Saturday, November 17, 2018

ABC 20-20 presents a story of a face transplant after a suicide attempt

ABC 20-20 Friday night presented a disturbing storyFace Transplant” about two young men with mental illness who each attempted (and in one case succeeded) in suicide.

The first young man started out life well, in California.   But as a young adult mental illness sunk in (possibly exacerbated by drugs or alcohol) and he attempted suicide with a shotgun pointed upward under his chin.  It shot off his face but missed his brain.  The police who reported in the story said that this kind of suicide attempt often fails for that reason. The family had only that one weapon at home, and it was apparently intended for legitimate hunting.

About a year later, another young man died of a drug or opioid overdose, after mental illness.  This young man had been a promising tournament chess player with the USCF (although I don’t recall seeing discussion of him in Chess Life). Again, in his twenties he had slipped into mental illness in New York.

The young man had signed up for organ donor registry, and was negative for all diseases (like HIV).  A tissue match was discovered.

The episode described the career of the surgeon from Hopkins in Baltimore;  he had been a dental surgeon before.  He got the right position by luck. 

The face transplant took 25 hours and the recipient has to take anti-rejection medication, which could expose him to cancers and infections and shorten his life span.

The surgeon had performed another face transplant on a firefighter who had lost his face rescuing someone from a fire – sacrifice.

The parents of the young men meet at the end of the episode.

The 1997 film “Face-Off” was mentioned, and I’ll cover that on the Movies blog later.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"How to Get Away with Murder" presents a gay marriage with a dangerous backstory

I haven’t followed “How to Get Away with Murder”, now in Season 5, with Viola Davis as the itinerate law professor.

Tonight, with Episode 8, “I Want to Love You Until the Day I Die”, Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) have a beautiful wedding, in a church.

But the gay marriage has been shadowed by all kinds of subterfuge that I haven’t followed (rather like on a soap opera like Days).  Connor shows up with wounds on his face, and a flashback shows a near fatal beating.
I would have had to be born forty years later to be able to have a reasonable shot at a relationship like this.  

Some more episodic video of Conner and Oliver is here

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"New Amsterdam" episode on NBC stretches live organ transplant donation expectations to incredible extremes

Tuesday Nov. 13 I watched, for the first time, NBC’s “New Amsterdam” medical drama show created by David Schulner. A new medical director (Ryan Eggold) creates controversy in New York City’s oldest public hospital, Bellevue, near Greenwich Village. 
Last night the episode, called “Domino Effect”, presented a situation of “chain letter organ transplants”.  I won’t get into the details of the characters, but living people can donate one kidney, parts of a liver, part of a lung (one or two lobes), pancreas, or intestines (source).  
People can also donate bone marrow (often for leukemia patients needed stem cell transplants) as well as blood and plasma and platelets.
The  FDA’s guidelines for blood donations from MSM (essentially, gay men) have been modified to exclude only men who report certain behaviors within the past twelve months. 

But what is shocking about this episode to me is that when I was growing up, in the 1950s and 60s, such donations were not yet medically possible or expected.
Many of these surgeries could be disruptive to the donors and disrupt body integrity, which has been an important concept to me personally.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Why You Don't Need to Vote" on Reason TV (I personally think you do need to)

James Monticello on Reason TV “Why You Don’t Need to Vote”

Unthinkable?  Offensive?

Your own vote will not change an election, even in Broward County, FL.

But this seems like a question of “public hygiene” doesn’t it?

A two-party system doesn’t serve “my” interests.  I speak for myself on my blogs.

And hence I reduce solidarity.  Because I don’t want to legitimatize the lobbyists to speak for me.

It is certainly true that if most minority people turned out to vote, members of these groups would probably be better off with the results, given who would be elected.  That’s why I’m glad that David Hogg spent as much effort on getting people to polls as on gun control itself.

And in many countries, like Australia, voting is mandatory.  It’s rather like vaccination. 
Twitter banned people before Nov. 6 for posting the idea that you need not vote. 
But it’s true, I don’t volunteer to take people to polls just to get a political result for a candidate.  I have a feeling that “EI” doesn’t either.  

In Dallas, in the early 80s, gay bar raids would happen just before elections. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Trump scolds CNN reporter Jim Acosta in a noon press conference as if Acosta were a child misbehaving in a grade school class

Donald Trump had a testy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta today on an 85-minute press conference carried live by CNN and all other major networks during the middle of the day.

Trump called Acosta “a terrible person” who shouldn’t be working for CNN!

He treated Acosta like a disruptive child in a grade school class.  He sounded like a disciplinarian teacher from the 1950s. 
My own father had some authoritarian tendencies (but was born in 1903 and grew up on a farm).

Tim Pool posted some pictures of a body contact incident with Acosta today on a Twitter thread.  Acosta appeared on AC360 tonight.  He has lost his press pass at the White House tonight. CNN has taken no action as far as I know so far.   

More recent information (from Pool's tweets) suggests that Acosta was only reaching for a microphone when the body contact happened.

Update: Nov. 8

Tim Pool's take on this:  Acosta has been a bit unprofessional. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

"Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?" PBS Digital

Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?

Matt O’Dowd explains how virtual particles are predicted by the mathematics of Hawking radiation, when a black hole evaporates.  So does the information stored on it.
That would be interesting if the mini black hole was carrying around and transferring some critical information, kike someone’s identity (all the information in the person’s lifetime tesseract) after the person passes away. 

Maybe they matter to identity flipping, like on "Smallville". 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

"Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights" on CNN

CNN, on Friday Nov. 2, aired the one-hour special “Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights”.  Here is CNN’s own best link. CNN often fails to give good summaries or trailers for its hour-long news specials.

The democracy covered voter suppression practices since the Civil Rights Movement.

Of special attention was “Section 5” (the Voting Rights Act, 1965 law) which slows down the ability of some southern states to change their voting practices without Federal Circuit supervision. 
Many other voter suppression practices have included “exact spelling laws” as in Georgia, and requiring street addresses on native American reservations, as in North Dakota.
But the biggest problem is gerrymandering.  That’s based on the idea that in MLB, you need to win your one-run games;  a win where you blow-out your opposition by double-digits (the way the Nationals did in 2018) doesn’t count more (the “Pythagorean” in professional sports – but it also applies to elections).

Thursday, November 01, 2018

"EI" answers "Should You Use Social Media?"

Economic Invincibility has a challenging video from April 2018, “Should You Use Social Media?

Even though he says he uses YouTube and Gab (which is down due to the current de-platforming),tjos os pretty much “do as I say” and not as I “do”.

Usually, the answer is No. But -- in my view -- it depends. 
I would agree with him for many people.  Had I become a teacher, say, around 2006 with a “career switcher” I would have reserved my site for logon only for people who had paid for my books (at least one of them), and stayed off any news social media.  If I have responsibility for judging other people as part of my job, I can’t be expressing my political opinions in an ungated public forum. I’ve covered this before as “conflict of interest”.

This gets into online reputation.

But there are some jobs, especially in sales, where you are expected to have a social media presence to advance the employer, not your own views.  I was approached in 2005 about becoming a life insurance agent, since I had twelve years experience, but in the technical, individual contributor side.

It is true that I was able to do this in the 1997-2001 period because as an individual contributor in those days, you could lead a double life.  You can’t do that now.  Facebook blew all that away.

Later, in the late 2000s, if I tried to get a W2 job as a programmer, I probably ran into the situation where people could check my reputation on search engines, and wonder if I would write about “this” (instance) company after I left.  You see the problem?

Maybe you could have a limited account with maximum privacy settings.

That also means that if you want to be active clandestinely on political causes, you have to join a group and probably support a lot of things you don’t fully agree with that a lot of resentful or aggrieved people want.  But in many jobs, I don’t recommend being seen as an activist.

Of course, if you have a union job (even a teacher’s union), the union generally speaks for you, even on political issues.  Of course, for public employee unions, there was a controversial Supreme Court decision recently trying to counter this.

I don’t like to let others speak for me, and I don’t like to be hired as somebody’s mouthpiece. (Sorry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.)

I’m 75 and retired with decent assets so I can “get away with this”, but there could be future crackdowns on politica or issue-oriented  blogging not accounted for by there own income (I’ve been covering that elsewhere – has to do with non-connected PAC’s).
So “EI” is largely right about this.