That time again….the weekend begins and IST finds the news that somehow missed the ‘headlines’……
Do you plan on a cruise anytime soon?
If so maybe you should read this first……
While most noroviruses don’t last long, contracting one can still a rough experience—especially when you’re at sea, thousands of miles from home. Unfortunately for many people on cruise ships in 2023, getting sick is part of the experience, per Quartz. Citing stats from the CDC, the outlet reports 11 outbreaks of illness (think vomiting and diarrhea) on cruise ships so far this year, the most since 2018. The spike reflects the increasing number of people taking cruises again since the worst of the pandemic, notes the Washington Post.
At least 1,503 passengers and crew combined have come down with some kind of stomach trouble while on cruise ships that dock in US ports. According to Quartz, three of the outbreaks were definitely norovirus, but all were gastrointestinal. Cruises are closed environments and norovirus spreads easily, especially because it can live on surfaces for months, per the Mayo Clinic. With thousands of people sharing tight quarters and buffets in open dining areas, hardy viruses can thrive.
If there’s an upside, it’s that stomach virus outbreaks on cruises have actually diminished since the CDC began keeping records in 1994. The most recent one provides a typical example: About 160 passengers and 26 crew aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, or about 8% of passengers and 3% of crew, got sick. The ship was returning to Vancouver Sunday after a two-week cruise to Alaska. If you want to avoid catching a bug that ruins your vacation, Condé Nast Traveler recommends 12 steps, including:
- Visiting a “travel medicine specialist” before you leave.
- Avoiding self-serve dining if possible.
- Regular hand-washing.
- Avoiding public area restrooms.
- Immediately reporting other travelers who are sick.
The horror stories about these outbreaks makes me want to just stay on dry land….
There has been much written about the US police and their, at times, heavy handed techniques when a softer approach was called for….but the US is not alone…..let’s go ‘down under’…..
A 95-year-old Australian woman with dementia is in critical condition after being tasered by police officers who were called to her nursing home. Police say staff at the home in Cooma, south of Canberra, told them Clare Nowland had taken a steak knife from the kitchen, 9News reports. Police say an officer used a stun gun on the frail woman after she refused to drop the knife and approached officers. “At the time she was tasered, she was approaching police. But it is fair to say at a slow pace,” New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter said. “She had a walking frame. But she had a knife.”
Rowland is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, the AP reports. After she was tasered, she fell to the ground and her head hit the floor. Andrew Thaler, a friend of the great-grandmother’s family, tells the BBC that she suffered a fractured skull and is not expected to survive. “The family are shocked, they’re confused,” he says, “and the community is outraged. How can this happen? How do you explain this level of force? It’s absurd.” Police say the officer involved has 12 years of experience and has been taken off active duty.
Thaler says Rowland is well-known in the community. In 2008, she appeared on TV with a skydive over Canberra to mark her 80th birthday. Nicole Lee, president of the People with Disability Australia advocacy group, says Rowland should have been treated with “compassion and time,” not a stun gun. “She’s either one hell of an agile, fit, fast, and intimidating 95-year-old woman, or there’s a very poor lack of judgement on those police officers and there really needs to be some accountability on their side,” she says.
Are you telling me that the burly coppers did not know how to disarm a old woman in a walker with a knife?
Maybe a bit more training is called for.
My daughter’s company had their studio truck vandalized….someone stole the converter….and I wanted to check out if it was a problem….it was….
When Josy turned the ignition on her 2010 Prius one morning this February, she heard an unsettling rattle coming from underneath her car. Her girlfriend, Glory, unfortunately knew the sound all too well.
Once again, thieves had targeted the cars parked at Glory’s Indianapolis apartment complex, searching for catalytic converters — the valuable, canister-like part of the car responsible for transforming harmful emissions into less-polluting gas. Glory, a 23-year-old librarian, already had her “cat” stolen from her 2016 Kia Sportage twice, once in April 2021 and another time in March 2022. Now it was Josy’s turn.
Glory and Josy — whose last names are being withheld to protect their privacy — are not alone. From San Diego to Boston, nationwide catalytic converter thefts appear to be at a historic high. Insurance claims for these thefts increased from 16,660 claims in 2020 to 64,701 in 2022, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s latest report released last week.
Beware you could be next….
Microdosing is becoming a ‘thing’ for the treatment of mental disorders…
It’s been quite the journey for psychedelics, and it’s just getting started. First, they were sacred and ceremonial plant medicines for millennia. In the 1960s era, they traversed an American culture of mind expansion, which used them as wild tools for transcending ordinary states of consciousness. Then came the backlash in the 1970s when they were outlawed by a nervous Nixon administration. Now, psychedelics are emerging from the underground as a new generation of researchers amasses evidence that mind-altering drugs offer new and effective therapies to help stem the rising tides of mental illness.
Funding for research and legalization efforts on psychedelics are ramping up across the US. In January alone, seven states introduced new psychedelic legislation that ranges from decriminalization to supervised adult use to psychiatric treatment. Abroad, Australia became the first country to legalize psilocybin — psychedelic mushrooms — and MDMA as prescribable medicines by psychiatrists. The US looks poised to follow, with the FDA potentially set to approve MDMA for therapy later this year.
These tectonic changes in drug policy are taking place against the backdrop of a US mental health crisis, one where existing treatments have fallen short: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) largest mental health report this century has termed current interventions “insufficient and inadequate.” Turning to psychoactive fungi for treatment-resistant mental illness is a sharp pivot, a sign of both the impoverishment of current approaches and the excitement around a genuinely novel remedy.
On the food front….I have been writing about this thing called ‘lab grown’ meat…..now a bit more on the subject….one selling point of this is that it would be environmentally favorable….but not so fast…
According to researchers, the environmental impact of cultivated meat is likely to be much higher than retail beef based on current and near-term production methods.
The current method used is similar to the biotechnology used to make pharmaceuticals, which leads to the question: Is it a pharmaceutical or food product?
Lead author and doctoral graduate Derrick Risner from UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology said, “If companies are having to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential. If this product continues to be produced using the ‘pharm’ approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”
The study also found that the potential for global warming is up to 25 times greater than the average for retail beef.
My final offering for this Saturday….
The story of a vendetta….Orca style….
Orcas are simply not something that anyone should take a chance with. sperm whales, great white sharks, blue whales – none of them are safe from the highly intelligent and creatively violent species. Even being out of the water is not necessarily a help, as the predators are known to snatch sea lions from the beach and create waves to throw seals from the ice. In short, no one messes with orcas.
So it’s not exactly comforting to discover that one pod of these marine menaces has taken to sinking yachts off the coast of Gibraltar. No fewer than three boats have already been sunk by the marauding cetaceans.
It seems that gangs of orcas have been learning from a ringleader named Gladys. Experts now believe that Gladys has a vendetta against boats after she was struck by one or became entangled in nets, which would make her disapproval of boats understandable.
And if you think a boat is big and strong enough to withstand orcas, think again. Researchers recently recorded pods of orcas successfully attacking and killing a healthy adult blue whale, which can grow to 30 metres long. Many privately owned pleasure or fishing boats are small fry compared to a leviathan like that.
That’s all I have on this Saturday….hopefully you found something that peaked your interest…..
Buy that Orca a tuna!
Enjoy your weekend….be well and be safe….
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”