Jennifer Richardson comments

Posted in: Gamera-Shmyrko wins 3rd straight Osaka Women's Marathon See in context

Nice! The only marathon I ever ran (well, jogged, more like it), my time was more than double hers...

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Posted in: What the color of your car says about you See in context

Mine says, "ugly but cheap," so I hope it only applies to the car!

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Posted in: One third of Americans believe police lie routinely See in context

Ah, two thirds have so much faith? I am surprised.

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Posted in: Oxfam says richest 1% to own more than half of world's wealth by 2016 See in context

Want money? Fine! Earn your own. Taking property from another person against the owner's wishes is theft. Doing so under the direct or implied use of force is armed robbery.

This assumes that the owner in question came to possess their property without theft, coercion, force, or exploitation in the first place.

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Posted in: Cheer up See in context

That situation would not cheer me up.

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Posted in: What's the best way to avoid getting the flu in a densely populated environment? See in context

Strengthen one's immune system--exercise moderately, eat well (including lots of fresh produce for micronutrients), destress, don't smoke, and nourish healthy social connections.

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Posted in: 6th-grader calls out smartphone-loving parents over anti-video game lectures See in context

An hour to two hours doesn't sound so bad, but many hours sitting and staring at electronic devices is not good for children or adults--even sitting reading a book or working in an office for many hours regularly is not healthy.

If the parents took a better look at their own habits, too, it could be a good opportunity for everyone in the family to work together in everyone's best interest by getting some exercise or spending quality time together doing something active, even just for short periods of time. The whole family would probably be less stressed and healthier.

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Posted in: 'Nerd Girl' seeks perfect date for Tokyo birthday dinner See in context

I wonder if women would have some choice words for a 40-year old guy looking for "Between 28 and 46 years of age. Easy on the eye." Just saying... double standards abound.

What, really? "No more than six years older than me, but still old enough to qualify as a legit adult, and at least somewhat attractive, with decent table manners," seems like reasonable "perfect date" standards for any gender. She's not fugly, she's successful and presentable, and she is offering access to an exclusive dining opportunity (and picking up the tab).

If it had read, "At least a decade younger than me, preferably two, at least a 9 out of 10, all other qualities irrelevant," that would be another thing.

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Posted in: Lady Gaga reveals she was raped as teenager See in context

@JTDanMan

I think she was talking about the aftermath, that her drinking heavily and such was related to the trauma of the rape, and that she had to deal with the rape in order to fix other problems in her life, rather than just repressing it and covering up the feelings with alcohol, etc. Not that she was raped because of her drinking.

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Posted in: Americans urged to stop wasting food See in context

@JeffLee

Yes, I've been to many American supermarkets. I'm American. They are faintly horrifying, even to those of us who grew up with them. But I've also worked with families who couldn't afford food, and children who went hungry at home, either because of their families' poverty or because of complicating factors like homelessness, undocumented status, abuse/neglect, mental illness, drug addiction, etc. (I spent years volunteering at a domestic violence shelter). I also can't count the number of school kids I've worked with who are listless and miserable and unengaged all the time, and then you find out that their parents are saving money by having them only eat at school (reduced price or free lunches). Yes, obesity is a huge and growing problem (er, no pun intended), but that doesn't mean that there aren't millions of people who often go hungry (some of them, ironically, obese themselves). Insecure access to food is very detrimental to a kid emotionally and academically--I don't care if you're fat, if you miss more meals than you eat, you are going to be moody and do poorly on tests and in sports, not to mention the stress it puts on your family to run out of money for food, often leading parents to take it out on their kids. And yes, those families often buy and over-consume the most obesity-promoting foods when they can afford food, for various reasons. And, horribly, if a kid has gotten obese to the point where they've developed health problems like diabetes, not having regular access to food can be life-threatening. So you'd think that being obese would necessarily mean not going hungry, but often the opposite is true. And then there are the really poor people--not just people living below the poverty line, but street people and such, who are actually often underweight. It's absolutely accurate to say that much of the time, many in the US are lucky to have food at all, especially children.

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Posted in: Americans urged to stop wasting food See in context

@JeffLee

Well, just because Americans are better off than other countries doesn't mean people don't go hungry here. Millions of households are food insecure, and lots of people do experience hunger and are poorly nourished. I mean, virtually no one is going to die of starvation in the US, but that doesn't mean that everyone has access to sufficient food.

http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/us_hunger_facts.htm

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Posted in: Americans urged to stop wasting food See in context

Better still to plan your harvests so that you can freeze food at its best.

Oh, we definitely do that as well, but it's more the unplanned stuff that gets wasted. We purchase something on impulse when we go into town, it doesn't fit into our normal routine or we get caught up in our own harvest, and then we're sort of in denial about when we'll cook it, so it spoils. I've found that if we will just admit that we're not going to get around to it right away and go ahead and freeze it, we waste much less.

Growing your own (even only a little) helps prevent waste.

Ah, see, we've actually found the opposite to be true. But we usually have a huge surplus. Most of our stuff is perennial (we don't do a huge amount of annual vegetable gardening), so we plant for variety and don't have a great deal of control over how much/when we harvest each year. For instance, we may enjoy eating a few dozen different types of fruit, or having multiple varieties of a particular fruit to extend the harvest, but dozens of mature fruit and nut trees produce way more than we can eat each year (and actually we have hundreds of trees by this point, though not all are producing yet--plus lots of berries and perennial vegetables and such). We share a lot and feed a lot to the animals, which reduces feed purchases, but it still frustrates me that we can't keep up with it better. On the other hand, the waste is less wasteful, in that it goes to feed livestock and wildlife and the soil, and the environmental impact of its production is minimal, since we use permaculture methods and it doesn't need to be transported, etc. I still feel better about it than I do about buying food, but I'd like to experiment with things like solar dehydration to better keep up with the fruit harvest, in particular.

cost you only money

Heh, money is always in much shorter supply around here than labor or food!

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Posted in: Americans urged to stop wasting food See in context

The freshest ingredients also spoil the fastest, unfortunately. We feed scraps and any spoiled food to our chickens, and compost what they don't eat, but I am still unhappy when things get away from us and something goes bad.

I have found that prompt freezing when food is approaching the "danger zone" helps somewhat, and brine pickling has been a great help with keeping vegetables from spoiling. It's also a good way to extend the harvest and always have healthy vegetables conveniently available. Before, we would harvest a lot of vegetables, or go to the market or store and load up, and then not eat them fast enough, let some go bad, and then have a dearth until the next go-round. Now, we pickle them or make krauts (you can make tasty pickles out of almost any vegetable), so they're always conveniently available when we don't want to shop or cook and nothing is growing. Plus, lacto-fermented veggies have lots of good probiotics and greater availability of many nutrients than they do when cooked or even raw. No risk of botulism, either, unlike canning.

I could stand to improve my reuse of many ingredients, like the chef in the article suggests--often I mean to make stock or stretch ingredients but I end up tossing them to the chickens out of laziness.

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Posted in: Many Japanese women’s new image of the ideal man See in context

My ideal type is an easygoing guy who doesn't have a big ego but still has a spine. I think most women from most countries appreciate this sort of guy. The four lows sound too milquetoast, the three highs too stressful and materialistic.

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Posted in: The slow decline of fast food in America See in context

A step in the right direction. I'm not dead against fast food or soda as an occasional indulgence, but institutionalizing its routine consumption, especially in places that should be promoting health, and especially especially when directed at children, is a terrible, irresponsible practice.

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Posted in: Man revives woman with AED, but branded 'pervert' for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads See in context

The good Samaritan behaved excellently, and it is regrettable that he had to deal with having his character questioned in such a manner.

However, I do not think the driver's reaction was so unfathomable. For someone who has just been in an accident, it is rare to be able to update one's "mental model" of the situation and get a handle on things very quickly. Many people do not even really realize they have been in an accident, do not grasp that someone is truly injured, or the situation just doesn't seem real to them. Likely the driver latched onto the most familiar interpretation of what s/he saw--a man removing an unconscious woman's top is usually pretty shady, and I for one would hope that anyone who saw that happening to me would not just stand by if they had the slightest doubt about what was going on--without truly processing what was going on. This can happen to someone even if they are relatively well-informed about medical matters. People have strange reactions to disaster; logic and emotional control are not usually high on the list.

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Posted in: Setback for Pope Francis as synod fails to agree on gays, divorcees See in context

I'm not religious, but this just doesn't make sense to me. Didn't Jesus hang out with, like, prostitutes and tax collectors (what could be worse than a tax collector?), and tell that thief who got crucified next to him that he could go to heaven, and say something about not coming to call the righteous, but rather sinners to repentance? What, Jesus's standards weren't high enough?

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Posted in: Americans 'can't give in to hysteria or fear' over Ebola, says Obama See in context

I'm not excessively worried about Ebola, but I must say that the handling of these cases has eliminated what little faith I had in our country's capacity to respond to public health threats or potential pandemics. If we were dealing with a virus with a more aggressive mode of transmission, or if it were a novel pathogen instead of one that we've known about for decades, or if we had more than three freaking cases (which would have been one case or none if we hadn't dropped the ball)...well, it wouldn't be pretty. It's been nothing but screw-ups since day one.

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Posted in: Obama: Ebola monitoring must be 'more aggressive' See in context

I semi-retract my negative comments about the nurse, Amber Vinson. The CDC apparently cleared her to fly. Morons.

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Posted in: Obama: Ebola monitoring must be 'more aggressive' See in context

They are really fumbling this. I can't believe that nurse (who had already reported a low fever), was stupid and selfish enough to fly commercially, or that those in charge were incompetent enough to let her. We need to get on the ball with this.

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Posted in: Esquire names Penelope Cruz 'sexiest woman alive' See in context

I'm on board with Penelope Cruz. She's gorgeous, has a great body, and she's got that certain something--she's sexier when you can see her moving, acting, talking, rather than just in stills.

Gwyneth Paltrow, though, seriously? Imagining sleeping with Gwyneth Paltrow somehow reminds me of watching my cat sleep on top of a pair of high heels. I mean, who am I to criticize, it's not like I would ever be in the running, but I just can't see it.

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

@ Craighicks

Isn't aerosol airborne

It's just a matter of terminology. Both aerosol transmission and airborne transmission (confusingly) involve aerosolized virus--small droplets or particles of infectious material suspended in air.

Basically, aerosol transmission involves transmission involves bigger droplets propelled a relatively short distance (a few feet or so) through the air (this is also referred to as "droplet transmission"). In the case of Ebola, this might be blood and saliva coughed/sneezed out, or emitted during an aerosol-generating procedure such as an intubation. This mode of transmission requires proximity to the host, but not direct contact. Ebola virus has been transmitted this way between animals under laboratory conditions. However, I want to be clear that it is not naturally transmitted this way between humans, to the best of our knowledge--obviously if an Ebola patient sneezes blood into your face, that's worrisome, but generally speaking, Ebola is transmitted via direct contact with the infected person's bodily fluids (or so they say...DUN DUN DUN).

Airborne transmission, on the other hand, refers to pathogens that basically "float around" in the air in the form of much tinier droplets or particles that can remain suspended for much longer, travel on air currents, and infect people who were nowhere near the infected host (somebody in a different store at the mall, for example, or a different aisle of the grocery store or different room in the hospital). There is some weak evidence of this happening with the subtype in question (the Reston ebolavirus, which does not infect humans), but nothing conclusive.

Basically:

Big droplet, short distance, short time = aerosol Small particle, long distance, long time = airborne

Wouldn't a subtype be a mutation of the main type?

Yes, absolutely. I should have been more clear. The Reston subtype (which is not pathogenic to humans) is a mutated strain of Ebola virus (EBOV)**--what used to be called Zaire ebolavirus--which is obviously very pathogenic to humans. However, the evidence for airborne spread of this subtype is far from conclusive. In addition, just because a virus can be transmitted a certain way between members of one species does not mean that carries over to other species, even if the virus is pathogenic to both species (which Reston is not).

For instance, the reason Ebola virus was transmitted via aerosol by pigs but apparently isn't between humans is almost certainly because pigs are affected differently by EBOV, with their respiratory tissues being far more affected than those of humans, their symptoms involving far more sneezing and coughing, and their physiology leading to far more production of aerosols. This is not because the pigs had a mutant strain, but simply due to differences in physiology. If Reston can indeed be airborne between monkeys, my guess would be that it's physiological, not because of a random mutation that happened to change its mode of transmission when the subtype split off.

I don't think there's been a human virus in history that's mutated in such a way as to completely change its mode of transmission, ever, so it's very unlikely that Ebola will do so if it is actually strictly bloodborne. If we start confirming aerosolized or (highly unlikely) airborne transmission, it will almost certainly be because those were potential modes of transmission from the beginning (viruses can certainly have more than one)--which is not to say that selection couldn't contribute to a shift in the balance of transmission modes, just that EBOV is unlikely to develop an entirely new one via mutation.

If you want my best guess (for what it's worth), aerosol and fomite transmission are more of a risk than is generally admitted, and genuine airborne transmission over distance and time is not.

**Note: Irritatingly, Ebola virus and the genus ebolavirus to which it belongs are two separate things.

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Posted in: What the boys will be wearing next year See in context

Let's hope not.

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

I am actually inclined to think that the CDC & other health organizations are being too sanguine about the efficacy of their protective protocols, and think it's entirely possible that Ebola is easier to spread than they are willing to acknowledge, but the whole "viruses mutate and Ebola could go airborne" thing, while it sounds reasonable on the surface, is quite a stretch. HIV/AIDS could also mutate, but we don't assume it's "gone airborne" every time someone turns up who doesn't know how they've contracted it. The chances of a truly bloodborne pathogen randomly mutating into an airborne one is infinitesimal.

That being said, it is widely acknowledged that Ebola is both infectious and stable in small-particle aerosolized form (we know this from experimental data; this bit is not conspiracy theory), and there is also suggestive evidence that maybe-possibly-perhaps-probably-not there could be airborne spread of some obscure subtypes of the virus.

I would not bet on airborne Ebola, but I would not be shocked if aerosols are more of a problem than the Powers That Be are letting on. Human error is still the most likely explanation for the nosocomial infections, but the rate of infection amongst highly-trained, highly-motivated-to-not-catch-Ebola medical personnel does seem to invite suspicion, and the CDC responses read as rather dismissive.

With our grand total of two cases (unless there's been more since I turned on the news?) in the US, you'd think that we could manage some slightly more foolproof decontamination measures, perhaps immediately before medical personnel divest themselves of their protective gear, which is when errors are most likely to occur. If such measures prove ineffective, we might get a little more insight into whether these transmissions are really attributable to human error, of if the virus is more infectious than is commonly acknowledged.

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

@Lizz

US troops are designed as a killing machine, not a social work outfit or whatever. They are not development specialists

They're combat engineers being sent to build infrastructure in a dangerous region. Combat engineers are not "killing machines," that's not what they do. Yeah, they can handle themselves, but their job description is pretty much exactly what they're being sent over there to do.

Admittedly, most are probably more used to working in regions where the risk is military rather than medical, and I don't doubt catastrophic mistakes could be made, but they have plenty of experience securing and clearing the areas where they work and getting on with business, which I imagine is exactly what they will do here. The rationale for sending them (which you of course may disagree with/find insufficient) is that helping control Ebola in West Africa will reduce the threat of transmission to/within the homeland, as well as the threat of further destabilization of the region, plus the humanitarian aspect.

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

@MarkG

Yeah, not saying it's low-risk by any means, just that I think they sent the right people for the job and that there's a reasonable impetus behind it. The reduction in risk from helping to bring the disease under control may offset the risk of them catching/spreading it, but I don't really have the knowledge to make that assessment. I've just seen a lot of stuff going around the internet mocking sending troops to "fight Ebola" like they're sending in infantry to physically combat the disease or something, like it makes no sense. I agree that many, many things our government does make no sense, but I think this is actually one of their more reasonable moves (relatively speaking).

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

@MarkG

The troops are mostly combat engineers, being sent to build infrastructure, not do direct care. And helping to control the disease over there, if successful, should limit the repercussions here. Plus the humanitarian considerations are real. I am tentatively in favor of the move, although here's hoping for stringent screening, quarantine, and reintroduction procedures when they return.

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Posted in: Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola See in context

Yep, they are assuming a breach of protocol (i.e., a breach must have occurred or she would not have been infected, so therefore a breach occurred) but are reporting it as if the breach were certain. I find it a bit misleading.

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Posted in: Brits go nuts over squirrel burgers See in context

@ Thunderbird2

Thanks for clarifying. It's a shame there's so little wildlife in the cities; I can understand wanting to preserve it.

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Posted in: Brits go nuts over squirrel burgers See in context

@Thunderbird2

I can't tell if that comment was directed specifically at me (it seems like it) or more generally, but...

nothing to eat but the local wildlife

Certainly there are other things to eat, at least in my location, I just hate driving (and am really bad at it) and hate grocery stores, so why waste fossil fuels & money going into town to buy CAFO meat (all that's available in my small town) when I could easily hunt or fish instead?

farms... places which exist so we don't have to snack on the wildlife

I'm a rancher and I grow eggs and produce for local markets, so certainly I don't rule out farms as an option, but supplementing the diet with "wildlife" allows more land to remain forested or otherwise undeveloped while still providing for human needs, and is generally less intensive in terms of water use, soil loss, feedstock production, etc. than is animal farming. In addition, having removed most of the carnivores (and virtually all of the large carnivores) from our ecosystems, there is often ecological benefit to culling overpopulated native prey animals such as certain squirrels, rabbits, deer, etc. as well as destructive invasive species such as the grey squirrels in Britain or feral hogs here, and it's wasteful not to utilize that meat, since meat production in the form of domesticated animals puts such a strain on natural resources. All wildlife is not created equal, and not all of it should be a target for preservation. I manage a substantial property, and the effects of allowing certain species to get out of control can be very detrimental--most notably to other wildlife.

nibbling squirrels or munching on a hedgehog shows a distinct lack of taste

To each his own. I think it's tasty, convenient, economical, nutritionally superior, ecologically beneficial, and environmentally responsible. I can live with being thought tasteless, I suppose, although I find your snobbery a bit baffling. I can understand why someone might find such things personally distasteful if they're not accustomed to them, but it seems snooty and irrational to judge others for it. What's so superior about slaughtering a domesticated pig that comes up to you wanting to have its back scratched versus shooting a feral hog, squirrel, or deer? Most animal farming operations, and consequently the vast majority of the meat available in supermarkets and restaurants here in the US, are incredibly destructive, unhealthful, and terrible for their communities and employees in a multitude of ways. If supporting that system is tasteful and civilized, then I'd rather be an ignorant yokel.

unless one is a macho American who feels the need to go "huntin' squirls" to prove his manhood

Well, I'm a girl, and the squirrels can literally be shot from the comfort of my living room while they sit there snacking on my tree nuts, so it's not like I'm out wrestling bears or something. Even if I were killing the squirrels with my bare hands and teeth, it would hardly be impressive, since they weigh like a pound. And the article was originally about Brits eating squirrels, so I don't see how Americans can really be singled out for this one.

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