Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You know that gravy train is going to hit the kids soon

While consumer spending rose 4.4% in the fourth quarter, the level of new home building declined 19%.
The consumer spending figure is key, as this accounts for about 70% of the output of the US economy.

So sad

AUSTIN, Texas - Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to
President Bush as "Shrub," died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.

Now he's a populist? WTF

The president acknowledged people's continuing nervousness about their financial picture, despite a string of similar reports that provide some reason for optimism. He said some workers are being left behind in the booming economy and the disparity between the rich and the poor is growing.
"The fact is that income inequality is real. It has been rising for more than 25 years," the president said. "The earnings gap is now twice as wide as it was in 1980," Bush said, adding that more education and training can lift peoples' salaries.


I'm sick and it sucks....

The complications of coughing can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute complications include cough syncope, fainting spells when coughs are prolonged and forceful, and caused by decreased blood flow to the brain, secondary to raised intrathoracic pressure due to cough. Other acute complications include insomnia, cough-induced vomiting, chest pain due to muscular strain of incessant coughing, rupture of bulla causing pneumothorax. In severe cases, prolonged coughing can cause fatigue fractures of lower ribs and costochondritis, an inflammation of the connective tissue between the breastbone and the ribs. Chronic complications are common. In certain cases, it can even lead to abdominal or pelvic hernias. In women with prolapsed uterus, cough micturition (urination) can result, which can be a major social nuisance. Cough defecation can also occur

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Best article on food like ever!

Title of post is is a snippet:
Also, people don’t eat nutrients, they eat foods, and foods can behave very differently than the nutrients they contain. Researchers have long believed, based on epidemiological comparisons of different populations, that a diet high in fruits and vegetables confers some protection against cancer. So naturally they ask, What nutrients in those plant foods are responsible for that effect? One hypothesis is that the antioxidants in fresh produce — compounds like beta carotene, lycopene, vitamin E, etc. — are the X factor. It makes good sense: these molecules (which plants produce to protect themselves from the highly reactive oxygen atoms produced in photosynthesis) vanquish the free radicals in our bodies, which can damage DNA and initiate cancers. At least that’s how it seems to work in the test tube. Yet as soon as you remove these useful molecules from the context of the whole foods they’re found in, as we’ve done in creating antioxidant supplements, they don’t work at all. Indeed, in the case of beta carotene ingested as a supplement, scientists have discovered that it actually increases the risk of certain cancers. Big oops

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not good folks, not good

Early and changeable drafts of their upcoming authoritative report on climate change foresee smaller sea level rises than were projected in 2001 in the last report. Many top U.S. scientists reject these rosier numbers. Those calculations don't include the recent, and dramatic, melt-off of big ice sheets in two crucial locations:
They "don't take into account the gorillas — Greenland and Antarctica," said Ohio State University earth sciences professor Lonnie Thompson, a polar ice specialist. "I think there are unpleasant surprises as we move into the 21st century."
Michael MacCracken, who until 2001 coordinated the official U.S. government reviews of the international climate report on global warming, has fired off a letter of protest over the omission.
The melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are a fairly recent development that has taken scientists by surprise. They don't know how to predict its effects in their computer models. But many fear it will mean the world's coastlines are swamped much earlier than most predict.
Others believe the ice melt is temporary and won't play such a dramatic role.
That debate may be the central one as scientists and bureaucrats from around the world gather in Paris to finish the first of four major global warming reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel was created by the
United Nations' United Nations in 1988.After four days of secret word-by-word editing, the final report will be issued Friday.
The early versions of the report predict that by 2100 the sea level will rise anywhere between 5 and 23 inches. That's far lower than the 20 to 55 inches forecast by 2100 in a study published in the peer-review journal Science this month. Other climate experts, including NASA's James Hansen, predict sea level rise that can be measured by feet more than inches.
The report is also expected to include some kind of proviso that says things could be much worse if ice sheets continue to melt.
The prediction being considered this week by the IPCC is "obviously not the full story because ice sheet decay is something we cannot model right now, but we know it's happening," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate panel lead author from Germany who made the larger prediction of up to 55 inches of sea level rise. "A document like that tends to underestimate the risk," he said.
"This will dominate their discussion because there's so much contentiousness about it," said Bob Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a multinational research effort. "If the IPCC comes out with significantly less than one meter (about 39 inches of sea level rise), there will be people in the science community saying we don't think that's a fair reflection of what we know."
In the past, the climate change panel didn't figure there would be large melt of ice in west Antarctica and Greenland this century and didn't factor it into the predictions. Those forecasts were based only on the sea level rise from melting glaciers (which are different from ice sheets) and the physical expansion of water as it warms.
But in 2002, Antarctica's 1,255-square-mile Larsen B ice shelf broke off and disappeared in just 35 days. And recent NASA data shows that Greenland is losing 53 cubic miles of ice each year — twice the rate it was losing in 1996.
Even so, there are questions about how permanent the melting in Greenland and especially Antarctica are, said panel lead author Kevin Trenberth, chief of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.
While he said the melting ice sheets "raise a warning flag," Trenberth said he wonders if "some of this might just be temporary."
University of Alabama at Huntsville professor John Christy said Greenland didn't melt much within the past thousand years when it was warmer than now. Christy, a reviewer of the panel work, is a prominent so-called skeptic. He acknowledges that global warming is real and man-made, but he believes it is not as worrisome as advertised.
Those scientists who say sea level will rise even more are battling a consensus-building structure that routinely issues scientifically cautious global warming reports, scientists say. The IPCC reports have to be unanimous, approved by 154 governments — including the United States and oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia — and already published peer-reviewed research done before mid-2006.
Rahmstorf, a physics and oceanography professor at Potsdam University in Germany, says, "In a way, it is one of the strengths of the IPCC to be very conservative and cautious and not overstate any climate change risk."

so cool

Each tear is composed of a watery layer sandwiched between an inner layer of mucus and an oily outer layer made of lipids and other fats. Each time we blink, the oily layer blankets the eye, sealing in moisture.
Why Do We Cry?
Researchers identified the substances that make up the oily layer and were surprised to find a class of lipids no one had come across before, called fatty acid amides, said lead author Kelly Nichols, an assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University.
They also found oleamide, a lipid previously seen only in the brain and central nervous system. Oleamide has been linked to sleep regulation and has also been shown to enable communication between nerve cells. The scientists speculate it may allow for similar communication between cells at the front of the eye.
If there is insufficient or excess oleamide—or any of the other fatty components—the oily lipid layer could lose its ability to keep moisture locked in, resulting in dry eye, Nichols said.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Breaking news on climate change
News flash! Climate change: It's for real, and humans are causing it!
What, you say, you believe you may have heard this news somewhere before? Yes, but this time, we really, really mean it.
Rob Metcalfe at Globalisation and the Environment brings us the news this morning that the U.K.'s Observer has obtained a draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be released officially on Feb. 2.
The IPCC reports are the gold standard in climate science, documents in which the nuance of every word is struggled over and the research of thousands of scientists is compiled together. So when the wording to describe oncoming mayhem and disaster moves from "likely" to "almost certain," then it might just be time to start clearing the winter coats out of your closet and making room for bikinis. Stock up on the sunscreen while you're at it. Oh, and a carbon tax would be nice too.
In a Reuters report, IPCC chairman R.K. Pachauri says, "I hope this report will shock people, governments into taking more serious action as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work." He also does a little jig on the tomb of climate skepticism: "I think the skeptics on climate change will continue, but the good news is that their numbers and their effectiveness is on the decline," Pachauri said.
Meanwhile, the Observer sums up the conclusions:
The frequency of devastating storms ... will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a meter; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans [will] become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent ... And in a specific rebuff to skeptics who still argue natural variation in the Sun's output is the real cause of climate change, the panel says mankind's industrial emissions have had five times more effect on the climate than any fluctuations in solar radiation. We are the masters of our own destruction, in short.

I love Jesus but, I drink a little

You gotta watch the whole clip, it's hysterical

Ellen Clip

Coffee OK if you are pregnant

LONDON (Reuters) - Drinking moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy does not lead to premature births or underweight babies, Danish scientists said on Friday.

Up to three cups of coffee a day does not seem to have any negative impact on the baby or the pregnancy.

As someone who fears that they don't have the ability to give up all my vices while pregnant, these stories make me very happy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

whole new level of f*$#@d up!

AMMAN, Jordan - A Jordanian man fatally shot his 17-year-old daughter whom he suspected of having sex despite a medical exam that proved her chastity, an official said Thursday. The man surrendered to police hours after the killing, saying he had done it for family honor.

In response, the government has abolished a section in the penal code that allowed for "honor" killers to get sentences as lenient as six months in prison. Instead, the government has told judges to consider honor killings on a par with other homicides, which in Jordan are punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
But attempts to introduce harsher sentences have been blocked by conservative lawmakers who argue that tougher penalties would lead to promiscuity.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So depressing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp. (BAC.N: Quote, Profile , Research), the No. 2 U.S. bank, said on Tuesday fourth-quarter profit rose a greater-than-expected 47 percent, as growth in credit card fees and investment banking offset rising loan losses. Net income for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company rose to $5.26 billion, or $1.16 per share, from $3.57 billion, or 88 cents a share, a year earlier.

Monday, January 22, 2007

As I am now in charge of my domestic life

A team of engineering researchers at the University of Florida found that two minutes of microwaving on full power killed or inactivated more than 99 percent of bacteria, viruses or parasites, as well as spores, on a kitchen sponge.

I'll have to pay attention to stuff like this=)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dogs rock

If you are looking for a healthier life, get a dog. Scientists have long believed that the companionship of a pet can be good for you, but new research suggests that dog owners are physically healthier than cat owners.

According to Deborah Wells from Queen's University, Belfast, dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, possibly thanks to regular walks with their four-legged friends.

Writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology, Dr Wells said that dog owners appear to suffer from fewer minor ailments as well as fewer serious medical problems.

In a review of dozens of previous studies, Dr Wells found that dogs also seem to aid recovery from serious illnesses, such as heart attacks. One study published in 1995 found that dog owners were more likely, by about 8.6 per cent, to be alive one year after a heart attack than those who do not own a dog.

Dr Wells said: "It is possible that dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress. The ownership of a dog can also lead to increases in physical activity and facilitate the development of social contacts, which may enhance physiological and psychological human health in a more indirect manner."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

he heh heh

You're an Expert Kisser

You're a kissing pro, but it's all about quality and not quantity
You've perfected your kissing technique and can knock anyone's socks off
And you're adaptable, giving each partner what they crave
When it comes down to it, your kisses are truly unforgettable

another quiz

Your Birthdate: April 29

You may watch someone from afar before you finally decide to make your move.
It takes a long time for you to develop an attraction to someone.
Generally, you prefer to pick who you love. Anyone who tries to rush you is in for some heartache.

Number of True Loves You'll Have: 3

Number of Times You'll Have Your Heart Broken: 5

You are most compatible with people born on the 2nd, 11th, 20th, and 29th of the month.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A new life

I am sitting at home on my newly delivered couch (title link I think is the same couch) watching my new cable ( which has some damn transmission issue and I have to keep uplugging the modem and replugging it to make it stop skipping) and drinking a Sam Smith Nut Browne Ale. I wrote the following quote in a note recently:

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Douglas Adams

It has often seemed to me that some basic life assumptions (fashion, love, food, sentimentality in details, etc..)were far more obvious to my peers than to me. I am trying to let that go and believe that what is obvious or not to me will lead me to a high quality of life. So I sit in a new city hoping that it will be my last for awhile and that I now know enough to create a life where I am. here's hopin'.....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life in a cubicle

There are many realities to modern corporate work which are challenging or dehumanizing etc....but we are still humans stuck in small little cubicles close to each other. So today, I'm sitting there studying the possible root causes of performance bottlenecks when the smell of fart hits like a freight train and then just keeps coming. I lasted a couple of minutes but then had to walk away in order to not start laughing out loud in front of said farter.

The China Study

I once dated someone that is evangelical about the link between a "whole foods" diet and long term health. Every now and then I find stuff articulating and defending that belief i.e. pesticides and chemicals aren't good for us, but high fat, high protein diets actually kill us. I am including a link to an excerpt.



Other economists say the industry's federal subsidies are far higher. They average about $39 billion annually if items such as defense of oil lanes in the Persian Gulf, guarding domestic infrastructure like the Alaska Pipeline, and paying to maintain the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve are also included, says Doug Koplow, founder of Earth Track, a Boston consulting firm that analyzes natural-resource subsidies.
"There probably is a public interest in government involvement in maintaining security of supply and reducing price, but those costs should be borne by oil markets and not by taxpayers," he argues.
The strategic reserve, for instance, stores about a two-month supply of oil for the nation in salt domes in Louisiana and Texas. Maintaining it costs the nation an average $2 billion or so a year, Mr. Koplow says. Guarding Middle East oil lanes averages about $19 billion a year, he found, which doesn't include the recent surge in spending because of the Iraq war.
If Congress were to cut $1.4 billion a year in subsidies, as House Democrats urge, the industry would still get more than $37 billion a year from government coffers, according to this analysis, four times the amount spent on the nuclear industry and six times the amount spent on ethanol

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In case any of you were unclear...

This isn't a maverick, this guy is officially crazy!

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) said Tuesday he hopes to patch things up with conservative Christian leader James Dobson, who recently said he wouldn't support the Republican's presidential bid under any circumstances.

For those of you unaware of who Dobson is, he is the head of Focus on the Family, who are not only right wing nuts, but he also seriously instructed fathers to shower with their sons into puberty in order to "model heterosxual masculinity". Uh huh. think about that...

What is up with the world today?

Bird Flu
Freak Chickens laying eggs with drugs
Cholera outbreak
Chemical Fire from derailed train
Fish dying
more fish dying

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Panic and Optimism

So now at the end of the day I am feeling mildly more optimistic. The later requirements fit more within my experience so at least I don't feel like I have to learn everything new. Still I sense it will be a long while before I complain about being bored at work again:) I'm back in MA for the weekend to meet the movers. Let the adventure begin. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

New Worlds

I am trying to learn the history of programming very quickly. It won't work. It's a whole world. Back to intense study for me....Does this mean I can't obsess about politics?

The Chomsky hierarchy consists of the following levels:
Type-0 grammars (unrestricted grammars) include all formal grammars. They generate exactly all languages that can be recognized by a Turing machine. These languages are also known as the recursively enumerable languages. Note that this is different from the recursive languages which can be decided by an always-halting Turing machine.
Type-1 grammars (context-sensitive grammars) generate the context-sensitive languages. These grammars have rules of the form with A a nonterminal and α, β and γ strings of terminals and nonterminals. The strings α and β may be empty, but γ must be nonempty. The rule is allowed if S does not appear on the right side of any rule. The languages described by these grammars are exactly all languages that can be recognized by a linear bounded automaton (a nondeterministic Turing machine whose tape is bounded by a constant times the length of the input.)
Type-2 grammars (context-free grammars) generate the context-free languages. These are defined by rules of the form with A a nonterminal and γ a string of terminals and nonterminals. These languages are exactly all languages that can be recognized by a non-deterministic pushdown automaton.
Context free languages are the theoretical basis for the syntax of most programming languages. Type-3 grammars (regular grammars) generate the regular languages. Such a grammar restricts its rules to a single nonterminal on the left-hand side and a right-hand side consisting of a single terminal, possibly followed (or preceded, but not both in the same grammar) by a single nonterminal. The rule is also here allowed if S does not appear on the right side of any rule. These languages are exactly all languages that can be decided by a finite state automaton. Additionally, this family of formal languages can be obtained by regular expressions. Regular languages are commonly used to define search patterns and the lexical structure of programming languages

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have a lot of people who would tell me I have no appreciation for what obsession really means....I wouldn't necessarily argue except that I can totally be obsessed with certain things. One of them is political blogs. I read them a lot...but see if you read them a lot, you find sentences like this:
Now, let's be honest. How much of a dumb, painfully dumb, masterfully dumb,
spectacularly gullible, hyperenfranchised, alcohol-addled, camera-chasing
microphone-humping column-strangling jackass from the seventh circle of Grey
Poupon Hell do you have to be to buy that premise even for the slightest moment
as being anything other than dumbfuckery promoted by carnival barkers trying to
weasel away from their own rigged game? Since when did "willing to promote any
asinine hypothesis, no matter how stupid and self-serving on its face" become
the defining characteristic of supposed political wisdom?

EU puts climate change at heart of energy policy

With oil imports hit by the latest energy dispute involving Russia, Brussels laid out a vision of a common energy policy for the 27-nation bloc with proposals including a recommendation to scale back the dominance of energy companies.

What real national security looks like....


The study found an annual income of nearly $85,000 was needed to afford the median-priced U.S. home.
In the New York metropolitan area, a $500,000 median-priced home required a $171,000 annual salary. The median-priced home in San Francisco, the most expensive U.S. market, was $759,000, requiring income of $260,000. In less-expensive Chicago, the median-priced home cost $254,000, requiring an $87,000 salary.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Template-ugh

The old template didn't make the titles look like links. I am not sure this one does either but it least it calls it out better-OK so this title will click as if it is a link but it will justt lead to its own page. Till I figure out the coding assume all news stories referenced, the title is the link to the actual story

Confirmation of what you feared all along

Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.
The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.
The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

Supporters say the provision allowing oil companies to take up to 75 per cent of the profits will last until they have recouped initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20 per cent of all profits, according to industry sources in Iraq. But that is twice the industry average for such deals.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My new town has Mummers:)

The first official Mummers Parade was on January 1, 1901. Prior to that, local lore holds that many traditions — the dressing ("mumming") from England, Sweden and other countries — came on New Year's Day when at midnight, the citizens shot off guns to welcome the new year, a dangerous tradition that the law frowns upon. The next day, residents usually went door-to-door shouting out the following rhyme:

Here we stand at your door,
As we did the year before.
Give us whiskey, give us gin,
Open the door and let us in!
Or give us something nice and hotLike a steaming hot bowl of pepper pot! (A Philadelphia soup)

The parade is related to the Mummers Play tradition from the UK.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Annoying thing about new template

The title is still a link, it just doesn't look like one.

No seriously, at what point do we call him King?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.
The Bush administration did not reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall.
The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.
The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records.
Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon in the closing hours of the Clinton administration.

Fat CEO pay seen a wider society concern

Today, soaring executive pay "offends most people's sense of fairness," said Archie Carroll, a recently retired business ethics professor at the University of Georgia. It "symbolizes more than anything else how out of touch corporate America, particularly CEOs and boards of directors, is with the rest of American society," he said.
The abrupt departure of Home Depot Inc. chief Robert Nardelli this week, with a $210 million exit package in hand, shows how skewed CEO pay can be, ethics experts say. Nardelli's exit package, which includes $20 million cash severance as well as a pension, deferred stock awards and stock options, equals the annual incomes of about 10,000 retail stock clerks making an average $21,000 a year.
In 2005, the ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay was 411-to-1, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, two groups that focus on social justice issues. That compares with a 1980 ratio of 42-to-1, as calculated by BusinessWeek, the two groups said.

First Post from Philly

So sis and I went out to a "chic" place for dinner called the Continental. Link above to a review of it as great ambience food etc. My take? Over priced mediocre food with uncomfortable booths. That said, progress is being made. I have been here a week and I have found several decent places to eat, a place to live and transferred my car and renter's insurance. A pretty productive week all together. My new job is sending me to Mexico City for 5 weeks. Off on adventures so quickly. I can't wait. I promise to post frequently again:)