Browsing All Posts published on »July, 2012«

What a Difference Two Years Makes: Bristol Palin’s Return to “Dancing With the Stars”

July 31, 2012


As Lisa de Moraes writes in The Washington Post, Bristol Palin is set to return to “Dancing With the Stars” this fall.  “In one of those happy coincidences that makes covering the TV industry so heartwarming, ‘Dancing’ needs Bristol, who proved a ratings, and Web traffic magnet for the show in its 11th edition,” writes […]

Chick-Fil-A Has a Right to Free Speech, But Not Freedom From Consequences

July 30, 2012


Ironic, isn’t it?  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won’t let you have your trans-fats or sugar, but you can still get your fast food fix from an anti-gay-marriage fast-food chain.  While the mayors of San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC have said that Chick-Fil-A, which actively opposes gay marriage, is not welcome in […]

Food Pouches for Kids: Convenience, But At What Cost?

July 27, 2012


Once upon a time, not so very long ago, most families sat down every evening to some kind of home-cooked supper, because, well, that was pretty much the only way to get the evening meal.  Fast food didn’t really exist, or was not conveniently close.  Restaurants were expensive, slow, and required people to dress decently.  […]

Star Trek Geeks, Rejoice: The Replicator is Here, and Might Revolutionize Medicine

July 26, 2012


If you haven’t heard of 3-D printing by now, you may be a little behind the times.  There is no end to the possible applications:  3-D printers could one day routinely print machine parts for engineers,  or even replacement body parts for patients with, say, bone disease.  People have used the printers already to create […]

Take Charge of Your Dental Health: Get Second Opinions!

July 25, 2012


Good dental health care is an absolute must.  An unhealthy mouth can be painful and reduce your quality of life, can lead to other infections in the body, and even to death.  So we dutifully see our dentists once or twice a year, get cleanings and exams, and probably submit to other prescribed treatments. Well, […]

Sally Ride, First US Woman in Space

July 24, 2012


Dr. Sally Ride, first US woman in space, has passed away at the young age of 61, just three days after the 43rd anniversary of the first moon landing.  She was a real role model for women everywhere:  bright, educated, brave, adventurous, and fully capable of achieving great things on her own merits. Dr. Ride […]

Sexy Six-Year-Olds: Do We Really Not See the Problem Here?

July 23, 2012


Well, we’ve been talking about this for a while now:  the sexualization of young girls, the difficulty in finding a bra that isn’t padded and push-up, the epidemics of sexting, the creepiness of Toddlers and Tiaras, the burgeoning numbers  of teens getting boob jobs to feel better about themselves.  Didn’t we kinda know that something […]

The Medical Community Should Learn Something From the Military Community

July 20, 2012


In her opinion piece in The New York Times, “Don’t Get Sick in July,” Theresa Brown writes of the relationship between nurses and brand-new, wet-behind-the-ears doctors.  The thrust of the article is that July can be a dangerous time for patients, as the latest batch of new M.D. graduates begins making real decisions with real […]

The Mounting Dangers of Our Ever-Increasing Dependence on Electronics

July 19, 2012


Yesterday I ran across the story of Steve Mann, who was assaulted and forcibly ejected from the McDonald’s in Paris, France on account of his wearable computing device, the EyeTap.  Dr. Mann is an engineer who has been working on “wearable computing” and “augmented reality” devices for decades, and has actually been wearing the EyeTap […]

So Women Are Out-Scoring Men on IQ Tests: Why, and Does It Matter?

July 18, 2012


Doug Barry has a humorous aside in Jezebel, pondering why it is that women have recently been out-performing men on IQ tests, whereas in the past, women have scored about five points lower than men, on average. I think the reason is obvious: social progress in women’s equality, coupled with increased access to education.  Can […]

“Winningism” Is a Bad Thing

July 17, 2012


It’s time to change the entire collegiate attitude toward the big-money, win-at-all-costs men’s athletic programs, but it won’t be easy. In the wake of the Penn State scandal, there has been much hand-wringing and laments of, “Alas, how could this ever have happened?”  Oh, please.  The only reason anyone noticed or cared about the breaking […]

Women: Using Sex to Get Ahead is a Mistake, and Here’s Why

July 16, 2012


Well, first off, it’s sleazy.  Not sex itself, but using it to get ahead.  But more than that: it actually sets women back.  The term “sex object,” as it turns out, is amazingly apt.  This 2010 Psychology Today article cites multiple studies that all had similar findings:  that both men and women viewed “sexualized” women […]

The Higgs Boson: On a Related Note

July 13, 2012


In the wake of yesterday’s depressing article, I leave you to your weekend with this cheery little whimsy. Domenico Vicinanza, who is both a musician and an engineer with DANTE, has led a collaborative effort to map the data set collected at the Large Hadron Collider to music.  Each data point was assigned a musical […]

How Religious Extremism Shackles Pakistan: A Technological Example

July 12, 2012


Amid all the hoopla about the proof of the existence of the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider, many of the great physicists whose work led us down this path seem to have been forgotten.  For example,  India leapt to the defense of their own “forgotten hero,” physicist Satyendranath Bose, who worked with Albert […]

Allergies: Between Accommodation and Imposition on Mainstream Society

July 11, 2012


Okay, I will just come right out and say it:  sometimes, in an effort to accommodate those who are different from the norm, we can go overboard.  The latest is a trend toward banning fragrances in public places:  perfumes, after-shaves, scented detergents and cleaning agents.  Does it go too far? There is a difference between […]

The Milk-Pushers: For Some, More Harm Than Good

July 10, 2012


I love Mark Bittman’s 7 July column in the New York Times.  The upshot:  drinking oceans of milk, as recommended by the USDA, your doctor, your Mom, and your school cafeteria, is not for everyone.  Not only is it actually harmful to some people, it is unnecessary for most of us.  I feel vindicated! I […]

Melinda Gates: Steadfast in the Face of Contraception Controversy

July 9, 2012


Melinda Gates is my new favorite heroine.  In an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN, she shoots down conservative Catholics’ criticisms of her ambitious family-planning and contraception efforts for poor women around the world.  A practicing Catholic herself, she sees no moral conflict with her mission as an advocate for these women, nor with […]

Lifeguard Fired for Saving a Life: The Pall of Litigation vs. the Value of Life

July 6, 2012


In Florida, lifeguard Tomas Lopez was fired for saving a man’s life at Hallendale Beach.  And then six of his fellow lifeguards were fired for saying they would do the same.  The issue?  The drowning man was outside the lifeguard’s assigned zone.  The private contractor he worked for – Jeff Ellis and Associates – explained […]

A Scary Farewell to Andy Griffith

July 5, 2012


I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear of Andy Griffith’s death at age 86, although it did seem sort of sudden.  Well, of course it seemed sudden, because we didn’t know anything about his day-to-day life, and properly so.  Eighty-six years is a good long run, one he stuffed chock-full of living.  But what struck me […]

Katie Holmes: Putting Her Child First

July 4, 2012


If Bill Zwecker’s article in the Chicago Sun-Times is any indication, then one big reason behind Katie Holmes’ split with Tom Cruise has to do with her concerns for her child’s intellectual future.  She is described as “not at all impressed” with the results of a Scientology-based education which she sees on display in her […]

Commercial Food Production and Declining Food Values

July 3, 2012


The latest:  in tomatoes, commercial breeders have selected varieties with a beautiful red skin to appeal to consumers.  Trouble is, the gene for that trait is linked to lower sugar production in the tomato, and thus, a lot less flavor.  You want great tomato flavor?  Buy the ugly varieties (I have noticed that the typically […]

No Friggin’ Common Sense: School Ban on Sunscreen and Hats Leads to Severe Sunburn for Young Students

July 2, 2012


There is just not a lick of common sense in schools any more.  I am so glad I am neither a child, nor a parent in this day and age.  Here’s the latest dumbassery involving well-intentioned policies applied with the blind idiocy that only a litigation-shy bureaucracy could muster:  two young students were severely sunburned […]