Eat Right

or end up in jail.

That seems to be the bottom line for research Clayton Cramer reported on.

The UK prison trial at Aylesbury jail showed that when young men there were fed multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, the number of violent offences they committed in the prison fell by 37%. Although no one is suggesting that poor diet alone can account for complex social problems, the former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham says that he is now “absolutely convinced that there is a direct link between diet and antisocial behaviour, both that bad diet causes bad behaviour and that good diet prevents it.”

The scientist at the National Institute of Health running this study explains why he thinks this dietary change makes a difference:
His hypothesis is that modern industrialised diets may be changing the very architecture and functioning of the brain.

We are suffering, he believes, from widespread diseases of deficiency. Just as vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, deficiency in the essential fats the brain needs and the nutrients needed to metabolise those fats is causing of a host of mental problems from depression to aggression. Not all experts agree, but if he is right, the consequences are as serious as they could be. The pandemic of violence in western societies may be related to what we eat or fail to eat. Junk food may not only be making us sick, but mad and bad too.

Need to make sure the boys get their vitamins.

Personal diagnosis

National Geographic has a post about going to the doctor and getting your genome checked to find out what is wrong with you.

A couple of thoughts.

One: Do I want the doctors to have my genome?

Two: How would checking my genome have fixed the problem the doctors had diagnosing the excessive scarring inside my abdomen after a very traumatic C-section? It wouldn’t. In fact, it would have given the doctors one more excuse to say that “nothing” was wrong. That nothing almost killed me.

Three: I can’t get the doctors to work with me now on obvious problems, such as the test says I’m taking too much thyroid, but my hair, fingers, and toes say six pills is perfect and five is too few. Will giving them another test really help me?

Just some quick thoughts from a skeptic.

Religious freedom will be limited

and the Boy Scouts are an indication of how. The Boy Scouts are a nonprofit and had access to certain places. Now they no longer have that access because they don’t admit gays and atheists. Other nonprofits do have that access.

So religious groups can believe what they want to, but there will be a hierarchy of acceptance. What one group has will not be available to another.

It doesn’t actually limit religious freedom, but it seems to me that it is a step in that direction.

(If I figure out how to say what I am thinking more clearly, I will repost.)

Boy Scout post found from Stop the ACLU, one of my daily reads.

The Evangelical Outpost posted “The Marriage Muzzle: Same-Sex Marriage’s Threat to Religious Liberties”. It is what started my sons and me discussing the question of how religious freedom will be limited in the future if changes are made. This blog entry is a postscript to that conversation.

If your child is on MySpace

this article from Wired is something you might want to read.

It’s about how sexual predators are on MySpace but that MySpace says they can’t find them.

“The automated script searched MySpace’s 1 million-plus profiles for registered sex offenders — and soon found one that was back on the prowl for seriously underage boys.

That’s something that MySpace has said it cannot do.”

Well, why not? The guy writing the article wrote code that could do it. Couldn’t MySpace buy his code? Or hire someone else to do the same thing?

In case you think the one guy was a fluke, read on in the article.

“I confirmed 744 sex offenders with MySpace profiles, after an examination of about a third of the data. Of those, 497 are registered for sex crimes against children…”

Hittite Carvings

A cool article from Reuter’s. Lots of their stuff goes away, so I copied what I was interested in.

… discovered two winged creatures carved on a basalt slab dating from the Hittite period in the second millennium BC….

…unique carvings of, among others, sparring lions, bull men, and a figure of a half man and half fish with slender hands.

A main slab shows the storm god, club in hand, mounting a chariot drawn by a muscular bull. The altar of the temple was also discovered almost intact.

“The carvings are kept so well, although you can see traces of a fire from the first millennium BC,” he said, adding that ancient quarries matching the basalt used in the temple were recently found a few km (miles) outside Aleppo.

A research paper on how to protect the site, published by the Syrian ministry of culture and the World Monument Fund, said the temple represented the first known use of decorated stone slabs in the Near East.


The temple, archaeologists say, has helped shed light on the Hittites and the Luwian-Aramean kingdoms closely linked to them.

One of the slabs shows a king making an offering to the storm god, which Luwian hieroglyphs named as King Taitas of Padasatini, a previously unknown kingdom that ruled in southern Turkey and Syria, the research paper said.

Hittites were an Indo-European race who settled in Anatolia in what is now Turkey in the 18th century BC and grew 300 years later into a major military power that reached Syria and Iraq before collapsing around the 13th century BC.

They were fearsome warriors, sacking Babylon in 1595 BC, but also engaged diplomatically with pharaohs from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, who ruled large parts of the Syrian coast including present-day Lebanon.

Some of this diplomatic correspondence was found among archives of the pharaoh Akhenaton, discovered in Egypt.

Professor Kay Kohlmeyer, who headed the German mission in Aleppo, said the sophistication of the Storm God temple is helping to show ancient Syria was not just a cultural backwater.

“There is nothing like these reliefs from the Hittite Empire period (1420-1200). The challenge now is to preserve the temple,” he said.

Basalt is known to become weak when exposed to the sun and rain, especially if buried for a long period, Kohlmeyer said.

Anatolia is where Wynne ended up and where she met Uncle Toban. This was about the real time period of my story. And my story takes place in Hittite Syria. I didn’t know that before.

Making Faces

New Scientist says that “Facial expressions appear to be at least partially inherited, according to a study of blind people and their relatives.”

Good. Now I can quit being upset that the big smile with the eyes almost closed that my husband doesn’t like is also smiled by my eldest son. It’s genetics, so I don’t have to wonder how to unteach him. My nephew makes the same face. (I think it is cute.)

Found via Mirabilis, a great daily read.


That’s a new word made up by someone (linguists) to mean “green-blue.” Apparently many groups don’t differentiate the color(s).

Read about it at Nature.

I wrote about the number of colors in a language varying, blue is green II, and language coloring vision earlier in my blogging career.

I keep coming back to it because I find it fascinating. But you can’t get the really cool article referenced in the last unless you’re a premium user of Nature online.

Baby! Grandma!

No, not me. But one of my best friends, who is one month younger than I am, is going to be a grandmother in six weeks. Yes, I know I ought to have known before now… But I wrote the mother a few weeks ago and she didn’t tell me, so I am not sure how I should have known. Maybe I should pray for God to let me know when to call those ladies. I love them bunches but they’re not “keep in touch regularly” kind of folks.

A baby. A girl. I’ve got to get out and buy a baby outfit. Soon.

A grandmother. She is going to have to quit coloring her gray.

Whoo hoo! Hip hip hooray! A new baby.

(Can you tell I am excited?)

Houston Flooding

I’ve already had a call from a student who is in a hotel, with her baby, without a car. Her house and car flooded. She took a taxi to rent a car, but they wouldn’t rent her a car because she isn’t 25.

At least she wasn’t one of those who drove their car through high water and drowned.

It is no longer raining. (Thank you, God!)


My sons are white males, so I’ve been a bit paranoid about affirmative action for years. (I even called the diaper company and complained because there were no male white babies on the diaper!)

But some other people have more reason to be concerned, I think.

Maybe my friend Bev should be worried for Mei. Inside Higher Ed is saying that Asians are being discriminated against for college entrance.

It made me think of this article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker about discriminating against Jews at Harvard and Yale.

Both first glimpses of these articles came from one of my daily reads, Discriminations.


I am thinking of quitting homeschooling.

I have been homeschooling my sons, ages 15 and 14, for about 13 years. Early on we did Bible lessons and crafts. We went for walks and sang songs. Then school came. A friend recommended “thirty minutes a day for kindergarten and then add half an hour a year.” I stuck with the thirty minutes, but I think that after that I probably got too long.

For first grade E went to a private school that I chose because it seemed to have the best academics and the best Christian teaching. The academics weren’t great and the Christianity, regardless of the teaching, was lacking. But I was afraid. I didn’t want to homeschool for years and so, out of fear, I left my eldest son in a class with a teacher who wouldn’t challenge him, didn’t like him, and thought the rules were far more important than the children.

I hope God and E will forgive me for that. I also hope that God will redeem the time for E and not let my fear and my bad choices hurt him long term.

After that year, though, I knew that I needed to homeschool. I could not trust my children to a school, regardless of what the sign on the door indicated, who wouldn’t love them as best they knew how. So I committed to homeschool them for however long that took, even knowing that it would probably take through high school.

Many mothers are thrilled to know that they will have their little ones with them for a great deal longer than normal. I was afraid. Many mothers take unabated joy in the reveling with their children. I loved being with my children, but I also wanted a break. God gave me a couple of hours a week and then a few more. It was enough.

My children are a challenge. They keep me growing in ways I may not really want to grow but know I need to. I still have some more growing to do, but I am not sure if I will do that growing in this phase of life.

Thirteen years of hard work (It was hard for me, though blessed and loved and occasionally a joy.) have gone by and now I am trying to decide, once again, what the best choice is for my sons. It is not for me that I chose homeschooling and, if I give it up, it will not be for me that I give it up. (I have looked forward to the time when my sons would be grown and I would go back to full-time teaching of other people’s children, but I have not been inclined to hurry it along too much. It has been mostly a financial looking forward.)

I have two sons. I love them both dearly. Both of them are smart. Both of them are special. Both of them are different.

But in my home, at my knee, one of them has become an atheist. (My husband says it is not my fault and I am grateful for the release from guilt. But I also know that elders are required to have faithful children and so I wonder if, in some way, it is.)

And in my home, with my teaching, one of them has declared that he is a socialist and that Islam is not as bad “as all that.” I don’t think he is turning away from God, but he is turning away from me. And I don’t want to encourage him into the abandonment his brother has chosen. (I don’t know how likely it is, but I know that the possibility exists.)

And I grieve. They are my sons and I love them. I have taught them some of what I intended to and, somehow, I have taught them things I never intended. And some of the things I wanted most to teach them, I did not manage to teach them.

My eldest is already taking college courses and I am not sure what he could take at a high school. I am not sure there would be classes available for him that would be at his level. But I know that emotionally he isn’t ready for college full time. And he’s certainly not ready spiritually. I could just continue to have him take two classes a semester at the college for another year and a half. Or I could enroll him in high school and hope he got all AP classes.

But my youngest is eighth grade age and is more social, or he has been in the past. (I wonder if our lack of getting out and being social has impacted his desire to be social. He has always wanted to be like us.) His weakest subject is math. I can see where he would benefit from going backwards in that class, even if he doesn’t in all the rest. And right now he’s spending hours working on his math every day. It is beyond him. But I’ve done all I know how to do to help him. I don’t know what else there is that I can do.

And so, because I love them, because I want what is best for them, I am wondering if they would be better off in public school.

This is not a decision I am approaching in anger. It is not from frustration with teaching (though I’ve had those times).

I wonder if they would be better off in public school because I am no longer having a positive impact on their lives. Perhaps if they were with other people more, the value of what I value would be more clear to them. Or perhaps if they were away from me, they would be less likely to rebel against me.

I do not want to abandon them, not even into the waiting arms of the middle and high school.

But I wonder if they would be safer, better off, less rebellious, if they were with someone else most of the day instead of with me.

God, give me wisdom. Give me strength. Show me what you want me to do and how to do it. Please.

Feminist argument against abortion

“The socio-economic status of women tends to deteriorate as abortion is repeated.”

So if you are pro-woman, you should be anti-abortion, since repeat abortions mean a woman is less able to care for herself.

“Women who repeat abortions tend to have increasing health problems …”

So if you are pro-woman, you should especially be anti-repeat abortions, since women having them tend to be sicker.

Scroll down to Women Increasingly Receive Public Assistance to read the whole article for yourself.

Unfunded abortions

lead to fewer births.

I read the study online somewhere a few years ago. I remembered Ohio and Michigan, but couldn’t Google it up. One of my students showed me a sentence about it, when I asked if anyone had seen it, and the sentence, not cited!, included Georgia. Putting that in I got Trussell, et al’s work. But you have to have a college library subscription to access it.

However, I kept looking and found a site that summarizes it well.

That is here.

With funding cut off, abortions decrease, but births decrease as well….

One of the states, Michigan, continued to pay with state funds for poor women’s abortions. The other two, Ohio and Georgia, did not. Birth and abortion records of Medicaid-eligible women for all three states were studied and compared for a six-month period of 1977 (before Hyde) and a comparable period of 1978 (after Hyde).

Indeed, there was a reduction in abortions in Ohio and Georgia, apparently resulting from the cutoff of public funds. So what is to account for the decrease in births? Conceptions decreased. The decrease amounted to 4% in Georgia and a hefty 15% in Ohio. Remember that these figures come from a careful counting of birth and abortion records kept for Medicaid-eligible women in both states.

I think we should stop funding abortions.

Being Short

is sometimes genetics. And sometimes it is because you had inadequate food. That is true of my grandmother and of one of my cousins. (My aunt fed her a no fat diet for years because when she was born she wasn’t in the lowest quartile for weight and she didn’t want her to be fat.)

I’ve never seen any scientific discussion on the fact, but it seems evident to me.

Apparently it does to John Bolton, too. In arguing against allowing luxury goods into North Korea he said, “I think, you know, the North Korean population’s been losing average height and weight over the years, and maybe this’ll be a little diet for Kim Jong Il.”

600,000 is so wrong

A round up of posts on the topic:

All Things Conservative presents a review of what was wrong with the LAST hyped up number.

Here is Seixon’s take on last years numbers, which were 500,000 lower than this years. This year’s study is a follow-up.

Confederate Yankee mentions that the numbers are 550,000 more than Iraq Body Count is giving out.

Clayton Cramer discusses the numbers in terms of the media (Why wouldn’t they be on this?) and escalating violence (“high” numbers don’t reach the daily requirement for this to be true).

Blue Crab Boulevard says there would need to be more than 500 deaths A DAY for this to be true.

Gateway Pundit gives some perspective, saying this would be “3-10 Hiroshima atomic blasts” or “6-20 Nagasaki atomic blasts” “Or 10 Dresden bombing campaigns.” Don’t think we would have missed that. He also notes that the AP reported 2,660 people dead this month. (Not enough to make the body count 600,000.)

Rants and Rayguns discusses the problems with the Johns Hopkins study specifically in terms of the Iraqi government’s official figures, as per the study.

Right Wing Nut House discusses the study, including quoting the people who are supporting it as saying “there is very, very little reliable data coming out of Iraq.”

Allah at Hot Air says the Iraqis claim it is exaggerated and that the pre-invasion deaths per 1000 that the study used is too low. I would certainly expect it to be higher with Saddam in charge than other countries’ death rate.

Dean’s World has an argument that includes many links backing up his statements, including Iraqis being prone to exaggeration and forging documents.

Frum at National Review says there is a problem with the sample; it is not statistically representative.

Texas Rainmaker is a little het up. He lets us know that one of the researchers ran for Congress this year as a Democrat. He also points out that males 15-44 are 59% of the results. (Jihadists?)

It seems that if these numbers from The Lancet were right that we would hear even MORE uproar than we do about the war.

Update: Clayton Cramer has a new post that points out that using the researchers’ own words, the number of deaths per day goes up to around 900. His readers also point out how the interviewing process was flawed.

Mark Goldblatt at National Review says that, based on UN numbers, 100,000 less people have died since we went to war, even if the 600,000 number is correct. (I don’t think it is, but looking at what he said scares me. How many people can die in a year before the country is debilitated and not resucitable?)

Update: Stop the ACLU discusses the problem with their cluster sampling.