Media I’ve enjoyed lately

Wow. Lots to catch up on since the last time I posted on podcast episodes I really enjoyed. Not to worry, though, most of them are from 60-Second Science.


Science and Technology

Science Talk – The Poisoner's Handbook : The Sinister Side of Chemistry

Astronaut Love: An Interview with Spacewalker Stanley Love

TEDTalks – Mike deGruy: Hooked by an octopus – Mike deGruy (2010)

Hans Rosling on global population growth – Hans Rosling (2010)

Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine – Hans Rosling (2010)

60-Second Science: Trusting Souls Excel at Spotting Liars

Low-Level Moral Transgressions Make Us Laugh

Solar Panels Dust Themselves Off

Dinner Party Discovered 12,000 Years Later

Organic Strawberries Beat Conventionally Grown In Test Plots

Pirates Need Science, Too

Butterflies Choose Plants for Medicinal Qualities

Mice Prefer Treats They Worked Harder to Get

Neandertal Brains Retained Infantile Shape

Daydreaming Diminishes Happiness

Follow the Money to See Real Communities

CSIs Could Estimate Victim's Age with Just Blood

It's Even More Full Of Stars

Saturn's Rings May Be Remnants of a Moon

Database Tries to Track Culture Quantitatively

Young Female Chimps Cradle Stick-Toys like Dolls


Creativity and Learning

TEDTalks – Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs – Cameron Herold (2010)

Aditi Shankardass: A second opinion on learning disorders  – Aditi Shankardass (2009)

John Hunter on the World Peace Game – John Hunter (2011)

Jok Church: A circle of caring – Jok Church (2007)

60-Second Science: Reach Kitchen Staff with Safety Stories



TEDTalks – Ananda Shankar Jayant fights cancer with dance  – Ananda Shankar Jayant (2009)

Stephen Palumbi: Following the mercury trail – Stephen Palumbi (2010)

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work – Nigel Marsh (2010)

60-Second Science – Ancient Brewmasters Made Medicinal Beer

A Few Drug-Resistant Bacteria May Keep the Whole Colony Alive

Salmonella Take Advantage of Our Battle Plan

City Living Promoted Resistance to Infectious Disease

Love Lessens Pain

Clenched Muscles Assist Self-Control

New Crop of Elderly Outsmart Their Predecessors

Receptors for Taste Found in the Lungs

Text Message Outreach Improves HIV Patients' Outcomes

Exercising to Music Keeps Elderly Upright

Ultramarathoners Reveal "Safe" Injuries

Think More to Eat Less

Trained Rats Sniff Out TB

Placebos Work Even When You Know

98.6 Trades Metabolic Cost for Fungal Protection



TEDTalks – Jessi Arrington: Wearing nothing new – Jessi Arrington (2011)


Good news and an opportunity for San Franciscans

I'm very relieved that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget & Finance Committee has maintained funding for the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team program. This is a wonderful, practical, and free program to train ordinary San Franciscans to stay safe and, where possible, help others in case of disaster. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee the funding will be preserved in the future, so take advantage of the program now while we have it.

Why should you care?

California has a 99.7 percent chance of having a 6.7 magnitude
earthquake or larger during the the next 30 years. The likelihood of a
more powerful quake of 7.5 magnitude in the next 30 years is 46 percent.
Such a quake is more likely to occur in the southern half of the state
than in the northern half. … the probability of a 6.7 magnitude
earthquake or larger over the next 30 years striking the greater Los
Angeles area is 67 percent and in the San Francisco Bay Area is 63
percent [source]

The best way to deal with this threat is to understand what it would mean for you and your household and how you can reduce your risks of being badly hurt during a quake. Take the classes, they're free and interesting. Download the NERT manual and learn how to put together an emergency kit. Get involved with your local team and stack the deck in favor of coming through the next big shakeup unharmed.

San Franciscans, once again, why should you care?

Because we have 17,000 residents per square mile and only about 300 firefighters on duty at any given time. You will need to be self-sufficient, especially in the first three days after a major quake.

It's not hard to be ready, but you do have to start preparing.

Every week, from now until the ground moves, devote a little time – even just a few minutes when you can't take a class or do a bigger safety project in your home – to providing for your future.

Definitely in motion on my road

My latest Discardia post is about choosing what you most want and don't want in your life and then bearing those priorities in mind when faced with options (which we are all day, every day).

Here are my choices:

I want…
1. to be thriving in a great relationship.
2. to feel healthy and strong.
3. to be a published author.

I don't want…
1. to work in a cubicle.
2. to have little control over when I do what.
3. to be stressed all the time.

I'm making great progress on all of these goals. I quit my office job just over a year ago, went into business for myself as a productivity and life coach, started writing my book about Discardia, devoted more of my energy to my relationship with Joe, and consciously began designing my life for less stress.

The feeling healthy and strong part has been tough, though, I have to admit. I hate gyms. I have a weak knee and a weak ankle which make running or jogging very unattractive. Really, the only exercise routine I actually like and seek out many times a week is walking. As someone with a project of walking the city of San Francisco – every street, every block – that's not a surprise, right? 🙂

During the past two years I've made various attempts to up my activity level. I tried the Wii Fit for a while; fun, but not inspirational for daily activity. I got a pedometer and renewed my focus on my SF walking project; definitely a help, but not always compatible with working on a book and maintaining a happy home many hours a day.

Yesterday, I think I finally found the sweet spot: a treadmill desk.
I moved my Ikea office armoire to the other wall so the space in front of it wouldn't block our path to the back bathroom, switched the shelves around so that the extending desk surface could hold my monitor at face height when I'm standing, and put my treadmill in front of the desk. There are a couple tweaks needed – the typing surface needs to be an inch or two lower and the stereo speaker buzz needs to be resolved – but in the first part of my day today (less than two hours) I've already strolled at a comfortable speed of 0.7 miles an hour (while typing and reading) and logged over 2700 steps.

I can see that with this setup it will be very difficult not to reach a daily goal of at least 10,000 steps. Also my energy and alertness levels are both higher than when I'm sitting in a chair. Awesome!

Notes on my setup:
LifeSpan Fitness TR200 Fold-N-Stor Compact Treadmill
– nice finished board
– two scarves to tie board on treadmill handles
– blanket under board for padding and as additional safety grip
– Ikea armoire with extendable shelf
– cheapish monitor
– MacBook
– creativity

Something for San Franciscans to be proud of

Really nice news in my email this morning: Healthy San Francisco is now providing health care to over half of the 60,000 uninsured residents the program is expected to reach. This is after just 15 months and it’s wonderful to think about the impact this has not only on the city economy, but also on individuals’ lives.

I’m proud to live in a city where the practicality of universal heath care is being demonstrated.

You can hear more about the program, and about hopes that other cites & counties around the country will take similar efforts in this short video from Mayor Gavin Newsom:

I just got a Wii Fit and I’m much too self-conscious about my physical coordination – or rather my lack of it – to film myself, but here’s a great little video of someone playing Table Tilt that shows both how much fun it is and how you will clearly become more limber & balanced over time while you play.

I’m hoping I’ll lose a bit of weight too, but that may not happen until my ankle is stronger. I’ve figured out that it isn’t ready for the running or the strength/balance things that make me put all my weight on the left foot. No harm, but it was a bit achy after only a little of that, so I’m playing it safe for now and working up to relying too much on the left ankle.

Unexpected Time Off

Tuesday night after dinner Joe and I were going to go over to Momi Toby’s cafe and do an hour or so of work to make our Wednesdays go better. Since it’s just round the corner I was carrying my laptop in my hands rather than in my backpack. On the bottom step I wasn’t paying close attention to my feet and slipped, twisting my ankle to the side sharply. Fortunately, I had my precious lovely 12" PowerBook in my hands and so without thinking, instead of putting my hand out to catch myself and probably breaking my wrist or something, I landed hard on the sidewalk on my ass. Let’s just say it’s good that baby’s got back; big bruise, but no lasting harm.

What was clearly not okay was my ankle. I lay still and had Joe bring me a big ice pack immediately so my foot could chill down while I assessed my condition without trying to stand. Clearly gonna be a bruise on my butt, yep. Scraped the right ankle a little falling, but doesn’t feel like any internal problem, okay. But that left ankle, not good. Big twist and I think there was a kind of a noise. On the bright side, a very cautious exploratory wiggle of the big toe hurts like hell on the top of the foot but doesn’t make me scream.

So into a cab, off to the ER and back home a couple hours later with a splint & crutches. Lay in bed or sat on the couch with my foot raised up on an ottoman all day yesterday. In the evening crutched my way verrrry carefully down the stairs for door to door delivery to & from Absinthe for a simply lovely anniversary celebration: their first cocktail pairing dinner.

This morning a follow-up appointment with the doctor to learn, yes, a break, but it’s more of a chip really and at this point I’m not going to damage it further provided I keep it elevated & let it heal for week. No going to work. My company doesn’t generally allow telecommuting (*sigh*) and if I can’t go to work I’m certainly not making the planned weekend trip to Vegas, so I’m suddenly and surprisingly faced with the next 5 days completely free except for the physical constraints.

We’ll see how I do at actually catching up on my reading and online projects, but prepare yourselves for more than the usual amount of blogging.