Blogosphere Reading

Notables from This Week.

Happy Lunar New Year! May the Year of the Rabbit bring you health, wealth, and peace. I send specific wishes of safety and serenity to those who are afflicted by war. Some cultures believe that there is a rabbit in or on the moon. I hope that those who are living through war know that, when they look at the (rabbit on the) moon, there are other people on the planet who are also looking at the moon and pray for them.

What to Do If a Rat Comes Up Your Toilet. This is actual guidance (in cartoon form!) from the Seattle-King County Public Health Department. Some regions have experienced flooding due to the rivers of rain running through the sky. May you never have to deal with this problem, but if you do, now you know how to proceed.

Donations to Cover DNA Testing. This is an actual headline in the Seattle Times: Investigators ask public to fund DNA testing on foot found near Port Angeles. I learned a number of facts here:

  • “If a body sinks and decomposes underwater, scavengers begin feasting — often picking at the soft ligaments and connective tissues of human ankles first, causing the feet to become separated.”
  • “Changes in sneaker design since 2007 have made shoes more buoyant, as manufacturers began using lighter foam for soles.”
  • “Since 2007, nearly two dozen human feet in sneakers have washed up along the coasts of the Salish Sea in the U.S. and Canada.”

It is a travesty of justice that law enforcement agencies need “to crowdfund or seek donations from philanthropists” to help identify a deceased person.

The Enduring, Invisible Power of Blond. The incisive and provocative Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote this piece that ostensibly is about the power of blondness; the key quote is this: “When people have outsize emotional reactions to benign inquiries about their self-evident beliefs, it is often an indicator that status is doing invisible work.” Though there are some loud, public pushes to encourage (or cajole or threaten or berate) people to recognize their prejudices and change their behaviors, meaningful shifts actually result from quiet, internal effort. Recognizing and reflecting on “outside emotional reactions” are opportunities, as some say, “to do the work”.

Recommended: Dr. Bill Gardner’s Substack. I first started reading Dr. Gardner’s writing many years ago on the health services blog, The Incidental Economist. He now shares his thoughtful wisdom on I Have Serious News…. Much of his current writing focuses on his cancer diagnosis. He continues to write with clarity, compassion, and insight. If you seek inspiration about clear communication about health, both on individual and population levels, consider subscribing to his Substack.