Saturday, October 20, 2007

day +60

I just finished watching a fascinating program called Little Ice Age: Big Chill on the History Channel, which examines the 500 year old global chill between about 1300 and 1850. Changing climate, this program argues, was a pivotal force in the social and political changes of this historical period, as illustrated during the Black Death, the French Revolution, and in Napoleon's failed 1812 campaign into Russia, for example. I found the program very interesting and now, I'm eager to add yet another book - Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1840 - to my long wish list.

Interestingly, with all the talk in the media about the frightening picture of a future planet being inundated as a result of global climate change, little is said about the belief among a minority of scientists that higher temperatures could cause the opposite: a global freeze reminiscent of what happened between 1300 and 1850. (Naturally, I thought about the film, The Day After Tomorrow) According to the program, it's evident that among some scientists the idea in an ice age is possible though of course no one can know for sure. Indeed, we are in an interglacial period and if the recent geological record is any indication, another ice age is likely at some point in the future. Though a deep chill is possible in the short term, increased emissions of carbon dioxide and an ever older Sun will indeed make the planet a hotter place than a colder one in the long term.

I forgot to mention in an earlier post that at Monday's appointment Dr. Castro-Malaspina did raise the issue of flu vaccinations. Due to my condition, I myself can't receive any live-vaccine (for about one year post-transplant) but those, such as my family and Su, who are in regular close contact with me must be vaccinated for my and their protection. My sister received her flu shot last week. My parents have appointments with their doctors for their shots soon.

Vaccinations Encouraged as Flu Season Looms

At the same appointment, Ally brought up the fact that I should start searching for a general practitioner. Though I'll be under the direct care of Dr. Castro-Malaspina for several months to come, at some point I'll need to see a GP for issues such as cholesterol and other matters not related to the allo transplant.

Since I'm on the issue of health and sickness, I've found the recent news about the increase in bacterial infections in hospitals, schools, and gyms to be somewhat alarming especially since I'm immunosuppressed. It's a good thing I can exercise at home now.

Hospitals and Superbugs: Go in Sick . . . Get Sicker

Drug-resistant Staph Infections on the Rise, Study Finds

Finally, with regards to traveling north to Alaska, I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about the opportunity to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights while there. According to this 2004 USA Today article, September is one of the best times of the year to view the Aurora Borealis. So, if I started out in San Francisco, say around May, and traveled northwards at a leisurely pace through the rest of California, and then into the Northwest, British Columbia, Yukon Territory and finally into Alaska, I would probably arrive in the 49th State of the Union around the ideal time to observe nature's light show at the crown of the world.

A View of the Aurora from Space


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