23 November 2008
22 November 2008
21 November 2008
- Where was the meum and the tuum in our shakedown of Washington lobbyists? It took a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives 40 years--from 1954 to 1994--to get that corrupt and arrogant. And we managed it in just 12. (Who says Republicans don't have much on the ball?)
Our attitude toward immigration has been repulsive. Are we not pro-life? Are not immigrants alive? Unfortunately, no, a lot of them aren't after attempting to cross our borders. Conservative immigration policies are as stupid as conservative attitudes are gross. Fence the border and give a huge boost to the Mexican ladder industry. Put the National Guard on the Rio Grande and know that U.S. troops are standing between you and yard care. George W. Bush, at his most beneficent, said if illegal immigrants wanted citizenship they would have to do three things: Pay taxes, learn English, and work in a meaningful job. Bush doesn't meet two out of three of those qualifications.
20 November 2008
If this research continues to be successful, there may be a "muscle pill" in our future.
- Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System report that a daily single oral dose of an investigational drug, MK-677, increased muscle mass in the arms and legs of healthy older adults without serious side effects, suggesting that it may prove safe and effective in reducing age-related frailty. Published in the November 4, 2008 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, the study showed that levels of growth hormone (GH) and of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF- I) in seniors who took MK-677 increased to those found in healthy young adults. The drug restored 20 percent of muscle mass loss associated with normal aging.
19 November 2008
I know I'm, uh, you know, it just ain't right. Dang it. From Andy Borowitz:
In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.
Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.
But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.
According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.
"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."
The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate -- we get it, stop showing off."
The president-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska."Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.
18 November 2008
So, as an utterly random example, I go to the Oracle and type in "Rosemary Clooney," whom I cannot imagine being linked to Bacon in any immediate way. But it turns out she worked with Mark Jeffery Miller in the Radioland Murders (1994), who worked with Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence (2007). Eerie.
My mind is always making these movie connections, unconsciously, and when they bubble to the surface it tends to unnerve me. It's almost like insight into the foundational principles of cosmic sympathy, with the ley lines all leading Hollywood. For example, let's return to Rosemary Clooney, whom most would place far from the center of the cosmos. (Hold on, this gets a little complicated.)
Robert F. Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles in the Ambassador Hotel's Embassy Room ballroom. Present was Rosemary Clooney, a close friend of Bobby Kennedy. Clooney was the mother of actor Miguel Ferrar. Miguel Ferrar and actor Jacob Vargas starred together in Traffic (2000). Jacob Vargas also had a minor role in Bobby (2006), a movie about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. This relates Clooney and the almost unknown Mexican actor Vargas to each other in two different ways. Uncanny.
Back to Kevin Bacon's theory. (To give due credit, the general idea comes from the small world theory of Stanley Milgram, which more or less concluded that all people in the US are separated by only six degrees of removal.) Scientists are now discovering that there is some kind of "hidden metric space" beneath complex systems. Says the author of a recent article on this theory, "A vast majority of very different complex networks have similar shapes. They have similar shapes not just for fun, but perhaps because they all evolved toward structures and shapes that maximize efficiency according to their main common function, and that function is communication." In other words, most systems grow in such a way that they are in fact closer to other things in that system than they appear on the surface. Insight into this hidden space could revolutionize the internet, medicine, and many other areas of technology and science. See here.
17 November 2008
15 November 2008
14 November 2008
13 November 2008
I named this blog on a whim, not really thinking of Nirvana at the time, but I did like the overtones of melancholy, madness, and drug-induced psychosis. Not because I suffer from them, but because they are at the root of so much human creativity. I'm too sane and content to be strikingly creative, but one can always dream. And lithium can produce strange dreams. So, to suit the name, I can at least guarantee you strangeness.