walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

amazing how unbelievably stupid smart people can be

NPR is doing a profile of MIT's International Design and Development Seminar, which is trying to come up with ways to save some small part of the developing world on a very low budget. One of the groups is trying to invent a very, very cheap incubator that will work in places with minimal infrastructure. I have not heard _one single use of the phrase kangaroo care_, which was invented in a developing region over thirty years ago and has _much better results_ than the most high tech incubators available _now_. It was developed _because_ cheap incubators don't work very well.

I don't know what to say. It's all been said (often by me) so many times already.

(1) Try _not_ to be all I-know-better-than-the-people-on-site.
(2) If you are _going_ to reinvent something, try to make it something worthwhile, like, say, a wheel.

*sigh*

Speaking of reinventing useful things, in _No Place Like Home_, page 119, there's a picture captioned:

"Infant wiggles while being weighed by a visiting nurse, 1920s. Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania"

In the picture, a nurse and a woman (presumably mama) are weighing a baby. Mama is wearing a cloche, and a drop-waist sundress (very cute!). The nurse has long sleeves, collar and cuffs, etc. The scale? A fish scale attached to a cloth which almost completely encloses the infant, held in the nurse's right hand with the left hand under the bundled baby in case of surprises.

My midwife in Seattle, upon doing a home visit, weighed T. in almost _exactly_ the same way: a fish scale attached to a modified ring sling. She wanted to know what the clinic scale said when we went in for a visit, as a way of checking the validity of her technique. FWIW, eBayers use fish scales and plastic bags and so forth to weigh all kinds of stuff. _Before_ I bought the book (much less read it), I bought a fish scale on Amazon, with exactly this in mind; they're accurate to some freakishly tiny amount (good enough to assess breastfeeding).

_This_ is worth reinventing.
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