Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Speedlinking 12/4/07

Quote of the day:

"Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died."
~ Steven Wright

Image of the day (John Craig):

~ The Prehab Deload -- "No matter your age, it's a safe bet that you're occasionally banged up from lifting huge amounts of weight. That's okay, but you need to to do a "prehab deload" one week out of every four."
~ Another Reason to Exercise: Enhance Your Love Life -- "As if you needed yet another great reason to get moving, it is well known that exercise can lead to a more satisfying love life. In fact, certain types of exercise are more likely to get you in the mood. "
~ How to Squat Safely When You’re Alone -- "The safest way to Squat when you’re alone is using the safety pins inside a Power Rack. When you can’t Squat the weight up, lower yourself until the bar hits the safety pins."
~ Encouraging Baby To Like Fruits And Veggies -- "Moms, want your baby to learn to like fruits and vegetables? According to new research from the Monell Center, if you're breast feeding, you can provide baby with a good start by eating them yourself. And, offer your baby plenty of opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables as s/he makes the transition to solid foods by giving repeated feeding exposures to these healthy foods - regardless of whether you're breast feeding or using formula."
~ Glucose Affects Our Ability To Resist Temptation -- "New research from a lab at Florida State University reveals that self-control takes fuel - literally. When we exercise it, resisting temptations to misbehave, our fuel tank is depleted, making subsequent efforts at self-control more difficult." Explains why the Atkins diet has one of the lowest compliance rates.
~ Calcium level may signal mental decline -- "In elderly people, higher levels of calcium in the blood are associated with poorer mental function and faster decline in cognitive ability, Dutch researchers have shown."
~ Weekly meal planning contributes to overall good health -- "Meal planning is one of the most important steps on the road to a healthy diet. “Just think of how less stressful last-minute meals are when you have dinner planned in advance,” says Carol Dombrow, registered dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation."
~ 7 Festive Ways to Eat Light During Holiday Parties -- "The holidays are fun times for parties and lots of food. However, the downside is many people gain a few stubborn pounds during this time just because there is so much food. If you like the parties, but not the January rush to lose all the December weight, you have to be smart today."

~ Resilience can get you through life's trials -- "A growing body of research on those who've survived some of life's toughest trials reveals a handful of traits resilient people share and other people can develop."
~ Visual Brain Glitch Causes Distorted Self-Image, UCLA Research Finds -- "Although they look normal, people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) perceive themselves as ugly and disfigured. New imaging research reveals that the brains of people with BDD look normal, but function abnormally when processing visual details."
~ Why High School Seniors Drink -- "Partying isn't the only reason why high school seniors drink. Some drink to get high, relax, or handle emotions, a Penn State study shows." I drank to make the world go away.
~ Do We Know What Makes Us Happy? -- "Happiness is all about everyday, normal activities, psychologists have argued, but do we intuitively understand what strategies increase happiness or not? To find out if students knew, Tkach and Lyubomirsky (2006) asked 500 undergraduates about the strategies they used to increase their happiness."
~ Researchers Link Gene to the Antidepressant Effect of Exercise -- "In a new study, researchers from Yale investigated why exercise can have this positive effect on mental health. They identified genes that are enhanced by exercise, and one gene in particular appears to play a role in the antidepressant qualities of physical activity."
~ The 80/20 Principle: 11 Ways to Boost Your Life -- "We have only limited resources, be it our time, money, or attention. So to get the most out of them, it’s important to invest your resources in only the most profitable places. The 80/20 principle can be very useful here. The principle says that for many events, 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes. As such, it’s important to invest your resources in that top 20% causes."
~ The Five Symptoms of Depression -- "Like many mental disorders, depression has a symptom list that can be a little daunting to remember. There are nine general symptoms of depression, amongst other criteria, including those things that are common to other disorders. What if someone could simplify the depression criteria so it would be quicker and easier to diagnose?"
~ 5 Ways to Feel Better in Difficult Times -- "You understand the concept of having a positive attitude — you are not a moron. But the reality is you have another mortgage payment due, and not enough money in the bank. Okay, let’s all agree, this sucks. You have people counting on you—you wife, you son, your ex-wife, your mutt, your IRS agent, your Mom, etc, etc."

~ FDA Puts American Lives at Risk -- "A new report says the FDA is understaffed and underfunded." Yeah, that's scary.
~ Unconventional Wisdom | A bookshelf of wounded manhood -- " Other fear-mongering books echo Doyle. Their titles say it all: The War Against Men, by Richard Hise (Elderberry Press, 2004); The Rantings of a Single Male: Losing Patience With Feminism, Political Correctness . . . and Basically Everything, by Thomas Ellis (Rannenberg Publishing, 2005); Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, by Paul Nathanson (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006)." Wankers -- the article refutes their arguments.
~ The Plot to Rig the 2008 US Election -- "Today, the Republicans are trying to exploit the discontent with the electoral college among Americans in a way that would rig the system in their favor. At the moment, every state apart from Maine and Nebraska hands out its electoral college votes according to a winner-takes-all system. This means that if 51 per cent of people in California vote Democrat, the Democrats get 100 per cent of California’s electoral votes; if 51 per cent of people in Texas vote Republican, the Republicans get 100 per cent of Texas’ electoral votes." Needless to say, I think the electoral college must go.
~ A high price to pay -- "It has become fashionable to pin America’s political malaise on the growing apathy of the public. But that might be to mistake effect for cause. A more compelling narrative can be found in how America finances its politics and the way in which it elects its representatives, particularly the president. It is as though democracy in America has evolved to shut out the majority."
~ One World, One Market: How Advertising Breaks Down Cultures -- "Blonder hair, faster cars, newer and cooler video games. Why is it that the same things that tantalize a consumer in San Francisco, California are also what those in Sao Paolo or Singapore aspire to? The answer is in advertising: instead of catering to the cultures that it targets, advertisers are shaping the minds of global consumers to think like a North American consumer."
~ Jacob Bernstein: An Interview With "The Kite Runner" Director Marc Forster -- "Most young directors would jump at the chance to direct The Kite Runner, the film adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel. Marc Forster was looking for an excuse not to."
~ Daniel Radosh: Bah, Hitchens -- "Christopher Hitchens spreads a little holiday cheer today with an essay denouncing Hanukkah. Like all Hitchens' work on religion, it's smart, witty and totally frustrating. Hitchens, you see, is at heart a fundamentalist. I don't mean that in the way people usually do: that he is so dogmatic and evangelistic about atheism that he's the equivalent of a religious fundamentalist. Hitchens has countered that attack persuasively -- or mostly persuasively -- in several outlets since the publication of his book God is not Great. Rather what I mean is that Hitchens' ideas about the religious faiths he rejects are based entirely on fundamentalist interpretations of those faiths."
~ The Problem with Christmas -- "It has long since become too busy, too expensive, too centered around acquiring that which we do not need."
~ US Students Lag in Science, Math -- "U.S. students are lagging behind their peers in other countries in science and math, test results out Tuesday show."

~ Our shrinking coastlines -- "People living in the western Arctic are already getting a taste of the nightmares to come for coastal communities around the world if temperatures increase, sea levels continue to rise and summer ice disappears."
~ Bus-Sized Sea Reptile Fossil May Be a New Species -- "Scientists examining the skull, teeth and vertabrae of a 40-foot-long sea reptile unearthed in the Arctic think they may have stumbled across a previously undiscovered species of dinosaur."
~ Coral Reefs Living In Sites With Variable Temperatures Better Able To Survive Warm Water -- "Finally, some good news about the prospects of coral reefs in the age of climate change. According to a new study corals may actually survive rising ocean temperatures in 'tough love' seas with wide-ranging temperatures."
~ New Fuel Cell Cleans Up Pollution And Produces Electricity -- "Scientists are reporting development of a fuel cell that uses pollution from coal and metal mines to generate electricity, solving a serious environmental problem while providing a new source of energy. They describe successful tests of a laboratory-scale version of the device."
~ Fate Might Not Be So Unpredictable After All, According To New Mathematical Theory -- "Why does it take so long for soul mates to find each other? How does disease spread through a person's body? When will the next computer virus attack your hard-drive? A new theory on the statistical concept of "First Passage Time," may provide the key to answering at least a few of these questions. And the answers may lead to breakthroughs in medicine, mathematics, the environment, and elsewhere."
~ Did early Southwestern Indians ferment corn and make beer? -- "The belief among some archeologists that Europeans introduced alcohol to the Indians of the American Southwest may be faulty."
~ Daimler expects huge US demand for tiny Smart car -- "German car maker Daimler said Tuesday that next month's launch of its tiny Smart car in the United States will unleash such stiff demand the company will have trouble meeting it."

~ Heart Beat: A Book Review -- "Let's say right off: you don't have to be a Buddhist to read this book. In fact, you don't need to be attached to a religion of any kind. But if you're the least bit interested in some of the more profound mysteries of the life of the mind, you'll find a great deal of guidance and inspiration in its pages." A fine review of Ken McLeod's book on The Heart Sutra.
~ Understanding Fred Thompson’s politics -- "The key is to see him as part of the tradition of classical liberalism. His politics, as well as I think his temperament, are misunderstood by some in the same way that classical liberalism is misunderstood. Certainly some of Thompson’s decidedly mellow demeanor is simply his personality. But when one is a classical liberal (the true base of what it means to be “conservative”), I think one easily takes on a more mellow, more relaxed, more “long-view” temperament — and those terms certainly describe Thompson." I'd be OK with Thompson if we wasn't also a staunch social conservative. Roe v.Wade would be overturned under him, and gay rights would cease to exist -- at least in most states.
~ Beyond Belief 2007: Sam Harris is Not an Atheist -- "He's not only intellectually fluffy but also ballsy. I think people who casually use the label “integral” should also take heed. Having said that, I'll go out on a limb and say that Sam Harris is probably the most integral among the New Atheists. There I said it. If you have doubts or you don't agree with me, go watch the video and let me know. I'm always open for discussions."
~ What Does It Want To Do? -- "The words came into his head. Out of nowhere. Like someone else said them. The voice wasn’t even his, but sounded like someone doing a bad imitation of him; slightly nasal with a raspy piercing deepness." This appears to be flash fiction -- cool.
~ Gangs and the Malleability of Human Ethics -- "Observers of the now decade-long intractable genocides and civil wars in Darfur, Somalia, Chad, Zaire and other African nations describe the same gang phenomena repeated endlessly: Men horrifically tortured and slaughtered, women systematically and repeatedly raped, children kidnapped and forced into slavery and military duty, animals and other resources stolen, and villages burned to the ground. What is it about human nature that so many can perpetrate such atrocities for so long without remorse? Why does this happen?"
~ A Natural Philosophy of Agriculture -- "Masanobu Fukuoka is the author of One-Straw Revolution and The Natural Way of Farming, and has become a towering figure in the revolutionary field of sustainable agriculture. Fukuoka's unconventional farming methods involve no tillage, no fertilizer, no pesticides, no weeding, no pruning, and remarkably little labor!"


Anonymous said...


Regarding Thompson, I suppose it depends upon how one defines "staunch". He has taken much heat from pro-lifers for not being in favor of a pro-life amendment to the constitution, so he isn't as staunch as some would like. He's argued against any laws that go further to regulate abortion than existed before Roe v Wade.

Plus, remember that if Roe v Wade is overturned, what that means is that the issue returns to the states, for each to decide according to each's state laws. Meaning that in some states, abortion of some kind would be legal; in other illegal.

It is a tough issue -- I myself think life begins at conception, but at the same time, how does one regulate based on that or its opposite? Tough question, thus I think the more local the decision-making, the better. Roe v Wade makes for, essentially, one-size fits all, and that rather offensive to me, morally speaking.

I actually think Thompson's view here is pretty moderate. After all, many, many people think that Roe v Wade is was a shoddy verdict, intellectually speaking. One can believe both that life does not begin at conception and that there isn't a whiff of mention of anything to do with abortion rights anywhere in the constitution.

As far as gay marriage, I think you are stealing a base unfairly here. Right now it is a state issue -- what kind of legal rights gays may or may not have -- and I believe that Thompson's view is that he opposes gay marriage, but would let states decide whether to allow civil unions.

Which one may or may agree with, policy-wise. My point is the way you put it is a bit unfair.

Note that nowhere, now or ever, is there any prohibition on anyone having a ceremony where they publicly and sacredly offer vows of commitment, love, and sacrifice. My brother had one such, a year ago. A beautiful thing, as much as anything between a man and woman.


william harryman said...

Hey Matthew,

Thanks for explaining your position on Thompson.

I guess the majority of my concerns come from living in a "Red" state, where ALL abortion would become illegal, and where even "breeder" domestic unions have been attacked. There would certainly be no rights of any kind for gay couples in AZ, and I think that is the biggest issue (some gays and lesbians want to be able to legally marry, but most want equal partnership rights in parenting, health care, and death benefits).

I would like to see a better legal foundation for the right to choose, but I'll hold onto whatever we can get. Most (2/3) Americans still favor choice.

Personally, I think the government should not be in the "marriage business." Marriage should be a religious union. Civil unions are the only place the government should have any sway. Anything else violates the separation clause.

I guess if I still lived in Seattle, I'd probably be OK with a "states rights" candidate. ;)