Archive for August, 2007

lymphatic arm with cellulitis

Frick, frick, frick!!! (for you Scrubs fans;-) I have cellulitis, AGAIN!

So, while the rest of the nation is out enjoying Labor Day weekend, I will be elevating my arm and taking heavy duty antibiotics. ūüė¶

This is all traced back to having lymphedema in the arm that got bit by a mosquito. Now, I have been putting on the bug spray and covering that arm, but with all the rain we have had here lately I guess it was a losing battle. There is some odd medical info here about reactions to mosquitos bites:

Clearly there is clinically useful information in the literature on mosquito bite reactions. The reactions are immunologic in nature to polypeptide antigens in the mosquito saliva. There seems to be the full range of immune responses including immediate IgE-mediated whealing, intermediate immune complex arthus reactions and both late phase allergic and delayed cellular reactions. Fortunately anaphylaxis is extremely rare.

Durn, skeeter spit!……

If you have lymphedema, or are at risk for developing it, be aware that cellulitis is serious and dangerous…seek treatment ASAP!

I caught it early, since I had it once before (where I ended up in the hospital for a few days on IV antibiotics…not fun), so the picture of my arm¬†is not nearly as horrible as the ones you can find searching the web (shudders).

OK, off to bed.

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Slightly Above Average

Hot damn, I did OK on the MAT! And it’s over!

So, one step closer to library school now. The test was NOT easy. I had been taking a few “dummy’ tests from a CD I got from the library and had done extraordinarily well on those…scored in the 98th percentile. Now, I am thinking those practice tests were made easy to boost one’s confidence. The reality of my test day was that I scored above average, but certainly not in the “Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius” range.

Apparently, there IS a parody of analogies: Conan O’Brien does an SAT Analogies bit (even though they have now dropped the analogies from the SAT).

You can check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/nbc/Late_Night_with_Conan_O’Brien/satanalogies/satanalogies_0106_1.shtml

***Update 9/10/07: Got the official test scores in the¬†mail today and it seems I did better than I thought….scored in the 99th percentile! Yea, me! Not that it means I won’t be doing anymore dumb things, as I seem to have¬†a pretty strong track record there….


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Wiki Spin and Rinse

It isn’t really new news that people can get onto Wikipedia and muck things up (although I am always surprised by the number of people who use Wikipedia as a reliable, authoritative source…hello, ANYONE can post to it, people!) However, I found this article in Scotland’s Sunday Herald amusing.

Especially the term “Wiki Spin,” as I have noticed colleges and universities are creating their own content on “their” Wikipedia entry. Some serious spin, indeed. Mostly from the big names.

Anyway, the crux of the article is that a new program was created to track just who is slinging arrows at whom…So, if I pull up someone I don’t like and edit the Wikipedia entry to say “He’s a real wanker and likes to suck on first ladies’ toes,” the program can, to a rather limited degree, track my computer down.

The Wikipedia gurus are saying, in a great example of PR speak:

“We really value transparency and the scanner may prevent a organisation or individuals from editing articles that they’re really not supposed to.”

But the scanners’ creator says this much more revealing comment of why he put it out there:

“To create a fireworks display of public relations disasters for all the world to sit back, and enjoy.”


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Girl Reading Book

I have spent a large part of the weekend taking practice tests for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) and I am fried. On Thursday, I go to BGSU to take my $45 computer version so that I can apply to go to grad school (AGAIN) to get MLS degree (this time).

I¬†decided to schedule this¬†at the last minute because I found out that they (MAT head honchos) are increasing the price to $70-75 in September! Well, actually, I don’t know what the actual price is the MAT guys charge, as each school can set its own fees. But, calling around, everyone seems to be going up to this price range. Which, frankly, is total BS.

They are going to put me in a room with a proctor, turn on a computer and that’s it. How could the price of administering that go up by $30 in a month’s time?!¬†I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out the oil companies are behind this ūüėČ

So, in looking for a diversion from analogy purgatory, I thought I could find a great site where someone had put up silly/funny/politically incorrect Miller Analogies you would never find on the test. I found blotto. Someone’s missing the boat here!

This list of Silly Metaphors and Analogies is, however, hilarious! Two of my favorites:

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and
breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without
Cling Free.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli,
and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

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Sorting¬†BugsSo, I made it back home with only two chigger bites. And I slathered on the bug spray, too (so far, I am NOT impressed with Picaridin….although, I was not bothered by any skeeters or ticks). And I have to say that Rt. 247 gets my award for the most twisty, scary drive this year. Now I don’t even need to go to Cedar Point!

Had a blast collecting hoppers and ID-ing them (with much help). The coolest bugs, by far, were the piglet bugs. They are very tiny planthoppers. We’re talking mere millimeters, here so I couldn’t take any pictures with my icky camera (again with the camera?!) The best I could find are these pictures. Cute little fellows with racing stripes.

I think the biggest shock to the naturalists in the group was learning that Homoptera is no more. These critters are all now classified as Hemiptera due to new genetic testing. But stay tuned because things are changing daily with reclassification, it seems.

We also spent a good part of the time looking at bug genitalia under the microscope, as that is one of the only ways to identify some species. It’s not as exciting as you think ūüėČ

Check out this cool key if you are really into hoppers.

Seems we have a lot of invasive, non-native hoppers, in this country. A bad thing, as they are commonly vectors of plant diseases. In fact, there is a corn leafhopper from Mexico that causes widespread crop devastation south of the border and in California but has so far not been able to overwinter in the US Corn Belt. However, as¬†our presenter¬†pointed out, if global temperatures rise by a few degrees with global warming, you can imagine things will not go well…¬†

Here’s a scary article outlining some of this:

“Relatively small changes in mean temperature can result in disproportionately large changes in the frequency of extreme events. Des Moines, Iowa, in the heart of the Corn Belt, currently experiences fewer than 20 days above 90oF; this would double with a mean warming of 3.6oF.”

And since we are on depressing topics, I can’t even begin to describe the poverty that exists around this beautiful natural area. It’s a strange dichotomy of¬†huge¬†vacation homes on one side of the road¬†as city dwellers expand out and across the street¬†are rusted out mobile homes and barely standing shacks with out houses. While this is about an area a little further east, you get a good feel for the issues in this article. I just finished reading Night Comes to the Cumberlands by Harry Caudill and it is ironic how much that book describes conditions that still exist today in this part of Ohio.

I have to give a big shout out to Dr. Dietrich (for being so patient with all of our questions and our pitiful attempts to pin the tiny buggers!) and to the staff at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve (Chris, Mark and Jessica) for being great pancake cookers and genial hosts! I’m ready for another workshop.

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On the Road, Again

I’m heading out for a weekend of tramping through tall grass and woods at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in southern Ohio. There is a workshop there about planthoppers, leafhoppers and treehoppers (collectively known unscientifically as “the hoppers”). My pathetic camera (did I mention I wanted a new camera for my birthday, anyone?) can not possible capture photos of these tiny insects, so you might want to check out¬†my sister’s blog here¬†for link to some great photos and info.

It’s a long drive for me, but I am hoping it will be fun and informative. And that I am not attacked by chiggers. Again. (very scary picture and info of chigger here)

So, back again next week with some good stories.

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Late Cicadas

Cicada on¬†burdock¬† For the past few days, I¬†have been¬†finding dead or near death¬†dog day cicadas everywhere. One in my weed patch (not dead yet), one on the mailbox (I’m feeling better…)¬†and one on the sidewalk just yesterday (a late cicada, a cicada that has gone to meet it’s maker, it’s pushing up daisies).

I suppose most of them have mated, perhaps laid eggs and are now going on up to the giant tree root in the sky (click here to learn why). But I have also noticed these cicadas have a white fungal thingy (yes, thingy!) growing on them and I’m wondering if this is hastening their demise.

A quick search revealed a whole bunch of fungi that infect cicadas. There is a fungus called Cordyceps heteropoda, which infects¬†an Australian species,¬†whose by-product¬†is being studied for possible medical use in organ transplants! Another fungus, Massospora cicadina, seems to affect only the periodical cicadas with icky results (it makes their bums fall off…”abdobums”, that is ;-). **As an aside, this is a fun, witty blog to spend some time looking through: http://hosts.cce.cornell.edu/mushroom_blog/

Basically, insects seem to suffer inordinatly from fungal attacks. In fact, there’s a whole branch of study¬†covering this with the fancy pants name of entomopathogenic fungi.

It’s enough to make you wonder why anyone would want to eat a cicada. And yet, people do…

When I worked at a small city park many years ago, I came across a woman collecting cicada exoskeltons in a bag. She said she takes them home and fills them with a chocolate mixture, refrigerates them and then it’s chow time! According to her, she learned this from her mother who is from South America.

exoskeleton¬†Should you have a sudden urge to whip up something with a touch of cicada, here is the cookbook for you. Please note that it is advised that you do NOT eat cicadas (for many reasons: allergic reaction possible, they soak up pesticides, your mate may never kiss you again…) but who can resist a recipe called “Cicada Tartlets”?!

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