Archive for September 2009

 
 

the other moon shot

The base food distribution and market penetration map of McDonalds locations and statistical neighborhoods.

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dumping obstructionist jingo

John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, one of the largest electric utilities, and the third to quit the US Chamber of Commerce:

“The carbon-based free lunch is over. But while we can’t fix our climate problems for free, the price signal sent through a cap-and-trade system will drive low-carbon investments in the most inexpensive and efficient way possible.” read more

lead in hunters' brains

Dr. William Cornatzer, clinical professor of medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences:

X-rays reveal about 60 percent of venison contains lead.

Shot fragments.

The discovery prompted North Dakota to warn pregnant women and children 6 and under not to eat venison killed with ammunition containing lead.

“I knew good and well after seeing that image that I had been eating a lot of lead fragments over the years.”

eek! of the week department

Troubles from residing in space is one thing, muscle & bone loss for instance. But reproducing in space might trigger very odd babies

75% of the proteins from stem cells exposed to microgravity were not found in those grown under normal gravity.

“No one has really looked at the effect of microgravity at a cellular level and we think that is a huge gap.”

Australia Science link

mongering short list

“Medicare Scare-Mongering,” New York Times, 9/26/09

  • The New York Times decried and debunked Republican “scare-mongering” on what health insurance reform would mean for Medicare.

  • As the Times says, for Republicans to “posture as vigilant protectors of Medicare” reeks of “cynicism and hypocrisy,” considering that they have “in the past tried to pare back Medicare.”
    o As recently as this past April, Republicans in Congress voted overwhelmingly to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program that provides a fixed sum of money to buy private insurance.

  • With their recent scare tactics, the paper says, Republicans have been “obscuring and twisting the facts and spreading unwarranted fear.”
  • In fact, the Times points out, “the various reform bills now pending should actually make Medicare better for most beneficiaries — by enhancing their drug coverage, reducing the premiums they pay for drugs and medical care, eliminating co-payments for preventive services and helping keep Medicare solvent, among other benefits.”
  • President Obama believes Medicare is a sacred trust with America’s seniors. Reform protects Medicare. It doesn’t use dime of the Medicare trust fund to pay for reform and it strengthens the financial health of the program.

flipping infection

Thinking about vector.

The one variable that overwhelmingly predicted the presence of the germ was the presence of a cat. Cat owners were eight times more likely than others to have MRSA at home.

Only after we treated all three members of the family were we able to get rid of the infections.

“There are a number of papers coming out now showing that pets pick up MRSA from us and that they shed it back into the environment again. What’s happened for the first time that we’ve noticed is that you’re getting flip back and forth,” said Scott Shaw, head of the infection control committee at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

where does all this me?

The idea of mind and by extension of selfhood that I want to bring forth through the notion of extended self is that of a self that is located neither inside nor outside the brain/body, but is instead constantly enacted in-between brains, bodies and things and thus irreducible to any of these three elements taken in isolation.

Even though the self is by nature grounded and inextricably bound up with the body, it also escapes the natural confines of any single body or brain.

The extended self I am proposing here is not simply a self embodied; it is a self enacted through the act of embodying.

Lambros Malafouris of Cambridge presents “a view of selfhood as an extended and distributed phenomenon that is enacted across the skin barrier”.

Words like ‘me’ and ‘I’ neither fossilize nor do they leave any readily identifiable and universal material trace.

The existence of a transparent phenomenal inner ‘I’ causing the human hand to move and alter the world in full awareness is assumed before and behind even the earliest artefacts recovered in the archaeological record.

But when and how did humans develop the experience that they own their bodies and started to feel as the authors of their actions?

walking the watt

Chris Tobias:

Underlying the carbon-cutting question are: Where will the new energy industries be located? Who will be building the wind turbines, solar panels and highly efficient light emitting diodes? The countries that cut carbon emissions fastest will have a competitive advantage.

Stabilizing the earth’s climate is a complex undertaking and fraught with risk. If the United States leads — and does so boldly — I believe the world will follow.

think long about food

Gary Jones, psycho-signals from the muck:

Does it taste good and have a pleasing texture? How much does it cost? Is it readily available or must you jump through hoops to get it? The answer works both ways since preferences vary. Some people insist on paying large amounts for food. It’s a signaling mechanism to raise their social status and distinguish themselves from lesser humans. Some people may not have the money to buy status, but they have the energy to jump through hoops to get rare if not costly foods, and raise their status that way. Some base their status on “getting it bought right”. For them low cost may not be a necessity so much as a signaling method proving their astuteness and attention to opportunity.

I don’t judge. My beef is good and it’s produced in good ways. I’m satisfied with those measures of performance. But I’ll charge you however much you require. I’ll sell you fillets at $20 a pound if that’s what blows your skirt up. Happy to oblige. I’ll also sell them to you for $6 but make you wait and jump through some hoops if that’s what you seek. Same for unusual cuts for the foodie that can cook. What we rural folks call “boiling beef”, meaning that it’s tough but flavorful and so suitable only for soups and stock, also happens to be very nutritious. It’s either cheap peasant food or exotic functional food depending on what you want. As an expert of sorts it’s all of these things to me, so I can appreciate whatever perspective you hold.

When you think long about food it becomes clear that the whole idea of some umbrella label such as organic can’t possibly be of any real value. It’s either too general to be useful or too specific to be applicable. It’s the wrong question, and even if answered only gives you one of the many, many answers that you might need.

don't tell hollywood

The first of these monsters was a cloth monkey mother who, upon schedule or demand, would eject high-pressure compressed air. It would blow the [infant macaque’s] skin practically off its body. What did this baby monkey do? It simply clung tighter and tighter to the mother, because a frightened infant clings to its mother at all costs. We did not achieve any psychopathology.

However, we did not give up. We built another surrogate monster mother that would rock so violently that the baby’s head and teeth would rattle. All the baby did was cling tighter and tighter to the surrogate. The third monster we built had an embedded wire frame within its body which would spring forward and eject the infant from its ventral surface [i.e., its front]. The infant would subsequently pick itself off the floor, wait for the frame to return into the cloth body, and then again cling to the surrogate.

Finally we built our porcupine mother. On command, this mother would eject sharp brass spikes over all of the ventral surfaces of its body. Although the infants were distressed by these pointed rebuffs, they simply waited until the spikes receded and then returned and clung to the mother.

barely imagined beings

the majority

official photo of the G20 First Ladies, yo!
http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/hi_res/g20_flgroup_full_LJ-0470.JPG

epitaph for mass media

smashBrain 2.0 :

common vs knowledge

‘The news’ itself, as a unitary entity, is no longer something we can take for granted.

On the contrary: it is increasingly incoherent—’a mass of niches’.

The News?

The supermarket shelves have been rearranged. It happened one day without warning.

that'll do jes' fine

Life is just goin’ on no matter how we slice it up.
This Pittsburgh G20 pic is titled Berlusconi Can’t Help Himself.
Might also be expressing he so-o-o agrees with his new friends.

Berlusconi agrees with Obama

dried slice

penmanship:

…people who are writing lies press harder on the paper and produce taller letters than those who tell the truth.

how to talk to complete idiots

There are three basic ways to talk to complete idiots.

The first is to assail them with facts, truths, scientific data, the commonsensical obviousness of it all. You do this in the very reasonable expectation that it will nudge them away from the ledge of their more ridiculous and paranoid misconceptions because, well, they’re facts, after all, and who can dispute those?

Why, idiots can, that’s who.

Faced with this mountain of factual obviousness, the bewildered fundamentalist will merely leap back as if you just jabbed him with a flaming homosexual cattle prod, and then fall into a swoon about how neat it is that angels can fly.