Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour - tonight - March 28, 2009 - 8:30 PM local time

Here is a symbolic gesture you can make tonight that is, essentially, casting your vote in favor of a more sustainable energy consumption policy. Tonight, beginning at 8:30 PM local time simply turn off everything in your home that is electrically powered; TV's, computers, lights, etc. and leave them off for one hour.

Some background from the Earth Hour web site: "Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday."

Our plan is to put the hour to good use by teaching our granddaughter about the need for all of us to try to do our part to reduce energy consumption. Get our your candles and make a fun event and learning experience of Earth Hour for your children and grandchildren. Teach them about fuel economy, overly large houses, dangers of imported oil, global warming, excessive consumerism, polution, etc.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Make yourself into a Simpson character

Here is a fun site for the rabid Simpson's fans like ourselves: Simpsonize Yourself. Have you always wondered what you would look like with yellow skin, blue hair, blue pants, three hairs on your head, and three fingers? Click the link and Make a Character of Yourself!

A little preparation is in order. Have a fairly high resolution photo of yourself, taken looking directly into the camera, and crop it pretty close to your face. Here is our result with a little tweaking:
Lloyd and Peggy Morris as Simpson Characters

So sit back with a large box of multi-colored donuts and have fun. If you make a mistake while customizing your character, just give it a big "Dohhh!" and hit undo. Notice I added what has been my daily uniform for the last couple years (black t-shirt) and Peggy's funky, retro glasses.

I recommend that, if you what to get the true Homer Simpson experience from this, you should do this at work on your office computer. Then, take a good long nap after you finish.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Milestone for This Blog - 10,000 visitors

Yesterday's hail storm created a pretty good surge in traffic to this blog and carried us past a significant milestone. Today we recorded our 10,000th visitor! We were very happy about that, especially in light of the fact that we recently changed our hosting domain from blogger to our own domain, austinweird.net. That change caused our google search rank to suffer for a few weeks until the web crawlers caught up with us. Actually, it is still down somewhat after nearly a month at the new domain.

Austin Hail Storm 3/25/2009

We had a pretty major storm pass through the area yesterday. It was actually a lot of fun since the hail really dumped! We didn't get much damage here but there were some windows knocked out all around the area. The fun part was our six year old grand daughter who was here with us when it hit. She had never seen anything like this and the noise on our metal roof was just incredible! She was running around screaming, "This is the most fun day of my life!" Next, she wanted to know if school would be canceled the next day so she could play in the ice all day?

Here is a video we did during the storm.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Approach to Life Extension

Here is a little something to consider for those of us wishing to live as long and healthy a life as possible. No doubt, you have seen dozens of products that claim to make you live longer. The fact is, for now at least, they are all either snake oil or claims with no scientific basis. The only proven method of extending life, possibly as much as 20 - 25 %, is calorie restriction. This has been proven in studies beginning with C. Elegans (a small 1mm worm) all the way up through primate studies, now on going for nearly two decades.

Calorie restriction (eating about 30% less than your body needs) works, we know it works but, it is extremely difficult and not something most people will ever do for an entire lifetime. However, there is probably an alternative that is not too terribly difficult. In the last couple of years there have been some animal studies that suggest that intermittent fasting works just as well, if not better than, full time calorie restriction. In other words, stop eating one or two days each week.

Peggy and I decided to give this a try about two months ago and have found it to be very easy. The way we do it is to take two 24 hour periods (Monday and Thurday) each week and do nothing but drink water on those days. We start the 24 hours after breakfast and go to breakfast the next day. Admittedly, we feel a little hungry around dinner time but, it is no big deal and, by breakfast the next morning, we are really not even hungry. This is something, unlike calorie restriction, we can realistically do for years and years until something better comes along. And, rest assured, there are many things in the works that are going to completely change the equation on aging. The idea is to be around long enough to benefit from them so, intermittent fasting is something you might want to consider as an easier alternative to calorie restriction.