Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Blog Has Been Replaced by Twitter!

In April 2009, I replaced this blog with my Twitter feed! See my home page,, for my currently active streams.

You are welcome to browse the links I found interesting from Nov. 2008 through April 2009.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Onion: Lifetime for Men

LOS ANGELES—The new made-for-television movie A Just Killing—the inspiring true story of a man who finds his own inner strength by murdering his needy, overbearing wife—premiered on Lifetime for Men this past Saturday, earning the network its highest ever ratings.

Critics called the just-for-men TV movie "inspirational" and "nice set of tits on the wife."

The highly anticipated movie event is another boon for the cable channel, which specializes in uplifting programming geared toward 30- to 60-year-old men. The film chronicles the painful ordeal of Gary Mulkeen, a fun-loving mechanic who meets a seemingly perfect woman, but must soon fight for his very life after she reveals herself to be a clingy, manipulative shrew.

"It's about one man's perseverance against impossible odds," said director Tom Dunlop....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

N.Y. Times: Squatters Call Foreclosures Home

MIAMI — When the woman who calls herself Queen Omega moved into a three-bedroom house here last December, she introduced herself to the neighbors, signed contracts for electricity and water and ordered an Internet connection.

What she did not tell anyone was that she had no legal right to be in the home.

Ms. Omega, 48, is one of the beneficiaries of the foreclosure crisis. Through a small advocacy group of local volunteers called Take Back the Land, she moved from a friend’s couch into a newly empty house that sold just a few years ago for more than $400,000.
Yup, when the number of foreclosures reaches a certain level in one neighborhood, there is little the police can do about it. See my photo album of Gary, Indiana for the extreme case.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Facebook Reaches 200 Million Subscribers

I should point out that not all of these "subscribers" are active users, but even a fraction of 200 million is significant!
Fondé en 2004 dans une chambre d'étudiant de l'université Harvard, Facebook, un site gratuit, est disponible dans une quarantaine de langues, mais peine à rentabiliser ses activités.

Il s'impose de plus en plus comme le plus gros site de socialisation, avec 1,2 milliard de visiteurs uniques décomptés par le cabinet Compete en janvier, contre 810 millions pour son rival MySpace (groupe News Corporation).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dubai's Dark Side

The dark side of Dubai (The Independent, London, 4/7)

A really disturbing view of Dubai.

Monday, April 6, 2009

N.Y. Times: Pride

Researchers tend to split pride into at least two broad categories. So-called authentic pride flows from real accomplishments, like raising a difficult child, starting a company or rebuilding an engine. Hubristic pride, as Dr. Tracy calls it, is closer to arrogance or narcissism, pride without substantial foundation. The act of putting on a good face may draw on elements of both.

But no one can tell the difference from the outside. Expressions of pride, whatever their source, look the same. “So as long as you’re a decent actor, and people don’t know too much about your situation, all systems are go,” said Lisa A. Williams, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Northeastern University.

Las Vegas R-J: Helping the Homeless, but How?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hosteling in Las Vegas

Tourists coming to Las Vegas are finding a cheaper way to stay in Las Vegas. At least three local businesses are offering cheap lodging. Tod's Hostel, one of three in town are seeing a big boost of tourists who are looking for a cheap and comfortable place to stay.

Ran Tadmore, the general manager of Tod's says when the economy started tanking a year ago he converted part of his motel into a hostel modeled after the successful European style of traveling. He offers free pick up and drop off along with breakfast to give him an edge over Las Vegas Strip hotels.

He says since the conversion rooms are almost always booked, the best part about it is the interaction guests have with each other. "From the kids point of view they get a better atmosphere if they stayed in regular hotel they don't know who their neighbors are or interact hostel environment makes them interact with kids from all over the world."

You don't have to be a student to stay at this hostel or international travelers for that matter, different hostels have different rules. But generally what they do offer is cheap rates. The three hostels here in Las Vegas the price per night ranges from $15 to $20.
I am a big fan of hostels in Europe, I would never have predicted an unrestricted hostel in Las Vegas. The USA Hostel on Fremont street caters only to international travelers, but when you open a hostel in the USA to everyone, you end up attracting low-life druggie scum from the city. I wonder how Tod's keeps them out.

Here is their listing on HostelWorld and another article on them from the Las Vegas Weekly (5/22/08).

I tend to believe that unrestricted hosteling and America don't mix, due to the criminal element and psychological space issues, but we'll see if the recession changes that.

I just checked the HostelWorld listing for the USA Hostel. They've added a new wrinkle: You can stay there if you have a US Passport and an out-of-state driver's license. This is clever, because most of your low-life druggies don't have passports.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Onion: Final Week Of Heyday

"I really think Tracy and I might have a future together," Koning said of 27-year-old Tracy Krupman, whom he will soon marry on an emotional whim, and toward whom he will become incresingly embittered and even hateful over the next decade. "We have a real connection, and I think our best times are yet to come."

"And I'm really starting to settle into Chicago," continued Koning, who in three months will be forced to move to Tacoma, WA in order to care for Krupman's ailing father. "I can totally see myself becoming one of those 'Chicago guys' who lives here for the rest of his life. I love it out here."

While evidence suggests that Koning could conceivably prolong his life's pinnacle for another one or two years by leaving Krupman and following his dream of opening a trading cards and collectibles shop, the likelihood of this ever occurring is thought to be incredibly small.

Koning, who currently fills his weekends with volunteer work, regular exercise, and recreational travel, will reportedly soon be granted a minor promotion that will demand all of his free time without providing any additional satisfaction. He is then expected to begin a gradual slide into unfulfilling 60-hour work weeks highlighted by the occasional halfway decent nap.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Onion: Husband-Wife Comedy Team

The Onion, 3/7
GLENDALE, AZ—With their hilarious put-downs of each other and classic back-and-forth bickering in front of neighbors, local married couple David and Sheila Holt are quietly becoming one of Glendale's favorite comedy teams, sources reported Monday.

Though David and Sheila remain unaware of their comedy duo status, friends and family members maintain that the couple's uproarious act, including their famous "It's all your fault—this whole stupid mess is your goddamn fault" routine, is more than enough reason to check them out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

L.A. Times: Shaming Johns

This looks like another variation of the "scared straight" scams that are shown not to change impulsive behavior....

At first glance, it seems these schools shouldn't work, said Michael Shively, a researcher who recently completed the first comprehensive study of the San Francisco program for the National Institute of Justice. The one-day, throw-everything-at-them-and-see-what-sticks approach, he said, lacks the intense, targeted and longer-term therapy that is generally thought to be needed to change a person's behavior.

Indications are, however, that the classes are a relatively cheap and effective carrot to dangle in front of johns. California prostitution arrest records, Shively's team found, show that recidivism rates among San Francisco men dropped 30% in the decade following the launch of their john school. A newer program in San Diego posted similar results, he found.
I am skeptical of this statistic because a lot of things can change in 10 years. It depends on there being a credible control group (similar offenders assigned to a non-treatment social group). There is often a benefit in giving people attention of any kind, but the "scared straight" component is usually ineffective.

See my essays, Words Don't Work and Things You Don't Need: Addiction Treatment.

Blog: The Other US Airways Flight Crew Member

I didn't see any of the US Airways TV interviews, but this is amusing...

Captain Sully is First Class - Doreen? Maybe not so much...
(San Francisco Chronicle Culture Blog, 2/18)
Each crew member calmly and professionally related their experience to Katie. As I watched, I was amazed and impressed by their composure and humility. Someone book me a flight on US Airways! These people are saints!

Then Katie got to Doreen, apparently working the rear of the aircraft where everything was "violent" and "horrible." The other flight attendants spoke of stoic yet swift evacuation. Not Doreen. "Coffee pots were floating!" and my favorite line of the interview, "I just went crazy and started yelling at people and pushing people."

The camera cuts to the rest of the crew, all of whom, and this is probably just me, seem to be thinking, "Oh Lord, here we go again."
Given what flight attendants are paid and the low quality it attracts, US Airways was lucky that rest of them were composed.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

L.A. Times: Iceland is Steamed

Iceland is steamed
Its economic meltdown, and the violent reaction of its people, may be echoed worldwide.
(Los Angeles Times, 2/8)
By the mid-1990s, Iceland had, through dicey finance and lots of debt, launched its journey to becoming one of the world's most affluent societies. Fortune continues: "But the principal fuel for Iceland's boom was finance and, above all, leverage. The country became a giant hedge fund, and once-restrained Icelandic households amassed debts exceeding 220% of disposable income -- almost twice the proportion of American consumers."...

"It's official: capitalism is monstrous. Try talking about the benefits of free markets and you will be treated like someone promoting the benefits of rape."

Friday, February 6, 2009

USA Today: Facebook Friends Share "25 Things"

Hey, I done that. I see it as the point where Facebook came of age as a unique community.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Web Tools: Cool Background Image

This web page from some kind of gaming site has a really cool background image. I might use it someday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

UK Telegraph: Television and Mental Illness

(UK Telegraph, 2/2)
That study found: "Other things being equal, the more a child is exposed to the media (television and Internet), the more materialistic she becomes, the worse she relates to her parents and the worse her mental health."

N.Y. Times: Crying

The Muddled Tracks of All Those Tears
Crying as Catharsis Isn't Always the Case
(NY Times, 2/4)
This passage caught my eye...
People who are confused about the sources of their own emotions — a condition that in the extreme is called alexithymia — also tend to report little benefit from a burst of tears, studies have found. This makes some sense. One purpose of crying may be to block thinking, to effectively seal off the flood of unanswerable questions that come after any major loss, the better to clarify those that are most important or most practical. If this psychological system is already clunky, a fire shower of tears is not likely to improve it.
Alexithymia is a very common ailment!

I was also intrigued by this...
“Crying, for a child, is a way to beckon the caregiver, to maintain proximity and use the caregiver to regulate mood or negative arousal,” Dr. Nelson said in a phone interview. Those who grow up unsure of when or whether that soothing is available can, as adults, get stuck in what she calls protest crying — the child’s helpless squall for someone to fix the problem, undo the loss.

“You can’t work through grief if you’re stuck in protest crying, which is all about fixing it, fixing the loss,” Dr. Nelson said. “And in therapy — as in close relationships — protest crying is very hard to soothe, because you can’t do anything right, you can’t undo the loss. On the other hand, sad crying that is an appeal for comfort from a loved one is a path to closeness and healing.

L.A. Times: "Flying Palace"

The 'Slumdog' fight
Some say the Oscar contender is 'poverty porn,' but that criticism misconstrues the nature of art.
(L.A. Times, 2/4)
These critics are angered by the fact that hordes of Pepsi-sipping, popcorn-munching, affluent Western audiences are entertained by a spectacle of India's poor struggling for survival in the slums of Mumbai. They're also upset that director Danny Boyle, a white guy, is being lauded for a film about India that just doesn't get it right, that's filled with cliches and exaggeration and people who are downright bad.

N.Y. Times: More Mass, Less Transit

St. Louis may be girding itself for some of the most extreme transit cuts in the nation, but it is hardly alone. Transit systems across the country are raising fares and cutting service even when demand is up with record numbers of riders last year, many of whom fled $4-a-gallon gas prices and stop-and-go traffic for seats on buses and trains.

Their problem is that fare-box revenue accounts for only a fifth to a half of the operating revenue of most transit systems — and the sputtering economy has eroded the state and local tax collections that the systems depend on to keep running. “We’ve termed it the ‘transit paradox,’ ” said Clarence W. Marsella, general manager of Denver’s system, which is raising fares and cutting service to make up for the steep drop in local sales tax.

The billions of dollars that Congress plans to spend on mass transit as part of the stimulus bill will also do little to help these systems with their current problems. That is because the new federal money — $12 billion was included in the version passed last week by the House, while the Senate originally proposed less — is devoted to big capital projects, like buying train cars and buses and building or repairing tracks and stations. Money that some lawmakers had proposed to help transit systems pay operating costs, and avoid layoffs and service cuts, was not included in the latest version.
This is of concern to me, since I rely on public transit wherever I travel to.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

L.A. Times: TV and Depression

Study links TV and depression
The amount of time teenagers watch television increases their risk of becoming depressed as adults, researchers find.
(Los Angeles Times, 2/3)
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School looked at the media habits of 4,142 healthy adolescents and calculated that each additional hour of TV watched per day boosted the odds of becoming depressed by 8%.

WWII Posters on Waste

I thought these images were interesting: Posters from World War II about avoiding waste.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Las Vegas Home Prices Dropping by Half?

Moody’s projects the total decline in the market will reach 52 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2010, says Mike Helmar, director of industry services and an economist who oversees Nevada forecasts.

“We don’t have much good news for you,” Helmar says. “We do have them continuing to go down.”

The firm listed the median price of Las Vegas homes reaching a peak of $320,000 in 2006’s first quarter and projects it dropping to $153,000 by 2010.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

L.A. Times: Wine Judges Unsteady

A judge samples entries at the New York Wine and Food Classic at the Copia food, wine and arts center in Napa, Calif., in August 2007. Copia closed late last year. Only 10% in a four-year study of California State Fair judging were able to consistently give the same rating, or something close, to the same wine sampled multiple times in a large blind tasting.
The whole thing is a fraud to begin with. It's fermented grape juice!

N.Y. Times: Analysis of Stimulus Plan

There is no doubt that the impact of the $819 billion economic stimulus package advanced by President Obama and approved by the House on Wednesday will start to be felt within weeks once the final version becomes law.

But estimating how effective the huge program of tax cuts and spending will be in getting America’s economic engines humming again is a far more complex calculation requiring almost line-by-line scrutiny of the 647-page bill, lawmakers, economists and policy analysts say.

While it may be difficult to predict how well the overall plan will work, it is easier to draw conclusions about its individual components, gauging them against the basic goal of any stimulus: to promote economic activity and create jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fox News: U.S. Airways Cover-Up?

Leave it to America's Best Journalist (read: most incompetent), Bill O'Reilly, to find a conspiracy angle on the the US Airways Hudson River crash....

O'REILLY: A little bit, a little bit. But nothing overwhelming that we know of. A little bit. And the pilot radioed that he saw the things. I believe there were ducks and geese in the air. I got it. But what I'm saying to you, if the engines were weak, prone to stalling, and hit a few ducks, it's going to stall. If it was a strong, powerful engine with no problem, it rifles right through the ducks.

BANKS: Bill, you raise a very good point that the burden of proof is going on US Air to show these engines were not compromised in any way prior…

O'REILLY: I think this is a big story that's been overlooked by the media in the, you know, emotional of the pilot, of the hero pilot.

BANKS: Bill, I don't mean to interrupt. I want to stress these were not ducks. I want to stress they were Canadian geese which are enormous birds. These birds are three to four times the size of the birds that actually get tested on these engines.

O'REILLY: You know what I'm talking about here. I think there has got to be an explanation about GE, General Electric, making these engines, as you are pointing out, they have had trouble with these engines all over the place. They are culpable, too. We will get into that on another day. Ms. Banks, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

The Onion: "Dimension-Jumping Guy"

I can see it in their eyes. They're thinking, "Hey, look. It's the dimension-jumping guy!" "Come on, dude who isn't bound by time or space—show us how you can project your physical form across the planes of existence!" It's true, when people look at me, all they see is the ghostly aura that remains here on earth while my body is shot clear across the cosmos to a parallel world.

But Dennis Myrie is so much more than a guy who can effortlessly slide between the many simultaneously occurring dimensions of the known universe. For instance, I also play the banjo.

WSJ: You won't believe what's in that stimulus bill

The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic "stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

L.A. Times: "Flying Palace"

Get a load of the interiors of the new A380 jumbo-jumbo airliner...

A tad ridiculous if you ask me. I just want to get there!

No comfort shown here can beat having three seats to yourself in coach class.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

L.A. Times: Earthquake Overdue

The southern stretch of the San Andreas fault has had a major temblor about every 137 years, according to new research. The latest looks to be overdue.
Just what we need right now!

L.A. Times: Indians Not Liking 'Slumdog'

Even as American audiences gush over "Slumdog Millionaire," some Indians are groaning over what they see as yet another stereotypical foreign depiction of their nation, accentuating squalor, corruption and impoverished-if-resilient natives.
Yes, the movie's all a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. See my own review.

Wash. Post: Korean Blogger Predicted Downturn

He had been a so-so student who studied communications at a so-so junior college in a backwater town south of Seoul. Thirty-one years old and single, he spent much of his time alone in his room. As his father noted, "He can't even get a job."

But he knew a global economic smack-down when he saw one.

Minerva saw it coming last fall, far earlier and with far more acuity than the South Korean government, which his blog has humiliated and angered.

Besides getting mad, the government got even. In a move widely perceived by the public as a chilling echo of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled South Korea, the government detained Park this month, invoking a seldom-used telecommunications law that charges him with harming the public by spreading "false rumors."

WSJ: Why the Prisoner Endures

Why 'The Prisoner' Endures
(Wall Street Journal, 1/20)
Eventually tiring of the John Drake role, Mr. McGoohan was able to persuade his British boss to bankroll a series in which a Drake-like character would explore more meaty themes. He delivered a libertarian classic, somewhat marred by the hurriedly written final episode in which Mr. McGoohan's character leads the Village's other inhabitants in a successful revolt. He finally confronts Number One, who is wearing a false face. When that is yanked off, a monkey mask is revealed. And when that is also pulled off, the face of Mr. McGoohan himself is seen.

Washington Post: Downturn Accelerates

The world economy is deteriorating more quickly than leading economists predicted only weeks ago, with Britain yesterday becoming the latest nation to surprise analysts with the depth of its economic pain.

Washington Post: War on Terror Ends

President Obama yesterday eliminated the most controversial tools employed by his predecessor against terrorism suspects. With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the "war on terror," as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WSJ: 'Tough Love' in the Outback

Aboriginal society has experienced a dramatic decline -- partly a result of these very reforms. Australia's government has proclaimed the upsurge of violence, child abuse and alcoholism among Aborigines a national emergency. It is responding with controversial new policies that critics decried as racist, such as restricting welfare payments to Aborigines but not to whites or other Australians.

Those policies, however, are starting to show early results, the government says. They are also shaking up the Aborigines' ancient social structure. In Yuendumu, for example, the policies have unleashed a nascent feminist movement which is threatening to erode the vast powers of male tribal elders.

Beware the Television

The television has not been around long, but has quickly dug itself into our lives. The number of television sets inuse rose from 6,000 in 1946 to 12 million by 1951. Today nearly 98% of American homes have at least one.

Without Television some people describe feeling ‘lost’. Sadly the television has become a member of so many American families and few question its purpose, minimizing its existance it to nothing more than a harmless form of entertainment. But it is much more than that. It can create reality and regulate our thoughts, it can override our conscience and mandate right and wrong.

N.Y. Times: Milan, Why So Gloomy?

Gloom is "In".
DARK times call for dark coats. That was the impression the Milan designers gave after four days of runway shows in which the particularities of individual labels got lost in a continuous loop of gloom.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Las Vegas: Father Chains Daughter to Bed to Prevent Overeating

Robert Blue was frank with police officers when they confronted him at his home last week to determine whether his 15-year-old daughter was being restrained against her will.

He "voluntarily stated that his daughter was chained to her bed to keep her out of the kitchen and from overeating," a police report states.

An officer then saw the 165-pound girl in her room and realized that Blue was telling the truth.

L.A. Times: U.S. economy may sputter for years

U.S. economy may sputter for years
(Los Angeles Times, 1/19)
Transfixed by the daily spectacle of dismal economic news and wild Wall Street swings, few Americans have looked up to see what a wide array of economists say lies beyond the immediate crisis.

And with good reason: The picture isn't pretty.

The sleek racing machine that was the U.S. economy is unlikely to return any time soon despite the huge repair efforts now underway. Instead, it probably will continue to sputter and threaten to stall for years to come.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Onion: Mattress King Selects Wife

OSHKOSH, WI—Joyous tidings were trumpeted throughout the hamlets of central Wisconsin this week after 43-year-old Mattress King James Koepke III, Lord and Master of a vast bed and box-spring empire, selected Beth Lowery, a buxom, flaxen-haired maiden from the small village of Waukau, to be his bride.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo: Living on the Edge

I came across this great photo when Google image searching for "on the edge". It's a real photo from Devil's Pool on the edge of Victoria Falls in Zambia. Source: Mike and Andrea's Photo Gallery.

Friday, January 16, 2009

How Lying Works

How Lying Works
(, 1/16)

A good overview on lying, including how to do it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

L.A. Times: Bush was a uniter after all

Bush was a uniter after all
(Los Angeles Times, 1/15)
Bush broke many of his initial campaign promises, but he ended up keeping his promise to be "a uniter, not a divider," though hardly in the way he intended: He leaves behind a united nation, brought together at last by a heartfelt desire to see him gone.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wall Street Journal: American Power Is on the Wane

American Power Is on the Wane
(Wall Street Journal, 1/14)
The first reason, surely, is the U.S.'s truly exceptional budgetary and trade deficits. There is nothing else in the world like them in absolute measures and, even when calculated in proportion to national income, the percentages look closer to those you might expect from Iceland or some poorly run Third World economy. ...

The third thing I'm really scared about is that we'll likely have very little money ourselves to pay for the Treasury bonds that are going to be issued, in tens of billions each month, in the years ahead. Sure, some investment firms, bruised by their irrational exuberance for equities and commodities, will take up a certain amount of Treasury issues even at a ridiculously low (or no) rate of return. But that will not cover an estimated budget deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2009.
The big question now is whether the world will have a market for all the new treasury bonds the government will be issuing. There comes a point where the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. Government implodes. --GC

N.Y. Times: Internet Threats Overblown

The Internet may not be such a dangerous place for children after all. A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem.
GC: It is typical human paranoia to become hysterical about some dramatic but unlikely event (a plane crash, tainted juice, internet predators, etc.) while ignoring the threats closer to home that are much more likely to occur (a car accident, sexual abuse by a family member, etc.). Emotions drive public policy (and parenting) toward addressing the unlikely event, thereby usually increasing the threat from more likely sources.

The Onion: Excuses

I stand before you a humbled man. I know I've made a real mess of things lately, but if you just give me one more chance to make it right, I promise to you that I will do absolutely everything in my power to restore your faith in my excuses.

Just hear me out, baby. I'll make you believe in my self-serving bullshit again.

The Onion: U.N. Acquires Nuclear Weapon

NEW YORK—The United Nations, a highly organized governing body bent on world peace, has obtained a nuclear warhead and intends to use the dangerous device to pursue its radical human rights agenda, sources reported Monday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

L.A. Times: Martyrdom Beckons

N.Y. Times: Anti-Love Drug May Be Ticket to Bliss

In the new issue of Nature, the neuroscientist Larry Young offers a grand unified theory of love. After analyzing the brain chemistry of mammalian pair bonding — and, not incidentally, explaining humans’ peculiar erotic fascination with breasts — Dr. Young predicts that it won’t be long before an unscrupulous suitor could sneak a pharmaceutical love potion into your drink. ...

When a female prairie vole’s brain is artificially infused with oxytocin, a hormone that produces some of the same neural rewards as nicotine and cocaine, she’ll quickly become attached to the nearest male. A related hormone, vasopressin, creates urges for bonding and nesting when it is injected in male voles (or naturally activated by sex). After Dr. Young found that male voles with a genetically limited vasopressin response were less likely to find mates, Swedish researchers reported that men with a similar genetic tendency were less likely to get married. In his Nature essay, Dr. Young speculates that human love is set off by a “biochemical chain of events” that originally evolved in ancient brain circuits involving mother-child bonding, which is stimulated in mammals by the release of oxytocin during labor, delivery and nursing.

“Some of our sexuality has evolved to stimulate that same oxytocin system to create female-male bonds,” Dr. Young said, noting that sexual foreplay and intercourse stimulate the same parts of a woman’s body that are involved in giving birth and nursing. This hormonal hypothesis, which is by no means proven fact, would help explain a couple of differences between humans and less monogamous mammals: females’ desire to have sex even when they are not fertile, and males’ erotic fascination with breasts. More frequent sex and more attention to breasts, Dr. Young said, could help build long-term bonds through a “cocktail of ancient neuropeptides,” like the oxytocin released during foreplay or orgasm.

Monday, January 12, 2009

L.A. Times: "Audacity as economic experiment"

In a measure of how quickly its options are shrinking, the United States is about to embrace an economic theory that was widely thought for most of the last generation to have been discredited: the idea that great bursts of deficit-funded government expenditure can jolt an economy back to growth.

And the nation is poised to put this theory to the test on a scale untried in peacetime by any developed country on Earth. ...

Obama's plan represents an unexpected comeback for the ideas of the late British economist John Maynard Keynes, who argued in the 1930s that governments could end the Depression by spending heavily to maintain demand for goods and services until frightened consumers and damaged businesses gained the courage to resume buying and selling on their own.

Friday, January 9, 2009

CNN: Shooting Slumdog Millionaire

The director, who is renown for films like "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later," had never even been to India before he and his crew traveled there to make the critically acclaimed Oscar contender "Slumdog Millionaire."

"It's pretty mad," admits Boyle. "Everything is extreme. It's too hot, the tea is too sweet; everything is kind of too much." But, he adds: "That's wonderful for drama, absolutely wonderful."

He and his crew threw themselves into shooting their drama in the streets and landmarks of India's "city of dreams" using passers-by as extras. They also shot in the Dharavi -- Asia's largest slum -- and Juhu slum which can be seen from the city's airport.
Also see my own review of the movie: My Life Disrupted by 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bush Says U.S. is Not Heading for Recession

Okay, so this article isn't exactly new. It was published Feb. 29, less than a year ago. I was cleaning out my old queue of articles I haven't reviewed yet, and this turned up. (It must have seemed absurd even in February, which is probably why I saved it.)

Poor guy! How can one man be so wrong on so many things? (Answer: Through faith in God.)

Las Vegas Sun: Nevada 42nd least healthy state

Nevada dropped to among the 10 unhealthiest states due to low graduation and high crime rates in an annual report issued in December.

Las Vegas Sun: Leaving Las Vegas

Young is part of the new migration trend: Clark County is now losing population, according to county officials — 10,000 from July 2007 to July 2008, based on the number of empty houses and apartments.

U-Haul measures the trend a different way: Are there more trucks coming to town or leaving? In 2007, outbound U-Haul rentals just barely outpaced those arriving here, the company said. In 2008 the number of outbound rentals was 1 percent greater than that of those arriving.