Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • I hurt my back and had to cancel a trip to Chicago to see family, and then to Chattanooga for Libertycon, which is the only con I go to anymore. Now, two weeks before my 70th birthday, I have to remind myself that, weight training or no weight training, lifting and carrying heavy things can be a hazard to your health.
  • Health, yeah. New medical research from South Australia shows a causal relationship between low vitamin D levels and dementia. Vitamin D has a number of benefits, most of which have been known for years. Carol and I have an ace in the hole: We’re in Arizona, where cloudy days are rare, so we get a lot more sunlight than we used to. And we take a 5000 IU supplement every morning, mostly because we’re not kids anymore, and D synthesis declines with age, sunshine or no sunshine. Bottom line: Don’t be D-ficient.
  • I dunno, but it sure looks like all the recent Corvettes we’ve seen here around town look like a car that some giant foot stepped on. Not to be outdone by Chevy, Cadillac is fielding the same profile. We giggle every time they go by.
  • I’ve never heard of “foot pool” before, but it looks like a lot of fun. Most of the activity I see mentioned online are from the UK.
  • Bet you never wanted to read the history of canned wine, eh? Well, here it is. I clearly remember drinking a can of white zinfandel among friends circa 1971. Nothing about it seemed odd to me then, as I had yet to encounter conventional wine culture.
  • New research suggests that THE MOST HIDEOUSLY DANGEROUS DEADLY DRUG IN THE ENTIRE COSMOS DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT has anticancer properties. More research is planned, if the poor researchers are ever allowed to lay hands on the stuff.
  • Can we literally throw things into orbit? A startup named SpinLaunch has built a small-scale proof-of-concept launching machine, and has managed to throw a 9-foot payload up as high as 30,000 feet. Fuel, water, atmosphere, clothes? Though the article does not state an acceleration in g’s, it’s gotta be intense, and way beyond what living material can stand. But for provisioning space stations it could be just the thing. Good luck, guys.
  • Wow. I didn’t know this: Big dust clouds near the center of our galaxy taste like…raspberries. Oh, and they smell like rum. Alas, it’s just the ethyl formate talking.
  • A new research paper out of the New England Journal of Medicine has found that in a small trial of a new drug called dostarlimab, with a cohort of 18 colorectal cancer patients, the remission rate was…100%. Dostalimab is a monoclonal antibody originally intended to treat endometrial cancer. Researchers think it may be a much more general cancer treatment, and new studies are planned.
  • And here’s another: A study conducted at the University of Toronto showed that toddlers who grew up with dogs (but not cats) appear to have some protection against Crohn’s Disease. The article doesn’t say that having a cat nullifies the protection, only that growing up with cats has no similar effects.
  • Finally, Amazon must have thought I was Geoffrey Chaucer. Or that the man was WAYYYYY ahead of his time. (Read the page closely.)


  1. Bill Beggs says:

    My defenses against dementia (and I’m nearly your age) is eating a large salad of organic green vegetables every day. During the growing months along the Wasatch front (typically from mid-April to late October), I grow my own greens, including a lot of kale and collards. I’m also still working in a hi-tech industry which I hope, keeps me active mentally. May both of us live long and prosper.

    1. Bob Wilson says:

      My defense is to eat a can of sardines every day. I also eat vegetables every day mainly cooking frozen broccoli and cauliflower and have it with a carrot. For breakfast, I sauté some spinach and have it with a scrambled egg. But sardines are the main event. Look up their nutrition. They are naturally rich in vitamin D and also a major source of calcium but make sure NOT to get boneless/skinless. And of course they provide protein and omega-3 rich fish oil.

  2. Olli says:

    “We’re in Arizona, where cloudy days are rare…”

    Arizona – The Vitamin D State.

    1. Indeed. The last time I was tested I was actually off the top of the “normal” range. Unless and until I start feeling side effects, I’ll be happy with that. (I do understand the hazards, and have researched thoroughly.)

      1. TRX says:

        You probably know that American standards for vitamin D are lower than the rest of the world, but I thought I’d toss that in anyway.

        4000 IU/day brought me up from 28 to 32. That was 2000mg, twice a day.

        I bumped it to 6000 IU/day after getting a lab report back a couple of weeks ago. I added two 1000 IU doses, so I’m spreading it out in evenly spaced intervals.

  3. greatUnknown says:

    Middle English falls between Shakespearean English and Ebonics.

  4. Don Doerres says:

    Any expansion on just how this came to be. I read the ad. Seems legit, from two different sellers. What am I missing?

    1. You mean the Amazon sales page? Look under the main title. It says “Middle English Edition.” Chaucer wrote Middle English. I grant that I studied it in a couple of 300-level courses in college. But write a computer book in it? Probably not.

      1. Bill Meyer says:

        Perhaps it was intended to suggest that assembly language is as challenging as Chaucer?

  5. Bob Wilson says:

    Jeff, I hope you are recovered from your back problem. If so, then this post is just something interesting that you can perhaps use in your writing. Pain and its persistence has a strong psychological component. I have to rush in to make it clear I’m not saying it’s all in your mind, but we are complex beings and psychology plays a part in everything we experience. I’m interested in this topic and I came across this website that started with back pain but now discusses a lot of other kinds. TMS stands for the mind-body syndrome.
    The concept is based on the research of Dr. John Sarno who was a back pain doctor who noticed that non-physical factors had a lot to do with how people recovered from back pain. He followed it up and developed methods that had a lot of success. He wrote four books that you can find on Amazon. The TMS website has a lot of discussion by people who have had success or are trying to have success using his methods.

  6. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    Happy Birthday, OM. Congrats on joining the septuagenarii. And next year makes 50 since the you got the FCC’s attention, right? Lots of milestones (and, hopefully, few millstones). 73.

    1. Yup. In May 1973 I became WN9MQY; that fall I made WB9MQY. Hard to believe it’s been 50 years.

      And the real trick in life is to convert millstones to milestones. I’ve done that a lot, heh.

      Many thanks for hanging out with me here, and for translating my grandmother’s peculiar Irishisms, and all else! (I was a bit of a gomog when I was 10. Grandma loved me anyway.)

  7. Rich Rostrom says:

    Re SpinLaunch: their website has more technical details.

    “…SpinLaunch’s engineering team began evaluating a variety of hardware packages at the 10,000G that components endure during the launch.”

    That of course would be fatal to any living thing, I’d think. And it wouldn’t be good for a lot of electronics or machinery. But they project launching satellites up to 200 kg. And…

    “… through basic mechanical design, prototyping, and high-g testing, SpinLaunch has proven that standard materials and processes can be used to readily build satellites for kinetic launch that perform as well as their conventional counterparts.”

    200 kg is pretty good sized. A Starlink is 227-295 kg.

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