Worth Reading - 5/27

1. The "superbug apocalypse" may be upon us. The number of antibiotic resistant bacteria is increasing. This article at Smithsonian argues there are things we can do about it.

Historically, antibiotics combated infections like strep throat and STDs. But since the end of World War II, when the use of these drugs began, the bugs have fought back, developing resistance to many antimicrobial medicines and new antibiotics as they arrive on the market.

Now, that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is reaching a crisis point. The World Health Organization reports that multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise and in some parts of the world malaria has developed drug resistance. Multi-drug-resistant staph infections (MRSA), pneumonia, and gonorrhea, among other diseases, are also becoming worldwide problems.

To combat these rising infections, in 2014 the U.K. prime minister, David Cameron, commissioned a series of studies on drug resistance led by economist Jim O’Neill. Since then, The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has issued eight papers, including their final report published earlier this week.

Overall, the news is not great.

2. Gas prices are low, so some folks are spending the extra dime on premium gas because they think it is good for their car. However, that might not be true as this article from National Geographic argues.

“Some people mistakenly believe they're ‘treating’ their car by buying premium gasoline,” says Michael Green, spokesperson for the motorist group AAA. Premium gas only makes sense for engines designed to use it, but for drivers who don’t realize this, he says, “It's like taking their car to the day spa.”
The luxe association makes sense. Premium gas is pricey, and getting pricier: The U.S. national average per gallon is currently $2.69, a full 47 cents above regular. That’s a shift from previous years, when the gap between fuels was lower.
“There was a time when premium was only 15 to 20 cents per gallon more than regular,” says Green, “but those days have long passed us by." The gap persists because premium gas buyers aren’t as price-sensitive as those for regular, Green says, adding that domestic oil supplies are better suited to refining into regular fuel.

3. A video that explains what makes Pixar videos so relatable.

4. Thomas Kidd argues that we need to remember the horrible events of our past, like the lynching of Jesse Washington in Baylor. It's part of working toward racial reconciliation.

As Christians, what should we learn from the “Waco horror” of 1916? As Jemar Tisby wrote recently for the Reformed African American Network, “awareness” is an essential component of racial reconciliation. He pointed to the need for more attention to the “racial history of the United States.”

Tisby is right. To be sure, I can understand why some may balk at dredging up the past. Some may fear such painful memories will sow more bitterness and violate gospel unity between Christians of different ethnicities. Pastors, in particular, have to decide for themselves and their churches how best to handle historical and contemporary issues of racial strife.

But at some basic level, we need to acknowledge and lament episodes such as Jesse Washington’s lynching. If we do, they may help us take a sober, nuanced look at current concerns related to racial tension, such as the regular shooting deaths of black youths in America’s cities. These cases are made more complex when the African American victim, as with Washington, may have been guilty of a crime.

Incidents like Jesse Washington’s lynching make it clearer why many Americans today are so indignant about cases like the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Context matters. Whatever one thinks about Ferguson, it was not a one-off situation to those who know the deeper past of our racial history.

A public spectacle like Jesse Washington’s dismemberment and burning leaves social, psychological, and spiritual scars that last for generations. Jesse Washington’s body took the brunt of a kind of venomous hatred you can’t easily put into words. What the mob did to him said something profound about the status of whites, and the status of African Americans, in our country’s history.