Saturday, April 05, 2003

Psst - want a picture of Hillary Clinton naked?

And if so, why?

Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton has posed nude before. Read about it here.

You know who you are

Or not, most likely - there's about a 99.9999% chance you'll never read this blog. But maybe someone who does will get a hint.

No, I'm not an authority on women's beauty. But I know of a few things that women complain about wrt their looks, such as 1) sagging breasts, 2) protruding abdomen, 3) protruding buttocks, and 4) being unfashionably short.

They can help all 4 by merely standing up straight. And they'll look more elegant. And it's better for their spines too. What can be wrong with that?

Stand up straight even if you're tall (that means you too, MM). Tall is in nowadays, and tall and straight is always better than slightly less tall and slouching. It even helps with balance and coordination.

If standing up straight hurts, then you're out of shape. Working on your abs won't hurt a bit, especially with Pilates. Of course I'm not a physician and there could be other underlying issues that make this a bad idea, but if you can't even stand up straight without hurting maybe you ought to see the doctor anyway.

At last, my subject. She's about 19 and is really a doll. She has natural good looks, she takes care of herself and she dresses well, and although at her age she could use less warpaint she used it well too. So apparently she wants to look good and she generally succeeds.

But every time I see her I just want to grab her abs just below the navel from behind, pulling backwards and upwards until she stands up straighter. But however generous an act that might ultimately be, my innocent, paternal, purely esthetic motives might be misinterpreted. Ya think?

One woman told me she might be self-conscious about her bust. If so, she'd do more to hide it by wearing looser clothes and standing up straighter than with the way she dresses now. If she were flat-chested standing straighter would be worth a dozen Wonderbras.

Another woman told me there could be confidence issues. That's not inconceivable, but I have to wonder why. I don't know her too well, so about all I know about is that she's not sure what she wants to do for a permanent career. Sheesh, that's true of most 19 year olds in my experience. If this is an issue, well, sometimes acting the way you want to be can help you become that way.

In the olden days young ladies were taught to stand up straight, even going so far as to have them balance books on their heads. Corsets probably helped too. Such things typically get nothing but snarky comments nowadays, but this is not just about vanity - there really are tangible health benefits associated with good posture

Alright, I'm through venting. We'll see if I figure out a way to bring this up.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Brass ones

According to a Fox News broadcast, Dominique De Villepin doesn't think the US should be rewarded for "starting the war" in Iraq.

This is wrong in more ways than I have time to deal with. But IMO those conniving benchwarmers who sold the Iraqis their reactor and much more besides shouldn't be allowed to make so much as a dime from the rebuilding of Iraq.

One would hope that once the Iraqis regain control of their country, they'll remember who helped keep Saddam in power.

Jessica Lynch, icon

By now everyone has heard of the rescue of Jessica Lynch. I wish her the best and certainly wouldn't want to give the impression that I, from the comfort of home, was denigrating her in any way. In particular, I understand that her injuries (two leg fractures, arm injuries, a gunshot wound and a stab wound) are consistent with fighting, not torture, and it appears that she's the only survivor of her group. She must be one tough girl (not to be confused with Shannon Faulkner).

But it will be interesting to see how her experience will be spun by various groups. Who will be the winners and losers?

As for Private Lynch herself, I'm guessing she'll have more lucrative opportunities than her earlier ambition of teaching school back home. I wonder how many agents-to-be have been calling the family.

See Virginia Postrel's new site

Right here.

Among lots of other good things, she links to "Brainwaves", another Corante blog. There's just too much good stuff on it to single anything out.

Monday, March 31, 2003

The world of scissors/paper/rock

Dr. Alice points us to the championships of Scissors/Paper/Rock. It's good for what ails you. Oh come on, if a lizard can play, then you can.

Well, maybe you don't know how. It so happens that I work with people from all over the world, and they're used to oddball culture questions from me. The Tamil guy across the aisle says he used to play scissor/paper/rock in his part of India. The Israelis knew of it too. A Tanzania native hadn't heard of it, but with her past experiences with me she might have thought I was putting her on. I missed my Chinese, Thai and Filipino sources. Others are welcome to contribute their knowledge of its origins.

Of course some people can't leave a good thing alone.

UPDATE: My Thai, Chinese and Filipino sources all say they had variations. The Chinese variant used cloth instead of paper. My Turkish source hadn't heard of it back home.

Attention redheads

Looky here - it seems that there is a female specific pain pathway, and the same gene that gives fair skin and red hair apparently heightens women's responses to analgesics.

This space reserved for a snarky comment.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Harry Zona, meet Mrs. Sippi

Max Power points to this interesting collection of things people believed when they were kids.

Lowe traffic

Derek Lowe said that his traffic was down. I can't imagine why - there probably isn't a blogger who's a better source of info about chemical and biological warfare. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that he gets hits from Baghdad.

This post is about the chemical stuff. He also links to this PDF about chemical warfare. It's 55 pages but might be worth a look if you're really interested.

Income taxes due April 15

Oh joy. At least for Kerry Kerstetter, Tax Guru, who has an interesting blog with tax info and lots of political cartoons. Check it out.

Save energy, starve a terrorist

You don't have to be a ecobabbling tree-hugger or leftist to appreciate energy conservation nowadays. That's especially true now that we're fighting in Iraq - there are plenty of dangerous dragons to be slain there, but the simple fact is that we're fighting those particular ones instead of any of dozens of others is because they're around a major supplier of our oil. (And while you're at it, keep an eye on other major oil suppliers like Nigeria and Venezuela).

Lefties generally support energy conservation, but their prescriptions typically are either nutty lifestyles or govt programs. And they're simply stupid when it comes to their supply side prescriptions. They'll never solve the problem they claim to want to solve.

As for the rest of us, well, nothing much seems to be happening besides bitching about electric bills and the occasional power outage. That's a shame, because there are so many minimally painful ways to curtail power consumption.

Let's start with consciousness. Do you have any idea how many power consuming devices are on in your home now? Do you know how much power they take, or at least which ones are the biggest consumers?

My background is as an engineer from the nuclear power industry, so maybe my expectations are out of whack. But I've been astounded at some of the things I have found otherwise intelligent and motivated people doing which affected their electric or other power consumption drastically.

For instance, do you have pets? Do you provide a heated area for them to stay in? OK fine - but use a spot heat source such as a light bulb, don't heat the entire garage like one couple I know. You can shield the lightbulb so it doesn't dazzle your pets. And they're used for heat more often than you might think, such as to keep the instrumentation from freezing at municipal water tanks.

Do all of your rooms need the same attention? For instance, can you shut off the heat or A/C to the guest bedroom or others? It's easy - just close the vanes on the register. If it doesn't have vanes, replace it with one that does.

Is your furnace filter clean? Clean it or replace it as needed, to improve the air circulation. This is especially significant if you have allergies, or have major dust or dander sources indoors or out.

Do you provide power to outbuildings via buried power lines? Slow shorts on such lines can suck down significant amounts of power long before they blow a breaker or fuse, as another couple I know found out. Hubby had been in a hurry to put in the power, cut some corners at a buried splice, and you should have seen the steam come out of the ground when he dug it back up to fix it.

Do you have a well pump? Make sure it is operating properly and your captive air tank (if any) is properly charged. The pump is a significant power consumer, and it shouldn't be kicking on every time you flush the commode or run the water.

Simply closing shades can work wonders, especially if they are thick enough to provide some insulation. You might be money ahead to close the drapes and turn on a light.

What about those lights? In the winter they're your friend - replace them with higher wattage values. But in the summer you're paying once for the juice to light them, and again to suck the heat back out. So back off on the wattage values. Better yet, use the long life low power bulbs - they look funny and don't always fit into the same spaces old bulbs do, but they can provide the same light for less heat and power and they last a lot longer too.

Do you have a geothermal heat pump system? One couple I know wondered why their bills were sky-high. It turned out that an emergency switch was flipped that had their supplemental electric heat on all the time, so they were using far more power than they should have been.

Do you have an attic fan? Attics can reach very high temperatures, and that heat creeps into your house. Attic fans keep fresh air coming in, lowering attic temperatures and ultimately the cooling demand on your A/C.

Do you have enough insulation? It helps in the summer too. If you're in an old house, you may have less than you think.

What about your hot water heater? Extra insulation can help here, especially in the summer. Take shorter showers and blow the extra humid heat out the bathroom fan or window before you open the bathroom door.

Your dryer? It is vented outdoors, right?

Do you have a setback thermostat? They're cheap and easy to install, and by using them you can make sure the heat and A/C are only on when you need them. For instance, you might set it to lower the heat a bit after you go to bed, come back to normal before you rise, cut back when you go to work, and start back just before you get back. Don't argue with me like one couple did (and they knew I was an engineer - sheesh).

There are many more suggestions here.

OK, so where do you get the stuff to do this? It's probably as close as your hardware store or Walmart.

Where do you get the money? From the money you'll save on power bills.

If you like to shop over the internet, here is a site of interest. I have no connection with them other than some past purchases and a place on their email distribution list. They offer a lot of products which can be helpful in reducing your power consumption and your convenience in doing so. Here's another site. If you have other suggestions, comment here or email me and I'll post them too.

But don't put it off. If our troops can sweat it out in the desert, you can try it a little at home.