Category: Musings

Health Warnings

Friday the 13th. Time to consider all the things that are killing you.

For example, are you reading this while sitting down? Well, stop it. (I mean the sitting down part. Obviously, you should keep reading.) According to a recent study, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Sitting down for more than three hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by two years….”

(The WSJ article was entitled “Sitting for Park Bench CropMore Than Three Hours a Day Cuts Life Expectancy.”  MSNBC’s item on the same report was Sit fewer than 3  hours a day, add 2 years to your life, study says. The glass is always half full on TV.)

The thing is, three hours is not a lot. Sitting down to eat three times a day and driving to and from work (heaven forbid you should be riding instead of driving) probably uses up most of your daily quota. If you then absent-mindedly get absorbed in a waiting-room magazine you are a goner.

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Unsafe America

mcdonaldsfriesfront1 Last Friday in June. Time to clean out the queue of news stories.

Sleeping at the Airport

The TSA has fired eight of its screeners at Newark Airport “after they were captured by surveillance cameras sleeping or violating other standards.”

I have never thought that TSA screeners were the sharpest knives in the drawer, but this makes me wonder. Did they not know that their workplace was under video surveillance? You would think they would be familiar with airport security measures. Or perhaps they assumed that their colleague monitoring the video would be asleep too.

In what is apparently a separate incident, the Newark Star-Ledger

reports the TSA also is looking into photographs of screening supervisors who appear to be sleeping in front of monitors used for detecting explosives and other threats.

Two of the supervisors say they were not working at the time the photos were taken.


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Teenagers on a Plane

15-year-old Jacksonville, Florida resident Bridget Brown was bored. That happens. It’s August and she’s 15.

She had been saving money for a car, but then a better idea came to her.Airport Crop Why not make a daytrip to Dollywood with her little brother and a friend, aged 13 and 11, respectively. I think we’d all agree that she’d be better off with the car. And it would have been a good idea to discuss it with her parents first. She didn’t.

Bridget grabbed her cash, called a cab, and headed for the airport with boys in tow. Once there she bought three round-trip tickets to Nashville. They went through security without ID, which is allowed if you are under 18.

Once in Nashville, the trio was confronted with the minor detail that Dollywood was still 200 miles away. (Flying to Knoxville would have been a better choice.) Without an obvious way to get there, they panicked and called home. Not that clever, but hey, she’s 15.

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Random Round-Up

It’s time for one of my periodic post-topic cop outs, in which I string together a collection of little things I want to bring up because I can’t think of a topic worthy of an entire post.


I’ll start with a link. Promise you’ll come back afterward.

Best headline ever.

And another:

Much worse than confusing adverse with averse.

Man Sentenced to Poker

I generally like the law. But sometimes professionals in that field, lawyers and judges, can spend so much time concentrating on the minutiae that they lose sight of the big picture. They make one tiny logical step after another until they get lost in the forest they couldn’t see for the trees.

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The Facebook Thing

FB Logo How old am I? So old that when someone says Facebook I still think of what was colloquially called The Facebook, the hard-bound directory of Harvard’s incoming class, so vital in laying the groundwork for your future cabal to control the world. The website was named after it. I find myself now wondering a) does Harvard still print it and b) if so, what do the kids call it now?

Some time ago, I made the decision to rise above such faddish things and not join. What’s the point of having a computer and going on-line if you are just going to use it to interact with other people? If I wanted to do that, I could do it in real life.

But I think I may have miscalculated. I had no idea just how pervasive Facebook would become. Two days ago, Facebook announced it had 500 million active users. That is a number so large it is difficult to put it in context. The planet contains, allegedly, 1.8 billion internet users, so Facebook has now roped in 28% of them. At the current rate of growth, 10% a month, they should have everybody around September 2011.

I plan to sign up for an account then. Because I am the last person on Earth who would join Facebook.

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