Archiv für August 2006

Pope peeves

August 14, 2006 - Markus Hoenicka
The German Federal Government has just announced at the International AIDS conference in Toronto that it is going to spend an additional 100 Million Euro (approx. 130 Million US Dollar) on AIDS prevention and treatment. Currently 65 Million people are affected by the disease, with an additional 11000 estimated to be infected every day.
At the same time, Germany is about to spend an estimated 150 Million Euro (approx. 190 Million US Dollar) for a single elderly man to visit Germany for a couple of days. This person is known to be one of the most outspoken opponents of any reasonable program to prevent AIDS infections.

How to amputate a leg with a toothpick

August 08, 2006 - Markus Hoenicka
I've mentioned ingested toothpicks as a cause of serious problems previously, but things can turn out far worse. In another case reported by the New England Journal of Medicine the toothpick ultimatively led to the loss of a leg, due to a series of complications and coincidences.

A 60-year old patient presented to the hospital complaining about rectal bleeding, pain in one of his legs, and an episode of fainting. A thorough medical examination confirmed bleeding in the colon as well as a lack of vascular flow in the affected leg. Upon performing a laparotomy (simply put, they opened the belly for visual inspection) the surgeons found a toothpick which got stuck at a sharp turn of the colon. Incidentally, this turn was right next to the external iliac artery (one of the arteries which delivers blood to the leg) which was perforated after the toothpick pierced a hole into the colon wall. Due to the increased risk of an infection (it is not a good idea to place a graft on the artery if the contents of your colon has spread right there...) the surgeons were not able to perform a revascularization at the affected site. This eventually led to the amputation of the lower leg due to gangrene, followed by an amputation above-the-knee a few days later due to wound healing problems.

Now if you must use toothpicks and ingest one every now and then, please choose models made from metal which can be located radiographically. It'll make it so much easier for your doctor to find out what's wrong, and it might even save you a leg.

Working with multiple personal reference lists in RefDB

August 02, 2006 - Markus Hoenicka
RefDB has had an option to build personal reference lists for quite a while. However, there was just one such list per user, and there was popular demand that this limitation be dropped.

RefDB also has an option to create extended notes and link these notes to just about any object in the database - references, keywords, authors, you name it. You could of course create an extended note, link it to a handful of references, and call it a personal reference list. However, this possibility was far from apparent to most users.

Why not combine the best of both worlds, and implement personal reference lists on top of extended notes, while maintaining the simplified interface of the pickref and dumpref commands? Well, this is just what the current svn version (and the soon-to-be-released prerelease 0.9.8-pre1) offer. I'll tell you real quick how to work with this feature.

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