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UNBELIEVABLE

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My daughter Amy called my attention to this series. It is based on a true story set forth in  The Marshall Project and a  ProPublica article,.“An Unbelievable Story of Rape,”  written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong. I sat down one evening, to watch the first episode but could not give it up until finising all eight. A timely theme, a complex story, sensitive acting, careful direction and film making, all came together, and held me capitive. Wiki capsulizes it approximately in this way:

GENRE DramaTrue Crime
PREMIERE 09/13/19
CREATOR Susannah GrantAyelet WaldmanMichael Chabon
PERFORMERS Toni ColletteMerritt WeverKaitlyn Dever
NETWORK Netflix

The story is roughly as follows: Marie, a young woman, is raped repeatedly at knifepoint by a masked assailant who threatens to kill her but leaves her bound and gagged. She escapes with difficulty and reports to authorities; so begins an long formal, exhaustive and detailed investigation, and so begins her post traumatic rape syndrome, that includes the resultant investigations. It begins with a protocol driven professional rape exam; an exhaustive interrogation follows where her story is carefully investigated, to clarify details, and evaluate its veracity.

By that time Marie has relived her rape over and over in the telling and retelling and the justification of her story. No one is obviously unkind, but most all seem unaware of Marie’s growing and increasingly desperate desire to escape the fact-finding process, while reliving her rape over and over again.

At last she becomes so exhauted, dysfunctional, and confused, that when asked if she might have, or possibly could have, imagined the rape, she recants. She denies it happened. Therefore, she is informed that she lied in her original account, which is a crime in itself; one that requires a full investigation, and possible prosecution, with a bail of $500. In short, she needs a lawyer, a monetary expense she cannot afford, on top of her emotional and physical wounds. The rape story therefore remains somewhat in doubt; and there is not a single bit of evidence at the scene, to confirm that it ever happened. The rapist, Marie claims, even forced her to shower afterwards.

Marie’s terrified and dyfunctional reactions increase; the rape itself, and this ongoing legalistic variation of rape aggravates her post rape stress syndrome during the following months. We follow here through those events.

Meanwhile two women detectives, Rasmussen and Duvall, pick up the trail of the rapist and pursue it relentlessly. They are determined, astute, and persistent; they are very real, and very likeably human, often carrying on their difficult work with wity interaction or humor.

In time they discover a series of rapes elsewhere across the country, with the identical pattern of Marie’s rape assault. All these rapes are so carefully and skillfully carried out that there is not a shred of evidence left behind. The rapist is knowlegable somehow; he knows the territory, and may even be a professional or a policeman.

Indeed he is apoliceman, and finally, marshalling all their interrelated evidence, they find and arrest him. The case is so compelling that he goes to trial, and is convicted to 327 years in prison.

A happy ending follows, where Marie gradually recovers. She is a survivor, and furtheris relieved that her rapist is caught. The detecitves are recognized and lauded; the original investigator- inquisitor realizes his errors and apologizes briefly to Marie. While the ending is almost too neat, it is satisfying. I have no hesitancy in reccomending this series. It is informative, and timely. To those who underestimate or tend to dismiss the nature and persistent trauma of rape, Watch Out; you may learn something. To MeToo activists : This is your series.

However, I hope we all agree that any injustice should be condemned; that would include men who are accused of rape without evidence. The burden of proof should fall to the acuser in any case. That is the main reason rape should be immediately reported, even though to do so requires great courage.

Vaping.Inc.Gov

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The object of a psychoactive drug is the brain, and Vaping provides brain access very efficiently, and effectively. Even intravenous injection is delayed by dilution in liters of blood and by dispersion throughout the body, before any reaches the brain. The oral/ gastrointestinal route is even less efficient, taking a drug through the gut and liver even before reaching the bloostream.

Incredibly, in the USA, where we rant and cant about the safety and sanctity of children, we appear to stand aside while our youth are harvested for profit. I, like many citizens, am not opposed to profit, and am wary of government over reach. And yet, it seems insane for legislators to oversee remarketing of nicotine, and the new marketing of Vaping to children!

  1. Every TV media mention of Vaping, features glorious images of young people blissfully blowing beautiful billows of vape vapor.
  2. An on line search for “Where to Buy JUUL Near You” features two AMPMs within 1.7 miles of my home, and a TonicVape and Smoke Store at 2.5 miles.
  3. A simple search turns up this:

Local Results

4) A JUUL support page offers these flavors NOTE: ALL feature tobacco.

  • Virginia Tobacco (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Mint (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Mango (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Creme (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Fruit (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Cucumber (5% and 3% nicotine strength)
  • Menthol (5% nicotine strength)
  • Classic Tobacco (5% nicotine strength)

How long does a JUULpod last?

“One JUULpod is intended to last about 200 puffs”

Can I open or refill my JUULpod?

To help ensure product quality, JUULpods are not designed for refills or re-use and should not be opened. ( Yeah, Right!

4) A simple search reveals an astounding array of Vape products like: Portable devices generally around $4 and less in bulk; nicotine laced refill and replacement options (Amazon, SMOtech, Eliquids, SaltNic etc.)

Many products seem useful for adulteration of vaping devices with Cannabis and other drugs.

Vaping Associated Lung Disease: VALD… There have been serious cases of pneumonic inflammation associated with vaping with six recent deaths.* The American Vaping Association is apparently not alarmed, and claims that vaping can help people quit smoking.

Maybe so. But the consequences of vaping long term are unknown. How can it be that goverment is not interested or very active in Vape grooming of children? Or VALD? Maybe that is understandable, considering how busy legislators are in between vacations. Yet it seems to me that physicians and Medical Societies concerned with the health of people, and considering that children are, or may become people, should make physicians more active in regard to vaping! To not do so is to be as vapid and shameful as government or commerce.

* https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=deaths+associated+with+vaping&&view=detail&mid=C5F7EC9E63CD6686C8E1C5F7EC9E63CD6686C8E1&&FORM=VDRVRV

Hispanic

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Hispanic is a term used to designate race. But it is a race that does not exist, except in politics; in governmental registers it refers to people who speak, or whose forebears once spoke, Spanish; or whose name may sound like it is of Spanish origin; people, who may – or may not– speak Spanish, or be brown skinned. Hispanic is the equivalent of ‘American’, except that there no Nation of Hispania.*

There is no Hispanic race and there is no American race. Both are a diverse but culturally connected peoples, but not a race. America, however, is also a nation. Since the term Hispanic refers not to a nation, but to a diverse linguistic and ethinc group of people, it is subect to appearing weak and inferior, subject to derision. Regrettably, that has been the unconscious prejudicial view in the USA. In general, though, that view is now outmoded. Most everywhere, to be bilingual in English and Spanish is becoming a coveted asset.

There is no rational reason in the USA, to continue to use the pejorative and separatist term Hispanic, because the entire Western Hemisphere is essentially one people, scattered over many nations. We share the same indigenous, Polynesian, Asian, European, and African ethnicities.

We share the same three modern languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese; all are linguistic cousins, so that one is an introduction to the rest, and to other Indo European languages as well.**

*The term Hispanic includes peopleof Spain ( Hispania), once, like Emgland, France, and Portugal, a great colonial world power; the Spanish ruled most of the New World– the Americas.

** Moreover English and Spanish are beautiful bastard languages enriched by centuries of invasiion. (See The Mother Tongue, by Lancelot Hogben; (British, what else!?)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancelot_Hogben He suggests that the English, were linguisitcally insemintated for so many centuries at a time, English became a universal key to all IndoEuropean languages. Likewise, Spanish was enriched by many invasive languages, including Arabic, and therefore is also key universal lanbguage. In fact, today the combination of English, Spanish and Portuguese permit easy communication ( without an i phone!) to most of the Western World; 1.750 Million of the world’s people speak one these three languages. (Mandarin claims 1.2 billion speakers. ) https://www.listsworld.com/top-10-languages-most-spoken-worldwide/

The Opiate Beast: Res Ipsa Loquitor

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From 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 people in the US died by using or misusing prescription and illicit opioids. The graph below (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.htm holds a black line indicating numbers of deaths related to “natural, commonly prescribed, and illicitly manufactured opioids”; deaths increased very rapidly beginning in 2013; by 1917 these black line opioid related deaths are roughly equal to the combined total opiate deaths from all other causes. That impacts me personally because the fentanyl deaths include a grandson of mine.

Yet obviously opiate users contribute to their own demise; who knows why self loathing or self destructive behavior is attractive or rewarding. Making opiates illegal has not paid off. We seem unaware that social rules are far more effective than laws, as the War Against Drugs, or our own Prohibition experience suggests. Healthy behavior cannot be imposed; but self destructive behavior could become socially scorned, like smoking has recently; everyone used to smoke in movies 50 years ago; (I always chuckle when I see a driver chastely holding a lighted cigarette out the window!) Today attractive young women snort cocaine in many movies or TV shows.

Years ago I was in Nepal on an assignment for Peace Corps. Drugs of all sorts were available, and some volunteers enjoyed pot, but were avoided by locals who saw that as the offensive and base behavior of undesirables.

Recently I took a job with a drug investigational research operation. It quickly became clear that protocols for ‘research’ were devised and intended to justify new drug applications before the Federal Drug Agency. They were artfully crafted and brilliantly concieved, but biased.

The corporation that hired me was hugely profitable to the owner. I, as a critically important MD employee meritied special consideration, though the pay was modest. My first shock was being sent to ‘symposiums’ that were informational sessions for investigators. At a typical one in Florida the benefits were lush digs, sumptuous meals, and proffered sexual favors. I found myself, one evening, after a long day and a dinner with dance band, in an elevator with an attractive young woman who had been at my table. She explained that she had no place to stay the night. That required some fast action by me. I abruptly stepped out of the elevator as the door was closing as if not realizing the floor that was not mine, and so deserted my would be roomate. Whoah! A new drug application to FDA requires a lot of talent and work of different sorts!

Nonetheless, I was fascinated by the details of drug trial protocols. Several were very interesting and absorbing. Yet some were third stage trials of new opiate formulations. Trials require people–.subjects who had been recruited through advertizing– for testing of a new drug up for FDA review. In this case the drug was described as a ‘non addicting’ (opiate) pain medication. Participants were required to be already using opiate pain meds for their problems. They would be provided free opiates in the dose they usually needed or a slightly increased dose if required by the study. They would not only benefit humanity by participating for several months, but be provided with the opiates, and paid while they completed the study.

One day I was asked to evaluate and examine a new applicant. He was an 18 year old who had a remote very minor back strain many months prior. He was still using large doses of opiates. After completing the exam I felt an obligation to ask him if he really had thought about the risks of long term opiate use. But he was not at all interested in the question. Additionally, he mentioned my comment to his ‘handler’. Handlers are very capable people, who work hard with several subjects for a given project; they are expected to supervise the subjects and encourage adherence to, and completion of the protocol. Where opiates are concerned, that was, arguably, a multiway partnership between handler, opiate user, the physican businessperson, and the drug manufacturer. Everyone wins. Every subject required some investment by the research company, but brought a very substantial bounty to the physican owner, and a benefit to the handler involved. My comment to the new subject, had he changed his mind, jeapordized several dozen thousands of dollars of net income to the business.The next day I was, of course, terminated.

I have nothing against money. In fact I like it a lot, the more the better. Still, money is the fount of many illegal activities, even those that grow within the womb of the law. Money is the mother’s milk not only of politics but of the opiate industries. The ultimate goal of drug producers seems to be to sell drugs by grooming the public and prescription writing Physicians. While physicians often swear by the Oath of Hippocretes, and aspire to follow the adage primum non nocerum— do no harm we can be bought off by a drug industry that is very adept at the procedure.

For many years huge quantities of opiates have been made and promoted by drug makers and distributors and by physician dealers. Very tiny pharmacies have sold millions of opiate tabs yearly, far more than their whole state could use. This sort of thing has been well known for years, but continues. Certainly by now legislators, drug companies, distributors, and many physicians know the facts. But the government has been unable or unwilling to interfere effectively even though much could be done quickly and simply.Here are a only few suggestions among many:

  1. Confine pharmacies to reasonable numbers based on local population.
  2. Prevent physicians from selling and distrubuting opiates from their own offices.
  3. Require a new hand written physician prescription for a refill of an opiate.
  4. Limit prescritptions to 30 opiate tablets unless a ‘triplicate’ style prescritption is used. (Triplicates are outmoded but useful in this respect. They are bothersome!)
  5. Require Drug distributors, at their own expense, to provide pharmacies with 4 mg Narcan Nasal spray to be available without prescription to anyone with valid identification.
  6. Require Drug distributors to provide all county health departments with 100 Narcan 4 mg Nasal Spray sets at no cost to the health department. It could be used for distribution to high schools, individuals, homeless shelters, and even college health services.
  7. Permit drug distributors to buy low cost Narcan Nasal Spray offshore.
  8. Prohibit direct to consumer advertizing of drugs. ( So far as I know only US and New Zeland allow it. Besides, it would make TV ads less offensive)
  9. Prohibit Drug “Detailing” of physicians (food, samples, camraderie and literature provided by attractive salespersons.)
  10. Require that Continuing Medical Education (CME) to be funded by physician attendees, rather than as now, subsidized heavily by Drug companies who also apparently buy the speakers.
  11. Prohibit all drug company funding of medical research and CME because that subverts, co-opts, and brainwashes physicians and administrators.
  12. Create a national patrimony for medical research using drug company opiate abuse fines or heavy taxes. CDC could be an ideal administrator.

No doubt these are contentious suggestions; they would, in the unlikely event they are ever seriously considered beyond these pages, cause outrage and loud objections. Nonetheless, I believe they are worth considering. Res Ipsa Loquitor, I think, means The Beast Speaks For Itself; despite that being a legal term, it may be that our lawyers can allow me to use it here. After all, legislators are mostly lawyers and all lawyers are mostly legislators.

I Want A Pangolin!

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Scientific nameManis

ClassMammalia

FamilyManidaeGray, 1821

LengthChinese pangolin: 15 in., Ground pangolinIndian pangolin: Sunda pangolin: 18 in

Pangolins have protective keratin scales covering their skin; they are the only known mammals with this feature. They live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species. They are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly of ants and termites though at times they may eat some fruit.

Lions unable to open a tight curled pangolin. .

I first heard of these appealing animals through a nature program on TV today. It covered their world wide habitat and the threat of extinction. Pangolin scales and meat are still sold in Asia chiefly as medical nostrums and food. The demand is apparently very strong. Since pangolins are easily captured, they are harvested by the hundreds of thousands, and so, people fear, might become extinct. Thousands of sacks of scales are for sale, as are huge truckloads of pangolins after weeks tightly curled up in defensive postures. In South Africa and SE Asia there are active projects to protect and preserve them. The goal is to rescue them and return them to the wild. This was the focus of the program I saw.

However, the effect of the video program on me personally was probably counter productive, because now I wish I had one myself! Not to eat or to cure my bodily ills but simply because they are at least as appealing as Our Best Friends — Cats and Dogs and Horses. They are easier to care for, and quite docile; they are slow moving, and easily picked up or carried about, which they don’s seem to mind at all. As with a pet dog I doubt I could ever use one for medicinal purposes, or for food; I have not faced such a circumstance; well, not yet!. Their diet is tricky; in my circumstances food would have to be purchased at pet stores or on line. Yet there’s this: Until the commercial food gets here the rotting logs in my little forest should do nicely….

The power of the net is unfathomable, incredible and unlimited. Surely with a little poking around, I could buy my little pangolin from a SE Asia or So Africa branch of Amazon or Target or Walmart! .I don’t know if there is a saying similar to ‘ A picture is worth a thousand words’ , but about the ‘net’ There should be one like this:

The net is worth a gazillion libraries ” Or a gazillion air miles, you get the idea.Here is a you tube video that’s far more informative than more of my weak words. Of course it’s about the little anteater that is said not to be an anteater, even if it eats ants. Paste it into your browser, you won’t be sorry! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pSeMeSaDpA

Why Did The 737s Crash? Was Language a Factor?

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The Boeing 737 MAX is a narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737. This 737 was announced on august 30, 2011

Number built: 393 as of March 2019. Produced 2014- present.

Primary users: Southwest, American, Air Canada and China Southern.

Grounded worldwide but in production….Wikipedia

I was a passenger in the Max recently. The trip was uneventful. Yet there are details even in the passenger cabin that provide a credible clue to the pilot errors reportedly blamed for the 737 crashes; pilots, it was said, did not understand the instructions provided, or were not trained sufficiently in simulators. Yet they were said to be very experienced and they trained as required. Why the errors? I suggest language may have contributed.

I have a Masters in Spanish literature and have spent much of my life in South America. I speak Brazilian Portuguese marginally but read easily. I have been a pilot since the 1960’s and an instrument rated pilot, though I am not active now. Yet my active pilot years included a flight from California to Punta Arenas, Chile, at the South tip of the South American Continent as well as several months of piloting in Chile and flights to Baja California.

In general all my radio communications in those places were in English, but at times cross cultural or language made them somewhat obscure. I usually was able to avoid instrument conditions except for a stretch in Peru due to political considerations, and one over West Argentina, also due to political tensions; there, my instruments were used but totally silent. No Talk or chance for miscommunication. There were no problems other than high winds.

Based on those experiences and subtle language miscues that I noticed in the main cabin of the new planes, I suggest that language should be considered as a possible contributor to the crashes. Why?

Some languages write and read from right to left, while we read from left to right. Here are the relevant clues as they appear in 737 passenger cabins:

  1. The seat assignment are lettered BA, not AB as would be expected in English. B refers to the window seat, A to the aisle seat. There is a tiny window outline with the B, and stick sketch of an attendant at the A, but a close inspection is needed to see them; some sort of translation by the passenger is required
  2. The storage bins pertaining to each seat are also marked in reverse order. .

Could these inversions of typical English Language order have been inadvertently placed by people who likely spoke English well, and read well, but whose native language was written from right to left rather than left to right?

I grant that such inversions are not dangerous to passengers and are easily resolved. But a difficult approach and landing is a different matter. Unexpected unusual events can occur. It can quickly become a time of very heavy mental and emotional demand for pilots. While modern instruments are arguably superior and safer than pilots themselves, there can be times when unusual things can happen such that a slight misinterpretation of complicated pilot instructions or can be serious.

My oldest son was with me when he was about age 11, on an instrument flight in California. We dropped through rough weather to an open visual approach; he later became a far better pilot than I ever have been, in both rotary and fixed wing craft of all sorts, flying all over the world, and has dealt with many linguistic challenges, far more than I. They matter!

With deference, and with apologies, my question for Boeing is this: Have you looked in to the possibility that cultural or linguistic details may affect pilot instructions and training?. If not, you may want to think about it.

H deus, and Walking White Male

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The diffusion of knowledge–and therefore power– like that which followed the invention of cheap paper and printing– is being affected by an explosive development of technology accessible to multiple and diverse peoples- That development inevitably and irreversibly alters lives, perceived reality, and history.

All my life I have Walked White. All my life I have enjoyed and exercised a Right to walk alone almost anywhere, only trying to avoid walking stupid.  Walking with purpose: erect, alert; with vigor, as if I know where and who I am, and where I’m going. That has never failed me.

Perhaps I have misunderstood the nature my own fortunate circumstances. The world -wide changes taking place may be partly a result of ubiquitous video and audio recording — everywhere in the world– rather than being limited to those with power, like the traditional media, or traditional powerful leaders. The result? There are no secrets. Everyone is a reporter, who can reach an audience of hundreds of millions. Only one tiny result is that I can no longer take pride of ownership in my ‘right’, my ability, to walk freely almost anywhere. I now know my personal white-walking liberty is largely a result of wearing an abuse proof flack jacket;maybe it’s invisible to me, but not to those who don’t have one.

Worse, perhaps, privilege can lead to abuse. But now there is no place to hide, whether one is rich, powerful, or greatly admired. The #Me too movement often exposes powerful but abusive men. A greatly admired actor who perpetuates a fraudulent episode for his own gain, is exposed. A politician who invents a false heritage in order to win an election is ‘outed’.

Similar things happen every day because there simply is no place to hide. On the one hand that exposes frauds, but on the other hand that exposes us all to surveillance by all. The right to privacy has ended, not by law or by choice but by the god Technos who has decreed that there is no such Right, no matter what is written. It’s over.

Even if we could reverse the latest assault by technology– we can’t– Would that be a good thing? The new god is Technos. in the guise of Homo deus. When God The Father was alive, He was all seeing and all knowing, and in the end, Judge. Homo deus takes the form of all the peoples of the world,perhaps of all time.

If so, What is New or Terrible about that? Maybe only that there is no God to ignore or to reject or to blame or to pray to. Homo deus surely knows if the camera cooperates, that I didn’t tell the cashier today that she didn’t charge me for the avocados! But, I hope, like the millionth blackbird in a swarm or the millionth sardine, H deus has better things to do than to catch me in the act.

Homo deus, instead of taking the form of a single being, takes the form of all H sapiens. H deus is all seeing and all knowing. Just like Daddy God. So here am I, only a single specimen of H sapiens if indeed sapiens still applies. (Our kind has been so minimized by Techos and his ilk that H minimus seems more appropriate, even if we may believe we are collectively, H deus.)

Who am I to speak about a matter I have been ignorant of so much of my life? I am a person, with a voice.

  • I hope we– H deus– one and all– will focus on the wider generic problems rather than any single outrageous incident, because our problems are more significant than any single case, no matter how egregious it may be.
  • I hope we continue to express outrage when that is needed, until it is irrevocably clear that we will not shut up or go quietly.
  • As to Walking White Males, I am sure we will see and accept that everyone has a right to Walk Free