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Archive for the ‘Tips and Tools’ Category

Because I am now a homeowner and worry about my lawn, although not today (it’s pouring).  Anyway, some clips below and the full link is included.

1. Mow Less Often

Keep grass tall to improve soil’s moisture retention (translation: you don’t have to mow as often as you probably are!). “Raise your mower’s blade to three, even four, inches from now until right after Labor Day,” says Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual. Taller grass shades soil and blocks weeds like crabgrass from getting sustenance and poking though your luscious lawn. “If crabgrass gets light, it will germinate,” he adds.

2. Leave Grass Clippings On the Lawn

Instead of spending time raking up the clippings left over after you mow, leave them there. They’ll break down and return precious nutrients to the soil. And you won’t need to add as much fertilizer as usual. Better yet, use a mulching mower, which fertilizes the lawn the natural way. It minces cuttings into pieces so small they can still be left on the ground, where they eventually decompose. Just by leaving clippings on the lawn, you’re basically fulfilling 25 percent of its fertilizer requirements.

via 5 Shortcuts to a Perfect Lawn – DIY Life.

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Adam Bosworth, VP of Google recently has posted a few items on their blog regarding health care and the poor information transfer withiin the field.  I can only imagine that Health Informatics must seem truly backwards when one comes from a place like Google.

His first post is here:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/health-care-information-matters.html

And there is a second post, including a link to a transcript of a keynote address regarding this very issue.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/thoughts-on-health-care-continued.html

There are a number of obstacles to overcome, and the technical limitations are only a part of them. The bigger problem is that people working in the field are so fearful of litigation from a privacy breach, especially when it gets released to the “net.”  Some of this is because people are afraid of increased insurance rates, and many of these concerns are legitimate because information is just SO easy to duplicate a million times over once it is digitized.

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Slate’s explainer podcasts are among my favorites, and occasionally including those with medically related questions. This one is on heatstroke. The link to the mp3 can be found here.

The parts directly related to what doctors worry about is here:

Once your core gets above about 104 degrees, you’re in serious danger. High internal temperatures lead to increased pressure in your skull and decreased blood flow to your brain. (Doctors diagnose “heatstroke” when the heat starts to affect your central nervous system.) Damaged tissue may also enter your bloodstream and lead to kidney failure. Very high internal temperatures—like 120 degrees—can destroy the cells in your body through direct heat damage.

The other parts are good too. Listen or Read!

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I find myself often trying to explain the merits of using RSS to filter and keep up with the internet.  The web is pretty overwhelming otherwise.  Basically RSS is a format or “feed” that allows a user to subscribe to various webpages and then allows the user to read updates on a webpage through a central reader.  My personal favorite RSS reader is Bloglines.

There is a page that tries to explain RSS on About.com.  It is laughably complicated for a “netforbeginners” section, but you might like it if you’d like to read more.  Unfortunately, if you do a search on Google for “What is RSS” you’ll get a whole lot of results showing technical pages that explain how web designers can publish an RSS feed.

 Anyway, for those in the medical profession, one of the great uses of RSS feeds is that you can set up PubMed to create a custom feed of any search you like, and then have the feeds update whenever a new academic paper gets published within that search.  David Rothman at http://davidrothman.net/, has an excellent entry that takes you step by step through how to set up a PubMed feed using Bloglines.  Hopefully, those of us in the medical academics will be better able to keep up with the overwhelming research that occurs around the world.

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I’ve been looking at some blogging options lately, and I’ve been particularly impressed with WordPress. I’ve actually been double posting on both Xanga and WordPress for the past few weeks, just to try it out.

My page is here: davidkpark.wordpress.com

WordPress is kinda like the old-school Blogger.com, where it is a blogging engine as well as a hosting site. WordPress.com is a pretty functional host, and comes with all kinds of themes which make it pretty easy to setup a site and get it running.

On WordPress, I really like the categories, and really like the clean page (xanga has tons of clutter). I also like the portability of my data. I have almost 3 years of posts on xanga, and even if I download it by paying for a Premium account, I don’t know how to convert the posts into something useful. The geeky side of me also likes how wordpress plugs in to the greater blogosphere, connecting my post to other blogs that are talking about the same thing through Technorati and the like. Some part of me likes to think that by posting about a topic, I’m contributing the greater discussion, and maybe even changing a few minds.

On the other hand, Xanga is really easy to use once you are in the network. Setting up subscriptions are really easy as long as you have a xanga account. WordPress uses RSS feeds to do the same thing, but RSS is not that well understood by non-geeks. (For a quick explanation for RSS, check out an explanation here. (I highly recommend Bloglines as a web reader). At some point, I’ll post about how RSS is the best thing that has happened to the internet in a while….

I guess I can use WordPress for more topic oriented stuff, while using Xanga for more personal blogging. That said, you’d notice how rarely I blog about personal stuff on this site….

Anyone who has looked into these hosts care to comment?

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