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Cold vs. cold Mon, Mar 26, 2012
Similar to fat vs. fats, there's some confusion regarding the terminology of the common cold.  A "cold" is a sickness caused by a virus.  "Cold" is also an adjective describing temperature.  The two are almost completely unrelated.  It was originally believed that the cold virus was contracted through exposure to cold weather, but this has been proven false.  Being cold does not give you a cold, though feeling warm and eating/drinking warm things probably helps the immune system fend off attack.  I propose we end the confusion and start using the medical term for the cold virus:  Rhinovirus. #language

Airport pickup Wed, Mar 21, 2012
I picked someone up from my local airport recently, and I was reminded again how stupid the curbside pickup process is.  Once you follow the labyrinthine roadways with loops and signs and angry taxis, there's this peculiar rule that prevents you from waiting at the curb for more than, say, 7 milliseconds.  This conflicts quite spectacularly with the cardinal rule of air travel:  Nothing is on time, ever.  So this silly little rule is a guarantee for failure.  No human being in the history of the universe has ever arrived at the curb exactly as their waiting passenger exited the terminal.  To further frustrate things, there are armed security personnel enforcing this rule.  Here's how every single conversion goes: 
Cop:  You need to move your vehicle.
Person:  But I'm waiting to pick someone up.
Cop:  Wait somewhere else.
Person:  Where?
Cop:  That's not my problem.
As a problem-solver, I can come up with a few solutions right off the bat: 
  1. Non-ridiculous hourly parking rates.  Those of us who don't live in the midwest actually have to pay to park at the airport.  Those of us who live near major cities have to pay a lot.  If there was a legitimate alternative to waiting at the curb, perhaps I'd take it.
  2. Cell phone waiting lot.  This has been employed at many airports, and it's one of the smartest things ever.  I think it started because people would just pull their cars to the side of the highway near the airport and wait for their air traveler to call.  Non-stupid important people realized a simple way to accommodate these people would be to build a parking lot near, but not at, the airport.  Thus, the miracle of cell phone parking lots was born.
  3. Faster-than-light travel.  If we could just perfect the reassembly process, there'd be no need to even go to an airport to travel.
#travel

Types of money Wed, Mar 14, 2012
I recently refinanced my mortgage, and the final piece of the closing costs could only be paid with a bank check.  All my checking and savings accounts are online, which has caused me approximately zero problems up until this point in my life.  Bank checks can only come from brick-and-mortar banks, and you need to have an account there (at least I think that's how it works; banks are an example of a confusopoly).  I tried to negotiate with the company by offering any of several other forms of payment that are universally accepted across the globe by all businesses for pretty much any financial transaction:  Cash, check, or credit card.  They declined my offer.  Needless to say, I eventually got a bank check, which was the first time I've walked into a bank building in a good five years.

Which brings me to my point:  It's interesting that different types of money aren't equal.  I realize you can write a check without having the money in your account to back it up, and you can charge something to a credit card with absolutely no intention of paying it off.  But surely cash should be accepted no matter what, right?  From my perspective as a good consumer who has enough money to pay for the things he buys, all my methods of payment are equal.  You should accept my money whether it comes to you as paper or plastic.  Also, I'm the customer.  It's not that I think I'm always right, but shouldn't you at least try to accept my form of payment as long as it doesn't cause you excessive financial harm?  I'm trying to give you money.  Take it.  Take my money. #money

Dirty mouse Tue, Mar 06, 2012
If you ever want to feel bad about your personal hygiene, take apart and clean your computer mouse.  It's horrifying. #lifestyle