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Archive for March 2011

Muscle memory and the passage of time

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I live on a hilltop on a once-paved rural road. In winter, the west wind races uphill through open fields, driving snow before it, stacking drifts that challenge passage into my driveway. I like winter’s fierceness. I teach late and arrive home from university after dark. I’m a few weeks post-op from foot surgery. I walk on that road at night, but not as far as I did before surgery. Baby steps, the doc says, baby steps.

I like walking best when the mercury coldly congeals and the wind lashes at me hard, driving the snow into me. I remember, as I walk, fragments of my life spent above tree line in New England, Colorado, the Northwest, the Sierras, British Columbia, and Alaska. I am meeker now, less foolhardy, more fearful of injury. I walk east on the road with hiking poles. Headlamp, reflective vest, and an LED blinker ward off the rare car or pickup speeding by to get from somewhere to somewhere else. But nothing insulates me from muscle memory.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Kansas rep, a friend of industry, axes product-safety database

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A neophyte freshman representative from Kansas who slipped into Congress on the strength of hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations from heavyweight industries does not want you and me to see a product-safety database compiled by a federal consumer agency.

In 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Among its mandates: Consumers will have access to a public database to report and learn about hazards posed by unsafe products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has compiled that database, and it’s ready to launch next week.

But Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) doesn’t want consumers to see it. He does not want them to see “reports of defective products from a wide range of sources, including consumers, health-care providers, death certificates and media accounts,” reports Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post. He does not want consumers to change how they make purchasing decisions. He does not want them to see a database that is “limited to complaints about safety and does not deal with product reliability or performance,” reports Layton.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 1, 2011 at 10:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized