Thursday, April 28, 2005


"Living Computers"

Today has been a banner day for reports of research using bacteria!


Note from an Anti-Aspartame Advocate

You indeed can help with the information-movement by spreading the word
anyway you can. Some replicated research is a good idea, and do you have the
facilities to reproduce some of the older tests that were done?

There are lawsuits in the works, but I cannot give details at this time. Nonetheless, we are circling closer to the deception, and my hope is soon this issue will be exposed for what it really is.

Janet Hull
Dr. Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN

blogged by: Frances M. Pabon


"Inner Workings of Bacteria"

Scientists have discovered how bacteria build an outer protective membrane to keep alive while under attack by antibiotics. An example of creative "table turning," this research is noteworthy because:
“Many scientists study bacteria to better understand and to improve
antibiotics, but this research does the opposite — it uses antibiotics to probe
the inner workings of bacteria,” said Bert Shapiro, a cell biologist at the
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which supported the work. “A
deeper understanding of the biochemical pathways in bacteria, such as that
provided by this research, could in turn lead to new classes of antibiotics.
Then the research will have come full circle.”


Birthday Gift Preview

I've already seen one of the Earth-friendly things I'd like for my birthday which is still months away but which I'm planning ahead to celebrate differently this year. Another one was supposed to have been bought last year but I didn't pursue it, this year I may.

Monday, April 25, 2005


From Protest to Policy 1

This story ranks a close second to "Changing the Course of Scientific Research" in my heart -- Triple Pundit's probably right, I just hope putting policy into practice doesn't take another series of protests:

Sometimes it takes a little civil disobedience to convince companies do the right thing. Through a series of protests and demonstrations, the Rainforest Action Network has convinced J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.—the third largest bank in the U.S.—to develop a new policy limiting lending and underwriting for environmentally-damaging industrial projects. I reckon other banks should follow suit before the activists choose their next target…
Read the Wall Street Journal article or check out the the new policy (via Rainforest Action Network).


"Crappy Meal"

Wait! I can't believe the same hands that work diligently to type pro-healthy food advocacy postings actually spelled out the name and the product of mc-mass-produced, employee-exploiting, toxic fast food giant.

In your minds and in your actions, please replace my typing w. the rhyming "crappy meal". I think the comedian Jim Carrey may have used that phrase in one of his better films.


Latina Diva's Site

A talented, bright, enterprising, successful, energetic and "cómica" boricua lawyer web-friend of mine is launching her redesigned website. We met when Vanity Fair published a trite, almost plagiaristic comedy column that proclaimed Latinos were "the help, the leafblowers" -- yuck! I've never bought or read that lousy magazine after that.

In response to my questions following her new website announcement, she wrote me this:
"No my lawyer hat has not been hung up yet - that is the very next thing on my forever increasing list-of-things to do. Now that all tests have been passed now I have to sit down and apply for the Bar - it is a 21 page application! I have already completed step 1: I printed out the 21 pages! (applause) thanks!

After I do that I want to put together my son's album - goodness sake he is FIVE! can I finish his album- after I finish his then i can do my daughter's - hopefully before SHE'S five! so the website is my passion but like I tell my husband I have been brainwashed to believe that I MUST get a "real" job. and nothing I can do can change that - not even the simple fact that guess what? I am extremely happy with
my life right now - and staying home taking care of the kids and running the
household AND the website.

But nooooo I "MUST" do the lawyer thing - it's just somethig I must do - I'll let u know how it goes- after I apply for the Bar I'm going to start the arduous process of finding a job - I hope it won't be that stressful - esp. since I know what I want -
and I am not giving up what I have now for anything less! "

Future plans: our "Diva Latina" blog (w. plenty of successful vida latina tips for everyone!) -- you'll find a diva lives in all of us! My friend will always be the ORIGINAL diva latina for all her talents and accomplishments.

P.S. You Mrs. Jennifer Lopez, I need to see some educational/intellectual accomplishments from you before you attain diva status in my blog.


Negativism aside, this is starting to look like good networking. Posted by Hello


Convincing Environmental Cynics

World Changing posted an optimistic take on how well the environmental movement is doing @ the juncture where we celebrated Earth Day '05. Our challenge = convincing cynics that environmentalism is a good idea. My contribution to the debate:
"Cynics can be asked to buy hybrid cars w. saving gas money in mind or to
taste a drop of organic, 100% fruit spread and compare that sublime taste to a
same size sample of Smuckers. Or to smell an all-natural bleach alternative
detergent and compare it to a sniff of Clorox. Better yet, cynics can stick
their hands into a sinkful of dishes w. natural detergent and then into a sink
that has Palmolive. Or feed a child an organic kiddie meal (organic black bean
burrito, a brown sugar oatmeal cookie and a glass of real milk) and then
compare his/her behavior to a child's who had a McDonalds' happy meal. Many
will change their minds..."


Call the Car

A few days ago, the idea of having a "driver portal" in a car's computer occurred to me. Have you ever seen a mechanic access a car's computer? I have, he used a small, handheld device, that he plugged in to see exactly what was going on w. my mother's Pontiac. It turned out we needed to change the factory-installed battery.

I'd like to have a way of accessing my car say, from my cell phone, the Web or my home phone, to see if I need any servicing, to remember where I parked, to get a gas gauge readout, a miles driven reading or to just see if I need air in my tires.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Blog Bandwagon Grows

Business Week announces its jump into the Blogosphere w. cover parody-in-news story. Word on what took BW so long to join in not found anywhere.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Marcher #72,396 on Earth Day "Virtual March"

Xianman, I think this qualifies as an amazing use of "social software." When I joined this Earth Day virtual march, I saw a listing of other marchers (I'm marcher #72,396) and the impact of invitations was predicted in a matter of seconds. Impressive show of software-coding prowess w. hopefully high social impact!

My "brother" blog, Ars Politica, posted a link to the heartbreaking story that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to "allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" and "to shield makers of a gasoline additive from water contamination lawsuits". Lawmakers in Washington D.C. are blinded and impaired from perhaps drinking too much contaminated water, or too much aspartame, or too much High Fructose Corn Syrup drinks, or too much booze. Michael Moore and similarly-inclined advocates, we need you more than ever now! Apparently, the House wants to decrease our dependency on foreign oil sources, yet it gunned down a provision to raise the fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles.

Readers, please join the Earth Day Virtual March if you'd like, here's the link again.


Back Pain Radio

Dr. Grant Cooper would like to invite you to listen to his Back Pain Radio show to learn “all about back pain -- what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.” Good idea, don’t you think? Especially for those of us who spend too much time hunched in front of our computers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Rx. for Healthy Dilbert

Exploring Bloglines, I clicked my way to this Dilbert comic strip. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed reading Dilbert! Thank you again, Xianman, this time for leading me to Bloglines via Power of Many.


From your Gut to your Brain

Now that the "Blogger" bug seems to be fixed, I'd like you to know that scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston have linked your gut to your brain in a relationship that goes beyond nutrition to regulate energy balance. This discovery may help in the fight against obesity. Apparently, your gut has a "language" of adipocyte hormones which your brain understands to give you just the energy you need and then to issue the message to your nervous system that you are (1) fed or (2) hungry. Food advocates should station themselves outside every junk/bad fast food restaurant in the United States, to send out signals to your gut, saying that the junk/bad fast food inside does not truly feed either your gut or your brain. Jumpin' Beans, anyone? Your gut and your brain would really love that place!


"Blogger" Bug

I'm having trouble correcting typos in old postings, could it be that "Blogger" is bugged?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Self-destructing HIV Infected Cells To Prevent Spreading

A new study shows that by blocking a non-essential protein HIV infected cells die off instead of spreading to other cells. Because the procedure does not act directly on the virus it works on mutated and drug resistant strains of HIV.


Prevent Cervical Cancer? Religious Right Says 'No'

The religious right is attempting to stop women from receiving vaccines that would prevent cervical cancer. According to Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council:

Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV... Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex.

Hmmm... that is the same argument they use when denouncing condoms in schools. I wonder if they would use the same argument if the vaccine were for HIV.

Besides, why can't girls be vaccinated when they are babies? That would a) prevent the cancer and b) would NOT, as Ms. Maher suggests, encourage young women to have sex because they are getting vaccinated at such a young age.

These vaccines could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year and we won't act on it because there is the possibility of increased sexuality. Ms. Maher's argument MAKES NO SENSE when discussing the prevention of a disease. Women do not abstain from having sex because they fear cervical cancer just as getting vaccinated would not induce large numbers of women to start having sex.

The real reason that her argument is presented in such a way is to lay out a binary choice for people. Either you are for abstinence or you're not. If you are for abstinence then by extension you don't want to encourage unwed women to have sex, which is what would happen if they were vaccinated. Therefore if you are for abstinence you must be against this vaccination.

Here let me turn the example around on her. Either you are pro-life or you are not. If you are pro-life then by extension you want to do everything in your power to stop unnecessary deaths, which is what would happen if women were not vaccinated. Therefore if you are pro-life you must be for the vaccine.

I hate this sneaky technique of forcing people into a decision between two things which are NOT mutually exclusive. Anyway, the whole point is that you can be both for abstinence and for the vaccine. Oh, and just as important is the point that the religious right can be very crafty in their attempts to garner support for blocking something as fundamentally important as a vaccine that would prevent cervical cancer.

Monday, April 18, 2005


New here but old really

To separate my work here from my nonprofit efforts w. Missing Lymph, I've changed my nickname to "The Noon" - an old moniker from the Dark Ages of AOL given to me by a Penn law school student who also gave us our first cat, "Gatubela".


Survival of the Richest/Smartest

Future Pundit spent Sunday knee-deep in longevity research, here you'll read how:

1. Life expectancy of male billionaires exceeds average-wealth counterparts by 3.5 yrs. That must make for extra time on the golf green, wife #3, and perusing the Wall Street Journal.

2. Children w. high IQ scores may have longer life expectancies because safeguarding one's own good health is a "highly cognitive process." Make sure you give your child "brain food": fruit, nuts, vegetables, natural sweeteners, natural juices (do not give your child any juices w. High Fructose Corn Syrup) and real, whole, organic milk. Forget the Frosted Flakes (and all similar processed cereals), please!

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Discovery: Yahoo 360º Beta does support Spanish characters...

Playing around Yahoo 360º Beta again today I discovered that Spanish characters are supported when sending out an invitation. ¡Que bueno! ¿No creen? Me da un poco de vergüenza no haberlo sabido antes.


Apple Cranberry Mix, Yerba Mate and Egyptian Licorice

Since my Diet Pepsi poisoning, I've been extra careful w. what I drink. Here's a rundown of drinks I have @ home now:

1. The big (128 fl. oz) jug of Tree of Life East Coast apple juice went on sale @ the local health food store, so lately my drink of choice, second to water, has been the apple juice mixed in w. a squirt of Lakewood Pure Cranberry Juice (pricey but worth it since you can use it in only small amounts mixed in w. other juices). Yum! These two go well together, my kidneys seem to say "thank you, thank you!".

2. Yerba Mate tea. This one kept me up 'til the early morning hours even though I'd had it in the morning, far exceeding its "improve mental alertness" claim -- Whole Health MD lists its caffeine content as "astonishingly high... with as much as 500-750 mg of caffeine in one drink".

3. Waiting its review is Egyptian Licorice tea, which I ordered from the Natural Store @ and haven't had a chance to sample yet.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Sappy needed a new home, my best friend took him in. Posted by Hello


Luquillo, Puerto Rico, sunset Posted by Hello


Snorkeling Mecca: The Baths, Virgin Gorda, Virgin Islands Posted by Hello


Linking Brains to Machines

Cyberkinetics has successfully cleared the latest hurdle to bring brain-to-machine technology to hospitals. Nothing was said of the possibility of plugging in your sleeping spouse in a reverse machine-to-brain application to modify his behavior.


Termites Could Solve Energy Crisis

Termites are able to convert cellulose into ethanol.

Cellulose is already available in abundance, making up the majority of plant matter in the world. Ethanol is a carbon-neutral fuel that is environmentally friendly and - if a way could be found to replicate the termites ability to convert cellulose into ethanol - would constitute a renewable energy source.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


One of my favorites: saving fruit and veggie remains for the compost pile. Posted by Hello



Remember when I promised you good links to read about aspartame and phenylalanine? Delivering on that promise has taken me longer than I thought b/c I had to find a grip for my story, rather than immediately taking the extreme, poorly thought thru position that aspartame and phenylalanine need to be taken off the market immediately!

What I discovered is disturbing, a wealth of resources concentrated on an "official" aspartame site vs. a disjointed, hysterical-sounding bunch of anti-aspartame sites. Sadly, the official aspartame site squashes dialogue, and does not even entertain the possibility that aspartame may make some people sick -- including me, an otherwise healthy, almost vegetarian woman who is @ her normal weight.

If those folks (known as the "Calorie Control Council") who can handsomely afford a well-funded aspartame website entertained dialogue online, at least we could see all points of view fairly represented. I envision good and bad experiences appearing side by side, where @ least other factors as habitual diet, current goals for using aspartame, etc. could be compared.

Are we witnessing a tobacco industry meme in the making? Is the Calorie Control Council going to continuously squash dialogue until those injured by aspartame get through w. their message, that aspartame can harm healthy people and that those who normally drink it may gradually become immune to its ill-effects?

My new promise to you now: to research phenylalanine more to write about it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Test-driving Yahoo! 360º

This lazy Saturday I've spent some time test-driving Yahoo! 360. If any of you would like an invitation to join in, let me know!

What I've seen so far w. 360:

1. The ease w. which you can add .jpg files to your postings is striking - someone obviously wanted to make that feature noticeable. Yet, if you try to change any other cosmetic features to make your blog, say, have larger print, you come up empty.

2. The top right corner of the "My Page" screen has a nifty search function.

3. Clicking around to select my page and site settings was cumbersome, w. simply too much verbiage! Shhhhh, I kept longing for my Blogger easy-to-use settings.

4. Even the standard, "invite your friends" text was too verbose for me! Is Yahoo! condescending its users by providing suggested text? I'd like the invitation to be to the point w. none of this and that. So, I changed mine, many of you have seen it; here's a sample of one:
Un amigo de Princeton, Christian Crumlish (de la Clase del '86 - la de Angie),
me ha invitado a usar Yahoo 360! Beta (la versión experimental, la cual tiene
un waiting list ahora mismo si la quereis usar sin invitación). Christian es
famoso en el Internet, pues es el co-autor de un libro de como usar "Microsoft
Front Page 2003" y tambien escribio "Power of Many" (me lo estoy leyendo ahora).
Wait!!! My Spanish characters got garbled! Oh no! No wonder my dear, Web-savvy Uncle Hank turned down his invitation! By the way, Xianman's real name should have been a link to his search on Google, or, I mean, Yahoo! but that feature was not available that I could see on my custom invitations.

5. Is Yahoo! afraid of something? Why not create blogging software that can compete, even beat, the Pros? So what my grandmother wants to use Yahoo! for her blog, she should still be treated as if she could be major blog honcho #1.

6. Maybe someone forgot to collaborate to build 360... why not make it a state-of-the-art collaboration w. some very hip blog social software designers? When I'm about to blog and my interface reminds me of when I saw Yahoo! for the first time in the Dark Ages of the Web; my sense of dejà vu takes me back to my old 486, my old 2400 kbps modem and my decision to use Yahoo! as my backup rather than my daily bread.

7. ¡Buena suerte!

Xianman, thanks for inviting me!

Friday, April 08, 2005


Man Cures Cancer For Best Friend

A dog suffering from lymphoma has received a stem cell transplant and "appears to be showing signs that he's been cured".

Dogs saved: 1
Dogs killed in the process: 0

I'd say those who oppose stem cell research on the incorrect assumption that unborn babies (embryos, fetuses, whatever you want to call them) will have to die need to re-examine their position.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


New definition of disease affects you?

Katie Hobson writes:

I'm working on a story (for US News & World Report) about the expanded
definition of disease, and I'd looking for people who are otherwise
healthy, but because of relatively recent changes in definition now
fall under the definition of "prehypertension" (120-139 systolic/80-90
diastolic) or whose cholesterol is higher than 200 but have no other
risks/signs of heart disease. I'm also interested in chatting with
anyone who's been told she has osteopenia. It's not necessary that
you're being treated for the condition; I'm interested in how the label
as such affects you.

If anyone fits the bill, or knows anyone who does, and is willing to
chat with me on the phone for a few minutes, please email me directly

Thank you!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Are you building neurons?

Here's a chance to learn how to obtain start-up financing for your neurological venture and how to overcome any obstacles you may face, make sure you remember to find the person who can nominate you for that Nobel Prize in Medicine too.

File under: Making scientific miracles happen.


Surprised by Starbucks!

Helping a friend (a favorite activity to me and to many), I received a warm, same-day reply from one of Starbucks' highest ranking executives! My friend may get a freelance assignment as a result, our idea: to pitch her as the first to blog for Starbucks. Are we ready to argue about coffee?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Cut and Paste Genes

Scientists in California have developed a process for cutting out sections of DNA. By providing cells with a template of the gene to replace the cut DNA, the cell's repair process incorporates the new gene, creating a "healthy" DNA strand.

The scientists claim to have already fixed the gene mutation responsible for "bubble boy" disease. I'm in kind of a "half glass" type mood (not half full, not half empty, just half) so I'll note that while this could be the end of genetic diseases it could also be the beginning of a whole new way to infect people with disease.

Monday, April 04, 2005


"Lymph Flows" elsewhere

Moved on Sunday night: Missing Lymph now has a blog of its own, where the "Lymph Flows" series is the main content. Next on my to do list: a nonprofit organization sketch and a social entrepreneurship business plan.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Rounding up amphibians... unintentionally!

As someone recently poisoned by a product whose purpose is *not* to poison, I'd like you to know about this study which found out that some amphibians are unintentionally killed by the herbicide Round-up:

University of Pittsburgh Professor Rick Relyea found that Roundup® caused a 70
percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total
mass of tadpoles. Leopard frog tadpoles and gray tree frog tadpoles were
completely eliminated and wood frog tadpoles and toad tadpoles were nearly
eliminated. One species of frog, spring peepers, was unaffected.

Source: Biology News Blog

FYI: For info. about the ill effects of pesticides:

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Blogging from the ER

Using my Dell Notebook to blog from the ER is what I thought I'd have to do when I woke up this morning! We'd probably wind up w. hospital stories along w. the unfolding of my Diet Pepsi-induced sickness. Instead, here are a few thoughts since last night:

1. Maybe I'm too good-natured, but I'd like to write Pepsi Co. itself a letter about my experience and ask them to explain what could have happened to me.

2. Maybe my husband is de-sensitized to Diet Pepsi, but maybe he's slowly getting sick too. He's @ work now, but when he has free time, I'll ask him about that.

3. Maybe the U.S. should just decide to happily divest itself of ultra-processed drinks like Diet Pepsi and just deal w. the economic fallout.

4. What about organic, pricey Diet Pepsi, sweetened w. Stevia? I can picture my mother happily handing me one of those!

5. Did you know that Heinz has organic ketchup? I bought some for my four year-old niece that has been known to have four little ketchup packets @ one meal! The regular Heinz now has High Fructose Corn Syrup which is a nutritional nightmare, it comes from a sweet molecule that has been broken down *three* times! I tried the organic Heinz, not bad. It occurred to me that in a Warhol meme, I'd use the Heinz Organic label for a work of art!

I need to get to work now, I'd like to move the lymph-related postings to a Missing Lymph blog area and I'd like to find good links for you to read about phenylalanine and aspartame.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Poisoned by a Diet Pepsi: Antidote? "It's gotta be fruit"

Why was I drinking a Diet Pepsi earlier today? My mother, with a big smile on her face, offered it to me, as if she had been chilling it in her fridge as a nice treat. I knew I'd probably get sick, but I drank almost half of it while my husband and I chatted w. her.

Did I wind up in the hospital after drinking the Diet Pepsi? My husband prevented that with a calming "wait for the crisis to pass" while witnessing my reaction -- my heart was racing and the new lymphatic power of my nervous system went haywire. Which explains why I could drink Diet Pepsi like it was water (which I think my mother remembers) when I had no tonsils and poor (or maybe zero) lymph flow.

Guess where I felt first the impact of my foolishness? In my lungs! I started coughing as if the aspartame, phenylalanine and whatever else the soda contained had seeped out of my stomach, up through my diaphragm, to reach my lungs and make me hack.

I keep thinking, what am I going to do to get over this... and the first thought that came into my mind was "it's gotta be fruit"! Translation: thru my poisoned haze, I knew I'd have to eat fruit (I ended up with a lemon slice which I'm known to have w/o any sugar) or have real, 100% natural fruit juice (by now, four hours after my crisis, I've had two small glasses of OJ mixed w. a small amount of pure cranberry).

What ended up being my first line of defense: two glasses of milk and a couple tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil about a half hour after I started feeling sick.

My husband had a Diet Pepsi, too, but his reaction to it was not as violent. He simply got a headache.

Our plan: Never to have Diet Pepsi again. My mom's feelings will not be hurt, she witnessed how I immediately acted as if I'd gotten wired, so I seized the opportunity to tell her I drink only water now, mostly, when I'm not drinking milk or natural juice. It's been too warm to drink tea (I've only had one cup of green tea in the past couple of days) and I haven't made any iced.

My husband, a very respected lawyer, knows the flip side of our plan, if I wind up drinking a Diet Pepsi again, and get as sick, we are going to the hospital and then he's filing a claim w. the local Federal Circuit Court (he knows what the other side would reply anyway, I've already asked him, that the fault for drinking the Diet Pepsi is mine, and how could I possibly link all my symptoms to their product)!

For now, I'm posting this incident for all of you to be aware of exactly how violently toxic a Diet Pepsi can be. Useful links will be posted as soon as I cull some, I'm still feeling a bit out of sorts to go website hunting.

Another thought: I wonder how other healthy people w. tonsils react to Diet Pepsi, and what would happen if a bunch of, say, vegan people who have never touched that product would get together to drink it to see just how sick they would get exactly. Morgan Spurlock would probably love that experiment!


Pill Could Extend Life By 25%

A scientist at Aberdeen University reports that a thyroxine pill could potentially increase healthy lifespan by up to 25%. Thyroxine, a hormone produced naturally by the body boosts metabolism and improves cell biology, but too much thyroxine can lead to heart problems and osteoporosis.


Use Dandruff Shampoo & Fight Global Warming

A study by the German Science Foundation revealed that 25-40% of aerosols are dandruff and other similar biological materials.

Previous estimates put the total tonnage of biological aerosols at about 56 million tons. Scientists participating in the new study up that estimate to 1 billion tons.

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