Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The new culture of death

More Americans support doctor-precribed poison than not:

The new AP-Ipsos poll asked whether it should be legal for doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives — a practice currently allowed in Oregon but in no other states. Forty-eight percent said it should be legal; 44 percent said it should be illegal.
The incessant "right to die" drumbeat of the past few decades has been successful, it seems. What's next? one wonders.

Something to ponder over a tasty soylent cracker, eh?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Are you an Information Omnivore?

Pew Research has a new study out on how people use information and communication technology.

You can take an online survey to see where you fit on the spectrum. (FWIW I'm a "Connector", second from the top tier, "Omnivores".)

Here's a direct link to the PDF version of the full report.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"It's quite interesting, and a little disturbing," she said.

If you read the little thin-paper inserts that come with your prescription meds, you'll often find a discussion of "bioavailability." That's the percentage of the drug that actually gets into your bloodstream and does you good.

Ever wonder what happens to the rest?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Apropos of nothing...


I had to return a library video ("The Matrix") today. I forgot to drop it off on the way to work. I had to work late, so I thought I'd run out after the regular work day and before my evening teaching and drop it off. I HATE being late returning videos, since the library charges a dollar a day.

But first I had to get gas, since the "Fuel It or Push It" light was on.

$3.19 a gallon.

My car gets about 15 mpg. It now costs me about a dollar to drive five miles.

It was cheaper to pay the fine than drive the round-trip to the library.

I dropped the DVD in the after-hours box on the way home.

An early Father's Day tale?

A moment of silence, please. Leo the goldfish has died.

Leo was a good fish, well-loved by my older daughter. He enjoyed blowing bubbles and swimming briskly. He didn't let Thunder, his larger tankmate, bully him out of his share of fish flakes.

We don't know what killed Leo. He turned up missing yesterday morning, and a search of the tank eventually turned up his remains down among the gravel. Thunder, the larger fish belonging to my youngest son, was still swimming. (Note - Thunder is not a suspect in Leo's demise. Goldfish die, and they decay quickly. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

So last night I cleaned the tank, thoroughly. I transferred Thunder to a bowl of freshly-filtered water while I boiled the gravel and scrubbed the tank.

But Thunder wasn't looking so good, himself. He was listless, tending to float tail-up. I don't know much about goldfish, but even I could tell that Something Was Not Right with Thunder.

How did we cope before Google? Thunder very likely had swim bladder disease. The cure: Green peas. Yes, green peas are apparently a miracle food for goldfish. Post after post on fish-fan message boards extoll the life-bestowing, heath-restoring virtues of green peas. Green Peas, the Legume of Life.

Chicken soup for goldfish.

So after I reassembled and refilled the tank, and poured the ailing Thunder out of the bowl back into his home, I searched the freezer for a bag of green peas. No luck. The pantry? Success! But since they were far too large for little Thunder to injest, I peeled them open in the hopes that the listless little fish would ingest some of the green miracle mush inside.

Please bear in mind that Thunder is not a fancy mutant goldfish. He's not a lionhead, koi or waikin. He doesn't have flowing fins three times his body length. His eyes do not pop out like marbles. He's a ten-cent carnival prize. A miniature carp. He lives in a ten-dollar tank and eats cheap fish flakes. A grade-schooler's first pet.

But there I was, peeling canned green peas at two in the morning, trying to save him.

Most folks would call me crazy. But Dads understand.

Oh - this morning Thunder looked much better. Maybe there's something to peas after all.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I wouldn't use 'em , myself

Headline: Freight train with shuttle parts derails.

Reminder to NASA brass considering using those booster segments: Apollo 13's O2 tank was dropped about six inches.