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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chill (Well, Make that 'Relax')

Look: It's just the flu, people!

Seriously, for all the hysteria and media hoop-de-doo, it's important to bear in mind that exactly one person--a toddler--has died in the U.S. so far. Tragic for the family, certainly, but let's not start sealing ourselves into plastic bubbles just yet.

Really, you stick an animal in front of a disease and all of a sudden it merits media attention. Swine flu, bird flu, monkeypox (what was THAT all about?). But pigs are cute, especially baby pigs. At least it's not tarantula flu.

So if you start to feel a bit piqued, don't panic. Call in sick. Drink plenty of fluids. Get into bed with a big stack of comic books (cocoa optional). You'll get better. And in the meantime, sure, cover your cough and wash your hands whenever they get icky (excuse the technical terminology).

And speaking of technical terminology, the Solipsist came across the word "necropsy" in an article on drugs in horse racing. This got him to thinking: What's the difference between a necropsy and an autopsy. Well, for you fans of precise language, it seems that, although the words are in fact used interchangeably, "necropsy" is the term veterinarians use when specifically referring to the examination of a dead animal. "Autopsy" refers to the examination of a dead human--the "auto" in "autopsy" referring not so much to the self (as it would be hard for a dead person to examine himself) but to the idea of a human examining another human. Got to love that human on human action. You're welcome.

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