Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are All Fat People Responsible for their own Fat-ness?

I've been following the Junkfood Science Blog for a couple years now and have learned a lot about the science of obesity. Most of the real science and valid clinical research buck the "conventional wisdom" or "common sense" that people spew forth on a daily basis. We are constantly bombarded with crap about health weights, BMIs, good food and bad foods. Unfortunately, people are as apathetic about their health news as they are about their politics. Whatever the favored talking head says in the 30 second sound bite is good enough for most people. Well, lucky for us, science doesn't survive on sound bites.

Given all that, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this story on one of my favorite programs: Nova Science Now! They interview a couple leading scientists that are studying obesity. These scientists have proven research to indicate that some super fat people have genetic anomalies that prevent them from feeling full. Certain receptors in their brains are unable to receive the proper chemical triggers that signal their brain that they are full. This is only one genetic reason for obesity. They do go on to say that the most important factor that determines the shape and size of our bodies is our genes.

Don't take my word for it and don't rely on one blogger's report either. Do your own research. Look for independent sources. Read the studies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Over 500 views on my Flickr Page!!!

Today, my Flickr page received its 500th view. If you haven't been clicking and viewing on my site, you are missing out.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Monarch on Red Flower

Monarch on Red Flower
Originally uploaded by Mully410

I got a lot of great photos this weekend. Check out my flickr page.

Lots of butterflies and some cool deer photos and videos. Plus some interesting flowers I hadn't seen before today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Do you think political campaign are getting dirtier every year?

You might be in for shock but political campaign are not at their dirtiest. They may be getting dirtier in recent years but that's nothing compared to some of the dirtiest campaigns. Even our esteemed Founding Fathers dug out the dirt and slung the mud. See this article for some interesting notes from the Jefferson-Adams campaign and the Jackson-Adams campaigns.

Jackson simply made up stories about John Quincy Adams procuring prostitutes for the Russian Czar. Adams pointed out that Jackson's wife was married when she ran off with Jackson. I guess now-a-days this kind of philandering would be a badge of honor but back then it was a big deal.

And if all else failed, campaigns simply said their opponent died. Back then it could take months to get word out to everyone so the campaigns just printed up slander just before the election so their opponent couldn't respond. a sad kinda way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pareidolia Anyone?

Pareidolia Anyone?
Originally uploaded by Mully410

This is simple a picture of two holes and joint between two boards. What do you see? Pareidolia is one of my favorite words. Look it up on Wikipedia.

Then read Carl Sagan's book The Demon Haunted World to learn more. Then go to my flickr page and click on a bunch of stuff.

Comcast Email Issue Solved

So I've spent the last 3 weeks with comcast tech support, MS tech support and on an MS usenet group trying to solve an issue. About 3 weeks ago my emails stopped sending to the outside world. I could send between my 3 comcast email accounts but could get emails to my yahoo address or my work email address. Plus, nobody I know got any of my emails. We tried everything: Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Comcast's web client and Mozilla's Thunderbird. I got a couple emails out of Thunderbird right when I installed but then they stopped sending. Very strange.

Finally, I got a strange voicemail at work today. A comcast techy called and said that my signature was over 100 characters so "some servers" blocked them. Ok, I was willing to try anything at that point so I deleted my signatures with my blog address and my flickr photo address. Lo and behold, emails will now send. I'm not sure if its actually a 100 characters as the problem, I think it’s the web links. I've tried test emails to yahoo and my office and nothing with a web address will send but every simple email I send works fine. Must be some new anti spam thingy they have.

Have you heard of anything so stupid?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where do you get your health news?

This is a great post to help you think critically about who is making health decisions for you. Sandy provides tons of great links for further reading.

Do we really think politicians know what's best for our health? They do such a good job running everything else so maybe they are right.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bigfoot Part 2

As I predicted in my previous post, the bigfoot people are full it. They won't show anyone the "body" they found. They won't let any actual scientist examine their data. They don't provide a chain of custody for their DNA samples which, by the way, didn't show any unknown primate DNA.

Ironically, real scientists discovered a new bird in Indonesia. They likely followed the same procedures as any real scientist: discovery, documentation, peer review, publication and more peer review. This is how you discover things and make people aware of them.

Think skeptically.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bigfoot Found?

I saw this article on today. Two men are claiming that they have a body of a "big foot." Now, this would be real cool. It would be the first real evidence that can be scientifically examined and verified. I'm all for finding a bigfoot or an alien but so far the only "evidence" anyone can produce are blurry photos and sketchy eyewitness accounts. This is not sufficient for their extraordinary claims.

Here are my predictions:
1. This is a hoax. I think its highly probable that this bigfoot body isn't real. If there was a sustainable population of primates in remote areas of our country, we should have lots and lots of bodies, feces, hair, foot prints, etc... (not to mention quality pictures since everyone has a camera now-a-days).

2. These men will not let real scientists such as anthropologists, biologists and DNA experts examine their find.

3. If the examination of the evidence by qualified scientists produces a result other than a bigfoot, the true believers will label it a conspiracy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What can we see on the Moon?

Have you ever wondered why we can't see the landers and rovers we left on the Moon with Hubble or similar telescopes? Phil, the Bad Astronomer. does a great job explaining that here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Comcast Email Sucks!

To whom it may concern,

For some reason, Comcast is no longer able to send my emails from Windows Live Mail. I spent about an hour with their chat tech support the other day. They finally stated that they are doing an "upgrade" to their email stuff. Funny. While they are upgrading, my emails won't send. I have to use their webmail client if I want to send anything. Even more funny. Emails sent from the webmail client don't always send either.

So far, I think I'm receiving all your great emails. Who knows though...

I have no idea when this send issue started. The last email I sent that someone said they received was around 7-27-08




Thursday, August 7, 2008

Neuroscience and Magic?

This article will really make your brain hurt if you are not smart. Attention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research from Nature Review - Neuroscience.

Its written, in part, by James Randi and Teller (of Penn and Teller fame). Here is an abstract: "Just as vision scientists study visual art and illusions to elucidate the workings of the visual system, so too can cognitive scientists study cognitive illusions to elucidate the underpinnings of cognition. Magic shows are a manifestation of accomplished magic performers' deep intuition for and understanding of human attention and awareness. By studying magicians and their techniques, neuroscientists can learn powerful methods to manipulate attention and awareness in the laboratory. Such methods could be exploited to directly study the behavioural and neural basis of consciousness itself, for instance through the use of brain imaging and other neural recording techniques."

I think it would be a great idea for neuroscience researchers to incorporate magic and illision into their studies. Even the smartest people can be fooled by magic.

Thanks to the Skepchicks for this heads up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Favorite Pod Cast!

If you haven't entered the world of podcasting yet, you are really missing out. I didn't really get into them until I got an IPOD Nano but you don't really need an IPOD to listen to podcasts.

My favorite pod cast is The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. You can download and listen from their website or you can sign up on iTunes and have them automatically downloaded to you computer. SGU is basically a talk show lead by Dr. Steven Novella. They often analyze the latest popular headlines with skepticism, scientific method and humor. They will make you smarter.

If you have a short attention span, check out Skeptoid. Brian Dunning has short 10-15 min podcasts on the latest popular headlines and woo. I've referred to Brian's movie in this previous post.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Red Bug Sex

Red Bug Sex
Originally uploaded by Mully410

Woo Hoo someone finally picked one of my photos as one of their favorites. Very cool. I have little idea who they are since I can't read their language. Click here to visit their flickr page.

Go to my flickr site by clicking here. If you sign up using your yahoo id, you'll be able to see a special set of my pictures...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pretty Cool Day!

Flapping Loon
Originally uploaded by Mully410

I think I had the coolest visit to the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area tonight. This picture is of a Loon that flexed his wings for me (it was likely a "he" because the little loon was hanging with the other adult off to the left of this one.out of frame). I zoomed in pretty far with the editing. The original shot has 2 adult trumpeter swans with their 5 cygnets.

The coolest part of today's visit was the otters. At least I think they were otters. I watched 3 of them swimming and diving for about 40 minutes. They were pretty far away for my binoculars but it sure looked like they would dive down then come up on their backs and reach their hands up to their faces. They were shiny black or brown. They weren't beavers... too small and wrong habitat. They weren't muskrats either...too long and muskrats don't dive like they did. I'm going to do some research but I'm almost certain they were otters. (maybe Mink?) (8-7-08 Update: I spoke to our city forester/environmental officer today. He said he picked up a dead river otter near Marsden Lake a couple years ago. That's enough confirmation for me.)

I tried to get some pics of them but none turned out. I need a gigantic expensive lens for that, I guess.

At one point, I had the 3 otters, 7 swans and 2 deer in my field of view. Just off to the left a little bit were an adult loon, little loon and 2 osprey. More of my great pictures here.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Originally uploaded by Mully410

I've been watching these swans grow up all summer. In this shot, there are 6 cygnets (baby swans) with the 2 adults. Last week, I saw all 8 again on Monday but on Tuesday there were only 5 cygnets with the 2 adults. I think something got a free meal overnight. So far this week, I haven't seen any swans. That's not all that unusual. Marsden lake is mostly floating bogs so it changes it configuration every day. They could be on the other side of lake out of view.

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