Day Four, or I kind of see where this is going (not-Giving Blood, Facebook-22, Better News Coverage Needed)

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Saturday, 04 July 2009

(09:38:27 CDT)

Day Four, or I kind of see where this is going (not-Giving Blood, Facebook-22, Better News Coverage Needed)

Yesterday, I got up early to go and try and give blood. I made a tweet, some days ago, about being "thick blodded". I tried to give blood but couldn't, for some reason, because I was unable to get much blood down the tube. It was too "thick", which could either mean too many red blood cells or two high of a platelet count. We did not study the phenomenon that much, but later realized it could be a sign of something going wrong and so we figured we might should test it. I went down to donate blood at the Huntsville Hospital site. Sarah had called them and mentioned the situation. When we got there, though, we were told that I couldn't give blood. The logic, as I see it, was this. They used a bag on me only to find out that I could not give blood. Due to this, their record-keeping department had to record why they lost a bag. This is best to be written down as "One bag of unusable blood". Therefore they have to record me as "giving blood" despite the fact that I could not give blood. In other words, it is better to claim the blood itself as wasted than the bag. Sit back and think about this for a moment*. I can probably dig up a Red Cross blood donation center and do it that way, but I'm a little irritated by the obviously beaurocratic embeddings in what I went through yesterday.

My mom is kind of worried. Apparently, she now tells me, both her side of the family and my father's side of the family has issues with "thickbloodedness". This stands to reason, I guess, that I might be the most thickblooded individual in history, my veins and arteries veritible rivers of tomato paste-thick rivulets of oxygen choked hemoglobin. That, or not. It would, however, explain some of the water retention and hydration problems I have. If my body has trouble passing moisture through the blood stream, no telling what kind of issues that would cause with the rest of my body.

In better health news, I am sleeping a whole lot more lately. Getting an actual 8+ hours a night (yesterday notwithstanding). Maybe the end of the semester helped, or maybe the "low-net" month is helping out a lot. Speaking of the latter,

After four days on my low-net, it is interesting to say that I kind of see where this is going. I have seen trends, at least. First trend: I have unbookmarked CNN and The Washington Post. While I am sure this will brand me "liberal" in many people's eyes, I have instead bookmarked The New York Times, BBC World News, and the frontpages of APT, NPR, and the ALA. I still have and I still have's Huntsville coverage. I have decided I no longer need to look at horoscopes, not even in jest. All of these sources have much longer news, in more depth. I'm also going to subscribe to a handful of print news sources: The Huntsville Times, The Economist, possibly Time. Apparently we tend to read print sources while our mind is still somewhat trained to skim the electronic versions.

As of yet, I don't even really miss chatting. I think that might be a "younger man's game". There are a couple of people whom I really enjoyed chatting with, but 9/10 of the time, a good one hour chat would be bookended by two or three hours of less-good chatting and essentially dissolve into random link trading and single word replies. "Ok", "Yeah", "wut", and so forth.

I do not really miss Facebook, but I think I will change it to looking at once per day or so, maybe even twice. I will just stop checking it super often. I was probably looking at it, off-an-on, for over an hour a day and was kind of religiously scanning my friend's feeds to see if anything was up. There is no need for that, and that's exactly what Facebook wants. I am noticing the catch-22 of Facebook, and it's kind of a disturbing trend. Facebook wants you to read kind of constantly so you see lots of ads and share lots of information with various people. The only way you are going to read kind of often is if you have lots of friends. Once you have lots of friends, the ones who post many small things a day get more attention on the feed than those who post single, large things. Larger posts are even cut off so that we have to click a couple of times to see what they are. The "Facebook-22" is that the more trivial the sum-total of the information is, the more likely we are to see it while the less-trivial takes more work. If it means something, it takes more time, and gets buried. If it is meaningless, it takes less, and buries the meaningful.

Twitter is an unknown. Not sure what to do about that. I guarantee you that if I went back to it, it would take 3-4 pages before I found the first "concrete" Tweet. I think I am going to mostly use it to announce blog updates, though possibly to organize stuff with friends, when I come back to it. I also think I am going to take the 5-10 accounts that I actually care to follow, and bookmark them in a separate folder and read them, as opposed to reading in a newsfeed with all the dozens or hundreds of tweets in between.

As for all of my fun blogs, schadenfreude sites, and so forth, I'm taking them off RSS/Atom and I'm just going to look them up as I want via old fashioned bookmarks. This might sound the most trivial of all the changes, but one of the big issues was this sense of missing something that caused me to casually open bookmarks and look at my aggregator several times a day. I want to get into the habit of, say, opening up my browser in the morning (assuming I have time) and surfing for half an hour or so. Then, sometime in the afternoon, coming back for another half an hour or so and finishing that out. I would wager that, including the times I was doing something else and just refer back and forth to the browser, I was online four or more hours a day, maybe as many as six, before starting this. I am now spending about an hour online**, and getting more done with it.

Ok, time to off and read some. Will see you on the flipside. Have a good fourth of July, everyone!

Si Vales, Valeo


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*: Other businesses have similar "horse before the cart" style policies. Subway often figures the number of sandwiches sold from the number of loafs used. If a loaf is lost or destroyed (for any number of reasons), there is some worry that the number of sales will be off. There are also many, many businesses that track the success of the soft drinks they serve through the number of cups sold, not through register transactions or through the amount of soda and syrup used. While innocuous, all of these examples (including the blood one) have a distrust of employees at the heart of them. and are often tracking the least expensive loss in a way that can be "stamped by the board". For instance, if you bring in your own cup to a fastfood restaurant, by said policy, there is not much they can do to stop you from filling it up. By the nature of the beast, you did not use their marker for cups sold.

**: "Online" being kind of a tricky phrase, honestly. If I look up the text to Edmund Spenser's "The Ruines of Time" and then read it, is that hour "online"? If I download twenty e-mails and respond, is that hour "online"? If I write this blog, which requires some fact checking and some spell checking, is that "online"? If I download some articles from Nature or from Science, or from Journal of Documentation, and read them, despite them being electronic reprints of their current print issue, is that "online"? In each case, the answer is partially yes and partially no, especially compared to the "kind of thing" that surfing Facebook or Twitter or is. Any thoughts on this?

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Written by Doug Bolden

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