Exercise is a Good Habit too

Did you know that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight? You probably did. Did you also know it can prevent bone loss as you get older? Maybe you just don’t know how to get started without spending a lot of money on one of those exercise programs advertised on late night television.

Well, thank heaven that Google turns up a lot of good places you can start without necessarily buying a gym membership or some expensive videos. Just remember: whatever you do, keep doing something. Remember that this is a habit that’s going to take some time to do right (and even longer if you do it wrong). But all the research says it’s worth it.

Edit: Yet another study says exercise is good for you. Of course, If you started printing out these studies, you might go broke just buying paper.

In Closing: Ted is right; Schneier on doxing; sounds good to me; Mrs. Quimby would probably be in big trouble; the answer is blowing in the wind (and the sun too).

NSA: Going Away or Here to Stay?

Ok, so the President made his big presentation on NSA reforms today. For your convenience, here’s the actual transcript of what he said. If that’s too wordy for you, here’s a summary with commentary, and the EFF kindly provides a short version. Today I have just a little round-up of what people are saying. And what better way to start a round-up than with another round-up?

Seriously though, from where I sit, it looks like “Meh, better than nothing but it’s still a fig leaf.”

Just a reminder, many of our “elected” officials don’t think we need any reform at all.

In the meantime, more and more information about what the NSA is really up to continues to dribble out. Here we have an official who concedes that they haven’t caught any terrorists, but they might someday so we need to spy on everybody. I am unsure how they plan to catch terrorists if they are too busy learning about Comrade Misfit’s lunch plans and the fact that I’m cooking meatloaf for dinner. You can’t find a needle in a haystack by building bigger haystacks. Although I am told that part of learning to search for something specific involves sifting a lot of data to see what it looks like, that phase should be temporary and shouldn’t involve storing the data forever.

Oh, and I wouldn’t dream of leaving out the thoughts of security guru Bruce Schneier, who thinks that encryption is the key to keeping data private.

It’s time to fight back.

In Closing: maybe real school reform starts with the schedule; black widow; not better off; the last Imperial soldier; pens; even skywriters doodle when they are bored; don’t forget to remind your Congressmice that TPP is a bad idea; make then talk; and no, “fit but fat” isn’t a thing.

ShortWoman’s Super Simplified Campaign Finance Plan

Over the years, I’ve talked about tax simplification and campaign season streamlining. Today I share my idea — singular — for simplifying campaign finance. Since it’s clear that we are unlikely to get to a place where campaigns are publicly funded and each candidate is sharply limited on what he (usually he, sometimes she) can do and since McCain-Feingold has been perverted beyond repair, it’s time to add my virtual two cents. It’s very simple:

To contribute to a candidate’s campaign, you should have to prove that you can legally vote for that candidate.

This can be easily done by attaching a photocopy of the donor’s voters registration card to the contribution voucher. This has several key benefits:

  • Neither corporations nor unions could contribute to campaigns. Neither one can legally vote. Conservatives and Liberals? This is detente.
  • It affirms that the results of an election are primarily the business of the constituents. I like Elizabeth Warren, but why should I be allowed to meddle in Massachusetts politics by sending money? Why should somebody from another state be able to manipulate my local elections by infusing capital?
  • It limits the influence of big donors. Sure, Sheldon Adelson will still have a lot of sway in Nevada — along with Steve Wynn and Irwin Molasky  (why not) — but except for Presidential campaigns, influence stops at Primm.
  • It would reduce fraud.

The powers that be clearly have a vested interest in keeping elections a giant slush fund. However, We The People deserve better.

In Closing: More on the NSA, the TSA, and wisdom from Bruce Schneier; what decade is this again?; making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got (and sometimes a bunch of credit to cover what you don’t got); duh; the real Lone Ranger?; and a giant virus.


Alright, by now everybody and his or her dog has heard the latest about Angelina Jolie, right?

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved.

Needless to say, this has sparked much online discussion. Here’s a featured item on BlogHer by a woman considering the same decision. Here’s one from a Professor of Pediatrics (is he also a doctor of medicine? probably?) who points out that this sort of surgery comes with risks and without promises of a cancer free life.

And do you know what I don’t see mentioned much? Time and money.

Most of us don’t have the ability to be in and out of surgery and recovery for three months — more if there are any sort of complications. Heck, many of us can’t really afford to take 2 days off from work (or school, or taking care of family…). Ms. Jolie is truly blessed that not only could she free up her busy schedule to do this, but also that her loving husband Mr. Pitt was able to be there by her side, and further that they were able to arrange adequate childcare for their six children — ranging in age from 5 to 12 — during this stressful time.

Another area where Ms. Jolie is truly blessed is money. Many women can’t justify spending the “approximately $3000” to see if she has the 1 in 100 chance of ridiculously higher breast cancer risk. In a time and country where it can be difficult to figure out exactly how much any given hospital service is going to cost, she didn’t have to worry about it. She knew that the money was in the bank. Perhaps she did get her insurance company to pay for it; after all, this has to be cheaper than cancer treatments followed by reconstructive surgery!

Some people simply have more options than others.

In Closing: transparency and accountability, and why big brother won’t work; it wouldn’t be a bad idea to retire these; austerity, unemployment, and job creation (for the record, I am currently not in the workforce and not officially “unemployed,” more on that later in the week); mobility; interesting point; the law of supply and demand (and why we desperately need a public option).

On Boston

My tax day post was obviously pre-written, and the actual events of the Boston Marathon Bombing left me with nothing coherent or original to say.

As things stand, there are few answers and much worthless conjecture. If anybody tries to tell you that “everybody knows,” remember that once upon a time “everybody knew” that the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around it, and that witches kept cats as familiars. For example, here’s a collection of stories that are not true about Boston. As usual, you can count on a level head from security expert Bruce Schneier.

Now we have a nutcase Congressman who is against immigration reform because “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.” Forgive my bluntness, but that is a reason we need immigration reform: so they don’t get jobs in agriculture where they can poison our food (and oh boo hoo we might have to pay minimum wage to legal workers). The fact is that the overwhelming majority of voters — you remember, the people who elect Congressmen — support immigration reform.

However, since there is not yet any evidence of who was behind the events in Boston let alone why, I’d like to focus on a blog post by someone who lives within walking distance of the tragedy. Oddly enough, this was the bit that got me thinking:

[N]ote to emergency planners–don’t assume people from out of town or who don’t speak English well will understand where things are, even if they’re really close by[.]

Now Boston has its share of tourists and I do not dispute this. However, I live in a city whose economy lives on tourism. We had over 39,000,000 annual visits to a metropolitan area that — on a good day — has a population of barely 2,000,000. And not only do those tourists come from all over the world, we have a large population of immigrants as well. On a trip to a nearby grocery store, it’s not unusual to hear conversations in Spanish, Cantonese, French, or Russian. The local Home Depot has staff members who speak Japanese and Tagalog.

So, as we carry out our own Bad Thing Happens In Public Place drill, will we account for those whose English skills are poor, or lacking?

How will we account for the fact that a bombing attack such as happened in Boston might force the evacuation of multiple huge hotel-casinos?

Traffic on the Strip sucks on a good day; what happens if all that traffic has to be re-routed to roads like Paradise and Decatur — two roads that also have frequent congestion? What if it has to be re-routed for more than a couple blocks, as with the taxi incident?

I realize that there’s no planning for the extremely unlikely, but emergencies do happen.

In Closing: Complete noobs wanted for toughest assignment in the system; wow; the student loan crisis is worse than you think; “It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou”; Eric Schmidt is right; and pissing contest.

ShortWoman.com Supports the International T-Pain Autotune Treaty

Be it resolved that henceforth, only T-Pain will be allowed to use autotune in recorded music. Other uses shall be considered a crime against humanity.

It is further resolved that quotations of Rapper’s Delight may only be made with the express consent and permission of the United Nations Security Council.*

Please, join me in support of this desperately needed performing arts issue. If I had a little more HTML talent, I’d put together a little ad for the sidebar.

In Closing: Mongols; he’s got a point; Rolling Jubilee; delayed; I guess it’s hard to win elections when you piss off 50% of the population; but they’re already part of the United States!; we’re all suspicious; belly buttons; new health plan?; politics and religion; filibuster all you like, but you gotta talk!; and oops! Somebody was very sure he’d win.

* Yeah, I’m talking to you too, Pitbull.

Trust Your Eyes

Once more it is book review time. Today’s selection from the BlogHer Book Club is Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay. As usual, this is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. Join the discussion here!

When Ray Kilbride comes home after his father’s fatal accident, one of the things he must deal with is his schizophrenic brother Thomas: a recluse who thinks former President Bill Clinton has personally tasked him with memorizing every street in every major city on the behalf of the CIA. Thomas spends all day, every day, clicking down streets of the world using a tool that is absolutely not Google Maps at all against the possibility of a massive internet outage making all online maps inaccessible. Then one day, he spots what looks like a possible murder.

This has by far been my favorite of the books I’ve been asked to review. It is a thriller with more twists than a mountain highway. I absolutely promise there will be things you didn’t see coming. Chapters are generally short, so I found myself thinking “Oh, I have time for one more” often. It is unfortunate that any accurate description of the plot gives away what should have been the first twist in the Prologue.

A++, Would Read Again.

In Closing: be sure to read to the end; aw that’s sweet; I’m so glad somebody is asking what the heck information on 12,000,000 Apple devices was doing on a laptop for any reason; “Ok, you can play, but only approved games led by an adult”; dirty lies; wage stats; as expected; and I liked number 4.

NASA can be cool

…. And not just because some of a geek with a mohawk.

It turns out that in addition to putting robots on Mars, they’re responsible for a lot of things that are making life better right here on Earth. Just keep clicking for more great tidbits.

Welcome to yet another internet rabbit-hole.

In closing: brains and beauty; you don’t need that crap anyway; I was wondering when somebody was going to notice this; pass it on; turns out that harassment is  sometimes a security issue; and Ezra’s still got it.


Facebook is a social media site that I don’t use. At all. Ever. You see a Bridget Magnus over there? It’s not me. Probably that lady from Vancouver.

Ok, disclosure out of the way.

So, it seems that their stock is at a record low. And it’s expected to dump more altitude in a couple of weeks when employee stock can start to trade.

Is it really relevant to talk about a stock being at an all time record low when it hasn’t even traded for 6 months yet?? Seriously?

If you want a real Facebook story, how about the fact that 80% of ad clicks might be bogus? That’s where Facebook makes it’s money; is it possible that their profits are padded by bot-generated activity? Which of course begs another question: who ever clicked on those ads? I had about 3 hours where I thought it might be a good idea to advertise over there, but then I came to my senses.

As for myself, I’m not buying their ads, not buying their stock, and not taking their free membership either.

In Closing: life lessons; Jill explains why the Post Office is really in trouble; enough with biometric security already (hello!); how far will this scandal reach?; sugar; Orwelling; nope, no such thing as global climate change (BTW it’s raining in Vegas today).