Thursday, January 17, 2019

Harmless meme or data mining?

If you use any kind of social media, by now you've probably seen the "how hard did aging hit you" meme floating around.  People post a photo of themselves back in 2009 (or earlier) next to a current photo.

Last semester, I took an information security class, and since then, I've been more acutely aware of what information I post online.  This article from Wired raised some interesting points.
Conan O'Brien says the years have not been kind to him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Organ transplants from a surgeon's perspective

I recently came across this interview with Wisconsin transplant surgeon Joshua D. Mezrich. He gives some insight into the organ donation process and discusses his new memoir, When Death Becomes Life.  

If you're in the Madison area, Dr. Mezrich will be at the Middleton Public Library on January 31st to discuss the book and sign copies.

I haven't had a chance to read it myself yet, but it's getting some rave reviews.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Moose on the loose

A moose walks into a hospital lobby...

No, this isn't one of the terrible jokes I'm so fond of.  This actually happened yesterday in Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage.  No one was hurt.  The moose sauntered in through a door that was stuck open, grazed on the lobby plants, then headed back out.  I've seen some odd things working in a hospital, but nothing quite like that.

Book sales on the rise

After staring at glowing screens for most of the day, I definitely still appreciate being able to read a physical book.  Turns out I'm not alone in this.  Printed book sales in the US have risen for five years in a row!

Speaking of printed books, I received Smitten Kitchen Every Day as a Christmas gift, and I'm excited to try out some new recipes.  Did you get any books over the holidays?  Let us know in the comments, or email me at annie dot lipski at aurora dot org!  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Realistic resolutions

As the new year approaches, many people feel compelled to make resolutions to lead better, healthier lives over the next twelve months.  

After overindulging on too many delicious buttery, sugary treats over the holidays, many of us resolve to "eat right."  But what does that even mean?  This article by Mark Bittman and Dr. David Katz sheds some light on the topic.  It's a lengthy but interesting read.  

Here's what I got out of it:  Avoid fad diets.  Eat more plants.  Moderation is generally good.  Nutritional advice seems so contradictory because every human body is a little different and this makes diet research complicated.  Small doses of bacon/booze probably won't kill you, but don't ingest them believing they're "healthy."  Again, moderation.

If the BMJ taught us anything last week, it's that you can't always rely on abstracts/summaries alone.  So don't just take my word for it; give that one a read.

Interested in self-improvement, but not into self-help books?  I highly recommend Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***.   It's sort of like Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, but funnier and with more profanity.  Manson doesn't suggest that we stop caring about anything, but that we have a limited number of effs to give, and we'll all be happier if we'd allocate them more selectively.  From the back cover:  Manson makes the argument—backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes—that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to better stomach lemons. Human beings are flawed and limited—as he writes, “Not everybody can be extraordinary—there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. This, he says, is the real source of empowerment. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties—once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting painful truths—we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.

Geeking out on copyright: Many 1923 works are now free

January 1, 2019 is a good day for fans of the public domain. Why? "For the first time in over 20 years, published works (music, art, literature) will enter the U.S. public domain" (Center for the Study of the Public Domain, 2018). What does that mean? Well, there will be a lot more versions of 1923 "classics", including works by Agatha Christie, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, and many more. 

Want to learn more? Take your pick of the articles online...there are a lot more people excited about this than you think. 

One of the worst films of 1923?

The Prophet  comes into the public domain on 1/1/2019

Center for the Study of the Public Domain. (2018). Public Domain Day 2019. Retrieved from