GOLD, BLOOD, & STRUGGLE

Rhnull is the rarest blood on earth.  With only 43 people in history having such blood— and only nine active donors— every drop is so precious that doctors call it “golden blood.” For someone with this blood type in crisis, it becomes a global race against the clock. First, there are limits to how often those with rare blood can donate. Some countries pay donors, but many don’t— which means that donors often have to pay their own way to break through the red-tape of blood crossing borders. And of course, these donations have a shelf-life: frozen blood lasts 48 hours; fresh blood lasts 4-6 weeks. How ironic, the short longevity of that which increases longevity. 

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Silent hypoxia is an unexpected but pervasive feature of COVID-19; that is, the body and blood are starved of oxygen before shortness of breath occurs. Oxygen levels in the blood are so low, doctors would expect these patients to be in shock; yet they sit calmly, smiling with blue-tinged lips. While many respiratory diseases use breathlessness as an emergency siren to the brain, this alarm has often been silent— the horror film with no soundtrack. 

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Robert Frost’s famous poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” included in the Pulitzer-winning collection New Hampshire, calls out to the once-perfect garden of creation. Some scholars find fortune here though— a dawn succumbing to day being nothing to mourn. Felix culpa— a blessed fall. An hour of perfection, but a lifetime of meaning.

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New guidelines from the London Bullion Market Association are well-intentioned: safe, environmentally friendly, and crime-free mining of gold, especially from big refineries. But for small-scale artisanal miners, these standards are impossible, meaning some of their spoils could be classified as “blood gold” due to their lack of protective clothing, ventilation, or other safety measures. The punishment of David, which was meant for Goliath.

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Life is satire, but who is laughing?

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