health my backyard nature pandemic photography weather

Sunday Morning – Sprung Forward

Springing Forward Into Daylight Saving : All of the clocks were set before bed last night with the exception of the weather clock. That thing is going to be a problem. I can not update the software so it will have to be set forward, I doubt it will take. It will just reset itself every time it communicates with the “atomic clock” until it’s software tells it that daylight savings time starts in 3 weeks.

Weather report : Doors and windows are wide so we are listening to the morning chorus outside. The fog is thicker than yesterday morning, but clearing. The temperature is in the upper 50’s outdoors; upper 60’s inside. From my way of thinking, that is the perfect temperature to start the day. Cool enough to feel but warm enough to be comfortable when dressed. The prognosticators are calling for rain in the next couple of days, that’s sure to play havoc with the Spring Break around here.

Vitamins and Death :
Last week I posted on the report about vitamins causing your death. I said then I wanted to see who paid for the study. After reading the health column in this weeks US News and World Reports, I find that interest in the funder of the report even higher. Dr. Healy’s explanation of how the report was arrived at leaves more questions of why this report made such a splash in the news and who was pushing the studies findings to the press.

Vitamin studies always seem to stir controversy, but certainly not visions of death. On that score, last week’s report on antioxidant vitamins, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was a doozy. The researchers concluded that people taking the antioxidants vitamins A, its precursor beta carotene, and vitamin E, for whatever reason, at whatever dose, and for however long, may be putting their lives in jeopardy. But before you toss out your vitamin pills, let’s examine this alarmist study a little bit closer.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital set out to determine whether the antioxidant supplements lengthen one’s life. That’s difficult to answer, since most people taking vitamins are healthy. So the researchers identified antioxidant clinical trials large and small, as long as they reported at least one death. Any death counted, whether from heart disease or cancer, kidney failure or hip fractures, murders or suicides. Out of 747 antioxidant trials reviewed, 68 met the bill. Then, in what is called a meta-analysis, the 68 trials were combined into what is effectively one study.

It’s a hell of a way to come to a conclusion, throw away the results that don’t agree with your proposal. Have these guys been taking lessons from the Bush Administration and their backers in the Oil Industry? Anywho, I guess that for myself, I’ll continue to take my vitamins (when I remember) and worry about them killing me, not.

Source: Bernadine Healy, M.D.: A Closer Look at the Vitamin Study

History Lesson for Today : From Garrison this morning we get a history lesson, that touches the news stories from the past year or so. The more you read about the recent discoveries being made in the study of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the scarier this whole pandemic thing becomes. National Geographic had a good article a couple of months ago, Tracking the Next Killer Flu. After reading the CDC’s recommendations on what

It was on this day in 1918 that the first cases of what would become the influenza pandemic were reported in the U.S. when 107 soldiers got sick at Fort Riley, Kansas.It was the worst pandemic in world history. The flu that year killed only 2.5 percent of its victims, but more than a fifth of the world’s entire population caught it, and so it’s estimated that between 50 million and 100 million people died in just a few months.

Historians believe at least 500,000 people died in the United States alone. That’s more than the number of Americans killed in combat in all the wars of the 20th century combined. Usually, the flu would have been most likely to kill babies and the elderly, but the flu of 1918 somehow targeted healthy people in their 20s and 30s. And it was an extremely virulent strain. In the worst cases, victims’ skin would turn dark red, and their feet would turn black.

Source: The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

Yesterday’s Drive in the Country

The youngest and I went for an afternoon drive so she could practice. I took along the camera. We stopped at an old windmill to take some photo’s. As I was headed back to the car I glanced across the road I spotted a bright yellow spot on top of a bush in the pasture next to the road. When I put the camera to it I saw it was a bird. Now I am going to show how much of a neophyte I am when I say I did not recognize what I was seeing. Once I downloaded the pictures this morning and started going through the Peterson’s I found what I was amazed to discover that what I had seen was a meadowlark. I find it hard to believe that in all of these years here on the coastal prairie I have never seen a meadowlark. Now I am not even going to take a shot at trying to differentiate whether it is eastern or western, that I leave up to the more experienced birders out there…Anyway, here are a few shots through the handheld long zoom from further away than I would have liked cropped as close as I dared…

And just for good measure, here’s the first Bluebonnet Bloom of the year in my yard. After spotting this one I notice there were quite a few on the roadside coming home…Thanks TexDoT, your planting work is appreciated.

A Quote for Today

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Source: Thought for the Day

health News of the day pandemic

Flu causing some Texas schools to close | – Houston Chronicle

It’s not the bird flue but it’s already causing havoc…Is this what we have to look forward to in the near future? That appears to be what the CDC was telling us when they published their recent “Guidelines“.

DALLAS — With flu widespread in Texas now, a handful of schools are reporting enough absences due to flu and other illnesses that they’ve decided to close.

Flu season in Texas generally runs from October to March, with February usually being the height of the season, said Emily Palmer, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services. She said that flu has been considered widespread in Texas since the week ending Jan. 27.

Source: Flu causing some Texas schools to close | – Houston Chronicle


CDC Issues Guidelines For Battling Flu Pandemic –

We just went over this at work…I still think the lack of planning for travel restrictions shows a overly optimistic streak on the part of the CDC. If this goes pandemic the last place I would want to be is in the cabin of an airline with a few hundred unknown people from who knows where for an hour or three. And if it goes pandemic and still has the ability to be carried by birds… 

ATLANTA, Feb. 1 — States should be prepared to keep children out of school for three months, businesses should be prepared to operate with skeleton workforces, children should be prepared to play mostly with their siblings, and parents should be prepared to lose income as they skip work and cobble together rickety child-care arrangements.

That was the picture sketched Thursday by federal officials in a guidance for communities on how to fight pandemic influenza in the months before a vaccine becomes available — if one ever does.

The one thing I carried away from our session at work is it’s time for the entire country to have a hurricane kit. Canned foods, water, medicines and fuel to cook and stay warm for weeks should the economy go into slowdown mode. Think Katrina only nationwide.

Right now the government thinking appears to be that outbreaks will be regional and it will be business as usual in other parts of the country while the affected region is quarantined. All I have to say about that is lots of luck. They can’t keep millions of people from crossing the border and spreading out throughout the country now. What makes them think they will be able to do it under adverse conditions?

For me…I’ll make the rudimentary plans add some stock into my hurricane/camping gear. Pick up a few more cans of vegetables and canned meats (and I hate spam).  And then I’ll go on with my life. If this is coming, I can’t do anything to stop it and worrying about it will just make me crazy. This doesn’t mean I’ll ostrich up, I’ll follow they news and keep track of the latest “thinking” but I wont let it keep me from living life now…

Source: CDC Issues Guidelines For Battling Flu Pandemic –