"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."
~ George Orwell
Image of the day:
~ Winter Sun Makes It Difficult To Get Vitamin D Naturally -- "As the days grow shorter, the sun's warm rays aren't the only thing your body may be missing, warns Creighton University researcher Joan Lappe, Ph.D. If you live in North American at latitudes above the 37th parallel Omaha is near the 41st parallel - you also may not be getting enough vitamin D, says Lappe, professor of medicine and holder of the Criss/Beirne Endowed Chair in the Creighton School of Nursing."
~ Weight Loss Drug Rimonabant Linked To Severe Depression Or Anxiety Risk -- "A patient who is taking rimonabant, a weight loss drug, runs a higher risk of experiencing severe psychiatric events, such as depression and anxiety, according to an article in The Lancet, this week's issue. The authors explain that as the prevalence of obesity rises unabated, the demand for effective and safe anti-obesity agents that help you lose weight, and keep it off, has grown."
~ Orthotics may relieve foot pain from running or exercising -- "People with high arches are at increased risk for foot pain and stress fractures of their bones of their feet because their feet are usually very poor shock absorbers. A report in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (October 2007) shows that custom orthotics can help."
~ Anti-obesity Drugs Offer Modest Results, Many Taking Them Remain Obese Or Overweight -- "If you are overweight/obese and are taking an anti-obesity drug do not be surprised if your weight loss is only modest; neither should you be surprised if you continue being obese/overweight, according to an article in The British Medical Journal (BMJ), published today." There are no magic bullets -- health is a lifestyle choice.
~ Resurgent Severe Cold Virus Spreading In US With Fatalities -- "An uncommon, but resurgent and highly virulent strain of the cold virus, called adenovirus type 14 or Ad14, is spreading in the US and is causing severe and sometimes fatal respiratory illness, even in healthy adults. The virus has killed 10 people since May last year, when a 12 day old baby girl died from it in New York City."
~ 'Add On' for Healthy Holiday Eating -- "Adding foods, rather than depriving yourself, means healthy Thanksgiving eating."
~ Get a 'wow' over veggies this holiday -- "Worried about your family’s diet over the holidays? Don’t fret. You can get them to eat more healthfully with a simple name trick."
~ Relieve Back Pain Naturally -- "One of humanity’s most repeated complaints is back pain. It is one of the most common medical problems today, and affects 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives, with pain ranging from a dull ache to a sudden sharp pain."
~ Research Shows The Brain's Processing Speed Is Significantly Faster Than Real Time -- "Scientists at The University of Arizona have added another piece of the puzzle of how the brain processes memory. Bruce McNaughton, a professor of psychology and physiology, and his colleague David Euston have shown that, during sleep, the reactivated memories of real-time experiences are processed within the brain at a higher rate of speed."
~ The Metaphysics of Ghosts -- "I've been thinking (again) about why Chalmers's dualism about consciousness dissatisfies me. Apropos of this, a metaphysics of ghosts. First, let's distinguish between experiential and non-experiential ghosts."
~ A pain in the neck, mind, brain and society -- "Technology Review has an article that looks at recent work on the neuroscience of chronic pain. While understanding the problem in terms of neurobiology is essential, understanding the psychology and social influences on pain is equally important."
~ Beauty in the Brain: Fractal Scene Statistics and Ease of Processing [Developing Intelligence] -- "Neuroesthetics seeks to identify the neural basis of aesthetic experience - how does the brain give rise to the perception of beauty? A new paper in Network indicates that artists consistently create works which contain the same statistical properties as natural scenes, even when the objects being depicted do not themselves contain such statistics when photographed."
~ Career and Commitment -- "Your level of commitment plays a key role in the process of creating a fulfilling career. When people are undercommitted to their careers, they tend to get lousy results. When they get clear about what they want and commit themselves to creating it, however long it takes, they usually get there in some fashion."
~ Jump for Job Joy -- "When to leave the comfort of your job."
~ Depressed Young Adults More Likely To Start Cigarette Smoking And Other Substance Use -- "A new report indicates that young adults who have suffered from depression within the past year are at a higher risk of initiating substance use including cigarette smoking and use of alcohol or illicit drugs. The findings, based on the largest national survey on substance use and health, were reported today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration." That took a study?
~ Cognitive Impairments of Depression Fade -- "Studies have consistently shown that depression can impair function on memory, fluency, concentration, and decision-making tasks. What hasn’t been known is whether these impairments remain even when depression is in remission. In a new study appearing in Depression and Anxiety, a team led by Dr. Wendelien Meren answers this question."
~ Take a One-Minute Break to Marinate Yourself -- "An increasing amount of people are spending most of their time at work. In our fiercely competitive world, we are left with a sense of “do or die” when it comes to survival, success and progress."
~ From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm -- "By studying army ants — as well as birds, fish, locusts and other swarming animals — Dr. Couzin and his colleagues are starting to discover simple rules that allow swarms to work so well. Those rules allow thousands of relatively simple animals to form a collective brain able to make decisions and move like a single organism."
~ Clive Thompson on Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law -- "This is the central argument of evolution deniers: Evolution is an unproven "theory." For science-savvy people, this is an incredibly annoying ploy. While it's true that scientists refer to evolution as a theory, in science the word theory means an explanation of how the world works that has stood up to repeated, rigorous testing. It's hardly a term of disparagement."
~ Among the reviewers: John Updike and the book-review bugaboo -- "Lately, manifestos on the matter of book reviewing seem to be cropping up all over. “The pabulum that passes for most reviews is an insult to the intelligence of most readers,” wrote Steve Wasserman in the Columbia Journalism Review this fall, just months after Cynthia Ozick, lamenting in these pages the decline in popular conversation about books, declared, “What is not happening is literary criticism.” Nor is such exasperation confined to our more seasoned commentators."
~ Dirda's fine writing lures readers to 'Classics for Pleasure' -- "It's a daunting endeavor to critique a critic, even more so an ardent, Pulitzer-winning wordsmith such as Michael Dirda. This challenge is compounded by the nature of his new book, "Classics for Pleasure," an ambitious roundup of classic works of literature chosen for their delight-inducing qualities."
~ eSkeptic: Answering Questions on UFOs and Aliens -- "In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. David Morrison, a Senior Scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, answers questions about astrobiology sent to “Ask an Astrobiologist”. Read on to find out how Dr. Morrison handles queries like “where are you hiding the alien bodies?” and other such matters."
~ Will the Real Generation Obama Please Stand Up? -- " For Obama, who is 46, and his followers, boomer politics clearly have to go. What is less obvious is whom Obama represents. He often speaks to the Millennials, recently telling cheering college kids in South Carolina, "It's your generation's turn." But rarely mentioned is Obama's own generation, i.e., Generation X, the Lost Generation, whose name has been virtually erased from the national conversation."
~ The Birth of Fundamentalism -- "How a new approach to reading sacred scriptures laid the foundations for a powerful religious development."
~ Whelan: Gentlemen Prefer Brains -- "Ladies: Listen to me, not Maureen Dowd."
~ Full Moon Will Soon Overshadow Comet -- "If you haven't seen the mysteriously large comet prominent in the sky in recent weeks, better look soon, astronomers say."
~ Atlanta May Have to Drink the Dregs -- "With drought tightening its grip on the Southeast, the Atlanta area's reservoirs are almost down to the dregs — the dirtier, more bacteria-laden water close to the bottom — and it's going to require more aggressive and more expensive purification."
~ Trumpeter Swans Re-established In Ontario, Canada -- "Originally native to Ontario, the trumpeter swan disappeared from Eastern Canada early in the 20th century. Restoration efforts were initiated in the early 1980's to reintroduce the trumpeter swan to its former range. Through conservation efforts the Ontario population has now reached 1000, with at least 131 breeding pairs, and the future looks bright."
~ Climate experts agree on U.N. blueprint for action -- "Climate experts agreed on a U.N. blueprint on Friday for fighting global warming that warns that governments only have a few years left to avert the worst impacts."
~ Sun loses crown as biggest body in the Solar System -- "Comet Holmes is now bigger than the Sun. So are we doomed or is there a more mundane explanation?"
~ Bangladesh cyclone toll nears 600 -- "A severe cyclone has killed more than 580 people in Bangladesh and left thousands injured or missing, triggering an international relief effort on Friday to help the disaster-prone country cope with its latest emergency." The Red Cross/ Red Crescent is in the best position to help.
~ Theoretical physicist says polymers in a vacuum may yield valuable data -- "A theoretical analysis of polymer behavior suggests that large molecules should behave very differently when they are in a vacuum than when in solution. The finding suggests that with better understanding of the physics involved, analysis techniques that operate in vacuums--such as mass spectrometry and studies of organic molecules in space--could yield far more information than they do now."
~ Perichoresis: The Trinity and Derrida -- "The Perichoresis is a vision of the Trinity from Eastern Orthodox Theology. It is a way of explaining the Trinity which holds the tension of both the personhood of each person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit) while also arguing that each interpenetrates the other, all of one nature (Godhead)."
~ Bumper Stickers -- "I have never once put a bumper sticker on my car--until now. It's a bit like wearing your heart on your sleeve, something I was taught, as a young English male, was never proper to do. The polite thing is to keep your opinions to yourself in all circumstances."
~ Here We Go Again. The So-Called, "War on Christmas" -- "So here's the deal. The city of Fort Collins has decided to have a holiday celebration instead of one centered only upon the Christian holiday of Christmas. They have decided to put up a tree and decorate it but leave the angel off the top of the tree and because of that decision you'd think the city was admitting to literally crucifying Christians. Everyone in our city is up in arms that the secularists are destroying Christmas and some have even declared their efforts to be inclusive is threatening our sovereignty as a country!!! (Huh?)."
~ Zen Circles & Aperture -- "Zen circles of enlightenment and the aperture of a camera lens."
~ Conference explores mind, happiness -- "Three Buddhist organisations are joining forces for the second time to organise the Fifth Global Conference on Buddhism."
~ Carnival Culture 01: The Holy Fool -- "No man in his right mind ever seeks to leave the comfort and security of his home and wander off into the dark dangerous forest, filled with mystery and the stalking threat of death. The Fool, however, is not in his right mind, and thus runs off boldly into the unknown."