So last night Jamie made some kind of shrimp and rice dish which was good. Thanks, McSteans!! We also watched Ghost Busters over at The Fortress of Ineptitude because apparently this year it's the movie's 25th anniversary. Jeez, that makes me feel old. There are so many lines in that movie that have been incorporated into the collective consciousness of my generation (e.g., "The light is green, the trap is clean.", "Someone saw a cockroach up on twelve.", and "If someone asks you if you're a god, you say, 'Yes!'"). Anyway, Ryan, Jamie, and I had, of course, seen this movie so many times that we were quoting along with the dialogue, but it was still a really fun movie to watch.
I also watched the ending of Waking Life, which I blogged about yesterday. Nothing in the ending that changed any of my opinions from yesterday's post. Definitely an interesting movie.
And in keeping with a recent topic that's been turned into something of a theme on this blog of late, the cover story from this week's Newsweek was about Oprah Winfrey, and how she's been using her show as a platform to promote many different alternative medicine treatments and controversial medications and procedures which fall outside the boundaries of mainstream medical science. The article sort of highlights the fact that Oprah seems to champion a large number of these treatments (everything from anti-aging treatments, to menopause "cures", and advice to parents against having their children vaccinated), often encouraging her audience to expect unlikely results and rarely giving equal time to conventional, mainstream doctors who might often caution against the use of many of these medications, treatments, and procedures because of known dangers or risks associated with them, or because the products haven't been thoroughly tested, and medical professionals just aren't sure what the products will do (or what side effects they may have).
I kinda see where Oprah is coming from, in a way. When you're a billionaire who is used to being able to solve a huge number of life's problems through the expenditure of financial resources and the proper application of appropriate personnel, it's probably not easy to accept the fact that there are some problems for which we really don't have a very good solution. When Oprah doesn't get the answer that she wants in order to address a problem, she's probably used to seeking out a different person who can help her solve it. For many problems this is probably a pretty good strategy.
There are situations, however, where other people will take advantage of the desperation or determination that people feel (and often these two things go hand in hand) and offer solutions that aren't really solutions at all. Sometimes this is by way of a cynical attempt to make a buck, but other times it's probably just as likely that the people making the products are also dissatisfied with the lack of medical progress in a given area and feel the need to push forward with some sort of alternative treatment. The problems pop up when these alternative treatments are either untested or are known to have serious health risks associated with them. And some of these treatments have just those sorts of risks, including unconventional anti-aging hormone treatments as advocated by Suzanne Somers, vaccination refusal for children as advocated by Jenny McCarthy, and by the management of thyroid disease through steps like relaxation and the consumption of soy milk as advocated by Dr. Christiane Northrup- all of these treatments, which carry a high risk of actual harm, have been advocated on Oprah's show. (She's also talked about a number of cosmetic surgery procedures, extolling their benefits while failing to really address their risks- an unbalanced bit of coverage which managed to even draw some criticism from The New York Times).
Anyway, I've already spent some time discussing alternative medicine in prior, recent posts, but I just found it interesting that this Newsweek article came out at a time when this stuff had already been on my mind. I guess this story about Oprah's involvement in this movement just sort of shows how popular and widespread the alternative medicine phenomenon has become (Oprah has, I believe, something like 40 million viewers a week for her show, plus there's the magazine, web pages, her book club, and other Oprah-related mass media outlets).
Anyway, the Newsweek article does point out that Oprah frequently gives good diet and fitness tips and some good advice regarding overall wellness.
It's really hard to dislike Oprah. She just seems like such a good, nice person. But it sounds like she's a bit misguided in some of the stuff going on here.
Kind of a remarkable story about a man in New Jersey who ended up giving a loaf of bread and $40 to a man who was attempting to rob his store. The 40-ish robber entered the convenience store with a baseball bat, ordering store owner Mohammad Sohail to hand over his cash. When Sohail pulled out a rifle and aimed it at the robber, the man broke down crying, telling the storeowner that he had lost his job and was just trying to provide for his family. Sohail gave the robber $40 and some bread, and the guy fled after telling Sohail that he wished to adopt the store clerk's Muslim faith.
Kind of a cool story. I hope that guy who tried to rob the place spends some serious time thinking about how close he came to being shot and about the generosity of the man who let him go. People continue to truly amaze me.
Also, a new, unmanned submarine called Nereus is being launched in initial expeditions which are expected to bring new knowledge of some of the deepest parts of the oceans. The submarine is capable of operating autonomously, in a free swimming, pre-programmed, robotic capacity, but it can also be operated remotely on missions where it will remain tethered to a research vessel above it by way of a thin, fiber optic control cable. The sub has already completed test dives which took it to a depth of 6.8 miles deep in the Marianas Trench.
Pretty amazing stuff. In some ways its even more difficult to explore parts of the ocean at those depths than it is to explore outer space (mostly because of the incredible pressure exerted on submersibles that go that deep).
Hopefully Nereus will come back with lots of cool pictures and useful data (I watched part of some documentary on deep ocean animals the other night on cable, and there are some really weird critters down there). Anyway, the whole Nereus project just seems really cool, so I hope things go well for the researchers who are working on it.
And that's about it. Hope everyone has a good day!