Anybody wanna buy a truck?

In followup to previous posts, we have a 1998 Toyota Tacoma 4WD to unload. We love the truck, but, as noted before, it no longer serves our needs. Contact info at the link, or click my name at the bottom of this post if you’re interested.

Welcome to the Random John news magazine

“Random John”: is “no longer a blog”: It is now a web-based news magazine. Starting with this _article_, I no longer write _entries_. You may no longer _comment_, but you may post in the article-specific _forums_. To commemorate this reincarnation of Random John, I’ll simply write the seminal article, and retroactively declare all entities known as “blog entries” as “articles.”

The Dalai Lama and mind research

I knew the Dalai Lama was supportive in research on consciousness, but I didn’t know he was “this involved”:,00000001381,0,0,1,0.

Cold feet — how to do it

The parents of a bride who called off her wedding were still stuck with a big bill for renting a country club for the reception. So they threw a big bash anyway, and “invited the needy”:

I need some popcorn

Tonight, only on pay per view, it’s pharmaceutical chemist Derek Lowe vs. Outreach 2K president William Burke on “vaccines”:!

Unfortunately, I can’t play spectator in this sport because I have children. They have to be vaccinated against certain things before they enter school.

The good news is that there is a definitive statement on the effects — good and ill — of vaccines. The bad news is that there is more than one definitive statement, and those statements are contradictory. Just like the medical advice I receive for my child.

However, there are some things we do know about vaccines and how they apply to the Western world:
* polio is no longer a problem
* smallpox, one of the world’s deadliest diseases, has been eradicated
* flu epidemics are no longer the fearsome massively lethal plagues they once were[1]
* most communicable childhood diseases are no longer feared as they once were

fn1. However, the way our health departments have been handling flu and flu vaccines lately, I’m afraid we’re going to get walloped. They keep “predicting” a horrible flu season which doesn’t pan out, including the imbroglio with the vaccine shortage last year. People are going to stop listening to shrill health departments, so I hope they (all they way up to CDC(Centers for Disease Control)) get their act together.

What are the downsides of vaccines? We don’t know, and as Burke indirectly points out, Western medicine has kept its head in the sand about it. We’ve flogged the thimerosol horse quite enough, and we’re phasing it out nonetheless. Let’s get some honest evaluation of vaccines, because the data I’ve read tell me they’ve added more years to people’s lives than treating diseases.

Vehicle purchase: followup

Recently I posted a question about the best car. Then, I was planning to replace my Saturn SL2. However, I’ve decided to keep the SL2 and replace my Toyota Tacoma (pick-em-up truck) with a Toyota Siena (minivan). The reasons for doing this are as follows:
* I’m going to drive the SL2 (35-40 mpg) to work each day, instead of a Tacoma (~22 mpg).
* Our family is expanding, and a car probably won’t do the job any more unless it was a behemoth like a Ford LTD Crown Victoria (which I’m not going to buy). A minivan is more appropriate, and will be much more pleasant on car trips.
* The Siena gets 26+ mpg, marginally better than the Tacoma but my wife drives fewer miles than I do.
* We found a really good deal on a 2002 Siena.

Religious intolerance in the military and Gitmo

Are the incidents of Koran desecration at Gitmo accidental, isolated events perpetrated by the lower ranks? Not really, says Michael Wolfe (Western Muslim) when you look at the “religious context in the military”: