Tag Archives: flu

Gleanings: February 2, 2013

Sophie In North Korea

  1. Go to North Korea if you can. It is very, very strange.
  2. If it is January, disregard the above. It is very, very cold.
  3. Nothing I’d read or heard beforehand really prepared me for what we saw.

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Tavis Smiley on Obama and MLK’s legacy — www.cbsnews.com — Readability

Our future as a nation depends on how seriously we take the legacy of Dr. King: Justice for all, service to others, and a love that liberates people.

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A Casualty on the Battlefield of Amazon’s Partisan Book Reviews – NYTimes.com

“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”

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Obama’s Startling Second Inaugural – James Fallows – The Atlantic

I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on. As has often been the case, Obama confounded expectations — mine, at least.

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Shamus Khan: The Flu and Why Paid Sick Days Matter | TIME.com

While we typically look to doctors and medicines in a health crisis, we should recognize that guaranteeing paid sick days to workers could do as much, if not more, to help moderate the impact of influenza and other contagious diseases.

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A life lived is not about things | The View From Mrs. Sundberg’s Window | A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, from American Public Media

Mindful then, that a life lived is not about things, but there are things in a lived life.

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How Much Can Restitution Help Victims of Child Pornography? – NYTimes.com

The idea is to contain the harm: it happened then, and it’s not happening anymore. But how do you do that when these images are still out there? The past is still the present, which turns the hallmarks of treatment on their head.

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Exclusive: Boy Scouts close to ending ban on gay members, leaders – U.S. News

The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” he said.

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Love Story : Richard Panek

These books, like the papers and magazines on my desk, have been long untouched; they, too, have outlasted their urgency. But I can’t just jam them down the trash chute. I can’t just cast them out on the street. They’re books!

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What Gun Owners Really Want – Walter Kirn | New Republic

Firearms exist to manage situations where rationality has failed, so thinking rationally about them can be hard.

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After Ten Years: Enduring Lessons | Wayne Hale’s Blog

Better to ask a foolish question than to allow a mistake to be made. What is the worst that could happen to you? Lose your job? Lose the respect of your peers? Miss out on a promotion? Letting a mistake go unchallenged has other consequences: funerals, program shutdown, and life-long regret. Make your choice wisely – speak up rather than remain silent. If the organization can’t stand that, it’s the organization that needs to change.

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Attention ‘artisan authors’: digital self-publishing is harder than it looks – Alasdair Stuart

A podcast, a blog or digital publishing as a whole is simply a different road. It’s not a shortcut.

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Jared Diamond’s Guide to Reducing Life’s Risks – NYTimes.com

This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I’ve learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.

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Spare these, and let thy time be when it will

At thy contagious darts, that wound the heads
Of weeping friends, who wait at dying beds.
Spare these, and let thy time be when it will;
My bus’ness is to die, and thine to kill.
Gently thy fatal scepter on me lay,
And take to thy cold arms, insensibly, thy prey.

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

It’s hard not to be of a somewhat macabre mind when looking at two disasters that are converging this week: if, in a novel, the swine flu outbreak had arrived in the midst of a global financial crisis, the reader would either (a) dismiss this as a preposterous coincidence, or (b) prepare for more post-apocalyptic excess, like zombies or mutant hordes. Though I suspect we’ll see a rise in the number of confirmed cases over the next few days, I hope that we avoid an outbreak of pandemic scale (and also avoid the zombies and mutants).

Still, I wonder what impact the unemployment numbers will have on the spread of the disease? I could imagine them being a brake on the spread of the flu; nearly 10% of the work force is circulating through offices and factories far less than they did a year ago, keeping their germs to themselves and not picking up any new microbes. Indeed, as the flu ravages society, leaving places of business empty in its wake, the unemployed may become the vanguard for saving civilization, the last best hope to rebuild society after the collapse. Perhaps the stimulus package ought to contain some guidestone construction.

But gallows humor won’t be very helpful in averting disaster. Good handwashing (and remember, as my second-graders remind me, to sneeze into your elbow, not your hand!) and staying home when sick have already been suggested; and the U.S. government has acted quickly to release resources. Looming disasters are best met promptly, forcefully, and calmly; perhaps we’ve learned at least that much from the recent past.

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