This is no time to facepalm

If your childhood self used to think that germs came from, um, Germany, here’s just the Canadian story you need:

A hand sanitizer meant to protect people from germs is being recalled because of bacterial contamination, Health Canada said Thursday.

Kimberly-Clark is recalling its Kleenex-brand Luxury Foam Hand Sanitizer after company testing detected bacteria that may pose serious health risks to people with weakened immune systems, especially those with the lung disorder cystic fibrosis.

The microorganism involved is Burkholderia cepacia, which is not only nasty but downright durable: “The bacterium is so hardy, it has been found to persist in betadine (a common topical antiseptic).”

(Via Fark, where it got the IRONIC tag.)

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Keep me in a daydream

The label here is slightly misleading: this is a Stevie Wonder set (at the Toronto Jazz Fest), and Monáe doesn’t actually come in until about halfway through. Still, this is pretty close to an answered prayer, inasmuch as it’s been a long time since The ArchAndroid, and hey, it’s Stevie.

The place I got this also has two original songs from Monáe’s own set, which make me wonder (sorry) about the two albums she’s supposed to be releasing this year.

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We will, we will, track you

I’m really surprised it took this long. The Currently Reading sorta-widget down there in the sidebar (it’s available here) gets its jacket photos and such through Amazon Web Services, and serves up, among other things, an Amazon link if you exhibit enough interest in a title to click on it. It’s been up for several months now, and apparently Amazon just noticed I was signed up for AWS, because they sent me half a dozen suggestions based on a book I’d featured in the widget.

That book was Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Marriage Plot, and these are the suggestions:

  • Chad Harbach: The Art of Fielding
  • Téa Obreht: The Tiger’s Wife
  • David Levithan: The Lover’s Dictionary
  • Russell Banks: Lost Memory of Skin
  • Haruki Murakami: 1Q84
  • Julian Barnes: The Sense of an Ending

All of these look like they have some potential. (I’ve read about the Harbach novel and the Murakami trilogy, but have yet to read them for myself.) I’m putting this up as a reminder to myself, mostly.

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Slightly wild Rice

Australian Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice caused some mild consternation when she snapped a photo of herself in a swimsuit and duly sent it up to Twitter. Admittedly, it’s not a competition swimsuit, but it’s not all that racy. (You can see it on Instagram.)

In 2008, Rice won three gold medals — 200- and 400-meter individual medleys and 200-meter freestyle medley — and set world records for all three. And occasionally she doesn’t wear a swimsuit at all:

Stephanie Rice

Two of those three records have since been broken — the 400-meter remains intact — so she’s got her work cut out for her in London.

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Tech advice of the week

And it’s pretty simple, really:

No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7.

Capitalization as in the original.

One reason for this:

The first software that needs to be downloaded and installed on an XP computer is supposedly .net 2.0. Remember that I’d just installed all the Microsoft updates on the XP laptop? It seems that .net 2.0 is “incompatible” with the version now on my laptop which was .net 3.? I think. Does Microsoft never update these pages? Does Microsoft think I’m going to uninstall a newer version of their software to install an older version so that I can download and use the latest version? And possibly screw up the one relatively full-featured computer I have working?

And we all know what I think of .NET, although somehow I have gotten 2.0 and 3.5 to coexist. (Versions below 2.0 are now supported only by whoever does installs for Cthulhu.)

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Behold the sacred tablet

And until further notice, thou shalt accept no substitute:

A court has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US while it decides on the firm’s patent dispute with Apple.

Apple has claimed that Samsung infringed its design patent and copied the look of its popular device, the iPad. The Samsung tablet is considered by most analysts as the biggest rival to Apple’s iPad.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 II (!), now reaching stores, is not included in the ban; Apple will have to set aside $2.6 million to compensate Samsung for lost sales should Apple lose the case, which will be tried in California beginning in late July.

Microsoft, whose Surface tablet is yet to go into production, will presumably find something to sue somebody over.

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Funnel be had

They don’t get a whole lot of tornadoes in Florida, but what they do get is reported on in an all-too-familiar manner:

Weather porn is the local news caster’s dream. Indeed, even some national news types love it too. Dan Rather made his bones covering a hurricane, and Geraldo doesn’t usually miss an opportunity to stand out in the wind & rain and look like a bigger fool than usual. Weather porn is big and dramatic, and even when death is involved it avoids the nastiness of talking about psycho-killers, child molesters, the deranged and the political. And once they get their fix of Act of God Drama they can go back to the regular stuff with a happy little glean in their eyes. So in the next few months when you see a newscaster reporting some grotesque of a story political or criminal (not mutually exclusive) with a twinkle in their eye, you’ll know that some locale just got the stuffing kicked out of it by weather in the previous weeks.

A note to certain locals: There is no reason on God’s brownish-of-late earth that the words “HEAT DOME” have to be displayed in letters a state and a half high.

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Fawning adulation

From the Vintage Hosiery folder, here’s a WWII-era magazine blurb for the Georgia-based Shaleen brand, not at all apologizing for the fact that the Armed Forces had commandeered (so to speak) the nation’s nylon for the war effort:

Shaleen nylons advertisement circa 1944

These deer appeared in Shaleen ads over several years, and even after their retirement, you could still see one in the round corporate logo. (The motto around the circle: “It’s the lasting beauty of them.”) The mill itself, however, didn’t last, and was shut down in the early 1950s; the facility was renovated and turned into classrooms for Georgia’s Columbus College (now Columbus State University), which opened in 1958.

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Tartuffe beats the heat

Michael Bloomberg, last week:

When temperatures hit the high 90s a week ago, Bloomberg visited the Bronx Works senior center and called on New Yorkers to turn off “all non-essential appliances.”

“It only takes a couple of minutes to cool off a room,” he said at the time.

And what is an Essential Appliance? This:

The New York Post has uncovered a dirty little secret about the supposed environmentally-clean NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor apparently doesn’t like to enter a hot car, but his city has the toughest anti-idling laws in the country. So, naturally, his underlings rig a window air conditioning unit to hang out his SUV’s window while it sits.

“Let them drink soda,” said Marie Antoinette. “But sixteen ounces only.”

(Via this Kathleen McKinley tweet.)

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140 or fight

Smitty, who’s done some A-level tweeting in his day, reminds us:

[Twitter i]s just a means to an end: communication. Bemoaning the constraints of the form is like whining about the rules of the sonnet.

I am not one of those people who resents having to fit something into a size or a pattern. One of the reasons those early Motown records were so great was that they were short enough to get out of their own way: until Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the Gordy machine routinely chopped ‘em down to less than three minutes. Those editing jobs were sometimes clumsy, sometimes worse than that — see, for instance, the Supremes’ “Reflections” or “I’m Ready for Love” by Martha and the Vandellas — but rules is rules.

Of course, having once written an almost-sonnet, I’m not likely to grumble about having to make things conform to a specific format.

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Punch in, punched out

Most weeks I put in 45-50 hours, usually arriving early to clean up any lingering issues from the day before. This is arguably a lot of time, though it’s nothing compared to what some staffers have to put in to keep the workload from piling up.

One could reasonably ask, though: Cui bono?

I am wondering if maybe we are not just victims of our own success, and our ability to produce. Many people work 40, 50, 60 hours a week not because they need the money, but because they can and because they like the money. I suspect we could probably get along just fine if we were all only working 20 hours a week. Problem then would be finding something to do for all those people who used to be working 60 or 70 hours a week, something besides sitting around and cooking up trouble, which is what the unemployed do now, don’t cha know?

Liking it, sooner or later, mutates into needing it.

The problem, as I see it, is that’s it’s so damned expensive to employ people in the first place, what with payroll taxes, government regulations, and occasionally something resembling benefits. I could see splitting my position into two, but paying two people plus all the associated vig would cost even more than it does to pay me, and I ain’t especially cheap. The front office is reluctant to add any more bodies to the payroll, and I really can’t blame them; that said, we’re in dire need of someone who can spell me in my absence, if I’m ever absent, and at my age, I have to assume there are going to be some absences coming up.

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Lessons from life (one in a series)

Showing up at the tag agency half an hour before closing on the 26th of the month: in and out in eight minutes flat.

Showing up at the tag agency half an hour before closing on the 30th of the month: just asking for trouble.

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By the time we got to wood shop

We were half a species short:

Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, which said no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from any education program or activity. Vocational education courses that barred girls — such as auto mechanics, carpentry and plumbing — became available for everyone. But it’s still hard to find girls in classes once viewed as “for boys only.”

Zoe Shipley, 15, has a passion for cars and tinkering with engines.

“It’s just kind of cool to learn how to fix a car or learn about it,” she says.

Zoe’s school in Maryland offers a dozen different vocational tracks. Four girls have signed up for construction management, which includes electrical and plumbing courses; Zoe is the only girl in autoshop. That’s it: five girls doing allegedly “boy stuff.” Now admittedly, changing a timing belt is not so great for one’s manicure, but I’ll bet that ten years from now, when some weaselly service writer is trying to figure out some way to get $1000 out of her for $90 worth of work, this girl is going to be glad she followed this track.

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

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No rest for the llama

I have spoken before of my marginally massive iTunes installation on the work box, now somewhere around 6700 tracks. But the major reason I’m using iTunes at all, other than to shop at the Store, is because I’ve long since figured out how to work up “smart playlists” and how to let it handle the streams — because I don’t have time at work to pick this stuff out myself. At home, my iTunes install is maybe a tenth as large, and most of my music listening is done through, um, Winamp.

Winamp screenshot featuring Sing It by Rebecca BlackYes, folks, the Largely Forgotten Music Player still gets some use. It has a small footprint, as anyone who’s ever loaded iTunes should be able to appreciate, and I don’t even have to bother with a playlist; I just pick ‘em off an Explorer screen when the mood hits. It will even play Apple’s AAC files — the non-DRMed ones, anyway — my small collection of FLAC files; and my musical work files, most of which are WAVs. Besides, I’ve paid for the Winamp Pro license, and I’d hate to think I shelled out that much money — okay, not that much — on something I wasn’t going to use. I’m in version 5.56 right now, with one of the oldest skins on earth; in the picture you can see a recent purchase.

Oh, and we use it at work, too: it’s been pressed into service to dish up the Music On Hold at 42nd and Treadmill. I forget how long the playlist is, but if you’ve heard all of it, you’re calling too often.

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Smart response

Literally so, in several senses of the word. Here’s a screenshot of the original Twitter discussion:

Twitter conversation between Clayton Hove and smart cars USA

They did indeed do the math:

How much crap does it take to damage a smart car?

“Tridion,” incidentally, is described this way:

Inspired by racecar roll cages, the reinforced high-strength steel tridion safety cell is engineered to be a barrier between you and pretty much anything else you might encounter. It evenly distributes crash energy so you’ll have peace of mind.

There are, as you might have guessed, three layers of steel involved.

As for Mr Hove, he was duly impressed with the response.

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A bit of the old ultra-pinkness

I stared in disbelief at this for several minutes:

Pinkie Pie in an Anthony Burgess parody

Derpibooru will be the death of me yet.

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