Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Today's News

“The truth is out there: World UFO Day
Today is World UFO Day, celebrated each year since 2001 on the anniversary of the crash in 1947 of a supposed flying saucer near Roswell, New Mexico. Back in the days of film cameras, blurry snaps of UFOs were taken by some as evidence that aliens were already among us. In recent years, they seem to be visiting more often; more likely, strange lights in the sky are easier to capture on ubiquitous camera-equipped smartphones. Yet they seem to be choosy about when they come. According to data gathered by the National UFO Reporting Centre, an American non-profit organisation, UFO sightings occur mainly in summertime, in the evening, and especially on Fridays, which suggests aliens may be timing their visits to coincide with alcohol consumption. And those two bright lights close together above the western horizon tonight? Not UFOs, but Jupiter and Venus, which are in conjunction (astronomer-speak for a close encounter) this week.”

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(Received via email, the original source is The Economist.)

In other news:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/02/jesus_lizard_found_in_wyoming/ - This is really an article about a lizard that walks on water (or used to.) But interesting fact: Wyoming was tropical 85 million years ago!

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2487154,00.asp - someone unplugged the internet!


http://mentalfloss.com/article/13092/bubble-wrap-was-originally-supposed-be-wallpaper - bubble wrap had first commercial success when used to ship IBM's new 1401 variable word length computer (1959)

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/1401.html - aforementioned computer

Good news day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Birds of a Featherstone

Don Featherstone, the creator of the pink lawn flamingo died today.

Things you should know about the pink flamingo:

  • They are made in Massachusetts.


  • A real plastic pink bird has Don Featherstone's signature molded into the rump of the lawn ornament. (Without the signature, it's a fake fake bird.)


  • The ubiquitous symbol of bad taste inspired the John Water's film, Pink Flamingos.
It has been suggested that "Everyone please stand in your yard on one leg for a moment of silence.”

Today's News


I was assaulted by a homeless woman this morning. I feel bad for the woman. She looked like she's had a rough go of things. 

I inadvertently woke her up from her park bench slumber this morning around 6:45. That would be enough to make me grouchy, too, I suppose. (Especially, if I didn't have access to a cup of coffee.) But I hadn't seen her and either my conversation with Hubby or a morning greeting with another walker disturbed her.

She ranted and raved and generally carried on in a loud and unintelligible manner. At that point, I had no idea she was angry with me in particular, just angry in general. (It's a well used walkway.) But then she started following us.

Eventually, and this is the short version, she came up behind me and before I had time to react she kicked me in the leg just above the ankle. Pretty hard, too.

Nothing's broken that I can tell. Icing it and keeping it elevated. Phoned it in but not pressing charges. I'll get better. Not so sure about this homeless woman.

Rough start to the day but it was a good excuse to stay home from work.

It's a good excuse to stay in bed tomorrow morning, too, I think.

True Story

I know a guy who is in a lawsuit over a fence. This guy hired a contractor to install a fence but the contractor installed it incorrectly. As in, on someone else's property.

Guy asked Contractor to fix it. Contractor declined and sued for full payment. Guy declined.

Ergo, lawsuit.

Guy hires attorney to defend the suit. Attorney charges more than the suit in question. Guy fires attorney.

Guy needs a new (de)fence attorney.

(Couldn't help myself. But, true story.)

Sound Like A Nice Guy

" University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono has rejected his annual bonus, asking for the money to instead be donated to charities and scholarships, WCPO reported. Ono has also turned down a raise in his base salary. "
Huffington Post | College President Turns Down $200,000 Bonus, Gives Money To Charities

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gimme a sec'

A leap second will be added to the last day of June. This happens whenever the earth's rotation is out of sync with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). (UTC, btw, is defined by a recommendation from the International Telecommunications Union, among other things, which is an agency of the UN responsbile for information and communication technologies.)
" The extra second will be added as the clock strikes midnight universal time, meaning the extra second will come for people in the United States at 8 p.m. EDT. "
The extra second will come for me at 5pm. Which means an extra second in my work day. Which seems entirely unreasonable.
" When the time comes, clocks synchronized to standard civil time will show the extra second as :60, however it's possible that programs not equipped to handle the extra second could have an issue.
" Amazon Web Services said last month it plans to "implement alternative solutions to avoid the ':60' leap second. This means that AWS clocks will be slightly different from the standard civil time for a short period of time." " 
Last month? The last one was June 30, 2012 so I can see how AWS might be caught off guard.

But there's a solution. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) is responsible for inserting the leap second into Coordinated Universal Time. they put out a bulletin every six months, either to announce a leap second or to confirm there will be no leap second at the next possible date. (You can sign up here or here.)

Next time, you'll be prepared and will know what to do with all that extra time.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: If the extra second occurs on December 31st, do you get two kisses at midnights? If that ever happens, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I signed up for the bulletin and will plan to be west of here for the next leap second. Preferably, getting an extra second on a beach somewhere. You'll be the first to know if there's an extra second coming your way. I'll make a note give AWS a heads up as well.]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tree of Life

Tree of Life
If you're a regular blood donor in the Puget Sound region, you may already know what this is. It's mounted on the wall of Bloodworks Northwest donor centers and each leaf has the name of a person who has made a certain number of donations.

I just earned a leaf for 50 donations.

Usually, you have to have 100 donations to earn a leaf on the tree but I recently changed my mailing address to a location where the minimum milestone is lower. I'm glad to have earned it but I'm looking forward to hitting 100.

My current total is 62 although I'm afraid they count attempts to donate equally with actual donations and the last three times I attempted to donate I was deferred for low iron. (Go figure.)

Low iron isn't especially unusual for women and my hematocrit levels (percentage of red blood cells in the blood) are borderline normal ( which is 36-45% for women). My last three visits, I've tested in the 32-36% range while 38% is the minimum for giving blood.

The blood center advises that frequent donation can sometimes lead to iron deficiency which is defined as two or more times per year for women. I try to donate around 12 times per year.

I also learned that women don't have enough iron stored in their bodies to replace the red blood cells lost from even a single donation. Therefore, our bodies need to use the iron from food to make new red blood cells. 200-250 mg of iron is lost during donation but absorption from food is generally limited to 2-4mg/day. So, it can take a while.

Perhaps I've been lucky because I can usually go back within a few weeks (for platelet donation which has the same minimum hematocrit criterion).

So, steak it is! I've started taking an iron supplement and eating iron-rich snacks to supplement my mostly vegetarian diet (aforementioned steak notwithstanding). Plus, I need to try some of these iron-rich recipes. And, I need to be patient.

(I wonder if there's iron in potato chips.)

Not to worry. I feel fine and I'll keep going back. I'll eat whatever I need to eat/do to get my iron levels back up and I'll keep testing my hematocrit to make sure everything is a-okay.

Because I want a leaf that has "100" on it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Death of a Doppelganger

Dick Van Patten
Many people think Hubby looks like this guy (or used to anyway). He's been stopped in the street by strangers asking if he was "that guy. You know, the one on TV. The one from that show."

The show was "Eight is Enough" which aired in the 1970's.

We were in Los Angeles once when a cashier at a drug store became temporarily start struck until she figured out Hubby wasn't who she thought he was.

I don't exactly see it but a lot of other people do. It's amazing to me how often this has come up. It's funny, though, that people could rarely remember this guy's name in that instant. But we knew who they were talking about. We would shake our heads as soon as they got out, "Hey, are you . . . ?"

I don't know which one looked like whom but one of them is gone. (Hint, it isn't Hubby.)

DVP passed away June 23, 2015.

Breaking Updates

Two things: I saw a skipper and no more hot flashes. (These items are not related.)

I went out for a walk the other day down by the river where there's a busy walking trail and I saw a young man who was getting ready to do the same. Only he skipped (as in, to my lou) rather than walked. Granted, he was only warming up before starting his run but I think it's catching on.

In unrelated news, I stopped taking a prescription drug that was prescribed to alleviate acid reflux. (I did it without a doctor's note so don't tell anyone.) I substituted two cups of ginger tea for the drug. Sometimes, I have mint tea. (I had a mint medley tea at Lapellah over the weekend that was out of this world.) The tea seems to be working and quells at least 90% of my symptoms which is good enough for me.

As a result (or coincidentally), my hot flashes stopped. Entirely. Didn't expect that at all but I am much relieved!