Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Humanity Can Be So Fragile

Two articles came across my path (one on the radio) about health related issues, and when I put them together, it makes me realize how quickly we could have a Worldwide pandemic.

Plague and AIDS
The first radio "article" I heard was about an outbreak of pneumonic plague...have you ever heard of this? It's basically the same disease as the bubonic plague, except instead of being transferred via blood through fleas, it's transmitted through airborne agents when an infected person coughs. A small, very isolated town in China was quarantined recently due to an outbreak.

The second article I read in the newspaper was about a woman that moved from Cameroon to Paris who had an as-yet-unidentified strain of HIV...there are currently three known strains, and hers seems to be another mutation of the virus. As yet, she's asymptomatic, so the World Health Organization has no idea how far-spreading this strain might be, or what long-term effects it may have on health.

Coming across these to news pieces on the same day, led me to think about how quickly viruses could potentially mutate, and eventually, a virus will change into something that is both lethal and will spread so quickly that it won't be able to be contained. I guess certain viruses like Ebola are already like that, but they seem to run so quickly through a population of people that they typically extinguish themselves.

I'm still going to jump every time I hear someone cough or sneeze in public for at least a little while.

Current Knitting
I've made some additional progress on the MiniMochi scarf, and I'm thinking that Thaddeus will be stealing this scarf the minute it gets cold enough to wear it.

Sorry for the less-than-clear picture of it...it's from the BlackBerry, but it does show the texture of the stitch pattern quite well and the colors are quite accurate. This is about 28 inches of scarf in case you're keeping track.

New Book
Benne (Feathersong on Ravelry) let me know about a new Estonian lace book that was available only by ordering from overseas sources (overseas from the U.S. for you non-U.S. readers). I ordered my copy from Estonia directly...my high school Estonian paid off on this one...and while it took a little while to arrive, it was well worth the wait.

The book is mostly a stitch pattern book (at least the parts I can understand) and it is clear and the graphics/symbol translations are in both Estonian and English. I am very excited to start some new design using some of the stitch patterns, but I'm forcing myself to finish the MiniMochi scarf first.

From what Benne has told me, the book has sold out its first printing and there's a waiting list to order more. I ordered mine from here in case anyone wants to check it out (and reads Estonian...actually there's a little "ENG" link in the upper right-hand corner of this web page for those that struggle with the Estonian language).

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks everyone for all the feedback on the health care reform initiatives in congress.

Thanks for anyone that sent e-mail, letters or called their senators or representatives. Mine went in the mail on Monday and I'll follow up with an e-mail or three.

Thanks everyone for their personal stories on health care.

Thanks everyone for additional arguments in favor of a strong, not-watered-down measure from congress.

Thanks for those with other opinions. I was glad to show both the idiocy of some peoples' beliefs (Holly...her comments reminded me of that woman at a McCain rally who told McCain that Obama was a Muslim) and I was very glad to read Shelly's comments. Shelly's comments reminded me of the impact any initiative could potentially have on the medical profession and the folks that work in the for-profit insurance industry. It was very nice to read a sane argument about this from a health professional's standpoint.

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