Posts Tagged ‘ABC Wednesday’

overstimulated brainThere’s a guy I don’t really know, but we’re Facebook friends, a friend of a friend. He was asking people about how to reduce anxiety for his overstimulated brain in these tension-driven days.

A number of people recommended meditation – there’s a Calm app for meditation/mindfulness – yoga, deep breathing, journaling, the serenity prayer, harmonic music, massage, CBD oil, talking to others.

Some suggested exercising: running, weightlifting.

At least a couple noted the the ‘54321’ mindfulness trick. So has an IRL good friend.

For me, blogging is journaling. I’m pretty sure I’d be MORE anxious if I didn’t write it down.

Exercise does release endorphins but the need to do it on a regular basis, or more correctly, my failure to do so, generates its own source of anxiety.

That 5-4-3-2=1 thing doesn’t work for me AT ALL. For one thing, it requires me to actually think – “what, what are five things, five things I see?” – when NOT thinking is what I really need. In fact, despite its touted success, and I don’t doubt it for others, I HATE it, and find it overstimulating.

So what does work for me? Sometimes, soothing music. I am writing this to what some might consider the most boring CDs ever, music to be born by.” This soothing, 70-minute soundscape, originally created for the birth of Mickey Hart’s son Taro in 1983, was intended to transform the coldness of a hospital birthing room into a warm, rhythmic environment for the process of labor and birthing.”

I usually don’t have trouble falling asleep, but when I inevitably wake up in the middle of the night, I need my Sharper image machine [to counter my overstimulated brain. We’ve dubbed it the Miami sound machine, even though it was made in China. It has settings for white noise, rain, ambiance, peace, stream, campfire, calm, meditate, rainforest, ocean, tranquil and relax.

I use stream for sleeping, but I were getting a massage – I need a massage! – I’d like the tranquil setting. And, as some have noted, there’s also an app for those sounds.

For ABC Wednesday. Non-compensated plug for my sleep machine.

older AmericansSome of my friends, who have hit threshold ages (55, 60, 62 or 65, depending on the venue) at which they can receive items /services at reduced rates, refuse to accept the discounts. I think they are crazy to reject the benefits of being an older American.

It’s not just the monetary savings. It’s that I’ve gone this far and I deserve to accept the perks when they’re offered. Life can be hard, and one should take advantage of whatever makes it easier.

When I took Amtrak to Washington, DC for a conference, I was eligible for a 10 percent discount on train tickets. On the return trip to New York City, however, something even more important took place.

I had been waiting at the K gate but had to go all the way to the A gate to use the men’s room. By the time I returned, the train had been called, and the line was at the E line when I got in.

Then one of the personnel asked for people with children and senior citizens to preboard. At first, it didn’t register. But about ten seconds later, I thought, “WAiT a minute. That’s me! I can join them!” The young woman standing behind me, noting my vacillation, said, “Go for it!”

Still, I wonder if these senior perks are sustainable. Here’s a fun Census statistic: “The year 2030 marks an important demographic turning point in U.S. history according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections.

“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history… By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.”

I was thinking about retiring one of these days. “As the population ages, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, also known as the old-age dependency ratio, is projected to rise. By 2020, there will be just over three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, that ratio will fall to just under two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person.

“The median age of the U.S. population is expected to grow from age 38 today to age 43 by 2060.” Yet another reason to encourage immigration. Most immigrants skew young, adding to the vitality of the nation.

From ABC Wednesday

Network newsI have been watching the network news for a long time, going back to the 1960s, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC and Walter Cronkite on CBS. For you not from the US, these were legendary journalists.

Currently, I watch two network news programs. And by “watch”, I mean, record to view afterward. The reason? Commercials, the majority of which are for medicines that must be prescribed by a physician. They’re for all sorts of ailments that I didn’t know I had or that even existed until I saw the ads, diseases generally designated by initials.

First I watch CBS News. They used to have a solid anchor, Scott Pelley, now 61, but he was pushed out after six years for low ratings.

After an interim period, he was replaced by Jeff Glor, a forty-something guy with a boyish face from upstate New York. But the real change is now, at the top of the broadcast, they summarize the news in 60 seconds so you don’t actually have to watch it. And the network is still in third place.

Then I watch the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. He was the weekend guy who replaced Brian Williams when Williams was suspended for six months for “misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003.” I usually zap through the first half of the NBC news unless they’re covering a different story. They tend to differentiate more after the first commercial.

I gave up on ABC News years ago. It was my go-to network when Peter Jennings anchored before he died in 2005. But by the time Diane Sawyer was in the chair, the network was telling me what was trending on Twitter. If I wanted to know what was trending on Twitter, I’d have gone to that platform. I’ve not seen the broadcast since David Muir took over.

I watch other news and read other sources, and here’s why. Some people don’t believe the news at all and don’t watch. I have a healthy suspicion, so I watch/read a LOT of it, including a variety of online versions of the print news. I feel that, as a librarian, I cannot NOT be informed.

Arthur wrote a post which linked to a video, Why obvious lies make great propaganda. Hint: it wasn’t, initially, about DJT. He also cites an article, How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News, and it’s totally credible. I’ve recently spent a good amount of time with such people; intelligent, basically kind, and believing things that were demonstratively untrue.

For ABC Wednesday

Northampton Subway MapWhen traveling, I tend to judge a city, in large part, based on the robustness of its mass transit system. When I lived in New York City for a mere four months in the summer of 1977, I became rather adept at getting around via the subways.

From the Citylab article Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don’t Blame Cars): “One hundred years ago, the United States had a public transportation system that was the envy of the world. Today, outside a few major urban centers, it is barely on life support. Even in New York City, subway ridership is well below its 1946 peak. Annual per capita transit trips in the U.S. plummeted from 115.8 in 1950 to 36.1 in 1970, where they have roughly remained since, even as population has grown.”

In NYC, the aging infrastructure has caused much of the L line in Brooklyn to be overhauled. This will be a major disruption to the businesses in the area.

The Boston Globe notes: “Dozens of T stations are crumbling, corroding, and leaking, as revealed by a new, detailed inventory the feds now require transpo officials to keep. As reporter Adam Vaccaro writes: ‘…hundreds of MBTA properties — stations, garages, and parking lots — are in disrepair, from equipment that seems permanently broken to shabby surroundings that make the daily commute that much more unpleasant.'”

From the Citylab piece: “This [abandonment] has not happened in much of the rest of the world. While a decline in transit use in the face of fierce competition from the private automobile throughout the 20th century was inevitable, near-total collapse was not… [They slashed expenditures instead of] improving service to stay competitive. This drove even more riders away, producing a vicious cycle that led to the point where today, few Americans with a viable alternative ride buses or trains.”

I’ve gotten around fairly well without a car in San Francisco (1988), Atlanta (1995), San Diego (2003), and Washington, DC (2018). I can get around much of Albany sans motorized vehicle if I have to, though Sundays are tougher. Having a car in Toronto (2011) was actually a hindrance. The car was parked in the hotel lot, and we didn’t use it for five days.

Unfortunately, the American attitude, as Shooting Parrots pointed out, inspired an American company to come up with their Seat Saver’ range of fake food and drink spills “to discourage people sitting next to them on public conveyances.”

For ABC Wednesday

Henrietta LacksHenrietta Lacks was a poor, young, black mother of five in rural Virginia. She was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins Hospital with cervical cancer. Dr. George Gey soon discovered “that Mrs. Lacks’ cells were unlike any of the others he had ever seen: where other cells would die, [her] cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours.”

This NPR story explains: “For the past 60 years Lacks’ cells have been cultured and used in experiments ranging from determining the long-term effects of radiation to testing the live polio vaccine. Her cells were commercialized and have generated millions of dollars in profit for the medical researchers who patented her tissue.”

These incredible cells— nicknamed “HeLa” cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — “are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones, and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used… to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work.”

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She writes about the African-American woman who passed away on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31. Yet her cancer cells are one of the most important cell lines in medical research.

But Skloot also addresses “the collision between ethics, race, and medicine,” especially for Henrietta’s family, who, at the time of the book’s publication, could not afford health insurance. The writer founded The Henrietta Lacks Foundation in 2010, which has awarded more than 50 grants to many qualifying members of Henrietta Lacks’ immediate family for “health care and dental assistance, tuition and books, job training…” It has “also awarded education grants to the family members of the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies.”

And in June of 2018: “A lawyer representing the eldest son and two grandsons of Henrietta Lacks, whose ‘immortal cells’ have been the subject of a best-selling book, a TV movie, a family feud, cutting-edge medical research, and a multibillion-dollar biotech industry, announced … that she plans to file a petition seeking ‘guardianship’ of the cells.

“The question we are dealing with is ‘Can the cells sue for mistreatment, misappropriation, theft and for the profits earned without their consent?'”

For ABC Wednesday

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