Monday, January 23, 2012

Floods, Flips, and Flotsam

We took our first test in Disease, Immunology, and Therapeutics this week. It was one of those tests that I felt confident going into, but coming out I felt fortunate to pass. As it was I scored around average at 83%. Since the test we have been focusing more on individual microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Neisseria meningitidis, etc. You might recognize the diseases they cause. S. aureus causes staph infection (among other things), S. pyogenes causes strep throat, and N. meningitidis  causes meningitis.The idea is to differentiate them from each other and to understand the virulence factors - what it is about each organism that makes them able to not only survive but thrive within a host.

  If you look closely enough, I think the guy has a leash and is taking his fish for a ... swim.

Why did the fish cross the road?

This has also been an interesting week for Italy. Just when I thought the public opinion of the international presence was on the upswing, (winning the World Cup in 2006, hosting the 2006 Winter Olympics, ousting a corrupt Prime Minister Berlusconi, replacing Silvio with Mario Monti to implement austerity measures) they go and do something like this:

The captain of the ship violated the guiding Italian principle - 

Chi va piano       (He who moves slowly)
Va sano             (Goes healthily)
E va lontano.      (And goes far.)

Never mind that that they had their credit rating reduced three notches by Moody's - America and 12 other European nations have this year. The tragedy would be comical if it weren't for the loss of life of at least 14 people. For a country that closes down for the entire month of August in addition to the fifteen or so national holidays, when something like this happens I would first question the work ethic of captain and crew. The captain's explanation of what happened makes clear that the problem is more deep than a simple work ethic problem. The defense sounds more like a Monty-Python skit.

This is my favorite part.

Schettino, who is currently under house arrest, is under investigation for potentially causing the wreck by steering into the rocks and then abandoning the panicked passengers for a lifeboat as the ship plunged over on its side. In recorded radio transmissions released Tuesday, Schettino is heard telling Italian Port Authority officials he and other officers abandoned ship.

"And with 100 people still on board, you abandon ship? [expletive]," the Port Authority officer says in response.
Schettino appears to correct himself, saying, "I didn't abandon any ship... because the ship turned on its side quickly and we were catapulted into the water."

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