Sean King

My photo
San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pension Problems Actuaries at consultants Watson Wyatt noted that the rate of rise in old-age life expectancy was already faster than that assumed when the government proposed raising the pension age for men to 66 by 2026. Ministers had assumed that men would expect to live for 20.6 years in retirement by 2026 but the improvement revealed by the latest ONS data showed that level of improvement would be felt by 2011.

Well, they only missed their projection by 15 years.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Seems Only Fair

Ambulances start charging extra for obese patients.

Vitamin D as an Analgesic According to Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD, Executive Director of Pain Treatment Topics and author of the report, "our examination of the research, which included numerous clinical studies, found that patients with chronic back pain usually had inadequate levels of vitamin D. When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, their pain either vanished or was at least helped to a significant extent."

The report, "Vitamin D A Neglected 'Analgesic' for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain," which was peer-reviewed by a panel of experts, includes the following important points:

-- Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Among other things, inadequate vitamin D intake can result in a softening of bone surfaces, called osteomalacia, which causes pain. The lower back seems to be particularly vulnerable.

-- In one study of 360 patients with chronic back pain, all of them were found to have inadequate levels of vitamin D. After taking vitamin D supplements for 3 months, symptoms were improved in 95% of the patients.

-- The currently recommended adequate intake of vitamin D up to 600 IU per day is outdated and too low. According to newer research, most children and adults need at least 1000 IU per day, and persons with chronic back pain would benefit from 2000 IU or more per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol).

-- Vitamin D supplements interact with very few medicines or other agents, and are generally safe unless very high doses such as 10,000 IU or more are taken daily for a long period of time. However, it is always wise to check with a healthcare professional before starting a new dietary supplement.

-- Vitamin D supplements are easy to take, usually have no side effects, and typically cost as little as 7 to 10 cents per day.

I suspect this last point is probably why the benefits of Vitamin D aren't better known and well appreciated.

It's in the Genes

Newly discovered genetic signature correlates strongly with autism.

Scientists discover gene key to human speech.

Not Good

Despite the falling cost and obvious usefulness:

[a] survey of more than 10,000 U.S. physicians undertaken by the American Medical Assn. and the pharmacy benefits manager Medco Health Solutions Inc. found that just more than 25% had any type of education in the use of genetic testing to guide medication decisions. And only 1 in 10 felt he or she had the necessary training and knowledge to put pharmacogenetic testing to good use in treating patients. Some 13% had ordered or recommended a genetic test for a patient in the last six months. But twice that many said they would do so in the next six months.

The daily practice of medicine is at least 10 years behind the times.

The First Book of the Bible Graphically Depicted. Nothing Left Out

New York Times: Crumb luxuriates in the carnality of Genesis without playing it for gratuitous shock or comic effect. Adam and Eve frolic about in the nude, naturally, but in playful, duly innocent, ecstasy. When Lot’s two daughters get him drunk and have sex with him — in duty to the system of primogeniture that dominates Genesis — the images are shocking, yes, but not gratuitously so; the shock is in the act, not in the portrayal. At points, Crumb withholds exactly the kind of graphic details he built a career on revealing: In an image of circumcision, he shows us two splatters of blood, rather than the actual penis being cut. Onan practices coitus interruptus turned away from us. This book, I believe, is the first thing by Crumb ever published without a single image of flying sperm or a sharp blade approaching male genitalia.

This is sure to be controversial, though I don't know why--the Bible says what it says.

95 Yard Soccer Goal:

When the French Consider you Naive...

well, that's sayin' something.

I thought the "O" was supposed to improve relations with our allies?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Superfreak Levitt takes on his Global Warming Critics

Levitt: Our question, at noted above, is what is the cheapest, fastest way to quickly cool the Earth. Like every question we tackle in Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, we approach the question like economists, using data and logic to conclude that the answer to that question is geo-engineering. Not coincidentally, almost every economist who has asked the same question has come to the same conclusion, including Martin Weitzman and the economists at the Copenhagen Consensus.

But that is not the question that Al Gore and the climate scientists are trying to answer. The sorts of questions they tend to ask are “What is the ‘right’ amount of carbon to emit?” or “Is it moral for this generation to put carbon into the air when future generations will pay the price?” or “What are the responsibilities of humankind to the planet?”

Or how about "what pretext best advances our progressive leftist agenda"?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

University of Tennessee Professor Itamar Arel...

...discusses near-term artificial intelligence.

I saw his presentation at the Singularity Summit, and he was very convincing.

Life Circa 2016

A noted futurist describes what life will be like in only seven years.

How is This Not Fascist? Feinberg, in findings issued today, allowed salaries of more than $1 million for three of 175 positions under his supervision. American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche and two employees of Chrysler Financial Corp. are the only executives to get more than $1 million, the Treasury Department said in a statement today.

Feinberg rejected the cash bonus that was to be paid to Andrew Hall, CEO of Citigroup’s Phibro LLC energy-trading unit, according to the statement. Citigroup on Oct. 9 agreed to sell Phibro to avoid a potential showdown with Feinberg over Hall’s $100 million pay package. Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis, at Feinberg’s urging, agreed last week to give up his 2009 salary and bonus.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Economy is So Bad

Well, it? This bad.

Too funny.


Stephen J. Dubner laments the financial illiteracy of the young.

Go Green...

...with the Blue Bidet.

E. Coli and Evolution

A 21-year study of the evolution of E. coli bacteria has revealed details on how genetic mutations emerge and spread over 40,000 generations.

I Only Wish Obama Was This Sensitive To Federal Over-Reaching in Other Areas

New York Times: People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on Monday in a directive with political and legal implications.

In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the department said it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources and that going after individuals who were in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.

Why Build a Better Mouse Trap When you Can Build a Better Mouse?

ScienceDaily: Over-expressing a gene that lets brain cells communicate just a fraction of a second longer makes a smarter rat, report researchers from the Medical College of Georgia and East China Normal University.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On Demographics and toilets... India.

Demographics and the Bible There is also significant generational overlap regarding people’s views on the nature of the Bible. Similar proportions of the generations embrace the most conservative and most liberal views. For instance, the “highest” view of the Bible – that it is “the actual word of God and should be taken literally, word for word” – is embraced by one-quarter of Mosaics (27%), Busters (27%), and Boomers (23%), and one-third of Elders (34%). The extreme view on the other end – that the Bible is not inspired by God – is embraced by proportions that are also statistically close to one another, including Mosaics (25%), Busters (19%), Boomers (22%), and Elders (22%).

Read much more interesting info at the above link.

Nobel Prize Winner Says the Bible is a Book of "Bad Morals"

Well, it has often been interpreted that way:

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that more than 15,000 Nigerian children have been accused of being witches in the last decade, with around 1,000 of those children murdered because of the accusation. These were not random acts of violence. Instead, family members and pastors often executed their children claiming to literally follow the biblical injunction, "You shall not allow a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18). In addition, thousands of children have suffered torture at the hands of "exorcists" who charged their impoverished parents vast sums to cleanse their children of witchery.

The New Normal

According to a new study, life expectancy continues to rise in the developed world. Half the British babies born in 2007, for example, will likely live to see their 103rd birthdays; half of the babies born in Japan that year will live to see their 107th.

Nothing Surpasses the "O's" Capabilities

Obama Extends Life Expectancy to 140 Years.

Lord Monckton Takes on the Climate Fascists

Lucky Me

Being overweight is not associated with lower life expectancy, but being obese is.

Too Pricey for Me

Wolfram Alpha launches $50 iPhone app.

That's pretty steep. The next time I need to know the answer to such perplexing questions as, "how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood", I'll just have to wait till I'm at my computer.

Kindle Kindles Competition

Spring Design Oct. 19 unveiled Alex, the first electronic reader based on Google's Android operating system for mobile devices, one day before Barnes & Noble is expected to unveil its first e-reader.

Space is a Big Place

And, it has lots of planets.

What is News?

Only "the O" knows.