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May 30, 2020

Take my advice, I'm not using it


The headline is my favorite iteration of "Do as I say, not as I do."

So much so that this button, 


with a magnet glued on the back to keep it firmly in place, rests on the cigarette lighter socket of my car's center console so I see it every time I grab some quarters from the change repository.

May 30, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: "Is there any cure for toenail fungus that doesn't involve a risky drug?"

That was the query posed in a New York Times Science Q & A.

Writer Anahad O'Connor's answer:

The germs that cause toenail fungus, or onychomycosis as it is known in the medical world, are tough to avoid.

They thrive near pools, in gyms, on clothing and can even hide in carpeting.

So it may be no surprise that at some point in their lives, roughly 1 out of 10 adults develop the infection, which can leave nails brittle, discolored and inflamed.

Many treatment options exist, though most have side effects.

And no matter what the choice, complete eradication is difficult, and re-infection is common.

One of the most effective treatments is the drug Lamisil, which is taken orally for 90 days and works for about two out of three people.

But it has been associated with rare cases of liver damage and may require regular liver function tests, which can scare people away.

"The 'risk' of oral therapy has been largely overstated," said Dr. Bryan C. Markinson, the chief of podiatric medicine and surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "The truth is that after tens of millions of uses worldwide, this therapy is unequivocally safe."

Another option is treating the nail and surrounding skin with an antifungal nail polish.

Prescription nail lacquers like ciclopirox have been clinically tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and shown to be efficacious when used as directed, though not as effective as oral drugs; over-the-counter topicals are also available but have not been tested.

With the exception of skin allergies, topical antifungals carry little risk of side effects, but they remain unpopular with patients.

"It's not because they don't work," Dr. Markinson said. "It's that they must be used for a minimum of one year on a daily basis to have any chance at a cure. Most patients lose enthusiasm after the first three months."

The F.D.A. has approved laser therapy procedures for toenail fungus as well.

One clinical trial involving a type of laser called Noveon found that nine months after treatment, just over a third of patients were cured.

The downside? Laser therapy is costly — a single treatment can run $1,000 — and there have been some cases of burns on nails and the surrounding skin.

If you prefer a more natural alternative, there is some evidence that thymol oil, an antiseptic derived from thyme, may help.

Proponents of thymol advocate adding the oil to regular footbaths, or coating the affected toenail once or twice a day with Vicks VapoRub.

The risks in this case are allergic skin reactions and temporary reddening of the skin.

"Bag those toenails."

May 30, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Foggy Morning

May 30, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pristine 3rd century Roman mosaic floor unearthed

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From the Guardian:

Pristine archaeological treasure near Verona may date to 3rd century AD, say experts

A perfectly preserved ancient Roman mosaic floor has been discovered near the northern Italian city of Verona.

Archaeologists were astonished by the find as it came almost a century after the remains of a villa, believed to date to the 3rd century AD, were unearthed in a hilly area above the town of Negrar di Valpolicella.

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After the discovery in 1922, the site was mostly left abandoned until a team from the Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape of Verona resumed digging last summer.

The team returned to the site in October and again in February before the excavation was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mosaic was found a few meters beneath a row of vines a week after work got going again.

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"After countless decades of failed attempts, part of the floor and foundations of the Roman villa located north of Verona, discovered by scholars a century ago, has finally been brought to light," authorities from Negrar di Valpolicella wrote on the town's Facebook page.

"The superintendent will now liaise with the owners of the area and municipality to identify the most appropriate ways of making this archaeological treasure, which has always been hidden beneath our feet, available and accessible."

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Roberto Grison, the mayor of Negrar di Valpolicella, told the local newspaper L’Arena: "We believe a cultural site of this value deserves attention and should be enhanced. For this reason, together with the superintendent and those in charge of agricultural funds, we will find a way to make this treasure enjoyable."

May 30, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: about the size of a bread box.

Another: not a car seat for aliens.

A third: moving parts.

May 30, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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