Monday, June 28, 2010

Lesbian Youth Pill

Robb and I went over to Steven's to say our final goodbyes and because Robb had a present for him. We stayed long enough to meet his father and his nephew. His father is a truck driver who drives the big rigs, so I was pretty amazed to hear him say "girl", as in, "girl, you should have seen it". Also, he was very emotional; he cried when he thanked us for watching over his son. We didn't really but I guess that's just a technicality. His nephew is a thirteen year old cutie who is at least 6 feet tall. He kind of reminded me of one of my cousins in Illinois who was well over six feet and only fifteen.
At the library the other day, we ran into a 'girl' who is the Building Maintenance Manager. We've both known her a long time, of course, but I never realized she is a lesbian. It just never occurred to me. Robb apparently knew all along. Anyway, she was suddenly very friendly and we had quite a little chat. I always got along well with her, but we were never what one might call 'friends'. She was just someone to whom I spoke occasionally and saw in an official capacity once in a while. But if anyone had seen us the other day, they would have sworn we were all the very best of friends. She gave her email adddress to Robb and he sent an email. Evidently, we're all going to have dinner one night soon.
An Anonymous Person (AP) replied to my challenge to show me one place in the Bible in which it indicates the answer to prayer can be NO. AP presented three, but two of them weren't even in the ball park. However, the one AP did present that was kind of close, simply raised a couple more questions, because basically, it was taken out of context and really doesn't mention prayer as such. It was more or less about killing to get what you want and adultery. I'd hardly equate that with someone begging for the life of a child or world peace. But I refuse to get into an argument because I've learned over the years that you simply can't win an argument with a Christian. They always have their infallible comeback, "God works in mysterious ways and it's not for us to understand."
Here's a view I don't share, but find interesting, since religion has killed (and is killing) far more people than it ever saved. How our species owes its success to religion
The Youth Pill. "Then in 1988 a miracle happened -- the University of Colorado's Thomas Johnson reported that a gene mutation in nematodes could more than double their life spans. Five years later, Cynthia Kenyon at the University of California, San Francisco, nailed a similar worm "gerontogene" dubbed daf-2. These flabbergasting discoveries revealed that not everything about aging is intractable chaos -- worms, at least, apparently possessed gene-encoded modules poised to oppose the ravages of advancing age when activated by a single mutation. Optimists soon speculated that similar modules exist in mammals.
Blind mice see again. Researchers have restored sight to blind laboratory mice by using gene therapy. The new treatment, published online June 24 in Science, may one day allow some people with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable genetic eye disease, to read, drive and navigate a room.
Brain origins of 'blindsight' revealed. Some blind people have the remarkable ability to navigate physical obstacles without consciously perceiving them (see video, above). It now looks like they have their lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) - part of the thalamus in the middle of the brain - to thank for this "blindsight".
Red Sea Oil Spill May Have Cairo Reduce Offshore Drills. As oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, a leak into the Red Sea is causing the Egyptian government to reconsider the number of rigs it operates in sensitive waters.
June 23, 1912: Computer Pioneer Alan Turing Born. 1912: Alan Turing, who will go on to become one of the 20th century’s greatest mathematicians, computer scientists and philosophers, is born. Turing is probably best known to Wired readers as the inventor of the “Turing test,” a way of measuring a computer’s ability to simulate intelligent human conversation. But he’s more significant as one of the most influential computer-science pioneers of the 20th century, the man who invented and formally described the concept of a universal computing device, now known as a Turing machine.
Google Voice Now Available (provided you have a US phone number).
Memories made of light. Researchers have coaxed laboratory crystals to capture and release information carried within a light pulse at the highest efficiency yet. The work, reported in the June 24 issue of Nature, could one day lead to new types of secure communications that take advantage of the weird properties of the quantum world.
Vatican cardinal faces corruption inquiry over Rome property deals. A senior Vatican cardinal is under investigation for corruption, dragging the Catholic church into a public works scandal that has sent shockwaves through the Italian government.
Why is it so hard to find men who are caring, kind, and good looking? Because those men already have boyfriends.
What's the best form of birth control after 50? Nudity
Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. Bean = vegetable. Sugar is derived from either sugar cane or sugar BEETS. Both of them are plants in the vegetable category. Thus, chocolate is a vegetable.
To go one step further, chocolate candy bars also contain milk, which is dairy. So candy bars are a health food.
Chocolate-covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.
Remember: "STRESSED" spelled backward is "DESSERTS"
À la prochaine, mes amis

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Birthday

Saturday, Robb took me to Thai Spice where we had a fantastic dinner to commemorate my birthday. My birthday was really Thursday, but for reasons I no longer remember, we decided to go on Saturday. I don't really care that much about my birthday. To me, it's just another day and nothing special. The only one I thought would be special, the 21st, was so disappointing. I'm not sure what I expected to happen, but I had this thought in the back of my mind that it would be super magical. It wasn't.
And yet, the richest country in the world can't do it. A Dirt-Poor Nation, With a Health Plan.
More hope for genetic fix for HIV. Genetically modifying the stem cells of HIV patients may one day prove to be an effective, one-time therapy against the hard-to-kill virus, according to the results of a proof-of-principle trial published this week in Science Translational Medicine.
This is hilarious. If you've ever been to France, you'll be nodding your head in agreement. Should I Move to France? (28 Questions to Ask Yourself)
The Hidden Wealth of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church in Germany, already struggling to cope with the sex abuse scandal, has been hit by revelations of theft, opaque accounting and extravagance. While the grassroots faithful are being forced to make cutbacks, some bishops enjoy the trappings of the church's considerable hidden wealth.
Barcelona bans burkas in public buildings. Barcelona has become the first big city in Spain to forbid full face veils in public buildings such as markets and libraries.
What's wrong with the sun? Sunspots come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to fade away again after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.
Six new planets discovered. An international team, including Oxford University scientists, has discovered six diverse new planets, from 'shrunken-Saturns' to 'bloated hot Jupiters', as well a rare brown dwarf with 60 times the mass of Jupiter.
Don't miss the Mondrian-inspired cake *interior* at Cake Wrecks; it'll blow your mind! Scroll down, it's about the fifth or sixth cake.
A lawyer, a salesman and a banker had gathered by a coffin containing the body of an old friend.
In grief, one of the three said, "In our family, we have a custom of giving the dead some money, so they'll have something to spend in heaven."
They all agreed that the custom was quite appropriate.
The salesman dropped a hundred dollar bill into the casket, and the banker did the same.
The lawyer took out the two bills and wrote a check for $300.
À la prochaine, mes amis

Monday, June 14, 2010

BP Boogie

I recently read the blog of a young friend who is battling cancer, and it got me to thinking about two of my favorite rant subjects: The Secret and Christianity.
If you're not familiar with it, The Secret is a new 'philosophy' that postulates that things happen to us because that's what we want to happen and all we have to do is think about what we really want in order for the "Universe" to supply it. A lot of "Secret" gurus have sprung up who are perfectly willing to explain why it isn't working for you and how you can make it work. Of course, they won't just give you this information but they'll be happy to SELL it to you. To the people who believe this crap, I many infants do you know who lay around dreaming of having some deadly disease that's going to kill them before they even reach their teen years?
I have multiple problems with Christianity, but I think my all-time favorite is when someone prays for something and the prayer isn't answered. The Christians explain this by saying "the prayer was answered but the answer was No". Okay, Christians, here's the challenge; show me even one line in any Bible where it says the answer to a prayer can be No. Just one. Here, I'll even give you a place to start: St John, Chapter 14, Verse 14 "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." Please note that it does not state "I will do it if the mood strikes me". And yes, I know there have been studies that conclude that prayer does work. But those studies are misleading because what they really show is that sometimes, if someone, or some group, believes in something strongly enough, it can happen. Which is a testament to the psychology and power of the human mind, not religion or prayer.
Something else I've been wondering about; all the advertisements on websites. Do the advertisers really believe that we pay attention to this crap? Do they think we're going to be encouraged to buy their product simply because they're annoying the hell out of us? It seems to me in this time of economic bust, that they would be looking for ways to save money, not ways to waste it. Few things annoy me more than clicking on a website and having to click off, or wait through a stupid 'commercial'. It is the very reason I stopped going to movie theaters. I will not pay to see a f**king commercial. I think someone needs to invent a new internet.
Saturday afternoon, Robb and I went to the farewell party of our friend Steven. We had planned to stay only two or three hours but didn't leave until almost midnight. Steven works for the county library system which has screwed him around. After fighting many illnesses and loss of class time, he finally managed to get his Masters in Library Science and became a Librarian I. Normally, that pays rather well, but the county cut his hours to 19 per week, which is the main reason he's leaving. He is returning to Alabama where he got a full-time job as a Librarian, and he can live with his parents until he puts together enough to get his own place.
Scientists challenge BP containment claims. Some scientists are taking issue with BP's statement that a containment cap placed over a gushing well could be capturing "the vast majority" of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Lloyd's: ditch oil, invest in renewable energy. The current generation of business leaders need to rethink their approach to energy risks or be left behind as energy becomes less reliable and more expensive... The environmental and economic cost of our reliance on fossil fuels is too high. We need a long-term plan to reduce consumption and diversify our energy resources.
Shock and Age. The accumulation of misfolded protein marks the accrual of years as the body ages. Could heat shock proteins be used to reduce the effects of aging and diminish the risk of disease by untangling improperly folded proteins?
Paper trail: Inside the stem cell wars. Some stem cell biologists are crying foul, however. Last year, 14 researchers in this notoriously competitive field wrote to leading journals complaining of "unreasonable or obstructive reviews". The result, they claimed, is that "publication of truly original findings may be delayed or rejected".
Foxconn gives workers second pay rise. An electronics company hit by a string of suicides has raised wages in China - for the second time in less than a week.
Get a Flu Shot Without Any Needles. Biosolutions has created a device that with the help of lasers, makes tiny holes in your skin to let the medicine in and keep the pain of getting shots out. The Painless Laser Epideral System (PLEASE) boasts that it can be a great advance for diabetic patients and for wanting-to-be mothers who have to go through a series of painful shots. With this, you can even do it in the comfort of your own home and avoid the doctor all together.
A couple of redneck hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other redneck starts to panic, then whips out his cell phone and calls 911.
He frantically blurts out to the operator, "O my gawd! Help! My friend just died. He's Dead! What can I do?"
The operator, trying to calm him says, "Take it easy. I can help. Just listen to me and follow my instructions. First, lets make sure he's dead."
There's a short pause, and then the operator hears a loud gun shot!!!
The redneck comes back on the line and says, "OK, now what?"
À la prochaine, mes amis

Monday, June 07, 2010


Robb and I met Gerti at the Sage in Hollywood for dinner the other night. I think I like the Hollywood Sage better than the Fort Lauderdale Sage. Although, having stated that, I must say the Gratinée de la Mer I had was not quite as good as it was in Fort Lauderdale. Robb and Gertie both had the Tuna Provençale and raved about it. Gerti is German. She works for the county library system which is how Robb met her. She reminds me a lot of Geoff, in that she doesn't seem to like anybody, she doesn't like the US, she doesn't like the food, and neither she nor her husband like the medical care, but she resists going back to Germany with her husband George. In the meantime, husband George spends a small fortune flying back and forth to Germany to go to the doctor there. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get it.
Speaking of not getting it, another thing I don't understand is this; the Muslims claim to hate the Israelis, but when was the last time you heard of a suicide attack in Israel? I wonder if this Gaza thing will propel them into some kind of retaliation. And don't you admire Helen Thomas? I think her colleagues should be begging her to remain in the press corps.
Eat less, live longer? In Greek mythology, the tale of the Trojan prince Tithonus is a tragic one. His lover, the goddess Eos, asks Zeus to grant him eternal life, but forgets to specify eternal youth. Time passes, and while the goddess of dawn stays young and beautiful, Tithonus degenerates into bedridden senility. Eventually Eos shuts him in a chamber of her celestial palace, where his feeble voice can be heard begging for death. Dreams of eternal youth feature in many cultures throughout history, but it was only in the 20th century that research into longevity really began. Much about ageing is still mysterious - we don't even know the underlying reasons why we journey into old age. There are many lines of enquiry into how to live longer, though, with one of the most intriguing being calorie restriction: in effect, going on a lifelong diet.
Hubble identifies Jupiter's attacker. The object that smacked into Jupiter in 2009, leaving a dark bruise, was probably an asteroid, according to a new study based on ultraviolet Hubble Space Telescope images.
Out of the shadows: our unknown immune system. Deliberate infection with a blood-sucking worm seems an odd way to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Yet more surprising is what this experiment may tell us about a "shadow" branch of our immune system. Completely unknown until recently, this is pointing to new ways of treating a host of complex diseases.
Physicists keep trying to explain why time flows one way. In a famous passage from his 1938 book The Realm of Truth, the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana compared time to a flame running along a fuse. The flame’s position marked the present moment, speeding forward but never backward as the fuse disappeared behind it. “The essence of nowness,” Santayana remarked, “runs like fire along the fuse of time.” Each spark along the fuse represents one of the “nows” that transform the future into the past and “combine perfectly to form the unchangeable truth of history.” It’s far from a perfect analogy. A flame flitting along a wire doesn’t fully capture the quirky features of time that perplex physicists pondering relativity and quantum mechanics, for example. But Santayana’s sparks do illustrate one of time’s most enduring and puzzling properties — its irreversibility. Read the complete article.
A woman is just getting out of the shower when the doorbell rings. Her husband, heading to the shower himself, asks her to see who's at the door, so she wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands her next-door neighbor, Rob. Before she can say a word, Rob says, "I'll give you $500 to drop that towel you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel. He looks for a few seconds, hands her $500, and leaves with a big smile on his face. Excited about her earnings, the woman puts the towel back on and runs upstairs. Her husband yells out from the shower, "Who was that?" "It was Rob from next door," she replies. "Great," the husband says. "Did he say anything about the $500 dollars he owes me?"
À la prochaine, mes amis