Tweak ’em, don’t freak ’em

A new study from the British Economic and Social Research Council and reported today in the Washington Post finds that fear and guilt are actually poor motivators when it comes to getting people to change unhealthy habits.

The idea seems to be that fear and guilt may do nothing more than produce more fear and guilt — and, worse, defeatism. A far more effective approach, the researchers say, is to give people concrete suggestions on how to change their behavior and confidence that they can do things like quit smoking or start a daily exercise program.

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Common killers

Data from 140,000 patients suggests that some common pain killers double the rate for a heart attack.

Dr. Joe and bookofjoe says,

“One thing that has confounded me ever since I was in medical school is how easily doctors — people whom you’d think would know better — are bamboozled into prescribing and using, not only for their patients but for themselves and their families, new drugs.

Motrin, Advil, Vioxx, Celebrex, the parade never ends.

They cost many times what the old stand-bys do and don’t work as well, yet because of powerful advertising they somehow insinuate themselves into the medicine chest.

I’ve never taken anything but aspirin and/or Tylenol for the aches and pains of everyday life, nor do I believe anyone else should.

Here’s my foolproof remedy for almost anything that hurts, be it a headache, sore muscles, joints, you name it:

Three (3) regular aspirin tablets and two (2) extra-strength (500 mg apiece) Tylenol.

Repeat every 3-4 hours as needed.

It’s that cheap and easy.

Don’t be fooled into believing newer is better — in this case, it’s not even as good.”

Gucci has gas

Gucci

Jackie O
Princess Di
Peter Sellers
Madonna

Profit in the first half of 2006 was up 39 percent. The recent increases are also due to the buzzing American market where…”our customers are pretty immune to gas prices.” There is a strong aspirational aspect … waz goin’ on?

Diamonds in the web

An online service set for launch early 2007 will perpetually mine the Internet for gems useful to sophisticated financial investors.

“Monitor110” promises to continually sift and sort information from nearly 40 million online sources to uncover business trends or developments before word reaches mainstream media.

It can monitor alternative news websites, government websites, regulatory sites, blogs, union websites, local newspapers. It looks at the type of people linking to the blog and the people that link to the people that link to the blog. [story]


Eric Schmidt Warns Politicians That Elections Will Forever Change
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, warned politicians at a Tory party conference in Bournemouth that the outcome of general elections will be changed “within five years” by what Eric Schmidt calls “truth predictor” software.

The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world’s need of work. With it, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this—with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need—this life is hell. —W.E.B. Du Bois

All are identify us

Pick a brick.

One day you’ll be able to point your mobile phone at a train station, click and download a timetable, or point it at a museum to download a list of exhibits, researchers say.

Next?

Medical tourism

Trend in healthcare?

Our website is our vision for seeking out medical care at affordable cost in countries where price is minimal and care is abiding.

Our Patient Escort Service is an attempt to cut costs and save lives. We will liaise with the patients in the United States looking for cost effective medical care and refer them to hospitals in India.

Not limiting ourselves to a particular place, we also link ourselves to agents who refer patients to different destinations so that the best dental care can be obtained in Hungary, cosmetic surgery in Malaysia, cardiac treatment in Singapore and knee surgery in India.

optic nerve speed

human eye nerve overlayResearch from Penn’s School of Medicine on how the human eye communicates with the brain.

Earlier studies on vision have focused on what kind of information is sent from eye to brain. The Penn team wondered how fast and how much of that information is transmitted. Recording ‘spikes’ of electrical impulses, the human retina can transmit data at 10 million bits per second—Ethernet speeds, which reach 10 to 100 million bits per second.

Baby talk is sophisticated

Children learn their native language, says this UPenn linguist, by unlearning every other language.

Children do say the darnedest things. But the next time you chuckle at a toddler insisting “I weared my jacket,” consider the possibility that her grammar is perfect, just in another language.

In his new book, “The Infinite Gift: How Children Learn and Unlearn the Languages of the World” Charles Yang argues that children learn their native language through a process of trial and error, searching for the correct grammar by trying out other grammatical systems and discarding the ones that don’t fit. Double negatives, for example, while not commonly used in English, are de rigueur in Greek and Spanish, not to mention Chaucerian Middle English.

Be still married ego

Short Sufi tale:

A lover came to the dwelling of the Beloved and asked to be admitted. “Who is there?” the Beloved asked. “I am here,” the lover answered. The Beloved refused to admit the lover. After wandering in grief and longing for years, the lover returned to the Beloved and begged to be admitted. “Who is there?” The lover responded, “You alone are there.” The door opened.

This is a human edited blog

I didn’t write the Amazon review in the sidebar although it looks as if I did. It was originally posted by an Amazon staffer before Amazon brought in Alexa. It later reverted to my account — and I haven’t any idea why.

But it’s true. I use the One Stop Thought Shop to “provide education and insight about breakthrough science, technology and our modern world.”

And this is true: “This is a good site for learning new things.”

I am human.
My blog is edited.
This is a human edited blog.
Putting some healthy bran in the brain to help filter information congestion, I post what I think is important, interesting and good for you.

Humans and algorithms and humans
Geeking with Greg, a blog that is’exploring the future of personalized information’, brings us a link to John Battelle’s interview with Googler Matt Cutts. Some interesting excerpts from Matt on algorithms based on user data:

When savvy people think about Google, they think about algorithms, and algorithms are an important part of Google. But algorithms aren’t magic … quite often … [they] are based on human contributions in some way.

The simplest example is that hyperlinks on the web are created by people … Google News ranks based on which stories human editors around the web choose to highlight. Most of the successful web companies benefit from human input, from eBay’s trust ratings to Amazon’s product reviews and usage data. Or take Netflix’s star ratings … [they] are done by people, and they converge to pretty trustworthy values after only a few votes.

Findory is similar in that its recommendations are based on what humans find and discover. The knowledge of what is good and what is not comes from readers; it is people sharing what they found with each other.

Most of my posts point to further information outside my blog, so generating inbound links can be tough.

I’d appreciate your help.

Would you take a moment to give me a link?

Thanks,
Brian

Walk-working

Definition: Walk-working is using a treadmill with a work station.

Over the years, Angela Leitner’s lower-back pain got so bad she could sit for only 30 minutes at a time. She had tried everything from steroid injections to physical therapy, but nothing worked. Her doctor told her she could have spinal fusion, but it would mean the end of an active lifestyle that once included running.

Leitner, 29, had another idea. She went for a walk.

Customers can’t hide

Tomorrow’s Trends points out that product placements can now be purchased and inserted into scenes after the show has been produced, using technology.

When a scene from the CBS TV show “Numbers” was filmed there was nothing on the table. In post-production, presto, a steaming cup of Campbell’s soup is added.

Same with an episode of “Still Standing.” Originally nothing in the shot, and afterwards a box of Cheeze-Its appears.

The process is called digital brand integration and it is the newest form of product placement developed by a company called Marathon Ventures.

“We can place a product, virtually any size, in almost any location. It really depends on what the program and the video in each individual episode provides in terms of a logical or contextual background,” said the company’s president, David Brenner.

Product placement goes digital, gets lucrative – CNBC TV – MSNBC.com

List of unusual deaths

1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning from a toe injury he received after kicking his safe in anger when he could not remember its combination code.

1953: Frank Hayes, jockey, suffered a heart attack during a horse race. The horse, Sweet Kiss, went on to finish first, making Hayes the only deceased jockey to win a race.

1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated by poisoning in London by an unknown assailant who jabbed him in the calf with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin poison.

1981: A 19-year-old man named Jeff Bailey died of a heart attack after scoring 16,660 on the arcade game Berzerk. This was the first known instance of a video game-related death.

Other unusual ways to die at this Wiki

Beauty and the Brain

The phrase “easy on the eyes” may hit closer to the mark than we suspected. Experiments led by Piotr Winkielman, of the University of California, San Diego, and published in the current issue of Psychological Science, suggest that judgments of attractiveness depend on mental processing ease, or being “easy on the mind.”

“Critically, the less time it took participants to classify a pattern, the more attractive they judged it.”

“This accounts for cultural differences in beauty – and historical differences in beauty as well – because beauty basically depends on what you’ve been exposed to and what is therefore easy on your mind.”

Full article at the Science blog

Dogs prefer winners

Dogs playing, stockphotoDogs like sports celebrities too. They watch other dogs ‘play fight’ then hang out with the winners.

Dogs seem to enjoy watching other dogs compete against each other and gravitate towards the winners at the end of the game. The UK researchers, who publish their research in the journal Animal Behaviour, believe their discovery is the first demonstration of any animal eavesdropping play.

In this case, dogs appear to gain information about another dog or human’s social status and ability just by watching that individual compete.

Pooches excitedly rush toward victors when games finish, not unlike enthusiastic human sports fans at a stadium. abc.net.au


Recent research reveals an animals’ perspective. The aim is to allow owners and vets to make objective decisions on how to care for them, free of subjective human assumptions.

It could also help vets find more appropriate ways to treat animals and relieve suffering. For instance, some medical therapies can interfere with how an animal interacts with others, says John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol, UK. Treat a dog with antibiotics, and you risk killing the bacteria that live in its anal sac and produce the individual scent by which it is recognizable to other dogs. “We don’t think of dogs losing their identities as a result of medical treatment,” he says. Our failure to see life from a dog’s perspective means that vets will too freely prescribe antibiotics without considering the consequences for the animal.

Your dog falls ill, so you take him to the vet. After a quick consultation you take him home, and soon he appears to be better. But he is not. You and the vet have failed to realise that he is still in severe pain, and the drugs the vet has prescribed will turn him into a social outcast, a dog that may be shunned or even attacked by others.

Such mistakes can happen, say animal behaviour specialists, because our understanding of animal welfare is inadequate, and at times misguided. The human tendency to anthropomorphise means we miss out on animals’ real feelings and needs…

Researchers gathered at a conference held at the Royal Society in London to hear the latest evidence on how animals interpret the world. One thing is clear: they do not see it the same way we do, and only by accepting that can we learn to care for them better.

Article at New Scientist

That woozy feeling

Taking the fear out of selling
The next time you walk into a chamber mixer and get that woozy feeling in the pit of your stomach consider these techniques and fresh perspectives on selling: Listen. Share. Take a deep breath.

Medicine’s mismatch

Twenty conditions account for 80% of healthcare expenditure and 70% of personal healthcare expenditure is on those with chronic disabilities. Yet our health services were designed for episodic interventions not chronic conditions. [link]


From the Science blog:
Day after day examples pile up of a government gone wild with incompetence and fraud — from drug safety, to voting machines, to using political hacks to set up democracy in Iraq.

Well, if you want to destroy government, first you have to make people lose confidence in it.

It’s working.


Nearly a third of hospital emergency visits are alcohol-related, and after midnight this figure can be more than two thirds.

Why not an “Alcohol Health Worker”?
Why are doctors not trained to notice the signals and to intervene?

In England, about £217 million is currently spent per year on specialist alcohol treatment, compared with the £20 billion estimated cost of alcohol misuse.

Dangers of molecular manufacturing

Nanofactories — molecular-scale machines that could eventually move atoms around to make products — could help solve world poverty but also wreak economic and social chaos.

Desktop nanofactories could pump out anything from a new car to a novel nanoweapon, says a technology commentator.

Mike Treder from the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology warns that society needs to start preparing for this brave new world.

Addressing a conference of scientists in Australia, he said that in less than 15 years nanoscale factories could be making consumer products from cups and chairs to cars and house bricks.

“It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced as a species.”

via Australia ABC News in Science

Air value over our roads

Bilger Monorail (c)Who owns the right of way?

It’s too long a story to answer, but here’s an attempt to summarize some of what I’ve learned working with the Bilger Monorail.

The air value over our roads is a trillion dollar frontier.

I propose the monorail.

Today several monorail proposals have been upgraded to sleek modern designs for urban passenger systems and rural freight. Monorail engineering is quite simple if based on the world’s oldest operating monorail in Wuppertal, Germany, or developed from monorail’s industrial history such as carrying salt mine hoppers.

A “true monorail” is cargo or a cabin suspended under a single rail. The passenger cabins or shipping containers or large cargo swing freely beneath the track — perhaps the least expensive of all land transportation. A suspended cabin is the most comfortable and stable of all transportation because forces are always downward rather than side to side.

The infrastructure is simple — a hefty post, a hefty I-beam and an ordinary steel rail. These commodities are manufactured everywhere and inexpensively with no upcoming material shortages. The drive engineering may not be as futuristic as ‘maglev’ or ‘incremental microwave’ but steel-on-steel is truly efficient. The sling designs that carry the weight are not as costly as elevating the entire roadbed such as most so-called monorails or transit systems on high concrete beams and propped up railroads.

The monorail system is flexible. For example, it can remove chains of ocean containers directly from above a ship to convey across landbridges with much lower impact on the environment. Futuristic passenger cabins, like popular bullet designs, can speed to about 170mph between cities before faster speeds introduce costly aerodynamic challenges. Slower speed lightweight neighborhood networks can weave over the streets of our congested areas — in some cases moving people, cars and freight! Most corridor for a monorail is unused airspace over our existing system of roadbed.

The true monorail may be the only practical method of enhancing our incredible investment in millions of miles of roadbed. A single-track suspended monorail was selected for the Chicago Loop Project when Jane Byrne was Mayor. And Manila chose the monorail as a practical urban and rural system. Too many times, monorail proposals fail to reach completion.

Although the true monorail is an elegant technology, it shouldn’t be technology that propels a new venture in transportation. Approaching transportation options by selecting technology seems to attract the wrong type of development team and skews social support. Development teams must first try to secure the transport conduit and build better community relations in order to focus on both industry and public issues.

In your region, who owns the right of way? Without a firm grasp of this issue, there can be no leverage, no security, no decision to move forward.

Transportation should be developed on behalf of its community. Securing the rights of way and locating terminals is an extremely challenging development horizon before new transit can be fabricated and installed. But today, asserting and managing transportation rights has been diluted, abandoned or left vulnerable to exploitation. There are no advanced university degrees in ‘roadway air management’.

Developing new transportation systems is a burden. Even under the best circumstances, the path to a stable investment to improve local transportation is more than most people will endure. And in today’s fashionable adherence to only the free market, we are too often also free to do too little.

Eat the rich?

In this forum edited by Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters, experts discuss the politics of food, and how it may be poisoning our bodies and our planet.

It turns out that Jean Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin was right in 1825 when he wrote in his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, that “the destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.”