Category Archives: news

“He who smelteth it hath dealteth it.” – Stinkinthians 1:3

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.

The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.

The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

“Now that we know hydrogen sulfide’s role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension,” said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science.

Snyder and his colleagues compared normal mice to mice that were missing a gene for an enzyme known as CSE, long suspected as being responsible for making hydrogen sulfide. As they measured hydrogen sulfide levels taken from tissues of the CSE-deficient mice, the scientists found that the gas was depleted in the cardiovascular systems of the altered mice. By contrast, normal mice had higher levels of the gas, thereby showing that hydrogen sulfide is naturally made by mammalian tissues using CSE.

Next, the mice were subjected to higher blood pressures comparable to serious hypertension in humans. Scientists had them respond to a chemical called methacholine that relaxes normal blood vessels. The blood vessels of the CSE-lacking mice hardly relaxed, indicating that hydrogen sulfide is a huge contender for regulating blood pressure.

Hydrogen sulfide is the most recently discovered member of a family of gasotransmitters, small molecules inside our bodies with important physiological functions.

This study is the first to reveal that the CSE enzyme that triggers hydrogen sulfide is activated itself in the same way as other enzymes when they trigger their respective gasotransmitter, such as a nitric oxide-forming enzyme that also regulates blood pressure, Dr. Snyder said.

Because gasotransmitters are common in mammals all over the evolutionary tree, these findings on the importance of hydrogen sulfide are thought to have broad applications to human diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

The research was supported by grants from the U.S. Public Health Service and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as a Research Scientist Award.

Men the world over are celebrating today. No longer will they need to blame their ass outbursts on the dog or feign embarrassment at the movie theater. Now, every time a man tries to Dutch Oven his girlfriend he’ll say, “But, baby, I’m just trying to control my blood pressure. You DO want me to be healthy don’t you? Now, get back under that sheet.”

And you gotta love the title of this article. Yahoo News — classy as always. I suppose there’s a certain clarity to it.  Call a fart “a fart”, so to speak. Though I think it would have have a slightly more scientific tone to it if the header read: “Gasotransmitter Research Confirms Biological Need for Flatulatory Emissions.” Is ‘flatulatory’ a word? I don’t know. It just sounds better than the alternative.

Anywho, I worry that important research such as this will be lost under a new political regime. I demand that this important issue be addressed by Obama and McCain! After all, who wants to spend their hard-earned greenbacks on roads and schools? What a waste! I want to know about the biological hazards of breathing in noxious SBD fumes and if you really can die from holding one in on the elevator. I say call in the MythBusters to get to the bottom of these mysteries!



Filed under news

I’m no expert but…

…I don’t think McCain’s camp is doing such a great job on media preparation. I’m listening to the debate right now (48 minutes into it) and Obama is kicking the old guy’s butt all over the place. B.O. is totally polished and commanding — every time he speaks, he says something constructive & concrete. While MickeyC kind of rambles a bunch of reactive blurble. Bummer, man.

As a staunch fence-sitter, I’m open to voting for the right guy TEAM for the job. I really thought McC had the guts and deserved the glory, but first he chooses a lame running mate and now he makes a passive showing of the debate. …eek. It looks like Obamarama and Biden (I don’t have a good funny name for him because he’s like old dry toast) are going to be the dudes to party with come November.

(“Orgy of spending” – LOL! That phrase alone may earn my vote!)


Filed under news

Captain Obvious Strikes Again

Facebook Profiles Out Narcissists LiveScience.comFri Sep 26, 9:31 AM ET
Facebook profiles can tell you more than just peoples’ birthdays and what movies they like – they can reveal the self-adoring, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Georgia gave personality questionnaires to nearly 130 Facebook users and analyzed the content of their online profiles. They also had untrained observers look at the profiles and rate how narcissistic, or excessively egotistical, the owners of the profiles were.

The results of the study are detailed in the October issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

The researchers found that the number of friends and wall posts (messages left by the owner of the profile or friends) that a person had on their profile correlated with how narcissistic they were. Study leader Laura Buffardi, a Ph.D. student in psychology, said this is similar to how narcissists behave in the real world, forming numerous but shallow relationships with others.

Narcissistic Facebook users were also more likely to have glamorous, self-promoting pictures for their main profile photo, while others tended to use snapshots, the study found. The untrained observers also noted the differences in photos and amount of social interaction.

“We found that people who are narcissistic use Facebook in a self-promoting way that can be identified by others,” Buffardi said.

Narcissism hampers a person’s ability to form healthy, long-term relationships, said study co-author W. Keith Campbell.

“Narcissists might initially be seen as charming, but they end up using people for their own advantage,” Campbell said. “They hurt the people around them and they hurt themselves in the long run.”

In the past, research has found that personal Web pages are more popular among narcissists, but this doesn’t mean that all Facebook users are narcissists.

“Nearly all of our students use Facebook, and it seems to be a normal part of people’s social interactions,” Campbell said. “It just turns out that narcissists are using Facebook the same way they use their other relationships – for self-promotion with an emphasis on quantity over quality.”


A study was commissioned to determine this important news? It doesn’t take more than a cursory glance at the profiles on Facebook and MySpace to realize that they’re just a vehicle to explore your inner Attention Whore.

Here’s the part of the study that they didn’t seem to figure out: that all narcissists are actually so self-absorbed because they privately hate themselves. So they post amazing, slutty pictures of themselves to make others believe they’re cool. Hello? Tila Tequila, anyone?? You can’t convince me that’s a healthy person.

To a lesser extent, my state college psychology studies lead me to extend a further hypothesis that maybe, just maybe, everyone (non-nacissists included) post good things about themselves because you’d have to be a dumbass to post negative things about yourself. “I’m Bob, 45, overweight with a hairy stomach, chronic dandruff, mommy issues, $30,000 of debt, and a shocking inability to keep a job for longer than three months. Wanna date?”

If people posted the truth about themselves, would the University of Georgia get a fat government grant to study Facebook members’ low self-esteem?

1 Comment

Filed under news, Rants

Don’t mess with Texas.

Intruders shot after Texas couple wrests shotgun

Thu Sep 4, 6:03 PM ET

When two gunmen smashed through the glass front door of her suburban Fort Worth home, Kellie Hoehn didn’t think twice.

The 34-year-old mother of two grabbed a shotgun that had been pointed at her face early Wednesday, starting a struggle that ended with one intruder killed with his own weapon and another in the hospital.

“I wasn’t going to let them get to my babies,” she said, recalling the moment when she pushed up the muzzle of the shotgun, pointing it away from her children’s rooms.

Although the intruders told her to keep quiet, she screamed for her husband. She told her 12-year-old son, who was awakened by the sound of the shattering glass front door, to get his 5-year-old sister and hide.

“It was like a horror movie,” her husband, 32-year-old Keith Hoehn, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I thought I was a dead man. We’re fighting for our lives.”

With Kellie Hoehn clinging to the weapon’s muzzle, her husband tackled the man who held the shotgun. She knocked the intruder in the head with a jar candle, giving her husband a chance to wrest the shotgun.

By then the tussle had spilled out onto the front lawn. Keith Hoehn shot one of the men who had a pistol, police said. Wounded, that man ran away.

Then the intruder who initially had the shotgun charged Keith Hoehn.

Kellie Hoehn told The Dallas Morning News that she screamed at her husband, “Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.”

Her husband fired the shotgun and the man fell to the ground. Then the shot man lunged a second time.

“Well, I shot him again, and I guess that was it,” Keith Hoehn said.

Dakota Scott Benoit, 20, of Richland Hills, was pronounced dead at a hospital. John Garland Pierson, 25, of Haltom City, was in critical condition and in police custody at the hospital.

“I am not happy that someone is dead,” Kellie Hoehn said. “But I am glad that my family is alive.”

Police said Pierson was shot in the left arm and the bullet pierced his diaphragm and other organs but his condition was improving. He will face charges of burglary of habitation with intent to commit another felony, police said.

This is kinda old news that I left in my “drafts” folder for over a week. I had intended to hit the publish button but got distracted by something an important: a Facebook prompt informing that it was my turn in virtual Scrabble. Clearly, a priority.

Anyway, I just love this family. They are my heroes. How many times have you fantasized about stopping a crime? I do all the time, but I’m pretty much a proven nutcase.

I think to myself about what things are lethal in my bathroom, how to defend myself with a bent coathanger and oregano, the pros and cons of hiding in a closet,… I even have entire scenarios pre-written in my head, which will be helpful for when I need to describe the situation to Tyra: “If the bastards get in here while I’m cooking dinner, I’m going to pretend I’m scared to make them feel cocky and relaxed, then when they think everything is cool I’ll karate chop him in the throat, break his wrist back and sweep his leg “karate Kid” style. Then, when the gun pops up into the air, I’ll grab it behind my back, shoot his accomplice in the gut, while elbowing the first guy in the face (since he’ll still technically be in the air on his way to the floor after the leg sweep), step my patent leather stiletto boot onto his neck (since that’s what I wear while cooking), hold the gun to his forehead, and say something quippy, like “Looks like lead salad is on the menu for you tonight.”

Maybe I watch too many movies.


Filed under news

Welcome HOme!


I came home from work last night, arms heavy with supermarket bags, ears heavy with Mom chatting on the Bluetooth, and saw a flyer on my door. The flyer said:

Dear resident,

As you might be aware, San Jose police investigators have made an arrest connected to prostitution that allegedly occurred at our apartment community. …

Wait. What?

I put down the bags and re-read the first sentence. Prostitution. Here?

My apartment complex is a lovely, sprawling village community, populated mostly by young families. Many are engineers from India, China, Taiwan, and Japan who work in the tech industry. It’s not exactly the sort of place you’d expect to see prostitution. Caffeine addiction, yes. Prostitution, no.

So what’s the dillio? While I’m not 100% sure this news item is related to the flyer, I’m going to say it’s probably a pretty good guess. Check this craziness out:

Calif. Principal Accused Of Running Brothel


POSTED: 2:28 pm PDT August 18, 2008
A four-month long investigation led to the arrest of a San Francisco high school assistant principal and a second person on charges that they operated a brothel in the South Bay, police said Monday.


On Aug. 8, the San Jose Police Vice Unit concluded its investigation of two alleged brothels in San Jose, police said. Search warrants were issued at the suspected brothel in San Jose along with the suspect’s residences in Milpitas and San Francisco, police said.


Police said they seized evidence of a pimping, pandering and prostitution ring from all three locations, including a high rent San Jose apartment complex, and two main suspects were taken into custody for felony pimping and pandering.


Gerald Courtney, 57, who is the assistant principal at Galileo High School in San Francisco, was arrested along with Hsiu Hwa Chou, 41, police said. Two other suspects were taken into custody on charges of misdemeanor prostitution violations, police said.


Police said Chou obtained the apartment leases and created Internet postings advertising the brothel.


No minors, students or other school officials from the San Francisco Unified School District were involved in the alleged prostitution ring, police said.
Pimpcipal! I’m all for making a little extra cash, but couldn’t he just wait tables at TGIFridays’ or something?
Mr. DT told me that he saw a Hummer parked in front of one of the newer buildings in our complex with (I’m quoting here) “a bunch of slutty chicks getting out”. Nice.
I don’t know if these were pros or just random “slutty chicks”, but it is a big fat reminder that we need to get the hell out of this state. Twelve years of California is more than enough punishment for anyone.  This site will show you the lovely homes available for your heard-earned buck in NoCal. The 2 bdr shack is $1.1m but you have to provide your own hookers. Hopefully, by this time next year we’ll be lazing in rocking chairs on a wrap-around porch overlooking our five acres of land in a big-ass New England house. I can’t wait. California is dead to me.
I officially quit this bitch!


Filed under news

I’m dying to go to work today


Labor bureau: Japanese man, 45, died of overwork

By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Writer Wed Jul 9, 12:33 PM ET

TOKYO – A Japanese labor bureau has ruled that one of Toyota’s top car engineers died from working too many hours, the latest in a string of such findings in a nation where extraordinarily long hours for some employees has long been the norm.

The man who died was aged 45 and had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota’s blockbuster Camry line, said Mikio Mizuno, the lawyer representing his wife. The man’s identity is being withheld at the request of his family, who continue to live in Toyota City where the company is based.

In the two months up to his death, the man averaged more than 80 hours of overtime per month, according to Mizuno.

He regularly worked nights and weekends, was frequently sent abroad and was grappling with shipping a model for the pivotal North American International Auto Show in Detroit when he died of ischemic heart disease in January 2006. The man’s daughter found his body at their home the day before he was to leave for the United States.

The ruling was handed down June 30 and will allow his family to collect benefits from his work insurance, Mizuno said.

An officer at the Aichi Labor Bureau on Wednesday confirmed the ruling, but declined to comment on the record.

In a statement, Toyota Motor Corp. offered its condolences and said it would work to improve monitoring of the health of its workers.

There is an effort in Japan to cut down on deaths from overwork, known as “karoshi.” Such deaths have steadily increased since the Health Ministry first recognized the phenomenon in 1987.

Last year, a court in central Japan ordered the government to pay compensation to Hiroko Uchino, the wife of a Toyota employee who collapsed at work and died at age 30 in 2002. She took the case to court after her application to the local labor bureau for compensation was rejected. (source)


Holy Sailor Moon! I thought I worked alot, but these guys win the prize!

If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, you know it’s pretty common to look up at the many office towers and see businessmen still hard at work at 9, 10, or even 11PM.  They are crazy-loco about getting the job done and often will even stay the night in their offices. And, of course, everyone knows the stories about the “capsule hotels”, which are kind of like morgue filing cabinets for commuters who miss the last train out of the city. (Here are pics from one such hotel, located on top of my favorite McDonald’s in the whole world: the Shinjuku Beatles-themed McD’s. “Herp! I need somebawdy! Herp! Not just anybawdy!” They also make a kick-ass Wasabi Cheebugga there. Someday I will get around to posting about my ratings of different McD’s around the world.).

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Karoshi. Sorry, I got all distracted thinking about Japanese fast food outlets. Anyways, the Japanese Department of Health and Labour published a study a while back that said in 2007, “147 workers died, many from strokes or heart attacks, and about 208 more fell severely ill from overwork in the year to March, the highest figure on record and 7.6 percent up from the previous year. Another 819 workers contended they became mentally ill due to overwork, with 205 cases given compensation…. Mentally troubled workers killed themselves or attempted to do so in 176 cases.” Zowie!

I call bull on all this! Or maybe I call “donkatsu“, because it’s much more delicious than bull. As I’ve gotten older I subscribe to the “You load 16 tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt” mindset. I work my ass off to get a decent place to live way out in the suburbs of Tokyo. I have to live in the outskirts because it’s too friggin expensive to afford so much as a closet in the Ginza or Harijuku neighborhoods. Then I have a couple of kids, and they have to go to private schools. Oh, and they need all the creepy Japanese designer clothes. And my wife needs that new LV purse for 180,000 Yen. And I really need a BMW X5. And we need…. blah blah blah. People are working themselves literally to death in Japan (and a few other placs as well) just to afford the basics in life & to show their loyalty to the company, and then it’s to afford a few nice extras and to prove they’re working harder than everyone else, and then it’s to afford to keep a high-lifestyle we all “deserve”,…

I’m out. Deal me the hell out of this stupidity.

And on that depressing note, I need to go get something to eat because for some reason this post has made me hungry and possibly a little light-headed.


Filed under news, Rants

Serious news….

Twice yesterday, I had tears in my eyes reading the news. Tears of joy. And tears of utter sadness.

After six dreadful years in captivity, former political candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American contractors were rescued from their bondage as hostages of Columbia’s FARC rebel regime. I’ve been following this for a long time now, checking in every so often to see if there was news that somehow hadn’t made the US popular news. But the hostages stayed put, apparently the target of amazing torture at the hands of their captors. With the recent fatal heart attack of the guerilla army’s leader, it was clear something was going to happen soon. And it did happen, in the form of a wild rescue by operatives who duped the local rebel faction into delivering all four of the high profile captives as well as their own sadistic leader. My boyfriend asked if Kiefer Sutherland was one of the rescuers because it sounded like some kind of crazy “24” plot.

The second source of my tears is one I am having trouble writing about. The lifeless body of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett was found dumped not far from her uncle’s home in Vermont. Her uncle and stepfather appear to have been partcipants in an abusive sex ring that targeted young girls. I’ve read of at least two other victims so far who have been attacked by the monsters involved in this sick shit. If there is any kind of justice in the world, the people responsible for hurting these innocent victims will spend their lives in prison with huge uber-violently sadistic rape-happy cellmates. I could rail against the sickness of the world. I could scream in anger about women who expose their kids to dangerous known predators.  But…I can’t think any more on this subject because my stomach is flipping over.

Two examples of victimization. One ends in freedom for the captured. The other ends in a different kind of freedom from the pain. My heartfelt prayers go out for you both.

1 Comment

Filed under news