Find Your “10 Minute Tasks” Each Day to Stay Productive

Find Your “10 Minute Tasks” Each Day to Stay Productive

Lots of us have problems organizing our day productively. We never seem to have the time. Keeping a list of "10-Minute Tasks" lets you get stuff done without feeling overwhelmed.

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Read Roald Dahl’s Powerful Pro-Vaccination Letter (From 1988)

Read Roald Dahl's Powerful Pro-Vaccination Letter (From 1988)

Roald Dahl – author of such books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda – lost his eldest daughter, Olivia, to measles in 1962. Twenty-six years later, he penned a cogent and gut-wrenching plea to parents, urging them have their children vaccinated against the disease.

In light of measles' recent resurgence in the United States, Dahl's take on the seriousness of the disease, the importance of immunization, and the inanity of refusing to vaccinate "out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear," is as relevant today as it was when it appeared, in 1988, in a pamphlet published by the Sandwell Health Authority.

Measles: A Dangerous Illness

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn't do anything.

"Are you feeling all right?" I asked her.

"I feel all sleepy," she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.

LET THAT SINK IN.

Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was 'James and the Giant Peach'. That was when she was still alive. The second was 'The BFG', dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

Dahl's letter remains eerily appropriate today, in light of the ongoing and expanding measles outbreak centered in California. More than 100 cases have now been confirmed in 14 states across the U.S., including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington state. According to the latest figures from the California Department of Public Health, at least 91 of the cases are in California, 58 of which have been linked to the outbreak that began in Disneyland last month. The degree and scale of this outbreak (in the past thirty days, California has seen more confirmed measles cases than it typically sees in a year) has been pinned to the obstinacy, ignorance, and fear of those who would refuse their children, and anyone else unable to vaccinate for legitimate medical reasons, the protection immunization affords.

"It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness," Dahl wrote in 1988.In 2015, many people still fail to fully recognize the dangers posed by measles, a grave and wildly contagious illness. Experts suspect many of us cannot appreciate the severity of a measles infection, because we have not lived through an epidemic; but the symptoms of measles – an airborne virus that Stephen Cochi, senior adviser with the CDC's global immunization division, calls "probably the most contagious infectious disease known to mankind"– are as serious as they are ghastly to behold.

Measles is a dangerous illness. It's also preventable, thanks to a safe, affordable, highly effective vaccine. Epidemiologists know this. The CDC knows this. The World Health Organization knows this. The White House knows this. And, though he sadly did so more keenly and more personally than most Americans ever will, Roald Dahl knew this – just as any clear-headed person alive today knows it.

The Guardian, in its November 1990 obituary for Dahl, called the beloved author "a children's champion." Certainly, the sprightly genius behind such books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, and The BFG had more than earned the title. But the designation is so meaningfully augmented by Dahl's outspoken support of child vaccinations, and his condemnation of those who would ignore its benefits for reasons senseless and unfounded.

Fifty years ago, there was a good and safe measles vaccine available to every family, and all you had to do was ask for it. In 1988, there was a good and safe measles vaccine available to every family, and all you had to do was ask for it. And today, there is a good and safe measles vaccine available to every family.

All you have to do is ask for it.

Correction: This post originally stated Dahl's pro-vaccination piece was published in 1986. It was published by the Sandwell Health Authority in 1988.

[Daily Kos via Deborah Blum]

Reflector Mirrors your iOS Screen to a Mac, PC or Android device

Reflector Mirrors your iOS Screen to a Mac, PC or Android device

Windows/Mac/Android: If you want to show off your iPhone or iPad screen, typically you need an Apple TV. Reflector puts your iOS screen on a Mac, PC or Android device by acting as an AirPlay receiver.

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One Dog Has a Ball and the Other Dog Wants the Ball

One Dog Has a Ball and the Other Dog Wants the Ball

Sometimes, if you are a dog, you are the dog with the ball. Usually, however, you are not. When there are two dogs and one ball, only one dog can have the ball. And there is nothing you can do to change that.

According to this video's description on YouTube, the dog with the ball in this case is Millie. Goggles, the other dog, wants the ball. Tough shit, Goggles. Millie doesn't owe you anything.

[Image via YouTube | h/t Daily Dot]

ISIS Beheads Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto in New Video

ISIS Beheads Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto in New Video

After a proposed prisoner swap failed to materialize this week, ISIS released a gruesome video on Saturday purporting to show the beheading of captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

The new video closely resembles earlier ISIS execution videos, showing a hooded figure brandishing a knife and threatening foreign governments in British-accented English.

"This knife will not only slaughter Kenji but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found," says the masked killer. "Let the nightmare for Japan begin."

On Tuesday, ISIS offered to trade Goto and captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh for attempted suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, imprisoned in Jordan for nearly a decade. Jordan agreed to the exchange, but negotiations stalled after ISIS failed provide proof al-Kasasbeh was still alive.

A spokesperson for the Japanese condemned the video Saturday evening, saying, "We cannot suppress the extreme anger that such an immoral and despicable terrorist act was repeated again."

Timex’s Popular “Weekender” Watches Are In Impulse Buy Range Today

Timex's Popular

Timex's Weekender Watches are the most popular we've ever listed in our Commerce segments. They're extremely versatile and come in a variety of colors, and today they're marked down to the $30 range, plus an additional 30% off with code WEEKEND30. [Amazon]

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Check Your Child’s Car Seat for an Expiration Date

Check Your Child's Car Seat for an Expiration Date

Child safety seats are important, but you may not realize that they have expiration dates—so check yours now.

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Airstrikes Drive ISIS from Kobani, Leave City in Ruins

Airstrikes Drive ISIS from Kobani, Leave City in Ruins

A pair of Islamic State fighters attributed the militant group's recent withdrawal from Kobani to U.S.-led airstrikes, The Guardian reports. ISIS threatened to overrun the Syrian border-city as recently as October.

"The warplanes were bombarding us night and day. They bombarded everything, even motorcycles," one of the fighters said in Arabic, according to The Guardian. CNN reports that the pair spoke to Amak, an ISIS-aligned news agency in Syria.

At one point, ISIS had claimed more than 70 percent of the city, one of the fighters said, "but the airstrikes did not leave any building standing, they destroyed everything."

Airstrikes Drive ISIS from Kobani, Leave City in Ruins

Turkish troops are preventing Syrian and Kurdish refugees from returning to the area until it is safe, The Guardian reports.

Airstrikes Drive ISIS from Kobani, Leave City in Ruins

"They tell us Kobani does not exist any more," Adila Hassan, a 33-year-old mother and refugee told The Guardian. "We do not know how long we will be staying here. We will return once the town is rebuilt. That's not going to happen soon."

[Photo credit: AP Images]

Anything to Avoid the Pain

Anything to Avoid the Pain

Late last year my cousin went missing. For weeks he was simply just gone. His cell phone was off and any attempt at tracking him was futile. If there were ever a time that I wanted Liam Neeson's character in Taken to be real, this was it.

The reality of the situation is that my cousin has a disorder that causes him to believe he possesses certain powers that, in truth, he does not have. When he first expressed to my mother that he believed he was an Egyptian god and devised a new way to derive the mathematical factor pi, his doctors believed his grandiosity and diagnosed him with bipolar disorder. After I noticed him laughing and talking to himself over the course of a summer, I realized that he actually had schizophrenia. It was this disorder that convinced him to seek solace in freezing temperatures for a peace he could not find in the warmth of his home. The voices told him that he was not a mortal male child. The voices told him that he had to leave home with a couple dollars in his pocket and seek enlightenment in a place that was hundreds of miles beyond the reach of his family.

For the past ten years, I have risen to early morning emergencies. It's become an unfortunate ritual. The pager exclaims its presence unapologetically, convulsing across my nightstand, and the phone demands attention until it is answered. This is my life, first as a doctor-in-training and now as a full-fledged doctor responsible for managing the care of people most wouldn't want to treat. I chose to become a psychiatrist. Of the many reasons, one was because of the doctor-client relationship I'd developed over time. Many of the individuals I came in contact with early on in my career seemed to trust me in ways they didn't other doctors. They trusted me enough to allow them to dictate what I knew would help them feel better. With my help, I allowed my patients to slip off the heavy blanket of another depressive episode. Or gave them medication that would silence the voices that clogged their thoughts. Voices that rattled for so long they sometimes made people do things they'd soon regret.

In the last two years especially, early mornings have been characterized by confusion and panic. My family, despite their collection of advanced degrees from esteemed institutions and their accumulated years of wisdom, felt I was the only one who had truly dared to, and who continually wanted to, unravel illnesses that plagued the human mind. Add to all this the fact that black folks like us would rather not deal with these kinds of things. We are strong. We are resilient. We fight through it. We turn tragedy into triumph. We do this to avoid the pain. Most importantly, we do this in order to forget. Except this was different. This was something that time and artful dodging would not heal.

When I was alerted to the news of my cousin's disappearance, I first tried to assume a clinical role. I am very good at disengaging from my emotions. But anyone who is good at emotional detachment is secretly a walking ball of unexposed nerves. I was no exception. So I learned how to prevent myself from crying—often digging my nails into my palms or my outer thighs—and mastered how to will a rogue tear that dared to leave the rim of my lower eyelid back to its point of departure. I was actually pretty good at assuming a clinical role throughout most of my cousin's ordeal. But, as time passed, I grew infuriated. How dare my cousin put my closely knit family into this predicament, I protested. I thought it selfish and inconsiderate. The gall of my cousin—this self-affirmed, spoiled child—to even try to pull this stunt one week before Thanksgiving made me irate.

Internally, I fought with myself. A lot. I knew my cousin wasn't able to comprehend what he was doing. That he was under a spell that only antipsychotic medication could cure. And yet I remained steadfast in my anger all while attempting to counsel my family, who were stunned that we had to broadcast our faults to the rest of the world, the local police and campus police. This young man is trouble so we must be too, they thought. As flyers of his disappearance circulated, my anger was replaced with exasperation. But he was my cousin. And I loved him. Really, I couldn't bear if anything bad happened to him. The truth is that my family would suffer a rip in its fabric that we would not be able to mend. Because we express ourselves with either extreme, rollicking joy or fierce, frightening and decisive rage, because we go from zero to one hundred real quick, a death was something, emotionally, we simply could not afford.

Over time I became ill from fretting. I eventually lost my appetite, although it was something I expected. I'd experienced depression before, so I knew the signs and how to stave them off. I began to sleep too little and then too much. Thanksgiving came and went like snow that doesn't stick. Despite my recommendations, my cousin's father initially resisted. Denial was in no short supply. I remained clinical while internally I grew tired of talking and trying to convince those around me. It's the struggle all doctors face with every resistant patient and their families: You don't know him the way I do. You just want to make him take poison. You must get a cut of that drug money. He's fine. He just needs to sleep. They think they know better.

My cousin was found after two weeks. We were relieved, but this did not carry contentment with the news. The real work was just beginning. Parts of me wanted for him to remain missing for a little longer, just so the phone calls would subside for a few more days, weeks, months. But the calls and texts and emails recommenced almost instantly. "What do think we should do? What should he take? Can you be his doctor?"

The solace had lifted. Here we were again. Here I was again.

Things progressed. It got worse before it got better. And, quite honestly, the situation now is not much better than it was prior to my cousin's disappearance. I struggle with guilt daily. I disengage from my family because I can only do but so much. It's easier to deal with patients who are battling the same problems than to deal with my cousin's. It's easier to let a call go to voicemail or ignore a text from my cousin or his father than to deal with yet another question that warrants more reassurance than my emotionally spent psyche can muster. This is not my child. And, under the law, this child is a man. A man who cannot be forced to take medication or sign his rights to enter a hospital against his will legally.

It's hard, but I manage to deal with my day-to-day role as a physician treating other patients and families fighting the same issues that I face personally. Much like the hallucinatory voices that plague my cousin, I try not to berate myself. I am now attempting to surround myself with those who believe I am a person worthy of praise and love. I am trying to remain grounded. Yet I remain clinical. I am often troubled.

I know enough to know this: I will make a difference in the lives of those I treat, but will fall short for those whose blood runs through my own veins.

Dr. Imani J. Walker is a physician trained in general adult psychiatry. She resides in Los Angeles.

[Illustration by Jim Cooke]

Roomer Travel Lets You Sell Your Non-Refundable Hotel Reservations

Sometimes, when you buy a hotel reservation in advance, the reservation isn't refundable. Plans change and if you can't keep your commitment, Roomer is a marketplace that lets you sell that reservation instead of losing your entire investment.

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