A New Generation of LGBT YA

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April is LGBT-month with LauraPlusBooks and FightingDreamer. Although I am studying VERY HARD (I really am), I wanted to get this post in really quickly. I realised a while ago that I haven’t read that many LGBT books. I’ve read quite a few where a secondary character is LGBT (The Mortal Instruments, Mara Dyer, etc) and quite a few short-story collections, like Yes, I am! and OMG QUEER. Then there was Every Day (which is kind of, I don’t know, pansexual?) and Luna.

Recently I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It was incredible (not quite a five-star read, due to some issues I have with the final bit of the book) and while reading I kept thinking how this narrative felt to me like a revolution not only in LGBT writing, but YA in general.

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Oh Little Children of Myanmar

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The children in Burma waited for us, greeting us with smiles and postcards. Buy a postcard, buy a postcard, buy a postcard. They greet us with impeccable English, helps us merrily on our way to the next attraction.

The children in Burma told us which were the nice fruits to eat, the cheap shops to buy from. They wore perpetual smiles.

They wear yellow circles of Thanaka paste on their cheeks, for good skin and sun protection and mosquito aversion. The story goes that the paste will show a father if his daughter has been kissed. Continue reading

Brain Space?

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On a bit of a tangent, you know when people say that humans only utilise 10% of their brains, and Einstein used more, and we can reach so much more if only we tried?

Well most of it (except for the last part) is hogwash.

We use all of our brains, to different extents, but only a certain amount as intellectual space. The rest is used for processing, for bodily functions, for storing dormant information.

But don’t let that detract from my brilliant graphic ;)

Medicine, Bureaucracy, Press Freedom*

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The latest fun development in the South African Health Care Sector (source):

Yesterday, the HoDs at the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex called a press conference. They declared that it was not possible for them to work in their understaffed, under-equipped states. I can vouch for this. Too few RNs, too few security guards and not nearly enough basic clinical equipment. Or enough beds for that matter.

They declared that only the emergency departments would be working full-time, and clinic-time would be restricted. I suppose at least they are not denying emergency care. But is it really ethical to restrict clinic care, when that includes ensuring that chronic diseases are adequately managed (or detected, for that matter), so that they don’t become life-threatening?

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The Faeries’ Forest

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You know the whimsical cabin-in-the-woods blissful weekend away?

We had that this weekend. It’s a little village in the Eastern Cape called Hogsback – and is said to be the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We’ve been going there regularly since I attended Summer Camp there in 2002.

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Define: Specialist

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At Cape Town Book Fair I attended a forum discussion on making knowledge and research results more accessible to students and the general public, breaking down the “Ivory Tower” so to speak. Remember how often I’ve written about that annoying research jargon? Yep!

The panel chairperson was journalist Karabo Kgoleng. This graphic is inspired by one of her quotes.

Eight Million Mosquitoes Can’t Be Wrong

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Today is World Blood Donor Day. I’ll be the first to lament that every day is international some-or-other day, and that one should be aware of whatever-we-commemorate everyday, but in my profession blood is worth more than gold.

I’ve seen patients with severe anaemias improve dramatically after receiving blood. And I saw a patient die because no blood was available for her (admittedly because she had too many strange antibodies in her blood).

Me? I’ve donated once. Had a severe hypotensive episode and freaked everyone out. I’m not afraid of blood (DUH), but ever since then it’s always been my weight or my HB or something the matter. I’ll manage eventually, I’m sure. When I was little, I begged the nurses to let me donate when my mom donated. They laughed.

Anycase, if you are able to do so, please consider donating blood today. Or tomorrow. Or next week.

And if you can’t, do as I do: bully your family and friends into donating.

Here are some of my favourite posters to inspire you:

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