How not to remove a tick

A recent Snopes posting debunks the myth of removing ticks via cotton ball covered with liquid soap (and other invalid methods), So if you now know how not to remove a tick, would you want to know how (and why) you should remove it?

First, the spurious email whcih lead to the Snopes posting:

A School Nurse has written the info below — good enough to share — And it really works!!”I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a tick. This is great, because it works in those places where it’s some times difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it’s own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

This technique has worked every time I’ve used it (and that was frequently), and it’s much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me.

Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can’t see that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor’s wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn’t reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, ‘It worked!'”

And now some information from the article on how/why you should remove a tick:

However, those in the know about tick removal warn against these home remedies. Countermeasures of such nature do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin and in fact may make matters worse by stimulating the creature to release additional saliva or regurgitate its gut contents, acts that increase the chance of its transmitting a pathogen to its host.. . .

As to how to remove a tick:

  • With tweezers, grasp the parasite close to the skin and pull it straight out.
  • If you must use your fingers rather than tweezers for this operation, cover them with a tissue during the procedure and wash them after the tick has been dispatched.
  • Do not twist or jerk the tick; this could cause the creature’s head to separate from its body, leaving its mouthparts lodged in your skin.
  • Wash the bite with antiseptic and place the tick inside a plastic container marked with the date in case it is later needed for verification of illness.
  • Nail polish and petroleum jelly are not good ideas for tick removal because the tick has enough air to complete its feeding before dropping off.

Also in the article are tips for avoiding ticks and reminders to check yourself, your children, and your pets after going someplace you might be exposed to ticks.

[tags]Snopes, Ticks[/tags]

Multiplayer Oblivion alpha released

(via Joystiq)
This is the kind of information you pass along as soon as your hear about it.


While Xbox 360 players will be out of luck, PC Oblivion fanatics can now travel through Cyrodiil together. A computer science major at Charles Sturt University has just released an alpha version of MultiTES4 (“Multiplayer [for] The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion“). The alpha release is very, very minimal right now (two players running around, cognizant of one another but with no synchronization and limited participation options). Not bad for a one-man team, though.

The programmer, known online as the_FERRET, has been working on the project for just over a month (he started May 7th). The next release is promised to include eight-player action with some simple forms of deathmatch and maybe capture the flag — keep an eye out on the official forum for more information. You can download the mod via the official page here.

Must. Play. Mod.

Too bad I only have one system at home capable of playing the game. This would be awesome fun to play with my older son sometime.

[tags]Multi-player Oblivion, Oblivion, Gaming mods[/tags]

Joystiq’s top 10 gaming top 10 lists

Mocking all the recent top 10 gaming lists, Joystiq has posted its top 10 list of top 10 lists.  Here are a few of the list items that I liked.

So, check out the top 10 list of top 10 gaming lists, and then check out the lists themselves (if that makes sense to you).

[tags]Joystiq, Top 10 lists, Gaming[/tags]

Cat bathing as a martial art

I wish I could remember where I first saw this link. If whoever initially posted it sees it here, please understand I’d attribute it if I could recall where I got it. That said, please go read the hilarious (to me) guide to bathing a cat.

Some people say cats never have to be bathed. They say cats lick themselves clean. They say cats have a special enzyme of some sort in their saliva that works like new, improved Wisk – dislodging the dirt where it hides and whisking it away.

I’ve spent most of my life believing this folklore. Like most blind believers, I’ve been able to discount all the facts to the contrary – the kitty odors that lurk in the corners of the garage and dirt smudges that cling to the throw rug by the fireplace.

The time comes, however, when a man must face reality; when he must look squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to the contrary and announce: “This cat smells like a port-a-potty on a hot day in Juarez.”

. . .

Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect yourself. I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face mask and a long-sleeve flak jacket.

Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule. If he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking part in a product-testing experiment for J.C. Penney.)

More at the site linked. Well worth the couple of minutes it takes to read, I think.

[tags]Pet Rescue, Cat bathing[/tags]

Whoa! Dust art

This link comes via Bill Harris (at Dubious Quality), who got it from Brian Pilnick.  Head over the and view the awesome dust art done by Scott Wade on the rear window of his Mini Cooper (a car, by the way, which I would love to have for myself).  The images are also available to purchase, but I haven’t followed the link to see exactly what/how you get these.

I have no sample images, because they are all contained in a Flash viewer, and I don’t have a Mozilla extension installed to let me capture Flash output.

[tags]Dust Art[/tags]

North Korea test fires at least 3 long-range missiles

(via boingboing)
This doesn’t sound good. Reports carried on CNN and Reuters today indicate that North Korea has test fired several long range missles this morning. The different reports indicate anywhere from 4 to 10 missiles were test fired. The upside is, the one missile with the range to reach the US failed to launch and fly successfully. The bad news is North Korea has already been warned that missile test firing would be considered an act of aggression.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — North Korea test-fired a long-range missile and five shorter-range rockets early Wednesday, but the closely watched long-range test failed within a minute, U.S. officials said.

That’s the good side I mentioned.

The tests began shortly after 3:30 a.m. local time (2:30 p.m. Tuesday ET) and lasted for about five hours.

The Taepodong-2 missile, which some analysts believed capable of hitting the western United States, failed after about 40 seconds, U.S. officials said.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley described the missile launches as “provocative behavior,” but said they posted no immediate threat to the United States.

And there’s the bad side. More, from the Reuter’s report.

On Monday, the North’s main news agency quoted an unidentified newspaper analyst as saying Pyongyang was prepared to answer a U.S. military attack with ”a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war.”

And here is what concerns me most. We have an enemy nation which we know for a fact has weapons capable of truly threatening the US. We have a President who has repeatedly stated he will protect the nation against any real threat, even going to war against one which may or may not have had provably threatening weapons technology depending on which intelligence report you believe. For two years I’ve been saying if his convictions are indeed real and his claims of protecting the nation are true, we will end up in a war with North Korea. Now we have a visible act of aggression which has occurred after the country was warned that missile firing would be viewed as an act of aggression.

So, if the President really is at war with Iraq because it was necessary to protect the US, then the President will have to prepare for war with North Korea. North Korea is currently provably more threatening to the US than Iraq was according to the intelligence we had at the time Mr. Bush started the war. That’s my view – if Bush is really serious about protecting us and that’s why he went to war in Iraq, then he must be making preparations for war with North Korea – the greater threat from North Korea is provably true, not just my view.

And honestly, I want to be wrong about President Bush, because I don’t want to believe he’s as bad a President as I’ve been saying since he was first elected. I’d much rather be a kooky conspiracy theorist (alhtough I don’t try to convince anyone of my beliefs, which separates me from my such kooks) and find out that Mr. Bush is as sincere and honest as he claims. I’d rather I (and the rest of the country) find out he’s a good President who has not appeared good because of how bad things were when he took charge. But I’m still waiting for the proof of his sincerity and how wrong I am.

Let’s see how we handle this, though.  Maybe I can be proven wrong about President Bush and we can avoid another war.
[tags]North Korea, War, Missile test firing[/tags]