Just a note from the notes file:

New Balance shoes in Japan run in different shoe widths, but for kids, the widths are not stated.

However, the codes for shoes is a hint for width:

  • 300-series shoes are more narrow in width
  • 600-series are more narrow
  • 500-series are wider
  • 900-series are wider

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of trial and error left over. And NB doesn’t stock in all sizes for all models and colors, either. For example, my son’s 15-wide feet fall in a gap between the 504s that he likes (up to 14 cm) and the 574s that probably would fit (from 17 cm).

IFME shoes are also pretty wide, depending on the model. We bought a pair once that didn’t fit at all, and with no returns…

It is very difficult to find information on the effects of Baraclude on pregnancy. With some digging, some information, while not extremely informative, can be found.

Baraclude is an antiviral drug used to treat Hepatitis B. It can cause the side effects of increased risks of cancer, liver damage, kidney damage, headache, nausea, dizziness, and so on. With pregnancy, laboratory testing has placed it in Category C: animal tests have been conducted and are somewhat safe, but tests on humans have not been conducted (and it is difficult to do conduct these tests in a controlled manner).

The statistical information that can be found, though is this:

  • In testing on rats, doses at 28 times the highest recommended human dose (1 mg/day) caused no problems. Doses at 3100 times the highest recommended dose caused severe problems in embryos, specifically deformities.
  • In testing on rabbits, doses at 212 times the highest recommended human dose caused no problems. Doses at 883 times the highest recommended dose caused severe problems in embryos, again referring to deformities.

That is the basic data given by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is probably all the data provided for FDA testing. However, there is some more limited data.

Based on the specific molecule of the Baraclude drug, Baraclude is passed to the embryo during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Data from the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (1989-2009), which tracks the effects of Baraclude-class drugs on pregnancy, suggests that human embryos experience deformities at a rate of under 3% when exposed to one or more of these drugs, which may or may not include Baraclude. The data is not significantly different compared to embryos not exposed to these drugs, indicating some safety. It is important to note that Baraclude is not specifically mentioned in this grouping. However, for 10 reported cases specifically using Baraclude, no defects were found.

This would imply that Baraclude is reasonably safe for use during pregnancy. However, there are no firm statistics to prove this, and as with any medicine, serious unexpected side effects may occur.

Have you ever picked up a paper, read it, and thought it was terrible? And then you realize it’s your own work? It happens to everyone. In fact, it’s part of the writing process. Here are some tips to make your own writing better.

First drafts are naturally not very good, for that’s what a first draft is for. But final drafts should not be.

So what’s wrong with most writing these days? Well, there’s a lot of jargon. Jargon means that there are words that are too technical, or too specific to a field, and the average person just wouldn’t understand. Another problem is that writing can easily become a jumbled, confusing mess. Just thinking and re-reading would help to eliminate most of these problems. Of course, grammar and spelling are always issues.

Writing 101 – The Ideas

What should you think about when writing? Three words: Audience is everything. Audience tells you what kind of attitude to write in, what type of writing style, how technical the paper can be, and so on. What kind of fonts should you use for your audience? Serif fonts are best for printed materials, and sans serif for computer reading. What kind of visuals are you going to include? Will the audience understand why you did what you did? Audience should be the first thing you think about when writing.

What else? Is it clear? Will the reader understand what you are talking about? Remember, everyone understands the same words differently, and maybe 60% of your own meaning is picked up by the reader. Be sure to explain, give examples, and eliminate confusing ideas.

Consistency. Consistency means that you use the same words over and over again. This doesn’t mean that you start every sentence with “However,” but it means that if you are naming an idea, you use the same name every time. Don’t call a “clock” a “timepiece” or a “time keeping device”. If you call it a clock once, keep it the same for the rest of the paper.

One idea that I picked up recently from my own writing courses was Parallel Structure. This is a little harder to explain, but easy to show. Take a look at list 1, and think about it:

Example list 1: Tables

  • Tables – flat.
  • Where people sit.
  • Brown.
  • A table is surrounded by chairs.

So what was wrong in list 1? No Parallel Structure. Now take a look at the revised list:

Example list 2: Tables

  • Tables are flat.
  • Tables are where people sit.
  • Tables are brown.
  • Tables are surrounded by chairs.

See the difference? Each idea has the same grammatical structure. The ideas are better presented using parallel structure and are emphasized just by organizing it properly. This applies to lists, phrases, and titles as well.

And that brings us to the next point: Organization. Effective writing uses organization to bring out what is important and obscure the less positive details. This means that paragraphs must have introductions and conclusions, remembering that the introduction and the conclusion get the most attention in a paper. White space should be used to break up the paper. Write the best stuff at the end, the second best stuff at the beginning, and the worst stuff in the middle. If you do this, then your papers will be more persuasive and much clearer.

Writing 102 – The Writing

Preparation is crucial to writing effectively. Depending on what you are writing, you may or may not want to include all of these items, but they will help in almost every case. Prewriting includes brainstorming, outlines, audience profiles, and all that other stuff. Before you put pen to paper, you need to be thinking about what you are going to write and how you are going to present it. The writing itself becomes easier once you’ve done your preparation. Then the actual writing begins, but that don’t think you’re done yet. You’ve got revision and editing to do.

In writing, I usually follow these steps.

  • Complete an audience profile. Basically, describe your audience. Write it down so you can refer to it later.
  • Make an outline. Outlines really help to keep ideas on track. Plus, you’ll have done some organization, so you will have an easier time writing as well. Remember, you can always change your outline if you decide something is unnecessary.
  • Check the facts (again). I try to do this after the outline to focus the ideas in my head. Is all the data necessary? Is anything unimportant or incorrect? Trim the useless stuff and focus on the good material.
  • Write a first or rough draft. This is not meant to be perfect. Get the ideas on paper and then go back to edit your work. With the computer, I tend to do a lot of revision while writing the draft, but remember that you’re just trying to get it done. Don’t worry too much about all that other stuff just yet.
  • Revise your work. When you’ve finished your draft, now’s the time to check for errors. I’m assuming that you did basic editing on your rough already. Grammar and spell checkers will help you, but the computer doesn’t catch everything. Read it and fix grammatical errors. Then revise. Revision is not about little things. Instead, you’re checking to make sure your paper makes sense. If it doesn’t, change it. Do the ideas connect? Are there transitions? Does it meet the criteria? Constantly critique your work and try to make it better.
  • Write the final draft. Your final may not be what you originally planned on creating, but it ends up much better once you’ve done prewriting and revision. In the end, you should be proud of your work because you’ve put time and effort into it.

Writing 201 – Moving On

Writing can be a difficult thing. By no means am I the best authority on writing, although I know something about it. You should try to take writing classes as much as possible. Writing is a vital skill for successful workers in today’s society. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know how to write. Along with writing, I suggest that you read as much as possible. Reading is the best way to learn new vocabulary and understand sentence structure. You’ll pick up useful idioms and clichés that you can learn to avoid. Best of all, by reading, you’ll develop better comprehension skills that you can also apply towards writing. In the end, no matter what style of writing you’ve formed, if you at least consider my ideas, you’ll be a better writer.