Archive for the 'the world' Category

Life Expectancy & Eating Your Vegetables

December 8, 2009

So tonight, I exchanged some volunteering of Christmas Tree decorating help for food.  My Tita Lettie is a marvelous cook.  But one thing she just doesn’t do is vegetables.  I have been to eat at her place multiple times.  And it is always a wonderful meat dish… and rice.  She is Filipino, so it only makes sense.  Two days without rice and a filipino could wither away and die!

Well, in discussing this with my mother, I surmised that the life expectancy of Filipinos must be much less that of a nation like Italy.  This was no scientific study, to be sure.  The Philippines, being still a developing country, has many other reasons for lower life expectancy than vegetables.

So I turned to my trusty tool, Wolfram Alpha, for the data.  If you’ve never used Wolfram Alpha, it is downright amazing at churning through public data for the answers you seek.

I wanted to know the top countries by average life expectancy…  here’s what I got…  5 of the top 10 countries are in Asia.  That was astonishing to me.  And of course, from the map, you can see that Africa is home to the world’s lowest life expectancies.  But what came as a shock to me was that the lowest life expectancies range from 30 – 40 years old!  That’s a sad fact that we endure human suffering in those places when they have problems that can be solved instead of waging war elsewhere in the world.  That’s a topic for another time.

Getting back to the Philippines vs. Italy vs. USA, the average life expectancies are 71, 80, and 78 years of age, respectively.  So while I was right about the difference in life expectancy, I may be totally wrong about the reasons.  But don’t let that be a reason not to eat your vegetables.

Eat your vegetables, dammit!

Random Thoughts on Energy

March 9, 2008

About a year or so ago, I was doing some energy evaluation in my household and ran across a neat little entry about the mechanical equivalent of electrical energy…Q:  What does it mean if a light bulb uses 60 watts?

A:  The watt is a unit of power, equivalent to the joule-per-second.  One joule is about the amount of energy it takes to raise a 12 ounce can of soda 1 foot.  A 60-watt lightbulb uses 60 joules-per-second, so the power it consumes could raise a 24-can case of soda 2.5 feet each second.  Most tables are about 2.5 feet above the floor.  Next time you leave a 60-watt lightbulb burning while you’re not in the room, imagine how tired you’d get lifting one case of soda onto a table every second for an hour or two. That’s the mechanical effort required at the generating plant to provide the 60 watts of power you’re wasting.

So the moral of the story is, turn off the lights when you aren’t using them!

Making a quick comparison to other household habits — you don’t leave the refrigerator door open when you aren’t in the kitchen, nor do you leave the water running when you aren’t about to immediately use it.  So why do we care so little about the lights???

Forget Fast Food… FOREVER!

February 21, 2008

Alliteration aside, who would have thought that I could go for weeks without fast food? Especially given that I was probably one of Taco Bell’s most frequent consumers of the Big Stuft Burrito. My last year in Los Angeles proved to be a feeding frenzy of fast food. With two and three jobs, I had no time to cook. Fast food was my only source of, dare I say, nourishment. And if it wasn’t fast, it was frozen.

Thankfully, mostly due to living at home and dear Mamma cooking the meals, I’ve been without fast food for over two weeks now, basically since my return to Atlanta. I like this arrangement. This isn’t to say, though, that I wouldn’t eat some fast food here and there. Au contraire, mon frère. That is until I saw this interesting take on ads vs. reality. While I can’t say that I’m cured, this certainly gives new meaning to Taco Hell.

PS At the bottom of the aforelinked (is that a new word I just created?) site is mention of the 16 ugliest men in Rock n’ Roll. Totally unrelated. But totally worth a look. The comments about Gene Simmons are knee-slappin’ funny!

Fate almost Fatal (to the tune of $30)

February 14, 2008

This is an interesting little occurrence.

Today I was going through my TiVo and forgot that I recorded Hip Hop Abs, something that I thought would be a fun little way to work on my abs.  Currently I just don’t do them, or resort to my 8-minute abs tape which just looks like bad soft-porn.

Anyway, it turns out that this was an infomercial channel.   But instead of getting Hip Hop Abs, I got an infomercial about reducing debt.  I was hooked.  Of course we all want to reduce our debt, and so I was ready to make the call.  This seemed like a fateful moment, like I was supposed to find this informercial masquerading as an abdominal workout video.  Plus, apparently, I’m just a big ol’ sucker.

For some reason I decide to do a quick search on Wikipedia about the author.  Turns out the guy has peddled a number of books like this with titles like “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About” and “Weight Loss Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About.” Maybe a great consumer advocate?

Or maybe not.  The guy, Kevin Trudeau, has been a convicted felon as well for larceny, credit card fraud, and a lot of never-ending battles with the FTC.  Despite the good-guy, consumer advocate exterior, it seems this guy is a big quack.  So, upon further review, I’ve opted against the purchase of this book.  Duh…
Anyway, it’s wonderful to have this kind of information available at one’s fingertips.  Thank God for those wonderful tubes!

We are becoming the machine…

December 24, 2007

I read Wired magazine when I can.  I used to subscribe.  Now I am broke.  But I did keep a page out of one month about the 2007 Rave Awards so that I could look up further information on it later.

The Machine is Us/ing Us is the blurb to which I’m referring.  It’s short so take a moment to read it.

Then go to its YouTube page and check it out.   I believe it’s worth your while to spend five minutes to see what Web 2.0 is doing to the way we live… in a good way!

Affairs of the Heart

December 19, 2007

I cannot explain why these matter so much.  All I know is the end of relationships is always hard.  And even the beginning of relationships can sometimes be hard.   And damn if the relationship itself isn’t sometimes hard.   Why is that?  Why do we have to make it work?  And why are we in search of that perfect someone or trying to create that perfect someone out of whom we are already with when we know that that perfect someone is just a figment of our imaginations?

Anyway, I babble.  But that is how I feel.  And it’s making me lose my hair, dammit!

Awareness and thankfulness

November 20, 2007

I enjoy writing my thoughts in this forum.  I write them mostly for me.  But I like the fact that my friends and family can peer into my life.  But at times, the things that I have to say are far less important than what’s happening in my life and others’ lives…

Granted, I’m not trying to save the world with my blog.  But when I read the blog excerpts of the Iraqi Bloggers, I realize that talking about scallops and soap are pretty damn trivial.

Take a look at the link above.  It’s a short read, but helps you realize just what we have to be thankful for this week.