Death to smiley

“…When I see a smiley, my first thought is, “What are you, 12 years old?” What is it about the emoticon that fills me with such loathing? Maybe it's the wastefulness of the enterprise, the redundancy of it, the implied lack of confidence in the writer's ability to communicate, or mine to comprehend. If you say, “I'm looking forward to seeing you tonight,” I think you're looking forward to seeing me. If you say, “I'm looking forward to seeing you tonight. :-),” I think you're not sure I understand the extent of sentiment in that seven-word message. And if you write, “I'm looking forward to seeing you tonight ;-),” I think your assumption of getting laid this evening may have been a bit premature, Winky.” — Mary Elizabeth Williams (Salon)

Autoimmune response to pig brain mist fells slaughterhouse workers

A human brain showing frontotemporal lobar deg...

‘Doctors at the Mayo Clinic and government public health experts have confirmed the mysterious illnesses in 24 slaughterhouse workers in Minnesota and Indiana from 2006 to 2008 was caused by an autoimmune response to a mist of pig brain tissue.

Their article was published Monday in the British medical journal Lancet Neurology. Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Daniel Lachance, the lead author, said it was the first comprehensive account of the outbreak and response from Mayo, the state Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This was really a kind of unique experiment of nature where an unusual form of harvesting a part of an animal was utilized and inadvertently exposed individuals through their respiratory tract or their eyes or mouth and ended up triggering an autoimmune response in their own bodies”…

The immune response attacked the nervous systems of the 21 workers in Minnesota and three in Indiana from November 2006 to May 2008, causing painful symptoms that included weakness and fatigue to confusion and seizures.

All are improving and most no longer have measurable symptoms… although two may have permanent damage.

All the patients worked in or near areas where compressed air was used to extract pig brains, which are considered a delicacy in some Asian countries. It was a rarely used process then, he said, and he knows of no slaughterhouses that still use it.’ (The Associated Press)