Monday, February 28, 2005

The site is but this article in particular piqued my interest: If you find yourself confused read through the frequently asked questions. They give a much more rounded idea of this phenomenon through the words of the creator himself.

The site is simple enough, straight to the point and moreover, funny. What started as a list of things he (Maddox) hated was distributed online in 1998, was compiled into the site it is today. A site which still discusses all the things he hates. The concept has caught on and can be found in different iterations at: , , and as well as an assortment of others which are not nearly as good. When it comes to online rambling there are a number of sites which offer witty commentary on anything and everything going on in the world. Maddox is one of the originators and has posted some interesting statistics on his site.

Maddox has become an internet celebrity without investing any money into the actual advertising of his site. Word of mouth is all that keeps the hits coming to the site. In spite of that Maddox ranks much higher than many of the largest companies in the world in terms of the volume of traffic his site receives daily. This traffic is a precious commodity for businesses today. Economists talk about the value of your time and that idea applies here. Maddox averages 120 hits a minute and has chalked up a recorded 97,305,670 hits to his site. How many do you think this blog has gotten? That is a huge amount of influence and quite the soapbox to stand on. Imagine having 10 people who take time every week to check to see if you have said anything funny. How about the 382,859 who have read Maddox's last post in that same amount of time.

I would like to know what the future business leaders think about these figures. Does this really mean that the superior content and ease of use will win out over repackaged bull in the end? Is freethinking on the rise? Or are we just looking for new rebels to lead us in defiance of the evil corporations?


(A lower number means higher ranking. Yahoo is number 1, MSN is 2, Google is 3, etc)



Burger King


Coca Cola



*Dollars spent in advertising source: Advertising Age, "Leading National Advertisers," June 24, 2003. (**Traffic summary: Alexa ranking as of 08/15/2003. Highest trafficked website is at #1. (

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Life in the Fast Lane

I recieved a speeding ticket driving home from school on Friday. I was going "33" in a 25 mph zone. I thought this was ridiculous. While, yes technically I was breaking the law, I mean come on. Is there really that big of a difference between 33 and 25? I think not. USA TODAY analyzed 1.2 million speeding tickets issued in 2002 on interstate highways in 18 states — or about 40% of the interstate system. When compared with similar tickets from 1991 and 1996, they confirm what many suspect:
• We're speeding faster than ever
• Even though highway speed limits have been raised by as much as a third over the past decade, we speed further above these new limits than we did above the old ones.
• Despite official promises that higher limits would be more strictly enforced, we're getting more leeway from the police, who all but ignore speeders 10 to 15 mph over the limit.
Extreme speeding is on the rise probably because of the above fact. In 1991, just 2% of ticketed drivers topped 90 mph; in 2002, 10% did. In 1991, just one driver in 300 was ticketed at or above 100; in 2002, the ratio was down to one in 100.
Given these statistics, i think that my minor speeding infraction is ridiculous.

Are Catholics losing their faith?

The other day while sitting in my Liberation class, my teacher asked "How many of you are Catholic?" About half of the class raised their hands. He then went on to ask "How many of you go to church?" No raised their hand. Not a single person. When asked why no one goes to church, many of the students simply said because their parents didn't go either. They took them to be baptized, get first communion, confirmation and maybe the occasional Christmas or Easter Mass but did not go otherwise. USA Today reported that there are vastly fewer people going to church and there is no sign of return. Many people blame the sex scandals of the church on this factor but studies show that there is no definite link between these. Rather the changes come from other places.:
• Catholics are moving from cities in the Northeast and Midwest to the suburbs, South and Southwest.
• For decades, so few men have become priests that one in five dioceses now can't put a priest in every parish.
• Mass attendance has fallen as each generation has become less religiously observant.
• Bishops — trained to bless, not to budget — lack the managerial skills to govern multimillion-dollar institutions.
From 1990 to 2003, the number of active diocesan and religious-order priests fell 22%, and the number of parishes in 176 dioceses and archdioceses dropped to 18,441. That's a loss of 547 parishes, a 3% drop nationwide.
Much of this drop comes also from the shifting demographic. Many people are moving from the prominantly Catholic Midwest and Eastern Cities to the South. Catholics and the parishes and priests that serve them follow the same pattern: From 1990 to 2003, the number of Catholics in Dallas more than quadrupled. It's up another 153% in neighboring Fort Worth, and up 137% in Raleigh, N.C.
From 1990 to 2003, Pittsburgh closed 30% of its parishes; Grand Island, Neb., 29%; and Altoona-Johnstown, Pa., 27%.
In the same period, Springfield, Mass., lost 44% of active priests, Dubuque 41% and Rochester, N.Y., 40%. The national total fell by 9,264 priests, to 33,028.
As people become busier and more educated, their catholic faith is becoming just a title. They are starting to "view the Church as a mere sacramental filling station where they may go for weddings, funerals, baptisms, Eucharist and not much else" writes John Allen, Vatican columnist for the weekly National Catholic Reporter, a weekly newspaper. So what does this mean for the country and the way that people are going to live their lives? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

World Population

My friend and I got into a discussion the other day regarding abortion and she brought up the point that the population of the world would be outrageous right now if no one ever was able to get an abortion. I found this claim to be completely outrageous and decided to do some investigation. According to USA Today, The world's population will increase by 40% to 9.1 billion in 2050. Although this is a startling number, they report that, for the most part, the increase in population will occur in developing countries. They claim that the population in the 50 poorest countries will soar from 5.3 billion today to 7.8 billion in 2050. However, the population in the richer countries will remain pretty much the same at 1.2 billion. This is problematic because the poorer countries are already struggling as it is. Population growth in a mere eight countries: (India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, the United States, Ethiopia and China) will make up half of this increase in the world population. It is going to be very interseting to see how the world will react and deal with this increase in the population in the coming years.

76ers Automatically Eastern Conference Contenders

The Philadelphia 76ers have not been a contender for the Eastern Conference Title throughout the whole season, but all that changed with a couple of trades in the eve of the trade deadline on Wednesday February 23rd.

Allen Iverson, the leader of the Sixers for a little more than half a decade, has had arguably, the best season of his life. Not because of his scoring (although he leads the league in scoring with 29.7 ppg), but because of the increase in his assists per game (7.8 apg, 5th in the league), something that was not so common for the 76ers point guard in previous years. Although Iverson has been playing well, his supporting cast has not been a lot of help so far. They are currently competing for a playoff seed (26-29) and they are in second place in the Atlantic Conference, the weakest conference in the land.

Because of Iverson’s great year, the 76ers Operations Manager decided to trade some players in order to become more competitive, at least for a couple of years to come. This hunger for a NBA Championship, which has eluded the 76ers since 1983, landed Chris Webber in the roster. Webber is a 5 time All-Star forward and the leader in points and rebounds of his former team, the Sacramento Kings. Not feeling satisfied with the recent acquisition, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to acquire Jamal Mashburn and Rodney Rogers from the New Orleans Hornets. This trade is more of a long term investment since Mashburn has been on the injury list for most of the season. The Sixers expect Mashburn to join the team next season.

The last time the 76ers were in the NBA Finals was in 2001, and they haven’t really been close since. These great acquisitions make their chances of making the playoffs and the NBA Finals greater, plus it will make them a more exciting team, not just a one-man show.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Cosmetic Procedures in the United States

Ever wonder who in the mall has had a cosmetic procedure performed on them? Well it may be more people than you think. The following link offers some very interesting statistics on the new trend of cosmetic procedures to enhance your look and your self-esteem: The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) sent a survey to more than 14,000 doctors in the United States and posted the results on this website. The results were then used to project national averages for 23,000 medical specialists. The results have an error margin of +/- 3.92% at a 95% level of confidence. There were over 8.3 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in 2003. Of the 8.3 million, surgical procedures were 22 percent of the total, and nonsurgical procedures were 78 percent of the total. I was amazed to learn that since 1997, there has been a 293 % increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures. Surgical procedures increased by 87 %, and nonsurgical procedures increased by 471 %. The top five surgical cosmetic procedures in 2003 were: liposuction (384,626, up 3 percent from 2002); breast augmentation (280,401, up 12 percent); eyelid surgery (267,627, up 17 percent); rhinoplasty (172,420, up 10 percent); and breast reduction (147,173, up 17 percent). The top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in 2003 were: Botox injection (2,272,080, up 37 percent from 2002); laser hair removal (923,200, up 25 percent); microdermabrasion (858,312, down 17 percent); chemical peel (722,248, up 46 percent); and collagen injection (620,476, down 21 percent). Women had nearly 7.2 million cosmetic procedures, while men came in next with over 1.1 million cosmetic procedures. I found the different procedures to be fascinating and definately wouldn't participate in about 90% of them. I'm thinking about following this blog up with one on the margin of error when performing these different procedures.

Cosmetic Procedure Statistics

Ever wonder who in the mall has had a cosmetic procedure performed on them? Well it may be more people than you think! In 2003 alone, there were over 8.3 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedure performed, according to the most comprehensive survey to date of U.S. physicians and surgeons by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). The following statistics and more may be found at Surgical procedures represented 22 percent of the total, and nonsurgical procedures were 78 percent of the total. There was a 20% increase in the number of cosmetic procedures performed from 2002-2003. Surgical procedures increased by 12 percent, and nonsurgical procedures increased by 22 percent. A whopping surprise was the fact that there has been a 293% increase in the number of cosmetic procedures performed since 1997. An increase of 87% for surgical procedures, and a sky high increase of 471% for nonsurgical procedures. The top five surgical cosmetic procedures in 2003 were: liposuction (384,626, up 3 percent from 2002); breast augmentation (280,401, up 12 percent); eyelid surgery (267,627, up 17 percent); rhinoplasty (172,420, up 10 percent); and breast reduction (147,173, up 17 percent). The top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in 2003 were: Botox injection (2,272,080, up 37 percent from 2002); laser hair removal (923,200, up 25 percent); microdermabrasion (858,312, down 17 percent); chemical peel (722,248, up 46 percent); and collagen injection (620,476, down 21 percent). An astonishing 7.2 million cosmetic procedures were conducted on women, which included the top five procedures: liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, breast reduction and rhinoplasty. Men tipped the scales next with almost 1.1 million cosmetic procedures, which included: liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction to treat enlarged male breasts, and hair transplantation. I was surprised by how many people in the United States were going through all this trouble. Im sure shows such as The Swan, and makeover shows are helping Doctors increase their profit further.

T.V. Good or Bad for our Children?

I turned on the television the other day and was amazed at what I saw. First of all, let me clarify that I don't have cable, so I dont pay to see profanity, violence, and sick humor. As I flipped through my 12 different stations, I was shocked to find three of the stations were about murder, one other station was humor about drugs and alcohol, and two other stations made light of teen pregnancy. This wouldn't be a problem if all viewers were adults, but unfortunately children ages 2-12 and teenagers are a large part of the viewing audience. In the following link:, there are some interesting facts about who watches what in the media. There are an estimated number of 109.6 million televisions in United States home, and of this large number, 54% of children have a television in there room. The average child spends 4 hours a day watching television which is jammed pack with murder scenes, drugs and alcohol abuse depiction, unsafe sex, prostitution, foul language and even cartoon violence. Witnessing repeated violent acts can lead to desensitization and a lack of empathy for human suffering. "A study of 1792 adolescents ages 12-17 showed that watching sex on TV influences teens to have sex. Youths who watched more sexual content where more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced noncoital sexual activities in the year following the beginning of the study. Youths in the 90th percentile of TV sex viewing had a predicted probability of intercourse initiation that was approximately double that of youths in the 10th percentile. Basically, kids with higher exposure to sex on TV were almost twice as likely than kids with lower exposure to initiate sexual intercourse." - Study Conducted by RAND and published in the September 2004 issue of Pediatrics. By the age of 18, the average youth watching television would have seen 16, 000 simulated murders, and 200,000 acts of violence. When is it going to stop?

In With the New Out With the Old reported on Wednesday that the new TV shows are greatly affecting the Nielson Media Research’s Prime Time Rankings and pushing out the older shows that have often been commodities for the networks. A ratings point represents 1096000 households, or 1 percent of the nations estimated 109.6 million homes.
Lasts week’s study of the prime time rankings showed that five of the top 18 programs being watched were freshmen scripted shows. New shows such as “Desperate Housewives”, “Lost”, “Medium” and “House” beat out shows such as Survivor. CBs won the week, averaging 13.4 million viewers. Fox won amongst the closely watch young viewers with 10.2 million viewers.

BAC levels

BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration. Different countries around the world have established different BAC levels. BAC measures the percentage of alcohol in a person's blood. If a person has .10% BAC, he/she has one part alcohol for every thousand parts of blood. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides help in understanding and computing a BAC "estimate." On average a person experiences a .017 per hour decline in BAC. The range varies from .04 on the high side to .01 on the low side. Above average decline in BAC is .020 per hour. But this decline will depend on your metabolism, and whether you ate and how much –before you started drinking. In the US and Australia, the states have the jurisdiction to pass BAC laws, not the federal government. If you decide to travel, make sure to check the following site: =which provides Information on some International Blood Alcohol Limits as a percentage ‘Blood Alcohol Concentration’ (BAC). Since the summer of 2004, Croatian government (South Central Europe) has introduced new law which promotes: “0.00% BAC”. According to this web site (in croatian), only 7% of all driving accidents are caused by ‘drunken drivers’ which raises a question – how effective is this measure/law?!? Maybe our governments should look into how to enforce highway rules more strictly and crack down on errant drivers. While most European countries issue driver's licenses at age 18, the difficulty of passing the test, high insurance costs and wide use of trains and buses all mean that young people generally begin to drive much later than in the United States....

42% of 9/11 victims still remain unidentified

I came across a surprising article from the USAToday yesterday morning stating that the efforts to identify the remains of the victims who died in the World Trade Center attacks will end for now. These terrorist attacks have created a lasting impact for me and have taken so many lives; yet, I was not aware that the remains of 1,161 of the 2,749 people are still unidentified. That's approximately 42%! In addition to using DNA analysis, medical examiners have also used dental x-rays, fingerprints, photos, personal effects, body x-rays, and tattoos to try to identify victims. Current methods are not advanced enough and have made identifications a long and anxious process for families who lost loved ones in the attacks. With hope, sometimes one identification may take up to 4 months and only 8 bodies have been identified since last September. Of the 19,916 remains found, medical examiners identified 51% of them, but NYC's identification work will go into a "pause" for the time being until future tests are developed.

Presently, the unidentified remains are stored in vacuum-sealed packages and will eventually be moved to the WTC memorial once construction is finished.

It's been about 3 years since our country has been affected by these attacks and many victims' families are still not at peace yet.

For the article:

Health costs to soar

Have you noticed how expensive health care has come to be? The nation's spending for health care will increase up to $3.6 trillion by 2014. That's nearly 19% of the entire U.S. economy! Also, the U.S. has the highest tab per person for health care in the industrialized world. Health care spending will grow faster than the economy through the next decade. To show you some numbers, by 2014, health costs for each person will be $11,045, and that's not adjusted for inflation. While health care is rising faster than GDP, Medicare and Medicaid will pay 49% of all spending by 2014. In 2003, it was 45.6%.

The U.S. is unwilling to fix these problems and control rising spending. Instead, government uses resources for tax cuts and whatnot. In addition to state budgets straining from these problems, it is almost sure that we will experience an increase in taxes.

For the article:

Lobby renovations for the younger crowd

Hotels are now trying hard to attract the "Generation Xers" which are Americans ages 24 to 40 by spicing up their lobbies, menus, rooms, spa areas, and even front desk clerks' attire. While this industry is in the process of adjusting to the habits of younger, style-concious travelers, some are saying that maybe hotels are going too far.

But these changes are made for several reasons: Gen Xers want different things than the Baby Boomers do. The younger generation generally looks for style, convenience, Internet services, and comforts. As a result, they are more willing to search the Web for these kinds of hotels that satisfy their needs instead of sticking to a single brand hotel. Some say that hotels are too out of date and need to get with the "now." They need new designs, expanded TV choices, and upgraded showers like fogless shaving mirrors.

By 2003, Researchers say that Gen Xers spend more on trips and occupy more rooms than Baby Boomers who are ages 41 to 59. Younger travelers spend an average of $1,297 per trip while the older generation spends about $1,155. Hotel spending on upgrades will increase 37% from last year, a record of $4.1 billion.

For the article:

Availabilty of drugs in High School

Student reports of availability of drugs
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics on drug usage and availability does annual studies to young people in America. These studies give us a glimpse of the environment that young people experience at school and in their everyday lives as it relates to drugs and there avilibility.
In 2003, 29% of all students in grades 9 through 12 reported someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property. This was an increase from 1993 when 24% of such students reported that illegal drugs were available to them on school property. In 1999, 37% of students ages 12 through 18 reported that marijuana, cocaine, crack, or upper/downers were available at school. In previous School Crime Supplement (SCS) data indicated that 63.2% of students ages 12 through 18 in 1989, and 65.3 in 1995 reported drugs were available at school.
The availability of drugs was reported more often by public school students than private school students by (16%). Public schools students (38.4%) and private school students (22.4%). Students in upper grades had a (57.0%) availability of encountering where as students in lower grades only a (9.6%). Similar rates of drug availability were reported by white students (39.5%) and black students (33.6%). Students residing in suburban areas had a (39.5%) availability of drugs, where as students in urban areas (33.7%), and rural areas (34.3%)

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Are America's Schools Safe? Students Speak Out: 1999 School Crime Supplement, Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2004

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Who Loves Hold'em?

Texas Hold'em is a version of poker that has recently been aired on cable television. This was a huge thing for the players of the now world famous game that no one can seem to get away from. But you have to know alot more then how to play the game if you want to sit at a table with the players in the world poker tour.
Although poker is a game of statistics, you must also play the person. This is that main reason players come to the table with strange attire. 75% of people in the tour wore hats and at least 15% of them wore sun glasses. The more you can cover your face the harder it is to read that person.
Looking into some ones eyes is the easiest way to tell if they are lying. Much of poker is about lying which at the table is known as bluffing. If you remember correctly, Chris Moneymaker, had the bluff of the decade. He turned his 100 dollars that he paid to enter an online poker match into 5 million dollars after he became the 2004 world series of poker champion, placing him name on the wall with poker legends dating back to the mid 90's. Poker is a game of statistics; don't forget to bring your money.

Reality TV Craze

Reality TV this year has produced more failures than treadstone tires. Shows such as the "Rebel billionaire", "The Will", and "The Benefactor" are just a few of this years abomination. Although there has been many shows that have crapped out, reality TV still remains on of the most popular styles of entertainment.
"American Idol" and "Survivor" are two of the most watched programs on television. The ninth version of "Survivor", set in Vanautu, averaged 19.6 million viewers. Of the 30 most watched TV programs this year, 8 of them are reality TV shows. Shows such as "The Osbournes" and "Fear Factor" are nothing but pure entertainment. Where else can you watch someone vomit or ramble incoherently? (Besides most college bars).
But there are some reality TV programs that don't kill brain cells. "Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition" , which had a 41% increase in viewers from last season, can help you brush up on some much needed handy man skills. "Overhaulin'" is a great program for anyone who wants to learn how to supe up some serious cars. Don't be surprised if reality TV soon becomes the most watched type of programming on television within the next few years.

Poverty in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a very poor country and it has changed a lot throughout the years, specially in 1998 during Hurricane Mitch. Poverty declined in Nicaragua from 1993-2001, but more than 2/3 of people in rural areas continue to live in poverty. In Managua, which is the capital, on June 2, 2004, In spite of drought, the onset of a coffee crisis, and the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, overall poverty in Nicaragua fell from 50.3 percent in 1993 to 45.8 percent in 2001. According to the World Bank's Nicaragua Poverty Assessment, however, extreme poverty in Nicaragua continues to be overwhelmingly rural, where more than 25 percent of the population struggles to survive on less than one dollar per day. Poverty changed between 1998 and 2001 varied substantially by region. Poverty fell by over 10 percent in the Pacific Rural area, but more modest reductions took place in the Atlantic Rural, Pacific Urban, and Central Urban areas. Also, Poverty increased in Managua by 1.7 percent and extreme poverty increased by 5.7 percent in the coffee-dependent Central Rural region, which exemplifies the high vulnerability of specific populations to commodity shocks.


Abortion has become very common around the world. In 54 countries, 61% of the world population has abortions and are legal, and in 97 countries 39% of the world population has abortions illegally. There are approximately 46 million abortions conducted each year, and 20 million of them are obtained illegally. There are approximately 126,000 abortions conducted each day.
In the United States, approximately 1,370,000 abortions occur annually. In 2001, 1.31 million abortions took place. They found out that 88% of abortions occur during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy; also 60% of abortions are performed on women who already have one or more children. 47% of abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions, and the saddest thing is that 43% of women will have had at least one abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
Demographics show that the majority of women getting an abortion are young, 52% are younger than 25 years old and 19% are teenagers. The abortion rate is highest for those women that are 18 to 19 years old. In 1992, 56 per 1,000 women in that age had abortions. 51% of women who are unmarried when they become pregnant will receive an abortion. Unmarried women are 6 times more likely to have an abortion than married women and 67% of abortions are from women who have never been married. 63% of abortion patients are white, however, black women are more than 3 times as likely to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times as likely. And finally 43% of women getting an abortion claimed they were Protestant, while 27% claimed they were Catholic. So as you can see abortion is a very big issue not only un the U.S but around the world.

Video Games and Aggressive Behavior

Electronic games have become the second most popular form of entertainment just under television. Although there are many arguments that video games have constructive use, it is a fact that violent games sell in much more bulk than fantasy and puzzle games. Consider the success of the Grand Theft Auto series of games. The recient GTA game taking place in San Andres has sold more copies than all of the SIMS games combined.
It is rare to find a child(or college student for that matter) who has not watched or played a interactive game in their life. In fact, 90% of all US households have either owned a video or rented a video game. People who own video games spend 20 plus hours a week playing. This wouldn't be considered a bad thing if 80% of the games that people prefer to play contain violence and aggression. But who would rather repeatedly walk in circles over blasting, robbing, and beating anyone you please?
I know younger people agree with the previous statement. In a survey of 900 fourth graders, 50% of them chose to play games with violence over mystery games. People believe that violence in video games is worse than violence on television due to the fact that video games are interactive. Recient studies show that violence in video game desensitizes children to violence and causes them to act hostile towards other. With games deleloping greater realism and more interaction there is no telling how distorted childrens minds might become in the future. That is if you believe this nonsense...

Street Racing, Deadly Statistics?

With the increasing popularity of import cars, such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Celica, and Subaru WRX, the young crowd that buys these cars is starting an import movement or fever. These youngster are building these “race cars” out of their small lightweight civics, and producing enough power to take down the quarter mile (1320 feet) in 12, 11, 10 and even less seconds with completely street legal car at speed very well over 100mph. For those who do not know how fast this is, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale does the quarter mile in around 12.1 seconds, and a Lamborghini Murcielago in around 11.7 seconds. Now the problem with all this is that along side the growing of this import racing fever so is street racing.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the number of deadly car crashes due to street racing is increasing every year. In 2001 they increased by 87%, going from 72 (2000) to 135 (2001). In San Diego they increased from 161 (2000) to 290 (2001). In Florida street racing injuries went up by 222% from 1999 to 2001. Reports show motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause for death for people between 16 and 20. Nationwide statistics show that 49 people are injured for every 1,000 who participate in illegal street racing. Which means the probability for you to be injured while street racing is of 4.9%. If you ask my personal opinion, i would rather see it as a 95.1% chance of living, and showing the other guy some respect.

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Detroit power and luxury combine

In late 2005 early 2006 Cadillac will expand it's "V" performance brand by adding the sport package to the STS. The "V" branding already appears on the CTS, but now it will be coupled with Cadillacs luxury cedan. The high performance cedan will include a supercharged V-8 4.4 liter engine, that packs 440 horses and 430 pound feet of torque. This is the most powerful engine ever packed in a Caddy. This car is aimed to compete with imports such as the Jaguar XJR and teh Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. The base price is estimated at $70,000, priced $10,000 less than the competitors. The STS V will reach 60 in 4.8 seconds, which would be right around the performance for the Jaguar and the Mercedes. For all you Cadillac fans expect to see the 2006 CTS V with the new C6 Z06 Corvette engine pumping out 500 horses. Watch out Germany, Detroit is back.

Abortion, not as scarce as it should be

As it turns out 49% of pregnancies among American women are not intentional and half of these are terminated by abortion. Every year, 46 million abortions occur throughout the world. 52% of U.S. women who have abortions are under the age of 25. This would tell me that people who are having sex at a young age and when pregnancy occurs, women are too afraid to carry the child to birth. Luckily, this problem seems like a fixable one to me. The reason is unknown to me, but black women are 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times as likely. I'm sure religion has some role in these statistics. I found that 43% of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 27% identify themselves as Catholic. Women usually give three common reasons for having the abortion. Most say that it would interfere with work or school. Though there were solid reasons given, not one of these three excuses touched on the topic of adoption.

Lack of sleep can make you Fat!!!!

Everyone has heard of the freshman fifteen, many people I know attribute it to the large amounts of available junk food, lack of exercise, and heavy drinking. Yet, weight gain is a problem that spans past college communities. A recent article suggests that sleep loss may be the cause of our ever growing waistlines.
A study on loss of sleep has found a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. It has discovered that sleep is a major regulator of hormones leptin which tells us when we are full and ghrelin which signals hunger. Studying 12 healthy men in their 20's, researchers found that after only 4 hours of sleep leptin levels decreased by 18% and ghrelin levels increased by 28%. Also, hunger as a whole increased by 24%. Furthermore, the men reported craving sweets such as cookies, cake, and candy.
The results from this new study joined with the fact that many Americans are sleep deprived may explain the growing number of obese individuals. In 2002 it was reported that 37% of young adults slept less than 7 hours a night which was an increase of 21% from 1960. Since lack of sleep affects hormone levels, Dr. Seven B. Heymsfield found that people who slept 4 hours or less a night were 73% more likely to be obese than those who slept 7 hours a night.

Strokes claim more African Americans in the South

A new study out of New Orleans has found that African Americans in the South have double the risks for stroke. According to George Howard, African Americans are four times more likely to die from a stroke than white men living outside the south and have a 51% higher rate of death from stroke than black males living outside the south. Howard compared deaths from strokes in 10 southern states to 11 non-southern states using statistics from the National Center for Health. He found that from 1997 to 2001 deaths due to stoke for white men ages 55-64 in the south accounted for 49 out of 1,000 deaths. This rate is 29% higher than in white males in non-southern states. Yet, this pales in comparison with the statistics for black males living in the south. Stroke as a cause of death tripled in black males, accounting for 159 deaths out of 1,000 deaths. Furthermore, death due to stroke only accounted for 105 deaths in non-southern states.
Theories have been formulated to explain these scary statistics. One reason may be that southerners are more likely to smoke, be overweight, and have high blood pressure, all of which increase chance of stroke.
This article was published on the health section of the cnn news website

Wal-Mart and it's customers

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail chain has seen so much success in the past decade. Part is due to the pressure they put on manufacturers to deliver products at the lowest price possible, while the rest could be the information which they gather from it's customers. Each week over 100 million people walk in and out of the 3,600 Wal-Mart stores in the United States. This company has access to individuals Social Security nubers, drivers liscence numbers, as well as the consumers seasonal spending habits. To put this in numbers Wal-Mart has 460 Terabytes of information, that is twice the amount of information that is contained on the whole world wide web. Wal-Mart also has the ability to see your motgage amounts, driving records, and creditworthiness. This information is obtained when customers use debit and credit cards, and through the checkout scanners. Wal-Mart considers this information it's number one asset. All of this data is used to enforce greater levels of efficiency through all levels of operations. The main focus of this data is to prevent an inventory problem. Too much or not enough inventory would hurt the companies profits. Some say that in the future Wal-Mart will use its technology to institute scan based trading, in which manufacuterers own each product until it is sold. If Wal-Mart never takes the products onto its books until it is sold it will eliminate one of the companies biggest expenses, inventory costs.

John Coletti retires leaves a top division of Ford at a standstill.

John Coletti was the head of Ford's "Special Vehicle Team" division, which produced many unique and successfully marketed vehicles. Coletti served 32 profitable years with Ford and helped boost sales of more than "100,000 premium-priced, high-performance cars and trucks since 1992." His retirement currently leaves Ford's SVT division at a standstill. Production of two of the most successful vehicles produced by SVT, the Lightning and the Mustang Cobra, has been postponed. The re-designed Cobra is supposed to be released in '06 and the Lightning shortly after. SVT had come to the rescue many times to help Ford target a whole new market. Coletti did this when he helped Ford's market with the Ford Focus. He insisted that the SVT mission all along was to attract more buyers into the Ford camp. Early SVT sales show that nearly 80 percent of their buyers are people who wouldn't have considered a Ford if it wasn't for the SVT Focus. The future success of SVT still remains unknown.

XOM surpasses GE

Last Friday Exxon Mobil became the United States largest corporation in terms of market capital, G.E. held the title since early 2000. Due to rising oil prices investors showed confidence in the energy company, and drove the stock up $1.28 to almost 60 dollars a share. On the other hand G.E. went down fifteen cents, and that is all it took for the top spot to change hands. Exxon Mobil's total market worth is 383 billion dollars, while General Electrics is $379 billion. XOM is up 43% from one year ago and pulled in 288 billion in gross revenue. The last time Exxon held this top spot was in 1993 when it was worth only $89 billion. There is reason to believe that the oil giant will retain the top spot for some time with oil closing up $0.22 to $51.39 a barrel.

Obesity in America

Imagine a disease spreading with such fervor throughout our society that it surpasses even epidemic proportions and affects a clear majority of Americans without regard for demographic or social classification. This description may sound like the opening monologue of a science-fiction film, but unfortunately this disease is not a fictional tale but rather the painful reality of American culture. A disease prefaced with such an introduction would probably be guessed to be AIDS/HIV or some other more socially popular cause, but instead is the often-ignored issue of obesity. The American Obesity Association cites that at least 50% of the members from each age range are considered to be overweight with clinical obesity topping 20%. Childhood obesity rates have increased exponentially over the past 20 years adding to the over 127 million adults in the USA that are overweight. Statistical data has shown that children who are obese are prone to become obese adults with a shocking 80% of adults over the age of 25 being overweight. Obesity has been directly linked to be the cause for over 30 serious health problems and is responsible for well over a billion dollars of related costs due to health care and work absence-related problems. Among the first-world nations, America tops the list as being the most overweight which then translates into the highest obesity rates among the civilized world. With such a widespread problem as is described, Americans need to re-evaluate their lifestyles and their daily choices. Perhaps eating at restaurants (fast food and otherwise) everyday isn't the best decision. Likewise, indulging in junk food on a regular basis is probably not the healthiest of choices either. Should we really be complaining about not getting that prime parking spot and having to walk a few extra feet? We owe it to ourselves and those who care about us to take a proactive stance against this silent killer. American society has become a culture of convenience and without focused effort to battle obesity, it is this same convenience that will cost us our health, finances, dignity, and quite possibly our lives. (Data may be found on the following websites:,,

Are Parents Less Likely to Discuss Drugs Today?

USA Today reported that parents of teenagers are actually slacking off when it comes to educating their kids about drugs. A survey released on Tuesday taken by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America ( ) shows that today’s parents are not explaining the risk of drug use to their kids as the parents of teenagers did a few years ago.
In 1997, 98% of parents in the survey said they had talked to their children at least once in the previous year about drugs. Unfortunately, this number dropped to 85% of parents in the survey talking to their kids about drugs in the past year.
Steve Dnistrian, the executive vice president of the partnership says that the danger in not talking to their kids is that parents will convey a lax attitude toward illegal drug use.
Dnistrian contributed the number of parents talking to their kids about drugs dropping to the fact that “today’s parents came of age when pot smoking reached an all time high and they feel that talking to their kids about drugs would be hypocritical.”
The survey, involving 1,205 parents, also showed that they saw less risk in using certain illegal drugs (such as marijuana) versus others. Incidentally, the survey indicated that 11% of the parents themselves had used marijuana in the past year.
The average age of parents of today’s teens is 42, which would put them in high school when drug use was at its peak, according to the article. Is this really the reason for children today being less educated about the risk of drug use by their parents? Perhaps, but not necessarily.
Despite the trend, most parents do remain concerned about the drug use of their children. Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they would be upset if their child even experimented with marijuana.
An article published by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America can be found at .

Verizon & MCI merge

As of February 14, Verizon Communications and MCI, Inc. have announced that Verizon has agreed to bid on MCI for $6.8 billion, rejecting an $8 billion offer from Qwest Communication. In merging of these two companies, the Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the agreement. MCI shareowners will receive 0.4062 shares of Verizon common stock for each common share of MCI. This is worth $4.795 billion and equivalent to $14.75 per MCI share, based on Verizon's closing price on Friday, Feb. 11. MCI shareowners will also receive $1.50 per MCI share in cash. In addition, MCI will pay its shareowners quarterly and special dividends of $4.50 per share. In total, the transaction values MCI shares at $20.75 a share, or $6.746 billion. Yet, from late news, Qwest is still in pursuit in bidding for MCI. On Feb. 17, Qwest sent a letter to both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and MCI stating its intent to enter another bid to counter Verizon. Whether or MCI will reconsider the merge, we have to wait and see.,1413,36~26430~2727157,00.html

Suzuki: the Best of the Best

My brother, Binh, and I are both owners of the street bikes 2001 Suzuki gsx-r 750 and 2001 gsx-r 600 . Thus, my ownership of the Suzuki 750 has made me obsessed with street bikes. I started riding because I thought it was the “cool” thing to do. Little did I know, researching for the right bike took long hours of hard work.

My first responsibilities are to learn everything about the bike and to know how to operate one. I decided on reviewing the three leading makers of street bikes: Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Honda. After long hours of research, I came to a conclusion that Suzuki was the bike for me because of the great statistics I found on the internet, magazines, and through hearsay. Suzuki priced its gsx-r 750 around $9,000, which I thought was cheaper than a Kawasaki zx-7 that ranges around the same price. The difference here is that a gsx-r 750 has 750 cc’s compared to only 700 cc’s that Kawasaki offers. You’re probably wondering what in the world is a “cc.” CC means the horsepower (how strong the bike is) of the bike. The gsx-r overall length is 80.9 inches beating the zx-7 with only a distance of 78.2 inches. The reason why I like it bigger is becauseI feel like a “Big Boy” while riding. Overall, Suzuki is the best maker for street bikes. If anyone would like a ride, let me know!

Kobe and Iverson Duking it Out.

The Philadelphia 76er’s star MVP, Allen Iverson, has led his team to a record of 26-27. While on the other side of the United States, Kobe Bryant led his Lakers’ team to a record of 28-24. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant are two of the best players in the NBA today. Both players are having a great season statistically. Iverson, who is the leading scorer, is not that much ahead of Kobe Bryant. It is only a 2.1 difference in points per game. Allen Iverson, who averages a whopping 29.8 points a game, will soon be the next “Michael Jordan.” Kobe, on the other hand, averages 27.7 points a game, making him the second leading scorer in the NBA.
Even though Iverson leads Kobe in point differential, it is still a close one considering Iverson has played nine more games than Kobe. So there is still a great chance for these two great competitors to battle it out for the title of who scores the most points per game.

Rape Statistics in the U.S.

In the United States, 1.3 adult women are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 women per hour or 1,871 women raped per day. In 1995, 354,670 women were the victims of a rape or sexual assault. Eighty-four percent of rape survivors surveyed were less than 25 years old at the time of their assault. Rape statistic is categorized in five behaviors that consist of General Rape Statistics, Rape Situation Statistics, Youth Rape Statistics, College Rape Statistics, and Date Rape Statistics.

Every two minutes a woman is raped in the United States. Surprisingly, 72,000 women are rape victims every year. Twenty-eight percent of that can be based on the so-called “boyfriend.” Rapes can happen anywhere. Twenty-five percent of rapes take place in parking areas or public places. The age group in which victims are usually raped tend to range from 25 years-old and younger. One fourth of these rapes shown are 25% college students. This wrongful crime should be stopped one way or another.

Underage drinking and Driving

For a long period, the legal age for purchasing alcohol was 21 years old in the United States. Yet, adolescents are still able to get their hands on it. Statistics have shown that nearly 50% of 13-14 years old have had at least one drink by the time they reach the eighth grade, and, of those 13-14 years old, over 20% have been drunk. Among 12th graders, almost 30% have at least 3 or more events of drinking per a month. And as the underage drinking rate increases along the ages of adolescent, the rate of traffic crashes is also greater.
In 2002, analysts said that about 25% of 16-20 years old passenger vehicle drivers fatally injured in crashes had high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC). Teenage drivers with BACs in the 0.05-0.08 percent range are far more likely to be killed in single-vehicle crashes -- 17 times more likely for males, 7 times more likely for females. At BACs of 0.08-0.10, risks are even higher, 52 times for males, 15 times for females.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Fewer Teens Smoking, Using Drugs

Over the past years statistics has shown teen usage on smoking and drugs has declined drastically. The smoking rate among younger teens is half what it was in the mid-1990s, and drug use by that group is down by one-third, says the University of Michigan study, done for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and released Tuesday. Less dramatic strides have been made among older teens. After doing research for a paper I did last year I've concluded that most teens who use these drugs tend to be less attractive to the great majority of the opposite sex. Overall, the percentage of eighth-graders who had ever tried cigarettes declined to 28 percent this year, down half a percentage point from 2003 and from a peak of 49 percent in 1996. Many researchers believes that commercials has had an huge impact on teens. An huge example would be "The Truth" commercial on cigerettes. These companies spent millions of dollars to make these commercials. Do you think that this is worth it?

Suicide Rates to Teen Sex

Hello to everyone, I was surfing the net on suicides and was affected by how many teens die each year. I was looking up sucide rates because I lost one of my good friends a couple of years ago. What most people don't know is that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 19 years. Every day, 14 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or approximately 1 every 100 minutes. Almost all people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental or substance use disorder; the majority have more than one. Fifty-three percent of young people who commit suicide abuse substances and four times as many men as women commit suicide, but young women attempt suicide three times more frequently than young men.

The findings are particularly true for young girls, says the USA Today Magazine, a conservative think tank that sponsored the research. About 25% of sexually active girls say they are depressed all, most, or a lot of the time; 8% of girls who are not sexually active feel the same. The study comes in the midst of a flurry of new reports on the sexual activity of teenagers. Such research is fodder for the growing debate on sex education in schools. The Bush administration backs abstinence programs.

The USA Today Shows:

• About 14% of girls who have had intercourse have attempted suicide ; 5% of sexually inactive girls have.

• About 6% of sexually active boys have tried suicide; less than 1% of sexually inactive boys have.

Murder Rates Declines in the United States

Hi to Everyone, I was reading an article in the newspaper and came across somthing that caught my attention. I found out that Louisiana was ranked number one for the most murders out of the United States. Over the past nine years the United State's murder rates has declined drastically from 8.2% to 5.7% (Murder Rates per 1000 people). I was very frightened knowing that I live in this state, however over the past nine years Louisiana's Murder rate declined 17.0 % to 13.0 %.

This could be a frightening scene for kids. In Boston, the daylight shooting of a basketball coach in front of his team of 11- to 15-year-olds, and the wounding of an 11-year-old during a tryout for a Pop Warner football team a week later, have been particularly unnerving for city residents this summer.Many experts believes they are not surprised by surges in gang activity across the country.

James Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston who provided data for the recent "Stop Crime: Invest in Kids" report, says the confluence of many factors are at play. Meanwhile, the country is closing city parks down at 11 p.m., is working with community leaders to expand youth programs across the city, and is planning on using camera surveillance to monitor activity in the city's "hot spots".

The Death Test

After I took the death test, I felt rather unsatisfied with my life span. After asking me numerous questions based on health, everyday activity, and other random questions, it became apparent that I would die at the age of 68. I thought this was a joke, but when I took the test again, I got the same results. At the end of the test, it became evident that 19,551,173 people have taken this test. Out of those who took the test, 58% were female and 42% were male. The average life expectancy of test takers is 64 years old. Other intersting facts were revealed to me through the test. The results also indicated that I have a 6% chance of dying of a heart attack and a 5% chance of dying from cancer. There are many other tests to be taken on the website, all providing interesting statistical information based on the topic.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What will they come up with next?

In Tokyo, Japan cell phones have a whole new use. Some 10 million Japanese commuters use smart cards embedded within their cell phones so that they can pass through subway station gates and not have the hassle of dealing with coins or fare cards. This newly invented chip for cell phones will facilitate traffic in this highly overpopulated city.The Suica electronic train-fare system uses Sony's IC chip technology called FeliCa, which is also used in other kinds of electronic cash cards. As the technology becomes more popular, users will also be able to use their Suica-compatible cell phones to pay at some restaurants, convenience stores and shops. This technology will not be out in the United States for atleast another couple years. But when this chip does come out in the U.S., life anywhere, but especially in major cities such as New York and LA, will be less hechtic. These two cities will be the true test as this technology enters U.S. economy. Wow, cells phones have the potential and capability to do anything!

College Readiness Improving?

In February 16, 2005’s issue of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, The Associated Press featured an article titled “College Readiness Up in LA.” The article summarized Louisiana’s high school graduation and “college readiness” rates and compared them to the national rates and those of other states in a study conducted by the Manhattan Institute.
Louisiana has an overall graduation rate of 63% whereas the national rate is 71%, ranking it 41st in the United States. Louisiana’s Hispanic graduation rate is 73%, notably the highest in the nation. African Americans have a graduation rate of 56% in Louisiana, and whites have a 69% graduation rate. Nationally the averages are as follows: Hispanic 52%, African Americans 56%, whites 78%.
Now, the “college readiness” mentioned in the headline of the Times-Picayune article refers to a different set of percentages. Of those high school graduates in Louisiana, only 35% are deemed academically prepared for college as determined by this study. In 1991, this number was a disheartening 22%. Compared to the nation as a whole, Louisiana isn’t doing terrible, as the nation’s college readiness rate is 34%. Here is a table of the public high school graduation rates and college readiness rates:
What do these numbers mean? It is well known that students who fail to graduate high school face a “bleak future” as noted by the institute who conducted this study. The same can be said about attending college. But what is less agreed upon is the extent to which public schools are graduating students while at the same time preparing them for college. What is surprising to many is that a student can graduate from high school still not possess the necessary academic skills to attend their own state’s public university. This shows that the minimum standards in most states to receive a high school diploma are less than those required to enter even a slightly competitive four-year college. To debate the condition of Louisiana’s or any other state’s public schools would be a completely different blog; however the numbers seem to be quite indicative of not only a state-wide, but national problem as well.After initially reading the article, I felt compelled to further research the statistics. Who conducted the study? How were the rates calculated? The Manhattan Institute, whose mission is “to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility” released the study on February 15, 2005. The report was written by Jay Greene, a senior fellow at the institute and Marcus Winters, a research associate.
I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of information available and the ease at which it could be found on its website ( did notice however, that the institute faulted one of the government’s main education entities in its calculations. For instance, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has a much higher national graduation rate (86% in the most recent study in 1998) than that of the Manhattan Institute, which it accredits to the fact that the NCES includes students receiving GEDs. There is much more information available from both organizations, but overall I felt that the NCES’ information was more difficult to access and more confusing to understand. What do you think? ( I found it not only interesting, but crucial to investigate other sources that have done similar research and to see what the methods and results were.
Overall, the Manhattan’s Institute’s calculations of graduation and college readiness rates indicate two main things: the graduation rate has stayed relatively the same overall, but more of these students leaving high school with a diploma are prepared to attend college. For the nation, college readiness is up to 34% in 2002, as compared to 25% in 1991.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Nevada Takes A Step

Until recently, the state of Nevada has never spent any of its money on programs for compulsive gamblers. This is pretty hard to believe based on the fact that nearly 100,000 people in the state (6.4% of the population) have some form of gambling problems. Governor Kenny Guinn has proposed to use $200,000 as funds for problem gamblers. Although this is not very much money, this is the first time Nevada has ever put money towards this cause. Over the next two years, the state expects to collect $1.83 billion from gambling and live entertainment taxes. The casino industry, which makes about $10 billion a year, contributes $1 million to a problem gambling center in Las Vegas (Mike Willden, director of the state’s Department of Human Resources). Furthermore, New Jersey, a distant second in casino revenues with more than $4 billion, gives at least $600,000 to problem gambling programs each year, according to Edward Looney, executive director of the New Jersey Council on Problem Gambling.

According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, only 17 of 48 states that have some form of legalized gambling provide funding for problem gambling programs. It is estimated that 1-2% of the U.S. population are pathological gamblers, and almost 4% have a less severe problem.

Tsunami Effects

According to a United Nations interim report, which is to be made public on February 22nd, the tsunami that killed approximately 170,000 people in 11 countries in Asia and Africa is said to have effected previously damaged coastlines more than those with healthier land. U.N. environment agency Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said, "Those coastlines with intact coral reefs, mangroves, vegetated dunes and robust coastal forests came off better than those degraded by pollution and insensitive land use." Therefore, coral reefs and mangroves are essential in protecting people living in those areas. Also, the fishing industries of the seven countries hit the hardest suffered losses of $520 million (398.3 million euro). Furthermore, 111,073 fishing vessels were destroyed or damaged, 36,235 engines were lost or damaged, and 1.7 million units of fishing gear (nets and tackle) were destroyed. These seven countries are India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The Perks of Prenatal Exercise

Many women do not realize the importance of exercising during pregnancy. The benefits are numerous for both the child and mother. Studies have shown that pregnant women who engage in physical activity, including swimming, prenatal yoga, walking, and numerous other strength exercises, have an increased likelihood of delivering on their due date. Also, exercise causes the blood flow to the uterus to increase, which aids in child development. Exercise even helps to strengthen pelvic muscles, leading to an easier delivery.

Pregnant women who exercise also can better cope with the emotional changes that accompany pregnancy. They are able to relax and overcome the stress that they are experiencing with more ease than women who do not engage in physical activity. After childbirth, benefits still exist. Women who exercised throughout the duration of their pregnancy have an easier time getting back into shape and regaining their pre-baby bodies. Clearly, exercise and the increased health of both child and mother have a positive relationship.

A Simple Law Could Save Hundreds of Lives Per Year


It is common knowledge that the use of seat belts increases the chance of survival during automobile accidents. Despite this, many people still refuse to buckle up. In order to change the driving habits of these stubborn drivers, 21 states have now altered laws, allowing police to pull people over strictly for not wearing seat belts. The 21 states who have made the seat belts laws primary have truly seen an increase in seat belt use, and in turn, they have also seen a decrease in automobile related deaths. Recent studies have shown that within these states over 700 lives have been saved each year because of the strict seat belt enforcement. Citizens would rather buckle up then deal with the hassle of being pulled over and ticketed. If the number of deaths decreased as seat belt laws became stricter, then what is keeping other states from altering their laws in order to possibly see the same positive results? Thousands of people in these states could have also decided to buckle up in order to avoid a ticket. It is safe to say that thousands of accident victims could still be alive today.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Plastic Surgery and Suicide

According to the study conducted by Swedish scientists, the suicide rate among women who undergo breast augmentation procedure is three times higher than in women who do not. Records of 3,521 women have been analyzed in the study which has tried to link this particular plastic surgery procedure with the act of suicide. Observed sample was consisted of women who had undergone surgery between 1965 and 1993 and were from 15 to 69 years old.
Over 240,000 women decide to enlarge their breasts each year in the US. But this particular study has been conducted on the population of Swedish women. (We should not assume that American women follow the same pattern, right?!?).
This article does not give much background information on the sample. I am not sure if all the suicide risk factors for have been taken into consideration in the study. When analyzing suicide risk factors - data on demographics, marital status, race, income, etc. has to be included. Does this mean that women who decide to surgically enlarge their breasts might have some serious psychological problems?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fighting Illini Still Undefeated—Will They Win the National Title?

With March Madness quickly approaching, basketball lovers are all abuzz. Questions being asked and analyzed by everyone from ESPN broadcasters to business executives are: Who will make it into the NCAA Tournament? Who will the number 1 seeds be?

One team that is definitely creating a buzz for its March Madness prospects is Illinois. The Illinois men’s basketball team is undefeated this season. They are in the midst of the fourth best start ever by a Big Ten team. Also, their 13 game road win streak is currently the longest in the nation. On Wednesday night, their victory over Penn State marked their 26th win in a row, setting a new school record for most consecutive wins. However, Illinois player Dee Brown points out that “the record was nice, but the Illini’s ultimate goal is a national title.” Brown had 11 assists and scored 19 points in the victory against Penn State. As a team, the Illini made 67 percent of their shots. Also, they were 12 of 28 from 3 point range. Illinois went on to win the game 83-63.

However, is Illinois good enough to win the national title?

Link to article about Illinois win over Penn State

Who else is blogging, anyways?

I have to admit that before taking this course, I knew what a blog was, but I had never taken the time to write my own blog or read anyone else's. My knowledge of blogs was limited to the journal-type "me, me, me" self-absorbed emotional fests that my peers tend to participate in. Since classes are becoming much more technology-based, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to look into the blogging statistics.

Since spring of 2002, Pew Internet & American Life Project has been surveying people online and by phone to see who has heard of blogs, who has created their own blog sites, and who is participating in blogs. The research covers all blogging activity up until the end of 2004.

Their research shows that 7% of U.S. adults who use the internet have created a blog or web-based diary. 27% of internet users read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who said they were blog readers 8 months previously. By the end of 2004, 32 million Americans were blog readers. Some attribute the rapid growth in blog readership to politically-based blogs. 9% of internet users said they read political blogs “frequently” or “sometimes” during the campaign.

And who is creating these blogs? Their statistics show that likely blog creators are young (48% are under 30) males (57%). Most blog creaters have broadband at home (70%), are internet savvy (82% have been online for six years or more), and are well-educated (39% have college or graduate degrees). The statistics seem accurate, since the creator of this blog seems to fit the mold.

As we can tell even from our own class, some people are more inclined to comment on other people's blogs rather than post their own. 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. In an age where almost everything is being done on the computer, I was surprised to find out that only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. I may have never written one before, but I am proud to say I knew what a blog was.

Technological leash

A grade school in Sutter, California has been having it's students wear radio frequency identification badges. This system tracks students as soon as they walk within the school compunds. Because of the size of the school, advisors and faculty beleived that something like this was a great idea as a way to simplify attendance-taking, and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety. A great majority of the students parents were not pleased. But there were a few who supported the idea because they liked the idea of their child being monitored in such a large California public school. But, the company who has been manufacturing these trackers has pulled out of the contract because of constant dispute and because of disgruntled parents tampering with them and some even breaking them. These pioneers are convinced though, that their creation is genious because it will and does cut down on the percentage of students who skip class and on a more serious note, students who could possibly be kidnapped. The debate is up in the air as to what is to come from this. I think all that they need now is a few chew toys and a bone. Who ever thought that humans could make such great pets!?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Return of the Mustang

Ford Motor Co. gave me something new to dream about with their release of the 2005 Mustang GT. The new pony packs tons of bang for your buck: 300 HP for under 25 grand, and for you audio enthusiasts, a 1,000 watt audio system. The new mustang even found its way to Car and Driver's coveted "Top 10" list as "Best Muscle Car."

The new-bodied Mustangs have taken cues from the styling of the late 60's models (remember Eleanor from "Gone in 60 Seconds?") It's a good thing that Ford did away with the non-functional hood and side scoops of the 2004 models, ugh.

If that isn't enough for you, or you are a stubborn Chevy fan sworn against Ford, check out the Saleen S281-E. This heavily modified mustang is based off of the new body type but boasts 500 HP. This should car should melt even the coldest of Chevy lovers' hearts. Take that Corvette!! However, I have to admit, the new 400-HP Z06 is an amazing vehicle, but $46,555 is alot of money. That and the Mustang now being perfect leads me to continue to be a "true-blue" Ford fan.

Airplane Crashes Not As Likely As You May Think

I am only writing my first blog about airplane crashes because I am deathly affraid of flying. After a near-death-experience last summer, I took it into my own hands to research the facts about plane crashes. It is much more likely for a person to die in a car crash than a plane crash. In fact, the chances of a person dying in a plane crash is about 1 in 11 million, while the chances of a person dying in an automobile accident are about 1 in 5000. Research reveals that a much higher percentage of people fear plane crashes rather than car crashes because plane crashes tend to make headline news. Obviously, if every plane crash that occurs is broadcasted all over the news, more people will fear planes as opposed to automobiles. This negative bias is what keeps alot of people out of the sky and on the streets instead.

Monday, February 14, 2005

NASA says "Here comes the heat!"

Largely due to human produced greenhouse gas emissions, but also because of a predicted weak El Nino, 2005 is expected to be the warmest year ever to be recorded. While warm water is expected to traverse it's way through the majority of the Pacific Ocean, the atmosphere, due to human made pollutants, will be much the same. Other years where numbers were this high, as in 1963, 1982 and 1991 were due to large volcanic eruptions that launched tiny particles of sulfuric acid into the upper atmosphere. High temperatures during these years only made sense because of natural causes. Now, for 2005, temperature levels will surpass previous years with very little, to no help from friendly volcanoes. Average temperatures taken from land and surfaces of the oceans showed 2004 was 0.86 degrees Fahrenheit (0.48 Celsius) above the average temperature from 1951 to 1980, according to Hansen, a NASA scientist. Based upon these current numbers and predicted weather patterns, 2005 will be drenched in sweat.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Buying and Selling houses has been the "hot" marketplace on the island of O'ahu since early 1999. ( There seem to be several forces at work here; consistently lower interest rates, large influx of military personnel, rental rates doubling and tripling in this timespan, rising heating fuel prices coupled with severe weather patterns on the mainland increasing demand in Hawaii's perfect climate. Aside from the obvious there are some other very interesting market forces at work in Honolulu. One is the influx of buyers from California who find Honolulu's prices a "bargain" in certain niche markets, particularly the waterfront. In Newport, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and San Diego the least desirable parcel is still more expensive than a very attractive Hawaii Kai, Kailua or North Shore property. Another is the number of sellers in Honolulu who bought before the 1980s for prices as low as $18,000 in some areas currently selling in the millions. A third is the number of people who "accidently" bought in the mid 1990s, the tail end of an 8 year decline in values who ran head on into the "dot com" money of 1999. The "dot com," or, typically, young stock market investors seeking to shelter some of their sudden amazing wealth started competing with each other for Honolulu's depressed "high-end," now bargain, properties. Persons buying in the mid 1990s found they could make huge gains on their recent investments by "flipping" the properties. This practice continues until today with people buying in 2003 making in excess of $150,000 in most cases, on their recent investments.( It will be interesting to see what happens with 2004 as 2005 already looks like more of the same on the island of O'ahu.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Homework one is posted

Homework one is posted. It is due February 28.

Use the comments section to make comments on or to ask questions about the homework.

(comments about the homework will *not* receive credit)

Monday, February 07, 2005

All-Star Game?

The NBA All-Star Game starters have been announced. Surprisingly, some players that maybe contenders for the MVP award didn’t make it in the roster. Although some players legitimately deserve to start, some really don’t.

The votes for the All-Star game are collected from all over the world and this means two things. The good part is that the public gets to vote for the players they want to see in the All-Star game. The bad part of the deal is that the public also votes for their favorite players which may not always be the best players.

The starters for the west are Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Yao Ming. But, what about the league leader in assists, Steve Nash? He averages 11.1 assists per game and his team went from being the worst in the league last year to one of the top contenders this year. Or Ray Allen? The SuperSonic who averages 24 points per game and has led his team to 32 victories (4th best among NBA teams). Or Dirk Nowitzki? Who despite loosing Steve Nash during the preseason, has managed to keep his Dallas Mavericks competitive and led them to 31 wins.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone starting is good, but the truth is that besides Tim Duncan everyone else’s team is struggling earn a playoff birth. For example, Kevin Garnett, the 2003-2004 Most Valuable Player, wouldn’t make it to the post season if the playoffs started today. The All Star game used to be great but it has degenerated into a 5 on 5 dunk contest and that is why the public today votes for flashy and athletic players instead of the fundamentally sound and more technique oriented players.

Moreover, Yao Ming, who is not the league’s best player, got the most votes in NBA history (2’558’278 votes). This is all due to the fact that people in China also get to vote not because of his accomplishments on the court.

The system of selecting the players for the All-Star game seems fun for the public but is it really fair for the players?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

"And the winner is..."

With the Academy Awards approaching millions of movie buffs are waiting patiently to see who will walk out of the Kodak Theater with a golden statue. Although, if you want to spice things up and you think you know who the winners are going to be then you can bet on them. According to Centrebet, a website where you can place bets, The Aviator, Jamie Foxx and Hillary Swank are the favorites to win the prestigious Best Picture, Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress respectively.

According, The Aviator has a 62% chance of winning the Best Picture Award. Hillary Swank has a 65% chance of winning the Best Leading Actress award and Jamie Foxx is projected to win with 86% chance over Leonardo DiCaprio who has only a 10% chance of winning the Oscar.

Bets on these categories don’t really pay much because the odds really favor these three. A bet only pays 1 dollar for every 4 you put on Jamie Foxx and 4 for every 7 you bet on the Aviator. If I had to guess, the best-paying reasonable bet on one of these three categories would be on Million Dollar Baby. Why? First, Clint Eastwood is the Director. He is a crowd and academy favorite while Scorsese seems not to be, since he has been nominated for six previous Academy Awards and has never won. Second, Hillary Swank is projected to win the Best Leading Actress award and that always helps. Finally, I personally rated Million Dollar Baby better than The Aviator. So... let the bets begin!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Squirrels Live Longer than Thought!!!

A squirrel in a San Diego Zoo lived for 23 years. Usually, squirrels can only live for around 12. But this is in captivity. I always thought that the lifespan of squirrels in the wild was only 1 year. I think somebody lied to me when I was little or something, but I really believed they only lived that long. After further research, it seems that squirrels in the wild live for 5 years. Thus, the mean of average lifespan for all squirrels seems to be 8.5 years. The median is also this many years.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"Stick a fork in it, the Earth's done!"

The global warming issue is causing heated debates among nations. While 30 prominent nations strongly agree upon the manner of dealing with the issue, the U.S. still holds out. Britain is one of the greatest speaking out to appeal to the U.S. during these meetings. Britain's environmental minister, Margaret Beckett says " hope of persuading Bush to sign up to Kyoto." Kyoto is the U.N.s protocal on greenhouse emissions. "Washington's aim is to cut the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for every dollar of economic output by 18 percent in 2012 compared to 2002." says Beckett. Then remarking"The economy is likely to grow at a faster pace, meaning overall emissions will rise." There are two more days left to go at the Global Warming conference.
All I got to say is it's getting HOT IN HERE! There's too much sweat in my eyes, I got to go!

Eagles shot down in the air

The Eagles have shown each year that they can compete with anyone in the NFC. However, has any NFC team shown any light since the powerhouse offense of the 1999-2000 Rams and tenacious defense of the 2002-2003 Bucs? The answer is no. The Eagles have capitalized on this by winning the worst division in football four times in a row. Their regular season record of the last four years is 49-15 At face value this is quite impressive, but as we all know, stats do not always hold the truth. The truth is that the Eagles can compete with any NFC team. But when its crunch time and they have to play a powerhouse team like the Steelers, they fold their hand. The Eagles "dominant offense and defense" met a real team in the Steelers and lost 27-3.

Terrell Owens, the Eagles best wide reciever, severely hurt his ankle 6 weeks ago. He is planning to make a comeback from his surgery and play in the Superbowl But either way, the Eagles are going up against a dominant AFC team. The Patriots have shown their dominance in the last four years by going to the Superbowl three out of four times. We all now what happens when the Eagles face a real team. In spite of all this, I am proud of the Eagles for not making NFL history again and losing their fourth NFC championship. I'm glad that they made it over their own hump. Will Owen's alleged return benefit the Eagles? Will the Eagles pull a miraculous upset? Time will tell. My money is certainly on the Patriots to cover the seven point spread.