Blood Pressure and stuff (by )

So I've been suffering from headaches - not the ones I had before where my eye kept spasming but like an almost constant one making me feel sick and grumpy which would then splurge into a completely crippling can't do anything, brain being squeezed and sliced and lights and shapes and halos and little white spots and stars.

My skin has also gone all mottled and stuff again, in a way that has happened before but this time it is everywhere and no matter how much sunlight I show it has just gotten worse!

This morning I finally got to the Drs - the skin is the same as before and is worse as the weather is humid so I have shampoo for it and breathing a sigh of relief that it isn't SOMETHING else to add!

Headaches it turns out are actually two different types of headache - one a tension induced headache - my neck, back and shoulders are all locked down tight - unsurprising as I am currently limping from the muscles in my right leg doing the same - same old same old. Then the really bad head aches which feel like what I had in labour - are migraines. But my blood pressure is up and it turns out I should have had my blood pressure monitored since I had Jeany (who is about to turn 9) as I had the pregnancy induced hyper tension and stuff and so may be suffering from hyper tension.

So I have the number of an acupunturist and some tablets for when the headaches are really really bad.

Of course I'd also meant to mention the fact that my bleeding has gone from being low level all the time to two weeks on two weeks off to two weeks at random points. We had a big enough gap that we got a pregnancy test (which was negative). But I forgot - same with the swelling up throat thing (I keep looking like a bull frog!) - I'll have to go back for those at some other point and hope they are not related to the other stuff!

I have this nagging feeling that I was supposed to have a bleeding diary and a pain diary for the Drs but I can't recall if that is recent or not :/ This is why I got her to write everything down and handed it all straight to Alaric explaining what each was once back in the waiting room - which was just as well as I was missing one of the prescriptions and had to go back!

I'm now monitoring my blood pressure and have an appointment for a couple of weeks time. Dr was concerned that I throw up with the headaches but I pointed out that I tend to end up chucking alot anyway between periods and food allergies and what not. Also had to point out that the shoulder grinding and crunching stuff is an old injury and that I have chronic fatigue so yes I'm getting enough sleep as I kind of struggle staying awake to be honest.

I hate going to the Drs and just have this sinking feeling that it will be another round of stuff but hey I am still alive which without modern meds I wouldn't be so I shouldn't complain but you know I will! :/

A Lovely Forgetting (by )

Last year I went for a walk with Alaric, just the two of us as my parents were around to look after kids, it wasn't anywhere fancy just around Gloucester especial they area around our house. There was a kind of urban fairy tale about it - so I wrote him a song which I then recorded initially with guitar but that bit for some reason came out mangled so I took it out. And I posted it to FaceBook and gotten his feed back on the guitar bit etc and blasted it around the internet in various ways whilst I was working on it and then... I kind of forgot about it.

And it also turns out I forgot to tell Mr Al that it was written for him!

Yesterday morning whilst sitting in a camper van visiting family in Essex I mentioned it too him, realising that I had never actually presented the song to him I played it and explained about the photo and where I'd taken it (down by the rail way with the sun behind the Cathedral - near his work place).

It made him smile - it's cheesy and naff and about us and were we live and so on. Alaric was so happy and the fact I'd told the world but not him and he'd missed it made him laugh as it is typically me.

Last night he said that one of the things that attacks him to me is that I am always creating something - he sees this as amazing. I kind of see it as scatterbrained ooo shiny. From his reaction I'm realy actually glad I forgot to tell him :D

Book and Writing Love (by )

Me as we leave the library after 3 hrs 'so where shall we go for a drink?'
Jean 'Waterstones'
Me 'Why?'
Jean 'it's full of books'
Me 'but you have a book in your bag'
Jean 'Yes but I like to be surrounded by books'
me 'was there any point in leaving the library?'
Jean 'yes I want cake'

Also

Jean 'I guess knuckle bumps were invented by writers who wanted to do hi-fives but where always holding books or pens' Me 'I don't think it quiet happened that way round but it is handy for meeting out word counts and celebrating isn't it' Jean 'oh... why?'

:D

Because… War (by )

Most of the time I try and remain positive about humanity and where the future is going etc... I know that the world is actually becoming less and less violent and prejudice but that that is not a straight forward progression and slips back and forth but there is a positive trend there.

I know the dangers inherent in our advances in science and technology but see the good out way the bad on a daily basis. And then I get days like today. I was going to be researching Mongolian archery in the 11th century but I saw the news and there were the bodies of kids on a beach in Gaza for no reason than ideaology and then another plan down over the Ukraine/Russian area. This time the plane was carrying over 100 researchers and workers in the field of HIV and AIDS research and prevention. They were all on their way to a conference in Australia.

And this rips my heart out.

First off it doesn't make the plane crash worse - if it had been a bunch of 'ordinary' people who died on the plan then it would still have been horrendous it would still have been 100's of minds lost, hundreds of families and co-workers moarning. It does however give it more of an impact on a global scale, that is a lot of researchers lost in one field and there is no way it will not impact the science and rate of break threws and how quickly the medical care will get to the people who need it.

AIDS is still a global epidemic and still impacts ALOT of people. I have friends who are only alive now due to break threws in this field but also it isn't just this field. Most academics I know have been on plans full of people going to the same conferences, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Politicians and business people do not travel like this, for this exact reason but budgets mean that scientists are all likely to be in the cheap seats on one plan - all together.

Worse though is that this is not an accident, even if it is mistaken identity it was still an active act, one human against another - BAM! Lives gone and lost.

Because... War... like the kids on the beach, like those sitting in camps within Australia and places themselves... because one lot of people fail to see the value in the other peoples lives. BAM BAM BAM.

Because land and food and wealth are seen as limited resources or faith renders them OTHER. But solutions are on hand to solve the food problems and humanity as a whole out grew this world at the end of the last century. Most of the time this is a mirage - there are enough resources its just even one is so scared of sharing. Add in expansionist regimes and the fall out of them collapsing and you have rebellions and separatists and counter rebellions. And at some point it stops being a fight for freedom and ends up with dead kids.

Of course to make things more depressingly complicated sometimes it is those in charge killing the kids or both sides of a skirmish have innocent blood on their hands and heros who saved foe and friend alike.

In war there are no winners same as the torturer gets post trumatic stress in a similar way to the tortured. And sometimes you do have to fight even knowing this but never should it be a light decision.

And how soon we forget the victims - remember the kids shot by a religous and political loon a few years ago? No you'd all forgotten. Because there is a continual feed of it all, drip drip drip, war, death, power play.

The plane crash itself was initially reported as part of the larger power games and those lost upon it were hardly mentioned at all.

Of course social media stepped up with the continual 'but that isn't as bad as this or that and my cause is being ignored and things are far worse here...' etc.... and yes that is no doubt true but it doesn't take the tragidy and pain away from those families.

But then the media and people in general do have a blinkered view and I am continually amazed that people don't know of the suffering that surrounds them in this world or even in their own country. Blinkered we are and suffering is ignored on a daily basis like the Congo and I have no solutions, no ideas or powers to sort any of this out.

I have kind of given up - I can not save the world, for a while I couldn't look after myself nor my family but when I can I help those I see who need help. Most of the time that is people around me or in extended friendship groups but it is something and it is what I have to give.

I sometimes hope that I am changing the world through my art and writing but know that I really am not. Perhaps I could have helped more as a scientist but that is no longer really me. So I do what I can. I don't think I can do much for those affected by today news.

Sometimes I write flash fictions about victims, sometimes I give happy endings or just voices to those who don't have them - it is probably a waste of time possibly even something considered bad taste - I don't know.

The thing that really gets to me though is that people watch this stuff on telly and they seem to not actually absorb it, not see it as different to the programme that was chopped in half to bring them the news. Grizzly pictures abound on my facebook but it's all 'this made me feel sick and I can't believe this!' no action no love, just a recycling of news to get the biggest NOW effect.

You still meet people who think the worst atrocity was the Twin Towers. It was an atrocity and one where the victims should be recalled and remembered like all those others that have happened globally. It was the worst for those who's city it was, for the families effected possibly even for the country it was in but IT WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE.

Violence is very cyclic and we are all capable of it, we respond and adapt.

But throughout all our history war and murder and abuse and violence and oppression have not even been the main thing that kills us. Humans kill humans often with war machines and other such trappings of our intelligence I wish we could turn the ingenuity of war into the fight for our lives for our survival against disease. Flu killed more people in the outbreak between the two world wars than those who died combined in the two wards and that is the case even taking the upper estimates for the camps.

And plague outbreaks of the past are pretty dam scary, ebola is scary, AIDS is scary... oh yeah look the people fighting to save our lives globally have lost theirs due to war. Because... WAR, like the kids on the beach and families in the camps and women in the Congo, because.... because... because... ?

I didn't really have a point with this, just that sometimes I find it all depressing.

Our existence as a species is precarious, life in the solar system is precarious, all of it is fragile, why destroy rather than making us more robust?

Disease kills us accidently. War does not.

A user interface design for a scrolling log viewer with varying levels of importance (by )

Like many people involved with computer programming and systems administration, I spend a lot of time looking at rapidly scrolling logs.

These logs tend to have lines of varying importance in them. This can fall into two kinds, that I see - one is where the lines have a "severity" (ranging from fatal errors down to debugging information). Another is where there's an explicit structure, with headings and subheadings.

Both suffer from a shared problem: important events or top-level headings whoosh past amidst a stream of minutae, and can be missed. A fatal error message can be obscured by thousands of routine notifications.

What I think might help is a tool that can be shoved in a pipe when viewing such a log, that uses some means (regexps, etc) to classify log lines with a numerical "importance" as appropriate, and then relaying them to the output.

However, it will use terminal control sequences to:

  1. Colour the lines according to their importance
  2. Ensure that the most recent entry at each level of importance remains onscreen, unless superceded by a later entry with a higher importance.

The latter deserves some explanation.

To start with, if we just have two levels of importance - ERROR and WARNING, for instance - it means that in a stream of output, as an ERROR scrolls up the screen, when it gets to the top it will "stick" and not scroll off, even while WARNINGs scroll by beneath it.

If a new ERROR appears at the bottom of the screen, it supercedes the old one, which can now disappear - letting the new ERROR scroll up until it hits the top and sticks.

Likewise, if you have three levels - ERROR, WARNING and INFO - then the most recent ERROR and WARNING will be stuck at the top of the screen (the WARNING below the ERROR) while INFOs scroll by. If a new WARNING appears, then the old one will unstick and scroll away until the new WARNING hits the top. If a new ERROR appears, then the old ERROR and WARNING at the top will become unstuck and scroll away until the new ERROR reaches the top.

So the screen is divided into two areas; the stuck things at the top, and the scrolling area at the bottom. Messages always scroll up through the scrolling area as they come, but any message that scrolls off the top will stick in the stuck things area unless there's another message at the same or higher level further down the scrolling area. And the emergence of a message into the bottom of the scrolling area automatically unsticks any message at that, or a less important, level from the stuck area.

That way, you can quickly look at the screen and see a scrolling status display, as well as (for activity logs from servers) the most recent FATAL, ERROR, WARNING, etc. message; or for the kinds of logs generated by long-running batch jobs, which tend to have lots of headings and subheadings, you'll always instantly see the headings/subheadings in effect for the log items you're reading.

This is related somewhat to the idea of having ERRORs and WARNINGs be situations with a beginning and an end (rather than just logged when they arise), such as "being low on disk space"; such a "situation alert" (rather than an event alert, as a single log message is) should linger on-screen somewhere until it's cancelled by the software that raised it emitting a corresponding "situation is over" event. Also related is the idea that event alerts above a certain severity should cause some kind of beeping/flashing to happen, which persists until manually stopped by pushing a button to acknowledge all current alerts. Such facilities can be integrated into the system.

This is relevant for a HYDROGEN console UI and pertinent to my previous thoughts on user interfaces for streams of events and programming interfaces to logging systems.

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