The family that eats together …

Via that excellent website Machines Like Us I came across this article by Anne Fishel that points to the benefits of having meals together with one’s children.

As a family therapist, I often have the impulse to tell families to go home and have dinner together rather than spending an hour with me. And 20 years of research in North America, Europe and Australia back up my enthusiasm for family dinners. It turns out that sitting down for a nightly meal is great for the brain, the body and the spirit.

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Are annual physicals useful?

I am one of those people fortunate to be covered by an employer-based health insurance plan that pays for an annual physical exam and I regularly schedule one because it seems like a good preventative way of detecting early problems. So I was surprised by this article by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an oncologist and a vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, who says that large longitudinal studies show that routine annual physicals are of little value and his new year’s resolution is to stop having them.
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What now for Sri Lanka’s ‘royal astrologer’?

In an earlier post I mentioned how the just-defeated Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, a very superstitious man in a very superstitious country, frequently consulted with his astrologer to ensure that the stars were properly aligned to ensure his success in all things, including his re-election bid. It turns out that even I underestimated the extent of his dependence on astrologers, as this article describes, written two days before the election.
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The role of chance in life is not controversial

I would have thought that speaking about the importance of chance in life would be uncontroversial. My post a few days ago about a new study that was of interest not because the researchers showed the role of chance in getting cancer but that it was more significant than I would have guessed, being responsible about 2/3 of the time, with only 1/3 due to heredity and the environment, something we focus on a lot.
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The menace posed by not vaccinating children

Tara Culp-Ressler had an article about how those who are opposed to vaccinating their own children against measles are threatening the lives of other children.

California officials issued a health alert this week over a measles outbreak that appears to have originated at Disneyland theme parks. Nine cases of the highly contagious virus have been confirmed so far in people who recently visited the tourist destination — most of whom haven’t been vaccinated against measles.
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Why hack attacks are becoming increasingly common

The Sony hack has again raised interest in the question of internet security. The Sony attack comes on the heels of other attacks on big corporations and they stem from a variety of motives, with many of them seeking to get credit card information and other data that enable fraud. The motives of the people behind the Sony attack seem less clear though the damage done to the privacy of large numbers of people is extensive. For most of us, the main concern is whether such attacks can be prevented so that we avoid having the private data we share with corporations compromised.
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Wanda, help me get the owls out of my bed

I am sure that all of us have misheard the lyrics of songs. My own favorite is the beginning of the Beach Boys song Help me Rhonda where I thought it sounded like they sang, “Well, since you put me down, there’ve been owls sleeping in my bed”. Of course, this was preposterous but that’s what it sounded like. (In my defense, the actual words are supposed to be “Well, since she put me down I ‘ve been out doin’ in my head” which does not make much more sense. For the longest time I also thought they were appealing to Wanda.) Each of us can give many examples of getting phrases or song words wrong.
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