Re: I Have Become Tom Friedman

1

And then you tipped him five dollars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:57 AM
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She was Ghana, but then she thought better of it.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:25 AM
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If I ever become a newspaper columnist, I want to be Ed Anger.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:32 AM
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I think the Tom Friedman cabbie cliche should be extended to other sorts of chance encounters one has in foreign countries.

"While zipping up, my new Panamanian friend mentioned that he thought the IMF's Central American policy was largely predatory."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:37 AM
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Too bad it wasn't a few days later, you could have had a substantive discussion about soccer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:37 AM
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The problem is the only time state governments think about economizing at all is when they are compelled to by recessions. Without this pressure state government spending would be even more wasteful than it currently is.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:39 AM
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The woman who cut my hair yesterday was from Ghana. We talked about soccer. "We are going to beat you." She had a point, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:39 AM
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I can't believe you talked to him about anything but soccer. I would have talked about soccer. And possibly hiplife.

I'm not pwned, you are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:39 AM
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Speaking of Friedman his latest column made a lot of sense to me.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal's trashing of his civilian colleagues was unprofessional and may cost him his job. If so, it will be a sad end to a fine career. But no general is indispensable. What is indispensable is that when taking America surging deeper into war in Afghanistan, President Obama has to be able to answer the most simple questions at a gut level: Do our interests merit such an escalation and do I have the allies to achieve victory? President Obama never had good answers for these questions, but he went ahead anyway. The ugly truth is that no one in the Obama White House wanted this Afghan surge. The only reason they proceeded was because no one knew how to get out of it -- or had the courage to pull the plug. That is not a sufficient reason to take the country deeper into war in the most inhospitable terrain in the world. You know you're in trouble when you're in a war in which the only party whose objectives are clear, whose rhetoric is consistent and whose will to fight never seems to diminish is your enemy: the Taliban.

...


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:52 AM
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Last year, I lost my glasses on vacation and had an interesting conversation with the Mexican optometrist (public health and city services). I felt real fear in the cab in Philly whose African driver's teeth were filed to points, fear because of his truly reckless driving at high speed.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:58 AM
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9: Hard to believe, but I think a lot of us here (including me) are more or less in agreement with Tom Friedman, and James Shearer.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:21 AM
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11: Yeah, but Tom Friedman can still suck my dick ten ways from yesterday. He put himself on the permanent DQ list in the run-up to Iraq.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:27 AM
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"Dong Quaffing"?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:31 AM
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11: "Don't Quote"?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:35 AM
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3: I'm afraid I'm most likely to become Ed Asner, phenotypically. Not even an actual journalist, at that.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:36 AM
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13, 14: Just "disqualified". But of course "the author is dead" and all that, so read it as you see fit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:39 AM
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I can't believe I let you people trick me into reading a Tom Friedman column. I admit I was pleased to discover after reading "It is not about the way. It is about the will." that he wasn't talking about US will. But "I have said this before, and I will say it again: The Middle East only puts a smile on your face when it starts with them."?!? Who would say that even one time? Tom Friedman puts a frown on my face when he writes like that.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:45 AM
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Dale Quarnegie?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:46 AM
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15: "Look Back in Asner: The Mr. Smearcase Story"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:46 AM
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||

The statement filed by a Portland massage therapist alleging that Al Gore sexually assaulted her makes for really creepy reading. I'm torn between believing her and not wanting to think about it at all.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:50 AM
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I not only don't read Tom Friedman, I prefer not to read about Tom Friedman...or his ilk, even articles and posts that are brutally critical.

As usual my actually operative strategy is difficult to discuss in a blog comment without massively offending liberals or invoking Godwin, but, for example, we don't waste much of our time analyzing the behavior of mosquitoes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:05 AM
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for example, we don't waste much of our time analyzing the behavior of mosquitoes.

Actually, I think people who are interested in combating malaria do analyze the behavior of mosquitoes.

Is that a good argument for reading Tom Friedman? Probably not!



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:09 AM
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Ought to be working at a Dairy Queen instead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:16 AM
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The antidote to incipient Friedmaniasis is a dose of Krug-Man! He will krug you up! This makes some sense on a first read through, though I haven't thought about it in detail.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:18 AM
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Wine for sale in Pennsylvania grocery stores! Well, sort of.

|>


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:23 AM
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Speaking of the behavior of mosquitoes, is it true that they avoid areas with a ton of mint plants? I read this somewhere, planted some mint, and was still bitten to shreds. Perhaps I need more mint?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:31 AM
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I recently read that planting catnip will keep them away. Of course, there's a drawback.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:46 AM
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I had never heard that, Jackmormon. If you had a mint, you could put in a fence.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:46 AM
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during a recession, you need to spend more, rather than cut spending, even if you're borrowing to do it.

The states have somewhat of an excuse in that most of them (all of them?) are not allowed to run deificts. They have to have a balanced budget every year.

The feds are a different matter, and can I say now how suspicious I am of this Saturday's AmericaSpeaks Our Budget town hall meetings? Maybe I'm just reflexively mistrustful of anyone trying that hard to tell me that debt is really, really bad and we have to make "tough choices." Why do I think that those choices are never going to be "cutting a bunch of military spending"?

Oh well. Check back Saturday night, after 6-1/2 hours of fun and goodness!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:51 AM
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29 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:51 AM
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You need to imbibe the mind JM. As part of a summery alcoholic drink. Once your blood alcohol level hits 0.1 the mosquitoes will die on contact anyway. It's a win-win situation (win-win-win if you include the govt revenue collection on the DUI fines).


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:52 AM
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You need to imbibe the mind JM.

Typo? Cannibalism?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:55 AM
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Drinking has seemed to attract mosquitoes, in my experience.

Once, during a particularly weird and stressful summer, I got bitten all over after an alcohol-fueled evening in the park. The bites turned into HIVES. Classic hives. I had a doctor friend check them out.

I hate mosquitoes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:00 AM
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Jammies' mosquito bites last for days, but mine swell as big as quarters and then promptly disappear within ten minutes.

Stay tuned for more fascinating facts about our life!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:03 AM
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I meant mint, but hey, cannibalism, why not?

According to the Internetz mosquitoes sense octenol to find humans. Octenol is a "secondary alcohol" so it might be that drinking isn't such a good idea if one desires to avoid mosquitoes. But my suggestion was funnier and funner.

Also, there is a research group at Vanderbilt (here: http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/zwiebel/research.html) that are all about the mosquitoe's sense of smell. Go science!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:12 AM
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15: I'm afraid I'm most likely to become Ed Asner, phenotypically.

I actually was referring to Ed Anger. Don't play all innocent like you were never curious about "Bat Boy." Ed Anger was America's first troller.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:15 AM
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35: I dimly recall hearing that mosquitoes find victims by sensing local increases in CO2 from respiration and fly up the CO2 concentration gradient to find food. No reason they can't also sense other stuff, but if my memory is correct you'd want to avoid not just alcohol, but also breathing. That helps with the mosquitoes, but it aggravates the vulture problem.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:18 AM
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36:I'm madder than Helen Keller at a silent movie!

That doesn't make any sense, does it? Why would a silent movie especially upset a deaf and blind person?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:21 AM
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No reason they can't also sense other stuff, but if my memory is correct you'd want to avoid not just alcohol, but also breathing

Helpful!

That helps with the mosquitoes, but it aggravates the vulture problem.

Silly, togolosh! Vultures don't sting.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:24 AM
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This claims the CO2 thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:36 AM
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29: Given that America Speaks is an anti-Social Security astroturf organization, I'd say your suspicions are well founded.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:36 AM
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41: !*$)^@*^)!$!&^!%(*$!

I only had time to do about ten minutes of research, and the first few links I found were vague but not that suspicious. DARN IT. I hate feeling suckered, especially when I agreed to do a favor.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:40 AM
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36: I wasn't correcting; rather, riffing. Or making a half-assed attempt to. (Mid-riffing?)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:44 AM
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Opinions vary on whether and in what way people can develop immunity to mosquito bites, but IME it's possible to a degree. Getting to the point of minimal swelling and itching involved being stung mercilessly for a few weeks (on a bike trip up north, partly in JM's old stomping territory, where the mosquitoes are horrendous), but I suppose it was worth it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:50 AM
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38: Making sense wasn't the goal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 9:55 AM
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44: I'm not sure it's "immunity", per se, but for years and years I was always the one person who was eaten alive in outdoor crowds, coming home with dozens of itchy swollen bites where everyone else had few to none. I remember a number of events (picnics, etc.) where everyone around me was having a great time, while I couldn't even come close to enjoying myself, with bites so bad and so constant as to have me on the verge of tears.

Something, and honest to god I have idea what, has completely reversed this, and over the last few years I've become one of the least mosquito-attractive people I know. I'm almost never bitten, and--what's more--when I am occasionally bitten, the bites are often barely noticeable, and any discomfort usually gone within minutes. Which was never the case before.

Again, I have no idea what happened, but it's definitely a pleasant change.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 10:18 AM
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47

Something in your diet, perhaps? Like "blue cheese"?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 10:46 AM
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I've heard that eating garlic and/or onions will keep mosquitoes away. I have no idea if it is true or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 10:49 AM
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I used to scratch those fuckers 'til they bled, but, after getting tired of walking around with scabby legs (which I, of course, would pick at) I decided to focus all my attention on any itch, all the while reminding myself that that stimulus does not require a response. I'd do this until they no longer bothered me, and it seemed to work. The downside is I am now completely bonkers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:03 AM
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I've heard 48 as well. There are even products that are basically just garlic you dump on your lawn that are supposed to work as mosquito repellent. No idea whether they're effective or not.

I assume 47 is correct, but I don't know what it is I'm eating differently (or believe me, I'd never stop). I don't think I eat enough "blue cheese" for that to be the trigger.

I admit I have considered the possiblity that maybe mosquitos can smell disease, like Natasha Henstridge in "Species", and that this means I have cancer or something.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:03 AM
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(I guess, to clarify, I should have added to 50 that I don't believe I'm increased my intake of garlic or onions. But who knows.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:07 AM
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I don't think I eat enough "blue cheese" for that to be the trigger.

It only took one radioactive spider bite to give Peter Parker his superpowers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:10 AM
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I thought I was immune to mosquito bites by now, but the past several days in Alaska have proven otherwise quite conclusively. On the other hand, I saw a bear and some moose and did some terrifying scary unsettling there was a certain amount of teeth-grinding to keep from screaming like a little girl really, really fun flying in the mountains there (I posted a short video of my swanlike raptoresque charmingly awkward airborne self at FB).


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:14 AM
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What mechanism did you use to stay in the air?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:15 AM
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I'm guessing he was borne aloft by a fleet of trained mosquitos.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:18 AM
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54: Aerodynamically, a couple dozen square meters of nylon and some Kevlar line. Theologically, abject begging. Philosophically, amor fati. Psychoanalytically, crassly transparent sublimation of status anxiety. Socially, fear of the disapprobation of one's activity-peers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:21 AM
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42
I hate feeling suckered, especially when I agreed to do a favor.

What, like someone talked you into volunteering for 6.5 hours at this event without mentioning what it was for? Personally, I'd say you can back out without feeling guilty, unless you were talked into it by your saintly old grandmother or by someone you owe money to or something. Asking you for a favor without giving you all the facts seems like plenty of justification to back out, and if you're too confrontation-averse to come right out and tell the favor-asker that then it shouldn't be all that hard to think of some excuse to be somewhere else during any part of that 6.5 hours.

If I were in your position I'd seriously consider backing out at the last minute, or going but handing out pamphlets with facts on them, both to get back at them and to mess with dishonest astroturfers on general principles. However, I can't say for sure that I'd actually go through with it and I realize most people try to be nicer than I do.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:26 AM
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27
I recently read that planting catnip will keep them away. Of course, there's a drawback.

What's the drawback? Getting extra attention from cats, and/or getting cats high, isn't a drawback, it's awesome. Do cops habitually mistake catnip for weed and arrest people or something?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:28 AM
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The downside is I am now completely bonkers.

That's probably over determined, so just go with the upside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:30 AM
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Around here you'd be fending off loads of feral cats. Is what I meant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:31 AM
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The Frequently Asked Questions section of the website for the product linked in 50 does not inspire a great deal of confidence. I mean, it might be totally legit, but I'm having trouble reconciling these statements (all of which it makes at different points of the FAQ):

(1) spraying garlic on the your grass will keep mosquitoes away for a month;
(2) spraying garlic on yourself will not do anything to prevent mosquito bites;
(3) eating garlic will not do anything to prevent mosquito bites;
(4) feeding garlic to horses will help protect the horses from mosquito bites.

I'm ignorant about this stuff, so I suppose it's possible that's all true, but it's hard to reconcile (1) with either (2) or (3), and it's very hard to reconcile (3) with (4).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:31 AM
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Do horses really get bit much through their horse hair? Maybe garlic makes them hairier.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:33 AM
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I was once bitten by a radioactive spider. It had just crawled out of a storage pit I was monitoring. Swollen fingers for a couple of days, no superpowers.

We couldn't figure out what paperwork to fill out, so we didn't.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:34 AM
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If you want to keep mosquitoes out of your yard, get one of those propane fueled traps. My dad says they work great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:34 AM
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60: Ah, OK. I guess I was assuming it was local cats with owners or your own cats who would get into the stuff occasionally. My girlfriend's neighborhood has quite a few stray cats, and a friend of hers even puts out food for them, and they seem harmless But I guess if there's an bigger feral cat problem in the area than that, you wouldn't want to attract them, especially not if you live in a house rather than an apartment.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:39 AM
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I don't know if there's a cat problem exactly. It's more like there's a guy down the street with 50 million cats that he nurtures, and there are generally a few milling around our house. They don't bother us, though, except when they're particularly skinny and sad looking.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:44 AM
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But I wouldn't want to plant catnip.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:44 AM
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66: Call me cruel, but I'd call public health.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:47 AM
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Or animal control or whatever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:51 AM
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Well, Skeletina eventually filled out, and now she dozes happily on our porch a few years later. So perhaps he's nourishing the sad cats back to health, or perhaps they're just young catlets. Is how I rationalize things.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:52 AM
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If you put out food for cats, the cats will multiply or wander in from other areas until they exceed the food. Of course, if the cats are starting to look healthier, maybe he is getting them fixed or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:57 AM
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We couldn't figure out what paperwork to fill out, so we didn't.

You're not trying to become "Bureaucrat Man" ferchrisakes.


Posted by: Peter Parker | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:58 AM
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Of course, if the cats are starting to look healthier, maybe he is getting them fixed or something.

See, that's the rationalization spirit!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:00 PM
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Or raising cats to be used to train pit bulls. Or the unvaccinated cats are dying of disease. Or he just has not run out of money for cat food yet. Anyway, practice saying things like, "He seemed like such a caring man," or "He mostly kept to himself." You can be on the TV if you don't want to stammer when the news van parks on your block.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:02 PM
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He's totally the weird house on the block. He's got three trailer houses on his property, besides his house, in which I believe he renovates sports cars. But his property is not very big for a house plus three trailers. And so it has a lot of extra concrete, and it's the only house with no trees or anything, which makes it look swelteringly hot and unpleasant, and plus all the cats milling around.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:09 PM
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There was a woman near me who decided that the only thing wrong with bird feeding was the limited scale on which it is usually conducted. She took to dumping bread (presumably day-old) out the back of a minivan in the parking lots of local stores. I saw this twice, always in the morning before the store was busy and she'd pitch out ten loaves or so. I'm fairly certain she (or somebody) was doing it daily because there were always hundreds of pigeons on the electrical wires by the grocery store. I assume the police eventually got her because there aren't over a dozen pigeons there now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:11 PM
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you know thank heavens crying about football is acceptably manly.

it shouldn't be such a bitch; a month ago i'd have been over the moon to be better than italy in the world cup finals. a year ago i was over the moon to be in the world cup finals.

but fuck.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:21 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Keir.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:51 PM
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76: But the grocery now has a special on squab.

Hey, Mr. Parker, bureaucracy needs a hero! Plenty of caped crusaders going after thugs in fright masks. HeroCrat enforces the regulations! HeroCrat disseminates public information freely! HeroCrat analyzes the past to make efficient use of scarce resources!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 1:33 PM
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We couldn't figure out what paperwork to fill out, so we didn't.

The superhero registration form, presumably.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 1:47 PM
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I keep changing the post title in my mind to "I am become Friedman, flattener of worlds".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 1:55 PM
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get one of those propane fueled traps

When I mentioned my roommates putting up a bug zapper, someone around here (ttaM?) linked to a study that suggested such devices actually attracted more bugs to the area, including bugs and other critters that feed on the zapped-bug bits. I wonder if the propane traps have the same issue.

Relatedly, black flies creep me out.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 2:14 PM
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82: You want to put the trap a fair bit away from where you will be, but I think they only work for 1/4 and 1/2 an acre. Your best bet, for typical eastern seaboard state housing densities, is for one of your neighbors to get one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 2:17 PM
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i'm prety excited about http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123680870885500701.html


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 2:27 PM
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84: Holy Shit! I know that guy. It's been years since I talked to him, but one of the lasers he used back before his turn towards mosquito elimination is sitting about 20 feet away from my desk. I had no idea he'd suddenly turned to practical stuff.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:01 PM
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suddenly turned to practical stuff

For expansive definitions of "practical" that include things like shooting mosquitoes with a laser.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:15 PM
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one of the lasers he used back before his turn towards mosquito elimination is sitting about 20 feet away from my desk

Word for the wise: Do not fuck with Togolosh.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:17 PM
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Do not fuck with Togolosh.

Ha-ha, oh man, comment 86? I was totally kidding around, tog, ol' buddy, ol' pal. (Don't lase me, bro!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:21 PM
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Don't braise me, to'!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:26 PM
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86: More practical than launching stuff into orbit by blasting it with lasers, which is the appropriate reference point for Jordin Kare. Nice guy. Smart, but a little bit crazy.

88: Lasing is the new icing, bro!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:34 PM
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Pooh. I cited that back in the 20s. Also, last I heard, they were planning to shoot only the females; the wingbeats are distinctive (they need to ID wingbeats to identify mosquitoes in the first place), and it drops the power demand.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:42 PM
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And really, check out the TED talk; they're more practical-minded than you'd think. Ish one, all the other tropical-grade malaria prevention tactics have dreadful side effects; ish two, lasing them is pretty energy-efficient if you can target them; ish three, a design point is to use parts very like things already in mass consumer electronics, because the practical R&D to make them cheap has been done.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:44 PM
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88-90:
In related news, I used the term "broalition," to describe a mass of bros or bro-like fellows, this last weekend, and it was well received.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 3:49 PM
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92: Kidding aside, it is a pretty interesting approach, and the fundamental technical hurdles are already solved. I'm not sure retail killing of mosquitoes is ever going to be a complete solution, but in combination with other approaches it ought to help. A friend of mine is working on malaria prevention (bed nets, mostly) and has been making encouraging noises about progress. I'll have to ask about the laser thing when I next see him.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 4:10 PM
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I'm not sure retail killing of mosquitoes is ever going to be a complete solution,

That is one of the best clauses I have read this year.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 4:19 PM
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93: "The broalition of the chilling?", he asked icily.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 4:22 PM
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I kill my mosquitoes only with locally sourced light amplification, which uses artisanally stimulated radiation emission...greeneez.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 4:24 PM
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97:Whoa, dudes, you are the ones doing the talking about mosquitoes using the 'k" word. I abjure such language and expressin', what with Obama sending Predators up this way to help out his good buddies Perry and Cornyn.

Hard enough walkin' dogs without havin' to keep one eye on the sky.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 4:37 PM
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95: In isolation it sounds like it might be sarcasm, but hopefully in the context of the comment it doesn't. The hardware could be mass produced for a few dollars by the time the system's ready to be fielded. The hard part is the software, and deployment where it's needed in a manner that ensures it won't be broken in a matter of a few months.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:09 PM
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Today was a

Good Day for the mosquitoes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:16 PM
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Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects... don't have politics. They're very... brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:21 PM
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99: No, it didn't sound like sarcasm. Nor was 95.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:22 PM
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102: I'm not sure you can know what something sounds like to someone else.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:23 PM
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103: What if you ignore other peoples's subjective opinions and assume your own opinion is an absolute frame of reference?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:33 PM
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What do you mean, "What if"?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:38 PM
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I don't know how to avoid mosquito bites, but after recently being bitten by a radioactive itch-spider, I have learned the very awesome trick of exposing the bite to water as hot as you can bear for a few minutes to make the itch go away. Relief for 8 to 10 hours! (Direct heat from a hot pack or whatever also worked, but you have to endure hideous intensification of the itch for the several minutes of applying direct heat. Something about direct running water avoided that.) A medically trained friend told me that this is absurd, but I don't really care because it totally worked and I was at the very brink of death-by-itch before a very kind soul shared that life saving tip.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:39 PM
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106: I've used it also, for my whatever it is that makes my hands itch. It works. However, it seriously screws with my skin. A doctor I saw years ago agreed that it stops itching, but said it makes itching worse in the long run.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:45 PM
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103 -- The internet world would be yet more awesome if all the Firesign Theatre scripts were online.

E.g., in response to an auctioneer asking 'what do I hear' for a particular item: That's metaphysically absurd, man, how can I know what you hear?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:45 PM
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During a long childhood backpacking vacation in the Wind Rivers range we occasionally had serious mosquito issues. One evening, as my parents were preparing dinner, nine year old me decided to solve the problem. I sat in the tent opened up the flap and let a cloud of mosquitoes in. I then killed them all against the tent walls. Lather, rinse, repeat a bunch of times. My parents were unexpectedly ungrateful when they discovered our sleeping bags and mattresses completely covered with a layer of dead insects.

106 Or you can just take a tube of benadryl or lidocaine cream and apply it. Better living through better chemistry.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:51 PM
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I am highly allergic to mosquito bites, and find that a regular diet of bitter greens makes them avoid me. When I was a child, I'd swell up into huge hard lumps of bite all over me, so tasty and allergic was I.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:54 PM
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Guys, I've found her! The delicious one we've been searching for all these years. Feast away!


Posted by: Mosquito from AWB's Childhood | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 5:59 PM
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111: I feel panic.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:00 PM
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That's metaphysically absurd, man, how can I know what you hear?

Well, wait, does the auctioneer have a cochlear implant?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:08 PM
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109.2 -- Tried those. Tried calamine lotion. Tried Goldbond cream. Tried cortisone cream. Tried ice. Tried oral Benadryl. Cried out in desparation on FB. Tried heat. Breathed a sigh of relief.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:33 PM
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Also, when a non-chemical solution is ridiculously effective, why bother with better-living-through-chemistry?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:38 PM
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Well, I have to keep a steroid cream in order to keep my hands from bleeding in the winter. The hot water thing would be a disaster if I did it often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:45 PM
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Direct heat from a hot pack or whatever also worked, but you have to endure hideous intensification of the itch for the several minutes of applying direct heat.

I've been told that it's speeding up the action and breakdown of the itchy enzyme, and that you can get infrared pointers to do the same thing. Good to know about the running water, though.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:47 PM
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You could try that 1W laser that got linked recently. Probably fix things right up in a jiffy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:49 PM
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Good to know about the running water, though.

Glad to be of help. Don't know how to turn it off yet, but give us time.


Posted by: Opinionated Classical Roman | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:51 PM
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116: Yeah, I've got that too. I think the hot water is a problem there because it's drying and dry skin is itchy. But in a different way than bug bites are itchy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:54 PM
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Also, I had poison oak once, but did not know it. The hot water cure probably kept me away from the doctor for a week when I could have had the sweet, sweet prednisone cure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:00 PM
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You could try that 1W laser that got linked recently. Probably fix things right up in a jiffy.

Great against mosquitoes, too.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:02 PM
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53:I thought I was immune to mosquito bites by now, but the past several days in Alaska have proven otherwise quite conclusively.

I was once in Alaska at almost exactly this time of year and at some places they were indeed beyond anything I had ever imagined. Ended up buying what we called "Mr. Mosquito Heads".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:49 PM
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This may have been covered, but the obvious problem with the mosquito-zapping laser isn't making a cheap low-power laser (there is, after all, one in every CD or DVD player and in every PC with an optical drive) but the targeting mechanism. Got to identify and track extremely small and not necessarily very reflective targets moving fast in arbitrary and rapidly changing vectors. While avoiding people's eyes. Basically, it's a bit like missile defence on a room scale.

Obviously this gets easier if you can bait them into a small space, but even so.

How many treated nets, square feet of shade cloth, primary care staff, buckets of pesticide, habitat-control projects, etc could you fund with their expenses'n'MacBooks^H^H^Hresearch budget? It's a silly, freakonomicsy workaround to avoid doing public health, which is socialism and gay, amirite?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 2:13 AM
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Actually, just read the piece, and yes! It's Myrvhold! The guy who wants to turn the oceans to dilute sulphuric acid as a way of avoiding a relatively small tax on motor fuel! And the thing needs a whole PC for the processing demands! Does it run Windows, I wonder? "For continued anti-malarial protection, please enter your 64-digit activation key..."

Jesus wept, save us from rich men who were decent-ish programmers 20 years ago. Who, for fucksake, thinks anti-malarial precautions that need a stable electricity supply are of any use whatsoever?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 2:19 AM
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I have been bitten by what I think were Blandford flies. Those were some toxic Spiderman looking bites -- huge lumps with trails running out of them like radiating bruises for about 4 inches around the bite site. And itchy almost beyond tolerance.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A6756519

Blandford Fly bites tend to be confined to the lower limbs and women tend to be bitten more frequently than men, possibly because skirts leave the lower limbs uncovered. The effects of the bites on humans range from small blisters to large (up to 22cm diameter) haemorrhagic lesions, which can produce intensely painful stabbing sensations. The saliva of the fly, which passes into the wound, often causes severe irritation, pain, swelling and blistering. Secondary infection of the lesions can also occur.

Also, Scotland can get pretty midge-tastic at certain times of the year, at which point I'd quite like some sort of War of the Worlds style death ray to sweep the skies.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 3:30 AM
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I recently got a $200 ticket from the narnian government because out of all my 6msq yard there was one plant with a dish under the pot, which contained mosquito larvae. they look all over (even the water in your vases inside, interestingly.) it's...kind of great and I fully deserved the fine. thanks for protecting us from dengue fever! I'll pay gratefully at the convenient bar-code reading 24-hour axs machine! benign dictatorships are weird.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 3:37 AM
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Relevant.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 5:14 AM
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125: at least some of them have the decency to go hide in the desert and make spaceships.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 5:42 AM
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126: that sounds horrible. And not the sort of thing to read when I'm just off to spend a weekend mainly out of doors in, roughly, "an arc running from East Anglia through Oxfordshire into Dorset". Haemorrhagic lesions here I come!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 6:28 AM
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129: Yeah, Elon Musk is exceptional in that sense. And you forgot the electric car with a Lotus Elise chassis that goes 0-60 in 2 seconds. He does give the impression of working steadily through a list of SF books from his youth, crossing things off.

Fortunately he will probably reach death before getting into the Peter Watts.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 7:06 AM
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An anecdote about Mosquito Flats---lately and unsuccessfully renamed Yukon Flats---went over very well at a recent job interview.

I can also personally attest that Sam McGee was lucky--LUCKY--to have been "on the marge of Lake LaBarge" in the winter because in the summer he would have been EATEN.

Only 14 more days before I go up North!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 7:12 AM
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131: I was actually thinking of John Carmack, but anyhow, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 7:18 AM
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131: And he dumped his wife for a Doctor Who* actress!

*Well, among other things.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 7:21 AM
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An actress with more than one role? Go figure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 7:28 AM
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Who, for fucksake, thinks anti-malarial precautions that need a stable electricity supply are of any use whatsoever?

That was my first instinct, but you don't need continuous electricity supply, you just need about enough to keep a cell phone charged. Cell phones are increasingly common in Africa and people have figured out ways to keep them charged when they are away from power lines. The same approach can work for bugzappers. With the rate at which IC, laser, and micromirror prices are coming down the whole thing could be literally a few dollars per item in bulk. Right now they are using large computers, lasers, and optics, but that's appropriate when you're doing proof of concept experiments.

There's a better than even chance that this line of research will go nowhere, but it's interesting and might turn out to be really helpful.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 8:07 AM
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I think maybe working for a stable electrical supply might also be a good idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 8:13 AM
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Isner-Mahut!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 8:13 AM
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And I think insect ranges are generally moving north, so this may be useful soon in countries that now have stable grids. It's not like the US is going to do anything as sensible as ticket for malarial water; we're too busy outlawing laundry lines and compost heaps.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:05 AM
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re: 130

Yeah, it was bloody unpleasant. Although, as a side effect, when I went to the doctors to get antibiotics and complain about the itching and the swollen lymph nodes, she decided I should get the neck swelling examined. And it was 'teh tumour', so the little biting bastards did have a decent side-effect, as I'm not sure when I'd have noticed otherwise.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:13 AM
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Yikes. Is Teh Tumour biopsied and found harmless yet? Or are you mid-tumouououor?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:16 AM
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Also, I may be misremembering, but doesn't malaria need people (rather than other animals) as hosts? If I've got that straight, then protecting individual people is a herd immunity kind of thing -- each person protected by a zapper helps the larger problem in the same way cleaning up a saucer of water does. You don't have to cover the whole territory with death rays, just people's houses.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:16 AM
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140: Hey, solidarity in neck-tumorousness. We can compare scars.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:18 AM
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140: Jesus, ttaM. I am not sure I knew this! But anyway, good on the horrible biting flies for keeping you with us.

My worst beastie attack was fire coral, which has a fascinating sort of revue it runs through: from searing pain and red welts, to semi-painful lollipop-shaped lesions, to psychotically itchy red polka dots that then go system-wide. Lord, that sucked.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:20 AM
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re: 141

Had it removed about 18 months ago, and it was fine. The thyroid biopsy was dubious [4 on the 1-5 scale of oh-my-god-malignant]. But when they took it out it was fine, and I didn't need any radioactive iodine after-wards.

I think I may have briefly mentioned it at the time -- I had a lot of fun with post-operative problems.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:21 AM
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re: 143

I don't have much of a scar anymore, apart from one section where [and I shit you not] the surgeon decided to open it up again with a scalpel, while I was sitting in bed, with no anaesthetic or scrubbing or anything.

Literally, he said "hmm, I think this probably does need re-opened" and while I was thinking, "oh, great, another wait for surgery", he picked up a scalpel and sliced it across my neck.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:23 AM
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146: And then licked your neck?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:24 AM
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Jesus Christ. The temptation to take the scalpel away from him and show him what it felt like had to have been huge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:24 AM
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Because it's a pretty creepy story already.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:24 AM
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It wasn't painful. I think I sort of spluttered and said something like, "should you have done that, here?" and he said, "the nerve endings are dead from the original surgery, so it'd be painless". Which, I think, relied on him cutting directly along the original incision line.

There wasn't any worry about infection, as I was already on IV vancomycin because they'd bloody infected me already.

I do like telling the story though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:28 AM
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I can guarantee the closest shave surgery you'll ever know.


Posted by: Dr. Todd | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:28 AM
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150.2: Based on that logic, you'd better hope he remembers to wash his hands.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:31 AM
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Had it removed about 18 months ago, and it was fine.

Glad to hear it. Must've missed it the first time around.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:32 AM
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malaria need people (rather than other animals) as hosts?

Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax as well as at least two others can infect people to cause malaria. The pathogens have a life cycle that requires mosquitoes and also mammalian hosts. They have coevolved with their hosts, for some populations even with their host's immune systems.

Here's a coevolution review:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18687771


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:40 AM
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Moreover, the most serious Mendelian diseases in human (sickle-cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, ovalocytosis) present in appreciable frequencies of the population all confer reduced mortality for malaria-infected heterozygotes (that is, carriers).


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 9:44 AM
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protecting individual people is a herd immunity kind of thing

The laser fence people think it would be useful around a small village or a hospital; especially at dusk and dawn, when the mosquitoes are active but the people would like to move around and eat, not huddle under their nets.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 10:50 AM
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And I think insect ranges are generally moving north

The Aussies do just fine without magic lasers.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-26-10 3:59 PM
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