Thursday, January 29, 2009

HFCS Contains Traces of Hg/Pb - One More Reason to Ditch CORN!

According to this Washington Post article printed yesterday, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains trace amounts of mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb). In two different studies, they found that between one-third and one-half of foods containing HFCS have trace amounts of Hg, the worst culprits being dairy, dressing, and condiments. Almost everything that is processed and non-organic contains HFCS. Look at any label of most "foods" that aren't just food, basically anything you find in the middle sections of the grocery store, rather than the good stuff found around the egdes (ie fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, meat). The real problem is that you don't really know what HFCS foods have Hg and which do not. 

So, you may ask, what's the big deal? Well here is what Wikipedia has to say about mercury and how it damages our bodies. 

"Mercury is such a highly reactive toxic agent that it is difficult to identify its specific mechanism of damage, and much remains unknown about the mechanism.[9] It damages the central nervous systemendocrine systemkidneys, and other organs, and adversely affects the mouth, gums, and teeth. Exposure over long periods of time or heavy exposure to mercury vapor can result in brain damage and ultimately death. Mercury and its compounds are particularly toxic to fetuses and infants. Women who have been exposed to mercury in pregnancy have sometimes given birth to children with serious birth defects (see Minamata disease).

Mercury exposure in young children can have severe neurological consequences, preventing nerve sheaths from forming properly. Mercury inhibits the formation of myelin, the building block protein that forms these sheaths.[10]

There is some evidence that mercury poisoning may predispose to Young's syndrome (men with bronchiectasis and low sperm count).[11]

Mercury poisoning's effects partially depend on whether it has been caused by exposure to elemental mercury, inorganic mercury compounds (as salts), or organomercury compounds."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Going Out with the Gang

Anne and Brian2-liteSmiling in a Bar-lite

On Thursday night we all went out to see some musica. Angie, Ray, Brian, Anne, Liz, and I all climbed into the Volvo and went out for papusas. After we went and got toasty listening to some damn good music.

El Luchador in the Crowd-lite

Brazillian Band-lite

Brazillian Band2-lite

Anne managed to remember this guy from some YouTube Video which I looked up on my iPhone, and we verified her memory!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fluffys Share a Look

Liz making a funny face-lite

I just think their faces are both funny. I tried to crop out Brian’s blue t-shirt, but then the moon is way to the right…not sure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dude Put Away the iPhone

This was from the NYTimes homepage today. Look at the politician behind and to the right of Obama. Look whats in his hand. Dude, seriously, it can wait like 5 minutes. I'm sure that Israel just bombed Iran or some shit, but seriously- 5 minutes isn't going to make much of a difference. This is why I love photojournalism- no changing that photo, it's there. By the way, Jeff and I think that it's either Al Gore or Steny Hoyer (majority leader House of Reps). Either way, tsk tsk gentleman- have some respect. 

Ok, so with all of these Anon. repsonces I had to say something. First thanks to whomever pointed out that it is Paul Pelosi, Nancy's husband. Also, yes, I didn't see the address, I live in California, which means it all got going at 8:30AM my time. I was listening to the entire thing on NPR, but was unable to view it as I was commuting at the time (ie on a train or on my bike). So, no I didn't see the inaguration, unfortuantly, work once again limited my lifestyle choices. 

Now, as a photographer, I have learned that there are times to take pictures, and times when you don't take pictures, because, well, it would be rude. I wouldn't go shoving my camera in a grieving widow's face to get a great picture of grief. Honestly, if it were me, and I were on the center stage, behind the soon to be president of the United States, at a historic moment like this...well I guess I'd put away my camera (especially a crappy cellphone camera), and just try to soak it up. I'd leave the photo taking to the professionals, the photographers all over the place who do amazing work- and leave my iPhone's whomping 2MPs in my pocket.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum

A few days after Christmas we all went to the Legion of Honor Art Museum in the Presideo. Liz is a little tea cup.

Salvador Dali

Some crazy ass Jesus is life and the opposite (or same?) as death...was probably 3-4" high.

Mom and Monet.

The Golden Gate and a ship.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Opening the Garmin 305

This GINORMOUS device is amazing. It is a GPS hooked up to a heart rate monitor. You then download the data to the compy and can map our your workouts, or use it for directions (if desperate or in the bush). I have to say that it has been fun seeing what it can do. 

Today I figured out how to export the data to Google Earth/Maps which is a very nice convenience. I also found some software called SportsTracks that will be very nice to see progress overtime and better mapping. From all reports people say that this can be taken swimming. I'm not sure bout the main device, but the heart rate monitor seem secure (and cheap enough to replace), so maybe I'll try it keeping the main unit safe. 

I thought it'd be fun to post some exercises that I've done over the past few weeks to show what this toy can do, and how different exercises effect your heart rate.

This is from when I went weight lifting on Monday. I'm sore today, but notice that my peak was only 150bpm, and that it was very up and down. You only get a highish heart rate in bursts when lifting the weights, and I wasn't really taking breaks, I was doing sit-ups between sets. 
This is my entire commute. Notice the blue is my speed. I included the train part of the commute out of curiosity. You can clearly see the stops and that it actually goes over 80mph in some sections. I average about 17-18mph while on the bike, and my heart averages in the 160s during the biking sections. The peak at the end is the hill climb up Folsom to Bernal Heights. That big dip in my HR is me waiting at a couple of stop lights. 
This is from a hike that Mom, Liz, Liz's Dad-Tom, and I did a couple of days after Christmas. You can see that I plotted it versus distance rather than time, and I have speed and elevation, but not heart rate. It was a good hike with interesting folks with lots to tell. 

Here is an export to Google Maps of a hike that Liz, Mom, and I did that a posted photos of a few posts ago. It's kinda weird and creepy to see it laid out like this, but as is the way of the future!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marin Headlands Hike

Liz, Mom, and I went for a hike with Liz's parent's hiking group. Tom was there along with all of family friends who meet up once a month to go on a hike. Good times. This is one of the things I've really enjoyed about California, people of all ages get out and do stuff. I don't know when or where my concept of "retirement" became holing up in your house and work on the dent in the Lazy Boy...

I do however know when and where my concept changed. Dave and I were in the Grand Tetons for my first real outdoor experience. I was dying. We just got into the elevation the day before, and I'm out of shape. We are going up to a lake at 8,000 ft, on a relatively easy hike looking back on it, but then, I was really gassing it. On the way up, I see this couple coming from deeper in the mountains, on that trail that sorta looks like a trail, that goes up, all twisty-like. The one you can't go on yet but have aspirations to do so in the near future. From that trail emerges a 60+ year old couple. Both not gray, but white hair, and BOOKIN. I mean BOOKIN. They are cruising out of those mountains with hiking poles and FULL packs. When I mean full, I mean 20-30lbs of tents and poles, sleeping bags and therma-rests, water-filters and food, pots and pans, the whole nine-yards and the kitchen sink. I will never forget them.

Here is a picture of the Tetons because I'm feeling nostalgic.

Along the Bicycle Lines

It seems that bicycling as a form of transportation has been gaining some ground in Congress. There is a bicycle caucus in Congress that is 140+ members strong, and on going. They even approved a bit of that stimulus money to go into an employee rebate program, I don't have the details right now, but I think it's something like $30-40 a month rebate if you can prove you ride as your main form of transit. All of this is because of a guy a named, Earl Blumenauer. From the NYTimes article, Earl is defending bicyclist to the typical breaking the law/hogging the road criticism that comes from motorists: 

"Mr. Blumenauer brushes off this criticism. 'They are burning calories, not fossil fuel, they are taking up much less space, they are seeing the world at 10 miles per hour instead of 20 or 30,” he said. “And even though there are occasionally cranky or rude cyclists, they are no greater a percentage than cranky or rude motorists.' Plus, he added, 'they have really fought for their place on the asphalt.'"

Well said Mr. Congressman!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

From an Obama Speech Today:

"To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced – jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain. 

To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized. This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests. But it just won’t save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs – it will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our health care system. 

To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future." 

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Googlie Eyes

  Brian came home with googlie eyes. He has been spreading them all over the house, and I have to say it makes me chuckle. I thought they could use a pow-wow.

Monday, January 05, 2009

What is Terrorism?

From Wikipedia:

"Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.[1] At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism.[2][3]Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants."

Israel recommensed its bombing of the Gaza Strip. The bombing is aimed at the Palestinian "terrorists" who have been suicide bombing Isreal. Here's the rub, what is "terrorism" and what isn't? In my opinion, if you use the above definition from Wikipedia, I'd argue that Isreal and the United States are both very guilty of acts of terrorism, just as flagrant as the acts of the Palestinians. How is it that remote bombing of a villiage that kills men, women, and children is not considered "terrorism" by either of our governments? How can the other governments of the world allow this bombing to continue? Personally looking at these pictures of children with bleeding heads, and the untargeted bombing done by these rockets sure as hell looks like the same kind of pictures I see when someone blows themselves up in the middle of a town square. Is it the willingness of the "terrorist" to commit suicide that bothers us? If that is the case, then isn't it worse to deny the reality of a soldier in an American army? The reality being that they are out there risking their lives every day, and yes, sure it isn't intentional suicide, but to me there is something more frightening; the concept of random and pointless death. The soldiers in the Israeli and American armies are just as willing to die for their cause as the suicide bomber are, in fact, that's the job discription every soldier has agreed to- either willingly or unwillingly. Sure, many of these men return unscathed, but that concept of the randomness in life and death never really leaves.

Anyway, I just wanted to rant about semantics. Killing is killing- no matter how you do it, especially when innocents die in the process.


I thought that it might be good to end with a quote from the Economist who quotes Israel's deputy chief of staff as saying, "By the time we're finished, there won't be a Hamas building left standing in Gaza."

Sounds a little, oh I don't know, extreme...but I guess only the enemies are the extremists.

{Pictures are from the Associated Press and Getty Images respectively.}

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Post Christmas Madness

     We all woke up the day after Christmas to ten (10) count them, cop cars on my street. They had the policia tape and everything. There was SUV cops and emergency fire trucks, woah. You know its serious when they strategically position the parking officer in the middle of the group of cop cars. That's serious...

     Anyway, the reason they came was because someone on my street attempted suicide. It immediately got me thinking about holidays and suicides and how "everyone knows" that people kill themselves during the holidays right? Well, I thought I’d look up some statistics for the blog here. You know how I love statistics. The first thing to strike my eye when I Googled “holiday suicide statistics” is an article from Psychology Today.

“Suicides drop during the winter months, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and they usually peak during the spring months.”

The holiday suicide increase is a myth. And this is just a coincidence. I love things like this, a little discovery of truth amongst the bullshit.

Christmas Hike with Ma and Liz

My Mom, Liz, and I went for an evening hike after dinner on Christmas. The sun was low and setting and casted some very nice warm evening light on everything. What do you think about the ‘oil’ or ‘paint’ effect in the second image?


Original picture. From my daily Photoblog.

Picture with a high “threshold” (basically sets the “pixel” size, higher threshold means more “real” pixels per “shown” pixel) used to create an oil/painting feel. Does it work?

Panorama of Mt. Tam using something like four images. Look at the lower right corner of the mountain, there is a little sun dog rainbow.

Hosted by Flickr (legal thing)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas with Me Ma

This year Mom came out for Christmas and my birthday/New Years. This is in part why I have been so inactive on the blog here, we’ve been running around busy, and vacation is time for getting out and about! Tomorrow we are going to the Academy of Sciences which was totally renovated recently with some very interesting exhibits. I’m excited. These are some pictures from the past week.

Christmas evening sunset hike on Liz’s parent’s hill behind their house.

“The Look”

Mom and Liz hanging on top of Bernal as the fog rolled in.

 Hosted by Flickr (legal thing)