sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-04-22 11:15 pm

The land'll tell you that the story's burning

It was cold and raw and raining and I had slept three hours; it has been an exhausting week. I made it to the Boston March for Science and I am very glad I did. My father and I took the train from Alewife; walking back and forth in front of the fare machines we met a small child carrying "Less Invasions, More Equations!" (my brain yelled, "Fewer!" and I said, "Nice sign," because people who pedantically correct the protest signs of six-year-olds are not the kind of change I want to see in the world) and at Porter a contingent from the grad student employeee union of UMass got on with "Ignorance = √All Evil." Across the car from us a father was trying to explain Tom Lehrer to his daughter, resulting in a spontaneous chorus of "Pollution." When we got off at Park Street, it was a quarter to two and Boston Common was full of protesters and stalls and food trucks and kids' music from the bandstand and then we came up over the crest of the hill by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and it was nerds with signs as far as the eye could see.

Eventually we worked our way down the mudslide to a point where we could hear the speakers from the main stage without getting blasted by the amplification. My father took pictures. Meeting up with Dean and Lily, I gave directions by the papier-mâché 45-on-a-stick with a separate sign for its speech bubble ("Believe me, climate change is a Chinese hoax! Sad!" while standing in a pants-on-fire flaming barrel of Exxon-Mobil) and held my blue butterfly-patterned umbrella aloft like a torch. I saw [personal profile] gaudior and [personal profile] nineweaving and B. for about fifteen seconds before they disappeared with Fox, whose baby sling was pinned this time with a "Test Tube Baby" flag. We never did find [personal profile] choco_frosh and Peter. We had planned to stay the entire duration of the rally, but around a quarter to four the weather became just too cold to stand around in and we set off down Boylston Street in search of hot drinks, ending up at Patisserie on Newbury and then Trident Booksellers & Café. A great deal of walking later we met my mother in Porter Square.

The signs were great. Lots of variants on "Make America Think Again." Lots of "There Is No Planet B." Several pro-vaccination and medicine, of which my favorite was "Got Plague? Yeah, me neither. Thank a Scientist!" A woman in a Spock sweatshirt carried "The needs of the planet outweigh the greed of the lewd." I have no idea what the relevant research was, but I swear I saw "Plankton Don't Want None Unless You Got Funds, Hon!" On general principle I was rather fond of "The Oceans Are Rising and So Are We," "Think Like a Proton—Always Positive," and the several variations on "I'm with Her," pointing in all cases to Gaia. "The Climate Is Changing—Why Aren't We?" "Science Is Inoculation Against Charlatans." I did not expect to see so many shout-outs to Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, from paired signs to a person in a full-body Beaker costume whose small plain sign read simply "MEEP!" I saw signs for Alan Turing. I saw signs for Millie Dresselhaus. One of the speakers was a deaf scientist; several were women of color. My father said it reminded him of the be-ins in New York in the 1960's, only with more porto-potties and lab coats. It was definitely a compliment.

And now, as always, not to lose this energy. What next?

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-04-23 03:39 am (UTC)(link)
On Twitter, the "We Rate Dogs" Twitter feed had a cute young black labrador puppy wearing a sandwich board sign that said, "Support Labs," which was funny and cute, and I saw a nice photo of some science marchers in Bangladesh (really front lines for rising ocean levels), too.

You look very good for just three hours of sleep and standing in the drizzly cold!
nineweaving: (Default)

[personal profile] nineweaving 2017-04-23 03:59 am (UTC)(link)
Swell to see you there, even briefly. If only nerds ruled!

cyphomandra: (peter siddell)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2017-04-23 07:11 am (UTC)(link)
Awww. That sounds amazing!!
choco_frosh: Konstanz, imaginary depiction in a map of the Swabian War, 1500 (Costenitz)

[personal profile] choco_frosh 2017-04-23 11:58 am (UTC)(link)
around a quarter to four the weather became just too cold to stand around in

Peter didn't find the rally terribly thrilling, and like you eventually got too cold (we forgot gloves), so we left early. (Coincidentally about the same time as [personal profile] sigerson and co. were leaving or possibly arriving: I spotted them briefly while trying to get back to the Red Line).

The "Got Plague?" signs actually kindof annoyed me: Britain got rid of plague in the 17th c. through quarantine laws, in an era when people were still arguing about whether it was caused by miasmas or humoral inbalance or the wrath of God. I liked the equivalent ones for polio, though.
lauradi7dw: (Default)

[personal profile] lauradi7dw 2017-04-23 01:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Six year old great nephew wore my gloves, which he had to keep taking off to participate in the arts and crafts activities. He had no interest in the part of the rally that was not in the Kid Zone, and was also not prepared for the damp. My brother-in-law took him home early.

I remember polio. It's almost eradicated. The Rotary club booth on Patriot's Day (it's one of their causes) said that we're down to just a couple of locations in Africa. I now need to know more about the British quarantine solution (aside from the famous plague town that quarantined itself). I tend to fall back on the popular idea of the Great Fire almost literally burning the plague out of London. And of course it's not gone, it's just way down and treatable with antibiotics (for the time being).
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

[personal profile] davidgillon 2017-04-23 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
There's still a lot of people living with the after-effects of polio. I was comparing notes with a close friend who wears a calliper from childhood polio and was surprised to realise there's more people in the UK living with post-polio than with my disability (which is generally quoted at 1 in 2000).

For a good science beats outbreak story from the UK, there's John Snow and Henry Whitehead stopping the Broad Street Cholera Outbreak of 1854 by persuading the authorities to remove the handle from the pump that was the focus of infection (and inventing a lot of the basics for tracing outbreaks along the way).
ethelmay: (Default)

[personal profile] ethelmay 2017-04-23 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
It was a bit of a shock to realize that your father is the same age as my oldest brother. Though I would still have had to be a teenage mum to have a child your age.
ethelmay: (Default)

[personal profile] ethelmay 2017-04-23 11:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I knew you were a lot younger than I was, but somehow I hadn't put that together with your being actually the next generation on, which gets filed differently in my brain. But as I was born when my parents were in their forties, I am used to being a bit out of sync with everyone else's idea of generations.
lauradi7dw: (Default)

[personal profile] lauradi7dw 2017-04-23 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Not sure about widespread in 1955. I have a clear memory of standing in a long line in my NC elementary school cafeteria in what must have been about 1962. Not just kids - our parents were there too, all of us waiting to get our sugar cubes with the new (to us) Polio vaccine drops. The only person I knew then who had had polio was about five years older than me, I guess. He also was affected in one leg. My mother's remark about him was that doctors had "stopped the growth in his other leg" so that he wouldn't limp. I have no idea what that would have involved.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

[personal profile] davidgillon 2017-04-28 01:27 pm (UTC)(link)
About the same age as my friend then.

His family took it as an opportunity to retrain him to be right-handed.


It's part of the reason he and my mother (who was born in 1946) go crazy over the anti-vaxxer movement. These epidemics aren't dead past. They are living memory. How can people want to return to that?

Privileged idiocy and a preference for pseudoscience over real science because real science won't pander to their preferences and expects them to think. (So a lot like Trump, then!)
lauradi7dw: (Default)

[personal profile] lauradi7dw 2017-04-23 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Been there! Epidemiology tourism.
starwatcher: Western windmill, clouds in background, trees around base. (Default)

[personal profile] starwatcher 2017-04-25 02:59 am (UTC)(link)
There's still a lot of people living with the after-effects of polio.

Yes; my BFF was born in '51, caught polio as a 2-year-old. (Was actually part of the vaccine study, obviously received the placebo dose.) Walked with crutches for many years, successfully carried and delivered two children (her greatest dream) who became capable, functioning, useful adults. Is now confined mostly to bed because of post polio syndrome; frustrating and painful to watch her go downhill, and the medical community has precious little help to offer.

I was born in '52. When the polio vaccine came along, that blue liquid on a sugar cube made a big impression on me. Probably because Mom was very against us getting it, but Dad was adamant; he worked in the medical field, and I'm sure had seen his share of polio cases. He made sure we got the vaccine as soon as it was available.

My dad was military, so I had smallpox vaccinations as a child before we left the country. When I read that the WHO had declare smallpox eradicated in 1980, I felt such pride that humanity had worked together and managed to wipe out that ancient scourge. It baffles me that people can be so unaware of the great good done by vaccinations that they refuse to have their own children protected by such a simple procedure.

*waves* Hi, Sovay; popped over from metaquotes and stayed to read.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

[personal profile] davidgillon 2017-04-28 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
My friend is lucky enough to have her treatment handled by one of the best specialist centres in the UK - from what we've discussed there's some interesting overlaps with the self-management stuff I've been taught for chronic pain. But every time I see something about post polio on the web, it's almost inevitably accompanied by people talking about lack of information.
moon_custafer: (Default)

[personal profile] moon_custafer 2017-04-23 01:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I've seen a series of tweets (ETA -- from Siobhan Thompson) that go something like:

"The Science March numbers seem good, but we won't know for sure until we compare against the Placebo March."

"I feel bad for the people at the Placebo March who think they're marching for science, but double-blind testing is important."

"Reports have been coming in that some of the placebo marchers feel as though they're helping anyway."
Edited 2017-04-23 13:16 (UTC)
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-04-23 03:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I read these to my husband and he ROARED with laughter, thank you!
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-04-23 04:44 pm (UTC)(link)
"There aren't many people at the Homeopathy March, but they say that's how it works."

(Not original to me)
dancing_crow: (Default)

[personal profile] dancing_crow 2017-04-25 01:29 am (UTC)(link)
the fewer people the more effective it is?
conuly: (Default)

[personal profile] conuly 2017-04-24 09:24 am (UTC)(link)
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-04-23 03:36 pm (UTC)(link)
T saw some of those same signs in Seattle! and aww, great hat, you look v nice.
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-04-23 03:55 pm (UTC)(link)
we met a small child carrying "Less Invasions, More Equations!" (my brain yelled, "Fewer!" and I said, "Nice sign," because people who pedantically correct the protest signs of six-year-olds are not the kind of change I want to see in the world)

May I metaquotes this?
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-04-23 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for being there for more of it than I managed.
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-04-23 08:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Too cold and wet for Kes. I made it out there, but didn't last an hour. I can rarely hear the speakers, so my main axtivity at these things is photography, but it became too wet for that shortly after I arrived.