Thursday, May 22, 2003

If it's not Blogger or Blogspot, it's my computer freezing...

In yesterday's lost blog...
Mum and Dad's house is taking shape, with the decking and windows giving them every chance to take in the view of the river... I wandered through our local par 3 golf course, which is set amongst tall trees and bushland, and along to our local library... I borrowed Crush by Brenda Walker and Keeping Up with Magda by Isla Dewar... and I blogged newspaper articles and sites that I'm now too annoyed to find again right now. I've since read Crush, which was set here in Western Australia and which I enjoyed. I wanted a better ending for one of the characters, very easy to spend some time with them.

Today I received a query from someone about the possible effects of a particular prescription drug on RD. While searching for more information (I become very curious) I found Mental Health Medicines (the drug I was searching for can be used to treat various conditions, usually hypertension), which lists pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed to treat mental ill health. The site is sponsored by two pharmaceutical companies (the sponsorship is neither hidden nor in-your-face) and I thought it useful.

I checked my RD webfeed today too, looking for research updates on retinal degeneration (courtesy Moreover). The feed lists news articles containing relevant words, such as retina or macular, that hopefully won't return heaps of irrelevant articles. Often the articles aren't spot on but sometimes they're fun anyway.

Today I noticed one called 'feeling really crazy'.... definitely the most interesting headline. The article was not only irrelevant but it wasn't an article, it was a post to a messageboard hosted by WebMD. Like many of the less relevant articles, it mentioned a detached retina - however, in this case the detached retina didn't belong to a professional sportsperson but to a doctor treating the depressed author. The message writer was suicidal. WebMD is often the source of articles about eye health but I'm wondering how a messageboard post, which included personal and sensitive information to a public but specific group, is listed in a newsfeed?

Somewhere in all the RP/medication surfing I came across The Absurdity of Vivisection. The site uses 'vivisection' to mean all forms of experimentation on live animals. Staying involved in groups concerned with retinal degeneration, I read quite a few articles about research into treatments or cures that could save or restore sight. Much of this research involves animal experimentation, not just on mice and rats but also on larger animals such as dogs and pigs. Animals are bred to have the same or similar genetic disorders as the humans waiting for news of a treatment.

While I am hoping for a treatment, if not for myself but for future generations with RD, I am not certain that it is right to experiment on animals, or that it is always the right choice. What price might I be willing to pay to restore or save my own sight? Researchers might be cold and unfeeling, as suggested at this site, or they might be caring, feeling individuals who see a way to reduce human suffering (not that I, personally, am suffering terribly) by experimenting on animals. Obviously different people have varying motives for the work they choose to take on. I'm not saying that I am for or against animal experimentation but simply that the use of animals in experiments is something that concerns me.

And outside of laboratories, a 'WA pair jailed for neglecting dog' (ABC Online, May 21, 2003).

A while back I wrote about Googlewashing, a theory that a newly coined term could be washed of its new meaning when a writer with a site that ranks higher at Google re-defines it (I read about this at The Register). More on that at 'The blog clog myth' in the Guardian (May 19, 2003). The article offers an explanation for why sites will receive a high ranking. I don't think that this discounts the possibility of Googlewashing... if someone is more cluey about how to increase their site's ranking and wants to change the spin on a term, then it would be possible.

'BBC correspondent defends Lynch documentary' is an interview between the BBC documentary maker and a CNN anchor.

I'm starting to grow weary (already!) of reading blogger's opinions and arguments about the news, as well as the news itself - the slant placed on news articles and blogs sends my mind listing off to one side (or another) to compensate...

Wow, no time to write about a meeting of all the locals with vision impairments today at Colourpatch... I was the youngest person by decades but everyone was friendly. If you're hoping to avoid failing eyesight in the future (you were planning to read a little in your old age, weren't you? Maybe play golf, watch telly?), I recommend eating more vegies, avoiding cigarette smoke and doing whatever it takes to avoid diabetes. And I'll try to take on my own recommendations.

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