Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, March 31, 2017

Quiz Apr 4

Oliver Sacks, Gratitude

1. What does "Mercury" celebrate? What was Sacks' elemental age when he wrote it?

2. Perfect weather sometimes elicited what exclamation from Sacks?

3. What does nunc dimittis mean?

4. Why were Johnson and Boswell angry with David Hume?

5. Of what did Sacks think he was more conscious, at 80?

6. What was the title of Hume's autobiography?

7. What attitude towards life did Sacks come to share with Hume, after receiving his diagnosis?

8. What did Sacks, contrary to Crick, not see as a problem?

9. What did "celestial splendor" make Sacks think about?

10. To what did Sacks turn, in times of stress?

11. What did Sacks intend to do with his "intermission"?

12. What were Sacks' mother's harsh words that made him hate religious bigotry?


  • How do you see yourself at 80? 
  • What do you believe to be "the pleasures of old age," and do you think they compensate for its deficiencies? 
  • Do we adequately respect and celebrate age and experience in this culture?
  • Oliver Sacks is one clear example of someone who embraced and savored the autumn of life, and continued to be alert, active, and productive. Can you suggest others?
  • Sacks survived a near-death calamity at age 41, during which he reviewed reasons for gratitude. Could you do that, in such a situation? 
  • Do you ever express overt gratitude for life? Or are you more like Samuel Beckett? 7
  • Is gratitude for life a more difficult emotion to sustain, if you live in fear of eternal punishment?
  • Will it be enough for you to live on in the memories of friends, or in whatever words of yours get preserved (in books or other written archives)?
  • What is an appropriate stance for medical care providers with regard to patients' beliefs about life, death, and an afterlife?
  • Do you hope to still be fully engaged in creative work (like Crick) when you die, at whatever age? 10
  • Have you known old people who took "the long view" and experienced greater "leisure and freedom" in their last years? What can we do to help more old people have that experience?
  • Sacks, like Seneca ("On the Shortness of Life") regrets not a lack of time, but time wasted. How can we learn to make better use of our time?
  • Will you still pay attention to politics, as your days become numbered? 19
  • Is the future in good hands?
  • Do you think of sentient existence as a gift, privilege, and adventure? 20
  • What will you do with your remaining time, if you receive a terminal diagnosis offering a few relatively healthful months?

Oliver Sacks on Gratitude, the Measure of Living, and the Dignity of Dying

“I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Oliver Sacks on Gratitude, the Measure of Living, and the Dignity of Dying
“Living has yet to be generally recognized as one of the arts,” proclaimed a 1924 guide to the art of living. That one of the greatest scientists of our time should be one of our greatest teacher in that art is nothing short of a blessing for which we can only be grateful — and that’s precisely what Oliver Sacks (July 9, 1933–August 30, 2015), a Copernicus of the mind and a Dante of medicine who turned the case study into a poetic form, became over the course of his long and fully lived life.
In his final months, Dr. Sacks reflected on his unusual existential adventure and his courageous dance with death in a series of lyrical New York Times essays, posthumously published in the slim yet enormously enchanting book Gratitude (public library), edited by his friend and assistant of thirty years, Kate Edgar, and his partner, the writer and photographer Bill Hayes... (continues)
Eula Biss showed us what conscientious maternal care at the beginning of life looks like. Oliver Sacks, documenting his own final days, takes us to the other end of the journey and shows how a good and worthy life may be capped with a good death. It's no surprise that Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal, has a featured spot on the jacket. Gawande's message was that we all, and perhaps especially health professionals, need to master the art of living and dying well. Instead we still tend to look away, in denial or disregard, all but insuring death without dignity.

Sacks, in this little book and in his long life, exemplified gratitude, humility, empathy, and compassion - qualities that constitute the very core of dignity, that we value most in our caregivers, and that serve us best in our own personal encounters with mortality. Philosophy was said by its classic practitioners to be the art of learning to live and die. The philosophy of medical practice, we might suppose, should in that light be the art and science of exemplifying and facilitating dignified living and dying.

That may sound a bit morbid, but I take from Gratitude the opposite mood, the "I'm glad I'm not dead" celebratory attitude coupled with a profound recognition that a good life eventually finds its nunc dimittis and its timely dismissal. There's no hint here of self-pity, just deep thankfulness for the privilege of having lived. As Richard Dawkins wrote in one of his own most inspired moments, "we are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones." (YouT)

I've collected a few examples of salutary long lives, but it must be admitted that far too many older people do not come to their end of days with anything like a feeling of deep gratitude. Maybe the best practice for caregivers is to emulate, project, and replicate the example of an Oliver Sacks.
Sacks made it into my presentation in Kansas.
A Tribute to Oliver Sacks on Science Friday:

Neurologist, writer, motorcycle racer, weightlifter, swimmer, and enthusiast of ferns, cycads, cephalopods, and minerals—Oliver Sacks was a modern day Renaissance man. He was endlessly curious about the outer world, and the inner world of the brain, and inspired countless patients, readers, colleagues, and friends. Here we celebrate Sacks with recollections from those who knew him, and hear about his life in his own words, too, in archival Science Friday interviews dating back to 1995.
Orrin Devinsky, a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, was a friend and colleague of Oliver’s for over 25 years. He recalled discovering Oliver’s case histories in medical school:

I was in medical school. I knew I was quite interested in psychiatry and neurology, but also in some other areas. And I’d never read as compelling case histories. I’d never seen a physician write about patients and bring them to life. And to portray them not just as patients, not just as individuals with deficits or problems. But as people. And there was some essence of humanity that I had never tasted before in my life, or certainly in my brief medical career at the time.
He also spoke about Oliver’s gift as a doctor:

Oliver brought two things together that to my view of the history of medicine were really never brought together. One was the very meticulous study of individual patients. And the second was a humanity. And a humility in approaching those patients. So that whereas people 50, 70 and 90 years ago certainly did meticulous case studies, they didn’t have the humanity. And nowadays, certainly in academic medicine, neither case histories nor humanity is a prominent area.
I think hopefully medical education’s trying to get better at allowing physicians to recognize the importance of seeing the person as a whole and getting into their life. But by the same token the reality of modern medicine is that doctors are looking at relative value units of how many patients they’re seeing in a day. And how many studies are they performing or reading. And how many insurance companies are they calling back. And prescription authorizations, and test authorizations. So the ability of Oliver to go to a patient’s home and observe them in their world, to go to their workplace, and observe them in their world, that’s just a foreign animal in today’s medical world.
Robbin Moran, curator of ferns at the New York Botanical Garden, recalled a fern-hunting trip they took to Oaxaca, Mexico–which Oliver later wrote about in Oaxaca Journal:

He was always taking notes about things. And he would have this notebook that fit in his breast pocket, and he had different colored pens, that I guess he would use, like if he was taking notes about Aztec astronomy or something, he would do it in red, and then something else, like ferns, would be in green. He had it kind of color coded. And I remember going up to him and saying “Hi Oliver,” and he looked at me and had like two different color pens sticking out of his mouth, and these colored pens in his pocket and he was writing furiously. And I began to get a sense of what a compulsive writer he was. And he was really fun to talk to, about anything. And I’m really going to miss him.
Oliver Sacks on YouTube... Sacks on "A Glorious Accident"
Richard Powers (author of Generosity) wrote about a fictional character loosely modeled on Oliver Sacks in The Echo Maker:

On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin, his only near kin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when he emerges from a protracted coma, Mark believes that this woman-who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister-is really an identical impostor. Shattered by her brother's refusal to recognize her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case histories describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognizes Mark as a rare case of Capgras Syndrome, a doubling delusion, and eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.

Set against the Platte River's massive spring migrations-one of the greatest spectacles in nature-The Echo Maker is a gripping mystery that explores the improvised human self and the even more precarious brain that splits us from and joins us to the rest of creation.

The Echo Maker is the winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction. Goodreads
Hospitals have learned to manipulate medical codes — often resulting in mind-boggling bills.
Surviving an illness and then surviving the trauma of a long stay in intensive care.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Dr. Oliver Sacks has had to face so much adversity in his life, which can be relatable to a lot of people. He was mercilessly disgraced for coming out as a homosexual to his Jewish family and then was diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma in his eye, leaving him blind in one eye. He starts the book with saying “I am now face to face with dying, but I am not finished with living.” This grabbed my attention immediately. He started the book in at age 80 and says he life is only about to begin. He needs to complete his life and how he is talking is really inspiring for an 80 year old man. “I don’t think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom” (Sacks 11).  He then goes in to the “my life” chapter where he talks about exactly that. He talks about in his last few months of life, he had to decide if he wants to live life to the fullest (as well as he could) or sulk. He chooses to live it up but he does say that he is fearful for what is to come but his main feeling was gratitude, he is happy about the life he has lived and his experiences. He is a refreshing joy to read because he is extremely eloquent.

Eula Biss

"On Immunity" by Eula Biss started out with references to short stories that intrigued me. How Gods and the parents who believed in those Gods in those times tried to help their kids fight off death. I especially liked Achilles story because it has obvious flaws that the parents are oblivious too. Going into vaccines, I have never been one to believe in vaccines and neither has my mother but after reading this book I have slightly opened my mind. I was forced to get vaccines upon entering college yet I was against them but I now have a better understanding of where people are coming from. I always especially believed that children’s immune system should develop on its own because children’s immune systems can fight off a lot. In Bliss’s book, she talks about how she gave her child a vaccine for Chicken Pox but that at first she was hesitant. This virus remains in your body and can always become triggered at any time by stress and lead to shingles. I have never had the flu virus or the chicken pox vaccine and alternately I have never had the flu or the chicken pox. I still believe that vaccines should be avoided at all times because it just beguiles me to think that’s it’s okay to put the virus into your body, even though it helps your body fight off the infection through your white blood cells, I don’t believe in it but I see the other side.


I read the articles about drinking milk and it really surprised me. There are a good amount of things wrong with humans drinking milk but this took it to a whole new level. If interpreting from the Bible it says to only drink milk from a calf, or a baby cow. The things that cows are subjected to for the process for us to get milk is very disturbing and I was unaware. It hurts me because I LOVE milk, I love anything that has to do with dairy, form ice cream to cheese (though my stomach has other plans) even though I am lactose intolerant as is 65% of the population. Though I will not stop indulging, I feel really bad for the cows and it hearts my heart, I see why people are vegan.

Alternative Remedy: Why The Public Has Lost Fate in Scientific Research

Posted for Roderick Moore-
One of the many concepts covered near the conclusion of On Immunity: an inoculation was that there are pockets of the population that has developed a server mistrust of public research organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). One possible explanation for the public’s mistrust of these institution is the contradictory results that can occasional come from research. Often, the results of an experiment do not always draw a clear-cut explanation for the phenomenon that is observed, and sometimes even researchers with the best of intentions can draw the wrong conclusion from a resulting experiment, only to be retracted and reconciled once additional data is collected. On top of the inconclusive results of research, there are also incidents where researchers in pursuit of fame and fortune intentionally mislead the public with false findings. In addition, there are also several organizations and individuals that promote the misinformation to either push a political agenda, or profit off the uninformed populace via scams disguised as alternative treatments. In fact, Paul Offit, a prominent researcher in his own wright, states in his interview with Biss that the notion of someone going into research for excessive profit is absurd. Even so, several blogs and news media sources have labeled Offit as the devil incarnate for his comment around the number of vaccines a child can receive, a comment that Offit himself admits to being a bit excessive (Biss). In conclusion, the best defense against this rampant case of misinformation is the education of individuals on discerning credible and non-credible information sources, and the understanding of the over sensationalized appearance of the media.
Biss, Eula. On immunity: an inoculation. London: Fitzcarraldo Ed., 2015. Print.

Final project

I am doing my project on The Soul of a Doctor.

MY Final Report

My final report will be about "Religious Exemption to Vaccine": History, Laws, Dangerous, Assault on cultural values and beliefs in America, and implications for disease outbreaks.

The Measles are Back?!

Below is an article about the measles that are back. In a big way. Cases of measles have been on the increase in the last few years, and this month an outbreak now reaching at least 94 patients has been tied to an exposure at Disneyland.
t appears that the source of this latest infection was likely either a foreign tourist or an American who returned carrying the disease from abroad, but the outbreak has brought renewed attention to the anti-vaccination movement (like this RNS commentary arguing that “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail”). What hasn’t been highlighted is the fact that the increased instances of measles and other previously-eradicated diseases in this country over the last decade are actually a cautionary tale about religious exemptions.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Final Report

Conner here! I'll be doing my final report on Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Bostrom.

Dr. Oliver Sacks Gratitude 3/30/17 post

          Dr. Oliver Sacks was, without a doubt, a remarkable man. His perspective on life is a highly intelligent and well thought out view. Of course, he has had to face so much adversity in his life, from being disgraced for coming out as a homosexual in a very religious Jewish family, to having to battle cancer.  He says,

 “I have tended since boyhood to deal with loss –losing people dear to me—by turning to the nonhuman […] Times of stress throughout my life have led me to turn , or return, to the physical sciences, a world where there is no life, but also no death”(Sacks 26).

          His connection with the sciences and periodic table attest to his hardships, I think, and make him who he is. When he speaks of neither life nor death in the “perfect world” he makes the connection to physical science even more appealing. A thought of this world without pain and hardship—without cancer—without limitations or restrictions is what he gravitates toward. I believe, as humans, that we all look to the future and hope, beyond hope, that there is a utopia waiting for us. And then, suddenly, as in Dr. Sacks case, a sense of sorrow persists that we will not get to see this utopia, quite like the way he laments on not being able to see the new breakthroughs in physical science.in the following years. His constant draw back to the periodic table is emblematic. It is what his entire life has stood for.—the 4rth element Beryllium being the first his collection, thus when he realized his passion for science. As well as, at the end when he stares into the city of element 83, Bismuth. Again, we see his visualization of a perfect world. This”modest grey metal” is symbolic of his love and devotion to his profession as a doctor. He says,

“My feeling as a doctor for the mistreated and marginalized extends into the inorganic world and finds a parallel in my feeling for Bismuth” (Sacks 30).

         This parallel speaks worlds to the adversity he has faced, especially as a young adult discovering his sexuality.  In the last chapter he speaks of how he slowly faded away from his religious affiliations. He tells about his friend who received a Nobel Prize declaring celebration of Sabbath would have trumped the prize ceremony. He, however, put achieving peace within one’s self at the utmost priority regardless of spiritual or nonspiritual sentiment. Dr. Oliver Sacks was an incredible individual, and I very much enjoyed this collection of his essays. I think his ideas are well beyond the 45 pages of the book, and speak volumes to those of us who share a love for science as well as those of us who have experienced coping with hardship and adversity.


What happens when diagnosis is automated?
By Siddhartha Mukherjee

One evening last November, a fifty-four-year-old woman from the Bronx arrived at the emergency room at Columbia University’s medical center with a grinding headache. Her vision had become blurry, she told the E.R. doctors, and her left hand felt numb and weak. The doctors examined her and ordered a CT scan of her head.

A few months later, on a morning this January, a team of four radiologists-in-training huddled in front of a computer in a third-floor room of the hospital. The room was windowless and dark, aside from the light from the screen, which looked as if it had been filtered through seawater. The residents filled a cubicle, and Angela Lignelli-Dipple, the chief of neuroradiology at Columbia, stood behind them with a pencil and pad. She was training them to read CT scans.

“It’s easy to diagnose a stroke once the brain is dead and gray,” she said. “The trick is to diagnose the stroke before too many nerve cells begin to die.” Strokes are usually caused by blockages or bleeds, and a neuroradiologist has about a forty-five-minute window to make a diagnosis, so that doctors might be able to intervene—to dissolve a growing clot, say. “Imagine you are in the E.R.,” Lignelli-Dipple continued, raising the ante. “Every minute that passes, some part of the brain is dying. Time lost is brain lost.”

She glanced at a clock on the wall, as the seconds ticked by. “So where’s the problem?” she asked.

Strokes are typically asymmetrical. The blood supply to the brain branches left and right and then breaks into rivulets and tributaries on each side. A clot or a bleed usually affects only one of these branches, leading to a one-sided deficit in a part of the brain. As the nerve cells lose their blood supply and die, the tissue swells subtly. On a scan, the crisp borders between the anatomical structures can turn hazy. Eventually, the tissue shrinks, trailing a parched shadow. But that shadow usually appears on the scan several hours, or even days, after the stroke, when the window of intervention has long closed. “Before that,” Lignelli-Dipple told me, “there’s just a hint of something on a scan”—the premonition of a stroke.

The images on the Bronx woman’s scan cut through the skull from its base to the apex in horizontal planes, like a melon sliced from bottom to top. The residents raced through the layers of images, as if thumbing through a flipbook, calling out the names of the anatomical structures: cerebellum, hippocampus, insular cortex, striatum, corpus callosum, ventricles. Then one of the residents, a man in his late twenties, stopped at a picture and motioned with the tip of a pencil at an area on the right edge of the brain. “There’s something patchy here,” he said. “The borders look hazy.” To me, the whole image looked patchy and hazy—a blur of pixels—but he had obviously seen something unusual.

“Hazy?” Lignelli-Dipple prodded. “Can you describe it a little more?”

The resident fumbled for words. He paused, as if going through the anatomical structures in his mind, weighing the possibilities. “It’s just not uniform.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. Just looks funny.”

Lignelli-Dipple pulled up a second CT scan, taken twenty hours later. The area pinpointed by the resident, about the diameter of a grape, was dull and swollen. A series of further scans, taken days apart, told the rest of the story. A distinct wedge-shaped field of gray appeared. Soon after the woman got to the E.R., neurologists had tried to open the clogged artery with clot-busting drugs, but she had arrived too late. A few hours after the initial scan, she lost consciousness, and was taken to the I.C.U. Two months later, the woman was still in a ward upstairs. The left side of her body—from the upper arms to the leg—was paralyzed.

I walked with Lignelli-Dipple to her office. I was there to learn about learning: How do doctors learn to diagnose? And could machines learn to do it, too?

My own induction into diagnosis began in the fall of 1997, in Boston, as I started my clinical rotations. To prepare, I read a textbook, a classic in medical education, that divided the act of diagnosis into four tidy phases. First, the doctor uses a patient’s history and a physical exam to collect facts about her complaint or condition. Next, this information is collated to generate a comprehensive list of potential causes. Then questions and preliminary tests help eliminate one hypothesis and strengthen another—so-called “differential diagnosis.” Weight is given to how common a disease might be, and to a patient’s prior history, risks, exposures. (“When you hear hoofbeats,” the saying goes, “think horses, not zebras.”) The list narrows; the doctor refines her assessment. In the final phase, definitive lab tests, X-rays, or CT scans are deployed to confirm the hypothesis and seal the diagnosis. Variations of this stepwise process were faithfully reproduced in medical textbooks for decades, and the image of the diagnostician who plods methodically from symptom to cause had been imprinted on generations of medical students.

But the real art of diagnosis, I soon learned, wasn’t so straightforward. My preceptor in medical school was an elegant New Englander with polished loafers and a starched accent. He prided himself on being an expert diagnostician. He would ask a patient to demonstrate the symptom—a cough, say—and then lean back in his chair, letting adjectives roll over his tongue. “Raspy and tinny,” he might say, or “base, with an ejaculated thrum,” as if he were describing a vintage bottle of Bordeaux. To me, all the coughs sounded exactly the same, but I’d play along—“Raspy, yes”—like an anxious impostor at a wine tasting.

The taxonomist of coughs would immediately narrow down the diagnostic possibilities. “It sounds like a pneumonia,” he might say, or “the wet rales of congestive heart failure.” He would then let loose a volley of questions. Had the patient experienced recent weight gain? Was there a history of asbestos exposure? He’d ask the patient to cough again and he’d lean down, listening intently with his stethoscope. Depending on the answers, he might generate another series of possibilities, as if strengthening and weakening synapses. Then, with the élan of a roadside magician, he’d proclaim his diagnosis—“Heart failure!”—and order tests to prove that it was correct. It usually was.

A few years ago, researchers in Brazil studied the brains of expert radiologists in order to understand how they reached their diagnoses. Were these seasoned diagnosticians applying a mental “rule book” to the images, or did they apply “pattern recognition or non-analytical reasoning”?

Twenty-five such radiologists were asked to evaluate X-rays of the lung while inside MRI machines that could track the activities of their brains. (There’s a marvellous series of recursions here: to diagnose diagnosis, the imagers had to be imaged.) X-rays were flashed before them. Some contained a single pathological lesion that might be commonly encountered—perhaps a palm-shaped shadow of a pneumonia, or the dull, opaque wall of fluid that had accumulated behind the lining of the lung. Embedded in a second group of diagnostic images were line drawings of animals; within a third group, the outlines of letters of the alphabet. The radiologists were shown the three types of images in random order, and then asked to call out the name of the lesion, the animal, or the letter as quickly as possible while the MRI machine traced the activity of their brains. It took the radiologists an average of 1.33 seconds to come up with a diagnosis. In all three cases, the same areas of the brain lit up: a wide delta of neurons near the left ear, and a moth-shaped band above the posterior base of the skull.

“Our results support the hypothesis that a process similar to naming things in everyday life occurs when a physician promptly recognizes a characteristic and previously known lesion,” the researchers concluded. Identifying a lesion was a process similar to naming the animal. When you recognize a rhinoceros, you’re not considering and eliminating alternative candidates. Nor are you mentally fusing a unicorn, an armadillo, and a small elephant. You recognize a rhinoceros in its totality—as a pattern. The same was true for radiologists. They weren’t cogitating, recollecting, differentiating; they were seeing a commonplace object. For my preceptor, similarly, those wet rales were as recognizable as a familiar jingle.

In 1945, the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle gave an influential lecture about two kinds of knowledge. A child knows that a bicycle has two wheels, that its tires are filled with air, and that you ride the contraption by pushing its pedals forward in circles. Ryle termed this kind of knowledge—the factual, propositional kind—“knowing that.” But to learn to ride a bicycle involves another realm of learning. A child learns how to ride by falling off, by balancing herself on two wheels, by going over potholes. Ryle termed this kind of knowledge—implicit, experiential, skill-based—“knowing how.”

"A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health"

“Look on the sunny side of life.”

“Turn your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

“See the glass as half-full, not half-empty.”

Researchers are finding that thoughts like these, the hallmarks of people sometimes called “cockeyed optimists,” can do far more than raise one’s spirits. They may actually improve health and extend life.

There is no longer any doubt that what happens in the brain influences what happens in the body. When facing a health crisis, actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counter depression. Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Brave New World

I will be doing my final report on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Final paper

I will be doing my final paper on The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

Final Solo Project

I will be doing The Case Against Perfection by Michael Sandel (:

Homo Deus

Anyone interested in reporting on this?
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. amazon.com

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Final Reporting Topic

I'm calling dibs on Zero K  by  Don Delillo for my final report

Response to Concluding Chapters "On Immunity"

Eula Bliss’s book On Immunity was an exceptional read and it touched on countless topics that were all intriguing and scary at the same time. I loved how she considered so many angles when it comes to approaching our immune system. She portrays how the immune system is so complex and how everyone has different opinions when it comes to the different aspects. I have always been an advocate for vaccines and after reading this book I still am, but I now have a better understanding of where people are coming from. I understand that some people are more traditional and old school and feel that children’s immune system should develop on its own and let it regulate itself. I agree with this because children’s immune systems are impressive and can fight off tons of bacteria and other infectious organisms, but I don’t see the harm in adding an extra boost to their immune system. In Bliss’s book, she mentions how her son received a vaccine for Chicken Pox and that at first she was hesitant, but later followed through on the doctor’s advice. When it comes to Chicken Pox, it leaves a leftover virus called varicella virus. This virus remains in your nerves and can become triggered again by intense amount of stress and if your body doesn’t keep it at bay it ultimately can lead to shingles; an intense inflammation of the nerves. One of my teachers here at MTSU had shingles and I saw how much pain it caused him and I also saw how all of that could have been avoided if he had received the vaccine when he was a kid. Chiefly, I would rather receive a vaccine and not need it versus not receiving the vaccine and contracting a horrible disease or harmful organism later down the road!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Related questions:

In the pharmaceutical world, Jane Smith observes the great division is between what?
What is one of the primary mechanism of natural immunity?
Even before Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas, the epidemic diseases did exist in America. T/F
What was the idea that the book “Silent Spring” popularized?
What brought malaria to America?
Who said, infectious disease steal human resources?
How the plot of Dracula relates to Silent Spring?
When was the first time that the term immune system used and by whom?
What type of virus killed over 600,000 children in the developing world every year?
How long did it take to answer the question, how can we give a vaccine that doesn’t cause disease?
What is moral hazard?
What does the term regulation refer to?

What immune machismo means? And this term was used by whom?

Eugenics and forced sterilization on Fresh Air

The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70,000 Forced Sterilizations

Hear The Original Interivew

The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70,000 Forced Sterilizations

In the early 20th century, American eugenicists used forced sterilization to "breed out" traits considered undesirable. Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles. Originally broadcast March 7, 2016.


This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching sitting in for Terry Gross. One of the worst Supreme Court decisions in history, according to our guest journalist Adam Cohen, was the 1927 decision upholding a state's right to forcibly sterilize a person considered unfit to procreate - unfit because they were deemed to be mentally deficient. That decision is part of a larger chapter of American history in which the eugenics movement was behind preventing so-called mentally deficient people from procreating through not allowing them to marry, sterilizing them and segregating them in special colonies.

The Nazis borrowed some ideas from American eugenicists. The eugenics movement also influenced the 1924 Immigration Act, which was designed in part to keep out Italians and Eastern European Jews. Adam Cohen's book titled "Imbeciles" is about the eugenics movement in the early 20th century and the Supreme Court case legalizing sterilization. Cohen is a former member of The New York Times editorial board and a former senior writer for Time magazine. Terry Gross spoke to him last year when his book was first published. It's just come out in paperback.



Adam Cohen, welcome to FRESH AIR. Let's start with what the eugenicists believed.

ADAM COHEN: They embraced the new genetics that was emerging in their era. And they believed that it could be used to perfect the human race. The word eugenics was actually coined by Francis Galton, who was a half-cousin of Charles Darwin, and it really derived a lot from Darwinian ideas. The eugenicists looked at evolution and survival of the fittest as Darwin was describing it. And they believed, we can help nature along if we just plan who reproduces and who doesn't reproduce.

GROSS: And who was considered unworthy of reproducing?

COHEN: Well, at the beginning, Galton looked at geniuses throughout history and looked to see if genius was genetic within families. And he believed that it was. But overtime, eugenics expanded quite a bit. And by the time it got to America, there were all kinds of categories of people who were deemed to be unfit, including people who were deaf, blind, diseased, poor was a big category, indolent.

So it was really in the eye of the beholder. People looked around, and they saw human qualities they didn't like, and they thought, we can really breed these out.

GROSS: And you left out feebleminded. What did feebleminded mean?

COHEN: Yes, feebleminded was really the craze in American eugenics. There was this idea that we were being drowned in a tide of feeblemindedness, that basically unintelligent people were taking over, reproducing more quickly than the intelligent people. But it was also a very malleable term that was used to define large categories of people that, again, were disliked by someone who was in the decision-making position. So women who were thought to be overly interested in sex - licentious - sometimes deemed feebleminded. It was a broad category. And it was very hard to prove at one of these feeblemindedness hearings that you were not feebleminded.

GROSS: So what sent you back to this unfortunate chapter of American history?

COHEN: Well, when I was in law school, I had heard of the case Buck v. Bell from 1927 when the Supreme Court upheld eugenic sterilization. But it wasn't formally taught in at least my class. And it's not taught in many Constitutional Law classes. But, you know, we knew it existed. And we knew the famous phrase that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the decision - three generations of imbeciles are enough. When I was thinking about something I wanted to write about, I was interested in the Supreme Court, but in many ways, I believe you can learn more about an institution and more about an ideal like justice if you look at where it's gone wrong rather than where it's gone right. And in any list of Supreme Court decisions that are terribly wrong, any list of the worst Supreme Court decisions, Buck v. Bell would have to rank very highly. (transcript continues)

Friday, March 24, 2017

How should we deal with vaccine hesitancy, refusal, and anti-vaccine beliefs?

  • From my research I found that almost as long as there have been vaccinations, there has been an antivaccine movement, and as long as there has been an anti-vaccine movement, there have been parents who refuse to vaccinate. The history also shows us how there were many organizations that had been standing against the vaccinations. For example, in the 1800s, there were even groups with names like the Anti-Vaccination Society of America and the National Anti-Vaccination League. 
  • The problem is that Parents no longer fear the diseases childhood vaccines protect against, which makes it easy for anti-vaccine activists to provide what I like to call “misinformed consent,” by spreading misinformation that vastly exaggerates the risk of vaccines compared to the benefit of vaccinating. Parents therefore who believe the misinformation conclude that not vaccinating is safer. 
  • Indeed, what to do about it? And how far the state and us should go to encourage vaccination. In my country Egypt I remember that thousands of children died because they didn't take the paralyzed vaccine. Until, the government and the ministry of health have been starting to reach almost each city and each small village to let them aware of the dangerous of anti-vaccine or refuse taking the vaccination. 
  • Here's the question, what are some reasons behind the vaccine refusal: 
  • 1-Concerns about added ingredients in vaccines 
  • 2-Worry child will suffer other complications from vaccine 
  • 3-Worries about “overwhelming” infant’s immune system 
  • 4-Distrust of pharmaceutical industry 
  • 5-Believe child will get illness from vaccine 
  • 6-Pain/stress of multiple injections for child 
  • 7-Believe naturally acquired immunity is preferable 
  • 8-Religious or political belief 
  • What should we do for increasing acceptance of vaccines? 
  • 1-Changing attitudes in the lay press—less glorifying and more scrutiny of vaccine refusers/press finally coming down negatively on vaccine refusers. 
  • 2-State laws removing philosophical exemptions for vaccines. 
  • 3-Taking more time to address all of the parents’ concerns about vaccines. 
  • 4-A new policy to dismiss vaccine refusers from practice 

  • M.Ghaly