If you have any doubt about how much influence the internet has over the people who use it – people like you and me – just consider Morgellons Disease. (The ‘g’ in Morgellons is a hard ‘g’, like in ‘getaway.’) Morgellons is a rare, but often debilitating disease. The first known case of Morgellons Disease appeared around the year 2000. It is a skin disease. The symptoms include rashes, sores, intense itching, a stinging sensation under the skin, fatigue, and thin threadlike fibers growing in the sores. It is estimated that about 20,000 Americans have been diagnosed with Morgellons Disease. Many of them report that because of this disease, they have been forced to quit their jobs or have become disabled. Joni Mitchell, the songwriter, has been hospitalized repeatedly due to Morgellons Disease.
Now here’s where this story gets weird. (As anyone who knows me can tell you, I know a lot of weird stories.) It appears that the only way that you can get Morgellons Disease is by reading about it on the internet. (Yes, you read that right!) The only thing that everyone who has this disease seems to have in common is that they, or some member of their immediate family, already knew about this disease and knew its symptoms from things they read online before going to a doctor for diagnosis or treatment. In other words, Morgellons Disease is an internet meme. An internet meme is an idea that spreads from person to person via the internet.
It is not unusual for someone to go to a doctor and tell the doctor exactly what is wrong with him if what is wrong is common and common knowledge. For example, consider someone going to a doctor and telling the doctor: “I’m allergic cats. I start sneezing whenever I’m around cats.” That’s normal. A lot of people are allergic to cats, and it is common knowledge that a lot of people are allergic to cats. That happens with common medical problems like a cat allergy; however, that doesn’t happen with rare diseases. When people have rare diseases, like Waldenstroms Macroglobulinemia, (which I cannot pronounce), they don’t go to the doctor and tell the doctor what they’ve got. The doctor tells them. But just the opposite happens with Morgellons Disease. Even though this is a rare disease, nearly everyone who went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Morgellons Disease already knew that he had Morgellons Disease before he went to the doctor and knew more about the disease than the doctor did. That’s not normal.
The U.S. Center For Disease Control (CDC) studied Morgellons Disease for several years and concluded that Morgellons Disease is psychosomatic. The CDC studied 115 people diagnosed with Morgellons Disease selected at random. The CDC analyzed the fibers in the skin sores of these people and found that the fibers were cotton. The CDC concluded that the constant scratching of the skin by people with Morgellons Disease forces fibers of the clothing they are wearing into the wounds they create themselves by their scratching. The CDC no longer tracks reports of Morgellons Disease. The mostly commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of Morgellons Disease are antidepressants and olanzapine, a drug used for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic episodes of bipolar disorder.
Think about it – Every year, thousands of people around the world are diagnosed by licensed doctors with Morgellons Disease, even though that it appears that the only way you can get this disease is by reading about it on the internet. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? This disease is not alone. It turns out that there are several other diseases that are also spread by the internet. It seems to me that most people still do not realize the awesome power of the internet to shape the way we think and act – and drive us crazy!
Bankruptcy. In 2005, Congress changed the nation’s bankruptcy law. Before 2005, student loans were discharged in bankruptcy just like other debts. However, since 2005, student loans are no longer discharged in bankruptcy. What does that mean? Consider this situation – there are 2 brothers, Brother A and Brother B. Brother A runs up a debt of $100,000 in student loans to become a doctor. Brother B doesn’t go to college. Instead, he becomes a full time surfer dude. He runs up $100,000 in credit card debt traveling around the world so he can surf all year long. (There are people like that.) In July, he surfs in California; and in January, he surfs in Australia. Both brothers declare bankruptcy because neither can repay his debts. Brother B, the surfer dude, will leave bankruptcy court owing nothing. His credit card debts, including principle, interest, and late fees will all be completely wiped out by bankruptcy because it is credit card debt. On the other hand, Brother A, the doctor, will leave court still owing 100% of his student debt, plus interest, late fees, and penalties.
‘Undue Hardship.’ The bankruptcy law of 2005 does contain a provision that allows people with student loans to have their student debt discharged in bankruptcy court if they can prove that the repayment of their student loans would create an ‘undue hardship’; however, the law does not define the term ‘undue hardship’, and it does not delegate to any government department the right to define the term ‘undue hardship’ or to establish hardship standards. Some bankruptcy courts around the country have established their own standards for defining ‘undue hardship’, but these rules are strict and tough to prove. As a result, it is very hard for a person with student debt to have his debt discharged in bankruptcy court on any grounds.
I ask you – What kind of country will the United States become if a college education becomes just another luxury for the children of rich people?
The problem is probably the cheese you are using. Most people use pre-shredded mozzarella cheese to make pizza at home. Even though mozzarella doesn’t have much flavor, its texture and elasticity make it the ideal pizza cheese. The problem with mozzarella is that it is that it has a lot of water in it compared to cheddar, Swiss, or American. Because mozzarella is soft and has a lot of moisture in it, pre-shredded mozzarella sticks together very easily. Because of that, nearly all the pre-shredded mozzarella cheese sold in the United States is coated with cellulose, or sawdust. (Yes, you read that right. I did say sawdust.) The next time you are planning to buy a bag of ‘pizza cheese’, read the ingredients on the bag. Most brands will list the cellulose. A few brands use potato or corn starch instead of sawdust. All these all powdery coatings keep the cheese from sticking together into one big glob, but they also prevent the cheese from melting the way you want it to. The solution is simple. When making pizza at home, don’t buy pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. Buy a ball of mozzarella and shred it yourself when you are making your pizza. Its a little extra work, but the texture and appearance of your finished pizza will be entirely different from what you get when use supermarket ‘pizza cheese.’ Also, try to get mozzarella that is made from fresh milk. A lot of mozzarella cheese is made from condensed skim milk or nonfat dry milk, both of which are cheaper than fresh milk but they make inferior cheese. A good mozzarella cheese ball costs about the same price per pound as pre-shredded mozzarella cheese covered with sawdust, so why not use the good stuff?
#1. You Can Sharpen The Blades In Your Garbage Disposal With Ice Cubes. There is no need to do anything to sharpen the blades in your garbage disposal because there are no blades in a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals have grinders called impellers. Garbage disposals do not have sharp blades like knives. The impellers grind solid garbage into liquid as they spin. You should never put hard things in your garbage disposal like ice, bones, or corn cobs. You can damage your garbage disposal doing that.
#2. You Can Save Money And Water By Putting A Brick in Your Toilet Tank. This is another myth that can damage your plumbing. You already have a low-flush toilet. They are now required in California. You should do nothing to further reduce the amount of water per flush. Furthermore, bricks deteriorate under water. Chips of the brick will eventually break off and can clog or damage the flush mechanism.
#3. You Can Flush Grease With The Hot Water Running. Yes, you can flush grease down your sink with hot water running, but then the grease will congeal in the pipes below and clog up all your drains. You should never flush grease.
#4. Flushable Wipes. You should never flush ‘flushable wipes.’ They should go in the garbage can. Flushable wipes do not dissolve in water like toilet paper. Flushable wipes do incredible amount of damage every year to plumbing and sewage treatment plants.