Wordsworkinc's Weblog

Life, love and language

About Me

Self

Hi there, my name is Dawn Kumm.  I am one of those annoying people who keep picking out grammatical and spelling mistakes online and itch to correct them.  English is my passion and was one of my majors in my first degree. I also hold a Master’s degree in Education.   I run my own business, and do freelance research, writing and editing.  Find me on LinkedIn for my full resume and look for me on Facebook and my website

 

November 21, 2018 Posted by | About Me, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

A Scientific Rant

Maybe I’m just getting old, but lately I am finding more and more that there are two groups of Face Book users who really rile me.

The first is the self-righteous group of do-gooders, whether they are vegans, fur-lovers, tree huggers or adhere to any other cause which seems to turn presumably normal, sane human beings into viragos attempting to digitally beat the rest of us into submission.

Don’t get me wrong. I feel strongly about humane treatment of farm animals, am at the moment looking for an older rescue dog to join our family as a friend for my adored, breeder-bought pom, and can even get quite emotional about trees, especially in fall.

My gripe is with those who, with no knowledge of (or even interest in) the circumstances, have no hesitation in tearing apart a total stranger because they may have a different opinion.  Since when did social media become a dictatorship?

The second group that has me tearing my hair out are the conspiracy theorists.  I’m not talking about the flat earthers, or even those who are convinced that the whole moon landing was faked and that the planes which criss-cross our skies are trailing plumes of toxic gasses – presumably those responsible for the latter are all safely ensconced with their loved ones in air proof bunkers so as not to succumb to the fumes.

These are merely entertaining and do no harm.

No, the group which worries me the most are those who constantly advise their followers to ‘do your research’ while at the same time denigrating any professional or academic studies. Research, apparently, can only safely be done on Google and anyone who is accepted by their peers in any field must obviously be suspect.  Their postings are often preceded by statements like “things your doctor won’t tell you” or things Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know”.  Big Pharma and Big Agri feature often in these rantings, whereas there is no mention of Big Organics, which rakes in millions every year.

Doctors, who spend years studying, and racking up a fortune in student loans doing so, are – according to this section of the Face Book community – only in it to support Big Pharma and have no interest in actually curing their patients.  Either that or these gullible professionals just blindly follow the teachings of their professors who, for some reason or other, are hell bent on disseminating the untruths which apparently plague the medical profession.

Where this group differs from the first is the extraordinary amount of harm they can do.

Natural cancer cures are one example.  Since, it seems, doctors are determined to kill off their patients with chemotherapy and radiation, cancer sufferers are urged instead to eat only organic plant food and use coffee enemas (to name but a couple of alternative ‘cures’). And when, horrors, the patient still dies, the proponents of these treatments blame the patient for the failure[1].

And then, of course, there are the anti-vaxxers.  Just when it seemed we had managed to eliminate many of the diseases which maimed and killed our parents and grandparents, a whole group of vociferous individuals with no scientific background at all has convinced so many people that vaccinating their children is exposing them to dreaded consequences, that diseases like measles, mumps and even diphtheria are making a come back.  This is not entertaining, it is both frightening and appalling.

Science was considered very suspect in the early 17th century, to the extent that scientists like Galileo were branded heretics and forced to recant. Today, centuries later, many on social media seem determined to reject any scientific evidence in favour of the emotional or the anecdotal.     The only difference today is that, instead of being excommunicated from the church for believing in science, those of us who are inclined to place our confidence in that which is tested and proven are likely to be branded as shills for companies like Montsano.  Nothing much changes.

 

“The duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and … attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.”

— Alhazen (965–1039)

 

[1] https://www.naturalnews.com/049722_cancer_treatment_natural_remedies_common_mistakes.html#

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Ten Days on the Island.

July 4th   West Jet announced on landing in Victoria. “If you wish to smoke there are designated areas in the airport.  Anyone found smoking outside of these areas will immediately be flown to Winnipeg”.  A dire threat which, I’m sure, kept everyone safely within the designated smoking areas.

Our Bed and Breakfast was all it promised to be.  Finding it, however, was not that easy.  Our GPS appeared totally confused and we travelled three times around the same traffic circle before giving up and asking someone the way.  A very kind lady, undeterred by the harassed couple who accosted her in her own driveway attempted to show us where to go but gave up in the end and led us in her car to Lochside Road from where we were easily able to find our way.

We were originally booked on the second floor but Denise, who signed us in, took one look at Richard’s cane and changed our room to the main floor.  (We used the cane with effect to pre-board our Victoria flight as well.) We went to Smitties for dinner and came back to fall, exhausted, into bed.

July 5th Woke refreshed the next morning and took some time to appreciate our room which was lovely – spacious and well appointed, with a spa tub which we made good use of. Tea coffee and snacks available in the lounge and a tasty breakfast served up in the cosy dining room.

Our breakfast table

After a late breakfast we took a drive to Sydney Waterfront and walked around taking photo’s and admiring the outdoor statues.  Returned to the B&B and then walked to 3rd Avenue Café for sandwiches and soup before returning to our room for some R & R (reading and relaxation).  At 5pm sherry was served in the lounge and we had a chance to meet and talk to some of the other guests before driving to Save on Foods for some essentials and to Odysseys, a Greek restaurant, for dinner.

6th Today we drove to Victoria and took a hop on/hop off bus from outside the Empress Hotel for a 90min ride through Victoria.  This was really worthwhile and a stress-free way to see Victoria since this was our first time back on Vancouver Island for over 20 years.

Victoria - bus ride

We then had coffee and a snack at a small coffee shop near the hotel and drove back to Sydney.  Rested and read again in the afternoon – a pattern was beginning to emerge! – the obligatory sherry during which we chatted to some guests who had just been to the Butterfly Garden and decided to follow their example over the weekend. We then walked up to the Street Market in Bailey Street where we wandered past the stalls and brought back salmon burgers for dinner.

Sydney - street market

7th After another delicious breakfast we took a walk to Beacon/4th Street to visit the Sydney Museum. They had a very interesting exhibit showing the beginnings and growth of Sidney.  We had coffee and a snack in a nearby coffee shop.

In the afternoon we drove to Eastview Drive and walked along the sea path which is closed when the ferry comes in. Later we went to the Thai Restaurant which we had had booked by the very obliging B&B staff the evening before.

We had a table outside where we could enjoy the early evening breezes.

Thai restaurant

Hundreds of gulls flew over us, bombarding our rental car but fortunately not targeting us.  When we finished eating we started back down 2nd Street and noticed that the ferry was in so we went to have a look at it before returning to our room.

8th Great breakfast again, then off to look for the Butterfly Gardens. Got onto Lockside South instead of 17 but since it eventually led into 17 not a problem.  Butterfly Gardens were lovely – spent about an hour there taking photos and looing at everything.  Drove b ack to Sidney and parked at the B&B then walked along Bevan Avenue and found a Toast Café where we had lunch.  Back in our room Richard had a nap. I tried to use the guest laptop but it had no word processor. Later we played rummy kub in the yard then sherry in the lounge where we chatted to other guests.

We went to the Boondocks Pub for our evening meal. Probably the best meal so far (other than breakfasts).  I had clam chowder and Richard a seafood fettuccine and Caesar salad.

Outside Boondocks

We drove along the seafront after we had eaten and then back to the B&B where we had coffee and spent a couple of hours chatting to Dianne and Dwayne from Calgary.

9th After breakfast we exchanged cell numbers with Diane and Dwayne from Okotoks. Today we did a road trip to Nanaimo, crossing the Malahat and stopping off in Chemainus to look at the murals and have a cup of coffee.  We waited some time for the horse and carriage tour which did not materialize then drove through to Nanaimo where we had lunch.  If we do the trip again I would only go as far as Chemainus, there was far more to see there.  After lunch we drove back, arriving at 5.30pm and opted to skip dinner.

10th We decided to have a laid-back day today. Read for a while after breakfast then drove to Eastview Road, parked the car and walked along the pathways, ending up at Beacon Landing for a lunch of seafood chowder – pricy but delicious. Back at the B&B spent most of the afternoon reading.  Denise at the B&B booked us into the Seaglass Restaurant for 6.30pm so we took a drive there at about 6pm (after sherry) and ended up at the Latch Restaurant with no one around to assist us.  Phoned for directions and retraced our steps to find Seaglass.  Lovely setting right on the yacht harbour. The meal – Halibut – was well presented and tasty although Richard didn’t want the sauce and found the fish bland without it.  Very pricy though so shall be back to pub meals tomorrow.

Sea Glass restaurant

11th Drove to Butchart Gardens today after checking out the quick way to the airport. Ended up on East Saanich instead of 17th but it led into Keating which is the road we were looking for so worked well.  The gardens were lovely and we managed to cover more than I expected.

Sydney - Buchart Gardens

Had coffee and a sandwich at the coffee shop at the gardens before driving back to the B&B. Went back to Boondocks for seafood alfredo after a game of rummy kub and a glass of sherry.

12th A really laid-back day today. Richard not feeling too well in the morning so I went for a brisk walk – about an hour up to the wharf and back down Beacon Road before returning for tea.  Both of us went for a walk again in the afternoon and then chatted to a Dutch couple, now living in Ontario, over sherry.  We then walked to Bistro Suisse for schnitzel for dinner.

13th

Our last day. Packed up after breakfast and said goodbye to our gracious hosts before leaving for the airport.  A lovely holiday in beautiful surroundings.  I suspect we will be back.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Walking in Saskatoon

A few weeks ago we went to Saskatoon for Asher’s graduation from high school.

While we were there we visited the University of Saskatchewan where Tracy is attending medical school and did a short walk around the grounds. The U of S is a research university and was founded as an agricultural college in 1907.  Its beautiful campus is on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.

 

We also took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Natural Sciences in the geology building of the University.  While small by most museum standards it was a fascinating journey through the evolution of life. The exhibits include living plants and animals as well as fossils, rocks and minerals – geological and paleontological specimens.    The exhibits continue in the corridors of the building with the first floor displaying minerals, rocks and meteorites and information panels explaining the causes of earthquakes and  volcanoes, and the second floor exhibits featuring the theory of evolution beginning with ancient seas , through ice age mammals to early human beings.

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University of Saskatchewan

We also found time to walk a portion of the Meewasin Trail which follows the South Saskatchewan River, running along both sides of the river, through well kept parks as well as natural areas where there is a good possibility of meeting up with the wildlife which frequent this area.

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August 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Canadian Skies

I still remember clearly the first time I ever looked at the sky in Canada.  It was sixteen years ago that I flew into Vancouver that night.  Born and bred in South Africa, this was my first venture into the northern hemisphere and I stepped off the plane, jet-lagged after 2 days of international travel, and walked out of the airport into a bitterly cold, strange, white world.

I drove with my daughter and her husband through Vancouver to catch the last ferry across to the Island where they were living.  After landing in Victoria we continued our journey through the dark to the little village of Shawnigan Lake.  With the voluble excitement of our reunion over for the moment, I leant back in my seat and gazed out of the window at the sky.

Of all the new sights and experiences it was the sight of that alien sky which suddenly made me realize just how far I was from home.  I’m no expert on astrology and could probably not name more than 3 or 4 of the constellations that grace our southern skies, but their absence made such an unexpected impact on me that even now, after 13 years of visiting and 3 years of living in Canada, that first impression of a foreign sky still remains with me.

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Hello world!

Having written a great many articles for other blog sites I thought it was time to start my own, so, hello world, welcome to WordsWorkInc.

May 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment