Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, you stop throwing those peas! UPDATED AGAIN

Is your kid whiny, unpleasant, insecure? Don't fret. He can eventually get a job on Fox News—According to a study in the Journal of Research into Personality [not posted], disagreeable and insecure kids grow up to be conservatives. Confident, self-reliant children grow up to be liberals. But you know all that, right? Back in the 1960s, a husband and wife team, Jack and Jeanne Block at Berkeley began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids to study their personality. Using teachers and assistants, the Blocks surveyed the kids' personalities. Politics never entered the picture.

A few decades later, Block (his wife had since died) went back to the kids and looked at their personalities. The unpleasant and rigid kids turned into rigid young people who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity. And politically, they were conservatives. Confident kids turned out to bright, non-conformists. The girls were extroverts, the young men a little introverted. And both sexes were politically liberal.

Actually, this is not the first time similar research produced similar findings. In 2003, a Stanford researcher, John Jost, concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order, are likely to tend conservative. He got a congressional investigation as a result, no doubt from guys where were really brats when they were babies.

Don't swallow that big round yellow thing, just the pill—One of life's little mysteries is the label on my blood pressure and cholesterol medicine (better living through chemistry) advising me, under no circumstances, to drink grapefruit juice when I take these medicines. Why the hell not?

Actually there is a reason but it's a little weird. In a story in the New York Times, Nicholas Bakalar reports that the reason is a substance in grapefruit that often emphasizes the effects of some medicines. There's a family of enzymes called Cytochrome P-450 [they'll be a pop quiz in the morning], particularly one called CYP 3A4, which changes substances in medicines so they can be less potent or more easily excreted or both. Grapefruit interferes with that process. The story oddly doesn't say what it is in grapefruit that does the deed because no one really knows, but the danger comes in taking a blood pressure drug and having the drug lower your blood pressure dangerously. Statins could lead to a fatal muscle disorder called rhabdomyolysis.

The answer is not to cut back on the medicine, apparently, and swig grapefruit juice. The answer is not to drink the juice. Too bad. Love the stuff.

Oh boy, now I can have viruses just like the rest of you!—One of the least interesting questions floating around since Apple started using Intel microprocessors on its Macs was whether its computers would be able to run Windows, which was designed for Intel chips. The answer is yes. The next question is why would you?

Apple never answered the question when asked if their Macs would run Windows. But a bunch of guys with too much time on their hands raised $13,864 for a contest to see who would be the first to pull off the stunt. The prize was won by two hackers who identified themselves only as "narf2006" and "blanka" [Jesus Lopez, if you want to know] who posted images and video of a Mac running Windows natively, meaning without outside help. It ain't easy, involving reformatting the hard disk and running a separate partition and disk images and all sorts of stuff you don't want to know. Graphics don't work and the operating system isn't particularly adept, but then neither is Windows. Emulators work better.

As to why anyone would want to—except to prove you can do it—the only reason would be to run software not available on Macs, mostly proprietary stuff your company runs. Otherwise, Mac OS-X is vastly superior. Now go get a life!

UPDATE: According to a posting on Slashdot, the hackers' blog
Sure, we all know that Windows can now run on Intel Apple Computers. Alas, the solution does not include drivers, and until now Mac users could still only hope to be able to use every application available to their Windows counterparts. However, with drivers now working 100% on the Mac Mini and drivers for the MacBook Pro only lacking video (which, by the looks of the 2nd link is only days away), Mac users now have a complete and working Windows solution.
UPDATE AGAIN: Meanwhile, Microsoft announced that Vista, the new rewrite of Windows, won't be ready for almost another year, and moved the guy in charge out the door. [Microsoft Office for Windows is also late]. By the time Vista comes out, us Mac folks will be on Leopard, the fifth rewrite of OS-X, and Microsoft will only be four generations behind.

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