Chasing my Flintstones with Vodka

Chasing my Flintstones with Vodka:

Vitamin pills can lead you to take health risks

In the study of risk perception, people talk about “the licensing effect”: when you take a vitamin pill, for example, you think you’ve done something healthy and wholesome, so you permit yourself to eat more chips and have a cigarette. It sounds like a nice idea, but a bit vague.

Two new experiments put flesh on these bones.  Firstly, researchers took 74 undergraduates who were daily smokers, and divided them into two groups at random. The first group were given a dummy pill, a placebo, and were told just that: you’re in the control group, taking a dummy pill, with no active ingredient. The other participants were in the vitamin pill group: you’ve been given a vitamin pill, they were told.

But in fact, the researchers had lied. Everyone in the study got the same dummy pill, with no active ingredient. Half of them thought they’d had a health-giving vitamin pill, because the intention was to see whether people’s health behaviours change if they think they’ve had a nice, healthy vitamin pill.

After the pills, they were given a survey to fill out. The results were startling. Firstly, people who thought they’d had a vitamin pill gave different answers on the survey. These featured questions from the excellently titled Adolescent Invulnerability Scale (which has been reasonably well validated elsewhere), such as “Special problems, getting an illness or disease, are not likely to happen to me”, “I’m unlikely to be injured in an accident”, and so on. People who thought they’d had a vitamin pill rated themselves as generally more invulnerable.

The results for  smoking  were more worrying. There’s no doubt smoking is bad for you. There’s also no doubt the motives and justifications for smoking are complex. But people who thought they’d had a vitamin pill were 50% more likely to have a cigarette – 89% compared with 62% – and that result was highly statistically significant.

(Via neuropsy)

The Problem We All Live With

A little over fifty years ago, US Marshals escorted a six-year-old Ruby Bridges to her first day of class, where she became the first black child to attend an Southern all-white elementary school. A new teacher named Barbara Henry was brought in, as all of the school’s existing teachers refused to work as long as a black child was in attendance. That walk to school was the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting, The Problem We All Live With.

A little over a month ago, Ruby got the chance to visit the painting at its new home, just outside the Oval Office.

“People act like the Seventies and the Eighties were this Golden Age because it was the dawn of punk…”

“People act like the Seventies and the Eighties were this Golden Age because it was the dawn of punk and hardcore. But hardly anybody was into that. It was maybe the only thing that made the Eighties bearable, but for everybody who was into Dead Kennedys or Minor Threat, there were another 50,000 people who’d much rather listen to the Eagles or Saturday Night Fever. That’s what we were up against. And those of us who’d gotten a whiff of how wild and cool the Sixties were, to see it all get dumbed down and mellowed out and sold back to us at twice the price in the Seventies before punk happened, that was a horrible heartbreak. Right when we were coming of age, the acid’s no good anymore and all you’re presented for music is soft rock and disco. No wonder punk happened!”

Jello Biafra

Woman Boss May Lower Men’s Pay, Prestige

Woman Boss May Lower Men’s Pay, Prestige:

So guys who work for either a) high-powered women, or b) men who are in what are perceived as “women’s jobs,” are viewed as less manly, and this impacts both their social standing and earnings potential. There’s a price to be paid for being a trailblazer; for men, there’s also a price to be paid for working for one.

Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising if you think about it for a minute. Still total garbage, though.

Status Update

A few things.

  1. I have started a new amazing gig, which is keeping me very busy. Details soon.
  2. I am still in the process of moving, and am living out of boxes in the interim. Moving Day #2 is June 29th. Any Toronto volunteers will be cherished and/or fondled.
  3. My internet access at home has been down for a week, and I’m way behind on email. Please don’t be offended if I haven’t replied.
  4. As of today I haven’t DJed in 4 weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without DJing in almost ten years. I might start podcasting to scratch the itch.
  5. It took me A Very Long Time, but my Toronto phone number is (647) TROUBLE. How amazing is that? The answer: Quite.

More to come!

The most sanctimonious of our newspapers solemnly intoned that…

The most sanctimonious of our newspapers solemnly intoned that “women need to take to the streets to condemn violence, but not for the right to be called ‘slut’ “. But it was not heeded. The women (and men) who are set to prance the streets of dozens of cities in underwear and fetish gear for weeks to come will be taking liberties. That’s where liberation begins.

613 + 416


I am leaving the fair city of Ottawa at the end of May.

I was born here, I spent my formative years here, and I’ve been back eight years or so now. I’ve been here more than anywhere else in the world, and I live about a ten minute walk from where I was born. I’m returning to Toronto, in the hopes of being closer to rare family members I want to spend time with, and in search of web communications work that doesn’t require bilingualism.

I’ve parted ways with my employer, given my notice to my landlord, and have started the search for a June home base in Toronto while looking for work and a July 1st apartment.

I love this city, and I will be back eventually. It might be five years, ten years, or twenty years — in the meantime there are streets to explore, and adventure to be had.


This fantastic figure, displayed in the Saint-Étienne church in…

This fantastic figure, displayed in the Saint-Étienne church in the city Bar-le-Duc in France, once held the heart of its subject— René de Chalon, Prince of Orange—in its raised hand, like a reliquary. The prince died at age 25 in battle following which, depending on which story you believe, either he or his widow requested that Chalon portray him in his tomb figure as “not a standard figure but a life-size skeleton with strips of dried skin flapping over a hollow carcass, whose right hand clutches at the empty rib cage while the left hand holds high his heart in a grand gesture” (Medrano-Cabral) set against a backdrop representing his earthly riches. Alas, the sculpture no longer contains Chalon’s heart; it is rumored to have gone missing sometime around the French revolution.

Seoul tears down an urban highway and the city can breathe…

Seoul tears down an urban highway and the city can breathe again:

Fast-forward to 2001. As Dr. Hwang said, “some crazy people got together” and dreamed up the project. Hwang developed a traffic model to see what would happen if they took out what was considered a vital traffic artery carrying 168,000 cars per day. In the model, he included adjustments to other streets and increased transit to see if Seoul could survive without the freeway.

The results of the model surprised him: not only could it work, but it would actually improve travel times in downtown Seoul.

(Photo by Christian Senger)