Thursday, September 18, 2014

BBC article on cloves, the sins of colonialism, and the clove tree that defied empires.

In 1652, after displacing the Portuguese and Spanish, the Dutch introduced a policy known as extirpatie: extirpation.
All clove trees not controlled by the Voc were uprooted and burned.
Anyone caught growing, stealing or possessing clove plants without authorisation faced the death penalty.
On the Banda Islands, to the south - the world's only source of nutmeg - the Dutch used Japanese mercenaries to slaughter almost the entire male population.
Like Opec today, the Voc also limited supply to keep prices high. Only 800-1,000 tonnes of cloves were exported per year. The rest of the harvest was burned or dumped in the sea.
Somehow, Afo managed to slip through the net. A rogue clove. A guerrilla plant waging a secret war of resistance.
Afo would eventually bring down the Dutch monopoly on cloves.
In 1770, a Frenchman, appropriately named Poivre, stole some of Afo's seedlings.

the article includes this factoid:

A Han dynasty ruler from the 3rd Century BC insisted that anyone addressing him chew cloves to sweeten their breath. 


unrelated item: Meaningful practice. A bit thing on Obamacare, but this explanation doesn't help explain what it is.

Manila needs a new sewer/drainage system, so is in danger of floods as the rain from the last storm comes downstream from the north.

Marikina is partly under sea level, but they managed to build there anyway.


premies at 22 weeks only have a 12.5 percent chance of survival, but the article stresses the negative since many end up with complications.

The results show that the precise survival rates by gestational age were 12..5%; 13.1%; 36.9%; 55.7% and 71.9% at 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 weeks, respectively.
Survival with no serious intracranial haemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia (damage to the brain's white matter close to the ventricles), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (chronic lung disease) or retinopathy of prematurity (abnormal development of the blood vessels in the retina) stood at 1.5%; 9.5%; 19.0% and 29.9% at 23, 24, 25 and 26 weeks, respectively.
presumably "experts" will use the data to impose "no treatment" orders on the kids, instead of figuring out ways to increase the survival rate.
The problem is that a large percentage of these kids are weak and don't breathe on their own after birth.
the parents want everything to be done...yet after CPR most of the kids revived only lived a few hours.
I've stopped CPR on a "flat" 22 week baby,who didn't revive after a few minutes of CPR,  so there is a good argument both ways. But that was 20 years ago and in a small rural hospital, where the nearest NICU was 200 miles away...
In Africa, even 3 pound babies usually didn't make it...all we had was an incubator which used 100 watt bulbs to regulate the temperature and a tube feeding in oxygen to the babies.

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