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December 13, 2018

Portrait of the artist (Cecelia Paredes) as wallpaper


From the Guardian:


In her elaborate self-portraits, Cecilia Paredes hides within colorful patterned fabrics.

Based in Philadelphia, the Peruvian-born artist started the series in 2005, when she moved to the US from Costa Rica and was trying to "blend in."

"I wanted to really get along in my new environment and literally become part of the landscape," she says.

The materials she chooses have a personal connection: a pattern involving orchids, for example, the national flower of Costa Rica, symbolizes her past life there.

Paredes is then painstakingly painted by her assistants.

"The day of the shoot is very precise," she says. "You don't want any disturbances. I cannot move, and the painting can be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so it's a very long process."


Portfolio Series: Cecilia Paredes is at the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, until December 30.

December 13, 2018 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The octopus is one very smart cephalopod

Above, an octopus uses a coconut shell for concealment.

YouTube caption:


Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) showing sophisticated tool use behavior.

Footage shot by Dr. Julian Finn of Museums Victoria.

Finn, J.K., Tregenza, T., Norman, M.D. (2009): Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus. Current Biology 19:23, 1069-1070, December 15, 2009.


From the New York Times: "It (an octopus) has eight arms, three hearts — and a plan. Scientists aren't sure how the cephalopods got to be so intelligent."


Octopus 1

an octopus pulls together two empty shells in order to hide off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

December 13, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

BehindTheMedspeak: Trust, but verify


Long story short: about twenty years ago I developed runner's anemia, a condition in which silent gastric bleeding associated with extreme distance training results in iron deficiency anemia.

Oddly, my running regimen wasn't in the least exceptional, perhaps 20 miles per week.

I diagnosed myself by looking at my fingernails, one of the nice things about having gone to med school.

I had koilonychia ("spoon nails"; below).


But I digress.

I drilled down and found a doctor whom I believed to be the best hematologist in central Virginia, and self-referred myself.

He worked me up and sure enough, my blood iron stores were lower than the normal range.

He put me on a regimen of daily Feosol (oral iron tablets); after a month there'd been no change in my level.

He said to give it another month.

At that point I invoked "verify," and began a systematic search of the medical literature.

I consider myself a world-class expert in such investigations, having honed my chops in the early 1980s when I single-handedly researched and wrote a fifteen-page-long review article on aminophylline

It had over 400 references going back to the 19th century, each and every one of which I read.

I knew each and every — and I mean every — paper and study involving aminophylline ever published, in any language.

A number written in languages other than English I had to get translated by the Library of Congress so I could understand them.

In fact, I can safely say that by the time my review was published in 1981,

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 8.45.06 AM

no one in the world knew more about aminophylline than me (Stuart Sullivan was my supervising professor; he reluctantly let me add his name to the paper).

But I digressed yet again.

I discovered that the most recent literature concluded that the foods and supplements my doctor had advised against taking with Feosol in fact enhanced iron absorption, while those he said to take with my iron tablets reduced iron absorption.

How could this be?

Easy peasy: my hematologist/internist ran a busy one-man private practice which allowed little time to keep up with the literature.

What he'd learned during his residency (in England, for what that's worth) twenty years ago about iron absorption was long since out of date, but it's unlikely he'd ever opened the journals that reported the latest findings.

Rather than get into it with him, I simply modified my iron intake regimen to that advocated by the latest research, and in fact my iron levels quickly responded, increasing to normal levels within months.

So what's the lesson here?

I guess, for civilians, it's to stick to scheduled major airlines, and hope your pilots are rested and alert.

Beyond that, it's in the hands of the gods.

December 13, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Iron Toilet Roll Holder

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 11.51.03 AM

From the website:


Designed with smooth clean lines and no adornment, this wall-mounted toilet roll holder will develop a naturally occurring patina over time to create a uneven tone that adds to its distinctive industrial character.

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The simple yet clever design ensures that changing the roll is a simple task.

Features and Details:

• Made in Japan by Chiba Metal Works & Design

• Dimensions: 6.3"W x 3.3"D x 3.1"H

• Weight: 1 lb.


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$88.71 (toilet paper not included).

December 13, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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