Author Archives: admin

About admin

I am a Midwestern lady who has taken "the scenic route" through life. The term "intellectually promiscuous" to describe those of us with wide and varied interests, archaeologists of the past and present, readers of all sorts of things, thinkers of deep thoughts, and open minded enough to look at many different view points, cultures, values and opinions. I will also marry for a green card and a full relocation package to a Democratic Socialist country with a strong safety net and great cultural opportunities. I am not kidding.

Spring Clean Your Home and Your Heart

Your home needs to be your sanctuary, your safe place, your joy. You need to feel it surrounding you like a comfy blanket when you walk in. It needs to have enough air for you to breathe and feel free. Your home needs to be a nurturing reflection of your best inner self. Spring is the time of renewal so what better time is there to clean your home and your heart and take steps towards having a haven in your own house.


First, take stock of your house as if you were an outside observer. What do you love? What is just in the way? What makes you wonder why it’s there in the first place? Where do you feel comfortable, and where do you feel ill at ease? Are there places and spaces you never use?  What greets you when you open your eyes in the morning? What welcomes you when you walk in the door at the end of the day? Do some things no longer reflect the real you? Are there things you need to just let go of because you have grown past them. Make some notes about what impresses you – good and bad, and any inspirations you may have. Is there an object in your house that just speaks volumes about you and what you want? This is not the time for a to-do list; this is a time for observing.


Next, it’s time to weed the garden that is your home. It is time to let go of anything you no longer use, anything that reminds you of something negative, anything that is broken, outdated or worn out, and anything that doesn’t feel good – chairs that are uncomfortable, itchy clothes, jeans that pinch your belly. All that stuff is just extra weight you carry with you, and that you can release safely. Have a garage or yard sale, or load up the car and gift a charity thrift shop (keep the receipt for tax purposes!)

Third, tend to the things you will keep. If you truly adore, love and value something, keep it. Even everyday objects that you enjoy using can be something you value and keep. Clean and fix everything that you will be keeping. Clean the house from top to bottom. Open the windows on every nice day and air out the house. Shampoo the carpets, dust everything, clean all the windows and the baseboards, clean the appliances, replace fading light bulbs, flip your mattress, and wash all your linens and comforters. Make repairs to your home that are needed.


As you care for and clean your home, care for and clean your spirit as well. Enjoy the feeling of light and air and the lightened burdens you carry. Take the time to spiritually cleanse any places in your home that carry a negative memory. Use whatever ritual feels right to you – it may be praying, or lighting incense, smudging with sage or sweet grass, or any other sacred healing method you know or read about. Clean out the negative energy and replace it with light and loving vibes. Maintain those by keeping that space light and full of items that speak to you of love and peace.


It’s time to plan for the future, now that the junk is cleaned away. Think about the you that you want to create. Try new things at home and when you are out in your community. It can be as simple as taking a different route home from work to see different sights, or trying out a new restaurant. You can find inspiration anywhere if you are open to it. Start a new board on Pinterest, or a real-life pin board of motivational and inspirational things. Anything will work here, as long as it lifts your spirits and makes you happy. Add things you dream about being, doing or seeing. Use symbols or photos that represent things that are joys to you. Then, find tangible things that represent your dreams, and bring them into your home. Haunt thrift shops and flea markets, eBay and Craigslist, yard sales and so forth. Find objects that reflect the you that is about to be. Just by bringing in these objects that inspire you, you open the door for that reality to begin to manifest itself.

inspiration board

Obviously you will not have unlimited funds to re-do your entire life. Even baby steps will make a difference. Paint your bedroom the color you really want, even if it is unconventional. Put up a funky shower curtain that makes you smile every morning. Rearrange furniture to open up the traffic flow and to make more room for friends, family and yourself. Make your home say it’s yours with every deliberate choice you put into it. Finish the re-do with easy and inexpensive beautiful touches like fresh flowers, music you love, a scent you adore. These things are quick and easy, but make such a huge difference. Imagine walking in the door after the worst day at work, to see your clean, calm and welcoming home with flowers in your favorite colors and the smell of baking cookies or soft lavender in the air. Can’t you already feel the difference?


Finally, celebrate your achievements! Welcome the new you to your new home – open a bottle of wine or your favorite beverage, have some great friends over for a spring welcoming party, and inspire them to clean and change, too!


(c) Holly Cochran –  3-16-2013

beautiful wall decal clocks


The New Pope – Who is this guy?

Argentina’s Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis (

  • New pope is Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, who takes the name Pope Francis.
  • Francis, 76, is the first non-European pope in the modern era, the first South American pope and the first Pope Francis.


annarbor dot com

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.

As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.

Allen described the name of Pope Francis as “the most stunning” choice and “precedent shattering.”

“There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism” such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem “irrepeatable that there can be only one Francis,” Allen added.

He is 76, and is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church’s most conservative wing. He is a former archbishop of Buenos Aires.

He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

“As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a new Bishop of Rome,” he said.  “It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. But here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace.”

He is known for his simplicity. He chose to live in an apartment rather that the archbishop’s palace, passed on a chauffeured limousine, took the bus to work and cooked his own meals.  Francis has a reputation for being a voice for the poor.

philly dot com

Pope Francis speaks.
Photo courtesy


Bergoglio shunned the papal limousine after his appearance on the balcony and chose to take a shuttle bus with other cardinals back to the Vatican residence where they are staying, for an evening meal.

The Jesuit order to which he belongs was founded in the 16th century to serve the pope. It is best known for its work in education and the intellectual prowess of its members.

Reserved and humble, Francis does not fit the profile of an active preacher that many cardinals had previously said they were seeking. He studied chemistry before joining the priesthood nearly a decade after losing a lung to respiratory illness.


His official biographer has said that Francis has both keen political instincts and self-effacing humility, and that he would encourage a kind of shoe-leather evangelism within the church. He is known to walk the streets of Buenos Aires to talk to the people.

news1130 dot com

Pope Francis when he was Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires

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Alcohol Abuse

This is wrong, so very wrong.

Oops! Workers flush thousands of gallons of whiskey

Allison Linn , NBC News

Workers at Chivas Brothers plant in Scotland have accidentally flushed thousands of gallons of the company’s whiskey, instead of its wastewater, down the drain.

The accident happened Tuesday at the Chivas Brothers plant in Dumbarton, Scotland, where about 600 workers are employed. A spokesman told that the company produces multiple brands of whiskey at the site.


The Glenlivet line by Chivas

whiskey 2

Chivas Regal







Read more about this horrific tale here: Oops! Workers flush thousands of gallons of whiskey

Note: Later, the article assures us none of the whiskey made it into local waterways.  Locals and tourists alike mourn the dual tragedy.


Holy Screaming Hell, Batman! As if we don’t have enough to worry about!

From our friends at

Sinkhole sucks Florida man from his bedroom into the earth By Elizabeth Chuck and Ian Johnston, NBC News

Officials and engineers are searching an unstable area of land after a sinkhole enveloped a Florida man’s bedroom in the middle of the night, sucking him down into the earth.

The victim, identified by local media as Jeffrey Bush, 36, has not been heard from since he screamed as a 20-foot-deep by 20-foot-wide hole opened underneath his family’s Hillsborough County home late Thursday.

The sinkhole swallowed part of the interior of the house but left the exterior remarkably intact.


Engineers work in front of a home where sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom and swallowed a man on Friday, March 1 in Seffner, Hillsborough County, Fla.

“They heard a sound they described as a car crash emanating from the bedroom,” Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers said at a Friday morning news conference outside the Seffner, Fla., house. “They rushed in. All they could see was part of a mattress sticking out of the hole. Essentially, the floor of the room had opened.”

Read the rest of this rather horrific story here: Sinkhole sucks Florida man from his bedroom into the earth


Lazy Lady’s Exercise Excuses

As I inch ever nearer to having to do active physical therapy for my shoulder, the specter of actually having to exercise again looms large. Sure, I’ve been doing household chores, stairs, and stuff like that for a few weeks, but in general, I’ve been trying to take it a bit easy and let my body heal. That alone is a first for me. In the spirit of firsts, then, I present exercise excuses and some ways I plan to deal with them, once I am given clearance to actually resume exercise.

Excuse: I am hungrier when I exercise.

Excuse Buster: If I was exercising rationally – like walking briskly – this might actually lessen my appetite. I might also have better luck if I make sure to eat a light snack and a heavy-duty protein drink right after a work out or walk, to give my body recovery fuel. I can probably do this for 150-200 calories with skim milk and a protein powder plus a piece of fruit. This might also help me feel full until meal time so I don’t just waste my workout binge eating.


Chocolate-y Post workout Protein Drink


Excuse: I don’t have time.

Excuse Buster: As long as I am off work, that is just baloney. I have nothing to do BUT work out. Once I return to work, however, things get dicier. I work afternoons and evenings, and often overnight as well. In addition, I do this blog thing and freelance writing on the side, have a house to maintain alone and five pets. I even have vague aspirations to have a social life occasionally. The American Heart Association says I need to get about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in per week. By my bad math that is about 15 minutes 6 days a week of hard exercise on top of my personal goal to walk an extra ½ hour most days of the week.

Hard exercise for me is something like doing a brief plyometrics, cardio or ab killer workout from my P90X DVDs, or doing what we called a “burn out” workout from the police academy. The burn out is this: Do 1 minute of pushups as fast as you can, rest for 30 seconds, do another minute then another rest, then another minute. Rest for 1 minute then do the same routine with sit-ups. Rest for another minute then do it jogging in place, running steps or sprinting. Total time actually working out = 12 minutes, not including the 30 second rest breaks or the 1 minute rests between exercises.  Just for fun, keep track of your number of push-ups, sit-ups and distance on stairs or running during each 1 minute burn, and see how much you improve. This one was a killer, but it worked and it didn’t take much time. We did this about every other day in order to give the muscles time to repair before the next killer session with lighter stretching and walking on the in between days.


Burnout Exercise

Excuse: I hate to get sweaty.

Excuse Buster: I get sweaty doing many things. Get over it, whiner, and take a shower after you work out. You know perfectly well the warm water will make you feel better. In addition, it is not good to just crash on the couch right after a workout. The body needs time to get blood pressure and heart rate back to normal. Work out, drink my protein drink, have my fruit while walking around the house, and cooling off, then take a shower. I can handle that. I don’t have to like getting sweaty, but I am a grown up and can deal with it.


some ecards

I hate to sweat

Excuse: I’m too tired/I’m too sore:

Excuse Buster: Supposedly, regular exercise actually increases energy and you get less sore over time. However, due to multiple medical issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis, thyroid issues and some replacement parts I don’t rebound like a normal person. I stay sore as long as I keep exercising. I was in the academy for 4 months and exercised every day. I never got more energy and I never got less sore. I did get much more fit, however. I need to set my mind to this fact and decide whether comfort and rest is more important than being fit, or the other way around. Somehow, I survived the academy and kept up with people literally half my age. I probably whined twice as much as they did, too, but I did it. There is no reason I can’t do it again.

Hit Girl

Kick Ass Hit Girl

I need to figure out the best time of day for me, given my weird work schedule and my dislike of mornings. Probably the answer will be working out before work – say, noonish – then taking my pre-work shower and dealing with the soreness by continuing to walk most of my work hours as I do anyway. If I take care with my food packing for work, I can have energy boosters like protein and slow carbs to get me through the evening. I also tend to drink a lot of water while I am at work, because we have one of those cool Sonic ice makers and I love Sonic ice. Drinking tons of water after I workout might help the energy level and the soreness. I have also already started taking a prenatal vitamin to boost my basics and add more B-complex vitamins. This might help me out in this department, too.


If I want your opinion….

 Other things I might try:

I can have my workout clothes and shoes laid out on the chair beside the bed when I go to sleep. That way when I wake up at noonish, I can climb into them before I am all the way awake and my body and brain have a chance to rebel. I can grab a yogurt to cushion my hunger grumbles, get the workout done, eat the post workout “second breakfast” and hit the shower.

I can log my workouts on again and actually occasionally interact on a message board and read some articles there. I can track my progress on my burn outs, and add my food and water tracking, too. I have a cloth tape measure and can record and track my inches. That is much more motivating than tracking pounds since I tend to lose inches faster than weight. And really, it is the inches I care about more since my ultimate goal is to look better.

I can actually use the fitness app I downloaded to my Android to do similar things, and to keep track of stuff during the day when I can’t get to a computer. This might be tricky at work since we can’t carry our phones. I can carry my little notebook, though, so I might as well use that.

I can get back into doing a yoga routine a few times a week as my exercise. This hurts a lot less and actually helps the fibromyalgia and arthritis. I still sweat, because yoga isn’t easy, but it is a less stressful sweat.


Yoga – Cobra Pose

Therefore, it is resolved. It is written.


Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford Bitch Slap

This article is copyright © 2013 Holly Cochran/

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Google Glass – Part 2

I wrote about Google Glass back on 12/24/12, and the implications it might have as a “wearable computer.” Here is the original post:

Now it seems they are ready to release the thing to the public for around $1500, according to NBC News technology. Here is an excerpt of their article and a linkie.

Everyone’s favorite future toy, Google Glass, may soon be more than a gadget-blogger’s fantasy. Tech website The Verge has gotten official confirmation from Google that they plan to launch the head-worn device before the end of the year, and for under $1,500.


Google Glass Headset. Photo courtesy of Google.


Lazy Lady’s Quick and Dirty Ways to Get Healthier and Be Happier

Let’s face it. I am lazy. A couch potato, a homebody, a slug. Those all describe me. I am also tough as nails and have been through a lot, and somehow rated in the 95th percentile for flexibility, ab strength and (before my shoulder surgery) upper body strength for women my age. That age is “over 40 under 50.”

As such, I offer for your consideration some easy-peasy quick-n-dirty ways to do things to improve your health without going to a boot camp or cross fit gym. Those places make you actually work out and that just isn’t right.

Stretch. Stretch a lot and all the time.

-Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds. Lather, rinse, repeat.
-Stretch your hamstrings and calves, shoulders, forearms, back, neck and hips multiple times a day.
-Occasionally measure your progress and notice how you have gradually become more limber and flexible.
-Flexibility helps you avoid injury and minimize the severity of injuries like sprains and strains. It also helps you get away from people trying to hurt you more often than someone who locks up as soon as their wrist is bent funny.

Be a complete freak about washing your linens.
-I switched over to all white linens and bedding, so I can wash them in hot water and bleach – lots of bleach – every week. This kills dust mites and gets rid of allergens like pollen and pet fur, plus de-germs the whole mess. I feel much less chronically congested since I made the switch. Also, my favorite smell in the world is freshly bleached linen so sleeping in this smell is heaven for me.
-Wash your mattress pad and comforters at least once a month in the same manner, even if you have to go to a Laundromat and use the $3 machine to do it.
-Regardless of your linen color choice, launder the works every week and use at least a color safe bleach and the hottest water your fabrics can stand.
-Wash everything immediately if you are or have been recently ill with any virus.

Practice sleep hygiene. Granted, I generally fail massively at sleeping BUT my sleep is a hundred times better since I started practicing sleep hygiene.
-Go to bed in a dark, quiet and cool room (I like around 62-64 degrees) in a bed that is comfortable for you.
-Use lightweight layers of linens so you don’t mush your feet flat in bed and get leg cramps. I use a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, a cotton open weave blanket or a flannel sheet as a blanket, a lightweight cotton down-substitute comforter and another thin flat sheet on top. The top sheet is to keep the pet fur to a minimum on the bed, and could be left off if I was merciless and kept the cats out of the bedroom.
-Go to bed and get up at around the same time each day, even on your days off. I have been a shift worker for years and have found that keeping to my weird shift sleep schedule on days off is crucial to sleeping well during my work week. Flipping schedules around is a good way to get bad sleep.
-Do NOT take your phone with you to the bedroom unless you know there is a pending emergency call or the high likelihood of one, AND it is an emergency that you can do something about in the middle of your night. Otherwise, silence the phone and leave it in another room. Check your messages when you get up in the morning and respond to anything needed then. Just the light coming on your phone if you get a call can be enough to wake up a fussy sleeper.
-Learn to use earplugs and a sleep mask if you work odd hours and have to sleep during noisy times or day light. I like the pink “for ladies” soft foam earplugs and my memory foam sleep mask.
-No caffeine for at least 6 hours – preferably 8 hours – before your bedtime. Chocolate, sadly, contains caffeine. Stick to water, milk, and juice in moderation or herbal teas.

Cut your stress as much as possible. I know, again I am not one to talk. I blow up those “rate your stress level” tests and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. However, I have also spent a long time in high stress jobs without freaking out too much.
-When stress attacks think about the big picture. Most things that cause us to be worked up are small potatoes in the end. -Do some exercise – walk around the parking lot at work, run up and down the stairs a few times, do some calisthenics, walk the dog. Anything that burns up some of that anxiety will help you manage your stress.
-Stay away from sugar, caffeine and energy drinks in general if you can and especially if you are particularly stressed. They just raise your heart rate and make you feel more anxious.
-Meditate, if you can, or at least listen to some calming music or a meditation tape. I like Gregorian chants personally. Your mileage may vary.
-Drink some chamomile or bedtime hot tea or a glass of warm milk.
-Talk to someone trusted about what is going on in your head or journal about what is in there. Anything is better than keeping that junk bottled up and rattling around in your head making you nuts.
-If you find you are having anxiety regularly or episodes of racing heart and feeling panicky for no apparent reason, check in with your doctor. If you are diagnosed with anxiety or panic attacks, don’t be too proud to try medication.

Get your annual medical checkup. Annually, as in every year.
-The Affordable Care Act has made it a requirement that insurance companies cover an annual check up and a well woman exam plus mammogram if you are of a certain age or have risk factors.
-Get your lab work done every year, too, including a full range thyroid check (there are at least three different thyroid hormones that can get wacky and affect how you feel).
-Have the lab tests include hormone testing as well as the usual cholesterol, blood count, liver and kidney functions and blood glucose level. If something comes back amiss on your labs, follow your doctor’s advice on how to fix it.
-Listen to your body and if something feels wrong keep on top of your doctor until it is resolved. Lots of symptoms and illnesses are masked by other things or very tricky to find. You have lived in your body all your life and are in an expert position to what feels right vs. what feels wrong.
-If your doctor recommends a mammogram or a pap smear, suck it up and get it done regardless of your family history. Something like 40% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of it. Newer digital mammogram machines make the procedure feel much less like slamming your girls in a sliding glass door.
-Annual check up includes getting your dental exams and eye exams, even if your teeth seem fine and you don’t wear glasses.
-Get your flu shot and whooping cough shot, and any other shots your doctor says you need.
-Get your kids vaccinated and keep every one’s shots up to date. Just. Do. It.
-Do the same for your furry friends.

Track your eating in a food diary. Every bite, every day. and other sites have great food trackers, and there are tons of apps for your SmartPhone or iPhone, too.
-Studies have shown that just writing down what you put in your mouth makes you more accountable to yourself and helps you follow a healthy diet.
-Learn about portion sizes if you need to in order to keep a rein on your food intake. A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of most green veggies is about ½ cup.
-Use a smaller plate to make your servings look bigger, and eat slower than you think is rational. Give your stomach time to tell your brain you are full.
-Eat the healthiest stuff on your plate first – vegetables or a salad, then protein, followed by fruit and whole grains. Save the starchy stuff like bread, pasta and anything sugary until last if you have it at all.
-If you can, give up white carbs altogether.
-Keep your dairy intake to high protein Greek yogurt, healthy hard cheeses and skim or 1% milk as much as possible.
-Drink 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of your body weight every day no matter what, and don’t count caffeinated beverages or sweetened drinks towards your water goal.
-Avoid artificial sweeteners and “no fat” stuff altogether – if you are going to eat or drink something bad for you, do the real thing. Your body will feel more satisfied and you are less likely to overdo it with the Big Gulp and full dozen donuts. Shoot for the medium or small Coke and one donut cooked in real oil, or a scoop of real and super-creamy ice cream.

Track your fitness using an app or an online or paper exercise diary.
-Walking ½ hour at a moderate pace is about 1 mile under normal circumstances.
-Wear a pedometer or some other means of tracking your steps.
-Count any activity outside your normal get up and do your job routine. On days at work where I have had to do extra stairs or restrain kids, I count that.
-I count a day of walking around shopping, too, because most of my days are not spent standing and walking for a full 8 hours.
-Count your stretching as fitness, too, because it is.
-Try one new yoga or Pilates move every week or every month, just for the hell of it.
-If something hurts when you are exercising, STOP doing that thing! Breaking yourself or making yourself hurt will not motivate you to exercise more, and sometimes the damage can be permanent.
-Find exercises that do not hurt you but that do make you sweat at least a little.

Become at least slightly germophobic. Not the washing your hands sixty times a day type – unless you are in the health care field and you will be doing that anyway.
-Wash your dish sponge in the dishwasher every time you run the washer. This sterilizes the sponge.
-Use Clorox with Bleach wipes every week on your phones, light switches, doorknobs, and any bathroom handles and fixtures.
-Go overboard with the Clorox wipes on everything if you or anyone in the house is sick with anything.
-Keep hand sanitizer mini-bottles with you at all times and use them.
-Any time you are out in public and there is hand sanitizer prominently displayed for use – use it, they are trying to tell you something.
-Wipe down that nasty shopping cart handle before you use it, too. Remember the Wal-Mart kid that was sitting in it right before you and his mom? Yeah, that’s why.
-Toss your toothbrush after 4-6 weeks no matter what, and immediately if you have been ill. Your dentist gives you a new one every 6 months, and you can buy mega-packs at Costco for the other times.
-Be wary of public bathrooms and be extra-germophobic in those places. I carry a mini-pack of Clorox wipes in my bag for just these situations, and use them to wipe down the seat, the handle, the stall door handle, the exit door handle, the paper towel dispenser handle and the sink handles almost always unless I see the cleaning person in the bathroom cleaning.
-Learn the “hover’ maneuver for really skeevy places like rest stops and convenience stores.

Eat a decent breakfast every day.
-Include a protein and a slow carb like whole-wheat grains or multi-grain oatmeal. My personal favorite is vanilla Greek yogurt, berries and lower fat organic granola mixed together. This hits every food group except vegetables and keeps me full for hours. I could probably add a V-8 if I could stomach the peppers in the drinks.
-I try not to skip meals in general because I have found I tend to binge eat when I am feeling starved.  Sometimes I get lucky and binge on fruit or something really healthy.  More often, it is something far worse for me than anything is in my regular diet.

Don’t weigh yourself constantly.
-Weigh and measure once a week and keep a diary of your progress. More often than this and you are just beating yourself up for nothing.
-Everyone’s weight and inches varies daily and throughout the day, so get off your own back.

This is the most important healthy lesson I have ever learned: Laugh at something (not someone) every day.
-Find something about which to be happy, joyful, and mirthful about every day.
-Find something beautiful to see or hear every day and laugh with joy at it.
-Laugh every chance you get, and don’t be afraid to laugh aloud and let everyone know you are laughing.
-There are studies that show laughing helps release feel good hormones called endorphins, relieves stress and burnout, and just generally makes you a happier person.
-It is pretty hard to be a negative Nancy when you are laughing your ass off!

Am I the paragon of health, fitness and virtue? Not by a long shot. But I have been to a lot of classes and counseling, seen doctors more than most people see their families, and had enough surgeries and procedures to read my own MRI scans as accurately as my doctor (true story). I have also lost about 50 pounds over a 2 year period and kept almost all of it off for the past two years on top of that. I have survived things that might have killed other people. I graduated second in my class from the law enforcement academy at the age of 42 – including getting a fitness endorsement. I have studied this stuff and what I can’t necessarily do I can certainly speak about with some authority. Not once did I lose anything of value by trying something new to be healthier.

This article is copyright © 2013 Holly Cochran/



We The People: Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research

The White House


Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research

By Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Thank you for your participation in the We the People platform. The Obama Administration agrees that citizens deserve easy access to the results of research their tax dollars have paid for. As you may know, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has been looking into this issue for some time and has reached out to the public on two occasions for input on the question of how best to achieve this goal of democratizing the results of federally-funded research. Your petition has been important to our discussions of this issue.

The logic behind enhanced public access is plain. We know that scientific research supported by the Federal Government spurs scientific breakthroughs and economic advances when research results are made available to innovators. Policies that mobilize these intellectual assets for re-use through broader access can accelerate scientific breakthroughs, increase innovation, and promote economic growth. That’s why the Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that the results of federally-funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community.

Moreover, this research was funded by taxpayer dollars. Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support.

To that end, I have issued a memorandum today (.pdf) to Federal agencies that directs those with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication. As you pointed out, the public access policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health has been a great success. And while this new policy call does not insist that every agency copy the NIH approach exactly, it does ensure that similar policies will appear across government.

As I mentioned, these policies were developed carefully through extensive public consultation. We wanted to strike the balance between the extraordinary public benefit of increasing public access to the results of federally-funded scientific research and the need to ensure that the valuable contributions that the scientific publishing industry provides are not lost. This policy reflects that balance, and it also provides the flexibility to make changes in the future based on experience and evidence. For example, agencies have been asked to use a 12-month embargo period as a guide for developing their policies, but also to provide a mechanism for stakeholders to petition the agency to change that period. As agencies move forward with developing and implementing these polices, there will be ample opportunity for further public input to ensure they are doing the best possible job of reconciling all of the relevant interests.

In addition to addressing the issue of public access to scientific publications, the memorandum requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with Federal funding. Strengthening these policies will promote entrepreneurship and jobs growth in addition to driving scientific progress. Access to pre-existing data sets can accelerate growth by allowing companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and fully exploiting discoveries instead of repeating basic, pre-competitive work already documented elsewhere. For example, open weather data underpins the forecasting industry and provides great public benefits, and making human genome sequences publically available has spawned many biomedical innovations—not to mention many companies generating billions of dollars in revenues and the jobs that go with them. Going forward, wider availability of scientific data will create innovative economic markets for services related to data curation, preservation, analysis, and visualization, among others.

So thank you again for your petition. I hope you will agree that the Administration has done its homework and responded substantively to your request.