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Cosmic Quote #70

“Ninety per cent of politicians give the other ten per cent a bad name.”–Henry Kissinger

You are what you eat.  You get what you vote for.  This is my only political post of the entire year,  so get your fill now.  Next question?

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Cosmic Quote #69

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”–Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

No funny chickens for this one.   The world lost its foremost futurist in the past week,  a man who was one of my heroes.   Alvin Toffler taught the world how to think about the future some 45 years ago.  It’s a lesson the world should relearn.   I read Future Shock away back in 1973–and have been thinking about it–and the future–ever since.

Writing in the New York Times on July 6, Farhad Manjoo lays out clearly and concisely why Toffler’s ideas are so relevant today.  I highly urge you to read this piece, and to read Future Shock if you’ve never done so.  I intend to reread it now.  We have never needed foresight more than we do today.

My foresight related blog is available at www.seekingdelphi.com

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #11: Kind of Blue

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”–Vincent Van Gogh

“All’s well that ends well.”–William Shakespeare 

MilesDavisKindofBlueThe bard was right.  Van Gogh was…um..uh–I have no idea.

But here is a story that ended well, though with an unexpected twist that makes it one of my all time favorite veterinary vignettes.

This happened some 30 years ago, when Cheryl was working her last job as an employee before starting her own  clinic.  Her partner in crime in this particular case was the junior associate in the group, one Susan Cole, a pretty and vivacious young blond just a few months out veterinary school.

It started one typical Monday morning, when in came a panicked old lady, Mrs. P, with a pearly white cat.

The cat was struggling to breath.

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!!”

Dr. C: “When did this start?”

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[cough] [choke] [wheeze]”

Dr. C: “How did this start?”

Mrs P: “Puhleeeaaase save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[gasp] [gasp]”

It was obvious that Mrs. P was not going to be any help.  Enter my intrepid Cheryl to consult.

“This seems to be some sort of respiratory distress, we’d better take an X-Ray.”  She advised.

Dr. Cole thought otherwise, and suggested drawing a blood sample first.  Cheryl was skeptical, but realized it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what they did.

The cat’s blood was brown. Freaking brown.

The two of them scratched their heads in puzzlement.  What could turn a cat’s blood brown? Cheryl observed that if they saw this in a cow they would diagnose it as methemoglobinemia, a condition that bovines get from eating cherry leaves.  You guessed it, cherry leaves are toxic to cows.  But cats?  How would this indoor feline even have access to cherry leaves, whether or not they are toxic to cats?

At any rate, regardless of the cause, the diagnosis was confirmed.  But, then, how to treat it?

“Well” Cheryl posited,”we use methylene blue to treat this in cows.  Let’s try it.”

Methylene blue is a dye that also has some medicinal purposes.  But  the cat’s wheezing and gasping for breath was rapidly worsening, so Sue and Cheryl  frantically calculated the appropriate dosing.  Let’s see.  Bovine dose, 60cc.  Feline dose…hmm…. 6cc.

They administered 6cc of methylene blue, and by golly, that cat rapidly improved and its blood and breathing were back to normal in no time.

End of story?  You know me better than that–there’s a little kicker.  Of course there is, there always is.  You see, there was a slight miscalculation in the dosage.  The feline dose should not have been 6 cc, it should have been 0.6cc.  But hey, what’s a silly little order of magnitude among friends.  After all, the cat got better.

blue catIt’s just that the pearly white cat turned….BLUE!!  Its skin, its gums, its sclera, its paws. Everything but its fur turned a bright shade of blue!

And that, of course, is still not the end of the story.  The denouement came the next morning, when Mrs. P. phoned to find out the condition of her kitty.

Dr. Cole took the call, and she answered with a straight face, within ear shot of just about every employee in the clinic.

“Oh, she’s doing much better, but she’s feeling a little blue right now!

Crash! Bang! Thud!  All over the hospital employees dropped whatever they were holding as peals of laughter erupted.  They say that in comedy, timing is everything.  I guess that goes for veterinary medicine, too.

Anyway, the cat’s normal color soon returned, and it turned out that Mrs. P had given it Tylenol.  Tylenol, you may surmise, is toxic to cats.   So don’t give your cat Tylenol.  This goes doubly if you have a yellow cat, as the antidote could turn the poor thing an ungodly shade of green.

Is there a moral to this story?  Yes.  The next time you are feeling blue, be thankful it is only a metaphorical, and not a literal, blue.

blue man gourp

 

 

 

 

 

If you are feeling blue, try my other blog, Seeking Delphi.™  That will really get you down.  😛

 

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Cosmic Quote #68

“Smart is when you believe half of what you hear.  Brilliant is when you know which half.”–Robert Orben

Here’s a tip for you brainiacs.  If you want to know which half of my posts to believe, it’s the other half.  On my other blog,  Seeking Delphi. ™  

Hmmm.  I just started that other blog.  Most of my posts have been on this one.  Well, as Yogi once said, “90 percent of the game is half mental.”

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Taylor Harry Fritz–er, or is it Fritz Harry Taylor?

Note:  This post previously appeared on The Blog of Funny Names

“Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.”–Vitas Gerulaitis when he finally beat Jimmy Connors after losing to him 16 straight times.

Here at The Blog of Funny Names, we’ve always had a fascination with people who have two last names.  Outerbridge Horsey is the classic.  Then of course, there are those that have  two first names–like the eponymous Tommy John.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

But seldom have we come across somebody whose name appears to be backwards.  But that would seem to be the case with rising 18-year-old American tennis star, Taylor Harry Fritz. If his name was Fritz Harry Taylor, we wouldn’t consider feting  him in these hallowed pages.  Or Harry Fritz Taylor, or even Harry Taylor Fritz.  It’s as if the names were picked out of a hat to come in that order.

But that aside, the tennis world is not laughing; especially the American tennis world.  No American man has won a major tennis tournament since Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003.  No American man has even made the quarter finals of a major since Roddick, Mardy Fish (a great funny name as well) and John Isner all did it in 2011.  There is currently no American man ranked higher than #17 in the world (Isner)

However you order his names, Taylor Fritz may just be the guy to change all that.  He won the 2015 junior boys title at the US Open and finished the year as the top ranked junior in the world.   And after turning pro in 2016?  He won his first ATP tour title, qualified for the Australian Open, and has jumped to #65 in the world from a ranking in the 600’s in just a few months.  He is the youngest player currently in the top 100.  Last week at a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, he got a real taste of the big time,  meeting all–time great Roger Federer in the second round.   He lost, but gave Federer a run for his money at 4-6, 7-5, 4-6.  I don’t know if Federer will be around long enough for Fritz to play him 17 times,  but I’d bet he won’t need that many to beat him.  And that goes no matter what order you say his names in.

As for me, if you’re tired of this blog,  you can go to my new, second blog, Seeking Delphi, and mock me there.

Cheers,

El Marko

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Time way in: 100,000 views!

“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.”– John Jay Hooker

Uh, I don’t think so.  Not only is blogging not saving America, but social media might actually be destroying it.   And promoting my blog on social media?  We won’t even discuss that.  But what I will discuss–and pound my chest about–is that just a few weeks after Millennium Conjecture’s 4th anniversary, it has passed the 100,000 hit mark.  Wow.  I know you didn’t see that coming, and I sure as hell didn’t.  And I’m willing to bet that not more than 97,000 of those views have come from immediate family and close friends.  After all, how many close friends and family do you think I could have?

In honor of this hallowed event,  here a is blast from the past.  It was by far my most viewed post.  Thanks to being “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress,  this post brought in over 1700 views and garnered 230 blogger “likes” on September 23, 2012–exactly four months to the day after my inaugural post.    And yes, it has been all downhill since then.

Anyway, thanks for all the views and likes–and if you are really a masochist, check out my new blog on futurist topics, Seeking Delphi™

 

Equations of Everyday Life #2: Inane Celebrity Memes

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

 

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Cosmic Quote #67

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”–George Orwell

Non Sequitur www.cartoonstock.com used with permission

Non Sequitur
http://www.cartoonstock.com
used with permission

I can only imagine what George Orwell would have thought of The Donald.  A character for a dumbed-down 1984?  A character for a tragic 2016?  Maybe both.  It so happens my alma mater, Emerson College, was named the top journalism  school in the country by USA Today.   But hey, this is not public relations.  It isn’t even journalism. It’s both and neither. It’s ridiculous and sublime.  😛

Be sure to check out my futurist blog Seeking Delphi™

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, #10: What the Cat (and Dogs) Dragged In.

“The trouble with a kitten is that it eventually becomes a cat.”–Ogden Nash

Pet doors are a wonderful thing.  They allow your pets the joy of repeatedly going in and out without having to constantly bug you to accommodate them.

Pet doors are an awful thing.  They allow all manner of unwanted vermin to come in (mostly) and out along with your pets.  Or in many cases, to be dragged in by your pets.  Here are some examples.

Awful thing example #1: While you expect cats and dogs to freely use the pet door, you don’t really think a pet chicken would use the pet door.   Think again.  We had one that did, and it not only came in the house quite unexpectedly, but it joined Cheryl in the shower.  That’s a horror story even Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have imagined.  Eat your heart out, Norman Bates.

Awful thing example #2: While our cats have frequently brought dead mice or chipmunks into the house and disemboweled them in the dining room (ick!), that is not the worst of it.  They bring live ones in and let them go.  The most notable example?  We had a living room full of guests for a tea for a local political candidate.  Just as the proceedings were about to begin, our cat, Velcro, dropped a live mouse by the side of a rather full couch.  The critter ran across the feet of about three people and hid under the coffee table as everyone scattered.  Cheryl caught it as the cat looked on with amusement.  The dogs were worthless.

Awful thing example #3:  While we are on the subject of the cat sitting back and watching in amusement as we and the dogs chased a live rodent, I present you with the case of the chipmunk in the laundry room.  Did you ever watch one of those Donald Duck cartoons where he tries to catch Chip and Dale?  Where he winds up destroying his house, his R.V., his camp site, or whatever?  It felt like we were in a Donald Duck cartoon.  The chipmunk was behind the washing machine.  The dogs went nuts;  but the chip was gone by the time we pulled the washing machine out from the wall.  By then, the chip was behind a pile of laundry.  Then it was in the pile of laundry.  Then it was behind the drier. Then it was under the washing machine.  The dogs were always one hiding place behind it.  Cheryl finally caught the thing–I swear she must have been a cat in a previous lifetime.   And our laundry room?  It looked like Donald Duck’s living room after a few minutes of chasing Chip and Dale.

Awful thing example #4:  This one takes the cake.  Cheryl and I were sitting in our home office late one evening, clicking away at our computers.  Why, it was the very room I am sitting in as I write this tale.   I glanced in back of me.  Our three dogs were all lying there contented to be in the same room with us.  And sitting right in the middle of them was what I, for a split second, took to be a rather large stuffed animal doggy toy.  For a split second.  But it wasn’t a toy. Good grief, it was a live possum, apparently playing possum!  We have no idea how it could have gotten in there without the dogs going nuts.  We can only guess that the one dog large enough to drag it in, must have done so.  Cheryl picked it up by the tail, dropped it outside the front door, and it sprung to life and dashed off.

Which finally brings us to Awful thing example #5: There is a rodent in this office, right now, as I write this post.  I saw it dash off the top of my desk and hide behind the file cabinet just as I walked in.  The fleeting glance I got of it was too brief to tell if it was a mouse or a chipmunk. But it has eluded me.  Don’t worry though, Cheryl will be home from the clinic with the dogs (they go to work with her every day.)  The dogs will, of course be useless, and the cat will sit back and watch in amusement as  Cheryl, as always, catches the thing.

Oh, and this one didn’t happen to us,  but Awful thing example#6, below, illustrates the further dangers of pet doors in the wild.  Stay safe, my friends.

 

Be sure to check out my new (second) blog, Seeking Delphi.

 

 

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Cosmic Quote #66: Happy Towel Day!

“Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly so.”–Douglas Adams

Today's the day...

Today’s the day…

May 25.  Towel day.  It’s a tribute to one of the wittiest writers in recent history.  My lunchtime, though, is never an illusion.  I’d  sooner miss Game of Thrones than miss my lunch.  Maybe I’ll even  eat something messy at lunch today and bring a towel to clean up the mess.  Ah, if only that towel could clean up the mess of my life.😉

Be sure to check out my (new) second blog–Seeking Delphi.™

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New Feature, New Life: Seeking Delphi

“Never predict anything, especially the future.”–Casey Stengel

The one and only

The one and only

The Ol’ Perfessor knew what he was talking about.   Well, maybe he didn’t, but the advice is sage nonetheless.  It is notoriously difficult to predict anything in the future with consistent accuracy.  So why in the world would anyone want to become a futurist?  Why bother?  Well, to be blunt, that is exactly why!  Ignoring the opportunities and dangers of the future is what I like to call The Ostrich Syndrome.  Go ahead, hide your head in the sand.  The future is not going to go away.  And if we can’t predict it, there are certainly ways to prepare for it.  To prevent bad outcomes, or at least make them less likely.  To create good outcomes, or at least make them more likely.  And to be  better prepared to deal with whatever does come.

The sad fact is, we live in a short-term oriented society with a short attention span.  So what is the antidote to this malady?  It is more thoughtful foresight.  We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  Kurt  Vonnegut compared science fiction writers like himself to the proverbial canary in the mine shaft, warning of weak danger signals before others perceive them.  That’s what futurists do, though those weak signals can signal opportunities as well as dangers as the world changes.  That’s what I aim to do with the rest of my life.  I’ve enrolled in the  University of Houston’s Masters in Foresight program.  I’m adding a foresight element to a friend’s existing market research business.  I’m becoming an advocate for taking a longer view of everything.  Economics. Education. Environment. Government. You name it.  And I’m starting a second blog, aptly named Seeking Delphi™ after the famed Oracle of Delphi.  We can’t predict the future, but we can anticipate the possibilities, avoid the catastrophes (or some of them) and create the opportunities.   So here goes something.   See you tomorrow and beyond.

The first post on Seeking Delphi is linked here.  Keep an eye out for the addition of a podcast in the coming weeks.

 

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