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Don’t use DEET!

Several years ago I committed to keeping DEET away from my children. Every now and then I waiver and allow a DEET based mosquito repellent to touch their skin but it still makes me cringe. Why? DEET hurts them!

We’ve found that deet is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals [Source,, Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier]

I have since tried natural repellents using a concoction which included eucalyptus and lemongrass, and tried others with DEET alternatives such as Picaridin (which years from now may have as bad a rap as DEET). I have had good results with the natural products as well as the DEET alternative products. I am satisfied enough to know that I never need to use DEET again.

DEET is serious bad! You need to stop using DEET on your children!

The active ingredient in many insect repellents, deet, has been found to be toxic to the central nervous system. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology say that more investigations are urgently needed to confirm or dismiss any potential neurotoxicity to humans, especially when deet-based repellents are used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. [Source,, Popular insect repellent deet affects nervous system: study]

DEET was discovered in 1953. If it is truly neurotoxic to humans, what of today’s ailments and afflictions will be contributed to DEET?

See also: Evidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet from BMC Biology.

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Oh! So that’s how a differential works!

I’ve spent inordinate amount of time in my life in mechanics’ garages. Being a child of the 70s, I had the pleasure of playing in areas that certainly would decimate and kill today’s children if they so much as glanced in the general direction. I’ve torn a Triumph Spitfire 1500 down to nearly its chassis, replaced clutches, toyed inside transmissions, rebuilt carburetors, replaced water pumps and radiators, rebuilt master and slave cylinders, replaced manifolds and fuel filters and spark plugs and wires and points, turned heads, gasketed this and that, totally rewired two cars (the Triumph and a Ford Escort) from schematics, upholstered, chemically removed rust, bondo’d, primed, polished, replaced brake pads and discs and calipers, changed inner and outer tie rods, and boldly replaced the front axles on a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I left out some things like alternators, belts, lug nuts, and removing rusted parts. In all this, I came to know that a differential is that knotty thing sitting in the center of the back axle where the drive shaft connects.

We live our lives on assumptions and partial knowledge. To have breakfast, we only need to know how to make toast (insert bread, pull lever) not how the actual inside of the toaster works. Web developers may know that a certain DOCTYPE works for their needs without ever understanding what a doctype is. We flick a switch and lights come on but how many people truly understand where how electricity gets to their house? Personally, I have spent my life knowing what a differential was but thanks to a 1930 film I now understand how a differential works. I also know that I haven’t done nearly enough cool things with my motorcycle.

Thanks to Makezine for discovering the video!

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Odd day

Today was a strange day. Felt like I spent most of it adding some functionality to someone else’s code that I’ve helped support since 2004 or 2005. In reality, I spent 5.5 hours on it and a good deal of that was figuring out that the original programmer crippled the code in such a way that it will only ever work on MySQL4 and PHP4 without major revisions. I wanted to spend the day playing with my children but was tethered to the computer. I’m going to meditate about tomorrow and then go to sleep. I’ve got to decide between sales and marketing or framing and drywalling.