Tuesday, October 01, 2002

What to do when Fluffy is wheezing and it’s 3:00 am ...

Merck Veterinary Manual

Pretty comprehensive site - impresses the hell outta me. Extremely useful as well, at least for those of us who have beasties.
posted by lee on 10/01/02 at 08:49 AM
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Like totally yuck

Woman hands lawsuit to Duchess

Duchess is a CT chain of hamburger joints, mainly, which has pretty decent hot dogs and the like. We eat there once in a while. We've never encounted a rubber glove in the bun or anything like this woman encountered. It's actually one of the cleaner fast food joints around Norwalk - beats McDonalds and the Burger King at cleanliness by at least a mile or two.

"STAMFORD -- A Stamford woman is suing the Duchess Restaurant in Norwalk after allegedly eating a "Big D" hamburger that had a rubber glove in its bun.

"Lila Jerry of 172 Greenwich Ave. filed the lawsuit Sept. 10 in state Superior Court in Stamford seeking more than $15,000 for physical and emotional suffering." ...

"The lawsuit states Jerry became seriously ill and suffered severe physical and emotional pain and suffering.

"She had nausea, headaches, vomiting, severe shock to her nervous system, anxiety, depression, loss of appetite and sleeplessness, her lawsuit states.

"She also reported paying considerable sums for hospital care, X-rays, medicine and medical care."

This woman's reaction to chomping on a rubber glove seems to be a little extreme, though, unless she's allergic to latex.

Stanley sent me this link. I'll remind him about it next time he craves a Big D ...
posted by lee on 10/01/02 at 09:25 AM
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Wednesday, October 02, 2002

debunking the “self-esteem” industry

New York Times: Deflating Self-Esteem's Role in Society's Ills by Erica Goode {10/2/02)

Low self-esteem is to blame for a host of social ills, from poor academic performance and marital discord to violent crime and drug abuse.

Or so goes the gospel, as written over the last several decades by social scientists, self-help book authors and the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility, a panel created in 1986 by the California Legislature to conduct a three-year study of the topic.

Recently, however, some psychologists have begun debunking the notion that a poor self-image is the malady behind most of society's complaints -- and bolstering self-esteem its cure.

"D" students, it turns out, think as highly of themselves as valedictorians, and serial rapists are no more likely to ooze with insecurities than doctors or bank managers.

At the same time, high self-esteem, studies show, offers no immunity against bad behavior. Research by Dr. Brad J. Bushman of Iowa State University and Dr. Roy F. Baumeister of Case Western Reserve University finds that some people with high self-regard are actually more likely to lash out aggressively when criticized than those with low-self esteem. The list of groups %u2014 neo-Nazis, street toughs, school bullies %u2014 who combine preening self-satisfaction with violence belies the power of one to ameliorate the other.

"I think we had a great deal of optimism that high self-esteem would cause all sorts of positive consequences, and that if we raised self-esteem people would do better in life," Dr. Baumeister said. "Mostly, the data have not borne that out."

In an extensive review of studies, for example, Dr. Nicholas Emler, a social psychologist at the London School of Economics, found no clear link between low self-esteem and delinquency, violence against others, teenage smoking, drug use or racism, though a poor self-image was one of several factors contributing to self-destructive behaviors like suicide, eating disorders and teenage pregnancy.

High self-esteem, on the other hand, was positively correlated with racist attitudes, drunken driving and other risky behaviors, Dr. Emler found in his 2001 review. Though academic success or failure had some effect on self-esteem, students with high self-esteem were likely to explain away their failures with excuses, while those with low self-esteem discounted their successes as flukes."

Finally, people are starting to go public with the truth - all this self-esteem-building stuff is wrong. I've always believed that genuine good self esteem arises out of a person's ability to accomplish goals that are intrinsically important to that person. Out of overcoming obstacles, education, being good at something. It has driven me wild to watch what this whole childrearing movement focused on building, or not damaging, a child's self esteem produce a generation of self-absorbed, selfish, unfit for society people who are now breeding another generation of the same.

An obsession with external markers of self-worth, Dr. Crocker believes, leads to self-absorption.

As an example, she cited a study, carried out with a graduate student, Lora Park, in which college freshmen who based their self-esteem on academic achievement were given a test and then either told that they had failed or given no feedback. They were then asked to talk to a partner about a personal problem the partner was having.

Afterward, the freshmen who failed the test rated themselves as "preoccupied" during their discussion with their partner. Their partners, in turn, reported that they did not like the freshmen very much and would not want to share personal problems with them again.

The correction for such an exclusive focus on the self cannot be found in self-esteem classes that encourage children to believe that they are special and that their personal success and happiness are paramount, Dr. Crocker and other experts argue.

"Not everything is about `me,' " she said. "There are sometimes bigger things that we should be concerned about."

Yet more old-fashioned strategies for making one's way in the world, like learning self-control, resisting temptation or persisting in the face of failure have received little study, in part because the attention to self-esteem has been so pervasive.

"My bottom line is that self-esteem isn't really worth the effort," Dr. Baumeister said. "Self-control is much more powerful."
[/snip] (emphasis added)

I wonder how many decades it will take to start undoing some of the damage the "self-esteem" movement has caused? I wonder when parents will realize that teaching their children old-fashioned morality, a knowledge of what's right and wrong, the ability to distinguish between good and evil, a sense of one's place in society, the importance of learning how to learn, and the steps to solving problems are the essentials of childrearing, not shielding and indulging children in the name of preserving their "self esteem."
posted by lee on 10/02/02 at 09:39 AM
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Thursday, October 03, 2002

He’d look even better with red hair

story.blue.canidate.ap2.jpgCNN.com - Candidate turned himself blue - Oct. 1, 2002.

Seriously, would you vote for someone so stupid? He could've at least checked Quackwatch.com before he drank the stuff. Idiot.

Stan Jones,a 63-year-old business consultant and part-time college instructor, said he started taking colloidal silver in 1999 for fear that Y2K disruptions might lead to a shortage of antibiotics.

He made his own concoction by electrically charging a couple of silver wires in a glass of water.

His skin began turning blue-gray a year ago.

"People ask me if it's permanent and if I'm dead," he said. "I tell them I'm practicing for Halloween."

He does not take the supplement any longer, but the skin condition, called argyria, is permanent. The condition is generally not serious.
posted by lee on 10/03/02 at 09:17 PM
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Friday, October 04, 2002

they’re durable, no?

Duct Tape Fashion Gallery

More uses for duct tape. We know a kid who made his wallet out of duct tape. It isn't pretty, but it works just fine.
posted by lee on 10/04/02 at 08:42 AM
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Matisse - Picasso exhibit

Matisse|Picasso is a site backing the exhibits that were/will be on display in London (it's gone), Paris, and New York. It's a beautiful site, but very hard to navigate. Once one does figure out that the way to enter is by selecting a city, it's hard to READ the text as the font is unchangeable and set way too small. The sponsor box on the bottom takes up too much real estate and distracts greatly from the content. There are gratuitous scroll buttons -- at least, I couldn't tell if they worked or if they were broken since I had no way of knowing where the content ended (not that I could actually read it ... )

This site was created by Mosquito.Web, which explains a lot of its hostility as Mosquito.Web is a French company. The company's sites are beautiful, user unfriendly, and basically, all look the same. Too bad, because the content -- mostly European museum exhibits -- is worthy of more thought and human-centered design than Mosquito.Net provides.
posted by lee on 10/04/02 at 09:03 AM
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on the other hand, there’s this museum website ...

MONPA. The Museum of Non-Primate Art. Done by New Zealand firm Catch-22. Well done and clever -- check out Bird Art.
posted by lee on 10/04/02 at 09:07 AM
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Saturday, October 05, 2002

That’s billion, with a “b”

law.com: $28 Billion Smoker Award Could Be Cut

"A Los Angeles jury's $28 billion award shows that Californians are willing to hit cigarette makers in the pocketbook -- but don't expect the award to stand, attorneys and academics who monitor tobacco litigation say."

Philip Morris, the particular brand of tobacco company sued in this case, said the lady shoulda quit because she knew the dangers of smoking. The jurors didn't buy it. Maybe there were some smokers on the jury, or ex-smokers, or maybe the jury was just offended by the arrogance of the company. Or sick and tired of breathing in second-hand smoke.

Whatever Philip Morris says, I know how hideously difficult it is to quit smoking. And how hard it is to stay quit of it. It's been just over a year for me, and I would never have been able to quit without the help of my doctor and a three-month prescription for Wellbutrin and the patience and support of Stanley.

I still crave cigarettes. I've read that they're more addictive than heroin. I KNOW they're harder to kick than alcohol.

I know a judge will reduce this award -- but I hope he or she keeps it high enough to really HURT Philip Morris. It's still small compensation for a life cut way too short by lung cancer.
posted by lee on 10/05/02 at 10:23 AM
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Tuesday, October 08, 2002

CSI Miami

A rabid fan of CSI, I had high hopes for CSI: Miami. We (Stanley and I) watched the pilot and decided to give it a chance.

The first episode, the downed plane in the Everglades, was stupid beyond belief. The CSI taking over the investigation of a crash site? As if. The writers tried to shove so many things into what they hoped would be a whammy of an opener all it did was induce a tendency to hurl. Especially the sappy closing bit, reading the BS letter from the deceased whistleblower-to-be.

Even the implausible story line could be forgiven if it were not for the addition of Kim Delaney to the cast. To the detriment of Emily Proctor, who was the reason we decided to give CSI: Miami a chance in the first place (it sure as hell wasn't David Caruso -- he's just retreading his NYPD Blue role). Delaney's acting (if it can even be called that) is about as one-dimensional as one can get without being a black hole. (Watch five minutes of her in any of her series and I defy you to tell me which was which.)

But, okay, we'll give it a chance, we decided.

I don't even remember what last week's episode was about.

Monday's episode was another trip through gag-me land. Not enough science. No point to Megan's role, and she wasn't called on the carpet for usurping Horatio's role as she would have been in the real world. Unbelievable portrayal of the Miami Cuban immigrant community (let's create a phony stereotype of them, just as we did for Chinese immigrant communities). And another stupidly sappy ending sequence.

I don't care if I see it again or not. Depends on what else in on at the time.
posted by lee on 10/08/02 at 12:40 PM
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Wednesday, October 09, 2002


The Village Voice: Forked-Tongue Warriors by Ian Urbina

An interesting look at at an army battalion we seldom hear about. The one that spends colossal amounts of money on things like dropping leaflets on populations with extremely low literacy rates. Or getting American soldiers killed because they screw up.

Often more confusing than convincing, psy-ops can suffer hugely from the smallest graphical errors. A T-shirt used in Cambodia to try to deter kids from entering certain unsafe zones featured a boy squatting over a mine that he was poking with a stick. The silk-screened shirt was yanked from production, according to one account, when angered villagers kept asking why American personnel were distributing images of kids defecating over land mines. The squatting boy was eventually redrawn.

Bigger mistakes mean bigger consequences. Leaflets dropped in Somalia in 1992 prior to the UN troop arrival were meant to assure the populace of the mission's humanitarian intentions. Unfortunately, of all the personnel the U.S. initially deployed in the country, only two were native speakers, and one turned out to be the son of the country's bloodiest warlord. Pamphlet proofreaders, needless to say, were in short supply, and the result was sometimes quite embarrassing. Instead of announcing help from the "United Nations," the pamphlets spoke of help from the "Slave Nations," and as anyone who has seen the movie Black Hawk Down can certainly attest, neither the blue helmets nor the boys with stars and stripes were welcomed with open arms when they eventually landed ashore.

The backflow of misinformation can also be a serious problem. Though the Pentagon and the CIA are barred by law from propaganda activities in the United States, during the mid 1970s increased scrutiny of military intelligence operations revealed that programs planting fake leaks in the foreign press had resulted in false articles running back through the U.S. media. But sometimes the false articles are intentional. When the American public seemed to be developing weak knees about the Nicaraguan contras, the Office of Public Diplomacy, part of the Reagan-era State Department, quickly leaked fake intelligence to The Miami Herald that the Soviet Union had given chemical weapons to the Sandinistas.
posted by lee on 10/09/02 at 08:02 AM
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