Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Computer is Keeping Me Up at Night!

Ever do this? Finally cleaned up the kitchen, kids in bed, just about to go yourself, but, hmmmmmmm, maybe I'll check my e-mail. Next thing, it's way past midnight and it'll be another night of 6 hours or less sleep. Yikes, how did that happen???

At first, I'm ok the next morning. But, maybe about 2:30 pm, while digesting lunch, you find your eyes getting heavy. you stay awake for a bit, but as you start thinking about that memo you need to write, you kinda doze off for a bit and look up to see this on your screen: jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.

Well, I just took this as my own fault. But now I know of the hypnotic spell cast by that pleasing blue light of the screen.

Michelle Slatalla, last Thursday in the New York Times Style Section ("As Different As Night and Day," NY Times, Jan. 19, 2010) spilled the beans on my computer's spell over me. She quotes Dr. Nancy Collop, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center. “It emits a blue light, which is one of the most stimulating lights to the little receptors we all have in the back of our eyeballs, which send messages to the brain to say whether it’s day or night and whether we should be awake or go to sleep.”

So, even though I'm tired, the screen is stimulating my brain with its subliminal message: "It's really daytime, and you want to be awake. Just keep watching me. You don't need sleep!"

My rectangular master has duped me into spending the hours bathed in the enticing light it casts upon my face.

Now that you know this, beware! Don't look at the screen before bed or when you really have other things to do. Don't let your computer screen condition your brain to spend all your free time in its spell!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Since When is 12 a "Plus Size"??

The New York Times Styles Section yesterday (Jan. 14, 2010) featured Crystal Renn, who, at size 12 is considered a "plus model." Plus model indeed! She looks rather "normal size" to me!!

When did size 12 become a plus size? When I hear "plus size" I think "fat!" But, consider that the average American women is a size 14. Is size 12 really "fat?"

Crystal was reported to be 5'-9" measuring 38C-30-42 and size 12. Apparently, in modeling -- dominated by like size 2 starving young women (some with bearly discernable busts) -- the cutoff is size 10. So, if your size 12 or bigger (fatter), your a "plus."

Now, this is personal because I'm also a size 12 (well, most of the time. sometimes I can fit into a 10, all depends on the cut). And I don't think I'm "fat." Well, maybe "big" but being 6' long and not anemic, I'm far from petite!

But I like "tall" or "long" better than "big" (or "fat").

My dimensions (40c-32-38) are kinda in the same ballpark as Crystal, but being taller, I have a few more pounds on my frame. And I'm more than twice her age, too! She is far more attractive, that I can admit.

But here's my question: at size 12, do I look like a "plus" or just "not bad for over 50!" -- what do you think?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An Earthquake in the Land of the Poorest of the Poor

Haiti, the small nation next to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Chronic unemployment mixed with political corruption and limited international investment mark the decades of poverty.

An now an earthquake has crumpled homes and other buildings. More are now homeless, hungry, without water. The woman on the right seems to embody the sadness of the lastest misfortune and its cumulitive effect on the people of Haiti.

While on one hand, I cry out "Why, oh why??", I also ask, as an engineer, why can't the buildings be constructed to better withstand earthquakes. It's not rocket science. It is easy enough to develop a standard design for these types of concrete reinforced buildings, as I have seen done in Peru. Yes, poverty and the ineffective hand of government have resulted in people doing the what they can with what they have. But this often means using poor or weak concrete, or only baked bricks and no reinforcing.

Besides the necessary relief to help feed the new homeless, there is also a need for groups such as Engineers without Borders to find a way to educate the people on better construction methods, to prevent results like below.

I urge all my readers to support the relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.