Monday, July 21, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors right now, and Ridley Scott directed some of my favorite movies (Alien, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator), but I have a really hard time seeing anyone other than Charlton Heston as Moses.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Apollo 11 Day!

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, here's a video of Buzz Aldrin punching out a dude who called him a liar.

A Tale of Three Restaurants (and Guns)

The Pit Authentic Barbecue restaurant in Durham, NC posted a sign that read...
no weapons, no concealed firearms 
Shockingly, three criminals paid the sign no heed.
Authorities said just before 9 p.m. Sunday, three men wearing hoodies entered the restaurant through the back doors with pistols, and forced several staff members on the floor. 
Maybe that was the problem.  The criminals must have missed the sign because it was posted at the front of the restaurant and they busted in through the back.
Officials said the suspects assaulted two employees during the crime, but they were not seriously injured. 
That's a relief, but that outcome depended 100% on the restraint the criminals exercised over themselves.  Does depending on a violent criminal's self-restraint seem wise to you?
Owner Greg Hatem also said there were a few patrons in the dining room while the robbery was happening in the kitchen area. Workers were able to ask them to leave, and got them out safely through the front door. 
“We’re offering $2,000 for the arrest and conviction of these guys,” Hatem said. “We take this very seriously. We want to make sure our guests and our staff are taken care of.” 
By rendering them defenseless against armed, violent criminals?

That event inspired another restaurant owner to do the opposite.
Gun control is a hot topic across the country, and one East Tennessee restaurant owner is making her opinion very clear by posting a 'Guns are Welcome' sign on the front door of her family-friendly establishment.
Floyd said she posted the signs about a month ago after reading a story out of North Carolina. 
"They had put up a sign that said 'No Weapons Allowed' and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The convenience store manager was shot," said Floyd. "And that got me thinking. I lost a whole group of motorcyclists because they thought I didn't allow weapons. But I believe it's ok to carry as long as you have a permit." 
The restaurant does not sell liquor, and Floyd said she asks anyone who orders a beer if they are carrying.

That story reminded me of a previous one from Spokane.
Employees at a coffee shop in Spokane, Wash., are taking matters into their own hands after their store was robbed three times in less than a month. 
Sara Chapel, who owns Jitterz Java, is encouraging her employees to start carrying guns while on the job in order to protect themselves... 
“A couple of them bring handguns every day, no matter what shift it is. There is always a gun here now,” she said. “I would rather have it and need it, than need it and not have it.”
It's encouraging that in both cases in which the restaurants that supported the human right to self defense received mostly positive feedback from customers.
The coffee shop has so far received a flood of support on social media. 
“As long as the employees are well-trained in the use of firearms, I agree. Potential robbers will think twice before approaching them again,” Facebook user Mary Ann Gillispie Rohner wrote. 
“Citizens are the first responders in situations. I’m proud these ladies are prepared to protect themselves, like me!!” wrote Kelly Walker-Wincentsen.

The ladies of Jitterz Java also helped prove that armed self defense works.
On Sunday, a man aggressively tried to open a window at Jitterz Java and appeared to have a gun. The barista kept the window locked, grabbed her gun and called police. The man took off before police arrived.
To be clear, the owners of these establishments have the right to decide whether or not to allow guns on their property.  And potential customers have the right to decide whether or not to spend their money at those businesses for that - or any other - reason.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

If Ted Kennedy Drove a VW...

Via Instapundit:

"HEH", indeed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Murder Rates Decrease as Concealed Carry Increases

As I pointed out before, violent crime in the US decreased from its peak in 1993...

Source: Pew Research

...even as gun ownership increased.

Click to enlarge.  Source: NSSF

That doesn't prove that more guns = less crime, but it does prove "Liberals'" assertion that more guns = more crime false.  Now, the Crime Prevention Center published a study that demonstrates that murder rates in the US decreased as the rate of Concealed Carry Permit holders increased.

The study also breaks down the rate of Concealed Carry Permit holders in each state.  The states with the highest rate of Concealed Carry Permit holders are...
South Dakota   12.03% 
Indiana            10.79% 
Alabama          10.21% 
Utah                9.75% 
Tennessee        9.35% 
Pennsylvania    8.67% 
Iowa                8.53% 
Washington      8.49% 
Florida             8.23%  
Georgia            8.00%
Alaska, Arizona, most of Montana, Vermont and Wyoming do not require permits for concealed carry within the state.  Residents of those states that obtain CCPs do so in order to carry their guns legally when they travel to other states.  This is called reciprocity.  I mention all that because, although none of the states that allow Concealed Carry without a permit (often referred to as Constitutional Carry) are in the top ten, the proportion of people that carry in those states could very well be higher than any of the top ten states.  We can't know the actual proportion in those states because their residents can carry concealed firearms legally without a permit.

Every time the issue of Concealed Carry comes up, "Liberals" claim that CC leads to more violent crime, more accidental shootings, etc.  The argument I keep hearing and reading is that Concealed Carry results in wild west shootouts and blood running in the streets.

Obviously, the data prove those fever dreams false.  

Source: WaPo

All 50 states now have some form of Concealed Carry - every single one.  And yet, not only have dystopian "Liberal" fantasies about wild west shootouts and blood in the streets failed to materialize, homicides committed with guns, non-fatal crimes committed with guns and unintentional firearm-related fatalities decreased.

In other words, this doesn't necessarily prove that Concealed Carry results in less crime and fewer firearm-related accidental deaths, but it definitely proves "Liberals" wrong when they claim that Concealed Carry results in more crime and more firearm-related accidental deaths.

So, if Concealed Carry does not result in more crime or more firearm-related accidental deaths, why do "Liberals" continue to oppose Concealed Carry?  Because "gun control" ins't about guns, or crime or safety.  It's a bout expanding government control over law-abiding individuals.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weird Al's "Word Crimes"

I've been a "Weird Al" fan since "Eat It".  I haven't kept up with his song parodies in a long time, but tonight I stumbled onto "Word Crimes" and almost busted a gut laughing.

I promise to do my best to avoid abusing the English language.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Muscle Mass Predicts Longevity Better Than BMI

I'm on record stating that BMI is a crock.  I arrived at that conclusion through reasoning, not muscle mass is a better predictor of longevity
scientific research.  But now there is scientific research that demonstrates that BMI is a poor predictor of longevity, and that
Doctors routinely measure a patient's body mass index, or BMI. And if that weight-to-height ratio points to obesity, the doc might prescribe exercise, to shed the extra pounds. But when it comes to longevity, a focus on weight loss may be misplaced. Because BMI isn't actually a very reliable indicator of life span. A more useful measure, some physicians say, might be muscle mass. 
Researchers analyzed BMI and muscle mass data from more than 3,600 seniors in a long-term study. And they tracked which seniors had died, a decade later. Turns out BMI wasn't much good at predicting chance of death.

But muscle mass was: more muscle meant better odds of survival. The study appears in The American Journal of Medicine. [Preethi Srikanthan and Arun S. Karlamangla, Muscle Mass Index as a Predictor of Longevity in Older-Adults]
From the abstract:
Obesity (as defined by body mass index) has not been associated consistently with higher mortality in older adults. However, total body mass includes fat and muscle, which have different metabolic effects. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that greater muscle mass in older adults is associated with lower all-cause mortality. 
All-cause mortality was analyzed by the year 2004 in 3659 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III who were aged 55 years or more (65 years if women) at the time of the survey (1988-1994). Individuals who were underweight or died in the first 2 years of follow-up were excluded to remove frail elders from the sample. Skeletal muscle mass was measured using bioelectrical impedance, and muscle mass index was defined as muscle mass divided by height squared. Modified Poisson regression and proportional hazards regression were used to examine the relationship of muscle mass index with all-cause mortality risk and rate, respectively, adjusted for central obesity (waist hip ratio) and other significant covariates. 
In adjusted analyses, total mortality was significantly lower in the fourth quartile of muscle mass index compared with the first quartile: adjusted risk ratio 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.91) and adjusted hazard ratio 0.80 (95% confidence interval, 0.66-0.97). 
This study demonstrates the survival predication ability of relative muscle mass and highlights the need to look beyond total body mass in assessing the health of older adults.
I probably shouldn't have read the comments to the Scientific American article, but I did, and they are sadly typical of the kind of ignorance, laziness and plain stupidity one encounters on the internet.
Jerzy v. 3.0. March 21, 2014, 7:23 AM
Low muscle mass in elderly people may mean that all their systems are falling already. Questionnaire about exercise might be more meaningful. Correlation doesn't imply causation, sorry.
jtdwyer to Jerzy v. 3.0. March 21, 2014, 7:34 AM
Exactly! What's most important here is that BMI is a (loosely) quantifiable indicator of lifestyle health for children and young adults - for whom lifestyle factors contribute most greatly to long term health and survival.
Unfortunately, increasing muscle mass in the elderly is not likely to reduce morbidity! 
The responders obviously didn't read the abstract, because the answer to their objection about frailty in old age, near death is right there where I highlighted it in bold.  The researchers measured the subjects' muscle mass index when they were 55 (men) or 65 (women) years old between 1988 and 1994, not when they died.  They analyzed the causes of mortality in 2004.  They also eliminated all subjects who were underweight in the first two years after the survey to eliminate individuals whose "systems are failing already".

Worse still, the responders obviously didn't even bother to read the article to which they responded.
There's no cause-and-effect here—just correlation for now. But study author Preethi Srikanthan, of U.C.L.A., has this recommendation: "Get up and start moving. Focus on trying to maintain the maximum amount of resistance training that you can, and stop worrying so much about dropping calories." Which could take a little weight off your mind, too.

Anyway, Dr Srikanthan's advice isn't all that helpful.  How exactly does one "get up and start moving" and "focus on trying to maintain the maximum amount of resistance training that you can"?

People gain muscle and strength most easily in their teens, twenties and thirties.  After that, a person's hormone profile makes it increasingly more difficult.  The solution then, is to increase ones muscle mass as much as healthfully possible while young and maintain it as much as possible as one ages.  But how?  And what if one is already past 50?  Is it too late?

One shouldn't expect a physician to have the answer (it's not their specialty) and Dr Srikanthan doesn't, but that's OK, because Mark Rippetoe does.
Strength — as well as a tolerance for childish nonsense — is the thing we all lose as we age. Squatting down, standing back up, putting things overhead, pulling things up the driveway, loading the groceries, wrestling with the grandkids, teaching the dog who’s boss, mowing the yard, putting the broken lawnmower in the truck again: simple physical tasks we took for granted years ago are often problems for older, weaker people, as well as a source of potential injury that can be expensive and debilitating. 
Source: PJ Media

For most of us, this happens because of inactivity. If you do not use your muscles to produce enough force to maintain their ability to do so, it shouldn’t be surprising that they become less capable of doing it. And walking, running, riding a bicycle — physical activities whose performance is not limited by strength for even moderately active people — cannot increase or even maintain strength.
So, how does one fix this problem?
The absence of skeletal loading is typical for older people, since we now hire the heavy work done instead of doing it ourselves. And just like muscles, bones adapt to the “stress” of being unloaded by getting thinner and less dense. Running is not a weight-bearing exercise in the sense that strength training is. It’s just a “you-bearing” exercise, and the impact of repeated footfalls affects only the legs. In fact, people sensitive to impact have far fewer problems with the static nature of barbell training than they do the repeated impacts of running. A barbell sitting on the shoulders or held overhead in the hands loads the skeleton in a way that other exercises cannot do, and a strength training program always results in the preservation of bone density. Coupled with the strength necessary to control your balance, this is the best insurance against the tragic and often fatal pelvic fracture that an older person can acquire. 
Source: PJ Media

But the loss of strength can be slowed down quite a bit, and for older people who have never trained before, a vast amount of improvement can take place in a relatively short span of time. I have trained many older competitive “masters” lifters who started out as disinterested gym members and then experienced a sudden change of attitude when their strength doubled with six months of lifting weights. These people will tell you about the difference strength training — not running — has made in their lives. 
Here's a quote from the 3rd edition of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training.
Weight training is precisely scalable to the age and ability of the individual lifter... We have 11-pound bars - or even broomsticks - for kids to start lifting with... This logic also applies to every group of people who might be viewed as a "special population" - the frail elderly, people with skeletal and muscular disease, the completely sedentary, the morbidly obese... In fact, the adaptation to weight training is precisely the adaptation that these special populations need... (pages 322-323)
For further details, read the rest of Rippetoe's articles on PJ Media, then get the book.

Finally, the subject of BMI reminded me of this.
This is Jason Khalipa.

Jason Khalipa BMI = 31 (obese)

See what I mean?  BMI is a crock.