Another Day, Another Blog

September 11, 2007


Filed under: the joy of life — iamza @ 1:43 pm

Round about this time six years ago, I was preparing for my thesis defence. I’d just handed in the monster thesis, having spent night after night slaving to get the words strung together in the right order, and fixing headers and spelling, checking page numbers and figure formats, and occasionally making desperate ice-cream runs to the A&P across the way from my apartment in a vain effort to stop my brain from melting.

So the thesis was in, and had been handed to various examiners. I was in that nerve-wracking three week interval where you’re supposed to be getting your final presentation sorted, and reading every folder of notes you ever took on anything to do with your thesis work, and making sure you understood everything you’d written — including the stuff scrawled at three in the morning when you were operating on half a brain cell and a sugar high.

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning when I woke and stumbled out of bed to the couch, and I was happy and relaxed, and looking forward to taking a walk that day along the river. For just a few hours, I planned to forget all about books and papers and slides and everything to do with geophysics.

As soon as I turned on the TV, I forgot about the thesis all right. That morning was September 11, 2001.

I can remember watching with disbelief as the towers fell — it was like watching a disaster movie, and I kept waiting for the end credits to roll. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the people aboard the planes, sitting and listening to the hijackers, and knowing, long before the rest of the world, that something awful was about to happen. The passengers couldn’t have known the towers would come down, but, at the end, they knew the planes were flying into the towers, and that they were about to die. That thought haunted me for months. 

In the years since 2001, I’ve felt anger and impatience, and an utter bone-weariness with the whole thing. I think I burned out on the wall-to-wall coverage back in 2001, and it seemed like the media, having scented a good story, were not at all keen to let anyone forget that 9/11 was to be ‘the day that changed the world’.

But this year, what I felt most on the anniversary of 9/11 was sadness. Because, at the end of the day, there are 2800+ people aren’t here who should’ve been.


September 10, 2007

Just say no!

Filed under: curiosities, the joy of life — iamza @ 4:09 pm

I have this thing about swallowing pills, especially capsules: I’m convinced that they’ll get trapped in the back of my throat and result in a minor inconvenience called death.

I am currently taking a course of antibiotics to help stave off a brutal invasion by evil jaw-germs. My antibiotics are in the form of capsules.

Have you ever noticed how doctors and pharmacists get very militant about antibiotics? “Now, I’m going to prescribe these antibiotics, but you must finish the full course. Don’t stop taking them until they’re all gone!”

Yes, sir!

Adding to my misery, opening up the capsules and dissolving the powder inside in a glass of water is apparently a no-no. It messes with the rate at which the antibiotics are released into the body.

Can one even overdose on antibiotics?

“I’m sorry, Za-parents. Your daughter is dead of an antibiotic overdose. If only she’d left the capsules well enough alone.”

My friend, Jaye, takes these huge horse pills to beef up her Omega-3, or Omega-12, or something, intake. She offered me some, once. Za-parents can be proud for they taught me well; I just said no.

September 5, 2007

1984, the sequel

Filed under: politics, what not to say — iamza @ 9:53 am

A U.K. judge thinks everyone should be on the national DNA database. Currently, any person arrested in England for all but the most minor of offenses can expect to have their DNA added to the national database. Even if they are not prosecuted, or are found innocent of all charges down the line, their DNA remains on record in the national database. Senior appeal court judge, Lord Justice Sedley, thinks this is an unfair state of affairs. His solution? Expand the national DNA register so that it includes samples for the entire U.K. population, and all visitors.

There are not enough words in the world to describe how repugnant I find this suggestion, and that it should come from a judge just reinforces my utter distrust of the British justice system.

This is the same justice system that was recently overhauled to remove the double jeopardy clause, so that people can now be tried for the same crime more than once.

It is the same justice system that promotes the idea that passersby remove themselves from the scene of a mugging or beating, and not attempt to help the victim because, if they do, they may end up facing charges for assault or GBH (and, incidentally, also have their DNA added to the national DNA register for the rest of their natural lifespan).

This is the same justice system that puts people into prison for ridiculous offences like not paying council tax, but also releases serious and repeat offenders because there’s not enough space to house all the convicted felons.  

And now they want to add my DNA to their national register? What, so that when PC Joe Bloggs finds he hasn’t quite met his quota of arrests for this year, he can mine the register for an extra suspect or two? I don’t care who ultimately winds up in charge of the national DNA register, the potential for misuse/abuse of the data contained therein is enormous.

The current system is unfair. What this judge is proposing is even worse.

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