Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Cell Phone Users Give Whole New Meaning to the Word “Bonehead”

If you spend too many hours a day using a cell phone, you’re in for a delightful surprise: you’re going to grow an external occipital protuberance.
Say what?

In easy words, it’s a bone growth found at the lower back of the skull, just above the neck. No way, you say, as you reach up to check the base of your skull, could I have something like that just growing out of my head.

Yes way, it’s pure biomechanics. 

Say what?

Biomechanics is a fancy word for the study of how muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to create movement.

External occipital protuberance, biomechanics, are you still with me? If so, picture a person using a cell phone. Or look over yonder at the photo I added.    

Notice the tilted head.

That’s the problem. People aren’t designed to spend hours with their heads like that. 

Remember when you were born and you couldn’t even lift your head because it was So. Darn. Heavy?

Well, it didn’t get lighter, your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments worked together to become strong enough to lift that heavy ole head off the crib mattress. This doesn’t happen over night, you were about six months old before you had the strength and control to keep your head from lolling around unexpectedly.

Human skulls are not lightweight, on average they weigh about as much as our favorite summer treat: a large watermelon. Zombie beheadings aside, skulls aren’t meant to reside anywhere except balanced neatly on top of the spine with said spine straight as a poker, not hunched over a phone. Which is why parents are always yelling at their kids to straighten up and stop slouching!

Now, take another gander at that photo. Take one heavy head, thrust it forward for hours on end and guess what. The body deals with the heavy drag by adding extra bone at the skull. Or as the doctors like to call it: an external occipital protuberance.

I’m just letting folks know about this. I’m way far away from the 18-30 year old age bracket that has one in four people sporting an external occipital protuberance. Or a big ole bony knot at the base of their skulls. A knot more noticeable on bald headed males than long haired females.

But I admit I’m curious. Will the babies of those persons who sport this new appendage arrive with one? Will these babies be able to stare at cell phones hours on end with no problem? Then again, how will that knot affect this new born’s ability to ever lift his or her heavy head? Now it’s going to be even heavier. Will they be a year old before they can lift their heads?

I have to admit I love my cell phone and the convenience it has brought to my life, but since I’m not glued to it 24-7, I’m not too worried about growing a knot. At my age, it’s much better to watch where you’re going when one wrong step could break a vital bone.

And watching where you’re going, which many cell phone users forget to do while walking in crosswalks, grocery parking lots, etc. may well spell doom for the rabid user. They may never make it to parenthood and be able to pass on the gene for external occipital protuberance.

If you think I’m making this up. Check out this website.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Traffic Drones: It’s About Time

Drones will be the perfect way to catch people who run red lights. Snapping photos of the driver and the license plate in the act. Wham! Gotcha!

To help pay for the drones, cities should raise the fine and couple the fine with suspension of a driver’s license for at least 30 days. And if the driver repeats the sin, then off with his or her head, whoops, this isn’t North Korea! We’ll have to settle for loss of a driver’s license (for a year?), and a mandatory driver’s education course.

Did I Miss the Memo on Traffic Lights?

I keep thinking someone sent out a memo, probably on Facebook, that says traffic lights have no power. Green means go, yellow means speed up, and red means keep on going as fast as you can. 

At least, based on watching drivers scream through red lights, that’s what the lights seem to mean nowadays. I got treated to a driver running a red light the other day and watched him crash into a car entering the intersection.

I couldn’t see the red light runner because the big SUV next to me blocked my sight. Since I couldn’t check for speedsters, I decided to let her go before I did. She must’ve forgot to make sure everyone was stopped, but then, she had a green light. She pulled out to make a left hand turn.

Coupe Versus SUV

It was a good thing I hadn’t moved because a little coupe whacked right into her SUV. From the way he went spinning around two or three times as his car whipped through the intersection, I can guarantee you he had sped up rather than slowed down when the light turned yellow.

Mr. Coupe’s spinning car ended up in a ditch. To my surprise, he jumped out of the car and ran to see if he’d hurt anyone. There didn’t appear to be any injuries. The much-bigger-than-the coupe SUV had been knocked slightly askew and maybe had a dent in the side. 

I’m glad no one was hurt, but that’s not always the case. Lots of people are killed or maimed in this type of accident each year.

It seems drivers in the good ole USA think it’s better to run a red light than to stop. It’s not just red lights, drivers are running stop signs, too. 

If the driver at fault isn’t killed, he or she faces criminal charges and/or wrongful death lawsuits. Countless lives are ruined. And for what? Because you left home later than you should have?

Once NASA, the FAA, and lots of interested companies finish testing traffic drones, they’ll hit the air ways.

I can’t wait.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Watch Out for Crazy Drivers

It’s taken several decades, but Tassanoxie has a by-pass. It’s grown from two lanes going around part of the city into mostly four lanes going around the entire city. Things being the way there are, a lot of businesses are located along the by-pass. Mostly on the oldest portion, but even the newest sections are hatching new businesses right and left.
Since the speed limit on the by-pass is 45 mph, most drivers buzz along at 55+ mph. These are the ones who believe the myth that you only get a ticket if you’re more than 10 miles over the speed limit. Not sure how that works, but some bozos think it holds true even in school zones.

Knowing that folks speed, even in school zones, it seems anyone jogging or walking along the by-pass (or any road for that matter) would think, gee, I should face traffic. That way, I could see who’s coming. Notice if they’re texting while they drive and swerving back and forth across the road.

Or drunk and running off the sides of the road, where, oops! I’m walking.

But noooooo, that doesn’t seem to be the thought process for some joggers or walkers. Perhaps they have no thought process.

I know I do.

My thought process includes, what’s with jogging or walking along a highway? The draft from the first large truck to pass could blow you right off the highway into a cotton field. Or into a ditch full of yucky, muddy water.

I especially started thinking about always facing oncoming traffic a few months ago. Here I was sitting at a red light on a downtown side street waiting for the light to turn green. It’s one of those old ones that is set to let Main Street traffic go for quite a while and then blink to green long enough for three cars (if everyone’s paying attention) on the cross street to make it through before it turns red again.

While I waited, I glanced in my rear view mirror and here comes this car around the corner at the end of the block behind me. I am not lying when I say the car shot around the corner, across the street–luckily no other vehicle or person was in the street–bounced off the curb, over corrected, and ricocheted back across the street to now run up on that curb before straightening into the lane behind me.

It was like watching a crazy car chase from an action movie. Only there wasn’t any villain, there wasn’t any cop, and there wasn’t anything between me and that phone-wielding nut.

And yes, I saw the phone as she slammed to a halt behind me.

The light finally turned green, I eased into a left hand turn, and drove slowly to the light a block away. Crazy lady (yes, it was a female) followed me. My whole body tensed as I waited for her to smack into me.

I sighed in relief when she didn’t ram my car. The light turned green, I went straight and she peeled off to the right. I relaxed. She was someone else’s problem now.

I already walk facing traffic, but now I watch anything coming at me from any direction. Once you see a driver bouncing around the street like I did, ain’t no way I’m not watching any vehicle around.

You might want to do the same.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Bitcoin for My Thoughts

Scamming hasn’t gone away, it just keeps changing.

Here’s how some recent scams go. The target gets a threatening letter that demands money. One of my friends got a letter saying she owed money on a speeding ticket she supposedly got in another state. She’d never been in that city, but decided to call the police department in case there was a mix up she needed to fix fast.

There wasn’t.

The scams vary. It could be an email threatening to expose your “naughty” website browsing history. Or an official looking letter from a government agency like the one my friend got. If you’re an affluent male, it could be a blackmail scam letter claiming you’ve been unfaithful to your wife.

Not only does scamming remain a gold mine for the scammers, they have adapted to the times with their new payment plan–bitcoin.


What the heck is bitcoin?

Oh, right. It’s an online, invisible currency. And no one even knows who invented it. Wow! What a great idea. Invisible money.

Shades of Star Trek and every other scifi book or movie. Bitcoin is composed of Os and 1s, just like everything else on the computer. Doesn’t that make you just wanna jump into the bitcoin market? Let’s not even think about the fact that every major entity from retailers to healthcare companies are hacked pretty regularly. One day you have enough bitcoin to buy a house. The next day, poof! Your account has disappeared. I watch Big Bang. I saw that hacker steal all Sheldon’s online game goodies.

You go, Penny!

But Bitcoins must be catching on because there’s almost 2,000 bitcoin ATMs in the USA.

They aren’t your good ole fashioned ATM. It’s bunches more complicated than popping a card into the regular ATM machine and having money pop back out. 

If I got it right, you get to search a database of traders, feed real coins in the slot which is poofed into bitcoin. Then, once your real coin poofs into bitcoin, you have to send the bitcoin somewhere.

Who in their right mind would want to tangle with these things? 

Not to worry though, your thoughtful scammer has included step by step (nine steps to be exact) instructions on how to use a bitcoin ATM.

If your helpful scammer didn’t ask for bitcoin, he or she may be scamming the old fashioned way and demanding payment in iTunes cards. Yep, can you believe some folks fall for the IRS asking for payment in iTunes cards? 

This scammer sends you to your local Walmart to buy umpteen iTunes cards. What? Is the scammer looking to buy a new Apple phone? Buy an Apple TV? Read an iBook?

Naturally, if you’ve never cheated on your spouse, or watched naughty videos on a naughty website, or got a speeding ticket you never paid, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Even if you have been naughty, this is blackmail. Keep in mind the email or letter are probably fake. Just be sure and do your homework. If it’s a scam, somebody online somewhere will be blowing the whistle on it.

Or you could move to a small town like Tassanoxie that doesn’t even have a Bitcoin ATM. Of course, we do have plenty of iTunes cards available.