Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. As if last week wasn't bad enough, yesterday my Niece-In-Law (the wife of my nephew) accidentally got some pistachio's mixed into her peanuts. Susan has had an allergy to nuts her whole life and when her throat started swelling closed she know that she was in trouble.
Once she was safely in the Emergency Room she thought that she'd finally be OK. Little did she know that the Epinephrine that they routinely give to patients with allergic reactions would make things worse!
Epinephrine is a form of adrenalin and usually the effect is to open up the bronchia and raise the heart rate. This is why it is the initial drug of choice for treating bronchoconstriction (such as asthma) and hypotension (low blood pressure) resulting from anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction) as well as all forms of cardiac arrest.
That last part is where Susan's surprise came from. Her heart, the ER physician says, is so sensitive to Epinephrine that when they gave her an injection of it she immediately felt pain and tightening in her chest. The pain grew more severe and spread out her body to her extremities. Susan was having a heart attack at 23 years old! Fortunately, she assured me, she can't remember most of what happened after that.
The ER doctor wasn't sure what had happened or why. But today when the tests came back indicating that there had been some damage to her heart it was obvious to the cardiologist.
When Anne and I heard, we immediately headed to the hospital. Susan looked a little pale, but she was in talkative and in good spirits. Anne presented her with some roses. Everyone knows how much the ladies love flowers and these were beautiful variegated yellow and pink specimens. I, because of last week, am painfully aware of how boring hospitals are and so I gave her a pocket poker game. It may not be as beautiful as the flowers, but in the long run I think that it'll be as therapeutic.
Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place
GRINS & GIGGLES:
John was a clerk in a small drugstore but he was not much of a salesman. He could never find the item the customer wanted. Bob, the owner, had had about enough and warned John that the next sale he missed would be his last.
Just then a man came in coughing and he ask John for their best cough syrup. Try as he might John could not find the cough syrup. Remembering Bob's warning he sold the man a box of Ex-Lax and told him to take it all at once. The customer did asJohn said and then walked outside and leaned against a lamp post.
Bob had seen the whole thing and came over to ask John what had transpired. "He wanted something for his cough but I couldn't find the cough syrup. I substituted Ex-Lax and told him to take it all at once," John explained.
"Ex-Lax won't cure a cough" Bob shouted angrily.
"Sure it will" John said, pointing at the man leaning on the lamp post. "Look at him. He's afraid to cough!"
'Cute' Trojan Horse spreading by e-mail
Worm has been rated low risk, but could damage firewall and security programs on infected PCs.
A pair of antivirus companies is warning users to look out for an e-mail worm that could allow attackers to take over their machines and try to damage firewall and security programs.
Santa Clara, California-based Network Associates' McAfee.com unit and Cupertino, California-based Symantec are both warning computer users to watch out for an e-mail message with a subject line: "Thoughts..."
Inside, users find a short note reading: "I just found this program, and, i dont know why... but it reminded me of you. check it out." Inside the message is an attachment called Cute.exe.
Statements released by both Symantec and Sunnyvale, California-based McAfee say the package will unleash a Trojan horse worm that will look for security programs inside a user's machine and attack them. Both companies have labeled the worm a "low" risk and offer instructions on their Web sites on how to remove it.
The program will also allow attackers to do the following:
Send instant messages from an infected machine using either MSN Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger
·Initiate denial-of-service attacks
·Access, move, copy, or delete files
·Access, move, copy, or delete file transfer protocol files
The program will copy itself to the Windows directory and create two registry keys, according to McAfee's statement. Two INI keys are also created. Then "the worm looks for E security programs [including antivirus and firewall programs] in memory and terminates them if found," the statement says.
WHO Gets Aggressive on Obesity
By EMMA ROSS
Obesity has reached such epidemic proportions that world health officials have decided they need to take a more aggressive approach if they are to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases.
After years of focusing on promoting healthy eating to dampen demand for junk food, the World Health Organization is now examining what can be done on the supply side — enlisting the cooperation of food producers.
In the last two years, experts have confirmed that obesity, diabetes and heart disease — commonly thought to be afflictions of the affluent — are spreading to the developing world, but new research provides the clearest picture yet of the global situation.
Studies presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the WHO's decision making body provide the first major insight into childhood obesity rates in the developing world.
The picture looks all too familiar, even in regions suffering from malnutrition. Figures from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean were included.
``We estimate that 22 million of the world's children under 5 are overweight or obese,'' said Mary Bellizzi, an expert with the International Obesity Task Force who presented the research to health ministers at the meeting.
Research indicates that in some parts of Africa, fatness and obesity afflicts more children than malnutrition does — sometimes four times as many.
``In small studies in Africa you will find that 0.7 percent of the children are showing features of malnutrition, but over 3 percent are showing up overweight or obese,'' said Neville Rigby, public affairs director at the International Obesity Task Force.
The organization estimates that 300 million people worldwide are obese and 750 million more are overweight.
In the United States, some 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, as are nearly 13 percent of children.
The obesity task force estimates that in some countries, more than 30 percent of the children are obese.
Bellizzi reported that in Egypt more than 25 percent of 4-year-olds are fat and that obesity rates are also more than 25 percent among children aged between 4 and 10 in Chile, Peru and Mexico.
In Zambia and Morocco, between 15 and 20 percent of 4-year-olds are obese.
``I think it's time to do something serious,'' Bellizzi said, after the meeting. ``Education is not enough.'' ``You have to look at food production, food importation — the production of sugar, the production of oil, that has to go into food and that food is ultimately sold to consumers,'' she said.
``If we continue with this production, that produce has to go somewhere and people have to eat it, so I think we need to have a radical look at food supply in order to make sure that food that is supplied to the public is lower in fat, sugar and salt,'' Bellizzi said.
WHO experts are starting to do just that.
``Our general view is that guilting people, in the long run, doesn't work,'' said Dr. Derek Yach, WHO executive director for noncommunicable diseases and mental health.
``There are two strategies. One is working at the level of individuals, to give them the best information so that they can make informed choices,'' he said. ``Step two often requires removing some of the heavy handed marketing that may block them making those choices in an informed way, particularly at a young age.'' Although WHO believes junk food consumption has to be controlled, it is not approaching the issue as aggressively as it has tackled tobacco.
WHO has a combative relationship with the tobacco industry and is crafting international legislation to seriously curtail tobacco consumption.
``We think that before we enter into policy decisions about food, we have very serious discussions to have with the food industry,'' Yach said.
``We believe there is an enormous potential to work together to solve these problems, whereas we didn't believe that in the case of the tobacco industry.
``Our preliminary discussions with the food industry indicate a great willingness to talk to us,'' he said.
``It may very well be that they will look at advertising, but we are interested in what they will do positively with us — promoting physical activity on a worldwide scale, trying to make the less salty, less sugary, less fatty products more available and more attractive to young people.''
World Health Organization, http://www.who.int
International Obesity Task Force, http://www.iotf.org
BECAUSE DARN IT, PEOPLE CARE: The Woody Creek Tavern outside Aspen, Colo., is soliciting contributions to help Enron CEO Ken Lay retire. The Lays had to sell several millions of dollars' worth of property in Aspen due to "liquidity problems" after Enron's collapse. "It's been a great worry here about how we are going to help this poor man," said a Woody's spokesman. What sort of donations are they getting? "There's a Lifestyles black condom, several dog biscuits, a loaded .440-caliber rifle cartridge, a blue pacifier for a whiny boy, and screws -- screws seem to be a very important aspect of the donations." (Denver Rocky Mountain News) ...Another example of the "giving back" culture of Colorado.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: In a plea bargain, Canadian Robert Moisescu pleaded guilty to robbing a bank of $32,538 in Champlain, N.Y. He was captured before he could get back over the border. But he is now objecting to the seven-year sentence that his lawyer negotiated, saying the judge should consider the exchange rate between the U.S. and weaker Canadian dollars. "Taking into account my Canadian criminal record -- at current exchange rates -- is only worth 62 percent of an American criminal record," Moisescu wrote to Clinton County Court Judge Patrick McGill. "Seven years Canadian is worth only four years in American." (Plattsburgh Press-Republican) ...Though if he had made it over the border the loot would have been worth more, so prosecutors are now applying the formula to argue his sentence should be 11 years.
WHO DO YOU TRUST? Twenty employees at a nursing home in Newark, N.J., pooled funds to try for a piece of a $331 million lottery jackpot, and Angelito Marquez went to a liquor store to buy their tickets. The 19 others got suspicious when, after the drawing, Marquez called in sick and told them there were no winning tickets. Then they found out that a winning ticket had been bought near Marquez's house. They hired an attorney, and lottery officials investigated -- and found that Marquez really was sick, and that someone else had bought the winning ticket. To be safe, Marquez hired his own lawyer, who theorized the other employees "just put two and two together and got five." (Bergen Record) ... More proof that lottery players are bad at math.
THE GAUNTLET: Female students arriving at a dance at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Calif., were asked if they were wearing "appropriate" underwear under their dresses. Assistant Principal Rita Wilson apparently wouldn't take the word of several girls -- she demanded they lift their dresses to show they were wearing panties, and that they weren't thongs -- while other students and adults looked on. One 16-year-old student said Wilson yanked down her top, exposing her bra, and a male student wearing a toga was forced to show he was wearing shorts. A police officer who witnessed the events called the inspections "totally out of line," but they didn't stop when he suggested it. Many parents are demanding that Wilson be fired, and some are threatening lawsuits. So far, she has only been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate for "a week or two." (San Diego Union-Tribune) ... She opened her skull, but no one saw any brains.
DEPENDING, OF COURSE, WHERE YOU STICK THE NEEDLE: "Acupuncture May Up Chance of Test-Tube Pregnancy" -- Reuters headline
Email... can't live without it?
Doh! The Most Disastrous E-Mail Mistakes
Want some light entertainment? Check out our readers' true tales of e-mail faux pas, and find out how to prevent them from happening to you.
What's in an e-mail? Potential disaster, that's what. With the click of a mouse, you can accidentally broadcast that torrid note to 200 coworkers, forward a catty message about your boss to your boss, or send several thousand customer credit card numbers to, um, the journalist writing this story.
There are probably 8 million similar stories in the Naked Internet. PC World invited readers to share their most embarrassing moments (or somebody else's). Gathered here are ten tales of e-mail gone awry that will make you think twice before clicking Send. In fact, after reading these cringe worthy confessions, you may want to toss your PC and go back to carrier pigeons. Or clay tablets.
The following stories show just how mortifying (and funny) errant e-mail can be. For obvious reasons, the names of the individuals involved have been omitted. But believe me, I'm not making these up.
Death of a Salesman
"A very successful salesman at our networking company had a large e-mail address book filled with his best customers, including some very important and conservative government contacts. With a single click, he accidentally sent a file chock-full of his favorite pornographic cartoons and jokes to everyone on his special customer list. His subject line: 'Special deals for my best customers!' Needless to say, he's cutting deals for another company these days."
Slip Into Something Comfortable
"An editor at my magazine was discussing with an office pal via e-mail what to wear for her big romantic date with the new boyfriend. Unfortunately, she inadvertently copied everyone in the office about her dilemma. She got fashion advice ('Wear the silk teddy with the explosive bolts!') for weeks afterward."
Big Brother Is Reading
"Two jobs are better than one--if you can work on the second job while at the first. That's what my former boss, an event planner for a nonprofit, did to pad her already fat salary. She blithely organized a seminar for job number two using the e-mail system at job number one. To cover her absences from job number one, she invented a serious illness for her saintly mother, who just happened to be at death's door the day the seminar took place. Our heroine, however, never made it to her mom's bedside--her boss checked the e-mail server and read a few random messages. Our plucky heroine is now pulling down unemployment."
Secrets From the Spreadsheet
"A helpful HR person at my company sent an employee phone extension list to everyone at our company. But the spreadsheet had hidden columns that were easily un hidden to reveal everyone's pay, bonuses, and stock options--including senior management's. Luckily, she had a new job lined up."
The Deadly Reply All Button (Part One)
"The insurance company I work for maintains an internal mailing list devoted to one of our customers. One day, one of our sales reps sent an e-mail to everyone in my group asking about a policy we were selling. I replied that we could easily convince the customer to buy it--even though the customer didn't need it. Unfortunately, I clicked Reply All. Hiding in that massive list was the customer's e-mail address. We didn't make the sale."
The Deadly Reply All Button (Part Two)
"A woman was in torment over a busted romance. She wrote a lengthy, detailed message to a girlfriend, adding that her ex-boyfriend preferred men to women. But instead of hitting Reply to a previous message from her girlfriend, she hit Reply All. Her screed was sent to dozens of people she didn't even know (including me), plus the aforementioned ex and his new boyfriend. As if that weren't bad enough, she did this two more times in quick succession! I finally wrote to her and told her about her addressing problem."
Third Time's a Charm
"I received an e-mail from an assistant at a competing consulting firm, CC'd to the firm's entire e-mail address book. What a piece of luck. Now I know who all of their employees, associates, and many of their clients are. Attached was a proposal to one of their clients, so even better: Now I know how much they charge. Several hours later, I received another e-mail from the assistant, again CC'd to everyone, with a revised proposal. The next day, I received a third e-mail from the assistant: 'Please ignore the previous e-mails.'"
"A troublesome employee in my department sent me an e-mail saying he wouldn't make it in to work because of a sudden death in the family. He said that he would be flying out to the East Coast for a few days. He'd been less than honest with me in the past, so he attached an airline itinerary as proof. Except the itinerary showed his destination to be Hawaii! When he came back, I innocently asked, 'How was Hawaii?' 'Wonderful,' came the reply, followed by 'Oh $#@%@$%!' He very quickly found a new job and left the company."
P.S. Your Cat Is Dead
"I've been using e-mail since the days of MCI Mail. I've suffered through flaky service, flame wars, e-mail rants from customers, and yes, stupid e-mails I never should have sent. But I never expected e-mail to pierce my heart.
"I met her at a company picnic, we traded stories about our repressed childhoods, and we soon became a couple. On a Sunday six months later, I proposed and she accepted. On a Thursday four days later, she broke up with me--via e-mail. She sat four cubicles down the hall from me. I now insist that women reject me in person. It saves Internet bandwidth."
There'll Always Be an England
A word of warning: Be careful whom you challenge publicly--humiliation could be just an e-mail away. That's what "Galen" discovered when he sent an e-mail filled with conspiracy theories about a flight simulation game and PC Pilot, a U.K.-based magazine that reviewed the game. The magazine's managing editor shot back the following reply for all to see:
Thanks for your mail. We've taken a look at your Web site and our general conclusion was that you are about as mad as one can get and still remain at liberty. The best advice we can give you is not to read our dangerous magazine. We are a front for a number of prescribed organizations, as you have correctly guessed, and our paper is impregnated with dangerous chemicals that take away your manhood... See you in the interrogation chamber.
Dermot Stapleton, Managing Editor
Seven Rules for Gaffe-Free E-Mails
E-mail is like a digital postcard -- anyone can read it. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to send that postcard to everyone on the planet. But with instant communication can come instant e-gaffes. One wrong click can drop your career or your reputation into the dumpster. Follow these rules to save yourself from embarrassment.
Rule 1: Always check the To field before you click Send.
Rule 2: Always check the To field before you click Send.
Rule 3: Always check the To field before you click Send.
Rule 4: Remember the carpenter's rule, "Measure twice, cut once," and think twice before sending once. In other words, put that message aside and let your temper (or lust) cool before you send it.
Rule 5: Use draft folders with caution. No matter what e-mail program you use, it can be easy to send an e-mail in progress by accident. Save that hot-and-heavy note on a floppy--and lock it in a vault.
Rule 6: Old news can become bad news. Find your inner Yoda (or inner editor) and pause before you write something that could come back to haunt you later. In short, avoid future embarrassment by not writing anything even remotely off color or off the cuff. When in doubt, hit the Cancel key instead of Send--and remove anything potentially mortifying. Remember, too, that deleting sent e-mails on your system is only half the story; they could be sitting out there on some server, just waiting for a subpoena. (Remember the ancient e-mails exhumed for Microsoft's antitrust trial?)
Rule 7: Don't make jokes or comments via e-mail that you wouldn't make in person. "E-mail can be a minefield of unintended insults," says Judy Heim, communications maven and longtime PC World writer. "I've stopped wisecracking in e-mail. It's too easy for comments to be misconstrued."
Did Microsoft Flirt With Piracy?
Complaints about open-source software policy reveal piracy rap in France.
While Microsoft cracks down on software pirates the world over, the software giant itself was quietly convicted of piracy charges in France last fall--and the case, while supposedly under appeal, may cost the company some business.
The French division of Microsoft is facing a fine of about $422,000 for illegal use of another company's source code in an animation program called Softimage 3D. The program has been used to create such films as The Matrix, Men in Black, and Star Wars. But the dispute itself was cited by a governmental buyer who contends Microsoft should not complain about pirates when it is guilty of the same transgression. Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.
The issue started in 1995 when Microsoft France purchased Softimage, a Canadian company that developed the 3D CGI animation program Softimage 3D. The acquired company was accused of illegally lifting source code from a proprietary program called Character, developed by the owners of Syn'x Relief, a company near Paris.
In 1994, Softimage had negotiated with Syn'x about integrating parts of the Character program into Softimage 3D. But the deal fell through when Softimage demanded all rights to the code, according to a report in PC World Malta. In 1995, when Syn'x severed its relationship with Microsoft-Softimage, the company assured Syn'x that it had removed "some or all" of Character from its software. But Syn'x charges that Microsoft-Softimage removed only one part of the code, and retained eight other functions that Character's developers had registered with the French National Intellectual Property Institute.
After Syn'x sent two letters to Softimage and Microsoft demanding the functions be removed, the company filed suit. In 1998, Microsoft sold Softimage to Avid Technologies but remained responsible for the legal infringements of its former wholly owned subsidiary.
Although Syn'x eventually fell into bankruptcy as a result of the case, the program's authors continued their fight. Last September the Commercial Court of Nanterre, France, awarded Syn'x the judgment for damages and interest. Microsoft has vowed to appeal the decision.
Sales Pitch Rebuffed
Microsoft's brush with piracy in France came to light only this week. The case was overshadowed at the time by the focus on the September 11 terrorist attacks. But recently a Peruvian congressman raised the issue in regard to a Microsoft contract.
Dr. Edgar David Villanueva Nuñez corresponded in April with Microsoft's general manager in Peru over proposed legislation there that would require any software used by the Peruvian government to be open source (or "free software," as it's referred to in Peru). Microsoft representatives protested the plan, writing the congressman that producing open-source software makes a software company vulnerable to piracy of its intellectual property by competitors. If Peru mandates the use of open-source software by government agencies, it "would establish discriminatory and noncompetitive practices in the contracting and purchasing" of software by public bodies, Microsoft stated.
Nuñez was apparently not persuaded. He replied to Microsoft: "The inclusion of the intellectual property of others in works claimed as one's own is not a practice that has been noted in the [open-source] software community; whereas, unfortunately, it has been in the area of proprietary software." He cited specifically Microsoft's conviction by the Commercial Court of France, "for violation of intellectual property (piracy, to use the unfortunate term that your firm commonly uses in its publicity)."
Meanwhile, Microsoft remains one of the most outspoken critics of piracy, aggressively pursuing violators and urging authorities to crack down on anyone who illegally copies its software. The company even went so far as to include an Activation Wizard in Windows XP, which prevents customers from loading a single copy of XP onto more than one PC. The company amended the policy after user outcry.
To a great extent, the people whom you choose to associate influence the direction of your life.