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May 14th, 2006 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

May. 14th, 2006

12:38 am


March 5, 2006
Home Economics

Edward L. Glaeser grew up on the East Side of Manhattan, went to school in Princeton, N.J., and Chicago, lived for a time in Cambridge, Mass., and Palo Alto, Calif., and recently moved with his wife and young son to a house on six and a half acres in the affluent suburb of Weston, Mass. To Glaeser, this last move has been a big adjustment. For one thing, he is not a good driver, and the new commute has prompted him to leave his house by 6 a.m. so as not to get ensnared in the morning rush hour. For another, Glaeser and the suburbs are clearly an unholy marriage of sensibilities, especially since his new house is bordered by about 600 acres of conservation land. "I wake up every day, thinking, My goodness, how many units of housing could you build here?" he says. Glaeser is a creature of density. An economist at Harvard, he has spent almost his entire professional life walking around, and thinking about, cities — seeking explanations why some metropolitan areas thrive and some suffer and what factors make some places pricey and some cheap. He is just 38. In the years since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, though, he has been prolific and provocative in a way that has left many of his colleagues awestruck. "I think he's a genius," says George Akerlof, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2001. Gary Becker, an economist at the University of Chicago and a Nobel laureate, notes that before Glaeser came along, "urban economics was dried up. No one had come up with some new ways to look at cities." David Cutler, Glaeser's Harvard colleague and an academic star in his own right, puts it this way: "I think Ed is probably the most exciting urban researcher in half a century, if not longer."

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02:11 am - Reply to mcsnee

My replies to mcsnee's comments on this article. For future reference.

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02:29 am - Bas Rutten Fight Video

Via smandal:

I don't believe in an 'eye for an eye'. I believe in 'two eyes for an eye'.

03:14 am - Cruise Ship Care


What a Way To Go

Somewhere between Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico, it occurred to me that cruising would be a great way for a retiree to live full time. Maybe it was when Romeo (yes, that’s his name) served me another terrific Lime Smash on the Lido deck; it could have been while relaxing by the pool after the spa massage and ginger/salt scrub; or quite possibly when all the clothes I could stuff into a laundry bag came back the next morning, clean, pressed, and neatly wrapped in tissue paper; or maybe it was while sitting on the veranda of our tidy stateroom, knowing that dinner was being prepared, Wiela would soon be fluffing up the pillows, and hundreds of other people, including not only doctors and nurses, but a dentist, were available to take care of every need.
Whenever it was, I soon was off to the ship’s Internet Café to start writing this column. So perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising, on my return, to find an article in the AARP Bulletin comparing the costs and advantages of life in an assisted living residence with those on a modern cruise ship. Turned out the idea of "cruise ship care" had been proposed by two geriatricians from the School of Medicine at Northwestern University and examined at length in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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03:21 am - Till death us do part


Till death us do part

Oct 28th 2004
From The Economist print edition
A new market for floating hotels

ARE you haunted by thoughts of spending your golden years vegetating in a dingy old folks' home, supping on denture-friendly peas and boiled beef, and playing endless rounds of cribbage? Fear not, there is a cost-effective alternative: life on a cruise ship. A year in an “assisted-living facility” costs Americans, on average, around $28,500 a year. In large cities such as Chicago, costs are even higher, topping $40,000. Living in a dedicated cabin aboard the Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, on the other hand, rings in at a rather competitive $33,260 a year.

Luxury liners offer many of the same amenities as old folks' homes: meals and housekeeping, laundry and hair-dressing services, and even an escort to dinner. They have handgrips in the toilets and walk-in showers. And they also provide plenty of things that land-based facilities do not—such as premium-grade ozone, nightly entertainment and round-the-clock access to medical care.

“Cruise ships could be considered as a floating assisted-living facility,” says Lee Lindquist, a geriatrician at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She first took a cruise last year and was struck by the untapped potential. She has now proposed a new model for old-age living, which she calls “cruise-ship care”, to be published in November's Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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03:30 am


Grand Princess Medical Marvel

By Richard Carroll / Photography: Donna Carroll

The GRAND PRINCESS cruise ship, in the booming annals of the ever-changing cruise industry, had a moment of glory, May 26, 1998, in Istanbul, Turkey when she proudly set sail as the "World's Largest Cruise Ship."

With a coy blush or two, the 109,000-ton beauty, lofty, powerful and sleek, and too hefty to fit through the Panama Canal, acknowledged her position as the Amazon of the seas and the new Queen of cruise "firsts."

Truly a floating resort, the ship is breaking new waves in the cruise industry with a breakthrough telemedicine program that is the essence of the expression "Doctors on The High Seas."

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11:43 am - Long-Term Obesity Linked to Loss of Brain Tissue in Women

Media Contacts: Robin Stinnett, 651-695-2763, rstinnett@aan.com
Marilee Tuite, 651-695-2789, mtuite@aan.com

Long-Term Obesity Linked to Loss of Brain Tissue in Women

St. Paul, Minn. – Women who are obese throughout life are more likely to lose brain tissue, according to a study published in the November 23 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Loss of brain tissue has been linked to cognitive decline.

Researchers in Sweden studied the relationship between body mass index and brain atrophy (loss of brain tissue) in 290 women. The women were born between 1908 and 1922 and had four follow-up examinations between 1968 and 1992. During the final exam, they had a computed tomography (CT) scan to measure for any loss of brain tissue. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that shows weight adjusted for height. Overweight is a BMI of 25 to 30 kg/m2. Obesity is a BMI of 30 kg/m2 and above.

An overweight or obese BMI was linked to a loss of tissue specifically in the temporal lobe. Nearly 50 percent (144) of the women had temporal atrophy. At the time of CT scan, their body mass index was an average of 27 kg/m2, which was 1.1 to 1.5 kg/m2 higher than the women without brain atrophy. Overall the women’s BMI increased over the 24-year period, but the increase was greater for those who lost tissue in the temporal lobe. The risk of atrophy increased 13 to 16 percent per 1.0 kg/m2 increase in BMI.

“This study indicates that a high BMI is a risk factor for dementia in women. Other studies have reported similar findings,” said Deborah Gustafson, PhD, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden and also the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “Obesity is another factor that should be actively intervened upon to reduce diseases of advanced aging.”

The researchers didn’t pinpoint a reason why obesity leads to brain atrophy. They said there are several possible mechanisms.

“Obesity is related to ischemia, hypertension, and cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. These conditions contribute to an unhealthy vascular system, and therefore, to a higher dementia risk,” said Gustafson. “Obesity may also increase the secretion of cortisol, which could lead to atrophy.”

The temporal lobe appears to be highly susceptible to the effects of ischemia and other vascular diseases in the brain, and is evidence of cerebral degeneration and neuronal death, Gustafson said.

A related Patient Page in the November 23 Neurology provides background on dementia and obesity. The Patient Page will be available for downloading from www.neurology.org on November 23, or can be obtained in advance from AAN media relations staff.

The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, the Alzheimer’s Association Stephanie B. Overstreet Scholars, the Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Award, Stiftelsen Soderstrom-Konigska Sjukhemmet, Stiftelsen for Gamla Tjanarinnor, Handlanden Hjalmar Svenssons Forskningsfond, Stiftelsen Professor Bror Gadelius’ Minnesfond, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Göteborg Medical Society, Alzheimerfonden, Alma och Anna Yhlen’s Foundation, the Göteborg Medical Services and Social Services Administrations, Fredrik and Rosa von Malmborgs Foundation for Brain Research, the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, and the American Scandinavian Foundation.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 19,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.

09:21 pm - Concrete Attraction


Concrete Attraction
Something new on the French menu--concrete.

Photos courtesy of French Technology Press Office
Published on: June 1, 2002

Most people go to France for the wine and the scenery. There is also a more concrete reason to go. When we heard that France had moved to the forefront of concrete technology, we decided to see for ourselves. So, while others were off to tour museums, and to sample cheese and taste country sausage, we went to look at concrete. What we found were new approaches for moving the venerable building material into the 21st century. They include improvements in ultra high performance concrete, a new type of stronger, self-leveling concrete and a technique for engraving designs onto concrete.

Ultra high performance concretes (UHPC) may not seem exciting, but they have the potential to change the way structures are designed and built. They are more flexible than regular concrete, need no passive steel reinforcement and have a tensile strength approaching that of steel. Another new line of concrete products, called Agilia, promises to speed the lead time for projects and combat a shortage of skilled labor. Finally, a unique aesthetic process similar to silk-screening makes it possible to transfer subtle and complex artwork onto concrete with up to 1 millimeter of accuracy.

Ultra High Performance Concrete
The mechanical characteristics of the two leading UHPCs in France--BSI and Ductal--make them denser than regular concrete and give them a much higher tensile strength and flexural (bending) strength. As a result, up to three times less concrete is needed to produce thinner structures that can span greater distances. The high density also makes the material nearly impermeable to corrosion from abrasion and chemicals. This should result in longer-lasting structures that cost less to maintain.

Structures using BSI and Ductal can be built without conventional reinforcement or prestressing steel, enabling architects to design complicated, curved geometrical shapes that can be cast on site.

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