Lavender oils = bad

I had a suspicion about herbal and tree oil extracts and their lack of real merit for use. Now it looks like it is confirmed, but with potentially dangerous side effects: causing young boys to grow breasts, upsetting hormonal balances and other health oddities.

Lavender and tea tree oils found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions can temporarily leave boys with enlarged breasts in rare cases, apparently by disrupting their hormonal balance, a preliminary study suggests.

Dr. Clifford Bloch, a hormone specialist in Greenwood Village, Colorado, who treated the three boys, recommended that parents “be cautious” with such products, especially for prolonged use. “I would not give these products to my children,” he said in an interview.

Link

Personally, I dislike the smell of these extracts and the mountain of commercials exhibiting their special inclusion in shampoo and soap products.

Better to be safe and just avoid them!

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Gearing up for Vista

Microsoft Vista is soon to be released Tuesday, January 30th but at much reduced fanfare for me. Every Windows upgrade since 3.1 has added extra caution to any enthusiasm I once had for the developing OS. I believe my first bitter taste of how fickle and unruly an upgrade could be was when I transitioned from 3.1 to 95. I remember the level of hype that was unheard of at that time for boxed software. This was no video game, but an evolution in the way you interact with your computer.. or so they would make you believe.

No one at that time could have predicted the havoc that would soon entangle early adopters, including me. Waiting in line at Fry’s Electronics with all the rest of the geeks as the piped-in propaganda music in the background rippled in one’s eardrum, “Start it up!”. Little did I know that the song also had a lyrical line that included, “You make a grown man cry”. A true foreshadowing for what was to become a long night of despair and anguish.

With paltry upgrade instructions and little warnings to guide the foolhardy, I set out head first into the great unknown of 32-bit Windows 95. I failed rule #1 of any OS upgrade, always back up your data first! But why all this effort? This is Windows on top of Windows! The people of MS must have tested this upgrade process a million times. Forget that, I’m going all the way in.

After inserting the last floppy disk, #13 to be exact, the melancholy sounds of hard drive churning finally started to take over. At last, the black screen required me to reboot the machine. Obliging, I hit the requisite CTRL-ALT-DEL launch sequence and was ready for liftoff. The horror soon engulfed my nerves and upper chest.. I couldn’t breathe.

Houston, we have a problem!

A horrible looking blue screen reared its ugly head with some cryptic error codes and even worthless techno-gibberish explanation. It didn’t matter what digital Bill was trying say. I already knew… game over man! No extra lives, no credits, no nothing. I was out stone cold waiting for resuscitation by tech support.

Trying not to panic, as the severity of the situation soon dawned upon me: that all my work may already be in a binary pile of rubbish destined to the recycle bin of no return, I had a moment of clarity. Why don’t I give it a second chance? Just forget all of this ever happened and meet Mr. Windows 95 again for the first time. Some may say, insanity is taking the same action and expecting different results. But I was desperate and had nothing to lose, except my mind.

I quickly restarted the entire rigmarole process of ‘insert disk’, ‘remove disk’, ‘insert disk’ to ad nauseam until the critical moment. The reboot of the year for me. A last hope, if ending in failure would ever convince me more to join the MS competitor represented by a fruit symbol. I didn’t want to go back there, at least not yet.

And there it was, a sad if not looking Windows 95 logo with a crude loading bar moving jerkily back and forth. The desktop greeting was a loud opening mix of eerily familiar Rolling Stones music and 16-bit colors. The mouse pointer moved, and I could click on things called shortcuts. In my Windows induced euphoria, I almost missed the fact that all my documents was sitting in a folder called but what else, My Documents. How ingenious!

Was Bill watching over me that night? Who knows, but I’m not taking any chances for its next of kin, Vista Ultimate.

This time, its war!

One button mouse returns

I found a great site called Virtual Apple 2 that has an archive of over 1,100 games and software for the Apple II and IIgs. Amazingly, you can use the online emulator plug-in to run any of them through your browser. IE seems to work better than Firefox for me. Once you get it working, all the graphics and sounds are exactly the same as the original. Joystick control is difficult, but mouse and keyboard are better.

I thought I would never see these gems again and it brings back a lot of fun memories. Kudos to the sponsors for their work.

Now I can play Beyond Castle Wolfenstein again in all its synthesized glory…

Kommen sie!

No spanking, headbutt ok!

Oops, another reason to leave California? Of course you want to jail parents who are real child abusers, but banning spanking in general? How will it be enforced and what constitutes spanking? Sounds like a real bad idea.

SACRAMENTO – California parents would face jail and a fine for spanking their young children under legislation a San Francisco Bay area lawmaker has promised to introduce next week.

Lieber said her proposal would make spanking, hitting and slapping a child under 4 years old a misdemeanor. Adults could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Some Republican lawmakers called the idea ridiculous. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he may be receptive to it even though he has concerns about how the ban would be enforced.

The governor said he and his wife, Maria Shriver, did not spank their four children and used alternative methods for discipline. For example, Schwarzenegger said they found it more effective to threaten to take away their children’s play time if they didn’t do school work.

Link

Maybe Arnie used other kid friendly methods like forcing them to watch his Terminator movies or even worse.. Kindergarten Cop! That would be enough incentive for any child to be scared out of their pants and go back to their room.

Half Moon Morning

No whammy! No whammy!

It’s a triple whammy for Woodinville – floods in November, winds in December, and now in January, snow and ice.

Woodinville seems to have been hit harder than other communities.

Some residents say they’ve had enough.

The Woodinville-Duvall Road – a 500-foot incline – was littered with abandoned cars.

As frozen branches hung on power lines, there were again spotty power outages overnight.

“I couldn’t get home,” said Steve Borg.

But even with the wild weather and the frozen landscape, many are good-natured.

“It’s nature, part of the great Northwest,” said Craig Delphey.

Link

No Craig, its Woodinville.. part of the great whammy conspiracy!

The Truth About Food

BBC2 is running an informative series on people’s food habits and how the body is affected in various volunteer test environments. Notable segments include How to Feed Your Kids, The Smell Arousal Test and the curious but gross Fart Pants Test.

We took two of our prebiotic-eating horse wranglers and gave them especially designed ‘fart pants’ to wear for 24 hours to try and find out how effective our ‘gas munching’ bacteria are.

Amusingly at the end of the page, there is a suggested recipe for “A tasty lentil curry”.. as if they are just begging for you to try the farts pants test at home.

Videos for the series should be up next week on the main site.