A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: May, 2020


Have a blister? Annoying. Treat it wisely!

A friction blister is “a soft pocket of raised skin filled with clear fluid caused by irritation from continuous rubbing or pressure” [1]. The most pressing concern (no pun intended) is infection. “[T]he skin provides a natural protection against infection” and thus “a blister should be left intact if possible” [1]. In particular, “[d]o not drain the blister”! If the blister breaks naturally, do not remove the skin [2,3]; simply wash with soap and water, pat dry, apply antibacterial ointment, and cover with a bandage [1].

“[M]edical care is needed only if an infection develops. This is more likely to occur if the skin over the blister has been pierced, broken or popped” [1]. If you observe signs of possible infection (intense tenderness, significant redness, warm skin, non-clear (e.g., white or yellow [2]) drainage, fever), then consult a doctor.

  1. Friction blisters” (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019-03).
  2. Understanding blisters — treatment” (Web MD, 2019).
  3. Blisters: First aid” (Mayo Clinic, 2018-02-13).

Read : 2020-05-26

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Graduate student solves decades-old Conway knot problem” by Erica Klarreich (Quanta Magazine, 2020-05-19).
  2. The world’s greatest coach is not who you think” by Joshua Robinson & Ben Cohen (Wall Street Journal, 2020-05-19). Water polo legend Ratko Rudic.
  3. The mystical, mind-sharing lives of tulpamancers” by Katie Tandy (Narratively, 2019-12-12).
  4. Jacinda Ardern sold a drastic lockdown with straight talk and mom jokes” by Damien Cave (NY Times, 2020-05-23).
  5. Money and modern life” by Daniel Lopez (Aeon, 2020-05-25).
  6. What is the difference between ‘metonymy’ and ‘synechdoche’?” (Merriam-Webster).
  7. Till we have faces” (Wikipedia). A novel by C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman (husband and wife).
  8. Humpback whales have made a remarkable recovery, giving us hope for the planet” by Dr. Kirsten Thompson (Time, 2020-05-16).
  9. Over 100 million in China’s northeast face renewed lockdown” (Bloomberg News, 2020-05-18).
  10. Does contact tracing necessarily sacrifice privacy? (via Nicky Case)” by 3Blue1Brown (YouTube, 2020-05-14).

Good to know : HTML, LaTeX, and hyperreferences to particular pages of a pdf :

  1. Create a URL to open a PDF file at a specific page” (Adobe).
  2. # converting to %23 in links to external PDFs” (GitHub).

Also good to know : The meaning behind the lyrics of “Yankee Doodle” :

  1. Why did Yankee Doodle call a feather ‘macaroni’?” (Merriam-Webster).

Adobe Flash Player


Adobe is discontinuing distribution and update of Adobe Flash Player after 2020-12-31 [1]. New web standards make Flash Player largely unnecessary [2,6]. Security flaws (and the end of security updates after 2020) make Flash Player dangerous. Uninstall Adobe Flash Player [3mac,3windows].


A pop-up window titled “Update Adobe Flash Player” (from an application named “Adobe Flash Player Install Manager”) appeared on my computer screen several times a day. (Note : These pop-up windows seem to appear as stand-alone windows in my computer, NOT in a web browser.) I found no evidence that this is malware. It seems to be related to settings in “System Preferences > Flash Player > Updates”, which were set to “Notify me to install updates” [4,5]. The preceding references state that updating these settings to either of the alternatives (“Allow Adobe to install updates (recommended)” or “Never check for updates (not recommended)”) would make the pop-up windows go away. Selecting the radio button for either of these options opened another pop-up window (the same window for both options, with the text “legacyLoader is trying to install a new helper tool.”). I could find no evidence of malware, but I had been sufficiently spooked by reports of malware that I preferred not to enter my admin password to install the helper tool.

Adobe’s website states that “Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after December 31, 2020” [1].

UPDATE (2020-05-26). I uninstalled Flash Player from my laptop one week ago. The “Update Adobe Flash Player” pop-up prompts stopped immediately, and I have not experienced any content issues (web browsing, etc.).

  1. [1] “Adobe Flash Player EOL general information page” (Adobe).
  2. [2] “You really shouldn’t be running Adobe Flash Player any more” by Brendan Hesse (Life Hacker, 2018-12-10).
  3. [3mac] “Uninstall Flash Player | Mac OS” (Adobe).
  4. [3windows] “Uninstall Flash Player | Windows” (Adobe).
  5. [4] “How to disable update Adobe Flash Player notifications” by Serhat Kurt (macReports, 2019-10-17).
  6. [5] “Remove fake Adobe Flash Player update virus popup from Safari, Chrome, Firefox on Mac” by John Dee (Mac Security, 2020-05-17).
  7. [6] “Comparison of HTML5 and Flash” (Wikipedia).
  8. How to uninstall Flash Player on a Mac” by Serhat Kurt (macReports, 2019-10-17).
  9. Adobe Flash Installer wanted to install helper apps” (Adobe, 2019-02).
  10. How to remove ‘Fake Flash Player Update’ from Mac?” by Tomas Meskauskas (PC Risk, 2019-11-26).
  11. Beware of fake Flash Player update on OSX” (Adobe, 2018-04).
  12. This pop-up keeps popping up: ‘Adobe Reader is not optimized for your Mac and needs to be updated’” (Adobe, 2019-04).
  13. HTML5” (Wikipedia).
  14. Thoughts on Flash” (Wikipedia).

Read : 2020-05-18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The market v the real economy” (The Economist, 2020-05-07). “There is little euphoria, just a despairing reach for the handful of businesses judged to be all-weather survivors.”
  2. A perky stockmarket v a glum economy” (The Economist, 2020-05-07).
  3. There is less trust between Washington and Beijing than at any point since 1979” (The Economist, 2020-05-09).
  4. ‘Once upon a virus’: China mocks U.S. in Lego-like animation” (Reuters, 2020-05-04). An English translation of the animation can be viewed on YouTube (posted by New China TV).
  5. China’s military is tied to debilitating new cyberattack tool” by Ronen Bergman & Steven Lee Myers (NY Times, 2020-05-07).
  6. Naikon APT: Cyber espionage reloaded” (Check Point Research, 2020-05-07).
  7. Project CAMERASHY: Closing the aperture on China’s Unit 78020” by ThreatConnect Research Team (ThreatConnect, 2015-09-23).
  8. How runners around the world are cooking in quarantine” by Becky Wade (Becky Runs Away, 2020-05-07). As Becky puts it, “a good excuse to check in with friends all over the world”…and share recipes to try.
  9. Advice on life and creative integrity from Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson” by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings, 2013-05-20). Reflections (and “Calvin and Hobbes” comics) on Bill Waterson’s 1990 commencement address at Kenyon College.
  10. Art talk: ‘Painting Edo’” (Harvard Art Museums, 2020-04-29). 10-minute film on early modern Japanese painting with Rachel Saunders, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller curator of Asian art.
  11. Rice memories : Natalie Kirchhoff” by Natalie Kirchhoff (Rice Owls, 2020-05-05). “Looking back, I see the importance of humble confidence and grit. Being confident in one’s ability and having the willingness to persevere day in and day out and not loose hope…”
  12. Rice memories : Lennie Waite” by Lennie Waite (Rice Owls, 2020-05-12). “[F]or the most part, I attached myself to my friends and the training came naturally. We were truly enjoying the process. The 2007 season taught me so many valuable lessons related to team cohesion, support, confidence, the importance of a growth mindset, and it instilled me with faith that the combination of hard work and enjoyment are unbeatable.”
  13. The real Lord of the Flies: What happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months” by Rutger Bregman (The Guardian, 2020-05-09).
  14. China is happy to fill the leadership vacuum left by the U.S.” by Matthias Gebauer, Ralf Neukirch, RenĂ© Pfister & Bernhard Zand (Spiegel, 2020-05-06).
  15. The confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the hacker who saved the Internet” by Andy Greenberg (Wired, 2020-05-12).
  16. The coming disruption” by James D. Walsh (Intelligencer).
  17. Can the women and girls of a small Texas town take back the purity movement?” by Emma Specter (Vogue, 2020-05-14).

And for your (my? our?) sporting entertainment :

  1. BBC’s Andrew Cotter commentates penguin parade on Australia’s Phillip Island” by Matilda Boseley (The Guardian, 2020-05-11).

Read : 2020-05-02

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What other coronaviruses tell us about SARS-CoV-2” by Tara C. Smith (Quanta Magazine, 2020-04-29).
  2. FDA authorizes emergency use of Gilead drug remdesivir for COVID-19 patients” by Michelle Hackman & Thomas M. Burton (Wall Street Journal, 2020-05-01).
  3. Coronavirus: US authorises use of anti-viral drug remdesivir” (BBC, 2020-05-02).
  4. Does it matter that the DOD released those UFO videos” by Daniel Oberhaus (Wired, 2020-04-28). No? Unclassified vs declassified.