Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

H1N1/Swine Flu Virus Could Cause 90,000 Deaths in U.S.

People should not panic but they should be concerned.

An American Science report states that an expected outbreak in September could infect from 30-50% of the U.S. population by fall and winter. It is plausible that up to 90,000 people will die as a result. Vaccines are currently being developed but may not be available till mid-October there, and NL's immunization program won't start till November. People die from seasonal flu each year. In the States it's around 40,000, but the H1N1/Swine Flu virus could more than double that number by itself.

Here, the Newfoundland & Labrador government is launching an infection prevention campaign aimed at kids to keep hands clean. Spreading preventative measures is good medicine. Of course there will be some detractors but one should not be presumptuous about peoples' knowledge and practices regarding hand washing. Busy kids at school and play, easily spread and catch bugs, and schools can be higher risk environments - close proximities, and physical contact. Many people in general Do Not wash their hands before meals, or after bathroom, sneezing, or whatever. Sometimes by a handshake you know that soap and water has not seen that hand in the last 12-24 hours. So the more that hand washing and other healthy habits are repeated, the better.

Here are a few more preventative tips to avoid flus:

  • Avoid touching door handles where possible. Either use your arm or elbow to push down on handles, or use your sleeve to touch handles or turn knobs.

  • Use public sanitizers on walls to disinfect your hands

  • Bring along your own sani-wipes, hand-wash/sanitizer, on your person or in vehicle.

  • Avoid people who are showing symptoms of flu.

  • Avoid touching your hands to your mouth, nose, eyes, face unless you have washed your hands.

  • As soon as you return home, immediately wash your hands for at least 30 seconds.

  • Do not touch food unless your hands are clean.

  • Public places like schools, college, MUN, restaurants, hospitals, clinics, anywhere there are door knobs, handles, should have knobs and handles disinfected each day several times - it's just another way to minimize the risk of picking something

  • and of course, the usual - Cover sneezes/coughs. It's common sense, but being a patient with a zero immune system several times, bad habits stand out more. One time a nurse in the same room sneezed a few feet away without covering.. not a good thing when your defenses are gone.

    If deaths attributed to the H1N1/Swine flu virus can more than double the number of seasonal deaths in the U.S. there is no reason not to possibly see the same proportion happening in Canadian provinces.

    Also see posts on Preventative health and future health care
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Going Blue

    Trying to keep up with someone who has 80 years berry picking experience is a tiring task.
    We hit the jackpot today though, picked three buckets of the tasty organic, antioxidants (as the older generation liked to call them). After two hours, and thirty minutes of bending, trudging, and picking, the neck and back of this blogger's frame will need all the anti-aging nutrients in the woods. Oh well, will do blueberry stretches before the next trip.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Too Much Computer Use and Dreaming of the Queen

    I am from the generation who at first was scared to turn on a computer for fear of breaking it. Like most, it's become a daily tool, and I have even learned to use it to earn a living. However, I am realizing that too much of my life revolves around the computer. Last night I received a subconscious hint that this was the case.

    The wacky sequences of some dreams must be what it's like to experience heavy drug buzzes. One dream, not the wackiest, had me sitting next to God. He wore a white robe (or housecoat), grey-white beard I think - it was blurry, so hard to tell, didn't say much, but was probably wondering how I managed to get in. Last nights unpredictable imagery involved someone also powerful and mighty - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. And boy was she majestic - 20 feet tall in this dream.

    The scene was my old homestead of Rushoon, population 400, give or take 20. I was standing on the road outside my old home,  with other people, and when I turned around Her Majesty was standing tall and commanded notice. Being very into digital photography, this was a "must get" photo opportunity. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera, and that's when my daily computer rituals sparked an idea.

    Her Royal Highness was dressed in a brand spanking new ivory gown, tiara, a stylish pearl necklace - they looked real too, she must have went all out for these, and the shoes were not too shabby either. She told us it was all for a new official portrait, as yet unreleased. Hmm, this could be a scoop if I could just capture this image of her first. So, as Her Highness gazed down at her subjects, I decided to Right-Click my thumb on her dress. The idea was to make the Windows command box appear, and then click the Save As option, to save the image of the Queen to my computer, which was nowhere in sight.

    As I've done thousands of times before, I again right-clicked her dress using my right thumb as if right-clicking a mouse. But nothing was happening - no Windows fly-out box appeared anywhere in mid air or on the dress. In the meantime, QEII was a tad disgruntled, but controllably gracious towards me as I completely broke royal protocol. So, having not been successful at saving her image, I asked if an assistant could email me a .jpeg image of her, and with a  dismissive look and tone, she said a quick "I suppose so", and it was all over.

    When the dream ended, it was a wake up call. I realized it was time to ease off the computer use, and stop thinking in software terms about things. So,  more making friends in real life, not on Facebook, more chatting in real life not in Messenger, and cherishing more the presence of people in my life.

    I feel free again, like I've shaken off the computer shackles to live a simpler life away from a desk and the terminology. The dream has become my break from cyber imprisonment, like someone had given me an escape key, to control, alt and delete my habits, and shift to life outside the XP box. I am filled with gratitude for it, and intend to learn the words to "God Save As the Queen" very soon.
    Blogged with the Flock Browser

    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Globe article featuring Rushoon

    A past blog post on Rushoon has been getting lots of hits in the past couple of years, and quite a few in the last several weeks, including a visit from the Globe and Mail. Many readers are aware that just a few days ago, the Globe did a story on Newfoundland & Labrador's workforce, economy, in/and out-migration. It featured Rushoon and people from the community, who migrate out west for work. For anyone interested here is the link to the Globe article.

    The author of the article was correct when writing that the money is/was good in Alberta, and the example of Anne Marie's salary was an excellent example. It's amazing how much one can make, or could make, as the Alberta 12 cylinder, four-barreled economic engine is not firing on all cylinders these days. Still, there are many people continually working out there, and going back and forth. This is going to continue for a long time to come. NL's coffers will have large deposits in years ahead, but there is no miracle going to happen for most outports, which have been steadily dwindling in population certainly since the early 1990's.

    For towns and communities on the outskirts of St. John's, there are tangible signs of prosperity. Many new and generously spacious homes are going up on the tip of the eastern Avalon. Maddox Cove, just 10-15 minutes from town, has a new subdivision underway. This is a small community that used to depend on the fishery for much of it's existence. It is somewhat unusual to see a batch of new homes being built in such a small, (and pretty) place.

    Oil, nickel, and other ores are mega resource industries, but one should not wait for it to happen around them. You are indeed your own best resource. We probably know ourselves best and cannot rely on others to determine how best to use our own specific talents, skills and creativity. Seek ways to make the best use of your personal abilities.

    Singer Bette Midler said to "cherish forever what makes you unique". That's so true and it needs to be emphasized more than ever in a place where there has been great reliance on resource based industries.

    Some words of advice on becoming successful, and independent are always a useful and handy motivator for anyone wondering what the future holds. Here are a few words of wisdom for people anywhere, any age, to consider:

    Studies indicate that the one quality all successful people have is persistence. They’re willing to spend more time accomplishing a task and to persevere in the face of many difficult odds. There’s a very positive relationship between people’s ability to accomplish any task and the time they’re willing to spend on it.
    Dr. Joyce

    Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great
    Mark Twain

    Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent.
    Carl Sandburg"

    For better or worse, you must play your own instrument in the orchestra of life.
    Dale Carnegie