Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is There a Laziness Gene?

By Deirdre van Dyk

Have you ever wondered why you can't get off the couch and exercise — despite paying for an expensive gym membership, despite your New Year's resolutions, even despite the doctor's scolding at your last checkup? Turns out that your inertia may be coded right into your genes.

Based on some intriguing preliminary studies in animals, J. Timothy Lightfoot, a kinesiologist, and his team at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, suggest that genetics may indeed predispose some of us to sloth.

Lightfoot, who originally wanted to coach college basketball and is himself an avid athlete, began studying activity levels as a way to try to figure out why, given all we know about the overwhelming health benefits of physical activity, so many people still choose not to exercise. A lecture at Johns Hopkins University about genetics and lung disease served as Lightfoot's eureka moment, and he became interested in studying genes as our prime mover. For the new study, Lightfoot and his team bred two strains of mice — active and inactive. Researchers then crossbred two generations of the active and inactive mice, ending up with a study group of 310 genetically mixed offspring. At about 9 weeks old, each mouse was housed in an individual cage and given an exercise wheel. Researchers measured how far, how long and how fast the animals ran every day for three weeks, at the end of which the mice were genotyped.

Exercise-prone mice put in a good 5 to 8 miles per day (the equivalent of an average man running 40 to 50 miles a day) vs. 0.3 miles per day for inactive mice. While the exercise wheels of the activity-prone mice would turn all night, some of the sedentary mice devised ingenious ways to avoid activity. One stuffed wood shavings around the wheel and turned it into a bed; one used it as an, ahem, toilet; and one climbed on top of her wheel only to get a better look at the overhead sensors tracking her movements.

Although the animals' activity levels could not be entirely attributed to genes, researchers calculated that heredity accounted for about 50% of the differences in activity. They also found that activity-promoting genes were dominant traits in 75% of the exercise-loving mice. (Researchers don't know yet how often the activity-inclined genotype would naturally occur; Lightfoot says he found a fairly continuous range of activity levels, from extremely active to very low-active, in about 30 mice strains he tested.) "When we used to talk about activity, it was whether or not people decided to be active," says Lightfoot. "Now it's clear that there's an inherent drive as to whether one is active or not active."

Exactly how that drive plays out in the body is still a mystery. There are two theories, Lightfoot says: Genes may affect either the way muscles work — perhaps causing them to use energy more efficiently and preventing fatigue — or some higher-order biochemical circuit in the brain, such as levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine or serotonin. Researchers have examined the muscle tissue of the mice in the study, however, and early data, which has not yet been published, suggests that there's no difference in their function. So the researchers' best guess is that the drive to exercise is at least partly influenced by brain chemicals — a reasonable hypothesis, given that dopamine or serotonin plays a significant role in several human drives and behaviors, including hunger, addiction, mood and movement disorders like Parkinson's disease.

Chemistry is not destiny, of course. Lightfoot hopes to use his research to help determine which patients may need a bigger boost to get moving — he thinks that perhaps close supervision by trainers or rewards for exercising will encourage genetic lazybones to get to the gym. And maybe one day, he speculates, there might even be a drug to compensate for what your genes won't give you. A drug that makes you want to exercise? Now that's a pill worth swallowing.

Find this article at:,8599,1827106,00.html

Sunday, July 27, 2008

All Hat, No Cattle

All hat, no a saying down in Texas.

And there's also a song that goes with it. It's a song about a smooth-talking, long-tall, slow-walking, dollar-store made-up dude, who's all dressed up looking like the Marlboro Man. Starched shirt, starched jeans, big trophy buckle and an empty Copenhagen can. You see him standing there blabbing his mouth....all with a fake Texan drawl........talkin' cowboy this and cowboy that........but the closest he's been to a cow is watching an old John Wayne movie. He's all hat and no cattle, the guy just ain't real.

It's incredible to see many a hat with no cattle in the household of faith....sounding brass, tinkling cymbal......all.

Tongue talking, prophecy spewing, mountain moving, prayer warrior.........but blind to the need of mere mortals all around.

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1 Corithians 13: 1-3"

Oh yes he's careful to tithe even the tiniest income........the rue, the mint, and all.........but ignores justice and the love of God......

When a needy brother comes along asking for help, he tells him,‘.....Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God......Corban..........what I would have given to you....."

Of course he loves the Lord..........yet

"If a man says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar...1 John 4:20"

He goes to church, virtually lives in the church. He prays every single day, many times a day. He's the first at church programs, his voice the loudest, and his hands raised the highest, during praise and worship. What a piety to the deity.


"....if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20"

All hat, no cattle. What a shame to God's Name.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Running On Empty

I feel.....and do know....that I'm.........running virtually on empty. My spiritual gas tank is already showing red.........and my fire....power....engine...of dangerously tethering on stuttering. The altar is doggone cold........the fire breathlessly struggling to stay burning.

My current knowledge of the scriptures, I must confess, pales in comparison to what it used to be, 5, 10 years ago.

Take for instance this morning, I struggled.............and still find this scriptural verse in the bible.......

"...God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform........"

I searched and searched and searched but failed!!!!

Would somebody be the eyes of Jesus and help me find it? Could you be the Savior's mouth and tell me where it is? Would you reach out, with the hand of the Messiah, and rescue a drowning Christ Believer?

The call is gone out. Who, with the ears of Jesus, will hear my cry and call?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Fear of Change

January  31, 1829

President Jackson,

The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as railroads. The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons.

One, if boats are supplanted by railroads, serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for horses.

Two, boat builders would suffer and towline, whip, and harness makers would be left destitute.

Three, canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war.

As you may well know, Mr. President, railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by engines which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.

Sincerely Yours,
Martin Van Buren
Governor of New York

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Africa Faces Another Rising Expense: Fuel

July 12, 2008
DAKAR, Senegal — In the United States, where the median household income is about $48,000, $4-a-gallon gas is painful.
In Nigeria, most of whose 140 million citizens live on less than $2 a day despite their country’s status as the world’s eighth largest oil exporter, $5.50-a-gallon diesel is excruciating.

Daniel Idoko runs a small business center in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and because the country’s electricity supply is so balky, he relies on a diesel generator to run his computers, fax machines and copiers. The price of diesel has increased by 110 percent in the past few months, transforming his once prosperous small business from an asset to a liability.

“I employ six people and pay rent for this shop, salaries, and I maintain equipment,” Mr. Idoko said Friday, with a mix of frustration and resignation. “How much do I have to make to break even?”

Rising global food prices have sent discontent rippling across Africa in recent months, prompting riots and demonstrations from Zambia to Senegal, Tanzania to Niger. Now fuel prices are causing rumblings as well. On Friday, fuel tanker drivers in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, went on strike over rising prices of diesel fuel and poor road conditions, a move that could cripple the economy.

In Africa, fuel prices are a much less emotional issue than food prices. Food takes up 50 percent or more of a household’s budget, but since most people do not have cars, the price of gas is meaningful only as it relates to bus and taxi fares.

But now those are rising rapidly, too. In Namibia this week, bus and taxi drivers increased fares by 10 percent after the country’s sixth fuel price increase this year. In Senegal, a ride in a private minibus that once cost 50 cents can now cost double that.

Fuel prices are also eroding the profits of businesses across Africa — where a single breadwinner sometimes supports a dozen people or more — hurting some of the neediest people in the world. Prices have risen so fast that they threaten to undermine the continent’s nascent economic boom, which has been driven in large part by high prices for the natural resources that many countries export.

Benedicte Christensen, acting director of the International Monetary Fund’s Africa department, told reporters earlier this month that price shocks had raised import costs across Africa, undermining growth.

In Senegal, where power generation is largely dependent on diesel, the state-run electrical company has struggled to provide continuous power to large swaths of the country. Oumar Ba, a tailor who shares a large workshop with dozens of others here in Dakar, said the electricity was usually off half the day, cutting deeply into his income.

“It is very hard to work like this,” Mr. Ba said. “But I have people in the village depending on me, so I try to keep going.”

Countries that set national fuel prices, facing huge import expenses, have had to raise prices. Burundi, a tiny, impoverished nation that has suffered through civil war and mass killings, just raised its prices by 8 percent. Ivory Coast, a onetime regional economic powerhouse also struggling to recover from civil war, raised its fuel prices this week to more than $7 a gallon.

In Nigeria, where corruption and misrule have squandered, by some estimates, as much as $400 billion in oil profits over the past 40 years, cheap gas is nothing less than a birthright. But Nigeria’s dilapidated refineries cannot produce enough gasoline to supply the country. The government imports about $4 billion a year of petroleum products. Government subsidies have kept regular gasoline selling for about $2 a gallon, but the price of diesel, crucial for businesses and heavy transport, has rapidly risen.

“The cost of diesel is too much so we can’t even use the generators any more,” said Dennis Mbang, 35, a pharmacist in a military hospital in Lagos. “The common man doesn’t feel fine. The wealth is here, oil is here, but the masses are suffering.”

High fuel costs are a particularly bitter pill for Nigeria because its own troubles have helped raise prices. Attacks on oil installations by militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta region have helped briefly to knock Nigeria out of its spot as Africa’s top oil producer, in favor of Angola.

The International Monetary Fund’s recent analysis of the effects of rising oil and food prices warned that at least 18 countries in Africa would be pushed to the tipping point by high fuel prices.

“It is a potential source of instability, particularly when you combine the galloping price of petrol with food prices,” said Philippe de Pontet, an analyst with the Eurasia Group, a political risk analysis consulting firm.

In Liberia, one of the world’s poorest countries after 14 years of civil war, price increases for oil and food would consume almost all of the country’s foreign reserves. Higher oil prices will cost Ghana, which has one of West Africa’s most promising economies, 8.1 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the monetary fund.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

May God Bless America

I am proud to be an American! How about you?

For all her imperfections and faults the United States of America remains the beacon of hope for the world's hopeless. A place where strangers are welcomed with open arms. A land where dreams become reality. A nation that cherishes excellence and gifts of the human mind. People of all races, creeds, and tongues call this place home.

This is the world's melting point. There's no other country like this one - none comes even close.
May God bless this land.
May His peace reign in this place.
Happy 4th of July everyone!!!!