Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laminate Flooring (How-To-'sday)

[photo of the full moon in March 2006 by fotoedge]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sea of Roses (Marino De Rosas)


Ninna Nanna:

Reina Eleonora:

How's that for a chill and uplifting start to a beautiful Sunday?

[photo credit: lavender.]

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Right" Thinking 11

[Episode 11 of 12, running here from January 16th through April 3rd.]

Don't forget to turn off everything between 8:30pm - 9:30pm tonight! Even your 'pooter! If nothing else, you will learn all the things in your home that suck electricity when you're not looking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Replace Subfloor (How-To-'sday)

(Please forgive the horrendous excuse for background music.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Duck Dodgers!!!

As promised:

[We'll pretend the TV series didn't happen...]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Right" Thinking 10

[Episode 10 of 12, running here on Saturdays from January 16th through April 3rd.]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Be a Neighbor, Wear a Cardigan Tomorrow

“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be
like if each of us offered as a matter of course, just
one kind word to another person. One kind word has
a wonderful way of turning into many.”
--Fred Rogers

In commemoration of Mister Rogers' birthday tomorrow, be sure to wear a cardigan or do something neighborly.

The full Archive of American Television interview from 1999 is available here. I won't embed the whole thing on RFORC, but will put in the first segment & my imaginary readers can decide for themselves whether there's time to listen to the rest.

Is Leamur a dork for considering television historically important? Discuss. ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to Make Home-Brew Beer

Ahh, the good ol' days...

My "retirement" fantasy is running a bookstore/cafe/bakery at the edge of some overpriced resort (like the bakery next to the Rio Mar, where we stopped every evening to get pastries for the next morning, except with a few books for sale or a little take-a-book, leave-a-book library). Adding a little brew-pub part is tempting, but probably too much work, alas. Maybe I can talk Cap'n Sam into taking it on. He always had way more success with the home-brew than me, anyway.

Oh, yeah: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vitamin D

Nutritional supplements are no substitute for sunshine, but in the absence of enough sunshine, the vitamin D supplements really aren't optional. Our daycare provider has some personal experience with the importance of Vitamin D supplementation, so she's especially aware of it, but this study really spells it out.

Vitamin D as effective as vaccine in preventing flu
Taking high doses of vitamin D3 supplements in winter helps reduce risk of acquiring seasonal flu in winter, a new Japanese trial demonstrated.

The trial results, reported in the March 10, 2010 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that children given vitamin D(3) supplement were 42 percent less likely to get infected with seasonal flu than those who were given a placebo.

The efficacy is remarkable as it may be comparable to that of flu vaccine, which is generally low because the virus used to construct the vaccine is likely different from the circulating one.

Deficiency of Vitamin D, which is synthesized after human skin is exposed to sunlight or UV rays, has been associated with increased risk of seasonal flu and swine flu as well. However, most of such studies were epidemiological or observational.

In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Dr. Mitsuyoshi Urashima and colleagues at Division of Molecular Epidemiology Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo Japan gave one group of schoolchildren 1,200 international units per day of vitamin D(3) and another group a placebo to see how vitamin D would prevent seasonal flu.

The primary outcome of the trial was the incidence of influenza A and diagnosis was established by testing a flu antigen in a nasopharyngeal swab specimen.

During the trial between Dec 2008 and March 2009, 18 of 167 (10.8%) children given vitamin D tested positive for flu infection compared to 31 of 167 (18.6) children in the placebo group. The relative risk is 0.58, meaning those taking vitamin D were at 42 percent reduced risk of seasonal flu.

The anti-flu effect was found much more significant among children who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements and who started nursery school after age 3. The reduction in the risk was 64 percent for both groups.

In a subgroup of children who were previously diagnosed with asthma, 2 children taking vitamin D supplements experienced asthma attacks while 12 children receiving placebo suffered asthma attacks - meaning that vitamin D cut the risk by 83 percent.

The researchers concluded that the results suggest that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter time may reduce the incidence of influenza A.

Dr. John Cannell, one of most knowledgeable vitamin D experts in the world and director of Vitamin D Council, a non-profit organization, and colleagues earlier published a heavy-weight review article in a scientific journal called Virology explaining that vitamin D is needed for the production of antibacterial peptides which help prevent flu.

In winter, people tend to stay indoors. Those who lack exposure to sunshine are prone to becoming vitamin D deficient. This is why people in winter are at higher risk of influenza including seasonal flu.

Dr. Cannell suggests adults can take 5,000 IU per day and try to maintain a blood level of 50 to 80 ng/mL (or 125 to 200 nm/L) year-round. One early study suggests that it is safe for schoolchildren to take 2,000 IU per day for a year without any noticeable side effects.

Vitamin D is found only in a few foods including eggs and fatty fish like salmon. Because of this, the vitamin D is fortified in some foods like milk, orange juice and cereals. But vitamin D levels in such foods are fairly low and you may have to drink literally 20 glasses of milk to get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are a good source of the nutrient even though sunshine is the best.

Dr. Cannell cautions that high intake of vitamin A can reduce the efficacy of vitamin D. Cod liver oil, high in vitamin A while relatively low in vitamin D, is not as good as it used to be as a vitamin D source.

A health observer suggests that regardless of your vaccination status, an adequate level of serum vitamin D should be maintained to prevent flu and many other serious diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
[it's interesting to click through and read the comments, too]

Now Leamur doesn't have to feel so lazy for her over-fondness for sitting or laying in the sun. I'm making and storing up Vitamin D. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bugs vs. Marvin

In honor of JMax's birthday, here are some Bugs Bunny gems featuring Marvin the Martian:

[We'll save Duck Dodgers for another day...]

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day

It's also Talk Like A Physicist Day, apparently.

Leamur will be partying with JMax & some of his other  eccentric friends.  Leamur is still stung from having been informed that she has been a staid eccentric all these years when she remarked that she has been staid long enough and that grandmotherhood is her opportunity to be eccentric.  Harrumph.  This was shortly after JMax agreed with The Fashion Consultant that cat's eye glasses are never a good idea.  Leamur's been told that khakis don't look good on anyone, and that one We believe, the evidence is abundant after all:

(Better makeup & hair, too.  Sigh.)

But Cat's Eye Glasses rule!!!!

[Disclaimer:  Leamur sto- er borrowed this random kid's pic off the internet. 
She's virtual.  And judging from her clothes & the wallpaper behind her, probably older than me by now.  No actual children were harmed in the making of this blog post.]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Right" Thinking 9

[Episode 9 of 12, running here on Saturdays from January 16th through April 3rd.]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Believe what you want, as long as it's legal...?!

From the New York Times:

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama gave a speech in India on the 51st anniversary of his flight from Lhasa. He urged Tibetans everywhere to make contact with Chinese people and said a shift in attitude among ordinary Chinese might one day sway Chinese government policy toward Tibet.

“There will be a time when truth will prevail,” he said. “Therefore, it is important that everyone be patient and not give up.”
Doesn't sound like a power-obsessed, would-be Dragon Warrior to me...

This statement is scary, however:

"In Tibet, people can believe whatever they want as long as it is legal. The government won't interfere. Instead it will help people solve problems along the way," said the vice mayor of Lhasa, Jigme Namgyal, according to the China Daily.
I mean, wow. Really, just wow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow Leopard Uprising Day

March 10, 1959 was the day of the Tibetan National Uprising against chinese occupation. The 2008 attempt to commemorate this event turned violent.

Although there was apparently some reaction in China along the lines of "why didn't we do this?" to the movie Kung Fu Panda (released that Summer), I actually felt the movie rather pandered to the Chinese (it is a giant market after all) by making the evil villian that Chinese nationalist symbol Po the Panda was pitted against a snow leopard, an animal as associated with Tibet as the panda is with China. Of course, as this blogger writes "Sometimes a Panda is just a Panda", so of course, sometimes a snow leopard is just a snow leopard. (and I did love the movie ;) The themes of the movie actually support the value of a passionate and kind heart over extraordinary skill and discipline, so I've no quibbles with that of course, but I can't help that feel this scene, in which the Snow Leopard Tai Lung escapes extreme bondage using only a feather, speaks to the deep fear demonstrated by the chinese government towards Tibet (or the Dalai Lama):

So what do my imaginary readers think? How whack am I? And didja like the movie? The full movie can be viewed here (alas the embedding code doesn't work & I don't feel like figuring out how to fix it).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Witch Hazel

Another fav associate of my illustrious hero Bugs Bunny is Witch Hazel:




Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Right" Thinking 8

Again, I think the thinking is more essential than the "right", but full disclosure: Leamur got a "D" in Freshman Ethics (as a Junior) from Roye Templeton. Um, and failed Philosophy of Law and the State from a lady I liked and can't remember her name now, but I seem to recall she was actually angry about what I wrote in my final exam about utilitarianism. (Fair enough, I was sleep-deprived and totally bull-shitting the exam. No clue what I wrote, even at the time she confronted me with the fact that she would fail me.) I did well in Contractarian Ethics, though, from Dr. Howard Kahane. It was the only course of the 3 that I felt had actual substance, as opposed to "you have to know what these dead people wrote, nevermind why, it's a core course". So, um, Leamur's just not good at being right & it would be only natural for her to prioritize the thinking part. (Right? ;)

[Episode 8 of 12, running here on Saturdays from January 16th through April 3rd.]

Friday, March 5, 2010

C'Mon Every Body Do Your Exercise!

The article in Moderne Medicine is short enough to cut'n'paste the whole thing:

Children who are aerobically fit may have a higher level of academic achievement, and girls who participate in organized physical activity may have lower body fat as they reach adulthood, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's joint conference of the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention and the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, held from March 2 to 5 in San Francisco.

In one study, Lesley A. Cottrell, Ph.D., of West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues assessed fitness levels and standardized academic test scores in 725 West Virginia fifth-graders, and compared the data to fitness and academic performance when the students were in seventh grade. They found that children who were fit at the start and end of the study had the highest average scores in standardized tests in reading, math, science and social studies, while children who were not fit at the start and end of the study had the lowest academic performance.

In second study, Jennie Phillips, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland in College Park, and colleagues studied 2,379 girls for 10 years. Compared to girls who never reported any organized physical activity from ages 9 to 10 to 15 to 16, they found that those who consistently reported some organized physical activity during those periods had significantly lower average body fat at ages 18 to 19 (31.7 versus 35.4 percent).

"These findings have significant implications for the role of physical activity and physical education in the primary school system for potentially improving children's academic performance," Cottrell and colleagues conclude.

Methods for persuading people to exercise vary. Here's Ernie's method:

And just because Michelle Obama is gorgeous (as well as on a mission), we'll see what she recommends, even though it involves Elmo (Most. Annoying. Muppet. Ever.):

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Butterfly Zombie Takedown

Computer/Net security fascinates me the way very poisonous snakes do. Curiously admirable, but scary.

A "12.7 million strong zombie network" named Mariposa botnet was taken down in December, and the article has this interview about it:

The following video walks through how to install RUBotted to check your own home computer for bot activity. (Per the review, RUBotted is not a guarantee that there won't still be bots lurking in your 'pooter's subconscious, of course.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Two Favs in One 'Toon

One of the great things about the Coyote/RoadRunner cartoons is that they do not require speech (although they do rely on English writing for the signs and labels and kabooms and such), but in this cartoon, Wile E speaks. It's all good. :)

"Why do they always want to do it the hard way?"

In this one, Bugs is standing in for the Road Runner, and he deconstructs the 'toon while he's at it :)