Friday, June 29, 2012

Clever Trickses

You know I have to be interested in an article about high-powered Google search tricks. Some of these I already know and use--the nifty site:[whatever site or domain you want to search in] is one of my favorite things ever--but there are some others I wasn't aware of.

I didn't know you could do proximity searches, for instance, but apparently you can say wine AROUND(3) clothing to find results where 'wine' shows up within three words of 'clothing'. You probably don't need this all that often, but for certain types of searches it could come in handy. I'll have to remember this.*

LISNews told me about this.

*I'll probably have forgotten it by Monday, but my intentions are good.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where Are All the Single-Edged Swords?

David Gorski, on Science-Based Medicine, has a detailed post about the internet as a means of conveyance for consumer health information.

The super short version is that, as we're well aware, it's awesome and wonderful that huge amounts of good medical information and patient support are available to anyone with an internet connection--and it's kind of terrible that huge amounts of wildly unreliable medical information are available to anyone with an internet connection.

In our library skills classes for the medical students, we try to point out reputable consumer health sites with solid information that doctors can suggest to patients (good old MedlinePlus!), but sadly not everyone can have a librarian following them around on the internet pointing out key markers of an authoritative site.

Not just yet, anyway. That's totally part of my vision for a brighter future once I run the world, though.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

As If We Needed a Reason

If you're interested in red hair, as who among us is not, you should check out this post on Pharyngula.

It considers the problems with this particular coloring--mainly outrageous but understandable jealousy among the less-fortunate, and I guess also "making red hair actually depletes the body of a protective substance, and has the side-effect of producing carcinogens"--and of why, in light of this disadvantage, red hair has survived as a trait at all.

My theory is, pure awesomeness, but there's also some discussion of a new paper hypothesizing that it might be associated with a lower risk of certain diseases. Those associated with excess cysteine, to be exact, and I'm sure I need hardly mention that these include rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

There's no actual evidence that this is true, but I think enormous quantities of funding should immediately be dumped into research on the question.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ensure Domestic Monster Tranquility

I was intrigued by this Slate article about the monster-fighting activities of various US presidents.

I suspect there's a secret additional line to the presidential oath of office, something like

...preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States--from monsters.

I certainly hope so, anyway.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In No Shape to Play

Drat. I'm so out of practice that it only just occurred to me that the baby's been asleep for an hour, and I could have been playing Skyrim all this time.

But I'm so out of practice that I hesitate to start now, because it will probably take me half an hour to remember the controls, and I can't stay up late playing unless I want to be really tired all day tomorrow, because I certainly can't plan on sleeping in.

Maybe tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I recommend this interesting story by Jay Stanley on Blog of Rights. He lost his credit card, and in order to prove that he was himself and get a new one, had to correctly answer a question based on information "obtained from third-party information services."

It turned out that the third-party information service was wrong, meaning that he couldn't prove he was himself.

The piece has interesting thoughts about account security (good in principle, but if it's so secure you can't access it, that's a problem); creepy information gathering (some company out there is just collecting bits of possibly-correct information about you and selling it to other companies for 'security' questions and who knows what else, and you have no real way to know what they have on file for you or correct any errors); and the way that even though we often hate phone trees* and assume that "getting to a human" will help resolve a problem, in this case "there was little difference between computer agent and human agent" because the human had no authority to override the computer.

*Not me, I love phone trees and will happily push buttons all day rather than talk to a person, as long as I can actually accomplish what I need to. But then, I hate people and can hardly wait for the arrival of our robot overlords. As long as they can get stuff done.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nooooooo!!! Oh Well

It turns out resveratrol, that stuff in red wine that had us all feeling virtuous when we drank red wine, is not likely to make us live forever after all.

Good thing I don't drink wine to be virtuous.

I mostly drink it because I can't make clothes out of it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, If You Want to Talk SENSE...

I've long aspired to be crotchety and cantankerous, which largely involves complaining about kids these days with their weird hairstyles and their terrible music, but an annoyingly sensible post on no cookies for me points out that this is not a very good attitude to take for most people, considering most people were themselves kids with weird hairstyles and terrible music not so long ago.

Not me, of course. My hair was always perfectly practical, and the music I liked was only the best music ever. But the rest of you should cut kids these days some slack.

Sigh...OK, I admit it, my hair was weird. The truth is, there were no glorious olden days, good people. 

Our ancestors did their best, no doubt, but they weren't in possession of some special ancient wisdom that has since been lost (they produced us, after all, presumably by doing the best they could).

The olden days were just days. For many reasons, we're glad they're gone.

So why do we think kids those days were in possession of some special ancient good-kidness that kids these days are lacking? I suppose it's just crotchety cantankerousness.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tasting Just About as Sweet as Wine

Given my previously expressed interest in wine, I could not help but sit up and take notice (as opposed to lying down and going to sleep, which is my usual response to things) at the report of wine made into clothing (bioalloy project website here, summarized on Skepchick here).

I normally prefer to drink wine rather than wear it, and the fabric looks a little weird (honestly, it looks rather creepily like dried blood in some of the pictures), but I'm all for creative uses of things. This is cool, in a strange sort of way.

Inquiring minds naturally want to know, if you have a dress made of wine, could you chew on it to enjoy the wine later? That could be handy at sporting events and the like, where the concessions are always sooooo expensive.

Also, they probably don't have any good wine. Not that you'd want to use the good wine to make clothing, either.

Don't mind me, thoughtfully gnawing on my sticky-blood-colored sleeve while I watch this riveting baseball action. I'm just eating my garments, as one does at tense moments. Mmm...delicious tense moments.