Month: April 2007

Monday, Monday

Guy claims Boy George kidnapped him. I’m not sure I could imagine a worse nightmare.
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D-Day for cancer?

A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking vitamin D pills had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large – twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking – it almost looks like a typographical error. . . .

Skin cancer mortality rates didn’t rise steeply till 1971 when Americans were advised to use sunscreen lotions that blocked the vitamin D–producing UV-B sun rays. This permitted the deep penetrating UV-A sun rays to attack the skin without the protection of vitamin D. Only recently have researchers conceded that UV-A rays cause skin cancer.

As for the idea that environmental pollutants cause cancer, Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s top vitamin D experts, says those who try to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are “looking for a bogeyman that doesn’t exist.” Instead, he says, the critical factor “is more likely a lack of vitamin D.”

Another link on same subject.
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Human ashes were used to grit icy pathways outside a Co-op funeral home, staff claimed last night.” A co-op funeral home? Never heard of such a thing. Maybe the workers don’t care as much as normal morticians because they’re not getting paid as much.
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At my local Kiwanis meeting two weeks ago, the speaker asked the audience, “Who believes in global warming?” No one raised their hand. It … Read the rest

The Screaming Eudemon

Not much today. I had a ton of stuff: Lions draft day (best day to be a Lions fan), my idiot-savant Michael (a second-grader who can barely tie his shoes but has taught himself multiplication and other things, to the general head-shaking amazement of his no-nonsense teacher), beer drinking, etc. I typed for 25 minutes, and then lost it all by hitting the wrong key. Now I can barely see the computer screen because of the spider cracks.

I also wrote about electrical sensitivity. Wi-fi, cell phones, and other electronic devices make a few people physically ill. Some say it’s bunk, some say it’s real. It makes you wonder: Are hot zones going to cause cancers and other health problems down the road? I looked into the health effects of wi-fi before installing it in my house, and everything I found said there is no risk. “It just uses radio waves, which are always around us anyway.” This article doesn’t seem so sure.

This week, Professor David Coggan, a member of the Health Protection Agency’s advisory group on non-ionising radiation, told BBC’s Newsnight: “There is quite a lot of evidence now accumulated on mobile phones and health – and the balance of evidence overall doesn’t point to problems.

“There’s still uncertainty and there still needs to be further research, but so far we don’t have a concern.

“And on that basis, the concern about Wi-Fi is much lower on the scale than, say, that about pan-global influenza.”

Not as much of a concern as pan-global influenza? That’s hardly a comforting re-assurance. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Post them below.

I’m mostly concerned about … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

Deadlines and fires. That’s my life in a nutshell right now. Not much today. Just a few Brews You Can Use.

Producer caters to homosexual woman crowd:

Anheuser-Busch has rolled out three fruit-flavored versions of its Michelob Ultra brand.

The three flavors – Pomegranate Raspberry, Lime Cactus and Tuscan Orange Grapefruit – will be available through Labor Day.

I don’t recognize any of those fruits. I think that’s a good thing.
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Thumbs up to the nerds:

Mathematicians have come up with a formula that predicts how the head on a pint of beer will change after pouring.

Their advance could shed light on why the foam on a pint of lager quickly disappears, but the froth on a pint of Guinness sticks around.

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And here we thought it was just for the Norms of the world: New research into Britain’s drinking habits finds “Beer is the drink of style and sophistication.”
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Great quote: “We had to pour our first brew down the sewer. We left it in the fermenter too long and it soured – it was like putting your dog to sleep.”Read the rest

Short Post Day

No real blogging today. I went to 300 last night, got to bed late, and now I’m scrambling.

I enjoyed the movie, incidentally, but it wasn’t great. I’d give it a 6. Possibly the most violent thing I’ve seen (and I include The Passion in my grading). Two graphic sexual encounters as well.

I wouldn’t recommend it for its historical value, incidentally. The Spartans killed the Persian emissaries and they relied on mystics to make decisions (hence they arrived late to Marathon a decade earlier, to their great shame), but the whole set up for the battle at Thermopylae was bogus. A confederation of nearly 6,000 Greeks battled the Persians. When Ephialtes showed the Persians how to get around the narrow pass, the Greeks knew they were doomed. It was then that Leonidas stayed behind with 300 Spartans and 700 Thebans.

Their efforts bought the rest of Greece valuable time, though. Athens was able to evacuate, for instance. The rest of Greece mobilized, and the Persians were eventually defeated. The relevance? The rest of European history. Instead of being an adjunct of one great Asian power after another, Europe stood on its own. It gave Rome room to grow, and Rome gave Christianity room to grow. We can’t re-create historical consequences with any certainty, of course, but we know we owe a lot to the valiant stand at Thermopylae.
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An interesting item from my bank of material that I save for no-blogging days:

The early years of the mail-order catalogue business were heady indeed. From Daniel Boorstin’s The Americans: The Democratic Experience:

Mr. Ward received hundreds of letters annually from men seeking wives

Read the rest

The Quick-Hitting Eudemon

The lust to find life in space continues: For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for “life in the universe.” Another link, which is better than the first. This ongoing, incredibly-expensive, infatuation with Martians is a mania. When you look at its incredible level of failure and our continuing efforts, there’s no other way to describe it.
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I applaud these efforts, but I suspect the defense lawyers will scream “entrapment”: Officers with Suffolk County’s computer crimes unit created an online profile of a 14-year-old girl that included photographs of [Lauren Nelson, the reigning Miss America] as a teenager. . . Nelson, 20, posed as a young teen online and went into chat rooms, where she said men would begin sending her instant messages asking her how old she was and where she lived. . . Nelson then arranged to meet the men at a home in Long Island, where police and camera crews were waiting.”
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This is very interesting: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Tuesday that it will contract with local hospitals and other organizations to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics in the next two to three years. I’m not a Wal-Mart fan, but it does a great job of providing quality goods for a reduced price (and that’s what retail is all about). Health care expenses are out of control, and we’re told there’s nothing that can be done. If anyone can find a way to drive down those expenses, it’s … Read the rest

Cho Woman, Protests, and Sundry News

The Vatican appears to be heating up under the lead of its octogenarian leader: The Vatican’s second-highest ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded homosexual marriage an evil and denounced abortion and euthanasia as forms of “terrorism with a human face.” I like it. We might lose the culture war, but at least we’ll go down swinging.
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If you want to read a disturbing story about erectile dysfunction, click here, but don’t blame me.
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Alright, I’m confused. This story says Cho hired an escort service. He paid for an hour of service, but the woman says she left when he tried to touch her. “I started dancing and that’s when he you know, touched me and tried to get on me and that’s when I pushed him away.”

I always thought “escort service” was a euphemism for a quean-type service. If anyone can shed light on this, go ahead.
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CBS merely suspended these shock jocks:

In the [prank telephone call] skit, a series of apparently unsuspecting employees of a Chinese restaurant are berated by a caller who tells one woman he would like to “come to your restaurant” to see her naked, especially a part of her body he refers to as “hot, Asian, spicy.” The caller also attempts to order “flied lice,” brags of his prowess in kung fu and repeatedly curses at several employees.

The Asian community won’t stand for it. “They don’t think they’re going to get any backlash from the Asian-American community,” [the president of the Organization of Chinese Americans] said. “They’re definitely wrong.” Do I smell competition, which ethnic group can mount the greatest protest? … Read the rest

St. George

The priest at Mass today reminded me that it’s St. George’s Day. I am, accordingly, obliged to re-produce Chesterton’s great poem, The Englishman:

St George he was for England,
And before he killed the dragon
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.
For though he fast right readily
In hair-shirt or in mail,
It isn’t safe to give him cakes
Unless you give him ale.

St George he was for England,
And right gallantly set free
The lady left for dragon’s meat
And tied up to a tree;
But since he stood for England
And knew what England means,
Unless you give him bacon
You mustn’t give him beans.

St George he is for England,
And shall wear the shield he wore
When we go out in armour
With battle-cross before.
But though he is jolly company
And very pleased to dine,
It isn’t safe to give him nuts
Unless you give him wine. … Read the rest