Friday, December 05, 2014

Weekend Reading: The Health and Unhealthy Society Edition

I was going to make this post include links about medicine and human biology, but then the world was too horrible to ignore some of the other things I found.

First, the medical links, which are really quite good and deserve attention even while the rest of the internet erupts in flames.

Chavi Eve Karkowsky's discussion of how postpartum hemorrhages are treated is a sobering reminder of one of the many reasons those of us who can give blood should do so. On Monday, I will return the calls from the blood bank, which I've been ignoring for a couple of weeks, and make an appointment to give blood.

The Smithsonian had a good round up of what science tells us about picky eaters (like me). I would like to say this, though: my genetic predisposition towards picky eating almost certainly comes from my Dad's side of the family. My Mom loves vegetables, and if I did not get exposed to their taste in utero it is only because I apparently made her throw up most of what she ate. Also, I made a HUGE effort to eat more veggies while pregnant with Pumpkin, and she still will not touch them now. My money is on the genes that govern taste receptors being more important than the tastes in the amniotic fluid.

This NY Times story about antibiotic resistant infections in India is frankly terrifying. Our blase attitudes toward antibiotics scare me. There are not infinite ways to kill a bacterial cell without harming the human cells around it, and we should not be so cavalier about the drugs we have. There is no guarantee that more are forthcoming.

Now, to the unhealthy society links.

This storify is really eye-opening with respect to the mindset of GamerGaters. I guess this is the flip side of the community I find on the internet. Sure, it lets me find a community that I struggle to find in real life, but not all communities it allows people to build are healthy- for their participants or the rest of us. I don't think we as a society are even close to reckoning with that. And why would we be? The internet is still so young.

I suspect most people have heard about the horrible, horrible mess that the Rolling Stone UVa rape story has become. If not, Megan McArdle has a solid story about it and Amanda Taub has an important perspective on reasons why some aspects of Jackie's story may not holding up to scrutiny. I am not at all impressed with how Rolling Stone has handled this, nor am I impressed by how some prominent male journalists are behaving. The whole thing makes me feel sick, really.

Before I was feeling sick about that, I was feeling sick about the grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. I do not have anything profound to say about the case and what it reveals about racism in this country, beyond what I said in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal or Michael Brown's shooting and its aftermath. Go read the links in those old posts, if you haven't before. There are people saying what needs to be said far more eloquently than I can.

Then read this compilation of a string of tweets about things Black people should not do. Absorb the sheer number of cases, and the mundane situations.

And definitely read Kiese Laymon's piece about how his Vassar college faculty ID makes everything OK. If you read no other link this week, read that one.

Finally, Alyssa Rosenberg's piece about how not everyone is cut out to be a cop is really thoughtful and thought-provoking.

And this TED talk from Verna Myers is quite good.

I hate to end on such a down note. So I give you the delightfully funny Pamela Ribon celebrating Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist.

And the saddest thing about integers just proves why stringed instruments RULE.

I hope your weekend is a good one. We'll be decorating our tree. It is an artificial one this year, because my asthmatic lungs need a break after the long, allergen-laden "fall" and the discovery in Joshua Tree that the smoke from avocado wood (what was available as firewood up there) triggers my asthma. Bonus- the lights are already on the tree!


  1. But...the piano is a stringed instrument...

    1. You can't tweak the intonation on the fly like you can on my sort of stringed instrument. :)

  2. Thanks for that first link. (And, well, all the links. I don't always read all of them, but the ones I do are consistently really good.) I didn't hemorrhage like that, but it helps me see why the advice nurse I called said I should go to the ER after my miscarriage. I mean, I already knew (because SO MUCH BLOOD), but wow. Scary.

    1. It is so easy to forget just how scary pregnancy and childbirth can be, isn't it?

      I'm sorry to hear about your miscarriage.

    2. Yes. Thank you. I went on a bit of a rant about it on twitter today, after seeing something describing miscarriage/medical abortion as "it shouldn't be more horribly painful than a bad period..."

      It was... a slightly odd rant, as maybe that description is the norm, and my experience wasn't, and I tried to acknowledge that. But after talking with a couple other people about it (who did have more "normal" experiences), I concluded that "complications are relatively 'normal.' Yes, women live through it all the time, but pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous things, especially without medical assistance! Which means it's fairly normal for it to be hard and complicated."

      Anyway. I'm also more emotional about it all right now because I'm pregnant again! Yay! And past the point where I miscarried last time, so that's good.


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.