Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Squat Toilet ("Squatty Potty" on "Shark Tank")

Want to "POOP BETTER"? The squat position helps me get GOing more easily and finish more completely. A recent episode of Shark Tank (ABC TV) featured a squat toilet product you may purchase at the Squatty Potty website - or you may use my alternative solution inspired by that product (see images below).
I got the black folding step-stool at my local Walmart. It is about 12 inches high. They have smaller ones available in different colors. Images above: 1) Folding step-stool in position. 2) Folded and tucked away, only two inches thick. 3) Unfold the stool. 4) Stool in position with one leg lifted, 5) Both legs up and ready to GO (of course, remember to pull your pants down :^).

The images below, from the official Squatty Potty website, illustrate why a squat toilet works so well.
Your dog and all humans -until relatively recently- naturally squat to fully relax their puborectalis muscles and thereby POOP BETTER. It is amazing to me that the modern toilet allows only partial relaxation of the muscle that prevents you from pooping freely. Despite my positive experiences with the squat position while pooping in the woods, and with squat toilets in Egypt and on other foreign travels, I never thought to try to approximate that position at home. Now that I've adopted the squat position, I cannot GO back :^)


Ira Glickstein

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Altered States of Mind

[From David Dingee] This was presented to an interactive audience at the Philosophy Club of The Villages, FL on Nov. 7, 2014. Download the PowerPoint Show by clicking HERE.
This presentation looks at various states of the mind apart from the “norm”. The information about such states as sleeping, dreaming, hypnosis and meditation were selected for the presentation because they have considerable importance in our lives.  However, despite much research and accumulated information these states of the mind still appear to be poorly understood.

The presentation considers a cross-section of the information available to support various hypotheses of how the mind works in each of the selected mind-states.  It appears that the work of Sigmund Freud underpins much of the conjecture using his “iceberg” analogy which sets the conscious mind, the normal cognitive/action state, as the top of the otherwise submerged mass with two levels under water. The first submerged level is depicted as the sub-conscious mind, the active memory bank, and the lower submerged level being the unconscious mind, the “forgotten “or unwelcome  memories.

It is proposed that sleep and dreams provide a means for the individual to access that deep-seated unconscious memory bank to address concerning issues in an acceptable format, thereby relieving potential future stresses. Similarly, some academicians believe hypnosis is also a means to access the unconscious mind for therapeutic hypnosis treatments.

The presentation also addressed meditation as a therapeutic method to relive anxieties and to resolve a number of physical stressors. The method described was “Transcendental Meditation” which was made popular by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi following the apparent beneficial meditation visits by the “Beatles” in the late 1960’s. It is believed to work by the meditator reaching a “dreamless sleep” state of mind wherein the brain releases beneficial hormones which help the body..

Several rarely recognized features of sleep were identified. Some animals can operate with as few as 2 hours of sleep; some can operate with half their brains sleeping while having full cognizance of their environment.  Sleep deprivation by humans from a few days to a month were reported.  The consequences were generally very unhealthy, demonstrating the strong connection between mind and body.

The meeting presentation was followed by questions from, and discussion by, the audience.  A key question was whether hypnosis would be effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD).  The answer is that there has been reported success.

David Dingee

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lies, Computer Models, and Government Subsidies

Updating Mark Twain's famous opinion that "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics" were three types of untruths, with "statistics" being the worst, I presented "Lies, Damned Lies, Computer Models, and Government Subsidies" to an astute audience at the Science-Technology Club at The Villages, FL, today. You may download the Powerpoint Show HERE.


I generally love Computer Models, having produced several useful ones myself *. However, when it comes to the misuse of Climate Models to justify spending hard-earned taxpayer money for unworthy projects, my love has its limits.

I showed the attentive and interactive audience how I was able to model the latest NASA-GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index using two sinusoids and one exponential. (See the graphic, above. The bright red line is the 5-Year Running Mean of the Temperature Anomaly in °C from 1880 through 2014. The blue and red sinusoids, representing natural cycles, have periods of 33- and 70-years, respectively, and the green exponential represents the increasing levels of "greenhouse" gases. Note how the thick black line, which is the sum of the sinusoids and the exponential, fairly closely matches the NASA-GISS Temperature Anomaly.)

Of course, the easy part of computer modeling is retro-dicting the past. As John von Neumann famously told Enrico Fermi, “With four parameters I can fit an ELEPHANT, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.”

The hard part is predicting the future, and I make no claims regarding my simplistic model's ability to do that. However, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the rest of the Official Cliimate "Team" do take their models seriously. In the latest IPCC Assessment Report, they continue to predict a catastrophic future based on their failed models.

These models failed to predict the current 15- to 18-year "pause" in Global Warming, despite the increasing -even accelerating- levels of Atmospheric CO2. Furthermore, as Dr. Roy Spencer recently showed, only TWO out of 90 CMIP5 Climate Models, used in the latest IPCC Annual Report, agree with the OBSERVED SURFACE and LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE DATA.  Thus, over 95% of the IPCC models AGREE that, in Spencer's satirical words, "the OBSERVATIONS must be wrong" :^)

Climate Alarmists and Warmists have convinced the US, UK, and many other governments to spend tremendous amounts of taxpayer money to study the problem and to impose costly regulations to curtail human production of "greenhouse" gases.

The problem with attempts to model the Climate is that it is a combination of linear and chaotic elements, and the latter makes it virtually impossible to correctly predict the future beyond a relatively short period. See my PowerPoint Show for how I demonstrated that a chaotic model is very sensitive to initial conditions. Indeed, in my chaos model, a change in initial conditions of less than one part in a million, produced very large changes in longer-term results.


My talk concluded with a review of how necessary government spending, such as the vast expenditures on military aircraft during WWII and subsequent conflicts, may benefit industry and consumers, such as the commercial aircraft and airline industries. Similarly, the Space Program and Medical Research expenditures are mostly justified by the benefits they have brought to the taxpayers.

However, there is great danger when the government unnecessarily expends large sums and burdens industry and consumers with un-affordable costs for environmental purposes that are "justified" by failed Computer Climate Models.

For example:

Ethanol: The requirement that up to 15% Ethanol, derived from corn, must be blended with gasoline, despite higher costs and reduced MPG, appears to be a politically-motivated subsidy for the agricultural industry and states where corn is a major crop.

Solar Panels: US taxpayers lost $500M when solar-panel producer Solyndra went bankrupt. It appears that political influence was used in 2009 to push through a loan for them to produce solar panels in the US, despite the fact that their cylindrical technology cost several dollars per watt, as compared to flat panels available at less than a dollar per watt. They went bankrupt in 2011, only two years after the loan, and all employees lost their jobs.

There are many other examples, too numerous to mention!

Ira Glickstein

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