Five by 8 -6/21/10: The ethics of Alzheimer’s

This week’s Monday Morning Rouser comes courtesy of reader (and my former boss) Ken Paulman.

1) How Alzheimer’s affects families. A man’s wife has Alzheimer’s. She’s forgotten much of who he is. He meets another woman and falls in love. And the three live happily ever after? CBS’ Barry Petersen reported on his own story on Sunday. And he dropped these bombshells, too. While most major illnesses are dropping, Alzheimer’s is skyrocketing. And by age 80, half the population has the disease.

2) Is marathoning a truly healthy sport? One person died in the Grandma’s half marathon event this year. A Hermantown man has been identified as the victim of the race. The rest of the medical report is pretty startling too, the Duluth News Tribune says:

Nelson said 230 runners were treated at the medical tent this year, primarily for dehydration, muscle cramps and fatigue. Seven runners were sent to Duluth hospitals, four from the medical tent and three from the race course, none with serious problems

But the number of people treated for the effects of marathoning was lower than last year. Dying in a marathon is still rare, the New York Times Well blog said last year, even as it cited three deaths in Detroit, one in Baltimore, and two in San Jose. All of those were also in half marathons.

3) Amazingly, it’s taken two months before someone went back to the site of the previous worst oil spill in U.S. history to find out what the people of the Gulf Coast can expect. The people of the Gulf Coast aren’t going to like this part. The BBC found that because Exxon threw so much money at the clean-up, plenty of unsavory characters descended on the area:

“Exxon would hire virtually anybody that would go on and sit on those islands and clean rocks,” said John Devens, “because Exxon threw a lot of money at this to try to get things taken care of.”

Oil residue is still found on the shores of Prince William Sound But efforts to minimise damage to nature came at a high cost to the inhabitants.

“People who didn’t get hired by Exxon were not the kind of people you wanted left over in your community,” he said, adding that the unusual influx of people created a crisis of accommodation and increased criminal activities, including violence and drug abuse.

The clean-up effort ended in 1992. There’s still an estimated 20,000 gallons of oils on the beaches. So, sure, someday things in the Gulf might be better than they were before the Deepwater Horizon explosion. But not in our lifetime.

4) A week after lightning destroyed a statue of Jesus near Cincinnati, the people of Wadena apparently are drawing inspiration from a statue of Jesus that survived Thursday’s tornado (a tornado that Weather Service people have rated an F4. F5 is the worst). The Wadena Pioneer Journal says:

Finally, a lot of people have been talking about how the crucifix at the cemetery is still standing strong with downed trees and downed headstones all around it. Don’t go out there, but I took some photos and will have them on our website later tonight so you can see it. It’s pretty amazing, Jesus was unscathed except for losing his right hand, which someone placed at the base. And just feet away, UNDERGROUND grave markers were moved a foot. Look for the photos soon.

A tornado hit Billings, Montana yesterday and dropped two questions into the Twin Cities today: (1) When is it time to put the camera down and seek shelter and (2) Why are the people in the cars still in their cars?

Meanwhile, they’re calling for volunteers in Wadena now. Volunteers should be prepared to deal with debris including broken glass. They should bring gloves, sturdy shoes, and some food and water. Meet at the former Pamida parking lot on Highway 71. If you’re going, let me know.

5) Nurses are voting on another strike in the Twin Cities. Hospitals offered to return to the bargaining table if the nurses vowed not to strike before July 31. The nurses said “no.” That should give a clear indication what the results of the vote are likely to be today.

Should nurses strike Twin Cities hospitals again if their demands aren’t met?Market Research

Bonus: In Kiev yesterday, the Red Bull Flugtag featured the results of its challenge to build human-powered flying machines:

The Flugtag comes to St. Paul next month. Or, as Red Bull says, Minneapolis.


The Southern Lights:


The image was taken over the Indian Ocean by a crewmember of the International Space Station. Says Discover’s Bad Astronomy blog:

This aurora was probably caused by subatomic particles from an explosive event called a coronal mass ejection from the Sun five days earlier. The particles interact with our magnetic field, which channels them to the north and south poles. They slam into the air, ripping electrons off the atoms and molecules. When the atoms recombine, they give off light. The green glow seen here is characteristic of oxygen.

Runner(s) up: These images of the Twin Cities by air taken yesterday.


A campaign is underway in Minneapolis to discourage people from giving money to beggars. How do you respond to panhandlers?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Cleaning the coast after an oil spill. President Obama promised to clean up the Gulf Coast’s habitat, but many question his vague restoration plan. Midmorning experts describe the science behind coastal restoration and the complex ecological challenges they face from the gulf to the wetlands.

Second hour: Environmental activist Bill McKibben warned of the dangers of global warming 20 years ago. His latest book takes an angrier edge as he urges a change in our lifestyles or risk living in an inhospitable world.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former St. Paul Mayor George Latimer discusses the state of political discourse today, and other policy issues in the news.

Second hour: Dr. Edward Miller of Johns Hopkins speaks at the National Press Club about health care reform.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: When it comes to writing a great song, some are for the dogs, and then, some make you croon. The art of songwriting. Diane Warren is among the guests.

  • I like those aerial photos of the twin cities, Bob!

    Sunset really is a “golden hour” for photography

  • Aurora

    I’m still going to stick with running, and probably even will run a marathon again. Runner’s World did an article on this subject where they looked at several studies. You can read it


  • kennedy

    Using a stretch of road for a marathon eliminates fatal car accidents on that road during the race. The number of traffic fatalities avoided is greater than the number of cardiac deaths, according to this report in the NIH library.

    As for the potential strike by nurses, I’m neither a nurse nor a hospital administrator and have no right to tell them what to do. As far as opinion, I am torn between a respect for individual nurses and the good work they do, and a poor opinion of the union organization that appears self-interested and has generally run a poor PR campaign.