How to Decide Where to Give?

So one of the things to start to do in the face of Trump’s election is to fund social action programs and progressive charities. It’s the end of the year when the push for charitable giving ramps up. How about commenting below on what organizations you find worthwhile? I’ll start the ball rolling with several I have been giving to for a long while and which I find eminently worthy of your consideration: the ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Foundation, Partners in Health, Oxfam, the Seva Foundation, Physicians Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), Amnesty International, the Intl Rescue Committee. No, I won’t give to the Clinton Fdtn.

This is just a start; I know I’m probably going to have to start focusing more on combating domestic ills in addition to world hunger and injustice. What do people think of supporting Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, for instance? I welcome your suggestions below and maybe this post can become a sort of compendium resource. In particular, who has an idea about how best to support public media and truth in news reporting? And what groups will be good watchdogs in the Trump years? I’m waiting for the emergence of the right umbrella grassroots organization to lead and unify the opposition. I will give to them til it hurts. I would also be interested in increasing my support in the areas of animal rights and environmental action, especially with the ascendancy of the climate denier faction. And I fully expect the Endangered Species Act to be gutted.

And don’t you expect Trump will also gut federal support for the arts?

CharityWatch: ‘Groups included on the CharityWatch Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, have met CharityWatch’s governance benchmarks, and receive “open-book” status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to CharityWatch.’

GiveWell: ‘GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities through in-depth analysis. Thousands of hours of research have gone into finding our top rated charities. They’re evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded.’

Christian Science Monitor: America’s Top 50 charities: how well do they rate?

Consumer Reports: Best and Worst Charities for Your Donations

Charity Navigator: Your Guide to Intelligent Giving


Paradoxical Undressing and the Hide-and-Die Syndrome

I don’t know why but this post from ten years ago continues to be one of the most viewed pieces on FmH. Perhaps there is some high-visibility link to it somewhere on the web that people are compelled to click?

Sources of Very Obscure Death Scenes in Lethal Hypothermia (abstract): “Hypothermia is a relatively rare cause of death in temperate climate zones. In most cases of lethal hypothermia, elderly and mentally ill persons are affected as well as persons under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Although most cases of death from hypothermia are accidental, they, more often than other types of death from environmental conditions, produce a death scene that is at first obscure and difficult to interpret. The reason for this frequent obscurity is mainly because of the phenomenon of the so-called paradoxical undressing as well as the hide-and-die syndrome. In many cases, the bodies are found partly or completely unclothed and abrasions and hematomas are found on the knees, elbows, feet, and hands.

The reason for the paradoxical undressing is not yet clearly understood. There are two main theories discussed: one theory proposes that the reflex vasoconstriction, which happens in the first stage of hypothermia, leads to paralysis of the vasomotor center thus giving rise to the sensation that the body temperature is higher than it really is, and, in a paradoxical reaction, the person undresses. The other theory says that it seems to be the effect of a cold-induced paralysis of the nerves in the vessel walls that leads to a vasodilatation giving an absurd feeling of heat.

In 20% of cases of lethal hypothermia, the phenomenon of the so-called hide-and-die syndrome also can be observed. Some of these bodies are situated in a kind of “hidden position,” for example, located under a bed or behind a wardrobe. Apparently, this finding is the result of a terminal primitive reaction pattern, which is probably an autonomous behavior triggered and controlled by the brain stem. It shows the characteristics of both an instinctive behavior and a congenital reflex.” (Forensic Pathology Reviews)

Here is a Google search on the topic for those who wish to pursue it further. Note: ‘hide-and-die syndrome’ is also referred to as ‘terminal burrowing’.


Is Lucky’s Monologue Poetry?

Via Guy Tiphane: ‘In Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, the character named Lucky utters a puzzling monologue (below) when ordered to think. The monologue must be a challenge to the actor because of its length (over 700 words), the lack of punctuation, and the apparent randomness of the utterances. It is loaded with puns and possible meanings in the context of a play in which the dialogue leads nowhere.

One of several scholars trying to find meaning in the play, M. Worton wrote about our desire to make the monologue a central source of sense among the nonsense:

“…[T]he reader nonetheless senses that there are connections to be made, just as one senses that Lucky’s speech must have a logical argument hidden within the incoherence. This sense is, however, a product of the cultural history that has taught us to seek for meaning, for a cause-and-effect logic.” (Worton)

As there is no dialogue between Lucky and the other characters of the play, the monologue stands on its own, as an event that they could not control nor predict. I would like to look at the monologue and see if it could stand on its own, outside the play, as what could be called a prose poem, thereby arguing that three genres (drama, prose, and poetry) could be mixed in the same literary work, further questioning the borders that separate them’:

LUCKY: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast heaven to hell so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labours left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labours of men that as a result of the labours unfinished of Testew and Cunard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labours of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation is seen to waste and pine waste and pine and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicilline and succedanea in a word I resume and concurrently simultaneously for reasons unknown to shrink and dwindle in spite of the tennis I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell to shrink and dwindle I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labours lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labours lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and than the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull to shrink and waste and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labours abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard (mêlée, final vociferations) tennis… the stones… so calm… Cunard… unfinished…

Here is an attempt at annotation of some of the references in the monologue.


Only Place Beyond Earth Where Humans Could Live in the Solar System?

‘…Titan is the only other body in the solar system with liquid on the surface, with its lakes of methane and ethane that look startlingly like water bodies on Earth. It rains methane on Titan, occasionally filling swamps. Dunes of solid hydrocarbons look remarkably like Earth’s sand dunes.

For protection from radiation, Titan has a nitrogen atmosphere 50 percent thicker than Earth’s. Saturn’s magnetosphere also provides shelter. On the surface, vast quantities of hydrocarbons in solid and liquid form lie ready to be used for energy. Although the atmosphere lacks oxygen, water ice just below the surface could be used to provide oxygen for breathing and to combust hydrocarbons as fuel.

It’s cold on Titan, at -180°C (-291°F), but thanks to its thick atmosphere, residents wouldn’t need pressure suits—just warm clothing and respirators. Housing could be made of plastic produced from the unlimited resources harvested on the surface, and could consist of domes inflated by warm oxygen and nitrogen. The ease of construction would allow huge indoor spaces.

Titanians (as we call them) wouldn’t have to spend all their time inside. The recreational opportunities on Titan are unique. For example, you could fly. The weak gravity—similar to the Moon’s—combined with the thick atmosphere would allow individuals to aviate with wings on their backs. If the wings fall off, no worry, landing will be easy. Terminal velocity on Titan is a tenth that found on the Earth…’

Source: Scientific American Blog Network