Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sleeping Less: What to Do About It

Generally, it has been assumed that the need for sleep does not decrease with age, but rather that other factors gradually come to interfere with our ability to sleep through the night.

Older individuals, for instance, are at greater risk not only for developing medical and psychiatric disorders but also for taking medications that can disrupt sleep. In spite of these influences, however, it may be that an actual biological deterioration of the sleep drive might also be playing a role.

A new study published in the journal Current Biology has been able to shed some light on this puzzle of sleep and aging. The researchers, who wanted to determine the maximal sleep capacity of both young and older persons, arranged for groups of younger adults (ages 18 to 32 years) and older adults (ages 60 to 76 years) to lie in bed for 12 hours during the night and for another 4 hours in the afternoon.

The subjects tended to sleep significantly longer at the beginning of the experiment, presumably because they were making up for a sleep debt accrued during their usual daily sleep routines. When the sleep patterns stabilized, however, the younger adults were capable of sleeping for much longer times — an average of 8.9 hours daily — than were the elderly people, who got only 7.4 hours daily. This 1.5-hour difference in maximal sleep capacity is impressive.

If your biological drive for sleep seems to have decreased, make sure that you are following the kinds of routines and behaviors that will give you the best chance of getting as much refreshing sleep as possible. Here are some examples of good sleep hygiene:

  • Make sure that you're going to bed early enough to allow yourself to get an adequate night's sleep.
  • As your bedtime approaches, develop a relaxing routine in the evening — don't keep busy until the moment before you expect to fall asleep.
  • Avoid watching TV in bed.
  • Sleep in a cool, relatively dark room.
  • Consider going to sleep to the sound of white noise, either from a bedside fan or a machine that generates calming sounds.
  • Increase your exercising, but don't do it so near to bedtime that it gets your adrenaline flowing and keeps you awake.
  • Limit your daily intake of caffeinated beverages and avoid them completely after lunchtime.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meet Joe the plumber

video

From one week ago, Obama canvassing in Holland, Ohio: Then a big, bald man with a goatee asks if he believes in the American dream.

He tells Obama he’s getting ready to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama tells him he’d get a 50% tax credit – a cut in taxes for health care. “if your revenue is above 250 – then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that from 250 up – from 250 – 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go fro 36 to 39%, which is what it was under Bill Clinton. And the reason why we’re doing that is because 95% of small businesses make less than 250. So what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less, I want to give them a tax cut. And so what we’re doing is, we are saying that folks who make more than 250 that that marginal amount above 250 – they’re gonna be taxed at a 39 instead of a 36% rate.”

The man says he’s a hard working plumber for 15 years – why should he be taxed more?
Obama says, “over the last 15 years, when you weren’t making 250, you would have been given a tax cut from me, so you’d actually have more money, which means you would have saved more, which means you would have gotten to the point where you could build your small business quicker than under the current tax code. So there are two ways of looking at it – I mean one way of looking at it is, now that you’ve become more successful through hard work – you don’t want to be taxed as much.”

The man says, “Exactly.”

Obama contined, “But another way of looking at it is, 95% of folks who are making less than 250, they may be working hard too, but they’re being taxed at a higher rate than they would be under mine. So what I’m doing is, put yourself back 10 years ago when you were only making whatever. 60 or 70. Under my tax plan you would be keeping more of your paycheck, you’d be paying lower taxes, which means you would have saved down to the point where you (inaudible).

Now look, nobody likes high taxes. Of course not. But what’s happened is is that we end up – we’ve cut taxes a lot for folks like me who make a lot more than 250. We haven’t given a break to folks who make less, and as a consequence, the average wage and income for ordinary folks, the vast majority of Americans, has actually gone down over the last 8 years. So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes is I’m gonna cut taxes a little bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well - even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.”

The man says it seems like Obama would be for a flat tax.

Obama says, “you know, I would be open to it except here’s the problem with a flat tax is that if you actually put a flat tax together, in order for it to work and replace all the rvenue that we’ve got, you’d probably end up having to make it like about a 40% sales tax. I mean that’s the value added, making it up. Now some people say 23 or 25, but in truth when you add up all the revenue that would need to be raised, you’d have to slap on a whole bunch of sales taxes on. And I do believe for folks like me who have worked hard, but frankly also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress that I just met over there who’s things are slow and she can barely make the rent.

Because my attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody **** and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody. **** But listen, I respect what you do and I respect your question, and even if I don’t get your vote, I’m still gonna be working hard on your behalf because small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it.”

The crowd cheered and Obama added, “for small business people, I’m gonna eliminate the capital gains tax, so what it means is if your business succeeds and let’s say you take it from a $250,000 business to a $500,000 business, that capital gains that you get – we’re not gonna tax you on it because I want you to grow (inaudible). So you’re actually gonna get some, you may end up – I’d have to look your particular business, but you might end up paying lower taxes under my plan and my approach than under JSM’s (inaud). I couldn’t guarantee that, ‘cause I’d have to take a look at ---

The man says, “Oh yeah, I understand that.”

As Obama walks away he says, “I gotta get out of here. I’ve gotta go prepare for this debate, but that was pretty good practice right there!”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Market crash explained

video

This was recorder last year even before Wall Street crashed and bank meltdown left and right. Even though this is like comedy of sorts, in reality theres a big resemblance of what really happened.