Sunday, August 05, 2018

CBS "Sunday Morning" on 5 August 2018 does provocative story on maternal mortality

CBS Sunday Morning on August 5, 2018 was a study in contrasts. Erin Moriarity did "Maternal mortality: An American crisis", which could easily have been a hit on "60 Minutes." It preceded a puff piece by Jim Gaffigan on the need for a good nap, which joined other puff pieces on truffle-seeking dogs and sandboarding.

Some text from "maternal mortality:"

Moriarty asked, "And where do we compare to other developed countries, like Great Britain, Canada?"

"The United States is ranked 46th when it comes to maternal mortality. That's behind countries like Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan."

In the U.S., that means at least two women are dying every day. And it's not just deaths on the rise. So are "near deaths" … 60,000 a year across the country.


Moriarty asked, "Why? You're not talking about access to healthcare, you're not talking about money or education."

"No, and this is gonna be hard to hear: we believe black women less when they express concerns about the symptoms they're having, particularly around pain. And that's the common thread in all of the stories we've been hearing in the media, including Serena Williams."

The cover story "Drowning in a Sea of Plastic" was of interest but not as scary or as timely as "Maternal mortality." Pogue made reference to the film "Plastic China," which led to a politically-based reversal of Chinese policy on accepting plastics, effective January 2018. In terms of great misunderstandings, a review for "Plastic China" had stated:

I learned a bit about plastic recycling some twenty years ago when for two months I walked the streets of the beach cities in the Los Angeles area collecting bottles and cans. I found out then that the plastic that was not deposit bottles was gathered into great shipping crates and sold to China. In turn many American companies bought the resulting pellets from China! This film shows why it was economic to ship the plastic waste to China and then effectively speaking buy back a value-added product. Quite simply the labor costs were and are so much less.

Curiously this is an uplifting doc with almost no political message. Because the people are shown going about their daily lives we come to feel we know them, and indeed their hopes and dreams and the way they live with one another is very much like people everywhere.

Pogue's take would be the opposite.

FoxNews reported on 21 June 2018:

China, which has imported 45 percent of the world’s plastic since 1992 for recycling, banned the import of non-industrial waste beginning this year. Therefore, tens of millions of yogurt cups, water bottles, containers and plastic bags now have nowhere to go.

As the Science Advances study notes, plastic packaging and single-use plastics tend to enter the waste stream, contributing to a total of 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste generated worldwide. Some of that waste is recycled, but the overwhelming majority ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans.

“We know from our previous studies that only 9 percent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled, and the majority of it ends up in landfills or the natural environment,” Jenna Jambeck, associate professor in UGA’s College of engineering and co-author of the study, told UGA News.

Almanac did "American Bandstand," which went national on ABC on August 5, 1957 and remained national for thirty years, until 1987. MTV launched on August 1, 1981. Just as "American Bandstand" died off, MTV is sagging; MTV's ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers increasingly shift toward other media platforms, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29% (wikipedia).

Faith Salie did a piece on Dox Thrash, which obliquely touched on innovation. From the text:

Most printmakers start with a light surface and add dark layers. But Thrash did the opposite
– scraping away the dark to create lighter grays and whites. He named the technique
after his mother, calling it "the Opheliagraph."

"Sunday Morning" said this is also termed carborundum mezzotint. Note wikipedia states that this was invented in 1952 by Henri Goetz, an American abstract artist living in Paris. states: Originally, Thrash wanted to name this new technique the “Opheliagraph” for his mother, who died in 1936.

Of interest in the Thrash story:

"I want Dox Thrash now to be seen as one of our great American artists," said Hammond.

"Not African American?" asked Salie.

"No, American artist who tells wonderful, important, pivotal stories about American history, American life."

Thrash had connections to Chicago and Philadelphia.

The moment of nature was not particularly unusual: wild horses on Assoteague Island, Maryland.

***UPDATE on recycling (15 Aug 2018):

Garbage companies are refusing your recycling. The trade war with China will make it worse with text:

China had been a big buyer of reclaimed refuse but recently tightened its rules on the products it accepts, requiring the various materials to be rigorously separated and much cleaner than in the past. The country is also threatening to impose a tariff on trash amid a broadening trade war with the United States, which could ding recycling companies.

“They are shutting the door on a lot of materials,” said Kimberly Scheibly, director of compliance and customer relations at Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael, where mixed paper has been accumulating for months as the firm looks for a buyer. Markets like Vietnam and Mexico have opened up, but due to their smaller size, they often get inundated with material and can’t take more, she said.


As part of the escalating trade war, China announced this month that it would impose a tariff of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of goods, including paper waste, Reuters reported. That has Abreu concerned, because that means recycling centers may have to pay more for materials sold to China.

“The tariff is another layer on top of the (rules) that they already adopted,” Abreu said. “It’s like getting two punches instead of one.”


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