Watching The Game With Lily

Filed in Personal, SportsTags: Colts, Family, Fatherhood, Indiana, Indianapolis, Marriage, NFL, Photos

Today we had the rare pleasure of getting to watch the Colts game (not often aired in the St. Louis market). Lily wore her Colts cheerleader outfit, and we cheered on the Colts' 38-20 victory over Denver.

New Photos of Daddy’s Girl

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Fatherhood, Marriage, Photos

Just a quick post with some new photos of Lily:

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Playtime with Daddy!
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

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Trying out my new high chair
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

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Trying out my new high chair
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

(I'm also trying out the Lightbox and Crossroads plugins.)

Unexpected Downtime

Filed in Web DevelopmentTags: Geekery, Web Site

Sorry for the absence the past few days. I hit a few snags upgrading to the latest version (2.3) of WordPress.

Everything should be working now; let me know if you run into anything amiss.

Now Reading: Good Calories, Bad Calories

Filed in Reviews, ScienceTags: Academia, Books, Health/Nutrition, Low Carb, Media Bias, Weight Loss

I got a very pleasant surprise today when I came home for lunch and found out that my pre-order of Gary Taubes' new book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, had arrived!

Here is the publisher's description:

In this groundbreaking book, the result of seven years of research in every science connected with the impact of nutrition on health, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet with more and more people acting on this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues persuasively that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, easily digested starches) and sugars–via their dramatic and longterm effects on insulin, the hormone that regulates fat accumulation–and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. There are good calories, and bad ones.

Good Calories

These are from foods without easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. These foods can be eaten without restraint.

Meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, butter, and non-starchy vegetables.

Bad Calories

These are from foods that stimulate excessive insulin secretion and so make us fat and increase our risk of chronic disease—all refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. The key is not how much vitamins and minerals they contain, but how quickly they are digested. (So apple juice or even green vegetable juices are not necessarily any healthier than soda.)

Bread and other baked goods, potatoes, yams, rice, pasta, cereal grains, corn, sugar (sucrose and high fructose corn syrup), ice cream, candy, soft drinks, fruit juices, bananas and other tropical fruits, and beer.

Taubes traces how the common assumption that carbohydrates are fattening was abandoned in the 1960s when fat and cholesterol were blamed for heart disease and then –wrongly–were seen as the causes of a host of other maladies, including cancer. He shows us how these unproven hypotheses were emphatically embraced by authorities in nutrition, public health, and clinical medicine, in spite of how well-conceived clinical trials have consistently refuted them. He also documents the dietary trials of carbohydrate-restriction, which consistently show that the fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

With precise references to the most significant existing clinical studies, he convinces us that there is no compelling scientific evidence demonstrating that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, that salt causes high blood pressure, and that fiber is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Based on the evidence that does exist, he leads us to conclude that the only healthy way to lose weight and remain lean is to eat fewer carbohydrates or to change the type of the carbohydrates we do eat, and, for some of us, perhaps to eat virtually none at all.

The 11 Critical Conclusions of Good Calories, Bad Calories:

  1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, does not cause heart disease.
  2. Carbohydrates do, because of their effect on the hormone insulin. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates and the more fructose they contain, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.
  3. Sugars—sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup specifically—are particularly harmful. The glucose in these sugars raises insulin levels; the fructose they contain overloads the liver.
  4. Refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are also the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other common chronic diseases of modern times.
  5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
  6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller.
  7. Exercise does not make us lose excess fat; it makes us hungry.
  8. We get fat because of an imbalance—a disequilibrium—in the hormonal regulation of fat tissue and fat metabolism. More fat is stored in the fat tissue than is mobilized and used for fuel. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this imbalance.
  9. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated, we stockpile calories as fat. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and burn it for fuel.
  10. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
  11. The fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.

Good Calories, Bad Calories is a tour de force of scientific investigation–certain to redefine the ongoing debate about the foods we eat and their effects on our health.

This book is destined for greatness, and will make waves in the world of nutrition. I will have a review, once I have finished reading.

Lily – Learning to Eat Solid Food

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Fatherhood, Marriage, Photos

Just a quick update with a couple new pictures. Lily has been learning to eat solid foods, and so far has taken well to Stage One foods such as applesauce, bananas, carrots, and squash:

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Lily enjoying some Stage One carrots and applesauce.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

See more in the Lillian - Four Months set.

For Joshy: Top Ten+ Arithme”tricks”

Filed in PersonalTags: Education, Family, Geekery

For Joshy (and the rest of us, too): I'm sure you're working on your math tables, memorizing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of numbers from one through ten.

Do you need a shortcut for multiplying by four, five, nine, or eleven, or squaring two-digit numbers ending in five? How about subtracting a large number from 1,000? Well then, see this list of arithme[em]tricks[/em].

(H/T: Lifehacker)

More Advancement in Adult Stem Cell Pluripotency and Sourcing

Filed in ScienceTags: Stem Cells

From this HealthFinder article comes news that scientists have identified stem cells from the testes of mice - and that these stem cells demonstrate pluripotency:

U.S. researchers say they've successfully reprogrammed adult stem cells from the testes of male mice into a wide variety of cell types, including functional blood vessels, contractile cardiac tissue, and brain cells.

If the same can be done with adult testes stem cells from humans, they may offer a source of new therapies to treat men with health problems such as heart disease, vascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even cancer, the researchers said.

The study, by Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists, is published in the Sept. 20 issue of the journal Nature.

Here is the editor's summary of the article (subscription required for full article):

Adult stem cells are an attractive alternative to embryonic stem cells for therapeutic use. As yet there is no standard method for obtaining such cells from adults and priming them to form different tissues, but a new system that generates large numbers of stem cells from the adult testicle shows promise. It makes use of a novel marker, an orphan receptor known as GPR125, found on the surface of spermatogonial stem cells. The use of specialized feeder cells to support stem cell growth allows stem cells once destined for spermatogenesis to become multipotent. This work also provides clues as to the minimal requirements for multipotency in adult cells.

And here is the money part of the first paragraph of the article:

Primary GPR125–LacZ SPC lines retained GPR125 expression, underwent clonal expansion, maintained the phenotype of germline stem cells, and reconstituted spermatogenesis in busulphan-treated mice. Long-term cultures of GPR125+ SPCs (GSPCs) also converted into GPR125+ MASC colonies. GPR125+ MASCs generated derivatives of the three germ layers and contributed to chimaeric embryos, with concomitant downregulation of GPR125 during differentiation into GPR125- cells. MASCs also differentiated into contractile cardiac tissue in vitro and formed functional blood vessels in vivo.

Terminology watch:

SPC (spermatogonial progenitor cells):

Spermatogonial means "any of the cells of the gonads in male organisms that are the progenitors of spermatocytes."

(Spermatocytes are sperm precursor cells.)

Progenitor cells are immature or undifferentiated cells, that may have stem-cell-like properties of self-renewal and differentiation.

Thus SPCs are the undifferentiated cells that eventually produce sperm.

MASC (multipotent adult spermatogonial-derived stem cells):

Multipotent refers to the ability to differentiate into at least several cell types.

Thus, MASCs are stem cells derived from SPCs.

UPDATE: Mary Meets Dolly has also picked up the story.

A Little Insight Into My Job

Filed in PersonalTags: Missouri, Saint Louis, Technology

I am often asked what my job - validation - entails, which is somewhat difficult for anyone not familiar with FDA-regulated industry.

Well, perhaps this AutomationWorld magazine article will help enlighten just a little bit, at least with respect to one aspect of my job. The article interviews and profiles yours truly, with regard to my (and my company's) use of wireless technologies for environmental monitoring and testing:

KV Pharmaceutical is turning to wireless mesh networking technology as a way to save money, while reliably meeting regulatory requirements for temperature and humidity monitoring.

As a manufacturer of generic and branded drugs using proprietary drug delivery systems such as time-release and site-release processes, St. Louis-based KV Pharmaceutical Co. is subject to plenty of federal regulation.

“Being in a regulated industry, we’re required to do environmental monitoring for temperature, relative humidity and that kind of thing. We’re required to monitor those things and record them, so that we can present those data to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) if requested,” notes Chip Bennett, validation specialist at the company.

Read the rest, if you're interested. Enjoy!

Antarctica Defies Global Warming Alarmists

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Media Bias

Despite alarmists' cries about the shrinking arctic ice cap, Antarctica just set a new record for most total ice extent (links in original; emphasis added):

While the Antarctic Peninsula area has warmed in recent years and ice near it diminished during the Southern Hemisphere summer, the interior of Antarctica has been colder and ice elsewhere has been more extensive and longer lasting, which explains the increase in total extent. This dichotomy was shown in this World Climate Report blog posted recently with a similar tale told in this paper by Ohio State Researcher David Bromwich, who agreed “It’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now”.

From the World Climate Report blog post linked in the quote above:

Incredibly, if you are interested in Antarctica temperature trends from the present back to 1982, the region has cooled. If you go from present back to 1966, the region has cooled. Like it or not, over the past four decades, and during the time of the greatest build-up of greenhouse gases, Antarctica has been cooling!

Here's the NASA Earth Observatory image of Antarctic temperature trending from 1982-2004:

Antarctic Temperatures 1982-2004

Antarctic Temperature Trend 1982-2004
Photo © NASA Earth Observatory, used with permission.

(HT: PowerLine)

Long Time, No See

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Fatherhood, Gatlinburg, Marriage, Photos, Tennessee, Vacation

So, I missed the entire month of August, and the first part of September; but I have a good excuse: sometimes real life just gets in the way. Between, being out of town for a funeral, going on vacation, getting married, etc., I have just not had time to blog.

So what have you missed?

First, Lily just keeps getting bigger and bigger:

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Lily is the cutest Colts fan in the whole world!
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

She has cut her first two teeth, and can now roll over from front to back and from back to front. She scoots around, holds herself up on her arms, and makes an absolutely adorable effort with all her might to be able to sit up - which she's not quite mastered yet. Today she is four months old!

Next, the three of us had our first official family vacation: a Labor Day trip to Gatlinburg, TN, and Asheville, NC. We loved Gatlinburg, and would love to take Lily (and any future children) back to the area. The Biltmore House was gorgeous, but Labor Day weekend proved to be a bit too crowded for our tastes - next time, we'll visit on at a less popular time.

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Along Route 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from Gatlinburg, TN, to Cherokee, NC
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Stephanie and I were married last weekend at the Gazebo at Williams Park, in Brownsburg, IN.

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Happy Family!
Photo © William Bennett, used with permission.

So, that's my excuse. Much has gone on in the world of politics, sports, and everything else about which I usually write. Hopefully I will be able to resume my normally loquacious ways.