And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Linkee-poo will be watching the parade, maybe

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Even to my friends in Russia, Europe and Asia (even though you don't celebrate it). I hope you have a reasonably stressless holiday. Don't over eat. I don't want to see you in the ER. There's a lot of things scheduled for this weekend, so I doubt I'll be posting before Monday (maybe a late Sunday post, but probably not).

On celebrating Thanksgiving with a more accurate sense of history in a more culturally diverse time. Thanksgiving is more than the historical event, it's a cultural celebration that is a part of the US. Our food traditions are different, with a better knowledge of history we can move beyond the revisionist/anglicized version of the holiday (do kids still make cut-paper feather headbands in school?) and enjoy it for what it is; a harvest feast, a time to be with family, and a time to give thanks (to whomever or whatever) for another year and to prepare for the winter months. Now, if you have something to be thankful for is another question. Or as some of my patients have commented, any day above ground is better than the alternative.

And maybe while everyone is together, it might be time for some (non-political) difficult discussions. "The roast turkey and pecan pie may be the same as always, but growing numbers of families plan to add a tradition to their Thanksgiving holiday this week: a frank talk about their wishes for end-of-life care." The Fall is, after all, a time of death.

And now for my current favorite death joke, "Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly accepted my Uber request."

"The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe says the resignation of President Robert Mugabe 'marks an historic moment' for the country and congratulates all Zimbabweans who raised their voices." Yeah it does. (Resists urge to make comparisons to January 21, 2021)

The Butcher of Bosnia is going to spend the rest of his life in jail. It's too good for him. Most times I feel enlightened, but for some people I make exceptions. I understand the motivation behind the older practice of sentencing prisoners to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

That bend toward justice is awfully slow sometimes.

"In one of the fastest and most astonishing turnarounds in the history of energy, building and running new renewable energy is now cheaper than just running existing coal and nuclear plants in many areas." Especially in developing countries. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Spirits are the most likely alcohol type to illicit feelings of aggression, while red wine most likely to make people relaxed, a new study shows." Looks at all my bottles of wine (which I hardly ever drink). Well that's good.

"Cancer. To many of us, it may seem scary, mysterious, or even inevitable. Now, a new study suggests that nearly half of the country’s cancers may be preventable through decisions we make every day." Ah, yeah, probably not, and some of these things aren't really avoidable. But it always feels good to blame people for their bad health, doesn't it (at least to a portion of the healthcare industry). There are knowable carcinogens and avoiding them is always a good idea. It's easier now for people of moderate means to avoid some factors. However if your poor you most likely can't.

"Initial results showed that a high-sugar diet increased the animals' triglyceride levels, a type of fat in the blood, through effects on the gut bacteria. In people, high triglycerides can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The study also found that animals fed sugar had higher levels of an enzyme associated with bladder cancer in their urine… The study was halted before it was completed. Glantz says the researcher asked for more time to continue the study, but the Sugar Research Foundation pulled the plug on the project." Who needs NIH research or industry regulation? I mean, wouldn't the market have sorted this out? (/sarcasm)

And speaking of not needing regulations, "Ike Horst raises 22,000 turkeys a year on his farm in the rolling hills of south-central Pennsylvania, selling them to a processing company that was providing him with enough of a nest egg that he hoped he could sell the farm and retire… But a Trump administration decision to block proposed agriculture regulations may blow up those plans, preserving the multibillion-dollar meat industry’s power over the smaller turkey farmers whose birds will grace the tables in millions of American homes this Thanksgiving." How's that economic anxiety working out for ya? (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"More charges have been filed against the former manager of a small-town Missouri Dairy Queen accused of bullying a teenage employee so relentlessly that he killed himself." They're also looking at the culpability of the school system.

Why is it bad to ignore parts of the US simply because ignorant people don't accept that they're part of the US? "That’s when she learned that, since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, key U.S. pharmaceutical plants on the island are experiencing manufacturing delays and distribution holdups that have caused unprecedented shortages of the widely used and critical fluid. Intravenous infusions of saline solution are used to hydrate patients during treatment or to dilute drugs during infusions, and Hill said she’s worried about whether there will be enough of the fluids when she arrives for her next treatment in six weeks." Say, do you also know where a number of our critical pharmaceuticals are manufactured? Also, welcome to flu season. "'We also encourage FDA to seek out and approve new domestic suppliers of these products in locations that are not prone to natural disasters.'" That's hilarious. Really, tell me where might that be?

"When Kevin Neal went on a deadly shooting rampage last week in California, he was armed with at least two semi-automatic rifles, known as 'ghost guns,' that he didn't buy in a store or from a gun dealer, authorities say." Oh look, it's a "loop-hole" that nobody believes we should or can close. Because, you know, we just can't do anything.

There's now video of the North Korean soldier's defection.

"Ten out of the U.K.'s 12 regional water and sewer utilities confirmed to Sally Le Page that they at least occasionally use dowsing rods, also known as divining rods or "witching sticks," to locate underground water sources. Many of the companies later emphasized that dowsing is done by individuals, not as a company-wide policy, and that it does not cost any money." Sometimes the old ways are better, or not. Speaking form experience, even in modern water systems the utilities don't have maps of the system (one of the major project I spear headed as a councilman, we now have GPS coordinated maps of our systems). And the magnetometers don't work well with pavement. In general, dowsing works by allowing the subconscious brain to communicate. It's a way of "confirming" your "hunches."

"NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Michigan Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell about sexual misconduct allegations against fellow Democratic lawmakers John Conyers and Al Franken." And a lot on the affect and effects of being sexual harassed. When I wrote this a transcript wasn't up yet, but recommended. Unfortunately the people who really need to hear this won't. And I agree with Rep. Dingell, the saddest part is hear how many young women are still experiencing harassment.

"A few days after Donald Trump was elected President, more than a hundred people packed into a church sanctuary in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to hear a presentation about refugee resettlement in their town… It didn't go well."

An Atlantic article by Adam Serwer on racism in America and how it drives our politics and how it all stems from our country's original sin. "By accepting the economic theory of (David) Duke’s success, the media were buying into the candidate’s own vision of himself as a savior of the working class. He had appealed to voters in economic terms…" History may not repeat, but it often rhymes. "The frequent postelection media expeditions to Trump country to see whether the fever has broken, or whether Trump’s most ardent supporters have changed their minds, are a direct outgrowth of this mistake. These supporters will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted: a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of." (Grokked from a number of people)

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