Friday, November 4, 2011

Elemental Crap

Ok, a friend of mine shared a really funny picture on his Facebook account:

 Of course, being the joker I am, I had to make my own. I hope it hasn't already been done, and I hope no one gets upset with me for sharing something that isn't mine (Ah!) and taking it a step further:

The element Bu is Group 2 element. As such, it is a shiny silver-white color (paradoxically so, given that we tend to think of it as dark and dull). Furthermore, it is highly reactive, as pretty much everyone who has ever come across it knows, and is therefore not usually found alone in nature, though with work it can be isolated.

Note that Bu precedes Ah!, both on the periodic table as well as in nature - one usually has a certain amount fear (or at least trepidation, a lighter isotope of fear) before surprise. Thankfully, though present all over the world in small amounts, fear is rarely found in large quantities in any one area at any one time. This is very fortunate, as Ah!, a much more common element, becomes unstable and dangerous in the presence of large quantities of Bu. The chemical reaction:

turns into a nuclear reaction when Bu is present in concentrations greater than 1.728 moles/L. Under such circumstances, Bu and Ah! fuse, giving rise to Cp-497 (crap-497), which forms spontaneously in the Tw of those in the immediate vicinity. Bb seems to afford protection from this reaction, though causality studies have not been performed, and Bb users ardently maintain they have a natural immunity (deemed "the coolness factor"*) to the BuAh/Cr transmutation. If this is indeed true, then exchange of Bb for Tw would not transmit "the coolness factor," but would merely be a waste of Bb.

It is important to note that free Cr-497 is stable, but highly toxic and potentially deadly. Contact with it can cause any number of nasty diseases, any or all of which quickly become self-perpetuating. Upon discovery of free Cr-497, it is imperative that the element be immediately buried, and thorough decontamination of all contact surfaces must be judiciously performed. Once buried, Cr-497 undergoes spontaneous fission over a period of weeks to months, forming various isotopes of Fz.

  • Bu - Fearious, commonly referred to as the element of fear
  • Ah! - Surprisium, commonly referred to as the element of surprise
  • Fz - Fertilizium, commonly referred to as fertilizer
  • Cp - Crapius, commonly referred to as crap. It also goes by many other names, too numerous to mention here. Tomes have been written concerning Cp and its effects (ask a librarian where to find info on Crap)(e.g. Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Crap But Were Afraid to Ask), and for readers interested in learning more, I may post an essay on the subject in the near future, depending on the expressed level of interest.
  • Tw - tightus whitus, commonly referred to as tighty whities
  • Bb - Briefium boxerulius, commonly referred to as infinitely superior to Tw, both in comfort and protection, as well as durability and resistance to ridicule from sexual partners.
*note: there are those who postulate that "the coolness factor" is also a natural element (Fc, Figora captant), found only in certain individuals, which cannot be isolated, reproduced, or transmitted ("Either you have it or you don't"). This author rejects that hypothesis as an overly simplistic explanation of a complex phenomenon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Sunday I was watching Fareed Zakaria GPS, and I was struck by something. You see, he had Paul Krugman on, along with Steve Forbes (Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media), Chrystia Freeland (Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters) and Bret Stephens (of the Wall Street Journal). Paul (excuse me, Mr. Krugman, if I am so forward as to call you by your first name) took the position that the Occupy Wall Street movement is a good thing because it reminds us how we first got into this financial mess in which we find ourselves, and reminds us that we haven't done anything to address the problems leading up to our financial collapse.

Ms. Freeland seemed to agree with Paul, at least on many points, while Mr. Forbes and Bret seemed to disagree, Bret more strongly than Steve. I've recently seen Paul on other shows as well, and frequently those opposed to his opinions seem to dismiss him as not understanding the way things work (it seems like human nature to say to those with whom we disagree, "You don't understand - you've missed the point."). I find this quite odd, as Paul won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for an economic theory relating to how free trade affects globalization, specifically how some countries do very, very well while others do poorly.

Meanwhile, Steve, though a business man, seems to have spent most of his time in journalism. Likewise, Bret may have attended the London School of Economics, but at the tender age of 28 he landed the job of editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, and is currently deputy editor of the editorial page at The Wall Street Journal. I therefore assume he, too, is more journalist than economist.

If anyone in this group can say, "Excuse me, you don't understand economic behavior," it would be Paul. (I leave Chrystia out of this because she did not poo-poo Paul's theories).

Paul is an economist who writes a column. I follow Paul on twitter because I like his posts. I have taken to reading at least some of his blog entries because I like what he has to say. I am no economist, and there are things about which Paul speaks that I simply do not understand. In such cases, I have to ask myself, who do I trust? Just like Sunday. Do I trust Steve, a business man who may be protecting his own interests? Do I trust Bret, someone with training in economics but who has spent his whole professional life on journalism? Or do I trust the Nobel laureate who knows economics and has little interest in doing anything other than informing me (us) on how we can make things better?

I would not ask a reporter who writes articles on medicine to treat my cancer - I would go to an oncologist. The reporter may know quite a bit about medicine, but the oncologist is the clear choice. Likewise, I will always give more credence to the Nobel Prize winning economist than the reporter with an economics background.

GO PAUL! and #OWS!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jamey Rodemeyer

I was trying to avoid posting something about Jamey Rodemeyer, but I am having trouble ignoring it, so here goes:

For those who are unaware, last week (9-18-2011) 14 year old Jamey committed suicide. The factors which contribute to something like this are many and varied. In Jamey's case there had been a history of bullying, but as a health care professional I have to say that this by itself is not a cause of suicide. It is a contributing factor.

Nevertheless, I am astounded at the actions of many in this case (though I shouldn't be - it happens all the time). Bullying should never be acceptable. I am sure the bullies - and their parents - at this moment feel no remorse and no sense of responsibility - after all, they did not kill Jamey. Jamey killed Jamey. Yet responsible they are, and accountable they should be.

If a person commits a felony, and in the process of that crime someone is killed, the perpetrator is charged with murder. It doesn't matter that they did not intend to physically harm the victim: if the crime had not happened, the death would not have occurred. I think this should be the case for bullying. If you bully someone who then commits suicide, you should be charged with homicide, the degree of which would be determined by the nature of the bullying.

Some, notably Lady Gaga, are calling for a new law to be enacted in Jamey's name. I don't think that should be necessary, though since bullying itself is not a crime, I do support Lady Gaga's efforts. And may I offer some wording for Jamey's law?

The excuse, "I was only bullying him, I did not pull the trigger/put the rope around his neck/etc." is as valid as "I only ran over that person because I was drunk and s/he was in my way."

And that says a lot, coming from me. Why? Because I so totally disagree with our current "justice" system. But that is a topic for another blog entry.