Week of 6 September 2010
Update: Friday, 10 September 2010 08:35 -0400
- Took the day off.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Barbara and I drove up to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia Sunday
morning and came back yesterday afternoon. Our friends Steve and Linda
Childers have a lake house, and invited us up to set up our scope and
look at the night sky. The skies there are excellent,
about as good as any easily accessible observing site east of the
Mississippi. We stayed out for three or four hours Sunday night/Monday
morning, and added a few Herschel 400 objects to our score.
the late evening, we noticed a very bright star rising in the trees in
the southeast. No star belonged there, so at first we thought it was an
airliner 20 or 30 miles out. After looking at it for a couple minutes,
we didn't notice any apparent motion. Steve finally turned his 17.5"
Dob onto it and announced that it had moon. Yes, it was Jupiter rising.
Jupiter reaches opposition in a couple of weeks, and it's a very close
one this year. The magnitude is -2.9, and its apparent size is nearly a
full arcminute (one sixtieth of a degree; the full moon is about 30
arcminutes). Steve thought he could see a disk, which is possible at
We gave Malcolm a tranquilizer for the trip up and
back. Otherwise, he'd bark berserkly the whole time. The last time we
were up there, in March, we'd left Malcolm at the lake house with
Linda, and he'd barked and howled the entire time we were gone. This
time, we took him along with us and just left him in the Trooper. I
figured he'd just lie on the seat and sleep since he'd be able to hear
our voices, and that's just what he did.
Malcolm is showing
signs of a UTI, so I started him this morning with a loading dose of
500 mg of amoxicillin. I'll give him 250 mg every eight hours for a
couple days and then 250 mg every 12 hours for another week. I was
going to do a urine culture, but the UTI doesn't appear to be severe.
If the amoxicillin doesn't knock it down quickly, I'll start him on
something else and do a culture.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Malcolm is already feeling better. He's back to normal, with no UTI
symptoms. It's amazing what a gram of amoxicillin can do in just a few
hours. I'll keep him on 250 mg b.i.d. for the next week or so just to
I half-seriously considered the one-shot method, 3 grams of
amoxicillin in a single dose. That's been tested in humans and found to
have nearly as high a success rate as the 7 to 10 day course, and with
fewer side effects. The problem is, I couldn't find any papers about
using the single-dose method in canines, and I was concerned about
hepatotoxicity in an 11-year-old dog. From past experience, I knew that
Malcolm tolerates a standard course of amoxicillin well, so I decided
that the lower dosage over a week or ten days was the safer method.
now I need to restock amoxicillin. Back in the mid- to late 70's, I
used to get wholesale catalogs from Sherry Pharmaceutical. I ordered
stuff like bottles of 1,000 250 mg amoxicillin capsules for $15 or
5,000 4 mg chlorpheniramine maleate tablets for $12. Keeping them in
the freezer extended their shelf life by literally an order of
magnitude. Alas, a quick web search showed me that Sherry is no more.
The son of its founder apparently went on to found Home Depot. So I'll
probably just order veterinary pharmaceuticals from Thomas Laboratories.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
- We've started watching True Blood, HBO's vampire series based on the books by Charlaine Harris. The writing is excellent, as is the cast. In particular, Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton is superb. I would watch her playing any role.
We're also watching Brothers & Sisters,
which Barbara likes and which has won many awards. I think it's one of
the worst series I've ever seen. I actually searched the Internet to
find out if it has won any awards for badness. The writing is sub-par,
hackneyed and preachy. The acting is pedestrian at best, and the plots
banal. It stars Sally Field, whom I despise. The one thing it has going
for it is that it also stars Emily VanCamp--Amy in Everwood--whom I adore and would watch in anything. Unfortunately, her first appearance isn't until episode 14.
I'm still working heads-down on the microchemistry kit, writing up labs, researching and writing MSDSs, and so on.
Friday, 10 September 2010
Happy Anniversary to us. Barbara and I have been married for 27 years
today. In one sense, it seems like much longer, but in another it seems
like no time at all.
Several people have asked me for my take on the religious nutter in
Florida who plans to burn korans tomorrow. Or does he? It was on, then
off, but now it appears to be back on.
The responses to his plan
range from approval to condemnation. Interestingly, it's impossible to
predict what someone's response will be even if you know their general
political outlook. We have some conservatives, liberals, and
libertarians on the pro side, and others from across the political
spectrum on the anti side. PZ Myers has an excellent response: Setting the Koran on fire, vs. setting personal liberties on fire.
I favor the burning, simply because I favor showing disrespect and
contempt for all religions and all religious symbols at all times. I
have only contempt for that religious nutter in Florida, but I heartily
approve of him burning a symbol of islam. Once he gets it burning
vigorously, I hope he pisses on it to put it out.
like to participate in tomorrow's festivities but don't have a koran,
you can still do so. Just burn a copy of the bible or the torah. For
that matter, burn a copy of Darwin's Origin or Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth.
The point is, nothing is sacred. Nothing is beyond questioning. Nothing
gets a free pass. Everything is subject to criticism and rebuttal.
Offending someone else's beliefs, no matter how deeply held, is not a
crime. But responding violently to something or someone that offends
you is a crime.
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Sunday, 12 September 2010
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