Swine Flu, Knowledge Enables Prevention

29 April 2009

Thunderf00t’s YouTube Video on the recent outbreak of swine flu.

And this is Thnderf00t’s comment to the video.

Basic health procedures from the World Health Organization.

How can I protect myself from getting swine influenza from infected people?

In the past, human infection with swine influenza was generally mild but is known to have caused severe illness such as pneumonia For the current outbreaks in the United States and Mexico however, the clinical pictures have been different. None of the confirmed cases in the United States have had the severe form of the disease and the patients recovered from illness without requiring medical care. In Mexico, some patients reportedly had the severe form of the disease.

To protect yourself, practice general preventive measures for influenza:

•Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.

•Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.

•Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

If there is an ill person at home:

•Try to provide the ill person a separate section in the house. If this is not possible, keep the patient at least 1 meter in distance from others.

•Cover mouth and nose when caring for the ill person. Masks can be bought commercially or made using the readily available materials as long as they are disposed of or cleaned properly.

•Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after each contact with the ill person.

•Try to improve the air flow in the area where the ill person stays. Use doors and windows to take advantage of breezes.

•Keep the environment clean with readily available household cleaning agents.

If you are living in a country where swine influenza has caused disease in humans, follow additional advice from national and local health authorities.

via YouTube – Swine Flu, Knowledge Enables Prevention.


19th April 2009 – J. G. Ballard

19 April 2009

The following is taken from this article in The Guardian.

JG Ballard, novelist and short-story writer, has died after a long battle will illness, his agent has said.

The 78-year-old author, who was best known for the award-winning Empire of the Sun, a semi-autobiographical novel written in 1984, and his controversial novel, Crash, later adapted into film by David Cronenberg.

His agent, Margaret Hanbury, said it was “with great sadness” that Ballard had passed away this morning after several years of ill health.


Member of the New Wave of science fiction authors,  JG Ballard was one of the first science fiuction authors I read in the sixties. I remember reading The Drowned World, The Crystal World and The Terminal Beach (which I still have in my library). Not my favorite science fiction author – too “psychological” for my taste – I was in to hard science fiction.

How to grow your own fresh air (TED)

15 April 2009

Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air.

How strange. I have at one time or another in the past owned all three of the plants mentioned. They all died of neglect. Maybe I should try again…

Remembering Apollo

9 April 2009

The flight computer onboard the Lunar Excursion Module, which landed on the Moon during the Apollo program, had a whopping 4 kilobytes of RAM and a 74 KB “hard drive.” In places, the craft’s outer skin was as thin as two sheets of aluminum foil.

This quote is from an article at Physorg.com titled Beyond Apollo: Moon Tech Takes a Giant Leap.

The above facts made me curious so I took a quick look at Wikipedia’s page on Apollo’s Guidance Computer (AGC).

This is a photograph of the AGC user interface:


By today’s standards that computer was tiny.

The AGC was used in the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) – later called the Lunar Module (LM). The LM was the bit that landed on the Moon. Here is a photograph of the LM:

Apollo 16 Lunar Module

The Apollo program is on my mind because this July it will be 40 years since the Apollo 11 mission. Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Niel Armstrong took that small step – the beginnings of humanity’s journey out of the cradle. You may have guessed that I think this event is significant in the history of humanity. It will still be remembered in thousands of years as one of the major milestones in our development.

Incidentally; the guidance computer was one of the driving forces behind early research into integrated circuits – necessary for development of that computer you are using to read this.

Read 1/2009 – Making Money

4 April 2009

Book: 1/2009
Title: Making Money
Making Money
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Science Fiction
Why did you get this book? I like Pratchett’s sense of humour.
Did you enjoy the book? Yes, though not my favourite Discworld novel.
Was the author new to you? No. I have read all the adult Discworld novels up to this one.
Would you read something by this author again? Yes. I guess you could call me a loyal reader.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? I am keeping it.
Spoilers? Our hero, Moist von Lipwig postmaster general, has recently manged to get the post office running on time and in the process invented stamps. Now Ankh-Morpork’s absolute ruler, Lord Vetinari, thinks the Royal Bank needs shaping up. When Lord Vetinari asks you to do something you can refuse, in theory, but the consequences of refusal are not particularly attractive. One of Moist’s immediate challenges is to find out why the Royal Mint runs at a loss when they are the ones who manufacture coins? Moist has a challenge before him. His only previous experience with banks was in robbing them. And why is gold so valuable anyway?
Number of pages: 474
Total pages for the year: 474

Jrefs Youtube account is back

3 April 2009

It was apparently a copyright issue that has been resolved. Is it really necessary to suspend the whole account instead of temporarily removing the videos the is contention about?

Anyway here is a link to the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) YouTube account.

Wikipedia has this to say about James Randi.

JamesRandiFoundation YouTube suspended

30 March 2009

I see that The James Randi Educational Foundation channel at YouTube has been suspended. I suspect YouTube has screwed up again. I am watching the situation with the expectation that YouTube sees the error of their ways and fixes this. The JREF is one of the bastions of clear thinking on the internet.