Tuesday 29 July 2008

Health 'facts' you only thought you knew


Health 'facts' you only thought you knew - International Herald Tribune- "In 45 years of writing about medicine and health, I've heard more than my share of myths and misinformation, from the merely nonsensical to the downright dangerous. And until I explored the evidence, I too occasionally fell for a 'fact' that turned out to be less than met the eye.

Lately a number of medical writers have taken on these commonplaces and old wives' tales..."

Mark Twain said, "Be careful when reading health books; you don't want to die of a misprint."

Saturday 26 July 2008

How Schools Kill Creativity

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity: "Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity."

Friday 25 July 2008

Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact

Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact - but it has been covered up for 60 years: in what seems like it should be front-page of a tabloid, Daily Mail Online writes "Aliens have contacted humans several times but governments have hidden the truth for 60 years, the sixth man to walk on the moon has claimed.

Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell, said he was aware of many UFO visits to Earth during his career with NASA but each one was covered up.

Dr Mitchell, 77, said during a radio interview that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as 'little people who look strange to us.'"
George: "That was a UFO beaming back at ya, the government knows all about them. Ever since they came here they have been working among us in vast quantities ever since."

Billy: "You know what I think? I think that's a crackpot idea! I mean if they're so smart, why don't they just reveal themselves to us and get it over with?"

George: "why don't they reveal themselves is because if they did it would cause wild scale panic."

Billy: "Hey, I saw something man, but I didn't see it working here, you know what I mean?"

George: "It would casue a devastating blow to our system if people found out about them just like that. The aliens are so evolved you know, they don't have monetary systems, they don't have any leaders because each man is a leader. The result of all this has been that the Venutians, he he he ..."

George: "It would cause a devastating blow to our antiquated systems."

Wyatt: "How your joint George?"

George: "Oh, it went out."

Thursday 17 July 2008

The Periodic Table of Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos - University of Nottingham: "Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century - but this modern version has a short video about each one."
ok, they got me. this is just too much fun, but I really must get to bed now. Just one more, maybe a metal ...

"But we're not finished yet! We've started updating all the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments."
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rdmpx39PRk&hl=en&fs=1]
oh goody ... and bloopers too ... and a bigger and better hydrogen bang ...

Monday 14 July 2008

Pull Your Pants Up

High Street Ken: Pull Your Pants Up:
"Copy and paste this code into your website. Copy and paste this code into your website. Copy and paste this code into your website. Copy and paste this code into ..."
Here it is, weird and absolute conclusive proof that neither you nor me knows squat about viral marketing, communications or even the Art of the English Language.

Sunday 13 July 2008

Second World War airmen part of study now in its 60th year

A picture of health:
"Murphy didn't realize it on the pivotal day of his RCAF medical, but the records of his height, weight, blood pressure and medical history -- as well as a then-innovative electrocardiogram -- would lead to his inclusion in a landmark medical study.

He was one of nearly 4,000 aircrew recruits who were tracked down after the war by Winnipeg's Dr. F.A.L. Mathewson and asked to have their military physicals become the foundation of the Manitoba Follow-up Study (MFUS).

The study, housed at the University of Manitoba's Bannatyne medical campus, is believed to be the world's longest-running continuous study of health and aging in a specific cohort."

That's Dad, second from the left. What I find really curious, however, is the way the article I had originally cited on Facebook was later politically corrected and then reposted under a different URL on the Winnipeg Free Press site, with the new Picture of Health headline (less factual, more fuzzy and emotional than "study in 60th year") and beyond that, notice how the content has been subtly slanted: In the new article each of the interviewed pilots makes this tagged on as if an afterthought:
With the study now looking at aging, the men are asked how they define successful aging. Analyzing their responses and mortality, Tate has statistically correlated a sense of contentment, feeling useful, staying physically active and having a positive outlook with a higher rate of survival.

Saturday 12 July 2008

Achieving Wellness, Whatever THAT Is

2 Books on Illness and Wellness Give Opposite Advice is a cautionary tale from the NYTimes on the art and science of living:
"Both are practicing physicians who have made second careers interpreting medical principles for a lay audience. Both consider themselves experts not only in illness but also in wellness, that shimmering grail of our time. Both have combed through all the latest studies and are now pleased to provide you, the average healthy adult, with guidelines for staying well.

Both muster science, statistics and a judicious smattering of personal experience to present, with no small fanfare, completely, utterly, diametrically opposite advice."

as the article says,
"You, reader, have undoubtedly already decided which author is a sage and which one a lunatic, which advice is sound, worthy of reading and re-reading, and which is simply misguided."
and therein a fundamental flaw with the whole field of applied learning, the invisibility of The Myth. Believing our myths, inescapably, we take one side or the other the same way we align with baseball teams, rock bands or brands of toothpaste.

Friday 11 July 2008

A Pair of Flying Slippers

Phil Patton reviews the Buckminster Fuller exhibition at the Whitney: "'An exhibition is a verb,' writes Whitney museum director Adam Weinberg bravely, in his introduction to the catalog of the museum's Buckminster Fuller show, Starting with the Universe.

He is echoing Fuller's own famous phrase 'I seem to be a verb.' But in fact, a museum show is necessarily more like an arrangement of nouns. And this one includes nouns like drawings, photographs, and models, with a few verbs of video of Fuller talking.

'His vision is difficult to approximate and present, much less encompass in an exhibition,'"
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwbcNmxxSMc&hl=en&fs=1]
When people think of Geodesic Homes, they think of the Whole-Earth-Catalog Natural-Spaces style hybrid old-tech with awkward wood-strut and pentagonal panels that leak, rot and escalate the construction costs, bad acoustics and frustrated angry contractors.

But this was not, by a long shot, what Bucky Fuller meant.

Far from it. Bucky meant for us to live in hard-science efficiently and cheaply engineered and prefabricated self-contained domicile LIVINGRY, air-delivered to any location you like, plugged into the ground like a tree (anchored by the septic, the floors suspended around the utilities mast like a hoop-dress) and the whole open-concept thing elegantly enclosed in a ventable Geodesic Greenhouse to conserve energy and 'valve' the outside elements, creating a human-friendly year-round semi-outdoor experience he called "Living in a Garden".

Wednesday 9 July 2008

The incredible Sargy Mann

The incredible Sargy Mann and the amazing powers of the brain: "It was really a dazzling festival of colour. There were exquisite juxtapositions – brilliant orange against light green, violent red against a nervous purple, a yellow against a calming blue. All the paintings were representations of his wife, Frances.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNteWnGXRaU&hl=en&fs=1]
What is amazing about all this is that these are the paintings of Sargy since he became completely blind."

Is That a Real Reality?


Is That a Real Reality, or Did You Make It Up Yourself?:
"'Any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited. So Damon tells me, and I can quite believe him; he says that when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.'-- Plato, Republic IV"
"The idea that music can transform reality predates by many millennia the category "music" as we know it. Before art was understood as a phenomenon in itself apart from its ritual application, what we now call music was indistinguishable from magic."
Udo Kasemets once said to me, "I arrange sounds to have an effect on an audience; why is what I do is called 'abstract' while what economists do is called 'reality'?

Monday 7 July 2008

Rotten Loves America

Johnny Rotten, the name synonymous with telling it like he sees it, is seeing America by bus and sharing his unique wisdom:

"Love your craft, love your family, love your friends, and the rest? 'Piss off'"

Saturday 5 July 2008

Statistics on Religion in America


Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: "An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid."
One of the great social triumphs of the 20th century is how Bohemian ethics have ubiquitously prevailed, and so deeply that tolerance and flexibility are now completely normal and commonplace; the new Pew study is further evidence.

Lest you believe the bile and rhetoric surrounding the upcoming US Elections or the non-sense non-science being foisted in the schools, the truth of the matter is a generally healthy human sense of awe and humility:

"Among those who are affiliated with a religious tradition, seven-in-ten say many religions can lead to eternal life. This view is shared by a majority of adherents in nearly all religious traditions, including more than half of members of evangelical Protestant churches"

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Yellow Science

Yellow Science: "Global warming may or may not be 'the greatest scam in history,' as it was recently called by John Coleman, a prominent meteorologist and the founder of the Weather Channel. Certainly, however, under the scientific method it does not rise to the level of an 'item of physical knowledge.'

Nevertheless, the acceptance of man-made global warming as scientific fact has become so prevalent that the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, recently declared: 'The debate is over. It's time to discuss solutions.' Leaving aside the question of the secretary-general's qualifications, that is certainly one of the most antiscientific statements ever made."
some yellow journalism on yellow science, and why? for those who may be curious, yellow?