Saturday, June 30, 2007

Old Spice

From The Times Of India:

Will the Spice Girls be stars again?

1 Jul, 2007 l 0315 hrs ISTlAP

Will the Spice Girls make waves this time too?

Following a calculated publicity build-up, the original Girl Power group of the 1990s announced that it had agreed to get together for 11 concerts around the world in December and January.

This will be the group's first concert since it broke up in 2001, and the first with all five of the original group since Geri 'Ginger Spice' Halliwell quit to pursue a solo career in 1998.

"Imagine you got divorced and you've got back together with your ex-husband," Halliwell said, explaining how she felt about the reunion. "She just appreciates the fact we've let her back in," Victoria 'Posh Spice' Beckham joked.

The group said shows would be in Los Angeles on Dec 7, Las Vegas on Dec 8, New York on Dec 11, London on Dec 15, Cologne on Dec 20, Madrid on Dec 23, Beijing on Jan 10, Hong Kong on Jan 12, Sydney on Jan 17, Cape Town on Jan 20 and Buenos Aires on Jan 24. Halliwell, 34, and Beckham, 33, joined with Melanie 'Sporty Spice' Chisholm, 33, Emma 'Baby Spice' Bunton, 31, and Melanie 'Scary Spice' Brown, 32, to pose for photos and announce tour plans.

Read the rest here.

50 Things About Me

50 Things About Me

  1. I was born on June 4, 1957 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  2. I don't really think I feel, act or look my age
  3. A couple of weeks ago my hairdresser guessed my age at 40
  4. She was doubtless schmoozing me and angling for a large tip
  5. I gave her a tip that was twice the norm
  6. I've been diagnosed with ADD and ongoing low-grade depression with serious anxiety, and likely OCD tendencies
  7. I think such diagnoses are too often used as a crutch to excuse crappy behavior
  8. On the other hand, I maintain the conditions are real, and have affected my life in small and large ways, mostly negative
  9. I am quite tall and have been teased mercilessly about it for most of my life, even to this day
  10. People laugh disbelievingly when I tell them that I was painfully shy as a child, and that I'm still shy as an adult
  11. I get horribly anxious about things that are entirely out of my control, and allow myself to be way too easily hurt by things that other people say and do, or don't say or do
  12. I got my first computer in 1987 and got my first modem in 1989
  13. Back-in-the-day I had Compuserve and America Online accounts, and have kept my first AOL email account active
  14. In early 1990 I met and dated a young woman named Rae, whom I met thru a Twin Cities online BBS called 'The Meeting Place,' where I also met a couple of email penpals
  15. I fell hard for Rae, but she broke my heart by just disappearing from my life, and then emailing to announce her new boyfriend to me two weeks later
  16. Some 9 months down the road, after she and he broke up, Rae apologized for her behavior, and told me I was the nicest guy she ever met
  17. I maintain being called a 'nice guy' by a woman is the kiss of death for a dating relationship. (Women may want to marry 'nice guys,' but they don't want to date them.)
  18. I met the woman whom I would end up marrying - about two months after I was cast off by Rae - through an ad I'd placed in the 'personals' section of a local newsweekly
  19. I first logged onto the Web in 1993
  20. I've been keeping an online blog or journal since 2003
  21. I started my first private paper journal when I was 14, and filled some dozen of them in the next 15 years, and have since kept an encrypted electronic journal on my computer
  22. I have shared large portions of them with only one other person alive
  23. I have studied piano, and taught myself to play guitar, but I don't play either very well
  24. Even so, I really enjoy playing music, and recording stuff on my Mac Laptop
  25. When I was much younger I wanted to be a recording engineer or producer, and at one point took a basic four-track production class
  26. I also wanted to be a film-maker, at one point
  27. I actually finished half of a film-making degree at a local college before just giving up
  28. I admit, I give up on most things way too easily
  29. I very much fear failure, and consequently often don't even try
  30. Of course, not trying something out of fear is itself pretty much just another form of failure
  31. I fear rejection even more than failure, and am inclined to push away people and jobs and situations before I can be rejected
  32. Yes, I am fully aware that's some seriously messed-up and dysfunctional behavior
  33. I think I am an so-so husband, a shabby friend, but a great dad
  34. Both of my daughters have been diagnosed as high-functioning Autistic
  35. My girls are two of the most amazing people I've ever met, and just being with them gives me a taste of the kind of joy I've always wanted for myself
  36. I am rarely as grateful as I should be for the blessings in my life, but I never let a day go by without thanking God for having allowed me to be their daddy
  37. I was raised Presbyterian, attended an Episcopal church for a year in high school, attended a Baptist Church for my first fifteen years out of college, and currently attend my wife's Lutheran Church
  38. I have recently been trying to learn self-hypnosis and have found it works, after a fashion, but I'm not very good at it
  39. I have received acupuncture and maintain it also works, but I believe the traditional chinese modality - with its chi and all - is alot of buncombe
  40. I have recently become a huge fan of Taize' choral music
  41. My favorite author is HL Mencken
  42. When I was 9 years old my nearly-7 year-old sister drowned in a swimming accident
  43. At the time my sister died, child psychology wasn't advanced enough to know how to help grieving siblings, and I believe I still struggle with the effects of that loss to this day
  44. I have two college bachelor degrees, one in Business and one in Computer Information Systems
  45. I work in the field of Human Services and can retire with a full pension in just 8 more years
  46. I think both those facts are a bit of a pisser, as I'm too young to be old, 50 being the new 30, and all
  47. I used to be a decent photographer - weddings, portraits, scenery - and have only recently started taking alot more photos again as a result of some positive feedback and encouragement
  48. I was raised in Brazil and traveled extensively as a youngster, but in the last dozen years I've not traveled more than 300 miles from my home, into the neighboring state of Wisconsin
  49. I know it's just a matter of personal taste, but I find Jessica Alba the most stunningly beautiful young starlet on this planet, and I question the eyesight and mental state of those who would disagree
  50. I am massively near-sighted, have severe astigmatism, and have worn glasses since I was 13, but due to an teenage accident which broke my glasses and sent shattered glass into my left eye, I have so far been afraid to allow myself to even consider contacts, and certainly not laser surgery

Exercise And Depression/Anxiety

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Outrunning the Blues

Nayer Khazeni, M.D.
Sunday, June 24, 2007

Next time you've got the blues, you might try chasing them away -- literally. Exercise can be a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety.

A number of scientific studies comparing exercise to antidepressants in treating depression have found comparable efficacy between the two. When you exercise, your body's serotonin and endorphin levels increase. These naturally occurring chemicals can decrease sadness, anxiety and pain, and increase your sense of well-being. Some antidepressants also increase serotonin levels, but their anti-depressant and anti-anxiety mechanisms are more complex. They may involve brain receptor changes and can take weeks to work. Exercise, on the other hand, leads to immediate changes in levels of serotonin, endorphins and other chemicals, resulting in an immediate improvement in your mood. Additionally, exercise has been shown to have long-term benefits, with fewer relapses as compared to antidepressants. Preliminary data suggest similar beneficial effects of exercise on anxiety -- consistent with long-standing research supporting a close tie between depression and anxiety.

Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're depressed. Try to set reasonable goals and choose an activity you enjoy. Studies have examined a variety of activities and durations -- from kickboxing to yoga to a brief, simple walk around the block. Any amount of physical activity can help. You can start by thinking of it as medicine. Even though you may not want to take it, you'll feel better (and without the possible side effects) after you do.

Read the rest here.

Why Meditation Works

From Yahoo News:

Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works

June 30, 2007

Melinda Wenner

If you name your emotions, you can tame them, according to new research that suggests why meditation works.

Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain's emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to “let them go.”

Psychologists have long believed that people who talk about their feelings have more control over them, but they don't know why it works.

UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman and his colleagues hooked 30 people up to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines, which scan the brain to reveal which parts are active and inactive at any given moment.

They asked the subjects to look at pictures of male or female faces making emotional expressions. Below some of the photos was a choice of words describing the emotion—such as “angry” or “fearful”—or two possible names for the people in the pictures, one male name and one female name.

When presented with these choices, the subjects were asked to pick the most appropriate emotion or gender-appropriate name to fit the face they saw.

When the participants chose labels for the negative emotions, activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region—an area associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences—became more active, whereas activity in the amygdala, a brain region involved in emotional processing, was calmed.

By contrast, when the subjects picked appropriate names for the faces, the brain scans revealed none of these changes—indicating that only emotional labeling makes a difference.

Read the rest here.

Autism News

From Science Daily:

Autistic Brains Can Be Trained To Recognize Visual And Vocal Cues, Study Shows

June 30, 2007

Science Daily — To understand the meaning of a conversation, kids automatically do what adults do —besides processing the meaning of words, they unconsciously "read" the expression on a person's face and listen to their tone of voice, then integrate that information with the context at hand to discern meaning, be it humor, anger, irony or straightforwardness.

Individuals with autism typically don't do this. They often miss the subtle meanings conveyed by a person's face and tone of voice, and thus have trouble determining the communicative intent of others. Neuroimaging studies have backed this up, showing that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) — including autism, pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger's syndrome — show reduced activity in the regions of the brain that respond to such cues.

But what if those brain regions could be trained to respond appropriately? In a report in the current issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry and currently online, UCLA researchers did just that. Providing ASD children with explicit instructions to pay more attention to facial expressions and tone of voice elicited an increased response in the medial prefrontal cortex, part of the brain's network for understanding the intentions of others.

Read the rest here.

Rural Highway Safety By State

From the U of M Center for Excellence in Rural Safety:

Did you know?

Key facts about rural transportation safety:

  • Three-quarters of the public roadway mileage in the United States—more than 3 million miles of roads—is considered rural.

  • One-fifth of U.S. population lives in rural areas, yet two-fifths of the vehicle miles traveled and three-fifths of the 42,000 fatal crashes each year occur on rural roads.

  • Crash victims are five to seven times more likely to die if arrival to a hospital exceeds 30 minutes. The time between a crash and arrival at a hospital averages 34 minutes in urban areas and 52 minutes in rural areas.

Read the list of all states' statistics here.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Hurt

Johnny Cash


Nine Inch Nails


8 Things

I was conditionally - and by fiat - tagged for this by Belladonna, and do henceforth and therefore offer up 8 Things that I learned from snippets of song lyrics:

1) What It's All About

The Hokey Pokey - Larry LaPrise, Charles Macak and Tafit Baker

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

2) How It Feels

Everything In It's Right Place - Radiohead

Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon

3) The Son Of Man

Jesus - Cat Stevens

They used to call him Jesus
Long time ago
They're still calling him Jesus
Don't you know
They crossed the wood and hanged him
A long time ago
They still misunderstand him
Those who don't know
And in the evening his love will lead the blind
In every secret corner there in your mind

4) Desire

Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics

Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

5) America

Sigmund Freud's Impersonation Of Albert Einstein In America - Randy Newman

Americans dream of gypsies, I have found
Gypsy knives and gypsy thighs
That pound and pound and pound and pound
And African appendages that almost reach the ground
And little boys playing baseball in the rain

6) School Days

The Happiest Days Of Our Lives - Pink Floyd

When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children any way they could
By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town it was well known
When they got home at night, their fat and
Psycopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives

7) How It Works

On The Radio - Regina Spektor

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some--
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

8) Astronomy And Telepathy

Can You Read My Mind? - The Killers

The stars are blazing
Like rebel diamonds
Cut out of the sun
Can you read my mind?


I knew it. From Yahoo News:

California has worst U.S. traffic: study

By Joan Gralla Thu Jun 28, 12:25 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Californians idle in the nation's worst traffic jams on interstates surrounding major metropolitan areas but they are far from alone -- 52 percent of these urban stretches of highways are congested, according to a new study released on Thursday.

Drivers in four lucky states enjoyed zero congestion: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

But one Midwestern state, Minnesota, and two East Coast states nearly matched California's sorry showing.

Some 83.33 percent of California's urban interstates are overcrowded, followed by Minnesota at 77.78 percent and New Jersey at 73.35 percent, according to the 16th annual survey by The Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonpartisan group.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Autism News

From Science Daily:

Boys With Autism, Related Disorders, Have High Levels Of Growth Hormones

June 27, 2007

Science Daily — Boys with autism and autism spectrum disorder had higher levels of hormones involved with growth in comparison to boys who do not have autism, reported researchers from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine.

The researchers believe that the higher hormone levels might explain the greater head circumference seen in many children with autism. Earlier studies had reported that many children with autism have very rapid head growth in early life, leading to a proportionately larger head circumference than children who do not have autism.

The researchers found that, in addition to a larger head circumference, the boys with autism and autism spectrum disorder who took part in the current study were heavier than boys without these conditions.

Read the rest here.

Mummy Dearest

From Wired News:

Egypt Says Mummy Is Queen Hatshepsut

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A tooth found in a relic box led archaeologists to identify a long-overlooked mummy as that of Egypt's most powerful female pharoah - possibly the most significant find since King Tutankhamun's tomb was uncovered in 1922, experts said Wednesday.

The mummy was identified as Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C., dressing like a man and wearing a fake beard. A monumental builder, she wielded more power than two other famous ancient Egyptian women, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who unlike her never took the title of pharaoh.

But when she died, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy. In 1903, a mummy was found lying on the ground next to the sarcophagus holding the mummy of the queen's wet nurse in a tomb in the Valley of Kings burial ground in Luxor. For decades, that mummy was left unidentified and remained in the tomb because it was thought to be insignificant.

Read the rest here.

Drinksh Fer Alll Mmy Frndsh

From Chad The Elder:

The next official gathering of the Twin Cities chapter of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers is scheduled for Saturday July 14th at Keegan's Irish Pub in Minneapolis. The fun starts at 6pm and ends when Mitch Berg and David Strom start a barroom brawl over who really is Minnesota's biggest feminist.

Hope you all can make it. Feel free to pass this invite on to others who may be interested.

Mrs. Muzzy is going to be working that weekend, so I don't know how early I could put in an appearance, but I'm going to try to go. So, Mondo and Sola: see you there.

Microsoft Surface

From Wikipedia:

Microsoft Surface (Codename: Milan), is a forthcoming product from Microsoft which is developed as a software and hardware combination technology that allows a user, or multiple users, to manipulate digital content by the use of natural motions, hand gestures, or physical objects. It was announced on May 30, 2007 at D5, and is expected to be released by commercial partners in November 2007. Initial customers will be in the hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, retail, and public entertainment venues.

Read the rest here.


Microsoft product info:

Popular Mechanics product review:

Product parody:

Mute Point

I'd been meaning to write something here over the past few days, so I felt especially sheepish when I was chided by a friend on Sunday for neglecting this space. More to the point, I was taken to task for merely posting video links instead of actually writing here. Thing is, I tend to agree with him: it *is* rather shabby to just post YouTube links. It's odd, though, because I rather enjoy expressing myself thru writing, but sometimes for days or even week at a time I sit down to write a blog post and feel as if I were going mute, as it were, like I have nothing to say. I don't entirely understand it myself, but the longer it goes on, the harder it seems for me to write anything at all. Anyway, I think the key is to just write and write and write

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Videos

Some Little Kid


'Get This Party Started'


'The Middle' (live)
Jimmy Eat World


'Read My Mind' (live)
The Killers




Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

This And That

Sheesh, it's been a while since I've written here, and I keep thinking I should try to do better by my half-dozen loyal readers. It isn't that I don't have anything in my brain that wants to find expression here, it's that I often don't sit down to write until late in the evening, by which time I'm just zonked, and unable to think, let alone type. I used to write all the time, thrilled that there were those who'd read. Of course that was in the heady early days of blogging, when nearly everyone with access to the interweb fancied himself a scribbler. I don't get the impression that there are fewer blogs our there these days, but I've read recently that there are millions of blogs lying fallow, with having been updated in weeks, months and sometimes, years. Okay, I'll try to do better.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Music Monday - Happy Birthday Sir Paul

'Dance Tonight'
Paul McCartney


'Sgt Pepper'
Paul McCartney with U2


Superbowl Halftime Part 1
Paul McCartney


Superbowl Halftime Part
Paul McCartney


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pater Nostrum

It's Father's Day in these parts. a day devoted to honoring Dads. It's quite obviously not as large a holiday as Mather's Day, but it's become a big deal, with Dad's receiving gift cards, ties, golf shirts and the like.

For my FIL and me it meant being taken out to lunch today at the Aussie-themed Outback Steakhouse, where I had deep-fried shrimp, and something called Aussie Chips, which are basically french fries, and cola. I also received five tee-shirts, one of which was hand-colored by my daughters, and a framed photograph of each of them. And afterwards we all gathered at my MIL and FIL's house for a dessert in homor of Mrs. Muzzy's birthday, which was this past week.

It's odd: Before my kids were born I was not keen on being a dad. Indeed, I rather dreaded it. I couldn't see that any real benefit would accrue to me for having kids, and in fact, all I could see were downsides and detriments. What's more, I actually thought I'd be a lousy parent because I imagined I'd be lacking in parenting skills *and* because figured my distaste for daddy-ing would make my children dislike me, too. Strange then that I'm now convinced that being Daddy is one of the few things that I actually do rather well. And, even more importantly, my girls seem to think I'm okay at it, too. Of course, it remains to be seen if they will still feel that way after they are grown, and I am gone.

Anyway, one of my favorite singer/songwriters wrote the following song lyric around the time his daughter was born. I totally get the sentiment, and I leave you, gentle reader, with it:

You Ruined Everything

I was fine
I pulled myself together
Just in time
To throw myself away
Once my perfect world was gone I knew
You ruined everything
In the nicest way

You should know
How great things were before you
Even so
They’re better still today
I can’t think of who I was before
You ruined everything
In the nicest way

Bumps in the road remind us
The worst of the best behind us
Only good things will find us
Me and you

Days will be clear and sunny
We’re gonna need more money
Baby you know it’s funny
All those stories

Coming true
Despite my better efforts
It’s all for you
And that’s the way we’ll stay
I’ll be with you till the day you leave
You ruined everything
In the nicest way

Happy Pater's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Frente / Splendid Edition

'Bizarre Love Triangle'


'Ordinary Angels'


'Labour Of Love'


'No Time'


'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk'


Monday, June 11, 2007

Music Monday - Sisters Edition

'In A Lifetime'


'I Will Find You'


'Only If'


'Storms In Africa'


Sunday, June 10, 2007

50 Is The New 30

This past Monday - June 4th - was my 50th birthday. I didn't write of it here because, quite frankly, it kind of bummed me out, but mostly because it was just another day. I got up, had breakfast and went to work. I finally had a party today with family and a handful of friends, but other than ice cream cupcakes with my wife and kids, there was no celebration on my actual birthday, at home or at work. To be fair, there was nothing done at work because several co-workers were not in the office that day, but they are going to be taking me out to lunch later in the month. And since my MIL and FIL were out of the country until this weekend, we waited until this afternoon (Sunday) to have family party so they could attend. In attendance: me, Mrs. Muzzy and my two daughters, my two brothers and their families, my MIL and FIL and SIL and her son, and my two friends TH and GS, and GS's wife. We had pop, candy, chips and dip, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. There were presents, of course: a tee-shirt with '50 is the new 30' written on it, a bottle of wine, some gift cards to B&N, a DVD, power supply for my computer, keyboard for my Palmpilot, a book/book on CD, and recording unit that hasn't actually been released yet. Anyway, I had intended tonight to write some kind of treatise on aging, some grand tract full of witty aphorisms, but as the day winds down, I'm just tired and sleepy. I guess the one good thing about getting older: it beats the alternative. Peace.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Ivy Edition

'Temptation Of Sonata'




'The Things Tonight'


History You Can Use

From ACS Publications:

Modern Drug Discovery

November/December 1998
Modern Drug Discovery, 1998, 1 (2), 31, 33-34, 36, 38.
Copyright © 1998 by the American Chemical Society

On its way to becoming Viagra, UK-92,480 changed from a drug for hypertension to a drug for angina, and then changed again when a 10-day toleration study in Wales turned up an unusual side effect.

Read the whole thing here.


From Science Daily:

Eat To Live: Eat more, exercise, lose more


WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- "Exercising makes me fat" may sound a crazy justification for not keeping fit. But it's not such a rare declaration as you might imagine.

People who exercise often find themselves hungry after a workout, and then they eat more than they would have done had they not exercised. So they believe that workouts make you put on weight.

However, this theory has just been proved incorrect.

A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology by scientists from Britain's Surrey University and Imperial College London has found that even if active people eat larger meals after a fitness regime than people who have not worked out, they burn off more calories exercising than they then consume through food.

Read the rest here.

Found On The Web

Eve Online

From Wikipedia:

EVE Online is a player-driven persistent-world massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) in a science fiction space setting in which players pilot a wide array of customizable ships. It is developed by the Icelandic company CCP Games; it was published from May to December 2003 by Simon & Schuster Interactive,[1] after which CCP purchased the rights back and began to self-publish via a digital distribution scheme.[2]

Read the rest here.


From Virgin Mobile Australia:

Dialling under the influence: Yep you do!
You spoke we listened, check out the results:

Thanks so much for taking part in our little survey about Dialling Under the Influence, we thought you might be interested in the results:

  • 95% of you Dial Under the Influence – that’s a heck of a lot!
  • Of these calls, a whopping 30% of you make calls to your exes, 19% to current partners and 36% to anyone and everyone.
  • We also found that 54% of you make 1 to 3 calls a night, 35% dial under the influence more than once a week and 37% more than once a month! Now that’s enough to cause some real damage!
  • And finally we found that 55% of you would reach for your phone to check who you dialled last night compared to 8% who would rather kill that hangover with a Panadol!

So what was all this in aid of? Well we’ve just launched a new service called Dialling Under the Influence. From today simply dial 333 plus the phone number you don’t want to call when drunk (e.g. 333 0431 123 456). Virgin Mobile will then stop all calls to that number (e.g. 0431 123 456) by blacklisting it until 6am the following morning. Please make sure you enter the number as it appears in your contacts book!

And at 25c a pop it’s a small cost for peace of mind! To undo the action in an emergency all you need to do is simply dial 333CLEAR (33325327)

Thanks for taking part! And remember don’t Dial Under the Influence!

More on Drunk Dialing here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Anxious About The News

From Science Daily:

Brain Anatomy Differences Found That Predispose Patients To Anxiety Disorders

May 11, 2007

Science Daily — A study undertaken by researchers of the Universitat Jaume I of Castell√≥n (UJI), the Universitat Aut√≤noma of Barcelona (UAB) and the company Eresa reveals the existence of a different anatomy in small areas of the brain which could help explain why one same stimulus triggers anxiety in some people and not in others.

According to the authors of this research work, which was recently published in the scientific journal NeuroImage, certain brains act via a mechanism which makes them more prone to suffer and not control anxiety than other brains when faced with identical situations. In patients with anxiety disorders, an excessive activation in the face of certain stimuli exists, which activates a disproportionate response to experiences subjectively understood to be tense, stressful or dangerous.

Their anxiety would be determined by their excessive activation of fear or their incapacity to fulfil the needs that they consider important. Therefore it would be difficult for them to react to a situation of tension or stress, and this situation would consequently trigger a feeling of frustration; thus the frequent relation of complaints of a depressive nature arises.

Read the rest here.

Hard To Believe

From PostStar:

Missing Conn. Girl Found in Hidden Room


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. - Police looking for clues in the yearlong disappearance of a 15-year-old girl said they found her Wednesday, pale but alive, locked in a hidden room in a home owned by an acquaintance of her parents.

Bloomfield police went to the home Wednesday in nearby West Hartford to serve search warrants for DNA and other evidence and found the girl locked inside a tiny room hidden underneath a staircase and blocked from view by a dresser.

Authorities did not identify the girl, but said she had sometimes run away from home before she vanished last June.

"She is a child from troubled circumstances and found what she believed to be a friend," Bloomfield Police Capt. Jeffrey Blatter said.

Police arrested Adam Gault, 41, a dog trainer from West Hartford, and 40-year-old Ann Murphy, described by police as Gault's common-law wife. Police said they also arrested a third woman who lived in the house, but no other details were available.

Read the rest here.

And The Walls Came Down

From TV Guide:

It's Official: Jericho Renewed!
by Randy Tepper/CBS

CBS' president of entertainment, Nina Tassler, just posted an open letter on confirming what I first reported yesterday: Those nutty Jericho fans brought the show back from the dead!

Read the letter here.

Big Medical News

From Telegraph UK:

Genes behind serious illnesses discovered

By Roger Highfield and Stephen Adams


A dramatic genetic breakthrough has paved the way for potential new treatments of seven common diseases that could help more than 20 million people.

The largest ever study of its kind has found 10 new genes linked to seven of the most common ailments: heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, bipolar disorder and Crohn’s disease.

Some 200 British scientists from 50 research groups collaborated to discover the genes after screening DNA from 17,000 people.

In two years, the £9 million investigation analysed 10 billion pieces of genetic information.

Together the seven diseases affect more than 20 million people across the UK, with coronary heart disease alone claiming the lives of 105,000 people every year, making it the country’s biggest killer. The study has identified, for the first time, some of the genes that trigger these diseases.

Read the rest here.

Made Up Meme III: Five Books, Ten Films, Twenty Songs

Yet Another Made Up Meme:

Five Books

01) - A Book That Was The First Novel You Ever Read By An African-American Author:

Native Son - Richard Wright

02) - A Book That Really Disturbed Your Young Mind:

Lord Of The Flies - William Golding

03) - A Book That You Loved As A Lad That Was, Even Then, Completely Politically Incorrect:

Bomba The Jungle Boy - Roy Rockwood

04) - A Book (series) From Which You Read A Chapter Aloud To Your Invalid Mother Every Time You Visited Her During Her 28 Months In The Nursing Home:
The Chronicles Of Narnia - C. S. Lewis

05) - A Book That Made You Think AND Laugh:

A Parliamont Of Whores - P. J. O'Rourke

Ten Films

01) - The First Film You Recall Ever Seeing In A Theater:

101 Dalmations

02) - The First Film You Ever Saw With A Date:

The Poseidon Adventure

03) - The first film adaptation of a Shakespeare play you ever saw:

Julius Caesar

04) - The Film Adaptation Of A Shakespeare Play That You Thought The Best Of All You've Ever Seen:

Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1990)

05) - A Film You Found Amazing That Most People You Know Were Repulsed By:

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

06) - A Film You Found Moronic That Most People You Know Loved:


07) - A Film You Thought Was A Perfect Feel-Good Movie:

Star Wars

08) - A Film That You Thought Was So Bad You Wish You'd Asked For Your Money Back From The Theater?

Can I Do It Till I Need Glasses?

09) - A Film That You Thought Was Bad That It Was Actually Entertaining:

Plan 9 From Outer Space

10) - A Film You Really Really Want To See But Haven't, Yet:

Casa de Areia

Twenty Songs

01) A Song That You Rocked Out To Three Times With Your Four Year Old Daughter This Past Weekend:

Birthday - The Beatles

02) - A Song That You Related To The First Time You Heard It:

It's Been A While - Staind

03) - A Song That You Think Is Heart-Breakingly Beautiful:

Samson - Regina Spektor

04) - A Song That Makes You Smile

The Cover Of The Rolling Stone - Doctor Hook

05) - A Song Will Always Remind You Of Driving Your First Car:

Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty

06) - A Song You Can Play On The Guitar That You Think Is Not Half-Bad:

May You Never - John Martyn

07) - A Song That Used To Make You Cry, Many Years Ago:

Pardon Me - Larry Norman

08) - A Song That Still Makes You Cry:

Letting Go - Suzy Bogguss

09) - A Song That Captures Exceedingly Well The Pain Of A Breakup:

Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

10) - A Song That Makes You Feel Hopeful:

Hanging By A Moment - Lifehouse

11) - A Song That Makes You Wanna Dance:

Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees

12) - A Song That Isn't Really That Religious But You Nonetheless Find Very Spiritual:

Show Me How To Live - Audioslave

13) - A Song That Reminds You - Once Again - How Pissed Off A Woman Scorned Can Be:

You Oughtta Know - Alanis Morissette

14) - A Song That Makes You Want To Shake It All About:

The Hokey Pokey - Larry LaPrise, Charles Macak and Tafit Baker

15) - A Song That You Love To Hear In Church:

Be Thou My Vision - Traditional Christian Hymn

16) - A Song That Is One Of The Greatest Angry Things You've Ever Heard:

Bodies - Drowning Pool

17) - A Song That You Think Is A Perfect Marriage Of Music And Poetry:

Ballade At Thirty Five - Carla Bruni

18) - A Song That's A Guity Pleasure Of Yours:

Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavigne

19) - A Song That People Are Usually Surprised To Know That You Like As Much As You Do:

Without Me - Eminem

20) - A Song That Is A Bit Cliche'd And Was Played To Death On The Radio, But Nonetheless Is About As Perfect A Slice Of Pop Rock As It Comes:

How You Remind Me - Nickelback

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Regina Spektor Edition


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Regina Spektor



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Regina Spektor


Regina Spektor - Samson

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Regina Spektor


On The Radio

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'On The Radio'
Regina Spektor


Five Fallacies Of Feedback

From InformIT:

Five Fallacies of Feedback

Date: May 25, 2007
By Drea Zigarmi.

If feedback is so important, why is it so difficult to give? Dr. Drea Zigarmi, co-author of Achieve Leadership Genius, shares the five most common feedback fallacies and offers insight on how to overcome them.

It has often been said that improvement is not possible without feedback. In fact, research on the subject is especially clear: Feedback can and does result in changing the receiver’s work-related behaviors. [1] Organizations are rapidly moving to data-driven statistical methods to determine the vital signs of organizational and individual effectiveness. [2] The use of formal feedback methods is increasingly more prevalent. Therefore, everyone in today’s organizations must be adept in giving and receiving feedback.

As prevalent as feedback has become these days, the "do’s and don’ts" of giving good feedback are not that well known. There are some common fallacies, or misleading beliefs, about feedback that often blunt the possible effects the feedback is intended to have. So before the discussion of these fallacies, consider a simple definition of feedback.

Feedback is generally defined as information about past behavior, given in the present, which may influence future behavior. [3] Notice that the term information is a broad concept. Information could derive from formal data-driven surveys or questionnaires, or it could be presented as an informal anecdotal event such as a simple conversation between two people about what could be done differently. Also notice that the definition implies that feedback may or may not influence future behavior; the ultimate choice of accepting or rejecting the feedback resides with the receiver. However, your consideration of the five fallacies discussed in this article can increase the probability of the effectiveness of your feedback.

Read the rest here.

Autism News

From Science Daily:

Study Finds No Link Between Autism And Thimerosal In Vaccines

May 16, 2007

Science Daily — The increase in the number of diagnosed cases of autism in recent years has sparked concern that environmental toxins may cause this complex disorder. However, a new University of Missouri-Columbia study concludes that exposure to Rh immune globulin preserved with mercury-containing thimerosal before birth was no higher for children with autism.

"This study adds to the evidence that there is no casual association between thimerosal and childhood autism," said Judith Miles, who is the William S. Thomson Endowed Chair of Autism and professor of pediatrics and pathology in the MU School of Medicine. "We conclude that there is no indication that pregnancies resulting in children with autism were more likely to be complicated by Rh immune globulin/thimerosal exposure.

Read the rest here.

Best US Cities For Married With Children

From Kiplinger:


On the first Saturday of each month, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is free for families. They come in droves to enjoy its contemporary-art collection, including Claes Oldenburg's upside-down bag of french fries, and to make soft sculpture, be puppeteers and watch animated short films. The Walker is just one way that families can tap into an urban lifestyle in a metro area that's clean, progressive, studded with architectural gems, and laced with lakes, rivers and parks that are an easy walk from almost anywhere. The Twin Cities population is generally healthy, diverse and well educated -- the classic ingredients for a creative class.

Over the past 30 years, the Twin Cities have attracted immigrants from Latin America and from as far away as Somalia, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Plus, Minnesota ranks first in the nation for overall health of its residents, and child care is excellent, thanks to high state standards for quality. Families take advantage of the University of Minnesota's Children's Hospital and the Mayo Clinic.

Read the rest here.

MySpace Outage Leaves Millions Friendless

From The Onion:

MySpace Outage Leaves Millions Friendless

May 30, 2007 | Issue 43•22

BEVERLY HILLS, CA—An estimated 150 million people continued to be without social lives Tuesday as a massive system failure at entered its third day.

MySpace users now find themselves completely alone in the world.

"The problem is taking longer than we anticipated, but rest assured we're working around the clock to get MySpace back online," said David Gundy, a spokesman for the social networking site. "We're hoping to have friendship restored to our users as soon as possible."

Read the rest here.

It Was Forty Years Ago Today

They taught the band to play