Vegetarian-ism shrinks the brain?

September 30, 2008

image This is one of the funniest articles, I’ve read in a while:

A Vegetarian Diet Shrinks the Brain
According to a new study, vegetarians and vegans are six times more likely to suffer from brain shrinkage than meat eaters.

The link was discovered after scientists at Oxford University ran memory tests, physical checks and brain scans on 107 people between the ages of 61and 87, and then retested them five years later.

Researchers speculate the loss of brain mass in vegetarians and vegans is due to a deficiency of Vitamin B12, which is found in meat, fish and eggs. This type of brain atrophy is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive failings.

The decision to eat meat is often attacked by veggies, but it now seems as though these kinds of affronts may just be a product of small-mindedness.

(http://www.asylum.com/2008/09/15/a-vegertarian-diet-shrinks-the-brain/)

Yeah, so the article is funny but that’s not what I found most funny.  Check out the comments:

  • “this article is bullcrap. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 50 years now, and I’m still sharp. I remember everything, and nothing has changed. I’ll be 85 in December.”
  • “LIES! Old people don’t use the internet…”
  • “I believe this article is probably true. My girlfriend is vegetarian, and she is dumber than a box of rocks.”
  • “of couse she is as dumb as a box of rocks… she IS dating you after all”

Y’know, every time I find myself closing the browser and hating the Internet because some idiots on Slashdot with too much time on their hands write an overload of inanities, I stumble upon a gem like this and all of a sudden, I reobtain that ever-important attribute that gives humanity a chance at coexisting with one another:  Perspective.


IBM thinks standards “aren’t always fair” when they don’t go IBM’s way

September 23, 2008

image I read this in the New York Times today and almost fell over laughing:

"IBM is threatening to leave organizations that set standards for software interoperability because of concerns that their processes are not always fair.
IBM published a new set of guidelines it plans to follow, which include encouraging standards bodies to have rules to protect their decisions from "undue influence," a clear reference to competitor Microsoft."
 

The standards processes “are not always fair”?  If I read this correctly, IBM thinks they’re important enough that they can dictate how worldwide standards committees engage with them… or they’re going to take their ball and go straight home.

IBM is one of the more senior technology companies in the world and it has maintained one of the largest established lobbying groups in both the United States and in Europe in order to communicate their ‘value’ to standards bodies & governments alike. 

Before 2000, Microsoft had virtually no presence in these circles – but after IBM and others like them testified against them in antitrust hearings, after having been locked out of opportunities on the basis of international "standards" created based on influence by IBM, they discovered how important involvement in the political & world standards process was.

So I find it comical that the 600 lb gorilla of lobbying & politicking should cry foul about "undue influence".

To quote Jason Matusow:

In a perfect description of how IBM stacks the deck better than anyone when it comes to standards processes, check out Jason’s blog about the degree to which they will go to outmaneuver their competition in standards committees:


Help! My Dog is Having an Asthma Attack!

September 22, 2008

image I found this really great article about something my dog does all the time.  I’d always wondered about this:

Help! My Dog is Having an Asthma Attack!

Has your dog ever made a noise like he was gasping and choking and kind of sneezing and wheezing all at once? Would you describe it as an “asthma attack”? This can be an alarming incident to witness because you feel helpess like there is nothing you can do to make it stop. However, it does stop in about 10-30 seconds and then your dog goes back to normal acting like nothing happened. What the heck?

What you were probably a witness to is something called reverse sneezing. The name is actually a misnomer as it really has nothing to do with sneezing. It is an irritation of the soft palate that causes a spasm. The soft palate is the soft, fleshy piece of tissue that is an extension of the hard palate (roof of the mouth). The spasm narrows the airway and makes it temporarily difficult for the dog to take in air.

Anything that causes irritation to throat can trigger a spasm. Some common causes include excitement, drinking water, pulling on a leash, perfumes, household cleaners, and environmental allergens.

Brachycephalic dogs (those with pushed in faces like Pugs and Boxers) have very long soft palates and therefore seem to more susceptible. Small breed dogs also seem to be more prone but nobody knows why (smaller airway?).

Although this condition seems very alarming it rarely requires treatment. Once the “sneezing” stops, the spasm is over. Things you can do to help minimize the length of the spasm is to massage the dog’s throat or cover the nostrils which makes the dog swallow.

In short, reverse sneezing is not a life-threatening problem and will usually resolve on it’s own without treatment. If you are unsure whether or not your dog is actually reverse sneezing video tape an episode and take it to your veterinarian. They can watch it and tell you for sure.

–Dr. Hinson
———————
Dr. Hinson is a mixed animal veterinarian in Tampa, FL and a regular contributor to Wag Reflex.

Disclaimer Regarding Veterinary Information


Things that made me smile at “Real PC” (a.k.a. “I’m a PC”)… versions 1, 2, & 3

September 22, 2008

image

“It’s as if millions of voices suddenly cried out…” 

Yep, that’s a fitting quote to describe the blog posts, comments, and email I’ve seen about the “I’m a PC” series.  Millions of voices… all different.

  • “Finally!"  Microsoft is responding back to Apple!”
  • “Microsoft is admitting that their other Seinfeld ads were bad…”
  • “Darn.  I was really looking forward to the next in the Gates/Seinfeld series.”
  • “PC != Windows.  Typical close-minded Microsoft…”

So here we go.  Stuff that made me smile while I watched the ads for the first time:

  1. That “PC” guy?  That’s Sean Siler.  And he’s a real employee at Microsoft.  Yes, he works on  Windows.  IPv6 Networking specifically.
  2. clip_image001To quote one person in the advertising industry, “It takes months to shoot and ad campaign like this…it’s quite laughable to suggest [Microsoft] cooked this up after the Bill & Jerry spots aired.”

    So why did this make me smile?  Well, our campaign has a very long project timeline which is part of what makes the assertion that we ‘dumped Seinfeld’ ridiculous.  This sort of reporting is bell weather indicator of crummy research, or none at all.  A news source inferring that we changed its advertising campaign direction midstream is simply attempting create controversy instead of reporting facts & news.  As one extremely smart person I know put it succinctly:  “They are noise… not signal.”
  3. image“I’m a PC” is a metaphor for real people.  Diverse, widely-varied in thought & opinion, independently-thinking, with a common bond:  We’re all human beings.   And like real societal challenges, some people have issues of incompatibility – but we all evolve & exist for the better because of their differences in thinking, doing, and being.

    It isn’t about pushing ‘elitism’.  It’s about celebrating differences & the incredible strength of loosely coupled diversity.

    What really made me smile about this was the fact that they end capped the ad with Deepak Chopra.  Say what you want about him:  His philosophy on personal well-being and self-assured individuality is quite fitting.

    And by the way, on the topic of things that might make you smile, does anyone else that knows their computer history think we’ve somehow seen this all before?

  4. image The mantra of the “I’m a PC” ad in the “Life without walls” campaign is something that has a real chance to resonate.   Interestingly enough, all of the companies that managed to break into the top 10 spots in “all time best ads” have a very crisp value proposition for the user and that the ad campaigns that got them there delivered a simple message that was easy for everyone to understand and identify with at an emotional level.

    FYI:  The top 10 list includes:

    1. Volkswagen, "Think Small", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1959
    2. Coca-Cola, "The pause that refreshes", D’Arcy Co., 1929
    3. Marlboro, The Marlboro Man, Leo Burnett Co., 1955
    4. Nike, "Just do it", Wieden & Kennedy, 1988
    5. McDonald’s, "You deserve a break today", Needham, Harper & Steers, 1971
    6. DeBeers, "A diamond is forever", N.W. Ayer & Son, 1948
    7. Absolut Vodka, The Absolut Bottle, TBWA, 1981
    8. Miller Lite beer, "Tastes great, less filling", McCann-Erickson Worldwide, 1974
    9. Clairol, Does she…or doesn’t she?", Foote, Cone & Belding, 1957
    10. Avis, "We try harder", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1963
  5. clip_image002“Life without walls” is going to have some very cool marketing angles.

    One of the themes of Windows is the availability of choice for consumers & businesses alike.   Many hardware manufacturers, software libraries, development tools, online stores… all while sharing a common bond, a common ‘lingua franca’, a small but important set of consistencies that allow people to associate with each other when talking about computers:  A consistent set of drivers, a consistent paradigm for interacting with applications, a consistent means of management, a consistent manner of communicating.

  6. As a life long American geek, it made me proud to have U.S. Astronaut Bernard Harris featured in the ads.  And as a N.E.R.D. fan (going back to when they performed their anthem“Rock Star” as the title theme for Microsoft’s original XBox title “NFL Fever”, having singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams featured was doubly cool.

    And if you’re a green proponent, seeing Edouard Francois, famed green architect should be an exciting sight as it was for me.

  7. I think it would be safe to say that if they’d been watching TV over the past year or so that people might characterize Windows PCs & their users as boring and unhip.  ”I’m a PC” shines sunlight on this perception:  Any sort of attack on PCs would be attacking stereotypically boring and unhip Windows usersStereotyping an entire world of people is not cool and ultimately alienating.
  8. I’m very pleased that the concept of “PC = Windows; Windows = PC” has been repeatedly burned into the minds of millions of people worldwide.  We’re quite grateful for this. 

    Yep.  And as you can see, we’re taking full advantage of this alignment and we look forward to proudly reinforcing this sentiment.  Microsoft Windows is the Personal Computer.

  9. imageDelighted to see the bit with San Antonio Spurs star & 3 time NBA Champion Tony Parker and his wife, Hollywood actress Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives fame.  No offense to Tony, but I was a little more excited by Eva’s participation than his.  I’m sure he understands.

    In fact, from what I understand, Eva practices what she preaches.  She was at the Windows Vista launch party a couple years ago and had some nice photos taken at the Vista press room.  (see the photo to the right, which was one of many taken)

    Just another reason to worship at the altar of the beautiful Eva Longoria.  Tony, you lucky bastard.

  10. imageimage The athlete at the end of “I’m a PC #2” was UFC light heavyweight championship contender Rashad Evans.  (Do NOT call him a “boxer”)  Just 2 weeks ago, Rashad, KTFO’ed famed mixed-martial arts fighter Chuck Liddell with a wicked punch that landed Liddell on the floor in a stunning upset that left the MMA community reeling.

    This lines Rashad up for a bout to regain his light heavyweight crown… and it also explains what Rashad was doing wearing a t-shirt with Bill Gates’ famous police mug shot photo on it as he entered the ring for a fight.

  11. Interesting that some folks in the media are starting to look at our advertisements more carefully.

    Huh. Those Mac Ads Aren’t As Funny Any More.
    by Michael Arrington on September 19, 2008
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/19/huh-those-mac-ads-arent-as-funny-any-more/

  12. Some folks are profiting from the “I’m a PC” concept already.
    http://shop.cafepress.com/design/15949305

And finally, there’s been a lot of talk about our ads being edited using a Macintosh.  I can’t help but smile at the folks that levy this argument on the “I’m a PC” ads.  Whatever happened to “can’t we all just get along”?  After all, we make software for more than just Windows

…and besides, it would seem as if some folks have forgotten their recent history about a certain store apparently being run on Windows-based products:


FCC Complaints against Penn & Teller

September 22, 2008

image I stumbled upon something really funny.  Penn Jillette mentioned that there was a site out there that had a PDF list of all the complaints received by the FCC about their Showtime program on cable, “Bullshit”.

This stuff is funny.  Keep in mind that Penn & Teller is a show on a pay-for cable television network.

Complaints to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) about the Showtime TV series,
Penn & Teller Bullshit

http://www.governmentattic.org/docs/FCC_Complaints_PennTellerBS_TV_series.pdf


Penn Jillette on Bill Gates & Global Warming

September 22, 2008

Penn Jillette has a comment related to Bill Gates & Global Warming.

 

Quite possibly the best podcast TV network ever

September 21, 2008

One of my favorite video podcasts is “Penn Says(RSS).  It’s Penn Jillette’s bi-weekly commentary on anything and everything.  And being that many of Penn’s opinions, politics, and often whacked-out gonzo thoughts reflect my own, you can see why I would religiously sync his podcasts to the ol’ Zune.

While looking at one of his recordings (this one being on his apparent belated discovery that Ron Silver is a lucid thinker and a reasonable human being unlike many of his nutjob contemporaries) it dawned on me that his podcast is actually distributed by a company called “Crackle”.  On a whim, I decided “check it out” – after all, most of the podcasts I’ve seen out there are just sh-t on a cracker and it’d be nice to see some other professional, quality, well-produced Zune playable content on my device.

WTF?  I think I hit the mother lode.  Look at what I discovered:

image

DATING BRAD GARRETT  (RSS)
Yeah.   That Brad Garrett.  If you know anything about the former Everyone Loves Raymond star, he’s not just an actor, he’s a brilliant comedian… and he’s just as slight bit east of bat-sh-t crazy. He’s possibly the most irreverent, non-politically correct, incorrigible comedian I’ve ever witnessed – and I’ve seen Bob Saget, George Carlin, and a few other scary comics.  NOTHING is off limits for him, heaven forbid you be in the front row during one of his shows in Vegas.

image

GROUNDLINGS  (RSS)
Some people don’t like improv comedy.  One person I know (and you know who you are… ahem) thinks it’s formulaic and uninspiring.  I think it’s great entertainment and can’t get enough of it.  To each their own. The Groundlings Los Angeles-based Improv comedy troupe does a podcast every week that satires some familiar situations and so far, it’s been well worth the bandwidth to download – particularly because a good chunk of the content comes from stuff you see in LA.

image

GORGEOUS TINY CHICKEN MACHINE SHOW  (RSS)
File this one under, ‘Glorious’.  First of all, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m Japanese by ethnicity and I’m very familiar with my heritage’s perceived idiosyncrasies – particularly, the Japanese penchant for whacked-out TV shows that aren’t limited by a horrendous sue-happy legal system that’s desperately in need of reform.  So… this is a… uh… parody of… uh… a Japanese TV show that… uh… well, just take a look and you’ll get the idea.


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