Zika

i282600889618361674._szw1280h1280_In the history of the world it has been the tiniest of insects that have wreaked the most havoc. Flies, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes have been carriers of death. Just as we conquer one of the many diseases that they impart to humans, another one comes along. Today the disease that is baffling scientists is Zika which was first discovered in Africa in 1947. It is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which also is responsible for spreading yellow fever, dengue fever, and other infectious diseases. It is believed that Zika jumped from Africa to Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia in the nineteen seventies.  By 2007 it was found in Micronesia and from there made its way to French Polynesia. By 2015 it began to show up in Brazil where it is now an epidemic.

Most people don’t even notice that they have the Zika virus. In its most severe forms it causes a rash, inflammation of the eyes, flu-like symptoms, painful joints and a fever. Very rarely it causes Guillian-Barre Syndrome which causes paralysis and even death. The biggest problem with Zika occurs when pregnant women catch the disease. It has been closely linked to microencephaly in fetuses, resulting in smaller than normal brain size in the babies. This can lead to developmental problems in the growing child.  Continue reading “Zika”

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Wings and Broomsticks

i282600889618316666._szw1280h1280_Women are angels and when someone breaks our wings we simply continue to fly on our broomsticks. We’re flexible like that. 

This morning I read a report from CNN that during the big snowstorm of last weekend only women from Congress showed up for work. They somehow managed to find a way to travel through the snowbound roads and get safely to their offices. It doesn’t surprise me in the least. Women have been quietly getting things done regardless of the circumstances since the beginning of time. 

When everyone in a household is bedridden and sick with the flu, the woman in residence will pull herself together just enough to care for the sick. She’ll make some soup and check on the children and push herself past her own fever and headache. She does what needs to be done without notice or fanfare. She somehow finds the energy to carry on even when all she really wants to do is sleep for a week.   Continue reading “Wings and Broomsticks”

Finding Fairness

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Throughout history there have been people who have felt that the powerful have held unfair sway over them. In virtually every corner of the world there are stories of anger, revolt, change. As humans we want justice and equality but don’t always feel that we have it. We often forget that our own country was founded by lawbreakers, traitors, men who had grown weary of what they saw as tyranny from the British government. Had they eventually lost the Revolutionary War they might have gone down in history merely as trouble makers, rabble. Even with their win, most of the world was not quite yet ready for them. Oddsmakers gave them little chance of ultimate success. Their laws were radical for the times but they also made the mistake of being too exclusive in their delineation of rights. By leaving women and slaves out of their equation for democracy they had already laid the foundation for eventual problems. It is always among those who feel left out that the push for change begins and with enough effort and belief their anger topples those who would hold them down.  Continue reading “Finding Fairness”

Chief Executive

i282600889618255998._szw1280h1280_In one week the political run up to the presidential election will begin in earnest with the first primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. They will finally provide us with a peek at what real Americans are actually thinking. Most of us are already exhausted from the furor leading up to this big day. It’s difficult to imagine that it will only become worse as we move slowly but surely toward November and the final resolution of who will next serve as our nation’s president.

Much has been said and written by the various players in this incredibly important contest. After all of the money has been spent and the arguments have been presented it will be up to the common man and woman to cast ballots. Voting for the President of the United States or for any other office is a moment that we must never take lightly. Our choice will determine who becomes one of the most powerful people on earth. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to use the most rational aspects of our abilities to think critically rather than emotionally. We need to remember that, in truth, a great president is one who is not beholden to a particular group but one who always considers the needs of all citizens.   Continue reading “Chief Executive”

Electronic Bookstores

i282600889618228508._szw1280h1280_This morning I read an article from the BBC predicting the potential demise of printed books as we now know them. At least one out of every two readers in the United States and Great Britain now uses some form of electronic apparatus. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple have proven to be immensely popular with their tablets but the question becomes whether or not we as a society will eventually abandon the physical book in favor of a slim, light weight implement that stores a multitude of titles. Some futurists believe that in fifty to one hundred years the printed book will be as obsolete as buggy whips. They insist that books as we know them will become historical artifacts and the work of artisans. In other words they will be collectables or objects of art. 

I’m not so certain that these ideas will come to pass, but then I am older and of a different era. Who knew that wristwatches would become more like jewelry than ways to tell time? How could we have guessed that the art of letter writing would seem as quaint as it now does? Our world is constantly changing and just as the printing press revolutionized education and literacy, so too may electronic texts one day be viewed as commonplace. Some argue that already they provide a more economic way to bring information to students than purchasing hundreds of textbooks that must be stored and which often become outdated even before they are replaced.  Continue reading “Electronic Bookstores”