Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New warnings for Paxil use, especially for pregnancy

MedWatch - August 2006 Safety-Related Drug Labeling Changes - Detailed

I'm no longer on Paxil, but for those of you who are, you should be aware of these, especially if you are pregnant, plan to be, or at risk of pregnancy. Other warnings include the potential for suicide, especially in young adults and serotonin syndrome, especially with concomitant use of MAOIs. An adverse reaction that has been added is the possibility of hallucinations. Check it out if you're concerned.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Humans and Apes joined by Humpbacks in 'Spindle Cell Brigade' - The Money Times

Humans and Apes joined by Humpbacks in 'Spindle Cell Brigade'

Spindle cells are found in the brains of only a few creatures on the planet. They are thought to be linked to intelligence.

Furthermore, in cetaceans they evolved earlier and are found in additional areas of the brain than those of primates.

It does make you wonder just how intelligent whales, dolphins, and porpoises are, and what it means for the ethics of the whaling industry and other hunts for these animals.

I'd also be interested in whether elephants have spindle cells in their brains, since they also exhibit complex behaviour.

Monday, November 27, 2006

By the way, I love Wikipedia

Not only do they have an entry for just about everything, there's one on:

The Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters, my favourite mystery series

and one on Heroes my current addictive TV show upon which I'm hooked (well, the only one I watch on a regular basis, as I have no cable and watch with a friend). You have to love a show whose taglines include: 'Save the cheerleader. Save the world.' :)

Well, it's back to work

and I'm taking a quick part of my lunch to update. Yesterday was all I hoped it could be; I was very productive in preparing for the game, the game itself went well, Dee and Margaret stayed late and we all had a great discussion on various topics ranging from the Bunyip to silly neo-Pagans with staves to scary neo-Nazi Satanists, and all the time we were talking I was ticky-ticking on the keyboard and finished not only the notes from that day's game but the whole notebook! Woo-hoo! Okay, I was supposed to have finished about 18 notebooks by now. But still, it's a start, right? Plus, there was good conversation. I haven't really had fun, meaningful conversations in a group setting for a good long while, mainly because my circle of friends have shrunk as the loonies have fallen away. It was nice to talk to sane people about estoeric weirdness, too.

Today some of us at work are exchanging e-mails in preparation for our Secret Santa holiday celebration. We take a week and get little presents for someone (and in return, get them), followed by a slightly bigger gift at a party. It's very fun, and went really well last year. Two of the people are on maternity leave, so I hope they can come.

I think I'm going to get some small things for my family (I'm including a couple of friends in that category) and for the members of the game, too and cover all the bases. This year isn't as tight as past years have been, although I'm having an almost irresistable desire to get a $300 computer for a friend who has a slow not-quite-dinosaur of one, and I really can't afford that, so I AM resisting. I don't know where that idea came from, it's out of the blue, but I actually priced some. For $300 you can get a really decent computer these days.

Well, that's enough for now. Nothing in the news struck me as blogworthy. Hope you had a happy holiday. It's hard to believe that by Friday it will be December. Eek! When am I going to be able to go shopping? Oh, well, I have bills to pay first anyway. :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I wish

You Should Weigh 190

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

A nice day or two

although today was spent working my normal 10-hour shift, things seemed to go pretty quickly. The weather was beautiful, in the 60s. I wish I'd been able to enjoy a little more of it, but tomorrow is supposed to be nice as well. It was also nice to get some rest over the last few days. I feel better than I have in awhile. I'm excited about the game tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and the holidays.

I will be working on Christmas, probably during the evening, but that's okay; I agreed to that to get Thanksgiving off and it's double-time-and-a-half. Besides, I'm not Christian--it's not my holiday. My family will get together sometime around the holiday, even if I have to take some vacation time off another day.

I've changed when I take my meds; the Provigil and metformin are still in the morning, (well, and the metformin is again later in the day) but the Lamictal and Abilify have gone to bedtime, because I was getting very drowsy in the daytime otherwise. Apparently Lamictal can cause drowsiness. I had originally started taking everything in the morning so I'd remember to take all my meds, and the Provigil has to be in the morning, but I'll just have to remember to take the others at bedtime. I think it's doing much better now. The real test will be next week at work, when I'm not necessarily being pelted with lots of stimuli (like at the gas station, which stays busy). I've been having a hard time staying awake, especially once I get to the projects I should be working on that aren't urgent or directly for others. Of course, it would help if I could get enough rest, too. And I'm going to start checking my blood sugar again to see if that's part of the problem (you get really fatigued when blood sugar is high). I just need to get some testing strips this week from the pharmacy.

In a couple of weeks I have an appointment with my nurse practitioner which will be my last; they won't be taking my insurance after December 15th. I got the notice the other day in the mail. So it's time to find another medications manager. I've already had two psychiatrists who have moved away, and now this. Sigh. I also have a dental appointment coming up. Yay. (Yes, that's facetious, although actually I really like my dentist and her staff).

We've cut my hours down at the gas station to mostly Saturdays, which should help for making doctor's appointments and maybe having a bit of a life during the week. I'm wondering if there's a way to fit in the gym. I'm really starting to get winded whenever I walk anywhere and I'm disliking my size. I want to be in better shape (I know I'll never be svelte, but I'd settle for feeling a lot better). It's almost resolution time, I suppose, but also, I pay for the experience--I might as well avail myself of the equipment. It may mean getting up much earlier, though, which is hard for me. :)

Well, I guess that's enough for now. It's almost time to go get a friend from work. Take care.

Cloak and Dagger Extraordinaire

The Revenge of the Kremlin? gives a fairly in-depth look at the poisoning a former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko, who had been highly critical of the Kremlin and specifically Putin. His death by poisoning with a rare radioactive substance had sparked concern that others, such as his family and those who cared for him in the hospital, or those who ate at the restaurant linked to the radioactivity, might have been exposed.

It reads like some Tom Clancy novel, riveting and full of twists. But unfortunately, this is the case not only of historical drama (that will no doubt be researched intently in the future) but that of a man who became a shadow of his former self through exposure to something you'd have to have access to nuclear materials to even obtain. It has also been linked to the death of a Russian journalist last month, so the story (and the human cost) may turn out to be much greater than it is on the surface. Meanwhile, since he had obtained citizenship and there is a strong possibility that foreign concerns are involved, there may be a breakdown in British and Russian relations. It's a far-reaching bit of cloak and dagger. I hope the people responsible--all of them, no matter how high this goes--are brought to justice. Perhaps it is a rogue plan, perhaps part of a personal vendetta of an old comrade, but if it is the result of the Russian forces, that needs to come out. Otherwise the perpetrators win.

Listening to

I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker by Sandi Thom

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In '77 and '69 revolution was in the air
I was born too late into a world that doesn't care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

When the head of state didn't play guitar
Not everybody drove a car
When music really mattered and when radio was king
When accountants didn't have control
And the media couldn't buy your soul
And computers were still scary and we didn't know everything


When pop stars still remained a myth
And ignorance could still be bliss
And when god saved the queen she turned a whiter shade of pale
My mom and dad were in their teens
And anarchy was still a dream
And the only way to stay in touch was a letter in the mail


When record shops were still on top
And vinyl was all that they stocked
And the super info highway was still drifting out in space
Kids were wearing hand me downs
And playing games meant kick arounds
And footballers still had long hair and dirt across their face


I was born too late into a world that doesn't care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair


Of course, I was born in '67, so I was much too young for the hippie movement--I was born right before the Summer of Love to parents of that generation--and was still too young for the punk movement, but I saw the beginning of the changes that made the world she talks about. I always felt, though, that I would have made a good flower child, and instead I'm a GenXer through and through, but my idealism and mentality are kind of stuck in the 60s. I am a product of 70s cartoons and TV that sought to make everyone equal and represented in happy multicultural ways, and I have an annoying habit of asserting that everyone is equal even though I know that each person has unique abilities and background. But I remember when vinyl was all that, radio was king, and computers were still scary. But at least we still don't know everything...we just tend to think we do. I'd never have made a good punker, though...I just never got the whole punk thing, for which a friend mocks me on occasion. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

The only religion spit out by the Belief-O-Matic I wasn't familiar with

New Thought, courtesy of Wikipedia

A giant leap forward in genetics research

Building on the known areas of the human genome, a new style of mapping shows areas beyond the traditional paired chromosomes that may affect inheritance in myriad ways--and the researchers making the discovery have made their databases public to help fuel further research.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

The country pauses to remember an incident in which peaceful Indians (later decimated by disease, invaders, and assimilation) invited early Pilgrims to a harvest feast by stuffing ourselves silly, particularly with turkey--a native bird--cranberry sauce, and a variety of side dishes that vary by region, followed by football (American style) and giving a chance for stores to close so they can open to vast after-Thanksgiving sales on the biggest shopping day of year in preparation for Christmas, another national holiday that escapes me (at least as to why it's a national holiday and not merely a religious one).

Yeah, I don't really get it.

In my case, though, it's usually a time to get together with my family and have dinner, although now that we're down to mostly women, we skip the football. This year we had it at my mom's; I went to my grandmother's, picked her up, and took her on to Stanford from Danville. They had turkey with all the trimmings; I had baked cod. It was the first Thanksgiving I can remember where I braved oyster casserole (her husband's family recipe) and we didn't have fruit salad (ours--there was just so much and whereas there were plenty of sugar free desserts for the diabetics--and all but one of us are--it's hard to make a fruit salad low on sugar.

We had a good time. I felt a little out of place there, like I wasn't quite connecting on some level, but rather watching it from the outside. Part of that reason may have been the inclusion of my stepfather's family--his mother, whom I don't really know but who seems rather sweet and my stepbrother, who is painfully shy and doesn't really talk.

Afterwards my mother showed me where she'd subscribed to a major genealogy website and had some of the family back to the 15th century, building on other genealogists' work. I have to admit, I really wanted to add what I have to that, although it's $155 a year, so I doubt I can subscribe.

We went back early; my grandmother decided she was going and so I didn't really get the sides to take back home (I only missed the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, really, but if I'd taken the latter home, I'd have eaten too much too quickly, and since it's sugar-free, that could have a quite negative effect on my system), and I was a wuss and didn't tell her just to hold her horses like I should have. Ditto on the backseat driving. But hey, she's old and frail, and while we all give her a little too much slack, I don't really want to upset her over small things anyway. I'll save that for, oh, the first girl I ever bring home to Thanksgiving, if ever. :)

The drive was nice both down and up. By the time I got up to Lexington I was hungry again, so I stopped by the Chinese restaurant whose food I've been craving just on the outside chance they were open, but no luck. It used to be you could count on Chinese establishments during the holidays, especially at Christmas, but I guess they weren't making enough business during Turkey Day. So I went to Walgreen's, got a couple of things (like I'm now the proud owner of an electric can opener, since my manual one had gotten difficult, they didn't have any more of those, and an electric one with rebate was about the same price). Then I went home and baked some Tofurkey. I think next time I'll get the complete meal, which comes with gravy, extra stuffing, a couple of sides, and Tofurkey jerky.

Well, that's all for now. I'm off tomorrow and get to sleep in, which is exactly what I plan to do. Hope you have a good holiday, if you're in the US, anyway. The rest of you probably think we're wacky as all get out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Looking at the past

Why Pandemic Influenza Is So Frightening (free with registration)

Although it certainly needs it, it amazes me just how much press pandemic flu gets these days. Even the gas station I work for has a brochure on pandemic influenza. This article gives a glance of what doctors dealt with in 1918, with particular description of postmortem findings in those who have succumbed to influenza, but also a literary view of the aftermath.

A rude awakening

Blast Sparks Massachusetts Fire

An early morning blast in Danvers, the site of the Salem Witch Trials, had people out in the streets expecting an aeroplane crash or earthquake. For unknown reasons, a plant producing solvents and inks exploded in the wee hours in the morning. Remarkably, only a few people were hurt, none seriously. The area has a lot of homes and businesses, so it could have been much worse.

Death for the Surveyor?

Hope fades for missing Mars Global Surveyor craft

Monday, November 20, 2006

Low literacy and web design

Low-Literacy Users (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

It scares me that 48% of the US population has low literacy (defined as being able to read, but having difficulty) According to Nielsen, studies show that low-literacy readers tend to read word for word slowly, rather than scanning portions of text and navigation tools quickly. They skip over anything that is too tedious for them to read and accept things at face value rather than digging for more information. They also tend not to scroll down, and searching is a problem for them as well. As of now, the majority of Internet users are high-literacy readers, but the number of low-level readers is growing, and Nielsen points out that web pages should be designed for these readers and gives suggestions for doing so that would probably work in print as well with some adaptation.

How users get shut out of using computers most effectively

Digital Divide: The Three Stages (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Run Yourself through the Belief-O-Matic

Beliefnet: Belief-O-Matic, Religion Beliefs, What Religion Am I Quiz -- Beliefnet.com

Here are my results (unfortunately Pagan just falls in neo-Pagan, which I'm not, really, but that's splitting hairs). Also, I have been a member of the UU church, and probably still would be if they didn't clamour so often for money I don't have:

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Hinduism (88%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (85%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (83%)
5. New Age (79%)
6. Jainism (77%)
7. Sikhism (77%)
8. Liberal Quakers (69%)
9. Reform Judaism (69%)
10. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
11. Orthodox Judaism (59%)
12. New Thought (57%)
13. Scientology (54%)
14. Secular Humanism (52%)
15. Bahá'í Faith (52%)
16. Taoism (49%)
17. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (44%)
18. Orthodox Quaker (42%)
19. Islam (41%)
20. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (37%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (36%)
22. Nontheist (31%)
23. Jehovah's Witness (27%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (24%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (20%)
26. Roman Catholic (20%)
27. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (18%)

You learn something every day

I discovered that my blossoming biology major (I switched to history and sociology because I was burnt out on chemistry) somehow left me bereft of knowledge regarding Limpets. Now that I've been told about them and looked them up myself, I realise I've seen them before; I just didn't know what they were and probably assumed they were a kind of barnacle.

Where else can you read about creatures that use pedal mucus to remain attached to rocks? :) Thanks to YKWIA for introducing the term to me, even if he was using it to make a disparaging comment about someone at the time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

For male medical librarians (and those who buy them things)

A medical library tie from Amazon.com with books tumbling against a solid background with subjects like paediatrics. :)

A story to brighten your morning

A lady on the radio today called in and told a story we'll entitle, 'I went to jail for Tickle-me Elmo'.

Apparently during the initial craze related to the fuzzy toy, she was with her husband who was in the Army and stationed at a base in Germany. One of the husbands of a friend called and told her that a plane had come in on the flightline and it had Tickle-me Elmos on it. Well, several of the Army wives--you just know the story's going to go bad from that alone--went down to meet the plane and tried to convince the guy there to either give or sell them one of the dolls, without luck. At one point, one of the women (not the one telling the story) said something like, 'well, how about I kick your butt and you give me the Elmo'. The next thing they knew, the MPs were called and they were all taken to jail for communicating a threat and loitering.

When asked how her husband took this, the lady said it was definitely not well. He was an MP himself, for one, and was really embarrassed. Plus, he was up for a promotion and they not only did not promote him as a result, they cited him for failure to control his dependents. He did eventually get the promotion the next year. Any fight they had after that the Elmo incident was brought up. They eventually divorced. The Elmo made it into their divorce papers, as he cited it as an example of her lack of control. She may be the only person on the planet where Tickle-Me Elmo played a role in her divorce. (Mind you, I understand why the husband was upset, losing a promotion over a doll, but as the radio hosts said, sometimes you have to let it go.)

Well, she's married again, this time to an Air Force man. Here's hoping she'll stay under the radar of the SPs there. :) Who knew a doll could cause this much trouble? And it just illustrates what I mean when I say the world I grew up in (the military) is a whole other world from what outsiders experience.

I hope that justice will prevail in this heinous case

Soldier gets 90 years in prison for rape, murder of Iraqi girl and family, but he will be eligible for parole in 20 years as part of a plea-bargain where he will testify against other participants in exchange for escaping the death penalty. Several other soldiers are facing court martial in the case. The soldier who has been fingered for the actual killings had already been discharged for personality issues before the case came to light, so he will be tried in a civilian court. According to allegations and this soldier's testimony, the group went to a house intending to rape a 14-year-old girl. One stayed as lookout, another went along but did not participate in the rape. Three actually raped the girl, including the one who copped the plea-bargain, and one other allegedly shot the rest of the family as the other two raped her. The the girl was then killed and they burnt her body to cover up the crime. So far, it seems they were stupid thugs who have tried to blame lack of sleep and lack of support during the Iraqi mission for their actions. Nothing can bring this girl and her family back. Plus, the case has damaged the already shaky American reputation overseas. It's just sickening, and so counter to the image of brave soldiers defending our country. Unfortunately, the military attracts a certain type sometimes that goes horribly bad. That's not saying all the military is like that, certainly not. But look at the Tim McVeighs of the world. Usually those with authority issues or who are truly unstable get drummed out, like McVeigh and Green, the soldier allegedly responsible for these killings. But there is a certain culture in the military that promotes machismo, violence, and depersonalisation of others. Think of the hazing that recruits go through, for example--and there is extreme pressure not to blow the whistle on any other soldier's actions. I'm glad this case came to light, and I hope that those responsible will get exactly what they deserve.


1 shot in Connecticut during robbery attempt waiting for Playstation 3, several others shot with BBs at a Lexington, Kentucky Best Buy

I'm not sure which is crazier--camping out for a video game system or shooting people camping out. Agh. In the Lexington case, a reporter was one of four people injured as she was interviewing a camper. One has to wonder about people who do drive-by shootings with cameras rolling. Go figure. Fortunately it doesn't seem like anyone was injured too severely, although I didn't find any details on the Connecticut man's condition. The Playstation 3 went on sale today to the tune of $500 or so. Many people hope to score big either in terms of playing the latest games or selling the consoles on eBay for much more cash. Even though the system is considered the must-have toy of the season, as a friend pointed out, these aren't people waiting in line for kids. These are mostly college geeks or people who have taken off from regular jobs to camp out for essentially a bunch of plastic gadgetry which will be obsolete in a year or two, just to be 'first'. I just don't get it, myself, and its a very expensive magic bean otherwise. Of course, the only video games I have are an old Nintendo system (the original) and one of those joysticks that play 80 of the '80s games. I play the rest of any games I have on a computer, which can be used for other things. I'm just not the video game player in the family. That would be my mom. I wonder if she keeps up with the latest systems. :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I would think

that if you can use a computer well enough to watch a Flash presentation on a website, you can probably read a food label, but the FDA's Make Your Calories Count - Use the Nutrition Facts Label for Healthy Weight Management is pretty cool nonetheless. It's downloadable, too, so if you want to teach this topic to others, you can do so without having to be online. It requires Flash capability for the interactive modules, and a PDF reader for the print versions.

Using Google to Download Public Domain Texts

Official Google Blog: Download the classics

Something I had a hand in

This Month's FREE Core Title Specialty at Doody's is Orthopaedics (I'm afraid the above link will only work in November 2006 for going to the Orthopaedics section--it obviously changes per month, and the sections are generally available only to subscribers for $49.50 a year). I was a Selector this year and helped rate the books and got to suggest several that were included. It was pretty fun. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of concern

Oxfam, MSF: many poor lack access to drugs 5 years after WTO medicines declaration

Sad, but not surprising, is it?

Two who died in storm drain were legally drunk; so was incoming UK student who died after fall in Red River Gorge

I think we all saw it coming. The women who drowned were (appropriately so) coming home in a cab late at night, indicating that they had perhaps been drinking. The Gorge is well-known not only as a natural treasure but as a place to go and get plastered, which is unfortunate, since it also has many beautiful but deadly cliffs. In all the stories of falls in the Gorge I've read or heard of (and there have been many over the years), the vast majority have been alcohol-related.

Yet because this story appeared in the Kentucky Kernel, UK's campus newspaper, the parent of the young man who died in the Gorge has sharply criticised the paper. Moreover, most likely due to this story, 4500 newspapers were stolen, to a tune of about $300, a felony. In a related story, the mother of the young man said '"I could guess" that the papers were stolen by her late son's friends, but she said "I'm not going to name names."' Police don't have many leads, although someone reported a woman stuffing papers into a bag, and the reporter received e-mails that were described as '"borderline" between complaints and threats'.

It's sad that these young people's lives were cut short. I'm sure they were all wonderfully vibrant people with their lives ahead of them. But I don't think the Kernel's reporting their blood alcohol levels (and in the young man's case, drug levels) was irresponsible in any way. The values themselves are a matter of public record. But when put with other recent deaths related to UK students and alchohol, they paint a disturbing picture of something that should be addressed. The Kernel did not paint the victims as bad people, or even point out that in each case some bad decisions were made--mostly under the influence of alcohol. It simply reported the cases and helped put another layer onto the tragedies of their deaths.

That kind of story isn't going to be silenced regardless of protests, and in the end, it's also a true story. The facts are verifiable. The truth doesn't reduce the victims 'into flat, one-dimensional characters'. It just points out that anyone can make a mistake, and that mistake can be deadly. I think it was stupid for anyone to steal the papers in some sort of protest of the story, but I suppose emotions are running high and again, people don't always make the best decisions then, either.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A-Googling they will go

Doctors Googling medical answers

Googling for a diagnosis--use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study

Google searches out diagnoses, stat

Comparison of MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and Scirus (PDF)

Concerns about Google Scholar

In a fairly small study (26 published diagnoses blinded for searches to try to find using search terms), they found them on Google 58% of the time (15 out of the 26). How they can make claims that the internet can be particularly useful is beyond me, as the confidence interval stretched from 38% to 77%. But you know what it really tells us? Librarians need to make it clear that we (and the resources at our disposal) can give you much better odds than, as one colleague put it, a crap shoot. We have much better searching skills, because of training and experience, have access to more databases, and simply put, we do this for a living. Leave patching people up and making the actual diagnoses to the medical professionals, but librarians are very useful for finding the information necessary for medical personnel to do their jobs, and they can save valuable time doing it. Unfortunately, there is a perception that 'everything is out on the Internet' (wrong) and that as long as you find something, it's what you need (wrong). Librarians are trained to evaluate information as well as find it and are adept at determining the value of the website, its agenda, and how much weight the information should have.

So if there are any doctors reading this, feel free to Google, of course, but you might find a quick call to a librarian can save you time, give you better results, and could quite possibly help you save your patient.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeling better

Things have calmed down a bit and all is right with the world again. Yay!

A small thing, but...

Deer frees itself from Halloween bucket

The yearling buck had been running around for several days looking thinner and thinner with a Halloween pumpkin bucket caught on its ears or horn buds and covering its snout like a feed bag. Rescuers were trying to trank him without success. Many thought his hope for survival was low. Last night some children found the plastic pumpkin in their yard, and a thin deer was seen running free. Of course, it's deer season in Michigan, so he still has that to face, but hopefully a young deer who is on the thin side and without a rack will be considered beneath the notice of hunters.

After 25 years, it's

Curtains for Shakespeare here in Lexington. Our summer Shakespeare programme is closing up shop, citing declining business and increasing expenses. They wanted to end it while they were still in the black.

I haven't been to Shakespeare in the Park since they moved out of Woodhill to the Arbouretum and started charging. I suppose that makes me a poor supporter of the arts. I just preferred the old, simply staged shows and back before I had a car I really couldn't get to the Arbouretum, which isn't near a bus stop. Later it was a matter of fighting the crowds and problems with the weather that tended to discourage me. But it's still sad to think that our town is now bereft of this institution. It's closing came as a surprise for most. I wonder what my friend Brenda, who has costumed for several shows, thinks of it.


Friday, November 10, 2006


It's been a busy couple of days, and even though I've slept longer than usual, it's been fitful. It's funny when something happens that worries you how you instantly tend to go to the worst case scenario. But now it looks like everything will be okay, and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. It's times like this when you really appreciate what other people mean to you, and how important it is to rally around as a team when faced with a crisis.When things go smoothly, we just tend to take one another for granted, don't you think?

Hope things are going well for you all this weekend. Take a moment to remember how important your loved ones are in your life--and never take their presence for granted.


According to the Kentucky: Secretary of State, Trey Grayson, voter turnout in Kentucky for Tuesday is estimated at 45%. That's amazing, especially since there were no elections for either governor or president, don't you think? Grayson also pointed out that despite isolated problems with the new voting machiens, the main problem was the time it took some people to vote, and as he put it, 'If the worst problem is long lines, that's a good problem for democracy.'

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A recall you might want to look at

FDA Informs Public of Nationwide Recall of 500mg Strength Store-Brand Acetaminophen Caplets

These are for various store brands, including those listed at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/perrigo/perrigocustlist.html. Lot numbers affected can be found here: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/perrigo/perrigobatchlist.html.

The recall is being made because of small metal fragments apparently due to premature wearing of the equipment in the pill factory. The recall only affects 500 mg tablet strength, so there is no anticipated shortage of acetaminophen (the generic form of Tylenol). Tylenol itself is also not covered by this recall. It covers various store brand alternatives to that product. All told about 11 million bottles are affected.

The EPA saga continues

Senators call for delay in closing EPA libraries (11/6/06)

I wonder if the change in leadership in Congress might be even more helpful to keeping these libraries open. Let's hope so.

I just found out

that my favourite doctor at the hospital is retiring in December. Retiring! He doesn't seem old enough to retire. But he'll stay active--apparently he's going to do more medical missions to Central/South America, so he'll be doing some very good work with children there. Good luck, Dr M!


Tuesday night I got stuck at the polls with friends for about two hours as one stood in line to vote. The doors actually closed about halfway, but the voting continued. I think the longer ballot and the new machines contributed to the wait. One woman took 20 minutes and kept stopping to play with a baby, much to the others' annoyance, leaving them down to one machine for awhile. Others came, saw the line, and went back to their cars, choosing to forego their right to choose their leaders. Unfortunately, I couldn't just leave my friends to fend for themselves down a busy road in the dark so I stayed, but with the addition of traffic I was nearly an hour and a half late for work. The manager who was filling in from another store was okay with it, but I don't know about my manager yet.

Last night I got to work (early, actually) and was told that they really didn't need me for the night (but it wasn't because of the night before, they just had two people scheduled already), so I went and worked on the notes, then came home with the intention of reading, but fell asleep in my recliner. I am doomed from the moment I sit down and turn that massaging cushion on, let me tell you.

Today has been hectic so far but at least I've had plenty of rest, had a decent breakfast, and have taken my medicine. Every morning I line the bottles up and they look like some sort of Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and two Baby Bears in terms of size. Okay, maybe that is a little whacked in thinking, but hey, it's how I think.

That's all for now. Hope your day goes well.

Drama at a huge art sale

Picasso Withrawn from Christie's sale over concerns of Nazi-era seizure after a German man claimed his relative's family sold the painting under Nazi duress
Picasso Sale Can Go On after the case was dismissed, although the family turned around and filed again, causing Chritie's to withdraw the painting from the sale
Christie's Rides Art Broom, setting an art world record for its Impressionist auction, even without the Picasso that was withdrawn, a record $491 million. Included were several Klimt's including the one I blogged about a few months ago which was itself the subject of restitution litigation. The owner in that case, who won her suit, wanted it to be available to public on display rather than remain in private hands.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Myths and Truths about library services

MLANET: Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians are tools to share with administration when you're feeling threatened with downsizing or elimination, although they would be ideally used to establish good communication with administration before it got to that point.

Did you know?

That Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions? That's according to: Faraone, SV. The Genetics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Current Status and Clinical Implications. Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health. 2006;11(2) (free with registration). I don't understand most of the article precisely (it has a lot of information on genetics and brain chemistry action), but I did get that tidbit, along with the fact that several genes seem to provide a predisposition to ADHD, across several chromosomes. There is hope that the genes that effect the brain chemistry can be traced and additionally those which could predispose certain favourable response to medication can be found and used to target pharmocological interventions.

That doesn't mean environmental factors aren't an issue. A related story in the same issue of Medscape Pediatrics says that 41% of children with fetal alcohol syndrome also have ADHD. It's just that genes could make one more susceptible to those environmental factors.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A wiki for book lists

Library Goddesses now have a wiki

I voted; have you???

This was only my second time using the new voting machines in Kentucky (we did so for the primary, but a lot of people don't vote in the primaries, so this will be many people's first time). I won't say it's easy to use (I think the old machines were better, where the ballot was laid out in front of you in big letters and you just pressed the button next to the candidate you wanted), and it takes a little longer, but it's not bad. The new ones have you scroll using a dial to select names on the screen, then press a button to make your selection. Another button is pressed to register votes. I'm not sure how well visually-impaired people can deal with the smaller type and scrolling. Another issue in this election is the v-e-r-y long ballot. We have umpteen judges running unopposed, so you have to scroll down and either choose to vote for them or not, with a major race (the Noble-Roach Supreme Court race) embedded in the middle. Also, the most important races for the county (mayoral, council, and whether to use eminent domain to wrest our water company back from big business--the latter of which I really debated but finally came down to as a 'yes') are all at the end, of course. There are so many non-partisan races that voting a straight ticket does no good at all, not that I do that as a rule.

I won't go into to how I voted per se. You all know I'm a bleeding-heart liberal and staunch Democrat (although I rather lean Green), so you could probably guess if you looked at the races. Our council-at-large was somewhat difficult, as there were four good candidates of the six, and you can only vote for three. The mayoral vote I think comes down to what you don't want rather than what you want. That was another one I debated, and I changed my vote from the primary, even.

That's all I have to say, except, no matter what side of the political spectrum you may be on, be sure to cast your own vote and participate in democracy by exercising your right as a US citizen. Remember there are people over the generations who have fought for those rights, and died for them. Don't give way to apathy.

Don't try this at home

AP Wire 11/06/2006 Ky. officer shoots himself while driving

And they worry about cell phone use and text messaging whilst driving? Try unloading a gun!

(Really, all three very bad...shame on you people.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

MEDLINE turns 35

MEDLINE is the database of health-related articles that your doctor and researches rely on to provide the best heath care possible. It started slowly, but now indexes nearly 5000 journals and millions of articles. Today the most popular interface for MEDLINE is PubMed, which is freely available online and is much simpler to search than the old interface was. I remember when they migrated from mainframes to a web-based application for Y2K compliance. I'm afraid I don't remember MEDLINE's origins, as I was only 4. :)

How their computers changed over time
The differences between MEDLINE and PubMed
PubMed's history
A chronology of milestones at the National Library of Medicine

Where do you draw the line, though?

Debating withdrawal of care or even euthanasia for severely disabled infants

In Britain, a woman who finds out her unborn child is severely disabled can abort the foetus at 28 weeks. A woman whose child is born prematurely at 22 weeks has no such option. An ethics committee in Britain is planning to debate various measures to prevent long-life cost and poor quality of life for such infants. Disability activists say doctors shouldn't be making those sorts of decisions, especially if the driving factor is cost to the system. The only place so far in which newborns may have treatment withdrawn or in some cases be euthanised is in the Netherlands. It's very unlikely any recommendations of the committee would lead to any legal changes in the system in Britain, but they wanted to debate the ethics of the situation anyway.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is this justice?

Libyan court to announce verdict in Bulgarian nurses trial Dec. 19

All six defendants were sentenced to death (one is a Palestinian doctor, the others are Bulgarian nurses) for allegedly intentionally infecting more than 400 children with HIV. They deny the allegations, and there has been international pressure from Europe, the US, and human rights groups (including Amnesty International) to reverse the verdict, saying the charges were concocted to cover up poor hygeine isues at Libya's hospitals. The Supreme Court of the country ordered a new trial, where the verdict is expected December 19th. Meanwhile, human rights groups insist that the suspects have been tortured, including being given electric shocks, in order to confess.

I could see one sick hospital worker doing something like this. But 6, in some sort of conspiracy? It just seems so far-fetched, and I get the impression there's not much real evidence against them. I hope the truth will prevail

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Merck Manual is now available online

THE MERCK MANUAL MEDICAL LIBRARY: The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

with hyperlinks to drugs, other conditions, etc. :) I tried it out and everything looked free, at least for now. Have fun.

But they ARE citizens...

US Tightens Medicaid Rules for Babies of Illegal Aliens

In the past, Medicaid was extended to mothers who fell within the right income bracket regardless of immigrantion status on an emergency-only basis, and then it was automatically extended to a child born to that mother, because it was obviously a citizen with a verifiable birth place in the US. This was to prevent delays in care. Now a Bush Administration reading of a law signed in February will require all babies to go through an application process that could take anywhere from days to months to begin their coverage--potentially delaying care for many babies. Medicaid pays for a full 1/3 of babies born in this country, so the impact is great. Tens of thousands of those children are born to illegal immigrants, so they represent a small percentage of the total. However, in the case of illegal immigrants, the fear is that many will simply not apply in fear of coming to the attention of immigration authorities. By doing this, babies who are citizens of this country, are entitled to coverage, and who are at their most vulnerable in terms of health, are put in the position of not being able to obtain health care.

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law at George Washington University, said: “The new policy reflects a tortured reading of the new law and is contrary to the language of the 1984 statute, which Congress did not change. The whole purpose of the earlier law, passed with bipartisan support, was to make sure that a baby would not have a single day’s break in coverage from the date of birth through the first year of life.”

I agree that non-citizens should not be covered under our health care system, but their children born here are citizens and there should be no delay in coverage. Thank you, Mr Bush, for yet another convoluted mess that does not serve the interests of the country.

The proof is so far sketchy, so I'll reserve judgement for now

but if true, this is going to shake up a lot of people. And I have to ask--why does this guy talk to the President or his advisor every Monday? What's so special about his opinions?

US Evangelist in Male Prostitute Claim

Thursday, November 02, 2006

But why would you want to?

A new action figure lets you take Dr Laura Schlessinger with you wherever you go, listening to her 23 pet phrases along the way.

Take Dr Laura Everywhere

Talking Presidents Announces Release of Dr. Laura Talking Action Figure

Talking Presidents: 'Listen to her Preach, Teach, and Nag!'

I'll give them this much, they market well. Their website is very carefully written to appeal to both those who take these figures seriously and those who mock them. I get the impression that their sense of humour is a bit skewed against all the figures. I mean, really, George Bush in Top Gun flight gear? President Clinton who talks about how he didn't have sexual relations with that woman. Most of the figures are conservatives or Republicans, such as Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, Donald Rumsfeld, Anne Coulter, and of course Dr Laura, but there are others, such as Clinton, Dennis Miller, and Kinky Friedman. The company apparently worked with Dr Laura to come up with this figure.

What I do expect to see happen to the Dr Laura action figure is that it'll wind up on Robot Chicken. I mean, isn't it perfect for that?

Sometimes I think humans are a blight on the planet

Study: All Commercial Seafood Species May Collapse by 2048, eliminating a major source of our food, but also disrupting the biodiversity of the planet and creating algae blooms, oxygen depletion, and ocean flooding. (I'm not sure how that last ties in, to be honest.) But the idea is certainly disturbing. The good news is conservation could help avert it. The question is whether countries that are heavy fishers will agree to it. Plus, you can't just close fisheries right and left--it would eliminate livelihoods and be politically unpopular. But there might be ways to limit the catches or protect certain endangered areas.

Two objects cannot occupy the same place

Yeah, I know that. It was unfortunately demonstrated today when I tried to make a sharp left into the ATM lane at the bank. The good news? I didn't hit the car that was too close to my lane. The bad news? I scraped the car along the back wheelwell and door on the driver side against a barrier set up to keep one from doing the same thing to the building. That's actually the first real thing I've done to hurt the car; the other two dents were not done by me. Oy.

This seems like a delightful story

Welcome to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

one I would have loved as a child, and would probably love now. I'm glad someone mentioned it on one of my library lists, as I had not heard of it. I also like that the vocabulary is not dumbed down...one of the words in the very first chapter is ennui, another is condescending.

It is the story of a china rabbit with rabbit fur-wire ears and wonderful silk suits with a working pocketwatch. He is adored by his owner, a young girl, but is lost overboard from The Queen Mary due to some boys' pranks. From there he is found (and lost again) several more times, all the time learning to appreciate what he has had and lost.

The website has an excerpt (chapter one) and a teacher's guide. It's rather well done.

It's a new book, one I definitely would like to pick up. Perhaps you would, too.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Hope for Preventing SIDS

Scientists find Abnormalities in the Serotonin System of the Brain in infants who died of SIDS. This is the third study to find problems with this system, giving confirmation that it is, indeed, a major issue in SIDS. Children with SIDS were found to have higher serotonin receptors but a dearth of transport cells compared to other babies who had died of other causes. The focus of the study was on the medulla oblongata and cells within it. Basically when presented with less breathable air (such as when a baby is on it's stomach and re-breathing the carbon dioxide it has exhaled), the area of the brain that would normally signal the baby to wake up and move his head doesn't work.

This is all the more reason to go with recommendations to put babies down to sleep on their backs, without pillow or other obstructions, on a firm mattress.

Happy Samhain

Happy New Year, if you happen to celebrate it as such, although that assertion about the old Celtic calendar is under scrutiny by historians. In modern Paganism Samhain (pronounce sow--rhymes with cow--en) represents the end of summer with the last harvest, the turning of the year, and also celebrates the spirits of the dead and that of the ancestors. Samhain eve is where we get Halloween. This reverence for the departed is shared in Mexico, where today is the first day of the two Dias de los Muertos (Days of the Dead). Today is also All Saints' Day in Catholicism, followed tomorrow by All Souls' Day.