OW! times four – toes, that is

I’ve just got back from a visit to the podiatrist.  I developed an ingrown toenail that, in turn, developed a very nasty deep infection.  The doctor reckoned the nail had to go to save the toe, and clean out the infection.  While he was doing that, he also took off three nails that had been infected with a fungus of some kind decades ago in Africa, and which had never healed up, no matter what treatment I tried.  He reckoned that was the only cure for something like that. I’m now sitting painfully at my desk, foot throbbing like mad,

Continue reading

I think they’ve left out something . . .

I had to shake my head when reading an article headlined: Birth Control Pills Recalled Due To Glitch That Could Cause Pregnancy Um . . . the pills may be packaged wrongly, as the article says, but that won’t cause pregnancy.  As far as I know, a man – or, at the very least, the male reproductive apparatus and its biological byproducts – is also a necessary part of the process. Peter

Continue reading

Is stress passed on to our children through genetic inheritance?

A fascinating article in the Economist suggests that it might be. THE effects of child abuse can last a lifetime. Neglected or abused children have a higher risk of developing all sorts of ailments as adults, including mental illnesses such as depression but also physical ones like cancer and stroke. In fact, the effects may last even longer. Emerging evidence suggests that the consequences of mistreatment in childhood may persist down the generations, affecting a victim’s children or grand-children, even if they have experienced no abuse themselves. Exactly how this happens is not well understood. Rigorous experiments on human subjects

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #1,008

I’m obliged to reader Snoggeramus for sending me a copy of this image (origin unknown): Sometimes the jokes just write themselves, don’t they?  Let’s see, now: What can we take away from this? The misspelling subtracts something from the message. Errors are multiplied, it seems. Opinions about the effectiveness of the advertisement are divided. Math is clearly more tricky than meth. Please feel free to add your own in Comments! Peter

Continue reading

Losers by any other name . . . are still losers

I must have lived a sheltered existence.  I had no idea that the so-called ‘incel subculture‘ was a thing, until this week’s terror attack in Toronto, and this article. Hours before Alek Minassian drove a rented van onto a crowd in Toronto and killed 10 people, police say, a Facebook account linked to him announced, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” It praised “Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger,” a 22-year-old who killed six people in a stabbing-and-shooting spree in 2014. “Incel,” or “involuntarily celibate,” isn’t so much a movement as a label used by a group of people drawn together by

Continue reading

Our genes: gateway to health – and to marketers?

A friend has recently had a chilling experience concerning the commercial genetic testing that’s widely available now (more about her below).  Here’s an excerpt from a 2013 Scientific American article analyzing what’s going on in that field.  It appears that some, perhaps all, companies offering “free” or low-cost genetic testing may, in reality, be engaging in massive data gathering about their customers – and, by extension, those customers’ relatives. Since late 2007, 23andMe has been known for offering cut-rate genetic testing. Spit in a vial, send it in, and the company will look at thousands of regions in your DNA that

Continue reading

Dental and wallet OUCH!

Poor Miss D.  I mentioned last week that she was having dental trouble sufficiently nasty to require a visit to an endodontist.  Well, she saw him this morning.  Turns out that she needs two root canal treatments, on adjacent teeth.  That is not going to be fun . . . and neither is paying for it. The endodontist doesn’t do crowns – he only cleans out the roots – so we’re going to have to go back to a regular dentist to have two crowns fitted, over and above the specialist charges.  As I said earlier, thank heavens we have

Continue reading

Antidepressants: is the cure worse than the disease?

Two recent articles have raised questions over the safety of long-term antidepressant use. First, the New York Post reports on a lady who claims that antidepressants both saved her life, and destroyed it. By the time Lauren Slater was 24, she had been hospitalized five times for attempted suicide. She was deeply depressed, she cut herself and she obsessive-compulsively tapped objects to calm her overtaxed nervous system. So when Prozac came on the market in 1988, her psychiatrist recommended she try it. . . . She filled her prescription, and the result was “the most miraculous thing that ever happened

Continue reading

The joys of dentistry – NOT!

Way back when, as the result of an old injury and some not-very-well-made repairs, I ended up getting all my upper teeth removed, and was fitted with a full upper denture.  The first one (made in South Africa) lasted quite a while, and the second one (made in Louisiana) did OK.  Of course, one’s jaw shape changes over time, particularly as one gets older, and one needs to have new dentures made. I had that done for the third time in Nashville, the year before Miss D. and I moved to Texas. The denture was never very satisfactory compared to

Continue reading

“What Does It Mean to Die?”

That’s the question asked by the New Yorker in a sad, poignant article.  Here’s an excerpt. Two days later, Jahi was declared brain-dead. With the help of a ventilator, she was breathing, but her pupils did not react to light, she did not have a gag reflex, and her eyes remained still when ice water was dripped in each ear. She was briefly disconnected from the ventilator, as a test, but her lungs filled with carbon dioxide. On an EEG test, no brain-wave activity could be seen. Like all states, California follows a version of the 1981 Uniform Determination of

Continue reading