Saturday, September 24, 2005

Walking on Cobblestones is Good for You

A medical study points to significant health benefits from walking on paths made of small, smooth cobblestones. Such paths are common in China, where they have long been considered beneficial to health.

January 2004 Press Release from the Oregon Research Institute

Complete article from ORI site, (PDF reprint from the August 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society)

A news article with a picture showing the simulated path used in the study

More pictures from the ORI site

ORI had mats for sale but sold out when the study got lots of news coverage. Their site says to "check back to this website in the coming weeks for updates on future mat purchases."


Sunday, September 11, 2005

New Nuclear Doctrine

A draft of a new U.S. nuclear doctrine allows for a first strike against countries that (Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld say?) possess weapons of mass destruction.

Fear of Death is Worst for the Religiously Wishy Washy

A new study shows that committed atheists face death with less fear than people with tentative religious beliefs.

Now the Girls Can Piss With the Big Boys

Hey -- how about a flushable paper funnel that allows a woman to stand up to pee? Perfect for the OCD patient who can't stand sitting down in a pubic restroom. It comes with pictorial instructions!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Walt Whitman: Poet, Lover, "God"

I'm reading Leaves of Grass again lately. There's a cult in California that counts Walt Whitman among their "gods," and I don't completely disagree with that assessment. Personally, I wouldn't call him a god, but then, semantic arguments are universally boring. He is what he is. No more, no less. Just like all of us. Tell 'em "He Is" sent you, and leave it at that.

This is one of the poems that consistently catches my attention, because it resonates perfectly with something I have felt palpably at many times in my life. The question is, how can one learn to feel it all the time?

by Walt Whitman

Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love—or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds—or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down—or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best—mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans—or to the soiree—or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman,
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring—yet each distinct, and in its place.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass—the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships, with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?