You can ask my mum about my obsession with knowledge. I was addicted to Sesame Street and The Electric Company as a toddler, DEVOURED encyclopedias and messed around with so much Lego and Lasy when I was a pre-schooler, read and re-read dinosaur and fish books, rambled on and on to my dad about astronauts and Rube Goldberg machines when I was four, reprimanded him when he mixed up stegosaurus and tyrannosaurus, huddled in corners all my childhood with any piece of reading material(Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Reader's Digest, The Arabian Nights, cereal boxes, fighter jet clippings, Aesop's Fables, Classic fairy tales etc) and spoke using chapelang english and intentionally wrong grammar to fit in with how everyone spoke while hoarding an inordinate, weirdly Calvin-esque vocabulary. This is the one piece of societal pressure that I will forever capitulate to, crappy conversational English... until this very day. I silently laugh whenever my dad severely informs us that the use of "one"(as in "that one whose book?" "My one") is an absolutely abhorrent practice. He gave me the impression that it ranked right up there with farting during a formal dinner as things that shouldn't be done. Mum says I spoke tamil as a kid, because my nursemaid when young was 'akak Rani, an Indian lady who could speak only Tamil and broken malay.
So anyway, wanna know what I learnt today? Sit back and enjoy, for I have compiled the weird funny things that have entered my brain today, for my amusement and for your enjoyment(remember I hold no responsiblity for the veracity or verifiability of statements below. Don't blame me for anything that happens as a result of reading what I post below):
Something new no.2: The candiru(from wikipedia): "Tiny freshwater fish found in the Amazon River and has a reputation among the natives as the most feared fish in its waters, even over the piranha. known to grow to a size of 6 inches in length and is eel shaped and translucent, making it almost impossible to see in the water. The candiru is a parasite. It swims into the gill cavities of other fish, erects a spine to hold itself in place, and feeds on the blood in the gills, earning it a nickname as the "vampire fish of Brazil". It is feared by the natives because it is attracted to urine or blood, and if the bather is nude it will swim into an orifice (the anus or vagina, or even in the case of smaller specimens the penis—and deep into the urethra). It then erects its spine and begins to feed on the blood and body tissue just as it would from the gills of a fish. As the fish locates its host by following the water flow from the gills to its source, urinating while bathing increases the chance of a candiru honing in on a human urethra. There has been a confirmed removal of a Candiru from a man that survived an attack by the fish. Upon removal the fish was measured to be 134mm (5 1/2 in) in length. The fish jumped out of the water to enter his urethra following the trail of urine(!!!!!!!!) "
Oh yeah. Fun. Are you enjoying the goose-pimples yet?
Something new no. 3: Facts about HIV and AIDS. I read about, but won't bore you with proteases, integrases, macrophages, reverse transcriptase, T-cells, CDT count etc etc. However, here are a few intersting facts about the disease that you might not know:
- 15% of all Africans have AIDS(that's 1 in 7!)
- Official numbers say 1 in every 400, but my friends and I think it's closer to 1 in every 100(because of unreported cases) Malaysians have HIV/AIDS.
- In the US, almost half of all new infections were attributed to gay men and black men(in other words, it sucks to be gay and black in America)
- Babies can get HIV through breastfeeding from their infected mothers.
- Even though 9000 out of every 10000(9 out of 10) transfusions of HIV-infected blood resulted in new infections, only 67 out of 10000 cases of sharing infected needles(drug use) resulted in the same.
- There is something called nPEP(Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). If someone were exposed to an HIV source(usually needle-stick injuries in medical personnel), they give them anti-retroviral drugs as soon as possible(up to 24 hours but ideally within 1 hour) for 28 days and in many cases the injured medical personnel isn't infected.
- Yes, you CAN get AIDS by giving or receiving oral sex, although the infection rate is 1 in 10,000(assuming no condom use, which I don't think anyone does)
- The infection rate for penile-vaginal intercourse is 10 in 10000 exposures, assuming no condom use. This reduces to 1.5 per 10,000 exposures with proper latex condom use. So all you fuckers out there(pun not intended), please for fucking godsakes put your prudishness, self-consciousness and organised-religion-induced restrictions aside and use a fucking rubber. If you want to die while "believing" and "obeying" your God, go ahead, as long as it's just you. But some of you are fucking hypocrites who will have sex with many people while protesting to your partners that your religion does not allow you to use birth-control. which brings me to....
- There's a place in France called Condom. Gives new meaning to the phrase "French Cap". Poor Condom-ites. They'll be laughed at anywhere else in the world... or in France for that matter.
- Condoms ARE NOT FOOLPROOF. Method failure(proper and consistent use but still pregnancy happening) is 2%. All you couples that have fucked 49 times and aren't pregnant.... better stop fucking :) Seriously though, get this fact and swallow that big lump in your throat, all you players and player-ettes, actual effectiveness(condom intended as sole form of birth control, but includes couples that use wrongly or sometimes not at all) is only 85%. That means a 15% failure rate in actual use! My humble advice is please please please please learn how to use a condom correctly and consistently. Stop blushing, morons! I'd rather be embarrassed than pregnant, if you get what I mean.
- There is a thing called a collection condom, a special rubber for collecting sperm in infertility treatments and something else called a femidom, a female condom.
- The Filipino(largely Roman Catholic) government refuses to promote condom usage or pay for their distribution. In some places, health workers are even banned from discussing them; Sales of condoms outside pharmacies was only legalised in Ireland in '93; Condom usage and sales is banned in almost all Somalia.
- The British SAS carry condoms as a method for carrying water in emergency survival situations.
- Navy SEALS have used doubled condoms, sealed with neoprene cement, to protect non-electric firing assemblies for underwater demolitions - leading to the term "Dual Waterproof Firing Assemblies."
- Contact lens users, before you insert the lenses, you not only need to wash your hands with soap, but more importantly(and I read this with great concern), soap that does not contain fragrances or moisturisers.
- KERATITIS is a rare disease where amoebae(Acanthamoeba) invade the cornea of the eye. Can cause blindness. Almost always associated with contact lens use. That's why you should never let your contact lenses touch tap water. EVER.
- They make contact lenses for your Old Man. Far-sighted ones. Hehe. Oh and even better, they make bifocal and multifocal ones too. *stifles laughter*
- Intraocular lens insertion is the most common eye surgical procedure. It's mostly to correct cataracts, but also(very interestingly) to correct extreme myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism in cases where LASIK cannot be performed.
- They use a rolled up lens made of acrylic or silicone that unfolds after inserted through a small incision in the eye. This lens cannot change it's curvature, and so distance vision is good while reading glasses are needed for close vision. There is however a new lens whose position can be changed by the ciliary muscles of the eye, allowing natural focusing.
- There are 3 sorts of tears, believe it or not. Not all of them lubricate the eye.
- There are contact lenses used to deliver drugs to the eye.
- saline solutions do not cleanse contact lenses, and are only used for rinsing.
- It costs more than US$8 billion.
- One detector, the Compact Muon Solenoid weighs 12,500 tons, and is used to detect particles(PARTICLES!! That's a few 10's of something that's smaller than an atom!)
- More than half the world's particle physics scientists are involved in some way or the other.
- The most beautiful sentence I've read today:"Some researchers dub these particle accelerators the cathedrals of modern science: complicated, beautiful and an expensive testament to faith in a reality that transcends our everyday experience."
- Here's something to make you go "You're a nerd and I'm bored already. I shall now deride your superior intelligence with a raised eyebrow and make fun of you when in fact I lack the brain cells to understand what you are talking about": You know what's a quark? How about an electron? Or W and Z particles that make up the weak nuclear force(we're not talking about Pakistan and India)? How about supersymmetry? No? Well, the particles have a cosmic partner called respectively a squark, a selectron, a wino and a zino. Yay.