Antioxidant Values in Fruits And Vegetables

Antioxidant Values in Fruits And Vegetables (ORAC units per 100 grams):


Prunes — 5570
Raisins — 2830
Blueberries — 2400
Blackberries — 2036
Strawberries — 1540
Raspberries — 1220
Plums — 949
Oranges — 750
Red grapes — 739
Cherries — 670
Kiwi fruit — 602
Grapefruit, pink — 483


Kale — 11770
Spinach — 11260
Brussels sprout — 1980
Alfalfa sprouts — 1930
Broccoli Flowers — 1890
Beets — 1840
Red bell pepper — 1710
Onion — 1450
Corn — 1400
Eggplant — 1390

One day sober!

I’ve stopped coffee. Not one shot yesterday. I got a terrible headache, and toward the end of the day, I felt like throwing up. But I feel much better today.

My beautiful wife bought me some decaf this morning, so I’ll get some of the taste, but hopefully without the addiction.

Interestingly, I don’t lack energy or stress. I’m quite stressed by all the things I have to do actually. So why take coffee? My job isn’t boring… I have an exciting and difficult job and should have no trouble staying awake.

Expert Opinion: The life of an academic

My recent concerns about being overworked, about being under too much unnecessary pressure found some echo in Expert Opinion: The life of an academic. Here’s what he had to say:

We see competitive athletes risking their health with steroids as a relatively new phenomenon, but sacrificing one’s health has been de rigeur in academia for a long time. And we can’t even say, like a businessperson might, that there are financial rewards for this. And yet, the extraordinary has now become the expected (…)

To anyone involved in academia, this will ring true. We are very hard on ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. We have to be critical and I’m quite a critical fellow, but we have to be generous to each others as well. The work has to get done, committees have to be chaired, documents have to get written, good papers need to be published, good courses need to be given, but what are the thresholds? What is enough work and what isn’t?

Managing stress: I want to live past 50

I’m stressed out. I’ve been stressed out for a long time now. I can’t even recall last time I was laid back. Everybody is overworked, everybody complains, but this post is about me deciding to do something about it. Or, at least, trying to decide.

The last time I was relaxed dates back to the summer of 2002. Life was good: I was starting a new job as a researcher at the National Research Council of Canada, leaving a professorship at Acadia University, and I had just won the best paper award at CASCON. It wasn’t the summer of my dreams, but I recall being relaxed and laid back.

Then things went to hell. I got a job as the team leader of a research group, got into the funding application madness. Switch job, switch job again. All along my career is doing fine, I’m getting great jobs, teaching great courses, publishing fantastic papers at good places, meeting great people, establishing valuable collaborations. But the stress levels are not coming down.

Some things have been good. Lohan was my little 2004 miracle, my wife is still around and we still love each other very much. However, I realize that my job has been taking a toll on my well-being. I’ve not been particularly sick and I’m not going crazy. However, I woke up this morning feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulders. Not just symbolically speaking. My shoulders are tense and have been tense for a long time now. For the first time in a long while, I took the week-end off to be with my family. Actually, the cold hard truth is that I simply could not find the energy in me to work more. In short, I’m burning out, or it feels like it.

I feel like I’ve been sprinting for 2 years now. I achieved a hell of a lot in 2 years. I think I’ve met every single objective I had set for myself 2 years ago. And now what?

Where do I go from there?

Some things that are tough:

  1. being actively involved at work, chairing committees, being a member of several committees;
  2. being actively involved in several research projects;
  3. being actively involved in several teaching programs (undegraduate, graduate);
  4. travelling: I don’t do much of it, but it is taking its toll nonetheless.

I think I need to refocus. I need to settle on fewer research projects for a short while and start saying no to new projects since I’ve got more than enough underway. I need to start saying no to committee work (I did my share). I need to be less ambitious with respect to teaching: focus on one course, one program at a time and don’t try to push everything at once. Travelling: I need to consider boycotting any conference which requires airfare for some time.

Notice that almost every single decision in the paragraph above has a possibly negative impact on my career. The question I need to ask myself is whether I’m doing enough, not enough, or too much. I think I’m doing too much, but what would my peers think? What if my peers think I’m doing barely enough as it is? What then? Do I drop out of academia and find an easier job?

It seems that whenever you get a peer review, there are always hints that you could have done so much more. Fair enough. We can always do more. But when is it enough? How do we define “enough”?

Back to 1979: Alien

My wife and I were sick yesterday, and it just a lot of fun to watch a scary movie with my wife. She gets so scared and jumpy that she adds to the movie itself.

So, I rented Alien. Not the silly modern-day Aliens with computer animation. No, the real thing. My wife had never seen Alien, not one of them. Thanks to DVDs, you can rent old movies and still get fresh images. I just hope our hardware will remain DVD-compatible for a long time because I want to be able to watch Alien with my son when he is old enough.

For some reason, I didn’t recall the cat. My wife noticed the cat right away, and it all came back to me that Alien was a cat-movie, after all. It’d be funny to do an analysis of the movie: I think the cat gets nearly as much face time as the alien…

Verdict? This movie is a true classic. Oh… you could redo it with computer animation, but I doubt you would gain much. This was a true work of art. It still feel fresh. Of course, the computer consoles remind me a bit too much of a VIC-20, but that’s alright.

To my surprise, my wife actually enjoyed the movie, so we are going to rent the whole gang.


  • Ridley Scott also directed Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), and Hannibal (2001)
  • The original Alien screenplay was written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. They also wrote for Alien Vs. Predator (2005), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Alien³ (1992), Total Recall (1990), Aliens (1986), Invaders from Mars (1986).
  • Sigourney Weaver also played in Ghost Busters (1984), Aliens (1986), Alien³ (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Galaxy Quest (1999). She was 30 years old when Alien was released, she is now 56 years old.
  • Not counting Alien Vs. Predator as an Alien movie (Sigourney Weaver doesn’t play in AVP), the first and the last Alien movie are 18 years apart. 4 movies were made: Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien³ (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997). Roughly one Alien movie every 5 years.
  • No two Alien movies had the same director.
  • It is generally accepted that the first two movies in the series are the best.

Why I have the best and most beautiful wife in the world!

Today was my birthday. I’m old, or at least, getting older.

Why is my wife so great? Well, she is beautiful, a great mom and very smart. Also, she gave me a MP3 player today: that’s right, I got a nice Benq Joybee 110. I’m very happy.

Back to the serious stuff. When you get such a device, you got to make it work with Linux. So I plug the device… and it immediately shows up when I type “dmesg”… something like this appears…

USB Mass Storage device found at 3
usb 1-3: USB disconnect, address 3
ohci_hcd 0000:00:02.2: wakeup
usb 1-3: new full speed USB device using address 4
scsi2 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
  Vendor: BenQ      Model: Joybee 110        Rev: 1.00
  Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 02
SCSI device sda: 506368 512-byte hdwr sectors (259 MB)
sda: assuming Write Enabled
sda: assuming drive cache: write through
 /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0: p1
Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi2, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
Attached scsi generic sg0 at scsi2, channel 0, id 0, lun 0,  type 0

In case this doesn’t work out and you are using gentoo, then make sure you have hotplug installed, if not, do it now:

emerge hotplug
rc-update add hotplug default

And while you are at it, install coldplug too so that USB devices are recognized during boot, not just when they are inserted:

emerge coldplug
rc-update add hotplug boot

Ok, back to the output of dmesg, it seems the device is at ” /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0″, how do I mount this?

 > ls /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0
disc  generic  part1

Aah! Ok… so maybe I should try mounting “/dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/disc”. Let’s see if I can get some info about it…

> fdisk /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/disc
Commande (m pour l'aide): p
Disque /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/disc: 259 Mo, 259260416 octets
16 têtes, 32 secteurs/piste, 989 cylindres
Unités = cylindres de 512 * 512 = 262144 octets
                           Périphérique Amorce    Début         Fin      Blocs    Id  Système
/dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/part1   *           1         989      253152+   6  FAT16

Ok, so, it is now telling that “/dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/part1” is a FAT16 (Microsoft-style) disk. I suspect that I could actually reformat the disk to anything I want at this point. Fine, I go into /etc/fstab, and I add the following line:

/dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 /mnt/joybee vfat defaults,noauto,users,sync 0 0

(See update below, using /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 is a bad idea!)

It seems to me the “sync” option is important: don’t delay writes in case the device is unplugged by accident. Then, after creating the directory “/mnt/joybee”, I mount it like so…

mount /mnt/joybee

Next, the following python script can be used to copy the content of a m3u file to the device:

import shutil,re
f = open('indiscover.m3u') #only contains file paths
# optionnally, I could clear /mnt/joybee/mp3
for file in f:
  file = file.rstrip()
  print file

Of course, the script could be a lot smarter, but I’ve got a wife to kiss. And voilà! Who said anything about Linux being hard to use?

Am I done? Not really, my kernel has no support for either supermount or automount, so I’ll need to fix this (back in a few hours). The problem right now is that I need to type “mount /mnt/joybee” when I plug the device and “umount /mnt/joybee” before I unplug it. I bit annoying.

In order to automount, make sure you compile your kernel with support for automount (with genkernel, go under File Systems>Kernel Automounter). You also need to install autofs:

emerge autofs
rc-update add autofs default

Then add the following line to file /etc/autofs/auto.master (not /etc/auto.master!!!):

/misc /etc/autofs/auto.misc --timeout 1

and add the following line to /etc/autofs/auto.misc (not /etc/auto.misc!!!):

joybee -users,sync,fstype=vfat,rw :/dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part1

That’s pretty much it, then you should be able to cd to /misc/joybee and see your files.

In practice though, I’m not sure it is so great to have automount. Maybe I can simply modify my script above so it mounts and umounts as it needs since I’m unlike to “cd” to my player very often. Indeed, there are problems with automount, at least on my machine. If I try to reload autofs because I’ve changed the configuration, it goes dead and it can’t recover (short of rebooting which I never do). I’ve read somewhere that I must make sure nothing is automounted before I play with autofs. Seems somewhat a weak design. They claim that if nothing is automounted, you can safely stop the deamon: seems to fail here. However, from the man page, it seems that reloading the deamon should be rarely needed. Anyhow, seems like submount would be a better alternative?

Update: Using hard coded paths like /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 is bad since they will change from time to time. On my machine, it can become /dev/scsi/host3/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 and so on. I believe that if you have “udev” installed (do “emerge udev”), then it gets mapped to /dev/sda1 “always” according to some magically rules I haven’t checked. So, use “/dev/sda1” throughout above for better results.

Update 2: On recent kernels with udev, you simply do “mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb” and you are in business. The following line should appear in all /etc/fstab files these days.
/dev/sda1 /mnt/usb auto noauto,user,umask=111 0 0
Also, it seems like software called hal is able to automount your devices in the /media directory.