What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Linkee-poo wants to check you for ticks

Another quick linkee-poo. Sorry folks, the day thing is descending into madness.

Avram Grumer brings us a real life incident of how we're living in the future but that SF writers aren't keeping up. Do we need to keep talking about how a cell phone call would destroy most thrillers, or does everybody get it by now?

The humble light bulb and the engineering behind it. Probably more than you ever wanted to know, but still cool science. (Pointed to by John)

One of my many experiences is arguing with Cleveland Science Center staff over whether the tides influence Lake Erie. They have (or had, it's been a while since I've been through there) a game show set up that tests your scientific knowledge. It may come as no surprise that after 15 of 20 questions, I was leading the pack. And then they had the question, "Are the Great Lakes affected by Moon tides?" And in my own Sheldon moment, I answered, "Yes, because everything, including you and your house and the rocks in mountains are affected by the tide." There is a measurable bulge in the Earth caused by the Moon (and the Sun, to a lesser extent). Now, it's not as big as ocean tides, but it's there. And I thought they were trying to trick us. Their answer was, "No, the rise and fall of the lakes is due to wind action." But I am right. In fact, the Large Hadron Collider needs to take this affect into account. (Grokked from thc1972)

The risk of taking too much acetaminophen (Tylenol). I'm sure this is meant to be about the conversation on pain control, and it's great that we're asking how much people are taking. But did anyone ask why they're taking that much? From anecdotal evidence I can point to two factors, 1) the government continues to "crack down" on prescription pain control medication (based on their "estimates of what we should be using vs what is being prescribed" - for some controlled substances, the fed limits how much can be produced in a year, including precursor ingredients - another casualty in the War on Drugs) and 2) we are not built for our modern life style (postures and chemical/noise/energy exposures) and we are in pain. But because of #1 we can't cope with #2 in a proper manner, so we take too many over the counter pills. And in other pill news, the research shows that birth control pills don't actually "prevent blastocysts from implanting" as is the common myth from the Pro-Life side. And here's the whispered side note, that's because we often really don't know how drugs are working, we just see that they are (not all, especially the modern highly target drugs). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'It think (getting a job) been exacerbated by the recession,' Cappelli said. 'Employers feel that they shouldn’t have to pay as much. I think we’ve gotten used to the idea that wages don’t go up.'" Well, unless you're working in top management. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Taxing sugary drinks like tobacco products is gaining more momentum. The initiate probably still won't pass, but it'll get closer. (Pointed to by Dan)

Alligator Quotient: Okay, they've forgotten how to play poker, but they remember euchre? How weird is that reptilian mind anyway?


Jeri 2.0 said...

Well, I was going to leave a long, rambling comment about ticks, but sanity prevailed at the last moment.

You're right about the tides, and what's scary is that in 30 years, if the Republicans have their way with the educational system, there won't be more than a handful of people who will be able to tell you the sun is a star, the moon affects everything on our planet, and that the reason Florida and most of the coastal states disappeared was because of melting icepack caused by global warming caused by industrial pollution. The nice thing is that if I'm still alive I'll be considered a genius. A socialistic feminazi pariah, but a scientific genius.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Jeri, no worries. This year is pretty bad for ticks, at least by us. Maybe had seen 1 or 2 a season before this. Last night just killed the third one. Might have to spray the property.

The problem with being alive then is that they won't even recognize your genius as the open their Fox News Briefs and have readings of scripture and gospel from that book. (and I being pessimistic on a Friday? Sorry.)

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

I point out to my students that even their toilet bowl water has a tidal bulge, but that unlike the oceans, which are all connected, there's no reservoir of water from a quarter of the world away to draw water from in order to have a measurable high tide effect.

Dr. Phil

Random Michelle K said...

Re the Tylenol...

Acetaminophen is really *really* hard on the liver. As in, you could die of liver failure, hard on the liver.

Yes, pain control IS an problem that needs to be faced up to in the US, but in the short term, people DO need to be made aware that Tylenol isn't something that can be taken like candy.

FWIW, I know someone whose wife died of liver failure, because she overused Tylenol for years. It was a long and unpleasant death.

It doesn't mean we should ban Tylenol--after all, I take it on a fairly regular basis when my ankle hurts, but I take way under the recommended dosage, and I try not to take it for more than three days at a time.

Just as people think that herbal supplements are harmless because they're "natural" so too people think OTC medicines are safe and harmless.

It's a medicine, not magic.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Dr. Phil, I just need to remember to weight myself at high tide.

Random Michelle, yes, that. Really, any drug you take has the potential of hurting your liver, some more than others. Pain killers have the highest instance of liver damage. There's also the kidney damage to think of. Of course this is the classic "does it help more than it hurts" conundrum.

Also, if your taking any drug (OTC, prescription, herbal), follow the instructions and your doctor's orders. Those aren't a guarantee that nothing bad will happen, but they're designed to lower the chances.