Some 20-year-old pain medications still work

I’ve long been aware of studies suggesting that some prescription medications can retain their potency for several years past the expiration date shown on their labels (which is typically one year after they were issued to a customer).  I must admit, though, I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised by one prescription issued to me twenty years ago. I recently had a bout with severe, immobilizing back pain, which is slowly easing off (the inevitable result of a partially disabling injury back in 2004, which resulted in a spinal fusion and permanent nerve damage).  The doctor (not my usual one) initially prescribed

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Suicide??? YGTBSM!!!

So, according to news reports, Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide last night . . . while on suicide watch in prison. Yeah.  Right. Folks, I served as a Federal prison chaplain.  I was trained in exactly the same way as a corrections officer, alongside them in the same training institution, because there would be times when I’d have to function as one.  I know more than a little about suicide watches, and I’ve been exposed to my fair share of them.  You can read a little about them in this Slate article, but there’s a lot more to them than that. Basically, on suicide watch, everything and anything that

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“Refugees” as a weapon of international blackmail

It seems Turkey is again wielding the “weapon” of unleashing Middle Eastern “refugees” against Europe if it doesn’t get what it wants. Turkey has threatened to re-open the floodgates of mass migration to Europe unless Turkish nationals are granted visa-free travel to the European Union. The EU agreed to visa liberalization in a March 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal in which Ankara pledged to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. European officials insist that while Turkey has reduced the flow of migrants, it has not yet met all of the requirements for visa liberalization. Moreover, EU foreign ministers on July 15

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Stuff here, stuff there, stuff everywhere . .

I mentioned in a blog article yesterday that we waste a lot of money on things that have no lasting value.  As source material, I referenced an article at Intellectual Takeout.  I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight some of its findings. 1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times). 2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR). 3. And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).

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The “housing affordability crisis” is more a crisis of wasteful spending

According to Yahoo! News, the housing affordability crisis is spreading. What began on the coasts, in areas like New York and San Francisco, is now radiating into the nation’s heartland, as well as to cities from Las Vegas to Charleston, South Carolina. Entry-level buyers are scrambling to purchase homes that are in short supply, sending values soaring. Expectations that the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates this week will do little to change the sober reality: For many, prices have risen much faster than incomes, pushing homeownership out of reach for a new generation of hopeful buyers. That’s cooling the market,

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Apple Mac versus Windows 10 – the verdict

Last year I mentioned that I was going to buy a refurbished Apple Mac Mini (the 2014 model) to run Vellum (publishing software that would help me produce cleaner, better-formatted manuscripts).  In that article, I concluded: It’s too early to say yet, but I might be tempted in due course to transition entirely to Apple hardware and software, and move away from the PC altogether.  Being my own boss as a writer and not having to run an employer’s PC-specific software, I have that flexibility.  I never thought I’d say that (yes, I’ve joked about Apples and their fanbois for many years, along with the rest of the computer world), but

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Everything you ever wanted to know about car bombs, but were afraid to ask

Hugo Kamaan has produced an in-depth report for the Middle East Institute titled “Car Bombs As Weapons Of War – ISIS’s development of SVBIEDs, 2014-19“.  The link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format.  The executive summary reads: The suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) has been one of ISIS’s most powerful and versatile weapons. The group consistently adapted the SVBIED design based on operational environment and other factors, with modifications in armor, payload organization, color, and detonation technology. Advanced SVBIED designs have been distributed between many ISIS provinces, not only within Iraq and Syria, but also globally

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The mane attraction

Here’s a lovely image (found on Gab yesterday) of a male lion with a truly magnificent (and unusually dark) mane. Lions are usually thought of as the only members of the cat family with a mane, but there must be a recessive gene or two in other cat populations as well.  Our farm cat, Ashbutt, has a lot of Maine Coon in his ancestry, and he unquestionably has a mane.  Being all black, it’s hard to see unless one gets close to him – otherwise, he just looks like a very long-haired cat – but his mane is undoubtedly the same shape as the

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The Holy Grail of the nuclear industry

I note with interest that Lockheed Martin’s experiments with nuclear fusion technology are moving right along. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes. . . . “The work we have done today verifies our models and shows that the physics we are talking about – the basis of what we are trying to do – is sound,”

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Putting Columbus’ achievement in seafaring perspective

The Old Salt Blog (an invaluable resource if you’re interested in ships and the sea, and their history) reports that a 500-year-old shipwreck has been discovered, almost intact, on the floor of the Baltic. Earlier this year, technicians operating a robotic camera surveying a route for a natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, were surprised to find a 500-year-old shipwreck virtually intact on the seafloor. The ship was found at a depth of 141 meters. The lack of oxygen in the cold and brackish waters of the Baltic Sea help to slow the decay of the ship, which is sitting on

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