EU Banning Farm Preventative Antibiotic Use

In one of its more typical fits of bowing to popular prejudice, the EU is banning farm preventative antibiotic use, with the alleged purpose of reducing the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, though probably they’re mostly just caving into pressure from the “drugs = bad” lobby.

It has always seemed to me that these arguments ignore a basic fact: antibiotics have overused in agriculture for well over 60 years. Starting in the Forties, poultry magazines showed farmers striding manfully towards the poultry house, carrying a five-gallon bucket of antibiotics. Modern technology can do much, but it can never restore the virginity of these aged drugs!


See my New Autism and Diabetes Blog

My 17-year-old autistic son Karl was hospitalized with Type 1 diabetes in July, and I’ve started a blog about what we’re doing about it.

Karen and I are both engineers and are relentless about doing our research, so this ought to be worth following if you or a loved one are diabetic, and especially if it’s a diabetic child or someone in the autistic spectrum.

We’ll be talking about how we adjust Karl’s diet — in spite of his very strong food preferences — and monitor and manage his insulin. We are adjusting his dosage ourselves to keep things under better control than if we waited for a regular doctor’s visit.


Get Your Hens Ready for Winter

Winter is right around the corner, and what does this mean for your chickens?

For me, in the mild Pacific Nortwest climate, only 40 miles from the ocean, winter is not that big a deal, all things considered. The waterers freeze sometimes, and we get snow once or twice a year, but weather that actually bothers the hens? Doesn’t happen.

The rule of thumb is that chickens that can keep dry will keep producing and be in fine health so long as the daytime highs are mostly above freezing, and will stay healthy down to twenty below if they can stay dry and out of the wind. In both cases, of course, they need plenty of feed to keep warm. So for many of us, winter is not an “OMG!” moment, just another thing to deal with.


Unlocking the Plotto Plot Generator

When William Wallace Cook wrote Plotto: A new Method of Plot Suggestion for Writers of Creative Fiction, his introductory chapter made a lot of readers sit up and ask, “Huh?”

So Cook got do work and came up with an instruction booklet in the form of a seven-lesson course on how to use Plotto to help you overcome the thorny task of coming up with plots for short stories and novels.

The original Plotto Instruction Booklet is impossible to find, and I counted myself very lucky when I discovered that the University of Oregon library in Eugene had a copy. A quick round-trip to the Emerald City later, I’ve republished it for the benefit of anyone who has a copy of Plotto.


A Newcomer to Type 1 Diabetes Management

What happens if you are suddenly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes these days? This happened to my son Karl, who is 17 and autistic, this July. He seemed to have a cold, but took a turn for the worse, looking suddenly very thin and tired and with an odd, deep note in his breathing. He couldn’t keep fluids down.

We called 911 and he took an ambulance ride into the hospital. En route, they gave intravenous fluids and tested his blood sugar levels. “We don’t know how high they are, because the meter only goes up to 500.” Yikes!