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What We’re Reading this Week

Hand Grip

I came across an interesting article at Nautilus. Elizabeth Fain published findings that modern man is weak, at least compared to data collected in the 1980s. Fain, an occupational therapist, found that when measuring grip strength in her patients, there has been nearly a 20% decline in gripping ability.

The article is an interesting read, touching on all you can imagine: automation, technology, sedentary lifestyle, etc. Most interesting to me was mention of Louis Robinson’s studies in the late 19th century:

“Louis Robinson, a surgeon at a children’s hospital in England, tested some 60 infants—many within an hour of birth—by having them hang from a suspended ‘walking stick.’ With only two exceptions, according to one report, the infants were able to hang on, sustaining ‘the weight of their body for at least ten seconds.’ Many could do it for upward of a minute.”

As a parent I can’t help but wonder what the acceptable probability of falling from the stick is for parents– 3% still seems like too high of a risk. I’m sure proper safety measures were in place, but still…

Also, if you are parent of child number 57 in the study, it’s probably easier to participate in the experiment, right? Like, there is somewhat of a bandwagon effect. I really wonder about the first set of parents:

Louis Robinson: “I’d like to hang your baby from a stick to see if it can support its own body weight.”

Parents: “Can babies do that?”

Louis Robinson: “There’s only one way to know for sure.”

But that’s not fair, I have to assume that these experiments were done while the baby’s mother was asleep. Letting a stranger hang your baby from a stick to measure its grip strength against other babies sounds like a total dad move.

Mt. Vernon

Controversy abounds in the sleepy town of Mt. Vernon, New York – the self-proclaimed birthplace of our Nation’s Bill of Rights. The former (or current?) mayor, Richard Thomas recently plead guilty to stealing more than $12,000 from his campaign committee. As part of his plea deal, he was to remain in office until September 30th. From his perspective, that makes sense. I mean, he obviously needs the money.

Also, understandably, the Mount Vernon City Council does not want him to hang around, so it appointed Andre Wallace, the Council president, as acting mayor. The issue here is that Richard Thomas won’t leave.

The whole thing got even more interesting when Shawn Harris showed up for his first day of work as police commissioner, an appointment made by current, or future mayor, Andre Wallace, and was immediately arrested and jailed for suspicion of trespassing by his future, or current, police staff at the direction of their current, or former mayor, Richard Thomas.

For insight we could turn to Mt. Vernon’s legal counsel, Lawrence Porcari:

“Pursuant to the charter and pursuant to law, Mr. Thomas is the mayor, and he is going to be the lawful mayor until or unless some court of competent jurisdiction decided otherwise.”

This seems very clear guidance until you consider that Lawrence Pocari was recently indicted on charges of directing $365,000 away from the Mt. Vernon Board of Water Supply to pay for Richard Thomas’ legal bills and to hire a PR firm.


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