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Snapshots (Toolbars, TV doctors, eggs, library books)

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: Update-prompted toolbars, TV doctors, eating eggs, library book notes



Print Edition: April 3, 2013

Melissa Spady

Toolbars are for tools

I never click “yes” when prompted to update software on my computer. I have learned not to trust any update. That’s when they change everything behind your back. “We just need to fix some bugs,” they say. But it’s a lie. Every time I give in and relent to my day being interrupted by another useless update, they add a new annoying feature I can’t turn off, change the entire layout, or sneakily make me download their third party toolbar. Pure evil manifests itself in the form of an obnoxiously-coloured and ad-littered toolbar attached to my internets.

Working on a netbook allows me just enough space on my screen to see all the necessary components, until someone makes me download a toolbar.

The fact that I somehow have to see this teeny-tiny box and physically unclick it myself to avoid the quarter inch of concentrated evil I’ll be subjected to is my main concern. I know, #firstworldproblems, I admit it, but my issue is that these companies are (1) assuming I want to download their crappy add-on, (2) using carefully marketed dishonesty to ensure that I download it by accident and (3) making it so difficult to uninstall once the initial mistake is made that I actually rage quit on my computer. After 40 minutes of attempting to remove the unholiest of all evils, I cursed loudly, flipped my computer off my lap, and trudged off to my bed for a sulk.


Nick Ubels

Dr. Pill and the bad medicine

While Dr. Oz is a qualified cardiothoracic surgeon, that hardly makes him an expert on nutrition, neurology, mental health or any other range of health issues sure to crop up in the deadline demands of his daily show.

TV doctors are not selected for their competency or expertise, but their charisma, their ability to sell advertising minutes. The ability to keep an audience glued in is tied to these doctors’ abilities to scare viewers into watching after the commercial break. As a result, Doc Oz functions more as a fear-monger than a reliable source of medical advice.

In 2011, he proclaimed that arsenic levels in apple juice were above FDA-approved levels in drinking water, causing one school district to pull apple juice from their cafeteria menu. Critics challenged the results. Nevertheless, one healthier beverage was removed from a school cafeteria.

Why do we so easily accept what we see on these sorts of shows? Medical advice should be catered to the individual’s physiology. Surely someone’s personal doctor would be much better equipped to diagnose and treat any conditions or recommend lifestyle changes.

As far as TV personalities go, I’d be more willing to consult Ken Jeong (a former medical doctor who currently plays Ben Chang on NBC’s Community) than Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil or any of their contemporaries about my personal health.


Dessa Bayrock

Eggs are weird

Eggs are kind of weird when you think about it.

As people, we put a lot of odd things in our mouths. Think about cheese – it’s basically milk that’s been allowed to harden.

But eggs – eggs might be the weird food to top all weird foods.

I consider myself lucky to have never cracked an egg into a pan and had a baby chick fall out instead. But I’m not going to lie – every time I crack an egg, I’m secretly terrified I’m going to get a bird instead of a friendly yellow yolk.

But why is that so off-putting? We eat birds. We eat eggs. Is connecting the two stages together really that weird?

For some reason, it is. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to think of eggs as completely inanimate and in no way connected to reproductive organs.

Oh, but now we’re both thinking of them as reproductive organs. Good luck with breakfast. I think I’ve just turned myself into a vegan.


Amy Van Veen

Why library books frustrate me

It’s that time of semester – term papers are due and students are rushing to the online journals, e-books and, yes, even the stacks to find all the research they need for that paper they’ve been ignoring all semester.

And that’s when you see it – not in the online journals or the e-books, but in all those stale-smelling hardcovers you take off the shelf. You see the faded markings of students past. All those underlines and circles and incomprehensive notes in the margins stare back at you while you’re trying to glean all you can from the paper pages.

On the rare occasion you hit a jackpot: a previous reader of the book was a genius – highlighting the exact passages you need and giving the perfect insight in the limited margin space. However, most of the time it’s just distracting. I don’t want to be following the sporadic and useless underlines of some student with an eager pen. I don’t want to have to try and read through their ill-placed circles that cross out sentences. And I don’t want my eyes to be distracted by the empty coded messages within the margins.

So please, be kind, don’t write in library books.


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