Diet soda – not just for cancer anymore

Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda – New York Times via Serious Eats

Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels — and elevated blood pressure.

I hate diet soda. Not only does it taste terrible, but it’s really bad for you. I’ve cut out most of the soda from my diet. And the less I drink, the less I enjoy it. So I guess that’s good. But I always drink the regular stuff. I’d rather high-fructose corn syrup than some carcinogenic artificial sweetener.

I dont know what SalesGenie is thinking

An Ad With Talking Pandas, Maybe, but Not With Chinese Accents – New York Times via Consumerist shared in Google Reader by Mike

Still, “if I offended anybody,” Mr. Gupta said, “believe me, I apologize.”

That is NOT an apology. You DID offend people, and by not acknowledging that you did, you are not apologizing.

Even more ridiculous?

Mr. Gupta said he planned to keep running the other Salesgenie commercial, featuring an animated salesman named Ramesh who speaks with an Indian or other South Asian accent.

The reason, Mr. Gupta said, was that “more people seem upset about the pandas than Ramesh.”

So, let’s summarize. These clowns made two commercials based on caricatures of ethnic groups. But people only really complained about one. So, they issued a fake apology and kept running the one that people didn’t really seem to mind.

I’m not sure what this says about American feelings towards people who are “Indian or … South Asian”. Are we still mad about outsourcing and blame anyone with that kind of accent? That’s kind of sad. In some sense I’m surprised we aren’t more mad at the Chinese, since the ‘toys with lead’ incident is more recent than the explosion of outsourcing. But I guess some people are still serving “freedom fries”, so who knows what grudges the American public will hold on to.

My real problem here is SalesGenie’s response. Anyone can say or do something offensive – it could be accidental, or poor judgment, or whatever. It happens. The real judge of character is what you do to fix it. The very first thing you do is you stop whatever you did which was offensive. They did half of that. The next thing you do is make a sincere apology. They didn’t do that. Finally, you take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I don’t know if they’ve done this or not, and I’m not really inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

BP may be getting less green

BP’s Profits Lag Behind its Oil Peers « Earth2Tech

And while BP has made suggestions that it’s been moving away from the company’s renewable energy division, weaker profits could mean an even paler shade of green for BP.

Well, that sucks. I go to BP whenever possible because of their reputation on environmental issues. Pretty disappointing to see that their competitors, who seem to care very little about the environment, are making record profits again.

Note: I changed the title of this post from “BP maybe . . .” to “BP may be”. I’m not sure that the first choice was actually incorrect, but I do think that this way is better. Your views may differ, and feel free to correct me if you want. I may or may not listen to you.

Welcome to five years ago

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency – finally with RSS! While they offer a title-only feed, which I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen, at least they’re making progress.

I guess they want you to come to the site and see the ads for their various books and subscriptions and such, but it still seems very odd not to at least offer a teaser in addition to the title.

A nice bit of bipartisanship

Many of the blogs I read regularly posted something yesterday, encouraging those who live in states that voted yesterday to get out and vote.  And not one said, “vote for my candidate”.  Many of them previously had mentioned who they were supporting, but the message yesterday was simply to vote.

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many saying that it is not important that you vote the way I do, but it is very important that you vote.


I just spent the last 15 minutes stuck in an elevator. This is the second time I’ve been stuck in an elevator in this stupid building.

I went down to G2, where Target is, so I could pick up a few things.  I took them back down (via the stairs) to G3 and put them in the trunk.  Then I got on the elevator to go back up to my floor, and nothing happened.  So I used the emergency call box, and some nice woman on the other end asked me to press some buttons, which did nothing.  So she called the building maintenance people, and they came pretty quickly and opened the door.  I suspect I could have done it myself – I pried the door open a little bit without too much difficulty.  But I’ve seen Resident Evil.  I’m not messing with an elevator unless I don’t think someone is going to come get me.

This wouldn’t be a problem if you could use the stairs.  You can walk freely on the stairs between G3 and G1.  You can enter the stairwell from any floor, but you can only exit the stairs on one side at the lobby, and on the other through G1-3.  You can’t go from G1 to the lobby.  It’s ridiculous.  I would walk most of the time if I could, and I do, when I’m going down.  But going up you can’t walk.

I hate this building.  And all elevators.

Almost forgot the good news

DC has decided to allow me to vote in the primary! I got my voter registration card last week. So while we don’t get to vote today on Super Happy Fun Awesome Tuesday, we do plan to watch the results come in over tacos at Tonic.

If you live in a state that votes today, you should be voting. I know you may not like any of the candidates. That’s okay. Vote anyway. People died so you could vote. If you don’t vote, you CAN NOT complain about the government. And if you can’t complain, you’re not really living, are you?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m supporting Obama. The more I hear about him, the more I like him. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he wants to do – some of his fiscal policies are a little too liberal for me, and I don’t totally agree with some of the things he’s said about Iraq (I don’t care what you think about whether we should have gone in there, the fact is that we did, we’ve left a huge mess, and I don’t think we can get out now, before we help them get their country back together).

But in a broader sense, I love what he stands for. He wants change, to get away from the Clinton-Bush dynasty and reintroduce some bipartisan cooperation to do what’s right for the country, not the party.

People knock him for his lack of experience. I’ve thought a lot about why that doesn’t bother me, and I think it’s because we all know he won’t be alone. It’s not like he’d take office, and the entire rest of the executive branch will step back and watch him flounder with foreign policy. They aren’t going to just stick him on a plane to Iran and say, “Hey, good luck, come back when you’ve brokered peace!”. The guy will have advisers.  Some of them will have extensive experience in the areas in which Obama has little.  This is not unusual.  It just doesn’t make a good sound bite.

Perhaps my biggest problem with Bush has been that he is amazingly stubborn. It is always his way or nothing, and he has always maintained that he is always right, and we should always do what he says.  This sense of personal infallibility, more than any one choice or action, is why he’s made such a mess of things.  He has always stubbornly refused to admit he is wrong, or that anyone else could be right.  This is not a politician.  This is a dictator.

So, go out and vote.  Totally ignore everything else I’ve said if you want, but please vote.

I should just quit

Nothing ever happens in sports the way I think it will, or think it should.  I didn’t really want the Patriots to win, but I would only root for the Giants if they were playing the Cowboys, and even then it’s not a guarantee.

And giving the MVP award to Eli was just stupid.  He had a bad game, then a good fourth quarter, assisted in large part by an absolutely spectacular catch by David Tyree.  But the difference in this game was the Giants D-Line, and I would have given the MVP to Justin Tuck, with his five tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

The Patriots offensive line, great all season, looked terrible yesterday.  And thus it follows that Tom Brady looked terrible, which as usual will remind no one how dependent a quarterback is on his offensive line.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the next few months of Eli Manning talk.  That’s going to be awesome.  At least Shockey was hurt.  That’s the one bright spot here – the Giants went on their playoff run without that clown.

Two wrongs dont make a right

Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion for Yahoo –

Microsoft Corp. has offered to buy struggling Internet search provider Yahoo for $44.6 billion, a merger that would combine two of the technology world’s most well-known names into a potentially potent competitor for Google in the lucrative Web search and advertising market.

I’m not sure I see the point here.  Sure, Microsoft (or anyone else, really) would love Yahoo’s traffic.  But unless they’ve got some great idea for the next step, that’s a pretty steep price for a bunch of pageviews that could go away at any moment.

Neither Microsoft nor Yahoo have shown they can compete with Google, and since it’s so easy to switch from one to the other, simply combining users isn’t going to do it, either.  Do they think that, by joining forces, two companies that don’t know how to compete in the space are going to suddenly find themselves swamped with good ideas?  Good luck with that.

Maybe Microsoft should go back to building operating systems.  If Vista is the best they could do, they don’t seem to be putting enough resources into that department.

Proof of divine intervention

Writing: Hone Your Craft with Free Online Writing Courses

Web learning site Education Portal points to 10 universities (and semi-universities) that offer free online writing courses.

I was just reading How to Use Reading to Become a Better Writer this morning and thinking about writing. As I’ve mentioned before, I often get inspired to write when I read something that I really like.  And that desire to write is intense, although apparently not intense enough to get me to do much of anything about it.

So I was thinking about how I should make more of an effort to write, and wondering how I can get over this hump where I can start but I can’t seem to finish, and then I came across the Lifehacker link above.  I know the old expression about everything looking like a nail when all you have is a hammer, but to be thinking about how to become a better writer and then to see “free online writing courses” seems to go beyond coincidence.

And it may not be divine intervention.  Maybe it’s my paternal grandmother, who passed away last year.  She always encouraged me to write more, ever since she read the story I wrote when I was very little about Indians (Yes, Native Americans, I know, but I’m about 1/32 Wampanoag, so it’s okay).  She loved that I kept using the word “lurking”.  I’m trying to think how old I was when I wrote it.  I’m pretty sure it must have been before my brother was born, because I think the story was about a boy and his little sister, and I suspect there would have been a baby in the story if my brother had been born yet.  So that would have made me about four.  That seems awfully young.  Maybe my mom will comment and clarify my age.

Anyway, I think Granny might be out there somewhere, gently leading me towards writing.  She always believed in reincarnation, though, so maybe not.  Maybe she left a note on her way out of the Reincarnation Processing Center in the sky for someone to give me a little push.

I’m going to go look at those online courses today.  I still have to get started on the microeconomics course from MIT that a friend and I are doing, and I have about 12 other things I’ve been meaning to do, but hopefully now that I’ve mentioned this here, it will motivate me to get going.