Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Riu Chiu

The Monkees sing in Spanish, a-cappella, a beautiful version of an Old Spanish Christmas Carol, "Ríu, Chíu." From their TV Christmas special in 1967; arranged and adapted by: H. Diltz, C. Douglas, C. Faryar, J. Yester.

And here is what I look like on this very day in December

Each time I go to hairdresser I have to take a picture of myself, which is not easy, I can tell ya.

Hey there, this is how I study!

Books upside down!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sex on Mars

I cannot believe it. Is that the only thing they can think of.

Journal of Cosmology, 2010, Vol 12, 4034-4050.
JournalofCosmology.com, October-November, 2010
Sex On Mars:
Pregnancy, Fetal Development, and Sex In Outer Space
Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.
Emeritus, Brain Research Laboratory, Northern California
Humans are sexual beings and it can be predicted that male and female astronauts will engage in sexual relations during a mission to Mars, leading to conflicts and pregnancies and the first baby born on the Red Planet. Non-human primate and astronaut sexual behavior is reviewed including romantic conflicts involving astronauts who flew aboard the Space Shuttle and in simulated missions to Mars, and men and women team members in the Antarctic. The possibilities of pregnancy and the effects of gravity and radiation on the testes, ovaries, menstruation, and developing fetus, including a child born on Mars, are discussed. What may lead to and how to prevent sexual conflicts, sexual violence, sexual competition, and pregnancy are detailed. Recommendations include the possibility that male and female astronauts on a mission to Mars, should fly in separate space craft.

Key Words: Sex, Mars, Pregnancy, Fetal Development, Menstruation, Testes, Ovaries, Radiation, Gravity, Sexual Conflicts

Performance of the sex act during a journey to Mars, may require potentially complex sexual gymnastics. On the other hand, any difficulties associated with sexual intercourse in space may turn out to be an easily solved problem of docking and entry as human are notorious for inventing ways of having sex despite all manner of logistical impediments (Joseph 2000a). However, what impact will sexual activity have on team dynamics and morale? And what if an astronaut became pregnant during the journey? Would the fetus be viable? How would this impact the crew?

NASA has no policy regarding sex in space and its repercussions (Office of Audits, 2010), other than to request, in 2008, that astronauts voluntarily abide by an "Astronaut Code of Professional Responsibility" and maintain "a constant commitment to honourable behaviour." As summed up by the NASA Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee (NASA 2007), "the absence of a code of conduct and its enforcement, and the lack of management action to limit inappropriate activity increases the likelihood of aberrant behaviour occurring and decreases the likelihood of such behaviour being reported." According to NASA's review committee (NASA 2007), and a panel of experts assembled by the National Academy of Science (Longnecker and Molins 2006), this is a serious oversight: if male and female astronauts share a cramped space ship for years, surrounded by stars blazing in the blackness of night, thoughts are bound to turn to sex and romance. Thus, "ignoring the potential consequences of human sexuality is not appropriate when considering extended-duration missions" (Longnecker and Molins 2006), and this includes a human mission to Mars.


Biologically, females serve one purpose: to get pregnant (Joseph 2000a, 2001a,b, 2002). However, the human female is also the only female regardless of species, who is sexually receptive at all times and who has evolved secondary sexual characteristics, e.g. the enlarged breasts and derriere, which signal to males and females alike, her sexual availability (Joseph 2000a,b). Almost all non-human primate species that exhibit genital and breast swelling live in multi-male groups and they only develop these secondary sexual characteristic when sexually receptive (Clutton-Brock and Harvey, 1976; Fedigan, 1992; Wallis, 1992). These swellings serve to attract males and to arouse male sexual interest when the female is in estrus (Carpenter, 1942; Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1974; Fedigan, 1992; Ford & Beach, 1951; Zuckerman, 1932) and the same can be said of the female human derriere and breasts which have evolved and increased in size over the course of human evolution so as to signal continual sexual availability (Joseph 1985, 2000a,b). Moreover, the human female has evolved the cognitive and intellectual capacity to employ cosmetics, perfumes, colorful clothing, push up bras, high heals, and so on, which draw attention to her breasts and derriere, and which emphasize and exaggerate her sexual availability by mimicking the signs of estrus common in other social primates (Joseph 2000a,b). And just as female primates and other female mammals seek sex with high status males whom they most prefer (Allen & Lemmon, 1981; Carpenter, 1942; Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1974; Fedigan, 1992; Ford & Beach, 1951; Zuckerman, 1932), the same can be said of the human female (Joseph 2000a,b).


Like other mammals, human females are "choosy" and prefer sex with high status males who can offer prestige and resources (Buss, 1994; Betzig, 1985; Betzig et al., 1988; Symons, 1979; Townsend, 1989). Like their human female counterparts, nonhuman primate females, such as baboons, rhesus, and chimpanzees, prefer and have sex with high ranked males and avoid lower ranking and in particular, the lowest ranked males (Carpenter, 1942, Hausfater, 1975; Lancaster, 1978; Seyfarth, 1977; Smuts, 1987; Tutin, 1975; Zuckerman, 1932).

The Antarctic has long been viewed as an excellent analog for long-duration space missions and the same preference for high ranking males has been observed (Stuster 1996). Female crew members seek sexual intimacies with senior, high status personnel to the exclusion of the other men.

Moreover, female primates will emphasize their sexual availability and may actively pursue desirable males (Fedigan, 1992). Hence, not surprisingly, male astronauts are often targeted by females who have emphasized their sexual availability (Mullane 2007).

As related by former Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane (2007), male astronauts are commonly flown all over the U.S. to locations where they often attend coctail receptions and dinners and are actively solicited by young sexy women. "Beside the open bars at our soirees, there were other attractions for the males... young, beautiful women. Lots of them.... a potpourri of pussy.... I had been in enough officer's clubs in my life to know that aviator wings had babe-attracting power... but there was an even more powerful pheromone than jet-jockey wings: The title "astronaut." We males found ourselves surrounded by quivering cupcakes. Some were blatantly on the make, wearing spray-on clothes revealing high-beam nipples and smiles that screamed, "take me." Even the gold bands on the fingers of the married were no deterrent to many of these woman. They were equal opportunity groupies." A common sight in the mornings were the "married colleagues with red-blasted all nighter eyes trailing the odor of alcohol and sex as they exited a motel room with a smiling young woman" (Mullane 2007).

find out more

Slow down

We shall not flag or fail. We shall slow down in the office, and on the roads. We shall slow down with growing confidence when all those around us are in a shrill state of hyperactivity (signifying nothing). We shall defend our state of calm, whatever the cost may be. We shall slow down in the fields and in the streets, we shall slow down in the hills, we shall never surrender!

If you can slow down when all around you are speeding up, then you're one of us. Be proud that you are one of us and not one of them. For they are fast, and we are slow. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing slowly. Some are born to slowness—others have it thrust upon them. And still others know that lying in bed with a morning cup of tea is the supreme state for mankind.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Imaging Technology Shows Animal Insides, Python Digesting a Rat

This is somewhat different:

Science is inherently cool, but gross science is even better.

Using a combination of computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists Kasper Hansen and Henrik Lauridsen of Aarhus University in Denmark were able to visualize the entire internal organ structures and vascular systems (aka "guts") of a Burmese Python digesting a rat.

By choosing the right settings for contrast and light intensity during the scanning process, the scientists were able to highlight specific organs and make them appear in different colors. The non-invasive CT and MRI scans could let scientists look at animal anatomy without the need for other invasive methods such as dissections.


Gear fun

I enjoyed watching this clip.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jeff Bridges

The great man is celebrating his birthday today. Hope it is a good one!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Joe Gosen: B&W

A couple of great pictures made by a cool photographer, Joe Gosen. There is more here: http://www.joegosen.com/archive/music/

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zoo visit Antwerp

Antwerp, on a Saturday afternoon

Antwerp: after a zoo visit, time for a short walk in town: the Meir, Paul's piano,  a bagpipe band, and actor Herbert Flack giving an interview during his poppy work on 7 November 2010.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Intruder

Nero meets an unexpected guest in the garden. Quite frankly, I had expected a fiercer attitude...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Indian toilet cleaners protest

Can you imagine having a job like that?

Hundreds of Indian workers employed to manually clean non-flush toilets have protested in Delhi against their working conditions.

They say that the authorities have failed to act despite declaring such work illegal, and should issue an apology for decades of discrimination.

Government figures suggest that about 300,000 low-caste Dalits are still employed in such work.

They are estimated on average to earn less than $4 (£2.50) a month.


Dad's reminder: turn back your clocks

Monday, November 1, 2010

Johnny Cash Project

The Johnny Cash Project is a global collective art project, and we would love for you to participate. Through this website, we invite you to share your vision of Johnny Cash, as he lives on in your mind's eye. Working with a single image as a template, and using a custom drawing tool, you'll create a unique and personal portrait of Johnny. Your work will then be combined with art from participants around the world, and integrated into a collective whole: a music video for "Ain't No Grave", rising from a sea of one-of-a-kind portraits.

Strung together and played in sequence over the song, the portraits will create a moving, ever evolving homage to this beloved musical icon. What's more, as new people discover and contribute to the project, this living portrait will continue to transform and grow, so it's virtually never the same video twice.

Go to http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/ to participate!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prison favorites

What sort of books do prisoners read most? A former Boston prison librarian has written down his findings.

Anne Frank's diary is popular. So are Sylvia Plath and crime fiction.

Read more about it here

Tony Acevodo's diary

Washington (CNN) -- The tattered journal, its pages yellow with age, contains the painful memories of a U.S. medic, a man who recorded the deaths of soldiers who survived one of World War II's bloodiest battles yet met their end as slaves in Nazi Germany.

32. Hamilton 4-5-45
33. Young 4-5-45
34. Smith 4-9-45
35. Vogel 4-9-45
36. Wagner 4-9-45

"Some were dying," said its author, Tony Acevedo, now 86. "Some died, and I made a notation of that."

Flipping through the pages, you encounter a horrific part of world history through the eyes of a 20-year-old inside a slave labor camp. Amid the horror, the journal captures extraordinary human moments of war. Acevedo sketched beautiful women in the back pages, pinups whose eyes provided comfort amid hell.

Read and watch more via

Rescued baby hummingbird


The Birds - The Prequel by Nysofilms

Do you remember Hitchcock's "The Birds"? We had no answer...Until now!!! Every ending has a beggining. The most awaited prequel...

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Marvel of Ants

Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Winner: "A Marvel of Ants" Bence Máté (Hungary)
Nikon D700 + 105mm f2.8 lens; 1/200 sec at f10; ISO 640; SB-800 flash.

Epic Mouse Trap Fail

Gordon Pinsent reads Bieber

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Koran burner gets car

Dude almighty.

THE controversial pastor who incited international outrage over a threat to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks will receive a new car for calling off the demonstration.

New Jersey car dealer, and former New York Giants centre, Brad Benson made a promotional radio offer at the height of the controversy to give Terry Jones a brand new Hyundai if he canceled the burn.

Jones, who abandoned the public burning on the eve of the September 11 anniversary following pressure from President Obama and Defence Secretary Gates, came to collect on the car dealer's offer earlier this month.

David Cantin, general manager at Brad Benson Hyundai, says Pastor Jones called the dealership about ten days ago to arrange delivery of the vehicle.

"He lived up to his end of the bargain, and we're living up to our end," Mr Cantin said.

He added Pastor Jones would receive a 2011 Hyundai Accent, expected for delivery by the end of next week. The listing price for a new Accent starts at $ 13,329.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who amongst you is with me?

via Fark


Scientists working for the UN say that they have eradicated a virus which can be deadly to cattle.

If confirmed, rinderpest would become only the second viral disease - after smallpox - to have been eliminated by humans.

Rinderpest was once prevalent in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that it will now suspend its efforts to track and eliminate the virus.

The FAO said it was "confident" the virus has been eradicated from those parts of the world where it is prevalent.

When the disease arrived in Africa at the end of the nineteenth century between 80% and 90% of cattle and buffalo on the continent were killed.

The eradication of the virus has been described as the biggest achievement in veterinary history and one which will save the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people in the world.

via BBC News

16 things you did not know about sleep

16 Things You Didn't Know About Sleep
Via: Psychology Degree

Gimme Shelter

Mick Jagger, "walking" through the audience in Tokyo. Bloody scary, if you ask me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


You can lock up a mouse or a person, but not an idea. Here is an animation of a speech by Canadian leader Tommy Douglas, introduced by his famous grandson

Close, but no cigar

The Toilet Paper, which contains daily news for the thinking man, refers to the Cuban missile crisis today.

"48 years ago today, an aerial photograph was taken over Cuba that revealed the Soviets were building multiple missile launch sites just 90 miles from U.S. soil. Eight days later on October 22nd, American asses collectively slammed shut when John F. Kennedy got on TV and announced the findings on the nightly news.

It was the closest the world has ever come to a full scale nuclear war, and gave many an excuse to pick up smoking and put off cutting the grass for a week, just in case the world got blown to hell.

Seven days after Kennedy's televised speech, the crisis reached a conclusion on October 29, 1962. The Soviets agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba provided the U.S. promise never to invade Cuba and to remove U.S. missiles in Turkey. Almost five decades later, you can buy a bottle of Russian vodka anywhere in the U.S., but Cuban cigars are still considered illegal contraband. WTF?"


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke dies aged 70

Solomon Burke, the robust, regal preacher-turned-singer who defined soul music in the ‘60s and continued to perform and minister for decades afterward, died Sunday in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Burke died on a plane after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles, airport police said. Burke's family said on his Web site the singer died of natural causes, but did not elaborate. He had been scheduled to perform a show Tuesday in an Amsterdam church converted into a concert hall.

He recorded a string of classic soul sides, including "Cry to Me," "Got to Get You Off My Mind," "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and "Down in the Valley." His sound was a bold merger of orchestrated sophistication and countryish, down-home grit, and his best singles built a Gothic sense of drama and heartbreak.

These tracks bridged the gap between the more mannered mainstream rhythm and blues of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller songwriting team of the '50s, as exemplified by the Coasters and Drifters, and the gruffer Southern styles of the later '60s, as heard on the Stax Records sides of Otis Redding and Sam & Dave.

Though Burke never broke through to the mainstream like some of his contemporaries, including labelmates Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, Atlantic talent scout Jerry Wexler claimed Burke had the greatest voice of them all, versatile enough to sing country or the deepest gospel and leap the racial divide. “He was the best soul singer of all time,” Wexler once said.

He is perhaps best known for two songs: His 1964 hit “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" was recorded by the Rolling Stones and Pickett, and later was a centerpiece of the 1980 “Blues Brothers” movie; and “Cry to Me,” which provided the backdrop for a key scene in the teen-pop movie “Dirty Dancing.”

But these successes barely hint at Burke’s impact as a performer. In an era of outsized personalities and spectacular voices, Burke was second to none as an entertainer.

He had been dubbed "the king of rock 'n' soul" by a Baltimore deejay, and Burke ran with it: He would stroll on stage in a bejeweled crown and 15-foot cape trimmed in ermine.

"He had on this unbelievable outfit, and then he opened his mouth to sing, and I thought, 'What have we got here?' " said Nick Lowe, a U.K. singer-songwriter who saw Burke perform on the television show “Ready Steady Go,” in a Tribune interview. "He was fantastic, and I went out and started buying his records. I became a fan for life.”

His talent was so unnerving to some of his peers that the self-proclaimed Godfather of Soul, James Brown, once paid him not to perform at a show in Chicago. "He paid me $7,500 to stand onstage and hand him my robe and crown," Burke told the Tribune in a 2002 interview. "It was a great gig: I got paid and I didn't have to sing a note.”

via the Chicago Tribune

Saturday, October 9, 2010

British racing pigeon ends up 5200 miles away in Panama 'after getting lost'

British racing pigeon called Houdini got lost on her first race and ended up thousands of miles away in Panama City.

The 10 month-old bird had been undertaking a six hour race from Guernsey to Dudley, West Midlands more than five weeks ago.

But it failed to arrive and its owner Darren Cubberly, 45, had give up hope the bird would return from the 224 mile trip.

He was surprised to get a phone call this week from Panama City, where the bird had ended up.

He was told the bird was alive and healthy despite making the more than 5200 mile trip. It is thought she landed on a ship travelling to the area.

The bird had been taken in by Gustavo Ortiz after it landed on his roof. Mr Ortiz rang Mr Cubberly after noticing contact numbers on it.

"I was gobsmacked. I didn't even know where Panama was," Mr Cubberley told the Daily Mirror.

"I've no idea how Houdini got there - I can only assume she hitched a lift on a ship across the Atlantic.”

He speculated she was fed on the boat as she appeared in “perfect shape”.

The pigeon, now learning Spanish, will now live with the family in Panama as it is too expensive to transport her home.

Mr Ortiz told Mr Cubberley his family were more than happy to have the pigeon.

Sid Barkel, secretary of the National Flying Club, said it was a “very unusual” case.

Via Telegraph.co.uk

Jeff Bridges - John Lennon 70th Birthday Tribute

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My grapes

They look like blue peas and I have no idea what they taste like. Actually, I am afraid to try them. They decided to stop growing last month. What's another year without proper produce? I wonder, would passers-by notice anything unusual?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An experiment to see how passers-by would react to a tree full of money.

Richard III + Peter Sellers + Beatles!

The great comedic actor Peter Sellers would have been 85-years-old today. Here he is seen as Laurence Olivier doing Richard III reciting a Shakespearean version of “A Hard Day’s Night” on the Beatles TV special, “The Music of Lennon and McCartney.”

Good dancing may be sign of male health, scientists say

Dr Nick Neave looks at the difference between "good" and "bad" dancing.

Scientists say they've carried out the first rigorous analysis of dance moves that make men attractive to women.

The researchers say that movements associated with good dancing may be indicative of good health and reproductive potential.

Their findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

"When you go out to clubs people have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good and bad dancer," said co-author Dr Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University, UK.

"What we've done for the very first time is put those things together with a biometric analysis so we can actually calculate very precisely the kinds of movements people focus on and associate them with women's ratings of male dancers."

Dr Neave asked young men who were not professional dancers, to dance in a laboratory to a very basic drum rhythm and their movements with 12 cameras.

These movements were then converted into a computer-generated cartoon - an avatar - which women rated on a scale of one to seven. He was surprised by the results.

"We thought that people's arms and legs would be really important. The kind of expressive gestures the hands [make], for example. But in fact this was not the case," he said.

"We found that (women paid more attention to) the core body region: the torso, the neck, the head. It was not just the speed of the movements, it was also the variability of the movement. So someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding."

Movements that went down terribly were twitchy and repetitive - so called "Dad dancing".

Dr Neave's aim was to establish whether young men exhibited the same courtship movement rituals in night clubs as animals do in the wild. In the case of animals, these movements give information about their health, age, their reproductive potential and their hormone status.

"People go to night clubs to show off and attract the opposite sex so I think it's a valid way of doing this," Dr Neave explained.

"In animals, the male has to be in good physical quality to carry out these movements. We think the same is happening in humans and certainly the guys that can put these movements together are going to be young and fit and healthy."

Dr Neave also took blood samples from the volunteers. Early indications from biochemical tests suggest that the men who were better dancers were also more healthy.

One Froggy Evening

One Froggy Evening is an approximately seven-minute long Technicolor animated short film written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones, with musical direction by Milt Franklyn. This popular short contained a wide variety of musical entertainment, with songs ranging from "Hello! Ma Baby" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry", two Tin Pan Alley classics, to "Largo al Factotum", Figaro's aria from the opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The short was released on December 31, 1955 as part of Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.

Some critics and observers regard this cartoon short as the finest ever made. Steven Spielberg, in the PBS Chuck Jones biography Extremes & Inbetweens: A Life In Animation, called One Froggy Evening "the Citizen Kane of animated film." (Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 5, Disc 2) In 1994 it was voted #5 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. The film is ranked at IMDb as the sixth best short movie ever. In 2003 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brussels flower carpet 2010

I went to see the Brussels flower carpet yesterday together with a friend.
The weather was nice, the begonia carpet looked lovely. It was possible to get a good view on it from the balcony of the Brussels townhall. It is the first time I actually visited the building, which had been dressed up for the occasion with impressive floral pieces. The townhall itself is a magnificent piece of history, certainly worth a visit. Unfortunately, visitors were not allowed to film or take pictures inside the building. I behaved.
My friend and I also mounted the balcony of the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers belges. They cheated us a little there. We sort of expected a demonstration of chocolate production, but were only offered chocolates, and a another view on the carpet, of course. The chocolates were delicious.

Russia Fires, Pakistan Floods Linked?

Russia Fires, Pakistan Floods Linked?

Russia is burning, Pakistan is flooded. National Geographic explains the possible link between these two disasters.
Although people keep complaining about the weather here, not enough sun, too much rain,... They are wrong. July was dry. This will have an effect on the harvest of all crops, resulting in higher prices for food. Which will lead to more complaining....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reelly unbelievable

Li Chang, a 43 year old fishmonger in China, had a bad experience at work recently. He fell into a tank full of eels. The animals became frightened and started slithering around, some slipping up his pant legs. Then the unthinkable happened. An eel, that was described as being two fingers wide and as long as a man's arm, slithered up his rectum. He was initially too embarrassed to tell anyone, but when he began to feel significant pain he asked for help and was transported to the ER where the eel was removed. There was enough damage to require surgery, but he is expected to recover. That is one hell of a worker's comp claim!

via Weird Universe

Arno, 12 years old today!

Our precious golden fella is courageously hanging in there. We are celebrating his twelfth birthday today. Who would have thought he would still be here after all the health trouble and misery he has been and is still going through.
He was patient and cooperative during this morning's photoshoot even though he had some trouble keeping his eyes open. Walking is getting harder every day. Still, he joins me and his younger brother for a short daily evening stroll in the neighborhood. He no longer enjoys spending much time outside. His favorite activities are sleeping and eating. Sometimes he seems to be a bit lethargic. Sometimes he seems to be a bit deaf, and his sight is deteriorating too.
Arno is a blessing, a sort of angelic creature.Too gentle for this world. We all love you, little boy.


In an article published by BBC World News America Enola Gay navigator says he has no regrets

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Painted Alive

Feel free to explore the site of Craig Tracy; he is a body painting artist. His work is remarkable. And you have probably seen some of it before

Wearable Personal Navigation System

Exactly what I need

Boy struck by lightning at Ostend beach

A boy was struck by lightning on the beach of Ostend yesterday evening. He was brought to hospital and his condition is said to be stable.

I heard that he was not truly struck by lightning. Otherwise he would have been dead. I have also heard that the closer you are to the sea, the higher the odds that you get struck. Whether that is accurate I do not know.

Boy struck by lightning at Ostend beach

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


If you have the time for it, please read this article about the dangers of aspartame. It is both interesting and unnerving.

Today, the statistics on the aspartame market are being kept so close to the vest, it has proven to be virtually impossible to find current data on usage, unless you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a market analysis reports and I felt there were better uses for the money than to purchase the answer to that question.
Aspartame can already be found in some 6,000 food products and beverages
Researchers Continue to Contest 'the Most Contested' FDA Approval in History

Concerned scientists and researchers fought and were successful in keeping aspartame out of the food supply for over ten years, ever since it was first considered as a potential food additive, and many of those still alive continue to speak out against it today.

If we fail to learn from history we are doomed to repeat the mistake we made. Many readers have long forgotten what the 60-Minutes' correspondent Mike Wallace stated in his 1996 report on aspartame - available to view in this 2009 article - that the approval of aspartame was "the most contested in FDA history." And for good reason.

At the time, independent studies had found it caused brain cancer in lab animals, and the studies submitted by G.D. Searle to the FDA for the approval were quickly suspected of being sloppy at best...

In that 60-Minutes video, former Senator Howard Metzenbaum states:

"According to the FDA themselves, Searle, when making their presentation to the FDA, had willfully misrepresented the facts, and withheld some of the facts that they knew would possibly jeopardize the approval."
via Huffington Post

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just a great song: I cover the waterfront

John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison, a great combination; it is one of my favorite songs

Nero says

Nero loves Jeff's updates; he has already gotten himself a proper eye patch and matching True Grit hat.... Good boy! Jeff Bridges website

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Flylashes from Jessica Harrison on Vimeo.

Looks kind of creepy to me


Looks like Nero is as sick as a tiny dog can be. He has been vomiting like a dinosaur; his behavior has an odd effect on Arno, who is now beginning to act nervous and restless too.
I have given Nero medication which is supposed to control the problem, but if there is no improvement I will have to take him to a vet. These things always happen on Sundays.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vote for the Dude

WLS-AM 890

Jeff Bridges is one of nine candidates to be considered for induction into the International Bowling Hall of Fame. He needs your vote to make it. Please go bowling. He owes his nomination to his iconic performance in "The Big Lebowski", a cult classic directed by the Coen brothers about mistaken identity and... bowling. You can vote as many times as you want until 7 August 2010.

voting page

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 13, 2010

David Byrne on how architecture and music interact

As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation. Check it out.

David Byrne

Portable Parking Spot

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On my way to work...

I get to see a wonderful family. It is encouraging to know that they are doing well.

Morphine Remains Scarce for Pain Sufferers Worldwide

After the hospital sent Nguyen Van Dung home to die, his family watched helplessly as he wasted away from complications due to AIDS. And he did not go gently. "He was in such pain," says Dung's 73-year-old mother. "It was like seeing him on fire."

Haunted by his screams, Dung's sister bought him heroin to ease his pain. Street-grade heroin is hardly an ideal medical choice; it is also illegal. Last month, shortly after Dung's death, a judge in Nha Trang sentenced his sister to three years in prison. Drug possession — "for any reason," explained the judge — is against the law.

Whether you will have access to pain treatment depends largely upon where you live. Africa, which has most of the world's AIDS victims, is a painkiller wasteland. In India, more than a million cancer and AIDS sufferers die each year in extreme pain as cumbersome regulations and paperwork make it nearly impossible to get prescription painkillers. (India produces much of the world's legal opium, yet nearly all of it is exported to Western pharmaceutical companies.) In East Asia, where European colonial powers once used opiates to subdue much of the population of Indochina, governments retain an almost pathological aversion to opiates of any kind. The geography of pain relief is so skewed that the seven richest countries consume 84% of the world's supply of legal opiates, according to the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that enforces U.N. conventions. For the estimated 10 million people who are suffering from untreated pain, relief is often found only on the black market, or in death.

The reason that most people have little or no access to morphine is opiophobia, says Dr. Eric Krakauer, a Harvard Medical School professor who helped Vietnam rewrite its medical-use opiate laws. Misinformation about clinical morphine use is rife; even some doctors believe that anyone using morphine will become a drug-crazed addict. While long-term opiate users will become dependant, the effect is reversible. Lost in the discussion, says Krakauer, are morphine's benefits, particularly to terminal patients with severe and chronic pain.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1993375,00.html#ixzz0qTXBwlD3


In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pluske Wacht Op Oma

Pluske joined us when she was 13 years old after the death of my grandfather. Each day around lunch time she went to the living room and sat by the window waiting for my mother to come home. This is a "drawing" I made on a piece of paper years ago. It is now pinned to one of the kitchen cupboards - a beautiful memory of a wonderful and special friend, who went to dog heaven two years later.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Keep it clean

This is the filthiest house ever! for over 8 years two people lived in this house. The female had not been outside and was living in her own waste. Her partner simpley took her food and climbed over the mounds of waste removed her bowls of excrement and tipped it in the rest of the house.
Amazingly these people were in the care of the Social Services. Eventually the male partner went on a drinking binge for three days. The tenant in the flat below were alerted by banging from the flat above
and called the police who could not get up the stairs so the fire service were called to effect a rescue and removed the female through the window.

Iceland's Volcano

The Boston Globe has a series of pictures on the devastating eruption of Iceland's volcano. What a chaos it has created in Europe.


Hammer Toast

Wildfeather uses wife's toast to hammer a nail into a cutting board in this short comedy, "Hammer Toast".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

French TV contestants made to inflict 'torture'

A French TV documentary features people in a spoof game show administering what they are told are near lethal electric shocks to rival contestants.

Those taking part are told to pull levers to inflict shocks - increasing in voltage - upon their opponents.

Although unaware that the contestants were actors and there was no electrical current, 82% of participants in the Game of Death agreed to pull the lever.

Programme makers say they wanted to expose the dangers of reality TV shows.

They say the documentary shows how many participants in the setting of a TV show will agree to act against their own principles or moral codes when ordered to do something extreme.

The Game of Death has all the trappings of a traditional TV quiz show, with a roaring crowd chanting "punishment" and a glamorous hostess urging the players on.

Christophe Nick, the maker of the documentary, said they were "amazed" that so many participants obeyed the sadistic orders of the game show presenter.

"They are not equipped to disobey," he told AFP.

"They don't want to do it, they try to convince the authority figure that they should stop, but they don't manage to."

Yale experiment

The results reflect those of a similar experiment carried out almost 50 years ago at Yale University by social psychologist Stanley Milgram.

Participants took the role of a teacher, delivering what they believed were shocks to an actor every time they answered a question incorrectly.

Mr Nick says that his experiment shows that the TV element further increases people's willingness to obey.

"With Milgram, 62% of people obeyed an abject authority. In the setting of television, it's 80%," he told Reuters.

The documentary was broadcast on the state-owned France 2 channel on Wednesday evening.


The song of scratchy bottom

That is what Bea said

"Maybe we should leave it alone and let it heal."


NASA Finds Shrimp Living 600 Feet Under Antarctic Ice

At a depth of 600 feet beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, a small shrimp-like creature managed to brighten up an otherwise gray polar day in late November 2009. This critter is a three-inch long Lyssianasid amphipod found beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, about 12.5 miles away from open water. NASA scientists were using a borehole camera to look back up towards the ice surface when they spotted this pinkish-orange creature swimming beneath the ice. Credit: NASA

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Well, someone over here invented eco cheques. So I had to take half a day off today to drive to Bruges to pick up 1 eco cheque (value: € 10). Very environment friendly I must say. Of course, I am happy with the cheque. But why on earth could not they send it by post.
Fortunately, Bruges is a nice place with lots of shops. So I had some fun... The cheque was not very helpful though. You can imagine why.


Apparently, the Academy members agreed with the rest of the world. Jeff won an Oscar! Congrats to the man who says we are all in it together.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Academy Awards 2010: Public wants best actor Oscar to go to 'Crazy Heart' star Jeff Bridges

As every film fan - or, more accurately, anyone living in our universe - knows, the Oscars are Sunday. And according to the letters we've received, there's one category in which readers are most invested. Care to guess?

Nope, not Best Picture. Not even Best Director. When we asked who you most wanted to see win an award this weekend, you made it clear you're really rooting for Jeff Bridges, who earned his fifth nomination playing a broken-down country star in "Crazy Heart." As John Hetrick put it, "We've all watched 'The Dude' evolve through his many movies, always making it look like a cakewalk. When he wins this time, it will be for a sterling performance, not because the Academy owes him one."


The Illusion of Peace

Love, lust & marriage

Love: When you take a bubble bath together
Lust: When you take a bath in Jell-o together
Marriage: When you give the kids a bath

Love: A romantic candle-lit dinner for two
Lust: Do I have to buy you dinner first?
Marriage: 4 McDonald's Happy Meals -- to go

Love: Giving your love some candy
Lust: Thinking you are the candy
Marriage: Scraping the kids' candy off of the carpet

Love: Sex every night
Lust: Sex 5 times a night
Marriage: Remember sex? Me either.

Love: A night out at the symphony
Lust: A night out at the Holiday Inn
Marriage: A night out at Sesame Street On Ice

Love: You smell French perfume
Lust: You smell Brut aftershave
Marriage: You smell evidence that the baby needs changing...

Love: Lending your jacket to your love when she is cold
Lust: I can think of a way to stay warm...
Marriage: Your teenage daughter has borrowed all of your jackets

Love: Long drives through the countryside
Lust: Long parking sessions at Lover's Lookout

The things you do not say to your wife

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hop Hop Hop

Maybe I will write a book. What do you think? My head is full of nothing, should look great on paper. It used to be full of color and imagination, so if you let me have another look inside, maybe some of the buried treasures will still be there. Actually, I do have an idea or two. If I blend them a wonderful story might blossom.
First things first though: study.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Millions of people 'waste their time by jogging'

Researchers have discovered that the health benefits of aerobic exercise are determined by our genes - and can vary substantially between individuals.

Around 20 per cent of the population do not get any significant aerobic fitness benefit from regular exercise, according to an international study led by scientists at the University of London.

For these people, regular jogging and gym work will do little to ward off conditions like heart disease and diabetes which aerobic exercise is generally thought to resist.

Researchers say they would be better off abandoning their exercise regime and focusing on other ways of staying healthy - such as improving their diet or taking medication.

James Timmons of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, who led the study, said that the discovery would pave the way for more personalised treatments, with patients able to take DNA tests to find out the most effective way of keeping their own hearts healthy.

It could also be used to root out would-be recruits to the Armed Forces who will never be able to reach the required fitness standards.

Dr Timmons said the research broke new ground by using the human genome - the genetic map of the body which was decoded by scientists 10 years ago - to suggest improvements to healthcare.

"This would be one of the first examples of personalised, genomic-based medicine," he said.

As part of the research, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, more than 500 participants in Europe and the US were asked to undergo various aerobic training programmes in line with government advice to do 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

By the end of the 20, 12 and six week programmes the majority of people had shown a measurable improvement in how much oxygen their body consumes during exercise, a key indicator of aerobic fitness.

But 20 per cent saw their maximum oxygen increase by less than five per cent - a negligible improvement. Around 30 per cent showed no increase in insulin sensitivity, meaning that the exercise did not reduce their risk of diabetes.

A pioneering analysis of muscle tissue samples taken from the participants revealed a set of about 30 genes that predicted the increase in oxygen intake. Of these, 11 were shown to have a particular impact on how much a person could benefit from aerobic exercise.

Dr Timmons said: “We know that low maximal oxygen consumption is a strong risk factor for premature illness and death so the tendency is for public health experts to automatically prescribe aerobic exercise to increase oxygen capacity.

"Our hope is that before too long, they will be able to target that prescription just to those who may stand a greater chance of benefiting, and prescribe more effective preventive or therapeutic measures to the others.”

Research published by the British Heart Foundation this week found that one third of adults do their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

At their peak seven years ago 8.7 million Britons paid to attend gyms, although memberships have fallen since the start of the recession.

The research was conducted in association with the Human Genomics Laboratory in Louisiana and the Centre for Healthy Ageing at the University of Copenhagen.


Live cockroach in ear

Looks pretty darn creepy if you ask me.

More cat owners 'have degrees' than dog-lovers

Being a dog person I am going to watch a documentary about man's best friend this afternoon. In the meantime, here is some BBC news:

People who own a cat are more likely to have a university degree than those with a pet dog, a study by Bristol University suggests.

A poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of those with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs.

The study said longer hours, possibly associated with better qualified jobs, may make owning a dog impractical.

It also found that UK pet ownership was much higher than previously thought.

Cat and dog numbers were last estimated in a scientific peer-reviewed journal in 1989, which said there were 6.2 million and 6.4 million respectively in the UK.

But according to Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, the populations today are likely to be about 10.3 million and 10.5 million.

Overall, it estimated that 26% of UK households owned cats and 31% owned dogs.

The study suggested a number of other characteristics, aside from education level, were associated with either cat or dog ownership.

Of those surveyed, dog-lovers were more likely to be male, living in rural areas and under the age of 55.

Age of children

But cat owners were more likely to be female and living in smaller or single-person households.

The age of children in a family also appeared to make a difference, with cats being more common than dogs in homes with children under the age of 10.

However Dr Jane Murray, a lecturer in feline epidemiology at Bristol University, said the variation in education level between owners was the most striking difference.

"We don't know why there is this discrepancy," she told the BBC News website.

"We did look at average household income but that wasn't significant.

"Our best guess is that it's to do with working hours and perhaps commuting to work, meaning people have a less suitable lifestyle for a dog.

"It's really just a hunch though."

Dr Murray, whose post is funded by the Cats Protection charity, said researchers hoped to repeat the study using the results of the 2011 census to get a clearer idea of trends in UK pet ownership.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Billie Jean - the literal version

Congratulations Jeff Bridges

Jeff has got his fifth Oscar nomination. This time for Best Actor in Crazy Heart. If he does not get it this time, those Academy folks really lose all credibility there is to lose.
In the meantime, congratulations, Jeff.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thinking of the Past or Future Causes Us to Sway Backward or Forward

Although we can't technically travel through time (yet), when we think of the past or the future we engage in a sort of mental time travel. This uniquely human ability to psychologically travel through time arguably sets us apart from other species.

Researchers have recently looked at how mental time travel is represented in the sensorimotor systems that regulate human movement. It turns out our perceptions of space and time are tightly coupled.

University of Aberdeen psychological scientists Lynden Miles, Louise Nind and Neil Macrae conducted a study to measure this in the lab. They fitted participants with a motion sensor while they imagined either future or past events. The researchers found that thinking about past or future events can literally move us: Engaging in mental time travel (a.k.a. chronesthesia) resulted in physical movements corresponding to the metaphorical direction of time. Those who thought of the past swayed backward while those who thought of the future moved forward.


What sort of time travel is related to moving left and right?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Forget the Segway. Leave that jet pack behind. NASA is working on a personal flying suit.

Conceptual designs for the experimental vehicle, called Puffin, were introduced by Mark D. Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, at a meeting of the American Helicopter Society on Jan. 20 in San Francisco. The Puffin is designed to be 12 feet in length, with a total wingspan of 14 and a half feet; it would weigh in at 300 pounds (without a pilot).

Two major elements distinguish the Puffin suit from the jet packs of ’50s-era sci-fi flicks. First, it is completely self-contained: the pilot would actually step into the suit, which has a cockpit-like area and helicopter-style blades, allowing for high-altitude flying (unlike those sci-fi jet packs).

Second, it is designed to be powered by electric motors, making it relatively quiet, lightweight and more reliable (electric motors have fewer moving parts than conventional ones), and with a low environmental impact.

Of course, the Puffin is just a theory at the moment. It might be best used for covert military missions or rescue operations. But if it does emerge as an option for conventional flight, traffic jams might take on a whole new meaning.

via NYT

What does this remind me of?

Bravo Jeff Bridges

And not so long ago:

Jeff Wins Golden Globe woooohoooo
Upload by HelensPage.

All we need is one more, just one more!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Casper, the commuting cat

The tale of Casper the commuting cat, who would politely queue with bus passengers before contentedly riding around Plymouth, made headlines and raised smiles around the world.

Sadly the cat's love affair with the open road has proved his downfall after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver, it emerged today.

A notice appeared at the cat's usual bus stop saying: "Many local people knew Casper, who loved everyone. He also enjoyed the bus journeys. Sadly a motorist hit him … and did not stop.

"Casper died from his injuries. He will be greatly missed … he was a much-loved pet who had so much character. Thank you to all those who befriended him."

Casper's life on the buses came to international attention last year. It turned out that for four years he had been riding the no 3 bus, passing the Devon city's historic dockyard and naval base, en route.

He tended to curl up on a seat or sometimes purr around fellow passengers' legs, all the way to the final stop, stay on and make the return journey. Drivers got used to letting him off at the correct stop.

His owner, Sue Finden, said she had never understood what he was doing until a bus driver let her into the secret of Casper's travelling.

"I couldn't believe it at first, but it explains a lot. He loves people and we have a bus stop right outside our house so that must be how he got started – just following everyone on," she said at the time.

Postings on the website of Casper's local newspaper, the Herald, proved just what a popular character he was.

"Hail to Casper the cat, I'll miss ya m8 ride in heaven," wrote Chris the bus driver. "RIP Casper, you will be missed," said another reader.

There were, inevitably, a few sick jokes, while Mick from Plymouth said he would not have let any cat of his run across roads and jump on buses.

And Eternal Optimist questioned whether the paper should be troubling itself with Casper's story: "I am so glad that I live in such a peaceful and crime-free city as Plymouth where so little happens that a dead cat is considered newsworthy."

However, Mel of Plymouth summed up the feeling of most: "RIP Casper, you were one cool cat! Reading about your travels put a smile on my face."


Congratulations, Jeff

Jeff has got his Best Actor Golden Globe for Crazy Heart. The only thing left to do now for him is walk home with Oscar. I hope he will win that one too!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Street Art: famous musicians on the walls of Berlin

To see more click here

Dog rescued from duck pond by 17 firemen

A dog who slipped into an frozen duck pond escaped death after a team of 17 firefighters came to his rescue.

Matt - an eight-year-old Cocker Spaniel - ran across ice and tumbled into freezing waters in Dean Country Park, Kilmarnock.

As the dog struggled to escape, fire crews from Kilmarnock and a water rescue unit from Ayr raced to the scene after the alarm was raised.

Using ladders and specialist equipment, they managed to reach Matt and fish the shivering Spaniel out of the pond.

Matt had been taken for a walk by his owner's neighbours when the drama unfolded.

The firefighters were hailed as heroes by grateful owner Shelia Johnston

"I still can't believe one little dog caused so much fuss and had 17 firemen looking after him. I'm so grateful to all of them," she said.

"Matt came from the SSPCA's rescue centre at Cardonald so it's actually not the first time he's been rescued - but hopefully it will be the last.

"The vets have told me he's going to be fine. They put him under the heat lamp and hair dryer as soon as he arrived at the surgery.

"He had been out for a walk with my neighbours when he ran on to the pond and fell in.

"They were as delighted as me that everything turned out all right in the end."

Stevie Logan, Kilmarnock Fire Brigade's station commander, said: "The dog was in clear distress and had been in the water for some time when we arrived.

"He was trapped in a circle of water with ice surrounding it and couldn't get out.

"The people in this case did exactly the right thing by phoning us, and not attempting to rescue it themselves.

"Too many people have drowned trying to rescue their dogs, and although it is a hard thing to do to stand by and watch the dog struggling, we do have the specialist knowledge and equipment to carry out a rescue."


Nigeria doctor 'impregnated girls and sold the babies'

Police in Nigeria have arrested a doctor suspected of impregnating girls and selling their babies.

The police said they found five pregnant girls aged between 12 and 17 at the doctor's clinic in the south-eastern town of Enugu.

The police said the man had confessed to getting the girls pregnant and selling their children. He is to face charges in court.

Trafficking is common in Nigeria, with children sold for labour and sex work.

In 2008, police raided a private hospital in Enugu which they said was a "baby farm".

Seven pregnant young women were found.


Go buy some fruit