Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Summary #6

To Kill a Mockingbird was written 50 years ago. It has been translated into 40 languages, woman Pulitzer Prize, made into an enduringly popular movie. Harper Lee, the author was given a Presidential Medal of Honor. This is the only book she has ever written.

As early as 1600BC Mesoamericans had learned complex rubber technology. The made rubber balls for ritual games, used rubber bands and had rubber sandals; this required rubber to be process for bounce/resiliency, elasticity and durability respectively, each a different "technology".

Orphan drugs are those for diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 [in the US] Big Pharma's PR people often say they are dedicated to finding drugs for those diseases even though they would make little money from them. Very few are brought to the market. Some are found to have unusual uses and prove to be money makers, for example bot ox was originally a cure for a condition causing muscle spasms but is now a very popular injection to make facial wrinkles disappear.

On the medical front, voice recognition software has advanced to the point that some 150,000 doctors are now using it for their patient's notes. It's now good enough, say they, that it no longer translates"supraspinatus" [a rotator cuff muscle] as "fish banana". Apparently there's not software to decode doctor's handwriting and probably never will be.

One more medical note: a craving for ice, all the time, not just in summer weather, is called "pagophagia" and is often a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. So when that guy at the next table at Pizza Hut is crunching away on his ice, tell him he really should be at a steak house having red meat, not a 4-cheese pizza.

In 982 Eric the Red sailed to a big island west of Iceland. He went home to Iceland and reported he'd found a big island he called "Greenland" and invited settlers to move there -- an bit of real estate hype! 4000 people fell for it. Once they were there he took off and found an even bigger "island" Newfoundland where he started a colony called "Vineland" Not many followed him there. Today Greenland is getting greener thanks to global warming and the 56,000 residents look forward to some prosperity in the future. When the coastal cities of North American and Europe are under water in a couple hundred years Greenland may be prime real estate.

The Kellogg Company has just recalled 28 million boxes of Apple Jacks, Corn Pups, Froot Looops and Honey Smacks because the lining in the box has such an awful smell people are complaining it makes them nauseous to the point of vomiting. They can't agree if it's a waxy, metallic or soapy smell, but they hate it.

Which brings me to a personal note. There's long been split in my family. One daughter and her family all love the herb cilantro [which has lately become very popular] which I and my other daughter think it tastes like soap and we want nothing with cilantro in it. I've discovered that there are at least two websites or blogs dedicated to people who fell as we do about it's soapy taste.

Finally from Wimbledon, an amazing game of tennis in which John Isner finally beat Nicholas Mahutin in the longest match ever played there with a score of 70-68 achieved in 182 games that took 11 hours and 5 minutes to play. The previous records was a winning game played by Jack Kramer in 1947 which lasted though 167 games [time not given] Yesterday Isner lost his next game in 57 minutes. Phew!


Kass said...

To Kill A Mockingbird - a favorite all the way around.

To me, cilantro tastes tastes like the foot creme Desenex smells (never tasted it).

Marie aka Grams said...

You've done it again, June. I love your asides.


Scary info on Greenland and the coastal cities of US. Forty years means my granddaughter will be a little over 50. What a sad state of affairs she will be suffering. -- barbara