Tag: 2020 March Group Writing

American Emergency Medicine Works

 

This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.

The fellows in the ambulance were quickly on the scene. I had had a complete cardio workup the summer before, and had been pronounced fit as a fiddle. Now the lead paramedic was coaching me through something called a vagal maneuver.

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When I studied in Israel during my junior year of college, I was very excited to learn that during our first summer we would be traveling to an archaeological dig for an entire week! I had dreams of finding ancient menorahs, beautiful pottery, and mysterious relics. Although it was definitely a unique experience, it certainly […]

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I had intended to use the Co-Op farm tractor as a parable of the work-home balance that some people advocate. But after checking some of my facts I found it isn’t quite the parable I thought it was. I’ll forge ahead anyway. People sometimes talk about the need for a clear demarcation between work and […]

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Work: The Write Stuff

 

The other day, I ordered a book from Amazon. It was available in a Kindle format, so I pressed a couple of buttons, and, Wallah!, as they say around here, it was on my device within seconds.

Now I don’t mind reading books on a Kindle, and I’m well aware of the amount of shelf space I’ve saved over the past eight years by using it as much as I do. In addition, I have the “Kindle Unlimited” subscription, and I’ve found that very handy and cost-effective, when it comes to loading up on light reading which, for me, mostly consists of binge-reading mystery and detective novels in series, when I find an author I like. Is it the same as holding a book in my hand and turning the pages slowly, one by one? No. But it serves the purpose, and gets me by, and through.

I do love the feel of actual books, though. And second-hand bookstores. And the smell of a nice library. Not to mention museums and collections of antiquarian tomes, the few times that I’ve been lucky enough to be in an especially good one. (Such as the Library and Archive at Worcester Cathedral, a hidden gem in the English Midlands. I’m not so down with their exhibition of the fragment of human skin, flayed alive from a Viking who was caught stealing the Sanctus Bell somewhere around 1000, after which his skin was nailed to the door as a warning to others. But the manuscript and early book collection is spectacular. )

More Fevered Calculations: Working the Coronavirus Numbers

 

In all the hype and happy talk around the latest coronavirus to cross over to humans, keep an eye on this number in America: 498,000. That is the number of people this novel coronavirus will have to infect to cause as many deaths as the annual, seasonal flu. I tried to make sense of the numbers around notorious coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, in a post about a week ago now.

I now note that the presidential proclamation, suspending travel from certain countries, referred to COVID-19 as “SARS-CoV-2.” The CDC page explains the reason for the changing names. This prompted another look at the numbers, with this math-challenged scribbler doing a bit of stubby pencil, back-of-the-envelope figuring. Check my math as I work through the numbers; hopefully it is better than Ma and Pa Kettle’s.

SARS last time had an 9-10% mortality rate. It was nothing like influenza, including the worse known version in 1918-19, because the number of people who actually contracted SARS was so much lower than the number of people who get the flu globally every year. Think about it: if the flu regularly kills 1 in 1000 infected, and SARS killed 1 in 10, then you can see that SARS would have to infect 1/100 the number of flu victims to reach the same death count.

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Work is not just a paycheck retrieval system or hippie repellent.  There is actually a specific definition of work in physics, but we need to start before that. Force is not female, it is the push or pull on an object.  Gravity pulls you into your chair, toward the Earth, while the chair presses your […]

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Welcome to the Wacky World of OSHA: Walking-Working Surfaces

 

The most commonly cited OSHA standard is 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces.  It’s not surprising: the biggest causes of death in construction are falls and being struck by an object, both of which the standard tries to prevent.

Like much of the OSHA regulations, it tends to spell out the common sense approach.  Railing, scaffolds, ladders, etc need to be well put together and guard against objects rolling off and smacking someone.  People high up need harnesses and safety lines so they are not one slip away from a splat, and the harnesses need to be inspected just like a parachute.  Lots of explicit listing of just how big a railing needs to be and what the spacing needs to be, etc.  Like nearly every standard, it begins with a set of definitions for all of the words / concepts specific to the standard.  For example:

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In game design, “grinding” is a term for performing a repetitive action in pursuit of a long-term reward. Some people use the term without reference to fun. But “grind” is more commonly employed by players to identify a redundancy that becomes boring or burdensome, though it is tolerated because the goal is sufficiently enticing.  Some […]

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All right folks, let’s get workin’. There are many open days left on this month’s theme “Working.” You really don’t want me to break out the Charmin Bears, outhouses, and disco music! All you need do is write a short post to start the conversation. Perhaps you could ask a question or two to get […]

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“Nice Work if You Can Get It” is a George and Ira Gershwin song composed as part of the sound track for the 1937 song and dance movie A Damsel in Distress. It was first sung by Fred Astaire with backing vocals by The Stafford Sisters, led by Jo Stanford, who had a long career […]

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Working Tunes

 

Let’s start off March with some of the soundtrack of our lives, songs about work and working. Here are a few tunes that come to mind for me. Are some of these songs that come to mind for you as well, and do you have other tunes in your mental soundtrack?

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” is the first song that comes to my mind. It is a working man’s lament at a rigged system, while also boasting of great physical prowess, a man among men.

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When a friend’s uncle from North Dakota first saw the Pacific Ocean, he stood there and gazed at it for a long time. Then, he said “Just a-workin’ all the time!” – @rushbabe49 With record employment and wage growth, on the one hand, and all manner of hijinks and skulduggery on the other hand, the […]

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