Monday, January 30, 2006

The Year Of The Dog: Guidance For Chinese New Year

Recently, I wrote about new research that suggests dogs can detect cancer in humans. It seems that this piece of information arrives right on schedule.

According to the Chinese calendar and zodiac, January 29, 2006 brings us the Year of the Dog. This means that we have the helpful energy of this loyal companion to accomplish much good in the world and in our lives this year.

When we think about dogs, we think of their steadfast love, loyalty, friendly companionship, and forgiving nature. Dogs are playful, but work hard and rest well.

Dog energy emphasizes the defense of our deepest loyalties with honesty and integrity. Dogs thrive in the security of a healthy, happy home.

To the Chinese, dogs symbolize justice and equality. We too can utilize this spirit to bark at injustice, right any wrongs, and restore order. Since dogs also enjoy helping people, this can be a good year for humanitarian efforts.

The Chinese calendar includes a five-year cycle of elements, and fire is the element for 2006. This means that this year's dog energy is lit by the fire to get things accomplished, so that we can look forward to a truly great year ahead.

Thanks to the Daily OM

Chain Saw Recall

NEWS U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207
Firm’s Hotline: (800) 610-6677
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
CPSC, Stihl Inc. Announce Recall of Chain Saws

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Stihl-brand MS 192 T Chain Saws
Units: About 23,500
Manufacturer: Stihl Inc., of Virginia Beach, Va.

Hazard: These chain saws can leak fuel, posing a fire hazard. A connection in the ignition grounding system could loosen and create a spark, posing a fire hazard. Also the springs in the clutch assembly could come out of position allowing a spring of the clutch to be projected from the saw housing resulting in injury to the user.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled Stihl-brand chain saws have model number MS 192 T, located on the side of the chain saw’s starter housing. They include serial numbers 264371702 through 266087005, which is located on the top/front of the chain saw’s housing.

Sold at: Authorized Stihl dealers nationwide from January 2005 through July 2005 for about $280.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should stop using these chain saws immediately and return them to an authorized Stihl dealer for a free repair.

Consumer Contact:
Stihl Inc.: (800) 610-6677
Between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday
Stihl’s Web site:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Excellent cold and flu prevention: Bolster that first line of defense!

The cold and dry Winter air wreaks havoc on our nasal mucus membranes, making us more prone to cold and flu infections.

We highly recommend a very effective solution to this problem:


Rinsing with saline solution is a time-honored practice in the Orient. Here in the West, the nasal wash has been used for decades as a means of treating sinus problems, colds, allergies, and post-nasal drip and to counteract the effect of environmental pollution.

Those practicing yoga and other meditative disciplines use the nasal wash to ensure free air flow through both nostrils.

A Healthy Nose

Breathing through the nose filters and conditions the incoming air. The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dirt, dust, and pollen and moves steadily to the rear of the nasal cavity and settles in the throat, where it is swallowed.

Saline nasal rinses carry some of these impurities out of the body before they reach your stomach. They also keep this protective layer of mucus functioning properly.

If the mucus becomes too thick and dry or too thin and runny, it is easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate the nasal lining and cause the swelling and excess discharge of mucus we call a “cold.”

That’s why gargling or sniffing a little salt water at the first sign of a cold is a staple of folk medicine and why health-conscious people in India use a small pot of saline to rinse the nasal passages. The Neti Pot™ continues these time-tested traditions of hygiene.

Uses for the Nasal Wash

For some people, the nasal wash is as routine as brushing their teeth. Others use it for specific purposes. Suggestions:

Do the nasal wash to wake up, clear your nostrils, and start the day breathing freely.

Use it to remove excess mucus when you are experiencing nasal congestion.

Do it several times a day during the allergy season to rid the nostrils of pollen and other allergens.

Use the nasal wash when you’ve been exposed to soot, dust, smoke, or other airborne contaminants.

Use it to dissolve mucus build-up in dry climates or in air-conditioned or heated rooms, or after air travel.

Do the nasal wash before practicing systematic relaxation techniques or meditation to help you breathe freely and easily through your nose.

Remember, the nasal wash is not a substitute for medical treatment. Anyone with chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or other ear, nose, or throat disorders should seek medical attention.

Five reasons why the Neti Pot™ makes sense

Soothes dry nasal passages

Gently washes away dust, pollen, and environmental irritants

Offsets the effects of breathing dry indoor air (especially in winter)

Removes excess mucus…naturally

Helps you breathe freer when practicing yoga or meditation

Of course, the Netipot can be used year-round.


Himalayan International Institute

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister . . .

A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, "What is this, a joke?"


The ultimate Star Trek collectible has been sold by the Captain himself., an online casino, paid $25,000 for William Shatner's kidney stone yesterday. (Note to self: There seems to be a lot of money in online casinos -- must start another website!) owns some other pretty weird stuff, including a partially eaten cheese sandwich thought to contain the image of the Virgin Mary.

Shatner apparently saved the stone since last fall, when he passed it. He admitted that he did not want to part with his kidney stone, noting that it was so big, "you'd want to wear it on your finger". That might be just the accessory to go with one of his Star Trek tunics, which have sold in the past for more than $100,000. Shatner said he would never sell the stone unless he had visitation rights.

The money will go to Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the needy.

A spokesman for Shatner said he didn't know if the Emmy Award-winning actor would consider selling any other body parts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Discovery of the Week: Dogs Can Smell Cancer

Watch out. Your medical care may soon go to the dogs. That's because a new scientific study confirms what some anecdotal reports have suggested: dogs can smell cancer.

Medical researchers trained five ordinary dogs (three Labrador retrievers and two Portuguese water dogs) to sniff breath samples from both healthy folks and cancer patients. Out of 55 samples from patients with early-stage lung cancer, 31 from patients with early-stage breast cancer, and 83 healthy controls, the dogs identified the cancer patients between 88 and 97 percent of the time.

"We've seen anecdotal evidence before suggesting that dogs can smell the presence of certain types of cancer," says lead researcher Michael McCulloch, "but until now, nobody had conducted a thorough study."

Doctors know that cancer cells release different metabolic waste products than normal cells. Apparently, dogs can smell these biochemical markers. Says McCulloch, "The dog's brain and nose hardware is currently the most sophisticated odor detection device on the planet."

In fact, scientists estimate that dogs can identify smells as much as 10,000 times better than you can. Some of the difference lies in their supersensitive snouts. While you have enough scent-detecting cells to cover a postage stamp, dogs have enough to cover a sheet of paper. You've got about 5 million sniffer cells. A bloodhound has 300 million.

But it's not all in the nose. Fido's brain may be only one-tenth the size of yours, but the part of his that processes smells weighs four times more, on average, than that part of yours. In other words, his brain is 40 times more dedicated to analyzing smells than yours is. Where you smell nothing, he smells the dead cells that fell to the ground hours ago and picks up your trail. And, based on tiny changes in the intensity of their odor, his brain tells him you went thataway!

It might even tell him you need to see a doctor.

Michael McCulloch works at the Pine Street Foundation, a nonprofit group in San Anselmo, Calif., that focuses on cancer patients and their treatment decisions. The study will be published in the March issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies.

SOURCES: McCullough, M. Integrative Cancer Therapies, March 2006; vol 5: pp 1-10. Pine Street Foundation: “Diagnostic Accuracy of Canine Scent Detection of Lung and Breast Cancers in Exhaled Breath.” News release, Sage Publications.

Meet "Dogs and More Dogs" withthis doggy science special

"You think dogs will not be in heaven?I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."
--Robert Louis Stevenson

Thanks to Knowledge News

Monday, January 16, 2006

Global Health Info: Excellent Site

Global Health, a project of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, provides free, up-to-date, and easily accessed data by country on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other key health and socioeconomic indicators.

The data are displayed in tables, charts, and color-coded maps and can be downloaded for custom analyses.

Data presented on the site are obtained from a variety of public and private sources, including original Kaiser Family Foundation reports. The site is updated as new data become available, and additional indicators will be added over time.

Users may sign up for free weekly e-mail alerts about new data on and its companion site,

Thursday, January 12, 2006



Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Work for Amazon: Digital Piecework

People will do just about anything for money . . . and apparently, the size of the payoff is not much of a factor, in some cases.

Amazon has found a way to outsource many of their trivial tasks to the web-browsing community at large, paying negligible rates for this digital piecework on a site called Amazon Mechanical Turk (

The tasks, called HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks), involve doing things that humans can perform better than computers -- like listing your three most favorite Italian restaurants in Seattle (pay: $0.01 for completing the task). After someone on Amazon's corporate team of humans has verified your answers, the money gets transferred into an Amazon account for you. You can then transfer the cash into your personal bank account (I'm not sure if there is a transfer fee).

Some other jobs involve, for example, identifying the presence of certain features in photographs. Poking around on the website, I saw many tasks that paid nothing, and many that paid a penny apiece. The highest paid task I have read about (See 11/21/05; page 16) deposits a whopping three cents into your Amazon account, after the work gets approved.

This has to be one of the most creative beta tests offered on the Web. No news yet on its success. Two last thoughts on the subject:

  1. Don't forget to pay your taxes on these earnings.
  2. If anyone can resonably explain to me what "Artificial Artificial Intelligence" means, I will spend the price of a stamp to send you a penny for your efforts -- but only if you get it to me before the price of stamps goes up this Sunday!