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Posts Tagged ‘medicine

[BRIEF NOTE] “So Near the Touch”, a #StarTrek story about #socialdistancing (@GeorgeTakei)

The current coronavirus pandemic in Canada and the wider world has made me think of a few things. One of these is the apparently overlooked story “So Near the Touch”, the story in the first annual of the second DC Comics run of Star Trek comics published in July 1990.

Co-written by George Takei and Peter David (different sources suggest that Takei provided the story), “So Near the Touch” is centered on the world of Datugan, a Federation trading partner that was so eager to export an energy-generating ore that it irremediably polluted its environment. The very people of Datugan have been so contaminated by pollution that two individuals cannot risk bodily contact, else they self-combust. They are doomed.

The Federation, feeling some responsibility for this catastrophe, has initiated a grand project of rebirth, to use in vitro techniques to let the Datugan species continue on a clean new world. The Enterprise-A is assigned to escort a medical team lead by one Corazon Kohwangko to Datugan to help start off this project. Sulu, who has a romantic history with Kohwangko, is pleased to be reunited with her. On arrival at Datugan, the mission encounters unexpected trouble from Datugans opposed to this program.

“So Near the Touch” is an effective short story, setting a credible romance for Sulu with an interesting partner against the backdrop of a dying world with people desperate for help. (Reading this now gives me some insight into Takei’s upset with the movies’ portrayal of Sulu as gay; here, Takei literally wrote Sulu as straight.) I find that it resonates particularly with me now, living under conditions of COVID-19 quarantine, deprived of direct contact with anyone for fear of infection. Takei and David got the corrosive impacts of isolation quite nicely.

The physical issue is available on eBay, while electronic copies can be acquired from the usual places.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 25, 2020 at 3:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Architectuul looks at the winners of an architecture prize based in Piran, here.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes the wind emitted from one distant galaxy’s supermassive black hole is intense enough to trigger star formation in other galaxies.
  • Maria Farrell at Crooked Timber pays tribute to Jack Merritt, a young victim of the London Bridge attack who was committed to the cause of prisoner rehabilitation.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at the history of French pop group Les Rita Mitsouko.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on the European Space Agency’s belief Earth-observing spacecraft are needed to track ocean acidification.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the consensus of the Russian scientific community against human genetic engineering.
  • Far Outliers reports on the first ambassador sent from the Barbary States to the United States.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the life of pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas.
  • Language Log shares images of a bottle of Tibetan water, bought in Hong Kong, labeled in Tibetan script.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money rightly assigns responsibility for the terrible measles outbreak in Samoa to anti-vaxxers.
  • The LRB Blog notes how tree planting is not apolitical, might even not be a good thing to do sometimes.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on a paper suggesting that food tends to be better in restaurants located on streets in Manhattan, better than in restaurants located on avenues.
  • Justin Petrone at north! shares an account of a trip across Estonia.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the photography of Michael Jang.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw continues to report from Armidale, in Australia, shrouded in smoke from wildfires.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the early days of the Planetary Society, four decades ago.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at how centenarians in Sweden and in Denmark experience different trends in longevity.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel reports on the accidental discovery of the microwave background left by the Big Bang in 1964.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little looks at the increasingly poor treatment of workers by employers such as Amazon through the lens of primitive accumulation.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the small differences separating the Kazakhs from the Kyrgyz.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a dance routine, shown on television in France, against homophobia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait shares a stunning photo taken by a friend of the Pleiades star cluster.
  • The Buzz, at the Toronto Public Library, shares a collection of books suitable for World Vegan Month, here.
  • Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber considers, with an eye towards China and the Uighurs, how panopticon attempts can stray badly on account of–among other things–false assumptions.
  • Gizmodo considers how antimatter could end up providing interesting information about the unseen universe.
  • Joe. My. God. reports from New York City, where new HIV cases are dropping sharply on account of PrEP.
  • JSTOR Daily shares a vintage early review of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
  • Language Hat examines the origins of the semicolon, in Venice in 1494.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money shares a critical report of the new Jill Lepore book These Truths.
  • The LRB Blog reports from the Museum of Corruption in Kyiv, devoted to the corruption of the ancient regime in Ukraine.
  • Marginal Revolution shares a new history of the Lakota.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the photography of Duane Michals.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at population trends in Russia, still below 1991 totals in current frontiers.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why some of the lightest elements, like lithium, are so rare.
  • Window on Eurasia shares the opinion of a Russian historian that Eastern Europe is back as a geopolitical zone.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers Jacques Transue in the light of other pop culture figures and trends.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait observes that a team may have discovered the elusive neutron star produced by Supernova 1987A, hidden behind a cloud of dust.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber shares a photo he made via the time-consuming 19th century wet-plate collodion method.
  • Drew Ex Machina’s Andrew LePage looks at the Apollo 12 visit to the Surveyor 3 site to, among other things, see what it might suggest about future space archeology.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the story of rural poverty facing a family in Waverly, Ohio, observing how it is a systemic issue.
  • George Dvorsky at Gizmodo looks at how Mars’ Jezero crater seems to have had a past relatively friendly to life, good for the next NASA rover.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the latest ignorance displayed by Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, this time regarding HIV.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how Climategate was used to undermine popular opinion on climate change.
  • Language Hat links to an article explaining why so many works of classical literature were lost, among other things not making it onto school curricula.
  • Language Log shares a photo of a Muji eraser with an odd English label.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests Pete Buttigieg faces a campaign-limiting ceiling to his support among Democrats.
  • The LRB Blog argues that Macron’s blocking of EU membership possibilities for the western Balkans is a terrible mistake.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map depicting regional variations in Canada towards anthropogenic climate change. Despite data issues, the overall trend of oil-producing regions being skeptical is clear.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining the slowing pace of labour mobility in the US, suggesting that home attachment is a key factor.
  • Frederic Wehrey at the NYR Daily tells the story of Knud Holmboe, a Danish journalist who came to learn about the Arab world working against Italy in Libya.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why thermodynamics does not explain our perception of time.
  • Understanding Society’s Dan Little looks at Electronic Health Records and how they can lead to medical mistakes.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi shares a remarkable photo of the night sky he took using the astrophotography mode on his Pixel 4 phone.
  • Window on Eurasia shares an opinion that the Intermarium countries, between Germany and Russia, can no longer count on the US and need to organize in their self-defense.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a photo of his handsome late partner Jacques Transue, taken as a college student.

[URBAN NOTE] Fifteen urban links

  • It has been forty years since a train derailment that threatened to unleash toxic chemicals on Mississauga resulted in a remarkably successful mass evacuation. CBC reports.
  • There is a Vimy display in Kingston’s Communications and Electronics Museum. Global News reports.
  • It is unsettling that the Ontario city of Hamilton reports such a high levels of hate crimes. CBC reports.
  • Le Devoir shares a warning that inattention to language means that Longueuil could end up becoming as English/French bilingual as the West Island.
  • VICE reports on how the dying desert town of California City is hoping for a revival based on cannabis, here</u.
  • MacLean’s tells the story about how an encounter of koi with local otters in Vancouver reflects a human culture clash, too.
  • SCMP looks at how planners want to use big data to make Shenzhen a “smart socialist” city, here.
  • CityLab hosts an article by Andrew Kenney looking at the importance of an old map of Denver for he, a newcomer to the city.
  • These photos of the recent acqua alta in Venice are heartbreaking. CityLab has them.
  • JSTOR Daily tells the story of an ill-timed parade in 1918 Philadelphia that helped the Spanish flu spread throughout the city.
  • The LRB Blog looks at a corner of Berlin marked by the history of German Southwest Africa.
  • Guardian Cities shares a remarkable ambitious plan to remake Addis Ababa into a global city.
  • Durban, in South Africa, may offer lessons for other southern African metropolises. Guardian Cities reports.
  • The NYR Daily recently took a look at what happened to so completely gentrify the West Village of New York City.
  • Feargus O’Sullivan at CityLab takes a look at a new documentary, If New York Was Called Angouleme. What if the site of New York City was colonized by the French in the early 16th century?

[URBAN NOTE] Fifteen Kitchener-Waterloo items (#waterlooregion)

  • Work on the second stage of Ion expansion, south into Cambridge, will not even start until 2028, and is expected to cost at least $C 1.36 billion. Global News reports.
  • This proposal for regular two-way GO Transit rail connections between Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, frankly, is desperately needed. The Record reports.
  • A cyclist faces charges for careless driving leading to a collision with a LRT in Kitchener. CBC reports.
  • A GoFundMe campaign for a woman hit by a train in Kitchener has raised more than $C14 thousand. The Record reports.
  • A school bus driver has been charged for stopping his vehicle dangerously close to a rail crossing in Cambridge. The Record reports.
  • Waterloo Region is a successful testbed for virtual doctor visits. The Record reports.
  • The Charles Street bus terminal in downtown Kitchener is not going to be redeveloped for at least a couple of years. The Record reports.
  • Waterloo Region hopes to create more than 600 affordable new homes, in five developments, over the next decade. CBC reports.
  • The number of single food bank users in Kitchener-Waterloo has doubled over the past five years. CBC reports.
  • Waterloo is spending $C 3 million to renovate and modernize a handsome old Carnegie Library. CBC reports.
  • A pop-up in Kitchener, Vivid Dreams, is charging customers up to $C 20 to use one of a dozen backgrounds for their Instagram photos. CBC reports.</li
  • A Kitchener woman, Heidi Bechtold, has a thriving new dog-related business, Complete K9. The Record reports.
  • The new digital lab at the Kitchener Public Library sounds great! The Record reports.
  • Andrew Coppolino at CBC Kitchener-Waterloo takes a look at some of the different cuisines and restaurants in Waterloo Region featuring noodles, here.
  • Andrew Coppolino at CBC Kitchener-Waterloo looks at the pastel de nata, the Portuguese egg custard, as an emerging commercial snack in Waterloo Region.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait looks at Abell 30, a star that has been reborn in the long process of dying.
  • Centauri Dreams uses the impending launch of LightSail 2 to discuss solar sails in science fiction.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, as part of a series of the fragility of globalization, considers if migration flows can be reversed. (He concludes it unlikely.)
  • The Crux considers if the record rain in the Midwest (Ontario, too, I would add) is a consequence of climate change.
  • D-Brief notes that the failure of people around the world to eat enough fruits and vegetables may be responsible for millions of premature dead.
  • Dangerous Minds introduces readers to gender-bending Italian music superstar Renato Zero.
  • Dead Things notes how genetic examinations have revealed the antiquity of many grapevines still used for wine.
  • Gizmodo notes that the ocean beneath the icy crust of Europa may contain simple salt.
  • io9 tries to determine the nature of the many twisted timelines of the X-Men movie universe of Fox.
  • JSTOR Daily observes that the Stonewall Riots were hardly the beginning of the gay rights movement in the US.
  • Language Log looks at the mixed scripts on a bookstore sign in Beijing.
  • Dave Brockington at Lawyers, Guns, and Money argues that Jeremy Corbyn has a very strong hold on his loyal followers, perhaps even to the point of irrationality.
  • Marginal Revolution observes that people who create public genetic profiles for themselves also undo privacy for their entire biological family.
  • Sean Marshall at Marshall’s Musings shares a photo of a very high-numbered street address, 986039 Oxford-Perth Road in Punkeydoodle’s Corners.
  • The NYR Daily examines the origins of the wealth of Lehman Brothers in the exploitation of slavery.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a panorama-style photo of the Apollo 11 Little West Crater on the Moon.
  • Drew Rowsome notes that classic documentary Paris Is Burning has gotten a makeover and is now playing at TIFF.
  • Peter Rukavina, writing from a trip to Halifax, notes the convenience of the Eduroam procedures allowing users of one Maritime university computer network to log onto another member university’s network.
  • Dylan Reid at Spacing considers how municipal self-government might be best embedded in the constitution of Canada.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle pays tribute to the wildflower Speedwell, a name he remembers from Watership Down.
  • Strange Maps shares a crowdsourced map depicting which areas of Europe are best (and worst) for hitchhikers.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the distribution of native speakers of Russian, with Israel emerging as more Russophone than some post-Soviet states.