Is there life after death ?

I don't believe there is life after death. This is just my opinion, for now. Many Americans think otherwise. See data below. (from The Now York Time)

Top 5 posts from July, 2007

Below are my top 5 posts from July, 2007, selected by the number of comments I got per post. Thank you for everyone who shared your opinions here.
1) worlds tallest buildings.
2) obesity is contagious.
3) few kids walk or bike to school.
4) men are as talkative as women.
5) how to procrastinate.


Bad numbers of soda drinking

In my typical day, a cup of green tea in the morning, a cup of coffee in the afternoon. I don't give soda to my kids because side effects of drinking soda - sweetened drinks make people fat, damage teeth and bone due to the acidity, and interfere with the body's ability to process sugar, causing diabetes.

It is sad knowing (from the report ) that average American "drinks 18 ounces, or two full glasses, of soft drinks a day. In fact, according to a study last year, soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks have become the largest source of calories in the American diet, replacing white bread. The proliferation of soda tells the story: 450 different varieties are sold in the United States. While soft drinks are still king, with sales reaching $68.1 billion in 2005, sports drinks sales have increased 19.3% over the past year to $1.5 billion".


World's Tallest buildings

In case you want to know rankings of world's tallest buildings, here is a good reference from The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.


Wasting time at work

Working hard at job or hardly working ?
An online survey of 2,057 employees in US by online compensation company Salary.com found about 60% workers, especially who feel bored and underpaid, admit to wasting time at work with the average employee wasting 20% of their working day.
Personal internet use topped the list as the leading time-wasting activity according to 34% of respondents, with 20.3% then listing socialising with co-workers and 17% conducting personal business as taking up time.


Obesity is contagious

Whether realizing it or not, our ideas about eating, exercise and body image are shaped in part by those closest to us. After tracking more than 12,000 people over 32 years, a recent study shows when one person became obese, his siblings’ risk of also becoming obese jumped by 40%, while his spouse’s risk jumped by 37%. More strikingly, if that person had been named as a “friend” by another participant, the second participant’s risk of becoming obese shot up by 57%. If the friends were of the same gender, the risk was even higher, at 71%. (The study found a man’s weight gain would have no significant effect on his female friend’s weight, and vice versa, but the study did not have many male-female friendships to examine.) If the friends were particularly close - judged in the study by the fact that they both named each other on their lists of loved ones - the risk that one’s weight would follow the others’ increased by a whopping 171%.


Procrastination formula and how to procrastinate

Find this interesting definition of procrastination here -

Also, here is a video about how procrastination really works.(Unfortunately, this describes my life far better than I wish it did.) -


Casinos flourishing in Katrina-ravaged states

This is just sad story from NYTimes -
"Harrah's New Orleans, the largest casino in the city, is on pace for its best year ever: gambling revenue is up 13.6 percent through the first five months of 2007 compared with the same period in 2005, pre-Katrina. The casinos in this region are generating more revenue -- from significantly fewer players -- in large part because of the extra money that many area residents have in their pockets and fewer alternatives on where to spend it, casino executives and others in the region say".
Based on a 2005 review, slot machines account for about 70% of the $48 billion spent in America on gambling each year, which means that the average American spends 5 times more on slot machines than on movie tickets. There are now 2 times as many slot machines in America as ATM's.


Men with high levels of testosterone

Have you heard of the ultimatum game? It is played with two participants. The first is offered $40 and allowed to choose how much of that $40 to share with the second person. If the second person accepts the offer, the money is awarded to each as agreed. If the second person rejects the offer, neither gets any money. Economic theory predicts that the second person should always accept the offer. After all, $1 is better than nothing, but research has shown that people expect a little more fairness, and will reject lopsided offers. Now, probing further, one researcher discovered that men with high levels of testosterone are more likely to reject lowball offers.
In fact, the responders who rejected a low final offer had an average testosterone level more than 50% higher than the average of those who accepted. It looks like "what people really strive for is relative rather than absolute prosperity. They would rather accept less themselves than see a rival get ahead. That is likely to be particularly true in individuals with high testosterone levels, since that hormone is correlated with social dominance in many species".


Few kids walk or bike to school

According to a recent study, "in 1969, about 90% of kids in US who lived within a mile of school walked or rode bikes to get there. In 2004, just 48% did that at least one day a week. ....the numbers have dropped as the population has grown while the number of schools has declined and the distance to get to them has grown for many families". But still.
Above could be one of the factor for the high rates of childhood obesity in recent years.
My son, a 6th grader, always take school bus to school, although we live within a mile of school. My husband and me have 2 cars, both work, we believe it’s safer and more expedient (especially in the morning) that way, and we have been trying hard to encourage him doing other physical activities after school. But I rather to have him walk to the school.


Super-sized Americans

There is a interesting article on RD (August 2007) discussing issues with over-weight, super-sized Americans. Of all US women 18 and older, 50% say they buy plus-size clothing. In hospitals, the old scales topped off at 350 pounds, now the new digital scales can measure up to 1,000 pounds. In churches, 18 inches (width) chair used to be able to hold every worshiper, now most church insists 21 inches wide chair. Some people needs 60-inch arc umbrella, and ordering casket 28 inches wider than the standard model.


Lucky number 7

From grooms to gambles, people here in US believe the number 7 has mystical significance. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the mecca of Superstition - the Las Vega Strip. According to this week's Barron's Magazine, July 7 (last Saturday, or the one-in-a-century 07/07/07, the game usage was up 47% when compared with July 7 of last year (which was Friday), up 28% if compared with July 8 of last year (which was also a Saturday). Those number indicate significant increase in gaming activity. I read somewhere that marriages in US was up by 30% on the July 7 weekend over a similar Saturday last year.
.What can I say? People are meaning machines. We look for hints about what the future will hold and add meaning, often where there is none.


Moms tired of working

Corporations of America be aware - full-time working mother are tied of working. In the past decade, the percentage of working mothers who say full-time work is ideal dropped from 32% to 21%, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Now, 60% of them say they'd rather work part-time, up from 48% in 1997.
Likewise, only 16% of stay-at-home moms say they'd prefer to work full-time. That's down from 24% a decade ago. Nearly 50% of at-home moms say not working at all is ideal, up from 39% in 1997. Not surprisingly, 72% of fathers prefer working full-time.
Rating themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 on how well they've done at parenting, 43% of at-home moms said 9 or 10. Only 28% of full-time working moms rated themselves so highly.
Finally, 44% of at-home moms think it's bad for society to have so many mothers away at jobs, while just 34% of working moms think that.
I can list at least 3 reasons for this major attitude change from working mother - longer commute times to work; more demanding working environments; deteriorating children care services.


Men are the weaker sex

A recent article by Psychology Today tells a famous experiment:

studies demonstrate unequivocally that men are far more interested in short-term casual sex than women. In one now-classic study, 75% of undergraduate men approached by an attractive female stranger agreed to have sex with her; 0% of the women approached by an attractive male stranger did. Many men who would not date the stranger nonetheless agreed to have sex with her.
As writer Midge Decter stated in her book An Old Wive's Tale, men need sex more than women, and that gives women power over men. So no matter how strong or wealthy men are, their excess desire for sex leaves them ultimately, the weaker sex.


Most unpopular vice president in recent history

Polls by The New York Times and CBS News show Dick Cheney has had a recent drop in his approval ratings that making him the most unpopular vice president in recent history:
Cheney is now viewed disapprovingly by 59% of Americans, four points less thanQuayle's high of 63% in July 1992. Meanwhile, Cheney's personal favorability is an astounding 13% - an all-time low.


Why they call Europe the Old World

When I watching Europe traveling TV shows, I can't help but notice that there are many old people live there. According to a joint report by the European Commission and AARP (a U.S. lobby for the elderly), 24 of the world's 25 oldest countries are in Europe. (Japan is another one).
Using Italy' as an example - Italian life expectancy is 78.3 years for men and 84 for women. 26% of its population are older than 60 in 2005, One out of every five elderly Italians is over 80.
No wonder they call Europe the Old World.

Number of kids born out of wedlock

According to TIME (July 16, 2007), 71% of people surveyed in a recent Pew Research study believe that having children out of wedlock is a "big problem" for the U.S.; 44% believe it is "always or almost always wrong" for unmarried women to have children.
But, 37% of U.S. birth in 2005 were out of wedlock. In 1960, the rate was 5.3%. Today 47% of adults in their 30s and 40s have lived in a cohabiting relationships.


Men are as talkative as women

The notion that women talk more than men is widespread. But how much more? In a recent book written by a noted neuropsychiatrist, the numbers are - "a woman uses about 20,000 words a day, while a man uses only about 7,000." My personal experience tells me the difference is not that dramatic; women talk about 10 - 40% more than men.

In a latest study on this suject, scientist recorded the conversations of nearly 400 U.S. and Mexican male and female university students, for periods ranging from two to 10 days. To catch all of this chit-chat, they developed an electronically-activated recorder (with the fortuitous acronym EAR) that digitally, and unobtrusively, logged the daily conversations of those who wore the device.

The results: women in the study spoke a daily average of 16,215 words during their waking hours, versus an average of 15,669 words for men. True, the women win, but not by a statistically significant margin at all.


Employer discrimination against women with children

There is a long history of records showing employer discrimination against mothers (but not fathers) when hiring and promote people - the so called 'motherhood penalty'. Mothers were often rated as less competent, less suitable for hire, and deserving of lower salaries.

In a latest study in this subject, researcher of Cornell University performed both a laboratory experiment and an audit of real employers. Their results showed significant and substantial penalties for motherhood among both white and African-American women, among them:

  1. Childless women are 2-time more likely to be hired than equally qualified mothers.
  2. The recommended starting salary for mothers was $11,000 less than that offered nonmothers.
  3. Mothers were rated as less promotable and less committed.
  4. Fathers were offered the highest starting salaries.


Baby's brand names

Julia Roberts named her twins Phinnaeus and Hazel; Brad and Angelina have named their daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Choosing names for children has apparently becomes more of 'branding' practice, and decisions have much to do with the desire of being unique, rather than family traditions or cultural values.
According to a WSJ article, "in 1880, Social Security Administration data show that the 10 most popular baby names were given to 41% of boys and 23% of girls. But in 2006, just 9.5% of boys and roughly 8% of girls were given one of the year's 10 most popular names - a combined decline of about 33% from the averages in the 1990s."