2016.10 minutiae

  • I saw a license plate that read ♥ANLTIX.  I didn't even know anal ticks existed, but I suppose it just goes to show that no matter how horrifying something is, someone out there is into it.

  • When writing my article on Iron Man Three I was amused to find that the Wikipedia page about the movie suggests, "See also: List of films featuring powered exoskeletons"

  • What used to get a laugh and now more often gets bug-eyed amazement is when I introduce myself at the start of a new class and tell my students, "This is my email address, and if you want to text me, this is my cell number, but since your texts will be turned into emails you might as well just email me and cut out the middle step. Your texts will not be sent to my phone because, well…", and then hold up my Bush-era flip-phone that doesn't do texting.  The students view such phones as a transitional technology.  The thing is, one reason I've stuck with my flip-phone is that I've always seen smartphones as a transitional technology.  Like, I know that Google Glass flopped, but every time I walk around town and see that 85% of my fellow pedestrians are gazing intently at their smartphones and constantly threatening to bump into things, I can't help but think that it can't be long before people start getting their information heads-up through visors or contact lenses or something instead of from tiny, awkward handheld devices.  And that when you see a smartphone in an old movie you'll think "ah, the Obama years!" the same way that coin-op video games scream "Reagan era".

  • Speaking of technology, this month I finally got a dental crown put on the back tooth that had had a "temporary" filling since 1999, and I was gobsmacked at how the process worked.  The dental assistant scanned the back of my mouth and generated a photorealistic, rotatable 3D model of my back teeth, with a false color overlay to indicate where the opposing molar would exert the most pressure against the crown.  Based on that, the computer generated the optimum crown shape, and once the model was approved, another machine carved the new crown on the spot from a block of ceramic.  I don't think that's how it would've been done back in 1999.  (Or maybe it would have, just with Clippy bounding in halfway through the process to say, "It looks like you're making a dental crown! Would you like help?")

  • Ten days after that, I had an appointment to follow up last month's ER visit and underwent an outpatient procedure that I was told would be awful but quick, which proved to be true on both counts.  One of the big takeaways for me from the experience is that there came a point as I was lying on the exam table going D8= when the doctor said, "This is the worst part," and it actually was a little comforting.  I got to thinking that maybe it would be nice if there were someone in life who would tell you "This is the worst part."  But then I decided, no, on second thought, that would be terrible — until you did finally get that message, you would have to live with the dark knowledge that something worse than you had ever experienced was still lurking on the horizon.

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