E-Cigarettes, Wet Lung, and the US vs the UK

Yet again, the US news media over-hypes a story and uses it to peddle a narrative about e-cigarettes being “just as bad” as analog cigarettes. They are evil, dangerous, and should be banned. And this obsession in the US with e-cigarettes being somehow terrible is very strange to me, seeing as how other countries (such as the UK), are actually quite happy with e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices.

E-cigarettes are in the news again because of a Pennsylvania woman with a history of mild asthma going to the hospital after having developed a cough, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. After attempts to control these symptoms, all of which failed, she went into respiratory failure, needing a machine to help her breathe and tubes inserted into her chest to drain fluids from her lungs. She was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

According to Cleveland Clinic, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis) is “a complex condition of varying intensity, clinical presentation, and natural history. It is the result of an immunologically induced inflammation of the lung parenchyma in response to inhalation exposure to a large variety of antigens. These are primarily organic antigens to which patients have been previously sensitized and are hyperresponsive.”

Wikipedia gives a less technical definition, calling it “an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled organic dusts. Sufferers are commonly exposed to the dust by their occupation or hobbies.”

What does this have to do with vaping?

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Basic White People Are Racist… Part II

Mary Poppins rolling her eyes in disappointment

Mary Poppins rolling her eyes in disappointment

I honestly don’t know what to do with my fellow white people. We… I… we’re really just doing the most, aren’t we? Are we like… determined to be seen as literally the worst?

I’ve already done this once, back in March, but clearly we white people want to make this a series. I should have been paying more attention, honestly, because I know I missed a lot, and, in fact, I’m starting off with something that happened a little ways back in the past, in April, when Starbucks got caught out…

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A New Blog?!? What the Heck is Nathan Doing?!?!?

Relax, relax. It’s nothing too big.

Yes, I created a new blog. No, it’s not a replacement for this one. I know I’ve been inactive here, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But as I’ve already said… I’m not leaving. I’m working out stuff in my personal life. But I will get back to making this blog active again… I promise… (would help if publicize would start working, again… but anyways…)

So. My new little WordPress blog…

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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#WhoAgainstGuns – Doctor Who Fans Unite for Gun Control

I’m late to this. The deadline is March 12th.

I want to bring attention to this… it’s important.

We’ve all been moved by recent events. The survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are using their voices to speak for those who cannot, to say “never again,” and demand change.

We are asking the Doctor Who community to follow their example and to shine a light on this urgent issue.

This March, representatives of all your favourite Doctor Who podcasts and some special guests will be coming together to do a podcast commentary of the 1969 Patrick Troughton story The War Games.

But here’s the thing: we’re not putting out this podcast on any one show’s feed. We’re only releasing it to listeners who provide a donation to an organization committed to ending gun violence.

Click the link to find the organizations they want you to donate to, and follow the instructions to get the special commentary podcast from there.

Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of Doctor Who, it’s important to fight for gun control. Really, we should have done this years ago. But better late than never, right?

It’s time. It’s time to regulate an industry that has blood on its hands. It’s time to reject the NRA. It’s time to regulate guns.

Join Doctor Who. Join the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Speak out FOR gun control.

ETA: Since they announced, they’ve raised well over $10000, so back on March 6th, they added raffle giveaway opportunities. So please… donate and send them your receipt. It really is worth it.

Maybe #MeToo Has Gone too Far, But That’s a *Good* Thing

Trigger Warning: Discussion of accusations of sexual harassment, assault, rape, #MeToo, #TimesUp, #TheEmptyChair, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Larry Nassar, and the social consequences of all of this.

There’s a lot of talk lately about whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far, especially after the accusations about Aziz Ansari came out. And honestly? It’s a good question to ask. Society is experiencing a massive shift, and people who once got away with horrid behavior are now, finally, being held accountable for it. Often, that means being held accountable for mis-judged comments or creepy behavior. Many times, it means getting in trouble for violating consent. And it also means being held accountable for assault and/or rape.

I think that, in a way, it has gone too far. But the twist?

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I’m glad it’s going too far, and I think it can go further.

And here’s why…

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I Saw a Stranger in the Mirror…

I mentioned in my last post that something a bit scary happened to me. No one was hurt, no one else was involved, but it was scary nonetheless. It was all mental, and disturbing, because it dragged up memories and feelings I haven’t had in over 15 years. And I’m not really sure what to do with that because I am as far away from how I felt about life and myself 15 years ago as it’s possible to be.

So anyways…

Content Warning for mention of suicide, for discussion of anxiety, stress, and depression, and talk of (I think) dissociation(?).

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In Memory of Grandpa

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

On the morning of Friday, December 1st, I had dropped my parents off at the airport. They were heading to Atlanta for a conference. Later in the day, I drove over to work to get my schedule for the coming week. While I was heading there, Dad had rented yellow Mustang convertible for their week, and had texted me a picture of it. So I got to work, got my schedule, and hung out for a bit.

Then I got a phone call from my mom, who was crying. At first, she could barely talk, and two horrible thoughts went through my head. First, I thought she and Dad had gotten into a bad accident. Then I thought my brother, and best friend, Aaron, had gotten into an accident.

What she finally told me did not make me feel better.

At all.

Her dad, my grandpa, in Connecticut, had had a heart attack. He was in the hospital on life support.

Not long after, Dad called me. Grandma was taking him off life support, so he wouldn’t suffer.

I picked up my parents and my brother at the airport the next morning, and we went straight to Connecticut.

That side of my family is Catholic. The wake was Wednesday. The funeral was Thursday. And we came back home on Thursday night.

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