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Choosing All Of Your Own Adventures … Good Choice or Bad?

25 Aug

Thinking back to when I was a child, one of the things I loved to do was read. I actually looked forward to going to the library and signing out stacks of the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Choose YOur Own Adventure Books

Each book was written from a second-person point of view. The reader would then assume the exciting role of the protagonist and could make choices throughout the story that would then determine main character’s actions, and in turn, affect the overall plot and outcome of the entire story. I, of course, being a bit impatient, would often flip through the pages to see which choices would be the best for my character in the end.

Here’s how it went after an introduction to get the reader aquainted with the story…

If you decide to storm the castle (a la The Princess Bride) turn to page 10…

If you decide to wait and see what is on the other side of the golden door, turn to page 6 …

After the reader made their choice, the plot thickened and they were led on a whirlwind adventure through mystical, fantasy worlds … that is if they made it to the end of the book in one piece rather than suffering an untimely death at the hands of a deceptive wizard or a deadly dragon.

Now, in this day of multi-media where just about EVERYTHING is going digital, you can now PLAY these Choose Your Own Adventure Books on your iPod. The characters even have Twitter accounts!

Recalling the actual books, I started thinking about what life would look like today if we had the ability to flip through the pages (or scroll ahead to the future) and choose what the best path would be for each of us, what decisions are the right ones?  

* What would Michael Jackson have done if he knew his trusted doctor was going to administer a lethal dose of Propofol?

* Would Fox News have thought long and hard before giving the very vocal and outspoken Glenn Beck (who announced that he believes our current president is a “racist”) his own show and losing tons of advertisers?

* Would Lindsay Lohan think twice about turning down Heather Graham’s role in Hangover and instead taking a role on Labor Pains?

* Would John and Kate have rethought EVERYTHING (I don’t even know where to begin with them)?

* Would the octomom have pondered the fact that even with all of that plastic surgery, she would never look quitre like the real Angelina Jolie, but more like a twist between Angie and the Cat Lady?

How would you do things differently if you had all the answers?

Just some things to ponder.

I think that having the option to see into the future could definitely be helpful in some cases (like in one of my favorite shows Medium, where Patricia Arquette’s character, Allison Dubois, sees the future and past in her dreams and uses them to solve crimes and save people). That seems like it would be a very exciting  job; never a dull moment I’m sure (Although I would undoubtedly be a little uneasy if dead people kept popping up in my everyday life in unexpected places and inopportune times).

However, I also think it may be better to just live life and relish in the excitment of what each new day will bring.

I know it sounds cliche, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.



2 Jul

PLUM ISLAND. For years and years it’s been a place of controversy because of what is said to be taking place there … and a mystery riddled with speculation because of its confidential animal disease testing practices.

For those of us who are not familiar with it, Plum Island is an animal facility comprising of various labs (Author Nelson DeMille was so intrigued by the subject matter that he wrote a book called Plum Island.) Formerly the site of Fort Terry, Plum Island is situated less than two miles off the north fork shore at Orient Point, Long Island and is only accessible by Government Ferryboat. The center comprises 70 buildings on 840 acres.  The island has its own fire department, power plant, and water treatment plant. There are security guards stationed at the island, but only two are armed.

FADDL (Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab) is a diagnostic facility that is a full service diagnostic laboratory receiving samples from around the world. PIADC (Plum Island Animal Disease Center) comprises various laboratory facilities and studies exotic diseases of animals. PIADC was designated a bio-level 5 facility, now mandated by Congress which enabled Plum Island to study and research diseases and vaccines for diseases that would not be allowed in the Continental US. Congress allowed for this status simply because it is an island.

In 1954, while it was still Fort Terry, the Army handed the island over to the Department of Agriculture to establish a research center whose employees would dedicate their time to studying foot and mouth disease in cattle. By August 1954, animals occupied holding areas at Plum Island and bio-weapons research was ongoing within Building 257 on Plum Island. The USDA facility, PIADC, continued work on biological warfare research until the US program was ended by Richard Nixon in 1969. The bio-weapons research at Building 257 and Fort Terry was shrouded in mystery and secrecy. But though the U.S. government dismissed the use of biological warfare experiments on the Island, Long Island-based Newspaper Newsday brought to light some documents that revealed otherwise.

1992 was the first time that members of the media were allowed on the island and in 1995, The Dept. of Agriculture was issued a hefty fine for storing hazardous materials on the island.

Through the years, activists in Long Island have fought against Plum Islands expansion to include diseases that affect humans. In 2002, the islands disease control center was transferred from the DOA to the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Here are some of the diseases studied at Plum Island over the years:

1. Foot-and-Mouth Disease (PIADC is currently the only laboratory in the U.S. equipped with research facilities that permit the study of foot-and-mouth disease)

2. Hog Cholera

3. African Swine Fever

4. Equine West Nile Virus

5. Lyme Disease (The index case for Lyme Disease started in a young child who lived a few miles from the Plum Island ferryboat dock)

6. Polio (in 1991, the centers freezers, which contained samples of polio and other diseases that can be transferred to humans, were threatened due to a hurricane-caused power outage)

7. Anthrax (many people think that Anthrax has been and continues to be studied on Plum Island)

Plum Island Animal Research Center

Plum Island Animal Research Center