Thursday, April 9, 2020

Short Take on Germany's Coronvirus Infections

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

Scientists and social scientist trying to learn why there are differences between confirmed coronavirus infections and death rates. Some countries have larger gaps than others. 

This short summary idiccusses the case of Germany and is from Nature Briefing, April 6, 2020.

Germany has the fourth-highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 100,000. But its death rate is an order of magnitude  lower than those in nearby Italy and Spain. One reason is a quirk of fate: many of the first to be infected were young, healthy people who caught the virus in Austrian and Italian ski resorts. Germany has also tested many people with few or no symptoms, lowering the death rate on paper. And the country has a robust free public-health system with lots of intensive-care beds, a trusted government whose social-distancing guidelines are widely observed and an aggressive approach to early testing and treatment.

It is based on The New York Times article and Nature Briefing suggests it is a 10 min read. It is part of the NYT's coverage of thepandemic. Click on it and you can sign up for it (no subscription required)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A Message for Canadian Children from LEGO Justin Trudeau

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Children
Young Children
Early Childhood

This post accompanies the just published post on talking with young children about COVID-19. It is powerful.

A message (1 m 30 s) presented in March during a press conference by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau onCOFID-19.

h/t Molly

Talking About the Corona Virus with Young Children.

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Children
Early Childhood
Health
Education
Edward Hessler

Defending the Early Years (DEY) posted this video (10 m 20s) on talking with young children about the Coronavirus.

It is presented by Dr. Susan Linn and Audrey Duck.Both are well known among early childhood educators.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"Lucy's Baby"

Environmental & Science Educattion
STEM
Biological Evolution
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

Our most famous ancestor, Lucy, lived some 3.2 million years ago (mya).  She both walked upright , spent time in trees, too, and had a larger brain than chimpanzees,.

Ann Gibbons,, a contributing correspondent for the jounal Science, just published an essay on "Lucy's Baby."  In a new study, this ancient toddler was found to have brains "organized less like those of humans and more like those of chimps."

This has been a long standing question

To the paleoanthropologists doing the study their findings "suggest the brains of our ancestors expanded before they reorganized in the ways that let us engage in more complex mental behaviors such as making tools and developing language. The remains also suggest Lucy's species had a relatively long childhood--similar to modern humans--and that they would have needed parenting longer than their chimp relatives."

"The study is based on skulls of only two juveniles and five adults," so some caution is required. Gibbons explains how the scientists did the research, including how their age was determined. It includes the latest technology and old fashioned counting of growth lines in teeth to determine age (one child was 2.4 years old) and time. Gibbons notes that researcher Phillip Gunz "spent 7 years doing the 3D reconstruction of the skull of Dikkika  (a child) and six other adult and juvenile members of the species."

And of course Lucy got her name from a Beatles song.

The essay by Gibbons contains a nifty video (3m 43s) on this study.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Climate Science and COVID-19: Some Similarities

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Climate Change
Earth Systems
Earth Science
Sustainability
Edward Hessler

Benjamin Santer is an atmospheric scientist and a member of the Academy of Sciences, a select group of scientists, limited in membeaship. It is a very prestigious acknowlegment of his contributions to science.

The Wiki entry on Dr. Santer points out that, "on February 25, 2019 Santer et al. published the paper Celebrating the anniversary of three key events in climate change science in Nature Climate Change claiming to have reached the 5-sigma "gold standard level" of statistical proof of human influence in global climate change using three sets of satellite data." This is the direct quote.

Instead of "proof," I'd have used evidence but I'm not a member of NAS or a real scientist! 

Here is a short explanation of 5 sigma. 

Santer also writes a blog for Scientific American. This one, I think, is required reading. It is titled "How COVID-19 Is Like Climate Change." It is a powerful essay. You are likely to recall Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's one-liner: "Listen to the Science." And when you don't there are grim consequences. Climate science is based on well-established science as is how to respond to pandemics.


h/t Mark Seeley 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Discussion With Paleontologist Neil Shubin: A Podcast

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biological Evolution
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

Sean Carroll's relatively new podcast (#88) is a discussion with University of Chicago paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin.

Shubin is the co-discoverer of Tiktaalik roseae, an ancient fish midway in transition from sea to land--one of those transition fossils. Shubin wrote about this find and its significance in a book that became widely popular, Your Inner Fish. It was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences as the best science book of 2009 and was ultimately made into a PBS TV special.

Shubin and Carroll discuss Shubin's new book, Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA. The book covers a multibillion-year evolutionary history, one filled with twists and turns, trial and errot, accident and invention.

The podcast-- 1h 33m 12s-- may be heard here. It is l-o-n-g I admit but both Carroll and Shubin are not boring and good to listen to. Besides consider the period of time period being covered--"billions and billions" of years. It takes some time to cover that period.















Saturday, April 4, 2020

Looking So Very Good

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Culture
Miscellaneous

Incredibly moving photographs of us, humans, in some of our wondrous diversity

It is in the immortal words of Wavy Gravy, "You are there, I am here. Far out place to meet."

The images are a sample from British photographer Jimmy Nelson's Homage to Humanity.

There are more on his web page.


Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Greetings.

Today is the 94th day of the year. In the Twin Cities, the sun rose at 6:48 am and will set at 7:43 pm with 12 h 55 m 98 s of daylength, Chilly and rainy.


Today's poem is by John Koethe. It is long but a favorite.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Science Images for February from the Journal Nature

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

The photo team of the Brit scientific journal Nature pick February's sharpest science images, including a video..

Late, of course but ithis is like an old magazine to be thumbed through or....

Hope you like 'em.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Corona Virus Calendar of President Trump Comments

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

This video (1 m 22 s) has been making the rounds--Trump's statements on the Corona virus pandemic.

I like having them in one place rather than having to search for them.

This has not been updated to my knowledge, however it captures the early history.




Monday, March 30, 2020

Interview with Director General of China's CDC + Video

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

The journal Science published an interview (March 27) with George Gao, who is the director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, on what his country has learned from China's management  of COVID-19. Jon Cohen was the interviewer and author of the update.

Please read all of it. It is very good.

I will be especially interested  in the response from our government on what Dr. Gao had to say about wearing face masks. This answer struck me in the face without the hand, so to speak.

"The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others."

The only thing I have that comes close to a mask is a bandana and in this country masks are already scarce for health care workers and others who have to deal directly with infected people. 

However, high quality N-95 masks are not required (see below) These should not be used but given to health care providers--to front line people. The nearly any-of-a-kind masks are a way of a preventing hand-to-face contact.

Update:  Yesterday Professor Jerry Coyne (WEIT) called attention to the video Protecting Your Family From COVID-19 by Dr. David Price (Weil Cornell Hospital (NYC}. Price is a critical care lung specialist--pulmonologist. The video is long (57 m 06 s) and cuts out a bit. It includes  answers to good questions, too. It has more than 350000 views.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Red Birds

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Nature
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where the birdies is
--Children's Rhyme

I know where a few of them are.  

I try to keep track, and remember (the big trick), locations where cardinals are announcing their presence to the world and to other cardinals. Poet Mary Oliver described this as a "musical battle." I record these in a notebook, including whether I saw them as well,  that when filled gets recycled. So much for data!

I have two or three walks/bicycle rides where I mostly know where they will be and over several years they haven't changed their housing pattern at all. I don't always succeed but I try to listen from a couple of vantage points and if I'm lucky from three to be sure I've got the location as close as I can.. 

I don't walk/bike these routes at the same time each day nor each day, so any "data" I have is anecdotal. And my afternoon trail is sometimes different. I don't carry my notebook with me. So much for science.

Some of the cardinal calls will persist throughout summer and into fall. Last year, I heard a cardinal on Christmas day but it was weeks later before I heard another. It was in a familiar spot. Latest or earliest ever for me.

Childhood was spent surrounded by farms, fields and distant woods as well as a wide "crick" a field or two away. I miss the dawn chorus although there is a semblance of one here--smaller chorale unit. The latter is not nearly as rich and is sometimes overwhelmed by the sound of a city awakening. It is a kind of getting up to the snarly. I'm glad the birds are so insistent or even still here but I wish their habitat was a bit more welcoming. One of the joys of this time of year is to hear the choir starting at around 5:30 am and earlier as spring and summer progress.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Magic of Take Your Child to Work Night.

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Children
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

NPR's Weekend Edition features a new book by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Pascal Campion.

The Paper Kingdom is based on her own childhood. "Her parents were night janitors for a law office in Los Angeles. They couldn't afford a babysitter, so they brought her along."  They made those evenings magical and so "I wanted to write a book about that magic and wonder they instilled in me."

Illustrator Pascal Campion "liked that it wasn't 'a loud story,' but rather 'a little moment story.'" This book is one of double magic: writing and illustrations. Little moments make up a life and some of the more important ones fade but some remain in memory. All of us have them (I think).

NPR's Samantha Balaban writes that "Rhee's father went on to become a machinist, making parts for planes and cars. Her mother became a seamstress." Both are retired.

"Rhee says she hopes to send a message to her parent and to all hardworking parents; 'You feel like you're not doing enough for your children--but don't worry...' she says. 'They will survive and theyll take elements of beauty from even hardship.'"

Rhee became a corporate lawyer and writer. This book is one of three she has written. The title of this post is from Balaban's story.



 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment

Good midday. Friday March 27 is the 87th day of the year with sunrise at 7:01 am and sunset at 7:34 pm. This day has 12h 33m 14s of sunlight.

I intend to post less about COVID-19 or leave a little more space between them. However, today a poem that you may have seen. is about the panbdemic and lovely beyond measure. I've been sending it hither and thither. It is from the president of Macalester College, just down the road as they say, from Hamline. The president is remarkable in every way and this poem seems so typical of him.

To the Macalester Community,

In moments of crisis, stress, and isolation, it is important to pause, breathe, and draw strength from things of beauty.  This message contains no instructions or warnings or new information.  It contains a poem that, I hope, brings to some of you the moment of peace that it brought to me. I am grateful to the Macalester parent who brought it to my attention.

Share it with someone you love.

Brian

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
Take care.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Attacks on the Social Contract

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Culture
Edward Hessler

Defeating Covid-19 makes some new demands on all of us. Persistence. Hunkering down. Following protective measures recommended by health care professionals and government officials.One of these is social distancing.

Lev Facher writing for STAT comments on the increasing politicization of  social distancing as President Trump and his allies are urging us to stop isolating and to forget it.  This idea, to state the obvious, is a "worry" to health care workers.

"In the face of a potentially once-in-a-generation pandemic, whether one takes steps to “socially distance” from others is beginning to serve as a statement of one’s political values. And as coronavirus cases in the United States continue to spike, the prospect that some conservatives might abandon those measures en masse has alarmed public health experts, who say that giving up now would result in thousands of unnecessary deaths — and effectively sacrifice many of society’s most vulnerable."

Facher cites and discusses several who would have us "break this social rule." They include Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas (also was a radio talk host) who appears in favor of taking chances with the elderly; the president of Liberty University's Jerry Falwell, Jr. who said the school would welcome students back to campus after spring break; and others. I hadn't heard about recent comparisons President Trump has made to accidents and seasonal flu:

"In the past two days, Trump has resumed comparisons of the coronavirus to the yearly death toll from car crashes and the seasonal flu. Those remarks mirror his early talking points in February, when he called Democrats’ criticisms of his response a “hoax” and argued that despite the flu’s five-figure death count, the country did not shut down its economy each flu season."

This pandemic has ethics written all over it and Facher cites several experts who raise such concerns, including Dina Borzekowski (University of Maryland School of Public Health). 'What does it say about our society if we are willing to sacrifice one group for economic gain? This is a pandemic, and shouldn’t be played out as a skirmish on a neighborhood playground.'”
  
Facher also notes that Republicans such as Representative Liz Cheney and Senator Lindsey Graham, "a close Trump ally" both agree that "prioritizing the economy over the public health is likely a false choice."

Facher quotes Cheney who wrote in a Twitter that "'There will be no normally functioning economy, if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus.'

This article from the Washington Post will give you a chilling idea of what some conservative pundits, thinkers, and politicians are saying.  There is deep skepticism about facts, science, public health experts as well as following the necessary protective measures is merely a desire to move the country to the left.

Teresa Hanafin in the Boston Globe e-newsletter, Fast Forward (3.35.2020),  included a potent quote from the late Mario Cuomo, former governor of NY (he is the father of NY's current inspiring New York governor, Andrew Cuomo). Mario Cuomo made a memorable speech to the1984 Democratic National Convention in which he said,

"We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks and any speech that I could write what a proper government should be: the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another's pain, sharing one another's blessings -- reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race, or sex, or geography, or political affiliation. We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter, we are bound, one to another."


Hanafin closes with a simple observation and a good wish, "We are bound, one to another. Please stay safe."

Facher's column may be read here, something I hope you will do..


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Sighted Girl and an Unsighted Boy Take a Walk in a Meadow

Environmental & Science Education
Culture
Art and Environment
Children
Society
Play 
Nature
Edward Hessler

In this film (7 m) titled "Walk" by Polish documentary filmmaker Filip Jacobson we accompany two friends, a blind boy and a sighted girl in their experience of a meadow overlooking a lake and their exploration of sensory experiences.

"Now and then, the girl probes the contours of the boy’s sensory experience, often to his annoyance. After all, how can he explain what it’s like to not know or even understand colours, or why his experience doesn’t require them? ... Jacobson reflects on the possibilities and limits of communicating subjective experience, as well as the diversity of ways to internalise the exterior world."

The film is in Polish with English subtitles.

h/t and thanks: AEON

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Comic on on the Corona Virus

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Children
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

NPR's "Goats and Soda" has a comic, created for children (good for adults too) about the Corana virus. The is, the is nots, and suggestions as well as assurance.

You can print and fold a version--directions included on how to fold it.

It ends with "But seriously though, PLEASE wash your hands!!!"

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reforesting the Highlands of Ethiopia

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biodiversity
Climate Change
Global Warming
Sustainability
Edward Hessler

‘The church is within the forest, the forest is inside the church.’--Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

I'm sure (now that should make you think I'm not) that I posted on the work of Ethiopian forest ecologist Alemayeh Wassie who is partnering with church leaders in Ethiopia "in a last stand against deforestation." This is a partnership between science and religion.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the highlands of Ethiopia were once forested but development and agriculture have left barren ground in their wake. Now, especially if one were to fly over the highlands, small odd shaped islands of forests dot the landscape. In the interior of each, the hub, are found round buildings.

Born of the centuries-old belief of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church that churches should be surrounded by forests so as to resemble the Garden of Eden, these sites have become valuable sanctuaries of biodiversity amid the extreme pressures of population growth.

In this film (9 m 22 s) the partnership between Dr. Wassie and the Tewahdo church is described. A link in the introductory comments will take you to an article about the project.  This essay from the British scientific journal Nature provides more details about these forests, Dr. Wassie and includes some splendid photographs.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

WaPo Daily Update on the Pandemic Free

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

WaPo (Washington Post) offers a FREE coronavirus/Covid-19 update.

You may sign up to receive the newsletter daily or if you prefer, view it on-line.

To view stories see here..

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Message From a College President

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Miscellaneous
Health 
Medicine
Edward Hessler

The president of Macalester College (St. Paul) is known on campus among students as PBR. He sent the following note to students, staff and faculty on Friday. I share it with you, folks I'm concerned about.


To the Macalester Community,

In moments of crisis, stress, and isolation, it is important to pause, breathe, and draw strength from things of beauty.  This message contains no instructions or warnings or new information.  It contains a poem that, I hope, brings to some of you the moment of peace that it brought to me. I am grateful to the Macalester parent who brought it to my attention.

Share it with someone you love.

Brian

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Mistake Corrected

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

I'm quite sure I sent a note in which I conflated SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19.

I apologize and make what is probably an unnecessary correction since you likely know better.

SARS-CoV2 is the label for the coronavirus.

Covid-19 is the disease the coronavirus causes.

Sorry for any confusion I might have created.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Announcement

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Edward Hessler

Posts will be spotty until....

Thanks.

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Greetings. It is the 79th day of the year and here in St. Paul the daylength is 12 h 11 m 10 s.

Today's poem is by Vernon Scrannell (birth name John Vern Bain).

The poem is introduced by Andrew McCullough.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19: Live Streaming and Breaking News

Environmental & Science Eduction
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

Novel coronavirus Live Streaming: Breaking news, world Map and live counter on confirmed cases, recovered cases (COVID-19). "I started this live stream on Jan 26th, and since Jan 30th I have been streaming this without stopping. Many people are worried about the coronavirus spreading. For anyone that wants to know the numbers and progression of worldwide spread of this virus, I offer this live stream. The purpose is not to instill fear or panic, nor is it to necessarily comfort; I just present the data to help inform the public of the current situation."

The author lives in South Korea and writes "I majored in life science and joined bioinformatics laboratory for master degree. At that time I used python. Since I decided to change my career as dentist, I have been stopped programming for 15 years. Now, I start to learn more about python with googling." 

There is much more information below the stream.

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Cat"tenning the Curve

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Statistics
Edward Hessler

COVID-19 has introduced many of us to an idea which may be new to some--flattening the curve to slow the inexorable advance of COVID-19 cases. The idea is to lengthen the transmission time so that the health system can cope.

The perspective provided by epidemiologist Anne Marie Darling is a clever way to help in understanding what the concept means. There are two kinds of outbreaks, the "Alert Kitty" and the "Lazy Kitty."

If you look very carefully you will see the standard graph in the background

To the left, the perpendicular Y axis: # of cases

At the bottom, the horizontal X axis: time since first case

About one-third of the way up, a dashed horizontal line: health care system

The first somewhat narrow and tall curve starting at the left (Lazy Kitty): without protective measures

The second considerably flatter and wider curve to the right of the first curve (Alert Kitty): with protective measures

Here you will find a STAT article by Helen Branswell, "Why 'flattening the curve' may be the world's best bet to slow the coronavirus."  It has a clear "Flattening the Curve" active display.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Soap and COVID-19

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Microbiome 
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

What is the reason that plain old soapy water works so well in stopping and slowing COVID-19 from spreading?

Professor of chemistry Pall Thordarson (University of New South Wales, Sydney) wrote a Twitter entry about the soap effect that also went viral but in a nice way. He also published it in the British newspaper The Guardian.

It's chemistry.

Viruses are made of three kinds of molecules. You may recall them from school or college courses in biology. They are RNA (ribonucleic acid), proteins, and lipids (which I'll call fatty bits) consisting of two layers. One of those layers "likes" soapy chemicals and soapy chemicals like them. The soapy water dissolves the outermost layer and the virus breaks apart.

Viruses are kind of weird. They don't die for they were never alive. They simply are broken into smaller pieces.

Thordarson's Guardian piece includes a slightly longer story with some of the details about the chemistry and why soap is better than alcohol-based sanitizers but as he points out, "please use alcohol-based sanitiser when soap is not handy or practical."
And here is a CDC video (10 m 09 s) on where new viruses such as COVID-19 come from. There you can see the chemical structures mentioned above. 

Of course you've seen and heard this but the Italian response to COVID-19 warms the heart and is about the human spirit so it doesn't hurt to hear it one more time.

BBC Visuals: COVID-19

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

The Visual and Data Journalism Team of the BBC has produced Coronavirus:A Visual Guide to the Pandemic.

And, of course, it includes links to information about dealing with COVID-19.

I find these presentations immensely helpful and hope others do as well.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Intelligence of New Zealand Kea Parrots

Environmenttal & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Maths
Mathematics Eduction
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

On several measures of intelligence, New Zealand kea parrots (Nestor notabilis) outperform monkeys as explained in this film (4 m 20 s) from the British journal Nature.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

It is the 73rd day of the year. The sun rises at 7:27 am and sets at 7:16 pm. Those 3 minutes of new light are adding up. Today we have 11 hours, 49 minutes and 03 seconds of sunlight. One of the very few pussy willows in my life is full and I stood under it, looking up for a few minutes this morning. Paradise!

Hank Gutman, is an emeritus professor of English (poetry especially) at the University of Vermont. Several years ago I signed up for occasional notes from him--mostly extraordinary dissections of poems in which he teases out their anatomy and physiology.  

March 7, 2020, I received the first one in memory without commentary. Here are a few things Gutman had to say about a short, presient poem by William Butler Yeats.



I was walking to have coffee with a friend when the lines by Yeats below, bolded, came to me.  They seemed enormously appropriate to our times.  So I share them with you, without commentary.

[T]he poem was addressed to his friend Lady Augusta Gregory, and was about the failure of her effort to get Dublin to build a gallery of modern art. The poem, of course, is about the loneliness of being on the ‘right’ path. I was walking to have coffee with a friend when the lines by Yeats below, bolded, came to me.  They seemed enormously appropriate to our times.  So I share them with you, without commentary.

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

Pets, COVID-19 and You

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

Pets and COVID-19. What if...?

This question is more salient given that a Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome (i.e.,2019 novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19)) Can pets become part of the transmission chain? 

The American scientific journal Science published an interview (March 12) by David Grimm "with Dr.Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, about the risks of COVID-19 infection in pets. Her lab is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collective of veterinary diagnostic labs that could help determine the impact of the pandemic on pets and other animals. 

You may read the interview here.