The advantages of bike share

It’s bicycle weekend in Washington, D.C. Yesterday, it was Ride Your Bike to Work Day. Today is supposed to be a big bike event near the baseball stadium (but it’s been raining all day and I don’t feel like getting wet). Tomorrow, city streets will be closed of so bicyclists can take over the area.

I use my regular bike on weekends, but I bike share during the week. Here’s why:

World’s oldest person dies, now the new oldest person is 116

I saw this headline on Jezebel:
World’s Oldest Person and the Last American Born in the 1800s Dies at 116
When I saw this, I thought that if she was the world’s oldest person, doesn’t that make her the last person born in the 1800s? I was wrong:

Her death leaves a 116-year-old woman from Verbania, Italy, Emma Morano, as the world’s oldest person, and the only living person who was born in the 1800s. … Moreno was just a few months younger than Jones, according to the organization, which attempts to track all living supercentenarians.

There’s only one person left in the world who was born in the 19th century. That’s remarkable, but kind of obvious.


Death by painkiller

Whenever I see a drug ad on TV that eventually leads to the line “Ask your doctor about …,” my first thought is, “How is this going to kill me?”

And the thing about the ads is that they always say how the drug they’re hawking is going to kill you. And they’re not subtle about it. They tell you if things go wrong, you’re going to die. And it usually is an unpleasant death.

Don’t believe me? Just wait for the next ad to show up on TV, and when it begins say to the screen, “How is this going to kill me?”

Works every time.

Le Café de Balzac

The 19th century French author Honoré de Balzac allegedly drank 50 cups of coffee a day. (It’s in the New Yorker, so it must be true.)

I have a bad reaction to caffeine, something called an ocular migraine, which means I temporarily go blind. I’m not kidding. I once drank a Pepsi, and minutes later, my vision started shimmering on the right side. Then, like a slow moving storm, it moved from the right side of my face to the left, and I was unable to read for about a half hour.

Freaked me out. I would have gone to the hospital, but I went to the Internet to see if I was having a stroke. The symptoms matched that of an ocular migraine. The Web entry said it was caused by stress and caffeine. Since I can’t control stress, I cut out caffeine.

But even if I didn’t have that reaction and could drink caffeine, I would think that 50 cups of coffee a day would kill you, right? (And decaf didn’t exist in the 19th century.)

Compound Interest says otherwise:


So Balzac only had about half a fatal dose of coffee a day. And he died at age 51. I think I see the cause of death.

But six liters of water? Isn’t that drowning? And 13 shots of alcohol? Isn’t that a frat party?

If you want to understand what dyslexia is like, read this

People talk about dyslexia, the reading disorder, but don’t necessarily know what it’s like. Here’s a simulation:

dyslexia-zoomedoutAccording to Vox:

This example doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone with dyslexia, since it’s a condition with a spectrum of more than one symptom. One person with dyslexia commented on Widell’s blog that his dyslexia works differently — letters shift in up and down instead of side to side. Others said their dyslexia is more or less severe than the simulation. Some said the simulation wasn’t accurate in any way for them personally.

Still, the simulation is a good way to introduce someone to the concept of dyslexia.