Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.

The March 26 NewScientist online article, Beer bellies may double the risk of dementia, fires a deadly round in the senseless War on Beer. ™

The article states that fat build-ups around the waist during middle age may cause dementia decades later. That's just friggin' wonderful. On the one hand, beer consumption is linked to decreased cancers and on the other hand you'll be too out of it to know you're healthy. Can it suck any more than this? <--- (rhetorical question)

Researchers next need to study the impact that the molecules released by body fat have on the brain. If Whitmer's hypothesis proves right, the conclusions could be disturbing – those beer bellies may be silently damaging the brain, long before old age sets in.
Game over man... Game over!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Of Scientists, Beer, and Statistics

A March 18 New York Times Science section article, For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus Test, by Carol Kaesuk Yoon, says that the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher.
The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day.
Oh dear, you might think. This study is rock-solid. The author of the study is Dr. Tomas Grim, an ornithologist at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. Grim's study, however, only looked at fellow ornithologists in the Czech Republic.
Some scientists suggest that biologists in the Czech Republic could prove to be an anomaly, given that the country has a special relationship to beer, boasting the highest rate of beer consumption on earth.

More important, as Dr. Grim pointed out, the study documents a correlation between beer drinking and scientific performance without explaining why they are correlated. That leaves open the possibility that it is not beer drinking that causes poor scientific performance, but just the opposite.

Or, as Dr. Mike Webster, an ornithologist and a beer enthusiast at Washington State University in Pullman, said, maybe “those with poor publication records are drowning their sorrows.”

All of this provides a classic example of how one must be careful to draw conclusions from any correlation.

Interestingly, the online article also had a sidebar link to an older (Dec. 14, 2004) article, which extolled the virtues of beer-drinking among geologists. Perhaps the poncy Czech bird-watchers are truly an anomaly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Windows XP Users are Revolting

An interesting article in Computer Word, titled Windows XP: Going, going ... gone? talks about the twilight days of Windows XP.

One of the things that makes it interesting is that it speaks of "an incipient consumer rebellion." In the short history of computing, consumers couldn't get their updates fast enough. The product life-cycle was born, and Microsoft wallowed in profits. And Bill Gates said "It is good."

But then something happened. Windows Vista, with its demand for high-end hardware, and the difficult support for legacy hardware and applications, left consumers wanting... to stick with Windows XP.

Normally, when a new Microsoft OS makes it into production, the old OS would hit the dust bins after a couple of years. Interestingly, however, after consumer versions of Vista went on sale in January 2007, four months later companies like Dell were once again selling the majority of their machines with XP. This consumer rebellion subsequently prompted Microsoft to revise its product life cycle, and extend the freshness date of Windows XP a little longer.

Ah, but that Windows Genuine Advantage that you so willingly undertook to protect yourself from running pirated software is now going to bite you. Somewhere in that license agreement that you failed to read is a clause that says that there is a limit to the number of times you can activate your XP license on new hardware. Gotcha, sucker. This is a slight variation on the carrot & stick approach -- if you don't go after that juicy expensive carrot that's being dangled in front of you, then you get jammed from behind by the stick.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Health News I Can Use

I would normally be skeptical of a news report from a conservative, Republican-leaning publisher like However, sometimes a news item just feels right, and one must trust that it is legitimate. Such is the case with the March 18 story, Beer Fights Cancer, by Sylvia Booth Hubbard.

According to unnamed researchers at an undisclosed location, the chemical compound xanthohumol, which occurs naturally in hops, has been shown to be toxic to several kinds of human cancer, including prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon. It is said that beers that contain the most hops, such as ale, stout, and porter -- the darker the beer, the better -- provide the most benefits.

Quite frankly, I'm not about to wait for hop-based herbal supplements to hit the local markets. I'm going to renew my prophylactic treatments right after work tonight -- the natural way, as god intended.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Pity the poor spammer who's trying to ply his trade to an increasingly jaded audience. Maybe it's time that they took a tip from pharmaceutical companies and began combining their products. Is the market ready for a Hoodia-Viagra combo drug? If you're going to lose all that weight, you may as well plan on doing something, right?
Dear Sir:

I have been requested by the Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company to contact you for assistance in resolving a matter. The Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company has recently concluded a large number of contracts for production facilities in the sub-Sahara region, where we've merged with the leading national Hoodia grower. The contracts have immediately produced moneys equalling US $40,000,000. The Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company is desirous of selling our product in other parts of the world, however, because of certain regulations of the Nigerian Government, it is unable to move these funds to another region.

Your assistance is requested as a non-Nigerian citizen to assist the Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company, and also the Central Bank of Nigeria, in moving this product out of Nigeria. If the funds can be transferred to your name, in your United States account, then you can forward the funds as directed by the Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company. In exchange for your accomodating services, the Nigerian National Viagra Manufacturing Company would agree to allow you to retain 10%, or US $4 million of this amount (payment to be made in the form of our new combination drug, Hoodia Love).

However, to be a legitimate transferee of these moneys according to Nigerian law, you must presently be a depositor of at least US $100,000 in a Nigerian bank which is regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

High up on the Mountain

An item cited on Yahoo! News, Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher, has an Israeli space cadet/professor of cognitive psychology saying that he's been there and done that himself -- talk to God, that is.

Benny Shanon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem says that Moses was probably high when he saw the "burning bush." Citing his own experiences with South American psychotropics, Shanon thinks that Moses might have been drinking a concoction based on bark of the acacia tree, which is frequently mentioned in the Bible. It's also an ingredient in Fresca and Barq's Root Beer. Of course, smoking Acacia bark is also thought to keep demons and ghosts away, so God was not likely in his/her Holy Ghost incarnation. One variety of the plant is also good for treating premature ejaculation. Moses did have a thing with his staff, didn't he?