In opioid withdrawal – and no help in sight

A patient receives prescription opioids after an accident — and no support from his physicians as he weans himself off.

❝ No one will be surprised to hear that I was angry. Angry at myself, angry at my doctors, angry at the medical community. Just — angry. I had been hit by a van and undergone five surgeries, yet the worst part of the experience was my month in withdrawal hell. How could it be that my doctor’s best tapering advice led to that experience? And how could it be that not one of my more than ten doctors could help?

Sad, but, true. A tale worth reading. Worth understanding what happens in a nation where healthcare is considered privilege rather than right. How priorities are – and aren’t – established.

Thanks, Danny Blanchflower

Golden showers? Russia knows nothing about America’s sex habits

❝ Dear Vlad,

You don’t mind if I call you, Vlad, do you? I wanted to write you about your close relationship with our president-elect, Donald J. Trump.

❝ I read recently that your intelligence agents had collected some “compromising and salacious personal information” on The Donald. A memo about this was said to be generated by a former agent of MI-6, one of Britain’s premier spook agencies, so our US news media has taken this allegation seriously.

But, really, golden showers? You say the “perverted sexual acts” worthy of blackmailing a US president consisted of renting a hotel room in Moscow where Trump hired some prostitutes to “perform a golden showers (urination) show in front of him” on the bed that president and Mrs. Obama supposedly slept in?

❝ Vlad, by your own admission in an interview with Bloomberg News, you clearly have no understanding of American culture or domestic political life…

❝ This is a country that endorses gay marriage. It celebrates the freedom of choosing your own gender. One of our most decorated male athletes at the age of 66 decided he was in fact she and ended up on the cover of Vanity Fair in a corset. We are having so much oral sex that throat cancer rates among men have shot up. Our young people publicly declare themselves to be polyamorous (Vlad, that means they sleep with lots of different people, with consent). Way back in the 1990s one of our most popular female vocalists released a coffee-table book called Sex that showed bondage, full nudity, scenes with a dog, and scenes from a New York sex club…

If the best dirt you’ve got on a our highest elected official is he hired a bunch of girls to pee on a bed, we’ve got nothing to worry about. You don’t understand freedom and democracy enough to upset it.

❝ Sincerely,

Joe Q. Public

Vlad mistakenly accepts the hypocrisy so beloved of our priests, pundits and politicians as somehow representative of what private life may decide is participatory sport in bedrooms ranging from home grown to Trumpkins. Tain’t so.

Sad milestone: the first bumblebee declared an endangered species


Click to enlargeAlamy

❝ For the first time in the United States, a species of bumblebee is endangered.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday on its website that the rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis), once a common sight, is “now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction.” Over the past two decades, the bumblebee’s population has declined 87 percent…

❝ The news comes just a few months after the first ever bees were declared endangered in the U.S. In September, seven species of Hawaiian bees, including the yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus anthracinus), received protection under the Endangered Species Act…

The threats facing those seven species are similar to the ones that have depleted rusty patched bumblebee populations: loss of habitat, diseases and parasites, pesticides, and climate change. This is a big deal not only for bees but for humans, too—after all, bees pollinate a lot of our food.

❝ “Bumblebees are among the most important pollinators of crops such as blueberries, cranberries, and clover and almost the only insect pollinators of tomatoes,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rusty patched bumblebee profile. “The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.”…

Once spread across half the U.S., rusty patched bumblebees are now found in only 13 states.

You might hope that even an mostly urban realtor like Donald Trump had learned something of the critical role bees and other pollinators play in our food chain. Hope being the operative word. I see little or no display of any such understanding or comprehension.

Phwooosh!

❝ An asteroid roughly the size of a 10-story building gave Earth a particularly close pass Monday morning.

Asteroid 2017 AG13 came within half the distance from Earth to the moon as it buzzed by early Monday morning at 4:47 a.m. PT. The fly-by happened shortly after scientists at the Catalina Sky Survey first discovered the space rock on Saturday…

…In real terms, Earth had well over a 100,000-mile (161,000 kilometer) buffer of distance.

❝ 2017 AG13 isn’t so big it would have meant an extinction-level event had it been a direct hit. But if a good size chunk of it made it through Earth’s upper atmosphere near a populated area, there might have been damage like we saw in 2013 when a bolide collided with the atmosphere over the Russian city Chelyabinsk. In that event, a fireball streaked over the city, releasing 500 kilotons of energy as it ran up against some serious resistance from Earth’s atmosphere and exploded, blowing out windows all over town in the process.

❝ The asteroid is about 11 to 34 meters across, according to the Slooh Observatory, and moving very fast relative to Earth at 16 kilometers per second. That speed, coupled with 2017 AG13’s dim brightness level, made it difficult to spot with telescopes.

Cue theme from Twilight Zone.

Rogue One – almost

❝ I have isolated 46 individual shots that were shared in the promotional material but never made the final cut of the film. Every teaser and trailer for ROGUE ONE hooked me from the first moment. It delivered on all counts. I left the theater estatic and rejuvenated. I did miss some of the trailer moments that resonated with me during the months before the release…but the overall feeling was pure joy. Mission accomplished to everyone that worked on ROGUE ONE. Thank you…ENJOY THE VIDEO

Vashi Nedomansky

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Stephen King nailed the elemental difference between Trump and Obama

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-5-49-27-pm

❝ A sense of humor, appreciation of a good joke, knowing when to let the stupid ones go, and the ability to tell the difference is a very basic part of human socialization and the ability to interact with others. Donald Trump’s inability to do so is a central part of his character, and everything he’s ever done is an indication that he possesses the dullest of minds, a feeble flesh so consumed with superficiality and the selfishness of ego, so obsessed with the perceptions of others and protecting the fragile shell of his self-worth that he is incapable of appreciating the wonders and the miracles that five thousand years of human civilization have to offer to him. This leaves him devoid of leadership qualities. More significantly, since he has a fundamental lack of appreciation for what our country is and what it can produce and what people have to offer, how can he be trusted to guide this nation into the future?

No wonder he can’t take a joke.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia