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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘hiv/aids

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares pictures of Queen Street in the 1980s.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly considers the idea of a digital detox.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting strange occultations of TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to one paper suggesting plants can grow in simulated (and fertilized) Martian and lunar soil, and speculates Russia will be trying to build a space station of its own or to cooperate with China.
  • Eastern Approaches examines the shaky ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Joan Rivers was an early HIV/AIDS activist of note.
  • Language Hat summarizes a paper suggesting that language death and economic success are correlated.
  • Marginal Revolution considers Scottish separatism, wondering about the sense of either a currency union or a separate currency, and noting the increased possibility of separatism according to betters.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog critiques Mark Adomanis’ critique of Masha Gessen’s article on Russian demographics.
  • Savage Minds notes that, alas, Joan Rivers never majored in anthropology.
  • Torontoist notes that NDP Joe Cressy, defeated in his run for the Canadian parliament, is now running for city council.
  • Towleroad notes the firing of a pregnant lesbian teacher by a Catholic school, and observes the hatred felt by some anti-gay people who would like books celebrating children pleased when their same-sex parents die (among other things).
  • Understanding Society examines the sociology of influence.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy disagrees with Henry Farrell that laissez-faire ideology contributed to the Irish Famine.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian hostility towards the Crimean Tatar Meijis, reports on things Ukrainians think Ukraine should do doing the ceasefire and things Russians think Ukrainians should do (federalize and accept the loss of the east), notes high rates of childlessness in Moscow, and suggests that the Russian victory in eastern Ukraine is exceptionally pyrrhic.
  • At the Financial Times‘s The World blog, the point is made that a Scottish vote for independence would have profound implications worldwide.

[PHOTO] AIDS Memorial, Barbara Hall Park

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AIDS Memorial, Barbara Hall Park

The Toronto AIDS Memorial in Barbara Hall Park (formerly Cawthra Square Park), one of the several across Canada, was completed in June 1993 in the middle of the escalating epidemic. Plaques of names of the dead are mounted on the pillars, arranged in a kind of semi-circle beyond these roses. Thankfully, in recent years with the progress of treatment the lists have grown ever shorter.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • blogTO ranks the five busiest subway stations in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the idea of using charged particle beams to propel sails.
  • Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin notes how some American conservatives blame Ebola on DDT bans.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that exoplanet Kepler 91b, detected by its eclipses of the sun, has been confirmed through radial velocity measurements.
  • The Dragon’s Tale suggests that a mysterious event reported in 775 CE around Eurasia may have been a cometary impact.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas considers if future shock, once a generational thing, may now be coming more quickly than that.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the decline of the American bathhouse, reports on a Spanish legislator who blames the national debt on same-sex marriage, and observes an anti-HIV organization’s campaign against PReP.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the origins of Yiddish.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money approves of Bulgarians repainting Soviet war monuments in superheros.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that the Unied States’ economic problems began long before 2008.
  • Otto Pohl reports from Ghana, in the middle of economic and currency collapse.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes that the Rosetta spacecraft is current scouting a landing site for its Philae landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
  • Torontoist describes how Arnold Palmer got his start at the Canadian Open.
  • Towleroad argues that out actor John Barrowman is a gay icon, and suggests that an anti-gay pogrom in Uganda may not have happened.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that today is the 75th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided northeastern Europe up between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Russia’s moves in Ukraine have harmed its Asian interests vis-a-vis China and argues that recent events have consolidated support for Ukrainian statehood.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies writes about the end of his career as a financial analyst.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper discussing the brown dwarfs of 25 Orionis.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Uranus’ moon system is still evolving, with the moon Cupid being doomed in a relatively short timescale. It also wonders if North Korea is exporting rare earths through China.
  • Far Outliers notes the Ainu legacy in placenames in Japanese-settled Hokkaido.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the complexities surrounding language and dialect and nationality in the Serbo-Croatian speech community in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the terribly high death rate among Europeans in colonial Indonesia, and how drink was used to put things off.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in Armenia.
  • Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s many lies and/or incomprehensions about Toronto’s fiscal realities.
  • Towleroad suggests that one way to regularize HIV testing would be to integrate it with dentistry appointments.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a water dispute on the Russian-Azerbaijan border and argues that the election of a pro-Russian cleric to the head of the Ukrainian section of the Russian Orthodox Church is dooming that church to decline.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO shares vintage postcard images of Toronto in the 1970s.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a proposed method for detecting exomoons, by detecting the disruptions that they cause in their parent worlds’ magnetic fields on the pattern of Io’s disruption of Jupiter’s magnetic fields.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a new paper suggesting that Enceladus’ geysers are caused by its tides with Saturn.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at what sociology has to say about sibling relationships.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that some American conservstives think gays should oppose immigration because immigrants bring tuberculosis which kills HIV-positive people.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig demonstrates that there is no evidence at all that Yiddish descends from the Turkic Khazarian language, noting instead arguments for a Germanic origin.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps population change in Estonia over 1989-2011, noting that there has been population growth only in the metropolitan areas of three Estonian cities with Russian-majority Narva not seeing growth.
  • At Savage Minds, Uzma Z. Rizvi thinks about racism in the United States over time.
  • The Search interviews online anthropologist Robert Kozinets.
  • Spacing Toronto notes that Toronto saw the invention of the first arcade game.
  • Strange Maps shares an interactive infographic tracing the cross-border electricity trade in the European Union.
  • Towleroad notes a fatal gay-bashing in San Francisco and the near-murder of an Azerbaijani teen by parents who wanted to burn him alive.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes an American court ruling refusing to enforce a Moroccan court judgement on the grounds of the Moroccan legal system’s corruption.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that support for federalism is spreading in Russia, notes one analyst’s argument that Russia can become a beacon of reactionary conservative ideology, and suggests that Russia is trying to nudge outside powers out of the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute.

[BLOG] Some culture-related links

  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas takes a look at the role of the Church in fostering technological and other innovation.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that ex-ex-gays are skeptical about claims of sexual orientation conversion, notes a study suggesting that Truvada does protect against HIV infection, and shares the news with Language Hat that the oldest ancient erotic graffiti has been found and turns out to be gay.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig notes how ridiculous it is to talk about “simple” languages.
  • Language Hat notes a study comparing the intelligibility of Maltese with different nearby Arabic varieties and examines the origins of the shtetl.
  • Language Log disapproves of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes‘ depiction of emergent ape language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the internal passports of whites living in the Confederacy and notes that farmworkers in California are suffering from the drought.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the languages of the world are more resilient to globalization than suspected, comments on immigration in Germany, and notes the study suggesting same-sex parents do a better than average job of raising their children.
  • The New APPS Blog traces the moral depravity of some pro-Israeli commentators and wonders if underfunding of infrastructure is bringing us to the days of the end of Rome.
  • The Numerati’s Stephen Baker notes that some drivers in Los Angeles appear to really dislike his ode to jaywalking.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw draws from memories of old horse-drawn Gypsy carts in Australia to talk about the importance of animal power in history.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg maps the distribution of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that China’s sex imbalances seem to echo historical Australian patterns.
  • The Search interviews online cuture scholar danah boyd.
  • Towleroad links to an Iranian government study of young people’s sexuality suggesting, among other things, that 17% of surveyed students are gay.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi talks about the existence of transfolk in his Old Man’s War universe.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the political consequences of spam.

[LINK] “The Man Who Was Immune to AIDS”

A Mike on Facebook linked to Jesse Green‘s New York Magazine article on the life of Stephen Crohn. One of the first people discovered to be immune to HIV infection due to a specific mutation preventing the virus from infecting white blood cells, Crohn was nonetheless devastated by being a rare survivor of his group. A powerful article.

Steve Crohn seemed almost euphoric, as if relieved to be checking off items on a list that had grown overwhelmingly long. In July, he flew to London to install one of his paintings in the home of the friends who’d commissioned it. Back in New York, he caught up with emails, left messages on machines, never mentioning or exhibiting any despair. Over lunch with the dean of his alma mater, he offered to provide photos he’d taken in the ’60s for an exhibition on the civil-rights movement. To his younger sister he mailed a birthday card featuring a tabby cat, apparently knowing full well the circumstances under which it would later arrive. He made lists of his bank accounts and passwords. Check, check, check.

And he finished his maps. For his entire life as an artist—he was now 66—he’d had to support himself and give structure to his existence with various day jobs: copyediting, magazine production, interior design, social work. But proofreading for Fodor’s was his longest-running gig, and perhaps the most congenial. He could do it from home, or what now passed as home. And for a punctilious person, it could be oddly satisfying. He would carefully read the manuscripts of travel books the publisher was preparing, compare the texts to the maps, and make sure everything mentioned in one was accurately pictured in the other. This time, this last time, he saw that the restaurant 2 Fools and a Bull was missing from the Oranjestad detail. The Tropicana Aruba resort on Eagle Beach had also gone missing. He neatly noted these mistakes, then brought the completed work to the Random House building, leaving it at the lobby desk. This was last August, Thursday the 15th, 1:30 in the afternoon.

Perhaps you saw him that pleasant day: one of those friendly-looking gay New Yorkers, aging but not old, thick but not fat, six-footish, with blue eyes and a slight dusting of ginger in the white fuzz haloing his face. Beefy worker’s hands, yet with a fine gold band on the right ring finger. Busy like someone with lots of work and places to be—though this was a front. He was freelance in the largest sense: unattached, perhaps unattachable. Most of all he was a survivor, which to him meant not just being but being special. He smoked Dunhills. Brushed his teeth with Vade­mecum. Was hearty with strangers, dapper at cocktails, cultivating the air of a wealthy eccentric despite his Social Security check. He dressed just so: often a neckerchief jauntily affixed, a beanie or a bolo tie, a popped collar, interesting socks. He had the verbal flair of Oscar Wilde if Wilde had 12-stepped. “Darling!” he’d call anyone. Or, an encouragement: “Go you!”

The obituaries got a lot wrong, but this much was right: Stephen Lyon Crohn didn’t die of AIDS. Not dying of AIDS was in fact the reason he got obituaries at all. Certainly it wasn’t because of his hundreds of artworks, however beautiful; few people had seen them. Being the great-nephew of the great Burrill Crohn—the doctor who described and gave his name to the chronic inflammatory disorder—was a piquant detail but not the point. No, it was Steve’s own medical description that earned him inches in the Daily News: “ ‘The Man Who Can’t Catch AIDS’ commits suicide at age of 66.” Or, as the Los Angeles Times put it: “Immune to HIV but not its tragedy.”

It was true: Steve was one of a surpassingly small number of people on Earth whose bodies essentially ignored HIV. And he was one of an even smaller subset who had occasion to find out. Back in the early 1980s, at a time when thousands of gay men, including dozens Steve knew and loved, began dying, he kept on living. Surely he’d been multiply exposed, and yet as he waited a year, and then many, to join those he’d lost, he came to realize that his body would not give him the chance. Frantic to find out why, he went from doctor to doctor, all but begging someone to study him; when eventually someone did, a great discovery was made. Not only had he inherited a genetic mutation that spared him, but that knowledge would lead to the development of a drug that even now helps sustain the lives of people not as lucky as he. “He realized that he could provide a piece of the jigsaw,” one researcher said, “and he was right.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 19, 2014 at 2:48 am

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