Interesting stuff

Deep thoughts elude me today, so I’ll just pass on to you all the interesting articles I’ve read throughout the day.

I wasn’t surprised to read that people who have migraines have different brain structures from those who don’t, especially since those differences seem centered in those areas of the brain that perceive pain, touch and temperature.  Certainly for me, and for other migraine sufferers I’ve known, extremes of all of those sensations can trigger a migraine, and migraines enhance those sensations.

As if Britain doesn’t have enough problems, British women are having their bladders explode under the strain of huge alcohol drinking binges.  Apparently the phenomenon is a combination of alcohol’s diuretic effect combined with its anesthetic effect.  It fills the bladder, but kills the urge to urinate.

As for me, I’m a tee-totaller, a decision I made long, long ago when I decided that nothing in the world will make me like the taste of alcohol.  Nevertheless, I’d sooner drink only alcohol than the rat’s milk that Paul McCartney’s estranged (or do I just mean “strange?”) wife recommends.  In any event, how in the heck do you milk a rat?

And while I’m on the subject of Britain, will it surprise you that the British police, rather than going after the violent Muslim extremists exposed in a Channel 4 document, chose instead to go after Channel 4?  Incidentally, the mosque speakers all made statements that regularly get ordinary Brits arrested in the increasingly 1984-style world that is modern Britain (such as statements denigrating people by race, sex or sexual orientation).

For a moment of something bizarre but endearing, check out the two faced cat.  I’m only surprised its owner didn’t name it Janus.

Apparently the hot gift of the holiday season is Wii, and I have to say that, for once, I understand the frenzy.  After making sporadic efforts to buy one from Toys R Us for the last 8 or 9 months, they finally had them in stock the day I was there, and I brought it home.  I was afraid that it was just going to be another of those computer games that works the kids’ thumbs, while the rest of their little bodies sit there inert.  While there are certainly game choices that give you that option, what makes Wii wonderful is that it gets you moving around.  Whether the kids are playing tennis, baseball, bowling, pool, golf or stomping around to Dance Dance Revolution, they’re up and moving.  It’s not a replacement for actually getting out of the house and engaging in an activity, but it’s a nice compromise on a rainy day or when the kids want to stay him.

Will it surprise you to learn that honor killings are on the increase amongst the Palestinians?  If there is one constant amongst the Islamists, it is their profound hatred and disrespect for women.

What did actually surprise me was Obama’s lack of insight, not about his youthful drug use, but about his decision to stop drug use — at least as reported in a rather cursory AP article on the subject.  More impressive was the gracious way in which Giuiliani handled a question about the subject, noting that we all make mistakes (which the AP reporter helpfully explained was a reference to his marriages), and reminding voters that they make a mistake seeking someone perfect.

I’m very interested in seeing the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision to tackle Washington, D.C.’s ban on private gun ownership.  Even when I was at my most anti-gun, I had to admit that the Second Amendment, as written, does not mean that either the State or Federal governments get to deprive people of their right to bear arms.   However, I do wonder how to balance that absolute fact with the changes in gun technology that the Founders could never have envisioned.  I like the idea of self-defense; I’m less comfortable with the idea of someone owning an automatic weapon that can slice and dice a roomful of people within seconds.  Of course, the latter discomfort still doesn’t mean I can read the Constitution to reflect my personal preferences, does it?

Since I was in Rome this year, I was fascinated to read that, in the Palatine Hill, archaeologists think they’ve discovered the shrine that the ancient Roman’s believed was the natal chamber of Romulus and Remus, Rome’s mythic founders.  Those windows into the past are always exciting.

And that’s the news.

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  • Gray

    However, I do wonder how to balance that absolute fact with the changes in gun technology that the Founders could never have envisioned.

    In the service of intellectual honesty, I would urge you to apply that concern to the 1st ammendment as well. The Founders never envisioned this means of communication, or telephones….. What makes us think the 1st ammendment applies on the internet?

    I like the idea of self-defense; I’m less comfortable with the idea of someone owning an automatic weapon that can slice and dice a roomful of people within seconds.

    The strawman of all strawmen when it comes to gun control:

    Automatic weapons have been subject to background check and a $500 dollar tax stamp for ownership since 1933.

    I have extensive experience with automatic ( and semiautomatic) weapons. Fully automatic weapons (machine guns) have an overdeveloped reputation from Hollywood and the days of Prohibition.

    They do not, and cannot ‘slice and dice a room of people in seconds’.

    An automatic weapon continues to fire as long as the trigger is held down (until the magazine or belt runs out).

    A semi-automatic weapon fires once for each trigger pull needing the trigger to be released before the next shot.

    Without a great deal of training and discipline, they are less effective than semiautomatic weapons. If unleashed in a roomful of people, an amature crook with an automatic weapon would shoot 1 guy 15 times and another guy 5 times before he was out of ammo in seconds.

    He could have been more effective shooting 20 people once with a semi-auto weapon.

    Heck, the US Army had to go to a ‘three round burst’ (fires three rounds when the trigger is pulled) selector because ‘spray and pray’ automatic fire was so ineffective for the average soldier….

    This court case has nothing to do with machine-guns.

    As far as the strawman of ‘owning a rocket launcher or atom bomb’ goes, those are ‘crew served’ weapons–an individual right applies to individuals and individual weapons.

    Besides, I am confident that a sufficiently armed populace carrying semi-auto weapons comparable to whatever the current military small arm (musket, 1903 Springfield or M-16) is could soon obtain those crew served weapons….

  • Gray

    To continue: out of all the stupid things Poppa Bush did, one of them was to ban the manufacture of new any new automatic weapons (aside from military and plice use) in the US.

    All that did was make them a sought-after item of theft and drove the prices up over $10,000 in most cases.

    Wanna make a bunch of money? Submit the background check, pay your $500 per weapon, get a letter from you chief of police to store them and buy some machine guns. M-16s that were 10K just a few years ago are now up to almost twice that. Belt-fed M-60s are now up to 38K . They only increase in value!

    A bunch of owners get together every year in Kentucky and have a big machine gun shoot…. It’s the gun equivalent of a Monster Truck show!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Blog storm, Book. Blog storm.

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  • boqueronman

    It’s not clear what you mean by “going after Channel 4.” The Telegraph article was clear that the Islamist front groups had presented complaints. The authorities were required to investigate them. ALL the complaints, individual and collective, were rejected by the Office of Communications. The extra publicity of investigating and rejecting the complaints boosted the impact of the message from the original broadcast. Now, don’t get me wrong, the traditional British cultural has been smothered by post-modern accretions. But this case is one where the old values appear to have prevailed.

  • Friend of USA

    Migraine sufferers have different brain structures?

    I am a migraine sufferer ( although it is not as bad as it used to be ) and I have always been convinced – for many many reasons – I was different from everyone else.

    I am a man with migraines although over 80 % of sufferers are women…

    I am a man who went trough 11 horrific years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and about 80 % of CFS sufferers are women…( I think I am cured now…keeping my fingers crossed!…)

    I used to be able to hear very high frequencies , and it is usually women who can hear in the range of 20k not men…

    ( I am not gay nor effeminate, just different.)

    I’ll make enemies or someone will make fun of me for saying this but my IQ is in the top 3 %…

    I’m also part of the very small group of people who do not use one side of the brain more than the other.

    And as I have mentioned a few days ago I am part of that small group of people who are extremely sensitive

    My mother tongue is French and I only became “fluent” in English in my twenties, but I do almost everything in English, I read American blogs, watch American movies and TV, I even write to do lists in English.
    I think in English about half the time!

    I am an oddity in French speaking Quebec, and I am an oddity in the comment section of American blogs

    And I could go on and on how I am different…

    I must have been about 5 years old when I realized I was different from other kids…

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Interesting, Friend, that you mention being very sensitive. I’m female, so maybe it’s more logical, but I have a much better sense of smell than most people, a much better sense of touch than most people, and am much more sensitive to touch than most people. You may be right that these are package deals. However, my father was and my husband is a migraine sufferer, and both are well within the male average of sense of smell, hearing and touch. Go figure!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Latent gene, perhaps?

  • Friend of USA

    Just like you Bookworm , I have a much better sense of touch , and am much more sensitive to touch than most people
    ( actually it used to be a problem for me…such as in the doctor’s office…but in other situations it was a plus…).

    Strangely my sense of smell is above average only when it comes to things that could mean danger or trouble…

    for example,
    I am always the first to detect the smell of an overheating electronic device ( such as a computer or music amplifier ) or the smell of something going bad on a car such as overheated brakes… or the smell of anything burning for that matter!

    Some odors can trigger a headache for me; chemicals, synthetic fragrances, et cetera

    But as far as detecting regular odors such as food, I’m only average.