Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ebola, should the USA be scared?

  In case you're wondering, I've been checking for new information on the Ebola outbreak every couple of hours for the last three days, or so.

  The short answer is - Not yet, it hasn't even left the African continent.  If it spreads to any other continent then we should worry.  That being said, US health care workers are watching, maybe even preparing, for the disease.

  The long answer (this could take a while) is a little more difficult.  First let's talk about how it spreads, and such.  Of course anybody following the outbreak will know all of this already.

  • The incubation period for Ebola can vary from 2-21 days.  Two days to three weeks.
  • It's not airborne, it can only be spread through contact with an infected person.
  • The mortality rate is over 60%.
  • After symptoms stop (if you survive) you could still be contagious for months!
   In North Carolina they just had an Ebola scare, however they released the patient who was thought to be infected, without testing.  The patient arrived in the emergency room after a trip to "a country known for high risk of infectious diseases" according to the NBC news article I just read.  They expect many more scares over the next few weeks until the virus has been controlled.
   As of July 23rd 672 have died from this outbreak, and over 1,200 have been infected.  The 24th-27th saw 122 new cases, and 57 more deaths.  As of the 27th the total is 1323 (confirmed, probable, or suspect) infected, and 729 deaths according to the WHO website.
   The peace corps are pulling 340 volunteers out of Africa.  Two have been quarantined because they came in contact with a person who later died of Ebola.  Once they are all cleared for travel they will be on their way back to the states. 
   One man, DR. Sheik Umar Khan, died after treating the infected for months.  He successfully treated over 100 patients with Ebola.  He was Sierra Leone's only specialist with Viral Hemorrhagic fevers.
   Another on his way to the USA flew from Liberia, where he was showing no symptoms, to Nigeria, where he collapsed, and later died.  59 contacts to this person were identified and are currently observed.
   The first case of this outbreak was back in February.
   Currently the CDC says there is a very low chance of it being brought to the United States.
   Major airlines are still flying people from West Africa to the US.  Only people showing possible symptoms are stopped.
   There are five known "species" in the genus ebolavirus.  The most well-known, and most common Zaire ebolavirus is thought to be the one causing the current outbreak.
   Scientists believe that Ebola can be caught from infected primates, and fruit bats.  Unfortunately for people in Africa, fruit bats are a delicacy there.  Fortunately for people in the USA, fruit bats are not usual consumed here.

   In my opinion we should all be following this outbreak ready to act.  If only people who are showing symptoms are being stopped in airports then who's to say something like what happened in Nigeria won't happen in the US?  If someone comes in contact with the virus unknowingly, boards a plane to the US the next day, and then isn't showing symptoms until 20 days after that?  We could be in trouble. 
   I have been doing research on that probability, and more about the virus in general.  I've been called a hypochondriac, and a germaphobe, but guess who's going to be laughing when the rest of you get Ebola?  Kidding, but we should all be cautious.  With school starting up in a month or so bigger groups of children mean more possibility for the spread of disease.

  So here's the short answer again - We shouldn't be worried yet, but we should keep our eyes open.

   Here's a song I found written about the disease to help warn people about it.  *WARNING, IMAGES IN VIDEO ARE DISTURBING* The pictures in this video are of people with the disease.  Not for the faint of heart, or weak stomached. 

   Over the next few days I'll continue watching the news.  I will likely post short updates on my Facebook page, though I won't put up anymore long posts like this one!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Climbing goals

The Seven Summits

For those of you who don't know, the Seven Summits refers to the highest mountain on each continent.  They are:
Mount Everest - 29,029' (8,848m) - Asia
Aconcagua - 22,838' (6,961m) - South America
Mount McKinley AKA Denali - 20,322' (6,194m) - North America
Kilimanjaro - 19,341' (5,895m) - Africa
Mount Elbrus - 18,510' (5,642m) - Europe
Mount Vinson - 16,050' (4,892m) - Antarctica
Pancak Jaya AKA Carstensz Pyramid - 16,024' (4,884m) - Australian continent
Mount Kosciuszko - 7,310' (2,228m) - Australia

The two in Australia are from different lists, some climbers try for both lists, others choose one.  I'm going to try for both, so I'll be doing both of the Australian mountains.  The Bass list is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland, while the Messner list is the highest on the Australian continent.

On mountain Everest I'll be sticking with the traditional methods of acclimatization, climb high, sleep low.  I've been considering climbing Everest solo, except hiring a Sherpa guide.  Because I'll be climbing with just one Sherpa guide I will carry the majority of my supplies, I won't have my guide climb up and down more times than I do.  It'll help me get acclimatized better, plus it'll get me climbing more (sitting still isn't my strong suit, I know that'll be the hardest part for me already).  

I'm thinking about doing them in height order, shortest to tallest.  Though I'll probably do them in season order, January-December.

The Second Seven Summits

The Second highest mountain on each continent:
K2 - 28,251' (8611m) - Asia
Ojos del Salado -22,615' (6,893m) - South America
Mount Logan - 19,551' (5,959m) - North America
Dykh-Tau - 17,077' (5,205m) - Europe
Mount Kenya - 17,057' (5,199m) - Africa 
Mount Tyree - 15,919' (4,852m) - Antarctica
Puncak Mandala - 15,617' (4,760m) - Australian continent
Mount Townsend - 7,247' (2,209m) - Australia

Only one person has ever completed the Second Seven Summits.  It took him 11 years from his first summit of the SSS, to his last.  My goals are to become the first woman to summit the SSS, and to be the fastest so far (I plan to try for a year)!

I think I might need to find a few climbing buddies to do some of them with me, the ones in Antarctica especially!

Some other climbing goals are:
Climb an active Volcano
and kind of Thru-hike the Appalachian Trail
I plan to Thru-hike the AT as part of my 7 Summits training, then I will complete the second 7 after that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vegas, Air-sickness, and My Shame

Long time no write, I'll explain later.

First of all, Vegas was amazing! I love how busy it was.  Sometimes calm, and peaceful is nice, but I prefer the busy, always changing cities for the most part.
The stripper cards, and signs everywhere weren't my favorite, but they were easy enough to ignore. The casinos were a little more difficult to ignore, but all the activity was exciting, even though my eyes became red and itchy if we stayed too long. (Walking through, I am too young to gamble, legally)

Saturday, the 5th.

On the first day we were there we ended up going to the Miracle Mile Mall with my dance team, instead of starting our list right away.  The mall was huge.  The ceiling was painted to look like the sky outside.  There was a rainstorm inside, we got to see it once, and the end of it another time.  There were lots of different kinds of stores, and kiosks.  It was pretty amazing to a girl from New England!

After returning to our hotel for a short while we hit the strip again, this time with lunch in mind, and headed down to the Hard Rock Cafe.  It was quite a bit farther than I expected it to be, and while I didn't really enjoy what I ordered (the fries were good!) the restaurant was really cool.  I play electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, so the guitars hanging on the wall that belonged to famous musicians were my main point of focus.  I even got some neat picks from the souvenir shop.

Once we finished our meal we went to the MGM grand hotel, walked for what seemed like miles through the maze of a hotel (so many casinos, my eyes felt like they were going to explode they were so itchy and watery), until we found the pilot screening area.  What they did was have us signup, then they put us in a room with a bunch of other people each in front of a screen.  They told us the rules, and then had us go through a brief survey before showing us the pilot.  Afterwards we went through another survey about what we thought of the show.  I can't give you any details about the show, but it was an interesting experience, I recommend it! This is something I forgot to post on our list.

After that we hung out at the hotel for the night, we had to get up early.

Sunday, the 6th.

Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam day.  *Warning, they gave us quite a few facts about the dam and canyon, so if you don't want to read them all skip this day!*

Las Vegas is a valley, in fact "Las Vegas" means "The Meadows" in Spanish, according to Wikipedia.  The highest of the surrounding mountains is Mount Charleston (11,913'), which has a ski resort on it! Mount Charleston is more than 20 degrees (F) colder than Las Vegas at all times.

There were officially 93 deaths of workers while building the Hoover Dam.

The workers dipped their hats in tar to make them hard, in order to protect their heads, these are considered the first construction hard-hats.

The Dam construction was almost stopped because the employees went on strike due to poor living and working conditions!

The water in 100' below where it should be.

You can be fined in water if you are caught doing things like watering your grass at the wrong time!

The bypass bridge opened in October of 2010.

The Dam cost $49,000,000 and was completed 2 years ahead of schedule, the bridge was completed 2 years behind schedule because a cane crashed during a thunderstorm.

A security checkpoint was put in for people visiting the Dam after 9/11.

Vegas gets 80% or more, of their water from the Hoover Dam.

The Grand Canyon had only 44,000 people visit it the first year it was a National Park in 1919.  Now it gets 5-6 million visitors per year! (The West Rim isn't technically part of the National Park, because it is owned by the Hualapai (Wall uh pie) reservation.

10-12 thousand year old artifacts have been found in the Canyon.

During the summer Nevada, and Arizona are the same time, but during the winter Nevada is an hour behind because Arizona does not observe daylight savings.  However, the Navaho in Arizona do observe daylight savings!

There were a lot more I just didn't write them down.

The Canyon was amazing, it didn't look real, it looked like a painting! The colors, the sights, the wildlife! (Meaning a lizard, and a bunch of ravens...) I still can barely believe that I got to go to such an amazing place, like why did I deserve to be there?  I'm not sure I've done much to deserve to have seen that, but I'm going to work on that now.

Monday, the 7th.

The day I was supposed to preform my Jazz solo.  I didn't.  I sat in competition most of the day, except for walking to Walgreens with some fellow teammates.

Tuesday, the 8th.

The day I preformed my Jazz solo Contagious  to the song This City is Contagious by The Cab.  The Cab is a rock band that was formed in Vegas, the song (if the internet is to be believed) is actually about Vegas.  I have vowed never to preform the dance again.  The song came from Vegas, I danced it several times in New England, and then I brought it back to Vegas.

Also the day we visited the Flamingo habitat at the Flamingo hotel! I'd never seen a Flamingo, or Pelican in real life until then.  There were some pretty gigantic koi there, too.

Wednesday, the 9th.

The day I preform my musical theater (AKA theater dance) trio to Dream Girls, my jazz group to Fox Mambo, and my tap groups to Five Guys Named Moe. 

Thursday, the 8th.

The one day of workshops I got to do.  Workshops are fun, though tiring.  I wish I could have done the rest of them, but I suppose it's better that I didn't, my knee injury from April was starting to hurt again.

Also the day we went to the mall again (only cup of decent coffee I had while in Vegas, I hate Starbucks...), and then spent several hours in the pool.  Not my favorite ending, but it could have been worse!

Then we sat at the airport for a while before boarding the place, and beginning the most miserable trip of my life.


I'm not one to get motion sick.  It doesn't happen often.  Unfortunately after hours in the pool I'd apparently swallowed quite a bit of chlorine-filled water, at least that's what my stomach felt like.  I dozed fitfully all the way from Vegas to Philly.  Then I broke down crying in the airport before we had to board for our final flight.  My ears hurt, my head hurt, and I felt like I was going to puke up pool water any second.  I slept a little better on the way back to NE.


Now this is the reason I didn't post until now.  I've been too ashamed.

You know the project I posted about?  The whole trying to find people from all 50 states in the airports thing?  I couldn't do  it.  I couldn't go up to people and ask them where they were from because I was just too shy.

So I've finally posted and admitted that I was too shy, and I'm starting a new tag.  "GAAP" - Growing As A Person.  This time I was too shy, but maybe next time I won't be.  We won't know.  Every time I plan something like this, if I'm too shy or something, or if I overcome a huge fear of mine I'll add the tag GAAP.  In a few years I hope I'll be able to look back at all of it and see how far I've come.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The first flight

I left for Vegas today at about 6:15 PM, give of take a couple of minutes.
I manged to get the window seat, though I only had to fight my little sister for it.

It's raining really hard on the east coast because of a hurricane.  So our original flight got delayed, but it worked out when we got an earlier flight to New York.

Taking off
Taking off seems like such an unreal experience.  All of a sudden there's a burst of speed, enough to knock you back against your seat you're not careful. Then you are tilted, just barely enough to notice, and you can feel the sudden pressure from the change in elavation in your ears.  It's almost, but not quite, painful.  We immediately rose into at thick medium grey mist that surrounded the plane completely.  Slowly, as we emerged above the fog, the view changed, and it was amazing.  It felt like we couldn't have gone far in that short of a time, but in reality we were extreme far off the ground!
Eventually we flew into another cloud, this one was almost white with just a touch of grey.  It seemed like there was no longer anything in the world except the plane and the people on it.

The first flight 
After the awe-inspiring take off we flew in the white nothingness for a while, so I decided to see what was on the TV (I ended up settling on the Dark Knight, Batman is cool).
The next time I looked out of the window, we were in between cloud layers.  It was amazing, like sailing on an ocean of clouds with the sky of clouds above us.
Funnily enough after writing that I looked out the window and we were actually flying over the ocean! Still between cloud layers with the ocean just visible between the thin clouds we flew for a bit longer. I saw a large boat on the ocean just sitting there alone in the middle of the ocean below us.

I have flown comercially before, but not since I was about 5 or so.
I have flown in smaller planes more recently, but still not for probably 5 years. 
So my first take off in years was pretty amazing, though the shakiness made me nervous.
I got to see New York City from the air, which was awesome.  I've been to the City before, and I adore it.
By then the sun was peaking through the clouds.
Landing was no where near as much fun as taking off.  My ears hurt, a lot.  It wasn't as smooth as the take off either.  The rest of the ride was worth it though.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

50 States "Survey"

I had a fun idea for something to do in the airports, on the plane, and in Vegas:
Talk to people and find out where they're from, and where they're headed (which states).  I want to see if I can meet someone from each state in 3 different categories:
Where are you from? (Airport/plane I'm leaving from/on tomorrow)
Where are you going? (Same as above)
Where are you from? (In Vegas!)

The other goal is to see which state has the most travelers to my home state, and to Vegas, and to see which state is most traveled to from my home state! I'll post the results for the first two categories on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Las Vegas Destinations

Two days and one hour until I arrive in Las Vegas for the first time.

Considering I'm going for a dance competition I won't have much free time to wander around.  I'm also traveling with 3 other people (just my family, not my dance team members), which means I won't be able to do just what I want anyway.  However the things we're planning on doing are going to be a lot of fun!

Hardrock Cafe - My Mom wants to go for lunch, and to get a button.
Flamingo Habitat - Sounds really cool, plus I've never seen a flamingo in real life!
New York New York Roller Coaster - Goes over 60MPH.  Terrifying, but I know if I ride it once I'll be fine with it forever afterwards.
Hot Topic (Curse my teenage-girlness, Hot Topic is my favorite store)
Bus tour to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and a few other smaller attractions along the way. - Visiting all the National Parks in on my list of 100 things, so this will be one more off my list! (I've gotten 3 so far, all within the last year)
Volcano at the Mirage - Erupts every night, and is really close to where I'm staying.  Hopefully this is as neat as it sounds.
The Pool in our Hotel! - One of the things I've heard over and over about Las Vegas is that it's hot.  So the pool will be our #1 priority whenever possible!

You can expect pictures from all these places (well maybe not the pool at our hotel) after I get back from
Vegas on here.  Or follow my Instagram BlackRosePhotography5678 for pictures each day!

Fun facts about Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

As promised, some fun facts about Las Vegas, Nevada:
- Gambling was illegal from 1910 until 1941!
- The strip isn't all within the city limits.
- Prostitution is actually illegal.
- Above ground atomic bomb testing was happening throughout the 1950's.  It was even advertised as a tourist attraction!
- Over 39 million people visit each year.
- The average rainfall is only around 4.1" a year.
- Las Vegas is the 31st most populated city in the United States.
- They are currently having a severe drought and have been for years, in fact Vegas night not be able to keep up with it's population, and tourists for much longer!
- Nearly 2 million people live there.

This are just a few facts I found online.  Las Vegas is a fairly old city, it's got a lot of history for those who are interested!