Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

We have two delicacies for you today. First, another entry from that peripatetic adventurer from OldPort.

In keeping with many discussions here and here about art, I do believe we can say that crabs are in the eye of the beholder. It takes a human imagination to deconstruct this pic to detect the underlying crab theme, but I believe it. Of course one must run quickly to the dictionary to discover what cake "cases" are. One hopes it is not a viral exanthem. (BTW, when are you guys going to adopt the euro?)

The second is from the usual source:

This one brings up the question raised by an alert reader: "why are alien's eyes always megaproptopic?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Market is Broken

From the people who brought you "Just Say No" to Health Care Reform there is this:
Health insurance leaders say they agree that individual markets are rife with problems but insist that the trouble is caused by factors beyond their control -- namely, the soaring cost of medical care and the churn of customers who enter or leave the individual market, depending on employment.

The sour economy has prompted many younger and healthier people to forgo or cancel insurance, companies say. As a result, insurers have had to spread the cost of individual insurance over smaller numbers of ailing policyholders who keep coverage they desperately need.

"A lot of what you see today is a product of the way the market works," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's Washington-based lobbying arm. "The market is broken. Those people who do need the coverage wind up covering the cost of everyone else."
Actually, having "everyone else" cover the cost of those who need coverage is the way insurance is supposed to work.

Thank you, Kindle...

Looking around for a good book and look what I find!

(going to wait until the price drops, though. It will.)

Friday Crab Blogging

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bones has Fire in his eyes

Friday Crab Blogging

Why'd they mess up a goond thing? Blogger was fine the way it was. Now it sucks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Come on Baby Kindle my Fire

If you were thinking of buying stock, I would consider buying it in Amazon, or maybe PVI (Prime View International) , who makes the display for the Kindle. Why, you might ask? Consider the following images:

Children carry an astounding amount of weight in their back packs. The big one above weighed well over 10 Kg. Many children no longer have lockers to keep their books in so must cart their whole kit with them. (Sort of like a hermit crab!)

From a recent article:

The Effect of Backpacks on the Lumbar Spine in Children: A Standing Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
Timothy B. Neuschwander, MD; John Cutrone, MD; Brandon R. Macias, BA; Samantha Cutrone; Gita Murthy, PhD; Henry Chambers, MD; Alan R. Hargens, MD
Posted: 02/04/2010; Spine. 2010;35(1):83-88. © 2010
Study Design: This study is a repeated measures design to measure the lumbar spine response to typical school backpack loads in healthy children. The lumbar spine in this setting was measured for the first time by an upright magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to measure the lumbar spine response to typical school backpack loads in healthy children. We hypothesize that backpack loads significantly increase disc compression and lumbar curvature.

Summary of Background Data: Children commonly carry school backpacks of 10% to 22% bodyweight. Despite growing concern among parents about safety, there are no imaging studies which describe the effect of backpack loads on the spine in children.

Methods: Three boys and 5 girls, age 11 ± 2 years (mean ± SD) underwent T2 weighted sagittal and coronal MRI scans of the lumbar spine while standing. Scans were repeated with 4, 8, and 12 kg backpack loads, which represented approximately 10%, 20%, and 30% body weight for our sample. Main outcome measures were disc compression, defined as post- minus preloading disc height, and lumbar asymmetry, defined as the coronal Cobb angle between the superior endplates of S1 and L1.

Results: Increasing backpack loads significantly compressed lumbar disc heights measured in the midline sagittal plane (P < 0.05, repeated-measures analysis of variance [ANOVA]). Lumbar asymmetry was: 2.23° ± 1.07° standing, 5.46° ± 2.50° with 4 kg, 9.18° ± 2.25° with 8 kg, and 5.68° ± 1.76° with 12 kg (mean ± SE). Backpack loads significantly increased lumbar asymmetry (P < 0.03, one-way ANOVA). Four of the 8 subjects had Cobb angles greater than 10° during 8-kg backpack loads. Using a visual-analogue scale to rate their pain (0-no pain, 10-worst pain imaginable), subjects reported significant increases in back pain associated with backpack loads of 4, 8, and 12 kg (P < 0.001, 1-way ANOVA).
Conclusion: Backpack loads are responsible for a significant amount of back pain in children, which in part, may be due to changes in lumbar disc height or curvature. This is the first upright MRI study to document reduced disc height and greater lumbar asymmetry for common backpack loads in children.
The solution to this problem is simple, put all textbooks on Kindle or its equivalent.

This has several added advantages:
1. Children with dyslexia, etc. have a learning tool since the Kindle can read text.
2. Many, many trees will be saved. Textbooks outdate quickly and there is basically no use for an outdated school book.
3. Children cannot say "I forgot my book."

1. Well, they are tough, but not as tough as children. There will be breakage.
2. Cost. Well, I don't know what a whole year's worth of books cost, but college textbooks for sure are astronomical. Medical school books, just don't go there.
3. Kindle doesn't do so well with pictures at the moment. I am sure technology will solve this.

(P.S. Have you noticed that Blogger doesn't have spell check any more?)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Art of Emoting

Its hard being a curmudgeon these days. Ethnologically it is a vanishing skill set. (Meter courtesy of my staff)

Monday, February 08, 2010


Sarcasm, the last recourse of a witty man.

.                                                                                      Tiny Tim
.                                                                                      circa 1982

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Requiem for a Yew

I think my yew tree is seriously damaged. Damn snow. (On the other hand, it does have beauty.)

(excuse the grid; I took it through a screen door that won't open for the snow)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What your children be learning

Hey, its only a game!

When will they ever learn, when will they.....

Imperial Hunters (The Empire Strikes Back)

Afghanistan - 2010