Varia

Effect Measure

Category archives for Varia

Elements of Style‘s needless words

Scottish linguist Geoffrey Pullum’s take-down in the Chronicle of Higher Education of the venerable Strunk and White Elements of Style has received some notoriety. It’s Elements‘ 50th anniversary this month, but Pullum isn’t celebrating in “50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice.” I have a copy of Elements and like many others thought its advice was…

Einstein, robot

As regular readers know, Albert Einstein was my culture hero when I was a youth (and he still is, although I am no longer a youth). But it’s all relative.). Anyway, today is the 130th anniversary of his birth. To celebrate, here’s another peek at what’s happening in the world of robotics (see here for…

Secrets of the toilet

Way back on New Year’s Eve of 2005, when we were still hosted over at Blogger, I did one of my more popular posts about how a toilet works. Most people don’t know. I’m guessing they have some kind of vague mental image that when you push the toilet handle a trapdoor opens up somewhere…

Sneezing and sex

Sneezes occupy the attention of flu mavens because the aerosol created is likely one of the chief ways the virus finds a new host. So it’s a selective advantage to a respiratory virus to make someone explosively expel air from the lungs through the nose. A sneeze even has a medical name: sternutation. The speed…

Old dogs, new tricks, close confidants

I’m on record here as being very optimistic about the younger generation. Perhaps it’s conceit. They remind me of us (sixties era and even before). Still, there is no shortage of older folks who are condemned to repeat history by bemonaing how the young ‘uns have gone to the dogs. And the world is going…

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD, not to be confused with a disease of cattle, Foot and Mouth Disease) is the result of an infection by one of several intestinal viruses, the most common being Coxsackie A and Enterovirus 71 (Ev71). HFMD is a fairly common contagious infection of infants and children that often appears…

For all my lunartic readers

Some readers are skeptical of global warming and we sometimes get hit and run types who want to declare the threat of a pandemic a hoax cooked up by Donald Rumsfeld to make money on Tamiflu. Since I want everyone to feel welcome here, this is for you guys: petit pas from mapo_mapos on Vimeo

Give your eye a dose today

Since I’m up in Canada doing some science (presenting a paper at a meeting) I thought I’d give a little plug for one of my favorite sites, Daily Dose of Imagery. If you like photography, this guy from Toronto is worth taking a look at. There’s a new pic every day (hence the name) and…

Accidents in swimming pools can be serious or fatal (drowning, broken necks) but fortunately they are rare. For pool operators one of the more likely nightmares of daily operation is when someone has “a fecal accident.” In other words, someone craps in the swimming pool. CDC has guidelines for chlorinated pools (which covers most public…

I’ll keep an eye out for you

When you open a package delivered to your hotel room in the middle of the night and look inside to find the inside looking back at you it’s probably time to go back to bed. After putting the contents in the fridge, of course: A hotel guest in the Tasmanian city of Hobart was shocked…