Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Laws Concerning Food and Drink

Laws Concerning Food and Drink;
Household Principles;
Lamentations of the Father

by Ian Frazier

Part II.
Laws When at Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Atlantic Monthly

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Breakfast Similarity

The Theory of Breakfast Similarity states that: "Although most people want variety in their midday and evening meals, for breakfast they are content to eat the same thing day after day after day after day after day."

From a survey conducted by mini-AIR, which asked: Do you like to eat the same thing for breakfast day after day after day after day after day?

The result:
YES 52%
NO  47%

NOTE: 7% of "YES" respondents, and, oddly, the same percentage of "NO" respondents specified that their answer applies only to weekdays, and that for them the opposite answer applied to weekends.

Several individuals sent in insightful observations, and a few others sent in observational insights. Here are a few of each:

"Yes. Since without a breakfast most people have a limited ability to think (at least I have), it is too hard a challenge to think up some nice meal early in the morning. It is thus logical that most people rely on food that has proven itself in the morning as the best strategy to getting booted up quickly." (Investigator Ferdinand Peper)
"Your question confuses what we like with what we do. Do I like to eat the same thing for breakfast day after day? No. Do I eat the same thing for breakfast day after day? Yes." (Investigator Marc Auslander)
"Cooked rolled outs with dried fruit, nuts, bran and acidopholus yoghurt, topped with 'single malt' honey from the Leatherwood tree (endemic to Tasmania -- the worlds greatest honey) for 25 years and counting." (Investigator Simon Baker)
"I do not like to eat the same thing for breakfast day after day after day after day after day. But I do like to eat the same thing for breakfast day after day after day after day. (There are, after all, limits.)" (Investigator Leslie Lamport)

mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
Issue Number 2003-10
October, 2003

Einstein's Co-author: A Cautionary Tale for Science Editors

Among the many notable achievements of Einstein's work, was the discovery of his coworker in Berlin, S.B. Preuss, though it received little publicity.

A review article about cosmology stated: "The discovery ... of Hubble's law ... led Einstein to ... reject the notorious cosmological term (Einstein and Preuss, 1931)".

The curious reader who has followed Einstein's life story and knows of his collaborations with M. Grossman, J. Grommer and W. Mayer (to name a few), but who has never heard of Preuss, eagerly turns to the references given. It is: A. Einstein and Preuss, S.B. (1931), _Akad. Wiss._, 235. Surely the _Akad. Wiss._ must be the Berlin Academy? Happily enough for those without access to the originals, Einstein's reports to the Berlin Academy were reproduced on the occasion of celebrations of Einstein's 100th birthday in 1979. A glance at the appropriate page of the 1931 volume of the _Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften_ (Reports of the meetings of the Prussian Academy of Science) reveals the workings of a creative mind. Let us look at the following sequence of references:

Einstein, A. (1931). _Sitzungsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss._ ...
A. Einstein, 1931, _Sitzgsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss._ ...
A. Einstein, _Sitzber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss._ ... (1931)
A. Einstein (1931) _Sber. preuss. Akad. Wiss._ ...
Einstein, A., 1931, S.B. Preuss. _Akad. Wiss._ ...
A. Einstein, S.B. Preuss, _Akad. Wiss._, 1931 ...
A. Einstein, S.B. Preuss, _Akad. Wiss._ (1931) ...
A. Einstein and Preuss, S.B. (1931) _Akad. Wiss._ ...

Thus, it turns out that the birth and death of S.B. Preuss occurred within such a very short time span that any scientific endeavors attempted could come to nothing. One hopes that this will be noticed by the people producing the citation index. Otherwise, in a generation or two, a young historian of science might apply for a grant to uncover more details from the brief, but not entirely joyless, life of S.B. Preuss.

Source: "Droll Science," an anthology compiled by Robert L. Weber

Study Questions for the Nurses Board Exam

  1. You are assisting a primary nurse with charcoal administration down an orogastric tube. The room measures eight feet by twelve feet. The patient starts to retch before the tube is pulled. Knowing that charcoal can spew out of a tube in a five foot radius (even with a thumb over the opening) and the stretcher is two feet wide, how many feet per second do you have to back up to get less charcoal on you than the primary nurse?

  2. Doctor A picks up a chart out of the rack. S/he finds that it is a repeat patient with abdominal pain. Doctor A puts the chart back. Doctor B picks up the chart five minutes later and also returns it to the rack. Doctor A leaves the nurses' station heading south at three miles per hour. Doctor B leaves the nurses station for the doctors' lounge at five miles per hour. How long before the patient is at equal distance from Doctor A and Doctor B?

  3. You were assigned two large treatment rooms and the gynecologic room. By the end of the day you have cared for ten patients. Four patients were female over the age of 80, all complaining of weakness. Two patients were male, ages 72 and 50. The last four were female, between the ages of 24 and 40, all complaining of abdominal pain. It is 3:00 p.m. and time to restock the rooms. How many bedpans will you need?

  4. You are the primary nurse for an elderly patient with congestive heart failure. The IV stick was exceptionally difficult, but you are able to start an 18 gauge catheter on the second attempt. You leave the room to check on another patient. A relative thinks that the IV has stopped dripping and opens the clamp. How much IV fluid will infuse before you return?

  5. You are sent for your morning coffee break. You need to use the restroom but can't find one unoccupied and have to walk down to the lobby. The coffee pot is dry and you have to make more. When you get to the cafeteria, the line extends ten feet into the hallway. You can't remember exactly when your break began. How much time do you have left?

  6. You are the primary nurse taking care of a particularly shy female in the gynecology room. Her private physician arrives to see her, but you can see that he is not in a particularly good mood. After much coaxing, the patient agrees to a pelvic exam. How many people will open the door during the exam?

  7. An elderly man arrives in the Emergency Department by rescue squad. Twenty minutes later his wife arrives and registers him. She is shown the entrance to the department and slowly shuffles in. How many rooms will she walk into before she finds him?

  8. You are assigned to the EENT room. You have a patient to be checked for a peritonsillar abscess. The ENT physician has been paged and expects to arrive in 45 minutes. Three hours later, he arrives and is at the patient's side, asking for a flashlight. Lightly jogging at 22 miles per hour, how many rooms will you have to search before you find one?

  9. You have been asked to cover a coworker's rooms during her break. One of her patients is an elderly, confused male with an enlarged prostate. A catheter has been inserted and his physician is coming to see him. Somehow he manages to get off the stretcher. The drainage bag is firmly hooked to the side rail. Knowing that the catheter is 16 inches long and the drainage tubing is three feet long, will he be able to reach the door before pulling out the catheter?

The Burns Unit

Tony Blair is being shown round a hospital, and towards the end of his visit he is taken to a ward to meet some of the patients.

He approaches one man, who has no obvious signs of injury, and asks him how he feels. The man replies: "Fair fa, your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!"

Perplexed, the PM approaches the man in the next bed and asks him why he is in hospital. "Some hae meat, and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit," says the man.

A third patient tells him: "Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie..."

Embarrassed, Mr. Blair turns to the doctor accompanying him and whispers: "What's the matter with them? Is this the psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor. "It's the Burns unit."