Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
For years, health officials have told parents not to share utensils with their babies or clean their pacifiers by putting them in their mouths, arguing that the practice spreads harmful germs between parent and child. But new research may turn that thinking on its head.
In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.
The findings add to growing evidence that some degree of exposure to germs at an early age benefits children, and that microbial deprivation might backfire, preventing the immune system from developing a tolerance to trivial threats.
The study, carried out in Sweden, could not prove that the pacifiers laden with parents’ saliva were the direct cause of the reduced allergies. The practice may be a marker for parents who are generally more relaxed about shielding their children from dirt and germs, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the research.
“It’s a very interesting study that adds to this idea that a certain kind of interaction with the microbial environment is actually a good thing for infants and children,” he said. “I wonder if the parents that cleaned the pacifiers orally were just more accepting of the old saying that you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt. Maybe they just had a less ‘disinfected’ environment in their homes…”
…Health authorities tell parents to do things that can lower the rate of transmission to their children, like not sharing utensils or putting their mouths on pacifiers.
But Dr. Joel Berg, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said those efforts are misguided, since parents are bound to spread germs simply by kissing their children and being around them. “This notion of not feeding your baby with your spoon or your fork is absurd because if the mom is in close proximity to the baby you can’t prevent that transmission,” he said. “There’s no evidence that you can avoid it. It’s impossible unless you wear a mask or you don’t touch the child, which isn’t realistic.”
Dr. Berg, who does salivary research at the University of Washington, said the new findings underscore something he has been telling his patients for years, that “saliva is your friend.” It contains enzymes, proteins, electrolytes and other beneficial substances, some of which can perhaps be passed from parent to child.
“I think, like any new study, this is going to be challenged and questioned,” he said. “But what it points out pretty clearly is that we are yet to fully discover the many and varied benefits of saliva.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, again. The immigrants on either side of my family who didn’t live to be older than the average American were the cigarette smokers. The rest all beat the numbers by decades. And they weren’t squeaky clean-freaks.
Hollywood conservative unmasked as notorious Holocaust denialist – decides to return to his old ways
To those who knew him, or thought they knew him, he was a cerebral, fun-loving gadfly who hosted boozy gatherings for Hollywood’s political conservatives. David Stein brought right-wing congressmen, celebrities, writers and entertainment industry figures together for shindigs, closed to outsiders, where they could scorn liberals and proclaim their true beliefs.
Over the past five years Stein’s organisation, Republican Party Animals, drew hundreds to regular events in and around Los Angeles, making him a darling of conservative blogs and talkshows. That he made respected documentaries on the Holocaust added intellectual cachet and Jewish support to Stein’s cocktail of politics, irreverence and rock and roll.
There was just one problem. Stein was not who he claimed. His real name can be revealed for the first time publicly – a close circle of confidants only found out the truth recently – as David Cole. And under that name he was once a reviled Holocaust revisionist who questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers. He changed identities in January 1998.
“That was when David Cole officially expired,” he told the Guardian in an interview this week. “That was the end of Cole. Or so I thought. That was when David Stein was brought into this world.
For 15 years I have been David Stein. Now the genie is out of the bottle. I’m done. I’m finished. I’m not going to try to remain as David Stein…”
The unmasking shocked and angered the small, tight-knit community of Hollywood conservatives, setting their Facebook groups ablaze and prompting emergency meetings.
Some of Stein/Cole’s erstwhile friends are media figures with blogs, newspaper columns and syndicated radio shows. They put a lid on the story. Not a word has been published or broadcast. “When people found out it was, ‘Oh my God, get the fuck away from him.’ There was debate about whether everyone would look guilty by association,” said one entertainment industry artist, a member of Republican Party Animals, who requested anonymity. “The reason we were all so pissed at him is it plays into every horrible stereotype about the right…”
…Cole today still challenges established Holocaust scholarship, including the certainty about Nazi gas chambers. “The best guess is yes, there were gas chambers” he says. “But there is still a lot of murkiness about the camps. I haven’t changed my views…
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said Cole’s views on the Holocaust could no longer be attributed to youthful naivete. “I’m very disappointed that someone who abused his Jewishness to get his five minutes of notoriety still stands by his lies. It’s disgusting and puts him in the camp of bigotry.”
Not a lot of anything new either about opportunistic bigots disguising the disgusting truth for their own profit and position. Another reason why – sometimes – stereotypes aren’t stereotypes; but accurate.
RTFA for beaucoup details about this slimeball.
The British National Party has urged its members to procreate after it lost every seat it contested in the English local elections on Thursday.
The BNP fielded 99 candidates but did not win a seat. It lost the one county council seat it held in Lancashire, leaving Nick Griffin’s party with just two councillors.
In a post on the party’s website, members are urged to have bigger families to counter large families had by non-Britons.
Northernscot claims that 51% of the US population is non-white and says that to prevent the same thing happening in Britain, “BNP members and nationalists” need to breed more.
“I know, by now you will be giggling over this suggestion. But think about it, nationalists need to buck the trend of 1.8 children per white household. We need to aim between 3 and 4 children each if not more,” he writes. “And the bonus is that making babies is fun! So fellow nationalists, less TV and more fun! Let’s do our bit for Britain and our race…”
I don’t doubt there is plenty of giggling – over the desperation of these nutballs.
“We must look at ways of building up the white population in Britain,” he said, “There are a few ways that this can be done. Firstly immigration of white Europeans, although this causes problems in jobs and housing, in the end if they stay their children will slowly become pro-British, or their children’s children will at least…”
“…Nick Griffin is always going on about being outbred and in the past he has said members need to put away their boots and go and meet women. The problem is that your typical BNP member is a social pariah who is more into pornography than starting a family…”
Sounds familiar, eh? Some of the soul-searching going on in the Republican Party after two defeats by Obama sounds like this. It pairs nicely with the anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-birth control agitprop from the Catholic and other fundamentalist factions in the Tea Party.
Smoking may pose a bigger health threat to women than men, say researchers.
Women who smoke have a higher risk of cancer than men, Norwegian investigators found.
They looked at the medical records of 600,000 patients and discovered the bowel cancer risk linked to smoking was twice as high in women than men…Female smokers had a 19% increased risk of the disease while male smokers had a 9% increased risk…
In the study, nearly 4,000 of the participants developed bowel cancer. Women who started smoking when they were 16 or younger and those who had smoked for decades were at substantially increased risk of bowel cancer.
The findings suggest that women may be biologically more vulnerable to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke.
Experts already know that women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack by more than men who take up the habit, although it is not clear why…
Although smoking rates have been falling among both sexes, the decline has been less rapid in women…
According to research in more than one million women, those who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases.
Sarah Williams of Cancer Research UK said…”For men and women, the evidence is clear – being a non-smoker means you’re less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, lung disease and many other serious illnesses.”
That last sentence says it all.
My sister and I started smoking when she was 10, I was 12. We wanted to be like our parents. I was the only one who quit. You have to break the cultural chain if you’re ever going to beat the thugs who profit from selling addiction.
Jon Stewart rocks!
It will be nothing but fun to watch the Birthers who ran all their Trumped-up blather over a non-white Democrat born in Hawaii running for president. Even worse – winning.
Now, they get to flip-flop when the same silly questions on presidential eligibility are asked of their favorite white Republican Kool Aid Party Kandidate – born in Calgary.
To old fogeys like me, it seems like only yesterday that the coolest way to go online was to dial up the AP wire service bulletin board on a 300-baud modem, but it was actually two decades ago that the web as we know it burst onto our world. On Tuesday, it was 20 years ago that the World Wide Web went public, when CERN made the technology behind it available on a royalty-free basis. To mark the occasion, the organization announced that it is recreating the world’s very first website for posterity.
It wasn’t much to look at – just text and hyperlinks – and the subject was the World Wide Web itself, so it wasn’t exactly like finding a treasure trove of LOLcats or a Kirk vs Picard flame war, but the first website did mark a significant jump forward. Flash animation, Java plugins, apps, streaming video and even images and audio were still in the future, but that first site turned the internet from the domain of computer scientists and hobbyists into the information super system that modern society now depends upon.
Invented in 1989 at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee, the web was first designed as a way for physicists around the world to share information. It was by no means the first or only way to share information online, but by making the software to run a web server available for free and then throwing in a basic browser and code library, CERN was able to do for the internet what Henry Ford did for the motor car. It went from the plaything for the few to being the workhorse for the masses…
Unfortunately, like many historic firsts, there wasn’t much incentive to preserve the first website that Berners-Lee hosted on a NeXT computer. After a few years, the site was retired and the URL merely redirected to another site. The NeXT machine that acted as the original web server was still at CERN, but it was a museum piece.
Now, to celebrate 20 years of people typing “WWW,” CERN is bringing the first website back to life. The NeXt machine has been refurbished and the URL has been reactivated as CERN starts a project to collect and preserve the information assets that made up that first foray into our modern digital world.
One of those “old fogies” – I remember getting “onto” this new WWW-thingie as soon as it started up. I’d been online since 1983 – first as a necessity. I wouldn’t receive my sales commissions unless orders were sent online directly to the company’s one online server the other side of the country.
Then, to BBS and communications online. Traveling my sales territory with my Tandy Model 100 laptop computer and 300 baud modem. Which I still have somewhere in the closet next to my study. How far we have come in such a comparatively short period. How welcome and useful it all is, now.
Police do not anticipate filing charges against the Cumberland County mother of a 5-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister, a Kentucky State Police spokesman said Wednesday.
“We don’t see that there was neglect on anyone’s part,” said Trooper Eric Gregory, spokesman for the Columbia post.
Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said Tuesday that the shooting would be ruled accidental.
No neglect with a loaded rifle sitting in the corner?
Caroline Sparks, 2, was pronounced dead Tuesday at Cumberland County Hospital, where she was taken after the 1 p.m. shooting on Lawson’s Bottom Road, White said…
The 5-year-old brother was identified as Christian Sparks in a statement released by Cumberland County Judge-Executive John Phelps Jr…
“The mother was home at the time, cleaning house, and stepped out to empty a mop bucket and heard a pop,” Trooper Gregory said. “She ran back in and found it had happened.”
The gun was a gift to the boy last year, White said. The gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realize that a shell had been left in it, he said.
The Crickett rifle involved is “not 3 feet long,” Gregory said. It is manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms, a Pennsylvania manufacturer of single-shot firearms, which advertises the Crickett on its website as “my first rifle.”
“Burkesville is the type of community that when something like this happens, everybody comes together,” Burkesville resident Vickie Temple said. “That’s just how our community is when something tragic happens.”
Something tragic happens – and no one takes responsibility.
Giving a pre-schooler a loaded weapon to play with is a disaster waiting to happen. Failing to supervise that child has nothing to do with responsibility? That he killed his sister with an “unloaded gun” is the icing on the All-American cake of predictable excuses.
I shouldn’t have to expand on this – I think – but, this is no different from the dumb motor vehicle accidents we witness or read about every day. I watched the local news, tonight, about a drunk who crashed her van killing 2 of her 4 passengers. She was 3 times the legal limit for DWI. Dumb enough? But all 4 of her passengers were thrown out of the van because none of them used their seat belts. That’s how 2 were killed. We have regulations which enforce penalties on people who do stupid deadly acts – trying to discourage others from the same. I don’t drive my pickup unless everyone has their seatbelts fastened. That’s my responsibility. My driver’s license.
Guns should have the same level of enforced responsibility. Especially in a society at least as careless with their guns as their cars.
A trial date is set for 2nd week in May in a controversial animal cruelty case involving Bastrop pastor Rick Bartlett.
Bartlett was charged with animal cruelty last year after a neighbor’s cat named Moody was found dead on the bank of the Colorado River directly underneath the Hwy 150 bridge in Bastrop…
Bartlett trapped Moody on his property on January 15, 2012. He placed Moody in a cage in the back of his pickup truck. Bartlett later admitted that he left Moody trapped in the cage for two days without any food or water.
On January 17 Bartlett drove the caged cat to the Bastrop County Animal Control office and met with Officer Susan Keys…Bartlett told Keys that he often trapped cats in his yard that he considered feral and brought them to Animal Control…But Moody wasn’t a feral cat. Officer Keys noticed Moody’s collar and name tag and she told Bartlett to return the cat to the Bell family, Moody’s owner (and Bartlett’s neighbor)…
Later that evening Keys was told about a dead cat that was found underneath the Hwy 150 bridge…It was Moody. He had fallen some 50-feet to his death.
A veterinarian later told investigators, “Moody’s injuries were caused from a compressive force caused from falling from a high level.”
When investigators caught up with Bartlett, he stated that Moody had escaped from the cage and he didn’t know what had happened to him…
Bartlett was bounced from his former gig as pastor for the Bastrop Christian Church after his arrest. He knows a good hustle when he sees one and now has set up a new church – out of his home.
None of this helps Moody or his people. Bartlett’s unwillingness to admit any responsibility, care or concern for the pet’s death is unfortunately typical of animal cruelty cases.
Texas hasn’t moved beyond the 19th Century in dealing with animal cruelty cases – and I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, either. We ain’t much better here next door in New Mexico. It took decades to outlaw cock fighting – just a few years ago.
Meanwhile – you can sign a petition for justice for Moody over here.
UPDATE: Bartlett found guilty.
A major survey of religious opinion shows that large majorities of believers are in favour of legalising assisted dying.
The poll, carried out by YouGov for the Westminster Faith Debates and involving nearly 4,500 people, reveals that only among Muslims and Baptists are there majorities against a change in the law that prohibits assisted suicide.
Majorities of Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Methodists and Pentecostalists are in favour of changing the law.
Christian groups reacted with dismay to the results. Austen Ivereigh, of the lobby group Catholic Voices, said: “It shows how little exposed even practising religious people are to the teachings of their church…”
A Church of England spokesman said: “This study demonstrates that complex discussions on topics such as assisted suicide and euthanasia cannot be effectively conducted through the medium of online surveys.”
Demonstrating that dumbthink about surveys isn’t limited to members of our Republican Party.
The poll shows that the proportion of believers who say they make up their minds with the help of “local or national religious leaders” is 2% among Anglicans and 9% among Catholics. Most people rely on their own judgment or on reason when making moral decisions, and among those groups there is overwhelming support for a change in the law.
Aye, there’s the rub. That part about relying on your own judgement.
American Catholics, Baptists, fundamentalist True Believers in general accept no free will, self-education or self-reliance for critical decisions. The Father or Big Brother in charge tells you to obey his rules preferably as writ in the 14th Century. Whichever rationale is offered – your role is to obey.