March 7, 2009
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From this morning’s Baltimore Sun:

Delegate’s personal plea for death penalty

Why he thinks the death penalty should be continued:
“I think God has given us leeway to decide things like that,” the delegate said.

I don’t know what to say — except people that truly think things like this this should not be in positions of power. I am becoming increasingly disgusted with Americans who continue to think this way and spout violent dribble like this. That’s all for now.


Posted in Death, Law, Maryland

The red bull of it all

March 7, 2009
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A simple mess is what I reduce down to. Any one of the parts alone — my ambitions, my room, my city, my faith in my friends, my interests, are all an unappealing exercise in dilettantism when looked at in their own light. So I try not to look at the things alone, and when I don’t I find more things to add to my collection of jumble. Too unwieldy I fear is what I’ve become. I’ll need a larger container or I shall soon explode.

An amusing gimmick

March 6, 2009
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An amusing gimmick indeed. I’ve been rolling over from side to side tonight, consternation growing on its own accord. I assume the consternation is upset about the prospect of dealing with the other parts of my conscious when I have to wake up tomorrow, shower, groom, locate something suitably clean to wear, something suitably shocking to wear, something suitably unstable to wear, locate the keys (which unironically, and uncannily too frequently, is the longest part of the morning ritual) and head to class. Class time will be wonderous, a gauntlet of veritable ideas and rituals designed to abolish any iota of extant daily happiness quotient that is left inside.

Why is the Pope frontpage?

April 18, 2008
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I am so tired of the Pope being all everywhere, all over the news, it is things like this that make me want to watch Laguna Beach (which I cannot comprehend) instead of MSNBC. I really don’t care that he’s meeting with victims of the priest abuse. I don’t care about his plane coming to Andrew’s Air Force Base. I would really like for him to leave, or at least trade places with me.

Whine, whine, whine, stomp stomp stomp.

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Baltimore is trying to b hip

April 17, 2008
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Yuk yuk yuk. I crack myself up.

Anyway, the other day I was on Fark, reading that insanity about Mayor Dixon possibly not being the mayor on account of her not having the correct documents signed (that’s another post).

I read about it on the Baltimore Sun’s new free magazine which targeted to 18-34 year olds,

The first thing I thought about as I began to read the article was to look at the picture of Ms. Lori Barrett, the journalist who wrote the article, the journalist who is a cutie and my new favorite local mini-celebrity, the journalist who seems to be doing a lot of the initial writing for the site.

Those initial testosterone-driven thoughts activated my ambition and I thought, I should get back to blogging more reguarly. So here I am, and Ms. Barrett, would you like to go out on a date?

I have yet to plumb through bthesite, but it does fill the hole that I’ve had in my heart ever since I left the D.C. area, which had plenty of local blogging and the DCist, one of my favorites. I admit, I am still a newb to the scene, but I want to deeply love Baltimore, maybe will help. The Wire has given me oodles of skepticism reserved for the Sun and any of its derivatives. I’ll give it a fair and unbiased try.

There’s already plenty of competition here, with Express, Urbanite, and City Paper. However, the more competetive the free information market, the better for everyone. Urbanite is too full of ads, and the writing that gets in their distribution always aggravates me. I don’t have full opinons on the others yet…

What salt will do to you

February 2, 2008
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So if you do not know why or believe that excessive salt intake is a major cause for hypertension, this is your opportunity to embrace this wonderful goblet of information.

Salt Lick Picture

Currently our wonderful government has set the recommended daily allowance of salt at 1.5 g to 2.4 g a day. To be kind to you, most food labels regard the 2.4 g as the gold standard, and when you’re eating, that’s the limit they’re trying to get you to reach.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet takes in over 4-10 g of sodium a day. That’s a bad thing because our kidneys are not designed to excrete sodium, and when there is a lot of it, things go wrong, how? Follow me down a yellow brick road.

1. You eat too much sodium. No really, you did. Check the label.

2. Kidneys say, “we’ve hit the jackpot!” Kidneys do their best to take it all in.

3. Due to osmotic effects from the increased sodium reabsorption, the plasma volume increases.

4. This increases endogenous ouabain, which is a hormone that regulates how much sodium your body’s cells will take in.

5. Due to the increase in ouabain, your cells (Na-K pump) decide to work overtime to bring the sodium into the cells.

6. Since the cells have so much sodium, some other parts of the cell decide that they’ve had enough, and they eject sodium out, and bring in calcium. (NCX)

7. Now that the calcium levels within your cells start to get very high, and this actually happens all of the time, when your muscles contract. But since this is really due to too much salt intake, it’s bad.

8. The calcium signals for increased vascular tone and contractility (strength of muscle contractions)

9. This increases your blood pressure.

10. Stroke or heart attack. Death.

Posted in Health, Nutrition

Fat in Baltimore

November 24, 2007
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It was wonderfully crisp outside today, these past few days (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Recovery Saturday) have sort of ushered in the holiday season. I am not really into Christmas decorations, and I think the reason is because I believe that are too much work for what they are worth. Is that laziness or does this show some kind of intelligence for not being easily entertained by patterns of light?

So anyway, this season leads to tremendous amounts of eating, and I am making a concerted effort to control the amount of food going down my gullet. I broke my self-imposed calorie limit of 1,596 today because I was tricked into going to California Pizza Kitchen in the inner harbor. It’s okay though, I am within the healthy range of the much disputed BMI, even though I still feel fat. I want to reach the lower end of the BMI, so I’ve been exercising and controlling the amount of food that I eat. Don’t want Type II, cardiovascular problems, or cancer.

So even if I am not considered obese, 25.8% of the residents in Baltimore are obese, and we are tied for 13th with Nashville. Forbes discusses what each city is trying to do to curb their high levels of obesity, which again, to be fair, are based off of being above a BMI of 30. And we’ve all heard about BMI’s failure to discriminate healthy individuals from morbidly obese ones.

Issues like safety, poverty and food access have contributed to the obesity rate in Baltimore, which edged to 25.8% last year, a slight increase from 2005. Various groups, including the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance and the Baltimore Neighborhood Research Consortium, are leading efforts to understand what aspects of neighborhood planning best contribute to healthy communities.

Well, at least there is a program. I am starting to respect Baltimore more for at least trying to do something (hooray). If you’re out by the Beltway, you do not really hear about the efforts Baltimore is making to turn around. It is stunning how little the public knows about nutrition and exercise, but I am not so surprised since even people with terminal degrees in their fields can not know a single thing about what they are supposed to put in their bodies. Other cities are implementing programs, and one part of L.A. is even going as far to limit the number of restaurants in a certain area to stem the tide of obesity. I do not think that this plan will work very well since L.A. is the prime example of unwalkability — people will just drive a couple of minutes further to get the specific type of life-threatening meal that they desire, the trick is to educate them enough so they feel guilty about frequenting such places.

Posted in Baltimore, Maryland
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PG County is fashionably ushering in a new era of public health

November 19, 2007
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“The goal is to get the kids in school”

So in D.C.’s backyard, Prince George’s County, my birthplace, there was some controversy after a circuit court judge sent a letter to the parents of 2,300 children demanding that they they produce records that their children have been vaccinated or face fines and up to ten days in jail.

This is not like this is Gardasil (the HPV vaccine) in which (unfortunately) parents in the United States believe that it will give their daughters license to fuck at will. It’s chickenpox and Hepatitis B. People trying to ride on the public immunity that the rest of the public has from actually getting vaccinations are endangering their children. How? For instance, if they contract chickenpox as an adult which is much more likely to cause complications, or somehow contract hepatitis B — whether from intravenous drug use or having sex with someone who is infected. These people are afraid of something where the risk of harm is extremely low.

People have been confusedly blubbering and complaining, “where in the constitution does it say you can force a needle in my poor child’s arm?” Methinks it’s the 10th amendment, and maybe a small treatise of laws regarding public health –IANAL so do not quote me on that. I doubt that most of the parents are anti-vaccinationists. The Washington Post had another article yesterday detailing Saturday’s mad rush to the courthouse to get vaccinations or show proof that their children had already obtained them. It seems that much of the cause of frustration was the paperwork. Parents felt like they were being accused of poor parenting, the works. Whatever the case, they reduced the number of unvaccinated students to 939 — a big improvement. I vote yea to this scare tactic. Now that PG’s got the students in their chickenpox and Hep B free schools, the county should be obligated to do better work in educating these students. We do not have a vaccine for poor SAT scores and high dropout rates.

Inhaled Insulin

November 19, 2007
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The New York Times has an article about Alfred E. Mann, a billionaire who has a lot of money to spend, but he’s spending it on something I think is worthwhile. Pfizer created an inhalable insulin drug called Exubura and put it on the market earlier this year. On October 18th of this year, they decided to pull it off the market, because in their words from their website:

“This decision was not based on any safety problems with Exubera. Exubera is a safe an effective medicine and the feedback we had from Exubera patients has been very ositivy. However, Pfizer has made this decision because too few patients are taking Exubera and, since there are other medicines available that lower blood sugar, Pfizer will stop providing Exubera.”

So this is unfortunate, Pfizer looking to make money as blatantly as this. However, Mr. Mann is investing in his own pharamaceutical company in the hope that they can design a better inhaled insulin drug, they’re calling it Technosphere Insulin. Unfortunately, that sounds like something out of the 80’s.

Type I diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset), the diabetes in which insulin needs to be injected two or more times over the course of a day, needs higher amounts of insulin, due to the pancreas shutting down. Pfizer’s Exubera worked pretty well with Type II diabetes (formerly called advanced-age onset), which is where the pancreas still makes an adequate amount of insulin butthe cells of the body have developed a resistance to it. Perhaps Technosphere Insulin can do a better job. Mann’s company, MannKind, claims that it works more quickly than previous products.

One of my friends is worried that her father is going to develop complications from his Type II diabetes because he fails to stay compliant with his treatment, and with good reason. Non-compliance is one of the biggest current problems with diabetes, with potential complications leading to coma, blindness, amputations and death. Many of the patients hate the management aspect of the disease: the daily pricks on the finger, the worrying about what you’ll eat, any perceived stigma about being diabetic. Unfortunately, the risk of developing complications seems to be tied to income and educational level. More has to be done to educate the general public about it, and I’ll be going on several rants about it

Lecturer’s License

November 15, 2007
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The best answer in the world is I don’t know.

So many questions in the world are safely answered by I don’t know. Safely does not equal satisfactorily, especially to intelligent human beings.

Philosophically, we don’t have the greatest idea about things that may currently seem so commonplace. For example, the chemical bond. With current methods, we can’t actually visualize them. Thanks to Linus Pauling’s calculations we can predict them. And math usually does an excellent job of telling us what’s going to happen, to a first approximation.


In a lecture the other day about protein structure, the lecturer railed against Pauling’s later stages of quackery, but failed to mention the incalculable number of contributions to nearly every conceivable scientific field that he was able to make over his short (90+ years) life.

Now these medical students who take everything these professors say to heart will now associate quackery with Pauling. They’ll “know” that Pauling wasn’t helpful.

How much do we know because of him? A lot. Just because he went overboard with Vitamin C’s efficacy and potential use doesn’t disqualify everything that he did beforehand. In general, this is the reason why people should try to present the complete picture, especially with facts. Things that are known, whether about human beings or science can be misconstrued far too easily with just the correct wording. We should be left to form our own conclusions. Please allow your listeners this pleasure if you have the gift of informing people (Except with politics, do whatever you want, ad hominem, accusations of adultery — that’s a different game).

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