Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Monday, April 26, 2010

DYK? A Mutated Fungus

Last Friday, as I was perusing the news online, I came across this article on Being an allergy sufferer and someone who occasionally experiences bronchial congestion after the flu or a particularly bad cold, I tend to notice information about airborne “things.” This particular “thing” is Cryptococcus gattii, a type of “encapsulated yeast found primarily in tropical and subtropical climates” (according to Wikipedia). Generally only a problem for immune compromised individuals, the fungus has mutated and is now a threat to healthy individuals as well. It has also begun to spread from its initial discovery point on Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the northwestern United States. Infection can only occur from inhaling fungus spores, so the illness is not transmissible person to person (or animal to person). Symptoms of cryptococcal infection range from a nagging cough to sharp chest pain to delerium-producing fever (for a list, click here). It is considered a rare illness. However, this new strain is particularly virulent, exhibiting a mortality rate of approximately 25%. If you would like to hear more about the spread of Cryptococcus gattii, listen to this podcast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cute, but...

Last night, as I was checking the evening television listings, I noticed a visually active teaser ad for "Van Goghgurt," a product designed to "Feed Your Kids the Arts." Not sure if the commercial was for a real product, I clicked on the ad to investigate further. What I found was the website for Americans for the Arts. Apparently, the ad is one of several produced as public service announcements designed to get parents (and kids) more interested in arts education. Searching a bit further, I found this on YouTube:

This particular ad is cute, I admit, but will it really move parents to expose their children to more arts education opportunities, especially during a time when so many families are experiencing economic hardship?