The mind is willing…

So it’s been about one and a half week since I’ve been back and I thought it’s as good a time as any to start jogging. I’m not sure if I’m gotten heavier (note to self: sort this out) or I’ve just not been using ’em ankles in a while but half way through my route, my ankles start to hurt like sons of mothers.

Thinking it’s unwise to risk snapping my ankles, I walked a fair bit back before covering the last sixth of the journey in a jog. The ankles definitely need some strengthening but at least it is not the usual shin splints, so this is definitely a good start.

Common Laptop/Netbook Positions to Avoid

The illustration above—from weblog Core77’s netbook case study—highlights ten common usage positions and the pain points you’re asking for down the road with each. No one wants glowing red joints! Interestingly, the most comfortable position, according to the study, is position #2 above: lying down with the device slightly elevated on the user’s thigh with bent knees.

via Common Laptop/Netbook Positions to Avoid – Laptops – Lifehacker

Save yourself, Stop showering

2008-09-26-026a_1 London Hyde Park Grey Goose ...
Image by Martin-James via Flickr

While it is rarely a problem for most healthy people, those with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, pregnant women or those who are fighting off other diseases, can be susceptible to infection.

They may develop lung infection with M. avium and experience symptoms including tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness, and generally feel unwell.

When the researchers swabbed and tested 50 shower heads from nine cities in seven different states in the US, including New York City and Denver, they found 30% of the devices posed a potential risk.

via BBC NEWS | Health | Taking showers ‘can make you ill’

What do we do now to reduce the likelihood of lung disease? Stop showering or replace worldwide shower heads?

I can just imagine it, while most of the world is getting H1N1 vaccines, the rest is replacing their shower heads. What if I need both? :cry:

Stop traumatising your kids!

Silhouettes representing healthy, overweight, ...
Image via Wikipedia

Children with a lower self-esteem, those who felt less in control of their lives, and those who worried often were more likely to gain weight over the next 20 years, the results showed.

Professor David Collier, who led the research, said: “What’s novel about this study is that obesity has been regarded as a medical metabolic disorder – what we’ve found is that emotional problems are a risk factor for obesity.

“This is not about people with deep psychological problems, all the anxiety and low self-esteem were within the normal range.”

[BBC NEWS | Health | Low self-esteem leads to obesity]

This finding is rather interesting as we always had the idea that people develop low self-esteem because they are fat. Parents should stop destroy childhoods because what they’re doing is growing future obese adults!

This prompts the question of the real reason behind the growing percentage of obesity in modern societies.Could it be a major shift in emotional state of the entire society?

H1N1 a month in

So we got our first case a month back, 27th May. How are we doing now?

SINGAPORE: The H1N1 virus continues its spread in Singapore. The Health Ministry confirmed 95 new cases on Thursday, raising the total infected to 315.

[CNA]

Getting almost 100 cases a day, not too good. That’s a third of what they got over 1 month.

Looking at what Plagues the Human Race

Transmission electron micrograph of influenza ...

Image via Wikipedia

2009 Influenza A virus (H1N1 Swine Flu)

  • 18,129 cases
  • 119 deaths
  • 0.65% fatality

2002/3 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

  • 8, 273 cases
  • 775 deaths
  • 9.3% fatality

2003 – 2009 Avian Influenza (H5N1 Bird Flu)

  • 431 cases
  • 262 deaths
  • 61% fatality

Above are 3 global epidemics that hit us in recent years. Looking at the numbers, the fatality rate of H1N1 seems rather laughable compared to SARS and Bird Flu and noted to be only slightly higher than seasonal flu. In addition to the fact that H1N1 can be treated with a regime of commercial anti-virals such as Tamiflu and Relenza, like many I start to wonder if we’re all paranoid or under misdirection by some cleverly weaved PR to take our attention away from the economic crisis or something.

influenza-2009-cases

So the pondering let to some Googling and Wikipedia work which cumulated to this entry. I think the most important factor we need to look at is the timeline, where SARS and Bird Flu took its toll over the course of a few years, there are already 18 thousand cases of Swine Flu in just 2 and half months if we take the first case to be on 18 March.

Further reading gives me greater concern. The elderly, the young and those with underlying medical conditions are particular susceptible; it also causes complications in pregnancy such as “spontaneous abortion and premature rupture of membranes“.

While the global death toll seems to have stabilised, the number of cases has recently spiked so we can’t be complacent. As said in a previous entry, I’m not trying to create panic but highlight the dense population of Singapore makes it a good candidate for any potential virus outbreak so we can’t let our guard down yet. Practice good hygiene, seek medical attention if you’re unwell, take preventive measures.

Thinking deeper into organic food

I’m sure we’ve all heard about organic foods being natural and good for you. Increasing amounts and variety of organic foods that have made their way into our supermarkets are a testament to the success of organic foods in persuading the more health conscious, wealthy and increasing obesity society to embrace them. But before you jump in at everything organic and scoff at genetically engineered food or it’s less glamourous name of frankenfood, we should analyse what organic food really mean. Afterall, it’s just a fanciful name for the product of an agricultural practice.

Direct from OrganicFoodInfo.net:
“Organic farming produces plant and animal foods without the excessive use of chemicals. It focuses on using fertile soil..Organic farming prohibits the growing of GM foods…”

Looking at the first part of the definition, we can think of it like home grown vegetables or kampung chickens. It’s a more humane way of rearing the animals for food and does much less damage to the environment when growing crops. As for the second part, prohibition of GM food means farmers are growing crops that are less resistant to pests. The next generation of crops are grown through natural selection of seeds from the previous generation. This means that yields are lower as compared to crops grown the commercial way and are less robust. Think of tomatos that start to soften while being transported to the supermarket and rotting while it’s sitting on the shelve with the label “organic”, waiting for you to pick them into your busket. In fact, organic farming is the extreme opposite of farming practices developed during the agricultural revolution that are used in most commercial farms today.

I am a supporter of being more humane to the animals that we eat so I’ll definitely support organic meat. As for vegetables, I’ll rather go for hydroponics or aeroponics that uses high tech ways to increase yield and does less damage to the environment by recycling the nutrients that are sprayed to plants and have proper drainage system for their waste disposal. (Not that I eat much veggies)

Anyway, if you’re still afraid of frankenfood, here’s something to think about.

p01-01-09_1942

I was at Carrefour a few days ago and a very amazing collection of organic foods. We all know cheese comes from milk, somehow. In the past, cheese was made by allowing milk to ferment in the gut of baby calves. With GM food, ecoli replaced the role of the bacteria present in the gut of baby calves so milk can ferment in tanks. Organic cheese anyone?