| Wednesday, February 20, 2008
|FATIGUED? DEPRESSED MOOD? LOW SEX DRIVE?
COULD BE YOUR TESTOSTERONE IS RUNNING ON EMPTY.
An estimated 4 -5 million American men have a medical condition called hypogonadism, or low testosterone. As some men grow older, their testosteron levels decline. Low testosteron (hypogonadiam) can cause low sex drive, fatigue and depression among other problems.
TAKE THIS QUIZ to find if you should talk to your doctor about your testosteron levels.
Testosterone Screening Test
1. Do you have a decrease in sex drive? ..... Yes _____ No _____
2. Do you have a lack of energy? ................ Yes _____ No _____
3. Has your strength or endurance
decreased?................................................. Yes _____ No _____
4. Have you lost weight ? ............................ Yes _____ No. _____
5. Are you enjoying life less? ....................... Yes _____ No _____
6. Are you sad or grumpy? ........................... Yes _____ No _____
7. Are your erections less strong? ................ Yes _____ No _____
8. Have you notieced a recent deterioration
in your ability to play sports? ...................... . Yes _____ No _____
9. Do you fall asleep after dinner? .................. Yes _____ No _____
10.Has your work performance decreased
lately? ............................................................ Yes _____ No_____
If you answer YES to quetion 1 or 7 or at least three of the other questions, you might have low testosterone levels. Fortunately, you can replace testosterone . Talk to your doctor about restoring your sex drive, energy and mood.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF TESTOSTERON REPLACEMENT COULD HELP YOU.
For more information please visit:
available also at www.fda.gov/fdac/departs/196_upd.html
Morley JE et al.Saint Louis University Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men (ADAM) Questionnaire, metabolism 2004;49:1239-42.
|posted by infraternam meam @ 9:07 PM
| Sunday, February 17, 2008
| THE WORLD'S TEN WORST DICTATORS
The strongmen on this year's list of world's worst dictators were chosen and ranked based on their human-rights abuses, the level of suffering that their leadership has caused and the amount of absolute power they wield. Sources include the U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders. For more despots and rankings, visit Parade.com.
IN POWER SINCE 1994.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 2
Kim Jong-Il runs the most isolated repressive regime in the world. His citizens have no access to information other than government propaganda. His harsh system includes collective punishment (three generation of a family can be punished for one member's alleged crime); detainment of roughly 200,000 citizens in labor camps; and the capture, torture and jailing of those who try to flee to China.
U.S. LINK: Last year, Kim's government carried out its pledge to the U.S. and other nations to shut down its nuclear reactors. However, it missed December's deadline to disclose its full nuclear inventory.
OMAR AL-BASHIR, SUDAN.
AGE: 64, IN POWER SINCE 1989.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 1
Under Bashir's rule, the Darfur region of Sudan continues to be the site of a violent power struggle among government forces and allied militia, rebels and bandits. In 2007, Bashir ordered aerial bombing raids that killed dozens of civilians. While Bashir did appoint an official to investigate the human-rights situation in Darfur, the appointtee himself has been suspected of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
U.S. LINK: The U.S. government has harshly criticized the abuses in Sudan. The Clinton administration issued trade sanction in 1997, but it exempted gum arabic, which is used in products ranging from soft drinks and candy to shoe polish and stamps. The U.S. still imports more than 4000 tons of the substance from Sudan annually.
THAN SHWE, BURMA (MYANMAR).
AGE: 75, IN POWER SINCE 1992.
LAST YEAR'S RANK:6
In August and September, Buddhist monks led pro-democracy demonstrations agains t 45 years of military rule. Than Shwe ordered troops to fire on the crowds. They killed dozens of protestors, and his forces detained several thousand more. Burma's symbol of democracy, Nobel Peace Peace Prize-winner Aing Suu Kyi, remains under house arrest.
U.S. LINK: President Bush ended imports from Burma in 2003, but the U.S. sells the country more than $7 million in exports each year. After the fall crackdowns, Bush accused Than Shwe of "vicious persecution".
KING ABDULLAH, SAUDI ARABIA.
AGE: 84, IN POWER SINCE 1995.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 5
Under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia adheres to a punitive justice system in which young teens can be sentenced to death and defendants tortured. Women are more oppressed that in any other country - they can't even seek medical care without a male guardian's permission.
U.S. LINK: Every President since 1940s has sought good relations with petroleum-rich Saudi Arabia. American companies have sold its government more than $15 billion in arms in the last decade. Last year, U.S. oil imports totaled more than $30 billion. King Abdullah promised to crack down on extremists after we learned that 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Yet researchers at West Point say that the largest number of al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq still come from Saudi Arabia.
HU JINTAO, CHINA
AGE: 65, IN POWER SINCE 2002.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 4
Last year, Hu came down on human-rights activists and increased censorship. Hu's government also forces abortions, controls all media and harshly limits the practice of religion. There's little criminal justice to be found in China- 99% of all trials result in a guilty verdict.
U.S. LINK: China is a close economic ally and our second leading trade partner (Behind Canada). Our country's trade deficit with China stands at almost $1 billion. At the same time, a 2007 report to Congress said that Chinese espionage activities in the United States "comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American Technologies".
ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWE.
AGE: 83, IN POWER SINCE 1980.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 7
Zimbabwe's economy went from bad to worse last year. Inflation exploded to more than 8000% unemployment reached 80% and food supplies continued to dwindle. One-quarter of the country's population has fled. Neverheless, Mugabe is running a sixth term. The opposition is trying to unite, but police arrested and beat 50 opposition leaders last March.
U.S. LINK: American politicians from both parties have condemned Mugabe's many abuses, and Bush called Zimbabwe's policies "an assault on its people" in Septembe speech to the United Nations. However, U.S. trade with Zimbabwe has increased in each of the last four years, led by our imports of the metals ferrochromium and nickel (both used to make stainless steel).
SAYYID AL KHAMENEI, IRAN
AGE:68. IN POWER SINCE 1989.
LAST YEAR'S RANK:3
While a recent intelligence report concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program, the Ayatollah Kamenie and his council have adopted increasingly repressive measures. Last year, officials carried out public hangings, stoned a man to death for adultery, shut down music studios and cafes, and persecuted dissidents.
U.S. LINK: The U.S. seemed on the verge of attacking Iran last year, and Bush recently called it "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism". Still, trade has increased, and U.S. exports to Iran rose from $8 million a year in 2001 to over $125 million a year in 2007.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN.
AGE:64, IN POWER SINCE 1999.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 15
In recent months, Musharraf suspended Pakistani's constitution, shut down the courts, arrested several thousand dissidents and passed a law removing challenges to his continuation as president. He allowed former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan but barred Sharif from running in elections. Bhutto was assasinated - an act that some observes tie to Musharraf's government.
U.S. LINK: The U.S. considers Pakistan a valuable economic and political ally. Americans bought almost $3 billion worth of Pakistani cotton clothing and fabrics in 2007. Even after Musharraf suspended the constitution, Bush said Musharraf had "advanced democracy in Pakistan". The U.S. has given aid in the last six years, whcih critics say has largely been spent on arms to fight India, not terrorists.
ISLAM KARIMOV, UZBEKISTAN.
AGE: 70. IN POWER SINCE 1989.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 8
The Uzbek constitution imposes a two-term limit, but Karimov was elected to a third term in December. His government engages in routine torture of citizens and has subjected dissenters to forced psychiatric treatment.
U.S. LINK: The U.S. showed little interest in Uzbekistan until 9/11, when its 85 mile border with Afghanistan made it an appealing ally. Karimov allowed U.S. forces to use an Uzbek air base but kicked the americans after Bush cvriticized Karimov for ordering the massacre of hundreds of people. Nonethelss, U.S. imports have doubled since 2002 because Uzbekistan has a rich supply of uranium, which is needed for our power plants and weapons.
ISAYAS AFEWERKI, ERITREA.
AGE:62. IN POWER SINCE 1991.
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 13
Afewerki's ban on privately owned media makes Eritrea one of the world's worst abusers of press freedom. During his rule, Afewerki has never allowed national elections or the implementation of a constitution.
U.S. LINK: The U.S. has provided aid and food to Eritrea, but Afewerki ordered American aid workers out in 2005. The U.S. still conducts trade with Eritrea, but its' largely limited to our country's export of sorghum.
(Source: PARADEMAG/visit PARADE.COM/by: David Wallechinsky)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 12:54 PM
| Saturday, February 16, 2008
| FORTUNE HUNTER
Researcher attempts to solve a riddle wrapped in the mystery of a simple cookie.
Some 3 billion fortune cookies are made each year, almost all in the United States. But the crisp cookies wrapped around enigmatic sayings have spread around the world. They are served in Mexico, Italy, France and elsewhere.
But there is one place where fortune cookies are conspicously absent: CHINA.
Now a researcher in Japan believe she can explain the disconnect, which has long perplexed American tourists in China. Fortune cookies, Yasuko Nakamachi says, are almost certainly originally from Japan.
Her prime pieces of evidence are the centuries old small family bakeries making obscure fortune cookie shaped crackers by hand near a temple outside Kyoto. She also has turned up many references to the cookies in Japanese literature and history, including an 1878 etching of a man making them in a bakery -- decades before the first reports of American fortune cookies.
The idea that fortune cookies come from Japan is counterintuitive, to say the least, "I am surprised," said Derrick Wong, vice president of the largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world, Wonton Food, based in Brooklyn. "People see it and think of it as a Chinese food dessert, not a Japanese food desserts."
Nakamachi, a folklore and history graduate student at Kanagawa University outside Tokyo, has spent six years trying to establish the Japanese origin of the fortune cookie, much of that at the National Diet Library (the Japanese equivalent of the Library of Congress). She has sifted through thousands of old documents and drawings. She has also traveled to temples and shrines across the country, conducting interviews to piece together the history of the fortune telling within Japanese desserts.
Nakamachi saw her first fortune cookie in the 1980s in a New York City Chinese restaurant. It was only in the late 1990s, outside Kyoto near one of the most popular Shinto shrines in Japan, that she saw the familiar shape at a family bakery called Sohonke Hogyokudo.
"These were exactly like fortune cookies," she said.
The cookies were made by hand by a young man who held back grills over a flame. The grills contained round mold into which batter is poured, something like a small waffle iron. Little pieces of paper were tucked inside the cookies fold while they were still warm. With that sighting, Nakamichi's long research misson began.
The Japanese fortune cookies Nakamichi found there and at a handful of nearby bakers differ in some ways from the ones that American receive at the end of a meal. They are bigger and browner, as their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter.
As she researched the cookie's Japanese origins, among the most persuasive pieces of evidence Nakamachi found was illustration from a 19th century book of stories, "Moshiogusa Kinsei Kidan". A character in one of the tales is an apprentice in a senbei store. In Japan, the cookies are called variously, tsujiura senbei ("fortune crackers"), omikuji senbei ("written fortune crackers"), and suzu senbei ("bell crackers")
The apprentice appears to be grilling wafers in black irons over coals, the same way they are made in Hogyokudo and other present day bakeries.
The book, story and illustration are all dated 1878. The families of Japanese or Chinese immigrants in California tht claim to have invented or popularized fortune cookies all date the cookie's appearance between 1907 and 1914. The illustration was the kind of needle in a haystack discovery that academics yearn for.
she found other historical traces of the cookies as well. In a work of fiction by Tamenaga Shunsui, who lived between 1790 and 1843, a woman tries to placate two other women with tsujiura senbei that contains fortunes.
Nakamachi's work, originally published in 2004 as part of a Kanagawa University report, has been picked up by some food related publications in Japan. But otherwise, the paper has drawn limited attention, perhaps because fortune cookies are not well known in Japan.
If fortune cookies are Japanese in origin, how did they become a mainstay of American Chinese restaurants? Nakamachi visited San Francisco and Los Angeles, where she interviewed the descendants of Japanese and Chinese immigrant families who made fortune cookies.
The cookie's path is ralatively easy to trace back to World War II. At that time they were a regional specialty, served in California Chinese restaurant, where they were known as "fortune tea cakes". There, according to later interviews with fortune cookie makers, they were encounted by military personnel passing through San Francisco on the way back from the Pacific Theater. When the veterans returned home, they would ask their local Chinese restaurants why they did'nt serve fortune cookies as the San Francisco restaurants did.
The cookies rapidly spread across the country. By the late 1950s, an estimated 250 million fortune cookies were being produced each year by dozens of small Chinese bakeries and fortune cookie companies.
But before World War II, the history is murky. A number of immigrant families in California, mostly Japanese, have laid claim to introducing or popularizing the cookie.
Nakamachi is still unsure how exactly fortune cookies made the jump to Chinese restaurants. But during the 1920s and 1930s, many Japanese immigrants in California owned chp suey restaurants, which served Americanized chinese cuisine. The Umeya bakery distributed fortune cookies to more than 100 restaurants in southern and central California.
Chinese owned restaurants discovered the cookies too, Nakamachi speculates that Chinese owned manufacturers began to take over fortune cookie production during World War II, when Japanses bakeries on the West Coast closed as Japanese-American were rounded up and sent to internment camps.
"The Japanes may have invented the fortune cookies", Wong said. "But the Chinese people really explored the potential of the fortune cookie. It's Chinese-American culture. It only happens here, not in China."
(Source: CHICAGOTRIB/Good Eating by Jennifer Lee/New York Times News Service)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 2:30 PM
| Friday, February 15, 2008
| HOW TO BUY A DIGITAL CAMERA
|Compact digital cameras have vastly improved --- but all the choices make it hard to focus. a guide for aspiring shuterbugs.
SCREEN AND VIEWFINDER
LCD screens come in all sizes, but the bigger the better -- look for two inches or more. swivel screens come in handy for odd-angle shots.
Viewfinders are a disappearing feature on compact point-and-shoots, but they can still be useful in bright sunlight, where the LCD screen.
Digital cameras rely on removable memory cards, which have gotten better and cheaper. A two-gigabyte card is plenty for the trigger-happy: it yields about 800 high quality pictures or 16 minutes of good video. Some cameras work with proprietary cards, but the Secure Digital (SD) format is increasingly the industry standard; a two-gigabyte card sells for about US$30.
Despite all the optical advances in cameras, battery life is still lacking. rechargeable lithium-ion batteries give the most shots per charge, but you'll need to invest in a spare, or bring the charger is, say, you take your camera on a weekend trip.
SOUND AND VIDEO
You may not need it, especially if you own a videocamera, but almost all point-and-shhots can record video. If you plan to use it, look for at least 30 frames per second at 640x480 resolution --- and a microphone for sound.
All point-and-shoots have a built-in flash. Fancier models have a hot-shoe fixture for attaching a more powerful external flash.
PROCESSOR AND SOFTWARE
Newer, more powerful processors mean a faster camera and extra features like face-recogntion auto focus.
Lens quality on point-and-shoot digital cameras is now excellent across the board. In these cameras a single lens is used for nearby wide-angle shots and for zooming in on distant objects. Look for lenses with bigger optical zoom, which moves you closes to the subject without sacrificing quality; ignore digital zoom technology, which works by essentially cropping the image. A 3x zoom is standard, though a new and fast growing category of compact super-zooms now hits 15x.
Sensor amateur buyers don't usually think about it, but the snsor captures the incoming light and converts the resulting pixel image to a digital file. The more pixels on the sensor, the better the pixels ability to capture light. You want the biggest sensor with the most pixels. These are a few formats; CCD is the standard on better cameras.
(SOURCE: Fortune Mag/Crib Sheet)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 8:04 PM
| HOT CAREERS FOR THE NEXT TEN (10) YEARS
|20 FASTEST-GROWING PROFESSIONAL JOBS
To come up with thislist, we took BLS projections from 2002 to 2012, then eliminated blue-colar and relavitely uncomon jobs*. Here are the 20 jobs likely to see an increase of better than 20percent.
Environmental engineers ..... 54.3%
Network systems and datacom analysts ..... 41.9%
Personal financial advisors ..... 36.3%
Database administratos ..... 33.1%
Software engineers ..... 27.8%
Emergency management specialists ..... 27.6%
Biomedical engineers ..... 27.8%
PR specialists ..... 27.8%
Computer and infosystems managers ..... 25.6%
Comp, benefits, and job analysts ..... 25.6%
System analysts ..... 24.9%
Network and systems administrators ..... 24.9%
Training and development specialists ..... 22.3%
Medical scientists ..... 22.1%
Marketing and sales managers ..... 21.3%
Computer specialists .....20.8%
Media and communications specialists ..... 20.6%
Counselors, social workers ..... 206%
Lawyers ..... 204%
Pharmacists ..... 202%
* Those jobs that employed fewer than 1,000 or so people nationwide in 2004
|posted by infraternam meam @ 7:52 PM
| Wednesday, February 06, 2008
| KUNG HEI FAT CHOI: IN THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHINESE NEW YEAR
|OODLES OF NOODLES
Chinese noodles are sold fresh or dried. There are three braod classinfications: wheat noodles (mein or mian), rice noodles (fun or fen) and noodles made with starches, including mung bean and tapioca. Some noodles incorporate other ingredients from dried shrimp to minced vegetables to eggs, oil and even lye water. Chinese noodles can be found in Asian food markets, specialty store and even supermarkets.
Katie Chin, co-author of "Everyday Chinese Cooking", believes Western and Chinese noodles are interchangeable for most "mainstream" recipes.
Package label information for Chinese or Asian noodles can vary widely. Some noodles can vary widely. Some noodles are sold under Chinese names (the spelling and pronounciation can vary by region), other Asian names or English.
Cantonese egg noodles (dan mein in Cantonese); Popular in China's Guangdong province, ancestral home to many in Chicago's Chinese community. Sold fresh or dried in various widths and lengths. Fresh noodles may be refrigerated for up to one week. Boil either variety in water until cooked; run under cold water to stop the cooking before proceeding with the recipe. Some fresh noodles are precooked and ready to be used in stir-fries and other dishes without a preliminary boiling.
Cellophane noodles or Bean threads (fun sze) These thin, dried vermicelli like strands are made from mung bean starch and need a soaking in hot water before using. They also can be deep fried.
Chow fun noodles (sha har fun) A fresh, wide rece noodle used in stir fries and usually sold folded up in uncut sheets that you cut into strips before cooking.
Hokkien noodles (hokkien mein) Thick yellow wheat noodles from China, now very popular in Malaysian and Singapore cooking. Cook before using.
Long life noodles or Longevity noodles (sow mein) Very long, dried wheat noodles often served at celebrations because of their good-luck symbolism. Cook before using.
Rice Noodles (hor fun) Sold dried or fresh in various widths. To use the dried, soak in warm or hot water according to package directions. Dry, unsoaked rice noodles also can be deep-fried. Fresh noodles can be cooked as is, but refrigerated noodles may need a warm water rinse to soften and loosen up.
Rice Vermicelli (mai fun) Generally thinner than rice noodles. Often called rice sticks. Soften in hot water before using. Dry, unsoaked rice sticks puff up dramatically when cooked in hot oil; use the cooked strands as a bed fir various dishes or incorporated into salads.
Shanghai noodles (Shanghai mein) Thick, fresh wheat noodles. Cook before using.
(SOURCE:CHICAGOTRIB/TEMPO SECTION by: Bill Daley)
(SOURCES: "The Chinese Ingredients" by Deh-Ta Hsiung; "Asian Ingredients" by Bruce Cost; "A Cook's Guide to Chicago" by Marilyn Pocius; "The Oxford Companion to Food" by Alan Davidson; "THe New Food Lover's Companion" by sharon Tyler Herbst)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 7:51 PM
| 4 SALE: BONES OFTHE SAINTS
|THERE'S ALWAYS STRANGE STUFF FOR SALE ON EBAY --
Does anybody really need elk antlers? -- but some of the strangest is in a category called "Collectible: Christianity", subcategory "Relics".
Relics, to put it crassly, are souvenirs of a holy life; a snippet of cassock, a shred of a shroud - anything that once belonged to or came in contact with a saint. To many Christians, especially Roman Catholics, relics are sacred objects of veneration. They have healing powers; they remind believers of God's promise that in his kingdom, everything broken will become whole again. Some of the relics thought to have the most power are bits of saints ' flesh, bone and hair, which have been authenticated by the church. To put it very crassly, these are tiny, antique body parts, usually in pretty little frames. Relics this precious are not intended to be owned by individuals but worshipped by the whole Christian community.
On EBay last week you could buy strands of hair, allegedly from the head of Saint Therese of Lisiux, the patron saint of the Air Force. Bids started at $40. Or you could buy what looks like a fragment of bone supposedly from Saint Philomena, a 13 year old Christian girl who, according to legend, was flogged, drowned and finally beheaded for her refusal to marry the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Bidding started at $49.99. Or, if you wanted to splurge, you could purchase a "splendid, rare, antique" reliquary containing the bone fragments of six different saints from a dealer in Belgium. Starting price: $625. All these itmes appear to violate eBay's policies prohibiting the sale of human remains. If they're real they also violate the Roman Catholic canon, which states that "it is absolutely forbidden to sell sacred relics."
To skeptics and curiosity seekers, the gray market in relics is perhaps nothing more than an excellent if slightly ghoulish example of the cultural dissonances that can occur when religiuos impulses clash with capitalistic ones. To the Catholic faithful, however, it is an abomination. Tom Serafin is the manager of a photography studio in Los Angeles, a Catholic layperson who has made it his lifelong mission to badger eBay into removing holy relics from its site. Last month he called for yet another boycott of eBay. "As a dad and a Catholic, I just wonder where the heck is the accountability?" he says. "We have a team of 2,000 people working around the clock to identify and remove prohibited items," responds an eBay spokewoman via email. With nearly 7 million new items being listed everyday.... we may not immediately identify infringing items, but if concerned individuals bring them to our attention we will promptly take action". On this Web site, Serafin keeps a list of objects he believes violate eBay's policies.
Serafin sees it as his job to protect the world's holy relics from profiteering enterpreneurs. To that end, he collects relics himself, which he procures not with cash but through relentless letter writing, begging and the promise of safe haven. after 17 years, he has collected 1,200 relics, which he keeps in two large safes in his house and sometimes takes on tour. Later this month he is taking his prized possessions, eight relics from Passion (including what he believes to be a pice of the True Cross and a shard from the crown of thorns), to Manila where the archbishop is expecting 1.5 million people to come venerate them.
The sale of relics on eBay may just be another small sign of our society's lust for material satisfaction, but the ire it provokes is deep and old. Is it really possible to purchase a piece of God's grace and mystery with a credit card? Or are such gifts given by God alone? These are the questions that prompted Luther to nail his memo to the church door in 1517; it is certainly too much to expect the folks at eBay to have to answer them.
(SOURCE: NEWSWEEKMAG : Belief Watch by Lisa Miller)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 4:06 PM