Thursday, January 17, 2008

Speedlinking 1/17/08

Quote of the day:

"Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian."
~ Robert Orben

Image of the day (David Winston):

~ What I Learned in 2007 -- "Eric Cressey divulges most of the good stuff he learned in 2007, including the value of the "next fish oil," how to hit the road and still eat healthy, the best workout music, and rehabbing just about every body part."
~ Recipe of the Week -- "With apologies to Tony the Tiger, breakfast cereals sucks. And that includes the "healthy" cereals, too. Time to whip up some of your own using low-fat, low-sugar ingredients: low on calories, high on flavor!"
~ Lumbar Lifting Posture -- "Strive to maintain the normal lordosis of the lumbar spine during lifting. Doing so assures that the angle of pull of the erector spinae create a posterior shear force on the lumbar vertebrae, thus reducing the high anterior shear forces that are associated with back injuries."
~ Avoiding Weight Gain Induced By Antipsychotic Drugs -- "A research team from Universite Laval's Faculty of Medicine and Robert-Giffard Hospital has demonstrated that weight gain induced by the use of antipsychotic drugs - which in extreme cases can be as high as 30 kilos in only one month - can be avoided through a specially designed weight control program."
~ FDA: Cold meds too risky for little ones -- "Parents should not give sniffling babies and toddlers over-the-counter cough and cold medicines — they’re too risky for tots so small, the government will declare Thursday."
~ Human Embryos Cloned From Skin Cells -- "Scientists hope to create individualized stem cell lines from the clones."
~ New Player In Innate Immune Response Discovered By Scientists -- "All multicellular animals have an innate immune system: When bacteria, parasites or fungi invade the organism, small protein molecules are released that eliminate the attackers."
~ Thyroid Disease 101: Ten Facts Doctors Forget To Tell Patients -- "January marks Thyroid Awareness Month. With some experts estimating that as many as 59 million Americans suffer from thyroid conditions -- including Hashimoto's Disease, Graves' disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer -- it's crucial for patients and doctors to learn more about these common -- but frequently overlooked -- hormonal health problems."
~ Yoga: Stretch for Your Health -- "Pose, stretch, breathe, and meditate to greater health."

~ You Are An Illusion -- "Aren't those physicists funny? Once upon a time, we thought quantum mechanics was weird. Then came string theory and all those extra unfolded dimensions. And now comes the latest hypothesis, which is so surreal it's almost nihilistic. Apparently, I'm just an elaborate illusion, a fictional figment of the universe. Only the equations are real."
~ The Previous item is a response to this article -- Big Brain Theory: Have Cosmologists Lost Theirs? -- "The basic problem is that across the eons of time, the standard theories suggest, the universe can recur over and over again in an endless cycle of big bangs, but it’s hard for nature to make a whole universe. It’s much easier to make fragments of one, like planets, yourself maybe in a spacesuit or even — in the most absurd and troubling example — a naked brain floating in space."
~ Power and consciousness on the Clapham omnibus -- " Searle is quite right to point out that both materialism and dualism fly in the face of familiar assumptions. The question is whether there is any good alternative. Searle says that he has one, but it is difficult to see what it is. A phrase he often repeats is that consciousness is “caused by and realized in” the brain. But this looks contradictory. When philosophers talk about something being “realized in” something else, they mean the way it is constituted."
~ Don't just stand there, think -- "The brain is often envisioned as something like a computer, and the body as its all-purpose tool. But a growing body of new research suggests that something more collaborative is going on - that we think not just with our brains, but with our bodies. A series of studies, the latest published in November, has shown that children can solve math problems better if they are told to use their hands while thinking. Another recent study suggested that stage actors remember their lines better when they are moving. And in one study published last year, subjects asked to move their eyes in a specific pattern while puzzling through a brainteaser were twice as likely to solve it."
~ Effect of antidepressants exaggerated due to buried data -- "The New England Journal of Medicine has just published a study that found the effectiveness of 12 of the most popular antidepressants has been exaggerated because pharmaceutical companies have been 'hiding' data from negative drug trials." Imagine that!
~ Meditation: Getting Started -- "Focusing your attention the Buddhist way."
~ 50 Simple Ways To Stay Productive -- "Here are 50 simple ways (that we often overlook) to stay on top of our productivity game. I have found these ways to be helpful and hopefully it will help you out as well in one way or the other."
~ Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With? -- "Funny question, isn't it? Do you like the person you are alone with? If you are alone, there is no one with you ... other than yourself. So what about it? Do you like the person you are alone with? Do you like yourself? Enjoy spending time with yourself? Look forward to being alone with yourself? Consider yourself good company? Are you comfortable with yourself?"
~ Withdrawal Symptoms From Paroxetine May Last For A Long Time -- "When withdrawal symptoms ensue after discontinuation of a drug, such as paroxetine, it is generally assumed they will last for a few weeks and then they will subside. Many patients do not think so and some of them have also created a website concerned with paroxetine discontinuation effects."
~ Psychological Interventions Are Effective In Mood Swings -- "Jan Scott (Newcastle, UK) and Francesc Colom (Barcelona) have published a review of psychological interventions for bipolar disorder in the Jan 2008 issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.The aim of this review was to highlight gaps or limitations in applying evidence-based psychological therapies as an adjunct to medication in the management of bipolar disorders."
~ Religious beliefs focus too much on self -- "Moving away from traditional religious beliefs to trendy, self-focused religions and spirituality is not making young adults happier, according to new research. "

~ Dmitri's Choice -- "Dmitri has been torn for years between his father's [Vladimir Nabokov] unequivocal request and the demands of the literary world to view the final fragment of his father's genius, a manuscript known as The Original of Laura. Should Dmitri defy his father's wishes for the sake of "posterity"?" My position -- preserve the work for scholars, but do not publish it for a mass audience.
~ The Uses of the Humanities, Part Two -- Stanley Fish -- "The funding of the humanities in colleges and universities cannot be justified by pointing to the fact that poems and philosophical arguments have changed lives and started movements. (I was surprised that no one mentioned “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” a book Lincoln is said to have credited with the starting of the Civil War.) The pertinent question is, Do humanities courses change lives and start movements? Does one teach with that purpose, and if one did could it be realized?"
~ The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter -- Reviewed bu Eliot Weinberger -- "In the Modernist era, the poets, as Pound wisecracked, have been more interested in Muses than Moses and though bits of the Psalms have inevitably been embedded in poems, new translations have become the province of theologians and academics. The latest is a handsome edition, complete with the requisite red ribbon, by Robert Alter, and it has arrived accompanied by a joyful noise, widely acclaimed in the press as the Psalms for Our Time."
~ After 25 years, 'The Gift' keeps on giving -- "Hyde's 1983 book "The Gift," subtitled "Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World," argues that inspiration comes to its creator the same way a gift does. Because of this, both the artist and the resulting work itself become uneasy in a market economy. This gift is most comfortable, instead, when it is kept moving -- offered or traded -- instead of being hoarded or commodified."
~ Learning Separately -- " It seems so logical. Separate boys and girls so they can get their work done. It was clear to me and my classmates 40 years ago, as we gazed out the window during English class in our all-boys high school (a Catholic seminary) and watched the teenage kids from town “making out” on a stone wall; at least it was clear to Father Ignatius, who would threaten a “bastinado with salt rubbed in the wounds” if we didn’t focus on the sentence that needed diagramming." I would never have finished high school if there were no girls to see each day.
~ UN: Katrina Victims Neglected -- "A United Nations official who has toured areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina says its victims resemble similarly displaced poor people in other parts of the world."
~ When Bill Attacks -- "Ari Berman | Intentionally or not, Hillary Clinton's campaign has found its most aggressive attack dog. His name is Bill. And he's not doing her any favors."
~ Books & the Arts: On the Books -- "Ted Conover | A "rogue sociologist" gains unprecedented insight on the day-to-day workings of a Chicago gang."
~ MediaCulture: What Happens When Blogs Go Mainstream? -- "Will blogs take on all the bad habits of the mainstream media or will it help the media progress just a bit further toward independence of thought?"

~ Listing polar bears under the ESA won't do much good, but we should do it anyway -- "Just over a year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Last week, the service missed the deadline to finalize or withdraw that proposal. Environmental groups have already filed a notice of intent to sue if Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne delays much longer."
~ Environment: World Bank Pledges to Save Trees, Then Helps Cut Down Amazon -- "A month ago it vowed to fight deforestation. Now research reveals it funds the rainforest's biggest threat."
~ Researchers Put The Bite On Mosquitoes -- "Few things sting like a mosquito's bite -- especially if that bite carries a disease such as malaria, yellow fever, Dengue fever or West Nile virus. But if a team of University of Arizona researchers has its way, one day mosquito bites may prove deadly to the mosquitoes."
~ Exploration Of Lake Hidden Beneath Antarctica's Ice Sheet Begins -- "Scientists have begun exploring an ancient lake hidden deep beneath Antarctica's ice sheet. The lake -- the size of Lake Windermere -- could yield vital clues to life on Earth, climate change and future sea-level rise."
~ Predators do more than kill prey -- "The direct effect predators have on their prey is to kill them. The evolutionary changes that can result from this direct effect include prey that are younger at maturity and that produce more offspring."
~ Web 3.0: user-generated networks? -- "European researchers took the concepts of Web 2.0, like user-generated content and social networking, into the real world. They hope to create user-generated physical networks so internets could be set up, by anyone, anytime. It`s radical and, surprisingly, fairly realistic. Welcome to Web 3.0."
~ Norway aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 -- "Norway's government said Thursday the country would dramatically slash its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and aim to be completely carbon neutral by 2030 -- 20 years ahead of schedule."
~ 'Nonlinear' ecosystem response points to environmental solutions -- "The preservation of coastal ecosystem services such as clean water, storm buffers or fisheries protection does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach, a new study indicates, and a better understanding of how ecosystems actually respond to protection efforts in a “nonlinear” fashion could help lead the way out of environmental-versus-economic gridlock."

~ The Egg Barn -- "Author’s note: “Who am I?” is an ageless question asked not only of Buddhists but a question asked of the followers of virtually every philosophy, religion, and society of humans anywhere on earth. It’s not a question with an answer resulting in some restful destination, but rather resulting in an unending journey in which the question itself is its own destination. The journey may be taken at any time, often required by circumstance rather than choice. And somehow along the way, that isolating sense of separateness to which we humans are inclined dissolves and one finds one’s identity indistinguishable from the identity of anything or anyone else."
~ Being with body symptoms -- "As long as the symptoms were mild and moderate, I was able to do other things, including distracting myself by watching movies as it got a little worse. At some point, when it went over the “moderate” threshold, I had no choice but to turn off the light and just be with the symptoms."
~ Inner peace leads to world peace -- "As well as being a spiritual teacher, Akong Tulku Rinpoche is also a doctor of Tibetan Medicine. One of his main aims has been to preserve this vast area of healing for the benefit of all beings. Under his direction a fully accredited system of psychotherapy has evolved in which Buddhist philosophy combines with Western therapy to create a holistic system aimed at relieving mental and physical suffering to bring about a more balanced and joyful state of being."
~ Republicans, Democrats, and Evolutionary Politics -- "If you're interested to know where your presidential candidate stand on the issue of religion, science, and evolution, check out this very insightful article, Reason Online: Evolutionary Politics. Here are some of the key quotes."
~ The Sound, Before Hearing -- "Sound can play an important role in our practice. Sound, as a device of the way, is used in many texts. "Kyogen realized the Way when he heard the sound of a tile hitting bamboo." It was this concept alluded to by one of our readers', Cedric that started my recent investigation with sound. What's also interesting with sound, is the non-sound, and non-identification that comes, both with and without the sound."
~ Rebirth, Reassessed -- "The rise of Buddhism in the west is undoubtedly linked with it's relative compatability with the dominant rational, empirical and pragmatic worldview. The single biggest obstacle to practice for westerners is probably the belief in rebirth and karma, since this this is not part of our worldview, nor does there seem to be any rational or empirical justification for accepting this."
~ The Value of Cooperation in Achieving Success -- "Many eastern philosophies state that we are part of one inseparable whole. If that is so, then by sabotaging others, we are sabotaging ourselves. Perhaps it is time to try the opposite, to join our voices with others and work together in the spirit of cooperation."
~ Appreciating Expedient Means in the Lotus Sutra -- "The Buddhist concept of upāya, or “Skillful Means” or “Expedient Means” is an important concept in Mahayana Buddhism (the Northern Branch of Buddhism), but it’s one I have in the past not appreciated or even liked. The concept is best defined in the famous Lotus Sutra, particularly in chapter 2. I recently finished reading Chapter 2 of this sutra, which according to Thich Nhat’s Hanh’s commentaries, is the cornerstone of the whole sutra and developed a new appreciation for what it teaches."

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