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There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
~ Mark Twain

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How to Make "Cafe Americano"

How to make Cafe Americano - Michael Eades demonstrates how to make a better tasting, less caffeinated cup of American coffee or Cafe Americano. The technique came during World War II from the Italians, who didn't have drip coffee makers, but who hosted many drip coffee loving American soldiers. In Italy, espresso is king, but espresso proved to strong for the drip coffee loving Americans, so they came up with an alternative. The alternative, which turned out even better than the original, was called Cafe Americano.

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33 Funny Musings of Steven Wright


Steven Wright

Steven Wright - Here's another emailed bit of humor. It's by Steven Wright, whose biography consists of the following:

I was born. When I was 23 I started telling jokes. Then I started going on television and doing films. That's still what I am doing. The end.

Below is a brief description included with the email. I'm not sure who wrote that part or about the "scientist" part, but Wright sure has a unique way of viewing the world. Enjoy!

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Cholesterol Myth - Evidence Refuting Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease

Cholesterol Myth / Heart Disease Myth - I've become suspicious of the current model that high blood cholesterol (particularly LDL) is directly related to coronary heart disease risk (CHD). Operating from this belief, doctors prescribe drugs which reduce blood LDL levels thinking this effect also reduces the heart disease risk (CHD). Specifically, I'm referring to the widespread acceptance of statin drugs (Crestor, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.).

Statins clearly reduce LDL, but they carry with them other effects that may be more relevant to reducing CHD risk than reducing LDL levels. It's like trying to stop aging by stopping hair from turning gray. Gray hair is a symptom of aging, but not necessarily part of the cause. Similarly, LDL may be a symptom of CHD risk, but NOT likely a cause.

However, as I make clear below, I don't think high LDL is necessarily a symptom of high CHD risk.

Work in progress. I hope to have study citations to support each assertion listed below in what I hope will be a more comprehensive model of coronary heart disease (CHD).

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David Graeber on Debt & Money

Saw David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, on Up with Chris Hayes. He had an interesting perspective on debt. Within the current financial crisis, we tend to think this is something unique, that having such a high debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio never happened before. But it has...

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How to Import Large MySQL Data Files

How to Import Large MySQL Data Files

One Step: Use BigDump

I've been so frustrated at the file size limits for uploading large MySQL data files, and BigDump is the answer. Works like a charm.

More details below...

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How to Avoid Jet Lag - A New Rule-of-Tum

Avoid jet lag - According to a Harvard animal study, the sleep-wake cycle can be reset by fasting for 12-16 hours. So to avoid jet lag, the researchers offered this rule-of-tum...

  1. Figure out when breakfast is served in the new timezone
  2. Don't eat for 12-16 hours before that time

Avoid eating for 12-16 hours - The Harvard study suggests that delayed eating helps reset the sleep-wake cycle, which could help reduce jet lag or adjusting to working a swing shift.


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Stumbling On Happiness - Flaws of the Human Mind

In Stumbling On Happiness, Daniel Gilbert exposes the flaws of the human mind.

Quite disillusioning, this expose of the human mind. His thesis is simple. Humans cannot reliably predict what will make us happy, nor can we accurately recall what made us happy in the past. That leaves us with the present.

The reasons for our failure to find happiness are many, and revolve around the idiocyncracies of the human mind.

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.

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Can You Read This?

Can you read this?

 Fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too.
 Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 precnet plepoe can.

 i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd
 waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the
 hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde
 Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the
 ltteres in a wrod are, 
 the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat
 ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a
 taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a
 pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not
 raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a
 wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot
 slpeling was ipmorantt! 

As long as the first and last letter are correct, we can read just about any scramble of letters...

It's become my literary inspiration.

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Cactus Pacifier

I call this a Cactus Pacifier. God help the sick S.O.B. who came up with this idea...


Cactus Pacifier

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Practicing ~ A Poem by Maria Howe

Listened to Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with poet Marie Howe. They covered many topics, most centered around death, but did include a discussion of this poem about practicing to kiss as a 7th grader...


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U.S. Experiment in Private Healthcare

Healthcare Private or Public - Yes! Magazine published something of an expose regarding the debate on private versus publicly funded healthcare titled: Has Canada Got the Cure? Written by Holly Dressel, the story expands upon the following disturbing statistic:

The U.S. and Canada had similar life expectancy and mortality rates up until about 1970. After 1970, the numbers began to diverge. Currently, Canada has a longer life expectancy and lower mortality rate as compared to the U.S.
~ Yes! Magazine

What changed in Canada? In 1970, Canada began its publicly funded healthcare program. As the article concludes:

Publicly funded, universally available health care is simply the most powerful contributing factor to the overall health of the people who live in any country.

This graphic from the article displays data from the World Health Organization, CIA, and Centers for Disease Control.

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Madonna Magdalene by Kim Garcia


Madonna Magdalene

Madonna Magdelene Poetry - Kim Garcia, a dear college friend, has recently published a book of poetry titled Madonna Magdalene. I just ordered my copy and will report later on my impressions. In the meantime, my anticipation is teased by these reader comments...

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New Alphabet for Boomers

Rec'd from email chain

The New Alphabet for Boomers - A is for Apple, and B is for Boat, That used to be right, but now it won't float! Age before Beauty is what we once said, but let's be a bit more realistic instead.

Now A's for arthritis; B's the bad back,
C is the chest pains, perhaps cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline,
E is for eyesight, can't read that top line!

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Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog

Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog - This is my wife's blog, and as her worst critic, I can honestly say it contains among the most inspirational writing I have ever read. As an avid reader, that's saying something. Just look at her comments from other (less biased?) readers. LaRonda's Ear of My Heart blog is awesome!

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Across The Universe - Beatles Musical with Evan Rachel Wood

Jude and Lucy
Jude and Lucy
Across the Universe

Across the Universe - Directed by Julie Taymor, Across the Universe is a classic "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl" story--all presented as a musical containing 33 class Beatles songs. I'm not usually drawn to musicals, but the familiar and catchy Beatles tunes quickly got my attention. From there, the ensemble cast of young actors/singers (including Evan Rachel Wood from King of California) brought something genuine and earnest to the often psychedelic storyline that knitted together lyrics from Dear Prudence to Why don't we do it in the road.

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Note Home from Teacher


Note Home from Teacher - Let's hope things have improved since this letter was written...second to last paragraphs sounds like something out of a President Bush press conference.

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The Belly and the Squash

I absolutely adore this photograph.

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Hillbilly Vasectomy


Bill and Hillary Way Back When

Received this from a Port-a-gee from Arkansas.

After their 11th child, an Alabama couple decided that was enough as they could not afford a larger bed.

So the husband went to his veterinarian and told him that he and his cousin didn't want to have any more children.

The doctor told him that there was a procedure called a vasectomy that could fix the problem but that it was expensive. "A less costly alternative," said the doctor, "is to go home, get a cherry bomb, (fireworks are legal in Alabama) light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to your ear and count to 10"

The Alabamian said to the doctor, "I may not be the smartest tool in the shed but I don't see how putting a cherry bomb in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me."

"Trust me," said the doctor.

So the man went home, lit a cherry bomb and put it in a beer can. He held the can up to his ear and began to count...

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Ben Franklin - Advice on the Choice of a Mistress

Benjamin Franklin's very funny...and sensible...advice to a young man seeking a mistress over marriage. Franklin's argument speaks to the value of experience over youth. Is the argument as compelling today as it might have been in 1745? And who was the young man Franklin addresses?

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Black Swan - by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Had Nassim Taleb been born in any other period, he would have certainly been put to death.
~ Carine Chichereau, co-translator of TBS.

Black Swan and Nassim Taleb - Listened to Nassim Taleb on KQED's Forum program, and the ideas about randomness and luck drove me to his recent book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

A read it once, then started over, this time going a bit slower, trying to commune with his counter-intuitive ideas and wonderfully illustrative thought experiments. This books is such a colorful pallet of ideas that somehow connect without falling into a grand theory or trite advice. Indeed, that's part of the Taleb's message in The Black Swan. That theories are contrived and can lead us to a false sense of security or doom. Skeptical empiricism reigns over theory, narrative, and other often misguided simplifications.

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