A Faraday cage for your nether regions

Although there is yet to be conclusive evidence that radiation emitted by mobile phones and other wireless devices is damaging to male fertility, some studies have shown at least a potential link. This is why the makers of Wireless Armour have stepped in to try and provide some protection with nothing less than underwear that encases your nether regions in a Faraday cage.

Some studies have shown several effects of electromagnetic radiation on male fertility, including lower sperm counts, lower sperm motility, and changes to viability and morphology. Joseph Perkins’ solution is for men to don underwear made from a cotton weave material that has pure silver fibers incorporated into it. Perkins says these silver fibers form a Faraday cage that blocks the electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices…

If you’re a.) convinced radiation from your phone has the potential to affect your fertility and b.) convinced a Faraday cage in the form of underwear is the solution, then Wireless Armour may be for you. If so, a pledge on Indiegogo of $24 is enough to reward you with a pair of Wireless Armour underwear if and when it gets turned into a full product. This means Perkins and co. will have to sell a lot of underwear to hit their funding goal of $50,000.

For those not convinced by the ability of Wireless Armour to fend off radiation, the silver mesh reportedly also increases the lifespan of the product and affords it antimicrobial properties. However, its makers are not claiming it will filter your farts in the same way as Shreddies are claimed to do.

Or you can cheap out and be satisfied with stuffing your tidy whities with strips of lead foil. I hear it works better than tinfoil. 🙂

Seven messages used by effective reading teachers

In 1982, the late, great NZ reading researcher Marie Clay identified a group of children having difficulty learning to read as “tangled tots (with) reading knots”.

She was referring to children who, despite having no condition that potentially affected their ability to learn, didn’t seem to benefit from reading instruction. She hypothesised that such children “had tangled the teaching in a web of distorted learning which blocked school progress”.

I’ve met many such children (and their teachers) during five decades of anthropological research in hundreds of classrooms. There were also classrooms which either didn’t have “tangled tots” or, if they did, had more success in untangling their “reading knots”.

When I looked more closely at these “non-tangling” classrooms I discovered they had something in common. Their teachers continuously (and subtly) embedded messages about “learning to be an effective reader” in the language they used when teaching reading.

So far I’ve identified the following seven messages.

1. A reader’s major focus should always be meaning

2. Effective readers draw on all sources of information in the text

3. Effective readers are always predicting

4. Effective readers self-correct

5. Effective readers have a range of strategies

6. Effective readers know how they read

7. Effective readers love reading

RTFA. The details are positive – the result of practical work and analysis from successful teachers. A body of knowledge, of course, rarely consulted by the politicians and educators who make a living at not achieving very much useful to the future of humanity.

Yup. Cynical as ever.

The question I face when confronting the collapse of American education starts with reading skills. My father was first in his generation to graduate high school. My mom graduated from what used to be called a commercial high school. A 2-year high school. They taught my sister and me to read before we entered kindergarten in the New England factory town where we grew up.

They didn’t consider that a problem or an insurmountable task. They considered it a responsibility – to aid us in growing a useful lifelong habit, to aid us in learning and making decisions on our own.

Every Saturday, my mom, my sister and I walked the 4-mile round-trip from home to the neighborhood Carnegie library and back to get something to read and enjoy in addition to schoolwork. That was never a task. That was a happy and healthy part of our life.

Our species may be moving to a post-antibiotic era — not by choice

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

The planet may be headed toward a “post-antibiotic era” when common infections once easily controlled by antimicrobial medicines may be lethal, the World Health Organization reported…in its first look at antibiotic resistance that has developed in all parts of the world…

Such alarm in the health-care community and elsewhere about resistance to antibiotics is not new. In September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of “potentially catastrophic consequences” of drug-resistant microorganisms, saying they now kill an estimated 23,000 people in this country every year, and other public health groups have been clamoring about them for years.

But the WHO reported that “very high rates of resistance” have been observed around the world to common bacteria that cause urinary tract, wound and bloodstream infections, as well as pneumonia. Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis is a growing and under-reported concern, and rising resistance to anti-HIV drugs has been detected. At the same time, surveillance of the growing threat by officials across the globe is not coordinated.

In a region-by-region breakdown, WHO reported that in some settings in the Americas, up to 90 percent of Staphylococcus aureus infections are resistant to methicillin, a situation that has come to be abbreviated as MRSA. The bacteria that causes pneumonia is now less susceptible to penicillin throughout the world and exceeds 50 percent of cases in some places. In 36 countries, the last-resort treatment for gonorrhea is proving less effective.

Meanwhile, our trustworthy bureaucrats worldwide still consider their relationship with drugs producers, drugs prescribers, profit centers for the medical-industrial complex to be more important than any potentially critical concern for the health of nations.

Making chickens reach sales weight sooner, beef cattle fatter, are endeavors far outweighing healthy bodies resistant to illness.

We really need to come up with an appropriate term equivalent to “Quisling” to describe politicians and bureaucrats who collaborate with profiteers just as if they were an occupying army.

Thanks, Mike

Florida legislature forbids foreign law in state courts – WTF?


Florida legislators voted to forbid use of foreign law in state courts on Wednesday, despite arguments that the measure was a cheap shot intended to insult Muslims.

The proposed law, sent to Governor Rick Scott by a 78-40 vote of the House of Representatives, restricts courts and arbitration tribunals from applying foreign law, legal codes and other legal doctrines in divorce and custody or child-support suits…

During a heated House debate, opponents said the bill was unnecessary and asked supporters to cite cases of Sharia law or other foreign doctrines being enforced in Florida…

Representative Jim Waldman, a Democrat from Coconut Creek, said anti-Islamic activists have started a myth about Muslims supposedly trying to use teachings of the Koran and laws of some Muslim countries, but that courts have rejected their pleas.

“This bill, this proposal, stems directly from a hatred of Muslims,” Waldman told the House. “It’s caught on across the country and many other state legislatures have dealt with this, and I find it reprehensible.”

The bill does not apply in corporate contracts between businesses, ecclesiastical matters or issues governed by federal treaty or international agreements in which the federal government pre-empts state laws.

No doubt there is a sizable chunk of Republicans in the Florida State Legislature – and voters, of course – who believe the essence of this law is to keep them furriners from outside the Confederacy from overruling Florida.