Another Bush in the White House – Just Say NO!

Teh “not-so-funny”:http://www.mysterypollster.com/main/2005/02/should_jeb_runo.html.

Vacation

I am in between jobs right now (not for too long), so I’m taking this opportunity to relax and renew. I haven’t had a decent vacation in months, so I’ve been playing computer games, and whenever I feel like being productive, I’ll work on a project or two.

Next week, I put my nose back to the grind.

Another brewing labor dispute

One company doesn’t want its employees to smoke during or after hours. Another is not “allowing its employees to gain more than 7% of body weight”:http://www.wral.com/travelgetaways/4210651/detail.html during their employment.

The sixth sense

The existence and nature of a “sixth sense”:http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/node/7036 is all the rage in science right now, ever since someone discovered that none of the “wildlife in a park in Sri Lanka”:http://wildasia.net/main/article.cfm?articleID=169 perished in the recent tsunami catastrophe. (That is not to say they didn’t suffer any deletirious effects as a result of harm to their habitat.) Now, scientists are focusing on the ACC(anterior cingulate cortex) as a possible mechanism for an “early warning response.” The ACC(anterior cingulate cortex) seems to be active during very complex cognitive tasks, such as the assessment of danger. It also spikes during the “oh shit” response.

Essentially, the idea is that the brain takes all subtle environmental cues — windspeed, temperature, vibration, etc. — and assesses danger quickly and perhaps unconsciously. It’s a rather mundane version of the sixth sense, but one that’s often effective.

Generalized placebo effect to be studied

Aside: It seems that an increasing number of entries are falling both under science and inspiration categories (a general term I give to spiritual, self help, and mind over body issues). A lot more scientists are starting to look at the phenomena of mind/body connection and spirituality in a scientific context, especially in health care.

Another example: a team at an Oregon university has been awarded a multi-million dollar grant to look at what they call the “expectancy effect,” which is the portion of a therapeutic response (for either inactive or active therapy) due to what the patient expects. This is one to watch.

Three top pharma performers of the day, according to Yahoo! Finance

“Merck”:http://www.merck.com, “Pfizer”:http://www.pfizer.com, and “Novartis”:http://www.novartis.com have the three largest relative gains in stock prices, at least as of 1:30 pm on Friday, Feb 18. Sounds like the “COX-2 inhibitor meetings”:http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/conditions/02/18/arthritis.drugs.ap/index.html did not go as badly as investors thought.

An intriguing perspective on our health care topic

“The Pope”:http://www.wral.com/health/4211561/detail.html?rss=ral&psp=health has a different viewpoint on healthcare, which I think is worth considering.

Sometimes on the yoga mat, I have to deal with an injury, whether it be a bruised toe, a pulled muscle, or something perhaps even more serious. Rather than be annoyed or even skip my practice, I have to learn to work with that injury and even learn about myself in the process. I was violently ill a few weeks ago, and I took that as an opportunity to learn to focus my mind on my breath, or, if I couldn’t even manage my breath, then on noises around me or, as a last resort, of the feeling in my stomach. I learned a bit about meditation that week, and it helped me through and on into a more healthy period.

The Pope is making the same message on a much greater scale, and I think the world will be better off taking it into consideration.