atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2606: My head hurts

Dry cough, fatigue, post-nasal drip, headache: I've got sinusitis!



Pretty sure this case has been on the build since about this time last week, though, so it's not terribly surprising. It's more annoying than anything else, and it means making a pathetic plea to my brother for an RX for amoxicillin.

Antibiotics are the only thing he'll prescribe for family members. Nothing else. No Xanax, no Paxil, no pain relievers, nothing--just antibiotics. He's not stupid. There are too many legal pitfalls in a doctor prescribing psychoactive drugs for family members, and it's not worth the risk. If I need something serious, I pay the freight and go to my regular doctor.

He also knows I'm not stupid, either. I know it when I've got sinusitis; I get it all the time due to a deviated septum. I think I've had it five times in the last four years, which is about average; I get a case every 6-8 months. In my current economic situation, it makes no sense whatsoever for me to go to my GP, pay him $90 to look at my throat and order a blood test (and nag me over getting a physical I also can't afford right now) and then have him give me an RX for $90 worth of the latest-and-greatest whizbang stuff. Sure, Zithromax will knock out the crud in five doses, but I can't afford it. Particularly not when I'm unemployed, damn it. Anyway, $30 worth of Amoxicillin 500 capsules will do the trick, albeit more slowly. (One capsule every eight hours for three weeks. What's the problem?)

My doctor in Iowa was the same way: I'd call her nurse, say, "I've got sinusitis again," and she'd phone in an RX for amox. It worked and no one's time was wasted. WTF.

* * *

Ann Coulter points out that the effects of ionizing radiation on the human body are poorly understood.

We take a highly careful approach to it: we assume any dose is bad for you and comport ourselves accordingly. Nuclear reactors in the US have to emit less radiation than is naturally present (!) and we carefully track the dosage received by anyone who works with radioactivity on a regular basis.

The reality, however, is that the dose makes the poison. This isn't just true of radiation; it's true of everything.

Your body needs a certain amount of zinc, but if you get too much of it, you die of metal poisoning. And in fact you can put a space in that sentence where "zinc" and "metal" are, and change them to just about goddamned anything, and it'll still be true. Water, oxygen, fiber, steak, anything.

We evolved in a radioactive environment. We are constantly exposed to radiation from all kinds of sources; there's radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) in the air we breathe and the food we eat. There's uranium and thorium in the soil all over the planet. Radon is a problem for some houses because it's a decay product of uranium. The ground is radioactive, the air is radioactive, sunlight is radioactive, the entire freakin' universe is radioactive and you cannot possibly get away from it.

Because our entire biology came into being in a radioactive environment, we have defense mechanisms for dealing with the effects that ionizing radiation has on us. When you get a sun tan, that's your body protecting itself against ultraviolet light from the sun. Ultraviolet light is ionizing radiation and we've evolved a defense mechanism that protects us from it. Our skins--tough as they are--are also proof against alpha radiation.

...and now we're finding out that low chronic doses of radiation are, in fact, proof against cancer.

It makes sense: cancer cells are weaker than healthy ones, and the weaker a cell is the more likely it is to be killed by any toxin, whether it be chemical, radiological, or what. This is why we have chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer in the first place. Exposure to higher-than-natural levels of radiation may kill these cancer cells before they can do much of anything, thus stopping the cancer before it's even well started.

You really do have to be careful with ionizing radiation; but perhaps we're being too careful.

* * *

"How close is Japan to a serious crisis?" Asks the lede for this Jerusalem Post article.

...uh...earthquake and tsunami? They've already got a "serious crisis". 10,000 people dead or missing, food and water shortages, rolling blackouts, etc, etc, etc--aren't you jerks paying attention?

It goes on to give facts about radiation exposure and its health implications, but it doesn't convey much information about the problems in Japan.

Atomic Fungus #2279: Interesting statistic on radiation exposure.

Rod Adams reminds us what are the real problems Japan faces and explains why the fuel pool problem isn't much to worry about.

* * *

Japan, budget some rebuilding money to erect statues of these guys.

Apparently the death toll at the plant stands at five, giving us the first light-water commercial reactor event which has killed people. (I bet the anti-nukers are ecstatic: See?? Nuclear power kills!)

Death toll:

Three Mile Island, 1979: 0
Chernobyl, 1986: 57
Fukushima: 5


...but they're not radiation deaths. They're due to explosions and fires, not because of radioactivity. Most of the Chernobyl deaths came from radiation poisoning, though a few resulted from thyroid cancer and a handful were due to the initial core explosion.

* * *

Do you suppose the URL of "" was a clue? It never fails to astound me how few people understand that everything you do on the internet can be tracked and there is no real anonymity. Using an URL like that, you might as well put up a sign on your house to make it easy for the police to find, and set out snacks. Cripes.

It all comes down to how much effort the government wishes to expend on finding you. Whether you have one proxy or eighteen, at some point the packets have to be delivered to your computer, and to do that the Internet hardware has to know where your computer is. Layering proxies only makes finding you more difficult; it does not make it impossible.

In the case of a small-time perv, probably they won't bother. Some guy with a spare computer in his basement who occasionally looks at the stuff is probably safe from prosecution as long as no one sees what he's got on his hard drive. But if you're part of a big ring, producing and distributing the stuff (and maybe even selling, not just trading) that'll probably be enough to motivate the government to find your ass.

Yet out of 70,000 users, they identified 670 suspects...and globally, 184 were arrested. The way online forums work, that's not terribly surprising. My experiences with online automotive forums have shown me that usually there's a small cadre of hardcore forum wonks and then a nebulous cloud of people who post once in a while, if at all. (I'm assuming this is typical of all online forums, not just car-related ones.) I'd wager the pervs which were deemed worth arresting and prosecuting were the ones providing most of the trash these guys consumed.

* * *

Okay, let's lighten up a bit.

...I had intended to do a quick surf and maybe post before getting breakfast. Now it's nearly 11 and I'm thinking I might just go get a bacon mofo instead. What a pain.

Especially since I've still got the headache. No I haven't taken anything for it.

Today it's supposed to be 65° outside. I left the back door open after feeding the outdoor cat because it was already a decent temperature outside.

Considering that I've got the headache--and it's one of those headaches that won't really go away even after I eat and take ibuprofen for it--I'll probably shave and shower before going to McDonald's. WTF, it's not going to get any worse than this, anyway, right?

It might also be a lack of caffiene. Yesterday, I got a Big Mac combo, and the Coke I had with it represented the sum total of all caffiene I ingested while the sun was up. I went to bed around 4 and slept until 2; when I had my ham-and-cheese sandwiches I had a Pepsi with them. Otherwise I drank water almost all day.

Yesterday I was feeling all cruddy and out-of-sorts, and then last night after I had my meal the gut sounded the alarm, so I hit the can--and felt inordinately better afterwards. The old IBS and diverticulosis are still hanging around, after all! In fact right now I still feel that good--below my neck, anyway--which is one reason I'm putting off eating, but I can't put it off indefinitely.

Well, if that's my plan, I suppose I ought to get to it. I need food, and I want to look like I care about my appearance when I get it; so off I go.

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