Going to California, then Boston

Flyer for my talk at ScrippsThanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday on IM and Facebook: I love you all! I was considering throwing a full-fledged birthday party today, but I was worn out from last week at school, so I just got together with a few friends from my hometown and played Scrabble and Risk. Gosh, I’m 22… my age is a palindrome.

Anyway, I will be in California in the LA – Claremont area this week, doing free culture stuff and visiting friends. I arrive on Sunday afternoon (today!) and depart for NJ on Saturday morning, so if you’re in the area and you want to see me, now’s the time to do it! I’m considering going to check the urban farm that is in danger of being paved over to build a warehouse, and also going to see the Electric 6, so there should be plenty of fun to go around ^_^

I will be speaking on Thursday, March 9 at 8:30pm at Scripps College in Humanities 101. (See the flyer.) I went out and bought a wireless presentation mousy-clicker thing for this talk, so it’ll be a little extra smooth and sexy. Do come!

Also, if you’re in the Boston area, I’ll be speaking at Northeastern University on Thursday, March 23rd, with Danny O’Brien and Lawrence Lessig, 11:30-2:30pm in 450 Dodge Hall. See the pretty yet bizarre poster: Free Culture event at Northeastern

UPDATE: The event is indeed free and open to the public. Also, Danny has been replaced by Derek Slater, and while I will miss Danny’s British accent I’ll be glad to see Derek again ^_^ Here’s an updated poster: Poster for my Northeastern gig

Why I don’t use drugs

Some of you probably already know this, but here’s the truth: I’ve never used a medical drug in my life, except for anaesthesia during operations. Among other things, this means that I do not take antibiotics when I become ill.

One justification for my decision is that antibiotics are slowly becoming useless. What this means is that when you need antibiotics the most, they’re not going to be there to help you, but I’ll be fine because I’m used to fighting off diseases without the aid of antibiotics. If more people were like me, and antibiotics were reserved for life-threatening situations, then antibiotics would work better, and we wouldn’t have as much drug-resistant bacteria. Moral of the story: don’t use antibiotics unless your life is in danger, and maybe we’ll all live to fight another day.

Actually, there’s a less moralistic moral to the story: ban the use of antibiotics in feed for livestock, as suggested in the Slashdot comments. Bruce Sterling explains one way that bacteria get their drug resistance:

The runoff of tainted feedlot manure, containing millions of pounds of diluted antibiotics, enters rivers and watersheds where the world’s free bacteria dwell. In cities, municipal sewage systems are giant petri-dishes of diluted antibiotics and human-dwelling bacteria. Bacteria are restless. They will try again, every twenty minutes. And they never sleep.

Scary, and ewwwww.