What happens if someone farts in an operating room?

Back in 2001 a nurse phoned radio host Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and told listeners to his science phone-in show on the Triple J radio station in Brisbane she wanted to know whether she was contaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietly farting in the sterile environment during operations. He replied he didn’t know and would look into the matter.

Dr Kruszelnicki then described the method by which he had established whether human flatus was germ-laden, or merely malodorous. “I contacted Luke Tennent, a microbiologist in Canberra, and together we devised an experiment. He asked a colleague to break wind directly onto two Petri dishes from a distance of 5 centimetres, first fully clothed, then with his trousers down. Then he observed what happened. Overnight, the second Petri dish sprouted visible lumps of two types of bacteria that are usually found only in the gut and on the skin. But the flatus which had passed through clothing caused no bacteria to sprout, which suggests that clothing acts as a filter.

“Our deduction is that the enteric zone in the second Petri dish was caused by the flatus itself, and the splatter ring around that was caused by the sheer velocity of the fart, which blew skin bacteria from the cheeks and blasted it onto the dish. It seems, therefore, that flatus can cause infection if the emitter is naked, but not if he or she is clothed. But the results of the experiment should not be considered alarming, because neither type of bacterium is harmful. In fact, they’re similar to the ‘friendly’ bacteria found in yoghurt.

“Our final conclusion? Don’t fart naked near food. All right, it’s not rocket science. But then again, maybe it is?”

I find that type of question asked by the nurse to be quite interesting. But I’m wondering what would happen if the patient being operated upon, and wearing one of those open at the back gowns, farted? I wondered if the test results would have been different?

It’s these type of questions which keep me up at night. Like what happens if you’re in a car accident or something and need immediate surgery? The hospital staff probably don’t have the time to cleanse your body of all that beer and beans you ate before they operate.

So, dear readers, be careful where you fart. The life you save could be your own.

Three new 99 cent word search puzzle ebooks available; German, Spanish, English

I’ve recently published three new 99 cent word search puzzle ebooks, English, Spanish, and German editions, which are available at most ebook retailers except Amazon.

Maintain Your Brain German Word Search, 2014 Edition. Available now.

PDF version available from Smashwords.

cover2014gws-large

This 2014 Edition of my German Word Search puzzles provides another way to step out of your comfort zone while giving your brain some exercise. More challenging than regular English language word search puzzles, these German language puzzles really tease your brain. Choose from 50 games in easy, medium, and hard levels of play and a variety of shapes. Puzzles are laid out 1 to a page, with large print for easy reading and solving. These all new puzzles are graphic images and can be printed out or solved on any device that allows drawing on images. You’ll have hours of fun solving these puzzles, whether or not you speak German.

Maintain Your Brain with these challenging puzzles, or any of my other brain building games. Happy puzzling, Ted.

Maintain Your Brain English Word Search, 2014 Edition. Pre-order now from your favorite ebook retailer for release on September 30, 2014.

PDF version available from Smashwords.

2014 englsihWScover-small

My first English language word search puzzle ebook contains 50 games in easy, medium, and hard levels of play and a variety of shapes. Puzzles are laid out 1 to a page, with large print for easy reading and solving. These all new puzzles are graphic images and can be printed out or solved on any device that allows drawing on images. You’ll have hours of fun solving these puzzles, whether or not you speak English.

Maintain Your Brain with these challenging puzzles. Happy puzzling, Ted.

Maintain Your Brain Spanish Word Search Puzzles 2014 Edition. Pre-order now from your favorite ebook retailer for release on October 1, 2014.

PDF version available from Smashwords.

COVER spanish 2014 ws edition

This 2014 Edition of my Spanish Word Search puzzles provides another way to step out of your comfort zone while giving your brain some exercise. More challenging than regular English language word search puzzles, these Spanish language puzzles really tease your brain. Choose from 50 games in easy, medium, and hard levels of play and a variety of shapes. Puzzles are laid out 1 to a page, with large print for easy reading and solving. These all new puzzles are graphic images and can be printed out or solved on any device that allows drawing on images. You’ll have hours of fun solving these puzzles, whether or not you speak Spanish.

Maintain Your Brain with these challenging puzzles, or any of my other brain building games. Happy puzzling, Ted.

All three puzzle books will be available in PDF format for easy printing by September 15, 2014 and will be available from Gumroad.

List of all my puzzle ebooks in PDF format.

How B.C.’s teachers measure up against others in Canada

While provinces keep their numbers differently, making comparisons difficult, a look at Alberta and Ontario – provinces that also have dicey relationships with their educators – sheds some light on teachers’ compensation and working conditions elsewhere in Canada.

For example: While new teachers in B.C. make salaries that are comparable to their counterparts in other provinces, those with more experience or expertise lag behind. In Alberta and Ontario, top-ranked teachers can earn up to $20,000 more a year.

Salaries

British Columbia has a complex system of pay grids for teachers, with factors including level of educational achievement and years of service. Those with a bachelor’s degree and a bachelor of education are considered Category 5 – the average minimum salary for which is $47,539 and the maximum salary is $74,353. Teachers with two bachelor’s degrees and at least one master’s degree are considered Category 6 – the average minimum salary for which is $52,362 and the maximum is $81,561. Those in remote regions make more; a Category 6 teacher in the Northwest Territories could max out at $118,419, for example. The average teacher salary in B.C. is about $72,000.

Wages have been a major point of contention in the dispute. The teachers’ union is asking for an 8-per-cent increase over five years – down from the 13.5 per cent over three years it was asking for earlier this year – while the government is offering 7 per cent over six years. This is the closest the two sides have been to date on wages, but a number of factors – including the BCTF’s call for a $5,000 signing bonus the government says would cost $150-million, and a $225-million annual workload fund to address class size and composition – keep them far apart. (The government’s earlier offer of a $1,200 signing bonus has expired.)

In Alberta, an average, full-time teacher with four years of university (bachelor’s degree) earns about $58,500 ($6,000 more than average minimum of a BC teacher with two bachelor’s degrees and at least one master’s degree); five years of university $61,800; and six years of university $65,400. After 10 years, those figures grow to $92,300, $95,600 and $99,300 respectively, according to Alberta Education. Alberta teachers are the highest paid in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

Read the complete article in The Globe and Mail which also compares class size, composition, pensions and benefits for Alberta, Ontario, and B.C. teachers.

Source: The Globe and Mail.

2014 Big Mac Index

THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2014 was $4.80; in China it was only $2.73 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time.

Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.

This adjusted index addresses the criticism that you would expect average burger prices to be cheaper in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. PPP signals where exchange rates should be heading in the long run, as a country like China gets richer, but it says little about today’s equilibrium rate. The relationship between prices and GDP per person may be a better guide to the current fair value of a currency. The adjusted index uses the “line of best fit” between Big Mac prices and GDP per person for 48 countries (plus the euro area). The difference between the price predicted by the red line for each country, given its income per person, and its actual price gives a supersized measure of currency under- and over-valuation.

Big Mac Index 2014

Reflections on 15 Years Covering BC’s School Wars

Vancouver Sun reporter Janet Steffenhagen was the BC education reporter for 15 years.

She witnessed some key moments and controversies, such as the passing of Bills 27 and 28 in 2002, which stripped teachers of the right to negotiate class size and composition during bargaining. The teachers’ union (BCTF) took the government to court over the decision, which eventually ruled in the union’s favour in 2011.

(Notice how the government still won’t negotiate on class size and composition in this strike? Could it be that Christy doesn’t like getting a judicial slap on the wrist and has turned the current dispute into a personal grudge match? Does Christy and Fassbender actually care about kids and education or are they more concerned about settling an old score?)

She covered the regulation reform of offshore schools, which bring the province’s curriculum to students in countries like China, South Korea, and Thailand, after receiving emails from teachers in some of those schools that complained about bully administrators and attempts by parents and students to bribe teachers. Many schools started as businesses owned by B.C. school districts, but the majority are now owned by entrepreneurs from countries overseas. It’s unclear if B.C. receives any direct financial benefit from the schools.

One of the questions asked by Kati Hyslop of The Tyee online magazine – the complete article may be read here – was:

So when government, education organizations, unions, etc. say that they’re doing this for the kids…

“There have been times when I just said in my mind, ‘No, you’re not doing this for kids, you’re doing this for other reasons.’ And those other reasons might have validity, too, but when you know this is the goal, don’t say this [other thing] is the goal. Say, ‘Yeah, we’re doing this for this reason, and I’m sorry, but sometimes the kids were secondary.’

“Here’s an example coming up: the 10-year deal. [Is the government] really doing that to have peace in school for kids? I’m not saying the government’s going to do it, because I’m not sure that legally they could — but if they were to impose a 10-year deal, then you’ve got an unhappy workforce for 10 years. You don’t have a strike, but do you want to have unhappy teachers for 10 years? That’s not going to benefit kids.”

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When government officials like Peter Fassbender or Christy Clark tell the listening or viewing public the government is protecting the budget by refusing to give in to teachers demands, helping parents with their absurd offer of $40/day child care (only paid AFTER strike settled, so that promise does diddly-squat for the majority of parents who need the funds right now), or the government needs a 10 year contract (ordered by Christy Clark) with the teachers for financial stability and helping school kids, I have to wonder how dumb the Fassbender and Clark think the BC public are.

I can’t blame Fassbender for the remarks he has been making during his tenure as Education Minister, as he is simply doing as any good little boy in the BC Liberal government; doing exactly what Christy tells hm to do.

Peter wants to move up the political money train now that he has left the job of mayor of Langley (and quickly grabbed the $60,000 as a Translink director)  saying “I’m not going there because I’m going to get extra pay. I want this to work. I’m prepared to put in the effort.” Yeah. Right. Anytime someone says it isn’t about the money you know darn well it’s all about the money. Gee whiz, Peter, do you really think the voting public is so gullible you can talk to them like their idiots?

If there is a Guinness World Record for stretching credibility there would be a first-place tie between Fassbender and Clark.

If there was a Guinness World Record for best puppet operated by a politician it would be Fassbender.

BC Liberals line their own pockets with wads of money, but there is no money for teachers.

Christy Clark and her Liberal government always say there is no taxpayer money when bargaining with teachers or other unions, but always have wads of money to line their own pockets.

B.C.’s teachers and many provincial government workers might have been forced to accept “net-zero” contracts, but several staffers working for premier Christy Clark and other cabinet ministers have received substantial salary increases.

A Freedom of Information request show that nearly half of 34 ministerial employees who were named received a raise in the past year with an average 10-per-cent increase.

The lowest increase was six per cent, the documents show.

One executive assistant in Clark’s office saw her salary jump from $51,300 to $61,560, a 20-per-cent hike. Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-liberals-accused-of-salary-double-standard-1.1263273

Considering the Liberals spend about 18 days in the legislature each yearly session that’s pretty good pay for an executive office assistant. But then maybe the job entails traveling around the province, country, or the world as part of Christy’s team. Maybe that’s part of the reason government credit-card expenses are so high under Christy Clark.

The disturbing revelations of Auditor General John Doyles audit, this link in the Public Accounts for the financial year ended March,2012 will give you an idea of larger sums for staff, and suppliers -both Liberal and NDP.

But those figures pale beside the data on government credit-card spending in 2012. Take a look at the credit card spending for the fiscal year ending 2012….http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/11_12/Purchasing_Card.pdf  and indeed you will find much more information on how the Christy Clark and her BC Liberals spend tax dollars on themselves – much more alcohol, gifts, jewellery, trips and events,favours, treats, dinners,tickets….. you name it, government is paying for it… and all on the taxpayers dime.

In total,the Office of the Premier’s credit card expenditures in the fiscal year ending March 31st 2012 were…  are you ready for this?
$475,015.79  !!!

Under Christy Clark, the office of the premier has had more than a 100% increase  from the dearly departed Campbell, who in 2010/2011… spent a mere $205,139.95 in his last ( not even) year in the premiers office.

If you still think Christy Clark and her BC Liberals are refusing to negotiate fairly with BC teachers because Clark and Fassbender are protecting taxpayers, then take a look at the purchases in this link,http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/11_12/Purchasing_Card.pdf  and the one to Legislative expenses http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/11_12/Legislative_Assembly.pdf and ask yourself if this government is working with the best interest of the public they serve… or if they are working to serve themselves.

Christy Clark spent $15million taxpayers dollars on partisan government ads on the very unsuccessful BC Jobs Plan….http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/11/20/BC-Liberals-Ads/ …. all while claiming she controlled government spending. http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-party-leaders-spar-over-pipelines-balanced-budgets-in-radio-debate/article11578970/?service=mobile

While claiming to have reigned in government spending, under Christy Clarks leadership the BC Liberals added $11 Billion dollars to the provincial debt and obligations. http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/04/22/highs-of-liquified-natural-gas-a-fiscal-downer

Sorry Christy, but I have a hard time believing anything you say. One thing I do know; the BC Liberals have tons of money to spend on themselves. And don’t get me started on those wonderful pensions you voted for yourselves.

Is sharecouponcodes a scam, fraud, or something else?

Authors of ebooks are always an open target for scams and other nasty business. Today I was notified of yet another site I never heard of offering one of my free ebooks, this time with a coupon code and a “Buy from Amazon” button.

A “Buy from Amazon” button for a free ebook, plus offering a coupon code for a special discount seems a bit much even it the outfit offering this ebook is an Amazon affiliate.

I mean, c’mon, offering to sell a free ebook? With a coupon code? That is so wrong.

I don’t have a coupon code for this or any other ebook on Amazon. Heck, I don’t have hardly any of my ebooks on Amazon because of the problems I’ve had with them over the years.

Is this coupon code site some kind of scam or fraud perpetrated on Amazon? Or just another Amazon affiliate?
From the page for my ebook on sharecouponcode14:

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Link to web page where you can see the buy from Amazon buttons:  http://sharecouponcode14.org/a-cookbook-by-ted-summerfield-ebook-coupon-code-2014/

(Page link active on August 30, 2014, but I don’t know how long the site will be around.)
Other ebook authors might want to check their listings on this site.

This could be some sort of Amazon affiliate site, but having a buy from Amazon button for a free ebook seems to be a little much.

UPDATE: Reply from Amazon Support states “…can confirm we are not affiliated with this website.” The reply doesn’t go on to say whether or not the site is operated by an affiliate or what, if anything, Amazon may do about the site. I’ve replied to Amazon asking for clarification.