A slow-moving pandemic?

The Scotsman claims today that the government is planning to vaccinate the entire UK population against swine flu.

That might turn out to be a wise decision, but I’m a bit concerned about the timescale:

The last people won’t get their flu jab till November 2010.

I’m not sure it can be done any sooner, but if it turns out to be a fast-moving pandemic, I presume half the population might be dead before the government gets a chance to save them.

Unable to get headaches

Originally uploaded by fabbriciuse

This will probably make most readers of this blog envious, but I am curious to find out whether I’m unique in this respect.

I seem to be unable to get a headache.

Even when I have a hangover, I only have the other symptoms without any headache at all.

I had some kind of mild headache a couple of years ago, but that what as part of some viral infection that caused pain in most of the body, too, so I’m not sure that counts.

A google search for unable headache seems to return only pages about people who can’t get rid of their headaches rather than being unable to get them in the first instance.

So am I a mutant, or is this actually pretty normal?


The H5N1 Virus [snag]
Originally uploaded by Quiplash!

Jeg havde da haft lidt ondt i halsen i længere tid, men det var da ikke noget alvorligt.

Men så eskalerede det pludselig torsdag aften – mit hovede blev varmere og varmere, og min krop koldere og koldere.

Jeg gik i seng, men jeg sov elendigt – jeg vågnede hele tiden op med den samme meningsløse drøm.

Fredag morgen var jeg slet ikke i stand til at gå på arbejde, og jeg sov næsten uden afbrydelser til sidst på eftermiddagen.

Så stod jeg op, spiste en banan, så lidt TV, spiste en sandwich og lidt is, og så gik jeg i seng igen.

Kl. 5 om morgenen vågnede jeg brat op, feberfri og klarhovedet, men meget, meget træt.

Det tog mig så det meste af lørdagen at komme til kræfter igen, og først i dag har jeg været mig selv igen.

Og stakkels Phyllis ser ud til at gennemleve samme sygdomsforløb, blot med et døgns forsinkelse, så hun har ikke været meget værd i dag. 🙁

Nu håber jeg blot ikke, alle børnene følger efter på rad og række!

Opdatering (17/12): Jeg var ved lægen i dag og fik antibiotika (cefalexin).

Fact and fiction

I’ve almost completed reading Brian Sykes’s The Seven Daughters of Eve.

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the first two thirds, although the book is a tiny bit out of date. It’s one of those nice examples of popular science that actually gives you a feel for how things happen in the engine room, rather than just presenting the results.

However, towards the end he starts writing fictional stories about the seven “clan mothers” of Europe, and this is definitely the weakest part of the book.

He assigns hair colour and other physical characteristica to them, although he obviously doesn’t know this.

Also, to make the descriptions seem realistic, he strays into areas about which he clearly has little knowledge.

For instance, he writes about one of them that their “language was not elaborate, but quite sufficiently developed to impart […] basic information.” As a linguist, I know this is nonsense. All human languages, whether spoken by hunter-gatherers or by invest bankers, are equally elaborate and highly developed.

So read the first part of this book, but skip the seven fictional chapters.


Glass of water (4/365)
Originally uploaded by Jim Murphy

Dominic Lawson has a good rant about water in The Independent today.

He’s questioning why so many people are drinking so much water:

This organised panic about dehydration seems to stem from a misreading – quite possibly deliberate – of guidelines from the US Food and Nutrition Board in 1945. These stated that “a suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is one millilitre for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” As Shapiro notes, the last sentence of that advice is always left out, leading to the idea that we need an extra eight glasses of water over and above our actual requirements.

Apart from that, I’ve never understood why the same amount of water is recommended everywhere. If I’m in a really hot place, such as walking around in the midday sun in July in Spain or Georgia, I naturally drink lots of fluid. However, during winter in Scotland, I simply don’t feel the need to drink as much (which is natural given I sweat much less), but the water fanatics still claim I should drink the same eight glasses as in the Mediterranean summer sun.


For some time, I’ve tried to avoid multi-blade razors because they’re very bad at creating sharp edges such as at the end of sideburns or mustaches. Also, they often are difficult to clean when one hasn’t shaved for three or more days because the hairs get stuck between the blades.

However, I’ve now discovered Gillette Fusion which not only has five blades; it also has access to the back of the five blades, making it feasible to flush out all hairs, and it has an extra single blade on the other side for precision shaving.

It’s not perfect, but it’s the best razor I’ve used yet. Nice.

Yummy, fattening Special K

back of special k box
Originally uploaded by erinn_levit

I’ve never understood why Special K is marketed as a cereal for dieting and staying slim.

I just love Special K with skimmed milk (only the plain stuff, though – wee pieces of dried fruit just spoils the experience), but I consider it a special treat that is bad for my waistline, not at all as diet.

This might have something to do with the fact that I tend to eat portions the size of a small bucket, but also that it’s almost exclusively carbohydrates, which tend to make me fat.

Today I introduced Léon to the joys of Special K, and he loved it, too. Now i just need to convert Charlotte, Marcel and Phyllis…