flaw design tragic

Three people have died in clothing donation containers in the Vancouver area since 2015.

Your organization needs someone whose main job is to wonder how this operation or that choice will bring calamity.

Greyhound’s departure from B.C. is bad news

From Global News:

Greyhound Canada says it is ending its passenger bus and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and cancelling all but one route in B.C. – a U.S.-run service between Vancouver and Seattle.

Without reliable and inexpensive transportation in British Columbia’s rural areas, it’s inevitable that many people’s lives will be less safe, their health will suffer, their economic opportunities will shrink, and their families will fragment. Providing its residents access to transportation services is a vital duty of our government.

Women will be most at risk, particularly indigenous women. Writes Emily Riddle:

We have long known that lack of access to transportation in rural and remote areas in this country is a factor in the murder and disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada. …

I have travelled the Highway of Tears in my work with First Nations communities in British Columbia, past the billboards that read “Girls, Don’t hitchhike on the Highway of Tears: Killer on the Loose!” Of course, those who hitchhike on the Highway of Tears or anywhere else are not to blame for the violence enacted on them, but accessible transportation is an important means of harm reduction. …

Of course, Greyhound’s decision to end operations in Western Canada is a business decision. … A business isn’t responsible for the safety of Indigenous people or for the safety of those who must now hitchhike to their jobs; neither is it responsible for assuring access to medical appointments for people in Northern communities. …

The discontinuation of Greyhound services has made it abundantly clear that we should not rely on private companies to deliver vital, sometimes life-saving services. … As an Albertan living in British Columbia, I’m left wondering: Why can’t Canada nationalize intercity bus service when they have agreed to nationalize a failing pipeline project?

h/t JS

“patient advocate”

karen

On my way out the door after my first appointment with my new doctor up in Vancouver – this would be in 1996 – a clerk at the front desk noticed that I seemed puzzled. “Mr. Basil, in Canada, doctors offices don’t have cashiers.” I heaved a brief sob, I was so relieved and surprised. 

When I lived in the United States, my insurance was sporadic and when I had it often shitty. That fact touched every one of my days with real and awful anxiety.

Vice.com says my dear friend Karen Vogel is at the vanguard of a new profession in the United States – the “patient advocate”:

Karen Vogel, an insurance and administrative advocate, spent 29 years working in the insurance industry and became frustrated at the missed opportunities to really make a difference in patients’ lives.

“It was hard to come to terms with what was I doing and was I creating any good in the world, and who was I really serving?” Vogel told VICE News. “Because our healthcare system is so fragmented it’s so broken and there are so many opportunities to get into it to make it work for people. And I just wasn’t satisfied with the path that I was on.”

Over the past two and a half years of working as a patient advocate, Vogel has helped her 45 clients wade into the specifics of the insurance claim and reimbursement process.

About a quarter of what she finds are simple errors; the rest of her work is advocating on behalf of patients for out-of-network coverage or special considerations. Her biggest save was $109,000 by appealing out of state care to count toward in-state benefits.

I am very proud of my friend, who’s on the side of the angels.

More from Jenny Basil and her work with the Nautilus

Really cool interview, Jenny!

“They’re not highly visual,” [Jenny] says of the nautilus. “Like, if you look at a cuttlefish, they look at you. Their tentacles orient to you. They look at you. Some of them will come up… and try and touch you.” The nautilus? Not so much. “We see nautiluses in the aquarium in the daytime, which is when they sleep,” Basil says. “You know if you looked at me at 3 a.m., you wouldn’t think I was that complex either.” These nocturnal habits, combined with their unusual eyes, may make us less inclined to consider the nautilus as impressive as lab tests have proven it to be.

Jenny’s students are very lucky people. (Jenny would respond, no doubt, that she is even luckier.)

July 4

On this day five years ago I wrote:

After American Thanksgiving, July 4th – American Independence Day – was always my favourite holiday when I lived in the States. There were no obligations beyond conviviality and bringing bean dip and the like to pot luck BBQs in your friends’ back yards or in the park nearby. Friends always seemed to bring someone new to these happy events, and sometimes frisbees, too.

I’m blessed to be back in the States for the summer, among cherished friends, and for today’s celebrations of what is good in the nation in which I was raised. “To be with those I like is enough,” said Whitman.

This year I’m gazing over the border from my home in British Columbia, and I’m imagining the lives of “those I like” in the States. I can feel their alarm.

The Chambered Nautilus and Memory

My sister Dr. Jenny Basil, Biology Professor and Department Chair at Brooklyn College, appears in this week’s “You’re the Expert” podcast. “Dr. Jennifer Basil studies how animals navigate the world and remember where they stored food. Her main research organism is the mysterious and beautiful chambered nautilus [link added]. Comedians Jo Firestone, Zhubin Parang, and Shalewa Sharpe discover what secrets lie hidden in the deep sea.”

It is an entertaining and illuminating half hour! My sister is an exceptionally fine explainer of things, and she is also super funny.

About this cool program:

Created and hosted by Chris Duffy and produced by Pretty Good Friends, each episode features an expert in a specialized field. Through games, sketches, and hilariously misguided guesses, three comedians try to figure out what our expert studies all day. Over the course of the show, we hear about the latest findings and why their field is important.

katsvox

KatByLincolnClarkes

I have been adding material to katsvox.com, the website devoted to the art, writing, and life of my magical friend kat kosiancic, who passed away last August. Vancouver photographer Lincoln Clarkes, who worked with kat in the late 1990s, captured the amazing image above. There’s a gallery of Lincoln’s portraits of kat on the site now.

There’s a collection of pictures from kat’s young adulthood, including three self-portraits. Also added are new chapters from her memoir Calling All Angels and a fairy tale called The Princess of Darkness.