Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Summary #14

For many, many people going to the movies means eating popcorn. The large tub in an average theater contains 20 cups of popcorn which is 1200 calories, and 980 mg of sodium, 60 grams of saturated fat; the small size is 11 cups of popcorn, 670 calories, 550 mg sodium and 29 grams of saturated fat. Maybe you ought to switch to Twizzles?

A bit of data that makes me feel good even though I no longer live in NYC [where I was a regular jaywalker]: jaywalkers were the least often in pedestrian accidents [I knew this -- we actually LOOK where we're going[. The pedestrians most often hit were the ones who wait for the Walk light and cross only at the cross walk. They were not hit by taxis nearly as often as by private cars, and those cars were nearly always driven by men.

This leads us to people with criminal records, of which there are, in the US, 47 MILLION. Prosecutors win 90% of their cases [don't get me started on the public defender system]. And 90% of the people in the US who require confinement due to mental illness are in prisons, not mental hospitals.

While our justice system is far from perfect, Saudi Arabia can be vicious; the eye for an eye verdict has been ordered by a judge in the case of a man who attacked another with a cleaver leaving the victim paralyzed due to an injured spine. The attacker will have his spinal cord damaged at the same place and will be paralyzed in the same way.

Moving to less gruesome medical matters, neurologists now think that Lou Gehrig did not have AML [amyotropic lateral sclerosis] after all -- it's the disease we call "Lou Gehrig's Disease". In fact many diagnoses of AML may be wrong. The sort of disease Lou Gehrig had seems to be caused by concussions such are often suffered by athletes, especially football players, as Gehrig was in high school and college. He was famous for playing with injuries and is known to have concussions at various times. AML is a different disease, the cause of which is still unclear. Medical knowledge is constantly in flux. Furthermore the unknowns far outweigh what is known.

In today's paper an article about how patient's feeding tubes and IV tubes are frequently mixed up and that the mix ups are rarely reported beyond hospital's in-house statistics, although several people have died because of it. The two apparently look almost identical. Food pumped into a view is like plugging it with concrete says the article, chaos ensues and if not discovered soon leads to death. I've had numerous medical people say to me "stay out of hospitals if you possibly can."

A social change in China -- when a large manufacturer laid off many white collar workers in a downsizing move, several dozen of them gathered outside the factory one morning in their usual work clothes, then at a signal all put on tee shirt with a protest message printed on them. They were almost immediately arrested and hustled into five waiting buses to be taken to jail. This suggests some subtext: someone had tipped off the police, this is the first known protest of white collar workers, someone tipped off the international media because this was on the front page of the NYTimes. China may still repress protest and dissent but it will be seen around the world.

Finally the latest social stigma in NYC [and I'm glad I don't live there right now] is the shunning of people who are trying to deal with infestations of bedbugs. It started [at least as reported] a few years ago with the critters in a popular hotel near Madison Square Garden and they've spread to both public and private places, including at least on movie theatre. Bedbug sniffing beagles can be hired by worried people. But those who, through no fault of their own, live with the biters are not invited to parties, are often not even hugged by their friends as people are terrified of accidentally carrying them home. And to return to the justice system, since bedbugs are known to be in some jails, lawyers chose to meet with their [out of jail] clients in coffee shops instead of allowing them into their offices. We've heard that the meak will inherit the earth but really, the cockroaches and bedbugs will.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

What a mess -- people with known bedbugs being treated like lepers. And the feeding tubes being mixed with the IVs! Just hope the two do not gather in the hospital beds -- it would be quite a train wreck if they do. -- barbara