Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Useful Subject Guides

I continue to insist that I am so over the zombie menace (I have other terrors to fear! Like killer robots!), but this Zombie Survival LibGuide from the University of Florida Libraries is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen.

There's info on survival, zombie-related materials from the collections, and off-campus access to university resources "from your chosen hiding place." After all, "[i]f a zombie attack prevents access to campus, many resources for classwork and for survival can be accessed electronically."

Now that's disaster planning and looking out for your students.

I'm suddenly overcome with a powerful urge to make a page for my library's Subjects A-Z to cover monster attacks.

Thanks to LISNews for bringing this to my attention.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sh! TV.

Bless you, Hulu, for you have Fringe.

Just getting caught up on some episodes of one of those shows I've neglected. That is all.

Except, did they just misspell 'Manhattan' as 'Manhatan'? Was that intentional, or did some proof reader fall asleep on the job there? Maybe that was the Manhattan in the alternate universe, where they don't believe in double letters?

I'm freakin' out here!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Library News

Intro post from new MLA President-Elect Gerald Perry at the MLA Connections blog.

Also, news of a talk to be given by Neil Gaiman honoring National Library Week, via Librarian in Black. The talk, scheduled for April 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm Eastern Time.

What good does that do those of us who aren't going to be in the neighborhood for ALA, you might ask? Well, ask no longer: it's a live online videoconference!

Libraries can register here and make a National Library Week Event of it (individuals are also welcome to register).


Sunday, March 28, 2010

More PubMedly Goodness

PubMed now goes back to 1947! I can't wait to filter my piles of retrospective search results into 15 easy categories using MyNCBI.

Seriously, I love this big lunkhead of a database. And not just because I have to, in order to properly infuse students with the joy of searching the biomedical literature.

Please! Let me talk to you about PubMed! It's going to be awesome!

The other thing they want to talk about lately is Zotero, about which I know much much less, so I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to use it. The University gives us access to RefWorks, so I can talk about that all day, but people also seem to be interested in Zotero. And if that's where the action is, that's where we'd better be.


Saturday, March 27, 2010


So...Earth Hour tonight, is it? Everyone turning off lights from 8:30 to 9:30?

I'm skeptical about the practical impact of this, especially if we don't turn off all the other power-consuming devices in the house (refrigerator, microwave, alarm clock, TV, computer), but I suppose it's a symbol.

I like a good symbol as much as the next person. More than that symbol-hating dude over there!

Entertainingly, I was reminded of tonight's symbolic action when I got onto the internet to read about street lights. So sure, I'll sit quietly in the dark for an hour and think about large cities without street lights. It'll be fun.

I make no promises about turning off the computer, though.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

NCBI, All Mine

I meant to express glee about this a week ago when I first heard, but it slipped my mind until I was spending some quality time with MyNCBI prior to a PubMed class.

Then, gloriously, it returned unto me: you can now include up to 15 filters for your PubMed results, rather than the previous five!

Five really was not very many. I don't know if I need 15, but I think somewhere in the middle I'll find a comfortable number.

Just look at my filters now! So many! So delicious! (For demonstration purposes, I've included more than I probably need for most searches.)

I'd also like to give a shout out to the option to make custom filters, as I've done here at the bottom (no articles in this particular results set, alas). That's not super new, but it's still super cool.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hide That Red Head

You know I have to take notice of information about people not adoring redheads as we deserve, so I sat right up to gaze upon this Sociological Images post.

The ads shown seem amusing to me, if somewhat mean, but apparently 'gingerism' is a real problem in the United Kingdom. The post mentions a number of recorded incidents, including "a stabbing, a family who has had to move twice after their children were bullied, a woman who won a sexual harassment suit after being targeted for her red hair, and a boy who committed suicide after being teased relentlessly."*


Here I thought it was all sunshine and bright red roses, being favored with my awesome, awesome hair genes.

I mean, I know it hasn't always been true. Anne (of Green Gables fame) lamented her red hair all the time. Pippi Longstocking was like a much-needed counter to the negative impressions.

And there's the whole "beat you like a redheaded stepchild" line. And there's that rumor about how 'Ancient Greeks' believed that redheads turned into vampires after death, although I've never seen any citation for this claim (but given the general coolness of vampires right now, that would only make me even more awesome, especially if I could toss on some sparkles).

*They cite this Wikipedia article, which, at the time I looked at it, also contains a wealth of other interesting information.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Said Waaait For It!

We got a reminder notice about the census, encouraging us to return the form as soon as possible.

Well, I'll tell you, Census Bureau, you can have it ASAP or you can have it with assured accuracy. If you're going to ask me about the people who live here on April 1, 2010, you can't expect me to answer with confidence on March 23.

I have to wait until April 1 to know for sure, don't I? We already went over this!

You can't expect me to just go around willy nilly making up answers to questions set several days in the future based on nothing more than nine years of history in this apartment!

I stand by my intention to put it in the mail April 1st, and not before.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Fun With Your Internet

Combining some of the more frequent non-health topics on this here blog, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day has given me an online game about social networking and other web tech: Smokescreen.

It offers 13 self-contained but sequential parts with different missions, over the course of which you try to work out the solution to a mystery centered around an online social networking site called White Smoke, using web technologies like instant messaging, photo sharing, etc.

It looks lively and thought-provoking, plus with awesome UK slang!

I only played the first chapter so far, but it was pretty entertaining. I may go back for more. I'm not really in its target demographic since all the characters are teenagers (it's supposed to teach kids useful stuff about privacy and other features of the web world), but don't let that stop you. Kids these days have fascinating lives, you know.

Not like back in my humdrum adolescence, when we didn't even have social networks or adorable tiny computers or cell phones.

Or CDs. Or TV. Or telephones. Or running water. We sometimes had electricity, though!

I grew up in the 1920s.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good Old Sweet Stuff

Lately I ran out of my regular bottle of honey, which I like to add to peanut butter on bread, and I haven't been to the store since. Poking about in the cupboard (because sometimes you just want the sweets!), I found one of those little jars of honey that you can get at restaurants, along with little jams and containers of syrup.

It had almost completely crystallized and was about the color of molasses, which is darker than most honey (though not all, depending on the pollen source) and possibly darker than this honey started out to be, though given my utter ignorance on where it came from or how long it was there I can't say for sure.

Nevertheless, since I've never known honey to really go bad, and I vaguely recall hearing that honey in recognizable condition was once found in an Egyptian tomb (discussion of both issues on here), I boldly had at it. It had a slightly woody taste that was a little unusual, and of course was a bit crunchy from the solidified sugar, but no real complaints.

I'm happy with this outcome, since I always feel bad about wasting food. Even tiny quantities of food in little glass jars.

I'll be sure to note if I wind up coming down with any wood-flavored sugary ailments, that my experimentation may benefit others.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Ouch Illustrated

I've been having some muscle cramps in my shoulder and upper arm since I broke my collarbone, and lacking a clear explanation (hey, I dutifully turned to the literature, but I found no results in PubMed for "Muscle Cramp"[Mesh] AND "Arm"[Mesh] AND "Clavicle"[Mesh] AND "Fractures, Bone"[Mesh]), I decided to concoct a wild theory.

I doubt this theory is actually physiologically plausible, but this is what I've come up with. I think you'll like it. (I don't really have any reason to think that, but I'm going to go with it because this is a time for rampant speculation.)

Anyway, here's what my collarbone feels like right now when I prod at it, beautifully illustrated in MS Paint. Note the dramatic jutting spur thing there on the left bone (helpfully circled), compared to the uninterrupted line of the right side.
My unsupported theory is that the bone spur is poking the shoulder muscles and making them cramp up, and that attempts to uncramp by redistributing the general burden of carrying an arm with this shoulder then result in further cramps being transmitted down the arm and occasionally to the back.

It's a total muscle-crampfest, is what I'm saying.

Or it could just be the redistribution of burden part, making muscles hold things in ways they're not accustomed to (probably), but I like blaming things on bone spurs.

That knob there just feels so dramatic, it has to be responsible for something bad.

Mostly, I just wanted to post that awesome image. My next career will be medical illustrator, for sure. Anything clavicle-related will be my specialty.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here It Is

Match Day!

I am hiding in my office, so as not to distract the medical students from their contemplation of this occasion.

That's my excuse, anyway.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another Lazy Day

Today's to-do:

  • E-journals to add to website, then to OPAC
  • Gifts to process (reminds me of other, long-neglected gifts to process)
  • Purchasing decisions to make
  • Dental thesis student to meet (reminds me of dental theses to catalog)
  • Friday class to contemplate preparing for
  • Assignments to grade
  • Reference desk shift 
  • Random weird catalog record error to fix

Since it's a nice day, after all that:

  • Frozen yogurt to go get

And the feeling of accomplishment is astounding. I'm going to accomplish eating yogurt! Life is good.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Med Ed

Interesting note on Health Beat about a report on medical education from the Lucien Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Briefly, the Lucien Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation is none too upbeat about medical education in the U.S. It finds widespread poor treatment of students.

I can't help but think of the students I see every day and wonder about their experiences. Are they ones in which the students are “publicly belittled or humiliated”? I hope not, but...ugh.

And what, if anything, can the library do? Put up colorful posters?

Read a Book: And Respect Your Students!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Waaait For It...

Oh! M.G!

Census form is here! My chance to return valuable data on the inhabitants of the 600 square feet of the nation where I live!

It asks about people living at this address on April 1, 2010, so I'll wait patiently until then to return it.

I mean, I could fill it out now and assume nothing will change in the next 16 days, but that would be reckless. After all, one of us could drop dead, or be bitten by a zombie and become undead, or someone might hand us some babies, or ten people might move in with us. Although some of those eventualities would violate the terms of the lease.

Better to be safe and answer the question when I can really be sure the information is accurate.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Perspectives

Here's an entertaining web gadget from Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: it's FlipText!

It literally just flips your text upside down, like so:

¡ɹǝʌǝ ƃuıɥʇ ʇsǝq ǝɥʇ s,ʇı ¡uʍop ǝpısdn ʇxǝʇ ʎɯ sı sıɥʇ

To be perfectly honest, I can't really think of anything this is especially useful for, other than playing havoc with readability, but it's amusing, right?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Note to Self (Ignored)

I keep telling myself I absolutely absolutely must finish my taxes!--and then I don't get around to it. I get distracted by quests for frozen yogurt and so on. (I need frozen yogurt. It has the calcium my growing bones need!)

It's harder to be motivated to get right on it when you owe money.

Don't worry, IRS, I'm good for it, I'm just biding my time.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

No Knives, Thanks!

I am pleased to report that I saw some orthopedic surgeons today, and they were unperturbed by my collarbone bumps and expressed no inclination to send me off to the operating room.


The x-rays still look pretty alarming, because the bone is obviously snapped clear in two, but apparently new bone will fill that in over time. I can wait.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MARC-Up Language

David at Catalogablog passes along the exciting news that MARC 21 Update 11 is now out!

I'm automatically excited about this. It's big news. Who knows what may be different next time I go to look something up?

I could go read about the changes right now and find out, but that would spoil the fun.

It's not as if I have time to make any wild retrospective changes, if something should turn out to be dramatically different.

I'll just wait until I happen across it, and then exclaim in wonder. It's how we roll, in my Tech Services.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Count Me In

If you live in the United States, you've probably recently received a friendly reminder notice about the U.S. Census. I was going to roll my eyes and sigh at the prospect of more yet paperwork (a far less alarming but still annoying after-effect of a car accident is lots and lots of insurance paperwork), but then I realized I actually love the census.

Because you know what it is: Data! Lots and lots of data!

Carefully gathered, interpreted and stored for the future! Information! Preserved and cherished and made valuable!

It's everything I hold dear!

OK, not everything, since it doesn't involve wine or chocolate or free pens, but it's a lot of things I hold dear.

I can't wait to participate.

My enthusiasm is increased by the fact that I got this nifty little bag from the Census booth at ALA Midwinter. It's a nice size to carry stray things around in if you don't have big pockets on, and is currently replacing my penguin bag, which I got from the American Physiological Society booth at MLA 2008.

That penguin bag was my favorite, but it was unfortunately still in the car when said car caught fire following the aforementioned automotive accident, and was reduced to cinders.

I hope they have them at MLA 2010! I totally want another one.


Monday, March 8, 2010

NLM: So With It

From the NLM Announces listserv, I learn that NLM can now be followed and fanned on both Twitter and Facebook.

I'm naturally all over that. I shall frolic in the 21st century with the nation's medical library! It's bound to be super nifty.

I see also that this evening's episode of House is about a sick blogger who may be sharing too much with her legions of followers, thus jeopardizing her relationship with her real-life partner. 



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blood News

I see on Shakesville that a group of Senators, including my own state's John Kerry, have written a request to the FDA to rescind the ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM, in the sexual health lingo).

I've known a couple of gay men who stated that they regretted the fact that they were officially barred from donating even though the need for blood is generally steady. One said flat out that he just lied and donated anyway, the other said more or less "well, if my blood's not good enough for them, heck with 'em."

Either response seems pretty reasonable to me.

The ban has apparently been in place since 1983, so, sure, back in the day when AIDS tests were iffy and no one was completely sure how it was spread it probably seemed like a good precaution. But these days, when we know that plenty of people aside from gay men can be at risk of contracting HIV, and the means of transmission are fairly well understood, I have to say I've been waiting for them to repeal this rule ever since I've been donating.

Whether or not it will happen, we'll have to wait and see.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Interesting Weeding Options

We just gave a whole pile of weeded bound journals to some folks doing set decoration for a TV show that features a doctor.

They need to design an office for this character, and wanted books and journals and what-not.

This better be the best-stocked doctor's office ever!


Friday, March 5, 2010

And The X-Ray Shows...

Those among my legions of followers who dislike me will be pleased to know that a follow-up x-ray on the broken collarbone shows that, while basically healing OK (not especially tender to touch), it is "slightly displaced."

I'm going to meet with someone in orthopedics in a while, and will not necessarily need surgery.

Of course "not necessarily" means "may possibly," and I can't even tell you how psyched I am about this idea.

Surgery! I've always wanted some! And just imagine the fun of going through this bone-healing process all over again, with wound-healing added!

I'm actually going to have to hope that it doesn't work out, and that the bone turns out OK on its own, because otherwise I may become giddy with enthusiasm and do something silly like offer unrestrained praise for a movie I've seen. We can't have that.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Party! I Mean, Education Experiences

[Sing-song chant]
I am going to MLA, I am going to MLA...

At least, that's the word on the street. I'm thoroughly psyched about it.

Librarians! Presentations! Exhibits! Miles and miles of snacks! Limited zombies!*

It should be my kind of party.

*Some potential for gelatinous cubes, since they're well adapted to hallways and corners, but they're slow, so if I don't get too weighed down by snacks and free pens I should be able to outrun them. Of course, that's a pretty big 'if.'


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Email Quirks

Random note on something about my work email system that's always struck me as weird: when you 'blacklist' a sender, it doesn't automatically delete the message.

So you have to select the spam message, blacklist, then select it again and delete it (then, if you want to be technical, you have to hit 'purge deleted' to actually remove it from the inbox, but that's a step I can live with since I see value to being able to recover deleted messages for a while).

It just seems like an unnecessary extra step. I mean, sure, I guess there could be times you want to blacklist a sender, but still keep the message (maybe you're forwarding it to your IT folk to say "hey, check out this ingenious spam" or whatever), but it can't happen often.

I'm used to Hotmail, where if you mark something as "junk" it automatically moves to the deleted folder.

Ah well. Different systems have different designs.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bone Growth

I'm getting some nice knobs and angles on this collarbone as it heals. I can only hope they're normal and semi-temporary, because right now I swear there are edges jutting out here and there, and it's pretty weird.

On the plus side, things don't feel quite so fragile anymore. I mean, no punching me in the shoulder or anything, and I'm not reaching for things on high shelves with that arm, but there's some mobility there.


Monday, March 1, 2010


Today in License for Extremes of Behavior, we have a report from Well that making small adjustments to diet and exercise habits--like the much-recommended switching to skim milk, taking the stairs, etc.--are unlikely to result in long term changes.

Numerous scientific studies show that small caloric changes have almost no long-term effect on weight. When we skip a cookie or exercise a little more, the body’s biological and behavioral adaptations kick in, significantly reducing the caloric benefits of our effort.

You know what that means, right? Obviously, we should eat all the cookies we want and lounge around playing video games all day!

“I’m not saying throw up your hands and forget about it,” Dr. Friedman [a molecular genetics researcher] said.

Oh. Well then, shut up.

Ignoring my petulant outburst, he then goes on to say,

“Instead of focusing on weight or appearance, focus on people’s health. There are things people can do to improve their health significantly that don’t require normalizing your weight.”

Leaving alone the issue of what normalized weight is when we're constantly hearing that everyone in the whole country is morbidly obese and on the verge of death (I mean, if that's the whole country than isn't that normal?), I actually like this advice, even if it does deprive me of license for extremes of behavior.

Hey, just move around as you can, and eat a variety of foods as you can, because it's healthy for bodies to move and eat foods, not because it burns or saves x number of calories.