Stompin’ visitor

We’re still the kind of extended family that – when your brother-in-law in Missouri gets a shiny new pickup truck, he and his son hop in and take it for a little break-in ride to New Mexico.

The new Cummins turbo-V8 diesel is smooth as silk and still a stump-puller.

Country roads, West Jamaica

❝ For the first time in years, I’ve taken to wearing a headset, listening to music, on part of my morning walks.

❝ The first set is usually the Amazon Music All Jazz playlist – tailored by my thumbs up-and-down. Folks like Miles and Monk and Mingus back from the era when I could hop the train down to NYC for the weekend and cruise jazz clubs, sleep in Washington Square Park without either being arrested or mugged.

The second playlist I named Groundation after my favorite contemporary Reggae group – though much of what I listen to is as old as my jazz favorites. This morning’s second set of walking our fenceline ended with Toots and the Maytals – and the best thing that ever happened to West Virginia.

Is your vacuum cleaner spying on you? + RESPONSE from iRobot…

The following is from an open letter to iRobot CEO Colin Angle. His company makes the very popular Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. On Monday, ZDNet’s Jake Smith wrote about iRobot’s intention to sell mapping data from customers’ homes to other companies.

❝ Dear Colin,

One of the ways Webster defines “dear” is “highly valued” or “precious.” So, when I start a letter with “Dear Colin,”…I’m just using a commonly accepted way of starting a letter.

This is relevant to our discussion because you’ve recently talked about taking from your customers information that is dear to them, even though you’ve never met most of the people who enjoy the benefits of your products. When your customers buy your products, there are some common expectations.

❝ It looks like you may be thinking about or trying to violate those expectations. By extension, it’s looking like you might be violating the trust given to you by your customers. Even worse, you could be opening the door to security risks that are far worse than they would be worth, just so you can make a few extra bucks on the side.

In a recent Reuters interview, you talked about the value of mapping data, both for doing the job of cleaning a room, and for understanding the environment where internet-connected things need to interoperate. So far, I’m with you…

That data could be used to help maximize lighting, tune sound, optimize microphones, determine when people or pets are in a space, and help conserve energy. All that is good…

❝ But here’s the thing that has the whole internet a-flutter. Apparently, you’re trying to sell that mapping data. I understand that…but once you get into the mode of selling data, the potential for abuse rears its oh-so-ugly head.

You’re no longer mapping our homes to make sure you don’t tear out a power cord or fall down a flight of stairs. You’re moving into the realm of spying on your customers. In your case, though, it’s far worse than those stories of possible always-on webcams or TV sets…

See, none of those other devices can move around the house on their own power. If my TV is in the living room, I know it’s there. If I’m concerned about my privacy, I’m probably not going to parade my naked butt in front of it. But a Roomba can decide to wake itself up. It can wander around the house. It can measure, map, and with your onboard camera, even take pictures.

What could go wrong?

The CEO of iRobot has been further interviewed by ZDNet. He denies that the firm will sell customer data. Pls read it. Judge for yourself.

When Smokers Quit, Their Sinusitis Eventually Goes Away. In About 10 Years.

❝ Smokers with chronic rhinosinusitis who kick the habit should see their condition gradually improve to the level of a nonsmoker, although it may take 10 years, study findings suggest.

❝ Cigarette smoking is a known cause of chronic sinusitis and smoking also makes symptoms worse, so it stands to reason that quitting smoking would be beneficial to people with the condition.

But the newly published, cross-sectional study is actually the first investigation to quantify the severity of symptoms and quality-of-life impact of smoking on chronic rhinosinusitis…said senior author Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD…

❝ In their effort to quantify the impact of smoking and smoking cessation on CRS symptoms, Sedaghat and colleagues utilized the aptly named SNOT questionnaire — a 22-item indicator of sinusitis symptom severity.

Har.

❝ They recruited 103 former smokers with CRS and an equal number of CRS patients with no history of smoking for the study. For the ex-smokers, time since quitting ranged from a few months to more than 50 years…

Outcome measures were compared between cohorts and checked for association with time since smoking cessation for former smokers.

❝ Compared with nonsmokers, former smokers had worse SNOT-22 scores and EQ-5D VAS scores and they also reported using more CRS-related antibiotics and oral corticosteroids in the past year.

Among former smokers, each year since quitting was associated with a statistically significant improvement in SNOT-22 score…

So, if you’re getting all bummed out because your dumb smoking habit is killing you – QUIT. You will feel better over time. Strictly subjective, I can verify that. I quit smoking 59 years ago. Progressive changes in lung function were really apparent the first couple of years – and extended through at least a decade.

Um, eating potatoes won’t actually kill you

❝ There are plenty of reasons not to eat potatoes, and only one reason to eat them: they’re freaking delicious. That’s the only reason you need. No one is eating fries because they think they’re healthy. But the next time you eat some delicious, oil-crisped taters and someone blurts out “hey, you know fries double your risk of mortality, right?” because they read a clicky headline, you can rest easy knowing that they are wrong. And superiority is the ultimate reward, right?

❝ You could pretty much sum up the whole problem with the recent study on taters in one sentence: correlation doesn’t imply causation. Let’s all say it together. Correlation doesn’t imply causation…At the end of the day, people who eat fries three-plus times a week are almost certainly going to have other habits that make them more likely to die.

❝ For starters, it’s likely that people who choose to eat that many taters are exercising less than the people who care enough about healthy dining to avoid that starchy temptation. And they probably consume more sugar generally as well. Or maybe they take in less fiber. You can’t eliminate the confounding effect of these other habits — that’s the real problem with nutritional studies like this. It appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently and it’s showing up all over the web.

❝ Nearly every article based on the study claims that fries doubled the mortality risk of the subjects, and media outlets aren’t technically wrong about the results. But first things first: it wasn’t potato intake generally, it was only fried potato consumption that the authors linked to higher death rates. Non-fried potato consumption didn’t lead to any increased mortality risk. Here’s a nice quote from the actual study that summarizes their findings: “After adjustment for 14 potential baseline confounders, and taking those with the lowest consumption of potatoes as the reference group, participants with the highest consumption of potatoes did not show an increased risk of overall mortality.”…

❝ Listen: fried potatoes aren’t good for you…Fries are full of starch and fat, and you should probably limit your consumption of both of those things — especially the starch. Starch is a simple sugar, and those cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to rise and prompt your body to store fat…But in moderation — and in combination with a healthy diet and exercise — you’ll be just fine. Enjoy your fries.

Couldn’t agree more. I love good fries, Belgian preferred; though I’ve had great Brit food truck fare. Rare enough to find myself in one of the few local bistros where they reign that I probably have them like once every five years. But, then, even-handed moderation in what I consume covers all the do’s and don’t’s of my nutrition.