deposits that develop in the brain of sufferers.

Researchers from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and from the Swedish Brain Power Network claimed in the Lancet Neurology journal that their discovery could help people with mild to moderate versions of Alzheimer's.  They found no serious side effects during the tests, which took place over three years on people aged between 50 and 80.

One in 14 people over 65 years old is affected by the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.  The risks increase with age, with around one in six people over 80 years old developing the condition.  Scientists hope CAD106 can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five years.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:41 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2012

Nicotinamide riboside, the hidden vitamin found in beer and milk

As a beer and milk drinker, I like this study.

The miracle molecule: Hidden vitamin found in BEER and MILK can make you stronger, slimmer and healthier

Beer may contain a vitamin which can fight obesity and improve muscle strength, scientists claim. The ‘miracle molecule’, which has been found in milk and may also be present in beer and some foods, has no side effects and could even lengthen lifespan, they say.
The snag is that the molecule, called nicotinamide riboside (NR), is extremely small, difficult to find and expensive to synthesize.

Johnan Auwerx, head of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland, said experiments using mice revealed the molecule’s potential.  In an article in the specialist journal Cell Metabolism journal, Mr Auwerx called the results 'impressive'  'NR appears to play a role in preventing obesity,' said Mr Auwerx.

Working with Weill Cornell  Medical College in New York, his team found mice on a high-fat diet that were fed NR gained significantly less weight – 60 per cent – than mice eating the same diet without NR supplements.  Mice which were fed NR supplements over a ten-week period had better endurance performance than those who were not.  They were also in better shape – and this was confirmed by observations of their muscle fibres under the microscope.  The molecule works by becoming trapped in cells where it boosts the metabolism, much like resveratrol, which is found in wine. No side effects were discovered during the experiments. 'It really appears that cells use what they need when they need it, and the rest is set aside without being transformed into any kind of deleterious form,' said study author Carles Canto in a statement.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:26 PM | Permalink

Maybe your 'spare tire' is good for something after all

Why that spare tyre could be GOOD for your health: Hard-to-shift fat helps to regulate your immune system

Dieters desperate to get rid of that spare tyre can finally let it all hang out.  That muffin-top could actually help to regulate the immune system and provide a first line of defense against infection and viruses.

A hard-to-shift beer belly could even help regenerate damaged tissue after an injury.

The fatty membrane in the belly, called the momentum, has never seemed to serve much of a purpose.

But now the research by scientists in Chicago has shown it can be a health benefit - and their discovery could lead to the development of new drugs for organ transplant patients with auto-immune diseases such as Lupus and Crohn’s disease.

The momentum lines the abdominal cavity, covering most abdominal organs, and is where fat tissue is stored.

The research team found that cells from this membrane can differentiate into lung-type cells and bone cells.

They now believe the momentum may be assist tissue healing and regeneration.

'We now have evidence that the momentum is not just fat sitting in the belly,' said Dr Makio Iwashima, from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The team also found that the cells can suppress the immune system's response to an infectious agent.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:14 PM | Permalink

"Free services in exchange for personal information"

Cary Doctorow in Technology Review, The Curious Case of Internet Privacy, Free services in exchange for personal information. That's the "privacy bargain" we all strike on the Web. It could be the worst deal ever.

What we agree to participate in on the Internet isn't a negotiated trade; it's a smorgasbord, and intimate facts of your life (your location, your interests, your friends) are the buffet.

Why do we seem to value privacy so little? In part, it's because we are told to. Facebook has more than once overridden its users' privacy preferences, replacing them with new default settings. Facebook then responds to the inevitable public outcry by restoring something that's like the old system, except slightly less private. And it adds a few more lines to an inexplicably complex privacy dashboard.

People don't value privacy until they lose it. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

"Culture is a precious inheritance, immeasurably more difficult to achieve than to destroy "

Future tense, XI: The Lessons of Culture by Roger Kimball in the New Centurion.

Last month, Charles Murray asked whether “a major stream of artistic accomplishment can be produced by a society that is geriatric [as ours, increasingly, is]? By a society that is secular? By an advanced welfare state?” We do not know the answers to those questions, Mr. Murray observed, because “we are facing unprecedented situations.”

We have never observed a great civilization with a population as old as the United States will have in the twenty-first century; we have never observed a great civilization that is as secular as we are apparently going to become; and we have had only half a century of experience with advanced welfare states.
When it comes to cultural activities, Pericles said, Athenians had learned to love beauty with moderation—the Greek word is euteleias, “without extravagance”—and to pursue philosophy and the life of the mind “without effeminacy,” aneu malakias. The lessons of culture were to be ennoblements of life, not an escape from its burdens.
Another lesson concerns the fragility of civilization. As Evelyn Waugh noted in the dark days of the late 1930s,

barbarism is never finally defeated; given propitious circumstances, men and women who seem quite orderly will commit every conceivable atrocity. The danger does not come merely from habitual hooligans; we are all potential recruits for anarchy. Unremitting effort is needed to keep men living together at peace; there is only a margin of energy left over for experiment, however beneficent. Once the prisons of the mind have been opened, the orgy is on. . . . The work of preserving society is sometimes onerous, sometimes almost effortless. The more elaborate the society, the more vulnerable it is to attack, and the more complete its collapse in case of defeat. At a time like the present it is notably precarious. If it falls we shall see not merely the dissolution of a few joint-stock corporations, but of the spiritual and material achievements of our history.

It is a prime lesson of culture to acquaint us with those facts. “History,” Walter Bagehot wrote in Physics and Politics, his clear-eyed paean to liberal democracy, “is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.” Culture is a precious inheritance, immeasurably more difficult to achieve than to destroy, and, once destroyed, almost irretrievable. It’s not at all clear that we have learned the lesson, though wise men from before the time of Pericles have sought to bring us that sobering news.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:04 AM | Permalink

Finally, the elimination of the blind spot UPDATED

Math professor's side mirror that eliminates 'blind spot' receives US patent

A side-by-side comparison of a standard flat driver's side mirror with the mirror designed by Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, mathematics professor at Drexel University. With minimal distortion, Hicks's mirror shows a much wider field of view (the wide area to the left of the silver car seen in the distance, behind the tree, in this image). Hicks's mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat mirror. Hicks's mirror received a US patent in May 2012.

A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.

 Side Mirrors Comparison

Kudos to Professor Drexel.

UPDATE:  Government regulations prevent its use

In the United States, regulations dictate that cars coming off of the assembly line must have a flat mirror on the driver's side. Curved mirrors are allowed for cars' passenger-side mirrors only if they include the phrase "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Because of these regulations, Hicks's mirrors will not be installed on new cars sold in the U.S. any time soon. The mirror may be manufactured and sold as an aftermarket product that drivers and mechanics can install on cars after purchase. Some countries in Europe and Asia do allow slightly curved mirrors on new cars. Hicks has received interest from investors and manufacturers who may pursue opportunities to license and produce the mirror.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:02 AM | Permalink

The Makings of a Cast Society

So the single-mother revolution has left us with the following reality. At the top of the social order is a positive feedback loop, with kids raised in stable, high-investment, and relatively affluent homes going to college, finding similar mates, and raising their own children in stable, high-investment, and relatively affluent homes. At the bottom is a negative feedback loop, with kids raised by single mothers in unstable, low-investment homes finding themselves unable to adapt to today’s economy and going on to create more unstable, single-mother homes.

Not only do we have more poverty, inequality, and immobility; we have the makings of a caste society, with an inherited elite and an entrenched proletariat. That’s not an America that anyone finds very attractive.

In City Journal,  American Caste by Kay Hymowitz

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:00 AM | Permalink