A while back, the husband of a friend of mine got a nasty, painful rash on his face. When it got up to his eye and started to affect his vision, he went to the hospital, and after a bunch of tests they found out what was going on. I asked my friend about it when they got home, and apparently the hospital staff had been a lot less helpful than they could have. She didn’t know exactly what the problem was; she said they had called it “zoister” or something like that, and she probably wasn’t even remembering it right.
I figured she probably wasn’t, because that doesn’t sound like any disease I’ve ever heard of. So I tried punching it into Google, and sure enough, it had the answer. “Do you mean zoster?” I clicked the link, and there it was: herpes zoster, better known as shingles, the revenge of the chickenpox virus. Why the hospital folks didn’t just say “he has shingles,” I’ll never know.
It took a few days before I realized the implications of what I’d done there, though. You may have heard the famous quote from Charles Babbage: Continue reading ‘Wrong figures, right answers’ »