In the Media
Smoke from wildfires in Eastern Washington and British Columbia made for a hazy sunrise that could slightly affect air quality in Whatcom County amid a late summer heat wave that has Bellingham flirting with record high temperatures Wednesday, Aug. 31. But air quality should remain good over the next several days, even though the hazy skies might linger.
ity College of New York physicist Pouyan Ghaemi and his research team are claiming significant progress in using quantum computers to study and predict how the state of a large number of interacting quantum particles evolves over time. This was done by developing a quantum algorithm that they run on an IBM quantum computer. “To the best of our knowledge, such particular quantum algorithm which can simulate how interacting quantum particles evolve over time has not been implemented before,” said Ghaemi, associate professor in CCNY’s Division of Science.
Entitled “Probing geometric excitations of fractional quantum Hall states on quantum computers,” the study appears in the journal of “Physical Review Letters.”
The research was done at CCNY -- and involved an interdisciplinary team from the physics and electrical engineering departments – in collaboration with experts from Western Washington University, Leeds University in the UK; and Schlumberger-Doll Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Britain’s Engineering and Science Research Council.
*WWU Postdoctoral Research Associate Ammar Kirmani is lead author on the study referenced.
In November 2021, a major event occurred in the French literary world: A 31-year-old Senegalese writer, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, won the country’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, for his novel “La plus secrète mémoire des hommes” (“The Most Secret Memory of Men”). It was the first time an author from sub-Saharan Africa had won the prize, and it stirred discussions pertaining to Francophone literature, colonialism, postcolonialism, as well as bringing to the fore the saga of a forgotten author.
Mbougar Sarr’s book tells the story of a young Senegalese writer living in present-day Paris who is captivated by the discovery of a novel published in 1938 by another Senegalese author, a mysterious T.C. Elimane. Hailed as the “Black Rimbaud,” Elimane experiences a fleeting moment of glory, but then, accused of plagiarism, he disappears, leaving behind an ill-fated novel.
The inspiration for Mbougar Sarr’s novel began with the tragic and true story of Malian author Yambo Ouologuem, who at age 28 won the 1968 Prix Renaudot, France’s second-most prestigious literary prize, for his novel “Le devoir de violence” (“Bound to Violence”); a first for an author from the African continent. The book, a sweeping portrait of African history with plenty of sex and violence, was hailed as a masterpiece and translated into more than 10 languages.
In 1972, after penning a few more books, some under pseudonyms, Ouologuem was accused of plagiarism for “Le devoir de violence.” After fruitless attempts to defend himself, he returned to Mali, devastated, never to publish again.
Here, we must introduce Christopher Wise, an American academic and a Fulbright professor at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso in 1996, who had read texts by Ouologuem in graduate school when postcolonial studies didn’t exist in the U.S. “Chinua Achebe [a prominent Nigerian novelist] was read in anthropology and not in comparative literature classes,” he said.
Wise was one of the few Westerners to have met Ouologuem after the author moved back to Mali definitively in 1978. This encounter changed his life, he said, and led him to turn the focus of his studies on El Hadj Omar Tall and Sahelian culture for 25 years.
Pope Francis issued a historic apology Monday for the Catholic Church’s cooperation with Canada’s “catastrophic” policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations.
“I am deeply sorry,” Francis said to applause from school survivors and Indigenous community members gathered at a former residential school south of Edmonton, Alberta. He called the school policy a “disastrous error” that was incompatible with the Gospel and said further investigation and healing is needed.
In the first event of his weeklong “penitential pilgrimage,” Francis traveled to the lands of four Cree nations to pray at a cemetery and then deliver the long-sought apology at nearby powow ceremonial grounds. Four chiefs escorted the pontiff in a wheelchair to the site near the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School, and presented him with a feathered headdress after he spoke.
“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Francis said.
More than 150,000 native children in Canada were forced to attend government-funded Christian schools from the 19th century until the 1970s in an effort to isolate them from the influence of their homes and culture. The aim was to Christianize and assimilate them into mainstream society, which previous Canadian governments considered superior.
The discoveries of hundreds of potential burial sites at former schools in the past year drew international attention to the legacy of the schools in Canada and their counterparts in the United States. The revelations prompted Francis to comply with the truth commission’s call for him to apologize on Canadian soil for the Catholic Church’s role in the abuses; Catholic religious orders operated 66 of the 139 country’s residential schools.
Gwyneth Paige didn’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at first. With her health issues — hypertension, fibromyalgia, asthma — she wanted to see how other people fared after the shots. Then her mother got colon cancer.
“At that point, I didn’t care if the vaccine killed me,” she said. “To be with my mother throughout her journey, I had to have the vaccination.”
Paige, who is 56 and lives in Detroit, has received three doses. That leaves her one booster short of federal health recommendations.
Like Paige, who said she doesn’t currently plan to get another booster, some Americans seem comfortable with the protection of three shots. But others may wonder what to do: Boost again now with one of the original vaccines, or wait months for promised new formulations tailored to the latest, highly contagious omicron subvariants, BA. 4 and BA. 5?
The rapidly mutating virus has created a conundrum for the public and a communications challenge for health officials.
About 70% of Americans age 50 and older who got a first booster shot — and nearly as many of those 65 and older — haven’t received their second COVID booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency currently recommends two booster shots after a primary vaccine series for adults 50 and older and for younger people with compromised immune systems. Last week, multiple news outlets reported that the Biden administration was working on a plan to allow all adults to get second COVID boosters.
There are no winners in a pandemic. That said, if you’ve made it to the summer of 2022 without yet testing positive for the coronavirus, you might feel entitled to some bragging rights. Who’s still in the game at this point? Not Anthony Fauci. Not President Joe Biden, Denzel Washington, Camila Cabello or Lionel Messi. Not your friend who’s even more cautious than you but who finally caught it last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly 60% of Americans had contracted the virus at some point — and that was as of the end of February, before the extremely contagious BA. 4 and BA. 5 variants became rampant.
You might suspect that you are special — immunologically superior, a super-dodger. You also might have come up with some bizarre theories about why you’ve lasted longer.
“I must have superhuman immunity or something,” mused Kathi Moss, a 63-year-old pediatric nurse from Southfield, Mich.
Scientists have found no conclusive evidence of innate genetic immunity. “It would be extremely unlikely that any innate immune system properties could protect against all infections,” said Eleanor Murray, an epidemiologist and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. But Moss’s ability to duck the virus — to her knowledge, we should add; a disclaimer that applies to all these folks, since in theory they could have had asymptomatic cases at some point — does cry out for an explanation. Consider that she’s a pediatric nurse who has been staring COVID in the face (while fully masked) for 2 and one-half years now. And that she rode in a car with her ex-husband, with the windows up, three days before he tested positive. And that a woman at the camp where she works every summer gave Moss a henna tattoo one day and reported a positive coronavirus result the next.
Bellingham and Whatcom County residents will see the warmest temperatures of the year this week as a heat wave bakes the entire West Coast.
This week’s hottest days likely will be Tuesday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 27, with daytime highs around 90 for areas closer to the Salish Sea and into the mid-90s and warmer for inland Whatcom County, the National Weather Service in Seattle said in an online briefing Monday, July 25.
“A heat advisory is in effect for much of the interior and Cascades where highs will reach the 90s (around 10-15 degrees warmer than average),” said meteorologist Jake DeFlitch in the online forecast discussion.
Daytime highs should cool to the mid- to upper 80s later in the week for the Bellingham area, but could remain around 90 in other parts of lowland Whatcom County.
The BA.5 variant of COVID-19 has yet not hit Whatcom County as hard as other parts of the country, but St. Joseph’s hospital in Bellingham is still asking for help from area residents.
“We’re certainly seeing far fewer numbers than the omicron surge and the delta surge from the hospital standpoint,” PeaceHealth Northwest Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sudhakar Karlapudi said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald. “We’re still seeing a few number of cases in the hospital that have COVID, but it’s largely patients that are admitted for other reasons. There are people being admitted for COVID, of course, but a larger proportion are patients who are admitted for other problems that have COVID.”
In a news release sent out this week, the hospital again asked patients to utilize the hospital’s emergency department only for the most emergent or life-threatening conditions, while asking patients seeking care for non-emergent conditions to visit their primary care physicians or an urgent care center before going to the hospital.
Karlapudi told The Herald that the hospital has seen “historically high” patient volumes in recent weeks, but COVID is not the direct cause for that increase. Instead, Karlapudi said the hospital is seeing more patients who have not properly cared for chronic diseases due to COVID-19 and patients with new diagnoses of cancer or other chronic diseases from the past two-plus years.
Jenny Keller is the author of the popular cookbooks "Eat More Dessert" and "Cookie Class," and the owner of the destination bakery Jenny Cookies Bake Shop in Lake Stevens, WA.
Jenny was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Psychology. Inspired by the PNW’s love of coffee, she started her own espresso business in 2003 which would be the beginning of her entrepreneurial adventure. After her daughter Ally was born, she sold the successful business to settle in as a stay-at-home mom. Not long thereafter, Jenny began hobby baking from home with the main focus being buttercream decorated sugar cookies. Creative baking quickly became a passion and her signature cookies were given a name: Jenny Cookies. The cookies were soon joined by cakes, cupcakes, a variety of desserts, and a growing blog and social media following.
Washington’s hospitals are facing massive financial losses after the first quarter of 2022, placing the state’s health care system in the most precarious situation many hospital leaders say they’ve seen in their lives.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Washington State Hospital Association, hospitals across the state suffered a net loss of about $929 million in the first three months of 2022. While operating revenue increased by 5%, operating expenses increased by 11%, which — combined with nonoperating investment losses — resulted in a total loss of about 13%.
“The financial challenges revealed by the survey are really quite grave,” WSHA CEO Cassie Sauer said at a news briefing Thursday. “Hospitals’ ability to sustain all the health care services they provide in the face of a dire financial situation is in question.”
The hospitals that responded to the survey represent about 97% of all inpatient, acute beds statewide. All 52 urban hospitals and health systems, as well as 18 of 34 independent, rural hospitals, reported losses.
If the trend continues, Sauer said, hospitals will likely have to cut certain services or close inpatient units. The biggest concern, she added, is that some health care systems could be forced to close or file for bankruptcy if the financial losses persist.