Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fat and Fit?

Several studies from researchers at the Cooper Institute in Dallas have shown that fitness — determined by how a person performs on a treadmill — is a far better indicator of health than body mass index. In several studies, the researchers have shown that people who are fat but can still keep up on treadmill tests have much lower heart risk than people who are slim and unfit.

In December, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association looked at death rates among 2,600 adults 60 and older over 12 years. Notably, death rates among the overweight, those with a B.M.I. of 25 to 30, were slightly lower than in normal weight adults. Death rates were highest among those with a B.M.I. of 35 or more.

But the most striking finding was that fitness level, regardless of body mass index, was the strongest predictor of mortality risk. Those with the lowest level of fitness, as measured on treadmill tests, were four times as likely to die during the 12-year study than those with the highest level of fitness. Even those who had just a minimal level of fitness had half the risk of dying compared with those who were least fit.

During the test, the treadmill moved at a brisk walking pace as the grade increased each minute. In the study, it didn’t take much to qualify as fit. For men, it meant staying on the treadmill at least 8 minutes; for women, 5.5 minutes. The people who fell below those levels, whether fat or thin, were at highest risk.

The results were adjusted to control for age, smoking and underlying heart problems and still showed that fitness, not weight, was most important in predicting mortality risk.




Friday, August 01, 2008

Photo face recognition and tagging

Windows Live Photo Gallery will offer a new version of their software – one that will automatically identify faces! The faces in the photos will be able to be identified with tags, which will make the whole tagging process a lot easier to do – since the software will do it for you.



Awesome, bring it Micro$oft.






Monday, July 28, 2008

Hayak irrelevant?

It is also true that full-blown economic central planning has a lot less support among left-wing intellectuals today than fifty or sixty years ago. Nonetheless, Hayek's ideas are far more relevant to our time than Larner thinks.

I. The Persistence of Central Planning in Left-Wing Thought.

Although the modern mainstream left no longer favors central planning of the entire economy, many left-wingers do favor government control of large parts of the economic system. Most European leftists and a good many American ones favor government control of the health care industry, which constitutes some 10-15% of the economy in advanced industrialized society. Some forms of government planning are favored not only by left-wingers but also by many moderates and conservatives. For example, government owns and operates some 90% of the schools in Western Europe and the United States. However much we take public education for granted, it still represents the socialization of a vast swathe of the economy.

In addition, many mainstream liberals such as Cass Sunstein and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (as well as some conservatives and moderates) favor giving broad regulatory authority to "expert" government bureaucrats. This is not quite the same thing as government ownership of large enterprises. But it has important ideological affinities with it, to the extent that both policies rely on central planning by expert government bureaucrats. Hayek's arguments in "The Use of Knowledge in Society" are certainly relevant as potential critiques of these various forms of planning - both those that involve government ownership of large enterprises in health care and education and those that rely on regulations administered by expert bureaucrats. If Hayek is right, all these planners and experts don't know as much as they think they do, and certainly can't aggregate knowledge as effectively as the free market can.

Finally, it's worth noting that even full-blown socialism isn't as completely dead as Larner assumes. For details, see my September 2007 post on "Why the Debate Over Socialism Isn't Over."

Fundamentally, most liberals and leftists still look to the state to plan large portions of the economy and other aspects of our lives. So too do many conservatives and moderates, as witness the rise of "big government conservatism" under George W. Bush. Today's advocates of government planning are more modest in their ambitions than the mid-twentieth century socialists whom Hayek criticized. But they are not modest enough to make his arguments irrelevant.


Via Instapundit.

Friday, June 20, 2008

BO -- a study in cold-blooded hypocrisy

NYTimes’ David Brooks article:

“Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system.

But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.

And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding. Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood.”


Cool MIT Solar Energy Project


Man I want to build one of these things in my back yard. Then if my neighbors are too loud and annoying I could torch their home.

“Dude, I’m in ur base, burnin ur stuffz”

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

            “The most dramatic evidence, however, emerged last week with an announcement by Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that an immense slow-cycling movement of water in the Pacific, known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), had unexpectedly shifted into its cool phase, something which only happens every 30 years or so, ultimately affecting climate all over the globe.


Discussion of this on the invaluable Watts Up With That <>  website, run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts, shows how the alternations of the PDO between warm and cool coincided with each of the major temperature shifts of the 20th century - warming after 1905, cooling after 1946, warming again after 1977 - and how the new shift to a cool phase could have repercussions for decades to come.


It is notable that the German computer predictions published last week by Nature forecast a decade of cooling due to deep-ocean movements in the Atlantic, without taking account of how this may now be reinforced by a similar, even greater movement in the Pacific.


Mr Watts points out that the West coast of the USA might already be experiencing these effects in the recent freezing temperatures that have devastated orchards and vineyards in California, prompting an appeal for disaster relief for growers who fear they may have lost this year's crops.


Mr Watts's readers are amused by the explanation from one warmist apologist that "these natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities - or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it".


It is striking, in view of the colossal implications of the current response to "the greatest challenge confronting mankind" - as our politicians love to call it - how this hugely important debate is almost entirely overlooked by the media, and is instead conducted largely on the internet, through expert websites such as those run by Mr McIntyre and Mr Watts.


On one hand our politicians are committing us to spending unimaginable sums on wind farms, emissions trading schemes, absurdly ambitious biofuel targets, and every kind of tax and regulation designed to reduce our "carbon footprint" - all based on blindly accepting the predictions of computer models that the planet is overheating due to our output of greenhouse gases.


On the other hand, a growing number of scientists are producing ever more evidence to show how those computer models are based on wholly inadequate data and assumptions - as is being confirmed by the behaviour of nature itself (not least the continuing non-arrival of sunspot cycle 24).


The fact is that what has been happening to the world's climate in recent years, since global temperatures ceased to rise after 1998, was not predicted by any of those officially-sponsored models. The discrepancy between their predictions and observable data becomes more glaring with every month that passes.”


Link. <>


I don’t know why I even bother posting this stuff … its become so trivially obvious that global warming alarmism is totally unfounded and lacks any truly scientific basis.  Apparently there is a large time lag between this obviousness and the understanding of our society’s elites in politics and the media:  maybe in 5 or 6 years we’ll start hearing the media talking heads mentioning our current cooling phase and the substantial body of literature questioning the current greenhouse-warming-is-everything orthodoxy.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

In 2004 Americans who called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” were nearly twice as likely to tell pollsters they were “very happy” as those who considered themselves “liberal” or “very liberal” (44% versus 25%). One might think this was because liberals were made wretched by George Bush. But the data show that American conservatives have been consistently happier than liberals for at least 35 years.

This is not because they are richer; they are not. Mr Brooks thinks three factors are important. Conservatives are twice as likely as liberals to be married and twice as likely to attend church every week. Married, religious people are more likely than secular singles to be happy. They are also more likely to have children, which makes Mr Brooks confident that the next generation will be at least as happy as the current one.

When religious and political differences are combined, the results are striking. Secular liberals are as likely to say they are “not too happy” as to say they are very happy (22% to 22%). Religious conservatives are ten times more likely to report being very happy than not too happy (50% to 5%). Religious liberals are about as happy as secular conservatives.”



Friday, April 25, 2008

“Newt Gingrich seems to have signed on to "doing the right thing" by preserving the environment, but no actual program to do anything that would make a difference as opposed to making Al Gore richer.

At the moment the entire Global Warming crisis seems largely intended to keep Al Gore rich. It may or may not do something else. It does seem to be good at creating famine.

We can't use nuclear and now Obama says we can't use coal. We can't drill offshore. There is no proof that Global Warming is real, lots of proof that we don't know enough and before we spend a lot on a "remedy" we need to get more data on what the problem is; and accepting Pelosi's premise that we need to be involved in this "debate" on "what to do about Global Warming" is already to concede that which ought not be conceded.

Apparently Newt has stopped reading me. I'll have to see if I can fix that.

We should not be spending a nickel on doing something about Global Warming. We should be spending a good bit on gathering data about just what is happening to the climate; and until we are certain what the problem is, "doing something" is silly. ‘’


Amen Brotha.





Thursday, April 24, 2008

Make $100 Large on YouTube or metacafe



“Mr. Kedersha’s online library of 94 videos includes tips on how to chill a Coke in two minutes, simulate a gunshot wound and start up a PC quickly.

Many of the clips have been played hundreds of thousands of times, turning Mr. Kedersha into the top earner on Metacafe, a video-sharing Web site that pays the makers of popular videos. In little more than a year, the site has written him checks totaling $102,000.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obama on religion and guns

"The winner of the Democratic primary is always the candidate who does the best impersonation of an American.”
Say what you will, but Ann is sometimes very witty.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coca Cola -- a good hydration system after all

In his review, “Caffeine, Body Fluid-Electrolyte Balance, and Exercise Performance,” Lawrence E. Armstrong, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Connecticut disproves the notion that caffeinated beverages rob us of our precious fluids. By reviewing the scientific research on the subject, he concludes that although caffeine, like water, is a mild diuresis (it increases excretion of urine), moderate caffeine consumption does not produce a “fluid-electrolyte imbalance” that can affect health or exercise performance. Furthermore, we retain roughly the same amount of fluid after drinking a caffeinated beverage as we do after drinking water.

Even more encouraging for habitual coffee consumers is the finding that those with caffeine tolerance have reduced likelihood that a fluid electrolyte imbalance will occur. The more regular your caffeine habit, the more fluid your body is conditioned to retain.

Long Live Diet Vanilla Coke!



The Science of Lying and Cheating

For example, he gave people a test consisting of very easy math questions--but without giving them nearly enough time to finish. On average, people got four right out of 20. Then he had people take the test, score it themselves, shred the answer sheet and tell him how they did. Suddenly the average jumped to seven.

He repeated the experiment, paying people according to how many right answers they got. Same result. "Everybody cheated, but just a little." Even when there was no chance of getting caught--the evidence was shredded and participants paid themselves from a jar of money with over $100--nobody claimed 20 right answers. They just padded their results by a bit.

But then he tried another variation: Before doing the test, he asked one group of subjects to name 10 books they had read in high school. He asked another group to name as many of the Ten Commandments as they could remember. The group that listed the books followed the same pattern as the earlier test--they all cheated a little. But the group that named the commandments was different: Nobody cheated at all!

"Just the act of contemplating morality eliminated cheating," Ariely explains.


Which is what going to church or reading the bible regularly is really all about, right?



Monday, April 14, 2008

Record Breaking Low Temperatures here ...

The Florida Panhandle may experience record-breaking lows Monday night, as a strong high pressure area moves in from the plains, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile.

The overnight low record for Tuesday is 41 degrees.

“It’s going to be near records along the immediate coast,” said meteorologist Joe Maniscalco.

Monday is expected to be breezy, with temperatures dropping further in the evening. As the week continues, temperatures will continue to rise.

“The normal temperatures we would see in April over the Panhandle would be 76 for a high and 57 for a low,” he said.


Must be global warming.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Em's got a new lens

will favorite
Originally uploaded by willard_curtis
So Emily got a new camera lens for her birthday -- its a canon lens with a large aperture and fixed focal length (50mm i think). Anyway, it takes pretty good portraits ...

Friday, March 28, 2008

reminder to enter Ultimate Media Center Enthusiast Contest

Refill Brita pitchers by yourself

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My new Hero: Ezra Levant

Fight the powers that be!

Be sure to play the video and turn up your speakers so you can hear the dialog. It made me want to leap up and scream "Hallelujah!"