Goodbye Dubai

From Smashing Telly:

Short of opening a Radio Shack in an Amish town, Dubai is the world’s worst business idea, and there isn’t even any oil. Imagine proposing to build Vegas in a place where sex and drugs and rock and roll are an anathema. This is effectively the proposition that created Dubai – it was a stupid idea before the crash, and now it is dangerous.

Dubai threatens to become an instant ruin, an emblematic hybrid of the worst of both the West and the Middle-East and a dangerous totem for those who would mistakenly interpret this as the de facto product of a secular driven culture.

The opening shot of this clip shows 200 skyscrapers that were built in the last 5 years. It looks like Manhattan except that it isn’t the place that made Mingus or Van Allen or Kerouac or Wolfe or Warhol or Reed or Bernstein or any one of the 1001 other cultural icons from Bob Dylan to Dylan Thomas that form the core spirit of what is needed, in the absence of extreme toleration of vice, to infuse such edifices with purpose and create a self-sustaining culture that will prevent them crumbling into the empty desert that surrounds them.

(via Kottke)

The New Simpsons Opening

Can somebody please take that damn show behind the barn and put it out of its misery already? I’ve been getting Simpsons dvds from Netflix for the past year or so and the show goes from brilliant to rather sucky somewhere in the middle of Season 9 and they just get worse from there. The show has been in a vegetative state now for the past 10 years and Fox’s conservative pro-life agenda refuses to pull the plug and put it out of its misery. (BTW the show officially jumped the shark when it was announced that Principal Skinner was really Armin Tamzarian. Worst plotline ever.)

Does modest dress among Arab-American women promote vitamin D deficiency?

From Scientific American:

The more conservatively the women dressed, the lower their vitamin D; those who wore the hijab but ate vitamin D-rich foods such as milk or oily fish had higher levels, though not as high as the women who didn’t adhere to hijab. A measure of 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood is considered sufficient; the most conservatively dressed women in the study had levels as low as 4.5, but even those who didn’t wear the hijab and got some vitamin D in their diets had an average level of 8.5 — “and that’s still low,” says co-author Raymond Hobbs, a senior staff physician Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“We’re not trying to get anyone to take off their hijab,” Hobbs tells, but “to do things to prevent problems that might arise” from the tradition. The vitamin was once thought to be necessary only to prevent rickets (soft bones) in childhood and osteoporosis later on, but now, vitamin D deficiency is associated with diabetes, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and infections.