Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A New Diagnostic Entry, and Geek Wednesday

Geopolitical Psychosis: a chronic and socially debilitating mental illness characterized by derealization, delusions of supremacy, sporadic and politically convenient paranoia, flight of ideas, word salad, isolationism, institutional dependent personality disorder, and gross incompetence and disruption of the following abilities of the PNS (Political Nervous System): speech, motor activity, executive and planning functions, and capacity for reality testing.

Patients with GP may exhibit delusions of grandeur, perseverative or redundant speech patterns, Extremely Short Term Memory (ESTM), obsessively self-referential ideation, usually involving a bizarre delusion (as in the belief in a liberal media that is residing within the national or governmental body), and most frequently, a surreal view of events that is often manifested in "rose-colored-glasses syndrome". Visual hallucinations, often inciting bizarre violent behavior, have also been observed in patients with GP, as in one victim who saw his best friend's face turn into a bird of prey, and filled it with buckshot.

Psychosocial Warning Signs of a Possible Sufferer of GP: Large bank accounts, multiple homes in exclusive neighborhoods, ownership of stock in multinational corporations conducting business in war-torn foreign countries, golf handicap below 15, may hold a high position in government, has difficulty with balance on bicycles or in swallowing popcorn, reads children's books in times of international crisis, will speak only to employees of FOX News.

Rx: Treatment for GP: Extract of Im-prunus persica, followed by an extended commitment or incarceration. To ensure a full recovery, it is recommended that patients have all their assets and income taken away and given to the poor. Dramatic recoveries have been observed from shock therapy treatments such as waterboarding, though patients may resist treatment based on their prior use of same against others. Removal to the warmer edges of the Antarctic ice shelf has also been seen to produce significant symptomatic improvement.

I sent the text for this new diagnostic entry to one of the docs overseeing the preparation of DSM-V, which is to be the next major upgrade of the diagnostic manual used by Western psychiatrists. The DSM is a lot like Microsoft's Windows operating system: it's a project that's continually in beta mode (but not in a good, google-beta way), whose new editions are always running behind schedule. Which brings us to...

Geek Wednesday

What do you mean, "not until 2007" Bill? I wasn't counting on seeing Vista until just after the next Presidential election. Oh well, whatever: what counts is that you're a lover of mankind, a friend to children—except, of course, when the kids are using Linux as their OS.

Freedom Fries now being served in Cupertino. Search requests for "Marseilleaise" at the iTunes Music Store are being met with "denial of service" notices.

Geek Tip of the Week: Looking for a printer? Consider a monochrome laser printer. After enduring years of frustration with inkjets that are slow, unreliable, and eat toner faster than a Hummer consumes Exxon Super Premo (at an equivalent level of expense), I made the jump to a cheap, fast, and versatile monochrome laser printer. With less than $100 to spend, I chose the Samsung ML-2010; but if you have more cash than that to play with, you can get a higher end or multifunction laser printer—even with color.

The payoff with laser: speed (22 ppm on the Samsung vs. less than half that speed on the fastest inkjets); versatility (runs on all major OS's—Windows, Mac, and Linux); crisp resolution (1200 X 600 dpi); and long-term savings on toner (a 3,000-page capacity cartridge costs $60, while a 700 page inkjet toner setup runs roughly $40—do the math). Especially if you're a student or writer whose main need is text printing, the laser printer is a no-brainer, in addition to a money-saver.

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