Saturday, November 30, 2013

Condoms and Florence Nightingale plus other health news

I bet those are two topics most readers didn't expect to see together.  Just the same, they are the two top news items this month based on my preference of "if it moves, it leads."  Also, since sex sells, the news about condoms goes first.

Discovery News: Birth Cowtrol: Human Condoms Made From Cows?

Bill Gates challenged inventors to revolutionize the condom, and they delivered! Laci Green reports on their creations, including the condom made from cow parts. And no, we're not joking.
One of the stories I included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN to Mars) was about one of the grant winners.

University of Tennessee: Professor Receives Gates Foundation Award to Reinvent Condom, Improve Global Health
November 20, 2013
Condoms have the power to make the world healthier by preventing disease and unplanned pregnancies, yet they are vastly underutilized.

This year, Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation issued a challenge to develop the next generation of condoms. Called Grand Challenges in Global Health, the initiative aims to foster scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world.

Jimmy Mays, a chemistry professor at UT, responded to the challenge with a design that will encourage condom use in developing countries. He has received $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for research and development of a prototype.
Next, the University of Alabama, Birmingham shows its YouTube followers Florence Nightingale exhibit honors founder of modern day nursing.

Florence Nightingale left countless gifts to her profession, including a collection of 50 letters and more preserved in the UAB Historical Collections. Copies of these are on permanent exhibit in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing.
Here's the press release: UAB dean’s paper highlights Nightingale’s leadership for global health and nursing.
By Tyler Greer
Friday, November 22, 2013
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing is home to a one-of-its-kind, interactive exhibit of 50 famous Florence Nightingale letters. School of Nursing Dean Doreen C. Harper, Ph.D., analyzed the components of these letters, which highlight Nightingale’s visionary leadership for global health and nursing within the historical context of Great Britain’s colonization of India.

The result of this analysis was the paper “Leadership Lessons in Global Nursing and Health from the Nightingale Letter Collection at the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” recently published in the Journal of Holistic Medicine. The descriptive study used a narrative analysis to examine selected letters that Nightingale wrote to or about Dr. Thomas Gillham Hewlett, a physician and health officer in Bombay, India.

“Florence Nightingale is indisputably the founder of modern nursing,” Harper said. “Nightingale also was a prominent force in the creation of global health care and global nursing. To this day, these letters offer countless leadership lessons relevant to the future of nursing and health care. It was a joy to study these letters and try to increase understanding of her visionary leadership for global nursing and health.”
Follow over the jump for more of last week's health news from campuses on the campaign trail.

Detroit Thanksgiving Parade--Battle of the Bands

I set myself a task at the end of Detroit's Thanksgiving Parade--the tradition continues.
In addition, there is a viewership vote for for best marching band: 2013 Battle of the Bands.  As a former marching band judge, I suppose I should add my expert opinion to that of the masses.  Time to watch the videos.
I watched the videos available at WDIV's website and voted for the following band, which impressed me with the quality of their playing.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Unfortunately, they most likely won't win.  Right now, Brighton H.S. is in third place with 9% of the vote and five shares of the video on Facebook.  Instead, it looks like St. Clair H.S. will win, as the video has 37 shares on FB and 38% of the vote.  Here's the clip of their performance.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

It's a solid performance, but it just didn't impress me the way Brighton's did.

Follow over the jump for two bands I liked better than St. Clair and a bonus video of the current runner up.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Detroit's Thanksgiving Parade--the tradition continues

Five months ago, I made the following observations in Detroit River fireworks show continues.
Last year, I commented on the possibility that there might not be a fireworks show this year.
Based on what I think motivates Americans to act and the presence of the Michigan State Police and Wayne County Sheriffs at the show, I'm sure that the fireworks and parade will continue. People want their entertainment, especially if it comes in the form of an annual civic ritual to celebrate the seasons, and messing with America's entertainment is the one guaranteed thing that will get Americans to act.
Speaking of events continuing next year, this year's Thanksgiving parade has already been scheduled.  Take that as evidence that, while Detroit may go into bankruptcy, the entertainment people demand will go on.
The parade went off as planned, as Nima Shaffe of WXYZ reports.

Yes, the entertainment people demand and expect went on, even as the city is in bankruptcy.

WXYZ doesn't even have the best report; WDIV does.  Here is an embed of the video from their site, along with a the highlights of the station's web article on the parade.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
DETROIT - All the fun and fanfare of America's Thanksgiving Parade filled Woodward Avenue Thursday.

Jim Leyland served as grand marshal of the iconic parade, which is in its 87th year.
Themed “Downtown Our Town,” the two-hour Parade was featured on WDIV-TV Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 140 major cities across the country.
In addition, there is a viewership vote for for best marching band: 2013 Battle of the Bands.  As a former marching band judge, I suppose I should add my expert opinion to that of the masses.  Time to watch the videos.

Brain and nerve research in today's health news

It's time to follow through where I left off in Staying safe and healthy during the holidays.
As I wrote at the end of Questions answered about the Affordable Care Act, "Stay tuned for dealing with holiday stress, the brain, and other health topics."
This morning's topic is the brain and sensory systems.  I'll start off with this video from the University of Alabama, Birmingham: A ticket to ride: UAB program opens doors to drivers who are sight-impaired.

To Dustin Jones, the bioptic driving program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham provides one very important benefit: freedom.
A ticket to ride: UAB program opens doors to drivers who are sight-impaired
By Bob Shepard
Friday, November 22, 2013
To Dustin Jones, the bioptic driving program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham provides one very important benefit: freedom. Jones, a 24-year-old recent UAB graduate who works in information technology, is a typical young professional.

But he has a congenital eye disease called optic atrophy, which had prevented him from getting a driver’s license at age 16.

“My job is in Hoover,” Jones said. “Without a driver’s license, I would have to live within walking distance or use public transportation. I would be limited in my economic and social opportunities and not really part of the community as I am today.”
Here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, it may not lead if it bleeds, but if it moves, it usually does.

Follow over the jump for more on the brain from UAB, UCSD, University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pie drinks for Thanksgiving

I concluded Fighting alcoholism on one of the biggest bar nights of the year with a mixed message.
The Tipsy Bartender has some killer drinks for the holiday.  Stay tuned.
That's not exactly the most consistent topic to raise at the end of a health post warning about excessive drinking, but I'm not the most consistent person, which is why I named my blog after Crazy Eddie.  The character was a techno-optimist and a believer in hopeless causes at the same time.  I also can't be all DOOM all the time.

That written, it's time for drinks and dessert after the Thanksgiving feast.  The Tipsy Bartender shows how to have them both at the same time.

First up, Apple Pie A La Mode Cocktail.

If you like apple pie you have to try...THE APPLE PIE A LA MODE COCKTAIL. It's a drink the really taste like apple pie. It features oddka apple pie vodka, fireball whisky, vanilla vodka and angry orchard apple cider. It's perfect!
1 oz. (30ml) Oddka Apple Pie Vodka
1 oz. (30ml) Fireball Whisky
1/2 oz. (15ml) Vanilla Vodka
Angry Orchard Apple Cider
Whipped Cream
Next, How to make a Pumpkin Pie Cocktail.

Put a slice of pumpkin pie in the blender and add some booze to create....THE PUMPKIN PIE COCKTAIL. This is the ultimate Thanksgiving drink!
1 1/2 oz. (45ml) Baileys Irish Cream
1 oz. (30ml) Vodka
3 oz. (90ml) Milk
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Whipped Cream
This one literally is both dessert and drink in one, as it includes pumpkin pie as part of the recipe.

Sustainability, science, and technology on a football field

In addition to today being a big day for eating and parades, as well as the official kickoff for the Christmas shopping season, it's the beginning of four days of football games.  One of them happens to be the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, and the Auburn Tigers War Eagles are building up to the game in an environmentally themed way.

Auburn University: Southeastern Raptor Center kicks off auction of gameday eagle jesses and lures Nov. 22

Auburn University's Southeastern Raptor Center will begin a live online auction of one-of-a-kind jesses and lures handcrafted especially for the Auburn eagle's gameday flight to support the center's mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.
Here's the press release: Southeastern Raptor Center kicks off auction of gameday eagle jesses and lures Nov. 22.
November 22, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center will begin a live online auction of one-of-a-kind jesses and lures handcrafted especially for the Auburn eagle’s gameday flight to support the center’s mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.

Fans will be able to place bids at the auction site,, beginning Friday, Nov. 22, for jesses and the lure to be used on the eagle during the Nov. 30 pregame flight for the Auburn-Alabama game, set for a nationally televised audience on CBS. Fans can go to the website and bid from 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, until 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Following the close of that auction, jesses and lures from other 2013 home games will be auctioned on the same site.
I wonder if Auburn has ever played Air Force, as they are the two teams with falconers handling their mascots.

Follow over the jump for more from Auburn University and the University of Tennessee.

A Thanksgiving meal from space and other food news

Happy Thanksgiving!  To celebrate the day, I'm posting the food news I've saved up, just as I did last year by posting all the food news I've collected since Food Day.  I begin with reporting on Thanksgiving in Space: Astronauts Share Their Cosmic Menu | Video.

On the ISS, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins send down their best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving and their crewmates show off the station's galley where they will be preparing and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.
Follow over the jump for more food news.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The corner station resumes the limbo

I was right and wrong in The corner station jumps over the limbo bar.
On Wednesday, one of the stations down the street dropped its price to $3.19, the metro average.  By last night, all the stations had matched it.  The corner station was still there this morning, when I got half a tank.  I should have filled up, as this afternoon it had raised its price for regular to $3.39.  However, it shouldn't remain there long, as not only the stations down the street were holding steady at $3.19, but so were several other stations within a three mile radius.
The very next day, the corner station returned to $3.19, where it and all the rest of the neighborhood stations remained.  That's the right part.  The wrong part was "I think the neighborhood stations will settle on a price of $3.25-$3.29 by the first half of next week."  No such luck, and that's because the price of crude oil stopped rising over the weekend, which removed the impetus behind higher prices at the pump.  Thank diplomacy for that, as the likelihood of Iran pumping more oil has increased while tensions have decreased.  The prices of both Brent and WTI are now going down.

As for the pattern, all three average prices have stopped rising and are now on their way down.  Both the national and Michigan averages are at $3.27 and the Detroit average is at $3.21.  I expect lower prices after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Fighting alcoholism on one of the biggest bar nights of the year

Original here.

I concluded Staying safe and healthy during the holidays by promising "a bonus installment for tonight, which is reputed to be one of the biggest bar nights of the year."  First, here's what Drink Philly says about tonight.
You may have heard of Black Friday, but on the flipside of the Thanksgiving holiday is its mirror image, Black Wednesday. Instead of a day invented by marketing firms and ad agencies to sell marked-up-and-slashed-down consumer goods, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving probably organically developed its reputation as the biggest drinking night of the year.

There’s no hard evidence to back up the statement that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night, but there’s plenty of anecdotal information floating around. Bar owners in nearly every U.S. city say they expect a huge sales bump on that Wednesday night; police forces around the country offer special anti-drunk-driving programs and set up extra checkpoints on that eve; and new car service or designated driver smartphone apps like Uber and StearClear roll out special promotions and partnerships for the night.
So, what happens if the drinking becomes an addiction?  It's time for treatment.  Follow over the jump for health news about alcoholism from KPBS and the University of Iowa.

Staying safe and healthy during the holidays

As I wrote at the end of Questions answered about the Affordable Care Act, "Stay tuned for dealing with holiday stress, the brain, and other health topics."  Tonight, the topic is dealing with the holidays.

The University of Alabama, both at its main campus in Tuscaloosa and its urban campus in Birmingham, has health and safety information for the holiday season.  First, UA Matters counsels readers on Dealing with Stress During the Holidays.
Nov 18, 2013
The holidays can be a busy, and stressful, time of year. Whether it’s coping with house guests, trying to finish holiday shopping or planning a large holiday meal, everyone should take some time to decompress. The University of Alabama’s Dr. Harriet Myers offers a few suggestions on how to do just that.
Next, Bob Shepard on the Birmingham campus tells how to Stay safe this holiday season.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
‘Tis the season to be safe.  As the holidays approach, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Police offer safety tips for shopping or traveling that can help keep your celebrations merry.
“Stores and malls are busy this time of year, and so are the bad guys,” said Tonya Webb, UAB Police crime prevention specialist. “Go with a friend, stay in well-lit areas, have a plan and stick to it.”
Back to Tuscaloosa, where a UA Study [finds] Holiday Driving Dangerous, More So Just Before Christmas.
Nov 19, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The days just before Christmas, as people rush to buy presents and travel to holiday destinations, can be more dangerous on roadways than the days surrounding Thanksgiving and New Year’s, according to a recent study of traffic data by The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety.

Analyzing the past 10 years of Alabama crash data during six-day periods surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, UA researchers found heavy traffic surrounding all three major holidays can increase the chances for automobile accidents. However, in 2012, the six-day period that includes Christmas had 18 percent more auto accidents than the Thanksgiving period and 27 percent more than the days around New Year’s Day, according to the center, known as CAPS.

“The shopping days before Christmas are perilous,” said Dr. David Brown, a professor of computer science at UA and a research associate with CAPS.
I'll have a bonus installment for tonight, which is reputed to be one of the biggest bar nights of the year.  In the meantime, stay safe out there!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

KPBS on retail desperation

'Tis the season for the stink of retail desperation.  KPBS reports on Christmas Creep.

Yes, it's time for Christmas shopping, when retailers go into the black.  Speaking of which, here are links to my posts of last year about the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday: Buy Nothing Day and Boycott WalMart
Small Business Saturday
Cyber Monday forecast and Black Friday wrap-up

Also, when you're out, Watch evolution in action on Black Friday.  Happy shopping and people watching!

Questions answered about the Affordable Care Act

I concluded It's flu season again with a programming note.
Stay tuned for more, including the Affordable Care Act and dealing with the stress of the holidays.
Time for the next daily installment of health news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN to Mars), this time about the Affordable Care Act.

KPBS begins this report with a video asking Second Opinion: What Does Obamacare Mean For My Paycheck?

Jeff Schoellerman, a San Diego neuroscientist, is curious if the Affordable Care Act will eventually have an effect on what we pay toward Medicare and disability out of our paychecks.
KPBS also posted an answer, Jeffrey Clemens On Obamacare and Payroll Taxes.

Jeffrey Clemens, a UC San Diego economist, discusses how the Affordable Care Act might effect what we pay in taxes for Medicare and disability.
Follow over the jump for more on the ACA and other cost containment measures.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's flu season again

I harvested such a bumper crop of health news for Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN to Mars) at Daily Kos that I've decided to release it in themed installments.  Today, the theme is flu.  I begin with this bonus video from Accuweather, Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Nov 25, 2013; 5:00 AM ET Symptoms caused by the common cold can often resemble those associated with the influenza virus, so how do you differentiate between the two?
Follow over the jump for four research articles from campuses on the campaign trail about their efforts to fight flu.

The science and health of pooping

I had a little too much fun in the comments to Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN to Mars) last night on Daily Kos.  One of the other regular editors of OND posted a video about the excretory system, but implied it was about defecation.  That gave me an opening.

If you want poop, I have two Discovery News videos for you.

What's In Your Poop?

Most adult animals on earth share one thing in common: brown poop. But what's in it that makes it that particular color? Trace does the dirty work to find out.
I told Trace that he was having *way* too much fun.  So far, 15 people have agreed with me.*

Why You Poop at the Same Time Every Day

Ever notice how you need to use the bathroom roughly the same time every day? Well there's a whole lot going on behind the scenes to keep you "regular." Anthony gets to the bottom of exactly why you go when you go and how to regulate it.
Now, if you want urine, I have another video for you.

How to make an Alien Urine Sample - Tipsy Bartender

This cocktail is one that is truly out of this world......THE ALIEN URINE SAMPLE! With its electric green hue, it looks dangerous, but we promise that it doesn't taste as toxic as it appears. This otherworldly concoction is surprisingly delightful, with a sweet and fruity flavor. Live life on the edge by drinking an Alien Urine Sample!
Someone then mentioned squatty potties.  I had a response to that, too.

NMATV: Why Squat Toilets are the Sh*t

In Taiwan and many other countries you can find squat toilets, which many people think are gross, uncomfortable, or just plain weird! Well, research says that they can prevent all kinds of physical problems. Hey, they could even indirectly benefit your social life! Li Anne gives you a quick illustration of why she thinks squat toilets are the sh*t.
As I wrote, I was having too much fun.  I hope my readers are, too.

*It's now 17 people who gave +1 to that comment.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dow over 16,000, S&P over 1,800

It's been an interesting couple of weeks since Stop the limbo, get back on the rollercoaster, when I quoted Naked Capitalism thinking we're in a stock bubble.
A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it, though the jury is still out if this is February 2000 or October 1999 or sometime in 2007. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?

Bubble data keep piling up relentlessly. IPOs so far this year amounted to $51 billion, the highest for the period since bubble-bust year 2000, the Wall Street Journal reported. Of them, 62% were for companies that have been losing money, the highest rate on record. Follow-on offerings by companies that already had their IPO but dumped more stock on the market amounted to $155 billion, the highest in Dealogic’s book, going back to 1995. And throughout, the DOW and the S&P 500 have been jumping from one new high to the next.
Kunstler noticed this and in last week's missive of doom has castigated a representative of the people promoting the bull market.
Schilling is really only shilling for delusional stock market psychology, which tends to be a self-reinforcing racket until it reaches a threshold of credulity criticality and then implodes from a sudden loss of faith, ruining even a great many one percenters. Money may indeed keep pouring into the US stock markets, especially from other countries, where the money is frightened.
That prompted this response from me.
And the money was indeed pouring in last week as the DJIA and S&P500 set record high after record high. In fact, this morning, the Dow broke 16,000. Let’s see if it closes above that level.
It didn't, not on Monday.  But it did on Thursday.  CNN has the story in Stocks soar to record highs.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday, and the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 for the first time ever. CNN's Alison Kosik reports.
Note what I wrote at the end of Opening day promotion of 'Catching Fire'.
I'll have more on "Catching Fire" later.  For starters, the movie has already beaten the first installment in opening night box office.
This clip was my source for this information.

While I've been watching for the market to top out since March, I think it probably won't do so until after the new year, as Reuters reports.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 recorded their seventh straight week of gains in what has been a very strong year for stocks. The seven-week advance comes just ahead of December, which since 1950 has been the best month for both the Dow and the S&P.

"We're advising our clients to take this ride until the end of the year," said Drew Nordlicht, managing director and partner at Hightower San Diego.
Until then, the Business as Usual people can take comfort from the stock market.

By the way, while CNN pointed out an entertainment company as a big winner from last Friday, Reuters noted what sector has been the winner for the rally as a whole.
The S&P 500 healthcare sector index .SPXHC has gained 37.5 percent so far in 2013, making it the S&P 500's best-performing sector this year.
So much for the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare being a big drag on healthcare.

Opening day promotion of 'Catching Fire'

I'm not done with "The Hunger Games" yet.  Here are two clips from news organizations that are having a good time being part of the promotional machinery for the film, as am I.

First, Jake Tapper of CNN snarks in On your mark, get set, go for 'Hunger Games'.

Jake Tapper reports on the recipe for Hollywood success, which the hit movie "Hunger Games" has apparently mastered.
He's making the same point I did in Twilight over, next up, The Hunger Games! and The Hunger Games: Dystopia as entertainment; Young Adult dystopias are big business, both at the bookstore and at the movie box office.

Next, ABC News interviews two of the movie's supporting actors in 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Opens With Style.

Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz talk about the stunning fashion in the new movie.
So that's what Effie Trinket's actress looks like under all that make-up.  Not bad.

I'll have more on "Catching Fire" later.  For starters, the movie has already beaten the first installment in opening night box office.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fifty years of Doctor Who

The next installment of "The Hunger Games" is not the only science fiction news this week.  It's also the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.  I'll let the Beeb go first with Matt Smith: Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who! - The Day of the Doctor - Doctor Who 50th Anniversary.

A message from Matt Smith - the Doctor - as Doctor Who reaches its 50th anniversary. 23.11.13 #SaveTheDay.
CNN adds its two cents in Celebrating 50 years of Dr. Who.

Thousands of fans from around the world will help Doctor Who celebrate his 50th anniversary this weekend.
Before I leave Doctor Who behind, here's PBS asking What Does The Doctor Mean to You?

It's the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!!! Whovians everywhere are excited to see what the newest Doctor will bring to the character, and that got us thinking: what makes the Doctor, THE Doctor? 11 different doctors have played the role over the past 50 years, and each was unique, with different personalities and characteristics. But besides the physical symbols surrounding him - the Tardis, the sonic screwdriver- are there larger cues that indicate the man is in fact THE DOCTOR? Watch the episode and find out!
I used to think that Tom Baker was my favorite actor playing the Doctor, but David Tennant has grown on me.  Speaking of whom, I'll let some of the series fans get the last word with Doctorin' the Tardis" by The Timelords (1988) providing the soundtrack to footage of the Tenth Doctor and his companions.

Preview of MAVEN and other space and astronomy news

While I've already posted Typhoon Haiyan from space, much more was going on last week on space.  Arguably the most important is the launch of the MAVEN mission of Mars this week.  Not only is it the big story of this week, it's been a continuing story since September 2012, and it will be the big story of next week.  On that note, here are two videos from NASA Television about the mission, beginning with LeVar Burton Shares MAVEN's Story in a New NASA PSA.

NASA is returning to Mars!

This NASA Public Service Announcement regarding the MAVEN mission is presented by LeVar Burton in which he shares the story about NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission-or MAVEN-and how it will explore Mars' climate history and gather clues about the question scientists have been asking for decades. MAVEN will look at specific processes at Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere...and MAVEN data could tell scientists a lot about the history of climate change on the Red Planet.

When MAVEN arrives at Mars in September 2014, it will join ongoing NASA missions-Odyssey, Opportunity, MRO, and Curiosity-that continue to improve our understanding of Mars and the evolution of our Solar System. NASA is committed to a program of Mars exploration-with the goal of sending humans in the 2030s. The data from these missions, and those to come later this decade, will inform future human exploration as well as provide textbook-changing science.
Next, MAVEN headlines last week's space news in MAVEN Update on This Week @NASA.

The MAVEN spacecraft is the latest NASA probe designed to help piece together a complete picture of The Red Planet's past. MAVEN's piece of the puzzle -- to understand what happened to Mars' upper atmosphere. Following its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station -- MAVEN is scheduled to reach Mars in September 2014. Also, Getting to deep space, A stunning new view of Saturn, Commercial success, Earth science satellite, Antarctica campaign, Tail wing technology and more!
Follow over the jump for the rest of the space news from NASA, Daily Kos, LSU, by way of LiveScience, and the University of Iowa by way of Iowa Farmer Today.

'The Hunger Games' as the endpoint of reality TV

"Catching Fire" premiered yesterday, which means that I never did get around to posting Part 2 of Science Fiction, Double Feature by my self-imposed deadline.  However, that doesn't mean that I can't still comment on the movie.  I'll begin by being a good environmentalist and recycling my reaction to io9's question and answer about the book and movie.
Why is this an American dystopia?
Set in what was once US territory, it is about our fears of economic collapse combined with a terror of how reality television can be used as a form of propaganda and torture.
I used to be a moderator of a web forum about Survivor and other reality TV shows. That past haunted me when I watched the movie.
I was right to be haunted about my reality TV fandom past, as Discovery News shows in Hunger Games: How Reality TV Desensitizes Us.

The Hunger Games series explores a society where reality television has pushed the limits on the human condition. How far is this from our own society? Laci explores the effects of "reality" on television.
I must say that since I've stopped watching "Survivor," I'm a nicer person, although there are many confounding variables on that outcome.  However, that doesn't mean I've completely given up on watching reality competition shows; it's just that I'm sticking to those that are talent competitions instead of social competitions, such as "The Next Iron Chef" and "Design Star."  At least I'll learn something other than "people are nasty to each other and it pays."

Friday, November 22, 2013

The corner station jumps over the limbo bar

Original here.

I was celebrating the return to the seasonal fall in prices in Corner station challenged to limbo, accepts.
That's where prices remained until Tuesday, when one of the three stations down the street lowered its price to $3.21.  Tonight, all four of the neighborhood stations matched it, including the corner station.

The prices should continue to drop, as the Detroit average listed at is just a hair over $3.19.  The local stations are usually not only lower than the metro average, but up to a dime lower.  $3.09 within the week, anyone?
On Wednesday, one of the stations down the street dropped its price to $3.19, the metro average.  By last night, all the stations had matched it.  The corner station was still there this morning, when I got half a tank.  I should have filled up, as this afternoon it had raised its price for regular to $3.39.  However, it shouldn't remain there long, as not only the stations down the street were holding steady at $3.19, but so were several other stations within a three mile radius.

As for that prediction of $3.09 by the end of the week, forget it.  Both the national and Detroit averages are between $3.24 and $3.25 and still rising.  The national trend began on the 19th when the average rose above the $3.21 plateau it had been on for nearly a week, while Detroit's average jumped today from yesterday's $3.18.  Michigan's price jump was even more alarming, from $3.19 to $3.31.

What's driving this spike is simple;  Brent is up to $111.05, more than $4 up from last Tuesday.  I think the neighborhood stations will settle on a price of $3.25-$3.29 by the first half of next week.  Back on the rollercoaster we go.

Larry Sabato on JFK, 50 years later

To mark the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, I present the following video and lede of a press release from the University of Virginia featuring UVa's Larry Sabato.

The Kennedy Half Century by Professor Larry Sabato

On the eve of 50th anniversary of the election of President John F. Kennedy, the University Center for Politics announced details for a major new book on JFK by Center Director Larry J. Sabato and the production of a national television documentary focused on the legacies of President Kennedy and his administration. Also, later this week Sabato will tape a special for NBC's "Meet the Press" commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Great Debates of 1960; and then travel to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas, where he will begin a series of interviews with eyewitnesses to the Kennedy assassination. Today's announcement is part of the Center's Golden Anniversary Series, a comprehensive series of events, productions and publications illuminating the landmark political events of the 1960s.

Sabato's new book, THE KENNEDY HALF-CENTURY: The Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy, will be published in 2013 by Walker & Company, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing. Based on interviews with major political and media figures and ordinary citizens alike, along with new archival finds, the book will tell the compelling story of how John F. Kennedy's life and administration, as well as his tragic death on November 22, 1963, have influenced the general public, the media, and every president who has followed him. Working in partnership with the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas, Sabato is scheduled to begin a series of in-depth interviews this week with many of the key players and eyewitnesses who were in Dealey Plaza and personally witnessed the Kennedy assassination.

Among the completely original features of this book will be the most extensive study ever conducted of the public's view of an historical figure. The accomplished pollsters Peter D. Hart and Geoff Garin will supervise large-sample public opinion polls of Americans—those alive on November 22, 1963 and those who have come of age since. The polls will be supplemented by focus group interviews of Americans conducted at various locales across the country.
Sabato Engaging Students Globally While Impacting Them Locally
Ashley Patterson
October 18, 2013
Who killed John F. Kennedy? And what is the legacy of “Camelot”?

Starting this week, students around the world will plunge into University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato’s online class to grapple with these questions.

Residential students at U.Va. have already been examining Kennedy’s legacy in “Workshops in Contemporary American Electoral Politics,” an American politics course taught by Kenneth Stroupe, associate director of U.Va.’s Center for Politics.
If the video looks familiar, it's because I first embedded it in Election eve news from campuses on the campaign trail.  I'm an environmentalist; I recycle.

KPBS on the San Diego mayoral primary

It looks like I'll be using KPBS's videos over at Daily Kos for a while, as the San Diego Mayor's race is head to a runoff in February, but that's not the story I'm quoting.  This is.
The top vote-getter in the San Diego mayoral primary was Kevin Faulconer. But he didn't get enough to win outright, and his opponent in the coming general election will be fellow City Councilman David Alvarez.

In a surprise late-campaign sprint, Alvarez, a Democrat, passed former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher as late returns came in. The race for second remained too close to call given the tens of thousands of uncounted provisional and mail-in ballots still in play Tuesday night, but Fletcher conceded the race Wednesday afternoon and endorsed Alvarez.

With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Faulconer led with 44 percent of the vote, followed by Alvarez with 26 percent to Fletcher's 24 percent. Fletcher, a recent convert to the Democratic party, led early from the count of mail-in ballots. But that lead evaporated as votes from Election Day were tallied, and Alvarez ultimately pulled ahead.

"The next campaign starts tonight," Alvarez told cheering supporters at an election-night party in Logan Heights. "We are moving this city forward in a way that represents all of us."

Faulconer, meanwhile, celebrated his win with supporters in a traditional election-night venue at the downtown U.S. Grant Hotel. A crowd of supporters, mostly in business attire, drank wine and beer and ate appetizers while celebrating the win in the large Palm Court room.
The election results were the top story in that night's newscast and both candidates showed up for interviews.

Thousands of University of California health care workers across the state will picketed day at hospitals and clinics statewide, including at UC San Diego medical campuses in San Diego and La Jolla. Also, the special election for San Diego mayor is over but another runoff vote will happen in a few months.
Don't believe the description; the election coverage comes first and lasts until 21:00 or so.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

KPBS on de-extinction

It's been eight months since I wrote De-extinction: moral imperative or techno-narcissism?  It's about time that I revisit the subject, which I'm doing with help from KPBS.

San Diego Researchers Discuss Bringing Back Extinct Animals

The fiction of Jurassic Park might be on the verge of reality. Scientists are talking about the possibility of bringing back extinct species.
In my previous entry on the subject, I came to the conclusion that the advocates of de-extinction were really all about us.  As you can see and hear, so are the opponents, although in a way that is generally regarded as charitable rather than selfish.  On the other hand, someone finally presented a reason for bringing back passenger pigeons beyond "it's cool" and assuaging guilt over its extinction, one that helps organisms other than humans.  Now they'll just have to produce a million birds within the lifetime of the first one, so the population can sustain itself in the wild.  Passenger pigeons were not California Condors, which can go from 22 to more than 400 in three decades.  They required huge flocks to induce them to breed.  That's a major hurdle I don't think the techno-optimists have considered yet.

Special elections and runoffs change health news sources

At the end of Health news from the University of Cincinnati, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the material I did use this past weekend."  Here it is, the health research and outreach news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Dog origins) on Daily Kos, which featured the research and outreach stories from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, and Wisconsin, and the city of San Diego.

Two videos from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, begin this report.  First, UAB's Michael Morrisey talks health care premiums, which explains the subsidy structure under the Affordable Care Act.

Next, Safety first at 30,000 feet or at 60 mph shows the training program for the nurses and others who transport patients on UAB's helicopter fleet.

Members of UAB's Critical Care Transport team — ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and physicians — participate in a drill about safety procedures in the event something goes wrong on a flight.
Follow over the jump for the rest of the health care news from last week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More from KPBS on water

At the end of San Diego prepared for dry 2014, I noted how useful I thought the video embedded in the entry would be for my class.
Also, this video is perfect for my environmental science class, as it shows the system of aqueducts and reservoirs that supplies San Diego.  I already lecture about the system that imports water to Los Angeles from Owens Valley; this will tell the rest of the story in under 90 seconds.  I'll have it in my lecture Thursday.  It's just what I needed, and I didn't know it until I watched it.
Here's another clip from KPBS on water: Public Hearing Set For San Diego's Proposed Water Rate Hikes.

San Diego's water rates have gone up dramatically in the past decade and water officials predict increases are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
I won't have time to show both this video and the other one on Thursday.  Too bad, as it is a good illustration of several economic concepts I tell my classes about.  First, when resources become scarce, price goes up.  The west is in severe drought, so this is exactly what should be expected.  Second, the price policy is explicitly one that is designed to promote conservation.  One of the strategies to reform our current economy to make it more sustainable is full-cost pricing.  At very high levels, this results in demand destruction.  Third, it's a good illustration of how costs get passed along, something that happens here when water goes from Detroit to the suburbs.  Finally, they should thank their lucky stars that water isn't in as short a supply here as it is out west.  As I tell my students, we are in the middle of the largest supply of liquid surface fresh water on the face of the planet.  It's one of our best natural assets.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Corner station challenged to limbo, accepts

Here's what I wrote last Wednesday in Stop the limbo, get back on the rollercoaster.
Today, I drove by all the stations.  The three down the street were all at $3.25, while the corner station had already lowered its price to $3.29.  Within a day or two, it will join them at $3.25.
Sure enough, that Thursday, it did.  That's where prices remained until Tuesday, when one of the three stations down the street lowered its price to $3.21.  Tonight, all four of the neighborhood stations matched it, including the corner station.

The prices should continue to drop, as the Detroit average listed at is just a hair over $3.19.  The local stations are usually not only lower than the metro average, but up to a dime lower.  $3.09 within the week, anyone?

As for the rest of the averages, the Detroit average is once again below the national and Michigan means, both of which are at slightly over $3.21.

The price trends on crude oil also supports my prediction of lower prices, as shows that Brent dropping $1.55 (1.45%) to $106.92, lower than last time, while WTI up $0.31 (0.33%)to $93.34, which is still lower than last week's $93.88.

As for how low the bar will go, it still has between 12 and 17 cents to go before it drops below this year's record so far.
In the meantime, I've found out the answer to "how low can you go?"  It's $3.04 for the corner station and $3.09 for the rest.  That's still lower than last year.  Also, the year still has six or seven weeks to go, so the price war could resume and set a new low.
Here's to watching the stations limbo until the weekend before Christmas.

Educational fun with balls

Since I can't be all DOOM all the time, or even all hope about saving ourselves from DOOM, I present these two moments of educational fun with balls.  First, Rutgers University puts on The Tennis Ball Games.

What do you know about the economic principle of diminishing marginal product? Rutgers Professor Rosanne Altshuler gave her students 30 seconds to figure it out on a real-life assembly line complete with tennis balls. Take a look.
Next, Iowa State University shows us Learning the mathematics behind juggling at Iowa State

Math 595: Mathematics of Juggling. It's a new course offered at Iowa State this semester and News Service Videographer Alex Murphy visited the class to see how students are learning the science and mathematics behind juggling.
ISU has a press release as well: Math + juggling = better problem-solving tools for ISU students
Posted Nov 14, 2013 8:00 am
AMES, Iowa – Steve Butler casually tosses a ball from his left hand to his right to demonstrate his point that anyone can juggle. With just one ball it’s easy, until he changes it up and adds a second and a third ball to the mix. Still, the assistant professor of mathematics at Iowa State University says the secret to juggling is simple – it’s all about patterns.

“Anyone can juggle,” Butler said. “There are certain juggling patterns that everyone has mastered, they just don’t realize it. They are so simple that people overlook them as juggling, but they are the basic building blocks to form more interesting patterns.”

Those patterns provide the foundation for Butler’s class this fall about the mathematics of juggling. The two topics have a lot in common because mathematics is the science of studying patterns and juggling is the art of controlling patterns, Butler said. The purpose of the class is to help students understand the different patterns involved in juggling using math.
Two dance interludes on campus they're not, but they look like just as much fun in the service of getting students to learn serious intellectual concepts.  I approve.

Monday, November 18, 2013

San Diego prepared for dry 2014

At the end of  Looking back and ahead at mayoral elections, I described my latest find on YouTube.
I'll have more from KPBS via their YouTube channel later.  I've subscribed and have already found some interesting videos that are on topic here.
Here is one of those videos.

San Diego On Track For One Of The Driest Years On Record

San Diego may get a trace of rain this weekend, according to the National Weather Service, but it's not likely to veer us off course for being one of the driest years on record.
So, while Michigan has been experiencing July weather in November, California has been in the middle of one of its more severe droughts.  I'm not surprised, given NASA's prediction of increasing drought this century and this year's fires in California.

Also, this video is perfect for my environmental science class, as it shows the system of aqueducts and reservoirs that supplies San Diego.  I already lecture about the system that imports water to Los Angeles from Owens Valley; this will tell the rest of the story in under 90 seconds.  I'll have it in my lecture Thursday.  It's just what I needed, and I didn't know it until I watched it.

Health news from the University of Cincinnati

I concluded Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombings in this week's health news by noting there was more where those came from.
I have even more stories from the University of Cincinnati that didn't make it into last week's Overnight News Digest.  I'll post them later, I'm changing my focus from Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia to states and cities holding elections through the end of the year as listed in the 2013 Daily Kos Elections Calendar along with the cities listed in Nobody cares about mayoral races in the Washington Post that I haven't been covering so far.  They may be great sources for health stories or they may be weak.  In either event, those stories from the University of Cincinnati may come in handy.  Until then, farewell, Rutgers, BU, NYU, Columbia, UVA, and VT!  It's been fun covering your research and outreach!
As it turned out, the universities I covered in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Dog origins) had plenty of health research and outreach stories, so I didn't need the ones from the University of Cincinnati to fill out the health section.  So, it's time to say farewell to the UC Bearcats as well.

As I strive to always have an image or video with my entries, I present this video promoting the university's M.D./Ph.D. program, which trains people for both medical research and service to the community.

Take a tour of the Cincinnati Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program, which is preparing the next generation of leaders in academic medicine.
As I wrote over at Kunstler's blog, “it pays to do your research.”
That seems to be true in more ways than one. Something that is increasing the cost (and hopefully effectiveness) of American medicine, medical research, is going full-blast. I’ve been collecting the research press releases from all the research universities in jurisdictions holding elections...for the past two months, and every week I have a huge entry full of nothing but health news to post.
This week is no exception.  Follow over the jump for the rest of this bonus installment of the ongoing series.

July weather in November

I know that weather isn't climate, but this has been quite the day and night here in the Midwest.  ABC News has the honor of going first with Tornadoes Wreak Havoc Across Midwest.

20 states under extreme weather watch, 15 tornado reports so far in Illinois.
Here in Michigan, the storm hit the west side of the state first and hardest, as WOOD-TV reported in Winds down trees, power lines; cause damage.

A long line of unusually strong November storms swept through West Michigan Sunday.
The live location reports make it seem like there is a lot of damage, but it's hard to tell given that it's after dark.  I'm sure that there will be a lot more damage to see when Sun comes up.

On this side of the state, WXYZ predicts high winds and dropping temperatures as well in High Wind Warning until 5 AM.

The wind has already shut off power here twice, the first time for a second, the next for about a minute.  It was just long enough so that I had to reset all the clocks.  Inconvenient, but no more.

The ABC News report predicted that conditions will be worse in Ohio than here in Michigan overnight.  WNWO's reporting doesn't sound that alarmed in Storms Move Out, But Winds Stick Around.

Last week, snow.  This week, thunderstorms.  Next week, more snow.  Welcome to Michigan in the 400 ppm world.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Looking back and ahead at mayoral elections

First, the Washington Post looks back at the election just covered in Nobody cares about mayoral races
In November 2012, 130 million people, about 58.2 percent of the voting-eligible population, turned out to vote for President of the United States. A year later, less than half that percentage showed up to elect new mayors in big cities across the country, like New York, Detroit, Seattle and Cincinnati.
Here is the data from Next City.

The only major city election not displayed above is Minneapolis, because Next City couldn't compare registration to turnout, as Minnesota has same-day voter registration.  Just the same, Minnesota is still highlighted on the map.

Next City has more about the importance of local elections and why low turnouts are a disgrace.
This, despite the fact that these elections will influence your day-to-day life and tax bill more drastically then a presidential election. Cities are ground zero for reform, not Washington.

Whether it’s housing policy, minimum wage or a focus on local sourcing for public projects, municipal elections — and specifically, who winds up in City Hall — will have a much greater direct impact on your life than President Obama ever will, Obamacare notwithstanding.
This is a point I make to my environmental science students every semester, and why I voted in Royal Oak's municipal election.  It's also why I'm glad to see that Detroit had the fifth highest turnout of the twelve cities listed, ahead of NYC.  People here knew this was an important election.

Looking ahead, the biggest election on the 2013 Daily Kos Elections Calendar is another big city mayoral election, this time in San Diego.  KPBS's lead report on the contest as of yesterday was Fundraising Going Strong As San Diego Mayoral Election Nears by Joe Yerardi.Saturday, November 16, 2013
In the race for cash in the special mayoral election, former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Councilman David Alvarez — both Democrats — remain neck and neck, according to the latest campaign filings.

Alvarez and the independent committees that support his candidacy have reported raising at least $1,716,355 from the start of the race through Nov. 13.

Fletcher and the independent committees backing him have reported raising at least $1,764,992 in that period. Of that amount, $183,000 — including $33,000 in non-monetary contributions — was transferred from one independent committee to another, essentially counting the funds twice.

City Councilman Kevin Faulconer — the race’s lone Republican — and the independent committee supporting him reported receiving at least $1,239,274 in contributions in that period.

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre did not file a disclosure report. When reached by phone Friday evening, Aguirre said that his campaign’s treasurer had informed him that only candidates who raise at least $10,000 must file. A voicemail left with the treasurer was not returned. According to his last comprehensive disclosure report, Aguirre had reported raising $5,455 through Nov. 2.
I'll have more from KPBS via their YouTube channel later.  I've subscribed and have already found some interesting videos that are on topic here.

Guide to entries that contain answers to 'The End of Suburbia'

I showed my students "The End of Suburbia" last week and one of them not only found the worksheet, but had the courage to come out and ask where the answers are on this blog.  That's a first.  It's also a sign that it's time to post an updated guide.

I recommend my students begin with Sustainability through the looking glass with Jeff Wattrick of Wonkette.  It has links to where I've posted the answers in this blog as of a year ago.  Here are the second and fifth paragraphs, where I give answers to questions 1, 2, 4, and 5 (hanging a lampshade on my doing so in the footnotes) and link to blog entries with answers for 8, 9, 18, 29, and 30.
For example, part of the answer to #8, "include how peak usage contributed to the crisis" is mentioned in the introduction to the worksheet post. I comment on the answer to #9 "What are the issues involved with the various modes of generating electricity, concentrating on the problems with natural gas?" in Portland is watching "The End of Suburbia", where I note things aren't as bad now as they were nine years ago when the film was shot. I mention part of the answer to #18 "How do the people interviewed think the American people will react to energy shortages? Include the political effects" in several entries. All one has to do is search for 'maniacs.' I used it first in a post about Michele Bachmann demagoguing the price of gas. Finally, one of the possible answers to #29 and #30 (it will work for either) is in Kunstler in a Big Yellow Taxi and some more are in the introduction to the worksheet entry among the student reactions.
Follow over the jump for Jeff's fantasized solutions to suburbia, a way of life that became the new American Dream and promised space, convenience, affordability, family life, and upward mobility, but instead ended up decanting cities into the countryside and becoming the greatest waste of resources in the history of the world and a living arrangement that has no future.*
*Yes, I just gave the answers to #1, #2, #4, and #5. Let's see if my students use the right search terms to find them. Muahahahaha!

By the way, my students have trouble with "decant."  The only ones who understood it worked in restaurants.  Once I tell them that the word means "poured out," they comprehended the concept.
Since then, I've posted answers to questions in Votes in the suburbs, WNWO talks blackout, and WNWO examines the shrinking middle class.  "WNWO talks blackout" merely repeats what I've linked to elsewhere, but "Votes in the Suburbs" and "WNWO examines the shrinking middle class" are new since "Sustainability through the looking glass with Jeff Wattrick of Wonkette," so here are the relevant passages from them.
One of the points made in "The End of Suburbia" is that political change that would help move the United States away from its unsustainable life style is made more difficult because about half of the U.S. population lives in suburbs, so Suburbia carries disproportionate weight in U.S. elections.
WNWO has inspired me to answer yet another of my questions from the worksheet to "The End of Suburbia."
12. What effects would Peak Oil have on the U.S. economy? Do these predictions sound familiar today?
The answer comes from Kenneth Deffeyes, as quoted in a review of the movie at
What would it be like to live after the Hubbard Peak with world oil declining?  I have this list of things: seven trillion dollars lost out of the U.S. stock market, two million jobs lost in the United States, federal budget surplus - gone, state budget surpluses - gone, the middle class disappearing.
That was the quote that inspired me to show this movie to my classes.  I watched the short, updated version of the video online in 2008, when everything that Deffeyes listed in 2003 had already taken place and was about to get even worse.  More money was lost out of the stock markets and more jobs were lost then even Deffeyes had imagined.  Now, all that money and then some has returned to the market, but a lot of those jobs are still absent, and the middle class is indeed declining.
I think that's enough for now.  Good luck to my students as they surf through all the links and use their information literacy skills to find the answers.  If they don't find enough answers, they can always search for End of Suburbia and Carter Doctrine using the search box on the upper left hand corner of the page.  Carter Doctrine?  That's part of the answer to two questions.
21. How has reliance on oil affected U.S. foreign policy since the 1970s?

22. What effect has our foreign policy had on our government expenditures and our internal politics?
For more, look up 'fear premium.'  That should deliver loads of relevant information.  Happy surfing and searching!

Typhoon Haiyan from space and other climate news

While I made Super Typhoon Haiyan a lead story on Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday at Daily Kos, I haven't blogged about it here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  Time to remedy that error with stories from that OND as well as tonight's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Dog origins).

First, NASA Television shows Super-Typhoon Haiyan Seen From International Space Station.

On Friday Nov. 8, external cameras on the International Space Station captured views of Super-Typhoon Haiyan which struck the central Philippines municipality of Guiuan at the southern tip of the province of Eastern Samar with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.
Follow over the jump for what was breaking news last week, a University of Iowa story about the math of the recovery effort (yes, really), and other climate-related news.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Two months of good economic news from WSU

Last month, the news from Wayne State University was good: Economy experiencing third month of continued growth according to Southeast Michigan Purchasing Managers Index.
October 3, 2013
DETROIT— The Southeast Michigan Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for September is 59.9, reflecting a slight dip from 60.2 in August, but still providing strong evidence of an expanding economy with a three month average of 57.7.  A PMI value above 50 generally suggests economic growth.

“September marks the third consecutive month of increased economic activity throughout Southeast Michigan,” said Nitin Paranjpe, a supply chain faculty member at Wayne State’s School of Business Administration who interpreted this month’s results.   “Contributing to the drop in September’s PMI was a reduction in production by about four points to 64.6 from 68.5 in August, and employment which fell about five points to 54.2 for the month,” Paranjpe said.

The six-month outlook, according to respondents, is generally positive with 75% expecting the economy to remain the same or become more stable.  However, continuing concerns among them include the impact of the Affordable Care Act, the federal debt ceiling issue and concerns about inflation.
This month, it was even better: October Southeast Michigan Purchasing Managers Index shows sharp upswing to 63.1, signaling continued growth in economy.
November 6, 2013
DETROIT— The Southeast Michigan Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for Oct. is 63.1, up from 59.9 in Sept., raising the three-month average for the economy to a robust 61.1.  A PMI value above 50 generally suggests economic growth.

“Over the last fourteen months, the PMI has come in at 50 or above 13 times,” said Timothy Butler, associate professor of supply chain management at Wayne State’s School of Business Administration, who interpreted this month’s results.   “October’s numbers confirm that the Southeastern Michigan economy continues to strengthen,” Butler said.

Just over 75% of respondents report their expectations are for the economy to remain the same or become more stable, though several respondents reported upcoming programs may require closure for tooling and the short term government shutdown caused many CEOs to put things on temporary hold.

Prices for copper, plated steel, travel (air fare and related services), glue and corrugated materials were up in October.  Down in price were resin and petroleum.
This is great news for Business as Usual.  Too bad these aren't Business as Usual times.  Just the same, I think I should break out Professor Farnsworth.

Proposal A stories with commentary from Inigo Montoya

At the start of Royal Oak's Proposal A passes, I repeated a promise.
I concluded Colorado and Washington voting on hemp and GMOs with this promise.
I also covered marriage equality in Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ballot.  There's a related issue on the ballot here in Royal Oak, Proposal A, the approval of the city's Human Rights Ordinance.  I have stories about the campaigns for and against that measure, but I'll save them until after I vote (yes, of course).  See you then!
I'll get around to sharing those stories...
In the spirit of yesterday's America Recycles Day, I'm keeping my promise while reusing one of my comments over at Michigan Liberal.  Hey, I'm an environmentalist; I recycle.

Eric B. quoted the following passage from a Detroit Free Press article under the observation, I am not sure that Tom McMillin understands the definition of discrimination.
“We haven’t seen any instances of discrimination,” the conservative lawmaker argues. “What we have seen is instances of when these laws are imposed, there is discrimination against Christians…we see that the bullying (on this issue) actually comes from the LGBT community.”
That prompted the following response from me.
Inigo Montoya on McMillan claiming discrimination.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Speaking of which, my wife got a robocall from McMillan the other day against Proposal A, the voter approval of Royal Oak's Human Rights Ordinance.  She got as far as McMillan talking about transvestites using women's restrooms, laughed, and hung up.  A couple of days later, I got an automated push poll from Just Royal Oak, the No on Prop. A people, which repeated that same talking point.  I hit the button for Yes on Prop. A, at which point the program thanked me and hung up.  It gave me great satisfaction to push back against the push poll.
I should have also pointed out that McMillan doesn't understand bullying, either, and then linked to Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism.  Then again, that's why I have this blog, so I can.

It turns out this story is not finished, as McMillan's involvement looks like an investment in next year's election.  Stay tuned.

Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombings in this week's health news

At the end of Health news for the week of election day, I wrote "Look for one more installment next week."  I also wrote in Kepler findings and other space news "This one will be huge!"  I wasn't kidding.

Rutgers University has the honor of going first, with Rise in Falls and Fractures Among Elderly After Superstorm Sandy.
Rutgers researcher attributes increase in injuries in older New Jerseyans to power outages
By Lisa Intrabartola
Monday, November 11, 2013
Everyone knows Superstorm Sandy left many New Jersey homes and businesses battered and bruised.

But most are not aware of the considerable toll the storm and its aftermath took on our state’s residents.

“With disasters, there are things beyond the obvious,” said Rutgers’ Sue Shapses, a professor in the department of Nutrition and chair of the Interagency Council of Osteoporosis. “There are real health hazard risks, especially falling and fracturing.  And it’s especially a problem for our elderly population.”

Based on a report Shapses wrote using data from the New Jersey Hospital Association that showed state hospitals experienced an 18 percent increase in visits related to falls and a 13 percent increase in visits related to fractures, during the week following the storm in comparison to the week prior. Of those who sought medical attention for falls and fractures after the hurricane, there was a 40 percent rise in falls and fractures in those who were 65 or older.
I couldn't resist putting a health story about Hurricane Sandy first, especially after four retrospectives last week.

Speaking of stories I've covered before, and being the exception to the rule that "if it bleeds, it doesn't necessarily lead" here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, Boston University has a four-part video series about the university hospital's response to the Boston Marathon Bombings accompanied by a feature story in its magazine Bostonia.  Videos first.

Trauma Part 1: The Trauma Algorithm

Trauma Part 2: The Clock is Ticking

Trauma Part 3: The Lethal Triad

Trauma Part 4: Why It's Called a "Trauma Team"

Peter Burke discusses the methods his team uses to shave seconds off response time.
Now, the excerpt from the feature article Trauma.
Peter Burke spent 14 years building a surgical team that could handle the worst kind of emergencies. On April 15, that emergency arrived.
By Susan Seligson
Peter Burke had just finished the morning session of a medical conference at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas when the news flashed on a lobby TV: two bombs had exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, turning an annual celebration into a war zone.

Minutes later he received an emergency text message from Boston Medical Center (BMC), where he is chief trauma surgeon. The unit was inundated with the grievously injured from an attack that killed 3, among them BU graduate student Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), and wounded at least 260. Many of those rushed to BMC were battling for life, with mangled legs, collapsed lungs, and profound blood loss. Burke called his chief nurse to find out if there was any way he could help from a distance of nearly 3,000 miles. The answer was no.

When he arrived in Boston around midnight, Burke rushed from Logan Airport to BMC, one of the city’s five adult Level 1 trauma centers, all of which were scrambling to stabilize the injured. BMC received 28 bomb victims; 19 were admitted, 11 with critical injuries.

In his 14 years at BMC, Burke had dealt with hundreds of multiple admissions from car crashes or shootings. But Marathon day presented a scene more familiar to trauma program manager Joseph Blansfield, a nurse practitioner who has been at BMC since 1992. An active colonel in the US Army Reserve, Blansfield (SON’78) had run combat support hospitals in Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq. As BMC trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses mobilized, Blansfield was doing what had become second nature in those war-torn places: identifying the most critically injured and getting them to the trauma bays.
Follow over the jump for the rest of this installment of health news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Super Typhoon Haiyan).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Opening day of deer hunting season in Michigan

Today is not only America Recycles Day, it's opening day of firearms deer hunting season.  This is such a big day that the United Auto Workers contracts have it as a day off, along with Election Day.  When I was a substitute teacher, it was also the day when I was pretty much guaranteed to be called into work, as a lot of full-time teachers took the day off.  In fact, some schools in the Upper Peninsula close today.  Not only can they not keep teachers, a good number of the students are out hunting as well.  Don't believe me on that last one?  Watch Opening Day of 2013 Hunting Season from WOOD-TV and note how old the last hunter is.

That's not a high-school-aged boy, that's a middle-school-aged girl.  That written, the punch line is perfect.  Welcome to Michigan in the 21st Century.  Also, deer hunting, doing it right.  Just keep her away from Ted Nugent.