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Cyclopath
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PostSun Apr 05, 2020 6:19 pm 
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I've been doing a little light reading lately.  It helps me feel a little less anxious about our situation.  I hate that I don't know when I'll be able to see any of my friends again, but at least I didn't just bury my five children.  I recommend reading right now, especially about people who have it worse: ship wrecks, climbing accidents, growing up as the Jackson 5, etc.

We went over this in school and it hasn't been relevant since, so I haven't given it any thought in a long time.  I learned some stuff that I find interesting, sometimes surprising.

For one thing, it wasn't just Europe, it came from Asia and also decimated northern Africa.  I wondered why it's the bubonic plague, what does bubonic even mean?  Turns out it means groin.  The lymph node closest to the bite would swell up, people mostly got bit on the legs, so the swelling happened near the groin.  Those lumps were called buboes, from the Greek for groin.  It could infect the lungs or blood, same bacteria, and those forms got different names like pneumonic plague.

The most bizarre thing (to me) is that it's not even 100% settled what the black death was.  It happened in Norway in winter and Greece in summer, far outside the temperature range for fleas.  And in places that may not have had rats at all (that sounds questionable).  It spread much faster than it could have from human to human transmission.  Some people think several diseases were going around, and that anthrax played a big role.  Some people think it was a virus like Ebola.

Anyway, there's 3 minutes of distraction for you.
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RichP
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PostSun Apr 05, 2020 6:30 pm 
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Speaking of The Black Plague, I rewatched The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. I think it's become pretty popular as of late.
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Jake Robinson
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PostSun Apr 05, 2020 6:44 pm 
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The Black Plague was unfathomably horrifying. This is from the Wikipedia article:

Quote:
Half of Paris's population of 100,000 people died. In Italy, the population of Florence was reduced from 110,000120,000 inhabitants in 1338 down to 50,000 in 1351. At least 60% of the population of Hamburg and Bremen perished, and a similar percentage of Londoners may have died from the disease as well.

No matter how bad COVID-19 gets...it could be a lot worse. I'm thankful to be alive in 2020 instead of 1340.
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Randito
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PostSun Apr 05, 2020 8:08 pm 
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 8:06 am 
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You guys really know how to uplift and inspire.

.....like an underwire bra.  huh.gif

But right now, I'm turning to I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke reruns, and PG Wodehouse stories.  clown.gif

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" I'm really happy about this! I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  oldgranola, NWHs outdoors advocate.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 11:13 am 
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Thanks for the criticism, Kim.
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 2:24 pm 
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No problem, Sunshine.  wink.gif

Actually, the black death is an interesting subject.  I don't remember much but I recall* it changed the world economy, raised worker wages so poor people could actually eat better food than gruel and maggots; it gave tradesmen better status, and prompted more than one concept for health care. It might have been the great equalizer, but humans are too stupid to have gotten that message right.


*recollection from what I read. I wasn't actually there

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" I'm really happy about this! I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  oldgranola, NWHs outdoors advocate.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 2:38 pm 
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When you don't actually know someone's motivations and goals, it is impossible to determine how stupid other people are. From what I've seen, the claims that other people are stupid are often based on what the observer wants, as opposed to those they're sitting in judgment of.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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jinx'sboy
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 3:05 pm 
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I got to thinking about various plagues/epidemics.  Last time i was in the UK, I found out that most of those delightful little green spaces, small parks, etc that one sees in London, Edinburgh and other large cities and towns are there because they were the emergency burial grounds for the various plague, cholera and smallpox epidemics over the last 4 or 5 centuries.

A list of plagues from 400 BC onward.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
Its frightening...!
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 3:22 pm 
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MtnGoat wrote:
When you don't actually know someone's motivations and goals, it is impossible to determine how stupid other people are. From what I've seen, the claims that other people are stupid are often based on what the observer wants, as opposed to those they're sitting in judgment of.

Yes, which is why I said "humans," as in "we humans."

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" I'm really happy about this! I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  oldgranola, NWHs outdoors advocate.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 3:25 pm 
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looks like a difference without distinction, or is it the other way around?  dizzy.gif

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 3:54 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
No problem, Sunshine.  wink.gif

Actually, the black death is an interesting subject.  I don't remember much but I recall* it changed the world economy, raised worker wages so poor people could actually eat better food than gruel and maggots; it gave tradesmen better status, and prompted more than one concept for health care. It might have been the great equalizer, but humans are too stupid to have gotten that message right.


*recollection from what I read. I wasn't actually there

These are trying times.  Not just the virus, but the isolation.  We all cope with stress differently.  If you ever talk to a doctor about anxiety, you'll hear the phrase "sense of wellbeing" over and over again.  It's hard to feel well right now, but reading about people who had it much worse makes our situation seem not quite so bad.

I've been reading the same thing about how the black death was an economic wind fall for survivors, just because there was so much less labor available.  And that it was a social upheaval in part because people thought kings ruled because god wanted them to; everybody being affected made that harder to swallow.

For me the most interesting parts are what my school got wrong.  That it was a European problem, and that there's some reason to think it wasn't only the plague.

How terrifying it must have been to have no idea what was going on or why.  We've sequenced the nCoV genome and used that information to make several potential vaccines.  There's no reason to think this won't ultimately save us.  And we're so much better at treating illness than 700 years ago.  Plus we have phones.  That's much less satisfying than giving somebody you care about a hug in times like this, but it's also a lot better than nothing.
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kbatku
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PostMon Apr 06, 2020 10:14 pm 
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A curious bit of trivia that  I don't know if it's true or not:

Supposedly the Black Plague selected for people who were more likely to survive HIV longer, it conferred some kind of immunity or lesser effect from the disease.

That's what they said back when people though mosquitos could give you AIDS anyway
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gb
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PostTue Apr 07, 2020 3:18 pm 
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I've got an inspiring T-shirt in my shirt drawer.

Not so funny, now though. At the time I kind of figured that event was long enough ago not to be taken seriously.
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MtnGoat
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PostTue Apr 07, 2020 3:21 pm 
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Yeah, it's like the graffiti on the walls in my zombie apocalypse game, not so funny now!

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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