Effect Measure

When your computer crashes you

No swine flu again today. At least no swine flu on this blog. There’s a shit house full of swine flu in the world. But we are otherwise occupied and there is a bevy of terrific flu bloggers out there. And I was away from the keyboard all day yesterday, which causes serious withdrawal symptoms: anxiety and palpitations when I think of the email piling up and the posts not written. It could be worse. I could be around my computer and seriously injured:

According to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, more than 78,000 cases of acute computer-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms from 1994 through 2006.

About 93% of the injuries occurred at home.

Over the study period, the number of acute computer-related injuries increased by 732%, which is more than double the increase in household computer ownership of 309%, researchers say in a news release.

Reported injuries were due to hitting body parts or getting caught on computer equipment, tripping, or falling over wires or other gadgets, equipment falling on top of people, and the straining of joints and muscles, according to the researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and the Ohio State University College of Medicine. (Bill Hendrick, WebMD)

Like seasonal flu, the highest at risk categories for computer-related mishaps are the very young and the elderly, with tripping and falling coming in at number one. Here’s more from the same WebMD article:

  • 99.3% of patients seen at ERs for computer injuries were treated and released, though 4% of people 60 and over were admitted or transferred to another hospital.
  • 58.9% of injuries involved moving the computer or a component. Also, 15.4% of injuries were related to fixing, installing, or plugging in a computer, and 6.7% to using one.
  • The most common diagnosis in all age groups was laceration — 58.4% to the extremities and 41.3% to the head. Contusions and abrasions were the second most common injury.

Since these are only ER visit injuries it is only a portion of the true toll. I don’t even want to think about the lower back injuries, shoulder wrenches and shin bruises that don’t make it as far as the ER. If you do wind up there, we can add swine flu contracted when sitting in a waiting room full of coughing virus aerosolizers.

OK, so I did sneak in some swine flu. I can’t seem to stop myself.


  1. #1 Lisa the GP
    June 16, 2009

    They forgot ‘busted a gut laughing’ from reading a too-humorous post.

  2. #2 daedalus2u
    June 16, 2009

    The hard drive on my laptop recently crashed. My brother was able to resurect it by copying an image of it onto a new hard drive (of ~4x the size). There were a few sectors that were unreadable, but so far everything seems to work, and without re-installing everything.

  3. #3 C. Corax
    June 16, 2009

    Hmm. Sounds as though the elderly are better off having a pet to trip over than having a computer.

  4. #4 Stu
    June 16, 2009

    The hard drive on my laptop recently crashed.

    Must have been a NOx imbalance!

  5. #5 Jon Schultz
    June 16, 2009

    Speaking of swine flu, if it’s not too much of a bring down, I was hoping you’d comment on Michael Fumento’s latest article in the L.A. Times:


  6. #6 Lisa the GP
    June 16, 2009

    Oh gawd, someone invoked the ‘F’ word…
    No need to feed the trolls.

  7. #7 revere
    June 16, 2009

    Jon: I’m with Lisa on this. Fumento is notorious. He got canned from Scripps Howard as a columnist because he forgot to tell them he was a paid hack for Monsanto as he was writing pro chemical industry crap. He’s a lawyer who makes his living sucking up to industry and writing on their behalf. A real scum bag. I’ve taken him on a couple of times but I’m through with it. I’m just ignoring him how.

  8. #8 Jon Schultz
    June 16, 2009

    I remembered something about Fumento writing bad articles but thought this article was credible enough to warrant a response because he invokes the opinion of James Chin, a “UC Berkeley epidemiologist who was in charge of surveillance and control of communicable diseases at the WHO in the late 1980s.” Chin appears to have belittled concerns that a 1918-like pandemic could be forthcoming in saying “[E]ach subsequent novel flu that sweeps through the world has been milder…. The public health community keeps waiting for the second coming” of the 1918 pandemic.

    If Chin is in left field, then WHO was in left field to have him in charge of surveillance and control of communicable diseases (assuming Fumento got that right).

  9. #9 River
    June 16, 2009

    Revere, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and perhaps you’re already onto these, but Breitbart is reporting the following news item (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.594b3919f568748326be82a3a65d7646.241&show_article=1):

    Brazil finds new strain of H1N1 virus

    Jun 16 02:11 PM US/Eastern

    Brazilian scientists have identified a new strain of the H1N1 virus after examining samples from a patient in Sao Paulo, their institute said Tuesday.

    The variant has been called A/Sao Paulo/1454/H1N1 by the Adolfo Lutz Bacteriological Institute, which compared it with samples of the A(H1N1) swine flu from California.

    The genetic sequence of the new sub-type of the H1N1 virus was isolated by a virology team lead by one of its researchers, Terezinha Maria de Paiva, the institute said in a statement.

    The mutation comprised of alterations in the Hemagglutinin protein which allows the virus to infect new hosts, it said.

    It was not yet known whether the new strain was more aggressive than the current A(H1N1) virus which has been declared pandemic by the World Health Organization.

    The genetic make-up of the H1N1 virus and its subvariants are important for scientists.

    Pharmaceutical companies are working to mass produce a vaccine against the current A(H1N1) flu.

    There are fears though that it could mutate into a deadly strain, much in the same way as the 1918 Spanish flu — also an A(H1N1) virus type — did when it killed tens of millions around the planet.

    According to the WHO, 36,000 people in 76 countries have been infected with the H1N1 virus, causing 163 deaths.

    As well, New York City has just added 7 deaths to their total, now 23: (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/06/16/2009-06-16_city_reports_another_7_deaths_due_to_swine_flu_another_died_in_long_island.html). They are not offering details about the victims or when they died.

    This thing keeps getting scarier and scarier!

    Be well.

  10. #10 revere
    June 16, 2009

    River: Thanks. What’s potentially bad about this is that the HA has most of the major epitopes, so that the current seed strain may already by obsolete. We’ll have to see what this is about.

  11. #11 Phillip Huggan
    June 17, 2009

    Dang 3am idea. Technical analysis of stocks is the worst kind, means you don’t know fundamentals. But then I do have a background of technical chart analysis….
    If you look at a chart between the 2nd and 3rd waves, there is or is nearly no overlap. This thing mutated (or resequenced, whatever) in a bird or pig reservoir in the meantime. If people start dying everywhere we have to try to kill the animal reservoirs ASAP even in the midst of pandemic; a vaccine for wave 2 at best would only be partially effective for wave 3.
    All 3 waves slope up more sharply than tailing off, not sure if from later spread to more socially isolated city shutins or if from pneumonia complications (not cytokine storm deaths). To me this is critical. If the first wave slope assymetry is because of non cytokine storm deaths later (deaths from complications could take week or longer as opposed to cytokine storm quick kill), it means the first wave assuredly did produce a cytokine storm effect; means we assuredly aren’t in 1st wave now. There are cities that took stern social isolation measures (Philly I think, not sure), wish there were more charts.

  12. #12 Phillip Huggan
    June 17, 2009

    …reading all that Elliot Wave crap when I was 14 paid off.

    I’ll say it again: In the midst of cytokine storm and absolute panic, we have to get around to killing off reservoir animals very shortly after if not right away. This will induce malnutrtion/starvation and I spammed the internet to no avail to find an acceptable incubator population (wouldn’t want to kill off every single herd). Maybe keeping a few strategically isolated (from birds and people) herds is good, in an automated underground mine or something?

  13. #13 Jonathon Singleton
    June 17, 2009

    Revere, Henry Niman was just the other day warning about this viral evolution away from WHO approved vaccine “seed strain”:

    Recombinomics Commentary — “Delayed Pandemic 6 Designation Raises Pandemic Concerns” (June 11, 2009)

    Excerpt: “[There are concerns that] when the new vaccine is ready for the 2009/2010 season, the swine H1N1 will have evolved away from the vaccine, as it adapts to its new host and natural immunity in its new host…”

  14. #14 revere
    June 17, 2009

    Jon: Everybody has been worried about this, not just Henry. It’s the first thing CDC mentioned when they talked of vaccines.

  15. #15 Marcino
    December 3, 2009

    As long as our computers will not have a standard copy the data to make the second drive so we all have a problem with our computer. Still, our equipment leaves much to be desired in terms of stability.

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