Sunday, September 28, 2008

Earlier, I felt tingly, and then cold sweatish and then slight lightheadedness, so I was like, 'Hmmm...I'll be like that moron on Google's Testimonials page who thought she was having a heart attack so she finished walking home, Googled the symptoms, and then called an ambulance'.

So I read the symptom list for heart attacks (which I already knew, but why not?), and was like 'Hmmm, that's me to a large extent' so I mentioned this to Bryan just in case I suddenly passed out. (Actually, a bit before mentioning it to Bryan, I typed 'Gee, I hope I'm not having a heart attack.' into an IRC tab, but didn't send it. 'Luca's passed out! Let's look at what he was writing in IRC. Looks like maybe he was having a heart attack.' See, just in case.)

Anyway, over the next minute or two it got worse and lightheadedness got bad and vision blurred, so Bryan was going to drive me to the hospital (having just Googled where to find such an institution), but 1. oh noes! a bunch of cars parked behind him in the driveway and 2. I didn't make it to the car. So he called the ambulance while I lay on the driveway (where I found myself alone upon awaking) with my feet up on his car, feeling better because, well, I was lying down with my feet raised (clever of me to think to put my feet up, eh? I'm like a doctor or something).

Eventually the ambulance came and checked my blood pressure, which was fine, and my blood sugar, which was fine, and something involving various electrode thingies, which were fine, and said 'You seem fine, but we can do a cardiogram-like-thing (not their term, but something like that) if you want and I was all 'yeah, probably a good idea' so they did and said 'You're not having a heart attack' and I was 'then screw the hospital. I'm actually feeling essentially fine by now anyway!'

Long story short: I'm alive and exceptionally healthy, with the exception of the rare bout of feeling faint and passing out, which hopefully won't happen again because I kind of run a chainsaw for a living right now, and those things can be dangerous, I'm told.

By the way, in the 'gee, I'm having a heart attack' moment, I was actually less concerned with making sure my brother (or someone trustworthy) would have access to my passwords and more concerned with deleting data that should die with me.

The moral of the story is: encrypt what you want to die with you and encrypt with a different key the data that shouldn't.

And Bryan says next time this happens, none of this sitting around Googling. Hospital.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We got whole wheat tortillas that are labelled as being '98% fat free'. While true, I consider it dishonest because it's intended to be interpreted as significant.

Whole milk is 96.3% fat free.

I recently was buying bug spray and opted against the one that used West Nile Virus scaremongering to market itself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Premise: I currently lack any health problems associated with too much sugar.

So when determining the healthfulness of cereal for me, sugar content is not much of an issue. What is relevant? Whether it's fortified with loads of vitamins and the like. All too often, the 'healthy' cereal isn't. It's pretty much just wheat (so, some niacin and/or iron + fiber and a little protein). The 'junk cereals', on the other hand, are pretty much always fortified with 25%+ DV of oh so many useful nutrients.

For me, for now, Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops are a healthier choice than Autumn Wheat.

Grape Nuts are an exception, but they're disgusting. Things like Total probably would be acceptable.

Haha. Re: the Svalbard Global Seed Vault: 'Spitsbergen was considered ideal due to its lack of tectonic activity and its permafrost, which will aid preservation.'

Five days before it opened, Svalbard was hit by a 6.2 (Richter scale) quake. (Centred a couple hundred miles southeast, I believe.)

Alles gut. Al Gore wrote about genetic diversity issues in Earth in the Balance. Worth reading. (I, sadly, haven't read the entire book. The copy I was reading is back home in NC.)

When asked to name a country starting with 'D', my first thought is generally 'Dominican Republic'. When asked for another, I think 'Deutschland', then 'Denmark', and then 'Djibouti'. None of these require much thought for me.

It seems, though, that you can safely assume that Americans will think Denmark first. At any rate, there's a fairly wide-spread game thingy that makes that assumption:
'Write down a country starting with "d", then write down an animal that starts with the second letter of that country, and then write down the colour of that animal. [pause] You have a grey elephant from Denmark.'

I first saw this on Zoom season 2 (1990s version), and my first thought was something along the lines of 'Good thing they had Claudio being the GM rather than a player'.

'Cause Claudio is from the Dominican Republic.

Strange none of his friends were influenced by that fact.

(I never think of 'Dominica'. Had I asked for a fifth, I'd have been stuck for a while. 'Democratic Republic of the Congo' probably would have been my next one.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

(Potentially relevant link)

I love the Economist, but this article is so...I guess not condescending, but just so...not the way they should be. I guess because it's about tech?
* 'a new web browser to rival that of Microsoft, called Internet Explorer (IE)'
* 'when it crushed Netscape, an early browser.'
* 'a rival web browser to IE, called Firefox.'

This isn't so much that they're telling us these things, but the way they say it. 'Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer' is very different from 'Microsoft's browser, called Internet Explorer'. The former gives information just in case it's needed, whereas the latter makes it sound like readers are assumed to be completely unfamiliar with this entire 'Internet' and 'Computers' thing. I'd rewrite these as:
* 'a new web browser to rival Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE)' (or 'Microsoft's own browser, Internet Explorer (IE)' if necessary.)
* 'when it crushed the previous leading browser, Netscape'
* 'Firefox, IE's chief rival'

I have a friend who does something along these lines all the time in ordinary speech. She'll call the maul, 'that maul thing' or Micah 'That Micah guy'. She's simultaneously demonstrating that she knows the terms, but separates herself from them by mentioning them instead of using them. Well, people familiar with this stuff call that a maul, but not me. Why say things in a roundabout way if the only effect is to make you seem clueless about what you're doing when you're actually not?

Once in Philosophy Club we were doing a 'Worst philosophical argument ever' thing, and one paper put 'reality' and the like in quotes. It's similar to the above, except in this case it was more of a 'people talk about a so-called "reality", but it's all nonsense' thing than a 'Let's treat readers as ignoramuses!' or a 'Let's appear clueless!' thing.

(Yes, Fannie and Freddie are being nationalized and I'm blogging about other stuff. Here's my brief F&F comment: OMFG! It's a bit overwhelming for me to opine right now, and I'll be away for the next ten days.)