Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tuesday Postscript: 10 more days of antibiotics but Dr.Cousins says we're good to go.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Will keep you all posted.
What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes a less severe illness. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area.
The incidence of typhoid fever in the United States has markedly decreased since the early 1900s. Today, less than 500 cases are reported annually in the United States, mostly in people who recently have traveled to endemic areas. This is in comparison to the 1920s, when over 35,000 cases were reported in the U.S. This improvement is the result of improved environmental sanitation. Mexico and South America are the most common areas for U.S. citizens to contract typhoid fever. India, Pakistan, and Egypt are also known high-risk areas for developing this disease. Worldwide, typhoid fever affects more than 13 million people annually, with over 500,000 patients dying of the disease.
How do patients get typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is contracted by the ingestion of the bacteria in contaminated food or water. Patients with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. About 3%-5% of patients become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness. Some patients suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognized. These patients can become long-term carriers of the bacteria. The bacteria multiplies in the gallbladder, bile ducts, or liver and passes into the bowel. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage. These chronic carriers may have no symptoms and can be the source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?
The incubation period is usually one to two weeks, and the duration of the illness is about four to six weeks. The patient experiences
* poor appetite,
* generalized aches and pains,
* lethargy, and
People with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (39 to 40 degrees Celsius).
Chest congestion develops in many patients, and abdominal pain and discomfort are common. The fever becomes constant. Improvement occurs in the third and fourth week in those without complications. About 10% of patients have recurrent symptoms (relapse) after feeling better for one to two weeks. Relapses are actually more common in individuals treated with antibiotics.
How is typhoid fever treated, and what is the prognosis?
Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics which kill the Salmonella bacteria. Prior to the use of antibiotics, the fatality rate was 20%. Death occurred from overwhelming infection, pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, or intestinal perforation. With antibiotics and supportive care, mortality has been reduced to 1%-2%. With appropriate antibiotic therapy, there is usually improvement within one to two days and recovery within seven to 10 days.
Several antibiotics are effective for the treatment of typhoid fever. Chloramphenicol was the original drug of choice for many years. Because of rare serious side effects, chloramphenicol has been replaced by other effective antibiotics. The choice of antibiotics needs to be guided by identifying the geographic region where the organism was acquired and the results of cultures once available. (Certain strains from South America show a significant resistance to some antibiotics.) If relapses occur, patients are retreated with antibiotics.
The carrier state, which occurs in 3%-5% of those infected, can be treated with prolonged antibiotics. Often, removal of the gallbladder, the site of chronic infection, will cure the carrier state.
For those traveling to high-risk areas, vaccines are now available.
How does the bacteria cause disease, and how is it diagnosed?
After the ingestion of contaminated food or water, the Salmonella bacteria invade the small intestine and enter the bloodstream temporarily. The bacteria are carried by white blood cells in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. The bacteria then multiply in the cells of these organs and reenter the bloodstream. Patients develop symptoms, including fever, when the organism reenters the bloodstream. Bacteria invade the gallbladder, biliary system, and the lymphatic tissue of the bowel. Here, they multiply in high numbers. The bacteria pass into the intestinal tract and can be identified for diagnosis in cultures from the stool tested in the laboratory. Stool cultures are sensitive in the early and late stages of the disease but often need to be supplemented with blood cultures to make the definite diagnosis.
Typhoid Fever At A Glance
* Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonellae typhi bacteria.
* Typhoid fever is contracted by the ingestion of contaminated food or water.
* Diagnosis of typhoid fever is made when the Salmonella bacteria is detected with a stool culture.
* Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics.
* Typhoid fever symptoms are poor appetite, headaches, generalized aches and pains, fever, and lethargy.
* Approximately 3%-5% of patients become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness.
One area where controversy rages in the computer audio world is over whether USB cables matter. There's consensus that a long run may result in a degraded signal, but beyond that wise men (women have better things to do) get hot and bothered as to whether USB cables marketed as audiophile are so much hokus-pokus. I haven't a friggin' clue.
One John Swenson posted on the Audio Asylum board the arugment that there's somethng to them:
I have worked on the internals of several USB chips, I can guarantee you that a USB bus is very definitely an analog signal! Everything those pulses go through degrade said pulses. What hits the receiver doesn't look anything like a theoretical square wave. Dielectric dispersion, skin effect and reflections due to impedance discontinuities all mess up the pulse edges. Those pulse edges are what the PLLs in the receiver see, the more degraded they are the harder it is for the PLLs to lock onto the signal and the more jitter they generate in the clock signal coming out.
Getting a USB chip to work well is actually much harder than some of the other much higher data rate busses I've worked with. The higher speed busses have much higher tolerances on every part of the system, the tolerances in USB are so lax (and frequently those are not even met in the real world) it gets very difficult to make it all work for all the corner cases. For example exactly how the wires in the cable get connected to the connectors make a huge difference in the impedance of the cable. Many cables do not get this right, causing significant impedance discontinuities which cause reflections at the connectors. These reflections significantly change the edge timing, causing jitter on the recovered clock. Interestingly some cheap cables do it better than the expensive ones, cost seems to have relatively little to do with whether a cable "gets it right".
The connection between the USB connector and the USB chip is another black hole. Very rarely is the impedance properly maintained on the board, again giving rise to reflections.
Now you may say that this shouldn't make any difference if the equipment is designed right. To some degree thats true, if asynchronous mode is used then as long as the bits get across correctly then it doesn't matter. BUT there are darn few devices out there using asynchronous mode (or some other custom mode that syncs the data transfer to the local clock). The reality is that most USB implementations out there use adaptive mode which IS affected by what is going on with the bus. In this case there is a big difference between SHOULD and reality.
On the same thread, J. Gordon Rankin (J. Gordon seems a popular name in these circles) offers:
Cables do make a difference. I think there are several ways to look at this but here are the top ones:
1) Reduction is noise from the PC to the endpoint.
2) Data transmission quality or EYE pattern.
3) Shielding seperation from the power lines to the data lines.
Ok number 1...
On the Kimber is two well placed ferrites to reduce the noise from the computer to the Endpoint in this case the dac.
The Belden and other less expensive cables do not have this. Ounce the device has been infected it will exhibit more noise in the output.
USB is a differential data technology. On my USB analyzer I can look at the EYE pattern or even on the scope with dual input. The better the cable the better the eye the less errors the better sound. Above is a picture off the Analog Devices website for their USB switch and the link below explaing some stuff on EYE patterns.
There is a difference in the EYE and this can have an effect on sound.
Shielding: A USB cable is two cables in one, a power 5V @ 0.5a max and a signal cable. The shielding between these and the outside world can have a huge difference on the overall sound of your system.
The jist of what these two gentlemen argue makes some sense to me, but of course it all begs the question of how audible these differences are, and there is large number of folks who would escort those who swear they hear the difference in USB cables to the local twilight home.
For certain I should reorient my system to minimize the USB run from the laptop (which sits guess where, on my lap) and my USB transport. For those who thinks they make a difference, the well-respected Ray Kimber makes an audiophile USB cable (at not too silly a price), Belkin makes a Pro series cable at a very cheap price (which seems the way to go to me). Cryoparts, makes, as you'd imagine, a cryo'd cable for a bit more than the Kimber but there's a few others out there happy to take large sums of money from you for their own magic cable.
Here's the thread on Audio Asylum. Makes for a good read.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The audio specification for DVD-Video a disc includes stereo 96 kHz/24-bit PCM (Pulse Code Modulation). This is the audio format being delivered by the “new ΧΟΔΕ system.” Several record labels took advantage of this capability right after the DVD-Video format was released back in March of 1997 (AIX Media Group created the very first releases!). For example, Classic Records put out a line of “DAD” discs, which were in reality DVD-Video discs with music at encoded at 96 kHz/24-bits. They attempted to create a brand around “DAD (Digital Audio Disc)” but once again they used an existing format. All AIX Records DVD-Audio/Video releases include a 96/24 PCM stereo track in addition to two 5.1 mixes...
The DVD flavor intended as the replacement for the compact disc (after all CDs were introduced over 25 years ago) is the DVD-Audio format. This is actually a new format that tried to maximize the fidelity of the audio by eliminating video (although DVD-Audio discs can accommodate tracks that are playable in standard DVD-Video machines). The DVD-Audio format was capable of delivering 96 kHz/24-bit PCM quality through 5.1 surround speakers! Listening to music recorded at HD rates and delivered through a 5.1 surround sound system is audio heaven. But, the format required a new encoding scheme to accomplish the HD audio surround trick...known as MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing). And that meant that standard DVD-Video players couldn’t read the HD audio tracks. Customers that wanted the best sound had to purchase a new DVD-Audio/Video machine (and many millions did!). But there was a competing format and a lot of the releases in the new format weren’t dramatically different from the CD version. The DVD-Audio format was not a widespread market success...although AIX Records still issues discs in the format. The future is in HD audio downloads.
So in reality, ΧΟΔΕ is not a new format but a repackaging of an existing technology...the DVD-Video format with its capability to deliver stereo 96 kHz/24-bit PCM audio using any standard DVD player...
And by the way, I put on the T-Bone Burnett produced Robert Plant-Alison Krauss cd "Raising Sand." You know what? It's plays way LOUD. In Nero's Wave Editor the first track looks like this:
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I've never let common sense get in my way once I've decided on something. There are, I'm afraid myriad examples of this, but for one, there's my records, my vinyl LP's. When I moved to Cambodia in early '05 my remaining stash of records -- several hundred out of a couple thousand I once had -- went into storage with my books and the rest of my leftovers -- mostly electronics. Over the past three and a half years the pile has dwindled as I've sold off most of the electronics, but the books and records remain in a storage space which is costing me about $175 per month. Times 40 months. Do the math. I won't. But I know it's gotta stop.
To deal with the records: My "plan" is to transfer to digital as many as I can these next two trips to California and then to bring back a small portion I want to retain on vinyl along with a turntable to set up here. Meanwhile, I'll help Dad clean out the garage and make room for the books and a portion of the LP's so I can stop the financial carnage of this storage space.
I had quite a good analog system in the states -- Sota Sapphire Turntable, Sumiko arm and good Audioquest cartridge, an expensive Audible Illusions pre-amp, but it was fiddly, i.e needing constant adjustment and maintenance, and was most difficult to transport. It needed a new belt and had cartridge mileage unknown, but last trip someobody got a nice bargain of a Sota system for $500. The preamp seems to have been lifted from the garage. Now, starting over, I've spent a lot of time the past couple weeks looking intohow to build a reliable, transportable replacement system and I think I've got it nailed.
I will say that few things offer greater opportunity to throw money away than does an audiophile analog system. You could, and people do, spend $20,000 or even $50,000 on a system. Spending less than $1,000 is honestly tough going. Not having much money to throw at this, I'll cut to the chase and tell you what makes sense to me both from the standpoint of economics and the other factors entering into my decision making, i.e. transportable, reliable, and most suitable for transfer of used vinyl rather than new pristine audiophile discs. It is:
- Turntable: Technics SL1200mkII with KAB tonearm damper ($395 second hand)
- Cartridge: Audio-Technica AT-150MLX ($249 new)
- Headshell: LP Zupreme ($49 new)
- Phono Preamp: Cambridge 640P ($169 new)
- Flight Case: $50 (looking)
The turntable is THE classic DJ table, though not originally designed with that in mind, and Technics has sold milions of the rugged "wheels of steel" for that use. With a few simple modifications -- the tonearm damper being at the top of the list -- they also happen to be fine audiophile tables (review). The cartridge gets very high marks in sound quality and is a light tracker, having much in common in terms of design with the old Shure V15VXMR. Being a good tracker and not sensitive to noise, it's perfectly suited to my less than perfect LP collection. The Cambridge phono stage is reknown as one of the best deals in audio, period.
To get a better sounding system I'm convinced I would need to move to a low output moving coil which would involve not only the additonal cost of the cartridge itself but a step-up device or alternative phono preamp with 60 or so db of gain. I figure another $500 (minimum) to go that route and that seems a bit crazy at this point, even for me, though I'm perfectly willing to spend $50 on a headshell (one of the few weak points of the Technics).
Hey, I coulda spent $200 bucks on a headshell. Don't even want to think about mats and clamps...
So there you go.
* A $150 Denon/Stanton/Ortofon cartridge and the nifty little $34 TCC TC-750 phono preamp would be a pretty good alternative for more than $200 less. The all-in-one Pro-ject Debut III ($350) is the cheapest reasonable alternative, and with an upgraded stylus (Ortofon OM-20 perhaps) would be pretty awesome at under $500 but I still don't think it would touch the modified Technics which would be less than $100 more with that $150 cartridge alternative. With the tonearm damper on this table done and a superior headshell, the remaining weak points would be the arm wire and power supply, kits for both available from KAB and others. When the ship comes in.
Friday, July 11, 2008
If you've gone shopping in the markets for the old Sisamouth and Ros Serey Sothea tunes you know they come packaged on CD's with just 12 or so songs each. I long ago downloaded a huge collection of Sisamouth tracks. Erik somehow acquired a like number of Sothea's. Having joined forces with Erik I'm pleased to offer a nice alternative package for fans: A DVD featuring some 1000 tracks from both artists in mp3 format which you can copy to your computer, iPod thingy, or burn to CD.
I'll have a few copies on hand on Sunday, but best to reserve one if you're interested.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
A new John Mellencamp album isn't generally a cause for great hoo-ha, but the new album coming on Tuesday certainly is. T-Bone Burnett, long a critic of modern CD production -- particularly the process of dynamic compression to boost loudness-- is the producer of the new CD which is being released with a companion DVD featuring high resolution audio playable on a standard DVD player -- at no extra cost. Meanwhile, Tom petty is releasing a specially mastered CD for those purchasing the vinyl edition of his new Mudcrutch album, which is specifically anti-loud. Here are a couple of recent stories. I'll be picking up both albums when I get to L.A.
New York Times
For Tom Petty Fans, the True Sound of Vinyl, Also Captured on a CD
By ROBERT LEVINE
The vinyl version of the new album from Mudcrutch, the recently reunited band from the early ’70s that features Tom Petty, comes with a CD that buyers can play in their cars or rip to make MP3 files. Those who do will notice that it is abnormally quiet — and that the CD holder instructs listeners to play it on a good stereo and turn it up.
One reason CDs sound different from LPs is that mastering engineers can make them louder in much the same way commercials sound louder than television shows. This is done by raising the level of the softer sounds, so there is less difference between a bass drum and a whispered vocal. This dynamic compression, as it is called in the audio world, can make songs jump out at listeners who hear them on the radio.
But it can also cause fatigue over time — and audiophiles hate it. So Warner Brothers Records, Mr. Petty’s label, decided to package the vinyl LP that comes out on Tuesday with a CD that was made from the same master. After Ryan Ulyate, a Mudcrutch co-producer, played the regular CD and the LP masters for Tom Biery, the executive vice president for promotion at Warner Brothers Records who also oversees vinyl releases, they decided to use the LP master for the CD.
“Everyone is in love with the way vinyl sounds,” Mr. Biery said. “We started talking about how cool it would be to let people have that experience anywhere they are.”
On a reasonable stereo, the difference between the regular CD and the CD packaged with the LP is noticeable: the drums hit harder, because they’re much louder than the other sounds, and the vocals jump out. “When we did the regular CD, we had to deal with the realities of the marketplace, and we came up with a good compromise,” said Mr. Ulyate, who produced the album with the guitarist Mike Campbell. “But this is a different experience.”
It is not an experience for everyone. Background noise can block some of the quieter passages, and those who use the CD to rip files for an iPod will find that Mudcrutch sounds quieter than other bands. Mr. Biery said that Warner Brothers Records made only 3,500 copies of the LP, but that he thought the company would soon make more, since vinyl sales were rising.
“I think that with the right titles, there’s a market for this in limited quantities,” said Joel Oberstein, president of the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a music store marketing company. “There’s a new generation of audiophiles now.”
The Death of High Fidelity
High-fidelity audio may be endangered in the age of MP3, but a growing number of artists are refusing to see it die without a fight: Neil Young, Trent Reznor, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett have all joined the battle recently, embracing sound formats that are superior to both MP3s and CDs.
“We’ve been fighting the limitations of digital audio since it first came out,” says Burnett, the veteran musician and producer. “The artists lost control of the process, and it just got to the point where the Dude could not abide.”
Burnett has started a new venture called Code, which aims to do for music what THX did for
movie-theater sound: set standards that ensure the best possible quality. The first Code album, John Mellencamp’s Life, Death, Love and Freedom (which Burnett produced), will be released July 15th in a two-disc package: a standard CD and an audio-only DVD with superior sound quality that will play on any standard DVD player. The package will also include iPod-playable AAC files ripped straight from the masters, which Burnett says results in better sound. He expects Elvis Costello to release his next album with Code and is talking to numerous
At the same time, Young, a longtime critic of digital sound, is embracing Blu-ray discs, which can store vastly more audio information than even DVDs. “CD quality is very low-resolution, just a step above MP3s,” says Young. “That was a crime, to make that a standard for so many years.” Young recently announced that he’s releasing the first volume of his full archive on 10 Blu-rays. The same week, when Reznor released a new NIN album for free online, he offered the unusual option of downloading it in better-than-CD quality.
Burnett says that, despite the popularity of iPods and the seeming failure of previous better-than-CD formats such as SACD, consumers want better sound — he cites the growing niche popularity of vinyl. “Nobody knew they wanted high-definition television until they saw it,” Burnett says. “We need musicians to stand up for pure sound. It’s unthinkable that we’re still hung up on this 25-year-old technology of CDs.”Brian Hiatt
Loudness Resources on the Web
Turn Me Up!
This organization of producers and audio engineers wants to encourage artists to bring dynamic range back to music by certifying albums that comply with certain standards.
"The Loudness War," a YouTube video
This video explains why dynamic range matters in terms anyone can understand.
Loudness War entry, Wikipedia
The Wikipedia entry on the "Loudness War" has solid, if slightly technical information about the conditions that have led artists and labels to limit the dynamic range of their music.
"Everything Louder Than Everything Else," Austin 360
This informative and well-written article was one of the first to address the lack of dynamic range in the mainstream media.
"Imperfect Sound Forever," Stylus
This magazine article about the "Loudness War" is full of interesting examples.
"Over the Limit," Prorec.com
This informative article uses graphics of waveforms from five Rush albums to illustrate the decline of dynamic range.
Postscript: Here are two examples from my files: Top is a typical track from Steely Dan's 1974 Pretzel Logic album. Bottom, one from Venus on Earth, Dengue Fever's latest. Guess which sounds better? See what I mean Vern?
Monday, July 07, 2008
I enjoyed a terrific weekend. Saturday, it was the Publican Club tour to Restaurant 522 in Kien Svay. As usual, the cruise on the Mekong was lovely, the beer cold, and the food at 522 spectacular. I'd say the mango salad was actually the best I've ever had there. Complementing the usual platters of ribs was fried frog, perfectly done. To be clear, yes we go for the food. Though vestigial signs of brothelhood remain, they are, well, quite vestigial.
Sunday, it was the Portly Expats With Real Jobs and Khmer Wives retreat to Villa Langka, to which I was invited though not officially a member, having made progress on the portly requirement but having no visible means of support at this particula' time. What a glorious little spot this is. Not at all far from home on Street 282 near Sihanouk (and next to Wat Langka), Villa Langka is a 24 room boutique hotel in a garden setting with a very very nice pool, cheap beer and decent snacks. Vatey didn't indulge in the aquatic activities but I did for the first time in a long while and I can't wait to go back. It may become a regular weekend ritual.
You'll find more info about Villa Langka here.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
For Steve, who is just beginning his second tour of the Kingdom, I offer for consideration my favorite song on the subject of vagabonding, from the pen of one Tom Waits.
when travelling abroad in the continental style
it's my belief one must attempt to be discreet
and subsequently bear in mind your transient position
allows you a perspective that's unique
though you'll find your itinerary's a blessing and a curse
your wanderlust won't let you settle down
and you'll wonder how you ever fathomed that you'd be content
to stay within the city limits of a small midwestern town
most vagabonds i knowed don't ever want to find the culprit
that remains the object of their long relentless quest
the obsession's in the chasing and not the apprehending
the pursuit you see and never the arrest
without fear of contradiction bon voyage is always hollered
in conjunction with a handkerchief from shore
by a girl that drives a rambler and furthermore
is overly concerned that she won't see him anymore
planes and trains and boats and buses
characteristically evoke a common attitude of blue
unless you have a suitcase and a ticket and a passport
and the cargo that they're carrying is you
a foreign affair juxtaposed with a stateside
and domestically approved romantic fancy
is mysteriously attractive due to circumstances knowing
it will only be parlayed into a memory
Listening to this, I always think of a lyric from that same album..."you must be reading my mail....."
Well here's the view from the top. The Minister of Defense says about implementation of the law, and I'm paraphrasing since I don't have the article in front of me, "we still give RCAF license plates to RCAF officers and any member of their family who wants one for whatever car they'd like". Why? "Because they are humans and need to drive." Apparently Cambodia's most sacred human right is the right to drive a large SUV if someone in the family has an army connection. And RCAF family members who can afford their black Land Cruisers just couldn't come up with that last bit for a civilian plate. The fact that such constitutes a government subsidy and contravenes Cambodian law seems to go right over the head of the minister who obviously couldn't care less.
And what say the police? Again, paraphrasing, "well sometimes my officers try to stop them, we say 'hey you stop' but they keep going. What can we do?"
What can we do indeed.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
2 FULL PRICE TICKET
US $15.00 x 2 = $30
US $5.65 x 2 = $11.30
Building Facility Charge
US $1.00 x 2 = $2.00
TicketFast®: US $2.50 Print your own tickets at your convenience!
$13.30 in fees + $2.50 to print my own tickets???? More than 50% over the ticket price for Ticketmaster fees? After the revolution, no Ticketmaster. Where's Obama on this issue?