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Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.
~ Mark Twain

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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.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one fascinating guy. His two books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable have been sooooo thought provoking AND entertaining.

I read both in the span of a couple weeks (way too fast) and am now reading each again. The concepts are deceptively simple on the surface...and then so deep. Their counter-intuitive nature makes it hard to grasp their significance in a 30-second sound bite.

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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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Barry Kibrick Goes Between the Lines


Barry Kibrick

Between the Lines - Accidentally discovered this marvelous interview program when I stumble on Barry Kibrick's interview with photographer Robert Zuckerman. I wanted to hear more of Kibrick's interviews and found a Between the Lines archive list that includes links to interviews with Ridley Scott and Stephen Shapiro (Goal Free Living). I gotta check these out.

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Salma Hayek and Baby Valentina

Salma Hayek and Baby Valentina - Looking gorgeous...Oh, and the baby's cute, too!


Salma Hayek and Baby Valentina

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Secrets of Stress Management


Photo by Adrian Sampson Received via email. Dunno who to credit.

Stress Management - When explaining stress management to an audience, the lecturer raised a glass of water and asked:

"How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

The lecturer replied:

"The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight:

The longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.

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Heaven, 1963 - by Kim Noriega

Heaven, 1963
by Kim Noriega

It's my favorite photo--
captioned, "Daddy and His Sweetheart."
It's in black and white,
it's before Pabst Blue Ribbon,
before his tongue became a knife
that made my mother bleed,
and before he blackened my eye
the time he thought I meant to end my life.

He's standing in our yard on Porter Road
beneath the old chestnut tree.
He's wearing sunglasses,
a light cotton shirt,
and a dreamy expression.

He's twenty-seven.
I'm two.
My hair, still baby curls,
is being tossed by a gentle breeze.
I'm fast asleep in his arms.

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Four Day Work Week - 16 Reasons It's a Good Idea

The Four Day Work Week: Sixteen Reasons Why This Might Be an Idea Whose Time Has Come - This article from theoildrum.com makes the argument that a four day work week would have at least 16 benefits to each of us and our economy. Written by Kyle Saunders (associate professor of political science at Colorado State University) the article gives some detail and statistics for each reason, so do read the original article, but the points below give the gist.

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The Engineer and the Manager - Classic Modern Parable

I've bumped into variations of this parable in many places. May help us recognize when our energies are not...productive.

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man below says: "Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees N. latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees W. longitude."

"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.

"I am" replies the man. "How did you know."

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Democrats First 100 Hours In Congress

Here is Democrats' agenda for the first 100 hours of majority rule in the House of Representatives. Nice talking points....Where are the gaps?

Our New Direction begins with a commitment to integrity, civility, and fiscal responsibility. We will break the link between lobbyists and legislation. We will govern the House of Representatives under bipartisan administration, so that the voice of every American will be heard. And we commit to no new deficit spending, with pay-as-you-go budgeting. These are the principles by which we will govern. And under these principles we will take our country in a new direction, with priorities that address the urgent needs of the American people.

In the first 100 hours...

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Information Diet

I started an information diet about a week ago, based on the advice in Timothy Ferriss' book Four-Hour Workweek. Gone from my diet are the usual reddit and digg snacks. No news on TV or radio or "the Internets", not even NPR. It's all too much information--too much noise--that clutters my mind AND interrupts my day.

It's the interruptions that are the time killer. I'm accomplishing so much more, both at work and home. At work, not because of reddit or digg, but because I'm focusing on not letting myself get interrupted by email or instant messaging. Instead, I set about a task, and complete it before checking email or replying (for the most part) to instant messages. It's worked extremely well. It's the interruption that kill productivity. Many think multi-tasking is a good and admirable thing. Bullocks! Multi-tasking reduces productivity (if that's an important measure) and greatly increases stress. Interruptions disorient you, take your attention away from your task, so that you have to waste time re-orienting yourself to where you left off. Nuts to that.

Here are a couple things Ferris said that really struck me...

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Dog Diary vs. Cat Diary

The Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

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Where Does Money Come From?

Permit me to issue and control the money of the nation, and I care not who makes the laws.
~ Mayer Anselm Rothschild, Banker

I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Where does money come from? - As best I can tell, money is literally created from debt. So when a bank is established, it makes a deposit into a Federal reserve bank. The amount they deposit determines how much money the bank can (initially) loan. So if a bank puts $10,000 into the Federal reserve, they can loan something like 10 times that, or $100,000. In other words, the act of depositing into Federal reserve gives them the right to loan $100,000. Where does the extra $90,000 come from?

That's the sleight of hand that no one talks about.

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Men's Rules

Rec'd this from my wife...Go figure.

Men's Rules - We always hear the rules from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side.

Please noteÖthese are all numbered "1" on purpose!

  1. Breasts are for looking at and that is why we do it. Donít try to change that.
  2. If you think youíre fat, you probably are. Donít ask us.
  3. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.


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Bad Faith Economics - by Paul Krugman

Bad Faith Economics - by Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics Paul Krugman rebutts conservative Republican arguments against President Obama's economic stimulus plan. In his New York Times editorial, Krugman's declares that Republicans are arguing in "bad faith." Below is a summary with some added commentary...


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"The Way" - Lyrics - by Fastball

"The Way" - Lyrics - by Fastball - I don't know what the hell this song is about...I read on 365.com that "Tony Scalzo wrote the song after reading a news article about an elderly couple who had disappeared in Texas. He imagined they were ran off on their own romantic trip. Later the real couple was found at the bottom of a canyon. Their RV had veered off the road killing them."

Yuck!

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Average Playboy Playmate by Jason Salavon

Jason Salavon created a photo of the Average Playboy Playmate. As Salavon describes:

This photograph is the result of digitally averaging every Playboy centerfold foldout for the 10 years beginning Jan. 1988 through Dec. 1997.

Unfortunately, the resulting image IS safe for work...

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Closed Caption Missing on HD Channels - Solution Found!

Caption Missing on HD Channels - After installing Comcast cable box, we lost the closed captioning for HD TV channels.

The HD problem - Caption controls exist on two separate menus:

  1. one for the TV
  2. one for the cable box

To display captions for HD channels, you need to enable captioning through the cable box's caption menu. The TV's caption menu will NOT enable captions for HD TV channels.

The hard part is figuring out how to access the cable box's caption menu. Here's how we accessed the cable box's caption menu and restored the captioning for ALL channels, HD and non-HD.

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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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Ordinary Day - by Emilie Mover - Lyrics

Ordinary Day by Emilie Mover was used for a Bounce laundry sheet commercial. What I thought to be a simple commercial jingle is actually a neat little tune. How embarrassed am I that my musical tastes are seeded by Bounce, Apple computer (Feist 1234), and other commercials?


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Who is Anya Major? - Truth About Apple's 1984 Commercial


Anya Major

Anya Major Apple 1984 Commercial - Remember Apple Macintosh's 1984 Super Bowl commercial, the one with the gorgeous, sledgehammer-hurling woman dressed in red track shorts and white tank-top? The 60-second piece, which aired as a commercial only once, basically launched Apple's Macintosh computer.

Yes, but....


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