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Can Money Buy Happiness? August 30, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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A few researchers are looking again at whether happiness can be bought, and they are discovering that quite possibly it can – it’s just that some strategies are a lot better than others. Taking a friend to lunch, it turns out, makes us happier than buying a new outfit. Splurging on a vacation makes us happy in a way that splurging on a car may not.

“Just because money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t mean money cannot buy happiness,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist and assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. “People just might be using it wrong.”

Dunn and others are beginning to offer an intriguing explanation for the poor wealth-to-happiness exchange rate: The problem isn’t money, it’s us. For deep-seated psychological reasons, when it comes to spending money, we tend to value goods over experiences, ourselves over others, things over people. When it comes to happiness, none of these decisions are right: The spending that make us happy, it turns out, is often spending where the money vanishes and leaves something ineffable in its place.

via Happiness: A buyer’s guide – The Boston Globe. (more…)

Teen Lotto Winner Blows $3.1 million August 30, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle.
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Callie Rogers, from Cockermouth in Cumbria, pictured with her chTeenage lottery winner Callie Rogers has confessed to blowing £250,000 on cocaine and said she should never have been allowed to spend her fortune at such a young age. Miss Rogers, 22, scooped £1.9million when she hit the jackpot in 2003 at the age of 16 and went on a never-ending spending spree.

In a frank interview she told how her drug addict boyfriend Nicky Lawson got her hooked on cocaine too and she wasted a fortune on the drug. The former shop assistant believes she shouldn’t have had access to her winnings until she was old enough to deal with her wealth sensibly.

via How teen Lotto winner Callie blew her £2m fortune – including £250,000 on cocaine | Mail Online.

(more…)

Why is There Peace? August 30, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.

When the archeologist Lawrence Keeley examined casualty rates among contemporary hunter-gatherers—which is the best picture we have of how people might have lived 10,000 years ago—he discovered that the likelihood that a man would die at the hands of another man ranged from a high of 60 percent in one tribe to 15 percent at the most peaceable end. In contrast, the chance that a European or American man would be killed by another man was less than one percent during the 20th century, a period of time that includes both world wars. If the death rate of tribal warfare had prevailed in the 20th century, there would have been two billion deaths rather than 100 million, horrible as that is. Read on with the link below.

via Greater Good Magazine | Why is There Peace?. (more…)

Swimming With Whales August 25, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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divingwithwhalesIn the deep blue waters of the South Pacific, cameraman Marco Queral gets up close and personal with a humpback whale.

The experienced diver even seems to be hitching a lift on the flipper of the 50ft female. Queral, 42, who has spent 17 years taking such remarkable pictures, said: ‘Whales are extremely intelligent. Just like humans, they have their own mind and come with strong personalities. Click the link below for more pictures.

via The underwater dance of David and Goliath: Diver perches on the fin of friendly 50ft humpback whale | Mail Online.

A Brief History Of Movie Special Effects August 25, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Technology, Video.
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A “Sampler” collection of clips and making-of footage from notable visual effects films of the past century. Originally intended for educational use as an introduction to a classroom lecture.
The music track is “Rods and Cones” from the album “Audio” by Blue Man Group.

Fountain Of Youth Drugs August 25, 2009

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It may be the ultimate free lunch — how to reap all the advantages of a calorically restricted diet, including freedom from disease and an extended healthy life span, without eating one fewer calorie. Just take a drug that tricks the body into thinking it’s on such a diet.

It sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. Yet such drugs are now in clinical trials. Even if they should fail, as most candidate drugs do, their development represents a new optimism among research biologists that aging is not immutable, that the body has resources that can be mobilized into resisting disease and averting the adversities of old age.

via Tests Begin on Drugs That May Slow Aging – NYTimes.com.

Robot Hands Amazing Dexterity August 24, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Technology, Video.
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Ishikawa Komuro Lab’s high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation. For more information, see Hizook.com — http://www.hizook.com/blog/2009/08/03…

Video- The On-Line Community Revolution August 21, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Technology, Video.
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Wine Making Secrets Exposed August 20, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Food.
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PH02261KDo you know what you were really drinking last night? The dirty secret about wine is that it frequently contains wood chips, chemicals, and something called Mega Purple. Since only a tiny amount is needed to fix an entire barrel, Mega Purple is probably being added to over 25 million bottles of wine annually. Thanks to that lovable Wino, Randy Marks

via The Great Wine Cover-up – The Daily Beast.

DNA To Self-Assemble Microchips August 18, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Science & Technology, Technology.
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CyborgIBM researchers, along with scientists at the California Institute of Technology, have discovered that the tiny components that run along a chip’s silicone surface will self-adhere to previously laid down DNA patterns.

IBM researchers, along with scientists at the California Institute of Technology, have discovered that the tiny components that run along a chip’s silicone surface will self-adhere to previously laid down DNA patterns.

“The combination of this directed self-assembly with today’s fabrication technology could lead to substantial savings in the most expensive and challenging part of the chip-making process,”

via IBM Eyes DNA For Chip Development — InformationWeek.

The Canadian AMA Wants To Add Private Option August 17, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in health.
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The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

“We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there’s a critical need to make Canada’s health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.

His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that “a health-care revolution has passed us by,” that it’s possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and “that competition should be welcomed, not feared.”

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

He has also said the Canadian system could be restructured to focus on patients if hospitals and other health-care institutions received funding based on the patients they treat, instead of an annual, lump-sum budget. This “activity-based funding” would be an incentive to provide more efficient care, he has said.

via The Canadian Press: Overhauling health-care system tops agenda at annual meeting of Canada’s doctors.

Mega-Slums Breed Global Pandemics August 16, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, health.
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The global pandemics we see today tend to originate and spread from impoverished slums that push humans into close proximity with animals and food sources, thus providing an incubator for viruses that would otherwise die out or go dormant. Pandemics are thus closely linked to the emergence of “hot zones” in what I call “the planet of slums.”

In Kinshasa, Congo, the only way people have been able to survive the collapse of the state and the economy is by bringing agriculture into the city. There are chickens and other animals roaming everywhere. These kinds of conditions transform the whole ecology of disease, speeding up transmission among animals and enabling the leap to humans. They create linkages and causal chains that weren’t there before.

One example: Urbanization in West Africa has increased demand for protein in diets. At the same time, European companies have driven West African fishermen out of their traditional fishing zones, which provided most of their protein. Without fish for protein, people turned to the bush meat trade in the big logging countries such as Gabon. That demand for bush meat, for example from monkeys or chimps, has broken down all the biological species barriers for disease. People are eating wild mammals that carry exotic diseases like the Ebola virus or HIV.

via NPQ.

See 50 Billion Years Back In Time in 3D HD Via Hubble August 14, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Religion, Science & Technology, Video.
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Secret U.S.Tests Fight Web Censorship August 14, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Technology.
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The U.S. government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break through screens set up by their governments to limit access to news on the Internet.

The “feed over email” (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system.

The news feeds are sent through email accounts including those operated by Google Inc, Microsoft Corp’s Hotmail and Yahoo Inc.

“We have people testing it in China and Iran,” said Berman, whose agency runs Voice of America.

via U.S. tests technology to break foreign Web censorship | U.S. | Reuters.

Les Paul & Listerine August 14, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Music.
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Thanks to Dave Kalish for this gem

Moon for Sale August 10, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Science & Technology.
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If you have seen the intelligent Sci-Fi movie “Moon”, starring David Bowie’s son, Sam Blackwell, you may have wondered what all of the mining activity was about. Well it was over Helium-3.

moon_movieAfter 40 years, man is preparing to return to the Moon. But this time the astronauts won’t just land on the Moon – they plan to stay.

From his office in Nevada, Dennis Hope has spawned a multi-million dollar business selling lunar real estate.

But scientists believe the real prize is trapped in the Moon’s rocks. It contains large deposits of an extremely rare gas called Helium-3. Could Helium-3 be mined and used as a new source of almost inexhaustible, clean and pollution-free energy on Earth? Whoever succeeds in transporting Helium-3 back to Earth could solve the world’s energy crisis.

Who will win what has been dubbed the second Moon race? And should we be exploiting the Moon’s valuable resources at all?

via BBC – Horizon – Moon for Sale.

Bill Maher: New Rule: Smart President ≠ Smart Country August 8, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, philosophy & politics.
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Just because a country elects a smart president doesn’t make it a smart country.  (Bill Maher then goes on and rants about polling examples of public ignorance. Reminds me of the “Jay Walking” interviews on the “Tonight Show”, often with College Students.)

Until we admit there are things we don’t know, we can’t even start asking the questions to find out. Until we admit that America can make a mistake, we can’t stop the next one. A smart guy named Chesterton once said: “My country, right or wrong is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying… It is like saying ‘My mother, drunk or sober.'” To which most Americans would respond: “Are you calling my mother a drunk?”

via Bill Maher: New Rule: Smart President ≠ Smart Country.

Simple Health-Care Reform August 8, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in health, News and politics.
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There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It’s economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

The health-care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.

The pool would be funded by a relatively small tax on all health-insurance premiums. Socialize the risk; cut out the trial lawyers. Would that immunize doctors from carelessness or negligence? No. The penalty would be losing your medical license. There is no more serious deterrent than forfeiting a decade of intensive medical training and the livelihood that comes with it.

via Charles Krauthammer – A Better Plan for Health-Care Reform – washingtonpost.com.

See The Earth’s Weather At A Glance August 2, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, Enviroment, Streamingvideo.
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sat_worldm_640x320_12Click on this image to see a video composite of all of the cloud movements for the last 24 hours (in 3 hour increments) in relation to the Earth below.

How Food TV Feeds Our Fast-Food Culture August 2, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Food.
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The Food Network can now be seen in nearly 100 million American homes and on most nights commands more viewers than any of the cable news channels. Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our television screens. (Currently the most popular meal in America, at both lunch and dinner, is a sandwich; the No. 1 accompanying beverage is a soda.)

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Julia Child on PBS 1963/Paul Child/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard Universit

When we let corporations do the cooking, they’re bound to go heavy on sugar, fat and salt; these are three tastes we’re hard-wired to like, which happen to be dirt cheap to add and do a good job masking the shortcomings of processed food. And if you make special-occasion foods cheap and easy enough to eat every day, we will eat them every day. The French fry did not become the most popular “vegetable” in America until industry relieved us of the considerable effort needed to prepare French fries ourselves. The time and work involved in cooking, as well as the delay in gratification built into the process, served as an important check on our appetite. Now that check is gone, and we’re struggling to deal with the consequences.

Read the whole article here Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch – NYTimes.com.

Fox News and MSNBC Truce August 1, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Business, News.
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At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

In early June, the combat stopped, and MSNBC and Fox, for the most part, found other targets for their verbal missiles (Hello, CNN). “It was time to grow up,” a senior employee of one of the companies said.

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