Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Germs, Bad Germs

From my early lectures and modified with updates...

(c)1985-present  J S Shipman.  All rights reserved.

Foundations Supporting Sustainability (Featured: The Colcom Foundation and YOU)

Let's face it, money plays a role in environmental issues.  Notice how poorer areas have more pollution?  Don't you think that residents in those areas also deserve clean air and water?  You want clean air and water, don't you?

You see what happened to Dukakis, politically, when he spent money to clean up the Boston Harbor?  The Waterfront went from smelling like an open sewer to smelling like clean, salty, ocean breezes.  People's water bills went up and Dukakis was voted out of office.

"In 1919 the Metropolitan District Commission was created to oversee and regulate the quality of harbor water... In 1972 the Clean Water Act was passed in order to help promote increased national water quality.

Signage on the streets of Boston says:     Don't Dump!

... Boston [had] little incentive to increase water quality of the harbor. Since the mid-1970s organizations within the Boston community have battled for a cleaner Boston Harbor. More recently, the harbor was the site of the $4.5 billion Boston Harbor Project. Failures at...[a]... sewage treatment plant in Quincy and ... Deer Island plant adjacent to Winthrop had far-reaching environmental and political effects. Fecal coliform bacteria levels forced frequent swimming prohibitions along the harbor beaches and the Charles River for many years.[3]... finally[action] by the United States government, [resulted] in the landmark court-ordered cleanup of Boston Harbor.[4]

Drains to

"Before the cleanup projects, the water was so polluted thatThe Standells released a song in 1966 called Dirty Water about the sorry state of the Charles River.

[Thank you Standells...  All musicians note your role in creating a sustainable Earth!]



"...Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis to propose separating the water and sewer treatment divisions from the MDC, resulting in the creation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in 1985 . 
"[Dukakis'] environmental record, ... was better ...[5]The court ordered cleanup continued throughout the next two decades and is still ongoing.[4] 
"... water quality in both the Harbor and the Charles River has significantly improved, and the projects have dramatically transformed Boston Harbor from one of the filthiest in the nation to one of the cleanest. Today Boston Harbor is safe for fishing and for swimming nearly every day, though there are still beach closings after even small rainstorms, caused by bacteria-laden storm water and the occasional combined sewer overflow.
Source:;  Accessed 20 March 2014. 
Meanwhile, some people took advantage of the revived waterfront area and built assets there to make them even more money.  These should have brought in enough tax revenue to compensate for the cleaning of the water.  Did they?  As a global citizen, you need to reflect on these kinds of issues that affect clean air and water.  What do you think?  What happens to the sewer in your town city or rural area?

Public health depends on your active participation in global sustainability.  And money is always involved.  Reflect on issues in your community.  I will post foundations supporting sustainability here and in other posts as I come across them.  Perhaps you will think about establishing a foundation in your community to support clean air, water, and other sustainability issues.  (Do you know how to do that?)

Here is a link to Colcom foundation 
(I read about the Colcom Foundation when following up on  a mention in an aarticle on Mister Rogers.  Read about Mister Rogers if you are not familiar with him.)  The mission of the Colcom Foundation is stated as:

... to foster a sustainable environment to ensure quality of life for all Americans by addressing major causes and consequences of overpopulation and its adverse effects on natural resources.
Regionally, the Foundation supports conservation, environmental projects and cultural assets.  
(Source:, accessed 20 March 2014.)
The Colcom Foundation has local, regional and national areas of interest that they support.  At the regional level, for example, they are committed to ensuring quality of life and environmental sustainability.

The Colcom Foundation aggressively addresses:

  • watershed remediation,
  • natural resource preservation,
  • clean air,
  • improved water quality, and
  • farmland and wildlife habitat conservation.

I am interested in those same points in Orange and Rockland Counties in New York state, which have had tremendous population influxes following the 911 events.  Farm and woodlands, and, thus clean air and water, are rapidly disappearing.  Can you help?  Can you contribute?  Can we build a foundation to support the Orange and Rockland area?

I am interested in these points for other areas around the globe.  What can each area do to raise the needed funds to create sustainability globally?

If you are starting a foundation, post a comment here.  If you are a foundation, post a comment here.  If you have a good idea about raising money to build a sustainable Earth, let us know of your success.  

We can create a sustainable Earth together.  All it takes is our effort, and,, let's set about finding ways to get the job done.  We can build a sustainable Earth.

Thank you Colcom Foundation for your inspiration and support, and, thank each and every one of us who is doing our part to build a sustainable Earth.

Photos (c)2004-present J S Shipman

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

C-diff epidemic in USA and Europe hits home. (Personal update)

Your help is needed to battle super germs (Yes, You...Your help)

What you can do to help stop the epidemic:
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. (Alcohol scrubs don't kill, "C. diff,"a spore former.)
  2. Do not use antibacterial soaps.
  3. Be sure you re-test for the causal agent after any course of antibiotics.
  4. Use probiotics (Unsweetened yogurt with live cultures (Add fruit and sugar at home if desired., raw fermented cabbage, kimchee, raw sauerkraut (homemade)), or tablets).
  5. Post the list of what should be cleaned in your hospital room if you go to the hospital.  (Don't believe naively that it is because the patient's resistance is down...).
  6. Note that alcohol (including the convenient foam scrubs) doesn't kill spore formers.  Use soap and water... the old-fashioned bar soaps.
  7. Encourage others you know to join the fight against super germs.  Get antibiotics out of our meats and dish detergents, soaps and laundry detergents.  Was your hands with soap and water often.  When you need to take a prescribed antibiotic, follow the directions, do what your medical doctor says, and also, get re-tested after you finish the prescribed course of antibiotics, if possible.

You can get a chart for current recommended cleaning at the CDC:  TERMINAL CLEANING
Just having a copy of this evaluation worksheet lets hospital personnel know you are savvy about important medical issues.  Being savvy may get you better medical care.

The worksheet is an Excel (R) spreadsheet that keeps data  for each surface on the check list for every room monitored. It uses the following symbols for marking:

What is cleaned in each room?  (Or, what should be cleaned in each room?)
Bathroom Surfaces
Equipment Surfaces
Surfaces Cleaned for Each Room
Bed rails
Tray table
IV pole
Call box / button
Telephone Bedside table handle
Room sink
Room light switch
Room inner doorknob
BR(Bathroom) inner doorknob
BR light switch
BR handrails
BR sink
Toilet seat
Toilet flush handle
Toilet bedpan cleaner
IV pump control
Monitor controls
Monitor touch screen
Monitor cables
Ventilator pane

Add....stethoscopes and similar equipment...  Dr. J

Alcohol is not sufficient to kill the super germs. 
Earlier post, which still contains useful information:
I haven't written in a while because my mother was in the hospital for an elective procedure (The medical people incorrectly thought it would give my Dad a rest) where she contracted a hospital super germ Clostridium difficile. This super germ causes a serious infection of the colon and can kill you. She is 89 and survived, thank God. To avoid or lessen such disasters, soap and water and chlorine bleach should be used for cleaning at hospitals.

To help stop the epidemic:
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. (Alcohol scrubs don't kill, "C. diff,"a spore former.)
  2. Do not use antibacterial soaps.
  3. Be sure you re-test for the causal agent after any course of antibiotics.
  4. Use probiotics (Unsweetened yogurt with live cultures (Add fruit and sugar at home if desired., raw fermented cabbage, kimchee, raw sauerkraut (homemade)), or tablets).
For more information on Clostridium difficile and other super germs, check out the CDC web sites (Center for Disease Control):

I am preparing for the Botanical Society Meetings which will be held in Vancouver this year, jointly with other societies. I will be writing more soon.

Originally published on 29 June 2008 10:44 AM Pacific Standard Time
Revised 5 March 2014 to include the following:

To grow any Country needs a Technically Literate Society and an Engineering-minded Workforce.

What do you think about growing your country's talent?  
Science:  (National Research Council, 1996),  
Technology:   (International Technology Education Association, 2000, 2003), 
Engineering:  (The American Society for Engineering Education), Lesson plans and activities ages 4-22

Math:  (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1991, 2000). 

Project 2061 (American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], 1993


Link to scholarships in engineering:

Links to teacher resources:

June 17, 2012, 8:30 AM

Update from a personal contact... Wash your hands!

Recently a woman I know from work acquired a super bug infection.  She ended up spending several days in the hospital.  Fortunately, she survived.

The infection served as a reminder to me to again address hand-washing and other tactics to help us (people) win the war against unhealthy germs.  Remember that healthy germs in balance have to help us do that.  In fact, it was likely this woman's home use of soaps and detergents containing antibiotics that lead to her illness.  We can't wipe out all germs.  We need some.

If you are integrating engineering, life sciences, health, and , math, you will likely enjoy the Tippy Tap activity which requires skills development in all the STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and, math) areas.  Here's a quote from the Tippy Tap activity:
According to the World Health Organization, about 38 percent of the world lacks access to improved sanitation,  which makes it unlikely that people wash their hands after bathroom use or before meals. Research has shown that washing hands with soap has been shown to reduce the risk of diarrheal disease by almost half. Thus, many people in underdeveloped countries suffer from diseases that could be prevented if they had a way to wash their hands regularly.
I would add that,  also many people in highly developed countries suffer from diseases that could be prevented if they washed their hands regularly.  (Remember the alcohol, foam cleansers do not get rid of all the super germs.  Use soap and water.  Use bleach.)  Here's to you health!

An anecdotal update:  The more than 20 people that I have seen that age between 98 and 106 living healthy, active lives (cooking, walking, doing some kind of work like woodwork, beekeeping, knitting, crocheting, not on medications, for the most part, other than vitamins), all wash their hands well and often.  It could be coincidence and is enough to convince me that good hand-washing is worth it longevity-wise.  Perhaps a study on quality of life and hand-washing is warranted.  Dr. J 

Related Links:

C-diff epidemic in USA and Europe hits home. C-diff epidemic in USA and Europe hits home.

.More Americans washing their Hands

6/17/12  7:56 AM

National Science Contest

National Science Contest

Lois Spangler
Lois Spangler Owner, Ed Connections LLC
To: Dr 
Date: October 20, 2013
Sylvan Dell is sponsoring a physical science contest for children in grades K-5. It is a free contest and I am trying to get the word out about this great STEM learning opportunity. Anything you can do to get this message out would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!