Hollyhocks in my garden a few years ago.
Cousin Karl in Wisconsin was cleaning the snow and ice off his roof when he fell. A veteran of foreign wars, Karl reports he did a paratrooper roll as he landed (hopefully on more snow). Nothing broken, he says, but sure to be bruises later on. My cousins in the Midwest have had a rough winter.
The Washington Post (2/16/14) (correction..this was a BBC report)writes that a scientist attending the annual gathering of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago, gave a paper on the wild swings in the Jet Stream which have led to a milder winter in Europe and the weird winter in North America this year, as well as drought in Australia and California. When asked if the changes were owing to Man-Made Climate Change, the scientist was non-committal. “We don’t have enough years of data to show that,” she said.
Today, the Post also reported on the ICD-10 or International Classification of Diseases (10th edition). The ICD provides the Diagnostic Codes administrative medical personnel use to describe various procedures in insurance claims forms, like Medicare, for example.
As a demographer who studied mortality and morbidity in grad school, I learned the French invented the idea of classifying illnesses and death, and I learned how to use ICD codes in writing various papers. A colleague of mine working on her PhD used the ICD codes to categorize Massachusetts death certificates from the nineteenth century when the industrial age got underway. She wished to show the a link between the rise of the Industrial Age and mortality. She found some correlations, but the death rates actually improved as the Commonwealth industrialized.
Using copies of real death certificates, we learned how to discern chronic and acute conditions existing before death. For example, a man could have diabetes, lung cancer, and fall out of his wheelchair and die. So what killed him? The current ICD lists 56,000 codes for various life-threatening ailments, such as W05.0XX1 “fall from a moving wheel chair.” “Look at the data,” the most important words ever uttered in scientific circles and one I never forgot.
A morning in June two years ago.
I had intended to find some green today, but ended up at the Apple Store instead. I have a power issue with my laptop. I thought it was off and I couldn’t get it to turn on. The clerk showed me it was on, but not responsive because I didn’t turn it off properly when I last used it. After a lesson in how to power my laptop, I went home to the only green around here, my parrot, Baby, who is tugging on my pinkie because he thinks paying attention to him is more important than any laptop.