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8.8.07: Charmed or Harmed?

by Andre German
Kennedy Krieger Institute researchers' findings that right and left legs can be trained independently may lead to new therapeutic approaches for patients with brain injuries or neurological disorders.
Charmed by the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Researchers at the institute recently found that there are separate adaptable networks controlling each leg and there are also separate networks controlling leg movements, e.g., forward or backward walking, contrary to the currently accepted theory that leg movements and adaptations are directed by a single control circuit in the brain. The ability to train the right and left legs independently opens the door to new therapeutic approaches for correcting walking abilities in patients with brain injury (e.g., stroke) and neurological disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis).

Harmed by Baltimore Health officials. They have finalized regulations for city residents who want to own exotic animals. The new rules start out great, with limits on number of pigeons one person can own, regulation of cleanliness of pigeon coops and permit requirements for Vietnamese potbellied pigs. Then it all goes wrong. In an unnecessarily dictatorial move, city residents are prohibited from having, among other reasonably denied animals like various wild and rural animals: mongooses, spiders, scorpions, rodents, certain kinds of snakes, and centipedes. Why are health officials seemingly taking for granted that pet owners are going to be irresponsible with their pets?

Charmed by Mirant Mid-Atlantic, LLC and Mirant Chalk Point, LLC. A division of the Shaw Group Inc. has recently signed a $1.1 billion contract with the above two divisions of companies to retrofit the Chalk Point, Morgantown and Dickerson power plants with new equipment designed to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. Definitely a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction.

Harmed by Verizon. The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing Wednesday in Baltimore on numerous complaints from telephone customers that Verizon is taking too long to restore and repair interrupted telephone service. Some customers claim their outages lasted more than two weeks before service was restored. The PSC says the issue is a public safety hazard because customers are unable to dial 911 during the outages. Good to see the PSC doing something other than improving an obscene rate hike by BGE.
Andre German is the self-proclaimed "Mongrel of Mobtown". We don't quite know what this means or why he proclaims this: could be something to do with his having H.L. Mencken, aka the Sage of Baltimore as a hero, could be something to do with his vast appreciation of multiculturalism and disgust with monocultures. In any case, you can learn more about Andre at his myspace profile here or can contact him here.

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This story was published on August 9, 2007.