Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 8th, 2008

Another free language tutorial on the Web

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It seems as though language instruction via the Web is booming, a wonderful development. Read MakeUseOf’s report on LiveMocha, written by Saikat Basu.

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Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Daily life

Make a Timeline

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Very cool Web 2.0 application: Timetoast. (Link is to article discussing the app.) You can create the timeline, title and annotate the dates, and then, when you’re ready, make it public. People can then comment on it. Useful for:

  • work projects
  • homework assignments
  • studying history (it’s hard to keep track of which events happened when)
  • residence history (now required for some jobs)
  • work history (hard to remember without a good record)
  • accomplishment history (for example, dates new levels achieved in Go, kung fu, etc.)

Other ideas?

Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:59 pm

Dietary fix for cardiovascular disease

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Interesting. (For potassium-rich foods, check this post and remember to bake potatoes to preserve the potassium content.)

A new article indicates that an increased intake in minerals such as potassium, and possibly magnesium and calcium by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension. A high intake of these minerals in the diet may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. These findings are published in a supplement appearing with the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension. Potassium, specifically, has been hypothesized as one reason for the low cardiovascular disease rates in vegetarians, as well as in populations consuming primitive diets (generous in potassium and low in sodium). In isolated societies consuming diets high in fruits and vegetables, hypertension affects only 1 percent of the population, whereas in industrialized countries which consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium, 1 in 3 persons have hypertension. Americans consume double the sodium and about half of the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines.

According to the paper, if Americans were able to increase their potassium intake, the number of adults with known hypertension with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 percent and increase life expectancy. Similar studies show that diets high in magnesium (at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d) and calcium (more than 800 mg/d) may also be associated with both a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension. Data regarding these minerals, however, are not definitive.

“If we were to achieve the correct potassium/sodium ratio through dietary means, there would be less hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the population as a whole,” says Mark C. Houston, M.D., author of the study.

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Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Bad Democrats need to be defeated

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We can’t get Congress to function well until we cut out the deadwood—and probably also restrict large companies from giving lots of money to our Representatives and Senators, money that, oddly enough, does indeed seem to influence votes. Go figure. BooMan blasts them in this post:

Seventeen Democratic senators voted for the Bankruptcy Abuse and Prevention Act of 2005. I’ll list them here to shame them:

1. Baucus (D-MT), 2. Bayh (D-IN), 3. Biden (D-DE), 4. Bingaman (D-NM), 5. Byrd (D-WV), 6. Carper (D-DE), 7. Conrad (D-ND), 8. Inouye (D-HI), 9. Johnson (D-SD), 10. Kohl (D-WI), 11. Landrieu (D-LA), 12. Lincoln (D-AR), 13. Nelson (D-FL), 14. Nelson (D-NE), 15. Pryor (D-AR), 16. Reid (D-NV), 17. Salazar (D-CO)

You can read Barack Obama’s floor speech opposing this travesty of a bill here. Let’s have a sample:

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Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:37 pm

Preschool girls help preschool boys to learn

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Interesting: guys need women, women don’t need guys…

According to a new study, preschool boys perform better on tests that measure learning and other important skills when they are in classes that have more girls than boys. The pattern doesn’t seem to hold for girls, though. For preschool girls, the presence or absence of boys did not affect learning.

The study raises questions about having all-boy or all-girl classes for preschool , says psychologist Arlen Moller, of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, who led the study. Other studies have shown that high-school girls may perform better in all-girl schools. In middle school, however, the effects of same-sex schooling are unclear, and even less is known for very young kids.

To find out, researchers studied 70 preschool classes including a total of 806 children who were between 31/2 and 6 years old. For each class, teachers recorded student progress over a 6.5-month school year.

Their data included teacher scores of motor skills, social skills and thinking skills. The researchers found that boys developed each of these skills more quickly when there were more girls in the class than boys.

In majority-girl classrooms, boys developed at the same rate as girls. But in classes where boys were the majority, boys developed more slowly than girls. Girls tended to advance in classrooms with any combination of boys and girls.

More at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:34 pm

Fish oil and red yeast rice

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Apparently they work well:

A great deal of scientific evidence shows that cholesterol-reducing medications known as statins can help prevent coronary artery disease. Although the safety of these medications has been well documented, as many as 40 percent of patients who receive a prescription for statins take the drug for less than one year. Doctors believe that several factors — including cost, adverse effects, poor understanding of statin benefits and patients’ reluctance to take prescription medications long term — may explain why some patients stop taking these medicines. In the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a group of researchers from Pennsylvania examine whether an alternative approach to treating high blood cholesterol may provide an effective treatment option for patients who are unable or unwilling to take statins.

Study design

Researchers followed 74 patients with high blood cholesterol who met standard criteria for using statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to either the alternative treatment group or the statin group and followed for three months.

The alternative treatment group participants received daily fish oil and red yeast rice supplements, and they were enrolled in a 12-week multidisciplinary lifestyle program that involved weekly 3.5-hour educational meetings led by a cardiologist, dietitian, exercise physiologist and several alternative or relaxation practitioners. Red yeast rice is the product of yeast grown on rice. A dietary staple in some Asian countries, it contains several compounds known to inhibit cholesterol production.

The statin group participants received 40 milligrams (mg) of Zocor (simvastatin) daily, as well as printed materials about diet and exercise recommendations. At the end of the three-month period, participants from both groups underwent blood cholesterol testing to determine the percentage change in LDL cholesterol.


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Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Daily life

What if you published a book and no one noticed?

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This guy is finding out. Full story at the link; story begins:

As a Los Angeles county prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi batted a thousand in murder cases: 21 trials, 21 convictions, including the Charles Manson case in 1971.

As an author, Mr. Bugliosi has written three No. 1 best sellers and won three Edgar Allan Poe awards, the top honor for crime writers. More than 30 years ago he co-wrote the best seller “Helter Skelter,” about the Manson case.

So Mr. Bugliosi could be forgiven for perhaps thinking that a new book would generate considerable interest, among reviewers and on the broadcast talk-show circuit.

But if he thought that, he would have been mistaken: his latest, a polemic with the provocative title “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,” has risen to best-seller status with nary a peep from the usual outlets that help sell books: cable television and book reviews in major daily newspapers.

Internet advertising has been abundant, but ABC Radio refused to accept an advertisement for the book during the Don Imus show, said Roger Cooper, the publisher of Vanguard Press, which put out the book.

ABC Radio did not respond to a request for comment.

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Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2008 at 12:25 pm

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