A love story of a mouse and her car

Get this. There’s a book called My Tesla: A Love Story of a Mouse and Her Car, about a mouse who loves an electric car. The book’s Amazon page notes that its pages feature a mouse named Maxine who falls in love with a red Tesla Model S after taking it for a test drive. The mouse dreams about the car, and considers it as “magical as a unicorn.”

The book’s author is Joan C. Gratz, whose entertainment experience (thank you, IMDB) includes work as a longtime animator and director of film shorts such as 2010’s Kubla Khan and 1992’s Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase. Apparently, Gratz made her own impulse purchase of a Tesla (we should all be so lucky), and was inspired to write a book about the vehicle. It sells on Kindle for $2.99 and in paperback form for $8.10.

…If you want a hands-on aid to further make your case to the little ones, Tesla has commissioned the production of miniaturized versions (1:18 scale) of the Model S. These are made of 270 separate metal and plastic pieces put together with fit and finish good enough to make Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk proud. Those high-end miniatures cost $210 each, but you can opt for a cheaper version. Earlier this year, toy maker Mattel started cranking out even smaller die-cast versions of the Model S. Those are available in both a souped-up Hot Wheels version and a more standard Matchbox option.

Might just get one of the affordable versions to put atop the bookcase in my study – next to the model of Mika Häkkinen’s 1998 McLaren MP4/13. 🙂

California legislature approves physician-assisted suicide

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Ramin Rahimian/NY TIMES

Debbie Ziegler and her husband, Gary Holmes, displaying a picture of her daughter, Brittany Maynard, who died with a doctor’s help in Oregon

In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.

Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it…

The California bill is modeled on the law in Oregon, with several notable changes. The California law would expire after 10 years and have to be reapproved, and doctors would have to consult in private with the patient desiring to die, as part of an effort to ensure that no one would be coerced to end his or her life — a primary concern for opponents of the law.

Leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point.

It allows for individual liberty and freedom, freedom of choice,” said Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco who compared the issue to gay marriage…

More than half the states, plus Washington, D.C., have put forward bills this year to legalize some kind of assisted suicide, according to the Death With Dignity National Center, which is based in Portland, Ore. So far, none of them have become law.

“If it becomes the law in California, that’s going to be very, very significant nationally,” said George Eighmey, vice president of Death With Dignity and a former state legislator in Oregon…

Until after a Supreme Court ruling in 2006 threw out a Justice Department effort to block Oregon’s law, no other state permitted assisted suicide. Washington adopted its measure in 2008. Several northern European countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, also allow assisted suicide…

But this year in California, the aid-in-dying movement, as advocates prefer to call it, had a public face: Brittany Maynard, a Bay Area woman who received a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer and moved with her family to Oregon last year so she could end her life on her own terms. Ms. Maynard, who died in November at 29, drew nationwide news media attention for her crusade to die legally under conditions of her own choosing. Her family has since been involved in lobbying for the California bill…

…Mr. Brown has been silent about his position on the bill…backers of the bill have discussed bringing the issue to the voters through a ballot measure if Mr. Brown vetoes it. A Gallup poll this year found that nearly 70 percent of Americans support physician-assisted suicide, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Democracy – especially on questions which further free individual liberties – scares the crap out of most establishment politicians. I doubt Brown wants a referendum this popular on his watch.

Here in New Mexico, our courts ruled that we already have the right to assistance from our physicians should we choose to end our lives. I don’t recall whether or not a medical reason, terminal illness, is suggested as necessary; but, affirmation was put on hold when the Democrats in their infinite wisdom chose a candidate for governor because – it was his turn. One of those generational things, an old political family candidate picked to carry on the torch of familiarity.

Gary King was attorney-general when the court decision rolled in; so, in a transparent attempt to curry favor with conservative voters and the Catholic Church, he appealed the court’s ruling to the state Supreme Court. That hasn’t yet been decided. And it didn’t help him to get elected, anyway.

UPDATE: NM Appeal was decided ab’t 4 weeks ago – and overruled the original decision. Back to the Roundhouse, now, and our “courageous” legislators.

Thanks for the update nudge to https://drugsandotherthings.wordpress.com

Don’t pee on snakes!


Levantine viper responding to a curious photographer in Dagestan

While urinating in an open field in India, a farmer’s penis was struck by a Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina). The “gunas,” a local name for the cold-blooded culprit, injected venom through two fang entry points just behind the glans.

The man, 46, arrived at the hospital 3 hours after the attack with a “grossly swollen penis and formation of hemorrhagic bullae” at the puncture sites, Tajamul Hussain, MD, and Rafi A. Jan, MD…reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Fortunately, the man’s vital signs were stable, but labs showed poor clotting action…Doppler ultrasound of the veins and arteries of the penis revealed normal flow throughout.

A polyvalent antivenom effective against cobra, common krait, and viper was administered, and 36 hours later, the patient’s labs showed normal coagulation function.

He still had swelling for what had to be a difficult 4 days, and necrotic tissue formed black scabs at the puncture sites. But, thankfully, at the 2-week follow-up, the physicians wrote that the man had completely recovered…

On the plus side, we now know a penis can be saved after a viper attack, and to be careful not to pee on snakes.

I’d be more likely to pee on myself while running away from a poisonous snake! 🙂

Don’t click through to the article unless you’re prepared for a couple of gross photos of the injury.