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Wednesday, November 28, 2018:  I'll try to get updates to this page within the next few days. They'll consist of anti-aging updates, a discussion of the (sometimes profound) differences between old-fashioned ratio IQs and more recent deviation IQs, and a review of space elevators.
Thursday, October 4, 2018:
  Updates to this page will be coming as soon as I can prepare them.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017: 
  Liz Parrish saw an increase in the median length of her leukocyte telomeres by 800 base pairs, along with increased muscle mass, reduced C-reactive protein, and improved insulin sensivity.
    Emboldened by Liz Parrish' results, Bill Andrews (Sierra Sciences) has linked with Liz Parrish (Bioviva) to launch tests in humans before the end of 2017. These treatments will initially cost $1,200,00 per person, but a parallel effort will go into reducing the cost of such treatments to the point where anyone can afford them.

Monday, January 4, 2016:   I mentioned below that the results of Liz Parrish' gene therapy experiment might be revealed around December 15, 2015, at the three-month milestone. I have just read that her plan calls for the first checkup to occur at 5 months post-treatment (February 15th), followed by subsequent testing at 8 months and 12 months, and then annually for 7 more years.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015:  
    It's time to begin adding something of interest to this web page.
Can Telomerase Activation Reverse Aging?
   Michael Fossel, M. D., Ph. D. (and Ed Park, M. D., M. P. H.) think so 
    Dr. Fossel's just-published book, "The Telomerase Revolution", is, in my opinion a "must-read" book", worth every penny of the $19 it costs.
In it, Dr. Fossel sets forth the experimental results that support the case for rejuvenation through telomerase activation, along with his 20 years of frustration trying to get Serious People to believe that it can be done. Dr. Park has also written an outstanding book on this topic, entitled, "Telomere Timebombs: Defusing the Terror of Aging". Dr. Park's 2013 book starts used at $17.11, which tells us how popular it is.
    Josh Mitteldorf, Ph. D., provides an excellent discussion of the possibilities for telomerase therapy.
    One intriguing news item is that Elizabeth Parrish, the CEO of a biotech company called BioViva, has taken the bull by the horns and commissioned a gene therapy treatment (on September 15th) that aims at implanting an additional copy of the telomerase gene in every cell in her body. A concern with this is a possible elevated risk of cancer.
    M(r)s. Parrish is undergoing monthly testing to see what effect this telomerase activation has had, including possible lengthening of her leukocytes' telomeres, along with measurements of her percentage of short leukocyte telomeres. The 15th of December (a week from today) will mark the three-month anniversary of her September-15th transfection. This might be a time when some of her results will be disclosed.
    Gene therapy typically reaches 5% to 60% of all cells, so the results of this first experiment may not be all that dramatic. However, there are other techniques waiting in the wings for delivering telomerase, not to mention telomerase activators such as TA-65 and TAM 818 (which I'm currently testing).
    Last month, on her Facebook page, Liz Parrish published a close-up picture of her right eye. It looks picture perfect, the eye of a 20-year-old. I'm wondering if she's telling us that there have been visible results?
    Here's Dr. Fossel's assessment of Liz Parrish' "DIY Gene Therapy".
    Harvard's George Church, Ph. D., has opined that he thinks we're close to (within 5 or 6 years of) reversing aging.
    These are interesting times. The question isn't "whether we'll reverse aging" but "when"... perhaps between now and 2020?

Thursday, December 3, 2015: 
I'm still unable to update the "" website.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014: 
What I wrote below on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, is still relevant. The difference in the risk of death and morbid disease between someone who's unable to find time to exercise, and who eats a traditional Western diet (pizza, lasagna, mashed potatoes and gravy, ham, wheat bread, English peas, margarine, Cokes, etc.) and someone who engages in daily, vigorous aerobic and non-aerobic exercise and who eats a Mediterranean or similar diet is awesome! The question then becomes: what do these super-health habits do for longevity? It's hard to imagine them adding 20 years to the lifespan of someone who, without exercising or eating a super-healthy diet would live to 95. That would make them last to 115, and there are precious few 115-year-olds. 
    Another way to estimate the gain afforded by uncommonly healthy health practices is to use the life expectancy for the average 75-year-old. For a man born in 1920 who will be 95 next year, the average life expectancy is 2.84 years. The average life expectancy of  a man born in 1940 who will be 75 next year is 10.18 years. This would give our hyper-healthy 95-year-old male an average life expectancy of 105 compared to about 98 if he hadn't taken such good care of himself. (Note that our super-healthy nonagenarian may enjoy many more years of excellent health and vitality than the typical 95-year-old.)
    Which is the better metric: adding 20 years to his life expectancy or adding 10 years to his life expectancy? I don't know. This may be a question that will have to be answered the hard way by waiting to see how long super-healthy people will live.
    It might be worth mentioning that the 20-year-or-so disparity between the "health nuts" and the average couch potato doesn't seem to diminish with advancing age.
    Dr. Thomas Perls has noted that beyond the age of 90, genes seem to play an increasingly important role in determining the longevity of the "oldest old". Still, Jeanne Calment's mother died at 86, her father at 93, and her older brother at 97. I suspect that her consumption of red wine (at a time when red wine would have had significant levels of resveratrol), of two pounds of chocolate a week, and of stone-pressed  olive oil might have played a role in her extraordinary longevity (122 years).
    About 70% of all super-centenarians die of transthyretin-related amyloidosis caused by misfolding of the transfer-thyroxin-retinol protein in the circulatory system. A drug, tafamidis, has been approved in Europe to treat transthyretin-related amyloidosis, but it's not yet accepted in the United States. There's hope that this disease may be conquered.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014:
  Ms. Chloe Pearson, with Consumer Health Labs, has graciously provided four heart health articles that may be of interest to readers interested
in heart health:
1/22/2014: Heart Health Procedures Covered by Medicare Part B
1/22/2014: 10 Myths About Heart Disease
1/22/2014: Heart Failure Resource Library
1/22/2014: Find an Experienced Cardiologist
Thursday, December 12, 2013:  
  I've run out of time again tonight, but you might enjoy reading Nuts about Nuts.
    It might also be mentioned that in talking about delaying aging for 15, 20, or 25 years, we're discussing delaying cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis... consummations devoutly to be wished. And this is where anti-aging technology stands on December13, 2013, with the outlook improving daily.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013: 
   It looks as though health-and-fitness devotees who engage in aerobic exercise for 30-or-more minutes a day, along with resistance training, nutrition-oriented diets, stress reduction (viz.: meditation), and appropriate supplements (e. g., omega-3 oils, vitamin D, coenzyme Q-10, etc.) have aging biomarkers that are 20-or-more years lower than the average, sedentary, somewhat-overweight individual who eats a conventional Western diet. 
    Since life spans become more and more dependent upon longevity genes the older someone gets, it remains to be seen whether these 20-or-more-year, healthy-living aging biomarker offsets are reflected in actual life span increases.

Sunday, November 17, 2013:
Getting Rich Slowly
Wednesday, November 6, 2013:
Five Interesting Articles.
Monday, October 28, 2013:
The Great American Income Gap
Wednesday, October 23, 2013:
More about federal finances.
Thursday, October 17, 2013:
Hyperventilating about characterizations of the U. S. Federal debt
. Here's a link to a previous discussion of this topic.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013: 
Some personal experiences with U. S. Federal programs (updated)..
Friday, October 4, 2013: 
A couple of articles about the government shutdown.
Thursday, October 3, 2013: 
We're living in interesting times.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013: 
There may be light at the end of the tunnel.
day, September 30, 2013:  Whew!
Saturday, September 28, 2013:
  More of the same.
Thursday, September 26, 2013:
  Another day at the hospital. My wife is doing well, but isn't enjoying it much.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013:
  "Tomorrow", now "today", has been what you'd expect: a day spent at the hospital. Although the operation went as well as operations can, my wife may feel worse before she feels better as the spinal block wears off and soreness sets in. We'll see what the morrow brings. 
Monday, September 23, 2013:
I'm still not done with my latest update (an answer to David Moenning's question, "Are we entering a new secular bull market?) The answer is, I believe, that we're more apt to enter a secular bear market than we are a secular bull market. The price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500 is at a level typical of market tops. But there's more to it than that, and that's what my lengthy write-up will be about.
    I mentioned last Tuesday that my wife was having knee surgery that day. But she took a generous bite of ham before she remembered that she wasn't supposed to eat anything before surgery. Later, after she was on the operating-room gurney, she told the staff what she's done. They immediately released for another day, and that day will be tomorrow. So I don't know what my schedule will be tomorrow and the rest of the week.
    The model portfolio fell further on Monday along with the rest of the markets, (It's up 2.47% tonight.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013:
My apologies for last night's missing updates. My web-hosting service decided to take a break at midnight last night. In addition to that, I wasn't happy with what I had prepared to post. I was having a brainstorm, and it took until tonight to finish up the material.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013:
I've added a model portfolio and some fantasies about secular bull markets and about where the markets might possibly go from here (or maybe not (:-)) under Today's Investment Commentary (see below).
Important! Monday, September 16, 2013:
Beginning tonight, I'm going to make a sea change in this website.
    Over the past few years, my attention has, in self-defense, turned toward anti-aging strategies. As a consequence, my investing activities have been put on autopilot. I've harvested and posted daily investment news headlines in lieu of investment ideas, strategies, and results. This news-gathering function has taken so much time each day that there hasn't been time left for more creative activities. Like what? Well, several times over the past few years, I've set up model stock portfolios that have done phenomenally well. Unfortunately, I've never had the courage of my convictions to actually invest money in them, but if I had, I (and you) could have profited handsomely
    In the arena of anti-aging strategies, there's also interesting news.
    This website desperately needs updating and repairs. I also hope to have time for this.
Sunday, September 15, 2013: The trailing P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is still only 18-to-1, so the S&P 500 is no more overpriced now than it was last April.
NEW!! Sunday, April 7, 2013:
As an update to what I wrote last November, the trailing P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is around 18. (It's long-term average has been about 15.) Its normal upper limit is 20-to-25, so it's fully priced but not yet overpriced. It would have to drop to 10 or below to constitute a secular (super-) bear market bottom. Here's a chart that gives a decent picture of the S&P 500's history from four years after its inception in 1871 until the chart's 2005 closing date. 
    I'm working on an update to this topic of secular bull markets and secular bear markets, but I'm not quite through with it yet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012: 
Here's a first
and second installment in a discussion of some investment options.
Sunday, November 25, 2012:
On the basis of new information, I'm going to have to change some of the material I posted on Friday (below). I'm going to change the peak P/E (Price-to-Earnings) ratio in 1999 from 38:1 to 34:1. Further, the S&P 500 index has only now deflated to the top of its normal range. If the past can be used to guide the present, we could be typically looking at another 16 years--2028--before the S&P 500 falls to a secular bear market bottom, and then begins to re-inflate! 
    During this entire period, "buy-and-hold" is a money-losing strategy.
    There's one domestic mutual fund that has returned more than 15% a year over the past 10 years: the Fidelity Leveraged Company Stock Fund. This was a favorite of mine in 2007, and I had some money invested in it, but it was hit so hard by the 2008 downturn that I cashed out of it. It's a wild ride (it's a Morningstar three-star fund), but it's done better than most domestic funds. However...(1) most of its gains were made during its early years when the markets were rebounding from the 2002-2003 bear market, and (2) U. S. market indices are now near the seasonably favorable tops of their ranges, poised to decline sometime in the next six months. A better measure of their prowess is their five-year history which is measure from the top of the 2007 bull market.
    On the other hand, our previous four-year market cycles have been predicated upon the Fed's manipulation of credit markets in order to fight either inflation or unemployment, and this time, the Fed's hands are tied, so maybe we won't have typical post-election market declines.
    Fortunately, there are alternative strategies that ought to work... emerging market mutual funds, commodity funds, real estate funds, the AAII stock screen portfolios, and the TopStock market timing service, to name a few. These have their pros and cons. 

Friday, November 23, 2012:
I'm getting ready to revamp this website in ways that I hope will offer more personal benefit than what I've been posting in the past. Like what? Well, over the past year-and-a-half, I've been investigating exotic, "bleeding-edge" anti-aging therapies. Some examples are Life Code's "Stem Cell 100", TA Sciences' TA (Telomerase Activator)-65, buckyballs in olive oil, the Life Extension Foundation's "Calorie Restriction Mimetic", modest calorie restriction, PQQ (PyroloQuinoline Quinone) and other esoterica. Are they working? That's hard to tell, but maybe so.
    A related topic is health maintenance.
    Another is investment and the economy. Right now, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are lower than they were 13 years ago in 1999. But in 1999, the S&P 500 hit a P/E ratio of 38:1... quite a bit higher than it had ever been throughout its previous history. Similarly, the Nasdaq topped out at 5,500 compared to its current readings of around 3000. Over the past 13 years, the markets have been working off this once-in-two-centuries excess. The P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is currently around 16:1... reasonable but not cheap. In the meantime, we're ostensibly in a secular bear market that's due to end in the 2016-2018 time frame at P/E ratios substantially lower than they are now.
   I'm working on writing this up, but it may take a little while..
    In a lighter note, with Christmas vacation only four weeks away, here's a site that offers vacation packages for Disneyworld: Flying Elephant Vacations.
    The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) has stock screens (portfolios) that promise extraordinary long-term returns. I had thought about recommending this as a viable investment strategy, but the markets have been so chaotic that I haven't followed up on this. Here's a discussion of some of the AAII stock screen performance claims.
    Wednesday, I wrote this discussion of two current views of intelligence.
    Sunday, I probed others' experiences with the dual n-back program, as well as running it for myself.
Big News! There have been three major announcements in the field of aging remediation in the past couple of days.    Switching now to more frivolous topics, this business of "brain boosting" seems to me to have repercussions well beyond "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the smartest one of all?" This would seem to me to be of importance to everyone who plans to grow old--to age-related cognitive decline, and to the avoidance of Alzheimer's Disease, not only for ourselves but also for those we love.
   This is game-changing.
    (1) My own personal story (Updated)
    (2) Preliminary impressions in re my personal "brain-boosting" experiment (Sunday Update)
    (3) The Flynn Effect and Age-Related Cognitive Decline
    (4) Brain Boosting: Quo Vadis, Dominie?
    (5) The first example of one of these lists is a set of 153 cancer prevention news articles dealing with the relationship between food, herbs, etc., and cancer. It may be found here.
    (6) A general listing and discussion of some putatively beneficial nutritional foods, spices, and supplements is given here. Entire books have been written regarding each of the items set forth in this list. I plan to expand upon this material, but this gives a skeletal outline of foods, and food-derived extracts that I try to consume. (What's needed most is a presentation of what these "nutriceuticals" have done for some of us and might do for you.)
    There should be a lot happening on this website over the next few days and weeks, given time to report on these topics.    

2013-10-7: (Monday Night):  Today's Investment Commentary   

Links to Daily Investments Interpretations (Individual Dates) - (Corrected)

First-Half, 2012
Second-Half, 2011
First-Half, 2011
Second-Half, 2010
First-Half, 2010
Second-Half, 2009
First-Half, 2009
Second-Half, 2008
First-Half, 2008

Daily Investment Interpretations_Archive 
January 1, 2011 to July 30, 2011
July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011

January 1, 2011 to July 30, 2011  
July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010

January 1, 2010 to July 30, 2010
July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009

July 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008
May 7, 2008, to June 30, 2008

2009-1-6 Update: Given the traumatic market losses of the past three months coupled with the threat of a deflationary spiral leading us into another Great Depression, should we still realistically be thinking about recouping losses in the stock market?
    I don't have a good answer to that question for either of us yet. This current stock market bounce may be just another bull market rally within an ongoing bear market. There are certainly plenty who think so. My Cabot China and Emerging Markets Newsletter's China indicator, after flashing a cautious, limited "Buy" signal, has turned negative again, leaving its investors with 10% "Hold" positions in two stocks. (After buying FXI per the newsletter's advice, I sold it at a loss.)  China might decouple from other world markets as the country refocuses its attention upon its internal consumers. But that's still an open question. Caution is still the watchword. I'm still hopeful that we can double our money or better from here (or from a little above where we are now) over the next two or three years. On the other hand, I don't want to lead anyone down the primrose path to further losses. Cash is still king.
    Given the grave concerns about our current economic crisis, I'm going to try to address, as best I can, some problems and concerns that we might be sharing about this subject. 
    I want to reiterate: even if you've lost half your retirement nest-egg, don't despair. There are (I think)  reasonably conservative ways to recoup your losses within two or three years even if the markets don't fully recover for a decade or more (see the sidebar in
Today's Investment Commentary).
  The stunning implications of the fact that we're, perhaps, in a super-bear market are only now penetrating my skull.
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy Applied from the Start to the Finish of a Super-Bear Market (e. g. 2000 to 2018, Assuming That This Concept Is Valid) Would Typically Lead to 60% to 65% Losses Over the 17-18-Year Period After Correcting for Inflation and Adding in Dividends!
    Over the course of a (typical?) 17-to-18-year long super-bear market, the value of an S&P 500 index fund, after correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, typically drops to 1/3rd of its value from the beginning to the  end of the 16-year secular (super-) bear market period. In talking about a "typical" super-cycle, I need to mention that these super-cycles are inferred from the chart pattern of the S&P 500 from 1871 to the present. Over that time span, there have been 3 super-cycles and, it would appear, part of a fourth, from 2000 to the present time... if, in fact, these super-cycles are real enough to have predictive value. But no two of these super-cycles have been just alike. ("History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."?) You might take a look at the above-linked chart displaying the S&P 500 from 1871 to 1997 and see what you think.
Where We Stand Right Now, and Where We Might Go from Here:
    So far, money invested in an S&P500 index fund in March, 2000, has fallen by now, after correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, to about ½ of what it was worth in March, 2000. However, because the S&P 500 was overpriced by... 65%?... in March, 2000 (by far the most overpriced it's ever been), then if we are in a super-bear market, this money in 2018 should be worth about 40% what it is now. In other words, money invested in a buy-and-hold S&P 500 index fund in March, 2000, should be worth, in 2018, only about 1/5th what it was when it was invested in 2000!
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy During a Super-Bull Market Yields Dramatic Gains
    (b)  All of the long-term gains registered by buy-and-hold investors occur within super-bull markets, and they're sufficient to overpower the fall of the price of equities, in real value, to 1/3rd of their previous highs, plus the average 6.8% a year that Dr. Jeremy Siegel has found for the long term average rate of return of the U. S. stock market from 1802 through 2004.
But... We're in Uncharted Territory
    Because we're in uncharted territory, experiencing the first deflation since the Great Depression, the markets could go lower than usual, although we might expect them to return to their hypothetical trend lines by 2018 (no guarantees, of course).
These Speculative Predictions and Interpretations Apply Only the the U. S. Stock Market
    These predictions, if they unfold as they have in the past, apply only to the U. S. stock market. I have no data concerning non-U. S. markets (although non-U. S. markets have a habit of moving more-or-less in lock-step with the U. S. stock market). I'm particularly hopeful that the Chinese and Indian stock markets  may decouple from the U. S. market over the coming years.
  Over the weekend, I've re-examined the subject of super-bull markets and super-bear markets, and I don't like what I've found. Of course, there's nothing that says things have to work out this way, but the numbers are suggesting a super-bear market bottom in 2018 that would be 55% to 65% below where the popular indices stand today even if our current malaise turns out to be a standard, garden-variety recession, with a cyclical bull market starting up again in 2009 or 2010.
    A buy-and-hold strategy in most mutual funds in such a scenario would be a disaster, although there may be a few funds that can outperform the market sufficiently that you'd come out well ahead even if the blue-chip index funds lose 2/3rds of their purchasing power. The above-linked write-up will explain.
11/2/2008 Important (Second) Update:   This "recession" is categorically different in cause and consequences than any of the normal recessions we've experienced over the past 60 years. Unlike all the other recessions since World War II, this recession (Depression?) is deflationary, driven by a credit crisis, rather than a result of the Federal Reserve Board's overshooting its mark in its efforts to slow the economy in order to rein in inflation. This may be "The Perfect Storm".

As many of us are probably aware, there are now techniques that seem to subtract 15 or more years off our biological ages. It will be decades before such results can be verified through large-scale, long-term studies, but some of us are availing ourselves of these "bleeding edge" stratagems, with dramatic improvements in such ponderable parameters as blood lipid profiles, fasting glucose, insulin sensitivity levels, and related health measures. Along with living longer (and, in fact, these disease reductions are prerequisites to living better longer) are techniques for putatively  reducing the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Again, there are no guarantees. It will take decades of large-scale, long-term, placebo-controlled studies to validate the various pilot studies that have been conducted to date... studies that are concerned with special nutritional and supplement interventions that don't involve patentable drugs. Still there's compelling evidence that some of these maneuvers really do work. For example, four years ago, I was going to my dermatologist every three months to have actinic keratoses--sunlight-induced, pre-cancerous lesions--frozen off the top of my head. After I began drinking green tea four years ago, these lesions disappeared and have never returned--in keeping with numerous studies showing that green tea fights skin cancer. Other members of the Calorie Restriction Society have had a similar experience. This is certainly anecdotal, but nevertheless, this is  what's happened.
    Another example of startling discoveries that, to my knowledge, haven't made it into widespread public distribution is Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Norman Hollenberg's discovery that the Kuna Indians, who live on a relatively isolated group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama, have 1/10th (that's 10%!) the age-adjusted rates of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer as their North American counterparts. (See this for diabetes.) The key to this seems to lie in their drinking 3 to 5 cups a day of "raw" hot chocolate (chocolate that hasn't been roasted, or extracted with alkali). (The crucial ingredient seems to be epicatechin.). These dramatic reductions in degenerative diseases aren't attributable to genetic inbreeding, because Kuna Indians who move to the mainland and adopt mainland diets suffer the same ills that plague the rest of us. (You can buy this unprocessed cocoa at outlets like iHerb.)
    Because this is more potent than resveratrol, I'm wondering what effect this would has upon aging and life expectancies.
    In the meantime, here's an article about aging interventions that I wrote in 2006 but never published.

I Goof Up:
  Last fall, on the 21st of September (see below), I declaimed that "My personal guess is that the stock market is going to recover from its deep, steep dip and climb higher (with some ups and downs) for the remainder of the year. I'm also speculating", quoth I, "that we won't go into a recession before 2009, after the 2008 presidential election." 
    Boy, was I wrong! Actually, the stock market continued to rise to new heights, peaking on October 11th. But then it did the unthinkable: it immediately plummeted to new lows--like two tornadoes howling down the same path.
    Having lost all of my own August-to-October ill-gotten gains and a bit more besides, I'm going to try prognosticating again, along with some ideas about investments. (This will be changing rapidly over the next few days, so you may want to check back again.)
    Amber is now 20 months old and turning into a little girl.
We bought her an outdoor playhouse, and have turned the cardboard box in which it was packed into an indoor playhouse. Here's Amber sitting on her throne, with two of her dolls in attendance.
    Tommie and I have been busy almost beyond description. We spend several hours a day playing with her. We're spoiling Amber wonderfully. Amber has caught every virus that has found its way into Huntsville, and after years of freedom from colds and other viruses, Tommie and I are now catching everything Amber gets. But we're gradually, gradually getting more time. And Amber will only be these ages once.

The Day the Earth Stood Still 
    For the past few days, the media have been saturated ad nauseum with Barack Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, feeding the crowds bread and circuses. In the meantime, what may be one of the most important happenings in human history has passed as unnoticed by the world as the birth of the Son of Man in the hills of Judea two millennia ago.
    There have been several momentous milestones in human development... the taming of fire, the evolution of language, the development of writing, the appearance of craftsman and specialization in the early river-valley city-states... that have transformed what it means to be human. Today, came announcements of what I believe may possibly lead to the next millennial-class transformation in human development. Two psychologists, Susanne Jäggi and Martin  Buschkuehl in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bern, have discovered a training technique that appears to significantly elevate fluid intelligence. Further, the technique shows a more-or-less linear dose-response relationship over a period of 8 12, 17, and 19 days (with 25 minutes of training per day). More...

-2007As you can see, there's been a slight change in our title page--a hyacinth in our December.
:  The last few months have been hectic, to put it mildly. Someone has to be with Amber around the clock, for four 44-hour shifts a week. Most of the time, Tommie and I are both engaged with her. Although we've tried to baby-proof our kitchen-family room, someone needs to be in attendance whenever she's awake, to make sure that she doesn't chew through lamp cords or climb up on the coffee table. During her all-too-brief naps, we either catch up on sleep ourselves, or service the infrastructure that supports her. She had her first birthday on August 28th, and is taking steps by herself and saying a few words. It has its rewards, though. I sing to Amber and walk her to sleep most nights, since that seems to work well. I'll forever cherish that little head snuggling into my shoulder as she heaves sighs and drifts off to sleep. It's rare and precious in this life that, as adults, we get this kind of unconditional closeness with another human being. We perform double handsprings in this life to earn others' approval. With a baby or a small child, it comes copiously and with no strings attached. It doesn't last forever, although the closeness of parent and child can remain for a lifetime.
    We've enrolled Amber in a playschool, which she seems to relish. This is giving us some discretionary time for the first time since last December. In the meantime, I've found myself drifting back to posting the science news on a daily basis. My plans to update the archives have come to naught, as I race from pillar to post, scrambling to keep up with all my obligations.
    One other time-consuming activity that has eaten whatever bits and pieces of time I've been able to muster is investment in the stock market. I'm not interested in making money to buy anything for myself. I'd like to make enough money quickly enough that I could give some away in ways that I think might be particularly effective. Of course, optimizing one's investment strategy is always beneficial. There's a lot I'd like to write about this that I think might be of interest. Maybe I'll have time in the next few weeks to present this. In the meantime, here are a few ideas.
    My personal guess is that the stock market is going to recover from its deep, steep dip and climb higher (with some ups and downs) for the remainder of the year. I'm also speculating that we won't go into a recession before 2009, after the 2008 presidential election. According to the Stock Trader's Almanac 2007 which analyzes 173 years of data stretching back to Andrew Jackson's presidency, the third year (e. g., 2007) after a presidential election is the best year for the stock market (up 10.6% on average), followed by the fourth year (2008) which is still upward-trending (up 6.7%). The first year (2009) is often a flat or down year (up 1.6% on average), bottoming during the second year (2010) and then starting up again (up 3.7% on average).
    Some investments that look good to me right now may found here.

:    On Monday, August 28th, 2006, our oldest daughter, Lisa, delivered her first and last child: a baby girl. On the morning of Sunday, December 3rd, 2006, Lisa died quietly in her sleep, leaving Tommie Jean and me to rear her three-month-old infant. Since then, it's been a wildly busy time. Because of this development, I've to modified the website, changing it to provide news archives in various areas of interest rather than a daily posting of 120-130 science news items. I'll still be scanning the same news, but I'll be saving only items that seem worthy of archiving. Also, as time permits, I'll generate lists of links to specific archives, such as "Cancer: Food and Herbs". There is a wealth of potentially life-saving information in these Science News articles, and archiving it in specific lists should make this information much more accessible than it is now.
    The first example of these new lists is the list for "Alzheimers Disease"

:  Michael McKay has written to say, "In your page you start analyzing a Wal-Mart crowd. Your results are already skewed. The lower IQ people are less likely to be able to get to Wal-Mart in the first place."
    I think that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that. Offhand, I'd imagine that it might not make too much difference until the IQ gets well below average, but I don't know.
    I'd also think that in an adult population, IQ may not be that good a measure of someone's practical ability to cope. IQ tests purport to measure certain kinds of mental abilities having to do with pattern recognition and the potential to learn.. On the other hand, I would imagine that age-related cognitive decline (for example) could lead to serious degradation in the ability to do well on an IQ test without necessarily impairing someone's ability to drive, or to negotiate a shopping mall. Lack of sleep could slow someone down on IQ-testing-type activities without implying a lack of innate capabilities under more favorable circumstances. It's always possible to get an uncharacteristically low score on an IQ test. And there certainly are mental gifts that don't show up well in school or on timed IQ tests. (For example, untreated ADHD can probably interfere with IQ test performance.)
    It seems to me that we all do amazingly well driving every day. Driving under the influence can lead to accidents as can reckless or emotional driving and errors in judgment, but otherwise, I think we drive exceedingly reliably.

:  Here's a 2006 Computer Technology Update.
    Beginning today, June 19th, I'm cutting back somewhat on the content of the daily web pages. New panels of "Calvin and Hobbes" are no longer available for download, and I'll have to drop them. Also, I'm closing the "Words-of-the-Day" in order to save time that I urgently need for other purposes. In return, I'll be posting a number of what I think might be important "essays", that I think you might want to catch. I've written these and published them in "Gift of Fire" but haven't gotten around to posting them here.
    Reducing the amount of material in the Science News pages hasn't reduced the amount of time it takes to prepare the website. I either have to cut back or shut down the science news service altogether. It takes too much time. I'm going to try retrenching like this and see if that solves the problem.
    Here is an article I published in the March issue of "Gift of Fire" reviewing recent articles and books that discuss psychopaths.


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9/15/2008:   Videos: (Note that it takes a little while to download these videos, during which time the screen is blank.)
9/15/2008:: Amber Eating Macaroni
9/15/2008: Amber and Mommy on the Garden Bench