Mrs. Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”
Mrs. Dobrich’s decision to leave her hometown and seek legal help came after a school board meeting in August 2004 on the issue of prayer. […] A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”
Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”
Immediately afterward, the Dobriches got threatening phone calls.
“It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase ‘under God,’” he said. “Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats.”
I’m thinking back to Tempe, Arizona, in 1968. Where, in fifth grade, I got to hear from the principal about how if I didn’t agree with the Pledge of Allegiance, I should go back to Russia where I belonged.
More from the good people of southern Delaware:
“We have a way of doing things here, and it’s not going to change to accommodate a very small minority,” said Kenneth R. Stevens, 41, a businessman sitting in the Georgetown Diner. “If they feel singled out, they should find another school or excuse themselves from those functions. It’s our way of life.”
If Barack Obama wants to support Kenneth R. Stevens over Alex Dobrich, that’s his right, but he can do it without further support from me. I’ve had it with Sistah Souljah moments. No more.
1. While grocery shopping at the Fairway in Red Hook, notice the fish department’s special: three dozen Little Neck steamer clams for $10. Feel brave, even though you’ve never cooked live bivalves before.
2. When it’s time to make dinner, consult online recipes and discover that steamer clams need a minimum of two hours’ soaking time in cold water with a cup of cornmeal thrown in. Bah. Start soaking them while Patrick makes up an interim snack of cheese, crackers, and olives.
3. Do further research while waiting. Discover that the iodized salt you threw into the soaking water may have killed your clams. Brood.4. When it’s getting on to two hours, start the actual recipe:
3-4 lbs. live steamers5. At ten minutes, take the lid off and discover that none of the clams have opened. Despair. Announce that you must have killed them with that iodized salt. On general principles, set the timer for five more minutes and replace the lid.
3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bottle white wine
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
thick slices of French bread
enough melted butter
Thoroughly wash your clams.
Melt the 3 tbsp. butter in a good pan (tall is better than shallow) and cook the onions and garlic in it until soft. Pour in the entire bottle of wine and add the pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add the clams. Slap on a lid and set the timer for ten minutes. (It’s supposed to take five to ten minutes for the clams to cook.)
6. When the timer beeps, take the lid off and find the clams have opened. Joy! Summon spouse. Remove the clams from the pot with a slotted spoon, and strain the broth through a fine strainer.
7. Ignore the broth. Ignore the bread. Eat the clams while standing up at the kitchen counter. Procedure: remove clam from shell. Dip in butter. Eat. Emit faint moan. Discard shell. Discard, uneaten, any clams that have failed to open.
8. Pack up and refrigerate the clam broth, promising to eat it later.
A startlingly well-preserved psalter dating from C.E. 800-1000 has turned up in an Irish bog. Man of the hour: the keen-eyed backhoe operator who spotted the psalter and stopped digging in time to preserve it.
It’s a hell of a find. Here’s another version of the story.There was a brief silly kerfluffle over the psalter being found open to Psalm 83, which supposedly refers to Israel getting wiped off the map. Fortunately, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, popped up to say it’s no such thing:
The National Geographic online has pitched in to say the discovery isn’t a portent of the imminent arrival of Armageddon, either. It’s nice to get that cleared up. Of course, the fact that it’s necessary to get that cleared up is enough to make you beat your head against a wall.
The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does NOT refer to wiping out Israel but to the ‘vale of tears’.
This is part of verse 7 of Psalm 83 in the old latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) which, in turn, was translated from an original Greek text would have been the version used in the medieval period. In the much later King James version the number of the Psalms is different, based on the Hebrew text and the ‘vale of tears’ occurs in Psalm 84. The text about wiping out Israel occurs in the Vulgate as Psalm 82 = Psalm 83 (King James version).
It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text.
Welcome back to Environmental Emergencies Theatre. In our last thrilling episode we saw Hypothermia.
It’s summertime now, so it’s time to talk about Heat Stress, aka Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia, like her twin sister Hypo, can kill you deader’n dirt by this time tomorrow.
We do best when our core temperature is within one degree either way of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Below that, you’re into hypothermia. Above it, you have hyperthermia.
We generate heat all the time (the fancy name for this is “thermogenesis”) via three basic means. One is thermoregulatory thermogenesis, which is the endocrine system and the central nervous system working together to control the rate of cellular metabolism. The second kind is work-related thermogenesis: when the skeletal muscles contract, they throw off heat as a byproduct. The third kind is diet-related thermogenesis: heat generated by chemical bonds being broken, and complex sugars and proteins being reduced to simpler molecules, as we digest our food.
The name for keeping the interior environment of our body within certain narrow limits (pH, salinity, and so on) is homeostasis. The human body has several systems that are tasked with maintaining our internal temperature. It’s a mammal thing. We regulate our internal temperature by internal means so we don’t have to crawl into cracks or sun ourselves on rocks.
Regardless of the exact origin of the heat in the body, it has to go somewhere, because the body is very heat-sensitive. Even when it’s forty below and we’re wearing our parkas, we still need to bleed off excess heat. All we’re doing is controlling the rate. If the core body temperature hits around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the proteins in the brain start to denature, and within ten to fifteen minutes … you’re in deep, deep trouble.
Convection is carrying away heat through the motion of a fluid over a surface (the fluid is warmed, expands, rises, and is replaced with cooler fluid). Conduction is carrying away heat through direct contact with a cooler object. Radiation is the direct loss of heat as infrared radiation. And evaporative cooling is using the latent heat of evaporation to cool things — it takes energy to move water from its liquid form to its vapor form at the same temperature.
As the core temperature of the body rises, the hypothalamus (it’s under the thalamus at the base of the brain) senses the rise both directly from the blood that’s moving by it, and remotely from temperatures sensors in the extremities and in the great vessels in the chest. The hypothalamus stops producing the hormones that stimulate cellular metabolism, and instead starts dilating the blood vessels (vasodilation) near the surface of the skin and stimulating perspiration.
The skin grows flushed, and wet. With the vasodilation in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, the skin gets hotter, which leads to more convective cooling and radiant cooling. The sweat evaporates, carrying away heat as liquid turns to vapor. The newly-cooled blood goes back into the core. All’s well.
That’s if things are working right.
The very young and the very old have a harder time dealing with heat stress. They have less-responsive thermoregulating systems, and have a lower tolerance to variations in core temperature. Folks with diabetes may have suffered damage to the parts of the autonomic nervous system that provide feedback to the hypothalamus, and may have nervous system damage that interfers with vasodilation and sweating. Some drugs, notably diuretics, beta blockers, and vasopressors, interfere with vasodilation and sweating. Antihistamines, and some psychotropics, can interfere with the central nervous system’s thermoregulation.
High humidity can interfere with evaporative cooling. High environmental temperatures and lack of ventilation can interfere with convective and radiant cooling. High heat, high humidity, and poor ventilation is the trifecta. Make it an elderly diabetic in a non-air-conditioned apartment where the windows don’t open, and it’s 9-1-1 time.
So, we’re now in the Land of When Things Go Wrong.
First up is heat cramps. The main causes of heat cramps are dehydration and loss of electrolytes (especially sodium). Sweat not only takes water out of the body, it takes out salt. You usually see heat cramps in folks who are working in a hot environment: work-related thermogenesis leading to vasodilation and sweating, leading to dehydration and hyponatremia. Heat cramps usually show up in the extremities (especially legs) and abdomen. This is nature’s way of telling you to stop exercising when it’s that hot out.
What to do about it: get out of the hot environment, stop using your large muscles, drink water, replace electrolytes.
Next up: Heat exhaustion (AKA heat prostration and heat collapse). This is the most common heat-related injury, and its basic mechanism is the same as heat cramps. The basic causes are heat exposure, stress, and fatigue. (It doesn’t have to be particularly hot before heat exhaustion is a possibility — wearing multiple layers of clothing that limit the effectiveness of sweating will do the job just fine. So, if you’re out hiking, take off layers; when you stop to rest, put on layers.)
The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
What to do about all this: Take off any excessive layers of clothing, particularly around the head and neck. Get out of the hot environment (say, into the back of a nice air-conditioned ambulance). Drink a liter or so of water (slowly, so nausea doesn’t develop). Loosen restrictive clothing, lie down with your feet up, and use a fan for cooling.
Usually the symptoms resolve within a half hour. You should get worried if the symptoms don’t start to resolve, if the core temperature stays elevated or increases, or if the patient starts to lose consciousness. Be very cautious with the very young, the very old, and folks with underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease).
Heat exhaustion, like heat cramps, is caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
Like heat cramps, heat exhaustion is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
Now comes the biggie: Heat stroke. This one will kill you, and kill you fast. When your brain is gone it’s game over, and that can take as little as ten to fifteen minutes from onset of symptoms.
In heat stroke your body has essentially given up on cooling. The hypothalamus is saying “See ya later.”
This is the one that kills kids who are locked in cars on sunny days. It kills old folks in poorly ventilated apartments during heat waves. It kills healthy thirty-year-old guys who are working in humid warehouses. It kills.
Most of your heatstroke patients aren’t sweating — the sweating mechanism has been overwhelmed. You may find ‘em with wet skins, though — because the sweat that was there before hasn’t dried off. Wipe ‘em down with a towel — if no new sweat forms, be very suspicious. The patient can be going into heat stroke even if the sweat is still pouring off him. The main thing is the core temperature: 105, 106, higher.
Signs and symptoms:
Not all of these signs and symptoms will be present in every case.
This one is a medical emergency. You have to act, right now. Your first and biggest objective is to lower the core temperature, and do it by any means available.
One minor caveat: Try not to put the patient into hypothermia. If he starts shivering he’s just going to build body temperature back up.
Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
Prevention, Ounce of
Stay out of high heat/high humidity environments, particularly if you aren’t acclimated to them. Shopping malls, office buildings, movie theaters, are all air conditioned. Try to be in one of them during the heat of the day. Crank your home air conditioning to 70 or lower. If you must be in a high heat/high humidity environment, try to limit your exposure to three hours or less.
But the worst o’ your foes is the sun over’ead:
You must wear your ‘elmet for all that is said:
If ‘e finds you uncovered ‘e’ll knock you down dead,
An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.
Wearing a hat is the simplest thing you can do if you must be out-of-doors in a heat-stress environment. Without a hat the only things between your brain and a 10,000 degree thermonuclear furnace are a layer of thin bone, a layer of thin scalp, and a (perhaps thinning) layer of hair. Carrying an umbrella or parasol isn’t a bad idea. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Remove layers as necessary to allow sweat to dry on your skin.
A cool neck wrap, to keep the brain cool, can sometimes help (if the humidity is low enough to allow evaporation.
Try to avoid heavy meals (diet-related thermogenesis) and heavy physical labor (work-related thermogenesis) when it’s hot and humid. The siesta is a wonderful idea. So’s having the major meal of the day well after sundown.
Hydration. Water is your friend. How much water? Just like with hypothermia, drink water until your urine is frequent, copious, and clear. Drink water even if you aren’t thirsty. Line up eight to twelve half-liter bottles of water on your desk and drink one of them at the top of every hour.
This brings us to the subject of Water Intoxication. Every year you lose a frat pledge or two from this — being forced to drink large amounts of water over short periods. What happens is the electrolytes get washed out of the body, and Bad Stuff (like cardiac arrythmias) follow. So, drink your water over long periods of time, and keep up your salt intake. Pretzels, potato chips, lemonade, watermelon, bananas … but not salt pills. (Salt pills can rip your stomach and can send you into hypernatremia, which has its own constellation of not-fun signs and symptoms.)
As always, I am not a doctor and can neither diagnose nor prescribe. Nothing here is advice for your particular condition; it is presented for amusement only.
Please stay safe.
Copyright © 2006 by James D. Macdonald.
I am not a physician. I can neither diagnose nor prescribe. This post is presented for entertainment purposes only. Nothing here is meant to be advice for your particular condition or situation.
Heat Stress by James D. Macdonald is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
(Attribution URL: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007766.html)
The death toll in California is up to 81, and the coroner’s office in Fresno is stacking bodies two to a gurney. If the region gets rolling blackouts, as still seems possible, people will start dying faster.
I know Jim’s writing something about hyperthermia, so I’ll lay off my Arizonan rants about people (especially all these bleeping Northeasterners) not taking heat seriously.
As always, I’m haunted by the number of people in this country who think that George W. Bush & Co. is on their side, when there are so many clues to the contrary. Wrecking FEMA, for instance. Large-scale disasters can strike anywhere. Katrina hit a city that voted Democrat, but a major disaster could just as easily have hit a red state, and the response would have been just as inept. Bush didn’t care. The election was over. He didn’t need their votes any more.
And then, obviously, there’s global warming. If the problem of greenhouse emissions isn’t addressed soon, it’s going to be like perpetually having a Katrina-magnitude disaster happening everywhere at once. We’ll all get nailed, no matter how we voted.
Bush & Co. have been systematically lying about global warming, getting caught lying about it, lying about it again, getting denounced by the rest of the world, suppressing data, suppressing reports, suppressing scientists, refusing to take action on it on the grounds that it’s not a big enough problem, refusing to take action on it on the grounds that it’s such a big problem that there’s no use doing anything about it, lying about it some more when they think no one’s paying attention, and generally being grossly irresponsible about this extremely serious issue, ever since they got control of the White House.
This abuse of public policy is temporarily beneficial to a small handful of top guys at automobile, petroleum, and energy companies. Those are Bush & Co.’s real friends. The additional money they get to suck up as a result is a teeny fraction of the collective costs of global warming the rest of us will get stuck with. (Corruption is another thing most Americans don’t get. They don’t understand how insanely wasteful it is.) And while those costs are almost literally incalculable, suffering that comes with them will be far worse.
We’ll all get nailed, one way or another.
It’s no news that Republicans and other right-wingers have an “us and them” mentality. What perpetually leaves me shaking my head is that 98% of the people who vote for “us and them” think they’re part of the “us” that benefits from Bush’s policies—and they’re dead wrong.
“The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.” — Robert Graves
From an article, Mothers Anonymous in New York magazine, about NYC women who hang out and talk on a moderated but anonymous bulletin board:
And yet it’s not enough money. It’s interesting hearing the privileged classes talk about themselves.
One night, a woman posts this seemingly non-rhetorical question: “If your dh [dear husband] had a 5mil trust fund would you stay home? 2 kids and dh does not work.” Responses range from a deadpan “uh, yeah” to “someone has to work … 5 mil is not enough for forever.” A long thread branching off examines the premise that a trust fund providing interest of $350,000 to $500,000 is not enough to live on. “Not enough for whom?” asked one poster incredulously. Another poster replies, “Me. We currently live a 15k/month lifestyle, net, with 1 dc [dear child] and no school costs” —and then promptly summarizes her expenses for an invisible audience: “7k rent, 1k PT sitter, eating out 1.5ï¿½2k, utilities 500, travelling 2k, clothing 1k, out and about ‘cash’ 1k.”
You know those computer viruses that take over a machine, then send out email with spoofed “from” addresses they’ve lifted from the owner’s address book? Somewhere out there is an infected computer whose owner’s address book has me in it. I’ve been getting reports of large numbers of forged emails going out with my name on them. They have suspicious attachments. Don’t open them.Further: The bug in question is called the W32.Nyxem.D Worm. Here’s one description:
Click on the link for more detailed information:
This worm spreads by internet and contains one dangerous payload action—every 3rd day of month worm overwrites files with doc, xls, mdb, mde, ppt, pps, zip, rar, pdf, psd and dmp extensions.
In short, it’s yet another bug that exploits bleeping Windows’ bleeping vulnerabilities. It’s well worth avoiding.
W32.Nyxem.D is a mass-mailing worm that attempts to spread through network shares and lower security settings. …
Systems Affected: Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP.
Payload:1. Turns off anti-virus applications
2. Sends itself to email addresses found on the infected computer
3. Deletes files off the computer
4. Forges the sender’s email address
5. Uses its own emailing engine
6. Downloads code from the internet
7. Reduces system security
8. Installs itself in the Registry
I missed China Miéville’s guest-of-honor interview at Readercon, but these comments reported by Matt Cheney seem to me dead on, as are Matt’s own remarks:
At Readercon this weekend, China Miéville said, in his guest of honor interview, that one of the things he notices in both the audience for his work and in himself is a tension between a desire for otherworldly mystery and a desire for detail, detail, detail. He noted RPGs as an expression of this tension, a sublimation of geekiness within the rules and tables and worldbooks of the game that was often at odds with the fantastic potential of the material, and sometimes of the source material itself—he noted that the game of Call of Cthulhu seemed to utterly miss Lovecraft’s point: Cthulhu goes from being a creature so great and terrible that it can’t possibly be described or comprehended to being a creature with 100 hit points. (I may be mangling China’s argument, since it’s based on memory, so please blame me if you disagree, not him.)
This tension between the desire for that-which-is-so-amazing-it’s-incomprehensible and that-which-can-be-quantified is one most of us who are readers of SF probably share to some extent or another, and it can be a productive tension, perhaps even one of the foundational tensions in fantastic literature, the tension that propels much good fantasy writing into a realm that borrows from traditions of allegory, surrealism, and slice-of-life realism but doesn’t comfortably fit into any one camp, and, at its best, is therefore richer than each.
Tor’s absurdly talented art director Irene Gallo has a blog, already replete with good advice to aspiring SF and fantasy artists:
This applies more to artists that have been in the industry a decade or two but let this be a cautionary tale for young artists: It’s not a great idea to always use your girlfriend/wife in every painting. As people get older their sense of what is fashionable sometimes ends shortly after college. It’s slightly painful when I see a figure in the painting whose clothing and/or hair is clearly from the 80s. (Fantasy paintings are amuck in mullets!) Unless it’s a historical piece, costuming should attempt to be as timeless looking as possible. Looking “dated” is the kiss of death for an illustrator. (Men’s fashion doesn’t seem to be as identifiable so I don’t often see this problem in male figures.)
Just like yesterday, if our lords and masters decree it, you can be disappeared without trial and without recourse down a very deep hole. Yay, us.
Via Supergee: Evidently under the impression that the Onion piece “I’m Totally Psyched About This Abortion!” is for real, “Pete” of anti-abortion weblog March Together For Life delivers its author, “Miss Caroline Weber,” a stern talking-to.
Almost as funny: his subsequent attempt to recover.
It’s pretty good. It has huge throbbing word counts, well-waxed cats, deadline panic, conscienceless quick fixes for lagging plots, issues about onomatopoeia (which it misspells), and of course features both dinosaurs and sodomy.
We [writers] need … a fight song. Something with completely ridiculous words that we can sing drunkenly when we get together.
Something that makes no sense to anyone but us. Anyone INCLUDING us, really.
To the tune of British Grenadiers, except when it isn’t, with intervals of random arrythmic bellowing.Because I LIKE “British Grenadiers.”
I haven’t heard it performed, so I don’t know whether it comes up to the standards of the Orstrilian Notional Anthem or other well-regarded songs of our tribe, but I’m looking forward to seeing Commodorified’s music video of it on YouTube.
If you’re a Brit you already knew about this ages ago. So sue me.
Anyway, it’s come to my attention that England has one of the world’s all-time great kick-ass fight songs, “Vindaloo”. It may be the best new song for singing en masse by drunks since “Rosin the Bow” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Here are the lyrics, with helpful commentary. Here’s the earnest and sober Wikipedia entry about it. And here are two amateur videos set to it—you have your pick of snippets of cheesy football animation or Final Fantasy game footage. Either will let you hear the song, which is good because just reading the lyrics won’t tell you a lot.
The beauty part of this song is that it makes almost no sense. Mostly it just involves singing “na na na” over and over again, which is great because it’s fun to sing, and it cuts out the part where you try to remember the lyrics and can’t. If you’re not singing “na na nah”, you’re singing “vindaloo” to the same beat, or “na na nah vindaloo na na nah vindaloo”, which is also fun.If you’re the sort who remembers lyrics, there are bits of them scattered in amongst the na na nahs and vindaloos, but only a few lines really have to be remembered:
and (very important) the line everyone can agree on:
—And we all like vindaloo
After which, everyone shouts “ENGLAND!” in unison, and then either the next verse starts or the cameraman falls over.
—We’re gonna score one more than you
Update: The original video of Vindaloo by Fat Les is now available on YouTube. It’s not half bad, though it’s slightly less mysterious if you know that it starts out as a parody of the video of Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.