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Category Archives: Immortality Medicine

The 250,000 ticket to immortality – Kent Online

Posted: July 7, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Wind back just 40 years ago and the thought of a world connected by a network of computers, capable of delivering media-rich information and entertainment at the touch of a button would have seemed the stuff of science fiction.

So, perhaps, just perhaps, the thought of technology being able to revive the dead in decades to come is not as ridiculous as it may first appear.

At least, that's the hope of thousands of people around the world, including some in Kent, who have pledged to pay tens of thousands of pounds - if not hundreds of thousands - to have their bodies (or in some cases just their heads) frozen when they die in the hope medical science will one day be able to revive them.

Welcome to the world of cryonics.

"The fundamental goal of cryonics is to give people a second chance at life," explains a spokesman for the Cryonics Institute in Michigan, in the US.

Founded in 1976 by Robert Ettinger, an academic dubbed 'the father of cryonics', the institute is a not-for-profit organisation which already has more than 100 people in their deep freeze facilities and in excess of 1,000 waiting to shuffle off this mortal coil and into one of their cryostasis chambers.

Worth noting is that its first 'customer', in 1977, was Rhea Ettinger - its founder's mother. His first and second wives are in there too, and he joined them when he died in 2011. If all goes to plan, their revival is going to make for some stellar reality TV.

Ettinger had penned, in 1962, The Prospect of Immortality - which outlined the basic premise of cryonics; namely that if the body can be frozen almost immediately at the point of death, medical science, in the future, could successfully revive the whole body, or at least just the brain, and bring it back to life.

"The process of cryopreservation," explains the Cryonics Institute, "involves cooling a legally-dead person to liquid nitrogen temperature where all physical decay essentially stops - with the goal of preserving tissues, organs and especially the brain with its associated memories and personality as perfectly as possible.

"A person held in this state is termed a 'cryopreserved patient', because we do not consider the legal definition of 'death' as a permanently irreversible state. We believe that the incredible advances being made today in biology, medicine, computers, nanotechnology and much more inevitably point to a future where advanced science will be able to revive these patients and restore them to health and even renewed youth.

"Essentially, the concept is to 'buy time' until technology catches up and is able to fully repair and restore the human body."

Adds Alcor, another one of the big players in this niche industry, based in Arizona: "The purpose of cryonics is to intercept and stop the dying process within the window of time that it may be reversible in the future.

"The first few minutes of clinical death are certainly reversible, even today. There are good reasons to believe that this window will extend further in the future. That is why cryonics is sometimes implemented even long after the heart stops. Cryonics is not a belief that the dead can be revived. Cryonics is a belief that no one is really dead until their mind is destroyed, and that low temperatures have the potential to prevent this destruction."

The ethical issues of such an action are broad and could fill many pages of this website.

Paul Sullivan is funeral director of Sullivan & Son in Dover. Offering the chance to be cryonically preserved is one of the options open to his customers.

He explains: "Since I opened my own business in 2007, I wanted to include all available options on my website to give people the chance of having it or at least thinking about it.

"I was rather intrigued (when I first heard about cryonics) but knew it would be a very rare request.

"I don't get regular enquiries about it and I think its a very niche option which actually appeals to very few."

And little wonder. Quite aside from the prospect of returning to a world where you know no-one, the costs of committing your body to future scientific breakthroughs is not only phenomenally expensive, but also presents some key issues for those friends and family left behind who, added to their sense of loss, have the issue of their loved one's body being flown halfway around the world and locked in a facility.

Yet all that notwithstanding, he has one client - a currently very much alive and kicking 41-year-old - on his books and ready to take a pricey punt on future revival.

"It all depends on whether you go budget or high end," explains Tim Gibson from Cryonics UK.

"Basically, for your budget service, you're probably looking at around 50,000. All in. If you go with high end, you would spend 250,000 easy."

Cryonics UK is a charity which aims to help facilitate the final wishes of those signing up for the cryonics process.

It is, in truth, a slightly odd organisation.

Tim Gibson, a trustee, has acquired his own ambulance which he has on standby in order to rush to the death-bed of anyone signed up to the service and start the not-for the-faint-of-heart process of body preservation.

Its job is to basically get the body ready not only for the freezing process for an unspecified amount of time, but to transport them to one of only a handful of facilities in the world which cater for the expensive gamble of possible immortality.

Currently there are sites in the US, Russia and China - and plans for more in Switzerland and Australia too. Cryonics UK has a deal in place with US firm Alcor.

But before we get into the actual process of preserving a 'just-died' body and shipping it around the world, just what do you get if you can stretch your budget?

"The main difference with the high end is you get the higher tech, you get a higher level of backup," says Mr Gibson. "Also, the most significant factor is you get a huge investment in long term care.

"So about 50% of that quarter of a million goes into long term care. Whereas if you go for the budget option, you're more exposed.

One pictures the cheaper option being a big freezer in a Texas warehouse.

"It's basically an investment, he adds, the more you have, the safer you are.

"It's a myth that only wealthy people can afford it. There are plenty of people who just decide instead of buying a packet of fags every week, they're going to pay for life insurance."

And it's the life insurance pay-out which many rely on to pay for their 'storage' post mortem.

But, as undertaker Paul Sullivan explains, it's not just the price which can be the stumbling block.

"It is very expensive which reduces the market but personally I think the main issue is people's reluctance to choose it for themselves," he says. " This is for a variety of reasons other than its cost: Religious beliefs; not wanting to leave England; worrying about exactly what will happen to them if the storage facility was subject to any disaster or breakdown; disliking the idea of possibly coming back decades later to what kind of Earth and existence; and general cynicism and doubt that it could ever work.

"Personally, I dont think making it cheaper would result in greater uptake - perhaps only greater cynicism."

And it's fair to say that while the scientific process of body preservation could work, trying to find anyone in the scientific sphere to wax lyrical on the subject is challenging - few, it seems, wish to discuss something which is mocked far more than it is applauded.

Although the likes of Alcor will quickly point you in the direction of an open letter signed by more than 60 scientists and ethicists, from around the world, endorsing the scientific basis of cryonics.

Cryonics UK's Tim Gibson, 50, is, perhaps not surprisingly, one of those signed up to be frozen when his time comes.

A landlord in addition to his work driving his second-hand ambulance for Cryonics UK (if student accommodation in Sheffield is what youre after), he signed up to a life insurance policy to pay to have his head preserved when he dies (he's said he'd rather not come back with an 80-year-old's body so hopes scientific advances will allow for him to have a nice new young body fitted below the neck when he's eventually revived.

"I think one of the things that gets bigged up in the newspapers is people want to discuss all the potential pitfalls of cryonics," he says.

"Yes, there are potential pitfalls and there is potential for it not to work and all that kind of stuff. But your typical person who signs up will be aware of all that, and they'll just go, yeah, I'm going to roll the dice."

So just what happens as you approach your final farewell to this world and you have signed up to "roll the dice" on the cryonics craps table?

Well, ideally, before Mr Gibson and his hired team of medics arrives, they'll get a call warning them the end is nigh for the soon-to-be-frozen customer.

"We get the call and we'll have to make arrangements with the hospital, care home or GP, depending where they are," he explains.

"We'll have to speak to the coroner, to see if they have any interest in it, but if they haven't, then it's a pretty straightforward process. Obviously if someones been told they are dying then theres little to have to investigate.

"We also have to brief the family and get them involved because the people you really rely on for cryonics is the doctor and the family. We always tell people you must tell them what your plans are because otherwise you're making it 10 times harder for yourself when the time comes.

"So when we know they may be going in 24 to 48 hours you assemble the team and await the call.

"Once you get your cardiac arrest, you go in and check all vital signs and the death is pronounced.

"You put your patient on to cardiac support on a ventilator. So effectively, you're taking them in the same way you would someone who has a heart attack in the street and you stick them onto the support mechanisms. You're doing the same job, more or less, but you don't want to wake them up or revive them. And you're not likely to because that's the reason they've died because they're so sort of functionally messed up they won't stay alive naturally anyway.

"So they're relying on your cardiac support for circulation, ventilation, oxygen supply, then because effectively, the brain shuts down at this point, it's got its oxygen supply, so it doesn't deteriorate.

"But it doesn't control the body either, because it's not actually switched on if you like. So you've got to have a whole cocktail of drugs that basically stabilise the biochemistry.

"And all this is going on while they're in an ice bath, because you've got to cool them down. They've got to come down from a normal body temperature of 37 degrees to about 10-20 degrees.

"That gives you an opportunity to do surgery.

"So essentially we're creating a window where the body can survive without the need for oxygen."

At that point the body is moved to a suitable location for the next phase. And if you're eating, you may wish to pause for the next part.

Explains Mr Gibson: "The surgery involves basically tapping into the vessels in the neck and connecting in a pump system which pumps blood out and preservation fluid into the head to preserve the brain tissue. And that in itself is freezing cold. So it drops the temperature pretty fast.

"Those which bring it down below zero effectively contain a form of anti-freeze.

"The idea is because of that, when we drop the patient through at minus-80, they don't actually freeze up."

If you've splashed out for the full body service then all good. If not, let's just say it's at this stage you lose your head. Literally. Which, given you're dead, is not going to bother you. Just pray the medical team around you don't lose theirs, metaphorically.

Once enough of the preservation fluid is pumped in then the body (or head) is put into dry ice which will take the temperature down from around zero to about minus-70 over the course of several days. And then they're ready to be shipped.

Which means the Cryonics UK team get to work with the all-important paperwork.

Adds Mr Gibson: "You need to get the coroner's authorisation to leave the country and you've got to get permission to get into the US or Russia. So you've got to go to their embassy and get all the right paperwork and book the flights.

"You've got to have your infection-free certificate, basically to show that they're being appropriately treated and that they're not a biohazard."

Checking in your bags at an airport can often be a drawn-out process. Imagine the complexities of checking in a body or severed head.

"Cryonics is 50 odd years-old now," says Mr Gibson, who frequently finds himself doing the late-night run to the airport with his 'cargo'. "They've all heard of it before. Last time I went to the airport, when I offloaded the shipping case the lady on the desk said: 'I saw the symbol, I've done this before'. So it's not new to many people. It's not common, but it is something that sticks in people's heads, so they remember it."

And off they go. By air cargo, to the storage facility of their choice.

"The obvious question people used to ask," says Mr Gibson, a man clearly well used to speaking to those who doubt the wisdom of the cryonics process, "is what happens if the storage fails?

"Well the chances are pretty slim because it's not power sensitive. It's just a big vacuum flask with liquid nitrogen in it. If it leaks, you will notice and they'll have low level sensors on them so they will get an alarm. If the truck gets lost en route to the facility, it's not a problem because the container they are shipped in doesn't need topping up for two months."

But, it's fair to say, it's not everyone's cup of tea.

In fact, Cryonics UK have only handled 20 cases in the last 10 years or so. The service is also proving popular from those wanting their pets preserved. Although little Tiddles may be in for a rude awakening when finally revived to discover his owner bit the dust some decades ago.

However, Cryonics UK says interest is increasing rapidly, with Covid heightening people's sense of their own mortality resulting in a surge of recent enquiries.

Not that funeral director Paul Sullivan is convinced.

"Of course I've thought about it," he admits. "But it is not what I want. However, I am glad to offer the option because thats what lifes about isnt it personal choice and belief."

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The 250,000 ticket to immortality - Kent Online

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Iraq Army veteran continues the fight, this time for his Vietnam veteran brothers and sisters – We Are The Mighty

Posted: June 28, 2021 at 9:36 pm

Early in June 2016, a German court found former SS sergeant Reinhold Hanning guilty of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder. He was sentenced to five years in prison for his time as a guard at Auschwitz, the notorious death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

It is my dream to be in Germany, in a German court, with German judges acknowledging the Holocaust, Hedy Bohm, an 88-year-old Auschwitz survivor, told the Associated Press. I am grateful and pleased by this justice after 70 years.

Bohm wasnt the only death camp survivor present. There were three others and a total of twelve testified throughout Hannings trial. One 95-year-old survivor demanded Hanning tell more young people about what happened at Auschwitz, which Hanning did not do.

Hanning joined the Hitler Youth in 1935 and then volunteered for the Waffen SS at age 18. After suffering a grenade injury fighting the Red Army in Kiev, he was sent to Auschwitz.

Hanning during WWII

Former SS sergeant Oskar Groening was convicted of 300,000 counts of accessory to murder while serving at Auschwitz. His job was particularly notorious: he was in charge of confiscating the personal property or arriving prisoners and quantifyingit. Like Hanning, he may not have killed anyone, but he saw the mass killings and did nothing. Unlike Hanning, Groening has taken great pains to dispel any implications that the Holocaust did not happen, making public statements. It was his activism against Holocaust denial that led to his arrest and prosecution. Groening was 93 at the time of his 2015 trial.

In 2009, 88-year-old former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk was extradited to Germany to stand trial for 27,900 counts of the same crime, for being a prison guard at the Sobibor Death Camp. Sentenced to five years, Demjanjuk died before his appeal could be heard. That wasnt the extent of it.Demjanjuk is thought to be Ivan the Terrible, a former Red Army soldier and POW who worked at the Treblinka extermination camp. He was sentenced to death in Jerusalem in 1988 but that was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court for a lack of positive identification.

John Demjanjuk learning about his death sentence in Jerusalem.

In 1995, Canada pushed for the deportation of Helmut Oberlander, a 92-year-old former translator for a Nazi death squad. In 2014, 89-year-old Johann Breyer was arrested in Philadelphia, charged with being a member of the SS Deaths Head Battalion, who were tasked with gassing prisoners at Auschwitz. 94-year-old Michael Karkocwas arrested in Minneapolis for his time as an officer in the SS Galician Division, which allegedly massacred Poles and Ukrainians in 1944.

Germany has a special prosecutors office for Nazi war crimes. There are still many more cases the office wants to go to trial. The LA-based Wiesenthal Center, founded by Mauthausen Concentration Camp survivor and famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, is dedicated to the arrest and conviction of the following fugitive Nazi war criminals, where they are thought to be and where they committed their crimes (in parentheses):

1. Helma Kissner Germany (Poland) served as a radio operator in the Auschwitz death camp from April to July 1944 charged with accessory to murder in 260,000 cases.

2. Reinhold Hanning Germany (Poland) served in the Auschwitz death camp from January 1943 until June 1944 charged with accessory to murder in 170,000 cases.

3. Helmut Oberlander Canada (Ukraine) served in Einsatzkommando 10A (part of Einstazgruppe D, which murdered an estimated 23,000 mostly Jewish civilians.

4. Hubert Zafke Germany (Poland) served as a medic in the Auschwitz death camp during the years 1943 and 1944 charged with accessory to murder in 3,681 cases.

5. Alfred Stark Germany (Greece) participated in the September 1943 mass murder of 120 Italian officers on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

6. Helmut Rasbol Denmark (Belarus) during the years 1942-1943 served as a guard in the Judenlager established by the Nazis in Bobruisk, Belarus, during which almost all the Jewish inmates of the camp were executed or died of the horrible physical conditions.

7. Aksel Andersen Sweden (Belarus) during the years 1942-1943 served as a guard in the Judenlager established by the Nazis in Bobruisk, Belarus, during which almost all the Jewish inmates of the camp were executed or died of the horrible physical conditions.

8. Johann Robert Riss Germany (Italy) participated in the murder of 184 civilians in Padule di Fucecchio, Italy on August 23, 1944.

9. Algimantas Dailide Germany (Lithuania) served in the Saugumas (Lithuanian Security Police) in Vilnius arrested Jews and Poles who were subsequently executed by the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators.

10. Jakob Palij USA (Poland) served as a guard in the Trawniki concentration camp.

The Wiesenthal Center publishes a list of its most wanted Nazis every year, proof that obeying illegal orders will come back to haunt even junior NCOs.

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Pandemic, despite opposition, the Tokyo Olympics are still being held –

Posted: June 23, 2021 at 6:54 am

Japan has spent at least $ 15.4 billion on hosting the Olympics and wants to leave its face to host the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.

Tokyo, Japan Will the postponed Tokyo Olympics be held despite rising opposition and a pandemic?

The answer is almost certainly yes.

Richard Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, emphasized in an interview with a British newspaper.

These things work, except for Armageddon, which we cant see or anticipate, Pound told Evening Standard.

Tokyo is under the state of emergency of COVID-19, but IOC Vice President John Coates said the game will start on July 23.

As an exclamation point, the Australian softball team (the first major group of foreign players set up an Olympic base in Japan) arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday.

So, the Olympics are just around the corner. but why?

Start with the Government of Japans decision to bet billions of dollars to maintain an overwhelmingly favorable contract for the IOC and policies that may help maintain the position of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

These factors overturned bitter criticism from medical institutions concerned that the Olympics could spread a variant of COVID-19. Cancellation call from Asahi Shimbun, The game sponsor and the second best-selling newspaper in the country. The US State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Ban warning to Japan, along with Tokyo and other regions, in an emergency that expires on June 20.

And the face of salvation.Japan is Officially spent $ 15.4 billion However, some government audits suggest that the Olympics are more than that. All but $ 6.7 billion are publicly funded. China, a geopolitical rival, 2022 winter olympic games Only six months after the end of Tokyo, you can claim the center stage if Tokyo fails.

The IOC, a non-profit organization based in Switzerland, manages the iron walls under the following conditions: So-called host city contractAnd youre unlikely to cancel alone, as youll lose billions of dollars in broadcast rights and sponsorship revenue.

Although the IOC describes itself as a national sports league, it is a multi-billion dollar sports business, with nearly 75% of its revenue coming from broadcasting rights sales. Another 18% are from 15 top sponsors.

Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts and extensive author of the Olympics, said the IOC could lose about $ 3.5 billion to $ 4 billion in broadcast revenue if the Tokyo Olympics were cancelled. He estimates that there may be a small portion of this $ 400- $ 800 million covered by cancellation insurance.

The US broadcaster NBCUniversal is the IOCs largest single source of income.

The IOC also feels a commitment from historical momentum to do this, Zimbalist said in an interview with The Associated Press. Their DNA as a whole says,Oh, yeah. The Japanese government really doesnt have the right to cancel the game. They can go to the IOC and plead, and theyre probably doing it.

Of course, the Japanese government can cancel the Olympics. Bringing the IOC into a court battle with Tokyo would be a public catastrophe. Therefore, such an arrangement will be settled privately.

The IOCs lofty image goes against the myriad corruption scandals of the last few decades.Is The chairman of the Japanese Olympic Committee was forced to resign Two years ago, he was also an IOC member and had a scandal related to bribery of IOC members, a similar scandal surrounding the bid for Rio de Janeiro to land at the 2016 Olympics.

The Olympics are a very strong brand. They are a unique brand. They are a monopoly, Zimbalist said. They are not regulated by any government. All of them probably created a sense of immortality.

The medical community has offered a relentless but ineffective opposition. The Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Association, which has 6,000 members, has requested Prime Minister Suga to cancel. The same is true of the Japanese Medical Association, which chairs the Olympics, which may spread a variant of the coronavirus. Nurses and other medical groups are also repulsing.

In last weeks commentary New England Journal of Medicine The IOCs decision to host the Olympics was not informed by the best scientific evidence, he said. British Medical Journal In an April editorial, asked the organizers to reconsider hosting the game.

The online petition for cancellation received about 400,000 signatures in a few weeks, but some street demonstrations have almost subsided. Depending on the question, 50-80% started the game. I disagree with.

SUGA moves forward while having conflicts.

The fundamental situation is that machines have begun to move to achieve this, and we have passed a politically irreparable point for everyone, said Aki, who teaches international affairs at the University of Tsukuba. Dr. Tonami wrote by e-mail. To AP.

The Japanese system does not consider making a radical U-turn at such a late time.

She attributed some of the negative public opinion to Mr. Suga, who was unable to strengthen the Olympics as effectively as former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Politicians may be aware of the risks they are taking, but when the Olympics begin, the Japanese public is patientfor Japanand how we are here. I hope you will forget if you came.

The IOC always refers to the World Health Organization as a shield for coronavirus guidance. The IOC has published two editions of the so-called playbook (the final edition will be published this month). It details the protocols for athletes and other people during the Olympics.

Recent test events held under the protocol face few problems, but athletes must accept strict rules.

American sprinter Justin Gatlin said at a test event in Tokyo last month: I know many athletes arent happy with this, but steps have been taken to keep everyone safe.

Japan has experienced far fewer cases of COVID-19 than the United States, Brazil and India. Cases have increased in the last few months, but concerns about variants continue, but have begun to decline in recent weeks.

Athletes and others are required to pass the COVID-19 test twice before returning to Japan and once when they arrive in Japan, and then undergo repeated tests. Approximately 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and additional staff will live in the bubble of the Olympic Village, training sites and venues.

Tens of thousands of people, including judges, media, broadcasters, the so-called Olympic family, must enter Japan, which was largely blocked during the pandemic. According to local organizers, that number is now 50% of the original 180,000. Foreign fans have already been banned, and local fans are expected to be decided later this month.

The IOC further states that 80% of the residents of the Olympic village will be vaccinated. This is comparable to 2-3% of the fully vaccinated population of Japan. Most Japanese are not vaccinated at the beginning of the match.

Japan gave 200 Olympic athletes shots on Tuesday. The event took place in a closed room with little fanfare.

Despite the guarantee that the Olympics will be safe and secure, athletes must sign a waiver and take the risks inherent in COVID-19.

Waivers were used in previous Olympics, but this has been updated with the COVID wording.

AP has obtained a copy of the waiver, including some of it.

I agree to participate in the game at my own risk and responsibility. This may result in participation in the game and / or performance impact, serious physical injury, or health hazard. It even includes deaths from potential exposure. COVID-19 and other infectious diseases during the competition, or extreme heat

Bob Costas, who was in charge of the Olympics at NBC, suggested in a recent US television interview that the Olympics should be postponed until next year.

The IOC states that the Olympics must either be held this year or not. The postponement already costs $ 2.8 billion and another major obstacle to the postponement is the Olympic Village. Thousands of apartments have already been sold and owners are waiting to move in. Sports schedules readjusted need to do it.

David Wallechinsky, one of the worlds most famous Olympic historians and author of The Complete Book of the Olympics, summarized the situation by email to the Associated Press.

What a hell, he wrote.

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Why Are So Many Men Afraid of Going to the Doctor? – InsideHook

Posted: at 6:54 am

The internet has lots of anecdotes about men who dont or at one crucial juncture, didnt go see the doctor. Some are somewhat amusing, like a father who habitually asks his daughter if he can borrow her antibiotics. But most are terribly sad, like a friend mourning his mid-50s tennis partner, who had long complained about a mysterious back pain, only to eventually discover that he had Stage 4 colon cancer. His friend wrote on Twitter: [It] had spread into his ribs, head, everywhere. He died very quickly.

These stories, unfortunately, are all too common. According to a recent survey by the Cleveland Clinic, physician-dodging is a disturbing status quo for men between the ages of 35 and 54. Only 43% of that middle-aged cohort reported seeing their doctors for annual physicals. That percentage increases as men get older when serious illnesses pretty much compel them to see a professional but even then, its treated as a last resort, and many of the patients arent on their best behavior. In the study, 65% of respondents said they avoid going to the doctor as long as possible. When they do go, over a quarter of them customarily withhold information from their doctors. Some even admitted to years of lying to their doctors, in fear of hearing a dreaded diagnosis.

While silly on the surface, one final statistic might offer the clearest insight into the psyche of men desperate to avoid scheduling a doctors appointment. A reported 72% of men would rather do household chores (like clean the bathroom) than visit a physician. Sitcom-dad wisecracks aside, that premise is a useful framing device: an overwhelming majority of men in this country have come to perceive doctor visits as an avoid-at-all-costs chore. It begs some obvious follow-ups: Why do men, and in particular, middle-aged men, hate doctors? What logistical, biological and psychological factors are at play? And what consequences do men face when they refuse to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment?

Women are overwhelmingly more proactive when it comes to monitoring their healthcare.

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Based on 2019 data, men work slightly more than women about five hours more per week. But that incremental difference aside, claims from men that they are too busy to take care of themselves are met with incredulity by medical professionals. Dr.AmyReveneM.B.B.S, a general practitioner based in Dubai, says that the vague reasons men list for skipping annual physicals obscure deeper psychological issues. When researchers probed a little deeper into this alarming tendency, she tells InsideHook, they noticed a few common trends. Namely: men are uncomfortable with exams, fearful of a diagnosis, and struggle to shed their macho attitudes.

This sentiment is shared by other experts in the field. Dr. David Samadi one of the leading prostate surgeons in America, and author of The Ultimate MANual says its all in mens heads. Its purely psychological. Men simply put their health last on their to-do list. They feel squeamish about routine yet important healthcare screenings such as prostate or rectal exams; they just dont think about the health risks of neglecting appointments; they feel that if they can keep working and being productive, then theyre good with that.

Men stay far away from offices, clinics, and hospitals, doctors reckon, thanks to a potent cocktail of toxic masculinity and unacknowledged vulnerability. On one hand, men are simply interpolating imperatives theyve heard all their lives, from fathers, older brothers, coaches, bosses: Dont cry. Rub some dirt on it. Shake it off. Youll be fine. Man up. Theyre playacting at a psychological phenomenon known as superhero syndrome if Im fine, everyone else is fine. So I better be fucking fine.

When it comes to this point, as family physician Dr. Waqas Ahmad illustrates with a quip, men often take it way too far: Women go to the doctor when theyre supposed to. Men go to the doctor when their arm has almost completely severed from their body and they can no longer put on enough band-aids (or electrical tape) to keep it attached; then, they say with a heavy sigh, Fine, Ill go to the doctor if you will quit nagging me about it. Just not without stopping for a beer on the way.

Its self-reliance and stoicism taken to a dangerous extreme, and ultimately, its a performance. Because men are actually terrified. At a certain age, they are all well-aware that they arent invincible. Compare it to the stubbornness of an out-of-towner who refuses to ask for directions, or a wobbly-kneed grandparent who always has to shovel his own sidewalk. Underlying this approach is a colossal fear of inadequacy, of replaceability. Observing normal consultation rates, let alone the process itself (you know, not lying to doctors), would mean acknowledging a weakness, and likely receiving some sort of diagnosis. And in the minds of many an aging patriarch, a diagnosis is unacceptable.

That said, its perhaps a misnomer to label this a middle-aged issue. The routine itself is assimilated at a much younger age. Too many young men have a sense of immortality, says Posterity Health founder Dr. Barrett E. Cowan, who has spent 20 years treating male fertility. They feel that they dont need medical care. This fosters a self-defeating loop wherein one mans self-assuredness can negatively affect not just his own life, but the lives of those he loves. In my practice, for instance, most men are not even aware of the fact thatwhen a couple has difficulty conceiving, 50% of the time it is due to the presence of a male factor; but by proactively treating the male, we can increase a couples chances of having a child.

Making time for an annual physical (or really every six months) means more time doing cool shit with your kids.

Justin Paget/Getty Images

Now, there are some biological realities and societal norms that influence a mans reluctance to visit the doctors office. Unlike women, men can go literal years early in life (as teenagers into 20-somethings) without heading in for annual physicals. That doesnt mean they dont have to just that they have the dubious privilege of throwing their bodies on auto-pilot and then finally taking the wheel back at the brink of fatherhood. Women live a markedly different situation, as Dr. David Beatty, a 30-year GP explains: Young women attend the doctor for contraceptive purposes. This gets them used to using the service. They know how the appointment systemworks, they get to knowthe receptionists, the nurses, the doctors.

Many women come back for regular checks during pregnancy. They analyze their contraceptive options again after the baby is born. They visit the doctor for the babys immunizations and checks. Theyre more likely to bring in the children for annual checkups or examinations of various injuries and ailments. This breeds an intimacy with the literal space itself, and more importantly, the process to trust the healthcare system, one needs to experience it. This is a point doctors home in on time and time again: women are proactive patients. Long before they turn 40, women are used to disclosing information about their bodies, assessing their options and making decisions. The reliance is there, and they literally live longer for it.

Its true. In the United States, the life expectancy gap between men and women is an astonishing five years. According to the U.S. Centers for DiseaseControl,the average American man will live to age 76, while the average woman in America will live to age 81. There are some ridiculous reasons for this discrepancy for example, men are more likely to perish in motorcycle accidents or gun fights. They also have a lot of trouble giving up on red meat. But an overarching theme is the willingness of women to find out exactly whats going on in their bodies, and plot a course of action to mitigate the risks.

Those risks are real, but theyre not insurmountable. Urologist Dr. Lamia Gabal says, Things like prostate cancer, colon cancer, hypertension and diabetes can be screened for a while in the early stages, and are still treatable or curable.Its important for all men to have the following three doctors: a primary care physician, an internist and a urologist. Quite frankly, that last one should be a dealbreaker for all men Who the hell wants to wake up three times a night to use the bathroom? Or battle erectile dysfunction for years? but theyre all necessary. Dr. Samadi asks: When men neglect their annual physicals, who is keeping tabs on their blood pressure, their cholesterol, their insulin levels? Important health parameters such as these are often silent with no symptoms and will only worsen if not diagnosed and then properly managed.

Its understandable, in a way: young guys feel untouchable, older guys are set in their ways. Neither wants to hear that they shouldnt be drinking or smoking or eating cheeseburgers every Saturday. But the dialogue needs to happen nonetheless.

So, how do you convince the man in your life (whether hes a father, husband, brother or even son) to start seeing the doctor? A workmans metaphor never hurts. Youre the general contractor and youre building a house, Dr. Jerry Bailey, a functional medicine physician says. But you need the drywall guys, the plumbers, electricians, HVAC, tilers, framing, roofing. Youre managing everything, but you need the entire team in order to build the dream home.

Hes right it takes a village (one that definitely includes a doctors office) to get a man to 80 years of age. At the end of the day, this conversation shouldnt be an admonishment. It should be encouragement. A call to arms. The purest, most sincere form of a mans reluctance to see the doctor is an honest desire to not trouble or worry those around him. Weve long viewed that sense of privacy and restraint as noble, even heroic. But its time to shift the narrative. Real heroism is living longer. Its about putting less of an emotional (and financial) burden on your family. Its facing vulnerabilities and lifes inevitable realities head on. And when its all tallied up, it means more time spent goofing around with your kid, or playing tennis with an old friend.

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Forget immortality. New evidence of 150-year maximum limit to human life – SYFY WIRE

Posted: June 4, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Unless your name's Vlad Dracula, you've somehow discovered the Holy Grail,or yourecently stumbled upon the fabled Fountain of Youth, any ideas of living forever will most likely remain a fanciful delusion as a new research paper has put a cap on human longevity at 150 as an extreme limit.

This new study, recently presented to the online journalNature Communications by the Singapore-based biotech company Gero, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, and the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, details how human beings have the biological capacity to live 120-150 years as an "absolute limit."

According to their semi-depressing conclusions,researchers employed mathematical modeling to predict that once the body clock taps out at roughly 150 years of age, our bodies lose their abilities to bounce back from any sort of trauma, stress, or illness, leading to your ultimate demise.

"Studies like this one rely on historic and present data from populations of people," Judith Campisi, a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California who was not a part of the study, told Live Science. "It's guessing, but based on good numbers."

Comprehensive datasets that included anonymous medical records and blood tests for over 500,000 individuals were enlisted from the U.S., the U.K., and Russia to compile the team'ssobering statistics.Studies of this nature, ones that might not take into full consideration a person's lifestyle, income, socio-economic status, exercise, and diet, are used as a guide only and often tend to be inexact.

Researchers targeted two specific numbers obtained from blood tests for three diverse age groups: a ratio of twotypes of disease-fighting white blood cells; and a measure of variability in red blood cellsize.

"Just as a person might have grayer hair as they age, these two numbers go up as a person ages,"said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine University of Nevada inLas Vegas, who was not aboard the study."Scientists call these biomarkers of aging."

After taking the results of the blood tests, theythen fed the datainto a computer model to arrive at something the teamcalls a person's"dynamic organism state indicator" (DOSI), which is basicallya measure of "biological age" thatquantifieshow well a person might recover fromstressors such as illnesses or injuries.

"The authors are able to use this DOSI to measure recovery time," notedKahn."The problem is at a certain point in aging, the recovery time is so great that we lose resiliency."

Scientists involved in the study included data regarding levels of exercise and physical activity, recorded as the number of steps taken per day, as another component of validation. As expected, younger persons are generally far more active than those of a more advanced age.Simply having the capacity to exist on Earth to the ripe old age of 150 doesn't necessarily mean those years would have a corresponding quality.

"That has huge societal implications, much more than maximum life span," Campisi said.

Resiliency in old ageseems to be the key to life extension and scientists believe that if resiliency can be bolstered, then a person's health span over the decades would follow.Science fiction-like inventions like mechanical organs and reprogrammed cellular therapies might help add years to human existence.

"Now, we're talking about the whole concept of human and mechanical constructs that are features of science fiction," Kahn explained."It's really going to take those types of things to extend human [life span]."

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Aloe there: Getting up close with the plant of immortality – Daily Maverick

Posted: at 3:28 pm

Image: Val Van Sittert / Unsplash

In Athol Fugards 1978 play, A Lesson From Aloes, the aloe is used allegorically as a tool for trying to establish a sense of place in a country with so much racial conflict.

In isiXhosa, Aloe ferox is named Ikhala. It is beautiful, strong enough to survive harsh, dry conditions and has well-known medicinal properties. In the Eastern Cape, it features as a symbol on car number plates, and it also appears on the medal for the Order of Mendi a national honour for bravery.

The central image is sealed above by a green emerald which is surrounded on three sides by renditions of the bitter aloe, a hardy indigenous South African plant used in traditional medicine. The three bitter aloes represent resilience and survival and also serve as symbolic directional pointers, showing the way when rendering assistance to those in need during natural disasters, says the governments website.

Aloes have featured in San paintings dating from 5,000 to 2,000 years ago, and medicinal use of the plant is recorded in Egypt from as far back as 3000 BC as well as being referenced in the Bible.

Such is the importance of the Aloe genus in the South African landscape and in the world.

The aloe is a member of the Asphodelaceae family and is sometimes referred to as the plant of immortality as it can live and bloom without soil. Their flowering time is predominantly from May to August, and their height varies from a few centimetres to 4m.

Originating from southern and eastern Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula, there are more than 550 naturally occurring species in the world.

Planting aloes in your garden

Aloes like a tropical climate with no frost and can withstand high temperatures and limited water. Their preferred domain is rocky outcrops, where you can marvel at the show of them marching across the countryside like Triffids the fictional plant imagined by British sci-fi author John Wyndham in his 1951 novel.

Winter trips through the Eastern Cape and en route to the Lowveld are well rewarded with magnificent shows of flowering aloes. Not only are they loved for their vivid colours, statuesque forms and hardiness, but they are often the main source of food for some birds during winter. Sunbirds flit around the flowers enjoying the sap and it is always worth having at least one aloe in your garden to enjoy the birds they attract.

When planting them domestically, they do not need rich soils although they will benefit from them and they need up to eight hours of sunshine a day.

About its healing effect

The sap from the Aloe vera plant is enormously important for its healing properties.

Aloe vera gel treats mild burns, and Aloe vera in toothpaste treats candida, plaque and gingivitis. It can also help with the eradication of acne.

Extract of Aloe vera juice added to smoothies or mixed with fruit juices helps with hydration, which leads to improved liver function, and it is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins B,C and E. Aloes are the only plant source of Vitamin B-12, which makes it an excellent supplement for vegetarians and vegans.

Added to this, Aloe vera controls the secretion of acid in your stomach, reducing heartburn and combating gastric ulcers. It does not contain sugar and has only a few calories, so the dietary benefits are there.

The Aloe Farm

On the strength of all this information, and longing to see a magnificent show of aloes in flower, I drove out to Andy de Wets Aloe Farm in Hartbeespoort.

De Wet developed a passion for aloes as a young man and hybridised his first aloe in 1973, after which he went on to study botany, and is now recognised as the biggest grower and hybridiser of aloes in the world. He exports his products all around the world.

From the more than 550 natural occurring species, he has hybridised many more, with beautiful shapes and colours and sizes.

There is the splendid Aloe Bafana developed for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, featuring a mass of yellow flowers; the two-tone Aloe Rocket which is dedicated to South Africas very own rocketman, Elon Musk; and the Aloe Peri-Peri and Hedgehog are two of his biggest sellers.

Close to his heart is the saving of aloes in the wild, as people often strip the veld of naturally-occurring aloe plants, such as the Aloe Marlothii. To this end, he has developed the large Aloe Magalies Mix, a hybrid which matches Aloe Marlothii in size. In addition, he is growing smaller hybrids from seed to mitigate against the theft of smaller aloes in the veld.

The names he gives many of his aloes are glorious, such as Aloe Firefly, Aloe Marilyn (after the famous photo of her in the flared skirt), Aloe Crunchie, Aloe Tom Thumb, and Aloe Alligator with its extremely serrated leaves.

And so, the aloe reigns: interplanted with crassulas and cotyledons and Echeveria, they make the most splendid show of colour during the winter months, silent figures that add structure to the garden. And who knows, extrapolating from Fugards play, could the magnificent aloe possibly be a vehicle for peace in a tempestuous society? DM/ML

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The limits of life – The Indian Express

Posted: at 3:28 pm

A curious side-effect of sentience is the awareness of death. Medicine, wellness, meditation, philosophy, neural transfers, even literature and the arts a great deal of human endeavour is tasked with either trying to prolong life, or deal with the reality of its end. It turns out that even the best efforts at least those that aim at corporeal immortality and longevity are bound to be futile.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the human body cannot survive beyond the age of 150 years, eating right and exercising notwithstanding. Researchers used a combination of data from blood tests from over five lakh people as well as mathematical modelling to conclude what we all know already: Everyone is going to die. The body will deteriorate to such an extent that it will not be able to fight disease or recover from even minor injuries. Despite the obviousness of the finding, its implications are serious. Prolonged old age already, human beings are, on average, living longer than ever before means that the burden on the working population is bound to increase, and that retirement will have to wait for many. After all, if youre going to live to 150, its hardly possible to stop earning at 60. And, to make matters worse, there is no guarantee that the quality of life at 150 will really be something worth living for.

The fear of death, and the futility of life, is of particular resonance now the pandemic has made people confront their own mortality on a scale not seen since World War II. In the aftermath of that war, the absurdity of social norms and ambition was articulated by the existentialists. This time, perhaps, the lessons that are drawn will be a little more hopeful: At the end of it all, people may simply give up the race against death and see that theres more in the moment than planning for a future that can be robbed by a microbe.

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If You Want to Age Well, This May Be the Most Important Habit to Stick With – Livestrong

Posted: at 3:28 pm

There are six lifestyle habits that support longevity, but starting with sleep may help the others fall into place.

Image Credit: miodrag ignjatovic/E+/GettyImages

Hit a certain age and the phrase "youth is wasted on the young" has a whole new meaning. And if there really were a fountain of youth well, let's just say some of us would be lining up faster than you could say "age before beauty."

Truth is, it's OK that immortality is just for fairy tales, because health and vitality is something you can foster through your lifestyle habits.

The 6 Keys to Healthy Aging

There are six lifestyle components for healthy aging, says David Katz, MD, MPH, CEO of Diet ID, Inc., author and founder and former director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

"There's massive global consensus among public health and preventive medicine experts about the importance of sleep, physical activity, managing stress, avoiding toxins, building social connections and diet," Dr. Katz tells

And the scientific literature backs this up: Studies that look at so-called "all-cause mortality" (death, in other words) show that exercise, sleep, stress, socialization (or lack thereof), what you put into your body and what you don't all play a role in how long we might live. Put another way, being active, not isolating socially, reducing stress, and eating and sleeping well all may add years to your life. And they make those extra years good years.

"But they're not siloed," Dr. Katz says. In other words, they act collectively rather than independently.

With that said, does one habit trump the others?

Why Sleep May Be the Most Important Key to Aging Well

Dr. Katz explains it like this: If you sleep well, you have more energy. If you have more energy, you exercise. If you sleep well and exercise, you have better self-esteem and you care about what you put into your body. When you're feeling good about yourself, eating and sleeping well and exercising, you're much more interested in socializing.

Still, as a nation, even though we know sleep is important, we don't exactly do it well: Over the past few decades, research suggests that more and more people are sleeping seven or fewer hours a night, per a September 2017 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Sleep is typically the habit we're most dismissive of," Dr. Katz says.

Maybe it's because sleep feels like downtime, or time where we can't do anything productive. Yet sleep is so monumentally important.

As Dr. Katz explains, sleep is when we restore ourselves and a lot of body repair happens. Indeed, the microbiome is reconstituted when we sleep, and cells all around the body replenish themselves. "So much of what the body needs to do for the next day happens when we sleep," Dr. Katz says.

We've all had nights when we slept well and nights when we slept poorly. The difference is stunning. When you've had a good night's sleep, you confront the stresses of the day with a lot more strength and resilience, Dr. Katz says.

"If you sleep well, you do a better job of choosing the right foods and you have better self-restraint," he says.

Conversely, after a lousy night's sleep, daily stresses feel overwhelming and there's a snowball effect that's set in motion. Sleep is the proverbial snowball at the top of the hill.

So, if you're concerned about aging well, make it your first goal to get seven to nine hours of good quality shut-eye every night. Then tackle the rest of the longevity habits.

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Why bees are so important to human life and health – Medical News Today

Posted: May 24, 2021 at 8:24 pm

Bees are essential for the health of people and the planet. Honey and other products have medicinal properties, and the role of bees as pollinators makes them vital for food supplies.

There are around 20,000 known bee species worldwide, and over 4,000 are native to the United States. Humans only manage a few of these, and most species are wild.

As well as valuing bees for their honey, people have come to recognize the importance of bees in promoting food security and variety in plants and animals.

However, a rise in factors, such as pesticide use and urbanization, means that bees are currently in decline, negatively affecting many of the Earths ecosystems.

A loss of bees would affect honey supplies, but, more importantly, world food security and biodiversity. Without them, the world could be a very different place.

Bees are significant for many reasons. They have historical importance, contribute to human health, and play a role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Not all bees produce honey, but it is one of the main reasons people value them. The substance is a natural sweetener with many potential health qualities.

People have used bees and bee-related products for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Researchers have noted claims that it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

In traditional medicine, people use honey when treating a wide variety of conditions. While many of these uses do not have scientific backing, they include:

Beeswax is another important product that people have previously used in waterproofing and fuel. It currently has benefits for health and features in a number of skincare products. Additionally, pharmaceutical industries use it in ointments.

Other bee products that can benefit human health include:

In a 2020 study, scientists found evidence that melittin, a component in honeybee venom, could kill cancer cells.

Learn more about the benefits of honey.

In recent years, it has become clear that honey may not be the most important reason to protect bees. This is because bees play a crucial role in pollination, where they use the hairs on their bodies to carry large grains of pollen between plants.

Around 75% of crops produce better yields if animals help them pollinate. Of all animals, bees are the most dominant pollinators of wild and crop plants. They visit over 90% of the worlds top 107 crops.

In other words, bees are essential for the growth of many plants, including food crops.

People have been working with bees around the world for millennia. The significance comes from the direct harvesting of honey and beeswax and cultural beliefs.

For example, the Ancient Greeks thought of bees as a symbol of immortality. In the 19th century, beekeepers in New England would inform their bees of any major events in human society. Meanwhile, native northern Australians used beeswax when producing rock art.

For history experts, bee products are a key aspect of archaeology. This is because beeswax produces a chemical fingerprint that people can assess to identify components in organic residue.

Bees are very intelligent, and people have applied knowledge of their mannerisms and social interactions when creating human initiatives.

For example, researchers have suggested that studying the actions of bees could help experts develop emergency plans to evacuate people from an overcrowded environment.

Observing honeybee dances can also help scientists understand where changes are taking place in the environment.

Farming practices, global warming, and disease are just a few reasons why bee numbers are declining. Experts are concerned about the impact on world food supplies, especially fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

They say that without bees, there will be no more nuts, coffee, cocoa, tomatoes, apples, or almonds, to name a few crops. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies in the human diet, as these products are essential sources of vital nutrients.

Additionally, the emerging medicinal properties of bee venom and other bee products may never be accessible without bees to provide them.

In financial terms, the pollination of fruits and vegetables by wild bees across the United States has a high economic value. One 2020 study found that wild bees were responsible for a significant portion of net income from blueberries. There is a direct link between the economic yield of farmers and the presence of bees.

In 2012, experts estimated that total pollination to be worth $34 billion, with a large portion of this amount due to bees.

Green backyards and gardens can be vital resources for bees. Growing native flowers and leaving weeds to develop can contribute to bee health and numbers by providing food and shelter. Reducing landscaping activities, such as mowing or pruning, can help bees by increasing the amount of vegetation available.

According to a 2019 study, as well as benefitting the bees, increasing rural spaces in urban areas can boost human mental and emotional well-being.

Nonscientists and volunteers can contribute to research through citizen science initiatives, where people report what they see in their local area. This can help experts understand what is happening in a particular area or country.

For example, a citizen-based 2020 study revealed that squash bees occupy a wide geographic range and prefer farms with less soil disturbance.

Additionally, in the 2007 Great Pollinator Project, a partnership in New York encouraged members of the public to watch bees and record the types of wildflowers they visited.

Such findings help scientists find useful ways to protect bees. However, this depends on people being able to identify species correctly. Therefore, learning about bee species and habits can also help individuals protect them.

Bees have cultural and environmental importance as pollinators and producers of honey and medicinal products. The movement of pollen between plants is necessary for plants to fertilize and reproduce.

Both farmed and wild bees control the growth and quality of vegetation when they thrive, so do crops. Bees are vital when it comes to food security. However, the welfare and number of bees worldwide are in decline, and it is essential to protect them to maintain human well-being.

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The Handmaids Tale Recap: Were Gonna Need a Bigger Boat – Vulture

Posted: at 8:24 pm

Photo: Sophie Giraud/ HULU

The Handmaids Tale is, to put it far too lightly, often difficult to watch. Former viewers sometimes send me messages, explaining exactly when they had to call it quits in season two after the forced surgery to remove Emilys clitoris or when Loaves and Fishes was shot up in season three. (Some of you poor souls didnt make it past the first seasons ominous ending.) And right now, in the late spring of 2021, just as large parts of America are reopening and the roses are peeling open outside my window, its somehow harder than ever to tune in. When dark art follows you into lighter times, its former meaning sometimes turns into an affront.

Vows isnt an especially violent episode. Yet it was the most trying 50 minutes of The Handmaids Tale in a while because the shows writers finally keyed back into the original resonance of Margaret Atwoods novel: that the biggest burden of the Gilead regime is the way it entirely sweeps away the past. The women (and men) locked inside Gilead are still in their home country, sometimes their own towns and cities, but their everyday lives are wallpapered over with some alternative reality. They have their memories of neighbors who used to chat over fences, or coffee shops where they met up with colleagues, or the spot of sidewalk where their son first rode his bike but the past and the present are entirely disjointed.

The emotional rigor of Vows feels like a return to form, or at least a hiatus from the catch-and-release tension of this season and the last. Will June get caught? has been replaced by Will June ever find her daughter?, a far more rewarding and fascinating tension, not least because to save herself, June has had to essentially give up on saving her child.

As unlikely as it is that Moira ends up in Chicago on a humanitarian mission at the same time June is in the city, and as even unlikelier as it is that Moira wanders down the exact street where June has just survived a carpet-bombing, Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley are so good together the current of love that zips between them is so forceful and apparent that its a joy to watch them. Moira has floundered in Toronto: The writers needed to keep her close to June, so they saddled her with Nichole and Luke, as if Moira wouldnt need to reclaim some of her own identity. But in both the flashbacks and their scenes in Chicago and on the boat, the character came alive again. She got that old zip back.

Its probable that June didnt recognize the urgency of the situation or the divine luck offinding her best friend among the rubble because of her concussion. (June can be dense and stubborn, but lets chalk this one up to the traumatic brain injury.) And her insistence on finding Janine is laudable she might be waiting for help under rubble just a few feet away or dazed herself in a nearby alley. Moira seems certain that Janine is dead, but what she doesnt know is that this is The Handmaids Tale and anyone, anywhere can stay alive if the writers room wills it.

If were meant to be invested in the moral quandary of whether or not to stow away June on the boat or turn her over to Gilead authorities, well, it wasnt much of a question. As the humanitarian workers argue over the merits of either alternative, I just found myself wondering what the hell such a mealymouthed agency believed it was doing inserting itself into such a volatile situation. Oona (whom I have been calling Luna for weeks because closed-captioning doesnt work on screeners sorry, Oona!) makes the valid point that if theyre found out for hustling Gileads most wanted out of the country, there will be no more returns, no more food, medicine for all these people. But she and most of the crew also express no moral ambiguity about turning June over to people who will certainly rip her fingernails out, gut her like a fish and then hang her up on the biggest wall in Gilead. June isnt some common handmaid shes an international symbol so while Gileads blows will be all the heavier when she turns up in Canada, her escape will also provide the Americans in exile with the spokeswoman and mascot they need.

Not to mention the fact that a simple solution of passing June off as one of the crew has existed all along! When Oona turned to her shipmate and blurted out, Print her an ID, I thought my ears must be deceiving me. Certainly, if the solution is so simple no need to scramble manifestos or rip up floorboards or keep June hanging on a rope over the side of the ship while inspectors came onboard someone would have brought it up earlier. Oona, why dont we just print her an ID with the handy-dandy ID-maker onboard and give her one of these official vests? And yet here they were, ready to offer her to butchers! (Tack on the fact that Moira is also pretending to be Canadian to work on this mission and we have ourselves one seriously creatively devoid group of aid workers.)

June and Moiras second confrontation, the one by the side of the lifeboat, would have made more of an impact if not for the virtually identical conversation they had hours earlier. Junes hesitation makes sense for the character sweet God, absolutely nothing could convince that woman to save her own skin until now, and if she had immediately hightailed it for that little cargo ship in Chicago, I might have lost my grip on reality. But the acting! Oh, the acting! Moss and Wiley perfectly execute on the stakes here. The fury, the shouting, Junes shifting blame its all exquisite.

And it brings home the reality of how hard it is for June to show up in Canada without Hannah. After torture (and more torture), rape (and more rape), and escape attempts (and more escape attempts), she is about to step onto Canadian soil and immediately reap the benefit of that safety. And she didnt, couldnt, bring along her innocent child, even though she saved the lives of so many others. If I dont go back now, she shouts at Moira, Hannah is gone forever. And shell have to explain to Luke why she failed at that which we expect of all mothers: to put her child first, to die for her child, to take on superhuman capabilities.

The flashbacks with Moira were sweet touches, reminders of their fierce love and complicated friendship. But it was the scene in which June tells Luke shes pregnant that hit me like a brick. Her rush to tell him the news, even at the expense of her plan, just rang true. And it restored June as a wounded being, not an unstoppable force able to take on anything to keep her child alive and well in her arms. The Indestructible Mother is a dangerous trope that insists women can and should absorb any blow for their babies. Giving birth or adopting or sheltering a child doesnt bestow some cloak of immortality on parents. June smashed through every barrier for far too long its far more gripping when she finally comes up against one she cant surmount. And at its heart, this is what The Handmaids Tale can be: the story of a mothers imperfect but buoyant love.

So when Luke bangs through that door and sees his wife for the first time in years, it makes sense that her first words are an apology. Im sorry I dont have her Im sorry its just me.

Now June needs to work her magic from across the border.

Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows!

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