Poetry: A Challenge for Me

Yesterday on this blog I explained how stakeholders on the Steemit blockchain have created their own blockchain entity: Hive Blog. Today I tried something new on Hive. Why not? a new blockchain, a new beginning for me.

I wrote poetry.

My formal training is in history and the humanities. I’ve done a lot of writing in my time, but poetry has always been beyond my skills. Rhymes are not important but music in the language is. That takes innate talent, I think, to pull off.

Well, today I settled for less than perfect and had a great time. The wonderful thing about the blockchain is its sense of community, which allows me to explore without a sense of risk. Of course there are negative elements, but that’s true in every society. But, stick to the right neighborhoods, and the experience is all positive.

There is a neighborhood call The Ink Well which was started by a truly talented writer, @raj808. This is where I published my poetry. It never feels risky writing within the Ink Well community. Welcoming people, helpful critiques. All good.

I’ll share just a bit of one poem, to give you an idea of how it ‘sounded’. Remember, I’m looking for music, and I don’t write poetry:

Folk trekked to Delphi Lodge
Where squires lunched
On mutton and black pudding

The poem was inspired by the 1949 Famine March of Doolough, which took place during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. I learned as I did research for this poem, that there was an even more devastating famine in Ireland during the previous century. The difference between the two was that the first was considered mostly a consequence of natural events and the second was compounded by colonial policy.

If you have a sense of adventure, check out our community on Hive Blog. There are many communities, but you can start with this one.

Next week I’ll post the poem in its entirety. Thanks for reading. Everybody, stay safe.

I’m Blogging on the Hive Now

Image credit: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

My first blog in a long time. So much going on in the world. I don’t know if you’re all as edgy as I am, but I keep remembering passages from Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year”. Descriptions of St. Giles Parish were haunting in that book. It seemed every day the numbers mounted in St. Giles, and outpaced other parishes.

I live in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. Maybe that explains my heightened awareness. I’m looking for ways to distract myself. Watching the “Indestructible Kimmy Schmidt” is one way. Blogging is another. So here I am.

First I’ll start with blockchain news.

There’s been an upheaval in the world of Steemit. Not long ago a young Chinese investor bought a massive stake in the organization. Which stunned those of us who blog there. Not because he was Chinese, but because he assumed he had bought us. I think it was a cultural disconnect. Most people get involved with cryptocurrency and blockchains because they have a libertarian streak. Being owned is an intrinsic contradiction.

To make a long story short, there was a rebellion. A lot of Steemit bloggers (stakeholders) essentially took their toys and went to another playground. They started another blockchain and migrated all the accumulated content to that chain. So, many of us joined the new blockchain, which is called The Hive. The link is to my home page on the blockchain.

It took me a few days to find my way around the neighborhood, but finally, yesterday, I put up my first post: Tinkering with DNA to Find a Cure: The Story of Azathioprine.

The blog is full of helpful information, especially if you’ve ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Azathioprine is prescribed for a wide variety of conditions. The article describes some of those and also explains some of the risks associated with this course of treatment.

I’d love it if one or two of you read the blog and gave me feedback. So far, I only got one good comment. That’s a little discouraging.

Everybody, across the world. Stay well and take care of each other.

Pigs, Health and Novel Viruses

It’s been two months since I posted. I guess what is known as ‘the holidays’ got in the way. Plus, I’ve been writing other material, mostly on Steemit. I seem to get involved in a research topic and don’t come up for air until I’m satisfied with the result. It’s called perseverance, and it’s a good trait because quality results. But it does preclude other engagements.

So, in the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of my most significant posts from the last two months. One of these, Radioactive Pigs, Wild Pigs, Sick Pigs: The Trouble with Pigs Today published in November, looked at pigs.

Common Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus – adult and juvenile, cousin of domestic pig

I happen to like pigs. As a matter of fact, no bacon, or pork of any kind, has been on my plate for many years. But even if you don’t like pigs, these animals warrant your attention.

As I wrote in that blog: It is estimated that there are two billion domesticated pigs in the world. They are not only a source of nutrition for billions of people. They are also a reservoir for disease. Today, with the novel corona virus spreading across the globe, this is worthy of note. Pigs are not blamed for the current disease outbreak. This one may have originated in bats (although the jury is still out on that). However, pathogens from pigs have leapt across the species barrier in the past, and we should be mindful of the risk.

One way to be mindful, is to insure the health of animals in our care. If animals are sick and harboring pathogens, those pathogens are just a small step away from us. Entry may be through the food chain or through contact.

Today, pork prices are kept low because of factory farming. This involves pumping the pigs with antibiotics to keep down a level of infection in quarters so crowded that pigs do not even have room to turn around. Pumping pigs full of antibiotics increases antibiotic resistant pathogens. These antibiotics will not work any longer for the pigs. They will also not work for humans.

Not only that, but the antibiotics pool in the large waste lagoons that balloon out from the pig habitats. The lagoons are a kind of microbial soup, in which antibiotics and microbes coexist. In that coexistence, microbes ‘learn’ to recognize antibiotics and evolve to defend against them. This evolution strengthens the microbe and weakens our ability to fight them when they invade our bodies.

There is so much more in my blog that might be of interest. How, for example, radioactive pigs manage to wander around Eastern Europe and Japan. Why many areas in the world are troubled by what seems to be an invasion of feral hogs.

It’s probably unseemly to recommend my own blog, but this one was really chock full of information. If you’ve got a few moments to spare (alright, it will take a little longer than a few moments) check out the blog.

Thanks for reading. I’m going to look at my reading feed here and see what I’ve been missing.

A very late, Happy New Year to all 🙂