The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

I think there is a cat in the ceiling…

| August 28, 2011

As a result of the hurricane, at least one of the cats has decided to seek refuge in the hung ceiling of the basement.

The wind is blowing, but as of right now there is nothing tremendously interesting going on – just rain and wind and we still have power. It’s flickered a bit, but is otherwise stable.

The garden has been going well so far. The pea crop was bad – largely my fault, as I underplanted. Plus, that batch of seed seemed to have a pretty poor germination.

The rest of it has been fine – squash and corn were fine, the pumpkins are looking good, as are the onions and potatoes.

Beer is good, carboys are full, and phase 2 of the beer system is complete (phase 1 was 4 kegs with ability to tap 1. Phase 2 was 4 more kegs, with the ability to tap 4. Phase 3 is bringing the taps out of the refrigerator so that they’re proper bar taps).

We’ve decided to keep chickens, starting next year. MyPetChicken.com has a pile of interesting breeds. Liz found a fairly over the top chicken coop, which we’ll be hiring our neighbor to build. He builds houses, and this coop is more “small house” than “shed” or “coop”. That and the economy is pretty down, so he’s available, and building it ourselves will end up taking a couple of months of weekends.

I also picked up a new video card to add to the computer my brother gave me for my birthday. Right now, we’re playing a lot of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and I’m planning on gearing up for Battlefield 3. This requires an upgrade to Windows 7, which I’, not particularly looking forward to, as I fear it will break a good portion of my existing games. My brother, for example, claims that he’s not been able to get Mechwarrior 4 to work.

I think that I’m going to preemptively partition the drive to multi-boot, likely using xosl as the boot loader. That way I can still play games on XP (even after it goes unsupported) if need be. The working theory is that XP will be a fallback if I can’t get it to work in Windows 7.

Anyway, pictures behind the cut. ASUS card with ATI Radeon 6870 w/ 1GB of RAM. It’s a little absurd.

(more…)

Cholesterol and heart disease

| August 12, 2011

So, because I’m over 20, they’re testing my blood every few years for cholesterol. As such, I’ve been researching it, and have dug up some more information on things I read some years ago.

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/cholesterol-doesnt-cause-heart-disease

This article cites a lot of sources, but is not tremendously lengthy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html

This article cites few sources, but quotes a lot of people. This one is especially poignant:

Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Mary Enig, Ph.D, an expert in lipid biochemistry, have gone so far as to call high cholesterol “an invented disease, a ‘problem’ that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood.”

Further down in the article, he suggests that any level under 150 is LOW cholesterol, and that 200-250 would be optimal. One should note that modern medical convention says that 200-240 is “Borderline High”.

Even further, he goes on to criticize the medicines. At best, they do very little. At worst, they do active harm.

Finally, he criticizes the methodology of Ancel Keys, who first linked dietary fat to heart disease – namely discarding data which didn’t fit his conclusion.

I think what has happened is that there was some (flawed) studies linking fatty diets with heart disease, then 30 years of analysis isolated it to a link between heart disease and cholesterol. So, logically, if we lower the cholesterol, the heart disease will go down, right? Except, it isn’t happening. So, there’s a bit of a WTF, and cue 25 years more research, which brings us to today, and the above.

To be honest, I’m a bit skeptical about medicine in general. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what they do is fabulous and amazing, but no one bats a thousand, and medicine has quite a history of getting things wrong, and having “conventional medical wisdom” be wrong for a really long time. Remember leeches and bleedings? How about the ebb and flow model of blood circulation, or using mercury to treat VD.

Freedom in the 50 states

| August 12, 2011

I was listening to the Cato daily podcast, and they referenced this freedom study. I found it interesting. Unsurprisingly, NY is quite un-free, though the gay marriage bill being passed will likely move us up a couple of steps.