The Minnesota Starvation Study

During the second world war, a radical experiment was undertaken to determine the effects of starvation on the human body and mind. All the subjects were volunteers, conscientious objectors who had made themselves available for scientific experiments in lieu of combat service. It was stressed that there was no guarantee this would not cause permanent damage. The starvation treatment had terrible physical and mental effects (from premature aging to a tendency to self-mutilate), but it taught science a lot of valuable information about starvation, which was very relevant to war-torn countries where food was scarce. (The calorie restriction, by the way, was less severe than that recommended by many weight loss diets today.)

Fascinating stuff on this and other food- and body-weight-related research at Junkfood Science.

iMeme for Mac Nerds

If you’re on a mac right now, make a list of all the applications in your /Applications folder which begin with a gratuitous letter ‘i’.

Here’s a magical ruby one-liner to cut and paste into a Terminal to list them:
ruby -e 'Dir[%q{/Applications/i*}].each { | app | puts /\/(i.*).app/.match(app)[1] }'

My list:

  1. iAlarm
  2. iAlertU
  3. iCal
  4. iChat
  5. iExtractMP3
  6. iJournal
  7. iMovie HD
  8. iPhoto
  9. iRecord
  10. iSquint
  11. iStumbler
  12. iSync
  13. iTag
  14. iTunes
  15. iWeb

Fifteen. How bout you?

Memory and hope

I don’t remember much about ’92. There had just been twelve years of militarism, twelve years of destruction of the economy to enrich the wealthiest elite at the expense of America, twelve years of lies that ended in an economic abyss — the Reagan Revolution taken to its logical extreme. I wasn’t following the primaries; I had little hope for the political future of America at that point. The only thing I remember is catching Bill Clinton once on the radio, hearing him give an inspiring speech. I remember thinking that I had never in my adult life heard a politician give an inspiring speech — at least, one that could inspire someone who wasn’t willing to think of America in terms of a fight for white bread and apple pie against evil commies and welfare queens.

Bill Clinton gave an inspiring speech, and I couldn’t remember ever hearing that from an American politician in my adult life.

I couldn’t believe it.

Bill wasn’t, ultimately, willing to stand up for everything he supposedly stood for. But he at least stood for the right things, and that gave us some years of a reprieve from the slide into evil.

Bill could speak in a way I’d heard nobody else do. But the man couldn’t hold a candle to Barack Obama. Some people may think this is cheesy but I watched it and it brought tears to my eyes. I hope it bodes as well and better for America.

Via Lessig again.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.

Fears and hopes for Super Tuesday.

Having watched everyone I hoped for beaten down and dropped out, knowing a lot depends on tomorrow, I fear the worst. I fear that because of tomorrow… by the end of the week it’s going to be down to Hillary. I do think we’d be much better off with another weaselly Clinton than with anything the Republican party can throw at us… But we can do so much better. Can’t we?