Monday, March 31, 2008

Utter Bastards

Following the recent discovery that a lot of the new pacemakers are hackable - see - some more utter bastards have decided that hurting people is fun and have attacked the forums at the Epilepsy Foundation in an unfortunately successful attempt to cause seizures in both pattern-sensitive and photo-sensitive epileptics.

Now, sending someone an unsolicited email offering them viagra, penile extensions, breast enlargements and $10,000,000 is bad enough (and a crime in all of the sensible parts of this planet). The people who mounted this attack should be charged with a serious crime as they could easily have done serious damage to a relatively large number of people.

I honestly hope these hackers get found, get caught, get prosecuted and eventually get a cell with Bubba in prison and find out what it is like to have your body do things you don't want it to do and cannot control.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I'd just like to pass on my thanks to those in at NASA for listening to my wishes and planning a fairly busy Shuttle mission so that the majority of the activity took place during my vaguely regular waking hours. I normally watch all the launches, landings, dockings, undockings and EVAs of any Shuttle mission and many of the EVAs from the ISS when it isn't docked to a Shuttle, so I really appreciate their consideration on this mission. :)

STS-123, the 122nd Shuttle flight and the 25th flight to the ISS was a 16 day, 250-orbit mission for Endeavour - its 21st flight - that delivered the Japanese Logistics Module - Pressurized Section of the Kibo laboratory to the ISS as well as the final components of the Canadian-built Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (Dextre). There were 5 EVAs in which Dextre was assembled, the Japanese module was prepped for installation, tile repair techniques were tested and some repairs were made to the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint.

A good flight, a good landing, a good result, and I'm looking forward to STS-124 in May, around the projected time for the landing of Phoenix lands on Mars (


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lactose Intolerance

Well, it is chocolate season right now!

A decent proportion of the adult population is lactose intolerant to some degree. When you look at the worldwide adult population, the number of lactose intolerant people is approximately 70%. That's 70% of the world's adult population who do not manufacture enough (or any) of the enzyme lactase to break down the sugar lactose into glucose and galactose in the small intestine, so then the lactose gets passed into the large intestine where bacteria ferments it, creating gases (such as hydrogen and methane) and acids which cause the wind, diarrhoea, bloating and cramps that lactose intolerance is known for. A bonus for gluten intolerant people that develop celiac disease is that this often leads to lactose intolerance.

Technically, lactose intolerance is the condition when you produce no lactase at all and lactose maldigestion is the condition when you don't produce enough lactase to break down all the lactose that enters your small intestine due to your diet.

Sure, there's a lower percentage of people from English decent who are lactose intolerant - somewhere between 5 - 25% of their respective populations, but that's still a fair number. And the number who suffer lactose maldigestion is even higher. I found out earlier today that people with Asperger Syndrome are also lactose intolerant.

And the dairy industry keeps telling us that their products are good for us - well, I'm very sorry, they most definitely are not good for me, and I'm in quite good company. The dairy industry, because of the high percentage of people who are adversely affected by their products, has worked on a way to produce lactose-free dairy products, but you pay double to quadruple to get a product that won't make a large percentage of the planet feel ill. Lactose intolerance was first investigated by Hippocrates, so the dairy industry should have known about it long ago - Hippocrates, after all, is a little older than the modern dairy industry!

Of course, soy, rice and other plant-based milks don't contain any lactose in the first place and can be used as a good quality, healthy alternative to dairy. And in addition to (especially) soy milk, low fat yoghurt (made without added milk solids), orange juice (proper, fortified, not the sugared down crap), leafy green vegetables (especially collard, broccoli and Chinese cabbage), green peas, baked beans, tofu and - my favorite - sardines are all good sources of absorbable calcium. And these have little or no lactose to make you feel ill.

Children receive human milk (normally) as babies and infants which is rather high in lactose (about 50% higher than in cow's milk), but as they grow older, their bodies change, their dietary needs change, and a number of them develop lactose intolerance as their production of lactase naturally reduces. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feed your kids dairy products, just that if your child is one who starts to become lactose intolerant, then look at the myriad of other absorbable sources out there.

Milk is not only a good source of calcium, but also protein and Vitamin D. So if you do suffer lactose intolerance or lactose maldigestion, it is worth looking at other sources of this protein and Vitamin D. One thing to note is that Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, so eating non-dairy sources of calcium and not replacing the Vitamin D from milk will not result in good calcium absorption.

Good natural sources of Vitamin D include fish liver oils (Cod Liver Oil), fatty fish such as the aforementioned sardines, as well as salmon, eel and tuna, mushrooms (if harvested properly) and to a lesser degree, eggs. Fortified fruit juices and breakfast cereals can also be used to obtain Vitamin D.

Casein is the major protein in milk and is what creates "milk allergy". For people who don't consume dairy products, it is rather a good idea to replace this source of protein with something else, such as mushrooms, tofu, chicken, fish, kangaroo, emu, beef or egg whites.

Obviously, you'd not take my ramblings as the only source of input on your dietary needs, but I thiught that during the season of chocolate excess, I may as well say something!


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, March 07, 2008

John Whoward?

Who is this guy and who does he think he is?

I seem to recall that he was only the second Prime Minister in Australian history to be so disliked by the voting population of this country that not only was his party decimated at the last Federal election, but he also lost his own seat. The people spoke, John, and you were no longer wanted.

So, going over to America and taking a shot at the party and the guy who totally whipped your arse is, well, irrelevant. Like you. You don't think that rolling back the intolerable Work Choices legislation is a good thing? Well, guess what - we voted you out BECAUSE of Work Choices. Of course you don't want it revoked. We don't care what you want. You don't think that pulling combat troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan is a good idea? Well, guess what - we voted you out BECAUSE you sent our troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

John, why not realise that you were the biggest loser and you were voted out of the house. (Fuck I hate reality TV shows, but I think I can borrow these two phrases purely because of the relevance.) Go and get a life that doesn't involve making irrelevant statements about your irrelevant ideas or about the PM and Party that almost annihilated your Party at the last election.

The people have spoken - you are no longer the world's most irrelevant head of state. You are the world's most irrelevant ex-head of state.


The Outspoken Wookie