Chris Chandler at the New Deal Cafe, March 24

I've been a huge fan of the "folken word" of Chris Chandler since I saw him perform at College Park's "Planet X" coffeehouse back in the early 1990s. Chris has traveled the nation and worked with musicans and poets from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon. (For those of you who know the work of Billy Jonas - Chris is credited as co-writer of Billy's wonderful song "God is In")

Chris now lives in Tacoma Park, and I'm happy to have helped introduce him to Greenbelt's fine fine venue, The New Deal Cafe. Chris will be playing there March 24 - you do NOT want to miss this! Spread the word!

Ronald Dworkin: Even bigots and Holocaust deniers must have their say

Very nice piece in The Guardian by law professor Ronald Dworkin:

Free speech is a condition of legitimate government. Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic if government has prevented anyone from expressing his convictions about what those laws and policies should be. Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended...So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended.

Anti-supplement spin, but glucosamine and chondroitin better than Celebrex for arthritis pain

Even more interesting than the results of this study on glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis pain is the spin on the reporting. Here are the numbers:

Sixty percent who took the dummy medication had reduced pain compared with 64 percent who took glucosamine, 65 percent who took chondroitin and 67 percent who took the combo pills...

The drug Celebrex did reduce pain - 70 percent reported improvement - affirming the study's validity...

Of the 354 people with moderate to severe pain, 79 percent who took both supplements reported relief compared with 54 percent who took the dummy pills and 69 percent who took Celebrex.

Bisphenol-A in your polycarbonate water bottle

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that polycarbonate plastic was safer to use in beverage and food containers than plastics like PET, that it didn't leach toxic chemicals.

Oops.

Polycarbonate plastic molecules are made up of strings of Bisphenol A (BPA), which was originally created as a synthetic hormone. As polycarbonate ages, wears, or is exposed to heat, acids, or bases, BPA leaches out.

A different sort of "puppy power"...

Reuters reports on a test project to turn dog feces into fuel.

It could be fed into a "digester" to obtain methane. The article states that dogs and cats in the United States produce about 10 million tons of waste a year...might as well use it for something productive.

I was quite impressed with San Francisco's aggressive recycling plan when I visited last year - in addition to bottles, cans, and paper they even have curbside collection for compostable kitchen scraps.

note to Robin

Sharing a note I sent to Robin:

Hi Robin!

I see you did the Kerouac re-tattoo - outstanding!

I've started my nihongo class at the community college (AACC)...visions of hiragana dancing in my head.

It's a little strange being in a class with everyone else so much younger...and then the dialogs in the textbook are all college-y, "What's your major?" (Senmon wa nan desu ka?) and "What year are you?" (Nannensei desu ka?) sort of stuff.

Brain care news

A few interesting bits about the brain that I've seen the past few weeks...

First, contrary to long-held popular belief, adult brain cells do keep growing. So you can teach an old brain new tricks. Furthermore, it seems that a marijuana-like drug can accelerate neurogenesis, and may have anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects. (Despite what the SSRI-pushers claim, the anti-depressant effects of drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil apparently have more to do with neurogenesis than with correcting some "chemical imbalance".)

Secondly, new brain cells follow the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This should be very interesting to people who practice craniosacral therapy.

Pages

Subscribe to the unreasonable man RSS