Friday Four

Friday, March 28, 2014

1. My daughter is still having nightmares once or twice a night, but the problem is now at least tractable. Advice like the following has proven to be on the mark:

When your toddler wakes up during the night, be soothing and calming, but boring. Let him know that everything is okay, but that it's time to sleep. Keep the conversation to a minimum and the lights dim. It may take a few nights or even a few weeks to get back on track, but the closer you stick to his regular sleep routine, the sooner the problem will be resolved.
Heh! I like this: "[S]oothing and calming, but boring". It also reminds me of the nickname I gave my overall bedtime/naptime/nighttime strategy long ago: "Captain Boredom". Anything in the least bit interesting will defeat sleep for my kids.

2. Physicians are getting ready to test suspended animation as a means of buying time for trauma victims:
That solution will be put to the test in humans for the first time. A final meeting this week will ensure that a team of doctors is fully prepared to try it. Then all they have to do is wait for the right patient to arrive.

That person will have suffered a cardiac arrest after a traumatic injury, and will not have responded to attempts to start their heart. When this happens, every member of [Samuel] Tisherman's team will be paged. "The patient will probably have already lost about 50 per cent of their blood and their chest will be open," he says. The team sees one of these cases each month. Their chance of survival is less than 7 per cent.
Now that I've got your attention, I'll introduce you to the proper term for this approach: "emergency preservation and resuscitation". The research team doesn't "like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction".

3. Word of the week:
maphead n. A person who is passionate about maps and cartography.
I've always been fascinated by maps, and remember drawing lots of fictional ones as a child. I don't spend much time looking at them anymore, but do enjoy seeing a good one -- or a weird one -- now and then.

4. No, I'm not getting ready to build a Linux cluster, but this piece on "Basic Concepts of High Availability Linux" reminded me of an old frustration with technical literature, particularly relating to computers: It too often seems geared toward either a complete novice or an expert. On top of that, much of it is no more informative than a cookbook, or a collection of recipes. It is a breath of fresh air to see a piece of technical writing that treats its reader like a thinking being, rather than, say,  a computer.

Sometimes, circumstances arise outside the usual routine. A human being who does not understand why he is doing something is little better than a computer in such situations. Likewise, ignorance of the concepts and principles behind a procedure can blind its follower to potential ways of improving upon it.

-- CAV


Realist Theorist said...

"Boring" :)

When my son was small, I had a couple of "stories" I used to tell him, that he'd heard umpteen times but was always open to hearing again if he wanted calming.

I say "stories", but they were more like historical narratives: family history and otherwise.

Gus Van Horn said...

That reminds me of an early scene in an episode of a cartoon series (Peep and the Big Wide World) my daughter likes . A mother beaver uses pretty much this sort of thing to zonk out Beaver Boy -- but only after he interrupts her a million times and she's sure he's done. (And then it sounds almost like a legal disclaimer in a commercial.)

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you write, "I've always been fascinated by maps, and remember drawing lots of fictional ones as a child."

Same here. I would spend hours as a boy just poring over my father's atlas. As you might remember me telling you a couple of decades ago (oy, so long!), when I entered first grade I knew all the Hawaiian Islands, which earned me the nickname "island freak."

While I still love looking at maps, I also enjoy reading about the history of cartography and geography. That site you linked to was a good bit of fun I'd not seen before, Thanks!, and I enjoyed this post in particular on portolan charts. (There's a good section on portolan charts in the book I gifted you on the spread of measurement in medieval Europe.) I have no particular opinion on the thesis of the thesis (the comments to this post are a good start for them that's curious), but a possible ultimate origin in antiquity is intriguing; and if so, then there's a lot of knowledge of technical knowledge that has been lost.

In addition to maps, I love good dictionaries; having worked on a few, I appreciate good art in that department. Larousse, for example, is a fine outfit indeed. Another one I greatly appreciate is this one. And here endeth the nattering.

Gus Van Horn said...

Of course, this makes me want to start calling you "Island Freak"...

Glad you liked the site -- and that you liked the post on Portolan Charts: I'd seen that, but didn't get back to it until I saw your comment.