“A micromort (from micro- and mortality) is a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of death.” ~ Wikipedia
Yesterday I was reading John McPhee’s excellent book “Draft No. 4“.
Wanting to know more about him, I found a 2017 interview in the NYT, where they reported that he was cycling 15 miles every other day. This at the age of 86.
You have to be in good health to cycle 15 miles, even on the flat. I studied the photos of McPhee and decided he looks remarkably good for his age.
This led me to thinking about my own health — I realised that I need to be more active. Maybe cycling was the answer.
Looking at the Brompton Bicycles website (I’ve had Bromptons before and liked them), I saw that they have a new colour — Cloud Blue — that appeals to me:
As it turns out though, they’re not taking new orders due to high demand, so that was that for now.
Getting back to John McPhee, I discovered that he tore a rotator cuff after falling off his bike. Various other well-known people have been in the press recently having had bicycle accidents.
Being a cautious person, I wanted to quantify the risks of cycling: according to Wikipedia, cycling 10 miles incurs the same risk — one micromort — as travelling 230 miles by car.
However, everything you do has a risk attached to it. I can sit here in my office chair all day today and probably nothing bad will happen. Long-term though, being as inert as I currently am greatly increases my risk of vascular disease, diabetes and other horrors.
The first-stage booster on this mission was making its fifth landing — the booster is apparently the most expensive part of the rocket.
Watching these launches live on YouTube is something that’s always interesting.
The payload for this mission was a ‘Spy’ satellite of some sort — the customer (The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office) asked SpaceX not to broadcast its deployment.
Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX, has set his sights on getting to Mars. The Falcon 9 can deliver about 4,000 Kg to Mars. The far larger StarShip, which is in part designed to get humans to Mars, made a test flight last week which Musk described as a success. (It exploded on landing but they got good data.)
Fonts interest me. Not to the point where I can identify different typefaces at a glance, but I like messing about with them now and then.
This blog is built on WordPress’s Twenty Seventeen theme, which comes out of the box with one font only (Some sans-serif or other). Whilst the default font is reasonably easy on the eye, I wanted a serif one.
There’s a plug-in for WordPress that lets you change the typeface to one of many offered by Google, so now this blog is set in Times New Roman, (Edit 29th December: it’s now in Garamond) which I prefer. Google offers hundreds of fonts, including classics like Palatino, which I tried but found lacking.
The world of typefaces is huge — there are websites from tiny to giant where you can browse innumerable fonts.
There are also various degrees of font creator out there, from lone designers working out of a bedroom to big corporations like Adobe.
I might play around with the fonts here again when I get bored or decide I want something better.
Update, 19th December 2020.
This book was quite enjoyable for me. He writes well (Hall was a poet and journalist for most of his life). It’s a brief read at 144 pages and the price is pretty steep (£9.39 for the Kindle edition) but I didn’t feel short-changed. Full of sharp-eyed observations, unusually frank, and good on the problems that come with ageing.
A few years ago my mum’s brother, who’s 83, was diagnosed with dementia.
Dementia is quite widespread — it affects about 7% of over-65’s in the UK. It’s definitely on my list of Diseases I Never Want to Get.
Thinking about Alzheimer’s today, I remembered a recent study that found a link between Alzheimer’s and a bacterium called Porphyromonas Gingivalis.
I was thinking that if one half of a married couple developed Alzheimer’s, the other should be at higher risk if the disease is in fact caused by a bug.
A quick Google search turned up this piece of research from 2010. It says that if one half of a married couple develops dementia, the other half is 6 times more likely to develop it than the average person.
Talking about dementia, today I watched a documentary called ‘Dick Johnson is Dead’. It’s about an ageing psychiatrist whose memory is fading.
I found it quite moving: he’s an engaging character who seems to have a cheerful nature. There are many poignant moments.
The piece as a whole is a little quirky: she throws in some fantasy scenes which break up the sad reality of what’s happening to Mister Johnson.