Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chronicles of a Baby Boomer - Work Humor

The Dame at the Database Dive
The DBA Dime Novel

The drive home from my dreary IT job can be VERY interesting...

My car exceeded its threshold on Disk Array Drive . I quickly optimized a turn and slammed on the brakes. The tires squealed as I slid into a quiesced state. A quick shutdown immediate and I eased her into a gentle backup. A thud against the rails later and I looked up to see where I was. The garish neon lights traced those fateful letters in the cloudy night sky: The Global Area. A smaller sign buzzed out the siren call: Drinks, Dinner and Data. It had the ambience of Time Square-pre Giuliani and probably with as much alcohol. So much the better. I hadn’t just wandered off the server farm.

I sauntered into the lobby and checked my coat at the buffer pool. The coat hanger jockey grinned at me like a shark contemplating dinner. Apparently, he decided that I was no more than kelp salad and handed me my token. “Welcome to the club,” he said with a rehearsed slyness. “I hope you find it intensive.” I processed that for a moment before moving on to the next step in my plan.

I scratched a match against the insole of my left ear and lit a camel. All I got was one exquisite drag before I was accosted from behind. “You have committed an illegal operation,” said a steely voice that also said ex-cop or ex-con. Maybe both. Turning, I saw the biggest operator I’d ever seen on the beat or off it. He looked as if he’d partition me right there on the spot. I raised my hands in supplication. “Sorry, Chip. I didn’t know I was in that state. I’ll abort this thread and toss the rest in a dump.” He seemed to buy my commitment and let me go to a graceful end. Sucker.

The buffet beckoned. A quick tablespace scan revealed the usual line of offenses. Shrimp from the archive. Salad recycled from yesterday’s session. And an instance of some sort of semi solid something spit up by who knows what process. The whole thing deserved to be terminated on the spot. Not my authority.

Then it happened. A hush fell across the state space. The bar flies all went into a wait state and the bar tender went into an infinite loop with the margarita machine. It was the kind of silence that said, ‘Turn around, stupid.’ And so stupid turned around.

There she stood, half way down the stairs and next to a B-tree. She wore a SQL dress that hung from her body like it was dying to terminate. Definitely long running. I did a quick index of her assets and found no stale statistics there. I wondered if she would be up for a tuning opportunity. They say every dog has his day. Well, I was ready to roll over my logs and say, ‘Woof!’ But how to initiate the query?

As luck had it, bad luck, maybe, I didn’t have to. This one was reusable. Our eyes met in one long untimed event. “Hello, handsome,“ she said in a voice as smoky as scotch and as smooth as a sub select. “Can you spare a parameter for a girl?” “I don’t know,” I said, trying to look normalized. “The bar looks full. Maxed out, as a matter of fact.” “That’s OK,” she wisped back at me. “There’s a special club out back. I have the password.” “I’ll gladly join you,” I said. “Inner or outer?” she coed back at me with a toss of her head and threaded her way across the dance floor. She was one smooth utility, alright. I couldn’t help but notice the hat check monitor give me a nod-checking on my health, I suppose.

"I don’t know your name,” I said when we reached the far side of the grid.

“Angle,” she said, turning and facing me full on in the light of the materialized view of the western sky. “Angle Clockwise. I’m a dancer at the To-do Bar.” I’ll put that on my menu. Hold the dressing.

She turned back to the wall and knocked on a door labeled ‘Parallel Execution.’ A speak easy hooch hatch opened just enough for Angle to whisper something through. It sounded Spanish. “Ah,” I thought. “This one’s a foreign key. I’ll have to check her integrity.” “Come on, handsome.” I noticed that she never asked me my name. Well, less to forget.

The bar out back was just the same as the bar our front. Just distributed. At least that’s consistent. If there was any scheme to this schema, I was damned if I could tell. For me this was a trigger, to her just another high availability client. I had to remind myself to keep up my data guard. No telling when my percent free would become percent used. “Well, don’t blob on about it,“ I thought. “There’s no explaining it, anyway.”

The gin was good and the segments temporary. I was ready for a little data manipulation when I noticed that same bouncer that had played smoky the bear out front. “Overtime?” I said as he bore down on me. Apparently I was still in check pending in his dictionary. I expected to be rolled back when Angle came to my rescue. “He’s OK, Lock. Let’s just undo this whole little matter.”

She seemed to have some control over this large object. He swapped out of the room for good. But it didn’t matter. The mood was altered. My privileges revoked by a random access. We both could tell that this night had not been optimized.

She led me to the exit. We kissed long and embedded. Then I was dispatched by a grey steel door slammed in my face. I was closed, unmounted and shut down immediate. This commit hadn’t made it to phase two.

It had to end this way, I suppose. I was looking for random inserts. She was read only.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Exploring the link between Health Science and the Environment

     Today I am happy to present a guest post by Jocelyn Salada. Jocelyn is an independent researcher and writer interested in the environment and global health. When not relaxing with a good book, she is avidly researching topics at the intersection of medicine and life expectancy. Someday she hopes to pursue health science in a more rigorously academic way.

     For more than half a century, health research has been vital to eradicating disease and understanding the origins of human health issues. Some of the research on the more obvious links between, for example, air pollution and lung disease, has been expanded into deeper research in a field known as environmental health. This wide branch of health science, which studies how both man-made and natural ecologies impact human health, will have an increasingly important role in the prevention and management of diseases on a global scale.

     While environmental health science looks at the impact of a variety of factors such as the use of chemicals, one of the most vital elements of this field focuses on energy consumption, the environment and public health. The U.S. Department of Energy says that while most people assume their cars use the most energy, our homes and businesses use more energy, particularly electricity. The power plants that generate electricity often use fossil fuels which in turn produce greenhouse gases that may lead to global warming.

     The impact of global warming on the planet may be generally understood by most people, but the long-term implications of energy use on human health currently is under research by engineers as well as health scientist. The types of energy consumed and the way energy is generated, including nuclear power, solar power, wind power, electrical power plants, gas and oil, each has an impact on human health. A variety of studies are currently available that share research on the link between the environment and health sciences.

     A recent article exploring the evolution of environmental health science through the lens of several prominent case studies can be found here: Health Science and the Environment.