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DEFINITIONS Wednesday, October 1
Commentators have had fun with a new system of medical diagnostic codes (denominated in from 4-10 digits each) scheduled to take effect next October, and the “Healthcare Dive” blog had its laughs in a July post. The codes for “problems in relationship with in-laws” and “bizarre personal appearance” are quixotic enough, but the most “absurd” codes are “subsequent encounters” (i.e., at least the second time the same thing happened to a patient) for events like walking into a lamppost, getting sucked into a jet engine, receiving burns from on-fire water skis, or having contact with a cow beyond being bitten or kicked — those have separate codes. Also notable was S10.87XA, “Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter,” which seems to describe a “hickey.”
SQUAAAAWWK Wednesday, October 1
Regulatory filings revealed in August that AOL still has 2.3 million dial-up subscribers (down from 21 million 15 years ago) paying, on average, about $20 monthly. Industry analysts, far from rolling on the floor laughing at the company’s continued success with 20th-century technology, estimate AOL’s dial-up business constitutes a hefty portion of its quarterly “operating profit” of about $122 million.
HOW TO CONFUSE AN ARIZONAN Wednesday, October 1
In August, a state appeals court overruled a lower court and decided Thomas and Nancy Beatie could divorce, after all. The first judge determined their out-of-state marriage wasn’t valid in Arizona because they were both women, but Thomas has had extensive surgery and hormone therapy and become a man — though he’s also the spouse who bore the couple’s three children, since he retained his reproductive organs.
FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT Wednesday, October 1
Dutch inventors Bart Jansen and Arjen Beltman struck again recently when Pepeijn Bruins, 13, asked them to help him grieve over his pet rat, Ratjetoe, who had cancer and had to be put down. Having heard of the inventors’ work, Pepeijn asked if they could have Ratjetoe stuffed and turned into a radio-controlled drone.
PISCES: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
Your oracle is built around epigrams of conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. From her hundreds of pithy quotes, here are six offering wisdom you need. Weave them into a symphonic whole. 1). “It’s crucial to have an active fantasy life.” 2). “Ensure your life stays in flux.” 3). “I have every kind of thought, and that is no embarrassment.” 4). “Animalism is perfectly healthy.” 5). “Finding extreme pleasure makes you a better person if you’re careful about what thrills you.” 6). “Listen when your body talks.”
CAPRICORN: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
Years ago, you experienced an event so overwhelming, you couldn’t fully deal, let alone understand. All this time, it’s been simmering and smoldering in the depths of your unconscious mind, emitting ghostly steam and smoke even as it’s remained difficult to integrate. That changes in the months ahead. You finally find a way to bring it to conscious awareness and explore with courage and grace.
AQUARIUS: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
It’s prime time to do things not exactly easy and relaxing, but not actually painful. Like: Extend peace offerings to adversaries. Seek reconciliation with valuable resources from which you’ve been separated and potential allies from whom you’ve become alienated.
SAGITTARIUS: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
Tomatoes are a staple of Italian cuisine now, but there weren’t any tomatoes in Europe until the 16th century, when Spanish explorers brought them from Central and South America. Likewise, Malaysia has become a major producer of rubber, but it had no rubber trees until seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in the 19th century.
SCORPIO: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
Dear So-Called Astrologer: Your horoscopes are worse than useless. Mostly they’re crammed with philosophical and poetic crap that doesn’t apply to my daily life. Please cut way back on the fancy metaphors. Just let me know if there’s money or love or trouble coming – like what regular horoscopes say! — Skeptical Scorpio.
LIBRA: October 1-7 Wednesday, October 1
When Jimmy Fallon was a high school senior, he got a weird graduation gift: a troll doll, one of those plastic figurines with frizzy, brightly colored hair. Around the same time, his mother urged him to enter an upcoming comedy contest at a nearby club. Jimmy thought it would be fun. He worked up a routine imitating various celebrities auditioning to become a spokesperson for troll dolls.
 
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