May
31
2010

In recent decades, the world has learned that fighting poverty is harder than it looks. But the Guinea worm campaign underscores that a determined effort, with local people playing a central role, can overcome a scourge that has plagued humanity for thousands of years.

My favorite moment came when we were bouncing along with Anyak toward the Carter Center compound. I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, and he answered with the most prestigious and altruistic position he could imagine: “I’d like to be a Guinea worm volunteer.”

via Op-Ed Columnist – Winning the Worm War – NYTimes.com.

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May
30
2010

I know only smart people read this blog but I think I have to give the context or subtext of this article. I am assuming that  Kristoff highlighted that the two doctors in the 3 doctor panels were both appointees of former president bush to inform the readers of how grave these results/reviews appear to be. The Bush appointees have had a long reputation proven time and time again of an ideological problem with regulation and in general government intervention of any kind. To declare make a report like this is akin to a climate change skeptic (the rational evidence based ones) warning against climate change. Now my problem with this is what the fuck do I drink when I travel?  damn.

Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic.

In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’ ”

It’s striking that this report emerges not from the fringe but from the mission control of mainstream scientific and medical thinking, the President’s Cancer Panel. Established in 1971, this is a group of three distinguished experts who review America’s cancer program and report directly to the president.

One of the seats is now vacant, but the panel members who joined in this report are Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr., an oncologist and professor of surgery at Howard University, and Dr. Margaret Kripke, an immunologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Both were originally appointed to the panel by former President George W. Bush.

“We wanted to let people know that we’re concerned, and that they should be concerned,” Professor Leffall told me.

The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary.

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”

via Op-Ed Columnist – New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer – NYTimes.com.

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May
28
2010

Hope Fully Booked has this on the shelves.

“The problem wasn’t how much money we were spending, it was how we were spending our time. Did we really want to raise our kids in an environment of prepackaged diversions, theme-park rides, trips to the mall, freeway traffic, and incessant e-mails?” -from Made by Hand

From his unique vantage point as editor-in-chief of Make magazine, the hub of the newly invigorated do-it-yourself movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes readers on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY. The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal- powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR.

DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.

Frauenfelder also reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating “alpha makers” leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights.

Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.

via Amazon.com: Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World (9781591843320): Mark Frauenfelder: Books.

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May
27
2010

rePost :: Lightweight lifestyle

Posted by: angol in Categories: rePosts.

Like everyone else, hikers become attached to their possessions. But the successful hiker will quickly give up a cherished possession as soon as he learns of a better way. For example, before this hike Wolf taught us how to make a one-ounce stove from a pineapple can which burned alcohol or solid fuel tablets. This replaced our 15-ounce $59 MSR Whisperlight stove which had served us well for over 4,000 miles of hiking. The cooking times were slower with the new stove, but there was a big gain in simplicity.

This principle is not easy to see in our modern culture, where success is generally viewed as proportional to the value and quantity of one’s possessions. Society percieves the owner of a big house which can hold more possessions as more successful, when in fact he may be held in bondage by high house payments, taxes, utilities, repair costs, and a general lack of freedom. In an ever-increasing need for protection he acquires security lights, burglar alarms, double locks, fences, and moves into a subdivision with a locked gate. He pays large insurance premiums so he can afford to replace everything in case all his protection doesn’t work.

via Lightweight lifestyle.

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May
24
2010

How did these purchases affect people’s overall sense of happiness? By looking at the data in more detail, the authors found that these purchases affected people’s satisfaction with the area of their lives that were affected by the purchase. People who spent money on experiences related to their social life saw an improvement in their satisfaction with their social life. People who spent money on experiences related to fitness saw an improvement in their satisfaction with their health. These increases in satisfaction with a particular area of their lives also affected people’s overall sense of well-being and happiness.

So if you spend your money on experiences, you can increase your happiness. There are a two key ground rules, though. First, stay within your budget. Spending more money than you have creates stress and lowers happiness. Second, don’t blow all of your money on one great event. You are better off sitting in the cheap seats for a number of sporting events than sitting courtside at one. Spread those good experiences out over time.

via Money can buy happiness if you spent it right | Psychology Today.

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May
22
2010

Nice question this post provokes. Should I delete my Facebook account?

Facebook’s identity lock-in

May 21, 2010

“You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal.” -Bob Dylan

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a knack for making statements that are at once sweeping and stupid, but he outdoes himself with this one:

You have one identity … Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.

via Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Facebook’s identity lock-in.

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May
21
2010

Will most definitely be buying an android 2.2 phone.

I will still probably buy an iPhone some day because they are very cool. However, I will never develop for it, because I’m a crazy one. A misfit. And I’m not fond of rules.

Now where did I pick up that idea?

via The Future of Apple’s Curated Computing.

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May
18
2010

rePost :: ::Why Engineers Hop Jobs

Posted by: angol in Categories: Career, rePosts, work/career.

Well I’m as unreliable, lazy, and entitled as the next guy, but that’s not why I’ve hopped jobs in the past. People in my generation have a very low tolerance for bullshit, and software engineering, in general, is a very high bullshit career. If you couple that with the standard load of bullshit you would get from a non-technical Harvard MBA type boss — like many CEOs that you find trying to get rich in Silicon Valley by hiring some engineers to “code up this idea real quick” — it’s no wonder that a good engineer will walk off the job after his one year cliff vesting.

As an engineer, you are told that you’re “lucky to have a job”, because there are “a hundred people lined up outside, ready to take it”. (As chance would have it, there are at least a thousand lined up to take the job of rich prick who tells people what to do). This backlash is the product of diseased thinking. A CEO who makes an engineer work 80 hours a week is a driven entrepreneur, but an engineer asking for a comfy chair is a prima donna. So, when we are up to our knees in golf-course, martini-lunch bullshit, don’t be surprised when we jump ship for a higher salary.

via Why Engineers Hop Jobs.

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May
18
2010

Was listening to this episode of This American Life and what hit me was how much these autoworkers were proud of their work. I hope we can all have this attitude towards what we do.

A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: how it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn't learn the lessons – until it was too late.

via NUMMI | This American Life.

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May
15
2010

I have to admit a certain affinity towards how Ternovskiy feels. It is an impulse I try to fight against constantly.

By “the world,” of course, Ternovskiy means the Internet, which is also where most of his friends are. His closest confidant is a Russian immigrant named Kirill Gura, who lives in Charleston, West Virginia. Every night for the past five years, Ternovskiy has turned on his computer, found Kirill on MSN Messenger, and talked to him until one of them fell asleep. “He’s a real friend,” Ternovskiy says … Ternovskiy says that he sees the computer as “one hundred percent my window into the world.” He doesn’t seek much else. “I always believed that computer might be that thing that I only need, that I only need that thing to survive,” he says. “It might replace everything.”

via Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Not addiction; dependency.

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