August 11th, 2010


The Haze in Oregon

When I drove into Oregon a few days ago I noticed a thick white haze over Pendleton. A day or so later I heard on the NPR news that the widespread haze had blown here from extensive fires burning in Russia. Apparently it's ungodly hot there and the peat bogs are burning. Today I learn that people are getting worried that the burns in Russia are sending radioactive particulates into the air that has been stored in the biomass there since the Chernobyl accident 24 years ago. My goodness.

Frankly, though, we Americans cannot point too many fingers at other nations who've made contaminating mistakes as long as we are actively engaging in toxic warfare for oil:

Morning notes: back in PDX

This morning I awoke early and got to work entering all my receipts into a spreadsheet. I'm sorting out my finances and I just spent a lot of money during my travels, but I think I had enough budgeted to cover. This budgeting project is major considering that when I was making money I never came close to spending all my money, so I just put the extra into investments. My investments are back up to break even after the crash, thank goodness. Merck and Omnivision saved my portfolio. Whole foods is still in the doghouse. Now that I'm not making money, it's all different.
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Microbes advancing toward antibiotic resistance

A new enzyme (NDM-1) has been found in some bugs brought back to the UK by people who went to India and Pakistan for hospital procedures. The enzyme makes these microbes resistant to yet another type of abx (carbapenems, the last of the beta lactams that can beat bugs with beta lactamase). NDM-1 has been found in E.coli and they're worried that other microbes may gain this capacity because of the way that bacteria trade DNA (plamids). There are only 50 known cases in the UK but docs are worried. The future for the treatment of infections may not be antibiotic drugs. We may end up using naturopathic methods of increasing immune resistance, or perhaps even the introduction of bacteriophages. I would love to see phages investigated further but as long as antibiotics are the standard of practice for infections, nobody's got the time or money to investigate it. Except the Russians. They are all over a good idea.