Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There is so much I don't know about wireless services

Brandon texted me and told me that sometimes if there's no service in an area, you'll pick up on another carrier's tower. I guess that's what they mean by roaming. So that may be why AT&T showed up on my phone. :)

Oh, man

I just woke up when someone called me, and was totally disoriented at first. I didn't remember going to sleep, I thought it was morning and it was 11:30 at night, etc. I came home from visiting my family, ate a little fish, and basically went plunk after that. Visiting takes a lot out of me, for some reason.

My mother and I went and decorated my grandfather's grave and walked through the old stones of the cemetery. My mom told me there was a third plot at my grandparents' lot if I ever needed it. I reiterated that I did not want to be embalmed and wished to be cremated. She said that my ashes could still be buried there (she had fears of urns falling over and dust busters, I think).

It was 95 degrees there today, so we got very hot walking about. The cemetery looked very nice; most graves were decorated. My great-grandparents' grave had a little purple spray of flowers on them--my great-grandmother's favourite colour, like mine, was purple.

We went to visit my grandmother, who looked better than the last time I saw her but wasn't feeling the best. Then we went over to my mom's for awhile and got caught up in a movie, The Jackal, with Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and Sidney Poitier. After that, we headed back to Lexington, and I pretty much just fell asleep.

I had planned to watch 'Being Human', Season 1 (the British, original version). I have it out of the library, but that's a no-go now. And I was going to clean the fish tank. I've lost a goldfish. But I think I'll just take my insulin and head back to bed. My right arm is hurting and it's not supporting weight or lifting very well when I try to use it. I don't know if I slept on it wrong, or what. It's been a few days now, and it seems to be coming from my shoulder. I hope I don't have tendonitis in it again--that was such a pain, literally, a couple of years ago.

Good night.

Monday, May 30, 2011

That's interesting

Earlier, when I looked at the 'notifications' on my phone, instead of saying T-Mobile, it said AT&T. I wasn't aware the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T had been officially approved, and I can't find anything stating that. It was expected to take months to get approval, and several parties are (rightly, in my opinion) opposing it. Now the label is back to T-Mobile. Hmmmm.

Yesterday was also my grandmother's 87th birthday

I'm going to visit her in a little while; my mom and stepfather are coming up to take me to see her. It'll be nice to get out of Lexington for awhile, too--that's rare for me, usually only when I visit my family or sometimes if one of my colleagues lets me carpool to a professional meeting. It's nice to be off on a Monday, too. Of course, it's good to remember that this isn't just a free day, but a day to remember those who have passed, especially those who served their country in the military.

Did you know that according to a law passed several years ago all Americans are supposed to pause for a moment of silence at 3 pm to remember the veterans who have died? I read that in the Christian Science Monitor the other day; I don't have the article handy just now.

Here in the South it's sometimes called Decoration Day and people go out to cemeteries to lay flowers and visit the graves, not just of those who died in wars but pretty much everyone. There's a tendency for one woman in the family to be informally assigned the task of keeping up the graves, at least in my father's family. I'm that person--I'm the last of that line, but I haven't been able to get to Owenton for years to take care of the Duncan graves. My grandmother usually takes care of the graves in Danville, but her health is an issue this year. I don't know if she'll have us do it or not. A few years ago we went out to the two cemeteries where we have people buried and she showed us the graves. I remember pretty much how to get to the Perryville Cemetery for the Lambs and Craigs. The Reardons were up on some hill that had a steep grade somewhere out in Boyle County near Mitchellsburg, I think. I'll have to ask my mom. Someone should know from my generation.

Okay, time to check out the news. It looks to be a beautiful day--sunny and hot. I hope you have a safe and wonderful day.


For two years in game time, but I think it's been more like three in real life, given that it took about a year to go through the difficult and horrific Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Brenda and I have had characters (one for her, her favourite, and two for me, including my very first character from so many years ago) who were trapped inside Yog Suttoth, an entity that touches on all space and time. Well, our spirits were stuck there. Our bodies were living homeless in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, the victims of Black Madness, being cared for by witches. (Long story). Anyway, we got them back last night, and there was much rejoicing (after the initial sanity loss for time lost and condition of the bodies). Brenda was so happy she would have merrily played later, but we had to wrap up about 10. I did pretty well for someone who had two hours' sleep (I tossed and turned for hours Saturday night). Now the challenge for me is that after a dearth of characters, I now have five active characters to play, although I'm soon the game master will quickly whittle that down. I feel like this is the reward for a very difficult period in the game, where we've dealt with major apocalypses and saved the world from annihilation at least four times, dealt with people going crazy from mundane things, and trying to raise a gaggle of unusual children, which frankly have been some of the most horrific moments--give me tentacles to fight. But things have been settling down and the game has been very enjoyable. Yay! The game notes will be easy this time, as very little happened, although what did was very significant. It was mostly catching characters up on what they missed. Anyway, I'm starting my week out on a high note. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

That was an excellent movie

Although not Lovecraftian horror (although it was a New England asylum, that's about the only similarity), it did a really good job as a psychological thriller. I'd recommend Shutter Island. Leonardo di Caprio did an excellent job. I also think Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow were very good in their roles. I haven't read the book, but comparing the plot summaries I've seen online it sounds like they kept to the story pretty well. Our library has the book, so I may see about checking it out sometime, although I pretty much know how it ends now. :)

Okay, it was a good day. I got a lot of what I wanted accomplished. Looking forward to the game tomorrow, but for tonight, it's time for bed. Good night.

Okay I'm back from the library

You know one thing that does annoy me about Lexington Public Library's set up (and one reason I don't do it very often) is that if you rent a DVD, you have to go to self-checkout station and check it out, then go to the accounts desk and have a real person take your money, pulling out your library card each time. They won't just let you walk up to the accounts desk and do the whole thing in one transaction, even though they have the capability of it. Self-checkout is fine, but it should make things easier, not more difficult.

I went ahead and rented Shutter Island, which seems like it might be Lovecraftian in some ways, since there's no new 'Doctor Who' tonight. Also checked out:

The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything
Earth: The Operator's Manual and
The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor: Vampire Slayer

I thought about getting I am Number Four, but practically speaking there will be no way for me to watch with YKWIA tomorrow with the game prep, grocery run, and game. I'd rather watch it with him. It's probably On Demand on cable, whereas Shutter Island isn't anymore.

Okay. Laundry? Check. Library? Check? Nap? Check. Next on the list are the game notes. I love that Word 2010 has an automatic 'save as' function to PDF so I can put it on the Kindle and go. It saves a couple of steps.

PS One nifty feature I saw on the University of Kentucky's Library catalogue website yesterday was that if they have an online book, there's a QR code (those square barcode-like things) that you can scan with your phone and automatically download the link straight there. Of course, the resource only works for their users, but still. I like QR codes. :)

PPS One annoying thing about yesterday was that I catalogued 25 books and on about a third I had to put a piece of tape over the stupid scratch-off code that publishers have so individual purchasers can have all this added material like searching the whole book, study questions, video, etc. Trouble is, the licence is for one person and a library can't give out those codes (although for a hefty fee they'll give you a site licence). The only reason I get to buy any books right now is because of a grant--my journals take up my entire print budget. So I can't spring for those sorts of things, and besides, no one ever seems to have a reasonable price for a hospital as small as mine. I hate having to explain this to patrons. 'Sorry, because you are accessing this through a library, you don't get any of the spiffy bonus material unless you go out and spend $500 on your own copy,' basically. Elsevier especially seems to do this with their titles. For one AAOS title I had to get creative, because their code didn't have the silver latex stuff over it; it was just printed, but I checked, and yes, it was a one-licence deal. So I took blue book tape and covered it, then put tape over that. Listen publishers, I shouldn't have to go through extra hoops because you do this. You hear me?????

Okay, time to go deal with those notes.

I'm 44 years old and still freeze like I did with bullies

Yesterday on my way home, I was walking up ahead of some young women who had gotten off the bus, too. They were loud and obnoxious (screaming at someone they knew at the top of their lungs, for one), and after they stopped that interchange they started making squealing pig noises that filtered over in my direction.

My heart stopped. I went into a panic. Years ago, that's exactly the sort of thing a school bully might do. Now, I know that they were probably not even directing it at me (on the other hand although they were all chunky, I was by far the larger, so maybe they were just that obnoxious). What's important was my reaction. I froze. I took it to be directed to me at first, just as all those insults had been when I was a kid. But I had two reactions afterwards which I thought showed promise. One, I realised that even if it were directed towards me, they were obnoxious gets who did not deserve the time of day. Secondly, I felt an upsurge of self-defence and quite frankly considered beating the crap out of them. Fortunately the first prevailed (I can just imagine the new reports: rabid librarian wails on defenceless girls). But the point is I felt anger, and although I controlled my actions, felt the impetus to defend myself. When I was a kid, I just felt powerless, and slunk off, and they kept taunting me because of it. I've only hit two people in my life, both bullies. One was when I was a kid and I never did anything to him when he was bullying me, but he was picking on a 4 year old and I bloodied his nose. The second was when I was older and someone I was living with tried to manipulate my actions and emotions by faking a suicide attempt. I tip-toed on eggshells for a week and finally boxed his ears. He slapped me. That was about as physically negative as our relationship ever got, although he was physically abusive on a daily basis through tickling. Yes, tickling. He would run at me, no matter what I was doing, and tickle me in this bizarre attack mode. It took me awhile to realise how insidious it was, because it was physical abuse, but because he wasn't hitting me, he could say everything was fine, and it didn't leave bruises. But it left me feeling like I would be attacked any minute. And of course, that was nothing compared to the emotional abuse and manipulation. Fortunately I finally came to my senses, grew a backbone, and left all that behind, although it took me a couple more years to finally get the courage to leave. When I did, he came to my house, knocking like he was trying to break the door down, until the nice policemen came and told him to go away or he'd be going downtown. I have had little trouble with him since, and have come to realise that he was essentially a coward and the only real power he had was what I gave him. And he was the last bully I had in my life that I gave any real power to.

Guess what?

It's Saturday morning and I've already done my laundry today. I went to bed early last night (hence the lack of posts), had strange, vivid dreams and at least one nightmare which sandwiched the sweetest dog in the world with a raving madwoman together, and woke up this morning raring to go.

My plans for today are simple. I'm going to take some books back to the library and do the notes for the game, which shouldn't take very long. The pool is open at my complex but I doubt the water is particularly warm yet. We've had summer temperatures in May but the last few days have been cooler, and I'm not the kind to just lay out and bake in the sun, so I'll probably hold off on that. If I feel like it, I should clean out the aquarium and do just a bit of housework, but primarily this is going to be relaxation day.

I am somewhat annoyed that in my laundry I was not able to get blood out of a new pair of jeans. I didn't dry them though in the hopes of not setting the stain. I am so looking forward to menopause.

Tomorrow is the game and grocery day. It is also my grandmother's 87th birthday. Monday I'm off for the holiday so I'm going to visit her and my mother then.


'If only 'Books in Print' hadn't gone online we could have a made a tower.'

I love Unshelved. Library humour no doubt a little odd to some, but it's quite hilarious to those in the know.

Listening to



I really did build a world of phantasy within to hide from the world outside when I was younger. A friend dubbed this 'Lisa Land'. I think for the most part I am back out with the rest of the world, but this song still resonates.

'My Immortal'

A beautiful song. Amy Lee has a lovely voice. The version on the album ends with traditional string instruments, not electric guitar, drums, and the 'rock' sound. I've never made up my mind which one I like better. The latter is more dramatic; the former is sweeter.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is it Friday yet???

It's been another long day, of a long week, and I keep thinking it's Friday, but it's not. I also keep forgetting that Monday is a holiday. I got an e-mail earlier telling me that numbers for the clinic (which predicts roughly how many data entry sheets I get from them) and saw Monday was 0 and said to myself, oh, crap, there's no reason for me to be at work for that! Then I realised, oh, yeah, there was a reason our clinic wasn't open. :| Really. I did take my 'smart medicine' today.

I got a ride home which was good because right after that the heavens opened up for a brief downpour. I started looking at the news and went to blog, and lo, Blogger would not let me in. Apparently they've had trouble with the login screen just refreshing rather than letting you in. They rolled out a fix, but the key for me (after looking at Blogger's forums and reading this) was to clear my cache AND cookies (cache alone didn't do it). Now I'm up and running again.

I have realised of late that I have strange friends. Yes, I've known them for years, and in my heart, I realised this, but lately things seem weirder, although I love them dearly. For example, I promised one that I would let him choose the ringtone for his number. He chose a bloodcurdling tortured scream. I turned the phone to silent today whilst in the bank because I expected a call from said number and didn't want to startle a teller into pushing a panic button. Later, the phone rang, and although it wasn't silent, it was turned down low. Upon learning this, my friend decided to whisper through our call. He thinks I shouldn't worry about people on the bus, my co-workers, or others in the hospital and how they might react to a sudden scream. He's probably right. You shouldn't spend your life worrying about what others think. It's at the normal volume now. But I see trouble ahead.

I think I'll get away from the computer for awhile. Take care.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I wish these people would crawl back under the rocks they came from

Westboro Church Plans Protest for Joplin MO

People who live in Kansas shouldn't do this sort of thing to people who are grieving after a tornado. Mother nature (or God?) might just drop a house on them, in an act of divine justice.

Thanks to @BurbDoc for the head's up.

You've got to love this headline

Horny Male Alligators Bellow With Their Back Spikes

Apparently they also create Faraday waves, which until now were thought to only be produced by man-made devices.

Alligators. Physics. Discuss.

One more story on germs

Growth promoters: If you can’t convince them, sue them
“The reason we’re filing suit now is because the antibiotic resistance crisis is reaching alarming proportions,” Avi Kar, NRDC’s health program attorney, told me. “In the face of the growing scientific evidence, FDA continues to focus almost exclusively on voluntary approaches such as those in the guidance currently under development. The coalition lawsuit is designed to get FDA to stop punting the issue and to finally take meaningful action.”
I can't prove it has any bearing, but when I stopped eating meat 20 years ago, I stopped getting strep throat, a condition so prevalent in my life that I went through my entire childhood with tonsils intact because they were never free from infection long enough to take them out, or so I've been told. After numerous infections into early adulthood, they suddenly stopped when I stopped eating the meat from animals routinely dosed with antibiotics to make them grow bigger and act as a prophylactic treatment to prevent illness. I also suspect that given the number of antibiotics I am allergic to, it's probably best I'm not exposed to them, although I don't know if it actually is passed on through the meat.

Trouble is, antibiotics, when used prophylactically like that, only help encourage antibiotic resistance in bacteria, because it exposes them to a variety of drugs, even when there is no active infection. This kills off the bacteria that are not resistant, leaving those that can evolve or cope with resistance. Since many of those same germs infect people, and many of those same antibiotics are used by people, it means we're reaping the rewards of these actions by having more difficulty fighting off infections in ourselves. In my mind, the practice of doping animals with antibiotics, along with our tendency to antiseptic everything (wipes in the grocery store for carts, lots of alcohol-containing gels, etc.), is doing a lot of harm. (And tangentially, studies also show that as our immune systems have less to fight off, there tends to be an increase in allergies and autoimmune disorders.)

Now I admit, I don't really know a lot about microbiology, besides a short college major in biology and some general reading, but the FDA should. And it (and Congress, which consistently quashes any attempts by the agency to flex their muscles concerning farming antibiotic use) should be doing something to prevent future issues. I don't think this lawsuit will particularly change the game, but it's an interesting approach.

Well, that does make sense

Dogs and humans share DNA, thanks to viruses: Research suggests genetic material was exchanged over millennia
Humans and dogs may have exchanged genetic material over the millennia via viruses, scientists conjecture.

Retroviruses — the most infamous example of which is likely HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — have the ability to incorporate their genetic material into that of their hosts. In this manner, these hitchhikers can reproduce when their hosts do.

All mammals and most vertebrates, or creatures with backbones, apparently possess these "endogenous retroviruses" in their genomes. In fact, nearly 1 percent of the human genome consists of these unwelcome guests. Mice and opossums are even more greatly compromised, with these viruses making up about 2 percent of their genomes.

I had not heard the theory of bacteria contributing to precipitation

until I read Allies and Enemies: : How the World Depends on Bacteria, by Anne Maczulak. Now, this idea has gotten a boost by the concentrations of bacteria found in hailstones.

Bacteria-rich hailstones add to 'bioprecipitation' idea

Do you know your Bible?

I got these pretty much right (some had multiple answers). And I'm pagan. But I've read the Bible, unlike many Christians. :)

Religion and Sex Quiz

It's actually an op-ed piece illustrating that what people think the Bible says tends to be very different than the actual Scripture, and that the Bible is very ambiguous on lots of points regarding sex, which makes sense, as it is a hodge-podge of two religions, various authors, and a lot of debate over the years, even unto which books would be included. The piece draws upon the book Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire, by Jennifer Wright Knust, who is a biblical scholar and an ordained American Baptist minister.

Conjoined twins with a neural bridge between their brains fascinate scientists

Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?
Twins joined at the head — the medical term is craniopagus — are one in 2.5 million, of which only a fraction survive. The way the girls’ brains formed beneath the surface of their fused skulls, however, makes them beyond rare: their neural anatomy is unique, at least in the annals of recorded scientific literature. Their brain images reveal what looks like an attenuated line stretching between the two organs, a piece of anatomy their neurosurgeon, Douglas Cochrane of British Columbia Children’s Hospital, has called a thalamic bridge, because he believes it links the thalamus of one girl to the thalamus of her sister. The thalamus is a kind of switchboard, a two-lobed organ that filters most sensory input and has long been thought to be essential in the neural loops that create consciousness. Because the thalamus functions as a relay station, the girls’ doctors believe it is entirely possible that the sensory input that one girl receives could somehow cross that bridge into the brain of the other. One girl drinks, another girl feels it.

Goodbye, Spirit. Rest in Peace.

Scientists say goodbye to Spirit rover
It was supposed to roam the surface of Mars for only three months and cover a distance of just a few hundred yards. Instead, NASA's Spirit rover traveled nearly five miles over five years, finding geological evidence that the Red Planet had once been warm and wet enough to have harbored life. Even after it got hopelessly stuck in the powdery soil of Gusev Crater, the rover continued to make discoveries and beamed them to scientists millions of miles away.

But engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge near downtown Los Angeles sent their final commands to Spirit early Wednesday morning, more than a year after the rover made its last transmission to Earth.

The 7-year-old craft had exhausted its batteries, and its electronic innards had probably been destroyed during the long Martian winter, with temperatures sinking to 175 degrees below zero.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joplin under a tornado watch again as the residents try to put their lives back together

Deadly tornado kills 124, leaves 'twilight zone' in its wake
By Monday night, officials found 17 people alive. But many, including Will Norton, remain missing.

The 18-year-old was driving home from his high school graduation Sunday when the tornado destroyed the Hummer H3 he and his father were in.

"We were in a separate car. We were about 30 seconds in front of them, one block," Norton's sister, Sara, told CNN. "My dad called and he said, 'Open the garage door.' ... And then I just heard him say, 'Pull over, Will. Pull over.' And then they started flipping."

"My dad said -- when my dad gained consciousness, he said that he saw my brother -- his seat belt snapped and he was ejected through the sunroof," she added.

The family has been tracking a "Help Find Will Norton" Facebook page and pursuing leads on his whereabouts.

Norton's aunt, Tracey, said the family received a tip that the teen was listed on a local hospital's emergency room roster -- but she's not sure where he is now.

"They transferred him, but we're not sure where he was transferred," the aunt said. "When he was transferred, he was alive. We don't know anything other than that."

That's such a scary thing, not knowing. I hope they will be spared any heavy weather tonight. There has already been a tornado in Oklahoma City and more elsewhere. The Joplin tornado has been upgraded in level to an EF5.

Don't read this if you haven't watched the end of Supernatural season 6

and plan to. But the essay has some good points about the similarity between the two shows and how Supernatural could continue after the season 5 sacrifice. (Something I still haven't actually seen). I so need to see them on DVD.

Why Supernatural season 6 was kind of like Buffy season 6

I don't think they did a musical, though, like Buffy. That would be very interesting.

Nice NY Times piece on First Book and what they do

A Book in Every Home, and Then Some
When we imagine people without books, we think of villagers in places like Afghanistan. But many families in the United States have no children’s books at home. In some of the poorest areas of the country, it’s hard to find books for sale. A study (pdf) of low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, for example, found a ratio of one book for sale for every 300 children. Tens of millions of poor Americans can’t afford to buy books at all.
The literacy project I participate in, Reach Out and Read puts books into the hands of children 6 months to five years old each time they come to our clinic. I'm pretty sure some of those books have come from First Book in the past. These types of programmes are vital for making sure children whose families cannot afford to buy books are raised in a print-rich environment, which studies say improves reading and performance in school, among other things.

Thanks again to Steven, of Library Stuff, for the link.

Only Josh Hanagarne

[The World's Strongest Librarian] could make me laugh uproariously about his swelling man bits and horrific vacation, 'cause he just wrote it that funny. Go over and visit him and add your worst vacation. Maybe he'll feel better.

My worst vacation was my honeymoon (a pagan gathering). I:
  1. Nearly died in a car that stalled crossing a six-lane highway.
  2. Had the Ku Klux Klan trying to break into the campsite because the Farrars and Isaac Bonewits had shown up at an Atlanta shop and said the witches were meeting at the Fairgrounds.
  3. Had a Georgia State Trooper guarding said camp due to the KKK threats.
  4. Had dogs running through the camp, either the KKK's or the local pagans with guns', I'm not sure which.
  5. Had several of my friends chant 'Lisa's got to pee' while standing in such a way that said Georgia State Trooper would not see me doing my business, since we were nowhere near a port-a-potty.
  6. Went through the some of the worst storms in the Atlanta area, including having the campsite struck by lightning and (brontophobi me) winding up in the foetal position in a puddle of water whilst attempting to save the beanie weenies.
  7. Guarded the camp, convincing (along with my fellows) some random motorist to take the weirdo who was trying to catch lightning bugs to read his watch by who was also carrying a sword and called Kentucky one of those 'long states'.
  8. Froze the day after the storm when at midsummer it went from 90 degrees to 50 during our visit to the Atlanta Zoo.
  9. Nearly died something like five times on the trip all total.
  10. Began to have the horrible realisation that I had just married my ex-husband, and all that would entail.

Yep. That was 20 years ago next month. Strange times. It was also my last official vacation, I think.

Zombies need brains! Zombies need libraries!

Zombies lurch down Telegraph to support libraries, brains
Oakland library supporters crawled down Telegraph Avenue Saturday evening in their zombie finest to protest the potential closure of 14 of the city's 18 libraries. The living dead, organized by the group Save Oakland Public Libraries, groaned "Zombies need brains, keep libraries open!" to passerbys in cars, restaurants, and at Oakland's Uptown galleries, and urged them to "keep Oakland brains the tastiest in California."
Thanks to Steven at Library Stuff for the link.

Decision made on the post-Shuttle method of space travel to asteroid, Mars

NASA Unveils New Spaceship for Deep Space Exploration
NASA on Tuesday announced a plan to develop a new deep space vehicle, one based on an earlier capsule concept, in order to send astronauts on expeditions to an asteroid, and then on to Mars.

The spaceship, known as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), will be based on designs originally planned for the Orion spacecraft, NASA officials announced today (May 24). Orion was part of NASA's now-canceled Constellation program, which aimed to return astronauts to the moon by the 2020s.
[Image credit: NASA]


Bipolar disorder: Mind-body connection suggests new directions for treatment, research
The study begins with the understanding that areas of the brain that are critical for motor control, mainly the cerebellum, basal ganglia and brain stem, also aid in mood regulation and are areas where abnormalities often are found in people with bipolar disorder. Postural sway -- a measure of the degree of endless adjustments people make in an attempt to stand still -- is considered a sensitive gauge of motor control that likely is affected by these abnormalities.

In the study, participants who had bipolar disorder displayed more postural sway, particularly when their eyes were closed, than study participants who had no psychological disorders. The troubles, which involved the study participants' proprioception, or ability to process non-visual sensory information related to balance, were not affected by their mood or the severity of their disorder.

"It appears that people with bipolar disorder process sensory information differently and this is seen in their inability to adapt their movement patterns to different conditions, such as eyes open vs. eyes closed or feet together vs. feet apart," said Hong, whose research focuses on how humans control motion. "The different conditions will cause people to use the information their senses provide differently, in order to allow them to maintain their balance."
So maybe this is why I can't keep my balance with my eyes closed and dread ever being given a roadside sobriety test?

Another Amazonian study of note

Geometry skills are innate, Amazon tribe study suggests
Tests given to an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu suggest that our intuitions about geometry are innate.

Researchers examined how the Mundurucu think about lines, points and angles, comparing the results with equivalent tests on French and US schoolchildren.

The Mundurucu showed comparable understanding, and even outperformed the students on tasks that asked about forms on spherical surfaces.

I'd love to decipher their words

Robots develop language to 'talk' to each other
Robots are developing their own language to help them navigate and improve their intellectual ability.

The Lingodroid research project lets robots generate random sounds for the places they visit in both simulations and a real office.

The "words" are shared and the robots play games to establish which sound represents which location.

The lexicon has proved so sophisticated that it can be used to help robots find places other robots direct them to.

The machines are being allowed to generate their own words because human language is so loaded with information that robots found it hard to understand, said project leader Dr Ruth Schulz from the University of Queensland.

Imagine finding out you were stolen as a child--in World War II

New Zealand man discovers he was missing person in post WWII Germany
He finally discovered his real family, but sadly, shortly after the deaths of his mother and sister.

Good article on copyright

That famous space shuttle photo: When is sharing stealing?
Short on sleep and worried about the recent loss of her job, Stefanie Gordon boarded a Delta flight from New York to Palm Beach at 6:30 a.m. on May 16. Still miffed after a late-night Yankees loss to the Red Sox, she took a photo out the window of her airplane seat with an iPhone, tweeted it to friends when she landed, then headed off to spend the day with her father.

By the time she was sitting in the passenger seat of his car, her iPhone was practically buzzing out of her lap, teeming with messages of congratulation and requests for interviews. Gordon's now-famous photo of the space shuttle Endeavour soaring through the clouds got her an overwhelming amount of attention -- her 15 minutes of fame, Internet style. It also landed her smack in the middle of an ethical and legal debate that may be as important as the future of the Internet itself.

Gordon's photo has been viewed nearly 1 million times, and shown by media TV, Web and print news outlets around the world. She was paid by precisely five news organizations.

Count me in the half that couldn't

Small rainy-day funds mean many could get drenched
How long would it take you to come up with $2,000 in cash? Could you do it at all?

Half of all U.S. households say they "certainly" or "probably" could not come up with the funds to cope with such an ordinary financial emergency, according to a new study on financial fragility.

The lack of emergency resources is not just a problem of the impoverished but also affects many “solidly middle-class” families, according to the study just published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Of households making between $100,000 and $150,000 annually, nearly one-quarter said they "certainly" or "probably" would be unable to come up with the $2,000

She remained a mystery

Huguette Clark, the reclusive copper heiress, dies at 104: With her mansions empty, she lived in N.Y. hospital rooms for decades; the criminal investigation into handling of her fortune continues
Though she inherited one of the great mining fortunes of the 19th century, she lived quietly into the 21st century, secluded in a spartan hospital room for more than two decades despite being in relatively good physical health. Intensely shy, in the last year of her life she became a subject of public fascination, a trending topic of searches on Google and Yahoo, pictured on the cover of the New York tabloids, with fan pages on Facebook, a biography on Wikipedia, and her story read by tens of millions — though the last known photograph of her was made in 1930.

Rest in peace.

Well, it was a good run

NASA says Spirit rover's mission on Mars is all but over: Drama-queen robot fell silent in 2010; final effort to regain contact to be made Wednesday
Spirit, the scrappy robot geologist that captivated the world with its antics on Mars before getting stuck in a sand trap, is about to meet its end after six productive years.

Spirit has been incommunicado for more than a year despite daily calls by NASA. The cause of Spirit's silence may never be known, but it's likely that the bitter Martian winter damaged its electronics, preventing the six-wheeled rover from waking up.

I am somehow not surprised

Having a baby makes mom's body turn on itself: Pregnancy may trigger autoimmune disorders, researchers say
The question of whether pregnancy might help trigger these diseases has been debated for years. To shed light on the controversy, investigators analyzed medical records of more than 1 million women in Denmark born between 1962 and 1992. Of these, 43.4 percent had not been pregnant, 44.3 percent had their first pregnancy delivered conventionally, 7.6 percent had their first pregnancy delivered via cesarean section, and 4.1 percent had abortions. (The numbers do not quite add up because the women who had abortions did not all say whether they had other pregnancies.)

Of the approximately 1 million investigated, 25,570 developed autoimmune diseases. The researchers found that in the first year after conventional deliveries or cesarean sections, women had a 15 or 30 percent greater risk, respectively, of contracting such disorders. Surprisingly, this risk appeared 30 percent lower in the first year following abortion.

Amelia* would be so thrilled

Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images
Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings including of two suspected pyramids.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist," says Dr Sarah Parcak.
*(For those not in the know, Amelia Peabody is a fictional Victorian/Edwardian sleuth created by Elizabeth Peters, aka Barbara Mertz. She has a weakness for pyramids and murder. It's a very enjoyable series, my favourite of historical mysteries. I must say, the author has been very prolific, and she's 83 and still writing.)

Wow, he didn't even miss a beat

Why let his followers get on with their lives, rather than jerking them around some more? Do these people even read the Bible? Do they? As a whole, and critically, rather than a verse out of context here and there? [I recently read someone comment on the Bible verses a Facebook friend was putting on her status, about how great it was because, 'I haven't read most of them.' That's sad to think of verses as some sort of individual thing that has no meaning taking together.]

Harold Camping says May 21, 2011 was ‘invisible judgment day,’ world will end October 21, 2011
“It wont be spiritual on October 21st,” Camping said, adding, “the world is going to be destroyed all together, but it will be very quick.”

Camping had previously pointed to October 21 as the last day on earth for all humanity.

His former assertion was that a faithful three percent would be physically pulled into heaven by God through the Rapture on May 21, to be followed by a five month period of great suffering known as the Tribulation, ending, finally, on October 21. On Monday’s broadcast, Camping speculated that perhaps a merciful God decided to spare humanity five months of “hell on earth.”

How do you change an entire culture's view on women?

Perhaps one day they'll realise there will be no wives for sons, nor children for the family, unless daughters are valued as well.

India's unwanted girls
Kulwant has three daughters aged 24, 23 and 20 and a son who is 16.

In the years between the birth of her third daughter and her son, Kulwant became pregnant three times. "My mother-in-law said if I had a daughter, my husband would leave me. Thankfully, I had a son."

Deepali Sah Health worker

Each time, she says, she was forced to abort the foetus by her family after ultrasound tests confirmed that they were girls.

"My mother-in-law taunted me for giving birth to girls. She said her son would divorce me if I didn't bear a son."

Kulwant still has vivid memories of the first abortion. "The baby was nearly five months old. She was beautiful. I miss her, and the others we killed," she says, breaking down, wiping away her tears.

Until her son was born, Kulwant's daily life consisted of beatings and abuse from her husband, mother-in-law and brother-in-law. Once, she says, they even attempted to set her on fire.

"They were angry. They didn't want girls in the family. They wanted boys so they could get fat dowries," she says.
The use of abortions to select for gender is illegal in India. So, for that matter, are dowries, but the practice is still popular and great lengths are taken to weight children in favour of boys. This is fundamentally wrong. I suspect things will only get worse for a time. But eventually families will find their sons left out in the cold without wives, and therefore no children. Perhaps that will change things a bit. Both India and China will reap what they sow in terms of female abortion and infanticide, if they do not take action now.

Hope for those with complete spinal cord injuries

Implant helps paralyzed man stand, take steps: Electrical stimulator gives Portland man ability to move his legs
After Rob Summers was paralyzed below the chest in a car accident in 2006, his doctors told him he would never stand again. They were wrong.

Despite intensive physical therapy for three years, Summers' condition hadn't improved. So in 2009, doctors implanted an electrical stimulator onto the lining of his spinal cord to try waking up his damaged nervous system. Within days, Summers, 25, stood without help. Months later, he wiggled his toes, moved his knees, ankles and hips, and was able to take a few steps on a treadmill.

"It was the most incredible feeling," said Summers, of Portland, Oregon. "After not being able to move for four years, I thought things could finally change.
I hope this bears fruit. It must be incredible to be able to take steps, even if it's only for short periods during therapy, after not being able to for years. According to one of the librarians in our system (some of our hospitals, including hers, treat spinal cord injury), there is a Kentucky connexion, as the lead author is from the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center in Louisville and that is where he is undergoing therapy.

Different cultures view time differently, but there are indications this one has no real concept of time as we do

Amondawa tribe lacks abstract idea of time, study says
"We're really not saying these are a 'people without time' or 'outside time'," said Chris Sinha, a professor of psychology of language at the University of Portsmouth.

"Amondawa people, like any other people, can talk about events and sequences of events," he told BBC News.

"What we don't find is a notion of time as being independent of the events which are occuring; they don't have a notion of time which is something the events occur in."

The Amondawa language has no word for "time", or indeed of time periods such as "month" or "year".

The people do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different stages of their lives or as they achieve different status within the community.

But perhaps most surprising is the team's suggestion that there is no "mapping" between concepts of time passage and movement through space.

'We are a tiny, miniscule community, but what keeps us together is a special bond. We are one family, we meet, we talk, we share with each other'

Delhi's last 10 Jewish families guard an ancient heritage
In the capital of one of the world's most religiously-diverse countries, a r[a]bbi who has never been ordained bends ancient customs, ensuring New Delhi's ten Jewish families a place to worship.

Unlike most synagogues, there is no separation of men and women as Jewish-born worshippers, converts and followers of other faiths chant Psalms in perfect Hebrew, with doors thrown open to all. The service leader never asks attendees what religion they follow, and envisions his daughter becoming India's first female rabbi.

"Being a small community, we cannot be so rigid, so orthodox," says Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, honorary secretary of the synagogue whose unpaid job of thirty years has overlooked religious convention to keep this tiny group together.

"Our openness, our liberal approach is what allows us to survive. For reading the Torah, you must require ten men, a minyan. But I made radical changes, because why should we discriminate between women and men? I count the women."
Jews have been in India for 2,000 years, but represent merely about 5,000 people, whereas the general population of the country is about 1.2 billion people.

Monday, May 23, 2011

An underwater mushroom, a jumping cockroach, and a bacterium that feeds on the Titanic's rust

are among 10 species discovered in 2010 which the BBC chose to highlight in pictures. Fair warning, YKWIA, there's also a Madagascar spider whose webs can reach 25 meters across, so you probably don't want to go to this one, or at least skip slide four.

This is why those of us who work in hospitals go through the drills

At hospital hit by twister, panic but also professionalism: Dozens sought protection; some staff 'were hurt, but they worked all night long'
"I spent most of my life at that hospital," emergency room physician Dr. Jim Roscoe said, his voice cracking. "It's awful. I had two pregnant nurses who dove under gurneys. I had staff who showed up. They were hurt, but they worked all night long. It's a testimony to the human spirit."

In the terrifying minutes before the twister struck, the hospital declared a "Condition Gray," and patients, relatives and staff members were told to leave their rooms and go into stairwells and other protected interior parts of the building.

Despite what hospital officials said was at least 10 minutes' warning inside the building before the tornado hit, Roscoe said at least five of the 116 people who died in the tornado in Joplin were killed at St. John's. He said he did not know if the victims were patients or staff members.
At our hospital, we call it a tornado warning rather than giving it a colour code. I think that's more direct and gives patients, visitors, and families better information. Like most hospitals, we have drills and specific policies to help guide us in case of various disasters, and we receive continual training to protect those in the building. But we're also a very small hospital--50 beds and primarily patients are in our outpatient clinic; I can't wrap my head head around getting everyone to evacuate to the hallways in a multi-storey hospital with over 100 patients, not to mention the number of staff and visitors. What about the multi-building hospitals like Central Baptist here in Lexington? That must be a logistics nightmare. I don't envy their risk management team.

It sounds like the hospital did an excellent job under the circumstances. I'm sure in months to come (assuming they can rebuild), they will go through and analyze what happened and how things could be improved. Although some patients and a visitor (according to another report I saw) did die, it could have been so much worse.

Good tips on backing up your identity in case of disaster

How to protect your identity during a disaster: Have copies of important documents safely stashed elsewhere

You know, I know how to prepare for a disaster, but I haven't done so. I really need to take a weekend and get things together. I did get a fire extinguisher today (they were given out at work on condition we signed a waiver). I figure I have more books than the library at work, and they're pretty much everywhere, so it would be good to have an extinguisher.

Well, I knew that, but I find it interesting that the bias affects women but not men

Those extra pounds can hurt you at work, ladies: Overweight women earn less, get passed over for jobs, says new study
Packing a few extra pounds can hurt a woman's salary and even her ability to get a job, mounting research shows. Yet while women tend to get penalized by the pound, men don't, and perhaps they even gain from girth.


Joplin Tornado Kills 116, Deadliest Since 1953
The tornado that killed 116 people in Joplin, Missouri, was the deadliest single U.S. twister since 1953, with winds that may have reached 198 miles per hour (319 kph), according to Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service.

At least 481 people have died in tornadoes so far this year, the earliest such a high toll has ever been reached, said Russell Schneider, director of the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Tomorrow is expected to be another active day for tornados from Kansas to Texas.

“We are now on pace for a record year for tornado fatalities,” Schneider said on conference call with reporters today. “I think we have to be aware that we are just now entering the peak of the season.”

We have a severe line of thunderstorms heading right for us. I hope there will be no tornadoes. There are tornado warnings to the north of us and storm warnings to the west--we're under a watch right now, but it shouldn't take too long to get here, so I'm going to keep an eye on the weather tonight.

The pictures of Joplin (and earlier, those from the tornado outbreak at the end of April down South) show just how devastating the storms can be. If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross, which is helping people in localities struck by these tragedies, you can either click on the bar at the top of this screen or text REDCROSS to 90999. Note that giving to the general, 'where need is greatest' helps make sure that charity organisations can use funds more efficiently.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh, on the same note

and in celebration of not having undergone the Rapture, let's add this to the phone.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hell

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Although I was born in Kentucky and have spent most of my life here

I spent seven or so years in Louisiana, over a third of my childhood. and a terribly long time to be stationed anywhere in the armed forces. Actually I was there twice--we moved to England AFB when I was a few days old, which was near Alexandria, and then six years at Barksdale AFB near Shreveport, where I lived from age 6 to age 12.

So I've been watching the rising of the Mississippi and the flooding that was engineered to save the bigger cities, causing havoc for those who live out in the country who are seeing the floods threaten their homes and livelihoods.

I guess in a bit of solidarity, while I was putting some of my CDs on my phone, I pulled out Carencro, by Marc Broussard, which is a sort of soul-rock album. Here's my favourite song:

I missed the Preakness

But once again, there will be no Triple Crown this year, as Shackleford won without ever being out of first place, while Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom came in 2nd. I would love to see a Triple Crown winner, but really, it sounds like it was another great race. And he won at 12-1 odds, too, so someone made some money there on betting. Me, I learned never to bet on horses; I suck at figuring out the right ones.

I'd really like to see it, it sounds great

Nigerians set to find out how to get to Sesame Square
Starring a yam monster, an HIV-positive puppet and talking drums, the Nigerian version of the famous US TV show Sesame Street is all set to hit TV screens this weekend.

There are no New York-style streets with tall blocks of flats punctuated with fire hydrants, but smaller houses with gardens surrounding a huge mango tree, lined with straw baskets.

This is Sesame Square, featuring Kami - a furry, golden, female muppet, and the energetic Zobi, a blue, male muppet, who drives a stationary yellow taxi.

The likeable Kami is five years old, and HIV-positive, in a role that is expected to help eliminate the stigma associated with the Aids virus.

Yemisi Ilo, the executive producer of the series, notes that having a character like Kami will "help educate children in a fun and lighthearted way".

"Our reality here in Nigeria is that there are hundreds of thousands of Aids orphans," she adds. "We want all children, including those with HIV, to be able to relate with the characters."

"It is by no means heavy… Kami doesn't come out saying she is HIV-positive. It's just who she is."
Although a lot of Nigerians either have no TV or lack the electricity to run it, there's a lot of excitement for the programme. It is expected to help educate children about such things as malaria prevention and encourage ethnic diversity and harmony.

Sesame Street has been so iconic in the lives of people my age and younger (I was born two years before it hit the airwaves, so I was probably one of the first toddlers to watch it). I am fascinated by how it has grown and spread throughout the world to be adapted to other cultures. Even today I almost bought a Bert and Ernie shirt that said on the back 'You Complete Me'. Really. Almost.

The folks at Sesame Street have done a lot of good over the years. I hope they're able to stay on the air (or in whatever format comes along) for a long time, wherever they are.

I can't imagine their pain

I've never lost anyone close to me to a sudden accident, war, or act of God, and hopefully never will. I guess I'm lucky. The closest I've come is a young man I was helping with computers back when we were in school. He was killed when his wheelchair was hit by a car in what could have been either an accident or a suicide--we were never sure. But the sudden loss where one day someone you love is there and the next day they're just not--that's something I've never, thankfully, dealt with in terms of my family or someone I knew well. But I have a lot of sympathy for those who have because, well, it's a big fear we try not to give in to, isn't it, losing our loved ones in the blink of an eye?

So when I read this, even though it happened half a world away, I was very moved for the people who have lost loved ones in a senseless tragedy during what should have been a happy celebration. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.

Birthday boat sinks in southern Vietnam; 15 dead
A tour boat cruising a river to celebrate a 3-year-old's birthday capsized during a violent storm in southern Vietnam, killing the boy, four other children and 10 adults, officials said Saturday.

Divers recovered the bodies from the Saigon River on Saturday afternoon, but one passenger remained missing, said Trieu Van Giau, head of Binh Duong provincial waterway police.

Several people managed to swim to safety after the double-decker, restaurant-style boat capsized Friday evening about 100 yards (meters) from the terminal, said Le Van Hieu, chief of Binh Nham village in Binh Duong province, 19 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

"It's horrible to see the birthday party for that 3-year-old boy turn into a tragedy," he said.

The sinking is being investigated, but the heavy rains and violent winds occurring at the time were blamed.

According to state-run media, a Vietnamese businessman was throwing the birthday celebration. The reports said the father managed to survive, but that nine family members — including his wife, son and 6-year-old daughter — did not make it to shore.

Be sure to include in any post-Rapture party you might be planning

REM - 'It's the End of the World As We Know It'

I was a little disappointed there wasn't anything for one at the Liquor Barn, or at least I didn't see anything. I guess the Rapture snuck up on them, which really, if the Rapture ever does happen, that is how it's supposed to work.


Thanks to Jody for sharing it with me. (She's the one who joined in the post-Rapture looting event on Facebook, and invited me to Non-Judgement Day for Sunday.) We used to go to church together when we were kids. :D

Must cool down

It's 82 degrees outside, and don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining after the highs in the 50s all week, but when you're lugging bottles of wine around, you can work up a sweat, and my face is red. I left at 10:35 and took the bus up three blocks (it's safer than going along the road, where there's no sidewalk for about a block). I had lunch at Taco Bell (that's probably the first time in at least six months, and the people there were very nice). Since most of their traffic was drive-through, I had the dining room to myself.

Then it was across the street to Liquor Barn, where I'd been asked to get three bottles of wine to be used for both cooking and drinking. I knew I wanted to get some wine for my libations and some mead as well.

I was in there a long time. I simply know almost nothing about wine. I had a price to guide me by, but nothing else. I finally chose two pinot grigios (and that was mainly because the bottle had leaping Etruscans on it--I want those bottles when he's finished, although I do hope the wine is nice) and a merlot. I got a merlot for me as well, for the libation. I normally choose burgundy but haven't been able to find any of late. I thought maybe they can't call it that anymore (kind of like champagne has to come from Champagne, France), but if so I don't know what they call it now. Did I mention I am sorely stupid when it comes to wine? I did need help finding the mead, and in the same section there were elderberry, pomegranate, and other fruit wines. I filed that away for future reference.

So that took the better part of the three hours I was out wandering up and down three blocks of Richmond Road. I still had about a half an hour before the bus came by on the way home, and so I checked out Gabriel Brothers and found a pair of jeans and a shirt for $13. Not a bad deal. Once I got off the bus, I went into the library to pay my little fine for the other day when I fell asleep and then also checked out a book called Wine Basics for Dummies. (Although I know it's a good series, I find the titles to be a little insulting, except for things I know next to nothing about, like cars and wine. Actually, I can change a flat tyre, know how to change my oil, and know just about every part under the hood, especially those that have gone out on me before, so my knowledge of cars is vast compared to my knowledge of wine.) :)

Anyway, I'm drinking something cold and I'm going to go sit by the fan for a few minutes before doing anything else. I wish I had ice cream, but I don't really need it. After I get cooled down I'll get going on the rest of the tasks for the day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Well, I didn't spend much time on the computer

Except to convert some of my music files over to .mp3s so I can listen to them on my phone (it doesn't really like .wmas). I did have some freeware that converted it, but it would only put the information tags on the first song of each album, so I found another freeware program, FreeRIP Basic, that both converts files and rips CDs directly to .mp3s. I have a fairly small music collection, so it's not so bad to have to convert.

I did watch 'Supernatural'. I guess of all the episodes this season, this was the one I absolutely should have watched, and I really enjoyed it. It set next season up nicely. Now that I know when it's airing (assuming that stays the same), I may watch it then.

I'm starting to flag a bit tonight, the result of not enough sleep. I did look through Google News and all I saw that was interesting was a T-shirt that said:
'After the rapture: 1. Don't panic. 2. Loot with abandon. 3. Celebrate with the other infidels.' Funny how 1) No one actually wants to be on the side that gets raptured; it's no fun and 2) Everyone assumes Rapture=instant end of world, which means they've never read the Bible. But all things considered, I guess that makes sense. That reminds me, someone asked me to send them a link to that video by SomeGreyBloke. I should do that, then probably head on to bed so I can get up early enough to get stuff done that I need to. Good night!

Home early

Work is finished for the week, I got a ride home, and it's so nice to change into comfier clothes and look forward to a night of relaxation. I learned awhile ago that trying to do anything productive on Friday night is just about impossible for me. Plus, I'm operating on three hours' sleep. I went to bed about 2 last night, didn't get to sleep until about three, but rather I kept tossing and turning. Then I dreamt one of those OCD/anxiety-type dreams for about three hours, waking up at 6. I did manage to sleep about 45 minutes sometime after that. Anyway, I got up early, went to Kroger, got a couple of things I needed, got some quarters for laundry (enough to do everything in the house, rather than a load or two), and then went to work.

I changed purses this morning, so of course the one thing that didn't make it in was my work badge, so I feel like I've only been unofficially there all day. I'll have to have our payroll person put my time in for today. When I got home, I found the badge had fallen between the arm and cushion of the loveseat.

The greatest thing about today is that it is SUNNY and WARM. That's the first time in about a week. It's been cool and rainy. Someone said the other day that we had not had three days free of rain in a row since January 1st. I believe it.

I'm trying to decide what to do tonight. I want to blog some of the stuff I've been collecting. And I'm intrigued by the 'Supernatural' season finale double-header even though I haven't been watching this season. There's still last week's 'Doctor Who', but I can watch that tomorrow night right before the new one.

Tomorrow I have to do game notes, do laundry, and go to the liquor store to get some wine for a friend, as well as wine for my monthly libation and maybe some mead. I don't drink wine (or beer, for that matter, or really any spirits, either), but I will drink mead, a little at a time. Other than that, I'm embarrassed to say the only alcoholic beverages I can handle are girly fruity drinks like daiquiris. Hmmm...I have that little blender now.... Since a half a glass of wine has been known to make me very jovial, I'm very careful in my drinking. And one nice thing about no longer having a car is that it's okay for me to imbibe occasionally. When I had a car I never felt comfortable drinking because there might be an emergency and I won't drive if I've drunk anything at all. Okay, so I don't let down inhibitions easily. I don't like the thought of losing control and have never drunk to the point of doing so (the plus side of this is that I have never had a hangover). :)

I think for now I'm going to stretch out in the comfy chair and enjoy the sunlight coming through the window. In other words, bask like a cat. Then I'll think about dinner and whatever I do beyond that. Somewhere in that relaxing I may do some light housework. The floor still looks great. The dishes are fine, except for a few that are non-dishwasher safe. The bathroom could use a light bit of cleaning, but I'll do that tomorrow. So I may see about getting the books off the dining area table and the things on the loveseat put away. I really need to give away two CRT monitors that are cluttering up my living area. Plus, I haven't read for awhile and I have plenty of books out from the library and of course the Kindle. It would be nice to. I was reading an excellent book on bacteria (yes, really, it is entertaining) on the Kindle. It's called Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria. I got a deal on it, but I really would pay full price for it. I'd like to pick that up. I'm afraid I've been playing with my phone on the bus rather than reading the Kindle lately. I used to be annoyed with people who couldn't put their phone down for a minute or more, just fiddling with their phone. I didn't understand that they had better phones than I did. Most still do. But now that I can get on the web, it is kind of nice. And I discovered how to get to get to the bus schedules that are PDFs that I downloaded the other day, which is quite helpful.

Okay, I'm just rambling now. Hope you had a good week and have a good weekend. I'll try to write more tonight.

I tweaked the design a bit tonight

mostly on the sidebar, putting things in a little more logical order and adding a couple of new features that were available. I know it's very busy. I wish I could figure out an easy way to add a right-handed sidebar, but that would mean changing a lot of code. Let me know if anything I did affects the loading of the page for you on your device.

I have a lot of posts to put up that I've garnered via Twitter today (I usually go trolling for news through Google Reader, which sadly I am very behind on, because I haven't been sitting at the computer much this week. However, I've found lots of really good links bobbing about on Twitter, using my phone when I'm on the bus, etc. I've favourited them so I can find them again. So I'll try to put some of those up tomorrow.

Until then, goodnight.

I think this is a great way to get people interested in emergency preparedness

Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

This is making the rounds, and yes, it is from an official blog by the Centers for Disease Control to get people talking about emergencies and preparing for all sorts of disasters. Since Zombies are so darn popular these days, it was natural to throw them into the mix. It is certainly getting a response. Twitter is atwitter with it, it's making the rounds on Facebook, and it's popping up on e-mail lists as well.

So, learn how to prepare for your Zombie Apocalypse--because nowhere is safe from disaster.

I'm just waiting for Those with No Sense of Humour to question why our government is putting resources into preventing Zombie Apocalypses. You mark my words, some wackadoo will.

PS You can get badges and widgets for the Zombie Apocalypse here: http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies.asp. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I love George Takei

It's okay to be Takei!!!

Oh, this is wonderful!

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources project nears completion
A huge number of students ranging from linguists to those studying coins and family ancestry are benefiting from a 100 year project to compile the world’s most comprehensive dictionary of Medieval Latin.

Work started on the unique Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources 50 years ago but experts began collecting material early in the 20th century.

Now the initiative is nearing completion and Professor Tobias Reinhardt, Corpus Christi Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Oxford University is responsible for seeing it through.
And it will be available online, with the target date of 2014. Yay! It will include words of late Antiquity up through the 16th century. This is truly a remarkable resource.

Reinhardt is quoted as saying, 'People will be able to search for words online when they have an internet connection, using their iPhones and of course laptops. As a medieval Latin dictionary it is the leading publication in its field.'

I am so excited. This would have made my life in grad school ever so much easier.

Thanks to Bill for sharing this on Facebook with me in mind. I get the feed from this blog, but I've been so busy (tonight, for example, I went over to my friends' house and fixed the computer and phone service) that I haven't caught up on my feeds.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick response there, Google

99% of Android phones leak secret account credentials
The vast majority of devices running Google's Android operating system are vulnerable to attacks that allow adversaries to steal the digital credentials used to access calendars, contacts, and other sensitive data stored on the search giant's servers, university researchers have warned.

The weakness stems from the improper implementation of an authentication protocol known as ClientLogin in Android versions 2.3.3 and earlier, the researchers from Germany's University of Ulm said. After a user submits valid credentials for Google Calendar, Contacts and possibly other accounts, the programming interface retrieves an authentication token that is sent in cleartext. Because the authToken can be used for up to 14 days in any subsequent requests on the service, attackers can exploit them to gain unauthorized access to accounts.
Google rolls out fix for Android security threat
Google has plugged a security hole that exposed the vast majority of Android phone users' calendars and contacts when they accessed those services over unsecured networks.

"Today we're starting to roll out a fix which addresses a potential security flaw that could, under certain circumstances, allow a third party access to data available in calendar and contacts," a company spokesman wrote in an email. "This fix requires no action from users and will roll out globally over the next few days."

My phone uses Android 2.2, so it was vulnerable. So far I haven't used it over wi-fi networks, so I should be okay, but in the interim I turned off wi-fi access to my phone.

Oh, man

My plan yesterday was to come home, watch the Doctor Who I recorded over the weekend, and then catch up on some sleep. I came home, ate, went straight to bed (this would have been about 7 pm), and woke up this morning at 8 am. This is what happens when I build up a sleep deficit and don't get a chance to make it up Monday. As a consequence of sleeping the night away, I didn't renew some library books, either, so now I have a small amount of fines. :(

Monday and yesterday were long days. Monday I went to work, then over to a friend's to finish up Sunday housework and visit. I got home about 11. Then yesterday I started out by voting in our primary (with a very low turnout expected). The only offices on the Democrat ballot were agricultural commissioner, secretary of state, and state treasurer, you see. But I did vote, so I'm in the minority. Then I headed to an ophthalmology appointment where I had a field of vision test that I really had trouble with (I kept seeing false lights when I blinked, some sort of reflection or something) and my eye pressure measured, which was a little higher but still not enough for medicine. It's getting up there, though. They're reluctant to put me on them too early because, as Dr Kielar said, once we do, it's a long haul and I'll probably be on them for the rest of my life. So for now the diagnosis is ocular hypertension and not glaucoma.

I was a little bummed by all that. Work was long. I got a lot done. On Monday and Tuesday one of my co-workers found some books that were missing from our special collections in her office, which is great, because I've been looking for them for a year to no avail. The person who had them out had brought them back but I'd been out, so he'd left them with her, and she'd forgotten to give them to me. Also yesterday I realised I'd totally forgotten about my home phone bill, which comes out automatically from my account, and I got an e-mail yesterday that it had gone through. That's good news, but I'll probably get an overdraught fee, depending on how long it sits in pending before posting. That was just stupid--I just totally forgot about it coming up on the 17th. I get paid tonight, so it might work out.

Otherwise, I feel much better about today. I've had plenty of rest. It's still cold and rainy (we're having a blackberry winter), but tomorrow is supposed to be nicer.

Okay, I should go catch the bus. Hope you have a great day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I sent in my second of two book reviews in a month, this time to the Journal of the Medical Library Association. I love writing and I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to do so. I'll let you know if it passes muster and is actually published.

Here's a list of what I've published so far. With any luck there will be two more soon. I know, it's not breakthrough research or anything that important. But each time I learn more about writing.

  • Broadbent, LK, 1986 Checklist of Kentucky State Publications. Frankfort, Ky.: KDLA, 1992 (under former name).
  • Rowan, EE. Providing Library Services in a Unique Pediatric Orthopaedic Setting: Experiences at the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 5(2). 2005, pp. 65-72.
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody’s Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2006. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2006. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, E. Medical Librarian, Pediatric Hospital Library. A Day in the Life. Ed. Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard A. Murray . Libraries Unlimited, 2007.
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody’s Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2007. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2007. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody’s Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2008. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2008. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2009. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2009. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2010. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2010. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, E., Library Selector. Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2011. Doody Enterprises, Inc., 2011. [Orthopaedics]
  • Rowan, EE., 'Caring for Patients From Different Cultures, 4th edition Geri-Ann Galanti', Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 10(2), 2010, pp. 205-206.
  • Rowan, EE. 'Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan on a Shoestring by Emily Knox', Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 10(4), 2010, pp. 420-421.
  • Rowan, EE. 'The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian by Lisa A. Ennis and Nicole Mitchell', Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 11(2), 2011, pp. 204 — 205.
  • Rowan, EE. Orthopedics. The Medical Library Association's Master Guide to Authoritative Information Resources in the Health Sciences. Ed. Laurie L. Thompson. Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2011.
  • Rowan, EE. Orthopedic Nursing. The Medical Library Association's Master Guide to Authoritative Information Resources in theHealth Sciences. Ed. Laurie L. Thompson. Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2011.

Incidentally, both of these last two have been guides to using blogging or social networking for libraries, something I am very interested in.

That's a pretty weak argument, in my book

Scotland Yard fights to keep Jack the Ripper files secret: Scotland Yard is fighting an extraordinary legal battle to withhold 123-year-old secret files which experts believe could finally provide the identity of Jack the Ripper

They say releasing the ledgers could compromise the fight against crime because people would be less likely to act as informants if they knew that at some point their identities might be released. They also said that it might put descendants of informants to rest.

You know, I've always thought that the Duke of Clarence theory was very weak, but you do have to wonder, given the refusal to release information that could finally unmask Jack the Ripper.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tips for May 21st

I love these videos.

PS May 19th--
It occurred after I tweeted this video that my Twitter feeds go to Facebook, and four of my 22 friends are very devout Christians. I'm hoping they won't unfriend me, but it was worth it to get the word out. Of course, one person was attending a Post-Rapture Looting event on Facebook, so I think I'm safe with her.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This is nifty

Want to be a Librarian? Librarian Careers Infographic

Except money-wise and being part-time, I'm pretty average, apparently. How do you stack up, fellow librarians?

Via Nikki (@eagledawg) on Twitter.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I saw this on Facebook

and then on Joe.My.God.

It does rather look like one of the wedding planners had an evil Disney glint in his or her eye, doesn't it? I guess they were going for that real fairytale wedding look. As one person on Facebook put it, Prince Charming has more hair. But it is a remarkable resemblance.

Joe found his on Buzzfeed.

I found this really intriguing

Christian Schallert, a photographer based in Barcelona, demonstrates the utility and simplicity of an apartment that is 258 square feet--a third of my own. He has recently moved out, now that he is in a relationship, for it really is a one-person bachelor pad. But it's really interesting what can be done in such a small space.

Source: Lego-style apartment transforms into infinite spaces

Via Joe.My.God.

Well, Blogger is back!

After over a day of not being able to make posts, that's great. And the ones that were rolled back came back, so I didn't have to get into my backups. The only quirk was that those posts lost their tags, and when I republished them, some tried to publish at the current time rather than their original one. But I can live with that. I know that a lot of people were upset (and yes, I was vexed), but I'm sure that the Google folks did what they could as quickly as they could. I'm not sure how many blogs use Blogger, but well, it's at the least in the hundreds of thousands and probably more. And it's provided for free. So I don't really feel that I can truly complain and say, 'I'll storm off to XXX'. I like Blogger. I've been with them almost 10 years, and this is the worst outage I've ever dealt with. I'm just glad it's over.

So I'll post a few things tonight that I would have yesterday, but I have to finish a couple of projects, too, including the book review that's due Sunday, as I'll have precious little time tomorrow or Sunday to work on it. And of course, there are the game notes.

I did get a boost on the book review. You know I mentioned the book about clear scientific writing? I got it today! Thanks to the lady who sent it to me through PaperBackSwap.com. I really appreciate it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Well, they were two hours late

But the carpet does look so much better. I decided that since it's 81 degrees, I just didn't feel like going out just for laundry money. I'll stop by the bank tomorrow on my way to work. Instead I watched TV (amazing, yes), of all things Star Trek: Next Generation [they have this thing on BBCAmerica where they have ST:TNG, X-Files, and Doctor Who every weekday]. I remembered the other two really well, but not this Star Trek episode ('Remember Me'), so it was nice to watch it again. Oddly enough, this evening LOGO is having a major amount of Absolutely Fabulous. :)

The house is cleaner. I have eaten. I had a Morningstar Tomato Basil burger and a lovely salad. I think I'm going to go take a small nap while the light is streaming through the windows. Then it'll be back to working on the various projects. I couldn't take the recyclables out earlier because I was waiting for the guys to come, and I didn't manage to work on either notes or the book review while waiting. I did get the dishes done, and the I took the trash out as soon as they left when I went to get a soda after getting a shower.

I've enjoyed being off today. Granted, I wish they'd come when they were supposed to, but other than that, it's been a really nice day.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this case

I'm all for bring Nazis to justice (what ones remain), no matter how old and frail they may be now. Period. Their frailty now does not excuse their past crimes.

There's some reasonable doubt about one of the documents--the hinge of this entire case. And that is troubling, because even five years is a death sentence for a frail 91-year-old. The case has hounded this man for 30 years--when there were more witnesses alive, and there should have been a stronger case, but the man was exonerated by the Israelis for being 'Ivan the Terrible' of Treblinka. Instead, he has been tried as a low-level Nazi guard at Sobibor, as an accessory to murder. About 250,000 people were killed at Sobibor. He was tried for his role in the deaths of 27,900 and today he was sentenced.

My gut reaction is yes, he was a camp guard. While he may have been a prisoner of war, sent to the camps to maintain order, I cannot simply dismiss him as a victim of the Nazis as his defence would like us to believe. There comes a point where you must refuse to do something, at the risk of your own life, because it is right. It is most likely that he was, indeed, an accessory to the murder of thousands. If that is the case, the sentence is appropriate, given the man's health. Otherwise I would have expected more. In all likelihood he will be given credit for time served, or at the very least, it will be tied up in appeals. I know his family would like to see him exonerated, but I think there is enough evidence that that is not going to happen.

There is the question as to whether one of the documents is real or forged. A recently declassified document from the FBI states that they believed it to most likely be fabricated. But no one seems definitive on whether it is real or forged. The American Justice Department believed it to be true. Certain the Germans do. So this will go down in history as no open-and-shut case, but rather a murky one.

I certainly think his citizenship should have been revoked and he be deported, as he was. He concealed his work at Sobibor on his application. Earlier, he had stated on a displaced persons application that he was a truck driver at Sobibor, claiming later that another person suggested it who had an atlas and there had been a lot of Soviets at Sobibor (he was Ukrainian, and was conscripted into the Soviet army). It does look like he was trying to conceal his real work at Sobibor, for obvious reasons.

John Demjanjuk found guilty of helping kill Jews in Nazi death camp: Verdict closes latest chapter in more than 30 years of legal wrangling

John Demjanjuk guilty of Nazi death camp murders

It only took an hour

to get the apartment ready for the carpet cleaning. Oh, there's plenty to do, like go through papers, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, etc., but the carpet is picked up and I think I got most of the pennies up (and even a quarter, yay!)

I went to bed early last night and then got up about 6. Today's agenda, since I'm off:

  1. Get ready for the carpet cleaning.
  2. Get the carpet cleaned.
  3. Wash the dishes.
  4. Clean the kitchen.
  5. Clean the bathroom.
  6. Take the recyclables out.
  7. Go through papers and junk mail.
  8. Take out the recyclables again, if needed.
  9. Go to the bank and get money for laundry.
  10. Do a load or two of laundry.
  11. Work on my book review.
  12. Work on game notes, as I will be somewhere on Saturday.

That's doable, yes? :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I debated on the way home

Whether to open the windows or turn the air conditioning on. Since it's currently 83 degrees with a heat index of 86, humid, and it's evening, I opted for the air conditioning. I usually try to go for as long as possible without it to save on electricity, but I really don't do well in heat. Besides, tonight I need to clean house in preparation for the carpet cleaner tomorrow, and I don't see why he/she or I should work in the heat.

It was very sunny and humid. I wore sandals and a short-sleeved top, but regular pants, as the only capris I have clean are jeans style, so I can wear them on Friday, our jeans day at work. I went to work and it was already in the 70s at 9 am. Then I had to come out around noon for a 1 pm office visit at my doctor's. The bus was trying to cool down but failing. I got to the appointment early and they took me early because they weren't busy, and I actually sat down with the doctor at the very time of my appointment. He'd expected my blood sugars to rise after the oral meds were discontinued. He increased both types of insulin, including just a bit at breakfast. That should hopefully bring them back down. He did mention an insulin pump in the last stages of trials that might be an option. I don't know how I feel about that. We'll see.

On the way back, the bus had broken down, so they sent a van to get the ones they could. I stopped at Walgreens to get some test strips, lancets, and pen tips, and decided like an idiot to walk to work in the sweltering heat. It isn't that far, but I'm out of shape and it was hot, especially near the pavement. I got back in time for my second job to start, and worked till time to leave, so that was good.

Now I'm home, and trying to find some excuse to not clean just yet. But I'll have to at some point either tonight or tomorrow morning, as they'll be here any time before noon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Creepy, but sad

Monday morning was quite possibly the most uncomfortable wait I've ever had for a bus. An old man in his 70s or so came over from Lexington Clinic East with another man, who was much younger. The older man fell on his way to the bus stop--he was very unsteady on his feet. I went over to help, maybe carry something like the giant guitar he had strapped to him, but they were fine. It took two of us to convince him to sit down. Apparently his name is Patches and the younger man is his keeper. He needs a keeper. He's sick of cancer and doesn't move around so well, he told me. He kept calling me, 'little baby' (later, on the bus, he called guys 'little brother' and women 'little baby'). Well, anyway, he told me about how he'd been homeless for 40 years, but they'd placed him with somewhere to stay now. He'd had a wife, and when she died, he'd nearly gone crazy.

Well, I don't think there was much nearly to it. He was obviously out of his mind. I don't know if he was senile or not. He was very repetitive, and had a pathological desire to talk to the nearest person, although he didn't talk to his keeper that much. Apparently he took his guitar everywhere, and even slept with it. I tried to smile and nod a lot, and didn't mind too much that he was rambling on, since frankly it was a little pathetic and sad that he'd come to that. I got the impression that it wasn't dementia so much as maybe lots of years drinking and being a little crazy.

Well, the creepy part comes in because he kept telling me how much he loved women, and how I was pretty, and how if I came home with him, he would 'be a man to me'. That went on for awhile (I'd gotten to the bus stop early, so there was 30 minutes or so of this). Then he leaned over and tried to kiss me on the cheek, and I blocked him and said no, I wasn't comfortable with that. He tried again, and his keeper was like, 'Patches, she said no!' and he pretty much stopped. But he was very unhappy, you could tell. Once I got on the bus, I made sure to go back fairly far, thinking he would sit in the elderly/disabled area, which turned out to be correct. Then he latched on to some guy and kept talking to him, but at least he didn't come on to him. A woman got on the bus and he started talking to her, and she told him he'd sung a song for her the other day. She seemed to be flattered by what he was telling her. I don't think she realised it was the same thing he told every woman.

He was mostly harmless, but you see, the problem with crazy or demented people is you never know when they're going to fly off the handle. They may be fine so long as you go along with things, but if you don't cooperate they might just snap. Now, the fact of the matter is, I could easily have gotten away from or stopped him from anything he might have done--the trick would to do so without hurting him, he was so fragile, but it still made me very uncomfortable. I'm glad he wasn't there this morning, too.

PS Apparently I attract crazy homeless guys. When I was 16 an old man came up to me in the middle of the street, told me I was pretty, and proposed marriage to me on the spot. I politely declined and finished crossing the street. Apparently I have some sort of sign above my head that says, 'talk to her, talk to her'.

Don't get me wrong, I did feel very sorry for the guy (and his keeper). I'm sorry he's dying, and that he's had such a hard life. But it still creeped me out.

I had some good news over the weekend

Remember when I wrote that someone I loved didn't recognise me (or anyone else)? It turns out she was confused because of an increase in medication dosage, and once this was resolved, she was back to normal. So I got to talk with her on the phone Sunday and she was her old self again. It was so wonderful to actually talk with her, and have her recognise my voice.

Sorry I haven't posted. Sunday was very long with the house cleaning over at the game master's and the game itself. I got home a little after 10, after getting up about 5:30 am. I had a fun time, but was just really tired. Last night I came home from work about 7:15 and crashed by 8, sleeping 12 hours till this morning.

Yesterday I signed my new lease. I'm off on Thursday, and they've scheduled a carpet cleaning for that morning in appreciation of me staying here. So I need to straighten things up before they come.

Tomorrow I see my doctor. My blood sugar has been up ever since he took me off the oral meds. I actually saw him Saturday at Kroger, and said hi, but was careful not to say, oh, this is how I'm doing. I'm sure he gets enough of, 'Doc, I have an ache right here.' I figure give the man some peace until I'm paying for his time. Anyway, we'll see tomorrow how that goes. I'll have to check the bus schedule to figure out when to leave work. The new schedule has so far worked pretty well, but I haven't tried transferring to another bus yet. But I'm getting home a little earlier, and that's nice. I've been waking up early enough that going in earlier hasn't been a problem.

Charities in this oeconomy struggle to provide care to those who need it

Caring for poor, hospitals reach brink of closure: Rising costs, budet cuts and recession dooming safety net hospitals
Two charity hospitals in Illinois are facing a life-or-death decision. There's not much left of either of them — one in Chicago's south suburbs, the other in impoverished East St. Louis — aside from emergency rooms crowded with patients seeking free care. Now they would like the state's permission to shut down.

The institutions, which have served low-income people in the state for more than 100 years, represent a significant development that's gone largely unnoticed as the nation climbs out of the recession. Many charity hospitals, already struggling with rising costs, are on the brink of failure because of looming budget cuts, increasing numbers of uninsured patients and a slow economic recovery.
If you think it's hard to turn a profit in this oeconomy, keep in mind how hard it is to make it when you're a charity relying on donations and endowments. I work for a such a charity that provides tertiary health care to children. Until recently, they paid for everything without any reimbursement from insurance or Medicaid, and had done so since the 1920s, with 22 hospitals around North America. But due to a number of factors, including the oeconomy, they are trying to survive by the acceptance of insurance so they will be able to continue their mission, but still without cost to the families in terms of co-pays or deductibles, providing the same excellent care they always have. It's a rather daunting prospect.

At least we provide specialised care. I can't imagine being in a neighbourhood where the only primary care hospital is forced to close because they simply cannot afford to stay open. When that happens the people who lose the most are those without the means to seek care at other hospitals. But it seems to me that this will drive up emergency visits and care that must be written off--and therefore health costs--up even further for everyone else. So no one wins. I hope those states that are so slow on their Medicaid payments who are killing their safety net hospitals realise that.