Aww Nuts!

I just read about a study that makes the case for eating nuts. I quote:

“In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.”


No, no, no, not those kind of nuts. And thank you Billy Bob.


No! Not that kind of nut either.

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There we go! The study went on to say that “Lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Ming Li, says the study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.”

And: “”By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent- compared to those not eating nuts — effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.”

As well as: “The UniSA study analysed nine waves of China Health Nutrition Survey data collected over 22 years, finding that 17 per cent of participants were regular consumers of nuts (mostly peanuts). Dr Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.

“Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health,” Dr Li says.

“While there is no cure for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.” End quotes.

So if these researchers are on to something, a dose of nuts a day may help keep the dementia away. I don’t know about you, but I eat nuts fairly regularly. Usually peanuts, honey roasted, and most often through the winter months. I don’t know why I just seem to have a craving for them this time of year, so we usually have some nuts in the house (besides the people who live here.)

I seem to recall through the years that any time we visited family as a kid, they more often than not had nuts in the house through the winter months. I’m curious now if there is just something about our makeup that craves nuts in the winter…? Have any of you noticed this trend in your travels?




Psychological Profile Of An Internet Troll

I was at Mr. Steves blog today, he has a post on the mass murder in Christchurch NZ. I read his post, wanted to comment, but really could find nothing good to say. This being such a human tragedy it is difficult to find words of wisdom, or words that do come seem to somehow only fall short of a proper comment. But lo and behold there was the troll.

The troll had nothing to say about the post except that for him it was an act of evil, but for us silly secularists, and this was the implication of his comment, “Oh woe is me, how on earth would an ignorant secularist be able to identify evil without a god?” Such an imbecilic question only meant to rile up the posters there.

And it worked, to a degree, I responded. And true to an internet troll the prods and pokes, and the sickening fascination with the back and forth volley of words began. Well I played for a minute, then I quit. You know why? Because I know the secret to a troll. They want no intellectual discourse. They want no friendly conversation. They only live for the fight. They get some sort of momentary satisfaction from their perceived perch of justifiable confrontation. They wander around the internet plying their trade, hopeless little dopamine junkies looking for a fix. Nothing leaves the troll more deflated than someone just walking away. So when I encounter this situation, it is what I try to do, just because I know that is the deepest cut you can give a nasty troll.

Now I’m no psychological expert. I was married to a gal for over 10 years though, who had a slew of personality disorders. (we were young when we got together and things developed as we moved along, I was 2 kids and a mortgage deep before the full realization set in) She was eventually diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. Which is a panoply of several differing disorders ranging from bi polar, to depression, to schizophrenia, to delusions, and who know what all else. Needless to say I have experienced the entire deck of cards, and I know when my buttons are being pushed. This is the trolls calling card. Pushing buttons just for the sake of eliciting a response. I won’t go so far to say that all trolls have personality disorders, but I’ll bet you a buck fifty it damn well helps. Don’t give them the satisfaction of giving them the sort of engagement they desire 🙂

I have already admitted I’m no expert on the matter. I wonder what say the experts? I’m pasting an entire page here with the link to follow. Please note to access the study you have to at least create an account, which I have no interest in doing, only to probably find out it’s behind a paywall… if someone else decides to pursue the study I’d like to hear what you ran into.

“In this month’s issue of Personality and Individual Differencesa study was published that confirms what we all suspected: Internet trolls are horrible people.

Let’s start by getting our definitions straight: An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.

What kind of person would do this? Some Canadian researchers decided to find out.

They conducted two online studies with over 1,200 people, giving personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their Internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.

They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite Internet activity. To get an idea of how much more prevalent these traits were among Internet trolls, see this figure from the paper:

Look at how low the Dark Tetrad scores are for everyone except the trolls! Their scores for all four traits soar on the chart. The relationship between trolling and the Dark Tetrad is so significant that the authors write in their paper:

“… the associations between sadism and GAIT (Global Assessment of Internet Trolling) scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists.” [emphasis added]

Trolls truly enjoy making you feel bad. To quote the authors once more (because this is a truly quotable article): “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”

The next time you encounter a troll online, remember:

  1. These trolls are some truly difficult people.
  2. It is your suffering that brings them pleasure, so the best thing you can do is ignore them. ”    END QUOTE

Yep, I’m no expert, but I can’t argue with that. Link:

An excerpt from another site:

“Trolls glorify in their own worldview. As such, they bait others of different bends on social media in order to mock and abuse them. They’re motivated by a need for attention, by boredom, by a flash of excitement due to causing others pain, or by exacting revenge.”  I could have sworn I pretty much just said that. Maybe I am an expert 😉     Link:

Any good guesses who the troll is? Im sure some of you know 🙂






More Really Big Numbers

I’m sitting here having my yearly battle with I assume, bronchitis. Something about this time of year I just get an upper respiratory issue that requires a trip to the Dr. and I get my standard issue blister pack of steroids to minimize the inflammation. My appointment is at 1:30. So if you hear me hacking and wheezing anytime through this post you now know why.

I happened across this story recently where astronomers have the determined mass of our galaxy the Milky Way. They used observations of a common target of my personal telescopes, globular clusters, in their determination of the values. Only they were using slightly better telescopes! They have the luxury of using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite. Yep, slightly better than mine.

So of what use is it to know the mass of our galaxy anyway? Well they can use this information to better understand how galaxies orbit each other and how this mass and it’s direct correlation to gravity, determines the interplay of galactic interactions and mergers. I’m not going to go into great detail on the specifics here, others have done that job quite well for me. My goal is the numbers and I’ll get there in a minute. Here is the story from NASA:

And here is a great write up in easy to understand English from a fantastic astronomy science writer Phil Plait. It is worth a visit if nothing else to see the most recent galactic map of the Milky Way and our place in it:

Now the the numbers. They determined the mass of our galaxy to be 1.5 trillion solar masses. A Google search shows a solar mass is a standard astronomical measurement equal to 4,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs. Or a simpler representation of 4.4 nonillion lbs. Yeah, I’ve never heard of a nonillion either 🙂

Or for you US measurement deficient chaps (Mak) 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg. Or 2 nonillion kg.

That is some big damn numbers!

Now to multiply that by 1.5 trillion, we get 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs. Or 6.6 Tredecillion lbs. The measurement of the mass of our galaxy. And no, I’ve never heard of a Tredecillion either!

Or again for US measurement deficient folks, 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg. Or 3 Tredecillion kg.

I have to admit my eyes glaze over and my mind seeks refuge in a pleasant daydream anytime I see that many zeroes in one place. It is just so difficult to imagine the enormity of numbers like these. I only wish all of our bank accounts had half as many zeroes and a 10 in front of them!

My thanks to this site for having the calculator to represent all of those zeroes:


Old Diver Tales

Over on PT’s  (Professor Taboo) blog, he has a post about a guy who had amassed an enormous collection of artifacts from all over the world. Including a lot of human skeletal remains. The guy was busted by the FBI, and it is a pretty huge local story. Here’s the link to PT’s post:

I made a comment there, which I will repeat here:

“Well I must admit, I have found a LOT of stone artifacts in my time as a diver out on the river. I also walked creeks and riverbanks finding artifacts. What I NEVER did is dig for them. The few times I ran across what is known as a stonebox grave from the Mississipian time period, I did not disturb them.

There were times I found burials diving, you can easily tell what was a burial and what wasn’t. The burials I ran into, the body was folded over, knees to chest, into a small as possible mass, I presume to make it an easier hole to dig. I found them interesting, but dared not disturb them. As much as I enjoy finding an “arrowhead” I am not that desperate to do so, my conscience would not allow it.

Thousands of stone tools are washing out of riverbanks or creeks everywhere, or popping up in a freshly plowed field. Those that do are no longer in situ and have little scientific value. I also know the stuff I did find, which were common stone tools from most every time period, would be of little importance to any tribe. These artifacts are historical, they are meaningful in that they exist, but anyone who knows anything about them understands that these artifacts had little value to the people who made them, as they were worn out and discarded tools that no longer served a purpose to the user.

I have seen ceremonial stone artifacts that were supposedly burial items in museums. I also know a guy who found a ceremonial blade in a stonebox that I know the wherabouts of. Not everyone feels as I do.

What this guy was doing is obscene.

Ask me about the time I found a skeleton that I’m pretty damn sure didn’t belong to an Indian.”  END QUOTE

Well the “that time I found a skeleton I’m sure was not an Indian” story, I guess it should be told, and I knew it was going to be a bit too long for a comment at your blog PT…

This was way back early in my diving career, as a harvester of freshwater mussels. At this time the buyers were paying a higher price for what are known as bay quality shells. Shells back in the bays, grow large and thick, but they aren’t in as high numbers to be found. However every once in a while you could hit a spot and make a really good day. I was in an area on Kentucky Lake known as Paris Landing. There is a hotel there at the waterfront, way far back from the river channel and backwater enough to produce that quality bay shell I was looking for. It is in front of this hotel where I was working. There is a ridge there maybe 100 yards off from the bank in front of the hotel. I worked this ridge on a dive, and managed to come down off the ridge and work my way towards the bank in front of the hotel. You don’t always know where you are at or where you will end up on a dive, you just do it and wind up where you wind up. There is an area there by the hotel where the bank swings around a corner. I had crawled out of the rocks I was working and hit sand.

This is where I found the first vertebrae. Things just jump into your hand when you are moving your hands back and forth feeling for the telltale signs of shells. Well a vertebrae found its way into my hands. I had been doing this job for a few years at this time, and I have found Indian bones out there as there are places where they just wash out of the underwater ridges, which are numerous in Kentucky Lake. In every case I found an ancient bone or bones, they were very smooth, with a high level of patina. A dark glossy look to them. The vertebrae I was holding in my hands looked nothing like this at all. It was nowhere near as old. It had some blackening, though lacking any noticeable patina, and I could tell it was of a more recent timeline than any Indian bones I had ever seen.

To my knowledge there are no artifacts here in the Tennessee River valley, or the bones of those who manufactured them, except as far back as around 1500 years ago and beyond. The first era beyond historic* Indians is known as the Mississipian Period. Before that was the Woodland Period (1500-4000 YA.) Older yet the Archaic Period (4-8000 YA.) And predating that the Paleo Period (8-12000 YA.) The youngest artifacts and the bones of those who made them found around here are from the Mississipian Period, as I mentioned, 1500 years ago.

Well as I sat there making bubbles, and pondering all of this I decided right then and there something wasn’t right here. I put the vertebrae down and decided to get back to work. I immediately popped up some more vertebrae. Then I found what was left of a boot. Well I felt around some more and found quite a few more vertebrae all in one spot. At that point I quit looking. Granted I did not find a skull, or anything that would be an absolute positive ID for human remains, but the boot being there I felt like was sure pointing in that direction.

It should be noted that there is a small road that winds around in front of the hotel near the waters edge, and where I came up from the dive, was near what looked like a seldom used small boat ramp. Easily accessible by car… Suggesting a possilbility of a dumped body.

I aborted the dive, and went to the boat. Well I sat there for a while, assessed my take for the day and I wasn’t doing very well at all here. I knew I needed to pull anchor and find a better spot. But I also had a dilemma on my hands. This was back before everybody and their dog had a cell phone, I knew my day was done if I decided to call the cops. I reluctantly made the decision to get back to work and show something for the day, rather than call it all off and spend the rest of my day and probably half the night talking to the police. Unfortunately a great many of my diver counterparts were far from law abiding citizens, and many of them were rough, tough, ornery as bear, beer swilling, womanizing, bar fighting, cop hating, blackguards, with less than honorable reputations. I figured the cops would probably lump me straight in with that bunch. And I’ll admit, at least a couple of those descrptions would have fit me at the time and might still be true today 😉

So I figured I’d be a suspect before I might be considered some unlucky bastard who just happened upon a crime scene. To this day I have yet to report this incident. Though it does weigh in on my conscience from time to time.

* Modern identifiable tribes.