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July 22, 2013

BehindTheMedspeak: Lyme Disease Tick Test Kit


From the website:


This kit allows you to easily see within minutes whether or not a tick carries Borrelia [the bacteria, pictured below magnified 400 times, which cause Lyme disease].


Approximately 30% of all ticks carry this dangerous pathogen.

This kit tells you — with 98% certainty — whether the tick was a carrier or not.

The kit has been tested and recommended by the AOAC Research Institute in the United States.


I do not believe this test kit is anywhere near as good as advertised.

For one thing, some of the statements in the website's copy are just out and out plain wrong.

To the best of my medical knowledge, that "approximately 30% of all ticks carry this dangerous pathogen" is simply untrue.

If you live in an area that has never had a reported case of Lyme disease, then none of the ticks there "carry this dangerous pathogen."

Lyme disease is such a hot button subject, it invariably generates all manner of incorrect and misleading, inflammatory information that oftimes seems like it's fact-based.

Believe very little of what you read anywhere on the subject (except, of course, what you read here).

I spent a fair amount of time drilling down on this topic a month or two ago after Kathryn Schulz, in a Lyme-endemic area of New York, found a tick on her body and wondered how to proceed.

"This kit tells you — with 98% certainty — whether the tick was a carrier or not" — I don't think so.

Not even close.

Here is an excellent discussion of tick testing.

The key sentence from that website: "Under laboratory conditions, these tests [as performed by this reference laboratory] are better than 99.9% accurate at detecting as few as three copies of the targeted molecule."

Nevertheless, I bring this kit to you for your own inspection and evaluation.

It's certainly elegant.

Does Ms. Schulz know about it?

She will.

Trust me on this.

Below, the deer tick that carries Borrelia.


Test kit: €12.49.

July 22, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: About the size of a bread box.

Another: Neither designed nor made in Japan (or the U.S.)

A third: Wait a sec... that's two clues just above — I'm outa here.

July 22, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How to destroy a person's spirit — or set it free to be what it might become


I have known a number of very intelligent people — and an equal number of people not all that smart — whose immediate response to my telling them something that had impressed/amazed/surprised me was, "I knew that."

Rare is the individual who will instead respond — when they already know something and are presented with that fact by someone else — "That's really something. I had no idea."

I taught myself to be one of the latter group by simply insisting that my reflex behavior change.

It took years but it is now second nature.

Another story.

My daughter (30 in October), perhaps seven years old at the time, would come home every day from Greer Elementary School, where she was a second grader, in a classic big yellow school bus that stopped at the intersection of Montvue and Magnolia Drives in our little subdivision of Montvue.

The asphalt road (no sidewalk out in the boonies where I live in Albemarle County, a mile outside the Charlottesville city limits) from the bus stop to our house has a gentle rise about halfway between the two.

It's about 200 feet from the top of that rise to our mailbox alongside the road that leads to my house.

Every day, walking her home from the bus stop, I'd say, "Want to race?"

My daughter would say, "Yes!"

And we would run home, me not as fast as I could but still fast enough to beat her but not by all that much.

It was very important to her that I not let her win by sandbagging.

She needed to believe she had a chance with me appearing to give it everything I had.

Crushing her by 50 feet would have made that the first and last time we ever raced.

My purposely easing up while still staying a couple feet ahead of her — exaggerating my effort so she believed it was taking everything I had — made her push as hard as she could.

And so she gave it everything she had.

She always loved to run.

Fast forward 10 years to her senior year in high school.

Now she was a star on the Charlottesville High School lacrosse team, good enough to be recruited by — and accept an offer from — a then very good William and Mary lacrosse team that had fairly recently made it to the NCAA Final Four.

Why did the lax coach take a chance on her, giving her entrée to a school her SAT scores and grades alone would not have gotten her into?

Because her high school coach, whom I saw only recently around town, and who'd been a teammate of her prospective college coach when they were both on UVA's stellar teams in the early 90s, touted her blazing speed.

What do these two stories have in common?

One thing: you can crush a person's spirit in a heartbeat with a response that, in the short term, makes you big and them small.

But the pleasure of being smarter — knowing something another person thought was pretty wonderful — and then squashing them with your superiority, or obliterating a seven-year-old girl by beating her in a short foot race so convincingly she instantly decides she's never doing that again, how wonderful are those things compared to opening up a person's sense of themself by being generous and putting yourself in a lesser light that lets them shine?

What a shame so many people prefer to win their own little transient victories rather than create conditions that might lead to an increased propensity for lifelong triumphs for others that, in the end, can only make the world a better place for all of us.

Don't be a small person.

Instead, try to grow a bigger heart: as George Eliot remarked, "It is never too late to be what you might have been."

July 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Binder Clip Hand Bag








Peter Bristol.


Wool felt




aluminum tubing.


[via ThingsThatLookLIkeOtherThings]

July 22, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Catme13/GlassEffect17 — Saturday's Fairview 5K: What I look like with Google Glass


Above, a shot by a race photographer about 500 feet from the finish line of a very tough race, at about the 3 mile mark.

It was 78° and very humid at the 7:30 a.m. start and the third mile of the 3.1-mile-long road race was brutal, mostly uphill.

I was exhausted by the time the photo up top was taken, talking to myself and ranting on about this and that to everyone in the vicinity including my friend Nancy Tan (in the pic) who just happened to be walking alongside the race course to visit with her two sons who'd already finished far ahead of me and was nice enough to jog along with me — believe me, it really was a jog and not a run at that point — for a hundred feet or so and shout encouraging words at me.

I was so zoned out and miserable and listening to Led Zeppelin at über-volume right about then so I didn't hear a word she said but no matter, I saw her lips move.

If you look closely at Glass, you will see it's lit up right above my right eye: that's where the screen is and the fact it's lit indicates I was filming at the time (I Glassed the entire race).

Below, the results: another first place finish in the Geriatric Park division.

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 4.12.36 PM


Below, the start: I'm second from the right.


Below, a short video I shot with Glass of the minutes right before the start.

If you want to see — and hear — all 28 minutes and 9 seconds of my miserable experience, the full race video is here.

There are a few amusing comments interspersed amongst the pretty much unremarkable, boring shots that comprise the bulk of the video.

But hey, isn't that pretty much a metaphor for life?

July 22, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

No-Bend Foot Scrubber


From the website:


The Footscrubber can be mounted in your shower or bath tub using the suction cups, and allows you to thoroughly scrub and massage your feet without having to bend over.

Apply soap to the Footscrubber and rub your feet back and forth across the pad to lather the soap and clean your feet.

The softer texture of the Footscrubber washes your feet, while the firmer texture massages the soles of your feet and stimulates your blood circulation.

The oval pebble in the middle is used to stimulate your heel and the balls of your feet.

Hang the Footscrubber after use to air dry. The Footscrubber is perfect for those that are having trouble with their balance or have frail legs.

It is also a great addition to your foot bath, adding a foot massage into your routine.

Size: 27.5 x 13 cm.

Weight: 263 g.



July 22, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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