Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Time for Not COVID News

edge of the forest with a perfect circle in the trees
A Witch's Portal? 
from the Witches Vs Patriarchy subreddit

 It feels like COVID-19 dominates the news cycle these days.  But there must be other things happening in the world, right?

Right!  And you can find some of them here, a place where COVID new is verboten and anything else goes.

Chinese Scientists Find Evidence of 
More Recent Volcanic Activity on the Moon

Recent is a bit of a misnomer.  The Chinese mission Chang’E-5 returned with moon rocks that place volcanic activity from around 2 billion years ago, give or take 4 million years. Not exactly hot off the press.  But previously the scientific community believed that the last volcanic activity on the moon was around 3 billion years ago.  A billion years later does, in fact, mean more recent.

The interesting find here, though, is the cause of the volcanic activity.  Or rather, the lack of causation.  There was an expectation that radioactive elements would be a heat source of any volcanic activity past after the 3 billion year mark.  But the moon rock samples showed no indication of radioactive elements.  This leads to the question - what caused the volcanic activity in the first place?

photo of the Moon
 (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

Li, QL., Zhou, Q., Liu, Y. et al. Two billion-year-old volcanism on the Moon from Chang’E-5 basalts. Nature (2021).

Reason #134 To Avoid NYC in 2021:
Disease Transmitted through Rat Urine

cartoon rat

While it's not a plague, New York City now hosts leptospirosis, a zoonotic bacterial disease with 15 cases so far in 2021.  While this sounds low, NYC averages around 4 cases per year, so this is a four fold increase.

While no one can state with certainty why there is a spike in cases now, theories abound with shout outs to climate change and weather.  What we do know is that the likely carrier is the humble rat, and the transmission method is rat urine.

So far, 14 out of the 15 people have been hospitalized, and one person died.

"Flesh-Eating" STI in the UK??

Who knew that Eddie Murphy could predict the future?  For those who have not seen Delirious, Eddie jokes that STDs were evolving from a simple rash to exploding penises.  While I know of no exploding penises yet, the UK now reports a spike in donovanosis, which appears to be a flesh-eating STI.

In reality, this disease causes:
  • loss of color in genital tissue
  • large, deep red bumps that can bleed
  • widespread ulcers around the genital area and anus
If it is not treated properly, donovanosis can spread internally and can cause scarring. Oh, and proper treatment takes a minimum of three weeks, with a decent chance of the infection reappearing up to six months after what you think was an effective treatment.

Ugh, that sounds almost as bad as flesh-eating, doesn't it?  

Anyway, doctors are urging people to use condoms, since that significantly reducing the chance of transmission.  To help spread the word, here are some slogans to encourage people to use condoms:

Funny condom slogans

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wordless Wednesday: Floating to the Wedding

Due to flooding, this couple floated to the temple in a large cooking pot.
Alappuzha, Kerala, India


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

We Now Interrupt this Blog For a Funeral


The perfect gentleman dog

Last week, I received a terrifying phone call.  My son's dog, Kareem was hit by a car.  The entire situation does not bear repeating, because it was an unfortunate accident.  There was no way anyone without the ability to see the future could have prevented it.

All Wednesday, we sat around on pins and needles as the status reports came in.  Kareem seemed to be okay; his front left leg wasn't working but didn't look broken.  Probably nerve damage that may or may not heal on its own.  His right eye was swollen - would he lose his eye?

Kareem lasted for over 10 hours.  Then the call came in.  Kareem went into cardiac arrest.

He died.

Waiting for his daddy (my son) to come home

Wednesday night was one of those times that demark a before and after time - an event that makes a lasting impression, creating an internal division in your personal history.  Before I had a grandpuppy named Kareem who loved it when I sang to him.  After... well, after my family is in the midst of the grieving process.

We buried the body in our backyard on Saturday.  It was... I lack the vocabulary to describe the mix of emotions on Saturday. But it's done and we all began to go forward again.

Even though Kareem was not my dog, per se, I find myself grieving for him. Bouts of sadness hit me out of nowhere. I usually like watching Girl with Dogs on YouTube, but now seeing the dogs feels bitter sweet. When I walk my dog, Titan, we'll see something interesting, and I will remember that we can't show Kareem anymore.

I also find myself using the wrong words this week.  I'm not suffering from word aphasia, but rather word misplacement?  For example, I will want to use the word "stapler" but instead say "sandpaper".  I am also using the wrong names for everyone.  I keep calling my dog my son's name, and vice versa.

I know myself well enough to know that this is a sign of internal anxiety and sadness.

Playing at a local dog park

I know that life goes on.  I survived so many people dying, and I know that I will be okay soon enough.  I also know that a piece of my heart belongs to Kareem.  

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Morning Blues: Why Do We Still Celebrate Christopher Columbus???

The Age of Discovery, 1300-1600
A map of trade routes used from 1300 to 1600

 I'm serious.  I mean, the man was completely mistaken about where he was, and he refused to believe otherwise.  Columbus' travels resulted in the enslavement of several groups of people, and the extinction of more than one civilization.  Plus, he was not the first person to discover the "New World"; the Vikings landed here centuries earlier.  And the Vikings were not the first people over here either.

Viking Ship
A modern replica of a Viking ship. This ship is of the snekkja longship type.
Attribution: archiwum własne wikingów, Jarmeryk

But the alternative of calling today "Indigenous Peoples' Day"?

That feels... like not enough.  Hundreds of thousands of people died because of the arrival of the European invaders.  The number is too large to truly comprehend.  So semi-dedicating a single day to recognize them feels like a token, a gesture offered to history that still rejects any hint of responsibility.

Now I realize that no one alive today is responsible for the massacre that happened centuries ago. But we are responsible for how we treat people today.  

So maybe we do need this holiday, as a reminder that we are responsible for our behavior.  When a hurricane hits an impoverished area, regardless of which countries are involved, do you help out in whatever reasonable ways you can or do you gloat that it wasn't you?  Do you even care if it doesn't effect you directly? 

Do you treat others with respect and kindness?  Notice that there are no stipulations to that question. Skin color, spiritual beliefs, sexual preference, biology... none of this matters.  Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.  So do you act that way?  

Or do you expect people to treat you with respect first, before you will treat them that way?  If everyone waits for the other person to act nice, when will anyone act nice?

Thursday, October 7, 2021

And the answer is....

 They are all coronaviruses.  The pictures represent (in order): 

  • Influenza
  • COVID-19
  • Measles
  • Common Cold

Monday, October 4, 2021

Boxes - A Piece of Philosophical Poetry


Life is all about the boxes.

People physically live in boxes.  

Actually, people live in boxes that are organized into boxes.

They also use boxes to...

hang pictures
hold their stuff
store food 
wash dishes and clothes and themselves 

 Sometimes people even eat out of boxes.

People also figuratively live in boxes.  Everyone has

an Individual Box of Morality
a Societal Box of Morality
a Government Defined Box of Laws
a School/Work Defined Box of Rules

Some people have even more boxes, based on religious or spiritual beliefs

Stress is when an individual wants something outside of their boxes.

Happiness can only happen when living comfortably inside the boxes.

And when all is said and done, a person dies.  When they are then put into a box and buried in the ground.


Freaky Friday News: Unicorn Licenses

Los Angeles County Gives a Young Resident a Unicorn License Last month, a resident of Los Angeles county, Miss Madeline, sent a handwritte...