4 days ago
Thursday, February 7, 2013
FRIDAY FAST ONES
Birds tend to like aromatic things to be woven into their nests and scientists have found that, in addition to plants, the plastic fibers of cigarette butts which contain nicotine not only smell they way birds prefer, but may help protect the birds and their offspring. Conjecture is that the nicotine (tobacco plants generate nicotine because it defends against insects and their larvae) acts as an insecticide, driving parasites away from the nests. More on this story can be found here.
2.) A new government-funded report confirms what advocacy groups have been warning for years: The number of people in the US with Alzheimer's disease will almost triple by 2050, straining the health care system. The main risk for Alzheimer's is age.
Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top six killers in this country for which there is no prevention, cure or treatment. Despite popular notions; doing brain puzzles, exercising, and eating a Mediterranean diet do not appear to stave off Alzheimer's
"We've had great success in this country when we've decided to focus on a condition,'' Jennifer Weuve, assistant professor of medicine at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago says. "We've done it with good research in heart disease, cancer and HIV, but we are in our infancy when it comes to Alzheimer's research."
3.) I have no problem with the Post Office stopping Saturday mail deliveries to save about 12 billion dollars a year. I would prefer that they charge more for junk mail which would hopefully cut down on all the trash I get every week - but that's not on the table.
A lot of people say that e-mail and the internet are behind the financial problems of the USPS, but I kept seeing language about government interference and so I searched behind the headlines to understand what it is that Congress has been up to which has caused the money problems and found this on the Crooks & Liars website:
The problem lies elsewhere: the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade, an obligation no other public agency or private firm faces. The roughly $5.5 billion annual payments since 2007 — $21 billion total — are the difference between a positive and negative ledger.
Why would the Republican-controlled Congress pass such an absurd requirement? Why, it's almost as if they were trying to put the Postal Service out of business!
Well, it's really a twofer. First, they want to break up the federal unions. And second, they want to privatize the post office and give those plum contracts to their good buddies at FedEx and UPS.
Yep, that sounds like our Congress.
4.) Starting the weekend off with a date night at the gym and then out to dinner! Hope it is a great weekend for everyone!