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Odd Lots

  • In response to numerous queries: QBit is still alive, and still pretty frisky, considering that our vet suggested he would be gone by now. Yes, his lymph nodes are still swelling, and we won’t have him for a whole lot longer, but he’s fighting lymphoma pretty well. We’re giving him a supplement called Apocaps, that supposedly accelerates apoptosis in cancer cells. I’ll keep you posted.
  • A new study involving more than a million patients pretty much drives the last nail into the coffin of cholesterol alarmism. Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, and therefore statins don’t do people any good. This is a very very big deal. It’s not enough to ignore government-issued nutrition advice. I’d recommend doing the opposite.
  • There are 18 volcanoes in the US considered “very high threats.” I have never lived close to any of them, and that was (mostly) deliberate. Arizona has two volcanoes with a threat rating (one “moderate” and one “very low”) but neither of those is within a hundred miles of me. Click through to the PDF; it’s excellent, and will tell you what volcanoes in your state have threat ratings.
  • Good article on life expectancy. (Thanks to Wes Plouff for the link.) As I read it, the US is doing pretty well compared to the rest of the world. I wish there were data on life expectancy plotted against habitual hours of sleep per night. My intuition is that people who short sleep die younger.
  • 2018’s tornado count is the lowest in 65 years. STORMY, are you still at it?
  • Merriam-Webster will show you what words were coined the year you were born, or any arbitrary year from 1500 to the present. On the list for 1952 are stoned, global warming, deep space, modem, nonjudgmental, softcover, field-effect transistor, plotline, sonic boom, and Veterans Day. So what are the cool words on your list?
  • We don’t hear much about polar bears these days, in part because they’re thriving, in spite of any changes in the climate that may be happening. Three recent papers cited at the link.
  • Our pool water is still at 84 degrees, almost certainly due to a warmish fall (it hit 90 in our neighborhood today) and especially our pool cover. We were in the pool today, and luvvin’ it.
  • Best webcomic I’ve seen in some time. Carol and I just finished a whole box of pumpkin spice K-cups, and that may do us for another year. We think that coffee should be light, sweet, and spicy, like life. Goths we are not, evidently.


  1. Larry Nelson says:

    As a guy who has spent my whole life downwind of serious volcanoes, I was puzzled by the study. Using aviation disruption as a major threat factor is crazy. Aviation may be disrupted for a week or a month while a volcano is erupting but it is easily avoided. The far more troublesome threats are the lahars and earthquake induced mud flows that will reek havoc on the Seattle area.

    I was in Seattle for a wedding the weekend that St. Helen’s blew. We were home bound to the east that Sunday morning and were turned back at the top of Snoqualmie Pass in the ever increasing ash fall. Some of my family who got an earlier start that day were stuck in the thick of it. It felt very prehistoric to be inconvenienced by a volcano.

  2. Orvan Taurus says:

    I like my coffee dark, but it does NOT need to be bitter. Between French Press and Cold Brew… it can very smooth without the bitter, even when dark. That’s dark, not charred.

    And, last I checked I was not a goth… though I seem to (virtually) hang out with some. It’s a bit strange, but I seem to always be just on the periphery of things, not in the thick of them.

    And “global warming” in 1952? Before ‘The Coming Ice Age’ and all that. Huh.

    1. As I’ve never tried cold brew nor French press, I’ll plead ignorance here. I hated the coffee that my parents drank, and it put me off coffee entirely until I was 33. (I developed a taste for it when I started to do a lot of traveling for my job with Ziff-Davis.) I ate at hotel restaurants on business trips, and when I sat down, the first thing they did was pour coffee for me. I stopped them when I could, but I couldn’t always (sometimes they poured my coffee before the hostess even showed me to my table) and soon realized that with enough cream, even dark coffee appealed to me. And it helped wake me up after nights on unfamiliar (and generally hard) beds.

      I never had the least suspicion that you were a goth. And there’s something to be said for slipping easily among cultural groups, as you get a bird’s eye view of the elements making up our culture.

      The idea of global warming goes back to the 19th century, but it didn’t become a fetish until it was clear that we weren’t tumbling into a new Ice Age, as we thought in the 70s.

  3. Bob Halloran says:

    ’56: angsty, barf, event horizon, zilch

    1. I was thinking of challenging my readers to choose seven terms from the list and use them in a sentence. Your four are just dripping with possibility! (If I have time today–laying out a paperback edition of The Cunning Blood I’ll try that myself.)

  4. Alan says:

    More interesting to me are the words that were coined later in my life and get me thinking about how things change in a few years. For example, when I was a sophomore in High School I didn’t know the words: “blow-dried”, “cheesesteak”, “chipmaker”,”gazillion”,”optical disc”,”plan B” or “strip mall” but by my Senior year I did.

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