Friday, December 31, 2010

Georgia Bill Would Force State Taxpayers To Pay Only In Gold Or Silver

The bright side of this idiocy is the bill was filed in Georgia, not South Carolina... Of course, our state legislature loves to imitate stupid, so I expect a similar bill will be filed here soon.

ThinkProgress » Georgia Bill Would Force State Taxpayers To Pay Only In Gold Or Silver

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Francois Houtart, Belgian Activist Priest, Admits Sexual Abuse

The admission by the 85 year old priest to abuse that took place 40 years ago again points to the fact that the abuse in the church is not new, only the crisis is new. The crisis is the result of victims coming forward and making charges. There is really no way of knowing how long (centuries­?) the abuse has actually been taking place. For systemic abuse to take place, and this appears to be systemic rather than a series of isolated events as the Vatican would paint it, it would require significan­t complicity from all levels of the church.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In retrospect...

I have concluded what was for me, a unique experience. I participated in a clinical trial testing the efficacy of pagoclone for the treatment of persistent developmental stuttering in adults. My participation in the study came about largely by chance. Several years ago, I believe it was the fall of 2005, I had learned that a study was being conducted, and I even went so far as to speak to a representative about participating in the study. I decided not to participate at that time, largely because the closest trial site was in Atlanta, a five hour drive away.

I had forgotten about my previous contact when I was contacted about participating a later phase of the study. The earlier phase had suggested promising results, and the next phase was being opened to a larger sample to test the earlier results. I initially agreed to participate in the study in Atlanta, despite the distance. I went so far as to drive to Atlanta for a pre-study screening (to determine that I met the criteria for the study). Two days after the screening in Atlanta, I was contacted by a research firm in Raleigh about participating in the same study there. Since Raleigh was only two and a half hours away, I dis-enrolled in the Atlanta study and enrolled in the Raleigh study.

The initial 32-week phase was conducted as a double-blind placebo controlled study. Participants were divided into three groups. One group would receive .30mg twice a day, another would get .60mg twice a day, and one group would get a placebo. In addition, half of the first and second groups would get a placebo for 12 of the 32 weeks, while half of the placebo group would get .075mg twice a day. Neither the participants nor the investigators were aware of which group individuals belonged to. The efficacy was measured by videoing participants reading from a prepared script and talking to an investigator during office visits. The videos were scored to determine changes in the fluency level of participants. The second phase of the study was a 48-week open label trial.

Although I was never informed, and I have no reason to believe the investigator with whom I worked was ever aware, I judged by the results during the study that during the initial phase of the study that I was definitely getting at least a modest dosage of the drug. I saw a steady and noticeable improvement in my fluency over the first eight weeks of the initial phase and maintained that fluency level until after the second study visit, during the last 12 weeks of the initial phase, my fluency level decreased to baseline. The initial improvement did not result in a complete cessation of stuttering, but reduced the stuttering by more than 90% based on my estimates.

During the second phase of the study, I was receiving .60mg twice a day and the results were consistent with what I had seen in the first part of the initial phase. I was disappointed to learn the study was being suspended and the drug withdrawn at the end of the second phase. I was initially told I would continue to receive the drug until it was released on the market or drug was withdrawn. The results I experienced, while not "a cure," were the closest I have ever been to fluent in my 55 years. That I will miss. A lot.

Among the things I gained from the study was an understanding of the degree of anxiety present in my normal functioning level. Pagoclone was initially developed as an anxiolytic agent, and it was during the anti-anxiety clinical trials that its effect on stuttering was first noted. I suppose I have always known that I was a very anxious person, but since that condition was normal for me, I had no real concept of what it was to be relaxed. I knew my stuttering was worse when I was more anxious, but I stutter when I am "calm," so there was no reason for me to note a "cause and effect" relationship.

I was informed the drug was being withdrawn on my next to last study visit. I started doing some research, but nothing suggested an alternative anxiolytic that may affect stuttering. Prior to the study, I had taken several different herbs on a regular basis. I took St. John's Wort, which I had found to be effective in lifting the mild depression that had been my regular companion. I had used several other herbs, all of which I suspended for the study, but had found nothing which had produced the benefits from the study. One thing I uncovered during my independent research was something noting the classification of Valerian as a anxiolytic. I had used Valerian as an occasional sleep aid and still had some on hand. I decided to try substituting a twice daily dose of Valerian for the pagoclone at the conclusion of the study.

The study has been over for five weeks now, and I have been taking two Valerian capsules twice a day for that time (as I sleep aid, I was taking three capsules thirty minutes prior to bedtime). I can report that so far my fluency is better than it was before the study, but I have not had a real test to be able to measure how nearly the Valerian results approximate the results of the pagoclone. I have ordered another herb that I plan to add to my regimen, as I have some reason to suspect it may improve the Valerian results. I'll report more on my pagoclone replacement experiment after I have the opportunity to gather some more data.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Swype beta available for Droid

Yesterday I downloaded the new Swype beta for Android. It is available for a limited time and I had wanted to try it since I first saw it demonstrated at the Verizon store when I got my Droid Incredible in October.

I installed a Blogger client on my Droid this morning and this is my first post using Swype. It takes some getting used to but it is faster on my first use than I could type. If you are interested in trying the Swype beta, you can get it from, but probably only for a limited time. As with any beta product, there may be issues yet to be resolved, so user beware.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Update on the Google Cr-48 ChromeOS notebook

I’ve logged about 20 hours on the Cr-48 (Google’s ChromeOS notebook) now and I am, for the most part, impressed. The most impressive aspect is the speed with which it wakes from sleep or boots from the power-off state. From sleep, as soon as I open the lid, the screen is ready — before my wifi connects, which is usually a couple of seconds after the screen appears. If I’m booting from a power-off state, it is ready to go in a little under 15 seconds (which includes the time it takes me to enter my nine character password, complete with upper case and numeric characters). By comparison (granted, an extremely unfair comparison), my HTC Droid Incredible (running Android 2.2) takes just over 30 seconds to boot from power-off to ready to use. This laptop boots up faster than my phone. I truly never thought I’d be able to say that.

I’ve been using a laptop running Ubuntu Linux (currently 10.10) as my primary personal computing device since 2007, so I’m comfortable with the Linux-based platform of the ChromeOS. (I’ve toyed with the idea of setting the Cr-48 to developer mode and playing around with it a little more, but I haven’t yet.) The Cr-48 hasn’t disappointed me in any performance category yet.
There are some adjustments I’ve had to make. One is to the keyboard. I’m not used to typing on flat keys (my Compaq has the traditional, slightly contoured keys) and it’s taken some time to adjust to the darkened keyboard. The laptop is a matte black with matching keys marked with an almost charcoal gray. My typing speed and accuracy are getting better, so I’m sure I’ll adjust. I miss some of the keys I’ve been used to having on my laptop — there’s no “delete” key, and no “home, end, pg up and pg dn” keys. (There are keyboard shortcuts that address this, but I haven’t learned them yet.)

The other thing I have to watch when I’m typing is the touch pad. I’m getting better, and no doubt I’ll master that soon. It’s just a matter of repositioning my hands when I type so as to not touch the pad.

Another feature I like about the notebook is the automatic sync with the Chrome browser settings on other machines. I had been using Firefox as my default browser on my Linux laptop, though Chrome was installed. (The main reason was because Firefox had more customization options and the AdBlock Plus extension.) After I got the Chrome notebook, I changed my default browser to Google Chrome, imported my bookmarks from Firefox, and fired up the Chrome notebook. Within seconds, my old bookmarks were available on the Cr-48. And another bit of good news for AdBlock Plus fans — it’s now available for the Chrome browser as well!

All in all, my early experiences with the Chrome notebook have been very favorable. I am also happy to report positive experiences with the email Tech Support who not only helped me identify an issue with my router, but also followed up to make sure everything was working properly.

Most Protestant pastors think Bush, Palin are Christians but not Obama | The Christian Century

Most Protestant pastors think Bush, Palin are Christians but not Obama | The Christian Century

Found this article today on the Christian Century purely by chance. Although I once subscribed to the Christian Century, I haven't been a reader or subscriber for many years. One of my Facebook friends had posted a link to a Christian Century article about a Lifeway (Southern Baptist) online survey indicating that a majority of respondents put family at the heart of their Christmas celebration, not the religious observance. This article was linked on the side of the page under "Related Articles."

A couple of paragraphs from the article stood out:

"Three-quarters of Protestant pastors surveyed called Bush a Christian, followed by 66 percent who included former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the Christian fold. Just 41 percent said they believe Obama is a Christian."

"Stetzer said the responses may indicate that Protestant pastors are more particular than other people when considering who is and is not a Christian. For some pastors, being "Christian" is synonymous with being "born again" or "evangelical," he said."

WHAT?? Excuse me? "Protestant pastors are more particular than other people when considering who is and is not a Christian," and three quarters of them consider George W. Bush Christian? Is this the same man who, as Governor, set a record for the most executions, refusing clemency even when evidence suggested the probability of wrongful conviction? And isn't this the same man who, as President, "bore false witness" to get us into not one, but two ill-advised wars? Is this the same man who approved torture for detainees?

If anyone wonders why I have become disgusted with the state of the church today, consider this "Exhibit A."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Using the Google Cr-48

"I arrived home from work yesterday and found an unexpected package on my back porch. Given the time of year, I didn’t dare open the box, even though it was addressed to me. When my wife arrived home, she was as surprised by the package as I was. I opened it to find a Google Cr-48 netbook!
Although I had applied to test the netbook, I had not been notified that I was selected to participate in the testing. My initial excitement waned a bit, however, as I was initially unable to connect to the internet, rendering the netbook unusable. The good news is, the support team was able to help me correct the issue. (A firmware upgrade to my Linksys WRT110 router was required, and after applied all went well.)

I am using the netbook now, my second action using the appliance (the first, of course, was to email the technician who solved the problem.) So far, so good. More about this later."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Poor choices? Really?

Here's a news flash Lindsey: It wasn't just Senate candidates where the GOP made some desperatel­y poor choices.

Unfortunat­ely an astounding number of those "poor choices" ended up getting elected, because people who were disgusted with the choices stayed home. So what does the future hold? The "poor choices" will make poor policy decisions and further wreck not only our economy, but our internatio­nal standing and any semblance of the progress for which so many had hoped. Some day people may realize the consequenc­es of not making the choice among evils and staying home is too high a price to pay.

(Read the referenced article on The Hill:

I'm back...

I've neglected this blog for the last year or so for a variety of reasons. I am back from hiatus (bet you didn't even know I'd left town!).