Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, January 31, 2008

FDA Warns Epilepsy Drugs May Raise Suicide Risk

The drugs included in the warning are: Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR), Felbamate (marketed as Felbatol), Gabapentin (marketed as Neurontin), Lamotrigine (marketed as Lamictal), Levetiracetam (marketed as Keppra), Oxcarbazepine (marketed as Trileptal), Pregabalin (marketed as Lyrica), Tiagabine (marketed as Gabitril), Topiramate (marketed as Topamax), Valproate (marketed as Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon) and Zonisamide (marketed as Zonegran). Some of these drugs are also available as generics.

Well, it makes sense. I'm on Lamictal for bipolar II disorder, and if it can level your mood for some people, then it stands to reason it can muck with it in others, since it's affecting brain chemistry. But I thought I'd pass that warning along.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Listening to Linkin Park

'What I've Done'

and the Australian alternate video that has a plot to smuggle proof of a government conspiracy out of a lab

'Shadow of the Day'

(there is an alternate ending not shown on this one where his backpack falls, leaving the viewer to wonder if he has been shot or joins the riot).

Both songs are from the album Minutes to Midnight.

I can't imagine just abandoning an animal in a house

surely even a kill shelter is better than that...

Foreclosures Lead to Abandoned Animals

Yay, KU!

No, that's not a college. It's Kentucky Utilities, our electric company, I'm talking about.

So it's been warm here the last couple of days, in the 50s (Fahrenheit), and we've had a cold front come through tonight with lightning, hail or sleet, winds up to 50 mph, and the temperature has plunged 20 degrees, with wind chills expected in the single digits tomorrow. Ack.

Coming home earlier, three of the traffic lights along Man O'War Blvd were out completely--not flashing, just out, and with the driving rain and foggy car, I didn't even realise it until I'd gone through Alumni. I stopped at Easthills and Beaver Creek. There were no police on the scene, and everything to the right of the road was dead black. I went on home, felt my way to a candle (I have a flashlight, but I carried it in my purse and it must have gotten turned on at some point, because it, too, is dead. So I sat in my comfy chair and got warm from where I'd gotten wet by snuggling under a comforter, and waited for a call on my cell to pick up a friend.

At least when I went to pick him up from work, the rain had stopped. Beaver Creek was out still and people were blowing through that intersection without pause, so I knew I'd never be able to turn left towards Alumni. So I turned right and went via Richmond Road, going past the gas station, which still had power.

When I delivered my friend, parts of his street were without power, including his house. I headed back, and reached Alumni, which was miraculously lit. So was Easthills. And Beaver Creek was at least flashing--and there was a cop car finally. Of course all the lights between were on, too. So when I got to my apartment there was blessed light, thanks to the electric company. I just hope they get my friends' power back on soon. They, like most of us, need it. It's funny how much you take it for granted, when there are so many in this world that have none.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Archivists gone bad

Man arrested in eBay sale of historic documents

Daniel Lorello, a department of education archivist for the state of New York, was arrested for stealing documents and artefacts since 2002--and about 400 items in 2007 alone. A history buff alerted authorities when he found Lorello selling items on eBay. Police recovered about 400 items from his home, estimated to be about 90% of what he stole; the rest was probably sold.


'The Hedgehog in the Fog' (Russian with English Subtitles)

Classic Russian animated short film from 1975. Based on a story by Sergei Kozlov, directed by Yuri Norstein.

In 2003 "Hedgehog in the Fog" won the "№1 Animated film of all the time" at "All time animation best 150 in Japan and Worldwide" contest in Tokyo, Japan.

Head's up, the sky is falling

U.S. Spy Satellite, Power Gone, May Hit Earth

The main concern is that the satellite, which was launched pnly a year ago but quickly lost contact with the ground, still should have plenty of fuel that could be hazardous should it reach earth. Granted, the greater likelihoood is that it will either burn up in orbit or hit somewhere that isn't inhabited. But it should happen within a few weeks, and if the fuel does go up once it hits the atmosphere, it should be seen with the naked eye.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Obama '08
Okay, so I knew he was a long shot, but would have voted for him anyway (not that my primary vote matters much--we don't vote till May). But now Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the presidential race to focus on campaigning as a congressman. He isn't endorsing any other candidate at this time.

Kucinich to Drop Bid and Focus on Re-election

So I have to make a choice from the top three, and I have to say, I'm going with Obama.

Beautiful and incredibly soothing

'Dolphins Play Bubbles'

(Another video YKWIA showed me tonight.)

So maybe only a classics major can truly appreciate this...

but it's my favourite part of Monty Python's Life of Brian

'Romanus Eunt Domus'

(Thanks YKWIA for showing this to me tonight.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And somegreybloke pointed me to this

'The Origin of Life made easy' by Potholer54 on YouTube

The 'Made Easy' series is designed to explain the evidence that shows how we got here, from the Big bang to human migration out of Africa.

This one has to do with the origins of DNA.


Tropicana Pure Premium organge juice with Calcium, Vitamin D, and lots of pulp. Ah, refreshing.

This is so me

I try to go to the gym, but I can't find the time. Thanks YKWIA for finding these.

'Gym Membership' by Graham (somegreybloke)

I also like these as well'
'RE: Jesus Loves You' by Graham (somegreybloke)

'Choosing my religion' by Graham (somegreybloke)

Maybe peace will have a fighting chance

Groups Sign Deal to End Long Fight In E. Congo: Accord Portrayed As Key Initial Step

Now if only Kenya could step away from violence.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Skeletons, indeed

A Nazi Past Casts a Pall on Name of a Disease

As someone who has to look up syndromes and disorders fairly often for patrons, I dislike the confusion that happens when names of discovering doctors are given to the disease--or possibly more than one disease, names that vary from country to country and change over time. It's not really precise or scientific, after all.

But what do you do when you discover the disease is the namesake of someone with a previously unknown sordid past? Medicine has grappled with the legacy of Nazism for decades now--whether to accept research that may have merit even though it was done in the most appalling matter, whether to accept publications such as anatomy atlases created through 'Nazi medicine', etc. This article looks at the issue of disease names and a Nazi past and what happens when they meet.

I'm still wary of extreme bariatric surgeries

but the banding seems to be the most reasonable, and now there's this study:

Diabetes Study Favors Surgery to Treat Obese

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Lily Tomlin: 'If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?'

Pakora + Vegetable Korma + Peshwari Naan = Great Culinary Goodness

We went to Masala tonight, the first time since August. They're my favourite Indian restaurant (and we have several good ones), I think because of the Peshwari Naan, which is sweet with ground up nuts like cashews. It's a good match to the Vegetable Korma, which has veggies in a cream sauce and nuts as well. Of course, Vegetable Pakora as appetizers are always wonderful. I didn't have room for Gulab Jamun for dessert. When I was there one time for my birthday they brought a Gulab Jamun ball out with a lit candle sticking out of it.

At some point I should check out the Fish Tikka, which has salmon in a sauce. Ah, Indian food is wonderful.

Star-crossed lovers

Forced Annulment Keeps Couple Apart

Fatima and Mansour al-Timani were married with her father's blessing, even though his clan did not have as much prestige as hers. But her relatives convinced her father to give them power of attorney, and after he died they filed to annul the marriage. The police came and informed them of a divorce in abstentia granted by a judge. According to Saudi law, they cannot live together. In fact, when they did reunite they were found by the police. Fatima was given the choice to return to her mother or go to jail. She chose jail. She was imprisoned along with her two children. Eventually her daughter was allowed to return to her father. The boy, who was an infant, remained with her. She is now out of jail. Her husband has been taking the case through the system. An appeals court upheld the original annulment, but studies of Islamic law showed that since her legal guardian gave permission and attended the wedding, the other relatives should not have any right to request an annulment. A request has been made for the case to go before the highest court in the land. Also, Fatima holds out hope that the king of Saudi Arabia could pardon her and recognise the marriage. If not, she is prepared to commit suicide rather than be separated from Mansour.

I hope they are able to be together again. I know it's a different culture, but it seems to me that if her father gave permission--which is required for a woman to marry--then the legalities were observed and her relatives shouldn't be able to change things, especially after they have had children together.

At least the relatives didn't kill her like that awful story of the Indian family where the father killed his pregnant daughter, son-in-law, and grandson because she'd married without his permission to someone of a lower caste.

Monday, January 21, 2008

You know, there are a lot of stupid people out there

and they tend to believe viral e-mails like this one:

viral vicious rumor

There are two main meanings for the abbreviation UK. The most popular throughout the world is United Kingdom, meaning England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as a unit. Here in the states, there's the University of Kentucky, my alma mater.

An e-mail circulating the Internet claimed that a school in the UK (meaning that set of islands north of the rest of Europe) had ceased its Holocaust course because they didn't want to offend Muslims. That led to more e-mails in a awful game of 'Operator' (remember, you tell someone something, then they pass it along, and it ends up garbled at the end?) until someone mistakenly put it in as the university in Kentucky. UK (the university) has been getting thousands of complaints over this.

I am a graduate of UK's history programme and also (get this) minored in Judaic Studies (yes, they have one). One of the classes I took in history was the Holocaust, taught by Jeremy Popkin (who still teaches it). Another was the Arab-Israeli conflict, by a scholar whose main focus was the history of the Middle East. And I had one teacher in Judaic Studies who was raised an Orthodox Jew in New York, was married to an Episcopalian, and was an expert in Arab studies. So I got a little from all sides.

I don't know if Americans are just too American-centric to figure this out, or what. Abbreviations can be tricky. But one, you shouldn't believe everything you're sent (we all know that, right?), and two, you shouldn't go around complaining at the top of your lungs until you check out the facts. For example, go to the Snopes urban legend page and you'll find all sorts of debunked rumours. In fact, it should be the first stop in checking facts about Internet stories. The one on this subject is the Holocaust Teaching Ban.

Oy ve!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I may have done this one before

or maybe some of the questions appear on different tests this person has written. Anyway, here are the results of the 'Latent Superpower' Test.

Your Score: Telepathy

You're powers are 94% Mental, 69% Emotional, and 63% Physical!

I hope you aren't in this super power thing for the attention, cause you've got the least flashy power. But for no flash you got a world of possibilities. You can read minds, control other's minds, and cause complete havoc on a person's mind. And few will ever know it's you who's bringing a room full of bad guys to their knees. It's a blessing and a curse, really.

If you want someone more submissive, try any of these for sidekicks: Illusions, they can learn from your ability to directly affect a person's mind, and not first the sense. Telekinetics, they can learn to heighten their powers of the mind by your example.

If you want someone your equal, try any of these for partners: Flight, their ability to go anywhere in the world and your ability to go anywhere mentally makes for a team with few secrets they are unable to discover. Super Speed, their quick lifestyle and your ability to process things at the speed of the mind makes a team with great communication.

If you want someone more dominant, try a Teleportation, their true mastery over going anywhere instantly will open your mind to new tactics.

Avoid Invulnerability, their expectation of being invulnerable will be crushed by your ability to invade their mind. There will be major trust issues and jealousy.

Link: The Latent Super Power Test written by Quixotico on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(Quixotico)

This bothers me

Outsourcing Pregnancies to India

On the one hand, the women are compensated and cared for during their pregnancy. But outsourcing babies is just, well, weird and disturbing, especially once you get into competition between clinics and the possibility of Westerners who don't want to lose their figures or endure labour doing it, as opposed to severe infertility issues like they're doing now. But there doesn't seem to be much regulation to guide the industry. That's troubling.

A study, and a database, on medical research plagiarism

Déjà vu—A study of duplicate citations in Medline

and the database containing the ones they caught...

Déjà Vu: a Database of Duplicate Citations in the Scientific Literature

Like medical history?

Check out the journal devoted to it. The new issue is out.

Good to know we have some amount of future job security as librarians

Computer Literacy Doesn't Mean Information Literacy, Report Says


Why Abortions Are Down in America

No one really knows, but both sides of the abortion debate are claiming victory, because let's face it, whether you support the right to have an abortion or not, no one really wants there to be a lot of abortions out there. That's why pro-choicers support things like contraception and family planning, and pro-lifers support getting clinics to close down and providing alternative services that encourage women to keep or adopt out their babies.

It does seem like women are exercising their right to choose to have an abortion or to choose to have the baby; that's a good thing. It does trouble me that 35% of women do not have local access to a clinic--87% of counties in the country do not have one.

I'm one of those people who doesn't think abortion would be my choice personally, and it shouldn't be used instead of birth control, but I think it's an important option to remain available especially for women who are unable to care for a child, raped, endangered by the pregnancy, etc. I'd rather have each child loved and cared for rather than neglected, resented, or abused. I don't think having an abortion is an easy decision; I've known three people who had them. I think in two of the cases they made the right decision at the time. The third I'm not sure about; she was married with children and just got pregnant at the drop of a hat, which indicates that something wasn't working with family planning. Still, fewer abortions--that's a good thing.

A better look at the MRSA hitting gay men in a study in San Francisco

A New ‘Gay Disease’?: A drug-resistant strain of staph is infecting some gay men, but experts say a lot of the media coverage got it wrong.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

One last thing, then on to beddy-bye

Your Score: Venus

You scored 58% temperature (higher=warmer), 78% gravity(higher=more gravity), and 53% for the size of your planet.

From what I've gathered, you appear to prefer a planet that is hot, medium sized , and has lots of gravity. You are in luck! I have a great planet for you. It may have a little less gravity than you wanted, but your new home is Venus!

I'm going to be brutally honest with you. Venus is probably the nastiest planet out there. It's atmosphere will poison you, the heat will bake you, and the atmospheric pressure will crush you. But don't let that get you down. Venus has the ultimate Greenhouse Effect going on, and the temperature goes up to 870 F. That's even hotter than Mercury.

Looking for some good news? Well as I said before, it will always be your birthday on Venus. If you are able to survive all of Venus' fierce conditions, you'll might live to 140 Venus years old. Also you'll find that the gravity is about the same as Earth's. It's a little bit less though, so I'll give you 50-50 odds of dunking that basketball.

Venus is about the same size as Earth, so you can expect some aspects of your new life to be similar to life on Earth. There will probably be a few major governments that control your new world. Globalization will occur, and McVenus burgers will probably be available on every block. Militarily, you will become a force to be reckoned with. However be careful of neighbor Mercury, who may become even more powerful than you. Hey, it's not going to be a picnic, but enjoy your new home!

Link: The Choose your next planet Test written by harpoleers on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(harpoleers)

I have a recording of this

that I put on an ABBA album (because it is to the tune of 'Fernando').

Terence Chua's "Do You Hear the Pipes Cthulhu?'

and a wonderful performance of Shoggoth on the Roof's
'Tentacles!' from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society

I have their 'A Very Scary Solstice' album, thanks to Dee. But I may have to invest in the parody of Fiddler on the Roof, one of my favourite musicals.

Tekeli-li!! Tekeli-li!!! :) It's a star! It's a tree!

Oh, I know, you probably don't get it. Go read some Lovecraft already.

Thanks to YKWIA for pointing me to both so I could share them with you.

Man, this kid didn't have a chance

More Details Released In Toddler's Death

Before 23-month-old Cyrus Belt was thrown from a Honolulu bridge down upon the highway by a neighbour who may be mentally ill and a crystal methamphetamine addict, his life was already a shambles. His father is in a correctional facility serving a drug-related sentence. His mother has lost custody of the child more than once due to drug use, and her boyfriend was stupid enough to leave the child with a man who was apparently unhinged so he could work on his truck, since the grandfather was sleeping (he'd already wandered away once due to the latter).

The only blessing--if you can call it that--is that he died in the fall, not from having been struck by at least two vehicles, including a truck. I'm sure those drivers will have those moments burnt into their memory forever.

Well, we knew it would happen sometime...

Mature Human Embryos Created From Adult Skin Cells

The aim was to prove it was possible to usher in the additional possibility of harvesting stem cells from a person's own clone so there would be no rejection of tissue. Stem cells were not harvested in this experiment, but the embryos grew to the stage where others would have been implanted. There were no plans to do this; the leader of the study described such a thing as 'illegal and immoral'.

But you know it's just a matter of time.

A very odd man--a genius when it came to chess, but misguided as well

Chess legend Bobby Fischer, dead at 64, was an outspoken anti-Semite

despite the fact that his mother was Jewish of German origin, and therefore by Jewish definition, he was a Jew. Of course, he was an American who was, well, apparently anti-American in many ways. He renounced his citizenship. He called the terrorist attacks of September 11th 'wonderful news'. Granted, I agree with him that our policies do encourage extremists in the world to hate America, but still, what a thing to say.

Quote of the day

'The lesson is that it's not a good idea to drink, it's not a good idea to be high on dope, and it's not a good idea to taunt a man-eating tiger.'
--Sam Singer, spokesman for the San Francisco Zoo

Apparently the victims of the Christmas Day tiger attack in San Francisco did all three.

Experts: Taunting One Factor in Attack

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hmmm...wonder why your results vary?

Researchers Find a Bias Toward Upbeat Findings on Antidepressants

Basically, unfavourable studies are less likely to get published than favourable ones. When the authors of this study researched unpublished ones as well, they found that although antidepressants do work better than placebo, it's by a fairly small percentage, and nothing like the percentages reported by the drug companies.

Surprising? Not really.

I did have good results with Paxil, although my mood, I now realise, was flat. Now I'm technically not on antidepressants, but rather an anti-seizure medicine that acts as a mood stabiliser (Lamictal), and an anticonvulsant that helps with bipolar disorder (Abilify). I don't know if these classes of drugs were included in the study. I know they've certainly helped me. But this may explain why people often have to try several kinds of antidepressants before they find one that helps them.

It happened a few days ago

but I felt I should include this news story from Pineville, KY (the actual article is from the Lexington Herald-Leader. I'm linking it at another site since articles at the H-L go into archives after 7 days and are no longer available for free).

Side by Side, Forever

Deputy Sean Pursifull, 31, and his K-9 drug sniffing dog, a German Shepherd named King, were killed when two teenagers who drove away from a gas station without paying led police on a chase. Deputy Pursifull was parked, waiting to join the pursuit, when the teenagers ploughed into his cruiser going about 100 mph. Neither of them were hurt seriously, but the deputy and King were killed. They were laid to rest next to each other to full honours.

Someone at work who has contacts in Pineville told me that some time ago he and King were both shot in the line of duty. Apparently a suspect shot the dog, and was going to again, when Pursifull put himself in the line of fire and took the bullet meant for the dog. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly shows loyalty to his canine companion. Also, he has two young daughters and another child on the way, she told me.

The teenagers, David Poppiti, 17, of Delaware, who was driving, and Eric Gerren, 16, of Pennsylvania may be tried as adults if the authorities get their way. I'm all for it. But it's a shame that two lives were cut short--and two teens became murderers--over $38 worth of gas.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why be a medical scientist

when you can be a medical librarian?

Overrated Career: Medical Scientist

Most people choose to become medical researchers because they'd enjoy solving science puzzles that could lead to medical discoveries. Your chances of doing that are probably greater as a medical librarian because every day, whether you're employed at a university, a hospital, or a pharmaceutical company, you're solving lots of people's problems by unearthing the resources they need.

Basically they say that the training time does not reward you with a lot of money and you're unlikely to make any significant discoveries. Medical librarians make about the same or more, for less schooling (a Master's rather than an PhD), work in better environments for less hours, and are constantly being challenged into looking for information about different areas of medicine.

A little post-Christmas humour

thanks to YKWIA

First, there's Sarah Silverman's 'Give the Jew Girl Toys'

and then there's 'Weird Al' Yankovic's 'The Night Santa Went Crazy'

They'll give you another view of the beloved icon.

Only in New York

Corpse Wheeled to Check-Cashing Store Leads to 2 Arrests


New Bacteria Strain Is Striking Gay Men

It's a new strain of the drug-resistant bacteria, also known as 'flesh-eating' bacteria. It is resistant to three different antibiotics. Authorities recommend washing carefully after sex to help prevent its spread.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Too sleepy to blog

So you get a link to Library Jeopardy. Enjoy!

But I'll leave you a video that popped up on the screen after the last one played. You think you have trouble dealing with your insurance adjuster? Just try to explain what happened to the Death Star.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One last thing...

Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest: 'Darth Doody' Clip

So funny I nearly Sithed my pants, too. Okay, I think I'm slaphappy now. I'm going to bed. 'Night.

I finally updated

my MySpace page so that it actually has some small bit of content, mainly because I finally got a friend invitation from someone I know, Bill--who goes by Liam these days--(the same one who sends me messages in Irish). But my main connexion to others online remains this blog. :) Thanks for reading.

Need a temporary library-related tattoo?

Try Archie McPhee.


Proteins That Could Be Used to Halt HIV Are Identified

Death of a Legend

Edmund Hillary, First on Everest, Dies at 88

In 1953, Sir Edmund and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay (who died in 1986), became the first men to reach the summit of Mt Everest, the tallest place on Earth. Hillary also became the first man to stand on the summit of Everest AND at each pole, having visited each place. He died about 9 am (1/11) New Zealand time of a heart attack. He had been in the hospital but had been expected to go home that day.

What a remarkable explorer, and I have to say from the quotes, he had both sense of humour and one of service to his fellow man.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An old grudge

Years ago when I was in college I was marked down on a paper for using the term twilight to describe that time of half-light before dawn. I was told that that was something that only happened in the evening, at dusk. Being the passive person I was, I didn't go searching through dictionaries to prove my point.

So I was checking the weather on Weather Underground to see about compacting journals tomorrow, since it was pouring today, and they listed Twilight, Civil Twilight, and Nautical Twilight for morning and night.

Curious, I did a 'define: twilight' search in Google. And it spit out this, from Wikipedia: 'Twilight is the time before sunrise or after sunset when sunlight scattered in the upper atmosphere illuminates the lower atmosphere and the surface of the Earth.' In fact, going to the article itself (which explains the difference between Twilight, Civil Twilight, and Nautical Twilight), it goes on to say: 'Often confused with dusk, twilight is specifically defined as the period either side of night-time during which it is possible to conduct outdoor activities without the aid of artificial light,' taken from the definition as put forward by the US Naval Observatory.

I feel vindicated. Take that, UK.

Woo hoo! Woo hoo!

I came back to my apartment to get my shirt for work and lo! there was a flexible spending debit card from Ceridian. This means I can go back to my sessions with my counselor and even more importantly, get my full stock of medications, since I've been limping on the bare minimum the last month. I was actually down to samples of Lamictal and Abilify, and I've been out of everything else except for an old metformin prescription. I don't plan on going back on Avandia, though; the case against it concerning heart attacks just keeps mounting. If the Janumet doesn't do enough for my diabetes, then I'll ask for Actos. But I'd rather just start getting a little exercise and keeping my sweet and starch intake within reason and see what happens rather than add yet another pill.

I am debating about going on to the gym. I stayed late at work today since I have to leave early for an appointment and ate some tuna when I got in. I have to be at work at five. What I may do instead is spend some time on the exercise bike my grandmother loaned me and then start with the gym tomorrow. :)

I did make up a schedule for the upcoming week of what I'd like to get accomplished at work (I'm going to have a large shelving unit moved a few inches to allow for room between the cubicles and the unit...so I have to compact old journals, take off the ones that are on it at the moment, have maintenance take the units apart, move them, put them back together, and then I need to put the journals back in, making room to take some from the other unit so that things are more evenly distributed and there's room for new issues all around.) I also want to go to the gym each weekday if possible. There's my notes. I've also worked in a couple of small painting projects and some cleaning, both at my place and another's. And if I can just get up by 8 I have time for yoga, too. We'll see. It doesn't give me much free time, but I didn't have much to begin with; I just rearranged what I was planning to do anyway.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I am spending a rare evening home

or at least from 9 pm on. My main excitement today was making my rent with pennies to spare. (It would have been a dollar and some pennies, but then I remembered the gas station prints out two money orders for anything over $500. Which mine was, unfortunately. My normal rent is $480 a month, but I had late fees on top of that. Which is sad, because I really expected to be fine this month, but forgot the stupid gym membership that comes out at the beginning of the month, so while nothing bounced, I was a small amount short for my rent, which then turned into almost being short with the late fees. Gah.

Speaking of the gym, the plan is to go back starting tomorrow. I'd like to shoot for 5 days a week, an hour at a time at first, in the hopes of doing 3 days a week. It'll have to vary with my store and Swampa schedule, though. My podiatrist told me at the end of December that I could go back but focus on bicycling before working up to treadmills, since my foot is still healing. And after all, I'm paying for it and it's costing money, so I should reap the benefits. Plus, there's a pool and a sauna. :) It's not Gold's Gym anymore, though. Basically the franchisee came to an agreement with Gold's and is now operating under the name Urban Active. Same facilities, same contract, same money coming out of my account, different name. (And yes, I checked to see if I could get out of the contract--that runs till next year--due to the change. No dice.) But I need to go anyway. So between jobs tomorrow my goal is to go do some bicycling and maybe a little weight lifting and pool action.

I think I'm going to go do some things with my off time. Bye.

Two studies, one putting a false hope to rest, the other giving new hope

in understanding autism.

California Study Finds No Link Between Vaccines, Autism

After the mercury-based preservative thimerosol was removed from vaccines, there should have been a drop in new autism cases. That isn't the case. In fact, they continued to rise. Of course, there are a lot of parents and activists who wanted (and in some cases, still want) thimerosol to be the boogeyman in this case. At one point many parents were refusing vaccines for that reason.

I'm no fan of thimerosol. I'm allergic to it, for one--it used to be in contact lens solutions and would cause red streaks down my face wherever it touched. A doctor researching whether I could be given the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) vaccine when I was in college (they didn't have just plain tetanus, and I'd hurt myself), came across the thimerosol ingredient on the list and I explained my reactions. He was convinced there was a paper in it somewhere. That was in the mid-80s. Then came the vaccine scare. It made sense--it's related to mercury and can cause damage in animals. But it just never panned out. Still, it's probably just as well that it's been removed largely from vaccines.

But this looked quite promising:

Chromosome Abnormality Linked to Autism

Okay, they can only link it to about 1% of the autism cases, but it opens doors to newer discoveries. It seems there are mutations that are not directly inherited but rather happen in utero as a result of a variety of genetic aspects in the parents. In these cases it might be possible to do genetic counseling regarding subsequent pregnancies.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social interaction and communication. It presents as a spectrum of disorders. Asperger's is one of several on the autism spectrum. There is a wide variety in the severity of symptoms. Many people with autism are seen as a bit 'quirky' but are highly intelligent and function well in society. Others are more severely impaired. A famous author with autism is Temple Grandin. Here's a list of several others who have been diagnosed with autism or one of the spectrum disorders and those for whom autism is speculated (controversial, of course). There's a lot of controversy in autism--and not just in it's cause. For example, there's the autism rights movement and the sociological and cultural aspects of autism.


Police: Dad threw four children off Ala. bridge

Sometimes, words just fail me.

PS 1/11 He's now denying that he did so, and no trace of the children have been found. Authorities still believe he did kill his children by throwing them off the bridge; there are witnesses who place him there throwing a bundle into the water. But the fate of the children are in doubt. Did he kill them? Did he sell them to feed his crack habit? What? Aiyee.
1/12 They've found the body of the youngest, the 4-month-old, and they think they located the other three, although divers weren't able to recover them before darkness and the current may move them in the meantime. So, it pretty much looks like he killed them like he said. So sad. Here's the update: Body found in Alabama bridge case.

I'm trying volunteer computing

for Seti@Home (the search for exterrestial intelligent life project) again. There are other projects I can attach to as well. I've gone ahead and signed up for one on Climate Prediction and another called World Community Grid that helps with research on things such as AIDS, Dengue Fever drugs, Cancer, Human Proteome Folding, and African climate. The program uses my processing time, running in the background, along with thousands of other volunteers, to process data. The last computer I had didn't like the BOINC program that is used. This one seems to be running it fine. Yay! Now it's off to bed after a marathon blogging section (I cleared out some things I'd stored in e-mails). Good night.

Gleaned from the solo librarians' list

Hobbit Name Generator

or, if you prefer,

Elvish Name Generator

Something related to libraries and librarians!--A 'Librarian to the Stars'

(Haven't had that in awhile. Sorry!)

The Library’s Helpful Sage of the Stacks (Again, you might have to go through a free registration).

Need a source for medical trivia?

Amazing Facts of the Body

Here's one: 'There are more living organisms on the skin of a single human being than there are human beings on the surface of the earth.' There you go. OCD sufferers go wash your hands. I know I will. Unless you're a Jain. How do you manage not to kill anything and stay clean? (Although I admire the religion and its principles greatly.)

I received an e-mail from someone I know

who plays Celtic music and ran an Irish class I was in for awhile--and the e-mail is completely in Irish. So now I'll have to dig out my Irish grammar and see if I can piece together what the hell he's trying to say.

Evil. Do you know how hard that is with mutations?

Let's not forget

Email Blows Away All Other Social Networks

A little scary

A couple of articles from recent editions of the Medscape paediatrics newsletter. You may need to register for free access to them.

Parasitic Infections More Common in US Than Had Been Thought (based on a paper called Neglected Diseases and Poverty in “The Other America”: The Greatest Health Disparity in the United States?) (Of course, parasites are found particularly in poor, inner city children and adults. But millions are affected, and the percentages are a little startling in such an 'advanced' country.)

Increased Rates of Child Maltreatment in Military Families During Deployments?

(As a former military brat, I thought this deserved a look. Interestingly, they found that there is an increase in child maltreatment by mothers while fathers are deployed. There is, however, not an increase when fathers are the caregivers and the mothers are deployed.) Also, the increase affecte white families, but did not have a similar correlation in Blacks and Hispanics. Sexual abuse did not increase during deployements.)

Interested in celebrating the ancient Greek festivals?

Hellenion has published a calendar (PDF file) to help you along. For example, tonight is the night of Hekate's Deipnon, where food is left at a crossroads (or donated to a charity these days). I can't donate any food at the moment, but I'd like to get into the habit of doing so in Her name. I did give a libation tonight in Her honour. (Like Judaism, the day begins at sunset the night before, by the way--and the new moon starts the month.)

It's windy and rainy

with wind at 24 mph and gusting up to 34 mph. When I went to get a friend from work, a five-inch diametre branch fell about 4 yards in front of us. Fortunately I was able to slow and go around, running over the very top where there were just small branchlets. Yay for defensive driving and decent brakes.

It's 53 degrees (Fahrenheit) right now. It was 68 degrees today, beautiful weather, since it wasn't raining until tonight. Our normal high is 40 degrees. I love this, and I love the wind, so long as we don't get tornados like some states with these storms and no one gets hit by falling debris.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm sorry to hear this

Meredith Emerson, a hiker in Georgia who disappeared with her dog on New Year's Day, is no longer missing. The man who was accused of kidnapping her, Gary Michael Hilton, led investigators to her body around 7:30 this evening. The authorities confirmed tonight that she is dead and that her body has been found. They were processing the scene as of the new conference at 10 pm.

Man charged helped police find hiker's body, officials say

Body of missing Buford hiker found

Her black Labrador mix, Ella, was found wandering on Friday. The dog was microchipped, so authorities were able to prove she was Emerson's. Authorities also found a wallet and bloodstained clothes. Witnesses linked Hilton with Emerson at the park where she was hiking. Later, video captured him trying to withdraw money from an ATM with her card.

The 24-year-old, who had gone to the University of Georgia, looks so vivacious in her photos. It's hard to believe that anyone could kill a young woman like that. Authorities are also investigating if there are links to two other cases where people were killed or are missing.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Very strange

In 1985 a stop-motion movie, The Adventures of Mark Twain, was made. Here is one of the vignettes, which is pretty damn creepy. It is based on a work of Mark Twain's called 'The Damned Human Race'.

Of course, YKWIA found this.

Listening to

Timbaland featuring OneRepublic, 'Apologize'

Backstreet Boys, 'Helpless When She Smiles'

Friday, January 04, 2008

Okay one quick one

If you've ever played Tetris, this will be amusing:

'Human Tetris'

How do you give someone back 26 years of their life?

15th Dallas County Inmate Since ’01 Is Freed by DNA

Charles Chatman spent nearly 27 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, and he was freed today based on DNA evidence that countered a neighbour's misidentification of him as the suspect. The reason he was able to be freed? The lab used by the Texas county keeps their evidence, unlike some others. So even though the crime took place in 1981, they were still able to determine that his DNA did not match the vaginal swab taken at the time. Mr Chatman said he did not blame the woman who fingered him, but does feel like his case turned out like it did because he is black.

It was bad enough that his man had been wrongly put in prison, sentenced to 99 years, whilst an actual rapist was left free. Imagine how such mistakes can be even more harmful in death penalty cases. The article states that since 1973, 126 death row inmates have been freed on DNA evidence. 126. Okay, that breaks down to 3-4 people a year. But that's 3-4 lives each year that would otherwise be flushed away based on a lie. Now that's scary.

PS I have several things to blog about sitting in my inbox, but I'm too tired to blog much now, and I have to get up in 5 hours. I'll try to catch up later. 'Night.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And in the bizarro category

When beauty queen law students go bad...

Ariz. Beauty Queen Accused of Kidnapping

Oh, just go read it. It's really weird and a summary wouldn't do it justice. And that mug shot is so a bad hair day.

WIth all due respect to Indian culture

This is insanity in this day and age...

Father Says He Set Fire That Killed Three

In Chicago, a man has admitted setting a fire that killed his daughter (five months' pregnant), son-in-law, and three-year-old grandson because she married without his consent to a man of a lower caste than their family. He says he brought a can of gasoline over for a relative, then became angry, lit it with a lighter, and calmly went home across the street without calling anyone or alerting anyone to the fire. The gas can was found in the trash outside of his building--the same can a gas station clerk says he sold to him two hours before.

Caste issues may be an excuse that counts for something in India. In this country, we pretty much just call it multiple murder and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

And as it happened in an apartment building, it's good that the other residents weren't killed, too.

Cool (so long as you're not related to them)

Colon cancer risk traced to common ancestor, a married couple who came from England in 1630. Researches were able to gather information from the Mormon genealogical records in Utah to study a family in that state who has a mutation making them more likely to have attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP), which makes you have a 2/3 higher chance of colon cancer than the rest of the population. They've identified a New York branch of the family as well, although they're not releasing the names of the couple.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

But how much damage has already been done?

Congress Earmarks $3 Million to Reopen EPA Libraries

Of course, it's a little late in the game, with several collections and facilities jettisoned; now they'll have to spend more money than originally budgeted to recover collections, all overseen by the same people who closed the libraries in the first place in the name of saving money.

And selling $40,000 worth of fixtures for less than $350, a figure quoted by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)--which has been following the saga, sounds just like our government in action.

Okay, so maybe sometimes it pays to eat unclean food

Well, they're not kosher (yeah, I'm not Jewish, but it still bothers me to eat shellfish, although very occasionally I'll eat shrimp anyway) and I happen to hate eating clams (they remind me of rubber bands) [I don't like oysters either], so I'm not liable to repeat the incredible find of a Florida couple. The man bit down and felt what he thought was a stone in the clam, which turned out to be a rare purple pearl worth thousands of dollars.

Rare Purple Pearl Found In $10 Plate Of Clams: Experts Say Pearl Worth Up To $25,000

I have never understood people

who think firing a gun to celebrate New Year's is a good idea.

Family identifies 11-year-old shooting victim

A bullet entered a house from the direction of a park 200-300 yards away and went through the head of a 47-year-old woman, killing her, and then the same bullet hit an 11-year-old girl in the side. She died later at the hospital. Officials have not confirmed their identities but family members identified the girl as Angelica Martinez. It is possible it was deliberate but it happened about 20 minutes after New Year's and therefore might have been part of revelry. It is illegal to shoot a firearm within the Denver city limits, so even if it were accidental, someone could be prosecuted. What a horrible way for this family to begin the year.

See, libraries aren't dead--they're just evolving to meet needs

Generation Y biggest user of U.S. libraries-survey

Well, that makes sense, since many of them are in college. I noticed they quoted all the figures except the one from Generation X, my generation (ages 31-42). Figures.

Pew: Internet satiates but also creates "information hunger"

Not surprisingly, most people who need information turn to the the Internet before they go to a librarian. On the other hand, people who have the Internet at home--especially broadband--are more likely to use a library to supplement their research than people who have no Internet access.

Happy New Year

Okay, so I wasn't going to go online tonight, because it's so late and I've been painting a kitchen and utility room most of the day (1st coat, so you can guess what I'll be doing tomorrow, right?)

Then I heard a song on the radio and it kind of resonated with me, so I went online to see who did it and what it was called. Something about the music set things up for a dark, dissonant place. And the song spoke of suicide and feeling like not belonging. That's not how I feel now, but sometimes I do. The song is called 'Never Too Late' by Three Days Grace, a Canadian band.

And then I watched the video (the embedding is disabled, sorry). At first, my mind didn't register what I was watching, because I have a high 'ignore uncomfortable things' ability. But the emotions I was feeling couldn't be ignored, so I watched it again. And I felt even more drawn into it.

The lead singer, Adam Gontier, described the song as 'about being in a very dark place, but being able to see a way out.' It was written for his wife, who has battled depression, whilst he himself was in rehab for oxycontin use. In the video, symbolic imagery suggests a young girl is molested by a man, her parents blind to the abuse, and as a young woman she is institutionalised for trying to kill herself. At the end she is freed from her inner daemons. The video is well done. It is on a list of controversial videos for tackling molestation.

I was molested as a child by someone I trusted with my life, someone who was my world. That has marked me in so many ways, and my entire life has been touched by it, leaving me emotionally and psychologically stunted and for some time, unable to trust again. It is part of an environment that led to poor and often bizarre coping mechanisms, the most successful one being the ability to forget to the point where it's hard for me to remember the good in life.

I am tired of pushing the world away. I do it emotionally and I do it physically (One of the reasons I am so fat to keep people at a distance, with the idea that no one will want to have sex with me if I'm grossly obese; I also tend to hoard things as if to build walls between my world inside and the world of reality). I'm so busy hiding from the world, I'm not really living. Granted, I'm much better than I was 10 or 20 years ago, but there's still a lot of work to do.

So here's a hope for 2008--that I learn to tear down some walls, take care of myself, and to connect with my fellow humans some. It's only sort of a resolution. I don't have a plan. When you want to change your outlook, that's about changing feelings as much as it is about changing thoughts. It starts with being a little more aware of what's going on around you. So that's where I'm going to begin--paying attention to the things I do and the people around me, and any interaction between myself and others. Here's to some positive changes in 2008.

What do you want to change? (And just in case you were like me and didn't get to see the ball drop in NYC at midnight, thanks to modern technology you can see it all over as much as you want.) :)

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2008 be a great one.