Common diabetes drug found to induce brain cell growth

This particular bit of information which was in the news some weeks ago is of interest because it appears to be the first known instance of a drug which can actually cause new brain cells to form:

Common Diabetes Drug Found to Stimulate Brain Cell Growth, May Treat Alzheimer’s and Stroke Patients

…metformin increased the number of new neurons in the hippocampus or the area of the brain involved in making new memories, by about 30 percent compared to controls.

picture of stir-fry rice in wok

1. In rice cooker add organic brown basmati rice-millet mixture and veggie broth and stir before adding water. Cook.

2. Put rice-millet mixture in wok on med-low setting with organic high-heat safflower oil. Stir.

3. Add farmers market veggies. I added some nice heirloom-type peppers, very tasty tomatoes, broccoli crowns, asian scallions which are a bit hotter than regular ones, and half of a jalapeno pepper.

4. Add pieces of super-firm sprouted tofu.

5. Stir and cover wok tightly to allow steam to soften veggies and tofu. Cook for 5-10 minutes. The key is to soften the veggies and preserve the flavor without overcooking.

6. When done, the veggies will still have a nice, fresh flavor but be a little soft.

7. To serve, I added Real Salt, Rawmesan, and coarsely ground black pepper.

Eating this dish is simply blissful. I believe this food is the apex of food on Earth!

New NASA large-scale rocket

Above is a stunningly realistic animation of a new large-scale launch vehicle. Many people seemed to think that when the Space Shuttle program ended that NASA was no longer going to be involved in large-scale launch systems, which is false. I think the press is to blame for this since this is how it was reported over and over, along with ongoing news about NASA’s contracting out to private companies for some launch operations.

The new rocket, which is developed by NASA, is called the Space Launch System (SLS) and is planned to be ready in 2016. It will be able to carry three times the weight of a Space Shuttle.

Remotely control Winamp from any Android tablet or phone

This was mentioned incidentally in a previous post but I wanted to give it its own post because it is so cool. This app called aWARemote – remote control for Winamp consists of two parts: the part that is run on the phone or tablet, and the server which is run on the PC. Using it is as simple as installing both parts. One can then remotely control Winamp with the phone or tablet and have access to searching through music libraries, opening playlists, equalizer functions, etc. Basically everything one can do from Winamp’s main interface on the PC one can do remotely via aWARemote.

In order to set the server to run automatically every time Windows starts aWARemote server must be launched in Administrator mode by right-clicking on the icon and selecting “Run as Administrator”. There’s an option on the lower right of the window to start automatically with Windows.

As long as the server is running on the PC aWARemote has the ability to completely start or stop Winamp.

I rank this as among the best apps running on my tablet.

Dressing table

image of Ikea Malm dressing table

Ikea Malm dressing table in birch color, 120 cm (47.5 in) width

I was lucky to find a used Ikea Malm dressing table in birch color, which is no longer sold (at stores in my area and on the Ikea USA website). The only available version is white which would look horrendous in my studio since everything else is natural wood color.

Apparently I’m not the only person who fell in love with this model dressing table, as indicated by this other blog post at in which the author describes it as “…the infamous MALM vanity from IKEA by now that I, and many other makeup enthusiasts, own.”

Her article mentions that there apparently was an original version of the Malm dressing table which measured 191 cm (75 inches) in width, whereas the one I was lucky to find is 120 cm (47.5 inches). This 47 inch model is wide enough. I can’t imagine having the room for a 75 inch model unless I had a mansion.

One thing that was amazing about this piece of furniture: In typical Ikea fashion it was very simple to disassemble, fit into my small car, and resassamble.

The material is some kind of pressed laminated type of board with synthetic birch-effect veneer over particleboard. A far cry from the natural stuff I typically propound here. In fact if this thing were trimmed down a bit it would be nice. It doesn’t need to be so hefty. Yet the heftiness of it imparts a certain plush, very solid quality to it. Still, I bet it could be a lot lighter and still very good, although it would not have the same level of solidity.

Anyhow it is a used piece of furniture that was taken care of very well and will continue to be taken care of very well. Now I just need to rearrange half my apartment to put it in place…

New Highly-Efficient Toilets in San Francisco

photo of highly effecient toilet

picture of new, highly efficient toilet that was just installed in my apartment

It looks like the City and/or County of San Francisco has a program to increase water efficiency and install new toilets in apartments. A couple days ago someone came and replaced my older toilet, which I hated, with this extremely cool, new one which uses a fraction of the water the old one did.

The only sad thing is that it is taking so long to get everyone to use new, efficient plumbing devices like this.

But even the idea of flushing feces and urine down into a pipe containing freshwater is absolutely crazy. Ultimately this has to be changed.

I also believe that by law all sink and bathtub spigots should be required to have a standardized interface whereby attachments such as hoses can be attached. I have always wanted to be able to attach a hose to my bathtub spigot, as this would be a nice, extremely water-efficient way to quickly and easily rinse my body.

Of course there are hose attachments which go on the shower head but those are not the same. Its much better to squat in the tub and also more useful for children, pets, or having to rinse/cleanse things.

In the future humans are going to have to learn to control the water – and fire – energies better.  Irresponsible misuse and disrespect of both is causing major problems.  Massive overuse and waste of fossil fuels is one huge case of misuse and disrespect of fire energy.

Defend against mites and other parasites

From time to time most people probably experience times when we feel kind of itchy all over or on certain areas of our bodies. Of course such a feeling can be related to many possible factors including histamine response in the skin. Yet it can also be from organisms such as mites which can live in our clothes or bedding.

One idea I’ve come up with is to occasionally treat my skin or bedding with some kind of medication to keep organisms in check.

In addition to common-sense measures like keeping clean bed linens, I am now of the belief that an occasional application of an oil or medicine to the skin or bedding is a good idea.

Today at the health food store I decided to purchase an actual lice medication which is based on Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang, and other essential oils. Even though I’m not concerned about lice, any medication which is capable of controlling lice will be capable of controlling other parasites.

Tea Tree is known to be one of the most powerful essential oils. The formula therefore appealed to me. This particular product comes in a spray bottle and includes a nit pick (yes, an actual hair pick designed to get out the egg clusters of lice, called nits), and a shower cap. The cap of course would be used for treating head lice.

One word of caution: I have never actually tried an herbal formula like this with a louse (lice, scabies, or crabs) infestation. For those it may be better to use a medication with synthetic pyrethrins. Although these are considered toxic, mostly in natural sectors, in fact pyrethrin was originally from a species of chrysanthemum flower. If someone has a louse infestation I would recommend using the most powerful medicine available to wipe it out as quickly as possible. Over-the-counter lice treatments work very well and are less toxic than most people claim.

Although buying the pre-made formula was convenient, in the future I’ll try to make my own.

I wonder what people will do in the future if there are no more fossil fuels. Where will we get tea tree oil?

So much of the way we think and operate is based on the presumption of an abundance of inexpensive energy. It makes me want to go into the forest and start experimenting…

An inspiring, true hero

A 62-year-old American woman is making her fourth attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without the protection of a shark cage.

Diana Nyad has already been stung several times by jellyfish but is continuing her 166km (103 mile) journey, team members said.

She left the Cuban capital, Havana, on Saturday afternoon and is aiming to reach Florida on Tuesday.


Go Diana! Swim! Swim! Swim!

Diana is a rare, true hero, a person who challenges herself to break limits and strive for excellence and greatness.

We live in a truly sad time when we see praise an adulation of people for things which are not true achievements. Our society is sick because it doesn’t know what is important and what is superfluous or frivolous.

For a body or a society to be healthy it has to know, for the sake of its own integrity, what is most valuable and what is not. When the organism or the society forgets what is of true value it is sick. Even the Olympics I find highly grotesque and such a sick contortion of the idea of health for the sake of immense profits.

Better to ditch the Olympics and just go out for a good run. Even one drop of being a creator or an initiator – getting out and taking that run or swim your body’s been longing for – is better than an vast ocean of being a spectator.

Anyhow, I am so inspired by Diana that I thought of her today when running and ran extra hard for her. Even if she doesn’t make it to Florida she is still a hero and still a great person.

I love the fact that she is only competing against herself, and not for the sake of winning anything other than surpassing her own limits of achievement which is the highest of all rewards, far beyond glamour, fame, recognition, etc.  And no one set this up, no one designed or created this “event”.  It is something she set for herself, which has so much more meaning than something that is set for one.

Her story also inspires me: if she can withstand jellyfish stings and other tribulations while swimming in the ocean, I can withstand rude motorists and insulting pedestrians while running through the city grit.

I believe that we are always heroes when we carry out the revolution in our lives of getting up and getting out and going for it without fear.  But of course such a mindset of real achievement runs totally counter to the propaganda mindset instilled on society about synthetically created achievements which fit in with the party lines, militarism, aggressiveness, etc.

If we are to stay healthy as a society we need to never lose sight of what true achievements are and not get deluded by the dominant paradigm false “achievements” which we are constantly being force-fed to society.

If we start to do this, and begin to see clearly, we will see that many true achievers are being persecuted in this day and age, especially bicyclists, many of whom have become martyrs for life and Mother Earth.

Aqueduct flows into Japanese home

scene of woman kneeling at water basin in traditional Japanese home

from the jdrama series “Ryomaden”, ep. 24; 09:22

This image from a scene of a Japanese show is simply amazing. A woman is kneeling down at a water basin which flows from a small aqueduct which runs through the neighborhood, into this room which looks like a kitchen. Whether this would be the main house, or perhaps a separate building I do not know, but every little detail of this scene fascinates me.

In this scene the camera slowly pans over to the left revealing the aqueduct outside from which the water flows:

scene of interior of traditional Japanese home with aqueduct outside

scene from jdrama series “Ryomaden” ep. 24; 09:30

Here is one last, astoundingly beautiful scene showing two women talking and the aqueduct, lined with stones, flowing behind them. There is also a small garden and even a chicken:

scene of two women talking with aqueduct in the background

scene from jdrama “Ryomaden”, ep. 24; 10:17

My first tansu

picture of a tansu
I’m so excited. Today I got my first tansu.  This particular type is called a “ko dansu” or “kodansu”.  It makes the perfect little organizational compartment to go next to my futon.

On top of it you can see a smaller, mini-tansu I got last week. (Ok, I guess that smaller one was actually the first.)

In the foreground you can see my Galaxy Tab 10.1 running aWARemote for Winamp which is an extremely cool app that lets you remotely control Winamp running on a PC on your local network.

So now I’m thinking of getting some mini-tansus for different purposes: one for sewing supplies, one for jewelry/beadwork supplies, etc.  Wow, and I’d love to have one with art/painting supplies, something I have yet to take up…

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