The real issue with swine flu/H1N1 flu/whatever’s PC now

The main reason health officials are worried about H1N1 is not because it is somehow deadlier than other flus. The flu is pretty deadly. It kills around the same number of Americans each year as car accidents. That’s why we have flu vaccines; we try to predict which flu strain will be the most common and then prepare ourselves for it.

The issue with swine flu is that we don’t yet have a vaccine. We had no idea it was coming, so we were unprepared. As with any other flu, people who are very old, very young, and who have health conditions are the most at risk of actually dying, but anyone is in danger if they don’t take care of themselves.

Because we weren’t prepared for this, there’s more of a chance that it will affect more people. And the more people who end up sick, the harder it is for the nation to go about its business. If no one at a certain factory is able to work, for example, that’s a huge hit to that company and to all the other companies that depend on it. If police, firemen, doctors, and/or nurses get sick, that’s a safety issue. We need to have enough healthy, well people in our society to function.

So you can stop worrying about dying from swine flu. Instead, worry about staying healthy. Wash your hands and encourage others to. Eat right, get enough rest. And don’t let fear of the flu cripple your life.

Funny

Occasionally a newspaper employee will joke that all local TV stations do is read that day’s newspaper on air. This is silly for a couple of reasons. First of all, all news organizations read/watch each other for tips. They’d be stupid not to. There are plenty of times that TV breaks the story first. This was true even before the web.

But what makes this joke a little dangerous is the fact that it ignores a perhaps uncomfortable truth: all local news organizations make heavy use of Associated Press content. So sure, TV might have repackaged an AP story for air. But how many newspaper stories are copy-and-pasted from the AP wire?

This post contains the opinion of Heather Meadows and no one other than Heather Meadows. The above should not be construed as the perspective or conclusions of anyone but Heather Meadows. Heather Meadows!

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Stay away from the farm: Swine flu

If you’ve been sick recently, doubtless someone has joked, “Maybe it’s swine flu!” The name may be funny, but the issue is serious. The virus is spreading and has already killed.

While it probably started in pigs, it’s obviously moving human to human now. So while avoiding pigs and birds is a no-brainer, there are other things you’ll want to do as well. Wash your hands, take your vitamins, try not to touch your mouth or nose, and stay away from sick people if you can. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and exercising. If you do get sick, don’t go to school or work. There is no vaccine, so be careful!

Here’s some general information about the outbreak.

Here’s some general information about swine flu from the CDC.

Here’s more specific information about the current outbreak from the CDC.

Here’s the CDC’s main page about swine flu, with links to more resources.

Here’s an interactive map of locations where swine flu has been reported and confirmed.

And here’s a dose of reality. Do some research before you freak out! Remember, you can’t get swine flu from eating pork–it’s a flu virus. Just do what you would normally do to avoid getting sick, and pay attention to whether or not swine flu has been reported in your area.

Don’t dress up like Elvis in Nicholasville

Or at least, not in court:

‘Elvis’ shows up at Kentucky court drunk

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – A central Kentucky judge had a suspicious mind when an Elvis Presley impersonator showed up for court apparently drunk and sporting sunglasses and a rhinestone-studded shirt with a scarf draped around his neck.

County Attorney Brian Goettl said that as a result, the judge had David Blaisdell, 64, tested for intoxication and sentenced him to three days in jail for contempt of court when it was determined that the man’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice that at which a person in Kentucky is considered legally drunk.

Blaisdell, who was in court for a pretrial conference on misdemeanor charges of stalking and violating a protective order, told the judge he had had a few drinks the night before, Goettl said.

Good to know those drunk Elvis impersonators aren’t getting off easy in the ol’ hometown! ;)

Weird observation

I can’t remember ever hearing a news story about a plain-looking, regular student killed in a wreck. They’re always beautiful and sociable and everyone in the school knew them. Do news outlets just not bother with the unpopular kids, or are popular kids more likely to get in wrecks?

I support Montel Williams

Or at least, what he said on Fox and Friends:

He’s right. Shut up about celebrities, stay out of people’s private lives, and focus on what’s important. Yes, fans do mourn Heath Ledger. But they can do that on their own time; they don’t need a TV show to help them.

And don’t argue that it’s a happy-shiny morning show, and what Montel said was too depressing. If that’s the case, then why talk about death at all? Are you then saying that Heath Ledger’s death is a lighthearted one?

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How about this copy?

Was a group of Muslim women clutching briefcases and text messaging during films were spotted making a terrorist attack “dry run” in a theater?

-the RSS summary for this Snopes article

and

The 65-pound dog survived a six story leap from a Tampa airport parking garage and lived.

-the first paragraph of this AP article

Nice.

(It happens to all of us…especially during breaking news!)

Obama manjuu

Barack Obama has been endorsed by the city of Obama, Japan.

Members of a local tourism association and other people formed a volunteer group Monday supporting Obama and put up campaign posters at a local hotel.

“We’d like him to win the election and visit our city as president,” said 55-year-old Kiyoji Fujihara, a group representative.

[…]

According to the city government, the move arose out of an e-mail sent to city hall by a local resident in late 2006.

The message said Obama had joked “I’m from Obama” on TV when visiting Japan and that the city should consider giving him an award for the comment that became good publicity for the city.

It is not known if he actually did make such a comment, but the city last year sent Obama a letter and lacquered chopsticks, a local specialty, city officials said.

Most exciting to me, though, was this bit:

The group is also considering selling Japanese-style “manju” sweets with Obama’s portrait on them.

Mmm, Obama manjuu.

Via Japundit.

Update: It occurs to me that a person who uses name similarity in this way would be what Edogawa Conan would call an お芽出度い奴.

Life imitates "art", or People are stupid

Have you seen that stupid Toyota commercial where people destroy their cars in various ways so they can buy a new Toyota?

Well:

Man accused of pushing car off mountain

A man pushed his Ford Mustang down a mountain as part of a scheme to claim it was stolen, authorities said.

Richard Way Jr., 28, pushed the car down an embankment along Wopsy Mountain in Blair County last year, then reported it had been stolen from the parking lot of a hot dog restaurant, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said.

Way, of Claysburg, was arraigned last week on charges of filing false police reports, theft and insurance fraud.

A cousin, Travis Knox, told police he saw Way remove stereo equipment from the Mustang and was asked to help push the car off a cliff, according to the arrest affidavit. Knox said he refused to help, and told investigators that Way confessed the crime to him a few days later.

The commercial annoys me every time I see it, because I’m a goody two shoes and can’t stand it when our entertainment media encourages us to commit crimes (an ad for a film where two bank employees hatch a plan to rob the place played before Enchanted! WTF?), and because this is yet another example of the “I deserve it, and I have no responsibilities” mindset.

I wondered the first time I saw it if it would happen in real life. This isn’t exactly the same, but…

(Apologies to Dariush for stealing his headline meme ;>)

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"The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam"

Japan officials warned over Wikipedia

A Japanese bureaucrat has been reprimanded for shirking his duties to make hundreds of Wikipedia contributions about toy robots, officials said Friday.

The agriculture ministry said the bureaucrat, whose name was not released, contributed 260 times to the Japanese-language Wikipedia entry on Gundam, a popular, long-running animated series about giant robots that has spun off intricate toys popular among children and adults who belong to the so-called “otaku culture” of fascination with comic books, animation and robots.

“The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam,” ministry official Tsutomu Shimomura said.

The agriculture ministry verbally reprimanded five other bureaucrats who contributed to entries on movies, typographical mistakes in billboard signs and local politics. The six employees together made 408 entries on the popular Internet encyclopedia from ministry computers since 2003.

The ministry did not object to employees making limited contributions on World Trade Organization and free trade agreements.

Inadvertent support

“Hey, you wore black today,” my coworker said.

“Yeah,” I responded, suddenly realizing what that meant. I hadn’t thought about it when I got dressed this morning. “I’m in support!”

I suppose I am. Honestly, I find the situation to be a little more problematic than a simple “right” vs. “wrong”. Injustice was done at least twice that I know of, and apparently on a regular basis (what’s with a tree “reserved” for white people?) and it is important to stand up to that. But at the same time, I do not condone violence to solve problems.

There should be some punishment there, but it should fit the crime.

So yeah, I suppose I am in support :>

(My outfit is actually black and white…think that means anything?)

One of the best paragraphs ever

Dropping something may have saved Joy Horton’s life. The 73-year-old woman was preparing some food in her western New York home on Monday morning when she dropped a spoon on the floor of her kitchen. When she bent down, her house exploded.

If you’re curious about why this happened, you’ll be disappointed, as they’re still looking into it. But here’s the rest of the story anyway.

Oops

A Japanese biker failed to notice his leg had been severed below the knee when he hit a safety barrier, and rode on for 2 km (1.2 miles), leaving a friend to pick up the missing limb.

[…]

He felt excruciating pain, but did not notice that his right leg was missing until he stopped at the next junction, the paper quoted local police as saying.

The guy’s from Hamamatsu. I used to read the blog of a guy who lived there, though he stopped posting shortly after his baby daughter was born. I wonder if he’s still there. I wonder if he knows this guy :>