Archive for the 'Health' Category

direct correlation between rise in population and higher numbers of people

March 23rd, 2006

population breakdown by age 2005 left=men right=women top=old bottom=babies

Not only is this a good population clock, but it’s also a great illustration of why ldopa has no place for comments on the front page.

(Plus, I couldn’t let Jeff shoulder all of ldopa’s posts from here to oblivion.)

gillette power-law curve

March 23rd, 2006

The Gillette 14-blade razor goes online on August 4th, 2100. Human decisions are removed from morning shaving rituals. The razor begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th.


know your fruits and vegetables

March 18th, 2006


Me? Personally I enjoy Stop & Shop; sometimes I’ll make three or four orbits around the free cheese plates they put out nowadays just to stock up on little cubes of Cave Aged Gruyere. You can really taste the cave! But I know some people prefer Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, both of which are featured in interesting articles well worth reading in Slate — and how often can that be said? The author of the Whole Foods article makes a particularly cogent point about organic fruit:

Let’s say you live in New York City and want to buy a pound of tomatoes in season. Say you can choose between conventionally grown New Jersey tomatoes or organic ones grown in Chile. Of course, the New Jersey tomatoes will be cheaper. They will also almost certainly be fresher, having traveled a fraction of the distance. But which is the more eco-conscious choice? In terms of energy savings, there’s no contest: Just think of the fossil fuels expended getting those organic tomatoes from Chile.

…here in western Massachusetts, I find patrons of both stores to be — for the most part — fairly insufferable; however, I have to give the edge to Whole Foods shoppers for sheer douchebaggery, as they tend to shop as if gliding down the aisles carried aloft on wispy clouds of pure, unfettered self-satisfaction.


rowbike v. icebike

March 4th, 2006

Around this time of year in New England, a young man’s thoughts naturally turn to suicide. But then we pretty much snap out of it and remember that the season where you can go outside and not immediately be filled with Weltschmerz is coming along soon, very soon.

For my money, the best part of spring in New England is biking on the many excellent rail trails, on which you’ll always see a whole bunch of really cool and weird recumbent bikes and whatnot — like, for example, the “rowbike“. While I think I like my regular bike better, I bet this “rowbike” would help make my rock-hard abs even rock-harder*. Of course, there’s always the “icebike“, but I feel that one of those would only really serve as a really efficient pain delivery mechanism.



* DISCLAIMER: abs may not be rock-hard.

sleek, low-calorie holy-grail spotted in connecticut

February 27th, 2006


Some years ago I either purchased a gift for Jeff, or I played a prank on him. It was too long ago, or I’m too high, to remember, but either way, my actions culminated in the consumption of a can of Tab, by both Jeff and Evan. Neither one fared well, if memory serves. . . something about stomach aches, crawling skin, and a permanent and far reaching apathy, which I’ve heard continues to afflict each even to this very day. So it was with glee that I received news that biochemical engineers and chemists have finally set aside their age old rivalry, and come together to gift us with the cure for lethargy and listlissness. One that’s pink and low calorie to boot! New! Tab Energy Drink.

Sadly, it would appear that not every state in this fine country has been blessed by the budding good will between those great men in lab coats, and, um, those other great men in lab coats, as this holy grail of energy has, as of yet, only been sighted on the hallowed shelves of Stop&Shop in the 203.

Or is it the 860?


don’t get raped in south dakota

February 24th, 2006

not pictured: uteruses



coldstone creamery sings its last

February 23rd, 2006

The local Cold Stone Creamery franchise has folded up shop; after falling for the pre-opening hype of their first week in Northampton, I gladly dropped by to purchase a jumbo-sized bowl of ice cream. Halfway through attempting to eat it, I felt the pull of the Lord, drawing me home. A deep diabetic coma set in, and when I awoke years later, the doctors that encircled my bed informed me I should feel blessed enough to have kept most of the leg, above the knee.

For others, however, I believe the deal-breaker of Cold Stone Creamery was not the self-preservation instinct borne by legitimate health concerns, but instead the uncomfortable mandatory employee-sung songs after anyone left a tip. I have seen the face of ennui, and it is the downcast face of a sullen Northampton indie-kid as he mouths the words of an ice-cream themed public domain jingle in a ritual of forced camaraderie and faux gratitude.

Most importantly — now Steve Herrell can sleep easy on his giant bed of money, petting his solid gold dog; secure once again in his position as the area’s one and only iron-fisted ice cream impresario. Line up, Northampton! Moo!


household enthusiasms

February 21st, 2006



mind the gap

February 19th, 2006

Cool graph representing world progress regarding child mortality, which I grant you doesn’t inherently sound that cool, but the creators of this presentation have simply utilized a cool way of visualizing and presenting the data involved. Check it out: please note that the Flash presentation talks to you a bit (in a pleasing accent), so turn your volume down if there are others about.



February 18th, 2006

Hey, kids, remember “Surge”? Of course you don’t — or not very well, at least. Much like Vault, the new “energy soda hybrid” from Coke, Surge was an undifferentiated, lackluster conglomeration of sugar, citrus and caffeine meant to bite into the mysteriously popular EXXXTREEEME yellow-green soda market.

Nice try, Coke, but I have known Mountain Dew MDX; Mountain Dew MDX is a friend of mine; and you are no Mountain Dew MDX.


Death by Caffeine

February 11th, 2006

This is your construction technique.
This is your construction technique caffeinated.

Caffeine has a significant effect on spiders, which is reflected in their web construction.

I thought this was a pretty complete database until I needed to find out if Squirt was caffeinated or decaf. According to the information posted on free public message boards — which are always dependable and accurate — the Ruby Red variety is charged-up, but the reg’lar kind is not.

I would have just checked the information on the side of the can, but it was in a recycling bin somewhere downtown.

And this just in: “In Canada, carbonated beverages other than cola are not caffeinated…. 7-up, Root Beer, Mountain Dew, etc. are caffeine-free.”

Finally, Carrie, please do not go and drink 68 shots of Sky Rocket Caffeinated Syrup.

five blades, bitches, revisited

January 29th, 2006


It’s all I can do not to do an abrupt little ninja roll and smash headfirst through the window of my second-floor apartment — I don’t have time to open any doors! — and hit the ground running in the direction of the grocery store in order to pick up one of the eagerly anticipated (well, by me, anyway) new “Gillette Fusion” razors. Now in thoroughly market-tested orange color! Until we can all do what Superman does — which, of course, is to simply break off a chunk of the spaceship that brought us to Earth then fashion it into a concave mirror with which we can use our heat-vision to burn our stubble off with — this is surely the Best Razor Ever. Of course I haven’t tried it yet.

But, I mean, five blades! That makes the Schick Quattro look like a pile of puke. My prediction*? The cold-war-style oneupsmanship of the Blade Wars&#153 has to come to an end soon, and here’s how it’ll happen: one company will come out with some sort of “new technology” and marketing campaign that will posit the very rational idea that a single blade might well be sufficient to shave your face with. It will be colored silver and priced just over the $20 mark. You just watch.

UPDATE: I got one, so, please, stop calling me at home. The review will be forthcoming, but I have to work up some stubble, which on my face sometimes takes about three to four weeks.


* While I’m prognosticating about crappy future bathroom products, why not a toothbrush that (via subsonic vibration) plays a 2-minute adverpodcast inside your mouth while you’re brushing? Those two to four minutes of daily toothbrushing are sorely under-advertised moments, to be certain. It’s an advertunity!


January 16th, 2006

Panexa: Ask Your Doctor For A Reason To Take It.

And here’s a great interview with Carrie McLaren — the brains behind the Panexa ad and Stay Free! magazine.

You know, honestly, the health care system in the United States is so egregiously f*cked up that it’s almost clich├ęd to mention it; but seriously, our health care system is so egregiously f*cked up, and I’m glad that some people still do mention it:

Take, for example, take your pick, say for example health care. Probably the major domestic problem for people. A large majority of the population is in favor of a national health care system of some kind. And that’s been true for a long time. But whenever that comes up — it’s occasionally mentioned in the press — it’s called politically impossible, or “lacking political support,” which is a way of saying that the insurance industry doesn’t want it, the pharmaceutical corporations don’t want it, and so on. Okay, so a large majority of the population wants it, but who cares about them? Well, Democrats are the same. Clinton came up with some cockamamie scheme which was so complicated you couldn’t figure it out, and it collapsed.

Kerry in the last election, the last debate in the election, October 28 I think it was, the debate was supposed to be on domestic issues. And the New York Times had a good report of it the next day. They pointed out, correctly, that Kerry never brought up any possible government involvement in the health system because it “lacks political support.” It’s their way of saying, and Kerry’s way of understanding, that political support means support from the wealthy and the powerful. Well, that doesn’t have to be what the Democrats are. You can imagine an opposition party that’s based on popular interests and concerns.

…I’d suggest we all move to Canada, but really, what has Canada ever accomplished.


mountain dew mdx

December 27th, 2005

Mountain Dew has a new sub-brand: Mountain Dew MDX. I saw it for sale the other day while railsliding and I carved my ‘board right over to “snag” a bottle. How is it? It’s not that bad: a little bit lighter in taste than normal Mountain Dew — much less like squirting a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine syrup dispenser directly into your mouth — but has essentially the same tried-and-true, slightly nauseating (in a good way!) lemon-lime flavor. According to the product literature, it’s “Fueled by Power Pack”, which is their corporate branding nomenclature for their mixture of ginseng, taurine, guarana, d-ribose, and oh, let’s say, powdered Dungeons and Dragons dice.

I’m kind of confused about the name, though; if it’s called “Mountain Dew MDX”, isn’t that an extra abbreviated “Mountain Dew” in the name, like “Automatic Teller Machine Machine”? And isn’t that kind of dumb? I guess in the end, who cares: the only question that matters is is it still packed to the top with caffeine? and I am happy to report that yes, “Mountain Dew MDX” is indeed a frighteningly effective caffeine delivery vector. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go ollie off something.


tiny self-assembling cubes

December 13th, 2005

Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a self-assembling cube-shaped perforated container, no larger than a dust speck, that could serve as a delivery system for medications and cell therapy.

The relatively inexpensive microcontainers can be mass-produced through a process that mixes electronic chip-making techniques with basic chemistry. Because of their metallic nature, the cubic container’s location in the body could easily be tracked by magnetic resonance imaging.

Link to the story. Not pictured: a little tiny “Pinhead” from “Hellraiser” to go along with.