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Lots of Odd Lots


  1. Orvan Taurus says:

    Gee, and I just happen to have K2 and magnesium in the supplement regimen, originally for other reasons, but… good to know.

    1. Just make sure you’re getting enough D. That seems to be the big challenge these days. If you haven’t had your blood levels of various chemicals tested recently, do.

      1. Keith says:

        And be aware that the “normal” or “recommended” range of values for Vitamin D that many medical testing labs use when flagging high or low values in their lab reports are the old values from the days when vitamin D was seen only as the vitamin that prevents rickets. There is currently considerable disagreement what the correct “normal” range should be, though we do know that vitamin D is good for many things besides preventing rickets, and needs a higher level to affect those other things.

        The advice I have seen from medical people who seem trustworthy is that a level of 50 to 60 should be good for most people, and up to double that level is not high enough to be harmful for nearly anyone, and those higher levels might be helpful for people with unusual conditions that can benefit from higher vitamin D levels. In the past, many labs would flag anything above 30 as “high”.

        I had one doctor tell me that vitamin D levels over 30 were associated with kidney stones. I don’t know how definite that is, and whether the “association” is that the vitamin D promotes the kidney stones, or that some things that promote kidney stones also can increase vitamin D. I imagine no details are known beyond that an association with kidney stones was found (and maybe only in one study). Biology is complicated.

  2. greatUnknown says:

    given comments that at least some of the cars on the freighter were electric, I wonder if a car battery caught fire. If that was the actual cause, it is likely that it will never be revealed.

    1. I wondered that too. The Verge has a story indicating that the shipment contained a number of Audi E-Tron Sportbacks, which are electric. Nobody knows yet if one of the cars spontaneously caught fire, or if the fire was due to some other cause. Lithium battery fires are an ugly business. Here’s the story:

  3. Barbie is the shape she is because… drumroll… her clothes aren’t to scale in terms of thickness. People get all het up about her nude proportions, but really she’s just a dress form from the neck down. I have a fashion doll, very politically correctly made to the average proportions of a real human female. Her clothes wind up pretty shapeless.

    Now, originally, Barbie did have nipples… (my wife used to collect Barbies and we saw some of the 1950s vintage dolls so equipped in other people’s collections. This is also how I find myself with fashion dolls of my own.) Were the 50s not so prudish as we (born in the 60s) were led to believe?

    1. By contrast, 22 inch Asian Ball Jointed Dolls (in this case Volks Dollfi types) can have much more natural figures and still look good in clothes because their clothes are only half as far out of scale in terms of thickness and stiffness.

    2. Ok. Does “thickness” here mean the thickness of the cloth from which the clothes are made? Or the thickness of the doll? I know very little about fashion or dolls, much less fashion dolls. This is an interesting concept, one I’ve not heard of before.

      Back in the ’70s, storefront mannequins had nipples, at least while bralessness was a thing. Not the case anymore.

  4. TRX says:

    > Those who know how to read an upside-down ‘e’

    Which brings up something that has been annoying me for a while. When I was in grade school in the 1960s we were taught “how to use the dictionary”, including the sounds for the various pronunciation symbols.

    Unfortunately, whenever I use an online source to look up a word, they all seem to use *different* symbols. I tried to find out when that changed, but apparently never hit on the magic search string.

  5. TRX says:

    > Vitamin D appears to have a strong protective effect against SARS2, but it looks like you also need vitamin K2 and magnesium

    It’s hard to get too much magnesium; your gut will only handle so much of it before “severe intestinal distress” sets in.

    While the link between K2 and D, and K’s own benefits, are well-documented, K2 isn’t entirely a good thing for everyone. While many people take blood thinners, K2 is a blood thickener, which you need to make allowances for.

    As far as vitamin D, I was able to buy a test kit on Amazon for less than the co-pay at my doctor’s office, so I used that. I turned out to be severely deficient in D, and have been taking supplements for a couple of months. Time to run another test, probably. Be aware that when you have blood labs done at the doctor’s office, D is not always included. Also be aware that the accepted normal D level in the USA is much smaller than that of the rest of the world.

    1. The other problem with D is that some people can tolerate higher levels than others, and some (including a couple of my friends) get sick if they take more than a modest supplement. My D is at the top of the scale and I feel fine; as with everything else in biology, everybody’s mileage will vary.

      I try to get out in the sun a lot, which down here is a low bar. People who live in gray climates like upstate new York (where I lived while I worked for Xerox IT) don’t have those opportunities. I’ve often wondered if Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is mostly a consequence of Vitamin D deficiency.

  6. TRX says:

    > And they put the French fries inside the tortilla. Labor-saving fast food at its best…or at least its weirdest.
    I’m not seeing much “taco” there, but if they can call the chemical mess sold in American grocery stores “cheese”, I guess you can call anything anything you want.

    I do note that there have been several restaurants who have made the news by putting their French fries inside hamburgers.

    At least that’s not as weird as the story of a friend of mine who ordered a “hamburger with everything” while visiting Australia. Apparently, pickled beets on hamburgers are a thing Down Under.

    1. I think the only taco-ish element in French Tacos is the tortilla.

      Pickled beets? I could almost see that, if beets are a local staple. When I was 9 or 10, my cousin would take me to the local Dog & Suds in Blue Island, where they put coleslaw on their hamburgers, as part of “everything.” I liked it so much I started putting coleslaw on my burgers any chance I could.

      There should be a rule: When traveling, never order an anything with everything.

    2. greatUnknown says:

      absolutely. it’s not an australian hamburger without beetroot

  7. TRX says:

    > nearly all of a 49-satellite Starlink launch failed to remain in orbit due to geomagnetic storm effects

    People have been launching satellites for more than half a century. It sounds more like someone forgot the basics than something that was just discovered.

    1. Yes. You would think. Orbital ballistics is a whole lot less complicated than biology. The problem might be not having any way to measure the “puffiness” of the atmosphere at any given time. That said, a launch in the middle of a geomagnetic storm should give the little gizmos some extra boost whether we can measure the additional drag effect or not.

  8. TRX says:

    > I had one doctor tell me that vitamin D levels over 30 were associated with kidney stones.

    Having recurrent kidney stones myself, I’ve done a bunch of reading on the subject.

    I can’t quite say “nobody knows what causes kidney stones”, because the reality is that there are many-many experts who know for certain what causes them, and they’ll expound at length. The problem is that few of them agree with one another, and most of the “research” on the subject is so flawed it’s not even worth reading.

    1. There are different kinds of kidney stones. I caught the one I had in 1997 and the doc had it analyzed. It was the kind that came from vitamin C and strong black tea. Well, whaddaya know: In the preceding couple of months I had been megadosing vitamin C to ward off colds, and had the habit of drinking two bottles of Snapple iced tea every day, when the roach coach stopped in our office building’s parking lot. (Anybody remember the Pizza Pride girl?) I loved iced tea and gave it up with some grumbling…and over the next couple of months lost almost ten pounds. It was the sugar, not the tea, and that was my first inkling that carbs make you fat. So if I paid with a kidney stone (and that was a steep price paid in pain) it was a price worth paying. I weighed 170 at the time. I now weigh 145.

      1. greatUnknown says:

        had the same issue with tea and kidney stone – but I simply switched to green tea, which is much lower in oxalates. and I use flavors without sugar [unfortunately, I can’t find a totally unsweetened green tea and I’m too lazy to brew my own].

  9. TRX says:

    > The problem might be not having any way to measure the “puffiness” of the atmosphere at any given time.

    We have “space weather” satellites up there that do exactly that.

    Well, we did at one time, anyway.

  10. Olli says:

    “Vitamin D appears to have a strong protective effect against SARS2…” and autoimmune disease too.

    “Vitamin D reduces autoimmune disease”

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