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January 31, 2005

BehindTheMedspeak: bookofjoe going mobile - after a fashion


The big news in medical circles last week, about how fit people constantly move around and fat people don't, focused on the study published in Science magazine by Dr. James Levine (above) and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic.

Here at bookofjoe, we go beyond the headlines and behind the scientific papers on which they're based to bring you what others not only ignore, they don't even notice.

Why the heck do you think I call this feature "BehindTheMedspeak," anyway? But I digress.

Buried in the depths of last Friday's New York Times story by Denise Grady about the study was this:

"Dr. Levine of the Mayo Clinic said the study findings had inspired him to redesign his office. His computer is now mounted over a treadmill, and he walks 0.7 miles an hour while he works."

"'I converted a completely sedentary job to a mobile one," he said."

"The walking is addictive and 'terribly good fun,' Dr. Levine said, adding that he has had 30 or 40 requests from colleagues at Mayo for treadmill desks like his."

Precisely my thought as I read the article and his comments above.

I emailed Dr. Levine yesterday.

Here is my email:

Dear Jim,

I saw a picture of you working/walking.

I'm gonna replicate your setup.

What treadmill do you use?

And do you realize your endorsement potential?

You need an agent!


Joe Stirt, M.D.
'world's only blogging anesthesiologist'
USA Today 'Hot Site'


He wrote me back this morning; here is what he said:

I guess so - where do I find an agent - the treadmill is from Sears, costs about $400.

Make SURE it operates slow (0.7 mph).




Perhaps the only downside of producing bookofjoe is the interminable amount of time I'm forced to spend sitting here at the computer.

Sure, I'm sitting on an air cushion, so there's an element of movement going on, but not all that much.

Which is why as I type these characters, my crack research team is busy organizing a treadmill purchase.

Because, much more than "Be Like Mike," I wanna "Be Like Jim."

As I told him in my email.

I also told him where to find an agent.

Because I'm about making my readers happy, rich, successful, and able to achieve their dreams.

Why else take up space on the planet?

January 31, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sentri - Create your own police state for only $300


Sentri stands for SmartSensor Enabled Neural Threat Recognition and Identification.

It was created by Safety Dynamics, an Illinois company that's currently installing a network of its devices (above) in Chicago.

They're high-tech ears.

Using microphones and a "time-phased acoustic pattern modeled on the human brain" to listen for specific sounds, the device dials 911 once such sounds are detected.

The company expects to offer cellphone-sized consumer modules next year for $300, each containing an interchangeable SIM card programmed to detect one specific sound, such as broken glass.

The devices could be attached to a digital camera such that, for example, you'd have a nice high-rez shot, suitable for framing, of the guy who smashed your window and took your car audio system.


For what that's worth.

[via Erika Stalder and Wired magazine]

January 31, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ambient Light Vee - A $1,300 solar car that seats two and goes 21 mph


Oh, yeah - I almost forgot: 0 emissions.

Canadians Jeff Dekzty and Will Scully (above) designed and built it.

That's Dekzty sitting in it, preparing to take it out for a spin.

Hey, so OK, it's not a McLaren, but the Model T wasn't all that great-looking either.

Unlike with Mercedes, you can build your own.

They're gonna post their plans online, for all to use, free; all they ask is that you let them know if you make any improvements.

Can open source do for car design what it did for software?

We shall see....

Very cool, I must say.

The latest (February) issue of Wired magazine features their car.

Toyota's Prius division better start looking over their shoulder....

Meanwhile, turns out there's a whole slew of homebrew solar vehicles emerging from garages all over the planet.

Hey, it worked for Hewlett and Packard, and Jobs and Wozniak didn't do too badly either....

January 31, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Haute Damn - 'Form on Fire'


That's the slogan of this new clothing line, created by Woodpile Studios.

Woodpile attained instant chops for having created the logo for this year's upcoming Grammy Awards.


Seizing on their wonderful good fortune - in South Korea, they call it "carping the diem"; or is it cloning the carp? oh heck, I don't remember... - the company created a line of clothing called Haute Damn.

Get it?


I did - after a second or ten.

Their limited edition clothing "will be included in the famous GRAMMY® Gift Baskets."


Lash Fary (hey, I did not make up this name - go look, it's on the Haute Damn website), a well-known lifestyle expert, said of the Haute Damn line, "I love the look and feel of what they've done with the design. It's 'edgy' meets classic Rodeo Drive."


To me, it looks more like Harley


meets Davidson.

But then, what do I know?

My smart drugs are wearing off, I've breathed too much unscavenged waste gas, I'm really in no position to talk.

That's why I'm silent as I type.


Lash Fary... next thing you know, there'll be some trend forecaster who'll decide to call herself Faith Popcorn.

Lash Fary noted that Haute Damn's clothing will be snuggling up to things like the iPod in those gift baskets.

Hey, guess what: if you rub yourself against an iPod, all you do is warm up the iPod: you don't simultaneously become cool.


Where did Lash Fary study thermodynamics, anyway?

January 31, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity


Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is one of the most controversial areas in modern medicine.

Along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), these two diagnoses probably provoke more argument and disagreement than any others, first and foremost regarding whether they even exist or not.

The medical establishment currently classifies MCS as a "syndrome of unknown origin," much like the more widely publicized Gulf War syndrome and CFS.

The absence of a universally accepted definition of MCS, and the idiosyncratic nature of its symptoms, contribute to the overall sense of frustration, anger, and polarized viewpoints.

A very helpful introduction to what it means to be afflicted with MCS was published in the January 20 Washington Post, in a story by Jeff Turrentine entitled "Sensitivity Workshop."

After reading it, you might want to wander over to the website of the Healthy House Institute, run by John Bower, author of "The Healthy House," a 1989 book now in its fourth updated edition.


Along with his books and website, Bower consults on issues related to MCS and indoor air pollution, which he believes deleteriously affects many people who aren't even aware of the cause of their various miseries.

If you want to see a superb movie that depicts the destruction of a life by MCS, rent or buy "Safe," starring Julianne Moore.

Both the movie and Moore are riveting.

January 31, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All About Snow


Who better to tell you than the National Snow and Ice Data Center?

This most excellent website affords hours of enjoyment for the snowbound, snowless, and snow enchanted.

I'm not trying to snow you.

Or show you.

All I really wanna do-oo-oo...
Is baby, be friends with you.

Where'd that come from?

Maybe the "Charlie"/"Flowers for Algernon" experiment is starting to unwind, eh?

Better make this quick, then.

Go to the website, have fun, don't worry, be happy.

Yeah, the drugs are definitely wearing off.


This is an excellent book.

The movie of the same title, starring Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne and Richard Harris, is quite good also.

Given the choice, read the book first, then watch the film.

That's what I did.

And isn't that what you try to do whenever possible?

It's not?


Well, I do.

Works OK for me.

January 31, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: The rise and fall of the body-scanning clinics


Gina Kolata, one of the finest science writers on the planet, wrote a front-page story for the January 23 New York Times on the sudden emergence of the consumer-driven body-scanning industry in 2001, and the just-as-sudden implosion of the business.

After Oprah featured Dr. Harvey Eisenberg, the owner of one of these scanning centers, on her show in 2000, the industry exploded, with chains of scanning facilities going up in shopping centers seemingly overnight.

Radiologists loved them because patients paid cash for the procedures, which were not covered by insurance since they hadn't been prescribed or ordered by physicians.

Then the whole thing collapsed, driven largely by competition that lowered prices to the point that profit became impossible, along with a furious salvo of criticism from professional societies warning that for every positive finding that turned out to be something important, many more led to expensive, sometimes dangerous and fatal work-ups for things that proved to be ultimately benign or nonexistent.

But that's not why I decided to bring this subject to your attention.

No, it was a paragraph buried deep in the article that made me sit up and take notice.

    Dr. Carl Rosenkrantz, a radiologist in Boca Raton, Fla., said the business had another appeal – it promised radiologists a good living without being on call at a hospital and even without necessarily being present at the scanning center.

    "The goal in life seems to be to try to figure out some way where you don't have to go to the hospital, where you don't have to take calls," Dr. Rosenkrantz said.

    "Radiologists saw this as a cash business and a way out."

Many years ago, when I was still working at the University of Virginia, I happened to be sitting in the "Ready Room" reading the Washington Post.

It was the Style section, and it was an interview with Kinky Friedman,


founder and front man for Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, a country-rock group.

He'd just had his first novel published, a comedy-mystery about a detective who happened to also be a Jewish cowboy.

Anyhow, he was cutting up and goofing around with the Post reporter, back and forth, when he uttered words that burned themselves forever into my brain, or wherever things go that you remember forever.

She asked him why, since he already had a successful recording and concert career, he'd decided to write a book.


He said, "I'm in search of a lifestyle which does not require my presence."

Right there, he crystallized exactly what I'd been trying to focus on and achieve my whole life.

Not having to be somewhere, that's the ultimate freedom.

Not having to answer your door or the phone, hey, that's lagniappe.

And lo and behold, carrying that thought like a precious jewel for many years, I somehow emerged on the other side of the looking glass.

Where my presence was no longer required.

And here I am, there.

Because bookofjoe adepts don't care where I am: only that it appears.


I'm lovin' it.

January 31, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Motorola 2-Way radios - 7 mile range and a whole lot more


But the price is what blew me away: $85 a pair.

I remember not too long ago, when the range was 1 mile and they cost $500 a pair, and they looked like something the FBI would carry, bulky and steroided-out and industrial looking.

They've shrunk the box, extended the range, and dropped the bottom out of the price.

Truly impressive.

I have no need for these, nor can I think of one.

Reading the rave reviews on Amazon, I find that they're used by people who're using two different vehicles to move; by outdoorsmen and trekkers and backpackers; by a husband and wife to make it easy to reposition a satellite TV receiver without both people screaming at the top of their lungs; and the usual assortment of people on job sites, etc.

Of course, you're not gonna get a 7-mile range unless you and your partner are out on the Bonneville Salt Flats; but even if it's half or a third of that, it's more than enough for what you might need them for.

I'm tempted to buy them and figure out a use some other time, they're just so exactly what I would've died to have had as a boy.

Born too late, that's my problem.

One of them, anyhow.

The $85 version (above) uses four AA batteries; the rechargeable ones (below)


cost $110.

January 31, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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