Friday, March 03, 2017

News round up

The funny, the unfortunate (perhaps), and the slightly-alarming:


The massive internet outage of earlier this week? Was caused by human error..

I know Ravelry had problems because of it, and I couldn't do Duolingo for most of the day because it had no audio - and that was related to the problem.

I read that story last night and just laughed. I mean, I feel bad for the employee who made the mistake, but it's also just kind of cosmically funny, or at least I think so: guy* is told to fix a problem, he mixes up a line of code, boom, the internet falls down.

(*Yes I'm assuming but)

I hope the guy still has a job. If I were his superior and this was the first big mistake (and he came to me and admitted it right away), I'd be like, "Okay, go work with the team fixing it and don't let it happen again."

Also, in a weird way it's a relief. For one thing, it's a relief to know it was a simple mistake and not some Boris Badenov-type poking around on the East Coast internet to, I don't know, find a cache of credit card numbers or shut down the power grid. And it's a relief that it wasn't some massive flaw in the system.

And also, it's just kind of a relief to realize that I will never screw up big enough in my life to take down a third of the internet in the US.


This sounds like a story from The Onion, but apparently it's a real thing: There is a school that teaches 20-somethings 'how to adult'.

I don't know. I could still use more instruction on investing, myself, and maybe on being a better consumer when it comes to things like picking between various health-insurance options (Do I want the "red" plan or the "white" plan? - though part of that is we're not given ALL the information) but this seems like it covers a lot more stuff basic than that: cooking, doing laundry, changing the oil on their car.

In other words: a lot of it is stuff I learned from my parents: how to make a budget and stick to it, how to feed yourself without becoming malnourished, how to avoid turning all your laundry pink.

And yeah, some places it's being reported as the standard "LOL, Millennials" story, but you know? Incapable people have always existed.

My mom tells a story about a young woman in Cheever House (the low-cost coop she lived in at college) who "couldn't even boil an egg" because her mother ruled the kitchen so sternly. (I am not sure what the woman's mother expected she would do once she left home). My mom and several other women who HAD learned to cook growing up banded together and taught her how to cook.

And I remember when I lived in the dorm in 1987 or so, I gave pointers to several of my hallmates on how to do laundry - what you didn't want to wash together if you didn't want pink underwear, and why washing and drying already-tight jeans on hot was a bad idea. (Still today, I wash most things except for underwear, sheets, and towels, on cold because I think it preserves the color of the fabric better)

And I learned to cook from my mom. (My mom is a good cook. Better than I am. The ONE thing I can do better than she does is poached eggs (and maybe scrambled) because I'm never quite as harried and I have time to do the vortex thing properly to poach them French-style).

In fact: she helped me master fractions when I was having a hard time with them at first by taking me into the kitchen and going, "You like to bake cookies. Okay, we are going to bake cookies but we are going to change the size of the recipe" (halving, doubling, in some cases, thirding) and that showed me how the different fractions related to each other, and I began to get it. 

And I learned the basics of cleaning house (though also not to be obsessive about it: my mom tells me that once when I was verbal but still VERY small, I saw her cleaning and I asked "Who's coming?" because I related the house being cleaned to us having visitors....)

And I learned to do the laundry. And do stuff like basic toilet and sink repair, though not a lot of modern sinks need the washers replaced. And I know how to change my own oil but I'd rather pay the $20 or whatever to a mechanic to do it - one or two ruined blouses would eat up any savings that doing it myself would cause, and if I did it myself I'd still have to find a safe place to dispose of the bad oil.

But yeah. I don't see this so much as a "LOL, Millennials" story as a "Wow, some people's parents kind of fell down on the job" story - because most of the self-sufficiency I have is stuff I learned directly from my parents. (I even learned some Advanced Skills like gardening and basic carpentry from my parents. I don't have the tools or space right now for doing much carpentry-type stuff, though, or else I might be building the bookcases I keep saying I need more of)

Though as several of the places reporting this story note: lots and lots of this stuff, there are good internet tutorials out there about, and this may be more a thing that some people want their hands held a little bit. (There is a stereotype, and perhaps it has a grain of truth behind it, that Gen-X is more self-sufficient: I have heard it stated as "when a Gen-Xer would come in to the library, they'd say, "I need to look something up in volume J of the encyclopedia, where are the encyclopedias kept" and you could point and they'd go "Got it, thanks" and go find what they needed, whereas the later generations would want to be shown the exact shelf and then would complain somehow about the organization of the volumes not being "logical")

I don't know. I'm actively embarrassed to admit I don't know something I think I "should" know, so I would be going and checking out the YouTube tutorials instead (even though I do find I learn certain things better from a person - where I can stop them and go, "Okay, you're holding your hands that way. Would this other way work as well?")

(Also, YouTube tutorials are free, and most lessons cost money. I pay for piano lessons - and I hope my teacher is available again this spring - because it helps to have an expert watching me and saying things like "It would be easier if you used that finger on that key instead")

And third, the slightly alarming:

Mumps outbreak in North Texas (Warning: autoplay video, but the other site I tried to look at "adblock-shamed' me, so I couldn't see their story).

The alarming thing? Apparently all the kids sickened had the requisite two doses of vaccine. So I don't know. Maybe the mumps vaccine is less effective than some others, and we really, really need to rely on herd immunity? They are encouraging kids in the district to get a third dose of the vaccine (I have had three, myself, but spaced widely over the years - once as a baby, once again at about 6 or 7 [when my brother was a baby; the pediatrician we saw at that time was skeptical of the quality of the earlier vaccine] and finally at about 21, when the grad school I was entering claimed they could find no record of my having had it).

(I'd be miserable if I got sick but since I'm a woman and also technically past reproductive age, one of the big concerns tied to the mumps wouldn't affect me)

The kids who were unvaccinated in the district have either been pulled out of school for the nonce, or have been vaccinated.

But it makes me wonder: could the mumps virus - or other viruses we thought we had mostly beaten* - mutate to the point where current vaccines wouldn't prevent it? The reason I have to get a flu shot every year is that there is a whole swarm of flu viruses in the world, all slightly different, and new ones arise each year

(* Please God, not polio)

This is where I part camp with the vaccine-refusers or skeptics: if it were only your kid being hurt by your choice I'd be less concerned. But herd immunity is a thing, and there are people out there who canNOT be vaccinated: they have an autoimmune disease. Or they are on chemo. Or some other medical reason. And vaccines are not 100% effective, and I guess some of them wear off over time (which is partly why I went and got a measles titer a couple years ago, before traveling to Illinois where there was an outbreak: I wanted to be sure I was still immune) And there are risks to vaccination, but they are way way less likely than being in a car accident or getting injured badly on the soccer field or other things.

Also, this year, locally, several school districts have had to shut down for a day or two because so many kids were out with the flu (they wanted to sanitize the school, and I think also there's some kind of 'no funding' thing if below a certain percentage of kids are present). Flu is somewhat preventable, and apparently this year's bad strain was in the vaccine. (Some of the illness WAS GI viruses, most of which have no vaccine. Though if there were a vaccine? I'd be first in line to get it)

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I think "How to Adult" should be a required class in high school since most modern moms work and don't get around to the basics.