Beyond the Bricks: Week of 09/08

Vaping-Related Lung Illnesses and Deaths

There have been over 450 cases of lung illness, as well as six deaths, across 33 states related to vaping — most of which are found in young people aged 18–25.

Health officials suspect that the illness derives from e-cigarettes purchased from non-conventional vendors rather than in stores. However, some of the victims only bought from licensed retailers; so until the investigation has concluded, the CDC is urging people to avoid e-cigarette and vape use.

The symptoms people are experiencing are mostly respiratory and they mimic flu symptoms. People can recover, but it normally requires intubation, in which a tube is inserted inside the patient to help them breathe.

The CDC believes the lung illnesses are likely related to a chemical exposure. One woman used e-cigarettes for merely one week before she developed the lung disease and died.

President Trump has announced a new enforcement proposal in which e-cigarette companies will be forced to take their flavored products off the market.

NASA Makes a Parody of NASA

Pop singer Ariana Grande released a new album entitled “Thank U, Next” in early February. In the new album, there is a song called “NASA.” The interns at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came out with a parody of this song last week. They were looking to promote a future mission called Artemis that involves putting the first woman on the moon alongside another man. 

At the beginning of Grande's original song, entertainer Shangela Laquifa Wadley says, "This is one small step for woman, one giant leap for woman-kind." This mimics Neil Armstrong's quote from when he first stepped foot on the moon.

The singer brought attention to NASA's mission to put the first woman on the moon whether she meant to or not. Grande expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the parody video on Twitter.

NASA hopes that the educational parody “revives excitement in deep space exploration.” The organization is looking to explore “more of the moon than ever before” during this mission and use the knowledge they gain to send astronauts to Mars. They are planning to build what's called "The Gateway," a lunar orbiting platform to prepare for deep space travel. They will also test new technologies and systems as they work on infrastructure. This will help NASA prepare for the missions to Mars.

The Bahamas: The Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

The Bahamas recently endured Hurricane Dorian — a Category 5 hurricane — which lingered over the nation for over 50 hours, causing widespread damage. The hurricane had 180 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 220 mph.

The islands of the Bahamas were hit hard as the government claims that this was the most “devastating hurricane [their] country has ever seen." The government there is waiting on the arrival of moving equipment so they can help begin the clean up process and move on.

Hurricane Dorian has left almost 70,000 people homeless. Some of the homeless have been evacuated to larger islands that were less impacted by storm surges, while others are headed to the U.S. through family connections. Those left behind are waiting on tents and other supplies such as generators to be sent to the Bahamas.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy are helping out with the relief efforts. The United Kingdom and Columbia are aiding in the clean up, as well, to help the people of the Bahamas.

The Deputy Director General of the Bahamas admitted that the recovery process is “going to take a while.” He also mentioned that the relief effort is relying on tourism just as much as donations. Many of the Bahamas' most attractive tourist destinations, such as Nassau, Paradise Island, the Exumas and Cat Island, are still intact and they are counting on tourists to bring in the revenue that will in turn further fund these recovery efforts.