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Welcome to The 2009 NewsKing Blog! - http://blog.newsking.org
Navigating the Blog
This page is a blog, but the headings have possibilities. Below is a list of the current headings featured. Since I sometimes update earlier entries, the list includes the date of the most recent post. The most recent heading is always first, both in the blog and the list below.
List of Headings
- The Copenhagen Accord - Dec. 21, 2009
- WIMP's - Dec. 18, 2009
- Ads on NewsKing - Dec. 16, 2009
- 350 - Dec. 14, 2009
- Obama Receives Nobel Peace Prize in Norway - Dec. 10, 2009
- Google Real-Time Results for Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and More - Updated Dec. 9, 2009
- Copenhagen Climate Conference Begins - Dec. 7, 2009
- Animals and Vegetarianism - Updated Jan. 24, 2014
- Confusinhagen - Nov. 20, 2009
- The Future of the Entertainment Industry - Updated Nov. 16, 2009
- Hold the Senate Responsible for Healthcare - Nov. 8, 2009
- Fox News Is Dead - Nov. 7, 2009
- Virginia is for Slackers - Nov. 3, 2009
- The Beginning of the Constellation - Nov. 1, 2009
- Happy Halloween - Oct. 31, 2009
- American Free Enterprise - Oct. 19, 2009
- Opt-In Basically a Trigger - Updated Oct. 20, 2009
- President Obama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize - Oct. 9, 2009
- NASA Fires Bullets at Moon - Oct. 9, 2009
- Opt-Out is a Terrible Idea - Oct. 8, 2009
- Today on Fox: Glenn Beck Takes Another Shit! - Oct. 4, 2009
- Congratulations Rio! - Oct. 2, 2009
- Pick Chicago for the 2016 Olympics! - Oct. 1, 2009
- Press Tries to Kill Public Option Despite New Support - Sep. 29, 2009
- Don't Drink the Water - Updated Oct. 1, 2009
- Media Profits by Threatening Public Option - Sep. 25, 2009
- Water Found on the Moon! - Sep. 24, 2009
- Bank of America Gets It Right - Updated Sep. 27, 2009
- ACORN - Sep. 18, 2009
- Chinese NewsKing - Sep. 13, 2009
- Another Ignorant Republican Liar - Updated Sep. 12, 2009
- My Finger's on the "Trigger" - Updated Sep. 10, 2009
- Predicting the Weather - Aug. 29, 2009
- I Have a Big Gun in the Closet - Aug. 19, 2009
- The Rainmaker - Aug. 16, 2009
- The Moog Synthesizer - Updated Sep. 30, 2010
- RoboCop - Jul. 30, 2009
- Will Obama's Plan Put Health Insurance Companies Out-of-Business? - Jul. 27, 2009
- Military Recruiters Target Mentally Disabled - Jul. 18, 2009
- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Jul. 15, 2009
- Business is Great! - Jul. 8, 2009
- Canadian Healthcare Rocks! - Jul. 8, 2009
- Coal Mines or Windmills? - Updated May 5, 2010
- Meet Gertie - Jun. 20, 2009
- Don't Get Fucked by Big Oil - Updated May 5, 2010
- Healthcare War - Jun 10, 2009
- The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 - Jun. 3, 2009
- Hannity's Face - May 28, 2009
- Dick Cheney Plans Burning of the Reichstag - May 24, 2009
- Living Without Healthcare is Torture - Updated May 21, 2009
- Optional Public Health Insurance - Updated May 21, 2009
- Marijuana and the Economy - Updated Mar. 29, 2009
- Rolling Back Healthcare and Blaming Obama: The Military's Plan for 2012 - Mar. 21, 2009
- Octalink V1 Cartridges - Mar. 20, 2009
- Cheney and Limbaugh Are a Danger to America - Feb. 6, 2009
- The Monty Hall Problem - Jan. 28, 2009
- Happy New Year - Jan. 1, 2009
Archives
- 2008 (Front Page)
- 2008 (Page Two)
- 2007
Blog

The Copenhagen Accord - Dec. 21, 2009

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark has wrapped up, and it looks like 188 countries - including the United States - will sign on to the new Copenhagen Accord.

But a lot of people are really disappointed in the deal. The accord "clearly falls well short of what the public around the world was expecting [...] it's clearly not enough to keep temperatures on a track below two degrees," says Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, according to Reuters.

The two degree target is linked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to keeping the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 450 ppm (parts per million).

Under the Copenhagen Accord, the countries that sign on will need to declare their national emissions targets. Their measures will be subject to international consultations, but if a country falls short this will have no consequences as the accord isn't legally binding.

The U.N. holds Climate Change Conferences annually, so they will have more opportunities to make the accord legally binding, as well as to make it stronger or agree to additional measures (such as reducing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide to below 350ppm). The next conference will be held in Mexico in 2010. In 2011, it will be held in South Africa. These conferences are now in the "spotlight" like never before, and this growing worldwide attention will surely enable the U.N. and other organizations concerned about climate change to accomplish a great deal more in a very short time...

This isn't over, and we're not done yet!

Related:
- http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=3078

See Also:
- 350
- Confusinhagen


WIMP's - Dec. 18, 2009

WIMP stands for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle. It's a kind of dark matter. Dark matter is "dark" because it does not reflect or absorb light, making it impossible to observe with telescopes. So far, scientists have been unable to confirm the existence of dark matter. But yesterday, The Guardian reported that Dan Bauer, head of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), said the group had spotted two particles with all the expected characteristics of dark matter. Tantalizing glimpses of dark matter particles were picked up by highly sensitive detectors at the bottom of the Soudan mine in Minnesota, scientists said. It may take a year or more to confirm the discovery.

I know I'm very excited about the discovery and hope it's confirmed, as it should help explain some of the missing mass in the universe. This is an issue that has plagued astronomy, cosmology, and physics for a long time. An easy way to understand the problem is to say that when scientists estimate the total mass of the universe, it comes up short.

The article hinted at a number of different theories about dark matter, including a possible explanation for the reason time only moves in one direction. More broadly, the direct-detection experiment seems to fit with cold dark matter theory, which predicts WIMP's are individual, fundamental particles that exhibit negligible velocity, such as those predicted by supersymmetry.

There are, of course, a number of other theories about dark matter that may or may not be explained by this discovery. For example, can dark matter particles interact with one another? Might there be agreement on a theoretical relationship between dark matter and dark energy? What else could be explained by the discovery of dark matter particles? (The article did mention "a variety of particles.")

I don't think I'm the only person who's excited about all of this. It is sure to keep the scientific community buzzing for years to come! Congratulations to everyone involved in this important discovery!

Related:
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/dec/17/dark-matter-detected
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
- Liddle, Andrew and Jon Loveday. eds. (2008). The Oxford companion to cosmology. New York: Oxford University Press.


Ads on NewsKing - Dec. 16, 2009

I haven't really made up my mind about putting ads on NewsKing. The issue just seems so political. I don't want to end up making some statement about ads on the Internet. I just don't want to take a stand on such a hot political issue. Ever. (I'm only kidding, of course. Send in your feedback and we can have a virtual town hall...)


350 - Dec. 14, 2009

This post is about climate change. Most people think of climate change in terms of the increasing average global temperature. But scientists now agree that the average global temperature is increasing because of another number: the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are measured in parts-per-million (ppm). 350ppm is the number most scientists agree to be the threshold between runaway climate change and preventing global catastrophe. We need to get below 350...

CO2 concentrations are currently at about 387ppm, and CO2 concentrations are increasing at about 2.3ppm per year. Other greenhouse gases (called CO2E's) contribute to the problem, even though they do not always appear to be included in some calculations.

A lot of people haven't heard about the number 350. Instead, they've heard that CO2 concentrations above 450ppm are almost certain to bring about global catastrophe. This is where it gets confusing...

Politicians are saying if 450ppm = global catastrophe, and we're currently at 387ppm, why not worry about it later? The first problem is that even at our current CO2 level of 387ppm, we see glaciers and ice caps melting, along with a rise in ocean levels. The second problem - the one that people don't seem to understand - is that once CO2 is released into the atmosphere, it could take 50 years to take effect. So even if we stopped increasing CO2 levels by 2.3ppm per year and held steady at our current level of 387ppm, it could still cause a global catastrophe. That's why 350 is such an important number.

Talking about climate change in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a much better way of understanding climate change than just talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That's because the discussion includes issues like stopping deforestation, since trees soak up CO2.

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is currently underway. Right now, they are debating whether to shoot for 350 or some other number, as well as stopping deforestation and other important issues. They need to hear your voice. Tell them you understand how it works, and that the world will not tolerate anything over 350 - literally!

Related:
- http://www.350.org/understanding-350
- http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf
- Raloff, Janet. (December 5, 2009). Science News. Magazine. "Climate might be right for deal." Washington, DC: Society for Science and the Public.

See Also:
- Confusinhagen


Obama Receives Nobel Peace Prize in Norway - Dec. 10, 2009

President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony held today in Oslo, Norway. While I imagine it must have been a difficult speech to give, Obama did a superb job. You can read an excerpt from Obama's speech below, and you can read the entire speech by clicking HERE. Congratulations to President Obama on his Nobel Peace Prize!

The absence of hope can rot a society from within.

And that's why helping farmers feed their own people -- or nations educate their children and care for the sick -- is not mere charity. It's also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement -- all of which will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action -- it's military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance.

Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, the determination, the staying power, to complete this work without something more -- and that's the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there's something irreducible that we all share.

As the world grows smaller, you might think it would be easier for human beings to recognize how similar we are; to understand that we're all basically seeking the same things; that we all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness and fulfillment for ourselves and our families.

[...]

[W]e do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached -- their fundamental faith in human progress -- that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.

For if we lose that faith -- if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace -- then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.

- President Obama

The Nobel Institute pictured with the Alfred Nobel Statue in Oslo, Norway

Related:
- http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize
- http://nobelpeaceprize.org/

See Also:
- President Obama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize


Google Real-Time Results for Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and More - Dec. 8, 2009

[UPDATE - Dec. 9, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Now when you do a search on Google, there's a special list that includes results for the latest posts from sites like Facebook (1) and Twitter, along with blogs (2), social networking sites and social news sites. Google is calling it "Real-Time Search." Try a search and scroll down a little and you should see a separate list within the search results that scrolls automatically. The auto-scrolling list appears immediately beneath the heading "Latest Results for [search term]." It doesn't appear on all searches; I've had the best luck searching for news- and entertaiment-type topics that have a "buzz" (such as "public option" or "Twilight"). Beneath the auto-scrolling list, more Google search results appear.

Related:
- http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/relevance-meets-real-time-web.html
- http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/12/google_gets_rea.html
- http://searchengineland.com/google-launches-real-time-search-31355

Notes:
- 1) Only information that Facebook users select for sharing with everyone on the Internet will be indexed by Google Real-Time...
- 2) It looks like you can add your blog to Google Real-Time here...


Copenhagen Climate Conference Begins - Dec. 7, 2009

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen began today, and hopes are higher than ever! A record number of nations have now committed to reducing emissions, and some may even set targets lower than previously announced. But that's not all. In the U.S., the EPA today concluded that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health, obligating the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

What an exciting first day! All the best to everyone committed to saving the climate!

Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark

Related:
- Copenhagen Climate Conference Home
- http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2863
- http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2873

See Also:
- Confusinhagen


Animals and Vegetarianism - Dec. 1, 2009

[UPDATED: Mar. 12, 2014]

So I want to talk about animals. Topics range from relationships with animals, such as keeping animals as pets, to eating animals and using animals in scientific research. But I want to start by saying that although I eat fast food hamburgers several times a week, as well as other fast food, I have thought about becoming a vegetarian. Still, I could tell you about my favorite fast food restaurants...

That said, let's start with goats. The film The Men Who Stare at Goats came out in 2009. And I think goats have human-looking faces. Plus, people keep goats as pets. They can even be potty trained, but they have trouble holding their poops because they have 4-chamber stomachs, similar to cows. Still, they make great outdoor pets, and they're great with kids.

Goats

If you rule out eating goats, you'll also have to rule out eating pigs. Pigs are smarter than dogs, and they're kept as house pets. Of course, most people (myself included) enjoy pork, but there are some issues starting to surface...

According to Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana, "it's okay to eat fish, 'cause they don't have any feelings..." If I were to stop eating meat, I would still want to eat fish and seafood, because they don't seem at all like goats or pigs. I'd also eat eggs and dairy. Poultry could also be an option for me, but new research suggests it may not be.

Fish and seafood can still be problematic, though, depending on various factors. For example, overfishing of pollock hurts sea lions.

Catfish can be grown on farms, but they farm pigs, too. Cows and pigs, in particular, are treated very badly on many farms, and if you ever saw how they were treated, you would probably only want "organic" or "free range" meat (the term "free range" has no official definition). That's the kind of meat high-end restaurants serve to U.S. Senators.

Cow, pig, and chicken "farms" are also famous for diseases like swine flu, bird flu, and E. coli, as well as various infections. Things have gotten so bad that in the U.S., they now have to use pesticides on most of the animals and inject or spray them with antibiotics. But both people and animals are still getting sick. (They're injecting people now, too...) They also inject or feed many of the animals hormones and steroids to produce more meat, but the meat doesn't taste as good and can also make people sick. (Not to mention how bad it is for the animals...)

Speaking of injections, a certain percentage of U.S. dairy cows that produce milk are injected with or fed hormones that make the cows produce extreme amounts of milk. They also inject or spray these cows with antibiotics because of problems associated with the hormones, as well as for other reasons. These practices harm the cows and cause problems with the milk. The thing is, there was never a shortage of milk in the U.S. A number of dairy cows started receiving BGH around the same time as the "got milk" ad campaign began. After discovering the problems, a number of Americans who cared about the human relationship with cows stopped drinking milk, identifying themselves as vegetarians or vegans. A Fox News affiliate in Tampa, Florida attempted to keep information about the problems quiet, ultimately firing two reporters. Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe banned the practice.

Humans have had a special relationship with dairy cows for a long time. I think it would be a shame to end that relationship, although there are still problems that remain. If you've ever milked a friendly cow on a small farm or are just a fan of dairy, organic milk is now available from farms that treat cows humanely and don't inject or spray them with anything. (The organic milk tastes a lot better, too.)

A cow

Did you know that milk and orange juice can be stored on an unrefrigerated store shelf for months or years, just like apple juice? It just has to be packaged differently (I can't remember whether it's an airtight, vacuum-packed, or airless container, though it does appear as though certain pasteurization technologies may also be involved). Americans buy it refrigerated because of the way grocery stores evolved. I don't know why I wanted to include that bit of info...

Anyway, I've been thinking about animal issues for a long time, and one solution to many of the issues surrounding the eating of animals that I've supported has been "in vitro meat." That's where they "grow a steak" in a special facility without ever killing a cow. In 2013, they'd managed to grow an entire hamburger. It was cooked by a master chef and tasted by some food critics, and while not that different from a regular burger, it contained no fat. PETA supports this idea, and more and more NewsKingers may be in favor of in vitro meat...

I also support of the use of animals in scientific research. We wouldn't know anything about stem cells, for example, without animal testing. Of course, I certainly don't support unnecessary testing or inhumane treatment of animals used in testing...

I don't support cloning animals for human consumption, though. It's "stupid science." It causes more problems than it solves. There is no economic, philosophical, or scientific reason for doing it. Some of the arguments being made remind me of debates about genetically engineered crops. It's like, economists, philosophers, and scientists are busy arguing about Agri-Darwin-Galileo, but the point that's getting lost is about nature. History has handed humanity some bad experiences. While we want to expand knowledge, we can't go forward with an axe to grind. Of course, corporate marketing may be responsible for injecting the debate with a lot of nonsense. I should probably do a new post about cloning and genetically modified organisms (by the way, I oppose genetically modifying crops, and oppose cloning or genetically modifying animals for human consumption), but fortunately agribusiness has resisted cloning or genetically modifying animals for human consumption.

Let's move on. Everyone loves animals, so it's time to talk about some of the soy- and vegetable-based meat and dairy products available.

In addition to burgers, there are chicken nuggets, tacos, and even lasagna made from soy and vegetables. There are so many products available, I can't even begin to list them all, but most grocery stores carry them now. There are also dairy-style products such as soy milk and cheese made without animal products. All of these foods are very delicious, and I think more people should try them!

Soy- and vegetable-based meats used in typical American food

An assortment of soy and veggie products available from grocery stores

A vegetarian buffet

Still, most people continue eat meat because they like the taste and because it is widely available and inexpensive. America's appetite for meat has some of its roots in the Great Depression. Soldiers were showing up for duty with no meat on their bones, and school children looked even worse. In other words, America was literally starving to death when a lot of this started...

During the late twentieth century, America was able to produce and distribute inexpensive hamburgers and, along with other foods in the American diet, they are often associated with the rise in obesity in America. In fact, roughly 1 in 3 Americans are now struggling with issues related to obesity. And industrialized meat production has turned into a post-war monster with its own problems... (With their 4-chamber stomachs, industrial cows emit gas in amounts so great that they are considered a huge contributor to global climate change, while cattle farms and hog farms leak raw animal sewage into human drinking water at least once per year.)

In the 21st century, talking about animals and vegetarianism is more challenging than ever. Take Bill O'Reilly, for example. He went on Fox News television and shouted, "I'd rather die than not eat steak!"
I wonder if he could be talked into "in vitro sirloin?"

Animals & Vegetarianism: Part II

A number of things have changed since I originally wrote Part I of this post back in 2009... Hardee's/Carl's Jr., Burger King, and a number of other fast food or burger restaurants have introduced turkey burgers. U.S. chicken can now be shipped to China for uninspected processing. Bacon - one time an expensive delicacy - has seen an increase in popularity. The dairy industry has tried to stop the use of the word "milk" in soy milk products. Bill Clinton has become a vegetarian. And understanding vegetarian diets has become something people are at least more curious about.

Shortly after publishing Part I of this post in 2009, another development came to my attention in a 2010 article I read about conscious cognition in humans, other mammals, and birds. It seemed to be related to my original statement that, if I adopted a vegetarian diet, I would still consume fish, seafood, and poultry. I didn't go into much detail about why I made the statement, but I said that these food categories seemed different from beef or pork (I said "goats or pigs," but same idea). Well, I worded it that way because consciousness in humans - if you accept that humans are conscious - is thought to be related to the presence of a prefrontal cortex in the human brain. Humans are the only animals thought to be conscious, but humans are mammals, and all mammals have a prefrontal cortex. Mammals include humans, dogs, cats, goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, elephants, horses, lions, tigers, bears, etc...




In 2013, I shared another article I read that included ideas about "defining consciousness" and "degrees of consciousness." The idea of human consciousness is now more accepted in the scientific community.

When ideas about consciousness are combined with ideas about conscious cognition in humans, other mammals, and birds, it is a source of curiosity for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. While this has nothing to do with why some people adopt a vegetarian diet, and while I'm not going to suggest that eating animals is wrong, I think most people find it interesting.

The most interesting part of the article about conscious cognition in humans, other mammals, and birds was that it spent a lot of time on birds and cognition (the article was called "Who You Callin' 'Bird Brain?'"). Birds are not mammals, and don't have a prefrontal cortex. But the article suggested that at least in some birds, other parts of the brain made up for the lack of a prefrontal cortex, and these birds appear able to pass the same tests given to mammals. Other studies have confirmed this idea. Little else is known at this point, but if this information weighs on your decision about whether or not to include poultry in your vegetarian diet, it may be interesting to you.


Some people just like fruits, vegetables, and other foods that easily fit with a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. Sometimes these folks identify as vegetarians, and sometimes they don't. When asked about their favorite food, some people answer "corn," "tomatoes," "apples," etc. Many vegetarian or semi-vegetarian foods even have "fans."

Fresh fruit

Grilled vegetables

Part III

Part III is about vegetarian diets and proper nutrition. There are different types of vegetarians, and vegetarian diets must be planned accordingly. The table below shows the different types of vegetarians along with the associated food categories for each type. After reviewing the table, review the information below it to help plan a vegetarian diet that suits your needs to ensure you get adequate nutrition. The dietary information that follows the table was compiled from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Types of Vegetarians & Associated Food Categories
Vegetarian Type Plants & Fungi Fish & Seafood Dairy Eggs Poultry Meat from Mammals Reptiles & Amphibians Insects
Vegetarians
Vegan             *
Lacto-vegetarian           *
Ovo-vegetarian           *
Lacto-ovovegetarian         *
Semi-Vegetarians
Pollotarian         ✓‡ *
Pescetarian ✓†         ✓‡ *
Pollo-pescetarian ✓†       ✓‡ *
Lacto-pollotarian       ✓‡ *
Ovo-pollotarian       ✓‡ *
Lacto-ovopollotarian     ✓‡ *
Lacto-pescetarian ✓†       ✓‡ *
Ovo-pescetarian ✓†       ✓‡ *
Lacto-ovopescetarian ✓†     ✓‡ *
Lacto-pollopescetarian ✓†     ✓‡ *
Ovo-pollopescetarian ✓†     ✓‡ *
Lacto-ovo-pollopescetarian ✓†   ✓‡ *
Flexitarian ✓†‡ ✓‡ ✓‡ ✓‡ ✓‡ ✓‡ ✓‡
* There are no available names for any type of vegetarian who eats insects, but some do. It appears to vary with individual opinion.

† Some pescetarians who eat most seafood excluding fish (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab, etc.) may not eat freshwater or saltwater fish (catfish, salmon, whitefish, pollock, tilapia, mahi mahi, cod, tuna, etc.), and vice-versa.

‡ Flexitarian appeared to be the only recognized term for a semi-vegetarian who eats fish, seafood, reptiles, and amphibians, but not meat from mammals. Some people think that this diet is close to a pescetarian diet, while others think it is close to a pollotarian diet. Flexitarians may also view certain food categories, such as meat from mammals, as occasional indulgences. This is controversial, and some do not consider that approach a type of vegetarianism.

A well-planned vegetarian diet can give you good nutrition. A vegetarian diet often helps you have better health. Eating a vegeterian diet can help you reduce your chance of obesity, reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians usually eat fewer calories from fat (especially saturated fat), fewer overall calories, and more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.


Anyone following a vegetarian diet needs to make sure to get enough important nutrients. This is because it may be hard to get all the calories and nutrients needed for growth and development and to maintain good health. Careful planning may be needed for certain groups of people such as young children and teens, pregnant or breast-feeding women, older adults, and people with cancer, more severe lung problems, and other illnesses.

Vegetarian diets are usually high in fiber. High-fiber diets may lack calories, which can lead to growth and development problems in infants and children, poor growth of a baby while still in a mother's womb, and weight-loss in those who are ill or older.

If needed, take supplements if your diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals. Vegetarian diets often lack certain vitamins and nutrients. You may want to pay attention to the following:

- Vitamin B12: Sources include eggs, milk products, and foods that have B12 added to them (fortified).

- Vitamin D: This vitamin is found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as soymilk and cereals.

- Zinc: Sources of this mineral include beans and foods fortified with zinc, such as milk and cereals.

- Iron: This mineral is found in beans, green vegetables, and foods fortified with iron such as cereals. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C at the same meal as iron-rich foods increase iron absorption. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.


- Calcium: Sources of this mineral include milk, seeds, beans, nuts, green vegetables, and foods fortified with calcium such as fruit juices. Calcium-fortified soymilk provides calcium in amounts similar to milk. It is usually low in fat and does not contain cholesterol.

- Protein: Sources of protein include fish, eggs, beans, soy products, nuts and nut butters. If you eat fish, eggs, and dairy, getting enough protein should be easy. Even if you do not, proteins from plants can still provide a healthy diet. Soy protein, such as soy nuts, tofu, veggie burgers, chicken substitute, and soy cheese are good sources of protein, along with legumes and beans, such as navy beans, split peas, and chickpeas. Nuts, peanut butter and other nut butters, and almond milk are also good protein sources; so are seeds and whole grains. Vegetarian diets that include some dairy products and eggs are nutritionally sound.


You may want to work with a dietitian to ensure that your nutrients are adequate. When following a vegetarian diet, be sure to eat different kinds of foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dairy and eggs if your diet includes these. Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt (sodium), and fat. Do not make up for a missing nutrient by overeating another. For example, do not eat a lot of high-fat cheese to replace meat. Instead, choose protein sources that are low in fat, such as beans.

Learn to read the Nutrition Facts Label on food packages. The label tells you the nutrition contents of the foodproduct.


The Ingredient Label is usually located near the Nutrition Facts Label. Ingredients are required to be listed in order of greatest amount to least amount. Watch for hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, interesterified, or fractionated oils; palm kernel oil; high fructose corn syrup (HFCS); and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Sometimes MSG is disguised as "hydrolyzed protein," such as "hydrolyzed corn protein," "hydrolyzed soy protein," etc. If you are a vegetarian, be aware that casein, whey, and gelatin are considered animal ingredients (casein and whey are dairy, gelatin can be made from mammal by-products).


See Also:
- Ex-Military Thugs Now Enforce Genetic Patents
- Factory Farms Make People Sick

Related - Part I:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_testing
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_food
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goat
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats_(film)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Windsor_(goat)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_(band)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seafood
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poultry
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-vegetarian
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_lions
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfish
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensive_pig_farming
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_range
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swine_flu
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H5N1
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infection
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormones
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steroid
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_somatotropin
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Got_milk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_milk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_meat
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PETA
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloning
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_analogue
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetables
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_milk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheese_analogue
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_pattern_diet
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatulence#Environmental_impact

Artwork (may include photos, images, audio, and/or video) - Part I:
- Artwork carried over from the original 2009 post was not sourced.
- http://limabeanlover.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/garden-cove...
- http://strullersuppe.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/img_8579.jpg

Related - Part II:
- http://discovermagazine.com/2010/mar/01-who-you-callin-bird-brain
- http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/lisa-randalls-guide...
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocortex
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16263260
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness

Artwork (may include photos, images, audio, and/or video) - Part II:
- http://funkadelphia.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/mammals2.jpg
- http://s.imwx.com/dru/2013/11/0383726a-968e-4ebc-835f...
- http://nodogaboutit.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/j0435910.jpg
- http://images.wisegeek.com/dog-and-cat-staring-at-eachother.jpg
- http://insectforum.no-ip.org/gods/non-cgi/usravatars...
- http://www.marinecatering.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/fruit...
- http://a.abcnews.com/images/Health/gty_grilled_vegetables...

Related - Part III:
- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002465.htm
- http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/tips...
- http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads...
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-vegetarianism

Artwork (may include photos, images, audio, and/or video) - Part III:
- http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/blog/wp-content...
- http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/HEALTH/03/22/cereal...
- http://stat.ks.kidsklik.com/statics/files/2013/11...
- http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit...
- http://www.attunefoods.com/blog/wp-content/uploads...


Confusinhagen - Nov. 20, 2009

On December 7, 2009, the United Nations will begin holding a climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. I have been trying for months to get information about the conference, and so far I've come up with very little. What little information I've found has been very confusing, but I'm starting to sort it all out...

As best I can tell, the U.N. is expected to secure a "framework agreement" in Copenhagen, but they will try to secure a "binding agreement." One of the major obstacles for the Copenhägen conference involves the reduction of various emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions.

Most people around the world - along with most people in the U.S. - are seeking emissions reductions of around 40% below 1990 levels. But the U.S. government is currently considering climate change legislation that reduces emissions by only 3.5% below 1990 levels, though it's being touted as a 15-25% reduction (using 2005 levels instead of 1990 levels). China and India are trying to reach separate agreements.

In order to reduce the effects of climate change and promote a strong, green economy, it is important that the U.S. reduce its emissions by 40% or more below 1990 levels. And it's important that the rest of the world join the U.S. in pursuing an aggressive strategy for emissions reduction, so that the global economy will grow while the effects of climate change are minimized.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Related:
- Germany Calls for Binding Climate Deal
- All Industrialized Countries Make Pledges for Copenhagen (except U.S.)

See Also:
- Copenhagen Climate Conference Home
- Repower America
- U.N. Climate Change Gateway
- Hopenhagen
- Greenpeace Global Warming and Energy Campaign
- http://green.msnbc.com/


The Future of the Entertainment Industry - Nov. 14, 2009

[UPDATE - Nov. 16, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Today I started thinking about the future of the entertainment industry. A number of television shows are re-broadcasting stuff from the Internet. There's Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. New shows like Tosh.O on Comedy Central (along with a number of shows on MTV) revolve around re-broadcasting the Internet on television. CNN, MTV, and several other networks have Twitter feeds on some of their shows. And Fox News has a program for college students that asks students to write, produce, edit, and star in their own homemade news broadcasts. So, what's going on?

It looks like the entertainment industry - especially large media companies - are trying to cut the salaries of their employees and reduce the value of art in human culture. They want people to do more work for less money. And they want the talented people who do all of the work to be disposable, so that any show can be cancelled at any time for any reason.

If Fox News has its way, a television show will be nothing more than a naive college graduate who moves to New York for a few years and has to make a TV show all by themself. They'll only get paid enough to be miserable, and then they'll get cancelled to make room for the next underpaid disposable artist...

So what's an artist to do? It seems like the best bet is to be portable - to get re-broadcast through as many media outlets as possible. That way, artists can control their own popularity and get media outlets to vie for them. It all seems a lot like the Internet, except that media companies are trying cut the number of media outlets and keep all of the money for themselves. A portable artist needs "net neutrality." Not just on the Internet, but on television as well...

Related:
- Net Neutrality - Save the Internet!
- Internet Broadcasting

See Also:
- Fox News' owner Rupert Murdoch to remove content from Google
- Moyer, Michael. (2009, November). Scientific American. Magazine. "How the Internet is Changing the Way We Will Watch TV." New York: Scientific American, Inc. ["Abstract"]
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push-pull_strategy

Suggested Areas for Further Research (that don't yet exist or have disappeared from the Internet):
- The DJ Effect (including television with schedules)
- Consumer Behavior: Sitting in a Recliner and Not Changing the Channel (including car radios)
- Guerrilla Artists (differentiated from street artists)
- Live Broadcasts and Performances (including street artists and performers)
- Ideas Similar to Google's (other than the Internet)
- All of the Information Buried on JSTOR and Similar DB's


Hold the Senate Responsible for Healthcare - Nov. 8, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a Healthcare Reform Bill (H.R. 3962) that includes a strong public health insurance option. The House did a great job! I'm not sure how the "robust" part works, but I'm sure someone will explain it since it isn't law yet...

Unlike the House, the Senate has yet to pass a Healthcare Reform Bill. And Senator Joe Lieberman - torn between his money and his job - is threatening the Senate bill and playing games with American lives.

I have a real problem with Senator Lieberman's philosophical view of healthcare. He's saying a government-run public option would lead to a government takeover of healthcare. He's lying.

The bills being considered by Congress aren't like that. So, why is Senator Lieberman willing to go on TV and lie?

We hear a lot rhetoric from "the right" about how the government is evil and shouldn't be involved in healthcare. But I think it's a smokescreen. You'd have to be insane not to at least want the option of holding the government responsible for your healthcare. Senators, soldiers, and the elderly already hold the government responsible for their healthcare. The rest of us just want the option to do the same. If you think "government-run" is a bad thing, then you're trying to squash the voice of the American people. Not only does a government-run public option lower costs and provide competition, it keeps the private insurance companies honest.

Joe Lieberman and his co-conspirators just don't want to take responsibility for America's healthcare system. And America's insurance companies, who enjoy special protection from the government that Senators don't have, are all too happy to help people like Lieberman.

But there is no need for Lieberman and his co-conspirators to worry... the public option is not designed to precipitate a government takeover of healthcare. It's only designed to lower costs, provide competition, and keep private insurance companies honest. And who doesn't want a more honest marketplace?


Related:
- United States. (2009). Cong. House of Representatives. Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009. 111th Congress, H.R. 3962. Washington: http://thomas.loc.gov.

See Also:
- Co-Opt-Out
- Public Option Now Required
- Opt-In Basically a Trigger
- Opt-Out is a Terrible Idea
- My Finger's on the "Trigger"
- I Have a Big Gun in the Closet
- The Rainmaker
- Will Obama's Plan Put Insurance Companies Out-of-Business?


Fox News Is Dead - Nov. 7, 2009

If you've been paying attention to the news media (especially Fox News), you've probably heard that the Whitehouse's strategy for engaging Fox News isn't working. But Obama is kicking their ass, and his strategy is working great!

Fox is experiencing a huge drop in operating income. And Rupert Murdoch, lord and master of Fox News, looks like an idiot. Consider Rupert's attempt to explain Fox's plunge, which is partially due to a decrease in ad revenues from corporations who don't want to finance the old fart's dream for global stupidity... In his interview, Rupert sounded like he wanted to "go Hasan" on CNN and MSNBC...

In desperation, Rupert stupidly tried to link Fox News' ratings with Obama's strategy. But covering "balloon boy" all day isn't news...

Fox News is a joke, and they're dying. Fox's operating income is down 26% (81% at Fox's newspapers, like The Wall Street Journal). If America tunes in, it's just so they can have a front row seat to the death of Rupert Murdoch's dream for global stupidity.


Related:
- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33721708/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/
- http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a3g.B8hBnMXA)
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/06/olbermann-murdoch-worst-p_n_348554.html
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_balloon_incident


Virginia is for Slackers - Nov. 3, 2009

Virginia voters are so slack! The press is wondering why Virginia seems to always elect a Governor from the political party opposite that of the U.S. President. The reason is that Virginia is for slackers!

Actually, that's a little unfair. Virginia holds its elections in odd years, so voter turnout drops off. The passion is gone. So maybe Virginia isn't really slacking... maybe their state and local elections just require a different kind of passion...

Anyway, the winner of Virginia's 2009 gubernatorial race is a Republican who attended the University in Virginia owned by televangelist Pat Robertson. (The Virginia Governor's University is located in Virginia Beach.) So, send in your donations now if you want them to talk to God for you (1)!

Notes:
- 1) Virginia televangelist Pat Robertson, owner of the Virginia Governor's University in Virginia Beach, continues to claim that God speaks to him directly. According to Pat, God sounds a lot like Glenn Beck...


The Beginning of the Constellation - Nov. 1, 2009

The first test flight of NASA's Constellation program took place Oct. 28, 2009 at 11:30am. Constellation's Ares I-X rocket launched from a newly modified launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Constellation will replace the Space Shuttle, which will make its last flight in 2010. The Constellation program will carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the Moon, and Mars, as well as other places in our solar system. The Constellation program can also carry other payloads to space, including supplies, large-scale hardware, and even materials needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.

The Constellation program uses the highly reusable Ares rocket. Ares I-X is the name of the rocket that just launched (the "X" stands for "eXperimental").

A photo of the Ares I-X launch - October 28, 2009

The Ares I

Soon, the Orion Crew Vehicle will be sitting on top of the Ares I. This versatile space craft can go to the International Space Station, the Moon, or anywhere NASA includes it in a mission. In the first image below, Orion is illustrated with its solar panels deployed. The second image below shows Orion docking with the Altair Lunar Lander. The Altair Lunar Lander can land both astronauts and cargo on the moon.

The Orion Crew Vehicle (top image) and
the Altair Lunar Lander docking with Orion (bottom image)


To carry extra-heavy payloads to space, NASA has the Ares V rocket. The Ares V looks similar to the Ares I, but it has two additional "rocket boosters" mounted to the main rocket, much like the Space Shuttle. You can see the rocket boosters separating from an Ares V rocket in the illustration below.

The Ares V

Both the Ares I and the Ares V use elements inspired by the Space Shuttle as well as elements inspired by the Saturn rockets used to reach the moon during the Apollo program.

So far, Constellation looks like NASA's most exciting program yet! Congratulations NASA on the launch of the Ares I-X and the startup of the Constellation program!

Related:
- http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/index.html
- http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/ares/flighttests/aresIx/index.html
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_program


Happy Halloween - Oct. 31, 2009

"Trick or Treat?"
Happy Halloween 2009!


American Free Enterprise - Oct. 19, 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is a Washington lobbying group, has launched a new ad campaign called "American Free Enterprise." The ads extol the virtues of free enterprise as envisioned by a group of Washington lobbyists that spend more than any other lobbyists in Washington. According to their ads (shown below), you're "free to outwork, to work late, to work so hard that the sweat tastes sweet." We all know they want slaves, but they're not even acknowledging the abuse...

For example, when the boss asks if you like to get crazy, you'd better say "yes." You might be tempted to say, "What do you mean?" If you ask that question, he'll probably answer by saying, "I want to suck your dick!" If you don't agree, he'll cut your hours. So I guess "you're free to work hard..." If this hasn't happened to you, you probably don't realize how widespread it is. America is fucking crazy! I can't even imagine what it is like for women...

Anyway, it seems like "American Free Enterprise" needs some sort of regulation - a government man standing behind you in the workplace. Of course, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbies against regulation. They're so gay!

They're full of shit!
Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.

They're really full of shit!
Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.

Related:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Chamber_of_Commerce
- http://www.prwatch.org/node/8617
- BP CEO Quits Over Gay-"Lord" Affair


Opt-In Basically a Trigger - Oct. 13, 2009

[UPDATE - Oct. 20, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

First there was "opt-out," which would allow states to refuse to offer their citizens a public health insurance option. Now there's "opt-in," which is designed to bring out the worst in everyone. The most vile and rotten side of humanity is invited to show its ugly face.

Opt-in is basically a "trigger." I haven't heard that much about how opt-in would work, but it appears to be a way to water down or kill the public option.

A "trigger" means that a public option will only be put in place if health insurance companies fail to meet certain criteria in a given amount of time. Of course, insurance companies will pressure to Congress to ensure the trigger will never "get pulled," which will kill the public option.

As I imagine how an "opt-in-trigger" might work (there's almost no information on it), it appears that it would result either in no public option at all, or in a public option weakened to the point that healthcare costs won't go down for anyone. That's why a strong public option is an essential part of healthcare reform. The public option is the only way to lower costs and provide competition: it keeps the insurance companies honest. Without a strong public option, the law will be too weak to do this.

The public option must not be compromised, watered down, killed, or tampered with by lobbyists or their representatives in Congress... A strong public option is the only way for America's healthcare system to succeed!

See Also:
- Opt-Out is a Terrible Idea
- My Finger's on the "Trigger"
- I Have a Big Gun in the Closet
- The Rainmaker
- Will Obama's Plan Put Insurance Companies Out-of-Business?


President Obama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize - Oct. 9, 2009

President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today.

The Nobel Committee said it decided to honor Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The committee added, "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

Upon receiving the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama addressed the public and said, "I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st Century." Obama went on to speak about pursuing a world without nuclear weapons, addressing climate change, the importance of mutual respect among people of different faiths and races and religions, peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, the ability to get an education and make a decent living, and securing people from fear of disease or violence to provide hope for the future.

This award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace.

- President Obama

The Nobel Prize

Related:
- http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Building-a-World-that-Gives-Life-to-the-Promise-of-Our-Founding-Documents/
- http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/10/09/nobel.peace.prize/index.html
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8299824.stm


NASA Fires Bullets at Moon - Oct. 9, 2009

Today, the NASA LCROSS mission will fire projectiles into the lunar surface to create a man-made crater. The mission is designed to simulate projectiles from space, such as comets or asteroids. The moon is hit by similar natural projectiles about four times a year. NASA isn't "bombing the moon," but they are definately making an impact on the lunar surface!

NASA is conducting this mission to find out how much water exists beneath the surface of the moon, as well as for other purposes. The moon's surface is known to contain water. According to NASA, the site chosen for impact appears to contain sub-surface water.

You can watch the event live on NASA TV, or on the Internet at NASA TV's online site. Coverage should start around 6:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time (3:15 AM Pacific Daylight Time). If you miss it, you may be able to catch archived coverage somewhere on this page.


See Also:
- Water Found on the Moon!

Related:
- http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/index.html
- http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html


Opt-Out is a Terrible Idea - Oct. 8, 2009

Opt-out is a terrible idea. States with the worst healthcare - blood-red states like Texas and South Carolina - would opt-out of the public health insurance option so that their sick culture could continue to thrive, allowing their citizens to go on oppressing one another. They live their lives under the constant fear of death, and they use that fear to make each other's brains into mush. They just show up to town hall meetings with guns and start pointing them. Just look at Joe Wilson...

But reforming healthcare is about reforming America. Watering down the public option will only make people miserable, and this kind of misery can't be contained to Texas and South Carolina forever... (I should probably mention a few other blood-red states like Oklahoma, etc.)

Insurance companies are already plotting ways to get blue states to opt-out of the public option; healthcare companies want to bring out the most hateful parts of the human genome. Meanwhile, Europe has banned human cloning in their Constitution; their Constitution also says healthcare is a human right. Why doesn't America's Constitution say that?

America needs a strong public option that lets all states know the madness has to stop!


Today on Fox: Glenn Beck Takes Another Shit! - Oct. 4, 2009

Tune in to Fox News to watch Glenn Beck shit all over America!



Congratulations Rio! - Oct. 2, 2009

Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro on winning as host city for the 2016 Olympics! The 31st Olympic Games are sure to be exciting!


Pick Chicago for the 2016 Olympics! - Oct. 1, 2009

Chicago would be an AWESOME choice for the 2016 Olympic Games! The people of Chicago are great hosts, and I should know... I lived there! I would love to head back to Chicago for the Olympics. I was in Atlanta for the '96 Olympics and it was an amazing experience. My imagination is already running wild about how cool it would be to have the Olympics in Chicago. If Copenhagen is reading this, please pick Chicago!

A photo I took of Chicago, Illinois, USA


Press Tries to Kill Public Option Despite New Support - Sep. 29, 2009

Today the U.S. Senate went through a procedure that no one seems to understand. A Senate committee that has long been expected to leave a "public option" out of its healthcare reform proposal did what they were expected to do. Other procedures that no one seems to understand will follow.

What was unexpected about today's procedure is that the public option received new support. Although Senators went on TV and explained this new support, the press ran headlines that said, "Public Option Defeated," etc. I noticed this occurring on all of the 24-hour news channels: CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC...

Because no one seems to understand how these procedures in Congress work, the press can rake in a fortune by screwing around with the facts. And no one screws it up more than Fox News.

There was a lot of screaming on TV today, but the press barely made a peep when four other committees in the Senate included a public option in their proposals.

Lately, I've done a lot screaming myself over all of this. Most of my screaming has been directed at the 24-hour news media. But today's headlines, along with the behavior of a few reporters, made it seem like the press is trying to screw with the American public...

The 24-hour news media wants to hear from you! Contact the 24-hour news media and tell them you support a strong public option!

See Also:
- Media Profits by Threatening Public Option


Don't Drink the Water - Sep. 28, 2009

[UPDATE - Oct. 1, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Camp Lejeune is a 246-square-mile (640 km2) United States military training facility in North Carolina (1). Throughout the years, it has also become the home base for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and other combat units and support commands.

From at least 1957 through 1987, Marines and their families at Lejeune drank and bathed in water contaminated with toxins at concentrations up to 240-3400 times more than permitted by safety standards, and at least 850 former residents filed claims for nearly $4 billion from the military. Testing showed the water was highly contaminated with various chemicals, including the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) known as PCE (Tetrachloroethylene a.k.a. Perchloroethylene - a dry cleaning solvent), TCE (Trichloroethylene - a metal degreaser), DCE (Dichloroethylene), Vinyl Chloride, and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene). These chemicals are either known or suspected human carcinogens.

For years, dumbasses at the base dumped or buried solvents near their own drinking water wells. A 1974 base order required safe disposal of solvents and warned that improper handling could cause drinking water contamination, yet the Marine Corps Generals allowed the practice to continue for more than a decade after 1974. In 2007, Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine master sergeant, found a 1981 document that described a radioactive dump site near a rifle range at the camp. According to the report, the waste was laced with strontium-90, an isotope known to cause cancer and leukemia. Camp Lejeune officials first became aware that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were interfering with the analysis of drinking water samples in 1981.

In 1989, Camp Lejeune was declared an EPA Superfund site under a law originally designed to clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites.

Department of Defense (DOD) and North Carolina officials concluded that on- and off-base sources were likely to have caused the contamination. For example, some of the dry cleaning chemicals are thought to have come from off-base.

Many Marines, Sailors, their families and loyal civilian employees have been affected by the contamination in various ways including, but not limited to: liver cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, liver disease, miscarriages, birth defects (cleft palate, heart defects, Choanal atresia, neural tube defects, low birth weight, and small for gestational age), etc. Unfortunately, many of these families still have not been notified by the USMC of the danger from their exposure.

An advocacy group called The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten was created to inform possible victims of the contamination at Lejeune.

Veterans are encouraged to file a claim for VA disability compensation for any injury/illness they feel is related to their military service. The VA can be contacted regarding benefits at 1-800-827-1000. In addition to benefits, veterans who may have been exposed are also encouraged to apply for healthcare enrollment online (or call 1-877-222-VETS), and if enrolled, should discuss any specific concerns with their VA healthcare provider. According to the VA, almost all veterans qualify for VA healthcare, but it's probably a good idea to talk to an attorney or talk to other veterans before filling out any enrollment or benefit forms, or before answering certain enrollment or benefit questions.

The Marine Corps encourages all those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune before 1988 to register to receive notifications regarding Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water. Family or friends who were at Camp Lejeune during this period are also encouraged to join the Notification Registry.

So far, my impression is that the Marine Corps Generals are acting like tobacco company executives. The latest report summary from the "Notification Registry" says something like, "you can't prove once and for all that your little problem came from Lejeune!" But more reports are due to come out soon, so hopefully any claims situations will improve for victims...

MP3's
- Dave Matthews Band - Don't Drink the Water (edit)

Of Interest:
- According to a U.S. OPM report, the U.S. Marine Corps has consistently come in last in the Federal government in terms of work environment, as measured on a number of scales...

See Also:
- Military Recruiters Target Mentally Disabled

Related:
- http://www.tftptf.com/
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Base_Camp_Lejeune
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfund
- http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/SITES/LEJEUNE/faq_water.html
- https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/faq/wc.html
- https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/CLNR-Privacy.aspx
- http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/...pdf
- https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/
- http://www.marines.mil/units/mcieast/mcblejeune/Pages/about/default.aspx

Notes:
- 1) Camp Lejeune is not a "boot camp." I got it confused with Parris Island...


Media Profits by Threatening Public Option - Sep. 25, 2009

Several weeks ago, President Obama made a speech before a joint session of Congress and stood behind a strong "public option" in the new healthcare reform bill. Obama followed that speech with a speaking tour where he continued to stand behind a strong public option. Then he followed that with a record number of consecutive interviews with the media. All the while, members of Congress did the same thing - they continued to fight to make a public option part of healthcare reform.

Today, some idiot went on TV and said "Obama needs to fight for the public option." He's been fighting for it non-stop!

Almost every day - on every 24-hour news channel - someone in the media threatens the public option. They don't even appear to be accountable for their comments. They say things like "no one will vote for a public option - the public option is dead." Some of these people are supposed to be "liberal"... They do usually manage to get a member of Congress on to disagree with the commentator, but somehow all the reporters forget everything by the next day.

It seems like they're making money by threatening the public option. The influence of insurance company money is obvious. The media doesn't really seem to care whether or not there is a public option, as long as you tune in and worry.

It would be nice if all of this bad press motivated people to fight harder for the public option, but too many people are just staying tuned for better news. For the most part, all of it plays into the hands of the insurance companies, while lining the pockets of the media (especially Fox News).

Call the 24-hour news media and tell them you support a strong public option!

- CNN: 404-827-15XX - The 1500 extension will get you the operator, who will immediately transfer you to voicemail. Try different extensions, such as 1509 or 1515, until you reach someone who will listen...
- Fox News: 212-301-3000 - This will get you the operator, who was the only live person I could reach at Fox News. The operator at Fox will listen to short comments, but there may be other extensions that will get you someone else, such as 30XX, etc. 3009 and 3015 didn't work, but I think 3009 was an "inactive extension," so there should be some extension that will work...
- MSNBC: 212-664-8857 - This will get you the NBC/MSNBC news desk. They'll pass your comments along...


Water Found on the Moon! - Sep. 24, 2009

NASA announced today that water molecules were discovered on the moon. NASA's "M3" instrument, which hitched a ride to space aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, confirmed the observations of earlier missions, but also expanded on them. "Our analysis unequivocally confirms the presence of [water and hydroxyl] molecules on the moon's surface and reveals that the entire surface appears to be hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day," says Jessica Sunshine, a scientist on the M3 team and principle investigator of an earlier mission.

These images show a very young lunar crater on the side
of the moon that faces away from Earth. The blue area
indicates water absorption strength on infrared reflectance.


In a related story, NASA also announced the discovery of more water on Mars today.

Related:
- http://www.nasa.gov/topics/moonmars/features/moon20090924.html
- http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/news/mro-20090924r.html


Bank of America Gets It Right - Sep. 24, 2009

[UPDATE - Sep. 27, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Have you ever thought you had money in the bank only to be charged an overdraft fee or an over-the-limit fee? Sometimes these fees can be as much as $35.00. And it really stinks to get charged a $35.00 fee for purchasing some snacks that only cost $4.78 at a gas station.

Maybe you called the bank or checked online before you went shopping and they said you had $100.00 in your account, but you found out later that you really had only $1.00 in your account. This happens because most banks compute your balance in a number of different ways. But Bank of America is finally starting to do something about all of this...

Beginning October 19th, you can tell the bank to cut off your debit card when you're out of money. It sounds simple, but this has never been possible before. For a long time, the bank would tell you that you had $100.00 when you only had $1.00, then they would just keep letting you use your debit card and add a $35.00 fee to each purchase. All that's about to change!

Of course, there's still a slight chance your balance could be reported wrong, but in most cases your debit card will no longer charge $35.00 fees. In cases where your balance is reported wrong (or in any case), Bank of America will not charge fees for accounts overdrawn by less than $10.00 per day as long as you deposit enough money to cover the amount within 5 days. It's a pretty sweet deal (1)!

It would be nice if they would let you give the bank permission to calculate your balance differently, so that you could avoid any chance of a fee, but you might get annoyed because there's a slight chance you'd have money in the bank that you couldn't spend for a few days. It would still be a nice option, though.

Bank of America has taken a step in the right direction (2). And as part of these changes, they've even limited the number of times you can be charged a fee in a single day - you can only be charged $35.00 a few times in a single day (3), then they stop with the fees!

If you have an account with Bank of America, be sure to contact them and make sure you're hooked up! I contacted Bank of America after reading this article, and they said the changes should still be available to customers who don't "opt out" of overdraft protection...

See Also:
- Bank Balances

Related:
- BofA Overhaul of Overdraft Fees

Notes:
- 1) Congress may sweeten the deal even more by raising this amount.
- 2) According to CNN, Wells Fargo may offer a similar plan.
- 3) In the spirit of what Bank of America (and other banks) appear to be offering, I think waiving the first $35.00 fee that occurs on a customer's account each month would be a good fit with the kind of changes being made.


ACORN - Sep. 18, 2009

ACORN is a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization with national headquarters in New York, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. The word ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN's priorities have included: better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, better public schools, and other social justice issues.

On September 9, 2009, conservative activists Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe released a hidden-camera video in which they posed as a prostitute and a pimp in order to elicit a response from ACORN. In the edited video, two employees in ACORN's Baltimore office appear to offer unethical advice to the two.

A big part of ACORN's philosophy is to help people without passing judgment. ACORN recognizes that the world is imperfect, and makes a genuine effort to help people who come from imperfect circumstances. This philosophical idea is not new, and neither is attacking it. People have been attacking the notion of goodwill for millennia. This time, conservatives have tried to take advantage of ACORN's philosophy. These conservatives seek only to ridicule and take advantage of people who can't fight back. And they've been after ACORN for awhile...

Instead of a pimp and a prostitute, imagine a family - a father, mother, and young child - trying to qualify for welfare. The father has just been laid off, and he has turned to selling drugs to make ends meet. They're a good family, and attend church every Sunday. Their child makes straight A's. But they're about to get kicked out of their house. ACORN can help this family when no one else will. Conservatives, in fact, even go so far as to deny welfare to anyone with a drug conviction, no matter what the circumstances. But this father just needs to keep his family fed while he finds another job - he has no interest in drugs.

Would you help this family? Your answer is probably related to how you feel about ACORN...

I hope people will stop attacking ACORN over mistakes that may have been made by a few employees (who no longer work there), and start recognizing what this organization actually does...


Related:
- http://www.acorn.org
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now


Chinese NewsKing - Sep. 13, 2009

Recently, I discovered Chinese NewsKing - www.newsking.com.cn - and I'm very excited to announce it here. The site is in Chinese, but you can translate it using Google Translate. It doesn't translate into English perfectly, but Google manages to achieve a Sarah Palin-esque style that invites readers to enjoy the site in any language they wish. I think Google has accomplished something cool, and I wouldn't announce Chinese NewsKing without announcing Google Translate.

Translation from Chinese NewsKing

Click HERE for a translated article from www.newsking.com.cn. You can also view the translated Chinese NewsKing homepage and Google will automatically translate any article you click on. Enjoy!


Another Ignorant Republican Liar - Sep. 10, 2009


[UPDATE - Sep. 12, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

President Obama delivered an excellent healthcare reform speech on Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress. He stood behind the strong public option, and called for an end to partisan bickering. And he scolded those who spread misinformation about healthcare reform.

Obama also set the record straight on several lies that opponents had spread about healthcare reform. One of those lies was about healthcare being provided to people who are in the U.S. illegally. When Obama said that the lie wasn't true, and that healthcare would not be provided to people who are in the U.S. illegally, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted at Obama and said, "You lie!" Congressman Wilson later apologized, but not without adding a buttload of lies to his apology.

The Republican Congressman started groveling about various amendments to the House healthcare reform bill (H.R. 3200) that seem to overlook the fact that healthcare providers (including insurance companies and government programs) gather certain information about patients. The bill Wilson seemed to be talking about also explicitly bans undocumented aliens - people in the U.S. illegally - from receiving healthcare assistance from the government (1).


SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States (AAHCA).

Wilson is just a liar.

For some reason, the press imagined how this sideshow would play out if someone living illegally in the U.S. took a trip to the emergency room. Pres. Obama was asked about a 1986 law that requires emergency rooms to treat everyone, including those who are here illegally. Of course, the question has nothing to do with healthcare reform... Besides, the emergency room still charges a fee for their services, and the hospital will do everything it can to collect the money. A typical trip to an emergency room costs $1000.00. What a misinformed question (2)...

I also want to add that a trip to the ER isn't "healthcare." If you get hit in the eye with a rock and can't see out of that eye, the emergency room will only provide you with an eyepatch - they won't fix your eye. If you have a rotten tooth, they won't pull it - they'll just give you an antibiotic.

I wish the ER had a cure for Joe Wilson and his ignorant, lying Republican colleagues...

Abbreviations:
- AAHCA: United States. (2009). Cong. House of Representatives. America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. 111th Congress, H.R. 3200. Washington: http://thomas.loc.gov.

Notes:
- 1) There is a sub-debate emerging about the language used in H.R. 3200. I strongly disagree with Cornell Law Professor William A. Jacobson in the sense that H.R. 3200 does not use language that may require certain people to participate in various programs outside of a particular legal status. Jacobson has made up "abstract legal statuses" that do not really exist under law, and he has added language to a CRS report that does not exist in the report itself.
- 2) Medicaid will cover patients legally eligible for Medicaid who are enrolled in the Medicaid program. The LA Times reported that Medicaid will "pay for patients regardless of their immigration status," but their statement is misleading. In many states, a homeless person, for example, would have to be "pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged" to qualify for Medicaid. And they would have to sign up before they go to the emergency room...


My Finger's on the "Trigger" - Sep. 6, 2009


[UPDATE - Sep. 10, 2009: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

The press has reported that "liberals" may have to give up the public healthcare option in the healthcare reform bill, or settle for a "trigger." A "trigger" means that a public option will only be put in place if health insurance companies fail to meet certain criteria in a given amount of time.

The trigger is thought by some to be a possible way to win the votes of a few Republicans, even though most Republicans will continue to bash whatever plan passes, if any plan passes at all. It would be a pretty rotten deal...

To make matters worse, it would be impossible for the U.S. Congress to create a "trigger" that will get anything done. Once the trigger is on the negotiating table, health insurance company lobbyists will put pressure on key members of Congress to make sure the insurance companies won't have to make very many changes, thus insuring the public option will be killed (the "trigger" will never get "pulled"). That would make the deal even more rotten...

But what would really make this deal rotten is the fact that many people who wanted a so-called "single-payer system" would be steamrolled. A "single-payer system" would have changed the role of health insurance companies in America. Bowing to pressure from Obama, as well as to Republican lies about "communist-socialist-death panels," the single-payer folks agreed to Obama's "public option." Despite the lies spread about the public option, it is nothing like a single-payer system; it only offers a "way out" that would keep health insurance companies honest and lower the cost of insurance. Now Washington wants to kill that, too?

They are trying to "water down" the public option with co-ops, triggers, and other ideas that won't work. They're also trying to "water down" any decrease in the cost of the health insurance people would get.

A "trigger" would kill any possibility of a public option once the insurance industry got their hands on it. Then everyone would go on TV and tell us that "it's a great deal!" But it would be the rottenest deal ever. It's not even a deal. It's a lie.

Still, they are telling us that there are other things in the bill that are important, like being required (by the government) to fork over part of your paycheck to a private insurance company so that "everyone will be insured." If a trigger were used to kill the public option, the insurance companies would make a fortune off of the government, and continue to treat patients like crap. For example, once the insurance companies can reach into your wallet with the government's blessing, they promise to do away with "pre-existing conditions," but they can still deny claims whether you're "sick" or not! And there will be no public option to keep them honest! Americans want their money to pay for something better than that!

Of course, no matter what happens, the Republicans will continue to bash the Democrats. And Democrats aren't pointing any of this out because... Republicans will bash the Democrats? Most Republicans aren't even going to vote for the "deal" the insurance companies want, so why not fight for the public option and create a bill that will work?

Remember, the whole thing requires a strong public option...

Another way of looking at it is that there are a small number of Democratic Senators who are worried about re-election. I would hate for Democrats to lose their majority, but what good is it? It seems like the whole thing is being negotiated by "moderates" who are afraid to utter the word "government" because they might lose votes? Why not say, "government isn't a bad word, and I refuse to let the government of the United States take a beating from fat-cat insurance company liberals." Maybe throw in a salute or an "oo-rah" or something - Sarah Palin style...

The Democrats should just do what's right for America and vote for the public option. They really have nothing to lose - they already have families, luxury cars, nice homes, and uh... healthcare...

Actually, they lose their healthcare once they're out of office...



See Also:
- I Have a Big Gun in the Closet
- The Rainmaker
- Will Obama's Plan Put Insurance Companies Out-of-Business?


Predicting the Weather - Aug. 29, 2009

As Hurricane Danny (which was an Aug. 2009 tropical storm) threatened the East Coast, I couldn't help but notice the importance of the computer models used to predict the storm's path. I also noticed that the computer models varied widely in their predictions about where the storm was headed. While TV stations were able to show the different models and project an average path or range of paths, no one could really say much about why the models differed. It could be that the TV stations just thought it was too boring or complicated for most viewers... But after doing just some very cursory research, it looks like the computers don't make it very easy for meteorologists to get at the major variables used in the models.

I don't exactly understand how it all works, but I think it would be nice if the computers could output an easy-to-understand display that would allow meteorologists or other weather personnel to say something like, "...these hurricane models vary quite a bit, and one reason is that some of the computers predict this high pressure front will stay put, while other computers predict the front will move to the east or west, so we'll be keeping an eye on this front for you..." Without more information from the computers, meteorologists are forced out on a limb (during a storm) if they try to explain something like this.

Of course, it may be that there are no important common variables in the models, or it may be that the models handle the variables so differently that very little can be said. But from what I understand so far, it looks like the computers don't do a very good job explaining the variables to meteorologists.

I'm no expert. In fact, I've never even seen hurricane forecasting software. And I don't want to offend anyone. I feel lucky that weather forecasting is now this advanced, and I'm thankful to all of the people who help get the information out to me and everyone else... But maybe all of the newer computer models could have something like this...


I Have a Big Gun in the Closet - Aug. 19, 2009

Does a healthcare exchange made up of private insurance companies provide the same thing as a public option? They're bringing guns to the meetings, and they don't really care about the debate. But they've managed to stupify everything.

Suddenly, the gun on your hip is about an economic debate operating inside of a philosophically imagined "healthcare exchange," and the guns are loaded. Actually, the debate is probably about Glenn Beck. But I have a strong economic muscle, so I can still shed some light on this.

With all of the talk about private subsidies, it looks easy to imagine that the public option can be removed from the imaginary subsidized exchange, so that trillions can be forked over to private companies. Quick! Grab your gun! There's an imaginary debate about the government going down. Will the Obama government take your gun?

Wait... what about the economic debate about how a government-run public option operates within an imaginary healthcare exchange. That one's easy... The equations work differently without a public option, so a strong public option has to be an integral part of healthcare reform. But that doesn't pack enough punch for America. So, let's imagine a gun that doesn't always fire. If you're having problems with your gun, you can get one guaranteed by the government, or you can continue shooting blanks with something imaginary.

That is to say, I refuse to be threatened by gun-toting idiots. We all need a strong public option. I am well-armed and ready to go to war over healthcare reform. And by the way I don't really have a big gun in the closet... I have three big guns in the closet!


The Rainmaker - Aug. 16, 2009


Health insurance companies are pumping a huge amount of money into the debate about healthcare reform. And it's paying off. While everyone is worried about whether or not healthcare reform will pass, the warped perception of some people seems to be that the public option is a "death panel."

The media is a victim of the insurance companies' lobbying as much as they are at fault for hyping the debate. The latest outcome from all of this is that Obama's decision to try and leave many of the details up to Congress may result in the public option being shaped by private insurance companies. And it is those insurance companies - not the healthcare bill - that have pre-existing "death panels."

Private insurance companies have had "death panels" for a long time. I should know...

The thing is, a lot of people don't know that I once worked for a large health insurance company. Of course, I won't name names, and the company is no longer in business, but I worked for the "Rainmaker company." If you've seen the movie The Rainmaker or read the book, I want to add that I worked there long after those events took place.

For whatever reason - maybe because of my web designs - people at that insurance company had a lot to say to me. I was in the Information Technology department, but I had long conversations with attorneys and retired physicians who had very impressive credentials. I was even treated to a detailed discussion about how actuarial software instantly denies coverage to sick people. If someone who worked there was feeling human and wanted to help out a patient, the computer would deny the patient's coverage.

Actually, there were only two or three executives that really wanted to work there. So, I can see how various aspects of the current healthcare debate play into the hands of a small number of insurance company executives...

Health insurance companies are spending a fortune to create a misinformation campaign in the media. But no matter what is said in the media, Democrats need to stand their ground. It would be a tragedy not to do this right.



Related:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rainmaker_(1997_film)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rainmaker_(John_Grisham)


The Moog Synthesizer - Aug. 12, 2009

[UPDATE - Sep. 30, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Robert Moog was an engineer/inventor/musician/physicist who was the first person to make a musical synthesizer with a piano-style keyboard (1). He also made the synthesizer "portable" and "modular" (1).

The "Mini-Moog" Synthesizer (1)

Moog was one of the major forces behind late-twentieth-century America. He even inspired a 2004 film...

Enjoy another film clip inspired by Moog below...

"The Mall Scene" from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.

Notes:
- 1) These are actually complicated statements. Synthesizers used to be so large they filled entire rooms. They were at least as large as "two pianos." When a keyboard was attached to them, they typically couldn't "decay" - or make the notes "fade off" if you left your finger on the key - like a regular piano (the 1939 "Novachord" appears to be an exception). But it was possible for these "room-size" synthesizers to make similar sounds through a more complicated interface. What Moog did was get a synthesizer to "decay" using a keyboard, while still producing the array of sounds possible through other synthesizers (as well as new sounds). And in part thanks to the transistor, he shrunk the whole thing to the size of a piano instead of the size of a room. Additional "effects" could be added through "modules" that could be added to the keyboard synthesizer. The Mini-Moog synthesizer pictured is not the first Moog synthesizer - the first one was a bit larger - but the Mini-Moog was so popular that photos of it are easy to find. It also has a cool look...

Related:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimoog
- Leckart, Stephen. (2010, September). Wired. Magazine. "Original Models." San Francisco: Condι Nast.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSR
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novachord
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_(film)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Moog
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_and_Ted's_Excellent_Adventure


RoboCop - Jul. 30, 2009

It's back by popular demand! This post was originally entitled The Healthcare Debate. It owes a lot to Wikipedia...

By the way, the post may contain an element of satire. And remember, even though RoboCop is cool, OCP (the company in charge of RoboCop) is an "evil corporation." The graphic is here for your enjoyment. Oh, and there's something about cosmetics in there. As far cosmetics go, I'm mostly a fan of eye makeup. I like eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow, but I think girls wear way too much blue eyeshadow...

You should click all of the links and read about this; there are other links you can click on from there. Then go rent the movie...

So, without further delay, here's my original post...

The Healthcare Debate

RoboCop/OCP vs. the Cambridge Police: Who should run your healthcare 401K? Does your "philosophy" even matter, or is it more about cosmetics?



Will Obama's Plan Put Health Insurance Companies Out-of-Business? - Jul. 27, 2009

No, Obama's plan will not put health insurance companies out-of-business. But this fear seems to be at the core of the healthcare debate, particularly with regard to Obama's public health insurance option. If the plan Obama wants passes - the so-called "strong" option - then conservatives argue it will put the insurance companies out-of-business. Their arguments seem to have little to do with the public option Obama wants. Conservative arguments are mostly based on superstitions about a "liberal agenda," with accusations that liberals want "government-run healthcare," or a "single-payer system." But that's not what a law based on Obama's plan would say.

Consider the following: Obama's plan passes and insurance is offered through the plan for a savings of $1 over a competitively priced private plan. A competing insurance company could respond by lowering its premiums by $1. They could also slam their doors and cash in. The latter is an example of the kind of negative behavior that this law seeks to make people aware of, so that the behavior can be corrected. As Obama put it, "it keeps health insurance companies honest." The only goal is to lower costs. Without a strong public health insurance option, the law will be too weak to do this.

While conservatives are fanning their own flames by criticizing the healthcare systems of other countries and mis-representing the quality of healthcare in the U.S., some have suggested that the public health insurance option should be "watered down." Watering down the public health insurance option is more a response to the scare tactics of conservatives than to the original question about insurance companies going out-of-business. As I've just shown, this law is not designed to put insurance companies out-of-business.

I know of three ways under consideration for "watering down" Obama's plan. One idea is "co-ops" that would be unable to compete with large insurance companies for a number of reasons, making the co-ops unable to lower costs in many cases. Another idea is a "trigger" that would offer a government plan only if insurance companies don't improve on their own. A trigger really just takes away the public option and weakens cost control in many important areas, ultimately failing to lower costs overall. Finally, some want to create a government plan without funding it, insuring its failure.

I've heard other ideas for watering down Obama's plan that may still be developing, such as limiting the availability of the public health insurance option, but I haven't heard enough about that idea to explain what it might mean. On the surface, I would say it seems unnecessary since a strong public option does not put insurance companies out-of-business.

Obama's strong public health insurance option lowers costs. It doesn't do anything conservatives are saying it will do. That said, it's time for liberals to fan some flames of their own, especially against Republicans who are working harder than ever to kill Obama's plan. There's nothing wrong with standing up to the insurance companies. Do you really think private insurance will collapse? Or are you being tricked by Republicans who imagine up false scenarios while flaming you with false claims about healthcare in other countries? America needs a strong public health insurance option, not another Republican mess.
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