Super Model (of The Universe)

Very well done computer simulation of the evolution of a part of the universe:

Out of This World! Virtual Universe Looks Like the Real Thing

Obamacare Evaluated By The Insurance Industry

Interesting data point on Obamacare by the insurance industry:

NYT’s article “Called by Republicans, Health Insurers Deliver Unexpected Testimony“.

Machines Close To Reading Our Dreams

I ran across this article, “Scan a brain, read a mind?” It’s very thought provoking, essentially suggesting machines are beginning to “read” our minds.

5 TEASPOONS?!?!?!

WHO is considering dropping acceptable added sugar consumption (this includes honey, maple syrup, etc.) to 5 teaspoons per day as the safe limit (see http://www.salon.com/2014/02/25/sugar_is_killing_us_and_it_doesnt_take_much_to_destroy_your_body_partner/). This means I have more work to do on my diet as I switch more and more to the Mediterranean diet, the one that is gaining more and more solid scientific evidence that it works the best. This is one of the best intros I’ve seen: http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-diet-pyramid.

Station Wagon Envy

Steve Jacobi is my first friend, the geography of friendship dictated this. Because he was my first, the memory of our first meeting stands out as brightly as my first kiss, or Kennedy’s assassination. It was a bright summer day; Aunt Clara and I were out in our front yard and Steve was in his; Steve and I were about four. Separating us was the always dangerous (to little boys) street.

Tim, Steve, and Ron Jacobi with Mike Deal Standing (I think), Nov 1963

Boyhood Gang: Tim, Steve, and Ron Jacobi (left to right) and Mike Deal (Tim Deal’s Brother) standing.

On my side there was some water running down the curb to play with. Clara was exhorting me to see if Steve could come over and play, or asking if I wanted to go over there. “Just be careful and look both ways before crossing Bobby,” she said. And so in an instant, in my memory, we were together trying to block the water’s flow with stick dams, or make sticks float down the mighty trickle.

The water in the curb must have been a source of pride and youthful ownership or at least entitlement. It came mysteriously from a concrete box several blocks north. Its source was Jack and Jill Hillcrest grocery store where it was used to air condition the store. Hastings sits on the Ogallala aquifer. It’s pure cool water was a source of pride to the city, and the source of the only issue I ever perceived between my parents. My mother wanted it untainted, and my father decided the best public health policy would be to fluoridate it. Every election with fluoridation on the ballot resulted in them canceling each others votes out. Continue reading

The Evening I Didn’t Kill Aunt Clara With Light-ling

I was 12 when I found out what it was like to kill a person you love, and my  best friend Doug can’t help but laugh till he cries whenever he hears the story. So here’s the confession of how I got into this mess: I loved to scare my mother.

In fact scaring my mom was on my agenda, like going to a movie, for a good time. Dad? Nahhhh, there was never a time I could do it. I’d jump out and yell “BOO!” and he’d look calmly up at the expectant me, looking like he’d heard an interesting bird call, and say something like, “There you are Bobby.” I’d feel unaccomplished, perhaps a bit embarrassed. Ahhhhh, but mom! She was so easy to get a scream out of. By her own admission, she could know I was laying in wait, and I’d still get the desired reaction. Life was good.

A few days after Independence day the sunlight was turning golden after super. The windows were open so the slight breeze could cool and freshen the house. And my new plan was to step up my scare game with technology. I had some Booby Traps left from the 4th. These were some of my favorite fireworks: unique, versatile, and not very expensive. They were small firecrackers with a string out each end. You’d tie the strings to two things that when pulled apart would cause the fire cracker to explode. It occurred to me how fun it would be to scare mom by cleverly tying one to the door knob and strike plate of her bedroom so when she walked in it’d pop and she’d do her usual scream. What fun!

One night a month during the lawn mowing season dad stayed in the trailer house we had at Harlan County Reservoir, an hour and a half drive away. One of the income streams for his auto shop was being a small engines parts supplier to shops in towns and villages in the area. This was the night he was away, so after supper it was just my aunt Clara, mom, and I in the living room. The light breeze was just enough to cause the door to click a couple times a minute against the latch. It wasn’t enough to latch it, or enough to cause the booby trap to explode but it was noticeable. If the breeze was just a tiny bit more forceful the whole plan would be ruined, so I was tense with excitement. Suddenly Clara stood up, “Oh for pity sake! What is wrong with that door!” and she walked quickly off to the bedroom, turning right at the end of the hallway and disappeared from my view in the living room chair. I thought, “This could be good!”, barely able to keep my excitement hidden, and smirk off my face, waiting for the exciting next moment! Suddenly the expected pop. Then everything started to unravel to disaster. I can still see it like it’s happening now.

Clara suddenly in view, staggering backyards.

Her back now against the corner slipping down the wall and slumping into a heap on the floor.

Mom rising up out of her chair and rushing down the hallway. She kneels next to her older sister, then her voice, imploring, “Clara!? Please don’t go! Don’t go!”

“OH NO!,”, I thought, “I’ve killed aunt Clara!” Continue reading

Setting Our Women’s Standards

Such an interesting video on how we conform the image we want of women to our needs:

The video reminded me of a recent article on “Normal Barbie” where a visual artist Nickolay Lamm, using 3D printing and actual statistics of average 19-year-old women, printed out a “Real” or normal Barbie. She looks very different than the store-bought model.

Lamm followed this up with the average American male. Check out the nbcnews.com article  The ‘real’ shape of the American man: Dudes, you’re porky!. It’s not a pretty picture for the American male.