At least, not according to the OB-GYNs at Aspen Women’s Center at Provo, Utah:
It’s really nice to be back at blogging, and sorry for the longer-than-usual hiatus. Holidays, work, kids and house renovations (along with a dose of self-destructive perfectionism and writer’s block. Don’t ask) and just plain life conspired to keep me away from this space, but hopefully, things will be settling down in the next few weeks and we’ll be back in our blessed groove again.
Just because I was busy, however, doesn’t mean I gave up my online life entirely. Those of you who blog can probably attest that reading other people’s stuff, and even reacting to written stuff in comments or messageboard posts, is a lot easier than composing blogposts. So I kept up with my reading, and found a lot of material in the past month which made for worthy sequels to things I’d already written about here.
Plant scientist and Nobel laureate, Norman Borlaug, died last Saturday at the ripe old age of 95. Borlaug, in contrast to many other self-described do-gooders on this planet, actually could take credit for saving millions of people in the Third World from starving to death by developing high-yield, disease resistant crops of grain.
Borlaug had little patience for these types:
Eventually, however, a backlash developed. In the 1980s, environmental groups began pressuring foundations and the World Bank to stop funding shipments of fertilizer to developing countries, particularly in Africa. Critics contended that the inorganic fertilizers used caused massive pollution; they argued in favor of “sustainable” agriculture using “natural” fertilizers like cow manure.
Borlaug was indignant. Using manure would require a massive expansion of the lands required for grazing the cattle and consume much of the extra grain that would be produced. At best, he said, such efforts could support no more than 4 billion people worldwide, well under the nearly 7 billion now inhabiting the planet.
“Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the Earth, but many of them are elitists,” he told the Atlantic Monthly magazine. “They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”
A truly great man has left us, but his cause can still be supported at Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.
I’ve never been one for class reunions, but it’s always fun to see what my fellow medical school classmates have made of their lives, and of the profession, in the years since we graduated. One I speak to on an almost daily basis, as we work together; others have become specialists I’ve referred patients to. My middle son’s pediatric neurologist is also a former classmate, and our yearly visits with her, while always professionally conducted, also involve friendly chat.
Hence, I was quite happy to hear from a mutual acquaintance that my former classmate Dennis Rosen has become a pediatric sleep expert in Boston, studying under none other than the Great Ferb himself. And that he writes a blog on the subject of sleep over at Psychology Today, called Sleeping Angels. It’s not just about kids’ sleep, either. And that it’s really interesting, too (OK, that was my own conclusion after reading several blogposts).
(And I’m willing to bet that if Dennis looks at his referral logs, he’s probably scratching his head about now and thinking, “Who the hell is this person?!”. We were a class of about 90 students, after all.)