Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Working Wednesday: Research

Coming back from a vacation that spanned the holidays, I had quite a bit of email to absorb. I thought I'd share with you a few news stories that surfaced while I was away. They reflect the kinds of things that I collect and later write about in this space.
  • The Bioarchaeology Of Care. Don't be turned off by the academic-sounding title. It's a fascinating story about the discovery of the remains of a severely disabled pre-historic man in Vietnam. What's so interesting about that? The evidence shows he "survived from early adolescence into adulthood completely paralyzed from the waist down and with very limited use of his upper body." He had to have been "[d]ependent on others for meeting his most basic needs . . . only possible because of the high-quality, dedicated, and time-consuming care he received." That's a revelation to archaeologists, and perhaps a challenge to evolutionists since it belies "survival of the fittest." The author of the article notes that, "Looking after those who are unable to look after themselves is a behavior that defines what it is to be human." Here's a New York Times digest version of the article: Ancient bones that tell a story of compassion
Maddalena Douse with her
mum and dad.
  • Scissors save premature baby's life. In the UK, babies born weighing less than a pound are not considered viable and are left to die. Little Maddalena Douse's life was spared, however, because someone left a pair of scissors on the scale during her weigh-in, causing it to tilt in her favor. She's home now, after being on a ventilator for six months, and is expected to be perfectly healthy.
Postscript: Assisted Suicide’s Dangerous Illusion of Control. It never fails. I hit 'publish' and then something new comes along that prompts me to add to my post. I'd read this article about elder abuse earlier in the day, then received a related email from a concerned individual. She wrote to tell me about the group National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse. If you know someone who's vulnerable to this type of abuse, pay attention!

I guess if this post is about anything, it's taking care of life. If even "neolithic" societies could do it, so can we!

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