If Only Fredo Corleone Mixed Chocolate with his Coffee, He Could Have Been Smart, Not Like People SayPosted: March 22, 2017
Participants showed quicker response rates from those who drank cocoa and those with the caffeine-cocoa concoction also had higher accuracy than those with the cocoa drink.
Adding the sweet stuff to your coffee may help you concentrate better, a study from the University of Georgia has found.
The study compared the “mental energy” effects of four different hot beverages, one with cocoa, one with caffeine, one with a combination of the two and the final as a placebo.
Each day, the participants drank one of the four drinks and were asked to complete a “mental energy test.”
‘It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!’
Participants showed quicker response rates from those who drank cocoa and those with the caffeine-cocoa concoction also had higher accuracy than those with the cocoa drink.
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Contrary to popular myth, the environment over the past 200 years has become less polluted and toxic for humans.
In July 1924, Calvin Coolidge Jr., the Presdient’s 16-year-old son, died of an infection from a toe blister he got playing tennis on the White House lawn. The bacteria that took young Calvin’s life is staphylococcus aureus, known as “staph.” …
Were health-care products such as antibiotics, antibacterial ointments, and inexpensive clean and disposable bandages available 92 years ago, Calvin Coolidge Jr., would have escaped the bacterial pollution that killed him. Factories and vehicles used to produce and distribute these items use energy, and dispense waste. But capitalist production and consumption are not destroying a pristine Eden. Instead, capitalist production and consumption are replacing more immediate and more lethal forms of environmental pollution for less immediate and less lethal forms.
We denizens of modern market economies are today largely free not only of the filth of lethal staph infections, but also of other up-close and dangerous pollutants that our ancestors routinely endured, or died of. We sleep, in sturdy buildings, on beds that rest on hard floors beneath hard roofs. Our pre-industrial ancestors did not. Save for the tiny fraction of people in the nobility and clergy, nearly everyone slept in flimsy huts on dirt floors beneath thatched roofs. (Sometimes these dirt floors would be strewn with hay, thresh, to make them less unpleasant.)
Not only were thresh-strewn dirt floors obvious sources of regular up-close pollution of a sort that is unknown to a typical first-world person today, thatched roof themselves were ferments of filth. They kept out rain and cold less effectively than our modern dwellings. Worse, they were home to rats, mice, birds, spiders, hornets, and other animals, which would drop their own wastes onto the huts’ inhabitants. They were also highly flammable.
Of course these pre-industrial huts contained no running water or indoor plumbing. Daily bathing and other routines of personal hygiene that we moderns take for granted were largely unknown to most before the industrial revolution.
For heat in the winter families would bring farm animals into the huts, especially at night. To shield themselves from the droppings of these farm animals, each of these families would cut a trench in the floor across the width their hut. They’d sleep on the side of the trench opposite where the animals slept. Unfortunately, the trench did little to protect the family from whatever insects the animals brought into the huts with them. Read the rest of this entry »
Ohio doctors insert microchip into Ian Burkhart’s brain allowing him to move hand for first time since accident
For the Telegraph, Rosa Prince reports: A young American paralysed in a swimming accident has become the first patient to move his hand using the power of thought after doctors inserted a microchip into his brain.
“Physically, it was a foreign feeling. Emotionally it was definitely a sense of hope and excitement to know that it’s possible.”
Ian Burkhart was able to open and close his fist and even pick up a spoon during the first test of the chip, giving hope to millions of accident victims and stroke sufferers of a new bionic era of movement through thought.
Doctors at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center created the “Neurobridge” technology, whereby a microchip reads patients’ thoughts in order to replace signals no longer transmitted by their broken bodies, in conjunction with engineers from Battelle, a non-profit research centre.
While doctors have seen some success in recent years in getting stroke victims to manoeuvre robotic arms
using their thoughts, Mr Burkhart is the first to move his own body.
Paralysed from the chest down during a swimming accident four years ago, the 23-year underwent surgery in April to drill into his skull and implant a chip into his brain.
At just 0.15 inch wide, the chip has 96 electrodes which ‘read’ what he is thinking and is housed in a port inside his skull.
After weeks of practice sessions, when Mr Burkhart focused intently on wiggling his fingers while the chip responded by moving an animated hand on a computer screen, the first proper test took place last week. Read the rest of this entry »
Think a low fat diet is the key to health? Think again.
You can’t blame patients for being skeptical. After years of advocating low-fat diets, Dr. Oz recently declared that eating saturated fat might not actually be all that bad. And the month before that, the press hyped a new study that indicated there’s no good evidence that saturated fats cause heart disease. The American Heart Association, on the other hand, continues to promote low-fat diets. So what should physicians tell patients now?
Check out the book: The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet at Amazon.com
Most practicing doctors are poorly equipped to make sense of it all. (Even the doctors on the 2013 cholesterol guideline committee hired other people to read the literature for them.) What should doctors advise—stick with low fat or start cooking with lard?
In the new book, The Big Fat Surprise, science writer Nina Teicholz implies that we should do the latter. Like many people, Teicholz herself was once a disciple of low-fat diets—but after she took an assignment writing restaurant reviews, she found herself losing weight on a diet of heavy creams and fatty meats. Her curiosity was piqued, and she began a nearly decade-long critical review of the research on dietary fat. Her conclusion? Eating saturated fat can be the key to developing a healthy and lean body.
First purchase of legal marijuana in Colorado, 2014
Astronauts go for a walk
A young Afghan woman shows her face in public for the first time after 5 years of Taliban Sharia law, 2001.
[AUDIO] NSFW: MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Goes Cuckoo-Bananas on Caller, Drops F-Bomb Before Censors Catch ItPosted: April 7, 2014
“I hope that they didn’t go out — did we catch that one? I need some direction! Did we catch that one? Yes or no?”
The fiery caller accused Schultz of “fascism” and for “capitulating” to people who are benefiting from the worsening state of affairs, prompting Schultz to say he hoped that caller didn’t “have a stroke…”(read more)
From architales’ blog: The Society for Community Organization (SoCO) has released these overhead photos showing how people live in tiny, cramped Hong Kong apartments to highlight the ongoing housing problems in one of the richest cities in the world. Equal opportunity for participation and fair distribution of social resources is the foundation of human rights. Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles.
SoCO took shots of the homes to show just how tight these living quarters are. The aerial perspective is not just an artistic choice; The apartments were so small that they had to be photographed from the ceiling to capture them.
A travel and food blog, Bitten by the Wanderlust Bug, has a great little photo series featuring an unlikely theme for a Hong Kong restaurant. The Charlie Brown Cafe. View the whole series, it’s fun. Here’s some samples:
[VIDEO] Curiously, CNN Reporter Appears High on Weed During Segment on What? Where Were We? Oh yeah. MarijuanaPosted: January 15, 2014
Via Gawker, if you can’t watch the whole thing, skip to 4:00 to see why last night Anderson Cooper called this the greatest live hit the show’s ever done. My favorite moment is that big, bright, glassy-eyed smile at 5:15. (Second-favorite: The thoughtful explanation of the difference between sativa and indica.) The question here isn’t whether she’s high — the symptoms she describes are familiar even to non-users (losing her train of thought, finding things unusually funny, etc) — but whether she could have gotten this giggly from a contact high, i.e. from second-hand smoke without taking a hit herself. Answer: Yes, if she was around lots and lots of it. A single joint won’t do much to a bystander; 16 joints might. According to Kaye, she was riding around in the close confines of a limo all day with veteran potheads smoking blunts as big as cannons. Contact-high verdict: Plausible.
Dr. Helen Smith writes:
“I often get requests to see my video Six about a group of teenagers who killed a family in East Tennessee. I am no longer selling the documentary, but PJM has been kind enough to upload it to YouTube so that PJM readers can watch it if they wish. It is now almost a decade old but much of the complexity of mass murder still holds true today. I hope my readers find it of interest.”
With recent crimes and mass shootings, the national debate has shifted to questions of mental health, parenting, and the ability of the legal system to deal with troubled youths. These are all issues that PJ Media contributor Dr. Helen Smith addressed in an award-winning 2003 documentary. Her film “Six,” featured in programming on A&E and WeTV, tells the story of a group of Kentucky teens who murdered a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses despite clear warning signs. Though many want to blame violence on guns, the factors involving violence are much more complex than simply blaming a weapon. Watch the documentary, and see what happens when the system fails, as it all too often does.
haonowshaokao writes: I’ve been editing videos from a few years back, trying to get to grips with the massive backlog, and I thought I’d have a go at fixing something I made when I returned to China in 2009 – a timelapse video shot from the front of a tram across Hong Kong Island.
The original version was ok in terms of general concept, but the juddering effect of the tram’s movement made the thing difficult to watch. In order to fix it I spent an hour or so messing about with the deshaker plugin for Virtualdub and then another hour masking the resultant odd framing in Sony Vegas, brightening up the picture a little, making it look pleasantly odd.
The result is quite a bit better, I think, though it’s difficult to know if you’re improving things when you apply a series of minor changes one by one. Sometimes that just means you’re slowly ruining it.
…here’s the original, in case anyone wants to compare & contrast:
- “Rise Above” by Cyrcle in Hong Kong (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Let’s Meet In Hong Kong And Shenzhen (theloveoftech.wordpress.com)
- Why Hong Kong never sleeps (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Speaking Japanese in… Hong Kong? (erikabroad.com)
punditfromanotherplanet would like to take this opportunity to extend our warmest congratulations to fellow planet editor and co-founder Dr. Strangelove, who just completed the Hong Kong Bar exam. Well played, sir!
The amount of work and study required to pass this exam, I can only imagine, must be tremendous. It requires dedication, fortitude, and endurance. It’s not for the faint-of-heart. Even for high-achievers, it can take a toll.
We hope when he recovers he’ll file a report from our Hong Kong Bureau, or from his desk when he returns to the U.S.
If you scroll down (or click here) you’ll see a news item about Marijuana from CBS Seattle. We took the headline as is, without noticing the first word in the headline “Stake”, makes no sense. Yes, we missed it.
Here at punditfromanotherplanet, were pretty sure the CBS headline for this story was supposed to be ‘State“. Looks like someone on the night shift besides me let it slip right through. Catch it while it’s still there. I imagine it’ll be corrected by morning. In case it’s disappeared down the bunny hole, here’s a screen cap:
Keep it classy, Seattle!
Molly Ren writes: Let me be clear: this house wasn’t in any way meant to be spooky. Nor was it Halloween. Even worse, my host didn’t forewarn me that there might be anything even vaguely strange about his place. The only thing he did mention, while unzipping my skirt, was that he was planning to put in an outdoor jacuzzi, just to enhance the whole ’70s swinger vibe he was going for.
I was in the middle of a “fuck tour” of Manhattan: a long weekend that literally started with an orgy at my friend’s place and continued as I met up with other people. My friend, being a fixture in the NYC sex scene for years, had a very extensive contact list of people who were willing to help the new girl get as many notches on her bedpost as possible. After a sex-starved stint working as a temp in a stuffy office, I was ready to let loose. The boy who I later discovered had a haunted house, went by the self-appointed name “Byron,” and that was the only name I knew him by. He was tall and skinny with a British accent. That was enough for me to want to spend some more private time with him. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] UPDATED with English Subtitles: Hong Kong Alpha-Woman Scolding, Trash-Talkin’, and Bitch-Slapping her Beta-Boyfriend in PublicPosted: October 14, 2013
UPDATED 10/14/2013: Discovered at another blog, Basti in China, here’s an updated version of the video with English translation. The subtitles are imperfect, that’s part of the charm. Finally, a chance to hear their interaction, learn more what their little street spat is about. His crime? Seems he took another girl to his apartment, contrary to the expectations of the girlfriend, seen here delivering street justice, Hong Kong-style. For his alleged indiscretion, he takes a whipping, in front of strangers. Until the cops (not seen here) come and arrest his female abuser. As the French say….Cherchez la femme…
[VIDEO] UPDATED with English Subtitles: Hong Kong Alpha-Woman Scolding, Trash-Talkin’, and Bitch-Slapping her Beta-Boyfriend in PublicPosted: October 6, 2013
UPDATE 10/14/2013: Discovered at another blog, Basti in China, here’s an updated version of the video with English translation. Finally, a chance to hear their interaction, learn more what their little street spat is about. His crime? Seems he took another girl to his apartment, contrary to the expectations of the girlfriend, seen here delivering street justice, Hong Kong style. For his alleged indiscretion, he takes a whipping, in front of strangers. Until the cops (not seen here) come and arrest his female abuser. As the French say….Cherchez la femme.
James Griffiths reports: The above video has received over 200,000 views in the two days since it was uploaded. In the video, a Hong Kong woman repeatedly slaps her kneeling boyfriend on a public street.
The 20 year old woman was arrested for assaulting her 23 year old (hopefully now ex) boyfriend. The ugly altercation came about after the man allegedly cheated on the woman, Oriental Daily reports.
His partner repeatedly shouts about him for ‘failing to treat her as a girlfriend’ while passers-by spoke out to the man, stating that the she “isn’t worth it”, calling for him to break up with her and disapproving of the beating. A female bystander engaged saying “stand up, ditch this ugly girl, you deserve better“, telling the woman that, whatever happened, “doesn’t warrant you slapping your boyfriend in the middle of the street“.
“Hong Kong is one of the most amazing cities I had a chance to visit. It is bustling with life, exotic and extremely modern. This short movie by Louis Vuitton captured the city’s atmosphere so well that it took me back in time to days that I spent in Hong Kong.”
The Peking University Cancer Hospital has set off a scandal by seeking out the blood of virgin females.
A recruitment notice by the hospital to collect blood from healthy virgin volunteers was designed to obtain serum for research on Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Published on campus bulletin board systems at Peking University and Beijing Normal University, the notice said that “To promote the prevention of HPV infection, our group is working on studies of serum antibodies to HPV. We need 100 healthy female college students as blood donors.”
“Any applicant should meet the requirements of being a virgin, and aged between 18 and 24 years old,” the notice also said. Read the rest of this entry »
shonnydutta writes: Stockholm-based photographer Christian Aslund payed tribute to retro 2D video games using the streets of Hong Kong as a backdrop. The photos were taken as part of an ad campaign for shoe brand Jim Rickey utilizing models who would lay flat on the streets or sidewalks to create the unique perspective. I really LOVE the ‘Thinking out of the box’ photography, and it goes to show that photography can be more than ‘Just taking snaps’, it can be fun and exciting too!!!
Robert F. Kennedy Jr…. attorney, a radio host…environmental activist...also, as it happens, a full-blown anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist.
And I do mean full-blown.
“RFK Jr. has a long history of adhering to crackpot ideas about vaccines, mostly in the form of the now thoroughly disproven link to autism. He’s been hammering this issue for a decade now, and his claims appear to be no better and no more accurate now than they were when he first started making them.”
Contrary to reputation, the Kennedys aren’t particularly bright.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Anti-Vaxxer (yourcurrentaffairs.wordpress.com)
- Is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Anti-Science? (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Can antivaccinationists knock it off with the autism Holocaust analogies already? (RFK, Jr. edition) (scienceblogs.com)
- RFK Jr.: GOP To Blame For IRS Scandal (huffingtonpost.com)
ByRosa de Acosta
Hong Kong is famed for its skyline, but graphic artist and photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures a different vision of the city: looking up.
In his “Vertical Horizon” project, the 26-year-old Frenchman photographs the city’s vertical angles through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. The lens, he says, avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.
“Fisheye lenses bend the edges of the photos to make it curvy, while my lens doesn’t,” he said. “I think it fits better architectural shots and it’s more faithful to reality.”
Mr. Jacquet-Lagrèze arrived in Hong Kong in 2009 and bought his first single-lens reflex camera the following year. He started shooting vertical images in 2011, and in early 2012 decided to capture as much of the city as possible.
The project, now a book, comprises 80 photos taken between January and July of that year. A dozen of them are currently being displayed in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district as part of Le French May cultural festival.
Images were taken from the ground at eye level, a height that reinforces the viewer’s feeling of immersion and verticality. But, the photographer notes, looking up at the sky sometimes has its risks.
“Many times I have to stand in the middle of the road, but I’m cautious and haven’t suffered any accidents,” he said.
When he needs to hold his camera still, for instance for night shots, “I use what I find around me: a sign, a chair, a sidewalk fence,” he added. “I try to avoid using the tripod.”
As for what motivates him to take pictures?
“Hong Kong is an incredible source of inspiration to me,” he said, adding that photography is “the best way to share my feelings.”
“Vertical Horizon” is on view through June 24 at Hotel Panorama by Rhombus
via Scene Asia – WSJ.
A little-noticed part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act channels some $12.5 billion into a vaguely defined “Prevention and Public Health Fund” over the next decade–and some of that money is going for everything from massage therapists who offer “calming techniques,” to groups advocating higher state and local taxes on tobacco and soda, and stricter zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants.
The program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has raised alarms among congressional critics, who call it a “slush fund,” because the department can spend the money as it sees fit and without going through the congressional appropriations process. The sums involved are vast. By 2022, the department will be able to spend $2 billion per year at its sole discretion. In perpetuity.
What makes the Prevention and Public Health Fund controversial is its multibillion-dollar size, its unending nature (the fund never expires), and its vague spending mandate: any program designed “to improve health and help restrain the rate of, growth” of health-care costs. That can include anything from “pickleball” (a racquet sport) in Carteret County, N.C. to Zumba (a dance fitness program), kayaking and kickboxing in Waco, TX.
“It’s totally crazy to give the executive branch $2 billion a year ad infinitum to spend as they wish,” said budget expert Jim Capretta of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Congress has the power of the purse, the purpose of which is to insure that the Executive branch is using taxpayer resources as Congress specified.”
The concerns are as diverse as the critics. The HHS Inspector General, in a 2012 “alert,” was concerned that the payments to third-party groups came dangerously close to taxpayer-funded lobbying. While current law bars lobbying with federal money, Obama administration officials and Republican lawmakers differ on where lawful “education” ends and illicit “lobbying” begins. Nor have federal courts defined “lobbying” for the purposes of this fund. A health and Human Services (HHS) department spokesman denies that any laws were broken and the inspector general is continuing to investigate.
Republicans in both the House of Representatives and Senate have complained that much of the spending seems politically motivated and are alarmed that some of the federal money went to groups who described their own activities as contacting state, city and county lawmakers to urge higher taxes on high-calorie sodas and tobacco, or to call for bans on fast-food restaurants within 1,000-feet of a school, or total bans on smoking in outdoor venues, such as beaches or parks. In a May 9 letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, Rep. Fred Upton (R,Mich) wrote that HHS grants “appear to fund lobbying activities contrary to the laws, regulations, and guidance governing the use of federal funds.” His letter included the latest in a series of requests for more documents and complaints about responses to previous requests.
Some Democrats, including Obamacare champion Sen. Tom Harkin (D, Iowa), are extremely unhappy with another use of Prevention Fund money. The Obama Administration plans to divert $453.8 million this year from that fund to use for administrative and promotional efforts to enroll millions of people in health insurance exchanges that are said to be vital to Obamacare’s success. Harkin calls this shift, which has not been authorized by Congress, “an outrageous attack on an investment fund that is saving lives.”
This extraordinary fund transfer coincides with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s much-criticized solicitation of health industry officials for large “voluntary” corporate donations — on top of hefty tax increases — to help implement Obamacare. Together, they give the appearance of a desperate Administration effort to avoid the kind of “train wreck” that Senator Max Baucus (D, Montana), a principal architect of Obamacare, recently said he fears. That’s also one reason why Republicans who want to kill Obamacare refuse to provide additional funding for the exchanges…
Nearly six more hours to go before the first polls close. Lots of time to kill, lots of stress. This will help with both. Deep breaths.
Lost in the U.S. health care debate is whether the countrys citizens are hurting themselves with bad habits. The bottom line is mixed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans are imbibing alcohol and overeating more yet are smoking less.
Some of the behaviors have patterns; others do not. Obesity is heaviest in the Southeast. Smoking is concentrated there as well. Excess drinking is high in the Northeast.
Comparing 2010 and 1995 figures provides the greatest insight into trends. Heavy drinking has worsened in 47 states, and obesity has expanded in every state. Tobacco use has declined in all states except Oklahoma and West Virginia. The “good” habit, exercise, is up in many places—even in the Southeast, where it has lagged…
Full details for each state >> ScientificAmerican.com/oct2012/graphic-science
- Fat and getting fatter: U.S. obesity rates to soar by 2030 (news.yahoo.com)
- STUDY: Pennsylvania Is Fatter Than New Jersey, New York (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Vehicles getting lighter, Americans getting fatter (bizjournals.com)
- Fat and Getting Fatter: U.S. Obesity Rates to Soar by 2030 (nlm.nih.gov)