July 2011


2011 Cohort (I love these people!) by Hillary Nadeau (I'm at the top right, hatless)

Jeff, Deanna, Christian, (Faculty) In Regalia, photographer unknown

Post-Graduation With Reanna's Family, Dad, & Robert, by Aly

Post-Graduation With Reanna's Family, Aly & Robert, by Steve Lester

Faked Post-Graduation Shot With Pikes, Including Grandpa Bob

Goofy Faked Graduation Photo With Pikes

Sealing the Deal by Dunking in the Willamette, by Steve Lester

I thought this was an interesting presentation of data, from a column by Paul Krugman. Usually, when you see displays of percentage of taxes paid by income group, they show only shares of federal income tax, the only really progressive tax in the US. This display shows the percentage of all US taxes paid by income group, including payroll, local, state, etc. That’s the blue bars. The grey bars are also interesting–instead of just showing share of taxes by income group, this display compares share of taxes to share of income by income group. By this measure, it looks as if at the widest spread, total tax burden is only progressive by less than 5%. That is, even the top 1% of earners pay less than 5% more of total US taxes than the lowest 20% when their total share of income is taken into account.

This video makes a good case for using your full range of motion every day. The way I understand it, “the fuzz” is actually a healing process. Some tissues, like bone, “know” which way to send their healing protein. Soft tissue like fascia, though, send out their healing fibers in all directions, and rely on the body’s movement to break the strands that shouldn’t be there. If we don’t use our full range of motion, however, those strands start to glue everything together.

Leaving my last doctor visit, I had a chance to check myself on their eye chart. It was not official–I just backed up 20 one-foot floor tiles and looked at the chart. For the first time ever I was not able to make out some of the letters in the bottom, smallest row. That means my eyesight is now 20/13 instead of 20/10, or however small the denominator was before I started grad school. (The numerator is distance in feet (in the US) and the denominator has to do, in a way that I don’t quite get, with the size of the letters.) If you can see better than 20/10, you generally never find out: 20/10 is good enough. And so is 20/13–I am not complaining. Not much, at least.

I’m more concerned with my focal length, which has moved out at least an inch during the last four years, to a solid 8.5 inches. This happens with aging, of course, but I am willing to bet it is accelerated by reading 30+ hours a week. It is inconvenient not to be able to see my spoonful of food clearly while I am blowing on it. It is also inconvenient that Reanna and I have no overlap in clear vision. When we are looking into each other’s eyes, we have to choose who gets to see clearly, or else she has to wear her contacts. I know it will someday be inconvenient when my focal length exceeds my reach, and I will need glasses to read a book. Ah, aging. As my friend Robert says, “Getting old is very inconvenient. It is better, however, than the alternative.”

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