Category Archives: God’s creation

Breakthrough in-utero surgery treats devastating birth defect

Photo from University of Pittsburgh

From NY Post: This baby went under the knife — from inside the womb.

Emery Greene Mullin was born two months after a January operation to correct her spina bifida. She is one of the first babies to undergo the surgery in-utero.

The potentially fatal condition occurs when the spine doesn’t fully fuse with the backbone, exposing it to amniotic fluid. This can lead to severe health issues, including hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, which can impair motor function.

As a pediatric intensive care nurse at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital, Emery’s mom, Allee, has worked with kids who have spina bifida. She found out about her own daughter’s condition while 20 weeks pregnant.

“It’s a devastating diagnosis,” Dr. Stephen Emery told WTAE News. He was one of the operating surgeons at UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital, along with Dr. Stephanie Greene.

Although the surgery brought serious risks for both Emery and Allee, it potentially meant “the difference between not walking and walking,” Dr. Greene told WTAE.

Emery was born with her back fully healed, and a postnatal neurological exam yielded promising results.

“She can’t point her toes down quite all the way with one foot,” said Dr. Greene. But, she added, this is still a huge improvement. “To be fair…she shouldn’t have had movement below her knees.”

Allee was so grateful to the doctors she named her baby after them: Emery Greene. “It’s really emotional,” Greene said. “It’s the highest honor I could imagine somebody giving me.”

Read the whole story here at the University of Pittsburgh web site.

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Drugs, needles, feces and rats, oh my! Experience cocktails at a San Francisco bar while rats crawl around you

From Fox News: San Francisco wants to show you its creepy past by making you drink with live rats.

The San Francisco Dungeon in Fisherman’s Wharf is launching an immersive experience about the City by the Bay’s “weird, twisted, dark” history — and that includes having live rats “scurry all over you” for some reason.

The tourist hot spot known for its interactive tours through history, featuring live actors and thrilling special effects, is opening its Rat Bar as the “next iteration of what the Department of Public Health” will allow, according to a press release.

The Dungeon had previously offered a tour with something called a “Rat Café.”

Photo from TheDungeons.com

“Let’s be honest — pastries and coffee were nice and all when we hosted the Rat Café but that was a lot of work. We thought, ‘F it. This time, get drunk, see our show, touch rats and get drunk some more,’” says Matthew Clarkson, regional head of marketing for West Coast Midway Attractions, North America, Merlin Entertainments Group.

After the history lesson, guests are shuffled off to the Rat Bar where they are able to touch and hold live rodents provided by the Ratical Rodent Rescue for 30 minutes.

The strange pop-up will begin June 13 and run through June 15, offering guests a 60-minute “journey into the dark place where live rats run free and the booze flows like water.”

Those who purchase tickets will be given “Ama-RAT-o Sours” made with Amaretto, a citrusy mix and a “rat’s tail” garnish, before being taken on a ride learning about the gold rush, Chinatown gangs, shanghaiing, Alcatraz and, appropriately, the plague.

Rat or San Francisco-enthusiasts will want to buy their tickets fast, however, as the company stated their last rat pop-up sold out in 45 minutes.

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Petition against Dog Meat Festival in China

Beginning in 2009 for 10 days every year, the city of Yulin in Guanxi, China, holds a cruel and utterly barbaric Dog Meat Festival.

During summer solstice from June 21 to 30, dogs are paraded in metal and wooden cages, then skinned and cooked for consumption by festival visitors and local residents. About 10,000–15,000 dogs are eaten; the number reportedly had decreased to 1,000 in 2015.

The Chinese had eaten dog meat for thousands of years. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival organizers claim that the dogs are killed humanely and that eating dog is no different from eating pork or beef. Animal rights activists and campaigners, however, claim that the animals are treated cruelly, based on photos and videos of the event showing dogs being beaten to death with metal bars, and skinned and boiled alive. A witness claimed that some of the dogs eaten appeared to be stolen household pets, judging by their collars. (CBC News)

Admittedly, many Americans are not vegetarians and consume animal meat. But a case can and should be made that eating dog and cat meat is not comparable to eating “food-animals” such as cows, pigs, and chickens that are expressly bred for human consumption. Dogs and cats have a special relationship with humans, having been domesticated thousands of years ago. As such, these pet animals have a different nature than food-animals, which makes our eating them for pleasure, not necessity, barbaric. See:

Not all Chinese eat dog meat. In 2016, millions of Chinese supported a legislative proposal by Zhen Xiaohe, a deputy to China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, to ban the dog meat trade, but to no avail.

An editorial in the Chinese government’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, points out that while animal-welfare activists regard dogs as “companion animals”, dogs do not have this special status in the Chinese legal system. A 2015 editorial in Global Times (Huanqiu), a tabloid under the auspices of the People’s Daily which focuses on international issues from the Chinese government’s perspective, called the West’s objection to the Dog Meat Festival a part of the diabolical Western campaign against China.

There is a Change.org petition asking the mayor of Yulin to end the Dog Meat Festival. As of the writing of this post, 83,328 people have signed; the petition’s goal is 150,000 signatures.

To sign the petition, click here.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Miracles DO happen: Preemie born three months early & weighing under 1 pound goes home in good health

From NY Post: A San Diego hospital on Wednesday revealed that the tiniest recorded baby has been born — weighing in at a minuscule 8.6 ounces.

Little Baby Saybie – a name given to her by hospital staff – was born three months early in December 2018 as a half-pound micro preemie — and was released in good health this month, officials said Wednesday.

While still in the womb, concerned doctors at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborn noticed Saybie wasn’t gaining weight as her mother experienced severe pregnancy complications, the hospital revealed in a Wednesday press release.

Doctors felt Saybie’s mother’s life was at risk and were forced to perform an emergency cesarean section at just 28 weeks gestation.

Born weighing a mere 8.6 ounces, Saybie — whose parents weren’t identified — was so small she could fit in the palm of a hand.

She’s considered both the world’s smallest baby and smallest surviving baby — according to the official Tiniest Baby Registry, maintained by the University of Iowa.

Once stabilized after birth, Saybie was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she spent the first five months of her life under the close care of a team of devoted health professionals, including neonatologists, nurses and nutritionists.

Sharp Mary Birch, which has the largest Level III NICU in San Diego County, is recognized among the best hospitals in the world in caring for micro preemies.

This “team was incredibly proud to care for Saybie, and happy to wish her well when she graduated from the NICU and went home in May 2019,” the hospital said in a press release.

The hospital devoted a video to Saybie, documenting her “incredible transformation from the world’s smallest baby to a healthy, happy 5-month-old.” The hospital did not say now much the tot weighs now.

Just last month, a Connecticut preemie made headlines when he was able to head home after growing from 11 ounces to 11 pounds during nine miracle months at two Westchester hospitals.

Connor Florio was born just the 27th week of his mom’s pregnancy in July 2018, and was the smallest baby ever treated at Westchester Medical Center. He overcame a host of health issues at birth, including trouble breathing, brain bleeds, problems with blood sugar and an eye disease.

His dad, Jamie Florio, 29, told The Post at the time, “I didn’t really believe he was coming home until we took him to the car and brought him to the house.”

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Raccoon hitches a ride

16-year-old Haylee Lowry had just obtained her driver’s license.

On the evening of May 16, 2019, Haylee and her parents were heading home from Clarksville, Tennessee. Haylee was driving; dad, Ronald, was asleep in the backseat; mom, Michelle, was dozing off in the passenger seat.

As Michelle recounted in a post on Facebook:

We were on backroads & potholes are literally everywhere, as is the wildlife. I had my head down & Haylee hit, what I guessed was an expensive pothole. I asked her anyway, “what was that?” she answered back, through almost tears, “mmmooommmmaaaa, I hit a racoon!!” I explained to her that things like this happen & just keep a better watch. She was still upset & said she ended a life. She told me several times how he just darted out in front of her.

About 7 miles later, suddenly a raccoon crawled onto the hood of the car!

Haylee screamed.

Ronald woke up, confused.

But Michelle had the presence of mind to take this video:

It turns out the raccoon whom Haylee had “run over” was very much alive and got lodged in the car’s front grill.

Ronald eventually managed to get his daughter to stop the car. The raccoon quickly jumped off the hood and disappeared into the vegetation.

H/t PawMyGosh

~Eowyn

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Illinois demorats advance bill declaring a “fundamental right” to an abortion

From Daily Mail: House Democrats in Illinois have advanced a measure to replace the state’s abortion law with less restrictive language that gives people ‘a fundamental right’ to make decisions about their reproductive health.

The State Journal-Register reports a House committee approved the legislation late Sunday on a party-line vote, sending it to the House floor. All committee Republicans voted no.

Among other provisions, the bill requires private health insurance companies that cover pregnancy-related benefits to cover abortion.

Supporters say the measure is necessary to counter other states’ action to restrict abortion procedures and the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion.

Republicans criticized Democrats, who control the Legislature and the governor’s office, for holding the hearing on the Sunday night of a holiday weekend and posting notice just one hour before the hearing.

Under the measure, reproductive health would be declared a ‘fundamental right.’

Women would have the right to ‘use or refuse reproductive health care’ during their pregnancy.

The action in Democratic-leaning Illinois follows actions in a series of Republican states to limit access to abortion.

A woman would gain additional routes to sue if she believes her rights are violated, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. And local governments would be barred from limiting access to contraception and health procedures, although they could pass rules that increase access to care.

A new Alabama law would make it a felony to perform most abortions, and doctors who carry them out could face sentences of up to 99 years in prison.

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Scared students rejecting colleges in states with strict abortion laws

As Dana Schuster reports for NY Post: One Upper East Side family is sending Washington University a big, fat rejection letter.

On Friday, the governor of Missouri, where the well-respected school is located, signed a bill outlawing abortion after eight weeks.

The legislation was a deal-breaker for Ellen Bender and her daughter, Eliza, a junior at Horace Mann prep school, who planned to visit the school in June.

“These laws are not really good for women,” said Ellen, a retired litigator. “It puts my child into a situation [where] I might think twice about her safety.”

Missouri joins five other states — Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia and Louisiana — that have passed so-called “heartbeat bills” this year.

In April, Alabama passed a bill where doctors who perform abortions in the state could face 99 years in prison.

The bans, which are not yet in effect, are being vehemently fought by everyone from lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities to high-schoolers making college plans.

“This is a serious thing,” said Amanda Uhry, a private-school admissions consultant in New York City. “I’ve had 61 college-admission clients remove Georgia and Ohio schools from their list for next year,” she said, adding that one of these clients is a double legacy at Emory, in Atlanta.

An Upper West Sider who asked to remain anonymous said she nixed Oberlin — her teenage daughter’s dream school — after a heartbeat bill was passed in Ohio last month.

“For someone who is studying music, Oberlin was always on her list of colleges,” the mother, who works in media, said of her daughter. “She texted me and was like, ‘WTF,’ when the Ohio law was passed. She wants to have control over her body and her rights.

“People are shocked and scared,” Uhry explained. “They were like, ‘What are we going to do if we send our daughter there and she gets pregnant?’ ”

Said Bender: “Some of my friends have said, ‘If your daughter goes to college in Georgia and, God forbid, she gets pregnant, she can always come to New York for an abortion.’ ”

But, she added, that’s missing the point: “If the legislators passed those laws, they won’t be friendly legislators for women in general.”

(Spokespersons for Washington and Emory universities did not return calls for comment by press time, while a representative for Oberlin declined to comment.)

It’s not just prospective college students blacklisting states. Hollywood is up in arms after Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a popular hub for production thanks to its 30 percent tax rebates, signed the state’s heartbeat bill on May 7.

One day later, David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “The Deuce,” tweeted that he was boycotting the Peach State.

Last week, director Reed Morano announced that she would no longer film scenes from Amazon Studios’ “The Power” in Georgia. Kristen Wiig and writing partner Annie Mumolo, who are working on the new comedy “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” followed suit, also pulling out of the state, according to Variety.

Uhry said the anger — and fear — has only just begun, especially for her college-bound clientele.
“Everyone is scared,” said Uhry. “What state should we take off the list next?”

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Centuries ago, a cat left its paw prints on a manuscript

Centuries ago, a mischievous cat immortalized itself by leaving its inky paw-prints on a medieval document.

In 2013, while researching in the State Archives of Dubrovnik, Croatia, a doctoral student at the University of Sarajevo, Emir O. Filipović, stumbled upon the paw prints on the pages of a 15th-century book.

Photo by Emir O. Filipović

Filipović describes his discovery:

It is a pleasant and heartwarming experience to see a photo I took receive so much positive attention from so many people in different parts of the globe. It has now been re-blogged, re-tweeted, shared and commented on so many times that I cannot keep track of it all, and the story has been covered in English, Russian, Japanese, Greek, Romanian, French, Hebrew, to name just the ones that I saw.

But why could a simple photo of cat paw prints on a medieval manuscript become so popular on the Internet? Do manuscripts and felines make a good combination, or can this popularity be ascribed to the fact that many contemporary cat owners identify themselves with the unfortunate medieval scribe? ….

My story line follows a simple path: I was doing some research in the Dubrovnik State Archives for my PhD, I came across some pages which were stained with cat paw prints, I took a few photos of this (as I do whenever I notice something interesting or unusual on any old book I’m reading), and carried on with my work not paying too much attention to something which at that time could essentially be only a distraction….

[A] truly positive aspect of the story, beside the obvious worldwide promotion of the State Archives of Dubrovnik, is that the document with the paw prints is going to be featured in the Interactive Album of Medieval Paleography, which is maintained by Dr. Marjorie Burghart in Lyon, France. This will, hopefully, allow students and other medieval historians to familiarize themselves with the kind of documents which I have been working on during these last couple of years. Apart from that, another advantage of the photo is that I got an opportunity to share the other interesting bits and pieces I found in Dubrovnik/Ragusa, a truly remarkable place on the eastern coast of the Adriatic….

The photo of the cat paw prints represents one such situation which forces the historian to take his eyes from the text for a moment, to pause and to recreate in his mind the incident when a cat, presumably owned by the scribe, pounced first on the ink container and then on the book, branding it for the ensuing centuries. You can almost picture the writer shooing the cat in a panicky fashion while trying to remove it from his desk. Despite his best efforts the damage was already complete and there was nothing else he could have done but turn a new leaf and continue his job. In that way this little episode was ‘archived’ in history.

Read the rest of Filipović’s account here.

Dubrovnik, a Croatian city and seaport on the Adriatic Sea with a 2011 population of 42,615, is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Emir O. Filipović is now a lecturer in medieval Bosnian history at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

H/t Smithsonian.com

~Eowyn

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Family dog shot as she leapt to defend family being held at gunpoint during home invasion

Why you need a firearm to protect EVERY MEMBER of your family.

Photo from KHOU11

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Friday stress relief: puppy & kittens sleep together

Cuteness Overload!

A Pomeranian puppy and three kittens sleep together.

~Eowyn

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