Jun 13, 2008

Long-term mobile phone use health risk to be studied again

Three things about mobile phones we can count on:

1. Cellular phone use will continue to increase.

2. There will be at least one cell phone health scare from the UK every year.

3. There will be follow-up studies saying there is no health danger to mobile phone users.

This time it’s scientists from Imperial College in London who worry that long-term mobile phone use can lead to a number of health problems. Now they are worried about more than just brain tumors and brain cancer.

Their latest proposed study will test if cell phone use can lead to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Previous studies have shown that people exposed to mobile phones for more than a decade have a two-fold risk of developing brain cancer on the side of the head where they held the handset.

After a few on-again off-again mobile phone health scares, are users paying attention anymore? Have scientists cried wolf too many times?

Link to the latest proposed study here.

Museum of Modern Art in Vienna display ‘bad paintings’

In this photo, made available by Vienna's Museum of Modern Art, shows people strolling through the exhibition called, "Bad Painting - Good Art."

(click on picture to enlarge)

The exhibition shows images that the bear the label: Bad Paintings.


What is paraskavedekatriaphobia?

Paraskavedekatriaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th.

Many believe Friday the 13th is associated with bad luck.

This is a 20th century phobia. There is almost no mention of Friday the 13th before 1900.

Do you have Paraskavedekatriaphobia? Me neither.

Have a great Friday the 13th.


When was the last time you heard the word, percolator?

It’s is a fun word to say but for the most part it speaks to the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Joe DiMaggio and his endless string of Mr. Coffee commercials stamped the word coffeemaker indelibly into our lives.

The smell of freshly made coffee is pure magic (too bad it doesn’t taste as good as it smells).

Attributing the fresh coffee aroma to a coffeemaker somehow falls flat. Saying, “the coffee is brewing” isn’t much better.

The phrase, “the coffee is percolating” has a lot more romance.

It’s all DiMaggio’s fault.

Are neckties for men on the way out?

Once necessary in the workplace and the quintessential Father's Day gift, the necktie has seen its popularity sag as many men have decided to ditch the ‘neck choker’ in favor of a more laid-back look.

Up until the 1980’s, neckties were common workplace attire.

The tie and dark suit and the black shoes, everybody had to wear the same thing back in the '70s. It was the consummate uniform for corporate America.

I reluctantly wore neckties at the office for more years than I care to remember.

Now it’s Dockers and open collars

Only 6% of men wear neckties according to a Gallup poll.


Jun 12, 2008

Steve Jobs at WWDC or hardware convention?

Steve Jobs (pictured) unveiled the new iPhone and delivered the keynote speech at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

His appearance grabbed more attention than the new iPhone he was unveiling.

Some said it was his physical appearance -- that he looked ill. He did fight cancer a few years ago. Many, however, noticed his “uniform” - faded jeans and a dark sweatshirt.

The way he was dressed, it looked as if he should be showing off the latest ball peen hammer at a hardware convention instead of the most sophisticated phone on the planet.

Perhaps we should take up a collection and buy him some new clothes to replace his grubby jeans.


That’s just the way it is…

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

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A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

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He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

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A day without sunshine is like, well, night.

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Shock: 6-year-old forced by felon to pose with pistol

A convicted felon was arrested in Palm Bay, Florida after allegedly putting a gun in a 6-year-old child's hands and forcing her to pose for pictures.

Her face is blocked out to protect her identity, but police said it's a 6-year-old girl in the flower print shirt holding a handgun that seems disturbingly large for her small hands. In a second picture, she's pointing the same gun right at the camera with her finger on the trigger.

Police said 30-year-old Toby Allen, a convicted felon, stole a cell phone from his employer.

Toby Allen used the phone’s camera to take the disturbing pictures shown here. Allen is shown in the right photo.


Jun 11, 2008

GM to shut 4 pickup and SUV plants

General Motors plans to shut 4 pickup and SUV plants, build more fuel-efficient vehicles, and may dump the Hummer.

Large S.U.V.’s like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition ruled the road a few years ago. Sales of those gas guzzlers and others like them are falling under pressure from high fuel costs.

GM is looking at possibly selling its Hummer unit as part of a strategic review of the SUV brand based on military vehicles.

The Hummer H3 mid-size SUV gets about 13 to 14 miles per gallon in city driving in the most recent EPA ratings. The H1 and H2 are larger vehicles on which EPA does not give mileage estimates.

GM, as well as other U.S. carmakers, are thinking “SUV’s out -- small cars in.”

The plants to be closed include two U.S. facilities: The Moraine, Ohio plant that builds midsize SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy; and the Janesville, Wisc., assembly line that builds large SUVs such as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon.

In addition, it plans to close a pickup plant in Oshawa, Canada, and a truck plant in Toluca, Mexico.


The agony of defeat: a losers campaign debt

Hillary just completed a grueling political campaign.

But for Hillary Clinton, now comes the really hard part: retiring a mountain of campaign debt.

Records show that Clinton's campaign owed more than $20 million as of April 30 — and that was before she spent millions of dollars more in the final month of primaries and caucuses.

For losing candidates, campaign debts can linger for years, enduring symbols of failures they would rather forget. At the same time, the unpaid bills can cause hardships for campaign workers and vendors waiting for payment. Some end up receiving just pennies on the dollar — if they can get paid at all.

The article at the link below lists just a few former candidates with sizeable unpaid campaign bills:

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, D-Ill., still owes $262,358 from her failed 2004 White House bid.

Al Sharpton owed more than $300,000 from his 2004 presidential campaign at the time of its last financial report.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, ran for president this year even though he still owed $459,000 from his failed 2004 White House race. Now he's in the hole for another $1.1 million.

Former New York district attorney Jeanine Pirro owes more than $500,000 from her aborted 2006 campaign for Clinton's Senate seat

Former Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, still owes nearly $3 million in debts from his unsuccessful 1984 presidential bid.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who owes $3.6 million.

The most debt really doesn’t count because the $44 million debt for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney represents money he loaned his own campaign with the expectation he would not get it back.


Revealing body scanners installed at 10 airports

Revealing body scanners to be installed at 10 airports.

The Transportation Security Administration recently started using body scans on randomly chosen airline passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and New York's Kennedy airport.

Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month. Reagan National Airport near Washington starts using a body scanner Friday. A total of 38 machines will be in use within weeks.

These graphic scanners are virtual strip searches that leave no bone unturned s shown in upper picture.

The lower picture shows a TSA “peeping tom” viewing the revealing scan of a passenger.

The TSA says it protects privacy by blurring passengers' faces and deleting images right after viewing. Yet the images are detailed, clearly showing a person's gender. "You can actually see the sweat on someone's back."


Jun 10, 2008

Airlines may treat passengers as freight: charge by weight

Will airlines soon weigh you as well as your luggage?

Imagine two scales at the airline ticket counter, one for your bags and one for you. The price of a ticket depends upon the weight of both.

That may not be so far-fetched.

With fuel costs almost tripling since 2000, now accounting for as much as 40% of operating expenses at some carriers, according to the ATA, airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that once were unthinkable.

U.S. Airways Group Inc. has eliminated snacks.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is charging US$25 for telephone reservations.

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines last month became the first U.S. company to charge US$15 for one checked bag.

Even a cold drink may be harder to come by aloft.

Directing passengers to step on a scale would not be an easy task.

More of the story here.

Jun 9, 2008

Trina at Union College graduation

Trina Peterson Cress received her degree last month at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska

Trina with her husband Daniel Cress and their daughter Brylee.

Dealing with telemarketers and junk mail

What do you do about junk mail?

Here is what one person suggests:

What? Open your junk mail? No, no, no...you don't open the junk mail. Instead, you put one slash through your name & address, then write 'return to sender' and put it back in the mail box for pickup or in the slot for outgoing mail.

Do this with catalogs, post cards, anything. It stops it flat … and the Post Office likes it because they get paid going and coming.

How do you stop telemarketers?

Here is another man’s suggestion for getting rid of telemarketers:

I got the telemarketers to stop cold when I told them they can speak to the person they called, but first they must listen to me sing "Up On The Housetop."

This is not a pretty sight because my singing voice sounds like goose farts on a muggy day.

I’d stop occasionally during the song and remind them that they'll "soon be talking to the person they called and won't that be exciting?!" I’d also stop occasionally and ask "Have you been a good little boy or girl this year?"

My kids loved it! My wife rolled her eyes and shook her head but the calls stopped.

Is Deadliest Catch a model of Safety?

An article at the link below wonders if the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” could actually be a model of safety.

The weathered sea captains who star in the Discovery Channel's reality series "Deadliest Catch" might be surprised to hear what safety researchers in the United States government think of them.

Officials say that other U.S. fishing industries are actually deadlier than crab fishing in the seas off Alaska's Bering Strait.

Crab fishing anywhere is one of the deadliest jobs in the United States. At times, men on deck work through freezing weather, daylong shifts, and brave up to 40-foot waves and 80 mph winds.

The fishermen who venture out on Alaskan crab fishing boats also face an average annual fatality rate of 115 deaths per 100,000 workers. The average job in the U.S. has a rate of four deaths per 100,000 workers.

But deaths among Alaskan commercial fisherman have dropped by half since 1990, thanks to strategic efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard, the fishing industry and government regulators.

Now that smaller crab-fishing industries off the coasts of Washington state and California and Oregon can claim the title "deadliest," will the Discovery Channel cameras follow them instead of Alaska’s crab-fishing industry?


Tomatoes linked to salmonella cases

Officials say at least 17 people hospitalized and 40 sickened after eating raw tomaoes.

Lab tests have confirmed 40 illnesses in Texas and New Mexico as the same type of salmonella, right down to the genetic fingerprint. An investigation by Texas and New Mexico health authorities and the Indian Health Service tied those cases to uncooked, raw, large tomatoes.

At least 17 people in Texas and New Mexico have been hospitalized. None have died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 30 people have become sick with the same Salmonella Saintpaul infection in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Illinois and Indiana. CDC investigators are looking into whether tomatoes were culprits there, too.

More of the story here.

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Tomato warning expanded nationwide. Link here.

Jun 8, 2008

Several UFO reports in small town in Germany

The UFO reports in Bavaria were triggered by a young man’s creative marriage proposal.

It turned out the lights were 50 paper lanterns sent aloft by a man proposing marriage to his girlfriend.

It must have worked because she reportedly said yes.