Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
In an inflation driven market based on free-market principles , the demand for supplies is never really flat. It cannot be. If there is a sustained reduction in demand, that is a sign of uncertainty and/or lack of necessity. If the demand flattens out, it is really already in decline. A stable market is one that has sustained modest growth. Well, the housing market never flattened. Prices had risen so high that the only direction to go for most areas is down. Exsurbs and isolated cities here in California have seen massive declines. Centers of activity have stabilized and are so far holding their own. These areas, however, are in the minority, and who knows how long that will last.
There's going to have to be a bail-out of the mess. I find it interesting just how Republican leadership is willing to bail-out industries in the past with wades of cash (e.g., Savings and Loan), yet now that the average American is going to be adversely effected directly, Republicans are too timid to respond to help. President Bush Jr.'s action so far is so limited in scope that it is only going to help an extremely small portion of those affected. And where are the Democrats? They are too timid to confront the Republican Party for its timidity.
This brings me to the point where I have to criticize a perception of our economy. Corporations are treated as though they are the most important element in our country, at times to the exclusion of the citizens' rights and welfare. A Corporation is an imaginary entity that only exists because a bunch of people agree the common fantasy. A Corporation doesn't really exist. If all of the employees and ownership walked away, it would cease to function and have no purpose. I question why a Corporation is viewed as more important than the individual humans that are apart of it, or even the citizenry at at large. Far too often, the Corporations are given massive privileges and leeway that are denied to actual voting citizens of our country. Human beings are treated as second class citizens when pitted against a Corporation. This is unconscionable and unconstitutional. Giving Corporations an elevated status is a flawed mindset that many neo-cons seem to believe in as though a religion of its own. Unfortunately, the mindset is quietly supported by many politicians, regardless of affiliation.
We have to stop putting imaginary entities ahead of our citizens. In fact, we have to stop victimization of our citizens by these Corporations. Victimization of the type that has lead to the current housing crisis at hand. It was also the cause of the Western U.S. power grid crisis during the Enron Embarassment.
So, I (and many others) ended up being right about this housing crisis. Unfortunately, I personally have no way of benefiting from it directly. As far as I know, there's no way to short-sell property with options as housing prices drop. I'm so invested in my current property, I can't really afford to buy into new property when the house prices hit bottom.
I'm not expert about anything I've mentioned here. Just one person that's seen all this before. I expected the housing crisis to hit much sooner and not so intensely. My mistake was not understanding how the sub-prime situation was allowing the housing bubble to grow much bigger than it would've had sub-primes been regulated much better. Hopefully the weakened economy will have enough support to keep it chugging along, even if at a slower right. I'm just kinda wish I had a way to get more benefit during this period.
Christmas itself was fun. We spent time with Allie's family and with an Aunt of mine and then more time with Allie's family. I'm a little bummed that my friend Miriam had to cancel her get together today due to illnesses. Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet up with her soon, after she heals herself up. At least we got a chance to chat for awhile.
We did get a change to talk to my friend Dave this week. He's up in the Seattle area. Ya'no, I've had so many friends move out of the area. It's like, am I scaring everyone away? :) Or am I the grim ripper of California inhabitants; if I come into your life, you will be moving far away at some point? Well, that wouldn't be so true of Ronie and Miriam, and Allie too, but heck, it applied to Jenn, Jennifer, my parents, Dave and Little Miriam, my Ex, my Ex's mother, and her brother and new wife, and...that list is already too long and it doesn't include many I've lost contact with. (I miss you.) Its funny, I don't keep in touch with anyone I knew before 1997, but now its getting hard to keep in touch with many I've got to know since. I've been pretty up beat about this, but now that I'm writing it, it's a bummer.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The fact of the matter is that barring actual (and expensive) medical intervention, and for all practical purposes, the selection of a baby's sex is completely random. Neither the mother nor the father can make the selection through conscientious efforts. There are many different and often bizarre myths surrounding conception, as an article at babycenter.com covers.
Many different actions can be tried with to improve the chance of getting pregnant, but sex selection is still not directly in the hands of either parent. Granted, Y (male) sperm have been deemed weaker and can be more affected by a woman's pH balance more so than X (female) sperm, but more boys are born than girls on a world wide basis. Nature has already figured all this out for us, and if decision making has happened, it is a result of our species' evolution, and not preferences we conjure up in our own minds.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Many times, they quote from reputable publications, but don't make it clear that these quotes are of quotes by the source to argue against creationism. In other words, it is creationists quoting creationists. They try to make the creationist seem as though they are scientists that is lamenting evolution.
Another trick is they quote scientists of unrelated fields. I am amazed how often an oft-handed comment by Einstein or Steven Hawkins is quoted as proof that scientists question the Theory of Evolution.
They also grab quotes from newsletters or other unvetted periodicals and present them as though they were creditably published.
So, in the end, they are just quoting a bunch of random comments in a way the becomes original research of their own, finding a conclusion that in no way is reasonable if the whole of their sources are read.
In fact, my own experience suggests that it is important to execise my eyes. Both my parents and my sister require glasses, having less than ideal vision. I've always tried to keep my eyes exercised. Until a few years ago, I never noticed any issues with my eye sight. Recently, I started noticing some imperfection in my sight, so I went into the eye doctor. Come to find out, vision in one of my eyes is 20/15, and it's 20/20 in the other. Apparently, my vision used to be in the 20/12 to 20/16 range. I was getting fussy about having lowly 20/20 vision. At times in the past, I doubted what I was doing. Now though, I at least have some sense of control regarding the health of my eyes.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The fact is, as I’ve heard from many difference sources by now, the body’s skin dries out sometime after a person dies. As it does so, it shrinks. The nails and hair remain in place, so it can appear as though they grow because they protrude farther out from the skin. That said, I would still guess it is possible the nails and hair do grow a tiny bit right after death, though they certainly do not continue to grow once all body functions stop.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The movie is based on a book by the same name. Also, several low budget or independent movies have been made based on this book. This version deviated from the book and the other versions in some ways that seemed necessary, but in other ways, made this movie weaker than other versions. I will say I feel that if the movie would've followed the book, the movie would've been boring. Granted, the book does make excellent social commentary. With that said, it is not one of the better books written in the realm of fiction. I am of the sort that thinks if a movie can be made better than the work upon which it is based, then it should be. In this case, I will say that the movie was well paced. Choices in differences in the plot from the book through much of the movie were good.
However, not enough effort was given to the ending. Where the movie deviates from the book the most (the ending) is perhaps where it should've stuck to the original story more. The whole reason for the title "I am Legend" is that main character becomes as scary to the new vampire civilization in the new world as vampires are scary to us in our world now; deep social commentary. Instead, with this movie, there's a simple ending that doesn't do the rest of the movie any justice and ended up making this movie seem like a prequel to 28 Days Later (which, in my opinion, is a better film). At the end, I was like, "It's over already? That sucks." The voice-over by the heroine at the ended made an attempt to explain the movie title with the movie ended, though this was a very weak attempt at that.
One other point, the CGI was very weak and dated. It felt cartoony.
Some of the scenes lost importance because the acting wasn't up to par. This one scene where the father is trying to have a conversation about life with his son didn't work at all because Kal Penn was trying so hard to be the teenage with angst that it actually distracted from the moment instead of making the moment what it was meant to be (and needed to be) for the film. I would say it was a case of overacting, but I think a better word for it is wrong-acting. Also, other scenes suffered from a lack of acting effort.
Editing was not well conceived or executed. The flashbacks of Gogol's character (Ken Penn) came off as just cheesy. Some scenes were awkwardly cut in order to hold off on that portion of the story until later in the movie. This, unfortunately, made the movie seem like it dragged on, with random spatterings of story telling. Overall, the story felt disjointed, without much reason for why it was edited this way.
The story itself meandered from point to point. There was no real main character, though it was supposed to be Gogol. Most of the movie seemed aimless. Character motivation was poorly executed. Again, Gogol's character kinda just took action that didn't really have a solid explanation. It made the character seem extremely superficial, even as he faced up to his heritage (which I am sure was an unintentional impression by the film maker). Well, either way the story wasn't well written.
The movie appeared to be a jumbled mess. I can't understand what many of the critics saw in this movie. It was a lackluster attempt to show something didn't really end up being all the important to the story (why the main character was named Gogol). This movie seemed to be an independent film for which the big studios wisely did not waste their money. I'm sure I would've cared about this movie more were I of Indian background, but even then I would have to admit it was not an example of good film making.
"Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker."
My own experience on this is that it is partially true. It’s not a complete myth. Studies have shown that shaving doesn’t affect hair in that way. Nor do I think the act of trimming hair causes it to grow back thicker and coarser. I do think that how the skin surrounding the hair is treated does have significant impact. I did my own quasi-scientific study on myself when I was an adolescent. In an attempt to grow more hair body hair (being an adolescent trying to speed up the maturity process), I rubbed the skin on my chest aggressively over a period of a few months or so. In the oft chance to see if what I was doing would work, I rubbed one side of my chest more often then the other side. Having seen no immediate hair growth, I stopped this practice. It was about a year later I noticed the results. As hair did start to grow in, it only grew in where I had rubbed my skin months before. Yes, the hair on my chest grew in with the pattern I used to rub my skin. Even today, the thickest portion of my chest hair still vaguely matches the initial pattern I establish during my adolescence.
Another example of the effect of skin treatment is more recent. Although I’m not rapidly balding, I’ve always had a high and somewhat asymmetric hair line at the corners on my forehead. A few years ago, I learned that DHT levels in the skin and body can influence hair growth. It can cause hair to grow in some parts of the body. It can also cause a receding hairline on a man’s forehead too. I started a passive search for products that could affect DHT levels in the skin. In that search, I discovered Nioxin. The brand makes a claim that its shampoo can wash away DHT from the scalp. I tried it. I didn’t see any immediate results. Eventually, I decided to just to use it up. After about six months or so, I kinda started noticing what appeared to be new tiny baby hairs at the edge of my hairline. I decided to try Nioxin out for another few months. I bought more and kept using it. Over the next year, I noticed the hair growing back even more. Now, we aren’t talking about thick new grass on the field. I did perceive the start of a recovery of what I have lost over the past decade.
After awhile, I mentioned to Allie that I noticed a difference. She didn’t believe me. Then one day, she’s looking at me while we are snuggling and all of a sudden she was all like, “Is this all new?” with an amazed look on her face as she ran her fingers along my hairline. At first, I thought she was just she was trying to stroke my ego, so I challenged the comment. But I know her. She’s not the girly type that does that sort of thing. She was being genuine. Since then, my hairline has evened out a bit, and continues to recover at a slow pace.
So, from my own person experiences I can say cutting hair doesn’t change it, but how you treat the skin surrounding the hair does definitely impact it, though it takes a long time.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
So, in a poor effort to debunk this myth, it can be argued that the statement should be instead of water, we should be drinking eight glasses of fluid. Again, this is semantics since by fluid, one means water mixed other substances. Technically, mercury is a fluid, but I’d never want anything to drink that. This does mean we don’t need to actually drink all that fluid. We can get our required water in the foods we eat and other types of drinks, such as tea or orange juice. However, I still contend the requirement for eight glasses of fluid or just water is still a bit ridiculous. I’ve never seen a factually supported statement anywhere that says eight glass of anything is required for our health. I consider both the eight glass of water myth to be just crazy. I also consider the attempts to debunk the myth to be its own myth.
Friday, December 21, 2007
As a child, I remember learning that humans only use 10 percent of our brains. This was stated as fact to me by my parents and from many other sources. I now know this is false, in a manner of speaking. I often find the explanation for why it is false to be a little dubious. Often the sited evidence as to why it is false is based on MRI or PET scans that show no dormant areas within our brains. Why is this suspect to me? Well, even though the myth states we only use 10% of our brains, it doesn’t say anything about dormitivity.
Sure, we do use most of our brains over the course of our many experiences in our live. However, at no moment is our entire brain ever fully engaged. In fact, many areas of the brain do have reduced activity. We still have access to these areas when we need them, but when we don’t need them they are not functioning to full capacity. For example, a recent study suggests the reason people think time slows down during extremely frightening experiences is because an area of the brain called the amygdale becomes more active at that time, laying down more memories during those kinds of events in our lives. The presumption from comparing this information with the debunking comments is that we don’t use all of our brain capacity all the time and that their explanation for debunking the 10 percent brain myth is not complete.
Monday, December 17, 2007
As morbid as it is, there are people who seek posthumous fame. Sometimes this happens by copycats in certain social circles (such as schools) after the suicide of one person gets a lot of attention. Other times there is an act to get back at society for some perceived wrong. These people see herostratic fame (fame by doing something horror).
The first great example recorded in history was committed by Herostratus the Ephesian in B.C. 356 when he burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. His name is where the term herostratic fame comes from. When tortured, he confessed he did the deed to immortalize himself. The Ephesians then passed a decree condemning his name to oblivion in order to discourage further such fame seeking attempts. We only know of Herostratus because an ancient historian did mention his name.
Of course in modern times, we have what are called mass murders. These are individuals or groups that typically kill a lot of people in a suicidal attack. There is usually some sort of fame being sought by such people in one fashion or another. In the case of the recent attack by a shooter in Omaha, the killer wrote a suicide letter that specifically expressed his expectation to be famous after committing his heinous deed.
With this incident, mass media is finally questioning the action of publishing the names of these mass murders. A recent AP article sited a media analyst who stated that the media enabled the mass murderer to get his fame posthumously. Additionally, recent articles also have talked about the fact that the new generation growing up right now places much more importance on fame than any previous generation in America.
I personally think it is time for the media to show restraint. It is important to report horrendous events. However, I don’t know the killer. Knowing his name doesn’t change what the killer did, nor does it help me to come to terms with the event. So, why give that person the attention they crave? Why encourage further acts by other persons who are borderline. Right now, someone contemplating a similar act is emboldened by the reporting by the press about the Omaha killer.
Don’t get immortality to individuals who think it can be achieved by committing horrible deeds. One more advantage is that denying immortality to such individuals actual shows respect for the victims and their families. Giving fame to the killer is a bit like dancing on the grave of their victims.
Now, there a disadvantages to keep the name from the public. We live in the Information Age. Speculation would run rampant if names were withheld from the general public. Also, this wouldn’t discourage killers who are more interested in the act of killing rather than fame from it. So, I’m not suggesting mass murders should be completely nameless in the public forum. I suggest that the mass media itself should not name them. I think it is foolish to try to completely expunge a person’s name from the record. If someone wishes, they could look at public records for the name. If a blogger wishes, they can publish the name themself. Either way, only someone who is interested need find the information. There is no sense in feeding the information to everyone, to which knowing the name is pretty pointless. I think this would be enough to discourage people from seeking herostratic fame by the committing of suicidal mass murders or other gruesome deeds.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sorry to disappoint, a person who believes against scientific fact does not get protection under the Constitution and modern Civil Liberties as a protected class when it comes to a job that needs acknowledgement of scientific fact in order to perform required tasks, nor is someone that conspires against reality. A person can be fired for what they choose to say Not to mention the fact that believing against scientific fact precluded him from being able to perform his job at a scientific institution!
In good conscience, I don't know how he could call himself a biologist. I would go so far as to note that his biologist degree doesn't have validity if he decries the basis upon which it was based. If he really does believe against scientific fact, he should return his degree to the institution which issued it to him and obtain a new degree in Religious Studies or something.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
this one intersection, the light changed green for us, so she went. She
started off a bit slower than normal. As we crossed the center of the
intersection, I noticed a car travelling a full speed in the perpendicular
direction on our right. My instinct was to just exclaim "Shit shit shit"
and feel around for the best way to prepare for the impending collision.
Thankfully, Allie picked up on my queues. At the last second she was able
to slow down enough to honk and let the guy zoom by us. She wanted to turn
around and go after the guy, but I was like, "There's nufin we can do; no
point since we didn't actually hit 'em. We can't report him cuz the cops
can't do anything since there was no accident. Just got to let it go as
just one of those things."
She didn't like that, but we continued on. The idiot who ran the light did
slow down to look back without stopping. I don't think he even realized he
was at fault.
Sent with SnapperMail
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Shocking statistics, the horror! Doctors handwriting are not killing 7000 people annually [updated 2016]
What is an accurate statement? Metro News reported that according to the Institute of Medicine (article), there was a 1998 study that found 7000 deaths occurred each year from all medication-related errors from all sources.
"Moreover, while errors may be more easily detected in hospitals, they afflict every health care setting: day-surgery and outpatient clinics, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, as well as home care. Deaths from medication errors that take place both in and out of hospitals – more than 7,000 annually – exceed those from workplace injuries."It appears that the IOM report actually didn't discuss handwriting as serious issue at all. Of more concern was the problem of inaccurate prescriptions and incorrect doses by caregivers (hospitals, nursing homes, etc). FDA stated the following in their report Strategies to Reduce Medication Errors: Working to Improve Medication Safety:
"In response to the IOM's report, all parts of the U.S. health system put error reduction strategies into high gear by re-evaluating and strengthening checks and balances to prevent errors."So, the US health system had already started to take the appropriate actions to address the real problems. All the while, the real problems are completely ignored by the TIME article. The issue of inaccurate reporting on this topic is especially egregious in light of the recent news regarding Dennis Quaid's twins who were accidentally seriously overdosed with a medication at their hospital.
I've found inaccuracies, such as those found in the TIME article, so common that I seek out the source material before accepting claims of news articles that purportedly reference scientific studies. Overall, I look at the mass media with an open yet critical eye.
Since this article was originally written in 2007, we've seen the end of handwritten prescriptions. It's not even necessary to have any slip of paper at all. Everything is handled in cyberspace (or on the cloud, as it is often termed these days). Some places are enacting laws that require electronic prescriptions. Personally, I've not carried a prescription as slip of paper in years. Even in 2007, the idea of a device to resolve the issue of doctor handwriting seemed shortsighted, and hindsight seems to have confirmed those doubts.