Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. -

Uh, ok...I'll take this bet big time! Does he understand the odds he is placing on this?

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. -
"Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire. "There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur....Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Help for Thunder-Phobic Dogs -- Veterinarians Show Consoling Dogs Does Not Relieve Their Panic

Bonnie definitely has this problem! Fireworks are MUCH worse.

Help for Thunder-Phobic Dogs -- Veterinarians Show Consoling Dogs Does Not Relieve Their Panic:
"A new study shows that dogs can get very upset during thunderstorms, whether or not their owner holds them. The study measured the stress hormone cortisol to be up to three times normal levels while the dogs heard recordings of a thunderstorm. The company of other dogs did help, though vets say medications may be more effective."

College Students Find Comfort In Their Pets During Hard Times

Again no surprise here:

College Students Find Comfort In Their Pets During Hard Times:
"A survey of students at a large university and other adults in the area found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life. Students who chose to live with at least one dog, one cat, or a combination of the two were less likely to report feeling lonely and depressed; something they directly attributed to their beloved pet."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Inventor's 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world's poorest see better | Society | The Guardian

Inventor's 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world's poorest see better | Society | The Guardian:
"What if it were possible, he thought, to make a pair of glasses which, instead of requiring an optician, could be 'tuned' by the wearer to correct his or her own vision? Might it be possible to bring affordable spectacles to millions who would never otherwise have them?

More than two decades after posing that question, Silver now feels he has the answer. The British inventor has embarked on a quest that is breathtakingly ambitious, but which he insists is achievable - to offer glasses to a billion of the world's poorest people by 2020."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scientists debunk myth that most heat is lost through head | Science | The Guardian

Scientists debunk myth that most heat is lost through head | Science | The Guardian:
"The face, head and chest are more sensitive to changes in temperature than the rest of the body, making it feel as if covering them up does more to prevent heat loss. In fact, covering one part of the body has as much effect as covering any other. If the experiment had been performed with people wearing only swimming trunks, they would have lost no more than 10% of their body heat through their heads, the scientists add."

Did Early Global Warming Divert A New Glacial Age?

Did Early Global Warming Divert A New Glacial Age?:
"...gathering physical evidence, backed by powerful simulations on the world's most advanced computer climate models, is reshaping that view and lending strong support to the radical idea that human-induced climate change began not 200 years ago, but thousands of years ago with the onset of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

What's more, according to the same computer simulations, the cumulative effect of thousands of years of human influence on climate is preventing the world from entering a new glacial age"

Ken Burn's The War

Having just finished Ristening to the War, thought these links were interesting.

The PBS page on the series.

A speech by Ken Burns from 2007 on the War from American Public Media.
Word for Word: Program Archives from American Public Media

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Envy is a dog's life, study finds - Yahoo! News

I always like to see studies confirming what we thought we already knew.

Envy is a dog's life, study finds - Yahoo! News:
"Dogs can sniff out unfair situations and show a simple emotion similar to envy or jealousy, Austrian researchers reported on Monday.

Dogs sulked and refused to 'shake' paws if other dogs got treats for tricks and they did not, said Friederike Range, an animal psychologist at the University of Vienna, who led the study into canine emotions.

'It is a more complex feeling or emotion than what we would normally attribute to animals,' said Range.

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also showed dogs licked and scratched themselves and acted stressed when they were denied rewards given to other dogs"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Want to Ride Faster? Just RELAX!

Want to Ride Faster? Just RELAX!:
"Athletes need to walk a fine line between 'getting amped' for an event and staying relaxed. Adrenaline can increase performance, but nervous energy and tension will make you slow. As a cyclist, efficiency is the name of the game. We want as much energy as possible pushing into the pedals and propelling us forwards.

Clenched hands, rounded shoulders, gritted teeth and excessively moving your upper body side-to-side are all energy wasters. These little things all add up and will rob a cyclist of performance as well as potentially lead to physical discomfort."

Study: Poverty dramatically affects children's brains -

There is no truth to the rumor I was raised in an impoverished family. I am just naturally stupid.

Study: Poverty dramatically affects children's brains -
"The study adds to a growing body of evidence that shows how poverty afflicts children's brains. Researchers have long pointed to the ravages of malnutrition, stress, illiteracy and toxic environments in low-income children's lives. Research has shown that the neural systems of poor children develop differently from those of middle-class children, affecting language development and 'executive function,' or the ability to plan, remember details and pay attention in school."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thomas Friedman on the Bailout

Op-Ed Columnist - The Real Generation X -
"I think we should be talking about “bail,” not “bailouts,” regarding the people running the Big Three car companies and the lawmakers who mindlessly protected them for so long. Still, I do not want to see jobs destroyed. But if taxpayers are going to give Detroit money, we must not entrust the spending to people who have run their businesses into the ground.

You want my tax dollars? Then I want to see the precise production plans and timetables for the hybridization of all your cars and trucks within 36 months. I want every bailed-out car company to move to hybrid electric drive trains, because nothing would both improve mileage and emissions more — and also stimulate a whole new 21st-century, job-creating industry: batteries.

Big batteries that can store electricity for transportation and wind and solar generation are the indispensable enablers of the Energy Internet of the future. Any Detroit bailout has to serve that goal."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stress is not easily turned off

Stress, even 6 months before a pregnancy, impacts the pregnancy. It would be fascinating to see other studies that look at the lasting impact of stress. Be it Katrina, a death in family, or battlefield exposure, stress seemingly has a long impact.

BBC NEWS | Health | Stress hits even before pregnancy:
"Stress in the six months before conception increases the risk of giving birth prematurely, research suggests.

Mothers who experience a death or serious illness in the family before falling pregnant are more likely to have a preterm baby, a study found."

If you are good at some things, are ou more likely to be good at others?

Forget the topic of study, the question itself if fascinating.

BBC NEWS | Health | Intelligent 'have better sperm':
"..., people with robust genes might be blessed with a biological 'fitness factor' making them fit, healthy and smart.

Previously, scientists tended to assume that lifestyle factors were more likely to underlie any relationship between intelligence and health.

For instance, brighter people may be less likely to smoke, and more likely to take exercise, both of which are known to impact on mental performance....

The latest study tested the gene theory by taking two characteristics that seemed unlikely to be associated with each other - intelligence and sperm quality.

They found a small, but statistically significant link, and were able to show that this could not be explained by unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking alcohol."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

BBC NEWS | Health | Happiness 'rubs off on others'

Duh....this explains much. Why bad firms (or teams) get worse, why it seems like most in some unnamed city are unhappy, etc etc.

BBC NEWS | Health | Happiness 'rubs off on others':
"Happiness is infectious and can 'ripple' through social groups, according to US researchers.

A study of 5,000 adults suggests a person's happiness is dependent on the happiness of those around them."

Two bits of advice:
A. Try to make others happy and you will be happier (Hint: BonaResponds!)
B. Surround yourself with happy people (and if you can't in reality, do it virtually. Read happy books, watch happy movies, avoid Dear Abby columns, talk TV, etc).

Blast From The Past: Astronomers Resurrect 16th-Century Supernova

How cool is this? wow!

Blast From The Past: Astronomers Resurrect 16th-Century Supernova:
"Astronomers have used light echoes as a time machine to unearth secrets of one of the most influential events in the history of astronomy –a stellar explosion witnessed on Earth more than 400 years ago."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

BBC NEWS | Health | Avoiding food 'may beat jet lag'

BBC NEWS | Health | Avoiding food 'may beat jet lag':
"Harvard University researchers believe the brain has a second 'feeding clock' which keeps track of meal-times, rather than daytime, after studying mice.

When food is scarce, the feeding clock overrides the master clock, keeping animals awake until they find food.

Thus, shift workers and travellers can keep tiredness at bay by not eating, they suggest in the journal Science"