Thyroid Awareness Month

Well, if you’ve been following my weekly updates, you’ll know that my new baby was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This was quite a shock at first, but I’m feeling much more sanguine about the situation now that I have talked to the endocrinologist and know that his meds are working.

A functional thyroid is necessary for brain development in the first 3 years of life, and babies with hypothyroidism can end up with varying levels of intelectual/developmental disability. Of course, I would like to do some research on the subject, and what would you expect me to do but look up some books?

Sadly, there really isn’t very much out there about pediatric hypothyroidism. Here’s the obvious choice:

These seem to be aimed at doctors, of course. Any other readers out there who want to find information about a medical condition, but finding it difficult?

Beyond These Walls, by Tony Platt

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Summary: Dr Platt, a well-established criminologist, outlines the history and current state of incarceration in the US. He covers topics such as how women and minorities as overly-impacted by the harsh sentences, the overpopulated prisons, and the enforced deportations of documented and undocumented immigrants. He warns us that past efforts at reforming the system have actually resulted in changes for the worse. He urges that change needs to happen from the top down, rather than from the bottom up – in other words, we need to change how the people at the top think about incarceration, and not focus only on punishing the people at the bottom (i.e. cops and prison guards) for the failures of the system. He suggests that if we punished white collar crimes (especially those that affect thousands of people) with the same ferocity as crimes of the poor, then reform would happen faster – since the people who have power to do something about the problem will witness the problem first hand.

My Thoughts: I admit, at first I didn’t think I was going to like this book. It started out slow – detail-heavy, with too many statistics listed in sentence after sentence. However, I started getting more into the narrative by the second or third chapter, when Platt started including more information on each event spoken about, instead of just listing events. By the end of the book, I was quite enjoying the educational aspects of the book. This is a topic that I have read a bit on, but not extensively, so I can say that it is a good book for a lay-person trying to educate herself on the history of incarceration in the US. Platt’s views on how we got where we are today, and some of his suggestions of how to look at reform differently (i.e. from the top down and by putting more white-collar people in prison) are definitely food for thought. This is a well-researched book, with lots of important information. It’s not fast reading, but it is worthwhile.

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Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. Their contribution did not affect the content of my review.

Update: Week 47

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This last week went well. During the weekend, Aaron and I each spent special time with each kid without the baby around. Aaron took both kids (separately) to an inside amusement park. I took D to get a mani / pedi and bought her this gigantic cake at Buffalo Wild Wings. I have not had time to do something with M yet, but the plan is to go to that Spiderverse movie and dinner either tomorrow or Monday.

Because we found the owner of the cat my sister and J rescued, my dad decided he wanted a kitten as a mouser. So we procured a kitten for him. He asked mom multiple times what she wanted to name her, and mom answered “is she staying?” every time. So her name is now Is-she. I wanted to name her Mothra, but was voted down by dad. 🙂

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I went out for New Year’s Eve with my friend Todd. I didn’t get a picture of him, but I got a selfie:

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We were wearing all red and black. 🙂 Aaron was sweet enough to watch the kids for the evening, for which I’m really grateful. He, D, and M stayed up till midnight to watch the ball drop. So we were all tired in the morning.

We have decided to sign M up for chess lessons starting Sunday. He’s resistant to change, so I hope he doesn’t object too much. He loves chess and is good at it for a self-taught 6-year-old. (In the sense that he can almost beat me, not in the sense that he is a child prodigy.)

Reading this upcoming week

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Mimesis and Greece in the Bronze Age are both long-term reads, which I’m sort of alternating through. But I’m in the mood to read just a chapter or so of each soon.

Completed this week

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I pumped off a few books and one movie this week. I chose to listen to and watch Twelfth Night, but then looking at my schedule decided I would review it a little later in the comedy trimester (due to themes I’d like to set up). So the review will be upcoming, but not my first Shakespeare review. 🙂

 

 

 

 

To Be a Machine, by Mark O’Connell

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Summary: Believe it or not, transhumanism (the alteration of humans using technology in order to improve upon the human in some way), is becoming more and more mainstream. In this well-researched book, journalist Mark O’Connell records his journeys through transhumanism conferences, meetings with rich, well-connected transhumanist individuals, and a crazy bus-ride with a person who was “running for president” and wanted to make people live forever.

My thoughts: Like the author, I am skeptical that transhumanism is really a great development for mankind. It feels a little – well – wrong to change one’s body to “improve upon it.” And I don’t want to live forever. However, I think the book was very interesting and expressed some interesting arguments in favor of transhumanism. Despite the author’s skepticism, he portrayed transhumanists in a positive light, and remained impartial. The book was well-researched, and I certainly feel more educated on the subject now. I would suggest this book to people who are interested in technology waves of the future with a dash of philosophy.

 

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Kids Books and Graphic Novels Week 47

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Cute but not very content-filled finger puppet book about a turkey celebrating the fall.

3 and half snowflakes

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Rather silly book about a boy who is always being told “no” because of naughty behavior. But then he’s told he’s loved at the end. Awww.

3 and half snowflakes

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Adorable book about a little owl who flies around and enjoys a night.

5 snowflakes

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I loved this book. I actually cried. Of course, I’ve got weird post-partum hormones right now, but still. Very touching.

5 snowflakes

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Cute, but a tad predictable.

four snowflakes

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A classic, of course. IL is too young for interactive books, but it’s still worth the read.

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Why do people read plays?

In the spirit of the 2019 Year of Shakespeare, I was thinking about why people bother reading plays and screenplays to begin with. Plays are written to be watched, not read. If the actors and director is good, you get more context out of watching a play than reading it, and altogether it is more enjoyable to me. However, people are not considered thoroughly well-read in the classics unless they have read at least some Shakespeare, as well as some of the Greek tragedies. Why? I admit, the way I am approaching 2019 Year of Shakespeare is that I will watch the play first, then I will listen to it as an audiobook, which I think (if well-acted) still gives more context than the written word. I do not plan on actually reading the hard copy. Is that cheating?

What do you think? Do you enjoy reading plays? Why?