June 2008

…from a microlight

I found this cool site while searching around for info on selling my little ‘Sandpiper’ sailboat. (I don’t think they’re doing this around the world sail in a boat as small as mine, because that would be crazy)

Tom and Amy have been sailing their boat, called ‘S/V Sandpiper’ from port to port, starting in California, then Mexico, followed by a short hop to Hawaii. They’ve seen Tonga and the coasts of the Sudan and Yemen. Right now they’re off the coast of Turkey.

Follow their adventures at sandpiper38.blogspot.com – and buy them a beer!

Are you freaking out about the possibility of Wahhabis taking over an independent Kosovo?

Just breathe..and read this.

In City Journal, John Robb* describes the counter-fear factor

We can counter fear, however. The best method, FBI trainers say, is to get control of your breathing. “Combat breathing” is a simple variant on Lamaze or yoga training—breathe in four counts, hold four counts, exhale four counts, and repeat. It works because breathing is a combination of the somatic (which we control) and the autonomic (which we can’t easily control) nervous systems. Regulation of the autonomic system deescalates the biological-fear response and returns our higher-level brain functions to full capacity. So one of the best ways you can prepare yourself to overcome fear in a crisis is as simple as a meditation, Lamaze, or yoga class.

I’ve been in situations that appeared to be life-threatening yet I don’t panic if I feel that I have some control over the situation. All is not lost if you have a plan B, C or D. Plans B, C or D may not be good or effective plans, but they keep panic away.

However, if I feel that I have no control over any aspect of the situation, I do panic. I’d guess that that’s why the breathing tactic works – it gives the sense that something can be controlled.

Which is why AP ‘News’ articles like their recent “Everything seemingly is spinning out of control” are so annoying. The best way to make everything spin out of control is to induce panic. The media continually tries to generate their own self-fulfilling prophecy.

* Links and criticism of Chicken Littleism thanks to Alan Sullivan

Instead, they should try… neti pots?

Forget that this decongestant can be turned into methamphetamine. People with heart disease or hypertension should watch out for any legitimate drug that contains pseudoephedrine. See, pseudoephedrine doesn’t just constrict the blood vessels in your nose and sinuses; it can also raise blood pressure and heart rate, setting the stage for vascular catastrophe. Over the years, pseudoephedrine has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. “Pseudoephedrine can also worsen symptoms of benign prostate disease and glaucoma,” says Dr. Rodgers.

Your new strategy: Other OTC oral nasal decongestants can contain phenylephrine, which has a safety profile similar to pseudoephedrine’s. A 2007 review didn’t find enough evidence that phenylephrine was effective. Our advice: Avoid meds altogether and clear your nasal passages with a neti pot, the strangely named system that allows you to flush your sinuses with saline ($15, sinucleanse.com). University of Wisconsin researchers found that people who used a neti pot felt their congestion and head pain improve by as much as 57 percent. Granted, the flushing sensation is odd at first, but give it a chance. Dr. Roizen did: “I do it every day after I brush my teeth,” he says.

Study: 70 Mph Safe As 65

Eat (Chocolate), Drink (Coffee) and be Merry

Michael Totten and Sean LaFreniereOn the Road to Kosovo

Dubrovnik is a spectacular walled city on the Croatian coast near the border with Montenegro. We booked a hotel room in Montenegro and needed to leave for Kosovo first thing the next morning, so there would be no time to go back to Dubrovnik if we missed it during daylight.

There was no time to stop for proper food in a restaurant, so we pulled into a gas station to stock up on road food. I hoped oranges, bananas, or anything that had some nutritional value would be available, but gas stations all over the world sell little other than junk food, it seems. They had peanuts and pistachios, but the rest of our stock was a pile of cookies, potato chips, chocolates, and croissants. And the croissants were really just Twinkies from Turkey in the shape of croissants.

Sean and I wanted to speed through Bosnia and get to Croatia as quickly as possible, but the Opel we rented in Belgrade drove like it was built with a moped engine. Step on the gas and nothing much happens unless you’re at a dead stop on a flat road. Passing slow trucks was impossible if there was a bend in the road anywhere in the same time zone.

The destruction wrought from ethnic-cleansing, including mass graveyards as well as blown-up houses and villages scourged by artillery fire, stretched from one end of Bosnia to the other. It was horrible…


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