Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.”He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Okla. Senator Vows Block, Saying Author Stigmatized Insecticides
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has effectively blocked a resolution to honor environmental author Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth, saying that her warnings about environmental damage have put a stigma on potentially lifesaving pesticides, congressional staffers said yesterday.
In a statement on his Web site yesterday, Coburn (R) confirmed that he is holding up the bill. In the statement, he blames Carson for using “junk science” to turn public opinion against chemicals, including DDT, that could prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes.
The male bovine fecal material that this S.O.B. is spouting reminds me of the right wing revisionist claims of the Vietnam War. Here he is negatively spinning the work of Carson. (Click here to see his claims debunked.) Tom Coburn is truly an S.O.B. to denigrate a woman who gave so much even as she was dying from breast cancer; a woman who hid her desperate plight because she knew in her bones that if the chemical lobby found out about her cancer, then they would distort that fact to claim that her work was biased. Coburn is an absolute slimeball.
Happy birthday, Ms. Carson.
What can be said about Rachel Carson that hasn’t already been said? All I can do is post this article; anything else would be superfluous. Here’s an article listing commemorative events in the area.
Rachel Carson’s Persistence and Pain In Focus 100 Years After Her Birth
Here, in a study that faces the garden, is where Rachel Carson would sit and write on days when she felt well. Here, in a bedroom with a dogwood outside the window, is where she would lie down and write on days when she felt worse.
On her sickest days, as Carson struggled with cancer and radiation therapy, she came back to her brick house on Berwick Road in Silver Spring and couldn’t write at all. Instead, an assistant read her words back to her, allowing her to edit even when she couldn’t sit up.
In 1935, with a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, the Pennsylvania native was hired as a government contractor to write scripts for a radio nature show, “Romance Under the Waters.” She made $6.50 a day. In 1936, Carson became a full-time science writer, and she stayed with the government for 16 more years. Carson also raised a grand-nephew, Roger Christie, whom she adopted as a son.These were less cautious times in wildlife management: Government officials were still handing out recipes for eating the animals they studied. Still, in 1945, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was conducting research on a widely used pesticide.
“DDT may have undesirable and even dangerous effects unless its use is properly controlled,” [my emphasis] said a news release, which Carson helped write.
“It stuck in the back of her mind, apparently,” said Mark Madison, a historian for the Fish and Wildlife Service, Carson’s employer for much of her career.
Normally, I don’t give a damn about entertainers; but this article just appealed to me. Here’s a guy who is — evidently — donating his time and prestige to help a classical English theater garner attention for its production.
The 36-year-old star, known for Hollywood roles such as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films, will earn $790 a week _ standard minimum wage for actors in Britain _ playing Shakespeare’s arch villain Iago in “Othello,” Donmar Warehouse spokeswoman Kate Morley said Saturday.
All right, I admit it: I’m totally geeked about H.S.T.
The astronauts who will service the Hubble Space Telescope were greeted enthusiastically Wednesday by astronomers who had faced the loss of the orbiting observatory when NASA canceled their mission.The seven astronauts will be “doing as much as we can cram in” to the September 2008 servicing mission that will keep the Hubble alive, mission commander Scott Altman told a crowded auditorium at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which coordinates the use of the telescope.
Dan Froomkin writes White House Watch for the WaPo website.
North Korean Humor
Reuters reports: “As military chiefs from both sides of the Korean peninsula met on Tuesday for talks, a general from the North started proceedings by telling a joke at George W. Bush’s expense.
“‘I recently read a piece of political humour on the Internet called ’saving the president’,’ Lieutenant-General Kim Yong-chol was quoted as saying in pool reports from the talks.
“He then retold the old yarn about Bush who goes out jogging one morning and, preoccupied with international affairs, fails to notice that a car is heading straight at him.
“A group of schoolchildren pull the president away just in time, saving his life, and a grateful Bush offers them anything they want in the world as a reward.
“‘We want a place reserved for us at Arlington Memorial Cemetery,’ say the children.
“‘Why is that?’ he asks.
“‘Because our parents will kill us if they find out what we’ve done.’”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), left, made his skepticism about global warming apparent to Al Gore, who testified before a Senate committee. At one point, Inhofe held up a photo of icicles in Buffalo and demanded: “Where is global warming when you really need it?”
The Holocaust was an Arab story, too.
Yet when Arab leaders and their people deny the Holocaust, they deny their own history as well — the lost history of the Holocaust in Arab lands. It took me four years of research — scouring dozens of archives and conducting scores of interviews in 11 countries — to unearth this history, one that reveals complicity and indifference on the part of some Arabs during the Holocaust, but also heroism on the part of others who took great risks to save Jewish lives.
Neither Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Holocaust victims, nor any other Holocaust memorial has ever recognized an Arab rescuer. It is time for that to change. It is also time for Arabs to recall and embrace these episodes in their history. That may not change the minds of the most radical Arab leaders or populations, but for some it could make the Holocaust a source of pride, worthy of remembrance — rather than avoidance or denial.
A Tale of Two Nobel Prize Winners
I got this from Dennis Kobray via Green Alliance’s general discussion listerv.
Recently on Ready Steady Book I came across a link to an essay (apparently written in 2002) by the distinguished Hungarian writer Imre Kertész, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature.
In it he bitterly attacks Jose Saramago, the distinguished Portuguese writer and 1998 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.
What divides them is not literature but politics and history; in a word, Israel.
Kertész is a passionate supporter of Israel, and as a Holocaust survivor and former inmate of Auschwitz he was appalled by Saramago’s bitter criticisms of human rights violations committed by the Israeli army in the occupied territories in early 2002:
I saw the Portugese writer Saramago on TV, how he bent over a sheet of paper, compared Israel’s line against the Palestinians with Auschwitz—proof that the author did not have the slightest idea of the scandalous irrelevance of his comparison. Even worse, he did not know that the concept represented by the term Auschwitz has long had a fixed meaning in Europe’s cultural consensus and can be used indisputably in a populist way and for populist purposes.