The Moyie was fun, but the Lochsa was looking really nice too:
Thursday, May 31, 2007
We were finally able to get outside and do some rafting this spring: easy stuff on the Moyie River in North Idaho, but still a lot of fun. Here is some video of the two major rapids on the river, Eileen dam and Hole in the Wall.
The video isn't particularly good: it was taken with our Pentax Optio W10 digital camera (on video mode) which is itself hard to keep steady. Add to that the fact we had "303'd" the raft back in October for storage, and Sparky was having a lot of trouble just staying on the thwart.
The river was class III, but the slippery boat made it class IV.
ScienceDaily: CPR: More Rib Fractures, But Better Survival Rates
Not much to add, just make sure you're using your weight.
Monday, May 14, 2007
But the strength to weight ratio of these performers is really impressive. About 7 minutes long (no counter).
Fortunately, my first reaction is to blink. Not coincidentally, that is also the title of the last book I've read.
Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell.
I was somewhat skeptical of this book: some of the reviews I read beforehand made it sound like the premise was "Don't think: your split second assessments are usually more accurate than your carefully weighed, calculated judgements."
To me, that sounds like exactly the knee-jerk, decision-making by "feeling" that leaves me pessimistic for the future of the world.
What all of these reviews failed to emphasize however, is that Gladwell very carefully qualifies this premise. So much so, that what he is saying is almost exactly the opposite: we should by no means trust our "gut-feelings" without taking into consideration the qualifiers.
He documents several ways our split-second decision making can be "thrown off, distracted, and disabled." You'll need to read the book learn of them, but in my opinion the main qualifier for accepting your snap judgements at face value is glossed over in all the reviews (that I read).
That is the role of "expertise."
Without expertise in a subject, "thin-slicing" a situation (Gladwell's term) produces results no better than a coin flip.
Experts in a field can make snap decisions well: for those of us in the laity, not so much. For me, this begs the question of how you quantify expertise, there are certainly those who claim expertise that I would dispute, but that is another matter.
I would definitely recommend the book: it is an easy read, very entertaining, and well documented. Just don't expect to become Stephen Colbert all in one sitting.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I'm telling you, I should be writing headlines.
Via Live Science dot com, comes a story that will bring hope to a certain population of men, and despair to their wives: Natural Viagra: Spider Bite Causes Erection.
Personally, I find naked women much more erotic, but whatever happens between a consenting adult and an arachnid really is none of my business.
A Brazilian spider delivers more than a painful bite that sends most victims to the hospital. Its venom stimulates an hours-long erection. Now scientists have figured out the chemical that seems to be responsible for the penis boost.I heard they were up all night working on it.
In Brazil, emergency room staff can immediately spot the victims of a bite from the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer). Patients not only experience overall pain and an increase in blood pressure, they also sport an uncomfortable erection.As opposed to the comfortable kind.
After separating the components of the spider venom, they performed tests on rats:
Then, they injected the venom-chemical into rats stimulated to begin an erection. A tiny needle-like device inserted into each rat’s penis measured the pressure change, which corresponds with the increase in blood flow to the blood vessels inside the penis. Compared with control rats, those injected with the peptide showed a significant increase in penis pressure.Couldn't they have just done a visual? Remind me not to sign up for the clinical trials.
The spider chemical works in a different manner (than Viagra), affecting an earlier step in the erection process. Somehow, the toxin ups the amount of nitric oxide, which sort of sets into motion an erection. The scientists suggest that a combination of a synthetic version of the spider venom with a drug like Viagra would result in a magnified effect.Who says scientists don't have a sense of humor? "Result in a magnified effect." Ha... good one.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I'm sure someone else has already noted this (since I'm incapable of having an original thought), but sometime in March (I'm too lazy to get the exact date), Rosie O'Donnell stated on "The View," “I do believe that it’s the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel." in regards to the 9/11/2001 collapse of World Trade Center Building #7.
This "view" has been very adequately debunked elsewhere, but I think she should be pointed to the recent bridge collapse in Oakland as a candidate for "the second time in history that fire has melted steel." Not to mention concrete.
She makes this statement about two thirds of the way through.
PS. The link to the bridge collapse actually has an embedded video relating the collapse to 9/11. Another non-original thought. The video there explains the situation well.