Sunday, January 17, 2010

59 - Answers

Q: Eric - What is the H1N1 vaccine actually made of? if this has been answered before feel free to copy/paste...
A: The H1N1 vaccine, like the regular flu vaccine, is made up basically of a dead flu virus. The manufacturers use chicken eggs to grow the virus then purify the cultured virus. That cultured virus is weakened (or killed) and then given either via injection or nasal spray.

For way more information than you probably ever wanted to know about all things flu you should visit any of the following sites:

Of course if you don't trust the Internet (or me, for that matter) then you could always rely on the Jolinko answers, listed below:
Brett: Magic.
Bill: Science.

Q: Eric - for some reason i don't expect mitssob to provide a one-word answer, but if he did, it would be a better word than those
A: I'm not sure if you're saying that my answers are too verbose or that I have a good command of vocabulary. In any case here's my one-word answer: Disease.

Q: Karyn Smith Graves - Why don't mobile updates/messages to Facebook send me emails like regular postings/comments do?
A: I'm not sure. I spent time poking through the "Notifications" settings on Facebook and did not see any setting to modify this. My experience with the mobile version of Facebook is entirely through the iPhone application. I would guess that it's because the two methods of providing updates run through two different software systems, and that they simply didn't program the ability for mobile updates to be confirmed by email.

Q: Kevin Graves - Better tourist attraction - Mall of America, I-80 Truckstop, or Old Joliet Prison?
A: Each of these attractions has their own pluses and minuses, but in order to really judge which is "better" you have to consider the conditions under which you are visiting them. I've come up with a few scenarios and will rate each one on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) for each scenario. At the end I'll tally the score and hopefully have an answer for you.

Family - I'm assuming a married couple with 2.5 children and maybe the grandparents in tow.
MOA: The Nickelodeon Universe has enough over-stimulation to satisfy children of all ages. Add to that the Lego Store (complete with bins of Legos outside the store so you can indulge in a little construction of your own) and an American Girl store plus many other toy stores and the kids are well covered. For the adults there are dozens of stores catering to any interest possible. The biggest drawback is the sheer size of the place which pretty much necessitates a stroller and good walking shoes. Rating - 9
I-80: I would put this on the "Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" list of attractions. It's the kind of thing that kids are stereotypically dragged to during drives across this great country. It's high on the novelty scale and it's got enough food and random touristy shopping stuff to keep a family busy for at least an hour. Rating - 5
OJP: The adults will be amused (assuming they've seen the Blues Brothers or are prison buffs) but the kids will likely be bored. The place isn't in the best neighborhood and when we were there it didn't look like you could actually go inside. I'm just not sold on it as a family destination. Rating - 3

Lone Wolf Tourist - This is how I tend to spend my off-time while traveling on business. It's a lot less sketchy than it sounds.
MOA: Lots of stores to kill time in and many floors to walk around. If you're bored you can catch a movie or walk around the aquarium. As an added bonus there are hundreds of people milling around for your people-watching pleasure. Rating - 8
I-80: If you're making a solo drive across the country then this place is a good stop to make. You can shower, get a hot meal, and pick up GraphicAudio CDs. Rating - 6
OJP: Given the neighborhood it's in I'm not sure I'd want to go there by myself, especially at dusk. I'd be interested to see what it's like in full daylight and during a warmer season. Rating - 4

ROAD TRIP! - A group of between 3 and 6 friends on a quest.
MOA: Entertainment enough to suit any needs. If you are sick of each other and need to spend some time alone then there's plenty of space to do that. If you need to pick up any gifts for the folks back home then this is the perfect place. Rating - 7
I-80: If the car you're driving needs any chrome or accessories then this place can definitely help. If someone in the group needs to take a shower there are facilities there. It's also just a good excuse to stop on a long drive to wherever you're going. Rating - 7
OJP: Only cool if a majority of the group are either prison buffs or Blues Brothers fans (see next category). Assuming that's true it's a stop worth making on any road trip. Rating - 5

Blues Brothers Fans - If you hate Illinois Nazis as much as we do then you're in this category.
MOA: Need to pick up something you forgot? This place has got everything! Need to walk around and stretch your legs? Lots of space in this mall! What about miniature car stores? The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year! OK, there's nothing really Blues Brothers specific here, but it was a good excuse to make those jokes. And that's something. Rating - 5
I-80: Surprisingly there was a shirt that referenced the Blues Brothers among the touristy merchandise. And the diner served fried chicken, toast, and coke. But again, nothing really Blues Brothers specific. Rating - 5
OJP: The actual prison where the beginning and ending of the Blues Brothers was filmed. Driving up to it we all started laughing at the sheer coolness of it. Unfortunately we couldn't get inside but we did get lots of pictures of the outside. A pilgrimage worth taking for any fan of the movie. Rating - 10

Clarkson University Pep Band Road Trip - The band always needs something to do during a road trip when not supporting the team.
MOA: As a former pep band member and a former pep band officer I am of the opinion that the Mall of America is the ideal location to ditch the Pep Band before a game. My biggest fear as an officer would be getting them all back to the bus on time. Or maybe going on one of the rides and doing something stupid. But that's a danger during any pep band road trip. Rating - 8
I-80: It would be a great place to stop at after a game on the way back to Potsdam. You can get food, buy one of hundreds of trucker movies (seriously), and maybe get some chrome for the bus. The showers and laundry there could also come in handy depending on how the game went. Rating - 7
OJP: A photograph of the pep band in front of the main gate of the Old Joliet Prison would be an instant classic. The chances for hilarity are numerous, especially if you could get the band inside. I'd pay good money to see the band re-create the opening scenes of the movie. Rating - 10

Here are the final totals:
3. I-80 Truck Stop - 5+6+7+5+7 = 30
2. Old Joliet Prison - 3+4+5+10+10 = 32
1. Mall of America - 9+8+7+5+8 = 37

So there you have it. I personally enjoyed all three, but if I had to choose at gunpoint I'd say the Mall of America. Is that why it ended up as #1? Probably. My own bias tends to creep into things I write. But at least you know where I'm coming from.