June 24, 2010

A New Blog for Astound Video

I'm pleased to announce that our friends over at Astound Video Duplication and Transfer have a new blog. They are just getting started, but I'm sure it will provide valuable information as it grows.

While you are there, you may also want to check out their 8mm film transfer to DVD and VHS to DVD services. They also do audio too if you have records or cassettes you need transferred.

Posted by semaas at 1:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 10, 2010

Cell Phones Make You Stupid

Okay, the title may be a bit of an overstatement, but this article form the New York Times makes an interesting case that being plugged in may not be the best thing for your brain.

Posted by semaas at 2:44 PM | TrackBack (0)

February 7, 2007

You Will Be Vaccinated, You Will Thank Merck

The recent decision in Texas to require all girls entering 6th grade to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted disease HPV should be a cause for concern for parents everywhere.

With the vaccine's FDA approval less than 9 months old, mandatory immunization in Texas is a clinical trial like no other. Participation is mandatory, even for those girls who are not sexually active and thus will never get the disease.

With many other states considering similar action, and Merck lobbying like mad to turn its $1 billion dollar drug into a $4 billion dollar one, parents and legislators alike should be on guard.

Posted by semaas at 1:16 PM | TrackBack (0)

January 27, 2007

Where Do You Spend Your Time

While there are many oceans to surf, web surfers seem to congregate on just a few select beaches:

According to Compete's metrics, the top 20 domains attract almost 40 percent of the average websurfer's time, led, by a mile, by MySpace.com. MySpace users hog up News Corp. bandwidth so much that they take up 12 percent of the total time spent anywhere on the Web. Users spent almost 28 billion minutes at MySpace in December.

Yahoo! and its properties capture 8.5 percent of our time, followed by MSN and eBay with 3.7 percent, Google with 2.1 percent, and AOL with 1.7 percent.

How much time have you wasted on MySpace today?

Posted by semaas at 11:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2007

Between A Pill and a Hard Place

Too much estrogen and you end up with blood clots, too little and you end up with pregnancies. What's a contracepting woman to do?

According to CNN, the FDA is concerned that recent efforts to make the pill less harmful have also made it less effective, and are considering new regulations to ensure that FDA approved contraceptives do indeed block conception.

Of course pro-lifers have pointed out for decades that contraception is closely linked with abortion, by virtue of the fact that no contraceptive method is 100% effective. The recent FDA discussion definitely lends credence to this argument.

Posted by semaas at 8:57 PM

December 24, 2006

Muslims Discover the Value of Christmas

Muslims in Afghanistan are discovering Christians aren't all bad. Christmas can provide a new selling season:

The day was more upbeat on Flower Street in Kabul, capital of the overwhelmingly Muslim nation of Afghanistan, where vendors were selling Christmas trees already decorated with lights and tinsel to foreigners.

"After the Taliban, we started to make Christmas trees because lots of foreigners are around, and they are asking for them," said Eidy Mohammad, owner of the Morsal Flower Store. "Business is growing -- we had only the wedding season before, but now we have Christmas as well."

He said he had sold about a dozen Christmas trees, earning anywhere from $20 to $200 -- a hefty sum for Afghans, many of whom make only about $50 a month.

Posted by semaas at 10:26 PM

November 9, 2006

RIP Thanksgiving

I think this is the year that Thanksgiving has died. It's only a few weeks away, and my monthly pilgrimage to Target didn't yield a single turkey sighting, pilgrim hat, or even a plastic cornucopia. Just red santa hats and red and green colored snowflakes.

A word of warning to Halloween, look out next year as you will be eliminated before you know it.

Posted by semaas at 11:40 AM

September 22, 2006

Veggie Tales Too Racy for NBC

Veggie Tales is on TV, but the popular vegetables have been seriously dehydrated, with NBC sucking out their souls:

All programs set to air on NBC must meet the network's broadcast standards, said Alan Wurtzel, a broadcast standards executive. "VeggieTales" was treated the same as any other program, he said.

"There's a fine line of universally accepted religious values," he said. "We don't get too specific with any particular religious doctrine or any particular religious denomination."

Secular humanists are exempt of course.

Posted by semaas at 11:42 PM

August 29, 2006

No Gender Left Behind

As a part of its ongoing effort to be all things to all genders, the former Women's Studies Department at the University of Minnesota has a new name:

Effective August 23, Women's Studies became Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). Our course designator, email and URL have changed to GWSS, and WOST searches and emails will automatically redirect to the new addresses: http://gwss.umn.edu and the dept. main office gwss@umn.edu

Posted by semaas at 11:56 AM

July 27, 2006

Chicago Orders Big Bix Retailers to Raise Wages

This is an interesting debate. Chicago has a large population of low-end wage earners, many of whom are also Big Box shoppers. With taxes already high, Chicago is using its leverage to squeeze higher wages (and therefore higher tax revenue) out of these retailers. Also, it would appear to raise the standard of living a little bit for these wage earners. Of course, it might also tend to raise the price of merchandise slightly to cover the higher cost of doing business in Chicago, and that would defeat the purpose of helping the poor (though not the purpose of increasing tax revenue, which Chicago undoubtedly uses, wisely or not, to help the poor in other ways). No one wants to bankrupt the chains, but they are in no danger of that now. Chicago is perhaps being quite savvy.

On the other hand, do we really want this kind of micro-management regulating the economy? Does the city council have any real sense of how the market operates? The market has set the wage for this kind of low education, entry level work. If you make Target and Home Depot pay an extra $3/hr, isn’t it likely that they will seek more for their money in terms of education and experience? To instantly give a cashier at Target a $2/hr raise is to place their income above that of their managers. To retain managers, Target would have to raise all salaries by a similar proportion. That could make the cost of doing business in Chicago prohibitive. This policy may simply mean shifting the least qualified around. The Big Bog stores may simply cherry pick the best applicants from the region, and that process might tend to exclude those with the poorest educations, language skills, etc. from the national chains. What happens if the economy tanks? Will the city council be quick to amend the law? Or will they leave it in place and drive the store out of town?

Perhaps the city council ought to work on policies that will create more higher wage jobs while ensuring that their public school system was turning out graduates who were qualified for those jobs.

Posted by at 9:35 AM

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