Sexual chemistry

I need to find the actual report or at least other news stories on it but this is a nice teaser on the subject:

WASHINGTON: A new study has revealed the mystery behind lovers getting more sexual satisfaction after intercourse than masturbation.

Following an orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released into the bloodstream in both men and women. The hormone makes one feel satiated by countering the effect of dopamine, which is released during sexual arousal.

Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley, UK, and Tillmann Kriger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, measured blood prolactin levels in male and female volunteers who watched erotic films before engaging in masturbation or sexual intercourse to orgasm in the laboratory.

Surprisingly, after orgasm from sexual intercourse, the increase in blood prolactin levels is 400 per cent higher in both sexes compared with after orgasm from masturbation.

This explains why orgasm from intercourse is more satisfying than masturbation, says Brody. Since elevated levels of prolactin have been linked to erectile dysfunction, this may also explain why most men need a recovery period after sex.

I wonder how long it will be before there is a recreational drug on the market that mimics this?  I think there is a business opportunity here.  I’ve never used a drug, legal or illegal, recreationally.  But there certainly are a lot of people that do.

James hits the limit on the GRE

I got a call from our son James yesterday.  He had just finished taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  Except for the essay portion they get the results back immediately afterwards.  He got a 560/800 on the verbal portion and 800/800 on the quantitative portion.  This is particularily noteworthy because it is an online, adaptive test.  The questions presented get harder if you are getting them all correct or easier if you are having difficulties with them.  He said it was “brutal”.  He just barely finished the problems in the time given.  He was pretty “up” about things though–as well he should be.  We are very proud of him.

From my time at Microsoft

Another post from someone I used to work with at Microsoft.  Craig was my lead when I first started at Microsoft.  Here he gives the early history of DirectX.  I started in May of ’95 and was responsible for the Cirrus chips for DirectX 1.  I took the summer off to be with my wife and kids for the summer of ’96 and just barely had contact with DirectX 3.  But I was involved with 2 and 5. 

The “military coat” Craig talks about is a black M-65 field jacket.  I still have my DirectX jacket in my closet with the patches.  Ry and I now wear black M-65 jackets with Boomershoot embroidered on them.

Some of the patches for the various versions of DirectX had the project names on them.  Some of the project names were Manhattan (DirectX 1 was to “compete” with the Japanese game machines), Orion (reference to nuclear explosion powered space travel), and Orange (as in Agent Orange used in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle).  I think it was DirectX 6 that had the project name of “Diesel”.  This was a veiled reference to ammonium nitrate/diesel mixture which was believed (nitromethane was the actual fuel) to be used in the then recent bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City.  Another time I will tell you of the mementos I made of ammonium nitrate for people on the project and shipped to Raymond to distribute.

See also Renegades of the Empire for DirectX history and lots of stories about Alex, Craig, and Eric.

Update: Fixed the broken link to Craigs post on DirectX history.

Quote of the day–Lao Tsu

The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.

Lao Tsu
[In the more narrow context of "gun crime" this is also true.  The more restrictions on firearms the more useful they are to criminals and the more likely they are to use them.  If all potential victims were armed the criminals would be more likely to avoid situations where they could be shot.--Joe]

Quote of the day–Eric Steven Raymond

…the Noam Chomskys and Michael Moores and Robert Fisks of the world (and their thousands of lesser imitators in faculty lounges everywhere) are not brave transgressive forward-thinkers but pathetic memebots running the program of a dead tyrant.

Eric Steven Raymond (ESR)
Gramscian damage
[ESR doesn't just claim this.  He proves it.  Great blog posting.--Joe]

Navigable water

So congress says the Clean Water Act applies to all U.S. navigable water.  Okay, I can see them getting authority from the interstate commerce clause.  But then the Corp of Engineers and the EPA have their way with things:

The dispute is one of two cases consolidated for oral argument Tuesday examining just how far upstream the Clean Water Act (CWA) extends federal jurisdiction. Is it limited to lakes and rivers? Or does it include remote wetlands with no link to them? At stake: how broadly the clean water law will be applied nationwide and, potentially, whether a broad application of the law is consistent with the proper constitutional balance of power between the federal government and the states.

At the center of the dispute is a discrepancy between the words Congress used when it wrote the CWA and the regulations the US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency wrote later to enforce the clean water law.

Congress said US jurisdiction would extend over all “navigable waters.” EPA and Corps of Engineers regulations interpret the law as extending far upstream, even to waters with no hydrologic connection to a tributary of navigable waters.

“Through this authority, the Corps will effectively exercise a wide-ranging federal police power over all kinds of land use,” writes Carabell’s lawyer, Timothy Stoepker, in his brief to the court. “A saturated portion of a residential lawn, which is near a storm drain … will come within the scope of the act, and the owners of such land will have to obtain permits from the Corps before making a variety of ordinary land-use decisions.”

So what definition of navigable water can you come up with that includes a saturated portion of a residential lawn?  This is government WAY out of control.

The F-14 retires

I’m not sure why, but this makes me a little sad:

AN era of aviation history has drawn to a close with the US-made F-14 Tomcat fighter plane – the one flown into the danger zone by Tom Cruise in the film Top Gun – being withdrawn from active service.

The Tomcat is going into mothballs because advances in military technology have made its greatest attribute – the ability to manoeuvre at high speeds and in close combat situations – redundant.

Fighter planes no longer need such abilities because they don’t dogfight any more. Instead, pilots shoot at each other with target-seeking rockets, sometimes from 20km away.

The Tomcats were officially retired from service last week, replaced by FA-18 Super Hornets that are cheaper to maintain, easier to operate from aircraft carriers and able to carry more bombs.

The F-14 requires nearly 50 maintenance hours for every flight hour compared to five to 10 hours maintenance for the FA-18.

The F-14 entered operational service in 1974 when two squadrons were assigned to the USS Enterprise, replacing F-4 Phantom fighters that were eventually phased out in 1986.

The Tomcat was designed in the Cold War era to be the world’s best fighter-interceptor. Its primary task was to defend aircraft carriers against cruise missile-armed Soviet aircraft.

I thought they were deployed to deliver a particularly heavy missile.  But I forget the exact details and don’t really keep up on this sort of thing.  I just marvel at the capabilities and the engineering.

Barb and Xenia visit Kirkland

Xenia had four days off from school this weekend so Barb took some time off too and visited me in Kirkland rather than me driving home to Moscow this weekend while James and the two attack dogs and two flesh eating cats guarded the Huffman-Scott compound.  Yesterday was mostly consumed with shopping at “thrift stores.”  It always seems to me it would be much more thrifty to not go shopping at all, but that argument is always met with such a clamor that I seldom bring it up regardless of the unassailable logic.  We had lunch at a Japanese buffet which was very nice.  Today we visited the Seattle Center and had lunch in the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle.

Pictures are here.

Update: Xenia posted some more pictures.

More progress indicators

Here’s what the public thinks:

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States believe the current regulations regarding firearms are adequate, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 52 per cent of respondents believe the U.S. does not need stricter gun control laws.

Polling Data

Does the U.S. need stricter gun control laws?

Yes

39%

No

52%

Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 American adults, conducted on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for Congress (from Volume 3, Issue 1, January/February 2006 Firearms Coalition, Hard Corps Report):

  1. Limit Revocation of Gun Rights to Violent Felons Only
  2. Repeal Interstate Sales Ban, NICS makes it Obsolete
  3. Require the Return of Recovered Firearms to their Rightful Owners
  4. Repeal the Federal “Gun-Free School Zone Act” with its Many Potential Pitfalls for Innocent Gun Owners
  5. Repeal the Useless 1986 Machine Gun Ban
  6. Repeal GCA ’68 “Sporting Purposes Language
  7. Removed Useless Restrictions on Silencers so these Useful Tools can be Employed to Make Shooting Safer
  8. Reform NICS Instant Check to Guarantee Timely Sales

The Democrats are fractured over gun control.  The Canadian Gun registry is about to be scrappedNew Orleans.  The list goes on.

Keep up the pressure.  Drive these bigots into political extinction.

Electing criminals

Washington D.C. elected a convicted felon as Mayor but at least they waited until he was out of jail.  Not so on the West Bank.  And these aren’t just minor crimes:

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Imagine 54 U.S. congressmen holding office from behind bars, and you get an idea of the problem facing the Palestinian parliament when it meets today for its first session since the January landslide victory of the radical, anti-Israel group Hamas.

About 10 percent of the 132 newly elected Palestinian legislators are inmates of Israel’s civilian and military jails. Some of the legislators are being held in administrative detention without charges; others are serving time after conviction in Israeli courts.

How, if at all, these prisoner-politicians can participate in government and join debates on proposed legislation is a serious question.

“They won’t get any special privileges just because they were elected,” said Israeli Prison Service spokesman Ofer Lefler. At best, he said, they might be able to pass information to the outside world through monthly family visits or visits with lawyers, which can occur more frequently.

“In our jails they haven’t got cellphones — I hope. And they haven’t got permission to call,” Lefler said. “They are prisoners. That’s the whole story.”

While Palestinian legislators confined to the Gaza Strip under Israeli travel restrictions are expected to participate via closed-circuit video link with their colleagues meeting in Ramallah, no such provision exists for the 13 legislators in Israeli custody. (One legislator is in a Palestinian jail as well as under international supervision.)

Ten of the 14 are members of Hamas, whose effective majority drops from 74 to 64 seats while they are incarcerated. Three are members of Fatah, including the head of the party’s electoral list, Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti is serving five consecutive life sentences for his role in five attacks that killed civilians. Still, he is often mentioned by Palestinian and Israeli analysts — a la Nelson Mandela — as a possible future Palestinian leader.

One inmate, Ahmed Sadaat, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is in a Palestinian jail in Jericho for his role in the 2002 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.

This should speak volumes about their agenda, their political mandate, for their terms in office.

A bunch of savages

About 10 days ago I was telling someone about the extremist Muslim response to the cartoons of Muhammad.  They weren’t particularly familiar with what was happening but said, “It will go away soon.”  I agreed, but my point was it showed the tremendous gulf between the west and radical Islam.  Later, at lunch with a friend, I repeated, “It will go away soon.”  He disagreed, “The only way I see to get to the other side of this is over a pile of bodies–either theirs or ours.”  I realized he could be right but wasn’t convinced.  A week or so, I thought, that’s about the typical attention spam for this sort of thing.  I had forgotten the length of the French riots (and here, here, here, and here) last fall.  That was more like three weeks or a month.  This is a bigger and more widespread event.  Perhaps this will be the flame that will burn until all the fuel is exhausted.  It was over lunch yesterday this same friend told me about the $1 million reward for killing the cartoonist and ended the conversation with, “I feel like I’m living on another planet, these people are a bunch of savages.”  I couldn’t disagree.

In our frame of reference this insult is so trivial and their response is so extreme there will be no compromise, no truce, and no ceasefire.  As communication and travel have improved we can no longer be isolated from each other on this planet.  The publication of a few cartoons in minor newspaper in a small country in Western Europe ignited a violent, worldwide, response.  The fuel supply for this flame, this clash of civilizations, has been building for over a thousand years and the flame may not be extinguished until the fuel is exhausted.  I see only uncomfortable options; we destroy their civilization, they destroy ours, or we participate, as either victims or perpetrators, in the greatest genocide this world has ever known.

Quote of the day–Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi

This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize.

Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi
Peshawar, Pakistan
February 17, 2006
Cleric announcing rewards of $1 million dollars, one million rupees, 500,000 rupees, and a car for the killing of the cartoonist who drew the prophet.