Archives for January 2003

Ladies save C5

I’m going to keep the names out of this until I see it somewhere else, and this may be a new cool urban legend, but here goes:
Heroines and their save (and a guy not mentioned)

a military C-5a was stopped by the efforts of two airline employees. An Atlantic Southeast employee … frantically chased after the C-5a upon noticing it had ran over a 100 lb fire extinguisher. The extinguisher was lodged in between the nose gear and sparking profusely as it rolled forward. To no avail the crew at first didn’t want to stop, thinking this was two crazed women chasing a “C-5a.”

After stopping the a/c the crew came down and inspected the damage they had done. They had no wing walkers and/or ramp personnel to guide them out. They assumed the ramp was free and clear.


After speaking to the captain, the a/c was at gross weight of 1,000,000 lbs including 230,000 lbs of fuel. They were headed to Kuwait with 2 tanks and military trucks needed in the Middle East.

Good job ladies, and thanks. I have to think the vibration from a 100# imbalance would have caused the crew to abort the takeoff, but then at a million pounds, how much vibration is damped?

UN is Irony Impaired

What in the world is wrong with these people? I kid you not, and you couldn’t make up a story like this, but Iraq is to head the UN Disarmament Committee, along with Iran.

Next, Korea to head the nuclear disarmament committee? Rawanda to head Human Rights? You cannot make this stuff up. I wish I could make it go away.

via LGF

Organ Donation

Organ donation is one of those topics that actually encompasses several connected but different elements. I believe most people think of brain-dead to live transplant when it comes up, but there are also living donor transplants, where awake donors can give their organs (kidney and liver lobe are, I think, all that are routinely done currently).
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A Reason to Live

Dave Barry has a Blog.

via Instapundit

Science Fair

Last night was viewing night for my daughter’s 6th Grade Science Fair, and it was neat. The daughter got an honorable mention for her project:Which paper towel is the strongest? (Answer: Bounty Shop Towels! They’ll hold 3 lbs of washers soaking wet).

It was eye opening to see what the other students did. Many were quite good, and showed a lot of thought went into the poster, if not into the project. Our favorite, though, was clearly done under protest. The project was ‘Which Apple has more seeds, Green or Red?’ (Red). “What Resources Did You Use” was answered as ‘None, as I had no access to books’, and “What Uses Does Your Project Have” was ‘My project has no usefulness’.

And, for other parents: nobody believes your 6th grader came up with the hypothesis that they won’t have enough data to be statistically significant. Stop doing their projects for them.

Questions from the Audience

I am an Emergency Physician, and I work in a high volume but well staffed Emergency Department. As such, I have a lot of interactions both with the patients, but also with those who accompany the patients. Answering questions is a big part of my job: many are utterly mystified at the body they inhabit and explanations go a long way toward alleviating anxiety and forming a bond between us. I’m not a touchy-feely guy, but I know that if the patient trusts my judgement, when I come and tell them it’s good news or bad they will feel that I care and that they are in good hands.

Yesterday, while draining an abscess, my patient’s family member asked a question for which I was unprepared: “What’s a bacteria?” was the response to my answer about how this infection began. Koch’s Postulates sprang briefly to mind, but if you haven’t even heard of bacteria, where do you start? So, the best thing I could come up with was ‘single celled organisms that live everywhere’.

What would you have said?

Celebrity Idiocy Takedown

Over at I have just finished reading a wonderfully cogent rant about celebrity, their opinions and how they are fawned over but not fact-checked.

I have had these thoughts for years, but lack the totality of vision and expression required to do the subject justice.

Go read it, you’ll be glad you did.

Junkyard Wars Screws Up

I love Junkyard Wars; I’m watching an episode on TiVo right now, as I blog (I’m that kind of guy). I wanted to enter a team in the next season, with my Dad (30+ years as an A&P mechanic, who recently completed his own motorhome, one of about 20 big projects he’s completed), my brother the Aerospace Engineer (who was the lead engineer in designing the Toyota Atlantic cars), and me, who can apply a band-aid with the best of them. Dad and I recently built a new service pit, showing that I’m a snappy dresser and that Dad is a fantastic designer and practical builder.

We were notified that applications are now open for next season, but now they’re only taking individuals, not teams. Crummy decision, and one that will make Junkyard Wars more painful to watch. I suspect their producers believe there will be better TV, watching team buliding while constructing, but I think they’re going to wind up with an unwatchable mess (unless you want to see strife, which it should have a surfeit of).

Phooey. Didn’t want to be on their silly old show anyway.

Apparently, Junkyard Wars is oblivious to the entire DirecTV DSL Karma effect.

Listed on Medscape

Today I found out GruntDoc has been linked from Medscape as a “Technology & Medicine Weblog”:

Our editors have prepared the following collection of medical Weblogs authored by physicians or other health professionals. Weblogs, otherwise known as Blogs, are online diaries that are frequently updated with links, commentary, or personal diatribe. We think you’ll find these Blogs interesting, entertaining, and definitely addictive. For more information and additional Blog resources, visit: http:// Weblog content is independent of

I guess now the pressure is really on to actually say something.

DSL Karma

I was unable to get the DSL re-established when I moved in here. It was an idiotic decision based on people working for computers, instead of the other way around. If you’re really interested in the whole story, read the extended version.

I’ve been following the collapse of DirecTV DSL with a terrible schadenfreude, and it’s all because they screwed with me.

Beware, other technology providers; don’t screw me over, or this could happen to you, too.
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Palm Creases

screen with a short lifelineNo, not those palm creases, the ones you get when you drop your less than a month old Palm Pilot on the floor, and the screen cracks. Yes, I had spent a lot of money on the extended warranty, and it covers virtually everything except broken screens.

I was lucky enough to find a person at Palm who has a heart; after hearing the story, he got his manager to cut the replacement cost in half, so now I’m back with a new Palm and an unbroken screen. Thanks, Palm!


Up at the unpleasant hour of dawn (I have never been an early riser, nor tolerant of those who are), this morning I had the pleasure of seeing, in my own back yard: 4 squirrels, 2 Cardinals (I think), and two ducks on the pond! I grew up in West Texas, where I believe we had Starlings, locusts and ants as the major wildlife to enjoy, and getting familiar with the critters is a new experience.

It’s really quite spectacular, but not enough to make me a morning person. It is good entertainment if up, though. We feed them, occasionally; we’ll be putting out more food today.


I can tell you, down to the minute, when the zillions of viruses made their way into my bloodstream, about 2 days ago now. I was at work, having a very good day, and while walking down a hall I was overcome with a dreadful feeling, and within 6 hours I was febrile and enjoying all the benefits of a full-on gastrointestinal bug.

Funny thing is, I was certain I had missed this one; it had hit everyone else in the house, but missed me, which is not the usual pattern (usually I get hit first). So, 3 days after mine wife had recovered I figured I was in the clear. Incorrect.

So, we’re all recovered/recovering, and I’ll be up to speed in another day or so.

Duck Speed

Ever wonder, after having determined the average airspeed velocity of an unladen European swallow, how fast a duck flies? Thanks to the German traffic cops and their automated ticketer (horrible application of technology), we know the answer.

Fast as a speeding duck

via Cellar Image of the Day

Beggaring Belief

A 50,000 ton Norwegian vehicle freighter, the Tricolor, sank in the English Channel on December 14th, ruining many a Belgian car dealers’ Christmas; it was carrying 2,862 BMW, Saab and Volvo autos with an estimated $50 million dollars. It sank in about 82 feet of water, and is resting comfortably on its side.

Hourly radio broadcasts alert ships transiting the waters to her location, and a marker buoy was placed at this hazard to navigation so no other ships would be endangered by it. Since then it has been hit twice, making a grand total of three ships that have struck it within the month (it originally sank after coming together with a container ship). Fortunately, no deaths or environmental disasters have ensued from this astonishing display of shiphandling by professional mariners.

The best quote so far has been attributed to ‘maritime union bosses’ who said it “beggard belief” that it was hit a second time.

Ananova has a good picture, and The Times (free registration required) has more detail.