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    Monday, December 18, 2006

    I Will Never Get Money From The Tobacco Lobby

    EUGENE, Ore. — An Oregon State University study suggests that anti-smoking ads by the tobacco industry targeted at youths and their parents do not work and might actually encourage some teens to smoke.

    At best, the ads have no effect, said Brian Flay, a professor in Oregon State's department of public health in Corvallis, one of nine researchers who studied tobacco-industry ads. He said some ads, particularly those aimed at parents, may actually encourage smoking.

    Cigarette maker Philip Morris USA disputes the results. Philip Morris says not only has it spent $1 billion to develop and disseminate advertising aimed at deterring youth smoking but it also has research that shows the ads work. It says the ads are based on widely accepted research and don't carry hidden messages.

    That's the Seattle Times.  Via Fark, and oh, how Fark rocks.
    1.  Tell your children not to smoke.
    2.  Tell them more than once.
    3.  If you smoke, try like Hell to quit.  It will kill you.
    4.  If you don't smoke, don't give people Hell that do.  Believe me, they want to quit and can't.  Be encouraging if you can, though.


    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Finally, The Excuse We All Wanted

    "The real sweet spot, as you would expect there to be in any biologic system, is around an hour a day," said Dr. Mehmet Oz, a surgeon at Columbia University and co-author of "You: The Owner's Manual." "After that, it's hard to show a great benefit."

    There are no widely accepted recommendations for when adults should lay off exercising partly because health officials are worried about Americans being too sedentary, not too active. But it's also difficult to say with precision when healthy exercise becomes unhealthy among a population that includes extremes from triathletes to couch potatoes.

    "It's so idiosyncratic, that's the tough thing about it," said Carl Foster, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

    William Haskell, professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, says that in general the risk of harm begins to outweigh the benefits for adults after more than an hour a day. Above an hour, it's questionable whether you're going to get much more from it, he said.


    That makes sense in my worldview.  Moderation, baby.


    Friday, December 08, 2006

    So Close

    I'm sure that everyone knows about James Kim by now.  I've been reading his stuff off and on for years.  I say hero.  But I grate at just how close he was.

    CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — The San Francisco man who sought help for his stranded family and got lost in the snowy wilderness died of hypothermia near a fishing lodge stacked with food, authorities said.

    James Kim, 35, had no way of knowing about the Black Bar Lodge. His body was found in shallow water feeding Big Windy Creek, about a mile away from the lodge, where he could have found shelter, warmth and enough food for months, authorities said Thursday.

    Arrgh.  Arrgh.  Arrgh.  So close, yet so far away.  Rest in peace, Mr. Kim.  At least you went out on your feet, trying to save your family. 
    The world sighs, James dies, and that's about the extent of the poetry in it.


    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    And On The 8th Day God Said, "Don't Get Cocky"

    I would consider mass deaths of large primates to disease to be... disconcerting.
    In parts of the Republic of Congo in equatorial Africa, nearly all the gorillas are gone. Since 2001 gorilla and chimpanzee remains have showed up near and in the Lossi Sanctuary, close to the Gabon border. Just what was killing these great apes was unclear. Now researchers finger the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus as the culprit. "No doubt that's what killed them," says Peter Walsh, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He and his team estimate that the virus has killed 5,500 gorillas in the northwestern part of the country.

    Of four subtypes of the Ebola virus, Ebola Zaire is the nastiest, Walsh says. This virus has about an 80 percent mortality rate and infects primates, including humans. The disease begins with a headache and leads, in about a week, to hemorrhagic fever and organ failure.

    Oddly, I haven't heard about any Ebola outbreaks in human populations in a while.
    Knock on wood.
    Tom Cullen sure is tired... M-O-O-N, that spells tired.


    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    I Heard A Rumor

    SUVA, Fiji - The military ruler who led a coup against Fiji's elected government forcibly dissolved the South Pacific island's parliament Wednesday, installed a new prime minister and warned that he could use force against dissenters.
    Commodore Frank Bainimarama, leader of the country's fourth coup in 19 years, also dismissed the country's police chief, who had publicly opposed him.
    Armed troops entered Parliament and demanded senators end budget deliberations that had resumed despite the government's ouster. Bainimarama said he had formally dissolved the legislature.
    Every time I read a story about this tension filled situation, when I see the name "Bainimarama", I always think of a successful 1980's new wave girl band  and wonder, "What the hell are they doing in Fiji?"  Is that wrong?  Should I not be doing that?


    Save Interest Dough

    Financial weblog Sound Money Tips says that chances are you can lower your credit card interest rate with one simple phone call, especially if you've done your homework.
    Notice how I've been posting all of these things about credit, consumerism, and shopping lately?
    Why, you ask?
    'Tis the season.  Save some cash, and don't let the holidays bankrupt you this year.



    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Note To Self: Get Rich

    TWO per cent of adults command more than half of the world's wealth, while the bottom 50 per cent possesses just one per cent, according to a United Nations development institute study.

    While income is distributed unequally across the globe, the geographical spread of wealth - which includes property and financial assets - is even more skewed, the study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the UN University showed.

    "Wealth is heavily concentrated in North America, Europe and high-income Asia-Pacific countries. People in these countries collectively hold almost 90 per cent of total world wealth," the survey said.

    The Helsinki-based institute said this was the first global research on the topic, for which there are only limited data. The study is based on figures from 2000.

    Institute director Anthony Shorrocks said if the world's population was reduced to a group of 10 people, one person would hold $US99 and the remaining nine would share $1.

    That's completely obvious, and is either great or disgusting - I guess dependent on which country you're reading this in.
    But then again, if you're reading this at all you should count your blessings.


    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Life's Soundtrack

    An idea nabbed from the Assimilated Negro.  What's my life's soundtrack?
    Well, according to my trusty iPod, here it is.  I find it interesting.  You might as well.  Notice that I didn't cheat to make myself look better/cooler/hipper.
    Opening Credits: Award Tour - A Tribe Called Quest
    Waking Up: Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
    First Day at School: Y Control - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Falling In Love: Get It On - T.Rex
    Fight Song: Beastie Boys - Heart Attack Man
    Breaking Up: The Warmth - Incubus
    Prom: Love Me Two Times - Doors
    Life: Cupid - Jack Johnson
    Mental Breakdown: Kid Fears - Indigo Girls
    Driving: Torn and Tattered - Joss Stone
    Flashback: The Letter - Macy Gray
    Wedding: Hanging Around - Counting Crows
    Birth of Child: Silver Lining - David Gray
    Final Battle: More Than A Woman - Bee Gees
    Death Scene: You're So Rad - Bouncing Souls
    Funeral Song: Cornflake Girl - Tori Amos
    End Credit: Girl Afraid - The Smiths

    Candidate Handicapping

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is holding discussions about and interviewing potential campaign staff for a White House bid in 2008, sources say.
    That's on CNN.
    On that note, perhaps now is a good time to start handicapping the possible Democratic candidates.
    1.  Hillary Clinton.
    Pro - She's smart, rational, and has some measure of experience with the rigors of the White House.
    Con - See above.  Also, she's female, which, unfortunately, might be the kiss of death for her presidental bid in this country, much to our shame.  Also will nobilize Republicans like no other human being on the face of the planet.
    2.  Barack Obama.
    Pro - He's eloquent.  He's a fresh face.  He's the closest thing to a rock star that Democrats have.  Shockingly, he's also religious and pretty honest.
    Con - He's black.  That's a big problem, unfortunately, for the American people.
    3.  Tom Vilsack.
    Pro - He's a governor, which is usually a springboard to the White House.
    Con - He's an Iowa governor.  Very few people know who he is.
    4.  Evan Bayh.
    Pro - He's a Washington insider, and knows how the system works. 
    Con - See above.
    5.  Al Gore.
    Pro - Very intelligent.  Very qualified.
    Con - Ran once and lost.  That might be enough to kill any additional bid.
    All choices come with natural flaws.  Other people that should run but won't include:
    John Edwards
    Wesley Clark
    Brian Schweitzer
    My Dad
    So it goes.


    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Happy Birthday To Me

    Actually, I'm typically very low key about birthdays.
    But today is mine, and I'm definitely not low key.  Why?
    All of the nicotine is out of my system.  The last cigarette that I had was Tuesday, and that was only one.  Therefore, it's all gone.  All that's left is beating the habit.
    What method did I use?  Nothing.  Willpower.  Cold turkey.
    Personally, I endorse this method, because lozenges, patches, shots, gum.... they all have nicotine.  That's the part that you have to break.  Ever wonder why cigarette companies are quick to endorse these quitting methods?  Well, I'm thinking that it's no coincidence.
    That was my birthday present to myself, and my daughter, this week.  I've tried to do it before, but for some reason, I think that this time it will stick.
    I'll keep you updated.

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