31 January 2011

Is Wikimedia Dumbing Down the Idiocracy?


Several areas of commerce, enterprise, and science remain the province of mainly-male participation. Physics, mathematics, advanced computer science, technical engineering, math-intensive sciences, aircraft test pilots and combat pilots, commercial sea captains, and so on. Most informed people understand that research is dominated by males, but few people realise that technical information intensive areas -- such as highly demanding reference information providers -- are also dominated by males. A lot of politically involved feminists would like to change that situation, but is there a danger in moving too forcefully from the top down when changes may adversely affect critically important services?
...surveys suggest that less than 15 percent of [Wikipedia's] hundreds of thousands of contributors are women.

About a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s, according to the study by a joint center of the United Nations University and Maastricht University.

...The notion that a collaborative, written project open to all is so skewed to men may be surprising. After all, there is no male-dominated executive team favoring men over women, as there can be in the corporate world; Wikipedia is not a software project, but more a writing experiment — an “exquisite corpse,” or game where each player adds to a larger work.

...The public is increasingly going to Wikipedia as a research source: According to a recent Pew survey, the percentage of all American adults who use the site to look for information increased to 42 percent in May 2010, from 25 percent in February 2007. This translates to 53 percent of adults who regularly use the Internet.

Jane Margolis, co-author of a book on sexism in computer science, “Unlocking the Clubhouse,” argues that Wikipedia is experiencing the same problems of the offline world, where women are less willing to assert their opinions in public. “In almost every space, who are the authorities, the politicians, writers for op-ed pages?” said Ms. Margolis, a senior researcher at the Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at the University of California, Los Angeles.

...Ms. Gardner said that for now she was trying to use subtle persuasion and outreach through her foundation to welcome all newcomers to Wikipedia, rather than advocate for women-specific remedies like recruitment or quotas.

“Gender is a huge hot-button issue for lots of people who feel strongly about it,” she said. “I am not interested in triggering those strong feelings.”

Kat Walsh, a policy analyst and longtime Wikipedia contributor who was elected to the Wikimedia board, agreed that indirect initiatives would cause less unease in the Wikipedia community than more overt efforts.

But she acknowledged the hurdles: “The big problem is that the current Wikipedia community is what came about by letting things develop naturally — trying to influence it in another direction is no longer the easiest path, and requires conscious effort to change.” _NYT
The Wikipedia world is indeed a rough and tumble world of competitive edits and re-writes. If a person cannot withstand criticism and competition, they will not likely last long in that world.

The male hormone testosterone shapes the human brain in multiple ways not yet fully comprehended by science or society at large. Much of what science has learned about the influence of hormones such as testosterone on the gender differences so prevalent in society, is considered not politically correct -- and thus essentially unmentionable in left-leaning tabloids such as the New York Times, quoted above. Testosterone makes males more interested in objects than people, more competitive, have generally superior spatial and higher math skills, physically larger and stronger with greater stamina, tending to greater independence, and generally more logically determined and less emotional in the face of distractions.

Charles Murray's fascinating book, Human Accomplishment, provides a historical reflection of the phenomenon that Wikimedia's executives and critics are struggling with. Males have tended to achieve the lion's share of discoveries, inventions, and masterpieces of art, music, and literature as far back as history can tell.

A population shrinkage is occurring among the more intelligent people of the world -- Europeans and Northeast Asians -- while an explosive growth of population is occurring among the less intelligent people of the world. The average intelligence of the human population is inexorably dropping from near 90 points of IQ, downward -- close to the mid-80s and below. That qualifies as an Idiocracy.

In order to dumb down the Idiocracy, one must institute foolish rules of arbitrary and counter-productive governance, while educating the populace to accept dumbed-down groupthink rather than to think for themselves. It is easier than you might think. What Wikimedia is contemplating -- and what many western governments have done, and called affirmative action -- is an excellent example.

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Islamic Fertility: Far from Fading

More 4 Feb 2011: Dennis Mangan looks at this issue and receives many comments, including a thought-provoking comment from "Albert" who claims to be a US government diplomatic employee in Europe. Most of Dennis' commenters feel that the Pew numbers were understated -- not including illegal immigrants who may in some countries be as large in number as legal declared immigrants. Another valid point made is that although problems with crime and hostility are significant due to the rapid expansion if Muslim immigrants, perhaps a greater problem being ignored -- in terms of crime -- is legal and illegal immigration into Europe from Subsaharan Africa, whether Muslim or not.
“The Future of the Global Muslim Population”, produced by the Pew Research Centre, a non-profit outfit based in Washington, DC, reckons Muslim numbers will soar....by 2030....from 23.4% to 26.4% of the global total. _Economist
Since most of the Muslims in Europe and Canada will be concentrated into large cities such as London, Paris, Toronto, Hamburg etc., their influence will be greater on the nation at large. Muslims are a particularly vocal and visible population, exerting an influence on civil and political affairs far out of proportion to their actual numbers or percentage of population.
THE number of Muslims in Australia will grow four times more quickly than non-Muslims over the next 20 years as the continued instability in developing Islamic countries in Southeast Asia drives migrants and refugees to these shores.

A major new study by the US-based Pew Research Centre has forecast a global surge in the Muslim population, with Australia and New Zealand among the nations expected to see the biggest rises.

In Australia, the Muslim community will grow from about 399,000 to 714,000 by 2030, an increase of 80 per cent.

In that time the non-Muslim population will increase by about 18 per cent.

This trend is even more dramatic in New Zealand, where there will be a 150 per cent rise in residents who adhere to Islam. _TheAustralian
Australia and New Zealand are nations with relatively low populations. Both nations are beginning to see adverse affects from the growing numbers of newcomers bringing cultures which can clash badly with the majority -- sometimes violently. Schools, city streets, and prisons from Europe to Canada to Oceania will feel the growing swell of hostility and violence.
... in 2030 Britain will have a Muslim population of 5.5 million people, roughly 8.2 per cent of the total population.

That’s hardly Eurabia, I hear some saying. But that figure will not be spread evenly across the UK. By that stage Oldham, Bradford, Blackburn and Burnley, and possibly Birmingham, may well be Muslim-majority towns. What will race relations be like in those places, I wonder? _Telegraph
As Muslim populations concentrate in particular towns, the ability of individual Muslims within these zones of control to assimilate to the host country will be lost. Instead, growing ghettos of tribal and religious intolerance will be imported from the old countries, and there will be no safety for anyone who thinks or acts outside the narrow rules of the religious tribe.

Think in terms of multiple "no-go zones" run by local Taliban, Hamas, or Hizbollah equivalent gangs. Think of Beirut, Gaza, Baghdad, and the other perpetual hot spots of violence fueled by the endemic violence and intolerance of Islamic culture.
As poor migrants start families in Spain and Italy, numbers there will rocket; in France and Germany, where some Muslims are middle-class, rises will be more modest—though from a higher base. Russia’s Muslims will increase to 14.4% or 18.6m, up from 11.7% now (partly because non-Muslims are declining). The report takes a cautious baseline of 2.6m American Muslims in 2010, but predicts the number will surge by 2030 to 6.2m, or 1.7% of the population—about the same size as Jews or Episcopalians. In Canada the Muslim share will surge from 2.8% to 6.6%.

How will liberal democracies accommodate such variety? The clarity of a written constitution may give America an advantage over many European countries, where unwritten custom has more sway. Jonathan Laurence, an Islam-watcher and professor at Boston College, thinks Europe could rise to the challenge, but failure is also easy to imagine. _Economist
It is best not to think of Europe as a monolithic entity in this case. Clearly, some nations will fall to the human tide of tribalist primitivism, and some nations will assert their right of self-determination. It will depend upon the toughness of the indigenous Europeans within each country.

Some cities in France, Sweden, and the Netherlands are as good as overrun. As noted earlier, Muslims do not need to be in the majority to dominate over more passive, less assertive Europeans. They merely need to be positioned to intimidate a weak government -- first in cities and provinces, then national capitals, then the nation at large.

The borders of Islam are bloody around the world, from Africa to Asia and increasingly inside Europe itself. The hostile and intolerant folkways of Islam are entirely portable, capable of establishing themselves inside entirely foreign cultures -- creating completely new bloody borders at every turn.

If Pakistanis, Egyptians, Yemenis, Iraqis, etc. cannot maintain order within their own boundaries, how can one expect much weaker and more tolerant European governments to deal with these primitive violent tribal cultures?

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30 January 2011

A Public Service Announcement from President Obama

My Fellow Americans:

I am very aware of the pain that many of you are feeling, with no jobs, no income, no health insurance. My administration is doing everything it can to help the economy recover from the Bush years. Some recent job openings have come to my attention while I was watching news coverage for next week's SuperBowl in Texas. It seems that thousands of people are needed for high paying jobs as "prole dancers" in the Dallas - Ft. Worth area over the next several days.

I had never heard of prole dancing before, but it seems clear that it involves some form of rhythmic movement set to music, performed by white trailer trash performers -- a group currently suffering particularly high unemployment.

After researching the topic on the internet, I can see that I was correct. It looks quite easy to do, and there are many tutorials available on the internet. Here is one:
Michelle has informed me that prole dancing can also be used as a workout program, for losing weight and gaining fitness. That is most fortunate, since one sees far too many fat proles walking the streets these days. Disgusting.

Here is more information about the use of prole dancing as a fitness tool:
Thank you for your attention. And I hope this will put an end to all of the accusations against this administration, that it doesn't care about proles or white trailer trash. Because we certainly do, and this announcement is proof of it.

Eh? What's that Rahm? You say it's called "pole dancing", not "prole dancing?" Anyone can do it -- not just trailer trash? Oh. Well, then. Never mind.

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29 January 2011

If You Think You Know, Understand, or "Get It", You Probably Don't

If you think you have a solution to the problem of consciousness, you haven't understood the problem. _Susan Blackmore, Consciousness (An Introduction)
The human mind hates to be wrong. But it hates uncertainty even more. The end result of any particular struggle between the "fear of being wrong" and the "fear of not knowing" cannot be predicted -- but in the long run people tend to "take sides" in the face of uncertainty.
Inside the brain of every human, sits a little person who is watching the ongoing theatre of his life. Well, that's one way of looking at it anyway. It makes sense in a simple-minded way, as long as you understand the theatre analogy. Otherwise you might find a similarly simple-minded analogy to help you "understand."
One problem with "being on the inside looking out", is that you will certainly see yourself out there -- even though you may not realise that is what you are seeing. When faced with gaps or ambiguities, the mind has a way of painting them over or filling them in. The world makes sense to us because we prefer it that way -- not because we actually understand what is happening.
When one says "a picture paints a thousand words," he is not strictly accurate. Pictures express thoughts which words cannot possibly express. Music, movement, and touch can also easily outrun the capacity of verbal language.

But reality is incomprehensible in any form of expression or human comprehension. We really do not understand the present and cannot predict the future in any meaningful way -- and that bugs the crap out of us. So we make things up. We pretend we understand what is happening, and that we know what will happen in the future. It makes us feel better to do that.

We have found ways to deal with uncertainty in certain parts of our lives. We may have faith that a power greater than ourselves is watching out for us, is balancing the bad with the good, making everything turn out right in the end. Or we may think that everything is going to hell, and that nothing and no one can help. Either way, we are compensating for our lack of knowledge and understanding -- attempting to replace uncertainty with certainty.

A Panglossian utopian is utilising the same compensatory mechanisms as a catastrophist doomer, when imagining the future. Whether a religionist or an atheist, the same mental processes are constantly at work conjuring up an acceptable future -- even if it is a future of doom.

Part of the reason that people who believe themselves terminally ill sometimes commit suicide, is to remove the uncertainty of when they are going to die. Similarly, doomers and apocalyptics of the dieoff.orgy persuasion often pursue policies which will bring about the very doom they claim to be warning against.

Peak oil doomers, for example, often lobby against the mining of coal, oil & gas drilling, nuclear energy, oil sands, and other alternative fuels and energies -- seemingly unaware that their political activism is making their peak oil predictions into self-fulfilling prophecies. In such a case, they are taking a strong predictive stand, then taking subsequent actions to help assure the accuracy of their prediction. Sadly, everyone will suffer if they are right, but it is very important to them, so they persist.

Humans are irrational, and they will have their religion -- regardless of their denials of faith.

As for you, dear reader, look to the essential core. Emphasise competence for yourself and those around you. Expect things to go wrong from time to time and be prepared. Expect the unexpected. Embrace uncertainty, and turn it to serendipity. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

And although it is almost certainly futile in the long run, never stop trying to understand. ;-)

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Peak Oil Keeps Slipping, Slipping.....Into the Future...

Important Note 3 Feb 2011: The author of the article quoted below is Jeremy Bowden, a writer and analyst who specialises in energy and other topics.
“The estimates for how much oil there is in the world continue to increase,” according to William M Colton, Exxon Mobil’s vice president for corporate strategic planning. “There’s enough oil to supply the world’s needs as far as anyone can see.” Just as prices rose sharply and peak oil concerns re-emerged, huge deep water oil fields were found off the coasts of Brazil and Africa. Higher prices also stimulated “unconventional” oil production from massive Canadian oil sands projects, which now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In 2009, the United States increased domestic oil production for the first time in decades. _Source
Image Source

Much of the fashionable panic surrounding "peak oil DOOM!" is reminiscent of the catastrophic circus that surrounded Y2K. While it is true that the Y2K problem required the attention and effort of thousands of professionals to solve, the same thing is obviously true for the problem of providing ongoing energy supplies in the face of rising global populations and expectations. Maintaining reliable energy supplies is an ongoing problem which is solvable as appropriate effort is applied.
...at least one positive development has resulted from the sharp rise in oil prices of recent years. The influx of capital to oil companies from high prices, combined with expectations that prices are unlikely to fall very far, has boosted investment in oil exploration and production, especially in what the industry terms “frontier” areas – namely enhanced oil recovery (more oil from existing fields), the deep (or ultra-deep) water and the Arctic. Massive new reserves have been identified, proven up, and brought to production – whilst reserves previously considered impossible to reach are now no more than a horizontal drilling or steam injection technique away. All this should help ensure supply can meet global demand for far longer than was expected just a few years ago – pushing back the oft-cited “peak oil” date by decades.

...most of this newly-discovered potential avoids the above-ground risks and cartel policies that constrain oil production in most of the world’s largest proven deposits – the bulk of which lie in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), or are controlled by national oil companies in central Asia and Russia. It is the technical expertise and project management skills of the most dynamic multinational and independent oil companies that hold the key to these new hard-to-get-at reserves, rather than the whims of Arab dictators or the level of OPEC budget deficits. A similar, but even more dramatic change has taken place with gas, where new techniques mean huge “tight” gas deposits present in many rocks are now recoverable. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently estimated that natural gas reserves could last twice as long as previously expected – up to 250 years.

...Some experts claim enhanced oil recovery (EOR) could potentially double the amount of oil that can be extracted globally. Most fields only recover just over a half of the original oil in place and sometimes less than a third. With modern techniques field development should be able to extract a far higher proportion of the oil, while more and more oil can be made recoverable from existing wells.

...Faced with falling reserves and barred from acquiring fresh production in areas such as the Middle East, international oil majors began to search for new large deposits in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the 1990s – on the back of a proven drilling record in shallower Gulf areas, and in the North Sea. Exploration and drilling below 10,000ft of water and through miles of hard rock, thick salt and tightly-packed sands required the development of supercomputers and three-dimensional imaging techniques as well as equipment that could withstand the heat and pressures common at such depths, not to mention submarine robots to make repairs.

That technology is now available to drill in other areas such as the Arctic and elsewhere...Similar advances in technology have opened up huge unconventional oil shale resources in Canada. ...the Bakken shale field is now the country’s fastest-growing major oil field [in the US]. Production has reached about 350,000bpd, from 100,000bpd a decade ago. In a recent report, consultancy firm PFC Energy projected production would climb to 450,000bpd by 2013. _Industrial Fuels and Power

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil forecasts that by 2030, gas will surpass coal as an energy source.

Many analysts are expecting a lot of new oil supplies from multiple locations around the globe.

Clever technologists are finding ways to make every barrel of oil go that much further. This is true in many ways, not just in terms of improved efficiency at the consumer level.

The concept of "peak oil" is heavily dependent upon unknown factors which could change at any time. Only a fool would maintain a posture of predictive certainty in that atmosphere of uncertainy and rapid change.

This article is excerpted from an earlier article published at Al Fin Energy

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28 January 2011

Why Are Carbon Hysterics Going Cuckoo Trying to Explain A Cold and Snowy Winter as Another Sign of Climate Catastrophe?

Willis Eschenbach WUWT

It looks as if the January 2011 global temperature anomaly may be a full degree Fahrenheit below "average." And the brutal winter snow assaults against North America and Europe are probably not over yet. It was winter in the Northern Hemisphere the last time I checked, so why are carbon hysterics going out of their minds trying to explain cold and snow as a sign of catastrophic global warming?!!?

Willis Eschenbach takes a look at some of the mathematical prestidigitation upon which the global enterprise of climate catastrophism rests, and begins to suspect that the catastrophists are stuck in a dark, airless compartment of their own construction. In other words, the mathematically modeled construction of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) finds itself "locked in." It has no choice but to continue to argue -- more and more frantically as believed necessary -- that the construct is the only possible valid way to view the climate.

Certainly many of the superstars of climate catastrophe are finding themselves being discredited by ClimateGate and any number of other ongoing discoveries of dishonest, dishonourable, and unscientific shenannigans that have been perpetrated by the IPCC's first team players -- in the attempt to keep the bandwagon of CAGW orthodoxy from crashing and burning entirely.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the highly politicised IPCC tunnel of obfuscation. Alternative means of publication are springing up for honest climate researchers, far out of the reach of the carbon hysteric overlords and overseers. Even President Doombama Obama of the USA neglected to mention climate change or promote carbon trading in his most recent State of the Union address to the nation.

The future will demand the best and most honest efforts from science, technology, economics, and politics, which the human species can produce. This is no time to get stuck in a blind box and go cuckoo.

More 29Jan11: Did government agencies lie about 2010 being the "warmest year ever?"

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The Nuclear Power Debate

A TED Talks debate between the grand old man of true environmentalism -- Stewart Brand -- and a young but ditzy-green Stanford professor -- Mark Jacobson. An interesting look at how a TED audience reacts to the basic ideas in the debate. Make up your own mind.

A comparison of two countries who took different paths toward the goal of cleaner energy. Remember: When you come to the fork in the road, take it.

Anyone who has read Ted Rockwell's PDF on nuclear energy, John Droz' Wind Energy Facts, and Without Hot Air by David MacKay, is ready to make the decision between the "feel-good" trendy renewables -- wind and solar -- and the no-nonsense, thousands of years sustainable at full capacity -- nuclear energy.

In my experience, Mark Jacobson -- although a professor at a prestigious US west-coast university and a prolific publisher of papers -- is not a trustworthy source on this topic. Time will reveal his hidden motives -- which may be nothing more than naive wishful thinking -- just as time will reveal the IPCC for its hidden motives of obfuscation.

Cross-posted at Al Fin Energy


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27 January 2011

More Earlier Migrations of Homo Sapiens

...an international team of researchers led by Hans-Peter Uerpmann from Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany suggests that humans could have arrived on the Arabian Peninsula as early as 125,000 years ago -- directly from Africa rather than via the Nile Valley or the Near East, as researchers have suggested in the past. _SD
Hans-Peter Uerpmann

"Scientific consensus" regarding when modern humans began moving out of Africa has come in for some serious pounding from archaeologists and anthropologists recently. The latest find comes from the Arabian peninsula, from University of Tubingen's Hans-Peter Uerpmann.
The findings, based on a dig that continued from 2004 until 2010, are at odds with results from DNA testing and other archeological finds that put the "out of Africa" migrations much later.

The southern route out of east Africa proposed by the new research is also significantly different from the northern route across the Nile River and into the Sinai that has been traditionally accepted as most likely.

Addressing those very different scenarios, Uerpmann said that their archeological findings offer a new interpretation and that the advanced method of determining the age of the tools gives them great confidence in their results.

Team member Anthony Marks of Southern Methodist University, an anthropologist, said the tools were made in ways consistent with the 125,000-years-ago time period and therefore raise the inevitable question of how they got to the area near the Persian Gulf.

"Either these people came out of East Africa or they came from nowhere," he said.

The dig is being conducted about 40 miles from the Straits of Hormuz, the entry point into the Persian Gulf. The tools were found in a small limestone mountain range in the U.A.E. province of Shuja. _WaPo

Recent findings of modern human fossils in Israel dating well over 100,000 years ago had earlier shaken the complacency of the embattled "Ouf of Africa" consensus. As research findings continue to come in contradicting some of the most treasured beliefs of mainstream anthropology, a significant restructuring or modification of the "consensus" may become unavoidable.
This new research, placing early humans on the Arabian Peninsula much earlier, will appear in the 28 January issue of Science, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

The team of researchers, including lead author Simon Armitage from Royal Holloway, University of London, discovered an ancient human toolkit at the Jebel Faya archaeological site in the United Arab Emirates. It resembles technology used by early humans in east Africa but not the craftsmanship that emerged from the Middle East, they say. This toolkit includes relatively primitive hand-axes along with a variety of scrapers and perforators, and its contents imply that technological innovation was not necessary for early humans to migrate onto the Arabian Peninsula. Armitage calculated the age of the stone tools using a technique known as luminescence dating and determined that the artifacts were about 100,000 to 125,000 years old.

...Uerpmann and his team also analyzed sea-level and climate-change records for the region during the last interglacial period, approximately 130,000 years ago. They determined that the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which separates Arabia from the Horn of Africa, would have narrowed due to lower sea-levels, allowing safe passage prior to and at the beginning of that last interglacial period. At that time, the Arabian Peninsula was much wetter than today with greater vegetation cover and a network of lakes and rivers. Such a landscape would have allowed early humans access into Arabia and then into the Fertile Crescent and India, according to the researchers.

"Archaeology without ages is like a jigsaw with the interlocking edges removed — you have lots of individual pieces of information but you can't fit them together to produce the big picture," said Armitage. "At Jebel Faya, the ages reveal a fascinating picture in which modern humans migrated out of Africa much earlier than previously thought, helped by global fluctuations in sea-level and climate change in the Arabian Peninsula." _ArchaeologyNews
Significantly more evolutionary divergence has occurred within the human species than mainstream PC anthropology has been willing to admit. A de facto PC censorship over several politically sensitive areas of science is becoming more and more difficult to maintain.


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26 January 2011

Beware the Spying Optical Needle: It Can See Your Thoughts

Dubbed the optical needle, it is 500 to 1,000 microns in diameter at its tip—about half the width of a grain of rice. While the device resembles a scaled-down version of the endoscopes now commonly used for surgery, the tiny lens is slightly different. The small size of the device means that a curved lens, typical in most microscopes, is impractical. Instead, its lens is made from a material that has internal variations in its refractive profile to guide rays of light.

...In the new study, published online this month in Nature Medicine, researchers demonstrate that they can use the micro-endoscope to observe the same spot in the brain over time. _TechnologyReview

Brain probes are becoming smaller and more clever. The "optical needle" is a micro-endoscopic probe from Stanford, which is capable of long-term direct observation of local brain circuits, deep inside the brain.
A new type of micro-endoscope lets scientists watch nerve cells and blood vessels deep inside the brain of a living animal over days, weeks, or even months. A team led by Mark Schnitzer, associate professor of biology and applied physics at Stanford University, developed the endoscope—an optical instrument used to peer into the body—along with a system to insert it into the same spot time after time. This feature allowed scientists to track changes in minute features, such as the connections between cells in the brain.

"I think it will be a potent tool for tracking properties of cells over long periods of time in response to changes in the environment, over the course of learning, during aging or the progression of disease," says Schnitzer. Some developmental and neurodegenerative diseases, for example, damage connections between neurons deep in the brain.

Of particular interest to neuroscientists is the hippocampus, an area deep in the brain that is crucial to memory. Previously, scientists had been able to look at regions such as this one in detail only with highly invasive methods and at a single point in time. "But a lot of brain disorders occur slowly," says Schnitzer. "We don't just want a snapshot, we want a time-lapse [movie] on a time scale that is relevant to the progression of the disease." _TechnologyReview
The researchers first insert a tiny indwelling guide tube, then pass the optical needle through the tube for optical micro-imaging. Since the tube remains in the same location, the researchers can come back time and again to image the same location -- providing an ongoing time-lapse record of changes in cellular structure at that spot. The tool should provide many opportunities for study, and eventual clinical application.

By placing guide tubes in strategic locations around a brain tumour, for example, clinicians might be able to monitor the effects of experimental treatments.

But what about seeing your thoughts? Be patient, grasshoppers. Current optical needle technology can observe changes in the micro-structure of local brain circuits. As the technology improves, distributed observers will be able to watch a brain learning with experience. Combined with sophisticated deep brain stimulation and advanced neurofeedback, a sufficiently motivated mad scientist could learn to play any human brain like a piccolo.

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Will Putin Risk a Pre-Emptive Strike on China's Megacities?


As China's population and infrastructure huddles ever closer together along the eastern rim, and concentrates into a few dense megacities, will the temptation to take out the ages-old southern enemy prove too much for Russian dictator Putin?

The demographic handwriting is on the wall. East Siberia will be ceded to China without a fight, without an invasion. Putin cannot afford to allow the wealth of his corrupt mafiacracy to slip through his fingers, but what can he do? Russians are disappearing at the same time that China is reaching out -- all over the globe -- for resources.

Energy, minerals, timber -- Siberia has it all in abundance. That wealth is the guarantor of Russia's continued existence as an empire, as a world power. The same wealth is a purloined promise to China for a future of superpowerdom.

Why is China making it easy for Russia to target its population centers and infrastructure?
"Laying the foundation year, three years paid off, five major development" is established in Yantai Hi-tech Zone Development Goals. According to the latest master plan introduced to Yantai Hi-tech Zone of the CBD as the leading technology driven, together with efforts to build high-end services, intensive with high-end manufacturing, leisure and tourism with coastal resort, riverside high-end scientific and cultural tourism zone, "as one four with "high-tech zones will hold up the layout of new industrial space; 10 km along the road on both sides of technology, planning and construction of 100 more than the roughly 30 stories about the amount of construction, building skyscrapers, modern style, the magnificent iconic urban landscape Boulevard... _NextBigFuture
Apparently the intent is toward greater industrial and commercial efficiency, and more services and conveniences closer at hand. Of course it will also mean more concentrated effluents of waste and toxic by-products of modern life, concentrated into even smaller spaces. Fortunately, most toxic and nontoxic waste can be disposed of with plasma gasification plants -- perhaps a good investment for the China to come?

China's next decade is not likely to be an unmitigated success, however. There are many things about China's real economy which even CCP economists do not understand -- much less outside western observers. Here are six predictions from one China watcher, Gordon Orr:
1. Inflation in food prices will take longer than expected to control.

Chinese consumption patterns are shifting as people become wealthier—more meat eating requires more cereals to feed the animals. The food supply chain, running at the limit, is close to breaking, and the pressures this problem creates will lead to further food quality crises. A major second- or third-tier Chinese city will see demonstrations over food price rises, unemployment, or both, on a much larger scale than anything that has occurred in recent years.

2. Middle-class bankruptcies will expand dramatically.

All that is needed for a wave of bankruptcies is further interest rate rises (targeting inflation) that result in a blip down in house prices just as mortgage payments rise. We have seen this before across major cities in Asia.

3. Minimum wages will rise, but productivity gains will outstrip labor costs. The profitability of industrial enterprises remained high at the end of 2010—indeed, higher, in many cases, than it had been a year earlier, despite the minimum-wage increases rolled out in 2010—and will probably remain high. Yet a government seeking to enhance its stature with lower-income workers will find that increasing minimum wages, perhaps by 15 to 20 percent, is an easy lever to pull.

4. China’s economic growth will be lower than expected.

5. China will step up its “invest out” program in the new five-year plan. The government may well seek to double the country’s cumulative outbound investment within the next five years.

6. The state will again try to reduce its ownership role in business. If the government relaunches its program to sell off more of its stake in companies, domestic share prices will probably decline or at least remain flat. The program will also soak up much of the liquidity currently supporting Chinese IPOs, thus reducing the ability of entrepreneurs to cash out quickly through them _from_NextBigFuture
Not particularly rosy, but not catastrophic either. But Orr was only looking at the next year, which is much safer than looking a decade or two ahead. China is leaping into a highly complex, even chaotic future, without a guidebook. China -- like Russia -- has strategic alliances, but no genuine friends on any side.

China's fate is inextricably tied to that of its northern neighbor, Russia. The relationship between the two countries has been strained for ages, and often at the brink of open war. Demographic strains and transitions affecting Russia's main source of wealth may prove the breaking point.

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25 January 2011

Megacities in China: A Further Prelude to China's Collapse?


We recently learned about the connection between the "skyscraper index" and an impending financial/economic crisis. China is currently testing the skyscraper index with its massive building projects. But a massive project to merge several Chinese cities containing multi-million person populations may introduce an entirely new index: The Megacities Index.
The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.

The new mega-city will cover a large part of China's manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.

Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong. _Telegraph_via_NextBigFuture


China is already exhibiting some early, subtle signs of significant problems on multiple levels -- similar to signs present in the USSR a decade or so prior to collapse.
In 1975, while I was in Siberia on a two-month trip through the U.S.S.R., the illusion of the Soviet Union’s rise became self-evident. In the major cities, the downtowns seemed modern, comparable to what you might see in a North American city. But a 20-minute walk from the centre of downtown revealed another world — people filling water buckets at communal pumps at street corners. The U.S.S.R. could put a man in space and dazzle the world with scores of other accomplishments yet it could not satisfy the basic needs of its citizens. That economic system, though it would largely fool the West until its final collapse 15 years later, was bankrupt, and obviously so to anyone who saw the contradictions in Soviet society.

The Chinese economy today parallels that of the latter-day Soviet Union — immense accomplishments co-existing with immense failures. In some ways, China’s stability today is more precarious than was the Soviet Union’s before its fall. China’s poor are poorer than the Soviet Union’s poor, and they are much more numerous — about one billion in a country of 1.3 billion. Moreover, in the Soviet Union there was no sizeable middle class — just about everyone was poor and shared in the same hardships, avoiding resentments that might otherwise have arisen.

...The corruption extends to the enforcement of regulatory standards for health and safety, which few in China trust. In recent years China has endured a tainted milk scandal and a tainted blood scandal, each of which implicated corrupt officials in widespread death and debilitation. In a devastating 2008 earthquake, some 90,000 perished, one-third of them children buried alive in 7,000 shoddily built “tofu schools” that skimped on materials. Nearby buildings for the elites that met building standards, including a school for the children of the rich, were largely unscathed.

The government tries to tamp down the outrage over the abuses inflicted on the public by banning demonstrations and censoring the Internet. But it is failing. Year by year, the number of demonstrations increases. Last year alone saw 100,000 such protests across the county, directly involving tens and indirectly perhaps hundreds of millions of protesters.

China is a powder keg that could explode at any moment. And if it does explode, chaos could ensue — as the Chinese are only too well aware, the country has a brutal history of carnage at the hands of unruly mobs. For this reason, corrupt officials inside China, likely by the tens of thousands, have made contingency plans, obtaining foreign passports, buying second homes abroad, establishing their families and businesses abroad, or otherwise planning their escapes. Also for this reason, much of the middle class supports the government’s increasingly repressive efforts. _Solomon
China has a long history of empires alternating with chaotic internecine wars carried out from warlord-led strongholds.

The rise of regional mega-cities could well presage the breakup of modern CCP-ruled China into warring factions and (mega) city-states. Joseph Tainter's Collapse of Complex Societies dissects the rise and fall of multiple cultures and civilisations throughout history -- and points out the tendency for the complexity of a society to outgrow the society's ability to cope with complexity.

Certainly the sheer size of the Chinese society lends to vast complexities, which can push the ruling powers to their limits of coping. It appears that the leadership of the CCP is determined to press ahead at warp speed, in the direction of rapidly increasing complexity.

China's rapid ascendancy in the global economic and technological hierarchy was achieved via huge outside investment, cheap labour manufacturing and export, an ambitious, highly intelligent and educated workforce, highly talented industrial spies, counterfeiters, etc. Some of those strengths are still operating at high levels. But the core of China's rise -- massive export wealth -- is hampered by a global economic downturn, and a sustained recession led by Luddite and left-reactionary policies implemented by the current US administration.

China is attempting to compensate for the significant decline of its export market by ambitious construction projects inside China. This megacities project is only one of many huge spending and stimulus programs operating -- virtually all of them teeming with corruption, mis-allocation of resources, and shoddiness.

Only a few persons anticipated the fall of the USSR years and decades before its collapse. Will the same be true for China?


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24 January 2011

Automatic Expertise Grows with Time and Training


The human brain learns a lot, over time. Experience shapes the brain, determining how it will work, and which parts of the brain will be active in different circumstances. With training, many parts of the brain learn to function more quickly and efficiently to perform particular tasks in a more expert manner. But this training must be intense enough, and take place early enough in life -- before the developmental windows close -- for the skills to become automatic at expert levels.

Recent Japanese brain research has determined that expert players in the Japanese chess game "Shogi" use different parts of their brain (the caudate nucleus among others) to play, than do amateurs of the game. The caudate nucleus is the curved purple structure in the image above.
Neuroscientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan, studied a group of professional and amateur shogi players. Shogi is the Japanese version of chess. With the use of real-time brain scans, the researchers discovered that the pros activated different parts of their brains than the amateurs did while studying game patterns and contemplating their next moves.

The findings were published in the Jan. 21 issue of Science.

Senior study author Keiji Tanaka, deputy director of the institute and head of the Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory, said the experts' unique brain circuitry enabled them to have "superior intuitive problem-solving capabilities."

Professional shogi players, who have practiced three or four hours a day for several years, "repeatedly note that the best next move comes to their mind 'intuitively,'" the authors wrote. "Being 'intuitive' indicates that the idea for a move is generated quickly and automatically without conscious search, and the process is mostly implicit."

... brain difference occurred when the players were forced to quickly pick their next best move. The professionals' brain scans revealed activity in a portion of the basal ganglion known as the caudate nucleus, while the amateurs' scans did not.

The researchers suggest that a unique circuit between these two regions of the brain is what enables professional players to expertly recognize board game patterns and quickly choose their optimal next move.

"There was no volume difference of the caudate nucleus between professional and amateur players," said Tanaka. This suggests that "the caudate nucleus is used for other purposes in ordinary people [but] the experts have developed a unique way to use the system." _BW_via_ImpactLab
The caudate nucleus has been implicated in the development of automaticity of several types -- which places the caudate in a central, pivotal position for humans living in modern societies.

First, the caudate appears to be involved in the acquired automaticity of motor skills. This is not such a big surprise to brain researchers. But the caudate also seems to be involved in the automaticity of emotional processing, the automaticity of perceptual categorisation (PDF), automaticity of rule-based categorisation, and in switching between two languages in bilingual individuals. There are almost certainly more caudate functions to come.

Sure, there is overlap between the different caudate functions, but the brain -- and its many modular parts -- is nothing if not multi-functional. A Swiss Army knife of cognitive and emotional tools that modifies itself over a person's lifetime, adapting to the individual's experience.

That is why it is so important to the individual that the brain's many potential functions be developed before their developmental windows close. And why it is so important to society that the brains of its members are well developed and long-lived.

We cannot afford to waste all of that hard-earned knowledge, experience, and savvy by dying too young. 500 year lifespans should be seen as a minimum timespan for skills acquisition and for passing these skills along to future generations.

Taken from an article on Al Fin Longevity

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A Deep Surge of Magma Shakes Yellowstone, Lifts Ground 10 Inches

More: Brian Wang at NextBigFuture has more information and some reassurances
Yellowstone National Park sits atop a subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses so vast that the region, known for its geysers and grizzlies, is arguably one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.

Granted, it's not your typical volcano, either in scale (it's huge), appearance (it's a vast depression, not a single mountain) or frequency of eruption (at least hundreds of thousands of years apart).

But it is active, and the evidence is everywhere. _Discovery

One of the world's great supervolcanoes sits and waits beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It has erupted before and it will erupt again, someday. Recent quaking of the ground in Yellowstone, combined with ground surges as high as 10 inches, have caused some geologists to wonder if the clock may be ticking down to another big blow.
"Clearly some deep source of magma feeds Yellowstone, and since Yellowstone has erupted in the recent geological past, we know that there is magma at shallower depths too," said Dan Dzurisin, a Yellowstone expert with the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington State.

"There has to be magma in the crust, or we wouldn't have all the hydrothermal activity that we have," Dzurisin added. "There is so much heat coming out of Yellowstone right now that if it wasn't being reheated by magma, the whole system would have gone stone cold since the time of the last eruption 70,000 years ago."

The large hydrothermal system just below Yellowstone's surface, which produces many of the park's top tourist attractions, may also play a role in ground swelling, Dzurisin said, though no one is sure to what extent.

..."Big quakes [can have] a relationship to uplift and deformations caused by the intrusion of magma," he said. "How those intrusions stress the adjacent faults, or how the faults might transmit stress to the magma system, is a really important new area of study."

Overall, USGS's Dzurisin added, "the story of Yellowstone deformation has gotten more complex as we've had better and better technologies to study it." _NatGeo
It is not easy to predict a volcanic eruption. Supervolcanoes may be even more difficult to predict -- no one knows. It will take time to acquire enough experience with the immense geological processes taking place beneath our feet. The video below provides a sobering look at the aftermath of a Yellowstone super-eruption.

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Amy Chua: "I Am Not a Witch, er, Monster"

Not a witch, er, monster, Amy? Legions of angry western mothers and children of a Tiger mother upbringing say that you are a monster. Some have even threatened your life.

Time magazine decided to get to the root of the issue by visiting Amy Chua in her gargoyle-adorned New Haven mock-Tudor mansion. Amy tries to set the record straight:
The first thing Chua wants you to know is that she is not a monster. "Everything I do as a mother builds on a foundation of love and compassion," she says. Love and compassion, plus punishingly high expectations: this is how Chua herself was raised. Though her parents are ethnically Chinese, they lived for many years in the Philippines and immigrated to America two years before Chua was born. Chua and her three younger sisters were required to speak Chinese at home; for each word of English they uttered, they received a whack with a pair of chopsticks. On the girls' report cards, only A's were acceptable. When Chua took her father to an awards assembly at which she received second prize, he was furious. "Never, ever disgrace me like that again," he told her.

...Some react to an exceedingly strict household by becoming permissive parents, but not Chua. When she had children of her own, she resolved to raise them the same way. "I see my upbringing as a great success story," she says. "By disciplining me, my parents inculcated self-discipline. And by restricting my choices as a child, they gave me so many choices in my life as an adult. Because of what they did then, I get to do the work I love now." Chua's path to her profession was not a straight one — she tried out the premed track and a major in economics before settling on law school — but it was made possible, she says, by the work ethic her parents instilled.

All the same, Chua recognizes that her parents' attitudes were shaped by experiences very different from her own. Her mother and father endured severe hardship under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines; later they had to make their way in a new country and a new language. For them, security and stability were paramount. "They didn't think about children's happiness," Chua says. "They thought about preparing us for the future." But Chua says her children's happiness is her primary goal; her intense focus on achievement is simply, she says, "the vehicle" to help them find, as she has, genuine fulfillment in a life's work.

...From the beginning, Chua's second daughter was nothing like her obedient sister. As a fetus, she kicked — hard. As an infant, she screamed for hours every night. And as a budding teenager she refused to get with her mother's academic and extracurricular program. In particular, the two fought epic battles over violin practice: " 'all-out nuclear warfare' doesn't quite capture it," Chua writes. Finally, after a screaming, glass-smashing, very public showdown, the tiger mother admitted defeat: "Lulu," she said, "you win. It's over. We're giving up the violin." Not long after, Chua typed the first words of her memoir — not as an exercise in maternal bravado but as an earnest attempt to understand her daughters, her parents and herself.

That was a year and a half ago. Today, Chua has worked out some surprising compromises with her children. Sophia can go out on dates and must practice the piano for an hour and a half each day instead of as many as six hours. Lulu is allowed to pursue her passion for tennis. (Her mother's daughter, she's become quite good at the sport, making the high school varsity team — "the only junior high school kid to do so," as Chua can't help pointing out.) And Chua says she doesn't want to script her children's futures. "I really don't have any particular career path in mind for Sophia and Lulu, as long as they feel passionate about it and give it their best." As her girls prepare to launch themselves into their own lives — Sophia goes off to college next fall — Chua says she wouldn't change much about the way she raised them. Perhaps more surprising, her daughters say they intend to be strict parents one day too — though they plan to permit more time with friends, even the occasional sleepover. _more at Time

Each child is different. The children of different cultures are often different from children of other cultures. East Asian infants, for example, are typically far more compliant from the time of birth (and before) than European or African infants. This relative lack of defiance by very young East Asian children toward their parents has a great deal to do with how much influence parents can have on their children. More defiant and independent children of European and African parents allow their guardians much less leeway in the moulding of their lives' shapes.

Chua's children are half European Jew and half Chinese, which allows for some interesting sorting of the genes which influence behaviour. Lulu being very different from Sophia -- and more like a European child in terms of independence and defiance -- should not be a big surprise to observers of behavioural genetics. Sexual reproduction is something of a crap shoot. Viva la diversity.

As far as westerners' defensive reactions to Chua's book, it is past time for western parents to dispassionately examine the results of hyper-lenient, over-pampering, and neglectful childraising practises. Children cannot raise themselves nor provide themselves with needed competencies on their own. Particularly in the earlier years, parents need to sacrifice some of their own leisure time -- and perhaps some potential income -- in order to instill competencies and earned confidence into the child.

The Tiger Mother way is not appropriate for every child. Even Amy Chua modified her approach over time -- as anyone who had read her book would have known. But the neglectful and over-sheltering approach of the modern PC western world is a travesty that needs to be called out -- over and over again.

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23 January 2011

Why Johnny Can't Predict the Future

All Images: BP Energy Outlook_via_BitToothEnergy

Although the human brain is thought to be a prediction engine, there are limits to the predictive precision and accuracy of even the best human brains and brain products, eg computer models. If the brain or model uses faulty assumptions and data, the output prediction will fail.

BP recently released its annual Energy Outlook report, which projects the world energy future to the year 2030. The report was parsed most helpfully by the Bit Tooth Energy blog, with several images extracted from pdf to html format.

A number of things about the imaged predictions tend to jump off the page:
  • The extremely slow predicted growth for nuclear energy
  • The rate of growth of energy utilisation for undeveloped countries
  • The rate of expansion predicted for "biofuels"
...and a few other things best kept for future examination.
Notice the flat rate of growth for nuclear in the plot above. The best way to understand that prediction is to understand how much of a threat clean, cheap, and abundant nuclear energy poses to the petroleum industry overall. The rapid development of small modular reactors and molten salt reactors in particular, promise to make available huge quantities (trillions of barrels of oil equivalent) of bitumens and kerogens at a much lower cost than are presently feasible. Nuclear energy would also allow oil producing countries to export more oil which would otherwise be spent on cooling, desalination, and other electric power uses.
Notice the apparently rapid rise in biofuels supplies in the graph above. This prediction came as something of a surprise to many readers of the report, although Al Fin energy analysts believe that the prediction is a self-serving underestimate -- although not as blatant an underestimate as BP's nuclear power growth estimate.

Petroleum companies feel that they can live with ethanol as a fuel additive, and ethanol supply is mainly what is being predicted to rise in the graph above. Unfortunately for BP, by 2030 ethanol will be among the least of the biofuels. Ethanol is far inferior to butanol as a fermented biofuel. By 2020, methods for mass production of bio-butanol are very likely to begin to push bio-ethanol aside. In the same fashion, advanced hydro-treating of lipids along with Fischer-Tropsch fuels will produce far more valuable commercially available fuels than ethanol by 2020. Finally, microbial hydrocarbons should be ready to begin scaling up to industrial levels by 2020, with significant market impact by 2030.

So while BP predicts that biofuels as a whole will provide about 10% of liquid fuels by 2030, Al Fin analysts predict that (non-alcohol) microbial fuels alone will provide at least 10% of liquids by that date. Advanced hydrotreated biodiesels, F-T fuels, other advanced catalytic biofuels from bio-syngas and pyrolytis products, plus bio-alcohols will add at least another 10 to 20% of total liquids by 2030.

If you can imagine the impact that replacing 20% of petro-fuels by advanced renewable bio-fuels would have on world markets, you will have a small idea of how the established and highly centralised markets will be shaken by this simple trend alone. If you add to that the impacts from expanding nuclear, expanding shale oil & gas resources, and increasing use of coal to liquids and gas to liquids, and expansion of Canada's oil sands and Venzuela's heavy oils (after Chavez is ejected) -- your image will be closer to the truth, although still a likely underestimate of what is possible.

The US President is very strongly influenced by members of his administration with roots in the environmental movement. The environmental movement has been predicting catastrophic resource depletion, with associated economic ruin and mass human dieoff, for several decades now. Far wiser persons who have pointed out the fatal flaws in the environmentalist's predictive process have been largely ignored and scoffed at. And so we see US national energy and environmental policies being set and enforced by persons enmeshed in a system of thought that has invariably led to failed predictions of doom. The same is true for most European and Anglospheric nations.

If the developed world becomes hog-tied by regulations spurred by visions of doom and resource scarcity, we will fall into a self-fulfilling prophecy of energy starvation -- political peak oil. Political peak oil combined with the demographic contraction of Europeans, Koreans, Japanese, and other advanced cultures of high achievement -- the groups who have largely spurred technological improvement and the environmental improvements of the world from the mid 1900s onward -- the world will indeed be plunged into a serious state of turmoil.

Those optimistic predictions BP made regarding the rapid energy use growth in the undeveloped world, will surely fail in an environment of political peak oil, falling demographic global "smart fraction", and increased autocratic controls over most economic aspects of every person's life. The current president of the US is setting policies which lead unerringly toward that destination, and he is joined by most of the political leadership of the developed world.

Al Fin futurologists do not expect things to work out the way that the US revolutionary-in-chief intends. That is a good thing. Because there are actually revolutions which can lead the planet in a good direction. Revolutions which Mr. Obama will never be capable of comprehending.

It is not important that BP or any other institution or conglomerate be able to predict the future accurately, as a whole. It is only important that enough persons understand the mechanisms which drive innovation and human economic activity. Even if the masses continue to tend toward an Idiocracy, the competent cores of individuals with the better ideas will find ways to network and interact with each other.

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22 January 2011

Guest Article: 100 Smart & Surprising Uses for Simple Drug Store Items

100 Smart & Surprising Uses for Simple Drug Store Items

Persons in nursing school or other medical training school, probably have access to lots of advanced medical care items. But did you know that there are many different uses for even the simplest of drug store items? Rubbing alcohol, q tips, nail polish remover, and other simple drug store items have lots of different applications, around the house and beyond.
Keep your home clean and fresh with these drug store products.
  1. Keep your windows frost free: Make a solution with 1/2 a cup of rubbing alcohol and 1 liter of water, then wash your windows with it to keep frost away.
  2. Deodorize your refrigerator with vanilla extract: Soak a cotton ball with vanilla extract and place it in your fridge.
  3. Get rid of fruit flies: Kill fruit flies by misting them with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Clean counters and tabletops with hydrogen peroxide: Spray hydrogen peroxide on your tables and counter tops, or just add it to your dishrag.
  5. Apply polish to small crevices using q tips: Polish your silver with a q tip.
  6. Fight mildew: Soak cotton balls in bleach, place them in hard to clean spots, and leave them there to zap the stains.
  7. Add hydrogen peroxide to your dishwasher: Prevent spreading colds and other diseases by adding 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide to your dishwasher.
  8. Spruce up china: Clean spots off of your china with nail polish remover-but test a small inconspicuous spot first.
  9. Fade tea stains: Apply diluted lemon juice to cloth with a q tip.
  10. Clean bathroom tiles: Mix epsom salt and dish detergent to mix bathroom tiles.
  11. Rinse your wooden cutting board in hydrogen peroxide: Kill salmonella and other bacteria with hydrogen peroxide.
  12. Dissolve melted plastic: Get melted plastic off of appliances by using nail polish remover.
  13. Remove price stickers: Get price stickers off with the help of rubbing alcohol.
  14. Clean your toilet with antacid: Drop antacid tablets in your toilet bowl and dissolve them for 20 minutes before cleaning.
  15. Remove yellowing from lace: Keep your lace curtains and tablecloths bright by soaking them in a sink with cold water and 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide for about an hour.
  16. Sanitize your cell phone: Wipe down your cell phone with rubbing alcohol.
  17. Remove dust: Get dust off of old frames, statues, and more with q tips.
  18. Get stains out of vases: Clean stains out of vases by dropping an antacid tablet in the water, then wiping.
  19. Clean CDs and DVDs with rubbing alcohol: Wipe discs down with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.
  20. Whiten whites with hydrogen peroxide: Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your laundry to get whiter whites, and pour directly on soiled spots.
  21. Clean electronic devices: Use a q tip in rubbing alcohol to clean electronic devices.
  22. Disinfect your bathroom: Mix 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your bathroom without harming your septic system.
  23. Remove scorch marks: Use nail polish remover on marks left from overcooked bagged popcorn.
  24. Remove ink stains: Soak ink stains in rubbing alcohol before washing.
  25. Get stickers off of glass: Nail polish remover is good for getting stickers off of glass.
  26. Shine up bathroom fixtures: Pour rubbing alcohol onto bathroom fixtures to make them sparkle and kill germs.
  27. Clean your computer mouse: Get dirt and grime off of your computer mouse's ball using rubbing alcohol.
  28. Clean jewelry with q tips: Using q tips and jewelry cleaner, you can get into small spaces.
  29. Get ink stains off: Nail polish can remove ink stains from skin, walls, and more.
  30. Erase permanent markers: Rubbing alcohol can remove permanent markers from most surfaces.
  31. Kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables: Rinse fruits and vegetables with hydrogen peroxide and cold water to kill e. coli and more.
  32. Clean your CD player lens: Clean the lens of your CD player using rubbing alcohol on a q tip.
  33. Remove paint from windows: Nail polish remover can get paint off of windows.
Put epsom salt and rubbing alcohol to use in your car.
  1. Dissolve windshield frost: Spray rubbing alcohol on your windshield to dissolve frost.
  2. Regenerate your car battery: Give life to your car battery with epsom salt.
Health & Beauty
You can improve your eyelashes, remove hairspray from mirrors, and more using simple items from the drug store.
  1. Clean up self tanner: A q tip can clean up self tanner from your cuticles, elbows, and backs of your knees.
  2. Control blemishes: Use witch hazel to reduce inflammation on pimples.
  3. Grow your eyelashes: Put Vaseline on your eyelashes before bed to grow them longer and thicker over time.
  4. Get hair spray off of mirrors: Wipe down your mirror with rubbing alcohol to get residue off.
  5. De-oil your hair: Soak up excess oil from your hair with epsom salt.
  6. Remove foot odor: Soak your feet in epsom salt to get rid of foot odor.
  7. Protect rubber gloves: Put cotton balls under your nails to protect them and your rubber gloves from puncture.
  8. Soften hard skin: Coat feet, elbows, and cuticles with Vaseline to soften them.
  9. Get hairspray out: Remove hairspray from your hair using a hairspray solution.
  10. Get odors off your hands: With rubbing alcohol, you can remove harsh odors from your hands.
  11. Remove excess nail polish: Dab a q tip in nail polish remover to remove excess nail polish.
  12. Massage with rubbing alcohol: Use rubbing alcohol instead of massage oil-it is cooling, but warms up quickly.
  13. Volumize your hair: A deep conditioner and epsom salt can volumize your hair.
  14. Zap zits: Clear up your acne by dabbing hydrogen peroxide onto your zits a few times a day.
  15. Keep emergency perfume on q tips: Spray perfume on q tips and store them in a plastic bag, then apply them to pressure points when you need them.
  16. Stop facial redness: Hemorrhoid cream can be used to clear up facial redness.
  17. Bring out your highlights: Spraying 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water in your hair after a shower can bring out your natural light highlights.
  18. Treat a cold sore: Hemorrhoid cream can help treat cold sores, just be careful not to put it where you'll lick your lips.
  19. Fix makeup smudges: Dip a q tip in makeup remover or moisturizer to remove smudges.
  20. Get gum out of your hair: Work gum out of your hair with Vaseline.
  21. Shrink under-eye bags: Witch hazel can tighten up skin and reduce bagginess.
  22. Treat cellulite: Tighten and shrink tissue using hemorrhoid cream.
  23. Remove ear wax buildup: Flush out your waxy buildup using hydrogen peroxide.
  24. Heal bruises: Dab on witch hazel a few times a day to fade bruises.
  25. Conceal hair roots: Run a q tip with matching eyeshadow over your roots.
  26. Prevent hair dye stains: Keep hair dye from staining your skin by putting Vaseline along your hairline.
  27. Soothe and prevent razor burn: Apply witch hazel to help irritated hair follicles.
  28. Soak your toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide: Kill germs on your toothbrush by soaking them in hydrogen peroxide.
  29. Whiten your nails: Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, and swab it over fingernails with a q tip.
  30. Kill foot fungus: Mix 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide on your feet every night and let them dry to kill foot fungus.
  31. Control unruly brows: Cover a q tip in Vaseline and run it over your eyebrow hairs.
Put hydrogen peroxide and more to work in your garden.
  1. Control mold and mildew in the greenhouse: Spray hydrogen peroxide in your greenhouse to control mold and mildew.
  2. Fertilize with epsom salt: Epsom salt can be used as a houseplant fertilizer.
  3. Keep rabbits at bay: Soak cotton balls in white distilled vinegar, place them in a 35mm film container, poke a hole in the top, and place it in the garden.
  4. Add hydrogen peroxide to plant water: Give your plants extra oxygen by adding hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Use hydrogen peroxide as a fertilizer: Spray hydrogen peroxide on foliage or add it to plant water.
  6. Help sick plants with hydrogen peroxide: Nurse sick plants back to health by adding hydrogen peroxide to their water and spraying it on their leaves.
  7. Prevent slugs: Keep slugs from entering by sprinkling epsom salts.
  8. Prevent tree infection: Spray hydrogen peroxide on tree cuts to prevent infection.
Home Improvement & Decor
These are some useful tips for putting drug store items to work in your home.
  1. Touch up with q tips: Apply touch up paint to walls and cabinets with q tips.
  2. Unclog a drain: Use antacid to unclog drains.
  3. Strip finish details with q tips: Get to details, cracks, and crevices when stripping furniture by using q tips.
  4. Light candle wicks: Light hard to reach candle wicks by dipping one end of a q tip in rubbing alcohol and lighting it.
  5. Scent a room with a cotton ball in your vacuum: Saturate a cotton ball with a fragrance, put it in your vacuum cleaner bag, and it will release the scent as you vacuum.
Clean and fix your clothes with these drug store solutions.
  1. Lubricate sticky zippers: Dip q tips in olive oil and run them along zippers for lubrication.
  2. Get scuff marks off: Nail polish remover can get scuff marks off of patent leather shoes.
  3. Wipe down leather shoes: Prevent your leather shoes from pinching by rubbing them down with alcohol.
Baby & Kids
Use these drug store items for your baby and children.
  1. Clean little baby parts: Warm water and q tips can be used to clean your baby's ear, between toes, and more.
  2. Soothe diaper rash: Apply witch hazel to heal your baby's diaper rash.
  3. Stop diaper rash: Create a barrier and heal diaper rash with Vaseline.
  4. Sling shot with cotton balls: Play indoors sling shots with cotton balls.
  5. Clean your newborn's umbilical cord: Until your newborn's cord stump falls off, clean it with rubbing alcohol on a q tip.
Arts & Crafts
Have fun with these drug store art projects.
  1. Q tips make great small paintbrushes: Give your children kid sized paintbrushes by using q tips, and enjoy easy cleanup.
  2. Remove dried glue: Get dried hot glue off with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.
  3. Apply glue with q tips: Apply glue to models with a q tip, and use the clean size to remove excess.
  4. Remove sticky substances: You can get sticky substances off of your hands with rubbing alcohol.
  5. Apply face paint: Use a q tip to apply face paint when playing dress up.
  6. Carve designs with q tips: Add finishing touches to sculptures with q tips.
Clean and protect your jewelry with these smart ideas.
  1. Remove scratches from watches: Rub nail polish remover on the face of your watch to get scratches out.
  2. Protect jewelry: Cushion breakable jewelry by spreading out cotton balls.
  3. Soak in antacid: Soak your jewelry in water and antacid tablets for a great shine.
  4. Remove stuck rings: Vaseline can be used to remove stuck rings.
These are even more bright ideas from the drugstore.
  1. Dilute correction fluid: Get the goop out of correction fluid by using nail polish remover.
  2. Remove dog ticks: Apply rubbing alcohol to ticks before pulling out to make it loosen its grip.
  3. Stop superglue: Unstick superglue with the help of nail polish remover.
This article was written and provided by Nursing Schools.net

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