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October 5, 2018

bookofjoe World Exclusive: Many Worlds IRL©®


Constant readers will recall posts over the years touching on Hugh Everett III and his "Many Worlds" theory of the universe.

Breaking: it's not just theory.

For the past few years I've been employing this theory in everyday life and I am here to tell you that, like any valid theory, not only does it describe the present but it also makes predictions that come true.


Using "Many Worlds" in Everyday Life

Sometimes while I'm making something, my attention turns to something else.

When I return to what I was doing, an object or tool I was working with isn't where I left it.

It dawned on me that the object or tool might be precisely where I left it — but in a parallel universe that's almost identical to the one I'm conscious of and believe I'm living in.

When some time later the two universes reconnect, voilà — there's the object or tool, right where I left it.

Think about it.

It's not rocket surgery.


October 5, 2018 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: Transient Smartphone "Blindness"


Long story short: Looking at your phone while lying on your side in bed at night, with one eye covered by a pillow and the other viewing the phone, can result in temporary blindness in the phone eye after putting down the phone.

Below, the 2016 report, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Transient monocular vision loss is a common clinical presentation, and the cause is not always thromboembolic.We present two cases in which careful history taking established a benign cause (for the case histories, see the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org).

A 22-year-old woman presented with a several months' history of recurrent impaired vision in the right eye that occurred at night. The results of ophthalmic and cardiovascular examinations were normal. Vitamin A levels and the results of magnetic resonance angiography, echocardiography, and a thrombophilia screening were also normal.

The second case involved a 40-year-old woman who presented with a 6-month history of recurrent monocular visual impairment on waking, lasting up to 15 minutes. The results of investigations for a vascular cause were again normal. Aspirin therapy had been commenced.

When the patients were seen in our neuro-ophthalmic clinic, detailed history taking revealed that symptoms occurred only after several minutes of viewing a smartphone screen, in the dark, while lying in bed (before going to sleep in the first case and after waking in the second). Both patients were asked to experiment and record their symptoms. They reported that the symptoms were always in the eye contralateral to the side on which the patient was lying.

We hypothesized that the symptoms were due to differential bleaching of photopigment, with the viewing eye becoming light-adapted while the eye blocked by the pillow was becoming dark-adapted. Subsequently, with both eyes uncovered in the dark, the light-adapted eye was perceived to be “blind.” The discrepancy lasted several minutes, reflecting the time course of scotopic recovery after a bleach.

In a study approved by a research ethics committee, two of the authors monocularly viewed a smartphone screen at arm’s length and quantified the time course of recovery of sensitivity in the dark both psychophysically and electrophysiologically (Figure 1A, below).


Visual sensitivity was appreciably reduced after smartphone viewing, taking several minutes to recover, and this reduction in sensitivity was measurable at the level of the retina (Figure 1B, below).


Although most people view screens binocularly, people frequently use smartphones while lying down, when one eye can be inadvertently covered. Smartphones are now used nearly around the clock, and manufacturers are producing screens with increased brightness to offset background ambient luminance and thereby allow easy reading. Hence, presentations such as we describe are likely to become more frequent. Our cases show that detailed history taking and an understanding of retinal physiology can reassure both patient and doctor and can avoid unnecessary anxiety and costly investigations.

October 5, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

How well do you know me?

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 2.20.07 PM

Above, the four obituaries in yesterday's New York Times.

Which one did I read?

Answer here this time tomorrow.

October 5, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Solitaire Cards — Susan Kare


Susan Kare, as every fanboi and fangrrl knows, designed the original Mac icons, among many other achievements.

Back story about these cards here.

From the cards website:



Susan Kare's original artwork for the Windows 3.0 Solitaire game (above) is featured on our new set of playing cards.

The release of these cards coincides with the 25th anniversary of the original Solitaire computer game.

This deck includes two jokers, designed by Kare exclusively for the Areaware release.


Susan Kare created some of the most familiar user interface designs in early computing.

The icons she designed for the original Macintosh operating system helped millions navigate easily through our early and unfamiliar digital environment, and include the trash can, lasso, and Finder Icons.

I worked on the original pixel art for the on-screen Solitaire cards in 1990 using an IBM PC, Microsoft Paint, and the typical 16 VGA color palette of the time. A lot of those weren't particularly attractive colors, but fortunately the card faces only required black, red, and yellow. I was inspired by classic card decks, and had the most fun trying to translate the complicated patterns of the Jacks, Queens, and Kings to a 72 dots-per-inch grid.


Nearly 25 years later, I got back in the 90s mindset to design matching Jokers for the Areaware deck, since Solitaire doesn't use them.

Recently I was amused by a comment online that computer Solitaire was how people procrastinated before there was Twitter. : n ) "
—Susan Kare

See more of Susan's work at kare.com




October 5, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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