Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring break at Wal-Mart

Skyler Bartels kept looking over his shoulder. It's a habit he picked up living at the Windsor Heights Wal-Mart for three days.

Really living there. Eating, sleeping, checking out the DVDs, never leaving. The plan was to spend his entire spring break there. Under the radar.

Some kids go to Cancun. Skyler Bartels, a Drake University sophomore from Harvard, Neb., went to the garden and patio department...

The Swirling Vortex of Doom

Early in the morning on November 21, 1980, twelve men decided to abandon their oil drilling rig on the suspicion that it was beginning to collapse beneath them. They had been probing for oil under the floor of Lake Peigneur when their drill suddenly seized up at about 1,230 feet below the muddy surface, and they were unable free it. In their attempts to work the drill loose, which is normally fairly easy at that shallow depth, the men heard a series of loud pops, just before the rig tilted precariously towards the water...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ahhh, The Joys Of A Lung Infection

Well, I woke up this morning and decided I was through dealing! I have been fighting a nagging cough, chest pains, and this morning I added trouble breathing. I was the first in line at the 'Same Day Clinic' at 9:00am. And here is what I have:

Bacterial Pneumonia:

1) Fever: > 38.3 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit
2) Chills -- sudden onset
3) Cough -- dry
4) Cough -- productive with sputum that has a rusty color. It may be thick and have a pinkish tone or blood specks (Streptococcus p.).
5) Chest pain -- sharp, especially upon inhalation (Pleurisy)
6) Rapid shallow breathing
7) Shortness of breath (SOB) -- especially with activity
8) Headache, nausea, vomiting, Diarrhea, and weakness may occur with all types, but more often is due to Legionella p.
9) Abdominal pain
10) Fatigue

Pneumonia is not a single disease, so this is the type that I have:

Bacteria (B.P.) or wet p. -- when the body's resistance is lowered due to certain conditions (i.e., age, disease, alcohol, Malnutrition, or how about breathing pollution for 11 days in Hong Kong!) the normal bacteria of the mouth and the throat multiply and invade one or all of the 5 sections (lobes) of the lungs. The infected lobe (or lobes) then fills with fluid and pus (Consolidation), in turn interfering with the lung's normal oxygen exchange.

The infection can spill into the blood stream and invade the whole body. Bacteria can also enter the lungs from the air or from other sites in the body. Infections can either be acquired from the community at large or while in the hospital.

Streptococcus Pneumonia is the most common cause of bacterial (Lobar) Pneumonia.

I am now taking Augmentin, which is a formulation of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. For those inclined to know, below follows a detailed description of the benefits of Augmentin:

Amoxicillin is a semisynthetic antibiotic with a broad spectrum of bactericidal activity against many gram-positive and gram-negative microorganisms. Amoxicillin is, however, susceptible to degradation by -lactamases and, therefore, the spectrum of activity does not include organisms which produce these enzymes. Clavulanic acid is a -lactam, structurally related to the penicillins, which possesses the ability to inactivate a wide range of -lactamase enzymes commonly found in microorganisms resistant to penicillins and cephalosporins. In particular, it has good activity against the clinically important plasmid mediated -lactamases frequently responsible for transferred drug resistance.

The formulation of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid in Augmentin protects amoxicillin from degradation by -lactamase enzymes and effectively extends the antibiotic spectrum of amoxicillin to include many bacteria normally resistant to amoxicillin and other -lactam antibiotics. Thus, Augmentin possesses the properties of a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a -lactamase inhibitor.

So, Now I am medicated and should start feeling better day by day.

Oh, if you have been around me for the last couple of days (you know who you are) and start getting a sore throat (often described as feeling like you are swallowing glass!)... You probably have Strep. If so, go see a Doctor... And accept my apologies.

Terry Tate - Office Linebacker!

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Data Update in Google Earth!

It's now official! Google released new satellite/aerial photo data for Google Earth on Thursday evening. Here's a summary of the updates found so far:

  • This new data is not in Google Local/Maps yet. - But, Google says it will be later.
  • The basemap for the whole Earth has been changed to another source called TrueEarth. This new data looks better than the old one. Look at all the continents more closely. The colors are much more vibrant and green. (Read one of the comments below which explains more about the TrueEarth data)
  • Most of Germany is now in high resolution
  • Some minor fixes to old data
  • It also appears many Tropical Islands are in higher resolution than before, this includes French Polynesia, some in the Caribbean and the Azores.
  • Even many of the Atolls in the Pacific Islands around French Polynesia are much sharper.
  • The beautiful shallow turquoise waters around the Bahamas have been put back
  • More of the islands in the Caribbean are in higher resolution (previously just fuzzy blotches) - e.g. some of the Grenadines.
  • Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Whitten Library Goes Online!

    I have begun to enter all of our books into LibraryThing.com. This will allow you to browse our collection of books from the web. Listed below are the features.

    Catalog your books

    Easy. Catalog your books online or keep a reading list.

    Social. Show everyone your library, or keep it private. Find people with the same books as you. Get recommendations from readers like you.

    Powerful. Search Amazon, the Library of Congress and 30 other world libraries.

    Tagged. Tag your books as on Del.icio.us and Flickr (eg., wwii, magical realism, computing, country living, cats).

    Safe. Export your data. Import from almost anywhere too.

    Free. Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

    Now this will take time so be patient! I have no idea how many books we actually have but it's got to be more than 1000. Be sure to go to the profile page and check out the features there.

    Sunday, March 19, 2006

    Inspirational Poster #1

    5 Park-like Acres in Brush Prairie

    For those of you who have been to the house, you'll know right where this is. Just as the blacktop starts before you head up the hill is a run down abandoned trailer house on the right. A few weeks ago the land around it was cleared of brush and is now for sale...
    5 acres - $399,900 for the land only!
    If this thing sells for that... Talk about pushing up the value of the neighborhood.

    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Analyze Drivers By Turn-Signal Use

    Fifty-seven percent of Americans admit to having personal reasons for not using turn signals while driving... Are you one of these people?

    Got TiVo? Try CosmoTV!

    We feel that a lot of attention is being paid to Internet video these days. Internet video is great; it's the future. But today we still get most of our value from cable and satellite content. We wanted to build a site where you could find both in one place and record both on any device. Since nothing like that exists, we decided to build it.

    CozmoTV attempts to unify both cable/satellite content and Internet content in one place. You shouldn't care how the video gets to your TV. All you should care about is whether the video is something you find interesting and want to watch. Hopefully CozmoTV will help you do that.

    Currently, CozmoTV only helps you find cable and satellite content and record it on a Series 2 TiVo. Baby steps. We will be adding Internet video support and support for additional devices throughout the summer. Stay tuned...

    To sign up (It's Totally Free!) just watch the demo to the end or jump right to chapter 11 and then click on the link button.

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Saved By 'Sand' Poured Into The Wounds?

    DETECTIVE Danny Johnson was on patrol outside Tampa, Florida, when a report came through of a possible shooting in a junkyard three blocks away. Arriving on the scene, he found an elderly man sitting on a tractor, with a large hole in his leg that was bleeding profusely.

    Realising it would be some time before the ambulance arrived, Johnson opened a packet of sand-like material and poured it into the wound. Within seconds the bleeding had practically stopped, and the man survived. "The medic told me that had I not put the substance in there, the guy would probably have bled out and died," he says.

    Kung Fu Clowns!

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Cable Companies: We'll Kill VoIP

    Cable companies in the U.S. and Canada may be moving to squash one of the biggest threats to their future expansion --- VoIP. A Canadian cable company is already charging customers a premium for using competing VoIP products, and users are complaining that Comcast is purposely degrading the quality of Vonage connections.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Be The First To Trial Windows Live Messenger!

    The new Windows LiveTM Messenger Beta is the next-generation MSN Messenger and, as always, it is free to download.

    It has everything you already love about Messenger – your contact list, emoticons, and plenty of ways to access to your friends via text, voice and video – plus new ways to connect and share documents with magical ease.

    When you move to the new Windows Live Messenger, it will be like upgrading from one MSN Messenger version to the next. All your contacts will move with you, as will all your personalised elements (emoticons, winks, user tiles, themes, etc…).

    Still Peeling Potatoes The Old Way?

    Toothpick In The Microwave?

    The Elegant Universe


    I am currently reading this book and find it to be a very interesting subject. It mentioned on the cover that it was also a PBS NOVA special, so I started hunting for information on the web and look what I found. You can watch the whole 3 hour program right from the comfort of your computer desk. The site is arranged so that all 3 hours of the show are arranged vertically and each hour show is broken into many 6 to 8 minute chunks. If you select the first chapter in the series you can just click on next chapter in the upper right corner of the viewing window to traverse the entire show. I would highly recommend the book so far. It is at times a dizzying read, but nothing a couple more passes of the paragraph wont fix. The concepts presented within will definitely change the way you think about the word and your place in it.

    16 Ways To Tie Your Shoes

    Some of these are pretty interesting! Each style of lacing comes with step by step instructions and video.

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Mystery China Gift revealed!


    Alright here it is! Official weight: 52 pounds. Distance traveled: 9000+ miles. I found this in Shenzhen, China. It is a hand carved hunk of stone, what kind of stone I have no idea. It is carved on both sides and it is accompanied by a hand carved wooden stand. I saw this thing and fell in love with it. It was only after I bought it that I realized how truly difficult it would be to get this rock home! I packed it, and only it in my suitcase, and anytime I needed to move it, (pretty much every day!) both hands were required, as it took pretty much everything I had to get it into trunks of cabs, up stairs, onto trains... Incredibly heavy for it's size!

    The Other Side

    Here is a shot of the other side with my hand in the frame for size reference. Come on... How can it weigh so much? After much bartering, and the agreement on price, I proceeded to actually make the payment for this artifact. As the paper work was being written up, I was being treated with so much respect and energy that I began to fear I had misunderstood the price! It felt like I had agreed to some multi-thousand dollar deal! I worked that price forward and backward on the calculator and even asked to speak to the Visa representative on the phone to ensure the dollar charge of $175 US. It illustrates however, that $175 dollars in China represents 6 months of income, and to those shop owners, my unique gift indeed represented a monstrous purchase!

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Windows Live Beta

    What is Windows Live?

    Your online world gets better when everything works simply and effortlessly together. That's the basic idea behind Windows Live. So the things you care about—your friends, the latest information, your e-mails, powerful search, your PC files, everything—comes together in one place. This is a brand new Internet experience designed to put you in control. And this is just the beginning—you'll see many more new services in the coming months.

    This is Microsoft's attempt to take out Google. We'll see.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Jet Dry In 6 Seconds!

    I ran into this at one of the new Hotels in Hong Kong. This thing actually works! I must like my hands just a tad bit drier than most as I clocked it at around 9 seconds for completely bone dry hands.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Perfect Lake At Risk?

    Low, Low, LOW, Landing!

    A Story For You

    We get done with our appointments early on Monday so I head up to my room for some rest. I decide that it would be fun to watch a movie on the PSP. The room is cold, so I decide to climb into bed, fluff up the pillows, and veg out. Everything is going great, I am into the movie, head phones on, lights are off in the room, everything is perfect. About an hour into the movie something catches my peripheral vision... there is a man standing at the foot of my bed! I freakin jump out of my skin and the man puts both hands up and says, "You don't need turn down service?" It is a hotel worker, who must have knocked, but I didn't hear it, and of course I forgot to throw the bolt on the door. He leaves and I lock the door behind him.

    Lesson learned.

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Greetings From Shenzhen, China

    Things have been very busy and the weather very smoggy, both conspiring to virtually shut down shooting a single interesting photo so far. Sleep is still a mixed bag but I feel good. A smooth trip is what you always hope for but not so good for creating any interesting stories. I suppose that the weather and tree events that have unfolded on an almost weekly basis back home have used up my quota for the month!

    I found my China goody to bring back home, but will keep it a secret until Deb gets to see it since it is for her. (okay, and me.) I will tell you one statistic about this above mentioned item however... It weighs about 60 pounds! I believe I can fit it in my suit case and use the rollers to get it around. If not it will be an interesting trip back home! The purchase of this item did create a great story, but alas, I can not share it will you all yet.

    I am off to do some reading and then head down for dinner. Until next time...

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Hong Kong

    Good Morning from Hong Kong!

    If you want to know what time it is here, just add 4 hours and switch the am or pm. The flight was a long one as usual but uneventful. Sleep was restless as it always is the first night, since the body is in denial and wont do me the favor of just shutting down! We are staying at a Hotel called the Nikko Hong Kong. This is a nice place and very close (walking distance) to most of the vendors we need to see here. I am having trouble focusing on the typing as I am mighty hungry! My body thinks I am trying to punish it by just skipping breakfast and lunch... It will be dammed if it is going to let me miss dinner. First appointment is at 10:00am, breakfast will be at 9:00 and I have an hour to get ready, so I best sign off right now and get moving.

    Photos will be posted as they become available.