Posts filed under Wednesday Thoughts

Things I have heard on the news Lately

KSND2896-September 05, 2018.jpg

Wednesday Thoughts

News Hours and Science related Articles

Our alarm clock in the bedroom is the radio, cellphones are banned in there. We listen to the local NPR station, WNYC, which is a good way to wake up, you usually get riled up, but other times it can be depressing. Other than that that I get updates from Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. I get other updates too, from sources like the Atlantic, Science Magazine, Wired among a lot of others. I don’t read these sources everyday, I would never have time. Sometimes Facebook spits out article after article, and on top of that my friends share article after article. Most of my friends are science oriented, so the articles that pop up are articles that gear towards nature and climate, but of course articles about all of the worlds problems. Instead I save articles, save them on Facebook, save them in my bookmarks, because maybe later today i will have time to read them. I could probably read article after article for several years now. Most of the times they will be saved and forgotten. At one point I thought about sharing what I had read or heard on the radio, but then I forgot about that too. But here we are and I was thinking about sharing some of the news I have read and heard about these past couple of weeks, maybe there will be an even older article too.

  1. Tetanus. You probably didn’t miss this story, the story about the 6 year old boy from Oregon who got tetanus after he fell and got a cut on his forehead at the family farm. I guess I never quite understood what tetanus mean in reality, even though the Swedish word for it gives it away, stiff cramp. This 6 year old boy had not been vaccinated for tetanus, this is something that the doctor usually give you anyway when you come in to the hospital if they suspect you might be at risk for tetanus, and haven’t received a booster. It is rare that people aren’t vaccinated against tetanus, even though there are a growing number of individuals who choose to not vaccinate their kids against anything. The parents took care of the cut at home, and it wasn’t until six days later he actually arrived at the hospital. This boy had to spend a total of 57 days in the hospital. He had to stay a large portion of those days in a dark room with earplugs and with little to no stimulation, in order to decrease the cramps that light and noise would trigger. The hospital bill came out to about 800,000$. I think the worst part about this story is that even though this boy had to stay 57 days in the hospital and recovery, with brutal muscle spasms fighting for his life, the parents still chose to not go through with the whole series of vaccinations. Which mean that the boy still is not immune to tetanus and can get it again. You can read more about for instance here.

  2. Measles. While we are on the subject of vaccination, we might as well go into the story of the measles outbreak in the US. Unlike tetanus, you will get immune to measles, if you obtain measles, well if you survive. The current measles outbreak in New York is centered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where 158 people have been sickened, out of which 137 are children. If you google measles outbreak in the US, you will find plenty of years before this year where the US had a measles outbreak. One additional factor that is fueling the measles outbreak, here in New York, is an ultra-orthodox hotline which is serving as a hub for mothers resistant to vaccinating their kids. You can hear an excerpt of the hotline from this link. It is thought that the measles outbreak in Brooklyn, New York stems from travelers visiting Israel where measles are currently on the rise. This is again a story about people being against vaccination, the so called anti-vaxxers. Even though there is nothing that ties anti-vaccination to the orthodox religion in itself, it is thought that maybe this hotline, as I mentioned above, is one of the main reasons? Did you know that the World Health Organization has put Vaccine Hesitancy on the list of Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019?

  3. “Illusion of explanatory depth” - Why Facts Don’t Change our Minds. I think it was after Trump got elected and all of the following events that I stumbled on to this article. It covers a couple of psychological studies, from across the country. What they all conclude is that humans often refuse to accept other peoples opinions or ideas, something that probably dates back to the cave age, or the evolutionary theory of “the fittest will survive”. At the same time we are relying on other peoples knowledge in our every day life, to the point that it is hard to understand where one person’s knowledge starts and another person’s knowledge comes in. The result of this is that people think they know more, than what they actually do. I think it is a fitting article to share after the two previous points about tetanus and measles. You can read the full article here.

  4. “Florida Shuffle” - How Rehab Recruiters are exploiting Drug Addicts. I heard a crazy story on the radio, which I later googled and found an article about from last year (2018), and then the Mother Jones article they talked about on the radio. I am pretty sure no one has missed the opioid crisis currently going on in the US. The latest in the crisis are “patient brokers” that recruit addicts from the street, from anonymous narcotics, even from rehabs themselves, to go to specific rehabs (as long as they have insurance that will cover the stay). These brokers will pay them money to go to a specific rehab, and then keep paying the addict to continue to stay. Once the rehab is over the addict has money to buy more drugs. This “patient broker” would even pay for the drug addicts stay at hotels and provide drugs in between stays at different rehabs, since you have to have some type of drug in your system to be admitted to a rehab. These brokers are often themselves current or former drug users. This is of course an organized insurance fraud, a fraud by the rehabs themselves filling up otherwise empty beds and rooms. The money they earn on the addicts insurance is partially used to pay the brokers.

  5. White House Economic Team interns. Who knows how these interns made the list and who wrote up the list of the interns, but here they are, from the Economic Report of the President, p 624:

    1. Steve Rogers (a.k.a. Captain America)

    2. Peter Parker (Spider-Man)

    3. Bruce Wayne (Batman)

    4. Aunt May (Peter Parker’s guardian)

    5. J. T. Hutt (a superfan abbreviation for Jabba the Hutt, the “Star Wars” gangster who hangs a frozen Han Solo on his wall)

    6. John Cleese

    7. Kathryn Janeway (a “Star Trek” captain)

    8. John Snow (or should it be Jon Snow?)

Posted on March 20, 2019 and filed under Science, Wednesday Thoughts.

If I Can Make it Here I Can Make It Anywhere

IMG_1652-February 05, 2019.jpg
Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name in marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems
I got a pocketful of dreams baby I’m from New York!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York!
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New Yooork!
— Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind

Wednesday Thoughts

New York

The City and the State

Those of you who know me well would probably not have guessed that the next place we would move to would be NYC. But then those opportunities on the east coast rather than the west coast came and here we are. We are not the big city people, even though I am from the fairly big city of Stockholm. New York is the name of both the city and the state, and I bet that some people sometimes forgot about the rest of this state when they think about New York. During these past months we have gone through mice in the apartment, broken pipes and firemen in our apartment at 1 am in the morning. Even though all of these things happened within 2 months, I feel as if we lived here an eternity already. We live in the north east part of Manhattan, the area that is known as East Harlem, or El Barrio. Most tourists don’t go up here, because all the touristy stuff is mostly centered around southern Manhattan. I do think that every tourist should explore the northern part of Manhattan as well, just to get an idea about the life in New York (well I guess you could insert any of the least “famous” parts of NYC here).

Life is not always easy in the city, and nor has it really ever been since 1650 or so when New Amsterdam existed where Battery Park is today (even though Manhatta, yes Manhatta without a n, existed long before then). You only need to live here for a short time while listening to the local NPR station (WNYC) to understand who the losers and the winners are here. The everlasting question is whose fault it is? You’ll hear horror stories about walls and ceilings falling into apartments, mold, broken doors, lack of heat, and legionella in the water towers mixed in with outrageous rents. But New York is of course so much more than that, and there is always a whole suit of cultures and backgrounds wherever you look. Discovering all of these different places in New York, not only Manhattan, will take time, and that fits us pretty well right now since we will be here for a few years. We are not made out of money and I have started a quest for cheap and free things to do in the city. There are many many things you can do of course, and I will probably write more about our life here and what we do, favorite bars, parks, streets yeah just about anything. New York City is huge and many times people forget about the state New York. We want to try and discover more parts of the state while we are here too, not just the big city.

The Wilderness Experience

Black Rapids, Alaska. September 2011

A person with a clear heart and open mind can experience the wilderness anywhere on earth. It is a quality of one’s own consciousness. The planet is a wild place and always will be. And we’re surrounded by the greatest of all wildernesses — the universe.
— Gary Snyder, NY times 1994

Wednesday Thoughts

When White Men set aside areas for Conservation so that Tourists could come and see the Beauty of Their/Our? Land or the “Ethnic Cleansing and America’s National Parks”

In 1872 the very first National Park was formed, not only the first in US but in all of the world, Yellowstone National Park. This was not the first time an area was set aside from expansion though, other areas such as Yosemite Valley in 1864 (Yosemite Grant Act) and Hot Springs in Arkansa in 1832 (Supposedly the first National Park but since congress failed to pass legislation, there were no controls over the area). My own impression of the wordings of some of these wilderness acts were that no one, not even the natives were to live in these areas. Environmentalists, conservationists and writers such as John Muir shared those views. To conserve and view the wilderness as something pure and wild, and we should only connect to the wilderness spiritually by observation, and so all the Native American populations across the US that previously had populated these wild and pure areas were moved and relocated to reservations. It was not as easy as the previous sentence make it sound, and ended with wars and massacres between the native Americans and the US Army, for instance the Nez Perce War in 1877. Obviously, to preserve and keep these wild areas free of anyone living there was not the only, and certainly not the main reason for the creation of reservations across the US. Just like in other places, like in Sweden, the country’s relationship with the natives is a complicated one. In some way ironic that white men would set aside these areas for conservation so that tourists could come and see the beauty of the land, but without the natives who once depended on these landscapes for survival, and had roamed these areas for thousands of years. In 1994 we got the Native American Policy, that most recently was revised in 2016, a step in the right direction when it comes to acknowledging the native population and their culture. I think it’s a complicated but important topic, we want to enjoy seeing these protected areas, but sometimes fail to understand the somewhat dark history about the creation of them. And what I am writing here is not by any way short of how many countries have treated their native population, or the whole story about how the US have treated (and currently is treating) their native population. I encourage you, if you are interested, to read more about the culture and history of Native Americans, or any other Native population across the globe.

Denali National Park, Alaska. June 2011

We took away their country and their means of support, broke up their mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decay among them and it was for this and against this they made war. Could anyone expect less?
— Gen. Philip H. Sheridan