Month: October 2014

Dispatch from the Trenches #13

Ebola Vaccine Would Likely Have Been Found By Now If Not For Budget Cuts: NIH Director

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

Though he cautions this cannot and should not be rushed.

“Sometimes vaccines not only don’t work, they make things worse,” Collins told HuffPost. “Look at the HIV step trial, where that vaccine not only did not protect [against] HIV, it increased susceptibility because it did something to the immune system that made it more vulnerable. That could happen here too.” (The private sector, it should be noted, hasn’t developed an Ebola vaccine for a variety of reasons, primarily financial ones.)

There are limited vaccine human trials underway but it’s going to be a slow process to know whether it works or not.

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

What would happen if these lanes were reduced to 10-feet wide, as proposed? Three things. First, cars would drive more cautiously. Second, there would be roughly eight feet available on each side of the street for creating protected cycle lanes, buffered by solid curbs. Third, the presence of these bike lanes would make the sidewalks safer to walk along. All in all, an easy, relatively inexpensive win-win-win that DOT could fund tomorrow.

Fascinating case for decreasing lane width to decrease speeds, integrate bike lanes and save lives because of those buffers to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to decreased speeds being less deadly.

According to a broad collection of studies, a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 30 m.p.h. at the time of impact is between seven and nine times as likely to be killed as one hit by a car traveling 20 m.p.h. This tremendously sharp upward fatality curve means that, at urban motoring speeds, every single mile per hour counts.

Canned: A WWII-Era Community Cannery Hangs on in Rural Virginia – Modern Farmer

This particular cannery opened in 1942, during the World War II “Victory Garden” push to encourage the American public to become more self-sufficient while so much food was being sent to feed soldiers overseas. By the end of the war, according to a 1977 USDA publication, there were more than 3,800 community canneries in the country.

Soon after the Victory Garden craze ended, however, modern supermarkets, home freezers, changing tastes and other factors began thinning the cannery ranks. In 2012, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent named Donna Meade found that just 14 community canneries remained in the state, when she wrote her master’s thesis on the topic. (The Keezletown Community Cannery claims to be the last in operation founded during World War II; Modern Farmer couldn’t confirm or refute this, and Meade’s research didn’t focus on the history of any of the other canneries that are still in operation).

My wife is an active canner and preserver of food. It’s a neat process and great for when you find yourself with pounds of cranberries or bushels of apples. There is now fruit leather, apple butter, cranberry/chocolate jam and other delicious things in my house because of my wife’s hard work and interest in preserving. We have local orchards where we could go and pick the raspberries and apples so it cost us very little to create these delicious treats we’ll enjoy for months.

We’ve also canned chicken and pork to have on hand. It came in very handy when the government shut down last year (as they’re threatening to do again this year). Which meant I lost my paycheck for a few weeks. We were still able to eat and live pretty well on the food we had saved and squirreled away. Canning is not just for Mormons, survivalists or doomsday preppers. Canning and food preservation can help you get through a lost job or a bad winter storm.

If you’re interested, you should find out if there’s a local cannery in your area, like this one in Northern Virginia. It’s not a hard very hard nor expensive but it does take time and a fair amount of kitchen space.

Mac OS Ten Ten Ten

When I see anyone mention Mac OS X 10.10 all I can think about are those long distance deals from the late 90s.

A friend shared this tweet today:

Immediately, I thought about all of those cheap long distance ads from the late 90s. Do you remember when calling long distance was a thing to be scheduled? What about having a different company for long distance calling and local calling? Are you even old enough to remember landline phones and pre-modem society?

I’ve found a few of those ads if you don’t remember them. They were all over the place and were all 10-10-something. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. And every time Mac OS X 10.10 is mentioned, you immediately think of long distance calling and Christopher Lloyd in a taxi.

My Life Rules

I live my life by two rules. I don’t care what other people do with their lives if it doesn’t hurt people. And the most important one, treat other people how I want to be treated.

Who am I to say what’s right/wrong? If it works for you. Screw it/him/her/them. Do it. I don’t understand why people feel the need to police other’s actions.

From a chat with a friend last week:

S’true, though. You want to be a better person, you live your life hurting nobody, and you don’t worry about things that don’t hurt you. If everyone else did that, imagine all the free time the world would have.

Simplistic? Maybe. But I don’t waste my energy hating people or trying to change who they are.

No one is entitled to your time, and you can stop at any point you feel yourself running out of energy.

Dispatch from the Trenches #12

Not the Twitter We Want, but it’s the Twitter we Deserve

As the social survivors of “Web 2.0” gorge themselves on gifted youth they start to move further away from being things people enjoy. They become business-degree-managed sameness.

Sit back, grab your icy beverage and get comfortable. Joe makes a lot of really great points here in his dissertation on Twitter. I appreciate his dive into the world of Tent/Cupcake as well. I played with Tent a bit and realized I do not possess a Linux Beard.

Love, Grampa and Grandmaster Flash

Facebook loves to be helpful. It will auto-complete anyone you tag. Anyone. This has led to some hilarious mistaggings of Grandma to Grandmaster Flash turning the rapper into possibly the most caring, lovable rapper of all time.

Grandmaster Flash 1

Grandmaster Flash 2

Brown M&Ms

The story of Van Halen’s Brown M&M line in the contract rider was not a sign of rock star excess. The Brown M&Ms were there as a quick way to check if the promoter had read the contract rider.

It’s an interesting story because it’s legend has grown for so long and made sense in the context of huge rock stars touring the country. It was a brilliant move to combat unsafe conditions and as an early warning that the setup of the shows would take much longer and cost more.

Eavesdropping on the Dawn Patrol

Dawn Patrol is a fun, new podcast from the makers of Technical Difficulties, (formerly Generational).

If you want to know what it’s about in 140 characters of less, I’ll let Justin Lancy put it better than I can.

When I was in college, my roommates and I would often have rambling conversations about technology, video games, movies, TV and anywhere the threads of discussion took us. I love this podcast because it captures the random threads created by four friends talking. There’s no editing. No caffeination. No polished presentations. There’s real people having real conversations.

I feel like I’m eavesdropping on their conversation when there’s a new episode released. It’s so much fun and I highly recommend it.